Startist: Lessons from a Serial Entrepreneur

Adam Ryan: I’m super honored to introduce our next speaker, Eric Ryan. He is the founder of method, OLLY, and Welly, if you have heard of them. They are gummies, Band-Aids, and various wellness Target categories. They are essentially the prettiest thing in the Target aisle, if you walk down there. Eric is a serial entrepreneur. These three companies are worth over a billion dollars. He’s only raised 30 plus million. It is an incredible return for him and all of his investors. He’s here to share his journey and on his path to his lifelong entrepreneurship. So give it up for Eric.

Eric Ryan: … that we are in the tech capital of the world. You just heard about underwear. Now we’re going to talk about soap, and up next is deodorant. Super sexy day. So as you heard, I’m now realizing, I guess I’m a serial entrepreneur and when we started method back in the turn of the century, in the year 2000, we realized, like any founder story, there’s just a tremendous amount of luck that leads to success. And when we left method, Adam went on to go start Ripple, I went to go start OLLY, a lot of what we were trying to scratch was the itch of, did we get lucky or do we actually know what we’re doing? And then when OLLY has worked, and then we just launched Welly, our third company, I started to realize, okay, maybe we know what we’re doing and wanted to put together for you like how I think about startups.

And if you look at any successful serial entrepreneur, they really aren’t working from a formula and approach. And they’re constantly figuring out how to de-risk it and make what might otherwise look really risky, but behind the scenes is actually a sure bet. And that’s what I want to walk through today. There’s three things I do. One is I find cultural shifts, and I’ll talk about what that means, but I look for big categories that are missing a cultural shift that ultimately we could exploit the brand for decades to come. Two, for me, everything starts with culture. And then I obsess over products. So I fundamentally believe if you get the culture right and you get the products right, sales, marketing, everything else just gets a lot easier. And so first I want to explain a little bit of the method story put into practice.