New York’s Silver Living Wants to Take on AARP

May 3, 2013

3:00 pm

Silver Living’s long-term, huge, crazy vision is to take the place of AARP: to be the biggest, most trusted brand for seniors.

To get there, the New York startup is focusing on detailed reviews of assisted living facilities. They actually send photographers to take photos and send researchers to interview residents; they check state inspection records and collect information from mystery shoppers.

Mike Cirello, who cofounded the site with Tal Ziv, shares his startup life story below.

Tech Cocktail: How do you keep your team motivated at the office? 

Mike Cirello: Our team is motivated by customer feedback. The stories we get about how we have helped families through a hard time in their lives keeps us all fired up. We are all motivated to keep expanding our coverage so we can help families across the country.

Tech Cocktail: If you had an extra $1,000 to spend on marketing, what would you do?

Cirello: Create a video with customer testimonials. It is a powerful message when a customer explains how you are helping them with a difficult problem.

Tech Cocktail: What’s your biggest personal weakness and how do you make up for it?

Cirello: My biggest weakness is that I am not a natural extrovert. I work on it by forcing myself to meet new people at every tech meetup, conference, and startup event I attend. It gets much easier with practice, but it is a process.

Tech Cocktail: What personality trait has served you the best as an entrepreneur?

Cirello: Perseverance. It’s not all up and to the right. You need to believe in your vision and focus on your customers no matter what. I’m sure even Facebook had some hard days, and for the rest of us they are more common. Keep focused and execute.

Tech Cocktail: How do you unwind on the weekend?

Cirello: I unwind on the weekend by changing my son’s diapers. In between those, I find rock climbing to be a great way to release some of the stress of startup life.

Silver Living was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail New York mixer. 

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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