“Failure is a Right of Passage”; An Interview with Fliptop CEO Doug Camplejohn

May 12, 2012

10:00 am

Two for two.

Two businesses started, two businesses acquired.

First Doug Camplejohn started myplay, a digital music locker.  That was acquired by Bertelsmann.  Next it was Mi5, a web security gateway.  That was acquired by Symantec.

Today he’s onto Fliptop, a social information warehouse for people and brands.  Is his current venture destined for the same success?  He is aiming for very green pastures – your data.

Tech Cocktail caught up with Camplejohn to learn more about the inspiration behind Fliptop, the issues of privacy, where entrepreneurial drive comes from, and his top piece of advice to startups.

Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind Fliptop?

Doug Camplejohn: For starters, we recognized a distinct opportunity to create a valuable product that would offer companies a version of Jigsaw, but for digital identities. The reality is that companies spend billions of dollars a year on data available in the physical world (addresses, phone numbers, etc.), but now there is a need to connect the “identity dots” in the digital world for properties like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. In short, just like Jigsaw aggregates contact information for individuals and companies that is then utilized by businesses for sales and marketing outreach, customer retention, etc., Fliptop can do this for “digital age” contact information.

Tech Cocktail: Aren’t there privacy concerns around this idea of pulling an individual’s data and essentially selling it to a company?

Camplejohn: The data we aggregate is all public information. The Fliptop technology allows us to pull email addresses and social media property info that anyone could find if they searched for it. We are extremely hyper about not crossing that privacy line and believe it’s important to make this clear to both consumers and our customers.

Fliptop Founder and CEO Doug Camplejohn

Tech Cocktail: As a serial entrepreneur, what excites you about innovation and starting a business?

Camplejohn: I really enjoy the process of figuring out new products and building teams that can turn your vision into a reality. When you can spot an opportunity before anyone else, take a risk on creating a product around that opportunity, and then receive market validation for it, there is just no better feeling as an entrepreneur. It’s a roller coaster on all levels!

Tech Cocktail: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Camplejohn: The first thing I would say is: if you are on the fence about whether or not to move forward with an idea, JUST DO IT! The truth about entrepreneurship is that you can have an engineering degree, or an MBA, but you will learn the most when you dive in and starting working on an idea. Silicon Valley is the most supportive innovation ecosystems in the world with an abundance of resources for startups and innovators; what’s even better is that failure is not looked down upon, but rather it’s somewhat of a “right of passage.” I know it was for me….

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When Zach Davis isn’t getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail’s Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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