Sam Adams – What It Takes to Build a Successful Media Brand Today & How They Raised $4M


Building a successful media brand like dot.LA from scratch is no piece of cake. Not only does it take strategic planning and implementation, but it also requires one to invest top dollars. 

However, in the last few years, we witnessed Sam Adams (Former Financial Journalist for Bloomberg & Reuters) and Spencer Rascoff (Co-Founder of Zillow) team up to launch dot.LA – one of the most popular media brands today – shedding light on innovative projects within National & L.A. specific tech and start-up space.   

Sam Adams serves as chief executive of dot.LA. A former financial journalist for Bloomberg and Reuters, Adams moved to the business side of media as a strategy consultant at Activate, helping legacy companies develop new digital strategies. Adams holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and an MBA from the University of Southern California. A Santa Monica native, he can most often be found at Bay Cities deli with a Godmother sub or at McCabe’s with a 12-string guitar. His favorite colors are Dodger blue and Lakers gold.

We’re so excited to have Sam here with us. Throughout this podcast, we’ll be talking about their journey so far and learn how they are growing the brand but also what they did to raise a funding of $4 million.

Visit dot.LA to gain more insights into their Media Brand:

During This Episode, We Discussed:

Trust me on this one – it was a great pleasure interacting with the Chief Executive of dot.LA. Building a successful media brand from scratch is one of the hardest tasks in the world. And the team at dot.LA nailed it. This conversation with Sam will help you gain insights into their strategic planning and their mindset throughout their journey. During this episode, we discussed: 

  • What Sam & team have going on at dot.LA
  • The Reason behind Sam & Spencer launching dot.LA
  • Sam & Spencer’s focus on building a brilliant product and mind-blowing team to help them turn their venture into a grand success.
  • Getting back to in-person events
  • Sam & Spencer’s strategic planning and their mindset before launching dot.LA
  • Sam & Spencer’s mission and why they weren’t big fans of the subscription-based model.
  • What dot.LA team has in the pipeline and how they’re moving at a lightning pace.
  • How Sam & Spencer kickstarted dot.LA – Money invested, trademarking, launch, and more.
  • Sam & Spencer’s approach during the early days of kickstarting their venture and raising a $4 million funding.
  • dot.LA’s experience with the Covid-19 pandemic
  • How does team at dot.LA operate – remotely or in person?
  • dot.LA’s approach to building their culture, values, customer experience, mission, and more.
  • What makes dot.LA different from other media brands and what makes readers tune in to their content each week?

Final Thoughts:

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic wreaking havoc all across the globe, the team at dot.LA strategically skyrocketed their search engine rankings and raised $4 million in funding. It’s so inspiring to see Sam & team climb up at a lightning pace and position themselves as reliable and trustworthy innovation and tech-focused media brand.

Every other week, you’ll find me interacting with marketing gurus and successful entrepreneurs – helping you gain insights into their business model and how they strategically conquered their goals. 

It was really exciting to interact with Sam. And I really hope you guys loved today’s episode. And if you did, don’t forget to share your love and support the show by leaving a 5-Star review on iTunes. Every single review matters.

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Episode Transcript (unedited, will likely have typos):

Adam G. Force  0:00  

How do social entrepreneurs and small businesses create an authentic brand people love so they can get the edge they need to stand out, create Predictable Revenue and compete against the big guys. That’s what we’re here to discuss. I’m Adam forest, the founder of change crater. And this is the authentic brand mastery podcast.

Hey, what’s going on everybody, welcome back to the authentic brand mastery podcast. Appreciate you being here. This is your host Adam forest. Don’t forget to stop by iTunes and leave us a five star review guys, that stuff goes really far and we appreciate it and supporting the show. Today, we’re gonna be talking to somebody in the media space, or they’re building a media brand. And that is not an easy task. So he is the founder, co-founder and CEO The other co-founder was somebody who was the co-founder for Zillow, actually, you probably heard of that app, I use it all the time looking at real estate.

