Grant Powell is the Founder of Curios, a professional numismatist, and an ex-Googler. An expert in developing some of the most innovative technologies and digital products, some of Grant’s highlights include the first-ever live streaming platform for YouTube (for concerts such as U2, Alicia Keys, and Coachella) and the first-ever application to integrate with Spotify’s web API for matching people based on their similar tastes in music. Grant is knowledgeable in a wide range of programming languages as well as an expert in design and art direction.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I spent 12 years in Fallbrook, CA before moving to Malibu, CA where I attended high school. While living in Malibu, I was a founding band member of both Lifehouse and Dawes. Both places felt like small towns to me; I always aspired to do bigger things, and that’s why I eventually moved to New York City. I skipped college.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I’ve always been entrepreneurial. My first business was selling candy to other kids at grade school. I am very mathematically minded, and it was a no-brainer for me to realize that I could buy candy in bulk at Costco at discounted prices and then sell it for markup at school. I’m not sure how I got my parents to agree to this but suffice it to say I got into a lot of trouble at school once the principal found out. I don’t regret it and I am disappointed that schools punish this sort of behavior instead of teaching children about capitalism and entrepreneurialism at a young age. My next business was a skate camp that I started with my brother in Malibu while living in Fallbrook – where I lived directly next door to Tony Hawk, which was certainly an inspiration for the skate camp business. We grew the business to average about 50 attendees per day which made it one of the largest in Southern California at that time. As for digital and technology, I was fortunate enough to be offered an internship at an “interactive” company back in the early 2000s, and in a matter of months, I taught myself enough to go out on my own to offer technology consulting and start building my own businesses.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Focus on making your first dollar. Be driven towards revenue (or whatever your end goal is) from day one, as soon as possible. Success comes from achieving progress, not perfection. Have a big goal in mind but get there one step at a time and make sure you’re making some progress every day.