Siamak Taghaddos started Grasshopper with his business partner while attending Babson College in 2003. Over the past few years, they’ve offered one product, a virtual phone system, to help entrepreneurs start and grow their small business. Last year they started Grasshopper Labs to create additional products to fulfill their core purpose of empowering entrepreneurs to succeed. They basically want the Grasshopper brand to be like Virgin but for entrepreneurs. In addition to overseeing strategic direction, Siamak's passion is branding- "My bio says it best: I’m like a one-man ad agency and our latest campaign, this New Dork video, has been a lot of fun to develop".
Favorite websites? I stare at a screen and my BlackBerry enough for work that I don’t visit too many sites. When I do, it’s Mashable and Techcrunch to stay up to date on tech and social news, Uncrate to discover some new toys, and BlackBook for fun. Challenges of what you do? When most telecoms require millions in funding, we started Grasshopper with basically nothing. Today, we’re 50 people, more than $10 million in revenue, and have served nearly 100,000 entrepreneurs, all without VC. So the biggest challenge is growing a company with limited resources. That’s why I love focusing on creative campaigns to raise brand awareness as cost-effectively as possible. Last year we FedEx’d 25,000 chocolate covered grasshoppers in what quickly became a huge success while costing us very little – we made a case study about it to help other entrepreneurs learn how we did it.
Idea for the video? In 2008 we got Gary Busey to give entrepreneurs insights into business and last year we started a movement to inspire entrepreneurs. Both campaigns were extremely successful but this year I wanted to do something a lot bigger and reach a younger audience. I love Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind, know that social media will be the next tech bubble, and always wanted a music video about the entrepreneurial dream to go from basement to global brand. So it all came together in what’s quickly becoming an incredibly successful video. In just 24 hours it’s gotten over 160,000 views and has been featured on Techcrunch, Mashable, Huffington Post, Gizmodo, and The Wall Street Journal. Even Ashton Kutcher Tweeted about it.
Anything else you want to share...? I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs and in a few weeks my business partner and I, along with dozens of high profile entrepreneurs and organizations, are starting a campaign to President Obama to raise awareness of entrepreneurs and the critical role they play in growing our economy through innovation and job creation. Stay updated by following me on Twitter @staghaddos.