In a few short years, 19-year old Austin Stenson has become one of the largest influencers and most recognizable faces in the Instagram meme community. Austin creates and features pieces of funny content daily on his Instagram page, @__extendo__, which often reverberate throughout Instagram, being reposted by dozens of other pages. He has over 1 million hyper-engaged fans, mostly composed of teenagers and college students (as well with A-list celebrities such as Bella Thorne and Diplo). Along with being a distributor of memes, he has become one himself. His face is often incorporated in memes or used as a reaction picture. With his platform has come partnership opportunities and promotional deals from brands and budding artists, looking for new and effective ways to reach young audiences.
Being within the demographic he’s posting for, Austin has his finger on the pulse of content that’s “in”. His page is regularly used as a feeding ground by larger pages looking to find content to reshare. His tweets are often reposted by more traditional internet media outlets such as Worldstar. Austin has also spurred viral crazes such as his “earth sandwich” stunt, which garnered 10s of millions of impressions.
Austin was born in Opelika, Alabama, but raised in Atlanta. He’s the youngest of 3 children, having 2 older sisters. Growing up, he’d get in trouble in school for bad behavior because he would mess around and try to be funny. When he’s away from his phone, he spends most of his time playing video games or basketball.
I had the chance to interview Austin to share his social media story.
Tell me about your Instagram journey.
Austin: If I had to summarize my Instagram journey I’d say it’s a teenager who turned nothing into something. Some of my most memorable moments is when my first meme page got deleted on Halloween 2016 and after that I made the meme page I have now and hit 100k in March just 5 months after my first page got deleted. It felt like a setback followed by a comeback. A notable event is in the summer of 2017 I beefed with smokepurpp over Bella Thorne which led to Bella Thorne and Smokepurpp following me. He even went live dissing me and me and him raided each other’s comments. And every milestone of me getting closer to a million is an achievement to me because when I first started my meme page, I didn’t think it’ll be this big. I didn’t think back in 2016 I’d have nearly a million followers, 100k+ on my personal page or nearly 100k on my twitter. So I’m proud of the support I’ve always got from the followers.
What made you start Instagram?
Austin: It was just out of boredom, I use to just watch YouTube videos a lot all summer. I also already had Instagram but I was just a regular dude who followed meme pages. Then I thought it would be cool to try to get into the meme game since I always loved memes and seen the fun in the community from the outside. The page that inspired me the most was a page called Ksteezy, that was my favorite page at the time and I wanted to be like him. But I never would I think me being bored during summer would lead me to make a life changing decision. So that’s how the extendo persona was born.
What is your advice to others who want to build a large, engaged audience?
Austin: Try to interact with your followers, as your page gets bigger it’s gonna be a lot harder to do so, so even try to interact in your comment section or do things on your page that involves engaging with your followers. And try to be personal and show your personality it what makes you different.
What are your plants for the future?
Austin: Right now I’m in college so that’s a focus of mine, I also want to continue to build my brand on my meme page, my personal page, my twitter and twitch. So hopefully more success, more business opportunities and continue to interact with my supporters
Thanks for the interview! What’s the best way for our readers to find you?
Sports, Startups, Sneakers, Strategy: Max Martinez Envisions/Chases It All
It is not every day that you see a sportsman excel in business as much as they did as an athlete. Even so, some defy the odds and shine even more as entrepreneurs.
Max Martinez, a former Cornell running back, is a classic example of an athlete that has managed to do just that. He has overachieved in the business industry by using his athlete mentality and applying it in entrepreneurship. As the first Ivy Leaguer in his family, Martinez achieves anything into which he puts his mind. From playing college football, founding startups, working for Instagram, managing a VC firm to running his agency, he really wants it all.
Martinez is a dreamer and an achiever. In this piece well get to look at his success journey, achievements, and where he sees himself in the future.
A Brief Look into His Background
Martinez is a Miami born and raised athlete turned entrepreneur. The founder and creative director of his own agency, Maxfuture Strategies, since 2016, he focuses on solving unique problems that companies face, including strategy, advertising, content production, and software in the digital, business, and creative industries. Fluent in both English and Spanish, he is a dual citizen of Spain and the United States.
At 18, he left Miami and went to play football for the Ivy League Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he went on to play for four years. During his time there, he utilized every opportunity that came his way. While dedicating most of his time to football and his Government major, Martinez managed to start two companies, MaxyClean and Cornellious. MaxyClean was a pickup and delivery laundry service business, which he sold for $20,000 after one month, and Cornellious was a non-profit humor site that raised over $4,000 for three different charities and accumulated over 500,000 YouTube views.
After graduating with a bachelors in Government, the time for Martinez to take on new challenges in the real world.
Taking the Athlete into the Business Industry
In 2013, after graduating from Cornell University, Martinez moved to San Francisco and co-founded Phroogal. Though not easily, he managed to run a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo. With a set target of crowdfunding $75,000 in a month, Phroogal raised $78,000, becoming the first ever FinLit startup successfully crowdfunded. Investors voted them as winners of 2014’s Most Promising FinTech’ startup at the Bank Innovation’s Demovation Challenge in Seattle. Martinez then went on to work for Instagram after moving on from Phroogle.
