By Tom Shea, Co-founder and COO at Adgile
I am excited to announce Adgill Media GroupLed by $ 5MM Series Seed Round Brand Foundry Ventures With participation from Deris, Consumer Ventures, KBP Brands, Finn Capital Partners, Nick Sharma, Hannah Bronfman, Michael Presman, Chris Hull, And many more!
Adgile has been the work of my life so far and I am extremely grateful to those who have helped Max Flannery and I have made our dream a reality. There are many people who deserve our recognition and thanks.
Yesterday I had a long journey day, which was a great opportunity to stop and reflect on what this experience has taught me so far. I wrote some of those lessons, and thought I’d share them with people, hoping someone would find them helpful.
1. Develop spells – They provide a North Star when things seem irresistible and the path ahead seems unclear. The one that always guided me when we created Adjil – “We sell faith first, media second.” We don’t say business when we don’t think we’re the right fit for the company’s strategy, maturity, or budget (much more than people might realize). This was really hard to do when we were in the early days, because showing growth seemed very important. But while I reflect on why this fundraiser was successful, I think it was because we were able to show a surprising 90% client retention rate – something that could only be achieved through our unwavering commitment to our faith.
2. Health is an asset – I had some very sudden, incredibly disturbing vision and started having nervous problems about 4 years ago. I left McMaster-Car more than once because of a disability, and I was so frustrated by my inability to get back to a level of productivity / output in the end that I was once brought into the company that I quietly left the company. When we started to find product-market fit with Adgile, everything I dreamed of was supposed to happen. Instead, as the company succeeds, I become more fearful, anxious, and frustrated, as I begin to realize that all the hard work I put into doing it professionally was probably in vain because my health was in a state where I couldn’t. Do not enjoy anything. I am doing much better now, and I feel somewhat fortunate to have learned such a difficult, but important lesson so that I can form good habits early in life. It has changed my attitude towards everything.
3. RWY – Remember where you are. This word means a lot to me. Remember that your success is not your own, it is the work of everyone who has ever invested in you and helped you get to where you are today. Remember to acknowledge this and remember to tell those people how grateful you are. Remember to forward and help others. Remember to be humble and grateful. Remember that it doesn’t take much to be kind. And when things go crazy, try to remember that this is the fun part.
4. Confidence is key – I have learned that good things usually happen to those who really put themselves out there and that confidence is valuable in almost every aspect of life. However, I fundamentally believe that confidence is something that is a learned behavior, not something that you were born with. This is the muscle that you strengthen by doing your research and showing readiness. Telling someone they should be confident doesn’t seem like a productive exercise. Telling someone how they can be more confident.
5. Entrepreneurship is not risky – Or at least, it doesn’t have to be. Max and I risked Adgill before taking any personal or professional risk, and I encourage every aspiring entrepreneur to do the same. Funding from those with whom we had a personal relationship can be a scary, stressful and messy exercise. But we didn’t ask for a penny from friends, family or investors until we had enough work to figure out if we had more shots than average in terms of running returns over the S&P 500.
6. It takes a village – Although an expression used in the context of child rearing, creating a company is similarly a universal exercise that often requires the help of the people around you. Society has learned an incredibly sad and painful lesson during the COVID epidemic about the power of infectivity, virality and index growth. But those same forces can be restructured and exist in a positive context, through which activating and engaging your network or “assembling your base” can rapidly expand your efforts.
7. You know what you don’t know – And then surround yourself with people who know. Max and I were 24 when we started working at Adgill. For those who are keeping scores, this is a net out for a full 6 years of work experience between the two of us. We had the drive, the ambition and the limitless energy, but we didn’t really know as much as we probably did at the time. Admittedly, we’ve had the privilege of persuading some highly skilled, experienced people to join us at Adgile – Mitch Gordon and Marc S. Strachan. It raised a few eyebrows, but I think it was self-aware and mature in this particular context. The learning curve as Max and I executives has been meaningfully shortened, and my conviction that it was the right decision was no stronger than that.
8. People as a competitive advantage – There is a saying that 10% of the people you hire will be “A” players, 60% will be “B” players, and 30% will be “C” players. Your “A” players will be 10 times more productive than your “B” players. When you find an “A” player (you’ll know when you do it), acknowledge it and find a way to form a deal that acknowledges it.
9. Bet on yourself – Always.
10. It is always 1 day – Jeff Bezos mentions the “Day 1” mentality in his annual letter to shareholders as he writes. When asked what comes after the first day, he responds as follows: “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by painful, painful fall. After death. And that’s why it’s always 1 day.”
We left earlier. Give it a day in Adgile 1. And always give it a day in Adgile 1.
About Adgile Media Group
Founded in 2018, Adgile Media Group is the nation’s leading technology-enabled, data-driven outdoor media company. The company’s fleet of trucks provides brands with a highly effective and efficient platform to further their marketing communication efforts. Adgile brings the elements that have made digital advertising so popular in the outside world. Adgile wraps end-mile delivery trucks on behalf of brands to reach their ideal customers and measure investment returns using geo-location technology.
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