Joe Marrapodi is a serial entrepreneur with achievements that include Get Rare!, New Media, working at Intermix Media (where he orchestrated the first ad deal between Yahoo & Warner Bros) & working as the VP of Digital at LBI Entertainment. Currently, the CEO & Co-Founder of Greentoe.com, Joe directs all strategic business decisions for the e-commerce company. Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media, talks to Joe about his work.

Erik Huberman: What made you want to become an entrepreneur?

Joe Marrapodi: When I was 8 years old, my grandma & grandpa were tailors. I saw how much work they did — they basically did all the work — and I felt like they had enough talent to get their own business going. I said that to my grandma, I said, “Why don’t we open a shop? I’ll open it and you guys can work for me.” So I think I’ve always think I’ve had that kind of mentality in mind. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone and people who enjoy a risk/reward, and most importantly the ones who have a don’t-give up mentality in life are the ones who usually succeed in it. I’ve always had those kind of traits and every time I’ve ever really worked anywhere I’ve always had ceilings of some sort and being an entrepreneur, the sky’s the limit.

EH: Tell me about Greentoe.

JM: Greentoe is a name your own price marketplace for products. Right now we’re in five categories: photography gear; electronics; appliances; baby products; and musical equipment. Retailers aren’t allowed to publicly display the lowest price online. This is why you’ll see $599 for a Canon camera everywhere online, but if you go into a store and ask for their lowest price you’ll get a price 15-22% off the lowest price online. Greentoe enables the consumer to name their price for a product and we notify our network of entirely authorized retailers. The first retailer to accept your offer makes the sale and they ship it.

EH: How are you changing the world?

JM: Greentoe is bringing market pricing to retail. I feel it’s an inevitable evolution in ecommerce, and it’s already happening. There’s a big gap between the market price and the retail price of a product. We’re bringing market pricing to retail, and that’s how we’re going to change the world. I believe ecommerce, especially for commodity-based products, will change to an environment where the customer or the shopper is the one that dictates the price and the retailer comes to them rather than the other way around.

EH: Why Santa Monica?

JM: Santa Monica and Venice seems to be the hot bed in L.A. in terms of the tech market, but to be totally honest I live on the Westside so it makes more sense. I don’t like any other area. I’ve been West of the 405 since ’98. We like to be in the mix here, which is why we chose it.

E: What do you think of the Silicon Beach scene?

J: I think it’s definitely a more robust scene. I’ve been fortune to see, what I would call, the third bubble here not only in Santa Monica, but across the country. It’s definitely not as robust as Silicon Valley, but they’re obviously the mothership of it all. But I do think that what’s happening is that a lot of companies are getting a lot of opportunities to be innovative and start new things and it’s a great place for that. On the negative side, I think that the amount of attention available here on the fundraiser is not necessarily where it should be. There are a not enough companies getting funded at that level in Santa Monica. It’s much easier to get seed money or any kind of angel money in Silicon Valley. I think the VC firms need to be a bit more open and aggressive in funding and supporting these local companies in Santa Monica. The thing I like the most about the ecosystem here is the strength of performance marketing; it really started here in LA and down south a bit. Being from a performance marketing-based background myself, it’s exciting to know there’s a lot of performance marketers that know how to get stuff done. It gives us a lot of talent to pool from.

EH: Do you have one piece of advice for an entrepreneur starting their own business?

JM: No matter what you do, especially as an entrepreneur, you’re always going to have hiccups. You have to make sure you don’t confuse temporary setbacks with failure. Any smart entrepreneur that has experience, knows there are setbacks everyday. As long as you don’t fail on the ultimate goal, never let the setbacks get to you.

EH: Is there anything you’d like to share with the Santa Monica community?

JM: The Santa Monica Airport has a rich history with the city, but with the relatively recent explosion of jet traffic, the airport is no longer in balance with the community. Jet fumes cause cancer, birth defects, and are a serious health issue for growing children. Please, Santa Monica, the jets were never welcome and now they need to go.

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