LOOK LIVE: Scooter's Playlist
Scooter Taylor is a graduate of Morehouse College and the co-founder of LookLive. With backers like Paul Judge and graduate of the prestigious Y Combinator Accelerator, Looklive is poised to be the number-one place to discover and shop for the latest fashion worn by your favorite celebrities. Continue reading for Scooter’s incredible story and the music that guided him through his journey.
“I can’t just do anything regular. If you throw me into something, I would never just stay in my box. When I want to do something, I’m all in. You couldn’t just tell me your job at this Bar-taco is just to clean the floors. Like I think by the end of the week I would find a way to get on the marketing team and figure out ways to move the business forward. College was like that. I think this is how I got into water wars”
When you got to college, what kind of student were you ?
In college, I was a bit checked out. I think I got a 2.7 freshman year. One thing about me though is I can’t just do anything regular. If you throw me into something, I would never just stay in my box. When I want to do something, I’m all in. You couldn’t just tell me your job at this Bar-Taco is just to clean the floors. Like I think by the end of the week I would find a way to get on the marketing team and figure out ways to move the business forward.
College was like that. I think this is how I got into Water Wars. It was like every organization I was in was poorly run -as I’m still learning to run an organization now haha. When we had the idea for Water Wars I had an advisor that was like either you’re gonna do it or you’re not. So I just started it. The goal behind Water Wars was to raise money for clean water in Sub-Saharan Africa. I asked if we could break a world record of the world's largest water balloon fight? How do we have 12,000 students throw 300,000 water balloons? But let’s do it all for charity. Everyone that participates donates at least 5 bucks so we can raise 60 grand to build wells in Sub-Saharan Africa. On one end we tried to build marketing to make this water balloon fight, and on the other hand we tried to figure out other non-profit stuff and made a lot of head way. It was literally just google docs and ideas and researching shit.
I felt inspired. I think it's interesting trying to figure out how to find that switch again. As you get older, you just learn more, more stuff piles on your child-like innocence. When I was doing these things when I was younger with making Apple product review videos to post on Youtube, I had no concept of being a millionaire or a serial entrepreneur or formal business building. I was just doing stuff that I like to do and people were gravitating towards it. Now as you start to learn what an investor is, and balance sheets, it could really start to stifle not only your creativity, but your innocence. Like a child has like no fear, it doesn’t know what it’s afraid of. A kid has no idea he/she can’t be something until someone tells them they can’t or something happens. Like I’m still a kid, I’m 25. How do I keep out the jadedness or doubt, and get back into that mindset even though I have responsibilities. It might seem a little reckless or childish to have that optimism, like I can do this, but nah we gotta figure it out.
How did you balance your time with this and and school ?
It was a joke “Scooter dated Water Wars” Like I would be at pageants on my laptops. There's numerous pictures of me sleep on my laptop. I was skipping so many classes man. I didn’t even know some of my professors, I didn’t do office hours, I just couldn’t get myself to go. Like yesterday I was up in the executive boardroom of a radio station trying to get them to sponsor us. School seemed very random at the time, but now I use like every accounting principle like I ever heard. When there's legal stuff, I’m like fuck, I did take a business law class and that was where I was supposed to learn this stuff. But it’s definitely all vital if you take it seriously. But startups for sure are very time consuming. You can’t be one foot in the pool and one foot out. I think also its like because its your life. Like you have to go to sleep and wake up with your decisions. So while you have to value some people’s opinion and their advice and wisdom, whoever said you have to go work at some whatever company? At the end of the day they get to go do whatever the fuck they want to do and you have to go live with this decision that you may not have wanted to make.
So it’s how do you keep that highest vision of yourself, in your mind? How do you believe it everyday, how do you not let anyone or anything deter you? Like yeah I’m here for now, but I’m going to still do that and I’m going to get there. I think too many people are like “I can’t get there, but I’ll end up here. And they’re all going to that place so I’ll just end up there too” and forget what you wanted to do. What was very transformative for me was reading The Alchemist before working at Yik Yak. It reminded me like yeah, there's no limits.
“… We were getting calls from people at Howard and FAMU like “Hey, we’re down to rent this charter bus to bring people down for the water fight, when could I sign up ?”
So we ended up failing at Water Wars twice. We had this philosophy from the start, that everything we raised has to go to clean water, were not taking anything. In hindsight, I had no concept of non-profit management fees and paying yourself. There was also a lot of logistical issues. We were trying to host it at Clark Atlanta and initially they agreed to it. So we went and built all this marketing and got materials. When it came down closer to April, we then got hit with campus police and public safety, we didn’t have a requisition, and a lot of logistics we were not detailed enough in. At this point were getting calls from people at Howard and FAMU like “Hey, we’re down to rent this charter bus to bring people down for the water fight, when could I sign up?” There was just some last minute workarounds like just do it at Morehouse and just make it smaller and I was like nah, that’s not what we want to do so we just postponed it. The second time we tried it, we tried to go more the sponsorship route, but just didn’t understand the time it takes to gets sponsors to come in. Money, resources, time, we just didn’t really execute it.
The way we were still able to help with clean water was through a couple of charities. Their idea was on your birthday, have people donate for clean water, and I tried it. We realized that just with people who kept up with the movement, we could raise money fairly quickly. I remember we were able to raise $3,000 in like 12 hours. People would call me like thank you for making me aware of this, I didn’t know it was a thing. I currently have hand drawn pictures from kids in Kenya who are saying thank you and that is really cool to me.
