By South Florida entrepreneurs, for South Florida entrepreneurs. All things tech in the sunny Silicon Tropic.
We are excited to announce a partnership with Miami’s best podcast on entrepreneurs, startups, and the 9-5, Miami Hustle Series hosted by Tim Berthold. Listen to his podcast to learn more about Miami entrepreneurs’ journies from the 9-5 to the startup world, and then read our blog to learn more about their startups.
Who are you and where are you from? “Tim Berthold. From San Jose, California – a.k.a Silicon Valley.”
Tell us about the startup/company where you work. “I’m a freelance business consultant with an emphasis on early stage companies – usually advising on business strategy and marketing, and also assisting with business development when my network can open opportunities. For startups this often includes crafting an initial strategy, refining pitch decks, and introductions to investors (for those who are at this stage). My primary client is my previous employer. As a side project I started the Miami Hustle Series, a podcast featuring Miami entrepreneurs and covering business strategies for startups & small businesses.”
What is your role? “Founder and CEO.”
When did it launch? “I started the Podcast in December 2015 and transitioned from a full-time employment with my previous employer to a consulting arrangement.”
How many people are on your team? “Just me and some virtual assistants as needed.”
What were you doing before this current venture? “For the last 5 years I’ve been working in early stage companies in the health & wellness industry. Before that I was at McKinsey & Company working on large-scale projects at various Fortune 100 clients, a career I came into after completing an MBA at Wharton. Just prior to business school I worked for a tech company back home in the Bay Area.
And before anything in business I had a military career as an officer on nuclear-powered Navy attack submarines.”
Tag a few local entrepreneurs, startups, or businesses to be interviewed: “Outnix (Servando & Crystal Lopez). Itabo (Keith Mantel). Miavina (Cindy Diffenderfer). GasNinjas (Brandon Timinsky and Barret Hammond). MyStyleBlox (Sandy Kacura & Mario Aguayo)“
Why did you decide to do a podcast? “Really, the idea pulled me along. I started renting space at WeWork, and I saw all kinds of stuff going on there. I was so intrigued and wanted to hear the entrepreneurs’ stories and thought a podcast could be a great way to do that while helping the Miami entrepreneurial ecosystem – mainly to share collective knowledge and also bridge the gap between Miami and other tech hubs (e.g. Silicon Valley). It’s been fun so far and I’m developing a new skill. I’m not sure where it will lead but I’m hoping it can help the Miami community as a whole.”
What lessons from the Navy and McKinsey did you extract and implement into the podcast? “Lessons from the Navy: I think the first thing is that molding yourself is the most important thing you can do. The discipline around molding yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Second is knowing the power of a purpose, having a higher purpose other than your own self-interest. In the Navy the order of priority is 1) Ship 2) Shipmate; and, lastly, 3) Self. I take that same sort of approach with Miami in that I think of Miami first, meaning that there are all kinds of people with their own startups working in the community and if we all think of Miami together, collectively, then there’s an opportunity to lift up the whole ecosystem.”
What is the blog’s target market? “People in Miami in 9-5 jobs who know there is something within them to create but they haven’t yet unleashed it.”
Where is your office located? “WeWork. I think it was serendipitous, but once I joined I love it as a whole. It has to do with the people they hire and the type of entrepreneurs it attracts. I’ve met a lot of startups here. Either indirectly or directly.”
Have you raised money? “Self-funded.”
What is the worst thing you see happening to startups? “It seems a lot of startups build something without validating it. I think by not validating, by not finding “product-market fit,” they’re just prolonging time until failure.
I think a better approach is to observe a specific, target niche and create something they will rave about. Test the concept without building much and make course corrections along the way. Also it’s important to try to make something that solves a problem; make the world better in some way – not something that is just ‘how can I have an exit.’
It also seems like everyone wants to make the next Uber when I think sometimes it might be better to just start small, serve a corner of the market, and build skills that can compound into the next opportunity.”
What was the best thing that can happen to a startup? “Depends on the startup and that person’s definition of success. It’s very vague and broad but having a team that just feels in sync both where the mission comes first and everyone is aligned with that belief. For me, it has been hard to recreate that since I left the military.”
How did you acquire your first listeners? “Word of mouth. I haven’t done any promotional effort because my focus is on creating a great product that helps people. I think if I do that then the listeners will come.”
Best marketing trick/strategy: “Like hacks? I have aversion to the word hack, at least the way I hear it most often used – which is as a shortcut. I think the best marketing strategy is to create a remarkable product, meaning it’s able to be remarked upon.” That being said, I think It’s important to always be thinking of the 80-20 principle. If I could only do one thing to market my business, what is the highest leveraged activity I could do? Who is the influencer that I could connect with? Who has the most followers? Create an authentic relationship of mutual value so they actually want to share what I’m doing. I don’t think startups shouldn’t be advertising in the traditional sense, other than on a small scale and as a way to test certain things. In terms of actually growing, you need to hustle.”
What do you think South Florida needs to become the next startup hub? “It’s a really simple thing but I think what’s most lacking everywhere is depth. What I mean by that is the ability to work deeply, without distraction, and get really good at something. The people here need to become extremely proficient at creating technology. It’s hard to get good at something when you’re in a state of constant distraction. Learning how to code is like learning to play an instrument. The best musicians in the world were not on their phone while learning to play and practicing. They focus on 1 thing for 60-90 minute periods. It has been shown scientifically that to go into that deep state of practice 3-5 hours a day is the max that anyone can do. So I believe we need to shift the general practice of how people actually work. It’s tough because it goes against our physiology. Our survival as humans depends on recognizing what’s new or what’s changing, so focusing almost seems unnatural in some circumstances. Easier to always be checking email, texts, social media than to sit down and do real work. I’m just as guilty as anyone.”
What’s a South Florida startup you admire? “JugoFresh’s branding is great.”
Best Happy Hour in South Florida: “Doraku on the beach.”
Finish this sentence: I wish a South Florida startup would create an app that “would shut off everything on my phone and also do two things; 1) track how much time I spend on time-wasting apps, including social media and texting, and 2) that I could use to track the time I go in deep on undistracted work. Then making some sort of puzzle or math problem in order to get back into the phone – that way it’s not such a short-circuited, automatic response to get back into the phone.”
Do you think there is a tech bubble? “If lots of people are asking if there is, then there probably is. I believe that there is a lack of companies that are focused on solving a real problem, focusing on a conquerable niche, and have the goal of their revenue exceeding their costs in mind.”
Best startup advice you’ve ever received? “Have a why. It’s important to be pulled by an idea by almost an invisible force that is driving you along. If that’s the case, it will be work but it won’t feel like a drag. It’s something you are almost called to do.”
Can we get a quick free consulting session for our readers? “One of the best quotes I’ve heard is that your success will rarely exceed the level of your personal development meaning that you don’t go out and create success, you attract success by becoming better. You grow into the space you have built; it’s like a vacuum. The reason I say that is not just for personal development but also for Miami as a whole. I am of the opinion that if Miami is going to become successful, it needs to first look inwardly and develop itself . . . then that success will come. So it all starts with us.”