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Problem Solvers

Apr 16, 2018

Sean Dowdell loved tattoos, but he hated tattoo parlors. They were dirty, uninviting, downmarket, unprofessional and often sexist. So when he set aside his music career to start his own tattoo parlor, he needed to find a way to make a traditionally lowbrow product appeal to a high-end, but still edgy, audience. A decade...


Apr 9, 2018

What happens when your customers are willing to use your product, but they're not willing to pay for it? Answer: Your business model may be wrong. That's what Ilir Sela learned after launching Slice, a company that helps local pizzerias sell online. He found plenty of early customers, but they weren't paying their...


Apr 2, 2018

Patrick Llewellyn discovered that his design company, 99designs, was only fulfilling some of his customers' needs. He wanted to fill more, so he created a spinoff brand called Swiftly. But in doing so, he created a major problem for himself: He was stretching his resources too thin, and confusing customers about which...


Mar 26, 2018

When Daniel McCarthy cofounded the music licensing company Musicbed, he had a big idea: "I don’t want customers to just think about Musicbed when they think about music licensing. I want them to think about Musicbed when they’re trying to get inspired." Accomplishing that would require a lot of experimentation,...


Mar 19, 2018

The apparel startup Richer Poorer thought it had found the perfect deal: A fast-growing e-commerce brand wanted to buy it, offering an influx of cash and resources while leaving the founders in control. But after the deal went through, a nightmare scenario folded: The new parent company started to collapse. In this...