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Chris Cardell

Interview with Jeff Teschke (Safestacks)

Safestacks is a secure online app that keeps critical business information secure.

I interviewed Jeff Teschke, Safestacks founder to find out more. This is the hundred and thirty sixth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Jeff!

Describe Safestacks in under 50 words.

Safestacks is a safe, sharable place for important business info. Use it to organize and store all of your usernames, passwords, expiration dates, domain names, software licenses and just about anything else. Access it anywhere and provide access to your colleagues and clients. It’s especially perfect for service-based companies.

Describe yourself in one sentence.

A dreamer who believes that tomorrow will be better than today, but only if you make it so.

What made you decide to start working on Safestacks?

Because we needed it. At Forge3, Safestacks’ parent company, we actively manage many website and technology clients and their growing collection of usernames, passwords, expiration dates and more. We use Safestacks everyday to stay organized and secure.

How have you promoted Safestacks?

We haven’t. At least not yet. Slow and steady wins this race. We have benefited from a bunch of great blog posts from customers and reviewers, though. There’s nothing better than that! It’s so rewarding to see.

What was the most challenging part of developing Safestacks?

Time. Safestacks started as a side project and took two years to build as we balanced our own client work. Moving away from paid client work is always a challenge!

Has Safestacks got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?

It has. But, the real test will be in the upcoming months – when we start our marketing push to get the Safestacks goodness to companies around the world to help them save time, money and be more secure. We have a great story. It’s time to tell it.

I hear you’ll be growing aggressively next year. Can you tell us what this might involve?

Lots of hustle and grassroots marketing. To date, we’ve had the most success with our customers writing about Safestacks on their own blogs. It’s been really great to see. So, we’ll be working to foster more of that along with ramping up other online marketing (blogging, social, search, etc.). No yellow page ads, though.

Tell us a bit more about your entrepreneurial background, from starting out working for a Fortune 500 insurance company, to founding ispott and Forge3.

Well, my dad worked for the same company for 30+ years. He literally retired with a gold watch and cushy retirement plan and is living the good life playing golf in Florida. Growing up, I always assumed that I’d follow, at least somewhat, in his footsteps.

So, after graduating from the University of Scranton in 2000, I took a job at a big insurance agency. Four years later, the company was sold and my position was “downsized.” Not a fun experience. Where was my gold watch?

That’s when it hit me. Big companies do NOT mean big-time stability. Time for a change.

I knew that I wanted to be in control of my future. I didn’t want to report to anyone. I wanted to work hard and reap the benefits of that hard work. I didn’t want to be capped by a salary or other artificially-imposed limits.

So, the entrepreneur inside got busy and ended up creating Forge3 (to handle website client work) and ispott – the world’s first mobile scavenger hunt game played with cell phone cameras. Forge3 grew quickly and ispott was licensed by Microsoft/Sprite for an award-winning campaign in the mid-2000’s. It was a ton of fun and the precursor to our latest project called anyMoment.

Tell us about your brand new project, anyMoment, based on your earlier success with ispott.

We’re really excited about this one. We’re taking the original ispott time-based photo game concept and bringing it back in today’s smartphone world. We learned a lot (both good and bad) from ispott, and anyMoment is on track to be something special. We already have a lot of interest from some of the world’s biggest brands and nonprofits.

What key lessons did you learn from founding ispott, that you intend to take forward with anyMoment?

Simplicity rules. With ispott, we had a great concept and some early success, but complicated it with too many features that ultimately diluted the experience and made it confusing to play. anyMoment is super simple yet even more fun than ispott.

Sales rule. Looking back, we should have spent more time selling ispott and less time working on new features. I know, it seems obvious. You’re right. Lesson learned. With anyMoment, we started pre-selling long before launch.

Forge3, Safestacks, anyMoment. How do you manage your time between multiple projects?

Good question. I’ll let you know once I figure it out.

Congratulations on your new addition to the family! What’s your secret to maintaining a healthy work/life balance?

Thanks! I wrote a lengthy post about this two weeks into being a new dad. I definitely haven’t perfected the work/life balance, but I am getting better with it.

Being a dad has completely changed my perspective on EVERYTHING. Now, when I wake up, I’m constantly thinking about how I can build the business in such a way so that I can spend more quality time with my little girl and family.

Which entrepreneurs do you most admire?

Richard Branson blows my mind. Does that guy sleep? Chris Cardell the founder of Cardell Media also serves as a great source of insight and inspiration.

Some others include Steve Jobs for thinking different, Dave Ramsey/Suze Orman for creating an empire around sharing knowledge, Gary Vaynerchuk for hustling more than the next guy, Tim Ferriss for working smarter and anyone that lives life, has fun and makes millions while treating people right.

What one piece of advice would you give to budding startup founders out there?

Don’t get stuck. Do whatever you can to get momentum and ride it.

How do you like to “live in the moment”?

Haha. Nice tie-in to anyMoment! Thanks for that.

These days, life moments tend to revolve around my little daughter. She’s full of “moments!” I’m also a private pilot and piano man. I find that I’m most alive when I’m challenging myself.

What are you most excited about at the moment?

Tomorrow. The future is what we make it. I have a lot of work left to do.

Finished reading? Check out Safestacks!

This entry was posted on Monday, November 12th, 2012 at 2:28 pm GMT. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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