Have you met Dave?
He is the CEO and founder of Readercoin, an indie author reading app. This is Dave's second startup and the first one he's started here in Boulder!
Dave is a busy guy with a ton going on, so he wanted a comprehensive personal branding photo shoot that would give him lots of different images to use for his company's marketing and social media.
We planned a whirlwind photo tour of Pearl Street to provide multiple scenes and capture different vibes to reflect the different messages Dave wanted to share with his audience.
One of the most fun photo shoot locations was Trident bookstore and Cafe on west pearl street. It was the perfect spot for this bookstore-loving entrepreneur. The bookshelves and natural light provided a great environment for his action shots - drawing, recording podcast audio, and working hard.
The people at Trident were terrific and super friendly. Plus we enjoyed their delicious coffee.
As a bonus, Dave invited his wife Kate to join us! She was a huge help - artfully arranging the table setup and prompting some hilarious moments and heartfelt expressions. (I may have squeezed in a few cute couple photos as well!) Plus, she took some fun behind-the-scenes shots of me in action.
What a great day! I had so much fun getting to know Dave and Kate and learning how passionate he is about helping authors find their audience. We captured lots of different looks in this photo session - from fun and playful to serious businessman all the way to trustworthy and approachable friend - somebody an author would definitely want to work with.
Read about Dave's story (including how he started his first company at age 16!) and get a first look at some of his brand new images:
Kasey: So what is Readercoin?
Dave: Readercoin helps authors turn their books into audiobooks and ebooks which we make available to readers on our app. Our goal is to help authors gain an audience, especially indie and self-published authors.
We also incentivize reading by paying readers to read and authors for having their books read. Readers can earn what we call "readercoin" by reading books on our app. They can then transfer the readercoin amount to PayPal or donate to many different charities we’ve partnered with - Action Against Hunger, rain forest charities, medical charities, and other things.
Kasey: What is your background?
Dave: I have a degree in psychology with a focus in neuroscience. I was planning to go to med school, but I chose a career in business when the company I created in high chool took off.
When I was 16, my family moved to a new town and my sister and I had been using all the early social networks. We came up with the idea for a social network based around high school connections and introduced the idea to our brother, who became our first investor after he sold his own business when he graduated college. Within the first week of launching we had gotten 400 people from our school to sign up, within a month we had a couple thousand members, and by the end of the first year we had over a million users already.
The platform kept growing and eventually became more of a dating site as Facebook and Myspace gained steam. Just as I graduated college, we sold myYearbook to QuePassa and it became MeetMe. I worked there in product management and marketing for several years until I decided to start Readercoin. My brother and sister are still really involved with MeetMe.
Kasey: What was it like to own a company at 16?
Dave: It was such a learning experience and it lead to a lot of excitement! We got to work with lots of smart people who taught us so much, since my sister and I were 15 and 16 we had to learn everything on the go and we quickly learned that google was our friend. Meanwhile, people were interested in our story as teen founders. I got to be interviewed by several business publications and presented at major events like the World Knowledge Forum. I got to travel all over doing press and speaking at conferences and winning awards.
It was fun to work with my siblings as well. My sister and I shared an office and always played pranks on each other. She would hide my chair around the office and I would turn her desk upside-down or cover it in plastic wrap. We got along really well and would always try to find ways to make each other laugh.
Kasey: How did you come up with the idea for Readercoin?
Dave: After my brother Geoff wrote his book – Veronica and the Volcano – he ran into the issue of not having an audience outside of his family and friends. He took all the traditional routes that self-published authors go – he spent over $5,000 on giveaways both in print and ebooks – but struggled to find people who would actually read the book and leave a review.
We came up with the idea to incentivize reading through an app that would get readers to read new books, solving discovery for authors who otherwise don’t know how to find people to read their book. Within 3 months on readercoin, we were able to find thousands of readers for Geoff's book. Since then he’s grown his own audience and gotten great critic reviews and awards.
Kasey: What kinds of stuff do you do as CEO?
Dave: We’re still growing, so it’s just a lot of reaching out right now to get people interested and stuff like that.
I represent the company and pretty much do everything – working with developers, answering customer support questions, and trying to find more authors. My favorite part is talking to authors and seeing them get excited about using the app and connecting with readers.
Kasey: Why are you getting personal branding photos?
Dave: I haven’t had new photos taken since I graduated college and they were all for my old company. I need new business cards and am creating a new blog with author interviews so it’s the perfect time to get new photos for my new business.
I love your photos I saw online and wanted a very specific photo shoot to get many different types of images. You helped me find several great locations and incorporated all the elements I was looking for.
Kasey: What are you most excited about right now?
Dave: Seeing reader coin grow! Watching more and more members join, it’s exciting to see them comment on books telling authors that they love their work. I’m traveling to conferences and events to meet new authors and spread awareness.
I’m also excited to start doing interviews with Readercoin authors soon and creating a podcast. Asking what inspired them to write their book, experiences with their readers, and what it’s like to watch their audience grow.
Kasey: What tips do you have for up and coming entrepreneurs?
Dave: Sometimes I’ve had an idea in my head for years. The most important thing is to start building. If you don’t pounce on it right away, someone else will. You kind of have to take a risk. There are a lot cheaper ways to build things than you may think. You can find freelance developers all over the globe online. There’s always a cheaper way to get things done – do the proof of concept first and then you can find funding and make it better.
Kasey: What are some other local Colorado businesses you support?
Dave: Trident Café and bookstore is a favorite in Boulder. It’s a great spot to come get some work done while enjoying delicious coffee. I also love Jax Fish House next door for oysters.
Dave Cook Readercoin
Available for download for Android or iOS
I'm Kasey, and I'm a different kind of photographer. I work with (often camera shy) entrepreneurs and business owners to help them stand out and attract the people they WANT to work with. If you'd like to learn more, shoot me a message. I'd love to talk with you.
Or, check out my personal branding photo gallery to see more.
Sending good vibes and love!
- Kasey, Fractured Frame Photography