Evan Britton, CEO of Famousbirthdays.com
Evan Britton, CEO of Famousbirthdays.com

Evan Britton is the founder of Famous Birthdays, the top online resource for celebrity birthdays and up-and-coming celebrities. Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media, talks to Evanabout Famous Birthdays, the tech community in Santa Monica and the value of doing one thing, and doing it well.

Erik Huberman: What made you want to be an entrepreneur?
Evan Britton: I’m a passionate individual. I like to keep motivated, really take charge and make things happen. I think becoming an entrepreneur was the best way to control my own destiny.

EH: Tell me about Famous Birthdays.
EB: Famous Birthdays is an entertainment brand. We make it simple and entertaining to learn about famous people. There’s a lot of places to go to learn about famous people. Across devices, what we do is make it simple and quick to easily learn about famous people. We’ve moved into other places, such as Twitter where we have a big following of people engaging with celebrities on their birthdays on social networks. Overall, our site is a simple and entertaining place to learn about famous people. In addition to celebrity bios, we give them popularity rankings based on user behavior. One of the ways we grow the site is by featuring up-and-coming celebrities. Using our search data, we can see which celebrities are up-and-coming and we reach out to them to get them a profile on our site, making us one of the leading sources to learn about up-and-coming famous people.

EH: How is Famous Birthdays changing the world?
EB: We’re changing the world by letting people discover this up-and-coming talent. One way the entertainment industry has changed is that it used to be if you were an actor who had a speaking line in a movie, that may have gotten you some clout. Today, YouTube and Vine stars, reality tv stars, are becoming extremely popular, so how we’re changing the world is letting people learn more about these people. People may follow somebody on Vine or YouTube and may be obsessed with them, but may no nothing about them besides their video; we’re profiling that in a great format. Historically, I think places you could learn about famous people would give you way too much info. We make it fun to learn about famous people across any device.

EH: Why Santa Monica?
EB: I’m an East-Coaster. I moved out here seven years ago. Santa Monica by far is the most East Coast of any city in Los Angeles. It’s 10-15 degrees cooler, you can walk to restaurants, bars and other businesses. We chose Santa Monica because it’s the center of activity and it’s a community where a lot happens on all top of each other.

EH: What do you think of the tech scene, Silicon Beach, here?
EB: I think the tech scene is a ton of small, medium sized businesses here. There’s not as many huge corporations here, like you might see in a bigger city of Silicon Valley. I think that’s created a really interesting culture. Since everyone works in a small company, there’s a mentality that people want to get out and learn about what everyone else is doing. If you’re in a bigger company, there’s enough people there to have your own softball league, whereas in Santa Monica, everyone’s in a smaller company, so a lot of times you do things together. I think that’s formed a cool culture of a startup, mid-sized area, which I think is a lot of fun.

EH: What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to entrepreneurs?
EB: Focus on a niche. We’ve grown our site to over 5 million visitors a month. We focused on celebrities and birthdays and we resisted the urge to spread out into other areas. I think the key with entrepreneurship is making an impact, to really be good at something and once you are good at something, keep doing it. If you have the local pizza shop, instead of selling macaroni and cheese, make your pizza even better. Then make it better again, and better again. I think that if you focus on a niche, and have passion behind it, eventually you’re going to be the best at it. If you spread yourself thin and do other things, then that’s not always going to be the case.

EH: Is there anything you want to share with local people in Santa Monica?

EB: It’s an amazing place to live and I think living here day after day it’s easy to take it for granted. But try to resist the urge to do that and realize that while every city has it’s pros and cons, Santa Monica has so many pros that you, regardless what industry you work in, you always have to remind yourself that it’s cool to be living here.

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