Ryan Holmes Quotes

  1. Tech companies don’t exist in a bubble; they draw from and feed into a larger community. Ideally, the relationship is symbiotic.
  2. Early in my career, I was involved with engineer-led projects, where designers came in late in the game and were expected to put lipstick on an existing code base. This almost never works.
  3. By allowing multiple partners to contribute, an open platform can nurture an entire ecosystem of developers and apps. Good products integrate and become great products. Users get a one-stop solution for social needs.
  4. At the most basic level, prioritizing design also represents a practical consideration. It’s far easier to design first and engineer later.
  5. Pizza made me who I am. In the summer of 1998, I dropped out of college and started a pizza restaurant called Growlies in my hometown in rural Canada. My seed money: a credit card with a $20,000 limit.
  6. Social media is the most disruptive form of communication humankind has seen since the last disruptive form of communications, email.
  7. Payfirma has revolutionized the payment process, consolidating mobile, e-commerce and in-store payments under a single solution, much like HootSuite did for social media.
  8. Social media is the future, with employers recognizing they need to start hiring people with the right skills.
  9. Working with lots of old media clients, I’ve had a front-row seat on the ascension of new social players and the decline of traditional news outlets. And it’s clear to me that old media has an awful lot to learn from social media, in particular in five key areas: relevance, distribution, velocity, monetization, and user experience.
  10. I think that Vancouver as well as Canada needs a boot camp for young entrepreneurs. We have already seen tens if not hundreds of people put their names forward to be involved in the program, and we just think this is an amazing way to accelerate what they’re doing.
  11. Social media marketers have already shown unusual savvy in executing campaigns in Brazil.
  12. Anyone with an inbox knows what I’m talking about. A dozen emails to set up a meeting time. Documents attached and edited and reedited until no one knows which version is current. Urgent messages drowning in forwards and cc’s and spam.
  13. For resourceful tech founders, finding capital is rarely a problem; making the best use of it is another story. A few years slinging pepperoni pies and chicken wings – on tiny margins and with minimal investment – might not be the worst fiscal training.
  14. As social is where consumers’ eyeballs are, businesses must take ownership of their online company profiles. By providing their customers with a place to share content, social media managers can monitor and track content which directly relates to their brand.
  15. For an older generation of employees, social media often remains misunderstood and underutilized.
  16. Facebook, Twitter and Google have all opened offices in Brazil, recognizing the importance of localizing their products and customer service efforts.
  17. A swarm of new business tools coming to phones and desktops near you promise to boost efficiency and streamline collaboration by borrowing social features from the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
  18. The basic idea of email has remained essentially unchanged since the first networked message was sent in 1971. And while email is great for one-on-one, formal correspondence, there are far better tools for collaboration.
  19. Social media has shaken up the world of sales, with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter offering new ways to hound leads and unprecedented insights into clients.
  20. Landing a million-dollar investment for your startup is exhilarating. But as big as that number sounds, it doesn’t go far. Many startups just getting off the ground won’t have a CFO to monitor finances. It doesn’t take much for spending to spiral out of control.
  21. One thing I would like to see in Vancouver and Canada is something similar to the PayPal mafia. They were all early employees of PayPal. They all had monster exits with PayPal, and they were able to take their winnings and form a syndicate that co-invests.
  22. Certification programs for social media are blossoming as a response to the demand for more social media training. Both industry professionals and recent graduates are tapping into tactical training programs to help them stay up to date as the industry grows.
  23. Don’t be scared to try new things, but remember to hold on to the vision of your company and the initial successes that defined your brand.
  24. If you catch me lying, it’s probably because I’m about to surprise someone for their birthday, or hide away the specific details about a company getaway to a strange but amazing place.
  25. Ultimately, I’d love to see a legacy company that has alumni that come out of it and go on to create other big things. A maple-syrup mafia, a HootSuite mafia.
  26. Providing better computer science education in public schools to kids, and encouraging girls to participate, is the only way to rewrite stereotypes about tech and really break open the old-boys’ club.
  27. Anyone working at HootSuite will tell you that I don’t sugarcoat my opinions. I heavily encourage feedback and suggestions – partly because I’m blunt about offering the same in return.
  28. HootSuite never had a big launch. We were lucky to even have office space.
  29. As an entrepreneur, the pressures of a startup can be enormous, but it’s rarely life or death.
  30. An exit is only a success if you set an exit as your primary goal. My primary goal was to build a globally influential tool, to build something from the ground up that could literally change how we communicated in business and individually.