At Instagram, he was part of a six-person team responsible for streamlining the verification process of NBA, NFL, and Premier League players. He did this for three months and moved back to New York where he became the Managing Director of a venture capital firm, General American Capital Partners. Martinez built strategies for their portfolio companies and found new investment opportunities for the company. As a long-term result, they were able to purchase FC Bordeaux of France’s Ligue 1.
Being an athlete, Martinez thrives off of challenges and competition. After achieving his goals with General American Capital Partners, he needed a new challenge. In November 2016, he moved to Madrid and founded Maxfuture Strategies.
Martinez’s Successes and Dreams
Martinez’s success story goes back to his teenage days. When he was 16, he broke Michael Vick’s all-time Nike Combine record as a junior at Belen Jesuit high school. He has continued to conquer new challenges to this day because of his love for strategies and sports. In 2016, he created the Miami Legacy MLS team concept, including the name, color scheme, logo and uniforms, for David Beckham’s MLS franchise which was endorsed by AS.com and the Miami New Times. Later on that year, Adidas chose him as a global finalist for the Real Madrid 2016-2017 alternate jersey design, which led him to successfully networking with former Nike designer, now Adidas Creative Director, Marc Dolce.
It was then when Martinez realized he wanted to take his talents to the sports apparel world. From creating strategies for Puma basketball and StockX to designing uniforms for the Long Island Nets of the NBA G-League, he has dedicated 2019 to getting his foot in the door at Nike. After finishing courses in Sneaker Ergonomics at FIT in New York City, the latest concept he’s working on, his Jordan Z1ON line for NBA rookie sensation Zion Williamson, is a project he truly believes will show that he understands the sports apparel industry from every different perspective.
A competitive athlete who has also had tryouts with the LA Galaxy of the MLS and Delaware Blue Coats of the NBA G-League, Max Martinez is a true conqueror and go-getter. He has proven he is more than just an athlete. Martinez believes his elite work ethic and versatility are what make him the best.
Ryall Graber a Professional Athlete Turned Business Mogul Shares Her 5 Tips for Success
Ryall Graber the 8x IFBB Fitness Champion has now transformed her career as a successful athlete into a successful entrepreneur helping thousands of people change their lives. As a former athlete, Graber discusses how she transformed many of the habits that she developed as an athlete in the business world. Graber stresses how creating a structured group of habits can teach anyone to become more successful or happier in their lives. She then shares five different guidelines for how to shape a more successful future. She focuses much of her talk on self-belief and pushing through difficult circumstances. Furthermore, she promotes an ambitious attitude where one is setting goals high and achieving them constantly.
Tip 1: Follow Your Dreams!
Human behavior is often unpredictable. Nonetheless, Ryall Graber discusses how she felt that her transition from a dental hygienist to her athletic career just “felt right.” Despite the pragmatic and practical concerns of those around her, Graber remained confident in her decision because she felt that it was the right decision for her to make. Typically, Graber discusses, humans can naturally feel doubtful about things that scare them. She was able to squash her own fears because she felt passionate about what she wanted to do and then set about doing it.
If you are in love with your career or business, Graber argues that you will work harder to keep it going. She discusses how great ideas can only be great if you are daring enough to try them, and put them into practice. This determination will help you to set your goals and drive you forward.
Tip 2: Set Goals and Reconnect With Them Every Day
Ryall Graber then talks about how it is important to set goals. It is one thing to begin the journey, and quite another to continue the journey effectively. By setting small, achievable goals at first, one is able to gain confidence in themselves. If there are certain goals that cannot be achieved, Graber recommends evaluating and then adjusting the goals to something that is more realistic. Patience and focus are central components to future success, according to Graber. Motivation ultimately should not be something that one finds hard to come by. Re-tinkering your goals should be an effort of focus, not trying to be interested in what you do. Graber conveys that it is difficult starting out into a new career or a new job. It is important to set goals so that you do not waste time and lose the ability to improve oneself. As you set goals, it is important to constantly revisit and re-assess them to make sure that you are busy with tasks for yourself. If you are not focused, chances are you are not motivated either.
Tip 3: Don’t Let Circumstances Define You, Believe In Yourself And Never Give Up
Everyone goes through difficult situations in their lives. In order to be successful, one must be different from everyone else. When a situation might force the average person to quit, figuring out how to persevere it can be a valuable lesson. Circumstances will test your will and your love for what you want to do. If your first answer is that you don’t want to continue through your pain, it might not be the “dream” job that you want. Ryall proposes that success is like a pathway – you start at one end, and then you must journey through it in order to find it. She utilizes the analogy of “when life throws you lemons, make lemonade.” In order to do this, you must remain confident but learn from your mistakes.
Graber discusses how everyone runs into tough circumstances. It is important to grieve during times of loss, but at the same time use this as fuel towards never experiencing those emotions in the future. Graber frames the discussion as “every champion must start as a beginner.” By understanding that you have a lot to learn, you must avoid being overconfident and also learn from each experience. A champion’s mentality, or an athlete’s in general, comes from learning from your errors and mistakes.
