Keeping Small Businesses Competitive through Sharing Best Practices of Global Leaders

Todd Horton’s BIO

Todd Horton

Todd is the co-founder/CEO of KangoGift. Previously, he held a variety of roles at Monster Worldwide where he was the marketing director for JobKorea in Seoul, Korea and helped Monster enter Turkey, Russia, Mexico, and Brazil. Todd was also one of the earliest employees of Salary.com which went public in 2007.

Products Todd has brought to market have won many accolades and awards from leading consumer and trade press. Todd has a B.A. degree from Boston College, and an MBA from Yale.

To learn more about gift giving through KangoGift or to start micro-gifting your products/services through KangoGift, click the following link:

KangoGift is the premiere Mobile Gifting platform used to quickly, and easily, send gifts as text message (SMS) vouchers to any cell phone.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

1. What prompted you to start your business?

Todd: I was living in Korea where I learned about the concept of mobile gifting. For example, if a co-worker did something great I would send a little recognition gift such as a latte in the form of a mobile gift certificate. I found the idea of instant recognition and micro-gifting so powerful that I moved back to Boston and started KangoGift.

 

2. For most successful entrepreneurs, there is no typical day so give us a sample of your schedule from start to finish.

Todd: I love that I don’t have a typical day. The one constant thing is that I’m always talking with people including our team, customers, prospects, and industry peers.

Morning – Check in with our technology team (Simona and Vilem) and then catch up on messages. We are in the process of expanding our business to Europe so I focus on that work first.

Afternoon – I love networking and meeting interesting people. A few times a week, I try to meet someone out of my normal circle to learn what they do and see if we can collaborate. I then usually meet a customer.

Evening – Exercise and dinner with my wife. Then I usually work from 9pm to 11pm to prepare for the next day.

 

3. What are your “can’t live without” apps on your desktop/cell phone?

Todd:

Social Media — Facebook, Twitter
Fun – Angry Birds and Carbuzz
Work – Google’s Apps, Evernote

 

4. What are your tricks for time management?

Todd: Focus on one thing at a time. I make a list each day and then remove about 80% of it to ensure I only concentrate on the most important things.

 

5. Best advice received when you started your career?

Todd: Understand who “your people” are and focus your business on making them happy. My intention is to help people say “thank you” and “celebrate the small wins” for everyday occasions. Gift givers are my people.

 

6. Given the current economic climate, how has your strategy for building awareness of your work changed for the short-term and long-term?

Todd: In the short term, our strategy is to grow via word of mouth from our current customers. By focusing so much on our corporate customers we’ve been able to generate a strong referral business.

Longer term, we are focusing on becoming thought leaders in employee recognition and in ways HR departments can use peer recognition to foster an engaged workforce.

 

7. What’s been your proudest achievement as such an immensely accomplished Entrepreneur?

Todd: My proudest achievement is definitely around the team and customer community we’ve assembled. I am fortunate to work with great people and together we are having a great time building a business that lasts.

I am also proud of our business results including being named by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the “Most Brilliant Ideas for 2010”. That external validation really strengthened our resolve to promote micro gifting.

 

8. What are some of the ways that you achieve balance in your life?

Todd: I really believe in the notion that we create our own luck. For me, balance comes from having the self-awareness that I am doing the best I can every day.

Exercise is the way I take a step back from the workday and achieve mental balance.

 

9. Your top 3 book recommendations for our readers (and why?)

Todd:

  • The Great Railway Bazaar” by Paul Theroux, One of the greatest pieces of travel writing that offers a glimpse into the way people interact around the world.
  • The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Worth revisiting every few years to consider the things that motivate some people.
  • Almost any biography. I am fascinated by the journeys great people take and draw from their experiences.

 

10. If you had an exceptional month and earned double of your average month, what (if anything) would you spend it on?

Todd: I’d save it for a rainy day fund.

 

11. What are some of your most rewarding charitable involvements and why?

Todd: I receive the biggest reward when interacting with young people who are considering entrepreneurship or working in the technology industry.

 

12. Who has been the most influential person to you as you’ve advanced in your career?

Todd: I believe everyone can benefit from having a coach or mentor. Bill Warner who founded Avid Technology has been very influential in helping me build our business from the heart.

 

13. What’s your advice to someone interested in entrepreneurship?

Todd: Go for it! Entrepreneurship takes many forms beyond starting a business and I encourage everyone to think about ways they can inspire and motivate others by being creative in their everyday lives.

I also advise talking with people who have “been there and done that”. Here in Boston, there is a tremendous community of entrepreneurs willing to give advice and help you kickstart your project.

Social Media For KangoGift:

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