It’s been a while since my last DC Social Hues interview but when I met Leon Harvey, Jr. at a recent event celebrating Social Media Day I knew he’d be a perfect candidate for the next installment of the series.
Harvey runs LifeStyleFeed.com, a website and mobile app that provides consumers, or as Harvey prefers to call them, guests, with short videos of various local venues. It’s a great way to get a feel for a place before you get there. I’m so glad Mr. Harvey (as it says on his business cards) took time from his busy schedule to sit down with me to discuss LifeStyleFeed.com – present and future.
“In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” - Flora Edwards
A child of a military family, the “being of service” bug bit Harvey early on. Through his early jobs as a restaurant server, he discovered that he got genuine joy from seeing people enjoying themselves. As he told me, “Not only do I want to be happy, I like seeing other people happy.” During our lunch meeting, I could tell this was indeed the case. He was more attentive to me than our server was!
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” - Bill Gates
Harvey’s 15 years of restaurant industry experience have served him well in his entrepreneurial pursuit. Throughout his successful tenures as a concierge and private dining manager at numerous local establishments, he kept his eyes and ears open behind the scenes and was the go-to person for answering customer questions. The first-hand knowledge he gained of the complaints and concerns of both venue management and customers planted the seeds for the development of LifeStyleFeed.com
Rule No. 1: Meet people where they are.
One thing about stats is they’re always changing but just to give you an idea about the popularity of online video (data from Hubspot Blog):
Online video viewers will reach 169.3 million in 2012
53.5% of the population and 70.8% of internet users (up 7.1% from 2011) will watch online video in 2012.
Mobile video viewers will reach 54.6 million in 2012
Smartphone video viewers will reach 51.2 million in 2012
As you can see, the smart money is on video. Though there are multiple online outlets for searching and reviewing restaurants and other venues, Harvey realized that no one had developed a service that focused on videos. That’s where LifeStyleFeed.com comes in. Harvey envisions the service serving as a web/mobile concierge for his “guests” – providing not only video previews but information on daily specials and other resources. The mobile app will also be integrated with Google Maps for your added convenience. In Harvey’s words, “I want the site to do all the work for the person.” Who wouldn’t love to have a personal concierge in their pocket?
As is my way, Harvey and I had more of a conversation than a traditional interview, but I made sure to ask him some key questions.
TR: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
LH: Entrepreneurs must be willing to sacrifice. Your willingness to sacrifice correlates to how serious you are about your venture. I’ve also learned the time period from idea to concept fruition must be short. If you take too long you give someone else the opportunity to take your idea and run with it.
TR: Who’s the ideal LifeStyleFeed.com “guest”?
LH: The “ideal” LifeStyleFeed.com guest is sophisticated, savvy, intuitive, needy, cultured and is an actor vs. being a reactor. He/she is that friend everyone turns to find out what’s going on. Of course, if you don’t currently possess those traits or are not “that friend” LifeStyleFeed.com is prepared to help you change that.
TR: Other than the videos displayed on the site and the app, what role does social media play in LifeStyleFeed.com?
LH: Social media puts people on an even playing field. It gives us the opportunity to connect and engage with a much wider audience as well as potential collaborators. Our Facebook page and Twitter account are fairly new but please connect with us there to find out all about what we’re up to.
TR: What does the future look like for LifeStyleFeed.com?
LH: We’re planning to branch out into other cities and to reach beyond hospitality into the retail and fashion sectors. To that end, we’ve started an IndieGogo campaign to help raise funds to support these initiatives. We also plan to eventually include promotional groups such as meetups, brands and promoters.
“Harvey. Leon Harvey.”
The five words Harvey used to describe himself were Relentless, Passionate, Intense, Perceptive and Empathetic. I can’t think of any better traits to have for someone dedicated to making life easier for others. Download the LifeStyleFeed.com app today to get a firsthand glimpse of how it will feed YOUR lifestyle.
*Special shout-out to the fabulously talented Anthony Tilghman for the photo accompanying this post.