How Millennials are Disrupting Business Models



This event took place at Social Media Week in Los Angeles. Sign up for SMW Insider to access the full video of this event and 50+ other #SMWLA sessions.

Raymond Braun, Ryan Ozonian and Cassie Petrey, are three of Forbes 30 under 30 Honorees. As CEOs and founders of their own companies, Braun, Ozonian and Petrey are changing up business models and proving the power millennials have in the workplace.

In this panel, the three answered questions and offered insights on being successful millennial entrepreneurs. Here is what each had to say:

Stereotypes Of Millennials In The Workplace

“I recommend shifting the conversation (from why do millennials frequently change jobs) to building relationships with your millennial employees so that when they leave they still help the company. I’m not at Google anymore, but now whenever I’m speaking I’m evangelizing for the brand and I still work with them and bring them clients.” – Raymond Braun

“The stereotype that maintaining millennials is difficult is somewhat true; but I think it’s more that the way we work is different and within a two or three year timeline people look at other options.” – Cassie Petrey

Managing Older Employees

“At YouTube I would try to flip the perspective and think that I bring a credibility because of my age and relation to the audience, wheras an older person would bring credibility from their past experience.” – Raymond Braun

“My experience with managing people that are quite a bit older than me is that they are typically very set in their ways. I try to have a very results driven relationship. Obviously they’ve been through the ropes, so telling them or correcting them on how to do things doesn’t help. Being results driven has been successful to me.” – Ryan Ozonian

“I think most people on my team are my age or younger, I haven’t really had to manage people older than me. But I do work with people older than me. I believe keeping things clear and results driven help” – Cassie Petrey

What Have You Learned That You Wish You Knew When Starting A Company?

“If I could tell myself one thing when I was leaving Google, it would be to still look for a boss. I always thought how cool would it be to be my own boss and CEO. I took for granted the ability to stop by a manager’s desk and ask for some feedback.” – Raymond Braun

“One of the biggest challenges I’ve come across is trying to get out of my own way when I think I have the best ideas for our users. I’ve learned feedback is your best friend.” – Ryan Ozonian

“I didn’t ask for help as early as I should have. The one thing that intimidated me at the beginning was deciding whether or not I should bring in a business manager because it was too expensive. But you realize there’s a reason those people cost money and you need that help”

How Do You Encourage People To Work And Contribute In A Business Model That Is Non-Hierarchical?

“At our company, we do have a very casual non-heirarchical workplace. It’s definitely tough. Trying to hold people accountable, when you have zero rules and then imposing rules when you need to becomes a difficult process. What I’ve found to work best is constantly making sure the people that are respected in the workplace are meeting the junior level people and share with them the importance and respect of meeting deadlines and constantly contributing to the team.” – Ryan Ozonian

“I have 34 employees and when I break them up I always make sure to have an account manager, an assistant and maybe another team member that are all working back and forth on anywhere from 5 to 10 projects. I would say if something goes wrong in a project I’m not looking just at the account manager, but everyone involved on that project.” – Cassie Petrey

How Do You Go From A Big Brand To A Small Startup?

“I think a lot of the relationships, contacts and support that from Google, even Google supported what I was doing. I think leveraging from a larger organization helps with connections. I also think I created my own personal brand on social media within the social influencer space. When I left Google I had a lot more time and flexibility to grow that. Now people sign me because of that personal brand.” – Raymond Braun

Best Practices With Seed Funding And Investor Relations

“I started networking with everyone I could to try and get some seed funding and they said ‘you don’t know what you’re doing kid.’ I met this guy at an event like this one, who was a tech head-hunter in L.A. When I showed him that I have a product to build and he introduced me to people who provided me with $20,000, graphic designers and office space to get me on my feet.”

How Do You Sell the Importance of the Millennial Market?

“In addition to the fact that they’re going to grow into your target market, they also influence decisions. If you look at the social media landscape it’s millennials and the generation after that are really shaping trends and broader cultural conversations that frame the world your target consumer is.” Raymond Braun

“How Did You Get On The Forbes Under 30 List?”

“I launched an LGBT campaign and there was press that came from that but in 2013, when I did that, the campaign wasn’t really as heard of. The CEO and marketing editor of Forbes was talking to my counterpart at Youtube, they found out I was under 30.” – Raymond Braun.

“I hosted 30 under 30 meet-ups and I think maybe you guys at Forbes caught wind of that and I just stayed active in the under-30 community.” – Ryan Ozonian

“Forbes and Billboard 30 under 30 were always on my vision board. When I was evaluating my goals I realized I was going to be 30 and needed to get on the list. So I talked to people who had been on it before and asked how they submitted themselves for consideration.” Cassie Petrey

This event took place at Social Media Week in Los Angeles. Sign up for SMW Insider to access the full video of this event and 50+ other #SMWLA sessions.

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