Kate Bradley Chernis is the founder of Lately, an AI-powered social media marketing company. She wasn’t always a marketing guru, in fact she started out as an XM Radio DJ. But she wasn’t feeling fulfilled in the radio industry. Kate was tired of not getting credit for her work and felt really frustrated. She moved to another company but was having the same kind of problems. Kate saw the lack of praise and raises, not being listened to, and being devalued as her own failure. Then, one day, Kate said her father lovingly shook her by the shoulders and told her “you can’t work for other people and there’s no shame in that.” Kate’s boyfriend at the time, who is now her husband, recommended she read Guy Kawasaki’s The Art of the Start and the rest is history.
Don’t Make a Plan to Found a Startup, Just Get Started
Kate recalls that somewhere in the first chapter of The Art of the Start, that Kawasaki’s advice to readers is: “don’t make a plan, just get started.” The next day, Kate went to lunch with some guys who had come to deliver a product for her work. Unbeknownst to Kate, they were angel investors and gave her $50,000 to start her first company. Her first company was a music company that propelled her into the world of marketing. Kate found herself consulting for Walmart on behalf of the National Disability Institute. Kate took a simple spreadsheet organization system to get the program on track and turned it into 130% ROI, year over year, for 3 years.
Lately is Born
A few years later, Steve Blood, an angel investor and a friend of Kate’s, kept asking her about automating her spreadsheets. Kate was resistant at first. She couldn’t imagine the vision and didn’t have the $25,000 to front for the project. Steve saw the potential in Kate’s system, spent $25,000 out of his own pocket, and brought in a designer to build the blueprints. Kate finally saw the vision and that designer is now Kate’s chief product officer.
Part of Kate’s role consulting for Walmart was to exploit social media. She took content such as blogs, podcasts, and press releases and combed through them adding links and making social posts out of each sentence to drive traffic back to the website, by hand. Kate was talking with Steve and her designer, and they told her how much easier it would be to automate that process. Now, Kate uses artificial intelligence to turn one piece of content in to dozens of amazing social posts.
“Don’t raise it if you don’t have to…it all depends on the game you want to play.” Kate made a nice living with the business she had, but she says, “that’s not the game I’m playing.” Kate says that you’ve got to have “the startup mentality, the ability to bet on …read more
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