If a company can’t tell a meme from a viral video, it might be time to rethink its online strategy. That’s where Longneck and Thunderfoot comes in, helping companies develop an online voice and web presence in order to stay relevant in the digital world. The name reflects the idea that companies that don’t take advantage of the digital medium risk going extinct like dinosaurs. Cooper Pickett CC’10, a co-founder of Longneck and Thunderfoot, wants to help bring those companies into the 21st century. The startup is already turning a profit as a media consultancy, and Pickett, who runs the company with business partner and co-founder Jonathan Allen, plans to use the company’s time in the Columbia Startup Lab to develop tools that demonstrate the benefits of having a digital strategy.
Longneck and Thunderfoot focuses on breaking out of traditional marketing models and using creative media to reach online consumers. Pickett credits Columbia’s courses and professors for helping him to see the opportunities in the startup world. “I studied philosophy and I think that my time at Columbia shaped my thinking on the world at large.” he says. “I think it really did give me the confidence to turn away from a traditional career path.” Although he considered pursuing law school, Pickett decided to take a risk and moved to Brazil to pursue an opportunity with a startup. He grew from that experience, he says, and eventually partnered with Allen in 2013 to start Longneck and Thunderfoot in New York City. Pickett says that he is excited to join the Columbia Startup Lab because of the communal spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that will exist there.
That spirit of freedom and self-investment are core to Longneck and Thunderfoot’s business strategy, and it uses that entrepreneurial drive to keep the company fresh. With more than 15 clients all over the world, Skype calls and Google Hangouts are all part of a regular day at work. Longneck and Thunderfoot’s international focus gives the team lots of room for growth as it helps other companies find an online voice, whether through social media, video content or developing online conversations around niche subjects.
As a member of the first wave of entrepreneurs to join the Columbia Startup Lab, Pickett is taking the plunge into co-working. Columbia alumni will work alongside each other in the open SoHo space, bringing diverse and complementary skills and experiences to the group as a whole. Pickett says that the opportunity to join the Columbia Startup Lab came at the right time, as he and Allen were looking to move the operation out of their homes and into a more social environment. Says Pickett, “This is our way to connect with like-minded people, [to] be there every day working side by side, encouraging each other. It just seemed so in line with what I wanted to be doing, how I wanted to be growing my company. It was almost surreal to get the email; I thought, ‘Wow, Columbia is really doing something amazing here.’”