Welcome to RevGenius Magazine. We are excited to expand RG into this digital magazine because it’s congruent with our vision of helping revenue professionals’ level up.
To understand how I got here today, I am sharing my story of where it began...
It started in 2013. My best friend was Carlos Basora, a nightclub promoter in NYC. We went out almost nightly and experienced countless amazing interactions with creative minds via magazine people, models, artists, and others.
It was such a rich time in my life. Even though ‘nightlife’ can be looked at as a shallow world, it was a time for me to interact with folks that were not a part of my day job at FedEx. People that were quite different, in a good way, from what I experienced during the daytime in corporate America.
We hung out, had fun, developed great friendships and I learned about a new world for me. My day job didn’t resonate with them. It was ‘normal’ and boring. Frankly, it didn’t resonate with me any longer.
Since I was in high school, I had dreamed of being an entrepreneur and I was no longer satisfied working for somebody else. Every move I made was planned by somebody else, right down to the number of calls per day I made and the time I could sell during the day.
The saving grace was moving to remote work (even though it was a field sales job that had me visiting customers all day). I didn’t have to check-in to an office in the morning and I only met with my team about three times per week.
Still, it wasn’t aligned enough for me. I decided to give the early-stage technology world a try. I took an account executive position where I had the safety of a salary (albeit below market value) and I was finally given sweat equity in something. This was much more entrepreneurial and a step in the right direction. On paper, it was progress and rewarding.
By early 2014, the startup I was at for one year had a product that didn’t work well, and I was nervous about my future. While I was successful at FedEx, I wasn’t closing anything meaningful at this new company. The product wasn’t delivering and the attrition of clients was high. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make a move to another technology company and didn’t want to go back to FedEx.
Staying, I thought, was my only option. I turned to Carlos and we discussed what we wanted in life. He realized with promoting nightclubs he didn’t have anything ‘he could exit’ and we agreed to start a business together on the side.
We wanted it to involve all the things we loved: fashion, fitness, and fun. We aspired to be around the people we interacted with outside of my day job. At this point I was working remotely and meeting daily with heads of marketing, product and eCommerce.
We decided to focus on fashion (of the 3 F’s) and created a digital magazine that filled a need in the space. New fashion designers weren’t getting the same coverage that established brands had gotten in major publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and others. The best of these new fashion designers were creating new designs that were much better than mainstay brands.
Deux Hommes Magazine was born.
Deux Hommes was a digital fashion publication, which featured a curated list of emerging fashion designers in luxury sportswear, avant-garde, and high-end streetwear.
I knew nothing about fashion when we started and Carlos only had past experience as an entry-level stylist in the space. That didn’t stop us. I took my work ethic from the business world and repurposed it into this new venture. I helped teach Carlos the skills that made me successful in my other life.
Over the next three years as a side project, we grew the magazine to 10,000 monthly readers and created some of the best editorials. We partnered with top creatives and built a name for ourselves as trend forecasters. Magazines with rich budgets stood struggled to compete against our bootstrap operation. We even went on to enter 10 international fashion film festivals, winning two awards in Copenhagen for Best International Fashion Film and Best Idea.
Along the way, my day job improved their product and sales started increasing. Clients started staying and bigger deals started closing. We went to Series A on the back of myself and my colleague leading the sales charge.
I took my success and parlayed it into more of a true Enterprise sales role. My OTE increased tremendously and it gave me more funds to pump into Deux Hommes, which wasn’t making any money yet. There was no defined business model.
After contemplating our options, we built the business model around trying to charge brands for advertising in Deux Hommes. We realized something we should’ve seen coming -- new fashion brands have little money (if any) to spend on advertising. This was probably part of why bigger publications didn’t want to feature them. It made sense.
We remained determined to stay true to our vision and not pivot to take money from bigger brands. It was poetic, principled, and beautiful, but not good business.
As you can imagine, it was only a matter of time before Deux Hommes folded. I had found a new day job with a new early-stage fashion-tech startup that was solving a problem with a better business model, so I devoted more time there and let Deux Hommes fade into obscurity. The fashion-tech startup was a two-sided marketplace that connected brands with models, photographers, hair and makeup artists, stylists, etc, to produce advertising and web content. It was cool. Spoiler alert: the business would lay off all its employees within two years.
Maybe fashion wasn't the right fit.
Still, a big seed was planted. I genuinely loved the idea of impacting individuals, both the brands and the consumers directly. I spent my next job at a blockchain art marketplace running sales and growth, getting art galleries and consumers to connect and purchase art with crypto.
Again, another company-wide failure.
Fast-forward to today.
I found myself jobless yet again (the early-stage world is ruthless) and because of the difficult COVID economy, not as many job prospects as in the past. I realized this was my time to do what I TRULY wanted and decided to try my hand at giving entrepreneurship a full time go.
Building something for the end-user was important to me. This concept of building a ‘community’ has long fascinated me and something I had been a part of for a few years via Deux Hommes and multiple two-sided marketplaces.
I met Galem Girmay in May 2020, my co-founder of RevGenius. Galem and I were on countless webinars together and finally set up a time to chat and get to know one another. Early on we spoke about how there were literally thousands of events happening with zero organization in how they were found. There was no centralized place to find all events that interested a revenue professional. LinkedIn was just a bunch of individuals promoting their own or company events.
We decided this was the challenge we were going to solve but our development resources (former CTO of mine) didn’t have the bandwidth. Thinking fast, we decided on creating a LinkedIn message chain with a couple of friends we met on LinkedIn -- Ben Haber and Stephanie Madsen, the group later grew to 38 people.
We asked the group if we could rename it to RevGenius. We decided on Google Sheets as the mechanism to get the weekly events to our users (all 38 of them). I’m not sure if they cared as much about the spreadsheet and the problem we were solving as we did. They sure cared about all the conversation crashing their LinkedIn apps, causing them to become frustrated with Galem and I.
Slack was the obvious and fast alternative and that’s where we started to build the community. We also fully and quickly realized the value in the people. Our original plan to build a centralized spot to discover events was nothing without having a community around it. Now we had it.
We understood there were various other revenue related communities out there, a few doing pretty well. We also understood some of the gaps they had and how we could address them. It was important for us from an early stage to be both inclusive and accessible. This would lead to so much opportunity for all involved. More importantly, inclusion also reflected the values Galem and I live by.
We were joined by Kristina Finseth and Aneesh Lal, who have given their valuable talent, time and love to this cause. They’ve helped us provide clear structure and grow the community further than Galem and I could do alone. Community members have stepped up in droves to assist as well.
The support we have had along the way has been overwhelming and the people we’ve met have been inspiring. I work every day as hard as I possibly can to support a community of individuals I closely identify with, it makes everything worthwhile, fulfilling and exciting.
We have experienced fast growth based on our mission to help support, educate, and inspire revenue professionals to help achieve their goals. At the core of this mission is love. We have a love for sales, marketing and revops and the individuals within those roles that drive the companies they work for and run.
I close this article grateful to be in a position to write, yet again, for a cause that I believe so deeply in. It may not be editing a fashion magazine, it’s so much better. You all are amazing; RevGenius and now RevGenius Magazine is for you.
We aspire to educate and inspire you in the same way you do for us.
We love you.