How I Arrived At My Big Idea

Rodney Williams, CEO and Founder of LISNR, leads one of the most disruptive companies in mobile connectivity and the Internet of Things. In this column, Rodney will share his experiences leaving a Fortune 500 company to build his company from the ground up in the Midwest, provide his perspective on startup leadership and give tips and tricks to help other entrepreneurs starting their journey.

In order to get to my big idea, which eventually became LISNR, I had a lot of practice generating big ideas for other people. At P&G, I was a brand manager for Pampers, meaning I oversaw all aspects of the brand and product and used technology to solve problems. Sometimes, I had to create my own solutions that I patented.  By the time I was 27, I had 3 patents under my belt and won 9 awards, including the AdAge 40 Under 40 for my work with P&G.

Once I knew how to replicate my success with technology and patents, I continued to look for opportunities. Most marketers know by now that consumers are actively avoiding ads that are not shown at the right place or time. I wanted to figure out how to make advertising more effective. More than anything, an advertising effort is best received by consumers in a contextually relevant time and place. Figuring out how to achieve that perfect mix is the holy grail of marketing.

My aha moment came one day at lunch, during a routine, intense brainstorm. I wrote down three pages defining my idea, each one building on the other. “Sound can do more” became “morse code you can’t hear” became “”Sound you can’t hear, connecting to consumers where they are”. Reading those pages now makes me laugh – knowing what I do now, most of the ideas I wrote are still defining features of LISNR.

Eventually, I arrived around how to conceptually bring the idea to life as a business. Use inaudible sound waves to send content to fans’ phones through music & live events.Conceptually, people enjoy when they get a exclusive content or personal message from their favorite artist based on their listen wherever they are. I felt I could bring a strong value proposition to the music industry and investors would resonate with my approach within this market.

The same day, I emailed Chris Ostoich, the only “startup” person I knew, and pitched him my idea. We went back and forth, fleshing out the idea as I explained it. Once Chris understood the concept, he thought this was a huge idea as well.  We always knew this idea was bigger than music but  in the early day music made people understand what we were up to.

Read the full story at Forbes.