Alex Vaidya is a digital marketing & branding specialist, fascinated with innovative and disruptive technology and in particular how they are fundamentally changing the relationship between brands and consumers.

Alex was previously head of the entire digital function at Porsche, where he delivered countless pioneering projects.

But now Alex has fused his marketing skills with entrepreneurship, and is founder and CEO of Storystream, an innovative startup that empowers brands to tell beautiful stories. With clients such as Nike, Microsoft, Coca Cola, BMW, Adidas and many more.

We talk about:

  • Why Alex left an incredible job with Porsche to risk everything and set up this business
  • The difference between the DREAM of running a business and the reality
  • How brands can leverage user generated content to build powerful audiences
  • Raising investment
  • And of course – the inspirational role the Captain Morgan has played in his journey!

Read the magazine interview hereLEAVING PORSCHE AS HEAD OF DIGITAL TO INNOVATE & START UP IN BRIGHTON

5 Alex Vaidya BODY

5 Alex Vaidya HEADER

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Quotes
  • Get everyone to be the best they can be
  • You’ve got to be really flexible, and work to how things move
  • It’s about having a clear goal and a clear vision of what you want to achieve and making sure everyone is bought into that
  • If you understand HOW things work, you start to question WHY they work that way and how they can be improved
  • Brands need to be creating more compelling content, more of the time
  • Belligerence and addiction are the two most important business traits
  • If you’re going to do it properly, you have to chuck EVERYTHING into it
  • Start up. Grow Up. Scale Up
  • My biggest fear, is us not executing to the scale we could be
  • Be cautiously aggressive.
  • I’m a first time entrepreneur. We could have got to where we are now in half the time if I knew what I knew now
  • It’s a tight balance between too much process that can throttle you, and having enough so you can operate
  • The brands that win out are the ones that have something that’s interesting compelling, useful and beautiful to say
  • 90% of UGC is being created by 5% of your audience
  • Your customers are your best marketers
  • Any brand has got to have a good story to tell and a reason to exist
  • As an entrepreneur it’s a rollercoaster. You don’t have up and down ‘days’ you have up and down hours, or minutes
  • Those who say ‘don’t fear failure’ can do one! That’s the ONE thing that drives us as an entrepreneur
  • There’s both a physiological and a psychological reasoning behind ‘gut’ instinct
  • Back yourself more than anyone else
  • Learn what you’re good at, and disregard what you’re not so good at
  • Focus on 2 out of 5 areas in an exam, and really NAIL those three areas
  • I’ve got massive amounts of blind optimism
  • If I go to bed thinking I was a little bit further forward than I was yesterday then I’m quite happy with that
  • It can be a lonely place being an entrepreneur
  • You get more comfortable with failure, you don’t think I’m not fearful of it.  
Links & People

Slack: https://slack.com/
Porsche: http://www.porsche.com/uk/
Air BnB: https://www.airbnb.co.uk
Burberry: https://uk.burberry.com/
Red Bull: http://www.redbull.com/
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com
Not On The High Street: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/
Nest: https://store.nest.com
Taylors Coffee: http://taylorscoffee.co.uk/
Nike Air Max: https://goo.gl/bXMSpQ
Periscope: https://www.periscope.tv/
Pareto’s law: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle
Jack Andraka (Entrepreneur who founded a test for pancreatic cancer) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Andraka
MagicLeap: https://www.magicleap.com
MagicLeap founder Rony Abovitz: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rony_Abovitz
Reid Hoffman: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reid_Hoffman
Peter Sage: http://petersage.com/
Anthony Robbins: https://www.tonyrobbins.com/
Ivan Mazour: http://www.ivanmazour.com/

