Featured on Aug 05, 2011
"You get the right guys to play the right things at the right time and you got a motherfucker. - Miles Davis "
Gregory Galant is the CEO of Sawhorse Media, which runs a network of products that make it easy to find good people on the real time web including the Shorty Awards, Listorious, Venture Maven and Muck Rack. To help fellow entrepreneurs Greg hosts Venture Voice, a podcast interview series with top founders. Previously, Greg was an associate producer at CNN.com where he analyzed the latest trends in citizens' media. BusinessWeek named him one of the "Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs of 2010".
- Title: co-founder, Sawhorse Media and The Shorty Awards
- Age: 28
- Location: Noho
- Contact: @gregory
How did you and Lee Semel come to create Sawhorse Media?
As Twitter grew in late 2008 we noticed that people were tweeting about different topics like politics and sports, yet there was no easy way to figure how who was doing a good job covering any given topic.
We didn't know who was good at Twitter either, so we decided to find out in by launching the Shorty Awards -- for best short content creators on social media-- and told people to nominate each other with a tweet like "I nominate @wearenytech for a #technology Shorty Award..." We meant it as more of a joke and didn't have any plans to put on an actual award ceremony. Within 24 hours of launching the website, "Shorty Awards" became the top trending term on Twitter due to the virility of nomination process and the game mechanics of our web app. We dropped everything and put together the first ceremony in exactly two months, which was a huge hit. Since then it's grown a lot and expanded to Facebook, Foursquare and Tumblr. The 3rd annual Shorty Awards, in March 2011 was hosted by the Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi with winners and guests including Conan O'Brien, Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Stiller, Kiefer Sutherland and Neil Patrick Harris.
After the Shorty Awards we realized there was something to this social media thing. We focused Sawhorse Media on helping users find the right people to connect with on the social web through several products we've built including Muck Rack (tracks journalists based on their social media content) and Listorious (a search engine for social media profiles).
You’re featured in BusinessWeek’s article, Startups Find Room to Run on Crowded Social Web, which praises Sawhorse and the Shorty Awards. The article also makes mention of the potential risks of “riding the success of Facebook and Twitter,” stating, “Alterations in a social network's popularity can compel startups that write applications or features for it to change plans.” What do you think about these risks?
There are many risks when starting a new venture, and I think platform risk is often preferable to the terrifying risk of no one using what you build. Microsoft's MS-DOS relied exclusively on IBM in the early days, Paypal was once mostly a tool to pay people on eBay, and Google got much of its initial usage through Yahoo! The key is to move beyond being reliant on just one platform, as we're doing by incorporating more social platforms into our products.
You’ve written several blog posts based around movies. What’s your favorite film?
Aside from attending the cinema and writing limerick odes to GeoCities, what do you like to do during your free time around NYC?
Free jazz in Washington Square Park, free water taxi rides to Red Hook, free kayaking at Pier 40... I love this city.