So is a news and events company focused on shining a light on innovative projects within the national la startup space. Alright, so the tech startup space to be specific. So he Sam is actually a former financial journalist for Bloomberg and Reuters. And he has a, you know, degree from Harvard and all that fun stuff. So they what’s really interesting is, as they launched this thing in 2020, they had to deal with COVID, to as they’re building this brand up. And in spite of that, they did close a $4 million seed round. And they have investors, including like, upfront and gray Croft, you might have heard of gray Croft, pretty popular investment team, even the LA Dodgers and a few other really cool investors. So that’s not you know, that is not easy, but that is what it takes. And honestly, $4 million is just like a drop in the bucket when it comes to building a media company. So we’re gonna get into a lot of cool stuff that they’ve been going through and sorting out and if you missed the last episode, it was with Jake orok, that now that we brought Jake back that we talked about e commerce because he’s been evolving and building an e commerce brand. And he’s definitely breached the seven figure mark, and he’s doing a lot of great things. So tons of good insights about

you know, how he’s optimizing his website, you know, analytics, imagery videos, we talked about all that stuff. really valuable for you guys in the e commerce space. And I got to say, like, the image conversation is important. And when we work with clients in the brand studio, it’s a major focal point, you’ve got to have an e commerce, the proper

imagery, and sometimes you weren’t really authentic and raw, and sometimes you weren’t really polished, right? So we talked about that stuff and when, when to do what, but that’s a major focus when we’re building websites, for conversions, building trust, and, you know, trying to really drive those sales, like the pink bakery was had over 40% increase in average cart value, which is exciting. Alright, guys, let’s get into this conversation. And we’ll talk to Sam. Okay, show me the heat.

Hey, Sam, welcome to the show today. How you doing, man? I’m doing great. Thanks for having me, man. Yeah, you’re welcome. I’m glad that you made it. I’m excited to kind of learn about some of the steps you’ve been taken. Because you’re when we first started Change Creator, we did start a little bit more as a media company, but not a very traditional media company. And it seems like you’ve taken some really cool steps, raising some funding and things like that. So it looks like you’re building a cool brand. So tell me a little bit about what you have going on. You know, what’s, what’s going on in your world today. And it’s exciting. And then a little background on how you got there? Yeah, for sure. So, so I’m the co founder and CEO of a company called Data Lake, which is a media company, that that provides news events and community for the Los Angeles tech startup ecosystem. You know, the idea is, you know, la specifically, but there’s a number of really great, you know, tech hubs outside of Silicon Valley that are just completely exploding right now. And so much cool stuff happening, but really flies under the radar because the current media ecosystem around tech, you know, is very much focused on Bay Area, or, you know, maybe New York and, you know, it’s not really kind of ready to, you know, accommodate all of these new hubs that are that are that have been rising over the past couple of years. And so, that’s the opportunity that we saw to create something that would shine the light on all this amazing stuff that’s happening in our

Sam Adams  5:00  

And, you know, help catalyze the growth of the community and make it you know, be the best that it can possibly be So,

so I co founded it a little over two years ago now, my co founders and our executive chairman, this guy named Spencer rascoff, who was the co founder and longtime CEO of Zillow. And before that was, had done hotwire, and he had just moved back to LA, after a decade up in Seattle, which for Zillow is based. Yeah, he’s from LA, originally, as am I.

And, you know, saw the screen set that was happening, I was like, why isn’t there something that’s covering all of this great stuff. And so

so he and I, you know, linked up and decided to start what’s now about to, to fill that gap, and to shine a light on all this great stuff that’s happening. And so, so we spent the rest of the year you know, building the product, building the team, we have a bunch of great journalists and, you know, event staff and you know, all that kind of stuff. And we raised a, we raised a seed round, $4 million seed round from basically all of the major venture capitalists and angels in LA, you know, who wanted to see the community here thrive. And so we then launched, we launched the site in the end of January of last year. So definitely an interesting year, one, two,

predicates predicated on like events largely like that. And then six weeks later, the world that’s right.

