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Greg Isenberg's path to creating online communities and building products for them
How he's navigated digital marketing, startups, and empowering communities
Today, we are bringing you the story of Greg Isenberg. He’s built digital experiences for brands like Microsoft and FedEx. He has also served as a growth advisor for tech giants like TikTok and Reddit. Currently, he runs Late Checkout, an agency and studio for community-based products. Throughout his journey, Greg has amassed 300k+ Twitter followers with whom he regularly shares his thoughts and advice.
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From a college student to a successful start-up founder
While still at McGill University, Greg was already fascinated by the power of creating digital experiences. Before he even graduated, he served as a Partner and Chief Marketing Officer for StressLimitDesign, a product design start-up that helped companies step up their digital marketing game. Being responsible for business development, product and marketing strategy, Greg quickly became a digital marketing expert.
After brief stops at Wall Street Survivor, the world’s most used stock market simulator, and Stock-Trak, the web’s leading financial simulation for college-level investment classes, Greg channeled his experience into his first company, a video discovery app called 5by. Within a year, 5by became one of the biggest short video streaming apps, had won Google’s best app award, and was acquired by StumbleUpon in 2013.
Exit after exit
Post acquisition, Greg continued his work on 5by, but decided that his calling was somewhere else. In 2016, he founded Islands, a modern group chat that first focused on college campuses and soon spread far beyond that. While he was building his second successful company, word about his success spread, which is how he ended up serving as a board member for HERB, the largest cannabis community in the world. This allowed Greg to gain exposure to top-tier companies in a budding new industry: cannabis ecommerce.
However, Greg’s focus was still on Islands. After years of dedication and hard work, Greg managed a successful exit in 2019, selling Islands to WeWork which helped Greg make a name for himself. While at WeWork, he started sharing his knowledge and insights from building several startups, which helped him grow his online presence to 336,000 Twitter followers and a LinkedIn community of almost 60,000 people.
Putting people first
Today, Greg’s expertise is in high demand. He has advised both TikTok and Reddit on marketing and product strategy, and offers his skill set to a broader range of clients through Late Checkout, which he founded in 2020.
By focusing on community based products, or CBPs, Late Checkout has established itself as a successful marketing agency that provides services for the likes of Fortnite, Dropbox, and OpenSea. However, he wanted to also serve startups, not just big companies. That’s why he co-created 'Where it happens,' a podcast that tackles important issues in today's start-up ecosystem, and attracts tens of thousands of listeners every month.
Greg, who has extensive experience in digital marketing and product strategy, believes that Late Checkout, along with his team of entrepreneurs, can contribute to the development of the next generation of digital products that are centered around communities. Instead of relying on traditional marketing methods, internet-based companies are increasingly drawn to community-based products.
Although Greg initially focused on assisting large corporations with their digital strategies, he made a conscious decision to strive for a future where everyone has equal opportunities to create and promote products. Greg's journey demonstrates that prioritizing online communities not only enhances your personal brand but also empower others to do so too.
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