YEC member Cooper Harris is the CEO and founder of Klickly, an AI-powered “commerce-engine.” Though Klickly is her second company, a number of people still know Cooper from her first career: as a successful actor, appearing in hit TV shows and series such as The Young and the Restless.
But technology and innovation were inherent in Cooper’s DNA. Her grandmother was one of the first female coders working in the intelligence corps during WWII, and her father was an entrepreneur. So Cooper’s self-professed “tech nerd” brain led her to the business world, and this, she says, is what she really loves.
“In one frustrating-turned-fateful moment,” Cooper says, “I was trying to buy a pair of shoes on my phone, but – after navigating through too many pages –– I abandoned the cart (like so many people do). This sparked the idea of Klickly — a 100% commission-based ad platform that allows customers to purchase directly within brand marketing messages.”
Now, only three years after its launch, Klickly has multiple accolades under its belt. The company was named “Innovator of the Year” by Information Age, as a “Top Thought Leader” in data by Adobe at Cannes Lions, and was recognized on USA Today’s “Best Leadership in Los Angeles” list. The company is blazing forward, having recently completed another round of funding and developing a partnership with Magneto (an Adobe company). As Cooper says, “What started out as a way to increase efficiency in digital has become so much more.”
Below, Cooper shares her thoughts on motivation, working on the cutting edge, and focus.
I think you can either measure success by the money you’re making or the impact you’re having. Fortunately for us, I can now saying we’re doing both at once.
My father, who was a serial entrepreneur himself, always said, “If you’re going to do something, do it with a purpose and because you love it. Don’t just do it to make money.” If it means something and is impactful, and you believe in it, then — regardless of whether you make money — it’s always going to be a win.
For me, I’m most motivated by changing an industry. If in 10 years, people google “distributed commerce” or “in-context purchases”, and Wikipedia comes up with: “Klickly was at the forefront of this industry and helped create a totally new way to buy products and power sales online,” I will consider it a success.
I’m deeply excited to change – and hopefully improve – the status quo.
On Working at the Cutting Edge
One of the coolest aspects of my work is working with top, fast-growing brands before they become famous household names.
We’ve worked with some well-known brands (whom you’d recognize!) before they “popped.” One sleep-tech mattress company was on our platform as they were growing; another science-driven fashion company has used us to grow and recently raised a huge funding round; another brand was recently acquired!
It’s also exciting, and totally surreal, to be working with investors and advisors who are some of the leading experts alive today. It’s totally mind-boggling — and inspiring — to get to learn from top brains at Google, Visa, Stripe, and so on, on a regular basis. #nerdcred
I am passionate about having a laser focus in business. You can’t boil the ocean. I now religiously kill any project/feature that isn’t part of our core offering and our well-vetted adjacencies.
The best way to stay focused is pick the thing that’s going best and devote 90% of the business focus to this channel. At the same time, test a few vetted (and sensible) adjacent ideas that enhance your company. Perhaps your core strength is offering brands a risk-free way to advertise — if so, dedicate the vast majority of your resources to scaling/enhancing this. At the same time, carve out 10% of your resources to perhaps test adding an enhanced creative suite (for an extra fee) for your brands. Or test offering more in-depth data cuts. But (probably) don’t go launch a security product or, say, crypto kitties.
I’ll say it again: you can’t boil the ocean. Shiny-object-syndrome is where startups go to die.
Water with apple cider vinegar. The vinegar kills sugar cravings, so I naturally eat cleaner and am no longer distracted by peaks and valleys in my blood sugar levels that can lead to lack of focus or fatigue.
What are you reading right now?
App you can’t do without?
Lyft. I no longer drive — best way to streamline my days / work
Place you’d most like to visit?
Monet, Klimpt, and Maxfield Parrish (because he’s just so darn optimistic)
Best day of your life?
Today, whatever day that is