Meet John Lifrieri - his experiences at startup Tribute and with his own CBD vape product SAUC.co have shown him firsthand the importance of rallying a community around entrepreneurship.
Tell us about your decision to drop out of college.
Dropping out of school was a pretty tough decision to make but now that I think back on it, it feels like a no-brainer. I was pursuing a degree that I was simply never going to use and I struggled time and time again in choosing a major that I felt deeply passionate about and could sustain for a lifetime (no chance).
I toyed with the idea that I’d take a semester off and then transfer to a school with more opportunity and pursue a field that I enjoy. I understand now that opportunity is everywhere, but I have to seek it out and create it/bring it to lie. Once I actually left school, I realized that I had an incredible time socially but that I may not be the right fit for this type of environment. Shortly after, I was presented an incredible opportunity to join a startup down in Brooklyn, NY called Tribute.co. I was their first hire and now Director of Operations and man, has it been a wild and exciting ride!
Quick intro to Tribute: A Tribute is the world’s most meaningful gift and our platform allows you to create one in no time. Imagine waking up on your next birthday to a video montage of all your friends and family telling you why they love you. This is what we call a Tribute video and our platform allows you to easily invite your friends, collect videos, and edit them all together on the web.
One year after joining Tribute, I realized that I don’t think I ever want to dedicate my life to one specific field. I’m constantly inspired to innovate and create in a vast number of industries ranging from film production, cannabis, food, and beyond! Instead, I think I’ll adopt the Tim Ferriss approach on a lot of these projects and spend 6 months trying to make them happen and then pour gasoline on them if they prove to be fruitful.
This is exactly what led me to my first venture called SAUC.co… More to come on that below!
Tell us about SAUC.co - why did you start it?
In Early 2017, my business partner, TJ, and I started SAUC.co when we realized that there wasn’t a single, ‘strain-specific’ CBD vape product on the market! Lo and behold, we set out to create the very first of it’s kind! Our product contains a unique blend of CBD and Terpenes that work with the body’s own Endocannabinoid system to help it maintain a consistent level of homeostasis. For those who aren’t familiar, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant with a vast number of health benefits. In a market like this, transparency is absolutely key which is why we consistently strive to develop a deep level of trust with our customers and partners.
We chose to create a product derived from 100% US-sourced, non-GMO, pesticide free industrial hemp which is quite rare in the market right now... Other than that, the cannabis industry is already flourishing and that’s even before the whole plant is made widely available. So besides a massive business opportunity, there’s also a massive opportunity to help increase the quality of life of millions of people. We’ve seen first hand just how revolutionary this plant (and our product) truly is and we couldn’t be more excited to bring it to the world.
What do you think the value of having a community is - especially a community nurturing entrepreneurship?
I am a firm believer that having a strong, loving, and nurturing community is by far, the most important thing one can have not only as an entrepreneur but as a human being on this floating rock we call Earth. It’s absolutely fascinating that we get to inhabit this planet and interact with it and others in such unique way. The way we communicate is insanely beautiful. We can feel things deeper than any other being on Earth. We have empathy! We have compassion! And it warms my heart knowing that there are other humans out there who are here for me no matter what and will love and support me through it all.
As an entrepreneur, this is super important because the path of creating something is often a scary, lonely, and filled with uncertainty. With that being said, I’m am eternally grateful for the Next Gen Community and the thousands of young entrepreneurs looking to shift the way we live and thrive. Many of you have offered your generous support and that is something I’ll never take for granted.
When it comes down to it, the biggest moments in our careers often stem from a single conversation and those conversations often stem from a quick introduction from someone in our community. But it all starts with the energy we choose to put into the world because that is ultimately what allows us to create the opportunity right in front of us. The more we decide to give, the more we’ll end up with in return. This is true with every relationship we choose to nurture and is something I believe to be fundamental in crafting a community of supporters.
Thank you to everyone who has shown up for me. If I can be helpful to anyone, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
“A rising tide lifts all boats”. - John F. Kennedy