Co-founder of prollie.com Mike Fabbri and I went to Boston College together, where we both went by nicknames and, in case our parents are reading, studied very, very hard. Mike will tell you himself that he also spent a disproportionate part of his four years on Facebook.
As it turns out, it was time well spent.
Read on for my chat with the entrepreneur who can now refer to our favorite undergraduate procrastination as “research and development.”
Give me your elevator speech. What is prollie.com?
We’re creating a social search platform for you to connect with other people based on your passions. The point is that if you have an interest or a passion, there’s someone out there talking about it. You love gluten free recipes? There’s someone tweeting about the best ones. You love new music that hasn’t even been released yet? There’s someone with a tumblr blog for that. You love cheap travel to the Caribbean? There’s someone posting about the best deals.
My love for social media itself came from being one of the first people on Facebook. And I had been working at advertising agency doing media planning and social media for Ray Ban. So then when I had the idea, it was kind of just like something I was doing for work and something I loved. I was constantly thinking about ways of optimizing it for my personal and profession life.
I woke up in the middle of the night and jotted it down about two years ago, and then in March 2011 I left my job.
Who are you working with?
My brother Red and I are co-founders together. He left his job at NBC Universal, where he had been doing social media outreach and video production. We have a team of six–two programmers, a chief investment officer, chief financial officer, Red, and me. We work wherever we have our computers.
What’s it like building a business with your older brother?
We always joke about how different our tastes and styles are and how we may have not have always seen eye to eye, but we work very well as a team. From our childhood building robots out of cardboard boxes in our driveway to now building a social networking platform, we’ve always trusted and brought out the most creative sides in each other
Having a stake in what you’re doing. It turns any kind of work that you’re doing into something you care so much about. In my old job I worked hard, but there’s always some kind of distance between what you’re doing and the broader vision. When the idea is yours you’re your own biggest critic and you don’t want to let yourself down. It’s just an extension of my passions and my love for what I do.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far?
That and finding who to trust. If you’re building something you need to do your due diligence.
What’s your goal for prollie.com in 2013?
Our goal is we want prollie to be the go-to user discovery engine. I want to make social media more about conversations about what are passionate about instead of just stalking old friends from highschool and seeing who got fat. We want to create a place you can trust where you can have a passion for a second or a lifetime, from windsurfing to sushi, and find a conversation with people you trust. It’s about bringing people together to find greater conversations and elevating the level of communication.