Brotip #1202: If you can't think of a badass idea, take an old idea and do something badass with it. Here's how to build a new media empire in "Entourage" nation.
We were talking about him and we were like, dude, this is our guy: We need Mark Cuban," says Mossab O. Basir, the executive director at Brotips Media, a year-old company that writes wisdom in social media, like fortune cookies for bros. "We're Entourage's number-one fans. We've seen Turtle struggle to get Mark Cuban. Mark's a bro, right? He's totally a bro. He's good times like that. He's the perfect guy to stand behind us. Literally, I flipped him an email with our story and a quick sales pitch, and that's where it started. And we went back and forth until we reached a mutual agreement."
Cuban signed on about three weeks ago, and now sits on the Brotips board. (Though in typical Cuban fashion, nobody from Brotips has met him, or even talked by phone. It's all email.) The dudes are excited. They're planning for exbronential growth.
And Cuban's pumped, too. "I think it is riding a cultural wave that is very leverageable on multiple platforms," he says in an email to Fast Company. "The guys have really captured a huge fan base and they have significant and multiple revenue opps."
How much did he invest? "1 billion dollars and 17 cents," Cuban writes.
Seriously, bro? No. Way.
Brotip #1: There's a 99% chance that you're awesome. Act like it.
Brotips started, like so many bro adventures, because of a girl. Some guy at Emory University had failed to score in the way he'd hoped, and he took to Facebook to vent his frustrations. It got real, man. Ugly. People were talking. That's when freshman Dominique Barfield left a little message--that "99%" line--on the offending dude's wall.
Within 12 hours, 140,000 people had repeated the line on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Barfield and some friends were like, whoa! They wanted to seize the bromentum, so they launched a Tumblr called Brotips, and started writing more tips--wisdom to build a better bro. They were brolific. Traffic grew. The team launched a Twitter and Facebook page, capitalizing on the brotential of what they were doing: They'd become a media company that produced little tips for big bros, content designed to be easily shared.
Bros get a bad rap, says Yousef Khraibut, one of the founders. He wants the site to take "bro" back from the Jersey Shore, to make men proud to be bros: "An ideal bro is a guy who wants to live life in a way where they're constantly positive," he says. "Instead of a bro being a male who's a douchy, alpha, misogynistic person, a bro can literally be anybody--despite race, gender, or sexual orientation--who wants to remain kick-ass throughout their life, in an extremely positive level.
Turns out, that broclivity was good for traffic. Fifty-five percent of Brotips users are female, because they like the example it sets. The site recently published Brotip #1358: "Meet me at nine," does not mean, "leave your house at nine." A lot of women retweeted that one. "They want guys to see that. So it's like, 'Oh I wish my boyfriend was more like this,'" Khraibut says.
By May, the Brotips team needed someone with business acumen to manage this growth. Khraibut thought back to Basir, who'd worked in marketing at Intelligent Mechatronic Systems when Khraibut was an intern there. "He talked to me about the site for a week," Basir says. "I kept ignoring it. But when he showed me how many visitors he had, I said, What!?"
Brotips has more than 250,000 Facebook fans (and 18 million page views), 400,000 Twitter followers, 300,000 Tumblr users, and 2.5 million visits per month to Brotips.com.
Basir signed on. Now Brotips is a team of 11. Basir is 26 years old. The rest are in college, all under age 20, spread across America, Canada, and England. And they aren't all guys. There are four lady-bros.
Brotips isn't inventing advice. It isn't creating an audience. It's just found a voice that resonates with lots of stand-up bros, and it's built a big community purely on the strength of sharable social media--so now it's time to capitalize. Yesterday, its site Brotips.com got a major overhaul: It enhanced visitors' ability to share tips, and created space for advertisers. That finally gives it a home page to match its ambitions.
The team has plans. It's signed up with International Creative Management, which is busily shopping book and TV deals. It's launching apparel--your favorite Brotip on a T-shirt, say. And next year, it'll be starting a brobassador program, which will anoint people at colleges across the country to spread the word and host Brotips parties.
With Cuban, they now have cash and cache to execute their ideas. "We've only just started with Mark," Basir says. "There's a lot of big and good things ahead, hopefully."
Cuban has already given Brotips plenty of business brotips, Basir says. But what of Basir's original hunch--Mark Cuban, ultimate bro? We put it to him: "Mark, do you consider yourself a bro?"
"You have to search the tips to find out!" he wrote.
Always be closing, bro!