So that was a lot of fun. But you know, now we’ve been getting back to doing these in person events, we have our huge summit coming up at the end of October that we’re super psyched about. And we’re actually like, looking at, you know, places like, you know, about, you know, expanding and like taking this model that we built about, you know, really shining a light on and having a positive influence on, you know, non Silicon Valley emerging tech hubs. And, you know, potentially, you know, taking the show on the road, and there’s like so many other places that that,

you know, fill fit the same profile of LA is just like a really exciting hub of innovation that that has so much room to grow. So we’ve been having a great time, the past, you know, couple years and just just getting started. Cool. Yeah, I

Adam G. Force  7:24  

mean, that’s a big year one. And I’m always curious, so you know, it always it’s nice that I guess you started with, I forget his name is Spencer, your partner? So yeah, it was just the two of you out of the gate. So yeah, I like you know, for something like this, I always find media so fascinating. Because it’s not I’m just selling coaching services and making 10 grand a month, it’s like you don’t, you don’t have an out of the gate sellable product, necessarily. What was and so you know, raising revenue becomes important, because it’s such a heavy content game, right? So the overhead is pretty massive. And I’m always curious, what was the starting conversations and starting point, like, because I’m sure you guys were thinking, will we need revenue channels? So where does that start for a media company? Because it looks like you have a vision to be a pretty substantial size kind of media company, not just like a few articles here and there.

Sam Adams  8:22  

Totally. Yeah. I mean, we’re, you know, we’re trying to start from first principles on, you know, how to really, how to build a media company that is focused on, you know, reaching as many people as possible and shining a light on, you know, as many companies to as wide an audience as possible, you know, in 2021. And so, you know, we we decided pretty early on not to do kind of the standard paywall, you know, subscription model, I think that, you know, a lot, a lot of companies that have a lot of publications have been finding success with that model. And that’s really, that’s really awesome. But, you know, we’ve decided that that wasn’t what, that wasn’t gonna work for us. I mean, you know, because you’re, you’re limiting your audience so much, because as soon as someone has to get the credit card out, you know, you’re, you’re really, really kind of narrowing the number of people that you’re trying to reach, especially

