For our second-year anniversary, we asked the CEO of Clapper 10 questions about his journey from being an avid entrepreneur to creating his first startup. Join us through this interview to learn more about what it takes to be a CEO and the future of Clapper in the next five years.
We present to you, Edison Chen, CEO of Clapper.
Tell me about yourself, share a little bit of your background?
My name is Edison Chen. I am the founder of Clapper and I am continuously building my passion for innovation. I was a student at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and have many years of experience in startups, product management, and strategy consulting. My expertise is in building mobile tech and products.
What was the first job you ever had?
I had multiple jobs when I was in school, but my first official job was working as a strategy consultant for a company called Gemini Consulting in the DFW area. I worked there for a couple months and then I joined Citi Bank, working as an IT Business Consultant.
Clapper has grown exponentially in just two years. How was the idea for Clapper conceived?
When I was working as a General Manager in 5Miles, I was leading an Auto vehicle business in 5Miles. I had the opportunity to know and connect with a lot of the car dealers and blue-collar workers. There, I got to meet this demographic of adults and when TikTok became famous in the US I was very interested to get to know the app. I wanted to understand why it had gained so much fame and traction. It was then that I realized that most of the TikTok users were very young and often teenagers. There were a lot of lipsync style videos. I saw on the news how for older generations, it was very hard to use TikTok because of trolls and bullies. It was hard for two completely different generations to co-exist on the same social media platform.
The majority of social media platforms were targeting Gen Z generations, probably venture capital and Wallstreet guys think that younger generations have great potential and they want to invest in these companies. I read an article from MIT and it explained how in the current tech industry a lot of older generations are being ignored by social media companies and they cannot get into the fast developments of technology.
I realize that the older generations also wanted to enjoy the benefits of short-form videos, monetization, and Livestream features. So, I wanted to create a platform that served this demographic.
As the CEO of Clapper, what does a normal day in your life look like?
As you may know, I am not a control freak style CEO. I think for me, part of being a CEO is hiring very talented people and letting them do their job and create some magic, so I can spend most of my time thinking about the strategy. Another important part of my job is financing. I spend a lot of time talking to investors and potential partnerships to make sure we have enough funds to pay for product developments. In the morning, I check all the emails and important messages that I need to give my feedback. I have some meetings with the team and some vendors and partnerships clients. After work, I tried to do some exercise. I play tennis or basketball and spend time with my family.
You once said “If it was easy to be an entrepreneur, everybody would do it”. What is the most important thing people need to keep in mind if they want to create their own business?
The most important thing is the ability to execute. People have so many ideas. My friends, family, and partners have so many ideas. When they pitch their ideas I take it very seriously and give them some feedback. Some ideas are durable and I tell them to give them a try. However, most of the time they’re just ideas and they never do it. I think 95% of people just have ideas but they never execute them. After a few months or years, I check back with them and they never started. The key to being an entrepreneur is to be able to execute your ideas. If I have an idea I do a rapid test to see if it’s going to work. If it fails, you’re still going to learn from the experience. 95% never get started, you need to be that 5%.
Why makes Clapper special compared to other projects you have created?
Clappe is the first official startup I’ve created. Before, I had a lot of side projects, but Clapper is the first official business I’ve created by myself. It’s not easy but I think it’s meaningful. I try to stay with the community to get their feedback and find ways to improve. I think is very special because everyone is involved and we are working together to try and make this platform better. This gives me the passion to keep improving. I keep hearing stories about creators making friends and building their community and hosting meetups. They were all strangers and because of Clapper now they’re a family. That’s the most special thing about Clapper.
What is the most important lesson you’ve ever learned on the job?
One is transitioning from focusing on tactical execution to more proactive strategic thinking as you take more responsibilities. I think that’s the fundamental transition that startup founders and early-term executives need to make when you are a smaller company that’s just starting out. But over time, if you are not thinking about the future if you are not thinking about how to navigate the constantly shifting landscape, you are going to end up back on your heel and reacting to your environment rather than playing your own games.
Another lesson I learned is that it is very important to coach people and create a value system. When the startup is a smaller organization, you just gotta get it done. But as it continues to scale, it is obviously imperative that key leaders can start doing those things themselves, and even more importantly, they are capable of coaching people on their team. Create an environment in the workplace where more experienced employees pass on their wisdom and take the time to engage in valuable dialogue with less-experienced employees. That’s how you effectively manage your team and truly scale your organization.
How do you see Clapper in 2 years, what are your goals and expectations?
My long-term goal is to use technology to connect everyday people by growing Clapper into the best short-form video and Livestream platform in the world, with more than 100 million users in the next 5 years. Secondly, expanding Clapper into different countries and also develop features to support small business owners. I also want to develop more features for creators to monetize and give them a better life using the most updated technology and empowering the local businesses instead of global giants.
In the next 5 to 10 years the tech industry will change with the development of VR/AR technology. So for Clapper, we don’t want to lose ourselves in the next waves of technology innovations. Currently, we are testing blockchain technology to see how we can improve the creator economy for our community. We will give more information on this very soon.
How would you pitch Clapper to a creator who has never used the app before?
I would tell the creator that Clapper is a short-form video and Livestream platform where creators’ content is seen, heard, and valued – which is also our slogan. Also, emphasize that Clapper is not about videos becoming viral, but about building a community and making friendships. We are a social media community that wants to get everyone to connect. So if that creator wants to engage more and build a tight community they should join Clapper.
Finally, What’s next for Clapper in the short-term future? Anything the community should be excited about?
In the short term, we want to scale Clapper to 20 million American users for next year. We want to expand to more countries like the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia or Ireland. Very soon we want to fly over there, host local meetups with creators, and get involved with a local business.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Clapper’s CEO. Join us for our birthday celebration today, July 22 at 5pm CST for a special two-hour Livestream.