DevReady PodcastDevReady Podcast E29 – Suits and Sneakers: Strategy and Technology Combined with Anne Miles

In this episode, startup founder Anne Miles talks about her journey with her company, Suits and Sneakers — where she started, what has worked and what hasn’t, and where she’s headed in the future. The name “Suits and Sneakers” comes from the essence of her business: the combination of strategic people like project managers (suits) and the technology, creative, and production people (sneakers).

Suits and Sneakers was birthed so that advertising and marketing specialists don’t get lost in the shuffle and was, at the beginning, intended to be a directory. Through a series of events, Anne ended up setting up a format so that people could tell her directly what they need and she has been doing manual matching since then. Anne talks about where her company fits in the market; somewhere between a directory and a PR agency with hands-on services.

The three discuss the advantages and disadvantages of investors and Anne shares why she hesitates to have them and is instead leaning toward an advisory board. They also talk about the pros and cons of WordPress, how to use technology in light of your customers, beta testing, and IP rules.

At the end, Andrew and Anthony ask Anne what advice she would give herself two years ago and they provide a bit of their own advice as well.

Topics Covered:

  • How Anne got started and Suits and Sneakers’ background
  • What services does Suits and Sneakers provide?
  • Where Anne’s company fits in the marketplace
  • Lessons learned from an accident when Anne created the company
  • Why Anne hesitates to have investors
  • The advantages and disadvantages of WordPress and why Anne chose it
  • Technology is a tool, but you still have to know the market
  • Beta testing
  • IP rules and who owns what
  • What Anne would tell herself two years ago
    1) Have someone tech-savvy draw up the technology parts

2) Seek advice upfront
3) Don’t use crowd-source platforms
4) Put more into marketing

  • Advice from Andrew and Anthony

Key Quotes:

  • “I originally built the whole thing because the best people in marketing and advertising were just getting lost.” (2:53)
  • “Sometimes life happens for us so you can learn something from that, too.” (12:47)
  • “Once you have a base you can start making those little improvements… You don’t need everything to start with. Sometimes you don’t even know what you need until you start using it.” (15:23)
  •  “Good marketing actually will fail the business very fast if the product’s not right or the positioning’s not right.” (18:11)
  • “There are good investors out there that have great networks that won’t step all over you that will want to basically support you.” (29:38)
  • “Technology… is a tool, it’s an enabler, it’s a scaler, it allows you to get to more people. But if you don’t know who you’re getting to, the market you’re getting to, then it’s not going to do anything for you.” (39:11)
  • “It’s another way to think about technology, continually evolve it with your customers.” (42:11)
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