Dave Milliken grows brands. His track record is consistent across startups, Inc. 500 and Fortune 500 companies, and across industries.
Dave is currently Founder and CEO of fast-growing digital receptionist startup Greetly. Previously he was VP of Marketing for Smashburger, named America’s most promising brand by Forbes. Prior to that Dave held marketing and strategy leadership positions for MillerCoors, LVMH, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and IBM.
What do you do best?
Thinking strategically. I have always been good at, and enjoyed, thinking a few steps into the future. There are two elements at play: being able to analyze a variety of insights while anticipating actions and reactions.
For example, Greetly was born from multiple trends coming together. It’s not that Greetly replaces a live receptionist. Rather, that position no longer exists in most businesses creating a poor visitor experience. Meanwhile, comfort with technology has given individuals a greater sense of control. And hardware has become incredibly inexpensive. Today, Greetly takes the form of an iPad receptionist app. Over time, Greetly will become even more seamlessly integrated into our business lives.
What makes you the best?
Haha, I'm not sure I would ever use the term “the best”. But I am a good listener. I listen to what people say. I also pay careful attention to what they do and I attempt to think open-mindedly to meld the two.
Not only did listening and watching help me create Greetly, but it has allowed me to make product modifications that are meaningful to our users.
How will you stay the best?
Continuing to listen. When you work on a product – whether my own startup, Greetly, or a very established product like Coors Light – you adopt core beliefs and assumptions. Staying great requires maintaining the open-mind you have when you go into a project. That allows you to uncover entirely new ideas. The next big idea and wave of inspiration will stem from open-mindedness.
What are your aspirations?
Personal: Finding a new activity to love, again and again. I have an amazing family and I’m an avid snowboarder. Most of us, as we move through adulthood, start to say “no” to new ideas and activities.
My aspiration is to seek and try new activities so I can find something new to love every few years.
Business: To turn Greetly into a sustaining business that makes people’s lives easier.
What fascinates you?
The potential to improve people’s lives.
I have a dream…
Franklin Roosevelt. He convinced every American to make sacrifices in the name of collective benefit.
I love two types of places.
The mountains. Any mountain, really, but especially those rugged Colorado Rockies. I enjoy the cool air, the open nature, and the mountain activities.
The city. The bigger the better. I can't get enough of the energy, assortment of foods and cultural opportunities of big cities.
Greetly, of course. After that, my favorite brand is the New York Yankees – a brand that stands for winning.
My family and snowboarding.