Editor’s note: As part of WRALTechWire’s new Insider interview series, we will be asking entrepreneurs a series of questions designed to help our readers learn more about the people building successful businesses. Today’s Q&A is with Eric Boggs. What does he like to read? What drove him to be an entrepreneur? What’s the best thing about the Triangle as a place to launch a company? What’s the worst? (Be sure to read Joe Procopio’s “Having a beer with ..” interview with Boggs. We also feature two video interviews in which Eric talks with WRALTechWire Editor Rick Smith. They are included with this post.)


The Bio:

  • Age: 33
  • Date, place of birth: Nov 2, 1980, Gastonia, NC
  • Education: BS, UNC Chapel Hill 2002,  MBA, UNC Chapel Hill 2009, Dean’s Fellow
  • Family: Wife – Kelly; children – Thomas (2.5), Catherine (6 months)

The Startup

  • Company Name: RevBoss
  • Located: Durham, NC
  • When founded: January 2013
  • How many employees: Just me for now…

Insiders’ thinking:

  • What were you doing immediately before this company? I was the CEO at Argyle Social, a company that I started working on my last semester of business school and that I co-founded with Adam Covati in early 2010.
  • What were you doing immediately before becoming an entrepreneur? I was an MBA student at UNC, doing just enough work to get by and spending most of my time thinking about the business I would start when I graduated.
  • Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur? My first (real) job out of college was as a Sales Associate at Bronto. I joined the company as employee #1 and was the only salesperson for about 2.5 years and later held roles in support, product, and marketing. It was a formative experience for me — I internalized the early-stage-company-building process and experienced all of the high highs and the low lows that go along with it. I got hooked and quickly figured out that I would spend my career starting and building companies.
  • Are entrepreneurs born or taught? I think it is a bit of both — you certainly need to have a certain personal constitution to start something. I have quite a few friends that are much, much smarter than me that would never consider starting a company simply because they’re so risk averse or because they’re just into other things like music, literature, medicine, etc. That said — I think that starting a business requires a set of skills and processes that anyone can learn, whereas starting a high-growth venture is much more of a mission- and personality-driven thing.
  • How many ideas did you explore before settling on your current company? My current company is based on the idea that it is hard to get customers and really, really hard to develop a process that gets customers over and over. I have a bit of experience in both getting customers and developing a process to do in a way that is repeatable, predictable, and scalable, so RevBoss isn’t really an “idea” per se — it is more of an ongoing exploration of a handful of ideas that I think I can productize over time.
  • Last terrible idea you had before starting this company? Ha! I’ve definitely had plenty of bad ideas — I guess the most recent was probably an e-commerce site for whatever odd consumer vertical happened to come to mind or whatever search keyword I noticed isn’t very competitive. The worst terrible ideas are the ones that would might actually work but in a soul-sucking, pyrrhic victory sort of way — like a drive-thru soup restaurant or a dating site for people that love alternative country music or some derivative idea like Uber for {whatever}. You definitely want to avoid those.
  • What you do when you’re not working? I love to spend my increasingly rare free time with my family. I also enjoy slowly improving the 1957 fixer-upper house my wife and I bought 18 months ago. Also — I recently started jamming with some guys and it looks like I might be vocals/guitar in a not-that-bad 90s alt cover band, assuming that we can ever coordinate schedules to play again.
  • What was the last book you read? “What Do People Do All Day?” by Richard Scarry, read to my son for 2,374th time.
  • What was the best book you read?

“Light In August” — William Faulkner (pseudo-intellectual answer)

“Predictably Irrational” — Dan Ariely (predictably business-y answer)

“What Do People Do All Day” — Richard Scarry (actual answer)

  • What do you read daily? Depending on when they swim through my Twitter stream, HackerNews and quite a few bloggers — Jay Baer, Tom Webster, David Cummings, Paul Graham, David Skok, Jason Lemkin, and others. Also InsideCarolina.com because I’m an obsessive Tar Heel fan. And (sigh) Reddit because I can’t help it.
  • What’s the most important thing for entrepreneurs to know? Thyself.
  • What’s the most important thing for prospective entrepreneurs to know? You’ve just got to start and believe that you can figure out the rest as you go…and also believe that you have the heart and tenacity to bounce back after getting kicked in the teeth over and over and over again.
  • What is the worst thing about being an entrepreneur? The work never stops, nor does the compulsion to do the work. There are days that I wish that someone else would tell me what to do so that I could do it, go home, and not think about work just like most normal people. Those days are rare, but they certainly happen.
  • What is the biggest challenge facing entrepreneurs today? Solving a problem for a customer has been and will always be the biggest challenge that entrepreneurs face. If you can reliably and repeatedly solve a problem for a customer and if there are enough customers with the same problem, the rest of the business will take care of itself.
  • What’s the best thing about the Triangle as place to start and grow a business? The quality of life in the Triangle — Durham in particular — is second to none. Food, music, art, sports, nature — we’ve got it all and it is very reasonably priced compared to New York and San Francisco. Plus, the entrepreneurial community is comparatively small, which helps foster meaningful relationships between the entrepreneurs, companies, and leaders in town.
  • On the other hand, what’s the worst thing about the Triangle as place to start and grow a business? It is definitely tougher to do some things in North Carolina versus Silicon Valley, especially developing the personal network it takes to get business done. It is harder to randomly know a guy that works at Twitter or bump into someone from Andressen-Horowitz at a coffee shop or flip your company to BigCo in an aquire-hire scenario in a 2nd tier market like Durham/Raleigh. But like anything else — it is a trade off and certainly not an insurmountable obstacle. Guys like Scot Wingo, Joe Colopy, Mike Doernberg, Jud Bowman, and many others have proven that you can build great companies in North Carolina.