Mon, 21 July 2014
Introducing Steven Fisher
Steven Fisher’s LinkedIn profile calls him a creative leader, a seasoned entrepreneur, a sci-fi filmmaker, a soon to be published author, a budding craft beer maker, a slow runner, and a fast eater. With an introduction like that, you know there is a ton we could have spoken to Steven about. To save time, Greg and Dave talked to him about his upcoming book, “The Startup Equation” and his experience making his crowd funded sci-fi fan fiction flick, “Browncoats: Redemption”.
Steven brought up an important statistic that he discovered from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which is that one in six people on this planet will be entrepreneurs of some fashion by the end of the decade. With over six billion people on Earth, that means there could be over a billion entrepreneurs by 2020. Where can all of these go-getters discover their keys to success? One way is to follow the path beaten down by the successful business people before them. This was the inspiration behind Steven’s new book, which is co-authored by his wife, Ja-Nae Duane.
Steven noticed that most books about startups were exclusively about the tech space. Though this space is included in the book, he wanted to speak to people regardless if they were planning to start the next earth-shattering technology or the next tasty food truck in Houston. He found the common elements that seemed to be part of a larger equation from interviewing entrepreneurs from all over the world, in many different types of businesses, including our very own David Alston from episode two. At a very basic level, three things are important for any startup: the entrepreneur, the team built around him or her, and funding. While there is a number of parts to the startup equation, for which you will need to buy the book, Steven points out three x-factors which are passion, determination, and drive. Entrepreneurs who exemplify those x-factors, will find it difficult to fail over the long haul.
In 2008, Steven used his own passion, determination, and drive to develop a new model for crowd funded fan fiction. Steven is a fan of the ill-fated Fox sci-fi series, Firefly, which was cancelled during its first season, but developed a massive cult following. The series had such a cult following that there was also a feature film titled, Serenity. However, after Serenity, Firefly was over and left its fans starving for more content. Steven couldn’t come close to paying the licensing fees that would have been required to re-launch the series, but he was inspired by what he was seeing in fan films, so he got to work in starting the process of making “Browncoats”. A friend of his wrote the script and they made a group on Facebook, from which 80 people came from numerous states for the first table read.
Steven knew he was on to something, but did something very interesting to fund the film. He set up a non-profit which allowed the film to be made without licensing. He then chose five charities that were supported or created by the original cast and crew of Firefly, to receive any profits from the film. This engaged both the fans of the series and the former members from Firefly. In the end, Steven and his crew were able to raise $150,000 for charity and college scholarships, in the time before Kickstarter and Indiegogo. What a novel model for fan filmmaking that created content for the fans and by the fans while touching the lives of others.
In this episode
We hear the tales from Steven interviewing entrepreneurs from around the world for his new book including Jonathan Fields from the Good Life Project. We become browncoats (Firefly fans) and get inspired by the fan film story. Greg is empowered by the idea of building something people want and those people will embrace and support you. Dave is energized by the statistic that one in six people will one day be an entrepreneur and asks Steven a question inspired by Jonathan Fields.