Name: Catherine Cook
Location: New Hope, PA
Education: BSBA from Georgetown University
Job title: Co-founder of MeetMe
What she does: Facebook helps your reconnect with people you already know, like your friends and family – but what if you want to connect with new people for the very first time? Catherine Cook, the founder of MeetMe.com, created her site to meet that very need. MeetMe is where you go to connect with people you want to know. As one of the heads of the company, Catherine handles brand strategy for the up and coming social media site. She is responsible for developing some of its most essential applications and has been active in driving the site’s growth by visualizing popular features. She works with marketing, product, and business development to make MeetMe the best place to meet new and interesting people.
How she got her gig: For Catherine, it’s all in the family. “When I was younger, I watched my older brother, Geoff, build a company while he was in college. As a kid, my mom used to send my brother Dave and me out to visit Geoff at his office and we just thought being an entrepreneur seemed way cooler than our parents’ jobs,” says Catherine. When Catherine and her brother Dave created the idea for their own company – a social network for meeting new people – they knew they had to go for it.
What she does: “On the product side, I help create and spec out features for MeetMe that will keep our members logging in and engaging with our apps and site,” says Catherine. MeetMe’s concept is all about meeting new people. If you think about it, MeetMe is the online and mobile version of a bar or coffeehouse where members can go to hang out and meet people. “We use a number of games and applications to help make meeting new people fun,” says Catherine.
Million Member Baby: According to Catherine, MeetMe became a success after reaching a million members in its first year. “I never expected to reach that important milestone in the first year. After we got a million members is when things started feeling real. We opened up an office and started looking at venture capital firms. Now we have over 81 million members,” says Catherine.
Required Reading: “I read a number of blogs including TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Mashable, and GigaOm,” says Catherine.
Run it Out: “I love running! It burns off steam and I always think more clearly when I return from a run,” says Catherine.
Cool Connections: Catherine loves hearing from all her new members. “I love hearing their stories about how our site has helped them meet their best friend or even the love of their life. Being able to see our members love the site and tell us about how much they like it is what keeps us working hard to create new features that will make meeting new people fun for them,” says Catherine.
Get Started: How can you tell if you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur? Well, you can’t until you actually give it a go. “I think the hardest thing to do when founding a company is to actually start it. If there’s something you don’t know how to do, either Google it, read about it, or ask someone,” says Catherine. “Do whatever you need to do to make your company a reality because ideas are cheap; it’s execution that matters. Starting a company will mean long hours and lots of hard work, but it’s totally worth it. We need more women entrepreneurs in tech.”
This job’s for you if: you’re innovative, incredibly focused and flexible. “In my field there’s a new competitor coming out seemingly every week, if not every day. Our task is to keep our heads down and focused on what we’re building because the team that executes the best will be the team that wins. Lastly, it’s important to be flexible because in a fast-paced field, things change incredibly quickly. For instance, back in 2010 virtually 0 of our traffic came from mobile devices, and now 60% of it does. People in this industry need to embrace changes like that,” says Catherine.
Keep it Simple: Catherine learned that it’s best to stick one thing and avoid the juggling act. “When we first launched the original site, we tried to do too many things at once,” says Catherine. “As time went on we continued to narrow our focus to make our mission and goal clear to prospective and current members – we are about meeting new people.”