We are pleased to welcome Ben Smith for this edition of the Business 2 Community Expert Interview Series. Ben T. Smith IV is CEO of ShopCo, a startup focused on reinventing circular shopping with a social experience. He is also a Venture Partner at Accelerator Ventures and co-founder of MerchantCircle.com and Spoke.com. Ben blogs at http://btsiv.com, and you can follow him on Twitter at @bentsmithfour.
6 Questions on Social Media With Ben Smith
1. How did you get your start in the industry?
I came into the Online Media business while working with Tim Connors, formerly of USVP now at Pivot North; Jim McDermott, Stamps.com founder now at USRG, and Chris Tolles, CEO of Topix.com, in a conference room to create what became Spoke.com. I joined ShopCo, which operates FindnSave.com and other consumer shopping properties, after selling a local Internet media company I co-founded, MerchantCircle.com, and being introduced to the effort by some of the 12 major media groups who financed it.
2. What is the biggest challenge facing your industry?
Shopping is changing fast with the explosion of mobile, tablets and social. The ability to bring by the fun of shopping while building a massive consumer audience is the central challenge we face alongside our media partner and major consumer advertisers.
3. What is the method to your blogging success? What inspires your blogs?
Blogging to me is two things, a learning process about the web and audiences, and more importantly, therapy. Whether it is a quick tweet or a more thoughtful article, it is a chance to think something through for a bit of therapy.
4. What do you think is the future of social media?
There will be 10-15 key social graphs built over time – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn being four of them. All of these are going to embedded in and enabled everything on the web and mobile.
5. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
Start with 10 pieces you are committed to writing and do them, find your authentic voice, don’t obsess over perfection. Good enough is in fact, good enough, and sooner is always better.
6. Where can we find you on the web/on Twitter/Facebook/etc.?