At the end of it, I think we did something bigger with just the water balloon fight. We still were able to help a bit with clean water, but a lot of my friends started executing their own ideas after this. People would tell me like “man you’re such a go getter and you’re on it”, and I think that's important. I’ve learned that whatever I do, like even with Looklive, it’s bigger than me.
How did you guys handle Marketing?
For marketing, I knew the basic flow of using social. Like you create content, post it on social, and the content drives back to the website for people to sign up. One thing I learned very early on was to let your data, insights, and research inform marketing. One thing about the water crisis was that there is people that walk up to 8 hours a day and spend most of their day walking to get water. They use a yellow container called a Jerry can. It weighs 44 pounds when full, and it's mostly dirty water. So very quickly we bought Jerry cans and just walked around with them. Then one day I had someone take a picture with them. I knew about this app where you can grey stuff out and only make the can yellow. Then we just had more people on campus take pictures with it. And I remember I posted the first day and immediately one of my friends knocked on my door and was like “I’m here to take my jerry can picture”.
“Its just about leveling up after each thing and not worrying about what’s next. Like I’m just going to do this, get really good at it, and 30 years from now I will be in the right place because I put the work in here.”
So then my phone was just buzzing all day and everyday of people and organizations looking to take their pictures. Then we thought to get in the newspaper at Georgia Tech and then the next week, lets flood the campus with these Jerry can pictures and get people to take pictures with them. So someone would read about it and then people would see about it on their Instagram feeds. I remember I went to Miami and people were like “yo that’s that water thing in Atlanta". It was extremely not scalable, like it won’t work for a billion people, but it would work for the first 10,000, lets just do it.
I would've never thought that I would be doing something like Looklive. At the time, Water Wars was my alpha and omega. It was in those transition moments I found how strong I am and how good I can be. So stepping out of Water Wars and entering Yik Yak I walked in there like I could really help you guys and we could do some cool things. Then stepping out of that entering Looklive, I was like yeah I know even more stuff. So just leveling up after each thing and not worrying about what’s next. I’m just going to do this, get really good at it, and 30 years from now I will be in the right place because I put the work in here.
I learned alot about startups just by doing Water Wars. Then I got an opportunity to work at Yik Yak, which was a blast. I saw them go from like 8 people to like 80. At the time they had no structure for what an intern would do. I was one of the first interns to even submit a W9. From previous experiences, I knew one on one meetings were huge. So I took it upon myself I wanted to meet everyone in the company. I sat with the CEO and the CTO, to the lead designer, and product manager. I would just ask questions like what's your role, how did you get to this position, and how does your role fit into the company? You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help you. From that I was able to learn the entire structure of the company and that was really important because although I'm on the marketing team, I understand product development, the engineers, and I know this idea has to go to the designer and then it comes to marketing. So overall just understand where my role is to hopefully make me more impactful.
I was there when they started having their troubles. One of the biggest things that was scary that I would try not to ever translate at Looklive is every Monday we would have a meeting and the founders would give off that they were not in trouble and we would meet like everything is well. So it was a blindside when they shut down shop.
The Start at Looklive
I knew some of the founders at Looklive and knew they had backers from guys like Paul Judge. One of the founders reached out to me one day and was like hey I seen what you did with Water Wars. You know marketing, come help us with marketing. In April, Yik Yak offered me a position to work for like $40 bucks an hour, so I did that. Then at the end of my first week, Cedric from Looklive calls me and is like “Hey, we got into Y Combinator, do you want to come”. It was tough. I was like I just signed this contract and I really enjoyed Yik Yak and didn’t want to let them down. I asked maybe can I meet y’all out there in like a month, and they was like nah were trying to sign paperwork and get everything in order. I don’t know why I did this, but right after I got off the phone with him I texted him like “If you can get it in writing, I’m in”. Then I was on the plane to Y Combinator.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re very very resourceful and you think about solutions. What's the quickest, fastest, cheapest way for me to get to this end goal. And it becomes a lifestyle. So I thought where do I want to be, and what the easiest way for me to get there. So the opportunity was promising with Looklive. They were going to Y Combinator, I enjoyed the people I was working with, the equity, it checked off a lot of boxes so I jumped right in.
What was the the experience at Y Combinator like ? People respect it as one of the premier startup accelerators, but what is it actually like to be there ?
I think Y Combinator is like working at Disney World. Disney Marketing is like it’s a magical place, but I imagine if you work there you’ll be like fuck this. So very quickly the magic would wear off. Sure they did a lot of dope things and cool companies, but today we have to make this work and get revenue for this company. There's a lot of hype here, but now we have to do something or else we just go back home like yeah we went, but now we have to go find jobs.
And they’re not magical. They’re very straight forward and to the point. Like why are you wasting time? You don’t have time. You know how I know you don’t have time ? Because you don’t have money. Like if we know 2 + 2 is 4, why are we contemplating about throwing a 5 in there. Very quickly we got that. What do you want to do? Did you do it? How fast did you do it ? And is it working? The best founders get things done quickly. I think Y Combinator put us in the flow of getting things done. Everyday you get up and you work on this thing from like 9-5, except it's more of like a 9-3am. You miss a lot of parties and events, but I think Y Combinator set us up for that. Granted, mine is a-little more exciting and because there's so much more I get to work on, and I feel connected to the problem, but I still have to put one foot in front of the other. And if you don’t understand that, then it's going to be a long journey.
Where do you see Looklive being in the future, and whats next ?
I see Looklive becoming the next big consumer product. I can see it becoming a household product where people are able to say “I Looklived it, and its apart of my routine of how I shop and curate my outfits”.