Note: I’m putting this post together in chunks and publishing it as I finish each chunk. Think of it as shipping quickly.

As a founder, there are times when you sit down alone and think “what do we need to work on next to grow.” If you’re anything like me, 500 things come to mind at once and it feels overwhelming to try to find the signal in the noise.

As I’ve returned to this question countless times, poured over the “literature” from the best thought-leaders on the topic, and measured my own tests, I’ve synthesized a framework for growth…


First, how we got here…

If you’re a Premium member (or a Premium Partner) and you’re reading this, before I say anything else, I just want to say thank you. So often, startup companies talk about how they change lives, but whether you know it or not, your subscription to Premium and your support has changed our lives.

Premium was originally an experiment hatched from within our media company — a push to get back in touch with our core mission. Well, it’s worked. Today, the experiment will become the business — Premium will become Offline.

If you want to understand the background of this…


How do you create a scalable business that gets people ‘offline’?

That’s the original question I was asking myself back in 2011—the question that kicked off this whole adventure that, over the years, has become Offline as you know it today.

Today, we’re taking a huge step towards answering that question. In the process, I understand that we’re shaking things up for some of you who have loyally followed us for many, many years.

I personally love to understand why decisions get made, and I love to understand the first principals behind how things work— it’s in my DNA. I’m…


This is a self-serving post.

The purpose is really to codify the bulk of what I’ve learned after spending 4+ years (the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree) working in consumer-mobile tech.

When I founded Offline in 2012, there was not a single established B2C, mobile-1st consumer startup in the Triangle to draw inspiration from. WedPics, now the largest, was just getting off the ground. There was a major void in consumer-mobile wisdom.

These are the 8 laws that I wish I had known back then. …


Building a startup involves competitive analysis. Understanding the models in your space is requisite for success, and I’m a huge believer in doing your homework. I hope that this analysis will always be helpful to anyone else who is also doing their homework on the Local Discovery space.

There are 3 things an analyst must take into account when evaluating local discovery platforms like Fever:

1.) Retention: driven by platform content, perks and gamification.

2.) New market growth: ability to efficiently launch new markets.

3.) Revenue model: usually ticketing, advertising or deals.

Retention: Fever is taking a segmented approach to…


An open letter to the Offline community about how we’re going to make money, why, and what you should expect.

I’ve become pretty cynical about digital advertising. You know, “if it’s free then you’re the product,” or “it’s only a matter of time before they ruin it with ads,” that kind of thing.

I’ve also grown to distrust a lot of products. At times I feel like they’re out to deceive me, and I often wish they’d just be up front about their intentions. …


In 2011, the summer before my senior year at NC State, I started thinking about the biggest problems facing humanity over the next 100 years. The mind of most engineers would jump to the well-publicized problems (clean air, clean water, etc.), but I found myself thinking about those that were more nuanced. In particular, our dehumanization through constant exposure to technology worried me the most because it seemed to have the least resistance and was also, back then, the least discussed. …

David Shaner

Founder & CEO at Offline

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