Tip 4: Focus on Commitment Not Motivation
The motivation we seek will follow if you’re truly committed are to your goals. As you hit your goals your motivation will rise. It’s super important to set daily goals you can hit, as you hit your goals your confidence and motivation will rise and start to domino effect that is why being consistent is important when achieving complex goals. Once you start building the momentum you’ll be unstoppable.
Tip 5: Don’t Let Your Circumstances Define You
In Ryall’s athletic career she mentions “During my athletic career I suffered dozens of setbacks. I suffered from an eating disorder that was developed from extreme dieting as a fitness competitor, I gained and lost hundreds of pounds, I experienced low self-esteem, I experienced multiple injuries, hypothyroidism and I endured a painful divorce. She says “I am human just like you, so when I say ‘Don’t let your circumstances define you,’ it’s not from a place of judgment or from a pedestal. I say this to remind people that they’re not alone. If I can overcome and conquer then so can you and remember that regardless of whatever you’re facing in your life right now, there is only one person that can change it. It’s YOU!”
In order to achieve your dreams, one must know what they are. Brainstorm ideas of what interests you and drives you every day. Ryall says that ‘clarity of knowing exactly what you want to achieve will give you power. And once you find them, commit to them 100% and continue to ignite the inner flame within you. It will take time to achieve them, it will even take time to fully understand what passion really feels like, but as you continue this journey it will mold and sculpt the person you were destined to become.’
How Stephen Campolo Built A 6 Figure Fitness Empire On Instagram
During a recent interview with Thrive Global, Stephen Campolo reveals how he has went from dead broke to building a 6 figure fitness empire and how he went from fat kid in high school to becoming a celebrity health coach and online exercise influencer. Stephen has worked with some of the top celebrities and entrepreneur in the world today and he shares his insights on fitness and health.
What’s your backstory?
I am a former fat kid turned fat loss and muscle building expert. I struggled with my weight for most of my childhood and early adult life. It wasn’t until high school that I got tired of feeling sick and tired with how I looked. So I decided to do something about it. Taking the first step of action towards bettering my health and image would start a sequence of events over the next few years that would ultimately change the direction of my life.
I became obsessed with seeing my body change week over week and I wanted to learn everything I could about the human anatomy and nutrition and weight training. My first job was working at Gold’s Gym where I was the cleaning boy, wiping down machines and cleaning bathrooms…but I didn’t care because I loved being in that atmosphere and talking to all of the personal trainers and bodybuilders, trying to soak up as much information as I could.
After graduating from college and getting my Bachelors degree I went to work in the corporate world. It was a typical 9-5 sitting in a cubicle. I did it for 2 years and was miserable every day. I knew that life wasn’t for me, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. During this time my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer so I knew I didn’t want to be away from her all day. My good friend was the head personal trainer at a prominent country club where I lived and asked me to come work with him. The hours were good and the pay wasn’t bad so I did it. During this time I was training some of the most powerful CEO’s in the country and some celebrities.
About a year after being diagnosed I watched my mom take her last breath. This was a turning point in my life. She was only 52 years old. I realized how fragile life was. And I knew I didn’t want to spend my life training people. I felt like I had a lot of knowledge to share about fat loss and fitness so I started sharing my thoughts and beliefs on social media. Little by little I started gaining traction and started to build a following. At first I just wanted to do it for fun because I truly loved helping people, but I started getting tons of messages asking if I had a program to buy or if I did any coaching. This led me to create my first fat loss program.
Momentum grew and shortly after launching my program I was able to leave my personal training job and do my online fitness business full time. In a very short amount of time I have helped thousands of people all of the world reach their fitness goals and my client transformations are some of the most impressive around.
Currently I am getting ready to do something no other fitness influencer has done before. I am doing a 12-week transformation challenge in which the winner will win a brand new car. I know the hardest part about getting started is lack of motivation so if people know they can possibly win a car, then that motivation will get them to the finish line.
What made you decide to choose this career path?
Having taken control of my health and life I knew I could share my own knowledge and beliefs with others that would greatly impact their life. For me it isn’t a career, it’s a calling.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Looking back over the past few years I laugh because I truly had no idea what I was doing. I had no structured plan or idea. It was just simply me being me and sharing knowledge that I though could help others get healthier and fitter. I think sometimes being naïve and isolated can be beneficial in a sense because you are almost too dumb to believe you can’t do something, I just simply believed I was meant to help others and no one could tell me different. When you are firm in your beliefs, nothing and no one can get you off your path.
What do you think makes your company/personal brand stand out?
My story. I am not a genetically gifted fitness model who was born with abs and big muscles. I’ve had to work hard and overcome my own flaws and setbacks to get where I am. Sharing my personal story and vulnerabilities with my audience has allowed me to connect on a very deep and intimate level with people. People appreciate that, especially in a world full of fakes and pretenders.
What’s a quote that you live by?
“What gets measured gets managed.” This goes for your nutrition, workouts, business, relationships, spirituality. You have to know where you are in order to make adjustments to better improve things in your life.
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