It started with a phone call
I've often thought that there are only a few actions you can take to change direction in life: You can book a flight, you can send an email, or you can make a phone call. Almost every big change starts with one of these actions. I was at my office in Vancouver on a summer afternoon when I took a call that led me to leave my job for a startup. It was my friend and former classmate Fraser.
Three years earlier, we had both graduated a master's program at the University of Waterloo that was aimed at turning emerging technologies from the university's technical programs into viable businesses. After school, I got into digital strategy, helping global consumer brands evolve and thrive in an ever-changing digital landscape, and Fraser continued working in the tech startup scene. He worked on a micro-payments platform that pivoted into social referral widgets as a way for publishers and eCommerce brands to acquire new customers.
When Fraser called me, he was in the middle of yet another pivot, motivated by the discovery that referral traffic from social media sites doesn't convert very well. The idea for a new company came from an insight into this problem.
The insight was that social visitors simply aren’t in a buying mindset. Instead of buying, they want to keep doing what they were doing before they clicked through, which is to look at pretty pictures and not have to think so much. So, we thought, why are eCommerce sites asking these people to buy something right away?
There's a fundamental principle that says, to change a behavior, you must change the environment. So, if a business wants to generate sales from social media traffic, then it needs a new type of purchase funnel — one designed for people with a different mindset than a typical shopper. We called these people "browsers" and Second Funnel was founded with the mission of turning browsers into shoppers.