Lindsay Stewart: Founder & CEO, Stringr

My NativeAdVice:

Bio: Lindsay Stewart is Founder and CEO of Stringr.

How did you get into the industry?

I’ve always loved journalism. I begged to write an article for my hometown paper, The Los Altos Town Crier, worked on my high school paper and then pursued internships in broadcast in college before working my way through the ranks as a producer for local news stations and networks as a producer. Stringr is a natural extension of taking a career I loved and building a tool that makes life better for people just like myself.

Any emerging industry trends?

Video is expected—now most readers expect to view something, whether it be a news story, marketing campaign. Video imagery isn’t just a nice to have—it’s an integral part of every narrative.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Since imagery and video is an integral part of every message, and traditionally sourcing custom video has carried a large price tag, platforms that disrupt the cost structure of sourcing, producing and publishing video have a real place in the content ecosystem.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

I was a broadcast news producer who needed more video- fast. Fast forward four years later, we, at Stringr, have created a marketplace that allows people like myself to get video quickly and at a much lower price-point. This allows editors and producers to tell more stories through video.

The vision for Stringr is to become to the international resource for all things video- whether it be sourcing, editing, publishing or monetization. Stringr now has all the tools in one place—making it easy for our customers to do so.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

Select international expansion. We’ve really built the tool kit for sourcing and producing video, and have largely operated in the U.S. Now it’s time to get Stringr in the hands of the international community.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

We are working with major wire services and partners to integrate Stringr’s capabilities into their workflows. This means that Stringr’s offering will extend well beyond our existing direct relationships with customers.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

Every young company has a spate of challenges- I’d say one of the hardest things to nail is pricing a disruptive product. I’ve learned that pricing is an evolution- first making customers aware and willing to try your product and then pricing it such that it’s fair to those same customers and of course, profitable for the company.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

Customers who use Stringr a lot are our happiest customers. They come in and ask—what video do I want and can’t get with my staff. They then go to the Stringr interface and try to break us with a large number of custom video requests.

How do you motivate others?

A few ways: I try to always give the why, the reason, the motivation behind a task. If my staff doesn’t understand that—their job is merely a series of tasks. If I tell them why, they are a part of the whole.  

I also genuinely care about my employees’ ideas and aspirations- whether they are Stringr related or not. I want to be helpful in furthering their career dreams and look at our relationship as a long-term one, where we help one another through a lifetime of working.

Finally, I believe whole-heartedly in leading by example- whether it’s being reliable or open, or present

Career advice to those in your industry?

A career in media is a very interesting and powerful one. I urge people to think of it more as a calling and less as a get rich scenario (though you can make good money doing it). I tell people, you must love storytelling and honor the responsibility that comes along with being able to do so for a large audience.

My overall career advice, however, is to work really hard, be responsive and responsible. Push the ball forward, if only a tiny bit each day, and don’t get bogged down by one bad manager. Don’t be so heads down that you don’t lift your chin up to voice ideas at the table, but don’t expect those ideas to be immediately adopted by colleagues and superiors. Realize there will be nine “no’s” for every one “yes”—if you are lucky. But luck comes to those who keep trying.

My NativeAdVantage:

What do I do best?

It’s hard to really say. I’ve been told I’m really good communicating, especially over the phone. I’m also pretty darn persistent and not so bad at not overly irritating people when being so.

What makes me the best version of myself?

My best version of myself is from 7:30-11 a.m. I’m awake and motivated to take on the world. I like to sit at my desk and get my top items done.

What are my aspirations?

I have so many. First, I want Stringr to be a premiere and globally recognized media company that enables our partners to create great video easily.

Down the road, I’d like to build at least one more successful company, perhaps teach a course or two as an adjunct college professor, and when I get old, I’d like to earn my SAG card, so that I can play an old lady in commercials.

I’d also like to get more involved in my community, whether it be running for office or working concertedly to help candidates who support business and social freedom.

My Biggest Success?

Not failing out of my intro accounting class at Wharton and getting my daughter to sleep through the night at 10 weeks old.

My Most Challenging Moment?

Every moment when I experience self-doubt (it happens a lot); and the decision to keep moving, keep pushing forward and evaluating what’s worth pursuing and when I should let something roll off my back.

My Motto?

Keep pushing the ball forward.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My grandfather. He was an economics professor who was very smart, kind and moderate in his tone and thought process.

Many of my former bosses, including Don Fair, Jon Brady and Ross Becker. They took the time to teach a young person how to tell a good story and be reliable. They also worked me to death—so now, no job is that hard.

Dennis Rodman (before his trips to North Korea). He’s got flair and man could he rebound. Being able to pick up a missed shot and score is a real skill and nice analogy for life.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

To Live- Los Angeles and New York. Both are such vibrant cities full of every kind of people, cuisine and viewpoint.

To visit- Paris, all of Spain, Jackson Hole, WY and Kona Village (on the big island of Hawaii.)    

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I actually don’t care about objects that much, but I do love a mid-century recliner chair I had refurbished—a lot.

I also am a huge eater/wine lover- Sea Smoke Pinot and Rafanelli Zinfandel being on top. I’ll eat ANY Asian dumpling, whether it be hand-crafter or from the freezer. And Peets Coffee, Italian or French Roast.

My Current Passions?

I love swimming with my two-year-old and getting her to learn new words.

I also enjoy connecting my friends and colleagues to new opportunities. Nothing gives me more pleasure than helping a talented person find a job.