Adam G. Force  9:14  

if you don’t have brand equity yet, right? It’s

Sam Adams  9:16  

right. And, and in, in media, this stuff takes time, right? It just, you know, you can’t just come out of the gate and immediately get the you do have to incrementally build the brand. And actually, the funny thing about that is more and more of these days, I like will have conversations with people and then there’ll be like, you know, like, they’ll have thought that we’ve been around for like, you know, 510 years or something like that. And it’s like, no, we’re like a year old and it’s been, it’s been funny, it’s like so we did take that kind of like we want to build the brand organically. And it’s funny the amount of progress that we’ve been able to make in a comparatively short amount of time to you know, not only have awareness but People think that they’ve just like always been aware of us, which is, which has been kind of funny. But as far as revenue goes, so we decided that that, you know, we weren’t going to chase, you know, $5 a month, you know, subscription fees, all of the readers that was just, it didn’t serve the mission, and it was just going to be to, you know, it was just going to be difficult for the kind of thing that we’re trying to do. So instead, we focus on, you know, events were always a big part of the concept of both the mission and the model. Got up. And, yeah, like I said, you know, by forces outside of our control, had been migrated to, you know, virtual events and may have, you know, 2026 weeks after we had launched, but, you know, really lean super hard into those and, you know, got onto a great cadence of them, you know, we’re doing about one a week, and really bringing, bringing people together, which, especially in those early days of the pandemic, I mean, you know, by now we’ve stopped doing virtual events, because just everyone is, like, everybody, everyone’s been exhausted them for a long time, for a while, that was actually really meaningful, you know, service that we can provide. And so we get to work with, you know, really fantastic, you know, partners of, like service providers for the, for the tech startup industry. So we, we get to work with a lot of really amazing way, you know, law firms of banks, accountants, and, you know, all of that good stuff, where we have these kind of integrated relationships with them, you know, whether it’s on the site, or through the newsletters, or the podcast videos, things like that, that we’re doing on the content side, and also presence at, you know, our events, and, you know, being able to, you know, touch the current and future decision makers in, you know, this exploding ecosystem. And so, so, we’ve been finding a lot of, you know, you know, really great success and mutually beneficial relationships for that. And that has definitely been, you know, the, the, at least be one of what we’re focused on, for revenue. And so, you know, we’re pretty, you know, we’re getting pretty close to break even on that alone. And in the meantime, we’re, you know, focusing on building out other ancillary ancillary revenue streams, like so for example, probably by the time that that this podcast comes out, we’ll have you know, launched we have our first jobs product called the interchange la that is going to be, you know, focused on, you know, connecting great talent with great companies, both both internally within LA, but also, you know, great, great talent in LA, reaching global companies, you know, remote companies, similarly, you know, la based companies reaching global talent, so finding that balance between the local ecosystem while obviously we live in a globalized remote, everyone’s kind of just living in zoom recruiting ecosystem. And so we’re really we’re really excited about that as being you know, a win win win driver, like a great little business unit that leverage is kind of the relationships that we’ve built in the reach that we’ve built. And we’ve got, you know, a few other things like that in the works. And then like I said, Yeah, we have our first summit coming up at the end of October that we’re really jazzed about and you know, yeah, it’s been it’s been really fun and kind of cobbling together these you know, great revenue streams while you know the first and foremost focus being what’s the kind of relationship that we can be having How can we best be serving the audience because everything else is downstream from there really?

Adam G. Force  13:53  

Yeah, yeah. Yeah it’s it’s it’s I mean there’s so much going on especially in media you know, really so it sounds like you brought on some partners sponsors and things like that. And and I’m curious because you know, a lot of that requires getting some content building some kind of audience and stuff like that. So did you have to take some of your own money you and your co founder put it in there to kind of build the team and start getting content out there start actually getting you know, SEO building like so you have to say, Hey, this is what we have to offer. And when you start bringing people on and stuff like that, just you don’t have to go into too much depth, but just curious on how that looked.

Sam Adams  14:34  

Yeah, no, for sure. So we so so when, when my co founder and I first co founded the company, you know, he put in the kind of original like pre pre seed money basically just to just to really, you know, get off the ground like jumps Incorporated, start getting trademarks, things like that. And then we we did raise around, as I mentioned earlier, and and that was Yeah, that was a really fun experience. Because, you know, we were, were pre launched at that point, we were pre product, we weren’t quite preteen. But it was very bare bones. But and so then in what q4, of 2019, we basically went around to, to the major players in the LA tech and investment and startup ecosystem, and basically made that pitch of saying like, you know, consumer media is not traditionally compatible with venture economics in this day and age, for a number of reasons that you you just kind of outlined, right, yeah, pretty capital intensive, it takes a long time to build a relationship with the audience to build the audience. And so it’s very, very difficult to, you know, hit that traditional venture rocket ship of like, hey, look, there’s a 95% chance that this is going to fall apart in the next 18 months, but there’s a 5% chance that this is going to be a $2 billion company in right, you know, 18 months, right? It just doesn’t, it doesn’t square that way for this, this industry or this type of play. That said, specifically, the sort of stuff that we’re doing is a, you know, it creates a rising tide, that lifts all ships. And so if you’re invested in this market, and this ecosystem, you want this to exist, because it will have all kinds of, yeah, second order effects, positive effects for yourselves, your profile, your port, their profile, and all of that, and so, so you want this to exist. And that said, it is significantly higher, likely, even if it’s not going to be a, you know, $2 billion company in 18 months. You know, there is a big hole here, right? And, you know, you can do the TAM and all of that of like, you know, you have these, like zombie business journals, just stumbling around, because no one has that no one has thought to go and disrupt that. And, and also, it’s, you know, as I was kind of alluding to, you prove the model in LA, and then you can start to scale up and, you know, yeah, there’s a very clear path to a scale, great media company. Yeah. But, you know, we want it to be really straight up where it’s like, it’s not, we’re, we’re not going to operate this on traditional venture fund ability, you know, timelines and trajectories? Because that’s not going to work for what we’re trying to do. Yeah. So we went around, and we basically, you know, convinced a lot of the key players here to, you know, write checks that were well significant, you know, to us, or to most normal people, you know, are a fraction of the typical types of checks that they write, right. So it’s not going to be you know, that they’re not going to lose sleep bit, you know, if we’re not, you know, a $2 billion company, six months on that trajectory, six months from that. And, but we did that, you know, since we did that to everyone, and once you get a couple of people, then you start getting FOMO effect and all Yeah, yeah. And so we were so we were able to piece together, you know, this this round from a number of comparatively small checks, but such that the the types of players that we wanted to be invested in our success in both literal and like, you know, hey, if we call you to speak at our summit or something, we want you to answer the phone kind of level, we were able to kind of piece that together. And then the other thing is, because we’re a news organization and a media company, you know, we wanted to have everyone involved because then that kind of that eliminates any kind of accusations of, you know, bias of like, Oh, you know, x VC is the main funder of this company, and so that they always, yeah, it easy on them or something like that, where it’s like, Look, we can’t be biased to everyone. So if everyone’s involved

