Daniel Rodic is the co-founder of Exact Media, a Toronto-based startup that works with retailers to better target online shoppers.
Right before the company’s busy holiday season last year, Rodic was looking for ways to improve his team’s efficiency when he came across a public Evernote detailing the complete routine of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, made public by the CEO himself.
Upon stumbling on this cache of data, Rodic decided to analyse it and find trends that might inform him and his team on how a top ecommerce exec spends his time.
“That’s truly where it started — more of a project internally — to figure out, you know, what does this guy do? And how did he build such a great company? How can we emulate that?” Rodic told Business Insider.
After they had finished analysing nearly a year’s worth of Hsieh’s schedule, the results “just seemed too interesting to keep to ourselves,” Rodic said. So he put together a Medium post with from his findings, as individuals running in startup circles are wont to do.
After the post was live, Rodic shared his Medium post with Will Young, the director of Zappos Labs, a division within Zappos.
Young, who also manages Hsieh’s fund VTF Capital,
told Business Insider that he was actually out for drinks with Hsieh when the Twitter notification popped up on his phone from Rodic. The two sat right then and there and read the article, laughing and impressed by Rodic’s insights.
A few weeks later, Rodic tweeted at Young again, this time inviting him to a networking dinner in San Francisco hosted by his California-based co-founder, Ray Cao. Young attended that dinner, and about a month later, VTF Capital ultimately decided to top off Exact Media’s first funding round.
“They have been able to achieve tremendous success bootstrapped and I think we really respect that, especially living in San Francisco,” Young told Business Insider. “We see all these people raising millions and millions of dollars before accomplishing much… I really loved [their] scrappiness.”
Young especially thought Daniel’s article was really thoughtful. “It wasn’t just clickbait to catch Tony or my attention,” he said. “It was researched very well, and when Daniel reached out over Twitter, I didn’t hesitate to connect.”