Andrew J. Chapin is a digital entrepreneur and writer with experience in start-up businesses, including being the first employee at a prosperous company and founding business director of a large independent sports brand. He has faced the lowest lows of enterprise, co-founding and oversaw an adtech firm before filing for bankruptcy in 2020. With humility and a shift in perspective, Chapin now focuses on producing niche commerce and media properties, emphasizing product discoverability in the face of social media, search, and AI shifts. He also helps startups reach their first million in revenue.
According to his bio, Andrew J. Chapin is a digital entrepreneur and writer who focuses on the confluence of business and the media. Chapin lives, breathes, plays, eats, and sleeps business and media. He is primarily focused on this, and that is an understatement. There, the person dwells.
Chapin has experience in a variety of start-up businesses. He was the first business employee at one of the most prosperous companies in the Southeast of the United States and a founding business director of what would grow to be the largest independent sports brand in the country.
He has moreover experienced the lowest lows of enterprise. He co-founded and oversaw adtech firm for six years before it filed for bankruptcy in 2020, which resulted in his conviction for securities fraud.
With a newfound humility and a “fundamental shift in perspective,” Chapin is now doing what he loves: producing niche commerce and media properties with an emphasis on product discoverability, which he says “is paramount, especially with recent shifts in social media, search, and AI.” He also helps startups reach their first millions in revenue. He claimed that Commerce Media Studio focuses mostly on “the fun stuff.”
What goes on in your usual day, and how do you make sure it is productive?
When I have one of these “typical days,” I’ll let you know. There are various ongoing efforts, each in a different stage and requiring a different amount of energy. Every day I like to take on a new challenge.
How do you give concepts life?
I search for problems, especially those that come up when something is too complicated or it’s hard to find what you’re looking for. I’ll start working on a Minimum Viable Product as soon as it’s feasible. Generally speaking, the Internet will let you know right away if there is anything there. If not, I continue.
When creating Minimum Viable Products during the ideation phase, it’s critical to keep in mind Steve Blank’s definition of a startup: a startup is a “temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.” Startup endeavors are by nature transient.
Which fashion trend most motivates you?
My main area of interest has been discoverability, which includes all digital content, goods, and services. The present seismic movements are both terrifying and thrilling. Google declared that it will test replacing the search results that are displayed “above the fold” with an AI-based interface. As social media networks disappear before our own eyes, users seem to be spending more and more time on specialized online groups.
These techniques of information discovery, such as social and search, are all experiencing significant changes. I can’t wait to watch how things turn out.
What is a productive habit, specifically?
Meditation. It took me a long time to get to the point where I could benefit from meditation, but once I did, I quickly understood that there is nothing that comes close to the centering that comes from a good meditation.
What advice would you give to yourself in the past?
Take note of your errors. This lesson was hard for me to learn. It’s hard to put into words how it felt to be in front of a judge and have her say, “It seems as though you don’t know how to fail.”
She was accurate. I increased the revenues of my adtech business in reaction to the prospect of collapse, which landed me where I belonged: with a conviction for securities fraud. That failure was considerably more tragic and affected many more individuals than was required.
There are considerable disadvantages to this kind of thinking, despite the fact that the American entrepreneurial culture promotes “never giving up,” “winning at all costs,” and a certain level of murderous determination in the development of a business. Failure is okay, and it is better to fail fast and move on, it must be said. Never let yourself become emotionally invested in a specific result.
Tell us anything that practically no one seems to agree on.
The use of physical media is increasing.
What is one thing you usually do that you also encourage others to do?
Always ask “why” and critically evaluate all of your views. You can learn a lot about yourself if you can be honest and unbiased with yourself.
What do you do when you’re overwhelmed or unable to concentrate?
I often find myself sitting down with a pad of paper and a list of everything I need to accomplish, arranging my day (or the next several days) down to the minute if meditation or a stroll are fruitless. I move on to the next assignment if the work is not finished in the allowed time.
What is a tactic that has helped you grow your company or advance your career?
People spend too much time concentrating their efforts on being transactional; I’ve discovered that simply being helpful for the purpose of helping is the greatest thing. You will receive energy back from the cosmos if you send forth only good, constructive energy.
What is the biggest failure you’ve ever had in your career, how did you overcome it, and what did you learn from it?
Because I lied on financial documents to get a line of credit for my adtech business, I was found guilty of fraud. This was a colossal failure in both my professional and personal life, with far-reaching repercussions. I really regret how much agony it caused for so many people.
My experience has taught me that when pain serves a purpose, it no longer qualifies as suffering. I am trying to make sure that I apply these lessons to do good because I am aware of the benefit this failure provided for me.
Which business idea would you be prepared to impart to our readers?
Politicians are moving away to their own Twitter-like sites, gamers are going to theirs, and it appears that media professionals have collected in one of their own. Think about the people who are not being provided with alternatives in these narrow groups. There is a good financial possibility there, even though it won’t be the next Twitter or Facebook.
What applications do you use to increase productivity? What is its use?
Notion. It took me some time to understand how valuable it was, but I now prefer using it to plan projects and write. My day is mostly spent with Notion open.
What was your best $100 buy recently?
I’ve paid for my favorite news websites after years of avoiding and getting past paywalls. I used to think that I wouldn’t have to pay for news since I would receive it anyhow, but in today’s climate of misinformation, having a trustworthy source is clearly vital.
Do you have a favorite book or podcast that has been really valuable to you?
After the failure of my endeavor, David Brooks’ The Second Mountain changed the game. I don’t think I can do it justice by breaking out the “why,” so let’s just say that it’s the perfect book for anyone looking to alter their lives and live with more significance and meaning.
What movie or TV show have you lately enjoyed, and why?
The recent wave of business-themed television shows and movies, like Air, The Dropout, Tetris, BlackBerry, and Super Pumped, appeals to me as a business nerd. These are all really well-made and each one has so much to teach.
Being honest with oneself and being impartial are both crucial.
Do not be afraid to stumble rapidly. Alternatives might be far worse.
Keep in mind that when pain has a purpose, it is no longer suffering. This will help you overcome failure.
Startups, in the words of Steve Blank, are “temporary organizations designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.” Startups are by definition transient.
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