so so that was our approach on the kind of early days of the funding of it. And in terms of like future financing rounds, I can’t totally get into that too much. But I think we would want to, we would want to take kind of a similar approach of it and like maybe have a an anchor investor to you know, really because this would be you know, moving to other markets. But we would want to do the same thing of like in any market that we come into, we want to find like the right partners and have the you know, have the incentives aligned. So So yeah, it’s an it’s an interesting model. But it’s one that was has been really good for us so far. Yeah.

Adam G. Force  20:16  

I mean, it makes total sense because, you know, we, I have just a little taste of experience. You know, we ran a digital magazine, we re interviewed Arianna Huffington, Tony Robbins, Richard Branson, all these guys were doing all this stuff. And but we were in the social entrepreneurship space. And it was, we had, you know, investor conversations. Yeah. And it was a little difficult, you know, we got to close on a couple rounds. And, you know, hearing you know, the tech side, which is super popular, especially with all the big players in Silicon Valley, I can see the synergy there on how you can really make a strong case because they’re gonna say, yeah, a dedicated channel that we can kind of be part of growing. And then if you can prove out this process like you’re already doing, then expanding into other areas will probably snowball pretty good for you. So I can imagine some big rounds up and coming. Because I know like, when I followed Arianna with like, thrive global and stuff like that, you know, she got, I forget what the first round was like, but let’s just make it up and say it’s 5 million, but then the second round, like 20 million, then it’s like another 30 million, and you’re like, Damn, like, and you know, because these, these these, these media companies, man, they are super cool and exciting, but they do take a lot of fuel to get it going. But it sounds like you guys are on a really great track. So I’m curious on how you, and you really position the brand, I think in a good way to the investors, which made it enticing, you know, so I’m curious on some of the maybe challenges in the first year that you found, you know, building the brand, cuz I’m sure you had some challenges. And you know, this, this makes all the listeners feel a little bit like, Man, you guys are crushing it. But, guys, we all go through roadblocks. Yes.

