Dario Meli On Entrepreneurship & Innovation
In our latest Digital DUMBO interview, we talk to the Chief Strategic Officer at Invoke Media about his experience in developing useful digital products.
As the Chief Strategic Officer at Invoke Media, an Interactive Agency, Dario Meli has had a number of successful ventures in New York’s tech scene. Invoke creates technology as they come across challenges with their clients. This includes products such as Memelabs, Vidrollr, and Hootsuite.
What was the goal in sponsoring Digital Dumbo? What does this community have to offer the wider tech scene across NYC?
The Digital Dumbo crowd isn’t just the start-ups based in that neighborhood. The event attracts a tech-focused crowd from all areas of Manhattan too. The Digital Dumbo community is great because it’s a mix of people from different backgrounds – some start-ups, some agencies, some VCs, some brands, some content creators. It’s a really fun crowd.
In what ways is NYC leading web-based innovation? In what ways is it not?
New York has definitely had an explosion of innovation and start-up culture in just the past 5 years. Start-ups here have the benefit of being at the heart of several different industries: finance, media, fashion – they all benefit. Invoke established a full-time presence in New York, not only because this is where many of our clients are, but also because NYC is a booming center of smart, new ideas. We are looking to partner with entrepreneurs to pair our resources, experience, leadership, and ability to execute with their drive and focus.
You were part of the team that created Hootsuite; how was that platform created? What motivations/challenges drove the project?
HootSuite, like all of Invoke’s products, was born from our clients’ needs. We needed a way to efficiently run campaigns and saw the need for a centralized dashboard to manage social media. By identifying and addressing the needs of our clients, we’re able to constantly innovate on new tools and techniques.
You’re also involved with founding Memelabs and Vidrollr, how were you involved in each platform?
Memelabs is the easiest, most centralized way to manage full-scale video contests on multiple platforms. I’ve had the pleasure of hammering out some wild ideas with our clients to increase engagement, to broaden reach, and to have fun.
Vidrollr allows video commenting and conversations to happen across the Web. This hasn’t been an easy sell but we’ve identified the reasons and had to shift gears a couple times. Its all part of the process and now we’ve got several major brands engaged with campaigns launching in the new year.
Ultimately, each product we develop is a team effort and that’s part of the allure of working with Invoke. All voices are heard and can influence our product development. My most important role is opening marketers’ imaginations when it comes to using technology in concert with traditional promotions. The result is the driving of new features, social integration, and overall strategy.
What is some advice you would give to entrepreneurs looking for success in emerging media?
Find a niche that you’re passionate about, and address a problem. There are plenty of new companies that are trying to build something cool, but if there’s no real issue that it solves, there’s often no need for it in the first place.
It is also important to remove distractions. Getting started on your endeavor can be the biggest challenge but you just need to start and you need to focus. This typically means sacrificing sleep and social interaction but it is more than made up for by feeling a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Believe me: it will change your life!
Photo credit to Kris Krug