Time Stamped Notes

00:03:09 – Why Alex has set up in Brighton and not London
00:04:53:15   – Why Alex adopts flexible working hours for staff
00:06:24:03   – Accountability issues around allowing flexible hours
00:08:32:21   – Agile sprints:  formulaic agile way to know where you are in a sprint cycle (And now applying this to the commercial team,
00:10:39:24   – On what made Alex leave Porsche and start up Story Stream?
00:14:10:20    – On the values that were instilled in Alex when he was young
00:15:41:02   – On Alex’s perception of money when growing up
00:17:54:09   – Solving problems with beautiful design and user experience, and design as a communication tool. So much technology exists that is designed to solve a problem but actually gets in the way
00:18:49:19   – Del Op. Anything that delights the user
00:20:19:21   – Alex’s ah-ha moment for Story Stream
00:24:14:19   – Captain Morgan Rum, and one and half to two pints is optimum creativity level
00:26:07:05   – The slog that’s involved between going from an idea to the actual formation of a company
00:32:49:22   – Alex raising series A funding.
00:34:50:24   – Being cautiously aggressive with your investment money
00:36:00:23   – When you’re a founder going from an idea to reality, what really hits you is HAVING to do all the things you never thought you would have to do, wanted to do, or are necessarily good at
00:36:43:09   – WHere are all the resources that make it hard for you when starting a business, being an entrepreneur or a leader of a business in the UK?
00:39:15:21   –  The things Alex would do differently now, that could have sped his growth up two or three fold
00:41:36:16   – On the way marketing is changing in today’s world. Personalisation and big data
00:44:10:05   – If this, then that
00:50:16:02   – Importance of UGC (user generated content) and using ‘Advocacy as an asset’
00:54:00:09   – Importance of UGC (user generated content), EGC (Employee generated content)
01:01:28:12   – Importance of newsletter and email
01:06:51:10   – Periscope and how it’s being used
01:10:20:23   – Challenges and fears facing Alex as an entrepreneur
01:12:09:23   – How Alex removes himself from the stress of work, without stopping ideas flowing
01:15:48:08   – Importance of saying NO
01:22:53:15   – On success secrets
01:24:46:09   – 80 / 20 rule and Pareto’s law

The Rebel Wrap Up Round

If you could go back to any point in your life, and have 1 hour with your past self; what moment would it be and what would you tell yourself?

01:36:29 – It can be a lonely place being an entrepreneur. So I would go back to one of the few points when you’re in a trough and say it’s going to be OK.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received, who gave it to you, and how has it positively affected your career?

01:37:09 – It’s from a number of people. Find patterns in things. Find the patterns that work and find that patterns that don’t. There are levers signs and signals everywhere.

Who is the most disruptive, rebellious or revolutionary entrepreneur or creator of the last 2 years?

01:39:06 – People who I don’t even know the name of that are doing stuff in healthcare and biomedicine. These are the unsung heroes. Jack Andraka (Entrepreneur who founded a test for pancreatic cancer). Also the Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz.

What is the one generally agreed upon rule or conventional piece of wisdom, that you disagree with?

01:40:48 – Don’t fear failure. You get more comfortable with failure, you don’t think I’m not fearful of it.  

If you could change one law what would it be?

01:41:58 – Middle lane drivers. And a law should be introduced as a law against people who stand in front of the train doors.

What’s your definition of entrepreneurship?

01:42:44 – Someone who is creating something from nothing to solve a problem in an environment of a lot of uncertainty. Reid Hoffman said ‘Entrepreneurs jump off a cliff and they build a plane on the way down’. Being excited by extreme uncertainty.

In 15 seconds or less, what advice would you give anyone listening to this who wants to become

01:43:59 – If you’re gonna do it, do it. Have your eyes open. Be prepared to be beaten around, and have a lot of stress to deal with. But it’s the most exciting thing to do.

Who do you nominate to be a guest on the RebelHead Entrepreneurs podcast and why?

01:44:24 – Ivan Massoir. Smart

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About The Author

Matt Cheney
Executive Producer

Matt is Executive Producer for Rebelhead Entrepreneurs. Matt has been in the digital entertainment industry for over 9 years; working his way from tea boy to head of post production audio early in his career. Editing and mixing over 500 hours of TV & Film he has created Emmy award winning music features, BAFTA nominated animations and acclaimed festival documentaries. In recent years Matt's entrepreneurial creativity and aspiration took his audio production company to Australia, still maintaining international relationships. His objective is to produce & deliver stories of ambition, success & inspiration for Rebelhead Entrepreneurs using the most innovate and cutting edge technologies.

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