An Interview with Entrepreneur Dan Huang

Dan Huang is a co-founder at Orca, a social selling enablement tool that helps inside sales teams take their sales process beyond just cold email and calls. He’s on a mission to change the way organizations are doing sales by making it more social and focused on relationship building.

Dan’s started and failed three companies, scaled two companies, Bannerman (Y-combinator S14) and Keepe (Techstars Seattle ‘16), from 0 to over 1M ARR both in under a year, and is now codefying his sales experience into Orca.

Are you an entrepreneur looking for your MVP built? Get in touch with us at hello@devathon.com

Devathon has built software for companies backed by the world's leading investors like Betaworks, Greylock, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, KPCB, Lightspeed and many more.

In the following interview, Dan talks about his entrepreneurial journey, the ups and downs, and the key lessons learned along the way.

When did you first discover your entrepreneurial spirit and how is your entrepreneurial career developing so far?

I’d like to start this off by defining what being an entrepreneur means to me personally. We are all unique individuals with different perspectives and experiences. As a result, the definitions we assign to things in this life will vary from person to person.

For me, being an entrepreneur is about creative expression. It’s about mastering yourself by facing your deepest and darkest fears so that you can be fully present in this life as the true, authentic you and not someone you think should be based on the opinions and comments of others. Easier said than done.

It’s about taking off the mask, f** king the filter, and allowing all that is you express yourself truthfully without fear. In other words, it’s about letting go, surrendering, and accepting your true self because if you can’t love and accept who you are, who will?

If you’re a poet, painter, novelist, speaker, dancer, musician… you are an entrepreneur in my book. Your canvas is different from mine, but at the core, we all face the same obstacles.

I build products. That is my canvas.

That said, it’s not about discovering your entrepreneurial spirit, it’s about realizing, remembering, and embracing who you already are… We are all creators.

Find your medium, find your happiness.

Being an entrepreneur is not a career… it’s a never-ending journey inwards. It is a continuous process of re-discovering who you really are, challenging old truths to make room for greater truths. The moment you think you’ve reached the end of this journey is the moment you stop learning and growing.

So how am I developing as an entrepreneur? It’s under development and will remain so until I take my final breath.

What has been the biggest success and biggest failure stories you went through?

Depends on how you define success. If you define success as society defines it, material wealth, possessions, fame, what have you... feel free to skip to the next question, or better yet, just skip this whole interview because we’re not on the same wavelength.

But if you’re feeling me and get where I’m going, keep reading.

First things first… I don’t define any of my experiences in terms of scale or degree. Big or small are the most undescriptive descriptive words and hold absolutely no meaning whatsoever.

In truth, my failures are my successes. Instead of directly answering this question, which provides very little value to you the reader, let me shed some light on what success means to me.

Success… I’m talking about real success, the type that doesn’t fade away after a short or long period of time comes from within. And that means taking full responsibility for who you are, accepting yourself, and ultimately loving, probably the hardest thing to do, the perfect imperfection that you are. That’s success in its truest form.

If you define success based on what is external to you, you will feel like a failure even if you have all the money in the world… fast cars, homes across the globe in exotic destinations… none of those things matter, if you do not settle the score with you first.

When you find true success, those things won’t even matter anyway.

How did you come up with the idea for Orca and how did it all start?

Just like most startup ideas, we had an internal pain that needed solving. We couldn’t find a solution that fit our exact needs, so we decided to build it ourselves.

The pain, given our activities on all the different social channels like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Medium, etc. How do we go about syncing our actions on social media and translate that back into our organization’s sales processes?

How do we measure the effectiveness of a Linkedin profile view or a connect in terms of sales? How do we manage these contacts and conversations occurring on and across all these different platforms?

Tell us something about Orca.

Orca (Orcinus orca) or better known by some as the killer whale, is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family, of which it is the largest member. Killer whales have a diverse… just kidding.

The name Orca stands for sales orchestration. Our vision is to build a sales ecosystem that enables organizations to orchestrate and sync sales activities on and across any channel. We hate cold emailing and call tactics and are exploring ways to facilitate conversations the right way.

What are your growth plans for the near future?

While growth is important, it’s not a priority for us at the moment. Our objective is first to build a product that delivers mass value to our existing users. To achieve this, we’re focusing our efforts on developing a fully integrated sales ecosystem with other sales enablement tools.

We’ve integrated with Growlabs, EasyLeadz, Zapier with Lemlist, Leadworx, and tons of other platforms in the pipeline.

Looking back, what did you learn and what would you have done differently?

Nothing. Every experience has its place and is an essential chapter to my story.

Let me ask… if you spend your time looking back, trying to make up for past mistakes or wishing you could have done things differently, what are you doing NOW, but wasting your time regretting when you should be doing?

Let past be past. Be present now at the moment so the future can unfold accordingly to plan.

In your opinion, what are the hurdles that keep people away from starting an entrepreneurial career? What advice would you give to the new entrepreneurs?

Fear. Conquer it, and you will master yourself. Master yourself, and you will have already won this game called life.

Are you an entrepreneur looking for your MVP built? Get in touch with us at hello@devathon.com

Devathon has built software for companies backed by the world's leading investors like Betaworks, Greylock, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, KPCB, Lightspeed and many more.