As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing…
Kareem Mostafa and Aamen Mostafa are co-founders at tribetactics, a content subscription service that helps tech businesses turn 1 hour of their time into 1 month of content through episodic content – where they create their own original series.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you on this specific startup path?
I used to work in HubSpot as a marketing consultant for a few years, and in LinkedIn before that. During my time in these internet companies I’ve been exposed to a lot of cool technology, a lot of cool brands, and a lot of cool customer challenges waiting to be solved. We picked one that was closest to our heart (no time to do content), left our jobs, and that’s all she wrote!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your startup?
Here’s one of our favorites: One of our friends needed help with getting her personal brand off the ground through episodic content. We helped her get an original series going. The content got picked up by a large international firm that was impressed by her thought leadership and ended up hiring her as a senior exec!
Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?
The big idea is this. What if businesses can have their own shows like Netflix? How will their marketing improve? How will sales improve? And how fast would their thought leadership grow? We’ve devoted our work at tribetactics to helping companies build their own original series, whereby each episode can then be repurposed into enough content for a month – across video, audio, written, and image. I don’t believe we invented anything, we merely noticed what great brands are already doing and decided to productize it. We help businesses come up with ideas for an original series that would appeal to their target audience based on the culture of the industry they’re in. It can be anything from a talk show, panel discussion, documentary, or even reaction videos. I believe the technical, nerdy term we use for it is episodic content.
How do you think this will change the world?
I think it’s going to make it much easier for people to leave their mark on the word through the not-so-new art of storytelling and being human. Rather than thinking in terms of blogs, social posts, podcasts, or videos – we can now think like film directors, crafting the kind of pillar episodes that we can then scale into hundreds of microcontent pieces.
Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this idea that people should think more deeply about?
As a marketer, I understand first hand that anything overdone may become ruined. I think it’s important that we always remind ourselves that original series should always serve the culture you’re after, and not be seen as a direct means to a [commercial] end. I believe the best original series are the ones that have total integrity towards the audience they hope to entertain and engage.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?
It was inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk. We avidly followed his content, and one day he published his Gary Vee Content Model deck. This gave us the initial spark of inspiration and we iterated from there. Also, we noticed that we consumed a lot of episodic or sequential non-fiction content ourselves – in the form of Netflix shows, YouTube shows, and other series. We realized there was a certain magic that comes with creating a series, an instant breath of fresh air. I know it sounds corny, but that’s how it feels every time we see a business build a show for their industry. It’s very rogue and very effective.
What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?
We hope to help more businesses start to embrace the idea of episodic content, to create more shows for themselves. This way, brands are able to build thought leadership and trust faster, which is measured in the form of shortened sales cycles and increased traffic.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
Hmm let’s see.
1. It doesn’t matter when you start building a business. You will start from scratch.
I used to think that holding on to a career longer, saving more money, or getting more promotions would aid in building a company. I ultimately realized that moving from career to entrepreneurship is like moving from being a doctor to being an engineer. While there’s certainly some transferrable skills, they’re fundamentally different.
2. If you build it they won’t come. You have to promote the sh*t out of your craft.
Many times, you believe that if you build something so “great”, at least in your mind, people will come – like it’s a physics law. We were inspired by great historical figures that brought change to large groups of people, but not before struggling greatly. What seems natural today wasn’t always so and involved a great deal of uphill work.
3. I knew entrepreneurship is lonely. I didn’t think it would be that lonely!
While it can be massively rewarding, it is ultimately a lonely profession. So, people jumping ship should have the mental toughness to be patient. You and your team are the only people watching and holding each other accountable.
4. It’s much more worthwhile to invent a category than to iterate on an existing one
People have mental shortcuts. What can you do to create an entirely new, blue ocean in your industry? Don’t be a slightly better mustard, be the first blue ketchup!
5. Help others as much as you can
When starting out it’s tempting to naturally focus all your efforts on helping yourself. We noticed that the more we helped others often times the more they managed to help us back in unexpected ways. It taught us an important lesson to always be helping people as a way of life. It could be an introduction, a 5 min favor, or even just providing advice.
The future of work is a common theme. What can one do to “future proof” their career?
The people we look up to always have great personal brands. They either have a blog, wrote a book, frequently do talks, or just post valuable insights on social media. They’re also the people who get all the recruiters flocking to them and get all the opportunities. In short, the harder the work on their personal brand, the luckier they tend to get!
Based on the future trends in your industry, if you had a million dollars, what would you invest in?
Technology that makes it easier for people to grow thought leadership and personal brand.
Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?
They mainly come from books. Of the two most impactful are All Marketers tell Stories by Seth Godin and Give & Take by Adam Grant.
Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?
Be relentless in pursuit of what you believe in. Every setback only makes your story that much more interesting.
Some very well-known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say?
Sure. We help B2B tech companies turn 1 hour of their time into one month of content, to grow brand, generate pipeline, and reduce costs. P.S: we’re raising 🙂
How can our readers follow you on social media?
If you’re looking to brainstorm ideas for your company’s very own original series – they can find us on our homepage, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. 🙂 You can also get in touch with me personally via LinkedIn here.