Ever since the first time I gained access to a home computer on the cusp of the new millennium, I have been enthralled with technology, thus I am always excited to see minorities occupying the tech space. Brian Gerrard—most widely known for co-founding increasingly popular Bae App—is a young man cementing his mark within the tech arena and aspiring to do so with each idea, marketing campaign, and app he pushes to the culture.
As a University of Virginia alumnus, Brian and I conversed over the phone about elements of his life, his journey, his [graytness], his motivations, and words of wisdom, resulting in a 5-minute inspirational boost to “make your good, GRAYT!”
Commencing the conversation, Brian and I discussed what compelled him to pursue app creation & development.
- What compelled you to pursue app creation & development, specifically creating a dating app?
After reaching a breaking point in corporate America, Brian exclaimed that he could not accept simply being a “cog in someone else’s wheel.” Brian further shared that he realized, “that the path that I [was] on, would never get me what I wanted because it was someone else’s path.” This moment of discontent and purpose discovery led to his revelation that app creation & development is his exciting way of bringing an idea to life and to people—possibly millions of people.
- In developing the Bae App, what was one moment of failure or success you encountered that motivated you to continue pursuing the development of Bae App and/or continue pursuing your dreams?
Bringing an idea to life is exactly what Brian and his brother, Justin Gerrard and Jordan Kunzika, did when they created the Bae App and inaugrally launched it at Howard in 2014. Expounding upon the impact of their successful launch, Brian shared that with only $100.00 of online marketing dollars expended, his Bae App defied the odds and surpassed 15,000 downloads in one month (where Brian reports two-thrids of all apps take an entire year to reach its 1000th user). This particular success story elevated the importance of “structure” into Brian’s business journey, as he gained exposure to starting up businesses and experiencing the acquisition of a business
- What are three (3) values/characteristics you identify as necessary when developing an app and/or pursuing entrepreneurial aspirations?
Brian equates the necessary components of a car to the necessary characteristics when pursuing app development or entrepreneurial aspirations, highlighting the importance of the engine, the wheels, and the driver
- Engine: Brian esteems the team of engineering and developing professionals as the core of developing a thriving app.
- Wheels of the Car: Sharing on the significance of efficient marking, Brian further shares “It doesn’t matter if the engine works, because if a car can’t get anywhere, it can’t be seen!”
- The Driver: Considering who’s behind the wheel when that car is seen, Brian shares on the importance of leadership and their role as person who “put[s] their hands on the wheel and drive the thing”
- What do you identify as your differentiating factor among other app creators and tech entrepreneurs?
After conversing on the seriousness and significance of confidence when starting something new, Brian and I then discussed what distinguishes himself among other app creators and tech entrepreneurs. That factor being his “appetite for learning,” sharing that the major key is to “seek out what you don’t know”
Within the immensely creative tech sector, Brian humbly acknowledges the notion that when in such a sector an individual has “the opportunity to become a thought leader, affirm[ing] ideas as truths.”
- Noted as launching in front of 10 million people on the day it was launched, Bae App’s launch was a success. What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs on the importance of strategy in developing a brand?
Considering that one does not automatically become a thought leader and that such is an evolving process, Brian shares the importance of patience and progressiveness, a strong network of trustworthy advisors, and an openness to how you’re thinking about things, as the “best strategic ideas are where you least likely expect them.”
- What are three (3) routine practices you deem significant in staying relevant while staying in alignment with your purpose?
In reflecting on the three routine practices significant in staying relevant while staying in alignment with his purpose,Brian acknowledges that he strives to implement a strict regimen at the beginning of his day and at the end of his day—acknowledging, “How you begin and how you end will determine what happens in the middle.”
Among his three common practices, Brian strives to: exercise & stretch in the morning, eat healthily, and appease his intellectual curiosity—whether it be through reading or writing as a contributor for LinkedIn’s media portal and other platforms.
EFFORTS & ETHICS
- Peaking as a “top 50 Lifestyle app in 20 African/Caribbean countries,” why do you believe its important to continue challenging the status quo of social interactions and relationships within the Black community, through technology?
Finding the perfect dating app can be difficult in the sea of countless apps in the App Store & subsequently staying relevant can be even more difficult; nevertheless, Brian is pushing the message that “going extremely niche” is the route to currently embrace. Particular for the Bae App, Brian and his team strived to curve a niche by catering to the Black millennials, from Black millennial creators; provoking relation and connectivity to the brand.
Black millennials striving to carve their own lane in the tech excites me; thus, Brian excitedly shared he launched and is bringing to market two new apps, one currently released called, We Chill (A LifeStreaming App) where influencers & Users Interact, with revenue potential for influencers.
- What is an impacting scriptures, quotes, and/or mantras that you use to guide your life?
Eager to ascertain what drives his motivation, Brian shared a Frederick Douglas quote to close our conversation, which he shared, “The man who will get up will be helped up; and the man who will not get up will be allowed to stay down. Personal independence is a virtue and it is the soul out of which comes the sturdiest manhood.” Closing, Brian expounds on this quote, “At the end of the day, no matter how many inspirational videos you watch on YouTube. Whatever is being said in the pulpit, motivation has to happen intrinsically for anything to work. As you want you more, you’re going to have to find that within yourself”
[GRAYT PEOPLE] Profile Series curates an informational collective of inspirational individuals who have shown what it means to mobilize confidence to challenge [GOOD] and mobilize courage to champion [GRAYT]—highlighting their past, their journey to their [graytness], their efforts and ethics, their motivation, and their aspirations.