Baus; It’s more than just a catchy word for Miles Anthony, but a lifestyle. From his companies to his composure, Miles has created a set of values and habits that exemplify bausness and led to his early success. Yet like anything worthwhile in life, the hustle did not come easy and there is still a lot of work to be done. Here is what Miles had to say about how his lessons learned from the past would lead him to achieve maximum indule in the future.
Tell people about yourself, who is Miles Anthony?
Sah everybody – I’m Miles. There are a few things I could say that would make me sound impressive on paper for my age, but I wanted to take this interview as an opportunity to give people insight to not only my accomplishments but most importantly my view of life and business. In short, I grew up surfing and playing baseball in a small beach town in north San Diego called Carlsbad, California. I live in Westwood now, love creating baus products, take various math and economics classes at UCLA, started two businesses with big baus Alejandro Rioja, and enjoy chilled eucalyptus towels on my fáce. Yet, there’s nothing that describes me better than the lifestyle of indule. Indule is a term coined by Dylan Skolnik that encompasses all aspects of enjoying life. Think of it as indulge, with strictly positive connotations. It’s pretty clear that going out with friends, hitting the nox eucalyptus steam room, and munching decadent cheese and salami plates with Pinot are integral parts of the indule. However, on the complimentary side of the indule is staying busy with projects and turning the hobbies you enjoy into profitable ventures so that you can finance indule activities. One without the other is a recipe for an unbalanced life. This balance is essential for living a purposeful life and enjoying it the entire way.
You have been a chief designer for several products, yet you are also a math/econ double major. How do you think these two fields complement each other in your work?
The two fields complement one another quite elegantly. In design, there exist mathematically optimal ratios and relationships that help understand what works and what doesn’t. And in theoretical mathematics therein lies a vibe of design that makes doing monotonous math problems and proofs satisfying upon completion. Every mathematical theory was logically designed by someone and is still held true by the world of academia hundreds of years after its initial conception. It’s pretty baus if you ask me. Knowing both fields gives me a broad perspective on problem solving. Through my work, I actively balance logic with creativity, which is extremely important as most people only focus on one of the two. Math and design, in my opinion, are both universal languages that transcend traditional language barriers. This is why both interest me.
So you run a start-up, are a full-time student, in a fraternity, and have to deal with everything in between; how do you manage your time effectively?
My memory is awful with long to-do lists, so the way I am able to juggle all these projects and manage my time effectively is writing tasks down in my notes. With the newest version of iOS 10, you can create check boxes that you can cross off to show completion. This way I hold myself accountable for the shit I need to get done, in the time frame necessary to do so. As stated in question #1, the indule is only optimized when an individual is able to manage his or her time effectively. It’s also crucial to have an appropriate hierarchy of the items on your to-do list. This way, you can determine what to get done first. I’m all about deliverables. From my experience working at startups and creating businesses of my own, I’ve learned that there are a lot of smart people that talk big. Yet, the thing that differentiates an average smart person from a baus is the ability to deliver and actually make shit happen. Someone could be the smartest person in the world, but if they don’t ever follow through with their ideas and make shit happen, then they do not add value. Doing things makes a much bigger difference than thinking about doing things.
What is flux and what inspired you to start the company?
Flux started as a portable charger brand during the summer of 2015 as a team in the Startup UCLA Summer Accelerator. Alejandro and I created the company with the intention of addressing a problem that everyone experiences: low phone battery. The existing players in the market for portable chargers were selling very bulky and non-sleek products that were either overpriced or were bad quality. Hence, Ale and I saw a market opportunity. Now a year later, we sell about 30 chargers per day on our site (fluxchargers.com) and Amazon, and have provided companies with customized chargers at larger volumes such as 200 to 400 units. Additionally, we just started pursing retail sales by getting featured in the UCLA student store and are currently trying to get into larger chain stores such as Best Buy and Target. Even though we are experiencing a large demand for our portable charger, our end vision was much much more than simply a charger brand. Last fall, we diversified Flux with a branch that specializes in web and app development (Flux.LA), and we plan on launching additional products this winter to expand our Flux line. Our end game revolves around the idea of Flux becoming a household brand name that represents innovative and aesthetic technology, whether it be creating our own products or developing partnerships with other entrepreneurs by providing them with design, development, marketing, and/or SEO optimization services. As of now, the Flux team is 4 bauses, Ale, Max, Kate, and me. We all share similar visions for the company and are very driven to make it happen.
Have you always had the entrepreneur spirit or did it evolve later in life?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, whether formal or informal. I would hustle kids in grade school for food, starting recess with a few pretzels and ending up with some dank gushers. I was addicted to the game. Thanks to Startup UCLA and Alejandro Rioja I actually had the balls to start our own legally recognized company. In 2015 Flux was born, and I started learning shit about running a real business. Yet, I still learn something new every day, so I’d say my entrepreneurial spirit is still evolving. For instance, I knew I loved selling products before, but since I’ve gotten into e-commerce sales, I’ve realized it is the type of sales I am most interested in. Selling shit online is much more scalable in my opinion than selling in person. And there’s nothing better than waking up each morning to sales that happened while sleeping.
What do you think the keys are for the successful branding of a product?
The main thing in good branding is to make a product that people will want to buy. Consumers buy quality, aesthetic, reliable, innovative, value-added products. The first and foremost important thing is to produce a product that serves a function well and adds value to its user’s routine. In the early days of Flux, we went through a few design iterations of the charger hardware in order to ultimately optimize the functionality. The current Flux Charger is our 4th generation and is much better than our previous models. We tried to maintain its sleek aesthetic while not compromising functionality. If you create a product that adds value to its users’ daily routine and focuses on optimal user experience, then people will buy it. If the people don’t want to buy it, then it’s probably not a good product. And if it’s a good product yet people don’t want to buy it, then you’re probably not marketing it well. To make sure people want to buy it, it must be also presented in an elegant manner with the sleekest package on the market. It’s all about sleekness. When someone buys your product, whether it be in a store or in the mail from Amazon, the opening of the package is an experience that represents your brand. It is extremely important to have sleek packaging and presentation.
What tips would you give to college kids looking to get into the startup game?
Entrepreneurship and the startup game isn’t for everyone given its uncertainty and stressful nature, but if you want to get into it, I would say just fucking do it, poos. The longer you wait, the longer you deprive yourself of real learning. You learn by doing. If you don’t know where to start, just focus on developing a skill set that can get you freelance work, or be making a tangible product that is in high demand. If you develop a skill set, get fucking good at it. Then you can make some money and start a business doing it. If you make a product, brand it well and learn optimal SEO and online marketing practices. By doing either of these things, you will learn countless lessons that will enable you to see more opportunities later on to start new ventures. I did both of these things, and I’ve learned more in terms of business from doing this than doing anything else in my life. The more shit you do, the more shit you learn. The more shit you learn, the better you can do new shit.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self before starting college?
I wouldn’t give myself any advice to change anything I did in the past. We make every decision with the information we have in the moment, and I trust myself in each situation to make the right call. Hence, I wouldn’t do anything differently. Although, if I could speak to my 18-year-old self, I would only tell him to enjoy each day a little more. There are people, places, and things in your life that will inevitably change one day even though they may seem like they never will. Everything as it is today is temporary so appreciate dat shit.
You can learn more about Miles and his ventures at miles-anthony.com