Sam Adams  22:05  

Yeah, no, no, absolutely. And, you know, I think that I mean, this, this is a bit of a cop out answer. But I think that the pandemic, six weeks into our launch was a bit of a curveball. I mean, I came into it. So I’m a first time founder. And so I came into, you know, 2020, we knew we were launching January 27. And I came into it knowing like, Okay, this year is gonna be I’m just gonna have to be agile and flexible, because, you know, anything happens in startup world. And so, you know, we’re just gonna have to roll with the punches and, you know, pivot, and, you know, and all that. And so, so I was ready for that mentality coming into it. I don’t think anyone could have expected. Oh, wow. Yeah. So your, you know, your company that is one of the two major pillars of it was, you know, hosting large scale in person events. That’s not going to be possible for 18 months or whatever. You know, it was definitely that was definitely a big curveball and involved a lot of, you know, scrambling. I mean, the fun thing about that was, you know, because we were in that state, and it wasn’t just me, it was the whole team was like, okay, like, Let’s go, we don’t know, you know, we’re going live, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re ready for anything. Yeah. And so. So yeah, I remember, you know, when things were first, you know, it turning into it when things were getting serious, and it went from Oh, yeah, this is where there’s some weird stuff happening in China to like, Oh, you know, like, we’re gonna be covering this conference in you know, early March, but I Is it like, is it sketchy? I remember I had like, I was like, I was like, I was like, Oh, I mean, someone just invited me to stop by Southwest in two weeks. But like, I don’t know, I that might that seems a little dangerous. And then all of a sudden, like us remember, Kenny and everything just cascading down? Yeah. And so you know, the nice thing about that was because we were so add dial was we were able to pin it super quickly. And I remember it was, you know, March like ninth or 10th or something, right? When it was just starting to become clear that things were going to get bad. And so we were like, Oh, you know, we thought we were novel at the time. We’re like, oh, why don’t we do like a virtual event right? instead? And so we did our first one of them. I think it was on like March 15. Like 2020 of like, you know, it was even before zoom was like the clear category definers. So we did it on like, go to go to a webinar or something like that, like 1999 just to give a sense of like, hey, if you guys remember a time before zoom, it was not it’s not a hobbyist. We did. So we did our first one of those. And it was really just like a, what the hell is what, you know, what is going on with this, this pandemic? And so we had, you know, like, epidemiology professor and like an investor and, you know, some, like, we just convened, you know, this roundtable of it. And obviously extremely primitive that that within like a month everyone in their mother was doing that sort of stuff. But it does go to show just like the, yeah, there are many, many, there are always going to be challenges when you’re trying to build something new, I think that I mean, just the fundamental, universal force of inertia, guarantees that right, if you’re going to try to change something, you’re going to get resistance to it. So sometimes, sometimes in expected ways, sometimes in unexpectable ways like that. But yeah, we’ve definitely, we’ve definitely picked up our share of war stories in the it was 1819 months that we’ve been launched, but still, it’s still standing and, and no worse for the wear.

Adam G. Force  26:10  

That’s right. And, you know, my over the years doing this stuff, my philosophy is, I’ve learned is that the obstacle in the path becomes the path. So you just got to lean in and see the positive side.

Sam Adams  26:22  

Exactly, yeah. Yeah, just honestly, it’s like flowing with it more than right, you know, you just you turn into the skid row

Adam G. Force  26:32  

that says, Don’t fight it, just relax.

Sam Adams  26:37  

Yeah, good mentality to have,

Adam G. Force  26:39  

it really is valuable. And I think the more for the longer someone’s an entrepreneur, the more they start to realize this, if they want to see progress. You know, so, I’m curious, um, you know, you have an office, and I think that makes more sense, because you’re in the media space, probably, you know, you got writers and things all kind of, did you start out the gate with an office? Or did you do virtual team for a while?