  31. Workflow and usability are not afterthoughts; they impact the core of any project and dictate how it should be engineered.
  32. By monitoring the activity taking place on social networks, retailers can amplify successful marketing and sales strategies and avoid weak tactics which can later be tied back to organizational objectives.
  33. Companies and managers that find a way to harness social media stand to gain.
  34. Since social networks gained popularity extremely rapidly, there had been a debate as to whether social media was a fad. There are countless pieces of evidence now proving the contrary, among them the explosion in Twitter growth and Facebook’s public listing.
  35. Hammer down product fundamentals first. Make sure you’ve got something that works before doubling down on promotion and marketing. Create a groundswell of organic support, and only then leverage PR and advertising to spread the word.
  36. Sales teams use social media to generate leads and track clients as they move through the sales funnel. Operations and distribution teams forecast supply chains, while research and development squads brainstorm product ideas.
  37. As technology has improved, our digital lives have only grown more tangled and cluttered.
  38. Every day I’d come home after school, pop the hood of my mom’s car, put alligator clips on the battery, and wire into the house and go play on my computer. If I used it for too long, I’d wear down the car battery, and my mom would be all mad at me the next day.
  39. Social media teams tend to be decentralized – a motley mix of in-house experts, off-site consultants and international partners. The result: Confusion, rogue tweets, and off-message posts are almost inevitable. The worst gaffes live on in social media infamy.
  40. Social media has given companies access to unprecedented amounts of information on client behavior and preferences – so-called Big Data. But making sense of it all and turning it into actionable policy has been elusive.
  41. While consumer social like Facebook and Twitter gets the headlines, perhaps the greatest untapped potential for social networking lies in business applications.
  42. During the early days of HootSuite, when social media was still seen as a fad, I made the decision to treat our funding as if it were my personal bank account. That’s not to say I blew it on fast cars and fancy dinners. Exactly the opposite.
  43. The growing role of enterprise social media, plus the growing budgets and authority of CMOs entrusted with choosing the best platforms, translates into an exciting future for apps that harness social potential for large companies.
  44. I often talk about the PayPal mafia out of San Francisco, people that were in PayPal and got out of PayPal and continue to reinvest in other start-ups and create a huge pay-it-forward type of network there.
  45. Not using social media in the workplace, in fact, is starting to make about as much sense as not using the phone or email.
  46. Email is familiar. It’s comfortable. It’s easy to use. But it might just be the biggest killer of time and productivity in the office today.
  47. Entrepreneurs, by disposition, are built to think big. When a role no longer affords those opportunities, it might be best to leave it in capable hands and move on.
  48. Building outrageous expectations about the next big thing – be it a personal video chatting service or venue-based photo sharing app – can create all sorts of complications when things don’t go as planned.
  49. The longer you’re stuck in a position that doesn’t truly challenge you, the less likely you’ll be able to leave it. Inertia, in fact, is one of my worst fears.
  50. As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest challenges you will face will be building your brand. The ultimate goal is to set your company and your brand apart from the crowd. If you form a strategy without doing the research, your brand will barely float – and at the speed industries move at today, brands sink fast.
  51. Amongst high unemployment rates, a competitive job market and a shrinking global economy, the emerging social media industry only continues to grow.
  52. When my company was first getting off the ground, we were completely lost in the shuffle, despite our best efforts. In 2012, however, we had a 28-foot-long, 15,000-pound secret weapon. To stand out amid the gala parties and blow-out bashes hosted by much bigger tech companies, HootSuite decided to take to the streets.
  53. For anyone who devours the web on a daily basis, the biggest problem is too much of a good thing. There’s so much extraordinary content – from articles to images, videos and Tweets – that it’s almost impossible to keep track of it.
  54. My first real venture was a paintball company I started in Grade 10, when I was 16. After hearing about it from a friend, I realized my town didn’t have a playing field. I did some research, spoke with other paintball company owners, and I started my own field the following summer.
  55. Although the tech industry is very open to change, many people still have a closed-off mentality where, in the interest of protecting their ideas, they keep them hidden in dark caves.
  56. LinkedIn and Flickr, among other sites, have already proven freemium can generate revenue in the social media context.
  57. We’ve all been inundated with so many ingenious, must-have, time-saving apps and tools that we really don’t have a second left to spare.
  58. A critical question to ask when bringing in a new CEO to take the reins of a company you started is: Do you want someone who will maintain company culture or reinvent it?
  59. Virtual currencies, used to buy digital goods inside online games, have become an integral part of the Internet landscape.
