Dave Lukas Chats with Scott Lynn
176: Finding Blue Oceans & Creating New Markets with Serial Entrepreneur and Masterworks founder, Scott Lynn
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Scott Lynn. I always love Misfit Entrepreneurs who figure out ways to bring markets or solutions that were previously only available to a select group or reserved for the ultra-rich, to the masses. Scott has done just that. He is the founder and CEO of Masterworks. Masterworks makes it possible for everyone to invest in blue-chip artwork. Access to these types of art investments, like Andy Warhol or Monet paintings that go for millions, have been limited to those with the means to purchase these masterpieces—often historical treasures—and remove them from public display when they enter their private collections. Masterworks is opening the doors to top-tier, blue-chip art investments to everyone. It’s the first company to allow investors to by shares of ownership in these great works of art, for as little as $20.
This isn’t Scott’s first venture – in fact, for years he’s built businesses in the internet and online advertising space, but he has always been an art aficionado and an internationally -recognized collector.
I’m excited to discuss his experience as well as how to create new, blue ocean markets.
Scott started his first company in high school and as he says, “with a little skill and a lot of luck,” they built the most popular game on the internet in the late 90’s. They created the “punch the monkey” advertisements which drove people to the game. The game was called Tree Loot and was one of the first examples of interactive websites where people had a chance to win money. They figured out for every $1 they spent in advertising, they made $2, so they just poured it on and by the time Scott graduated high school, they had almost 70 employees and ultimately built the company to a few hundred employees within a year after.
It was trial by fire for a kid starting a business and Scott had to grow up fast. It went great until March of 2000. Then the dot com bubble happened and even then, Scott thought it would not affect them, but the crash exposed an issue with internet advertisers. The issue was that all of the advertisers we buying ads with each other and spending the money from the dot com companies. When that dried up, it was like a domino effect in that these companies couldn’t afford to buy ads and one by one the internet advertisers funds dried up and since they were buying from each other, it basically collapsed. In a 2 weeks period, 60% of Scott advertisers cancelled. They didn’t sell the business, but pivoted to a new business that was direct marketing focused and not so much gaming. It was horrible to go through, but it taught Scott some very hard lessons in a fast way.
From there, Scott went into online advertising and Fintech building companies and now has started Masterworks.
What were some of the lessons you learned from going through the Dot Com crash?
What do you feel is the most important ingredient for an entrepreneur to succeed in today’s world?
Is there a framework that you use when you build a company or a set of principles that you use when you go into an endeavor?
Can you share the 5 Forces and give us a quick overview?
Talk to us about finding a Blue Ocean or White Space. What is the secret to finding them?
Tell us about Masterworks and how you applied the 5 forces to make it a great market fit…
At the 30 min mark, Scott talks about the current state of online advertising and where entrepreneur should focus…
Are there any trends that you see that people should be watching for the future?
What would you tell a new entrepreneur starting today?
Tell us more about creating and building your business as a high-schooler…
It seems there is always something to write up. And many times, a lot of what we write is the same thing. Whether it is responding to clients, writing blog posts, business messages and emails, show notes, and so on. There are so many things we type repeatedly…what if there was a solution that remembered all of these things that we type all of the time and with the stroke of key, automatically filled everything in.
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Misfits, one of the things that is most important to me with all that I do is to make sure I am maximizing every bit of efficiency that I can. One of the things that I cannot live without is a second monitor to work from, especially when I travel. But, it is a pain in the butt to cart a second monitor with me wherever I go, even it if it is a so called travel one.
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