Sam Adams  27:03  

So yeah, I mean, a little of both. So we were already semi remote or at least remote friendly. And it we did have, we had we had an office, we actually had two spaces in a co working space chain in LA, one that was like Central, and then one, the smaller satellite one that was in downtown. And, and then we got rid of that very early on in the pandemic. And then we got our current place. I’m in when was that that was probably like, June, it was it was pre Delta variant, if that dates when this interview was happening, but I still stand by it. So the idea behind getting getting an office, again, post pandemic was that I really do think that there are benefits to seeing each other on some kind of regular basis, it’s not five days a week, I don’t think I’m certainly not going to be working out of an office five days a week for the rest of my career, that no company that I have control over will, will be doing it either. But I do think that it’s, it’s good to have, it’s good to offer a space certainly because different people have different, you know, desires and thresholds. And I do think that you have a responsibility as an employer to if possible offer you know, somewhere to go that’s not your, you know, your work from home arrangement because you know, like, I certainly was starting to go insane you know, not not in my best self just like always in you know, my spot and so in other fields now doing that a couple days a week as opposed to all of the time is a much for me healthier balance. And, and that, you know, so there are some of our folks like that. I don’t think I’ve ever been into the office, which is fine. I mean, there are some we have some folks who are not in LA at all. And I know that that’s a really common thing. Now with companies Ours is a little bit different, because we are, you know, specifically focused on on geography. And, you know, there are some folks who are in almost every day to the office. Yeah. So I think it’s, I think it’s important to, I found it important to at least offer that for those who want it. And, you know, try to aim to get people, especially with people who are working directly in teams together, if they’re comfortable with it, and if it’s safe, in person together, every now and then just because I think that that pays a lot of dividends in terms of like morale creativity, you know, giving each other the benefit of the doubt, frankly, I think that there’s a tendency to, you know, if you don’t know someone super well, or you’re not seeing them on a regular basis, to, you know, you see something on slack and you know, it’s, there’s no cause, you know, there’s no tone in there. And so you can sometimes like, not give them the benefit of the doubt or something. And yeah, I think that for sure, just for cohesion and culture building, I think that having a space, at least for us, having access to a space was important. But I know that that, uh, that that wise minds can have different philosophies.

Adam G. Force  30:42  

Yeah, for sure. No, I mean, I think it makes sense. And there is something to, you know, being able to have everybody get together, at least once in a while, like you said, I’ve always enjoyed that, too. It’s something that I’ve missed since I left corporate worlds, since, you know, doing that stuff, I’ve been working with virtual teams around the world and stuff. And it’s like this evolutionary new pattern of what entrepreneurship has become, and how teams are being built. And, you know, it leads me to my next question, which is really around company culture. And, you know, that’s part of your brand, and the expression of how you guys operate like an operating system. And so I’m curious on how you guys distill a company culture with people, because you do have virtual, but you also have, you know, some people coming in the office, and you guys are growing kind of quick, right? So most people don’t have offices in teams, and you’re one they’re kind of just like getting their feet, right. So have you guys gone through strategically and thought about really like, what is this culture? Like? What are the values? Like, what do we look like, you know, customer experience, like all that stuff? Yeah, absolutely.

Sam Adams  31:52  

I mean, I think that, that he, I think that that overlaps really heavily with like the external brand, right? I mean, that’s not a I don’t think that’s some kind of revelation or something that, you know, that that the way that you operate internally is intensely related to the way that you operate and are perceived externally. And so. So I think that it’s, you know, I think that that has, honestly, to go back to your earlier question, that has been one of my biggest challenges of figuring out how to build a build and promote a, you know, positive, you know, collegial passionate culture, in a virtual world, especially one that, you know, not only are you not seeing each other, but also like, the world is just super scary. And like, you know, I think it’s a lot better now than it was, you know, this time last year, certainly. But I think that that has been, that was a real uphill battle. And it was really hard to, you know, do like, our holiday party, we did like a virtual escape room over zoom. Right. And that was a lot of fun, but it is, there are just like, fundamental limitations, Joe, yeah. How much you can do when everyone is just kind of behind a computer screen and like, in their own context, and in their own home all the time, and it’s hard to you know, create something that is really going to you know, reinforce that and, and encourage everyone to be at their best and, and, you know, most aligned and, you know, comfortable taking risks and all of that kind of stuff. And so, yeah, I mean, that that is one of the main reasons that we got the office so that we could, you know, at least for those who want to and are comfortable, you know, coming in regularly and even beyond that, I think cascades you know, being able to whether it’s like doing small outings, or just kind of chance communications or, you know, spitballing ideas and things like that, that has been, you know, something that we really work on and, and trying to be intentional about, like promoting a culture of, you know, positive reinforcement, and, you know, like, giving, you know, giving feedback, but making sure that it’s, you know, respectful and productive and you know, all of that kind of stuff that is you know, I like to think pretty universal in terms of the kind of cultures that that we want to be working in. And so, you know, that’s ultimately that is a responsibility that rolls up to me and it’s one that like, I try to take very seriously. Oh, yeah, but yeah, I will not I will not deny That that has been a difficult thing to to try to promote reinforce. Yeah. When you six weeks after we assembled the team didn’t see each other for like, over a year. Yeah.

