Starting a Company and Making Honest Media

In March of 2018, Piper co-founders Hannah Phillips and Aaron Watson sat down to film the first episode of #PiperAnswers, a YouTube segment where they answer questions submitted by  viewers about the company, how it’s going, how it works, etc. 

At Piper we are all about transparency, and #PiperAnswers was designed to maintain that philosophy.

This episode takes place two weeks after the launch of Piper Creative.

“How much time did it take before your launch to get ready to launch?” ~ Solomon Hanes, @solomonhanes

According to Hannah, it only took about two weeks of preparation before the launch of Piper. Aaron first pitched Hannah on the idea just over six months before this episode was filmed, but his main intention at that time were to see if she would understand the concept. Just over a month before filming this episode, Aaron officially asked her to be his co-founder.

“I thought it [the company] was going to happen, but I had no idea that he was going to ask me to be a part of it.”

Even though she asked Aaron to give her a week to think about the offer, Hannah knew the second he asked her, she wanted to say yes.

In terms of speed when starting Piper, Aaron says, “My mentality is kind of like the Facebook ‘Move fast and break things.’ You can see from some of our episodes that we don’t have everything scripted out and planned...the instinct to move quickly has served us well so far.” 

That being said, Aaron expressed that the important thing to keep in mind is that between the two of them, he and Hannah had three years of background from Aaron’s podcasts, Hannah’s artwork, and social media. This made it feel like they were already starting on 3rd base.

“As you’re putting together this vlogging experience, what are you finding to be the major obstacle for businesses to overcome to adopt vlogging?” ~ Paul McNeal, @_CryptoCurator 

When he first started Piper, Aaron thought there was going to be more of a problem with people not being comfortable with being the face of something, but this turned out not to be the case.

For many smaller businesses and startups, it’s the cost that prevents them from entering the vlogging space. Piper usually approaches people who will understand what we do.

At the time of this episode, Piper had several clients who had created the content but weren’t doing anything with it, and Aaron says that they just needed to take that final step of accountability and create something with it. 

“Particularly when creating content around your brand, you might not necessarily have accountability to anyone for that stuff, and that’s what allows it to fall by the wayside.”

“How can you avoid going down and to the right and creating deceptive content?” ~ Michael Van Ness,

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The next viewer drew up a 2x2 grid in which the y-axis represents character and integrity and the x-axis represents the quality of work. He wants to know how you can avoid creating “deceptive content” which represents low character and integrity but higher quality of work. 

As Hannah puts it, “We said from day one that we want to keep it authentic, genuine, and transparent. We’ve seen with several YouTubers that they’ll leave out things, parts of their day...we film everything that we do, even if it’s just us sitting on our computers. That’s not entertaining, but it’s the reality.”

We will never be perfect. We are trying and making an effort to be more transparent, but the way we stay in that upper right corner is by committing to the idea that over time, we are still going to be doing this and people are going to watch these videos and be able to tell if we kept it honest.

When keeping it transparent, it is important to understand that not all of your clients have made that same commitment. Even if we have a meeting where a client rips us apart and points out every single problem in our business, we acknowledge that if we post that footage, it could impact their image as well as ours.

written by @Annie__Volk

BlogAnnie Volk