  60. It helps to look at branding as a challenge that entrepreneurs spend years perfecting.
  61. When you think of technology that gets people excited – long lines at stores, enthusiastic reviews in the blogosphere, passionate evangelists – the first thing to come to mind probably isn’t thermostats. Then, along came Nest.
  62. The point is that instead of a monolithic brick of printed content – delivered more or less unchanged to all subscribers – social media offers news that is personalized and nimble.
  63. Customer service teams at many companies have already embraced social media, often out of necessity.
  64. Social media, for all of its limitations, is rarely irrelevant. The stream of updates on your Facebook page, for instance, is algorithmically engineered to be darn-near irresistible.
  65. You can run a sprint or your can run a marathon, but you can’t sprint a marathon.
  66. South America’s most populous country, Brazil, is also emerging as one of the region’s most social-media savvy.
  67. One of the most important principles I’ve learned is, every so often, just drop everything. Stop racing from one party to the next.
  68. As a child, I did what any normal kid who grew up without any electricity would do – I spent countless hours working on a computer wired to my parents’ car battery… and learned how to code. This natural passion for computers lead me into the Internet market during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
  69. It may be coincidence that the decline of newspapers has corresponded with the rise of social media. Or maybe not.
  70. I grew up off the grid in Vernon, and I saw my parents work hard every day, as teachers but also while farming and building a log home. So from a young age I knew the value of hard work.
  71. Importantly, companies are using social media to do things that go way beyond just chatting up existing customers on Facebook. Sales departments use social to nurture leads and close sales. HR posts job openings and vets applicants. Community and support squads mine networks, blogs and forums with deep listening tools.
  72. No surprise that, as companies have adopted social media en masse, demand for software and applications to manage and monitor social use has exploded.
  73. I don’t know how many times I’ve turned to Twitter and Facebook to commiserate and celebrate, bounce ideas off of friends, colleagues and other entrepreneurs, and just connect with the wider world outside my office.
  74. Although social media is a relatively new form of communication, it has become the primary way retailers and customers are interfacing.
  75. I’d like to think my company HootSuite is anything but a stodgy old-boys’ club. As a social media company, our employees are by and large young, progressive and open-minded.
  76. Sales departments use social to nurture leads and close sales. HR posts job openings and vets applicants. Community and support squads mine networks, blogs and forums with deep listening tools.
  77. For some people, staying grounded means doing yoga. For others, it’s spending time with family. Social media, too, can be a lifesaver.
  78. Silicon Valley isn’t the only game in town. Tech is increasingly decentralized. Around the world, new tech centers with younger companies are able to embrace a different approach to talent: recruit locally, identify homegrown prospects and, in a phrase, bring them along for the ride.
  79. While social media skills were once a ‘nice-to-have,’ accreditation in the space is becoming a requirement for many of these job titles. Hiring managers and job seekers are realizing that printing stacks of resumes is turning passe, and social media is rising as the new way of generating real-time networking opportunities.
  80. Tech companies have a finite lifespan: For the successful ones, an IPO or exit is never more than a few years off. But by recruiting locally and developing homegrown talent, companies can build something that remains after they’re gone. People, skills and a culture of innovation persist.
  81. Social media listening tools make it easy to track brand references and mentions, and these functions can still be handled ably by a small, dedicated team.
  82. I’d love to build a brand, a legacy.
  83. Everybody getting a significant exit creates a legacy and creates something that you can pay forward and bootstrap an industry in a substantial way.
  84. Without grounding, it’s easy to embrace the ‘baller’ lifestyle: dropping out of tech, throwing money at cars, boats and real estate, and slipping into a cycle of spending and indulgence.
  85. Understanding and respecting your roots is critical not only to winning the tech talent wars but leaving a legacy that transcends bottom lines.
  86. One of the ironies of a conference dedicated to all things digital and virtual is that the best ways to connect with people are surprisingly old-school. Social media tools can improve the odds of a serendipitous encounter at SXSW, but old-fashioned hustle, palm-pressing and – above all – creativity go a long way.
  87. For everybody in their busy lives, you need to invest in sharpening your tools, and you need to invest in longevity.
  88. From its humble origins in college dorm rooms, social media has quietly crept into the boardroom.
  89. The reality is that SXSW is packed with brilliant entrepreneurs, investors and partners. They’re everywhere, zipping back and forth like thousands of atoms. Your chances of colliding with one actually improve just by standing still.
  90. The decision to leave a company you founded and move on to a new project is never an easy one.

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