Adam G. Force  35:13  

Yeah. I mean, I had an interesting conversation with somebody who is a specialist and you know, company culture and HR and all that kind of stuff. And, you know, I asked, like, what do you do when you’re mostly virtual, and you’re not, you know, in person and kind of, you get that vibe. And just knowing it, she’s like, Well, basically today, a lot of people, like if you have a brand book, or you have it on paper somewhere, like, you know, what are the values of the company, she’s like, you have to make sure people are just aware and kind of re reinforce those things. And people believe in what you’re doing as a company, right? So you mentioned respect and respect. And that’s actually one of our, our company values as well. And it’s like, we know that means showing up on time, if you’re going to be late, let somebody know like, you know, don’t throw people under the bus. Right? It’s like all those little things that make the team kind of work well together. Right? So one of the last things I just wanted to get into was um, what is really the promise behind your content? Like what are we trying to accomplish as a company here? And like why should people be reading this content?

Sam Adams  36:19  

Absolutely. So I mean our goal Our mission is to you know, shine a light on all of the amazing things that are happening in the LA tech and startup ecosystem and you know, we hope that by doing that it will you know, create a virtuous cycle where you know on one level maybe like these companies get it you know, seen by the right you know, customers at the right time or right potential investors at the right time and it creates this this flywheel effect where you know, the that they you know, get to their next investment round or hit their benchmarks or things like that and so you know, we’re and so we think that by shining a light on all of this great stuff that’s happening and you know, as well as different trends and things like that and helping the LA tech and startup community like grow into the best version of itself that it can be and we do that by you know, writing you know, engaging stories you know, making engaging videos doing engaging podcast things that that people will want to seek out that they can’t get elsewhere. And you know by and if by doing so we can you know fuel innovation both within LA or within the cities that we’re operating in but also like around the world right and giving a different perspective on you know, tech than than what you’re currently getting from you know, kind of the dinosaurs in the tech media like the you know, tech crunches or wired or whatever and that you know, local media is like not able to do like the you know, the newspapers or business journals or anything like that. And so we’re really trying to you know, reinvent the way that people learn about like, what’s going on whether it’s in their city or a different city or something like that and you know, create a new model for this in a way that you know, we we’ve seen already is is resonating with folks and you know, we’re just going to keep trying to do better and, you know, have this effect to the greatest degree that we possibly can

Adam G. Force  38:32  

on it. Awesome. Well, listen, man, I appreciate you just taking the time to jump on here today, Sam. So let’s just let people know where they can dig into your content and learn more about what you guys have going on.

Sam Adams  38:44  

Yeah, awesome. Yeah. that’s our URL do t period la you know, you’ll see you’ll see the latest you know, see what we’ve got going on. Definitely sign up for the newsletter, you know, subscribe to the podcast, things like that. The social channels they’re pretty much all at do TLA and you know, I think that I think that your audience will really enjoy this. And you know, we’re really excited to to keep growing and keep trying to have great effect. And so really appreciate you having me on and this is great, great time

Adam G. Force  39:20  

to shoot a man. All right, we’ll catch you next time.

Sam Adams  39:23  

And thanks.

Adam G. Force  39:27  

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