On the edge of downtown Los Angeles, COSIGN, on a recent trip, hosted tech industry success-story Everette Taylor. Everette, originally from Richmond, Virginia and now based in LA, is a serial entrepreneur, primarily in the tech field, and is a marketing executive for several companies. The success he’s achieved has allowed him to pay it forward by offering college scholarships, creating a mentoring program and he even feeds the homeless on Skid Row. He is vocal on issues that matter to him. “I’ve used my platform as an entrepreneur and the success that came from there, especially within the tech space, to be able to do things,” he says. “The most important part of that is, you know we live in this capitalistic society where people are kind of scared to speak up against the things that are wrong in the world. I use my platform to speak up on diversity, speak up on some of the evils that I see in the world. I’m not really stressed out about the fact that people might not rock with my company just because of my personal feelings, because I’m going to speak up on things that I believe in.”
Everette’s success in the tech field comes from his true craft, marketing, something he’s been at since a teen. “My mom got me off the street when I was 14 years old, I was doing things I didn’t have no business doing and she made me get my first marketing job,” he recalls. “It wasn’t within a tech company, but I started to build those skills, that I could later apply to my own companies and at other tech companies, which was super important. And then when I started my first company at 19 … I realized a lot of things that I was learning in business classes wasn’t applicable to the real world.”
He went on to drop out of college after his first year, and turned his attention solely toward entrepreneurship. In search of a high return on investment in his marketing work, he turned to the Internet to hone his skills. Much of what Everette has learned has been self-taught or comes from experience. “I think the biggest thing is life experiences. Whether it’s growing up in the hood, or being homeless or going to a predominantly white institution, like Virginia Tech, all these different experiences, you know, packing up and leaving for California in one week to chase an opportunity and a dream, like these experiences that you’re getting, you travel the world, everything is like a culmination of emotional intelligence and understanding people,” he says of his own life experiences.
Along the path of self-taught entrepreneurship, there were growing pains and he had to learn along the way. “By fucking up,” he says. “That’s genuinely how I learned all that stuff. From my taxes, I remember my first year, I’m like “Yo, we made so much money, we did this, we did that,’ and then taxes come around and I’m like ‘I owe how much!?’ I didn’t realize, no one taught me those things, and it’s so interesting how in school you’re learning all these different things that you don’t use later in life, but no one teaches you about taxes, how to form a business, accounting, very, very important things when it comes to your adult life.” His crash course in business 101 was aided by his own research, as he made the Internet his best friend. “Never be not humble enough to go on the Internet, research, talk to people, reach out to people; you can go to your local mom and pop store and they’ll probably know more about starting a business than anybody you know,” he says.
Coming from living in his car at 17, Everette has made quite an ascent to where he is today. As CMO, he helped put Skurt, the rental car delivery app, in a position that it would be acquired by fair.com, and his work doesn’t stop there. “Currently, [there are] a few different things I got going on. Number one is my newest company, PopSocial. PopSocial is a social media software company, where I currently serve as CEO, and I’m getting my Jack Dorsey on,” he says referring to the CEO and founder of both Twitter and Square. “I’m also CEO of a really successful marketing firm called MilliSense as well … I have GrowthHackers, which I’m co-founder of, it’s another software company … You have Hayver, which is actually based out of Atlanta now, and it’s a drug and alcohol addiction app … We’re creating that support system through an app to help people and then also to incentivize them through cryptocurrency, so you can build up cryptocurrency by staying sober. And then the last thing that I’m currently working on is a company called BESE with Zoe Saldana. BESE is a new media platform to highlight underrepresented voices in the media, so firstly targeting the Latinx community, we’re gonna target other communities, obviously the black community as well, really excited about that. Because I know how hard it is for us to see positive images for us, think about how it is for the Latinx community right now as well. At least we have Blavity and Essence … but for the Latinx community, they don’t have a lot of platforms for themselves.”
Everette’s work ethic doesn’t stop there though. “A few days ago actually, [I] put on Twitter that I wanted to start this organization to help the youth learn coping skills for depression and anxiety, ‘cause it’s something I’ve suffered from, talking to my best friend the other day, he was suffering from anxiety. You grow up in the hood you don’t really learn how to deal with those type of things, and so I wanted to start an organization for that. So I’ve already started filing paperwork to get that nonprofit done, already bought the domains on GoDaddy, getting logos done, already getting clinical psychologists,” he says.
As an influencer, Everette’s COSIGN is valuable, and also sought after. “I’ve seen it, I’ve seen how powerful it is,” he says. “I’ve seen the numbers when I’m working with brands and the impressions … I’ve done stuff for instance, like Toyota, and I’ve had people come to me, ‘Yo, I went and bought a Camry.’ I was like, ‘This shit works?!’ So, I’ve seen it first hand, I’ve seen how I’ll post something on my [Instagram] story and people go buy it, that COSIGN is extremely important. You have to understand your value to these brands, and don’t sell yourself short, because they will try to take advantage of you. So to be able to COSIGN somebody, not only just brands and things in a capitalistic society, but one thing I’ve learned is that at the end of the day, there’s a million people just as good as you at anything that you do. But those COSIGNs, those connections that you make, those partnerships you make, is what can take you from here to here.”
Having already become successful, Everette’s now more focused on building a legacy. “Anybody that’s made money, that has some sense, will tell you, once you reach a certain level of money, you really have to try hard to spend that money,” he says. “Impact is what’s most important, Martin Luther King wasn’t a rich man, think about the legacy he’s left, the impact he’s left. That’s what really gets me going, really making a change in people’s lives, that’s why I volunteer, that’s why I give out scholarships. In terms of building businesses, my true goal is to create a company to create wealth within the black community and under represented communities. You have all these companies that are these billion dollar white-owned companies that have people that look just like them and they’re just making a bunch of other white male millionaires, not black and brown, Latinx, people that are underrepresented, those people aren’t being made into millionaires. Those people are going and putting that money to other white entrepreneurs and investing that back into that. So I want to be able to do that.”