Recent University of Georgia graduate Bryan Wish is trading in his cap and gown for a fresh suit as Founder and CEO of Wish Dish. The social media platform allows people to share authentic stories on various chapters of their lives and connect with community members with similar interests. While Bryan’s diploma is still settling into its frame, that’s not keeping him from making Wish Dish a household name in the vast social media ocean we swim in.
Over the past year, Wish Dish created an outlet for 300+ people to share their stories and built an audience of 30-50k monthly viewers. Now fresh-faced in 2016, Bryan has ambitious goals to ensure the continued growth and success of Wish Dish – and he’s equipped with a strategy to hit them. Victory is best served warm, so we caught up with Bryan to find out what he’s dishing out as an entrepreneur chasing after the startup dream.
What’s your current role?
I am founder and CEO of Wish Dish, a self-expression social media platform to share authentic stories. In the past year, Wish Dish has created an outlet for 300+ people to share their stories and built an audience of 30,000-50,000 monthly viewers. In my current role with Wish Dish, I am focused on setting the growth strategy, hiring a technical team, and raising money for our first investment round.
I grew up in Northern Virginia and had the privilege of watching my parents in business and asking them questions as I grew up. I attended the University of Georgia and graduated in May 2015. I decided to stay in Athens after graduation to help build the startup community.
What startup/tech projects have you worked on?
Wish Dish is my first tech business. Prior to Wish Dish, I created brand ambassador programs for both the Atlanta Hawks and Braves that generated $100,000 in ticket sales my senior year of college at UGA. I learned how to work with 200+ student groups on 7 different campuses, and build systems that worked around my vision to create successful and replicable programs.
What tech/tools are essential to you?
Facebook has been an essential tool as we build our community through hyper-local networks on college campuses. 70% of our audience comes through social media. When we share an article, we blast it out to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram followings. When friends see their friends share their story, they click on it and reshare. LinkedIn and Twitter are also extremely helpful for us to make connections and engage with people and organizations.
Co-Schedule and Canva are also great tools we use as well to schedule out our social media and to create original content.
How do you stay informed & on top of emerging trends?
I like to read various sites to stay up-to-date. When I wake up, I typically browse through Y Combinator, Tech Crunch, Product Hunt, Big Think, and Backchannel. As a new founder in the tech space, I like to be informed on the tech industry to the best of my ability.
Another source of education that helps me navigate this journey is surrounding myself with educated friends, advisors, and entrepreneurial communities like Four Athens where we can talk about various subject matters ranging from computer languages to machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
I’ve become a jack of all trades, master of none. I identify where I am weak, learn about those areas and how they relate to my vision, and then find experts who can do it well. Where I thrive is on the leadership side and setting a clear vision and roadmap for what needs to happen and acquiring the resources to make the vision come to life.
Target Milestones in the next 6 months?
For me as an entrepreneur with Wish Dish, the next six months look like this:
- Find a CTO / Technical Co-Founder
- 100,000 Monthly Visitors
- 14 New Campuses
- Enter elite summer Accelerator Program (Tech Stars, YCombinator, 500 Startups)
- Raise Series A
What’s next on your list to learn?
The areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning/deep learning really peak my interest. I believe the world can be connected in a way by what people share, and how we connect people’s thoughts and interests through computers. With Wish Dish, I’d love to hopefully one day implement these technologies into the platform whereby what people share, can be connected automatically.
Why the interest in startups and the technology field?
For startups, the idea of creating something that is yours and making a purposeful impact in this world excites me. To have the sense of control over creating your own future. The technology field happened by accident, as I didn’t realize I was building a tech company when I first started. The more I dive into the technology field, the more I see how I can use my ideas and scale them around the world. That excites me.
After Wish Dish, what are your plans?
Wish Dish will likely take 4-8 years to reach my vision, but it would be neat to be part of helping build the startup scene in Athens, GA. Everyone views UGA as a 4-year stomping ground, but no one considers staying. The work Jim Flannery is doing with Four Athens is something I believe in and want to follow. I would also love to take 6 months to a year to travel around the world. That is something I never did in college and believe it would give a different perspective on how I navigate my journey.
How can folks get in touch with you?
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – Also, if you know someone who is potentially a great fit to lead our technical team, please reach out.