by jeffhilimire on April 16, 2014

It was early 2001 and we were a five person web design company. We’d been “in business” since late 1998 but we were still kids, having started Spunlogic from our dorm room at UNC-Charlotte.

By 2001, one of our major strategies was to work with other firms to help them produce websites. There was one firm in particular, let’s just call it Blue Ocean, that was using us quite a bit. They were 20+ people and to me, they had made it. They were where we wanted to be and we thought it was terrific that they were working with us.

Their CEO reached out to me one day and asked if my two partners and I wanted to go and get a steak lunch, on him. He wanted to thank us for all the hard work. I was over the moon excited as this guy was a vision of my future self – the CEO of a “big” web agency. And here he was asking us to lunch, presumably to thank us and give us a bunch of advice to help us with our business. I’d never had a mentor before and I thought this was my lucky day.

The first half of the lunch he talked about how appreciative he was of all the great work we’d done. He talked about upcoming projects we’d be perfect for. Then he turned to Danny and said, “Danny, you’re such a great programmer. If you guys keep growing your business the way you are and getting great experience, maybe one day you can come and run development for my company.”

Ok. Huh.

Then he turned to Raj and said, “Raj, you’re such a great designer, if you guys keep kicking butt with your business and you keep getting more experience, maybe one day you can come do creative for me and even run my creative department.”


He turned to me at that moment and said, “Jeff, you’re so organized and buttoned up, maybe one day – if you guys keep growing your business and doing great work – you can come and run some accounts for me.”

For about ten seconds I was furious. He thought we just had a little hobby business and didn’t take us seriously. And he was so sure we were a joke that he assumed we thought that as well and would jump at the chance to kill our dream and come work for his company.

I quickly composed myself and said, “Thank you, Frank, we really appreciate that.” But inside I was saying, “I AM GOING TO CRUSH YOU.” I made it my mission to bury his company. About three years later we passed his company in size, and four years after that we were acquired as a 75-person agency and he was down to three people.

The lesson: Entrepreneurs have to be self-motivated. When you’re the boss, no one is going to check in on you to make sure you’re doing your job. You have to be motivated and you have to find that motivation anywhere you can. For me, burying Frank’s company became part of my mission.


I’m starting to realize that this one thing might be the most important factor in creating a successful business

April 15, 2014

Tonight I’m giving the keynote address at the Founder Institute (FI) graduation. FI is “the world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program.” I’ve been a mentor and speaker throughout the current class and I’m excited about getting them pumped up about graduating tonight. As I’ve been reflecting on what to say, while at the same […]

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How’s the launch of Robots Love Ice Cream doing?

April 14, 2014

Since we launched Robots Love Ice Cream for iOS – you did download it, right :) – on the 9th, I’ve been asked by a ton of friends how the launch is going. So, five days in… We were featured in the Apple App Store on April 10th, which looks like this and we’ve had […]

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This is a future of TV that I could get behind #TimFerriss

April 12, 2014

Tim Ferriss (4 Hour Work Week) has a TV series coming out on May 27th. The premise: In each episode, I team up with world-class teachers to “hack” a different skill….then I get thrown through a gauntlet of tests. Sometimes I do well, other times I face-plant and decimate myself. You get to see all […]

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5 Questions for a CEO: Jacqui Chew, iFusion Marketing

April 11, 2014

This is the ninth installment of my “5 Questions for a CEO” series. The list so far: Raymond King, Zoo Atlanta Devon Wijesinghe, Insightpool Mark Feinberg, Uruut Simms Jenkins, BrightWave Marketing Rob Kischuk, PerfectPost Kyle Porter, SalesLoft Brett Jacobsen, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School I’ve known Jacqui Chew for a long time and she’s easily one of […]

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Startups must envision the end goal if they want any chance of getting there

April 10, 2014

Some entrepreneurs shrug off the question of where they want their business to end up. “What’s your exit plan?” “I don’t really want to plan that far ahead. It’s unrealistic to try to map that out. We just want to build a great company.” WRONG. I can understand the logic – cart before the horse […]

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Robots Love Ice Cream is live!

April 9, 2014

We’re finally live with our first game on iOS, Robots Love Ice Cream! Please give it a try if you have an iPhone or iPad (the Android version is coming soon). And a high-starred review in the App Store always helps too – but only if you mean it ;) Download the game now!

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To say we’re a little excited about Robots Love Ice Cream launching at midnight tonight would be an understatement

April 8, 2014

The Dragon Army team is super pumped about releasing Robots Love Ice Cream at midnight tonight on iOS (Android coming later in the month). Actually, it is launching in a few hours in Somoa and will roll out across the globe as midnight hits in each time zone. One of our super talented artists has […]

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Mark your calendars: On June 19 I’ll be hosting a fireside chat with Arby’s social media legend, Josh Martin

April 7, 2014

I’m excited to announce that on June 19th at the Atlanta Tech Village, I’ll be hosting a Metro Atlanta Chamber fireside chat with Josh Martin of Arby’s. Yes, this Josh Martin. The topic is social media and Josh is the definitive #badass in this area. Need more proof? Here. I hope to see a bunch […]

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An inspiring example of paying it forward

April 6, 2014

As I look to create more things like Advice For Good and MATCH in order to embrace and socialize the “pay it forward” ideal, I love reading about stories like this that only help to fuel my passion in this area. (Lex Alexander) started an Indiegogo campaign to help fund his tuition to further his coding education. […]

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