Setting goals with Scott Friedberg of Gilded Social
Scott Friedberg is Founder and CEO of Gilded Social, helping businesses engage their customers with social media and digital signage, and its own TV network.
Like many entrepreneurs (or, at least, the ones I know), Scott can pinpoint the moment that started him on the path of entrepreneurship — plowing snow in his neighborhood.
It’s always rather odd frustrating to hear someone speak about their success, only to gloss over the step-by-step process to getting there — the dilemmas and debates in entrepreneurship. I appreciated Scott’s storytelling style, down to the image queues he used in his on-screen presentation. When an image of Orthodox Jewish children with a snowplow appear on the screen, I wondered, “where is this going?” and laughed. His presentation was informative, but was also honest and playful. It was clear he didn’t take things too seriously — he just likes to innovate.
This was later confirmed when asked how he balanced school, work and life: “I learned that you can’t do all three; you have to pick two,” Scott said, “So I picked work…and life.”
This resonated with me because I’m in the same position; I’m starting a new business while in school, and I also trying to “have a life.” In fact, I decided to pick up bass guitar last month, and now have weekly lessons added to my schedule. That said, I believe Friedberg’s success can be attributed to both his drive and goal-setting, as well as his work-life balance. While he may not have known what business he wanted to start when he entered Syracuse University for his undergraduate program, he entered knowing “business” was his focus. In fact, his first idea was to install video advertisements in public bathrooms, just above toilets. We all laughed, as did Scott. He pushed on, looking for the next idea.
As one student in the class said, “I think he just likes the hustle of it all.”
Hard work is clearly rewarded; his grades may have been mediocre, but the launch of his business while at SU secured him a free ride to a Masters program. I always say, “When you’re passionate about something, other people want to join you,” and it’s clear that Scott’s passion attracted the right attention. In fact, this passion is what attracted his first business partner, the programmer of the initial Gilded Social TV software.
I was impressed to learn that, when Scott finally started setting business goals just three years ago, he achieved them, “Set goals higher than you think you can reach — you’ll push yourself to achieve them.”
I think that, quite often, people don’t think their startups are worth much time or investment, or that they don’t have the capacity or skills to achieve higher goals. The low goals they set, reach and may attain don’t allow their business to grow. Therefore, many of these businesses either fail or turn into a “side hustle.” If you’re going to invest in yourself to the point of launching a business, push yourself to make the business succeed.
Scott shared that it was a business partner who developed the first iteration of software. The articles and videos I’ve seen attribute the Gilded Social software to Scott as a person, as opposed to his company as a whole. Even the 2015 Syracuse New Times article “Gilded Social: The Social Display Network” on Scott’s background doesn’t mention a partner who created the software. I appreciated the honesty, and wondered if this was going to be mentioned or attributed in the future.
It’s incredible to see someone follow a path and be where he’s at, today — someone the same age as me, having left a graduate program as I’m sitting in this class, watching him speak. His story gave me a little push and plenty of useful advice as I move into my own venture.