Stage One Startup,

EP062: How This Serial Entrepreneur & Digital Nomad Built an Award-winning App That Outsmarts Unknown & Unwanted Calls w/ Brian David Crane

September 25, 2017

This Week’s Guest: Brian David Crane

This is the first episode after our summer holiday! You may have doubted us when we said we were going to take an episode for a few weeks and suspected that we were never going to return, but we’re back!

Best of all, our return is marked by a brilliant episode with an awesome guest.

Before we get into this episode and who that guest is, though, here’s a quick plug for our amazing Facebook community! If you’re not already part of it, you need to join now.

It has some amazing members (including our past guests) offering information, advice, best tips, experiences, and everything else you need to know to build your first business the right way. Check it out at!

Today we’re proud to interview Brian David Crane, the CEO and founder of an innovative app called CallerSmart.

This award-winning iPhone app and website helps users investigate mystery phone numbers and avoid those annoying unwanted calls and texts. (If only it worked for spammy fake Facebook friend requests, too!)

Brian has been a successful entrepreneur for years. In fact, he sold his first company when he was just 24.

More recently, Brian built CallerSmart from the ground up using a team split across four continents, as he’ll explain in today’s conversation.

This is absolutely an episode you need to hear, as Brian shares tons of value.

He offers his unique and highly qualified perspective on building a remote startup team, finding mentorship, the sometimes-unexpected struggles of being a digital nomad, and much more.


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Part 1 of 2: Brian introduces himself and digs into the realities of being a digital nomad, which he explains isn’t as idyllic as it often looks on Instagram. He then discusses CallerSmart, talking about its funding and its management structure, then shares his thoughts on what it takes to create a successful team.

04:25 – Brian starts off by telling us a bit about himself and what his life was like before CallerSmart. He talks about his first company and how he got involved in the tech industry, as well as the loneliness of being a digital nomad.

07:57 – Has Brian always had an entrepreneurial streak?

09:36 – We hear more about the struggles of being a digital nomad, this time in terms of making time to work when other options are more appealing.

12:27 – Brian shares his thoughts on Greg’s experience in Bali, as he just recounted.

14:34 – Plate discipline is a concept that Brian finds useful. He takes a moment to explain what it is.

16:52 – We move on to hearing about CallerSmart specifically, starting with where the idea for the service came from.

19:52 – What’s the process that Brian and his team have to go through to get this technology to work to the best of its ability?

22:42 – CallerSmart has been self-funded rather than using investors, Brian explains.

23:29 – Brian talks about how they got users on the app given that there are other apps that do the same thing.

26:10 – We hear about the business structure at CallerSmart, where Brian explains there are eight people who form what he calls the “council of elders.” He then talks about why he doesn’t have a cofounder for this particular project.

29:33 – Brian talks us through the process of building his team and getting the right people involved in CallerSmart.

33:01 – About how much money did it take to get the app working? Instead of answering directly, Brian talks about the importance of having cash flow instead of just designated funds.

35:18 – Brian shares his thoughts on needing different temperaments and personality types, and discusses a test that he recommends, the Kolbe A.

38:36 – Do Greg and Brad have an idea that they’re working on right now? Brian then offers advice on the agency side of things.

42:42 – Brian discusses his thoughts on balancing entrepreneurship and your own ventures with having a full-time job.

Rocket Round Q&A

  1. What has been your favorite book in starting your first business? The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain De Botton.
  2. What do you do in your spare time? Football, mountain hiking, reading, and going to saunas.
  3. What is your definition of success? “To be involved with people and projects that I really care about, and to feel like at the end of the day that I’ve made the best use of my gifts.”
  4. What apps or mobile tools are you using to maximize your productivity? Apple Notes is exceptionally helpful.
  5. What are a few things that every startup founder should take into consideration when starting their business? 1. Get around some people who are qualified and will give you solicited advice. 2. Remember that execution is a bigger part of the pie than the idea.

Part 2 of 2: We dig into the nitty gritty details with Brian, discussing strategies, growth tactics, and the resources he’s used throughout his entrepreneurial journey. Brian offers his thoughts and experiences on topics including exit strategies, publicity, and mentorship.

57:21 – How important does Brian think it is to have an exit strategy when you’re starting your business, and does he have one for his current project?

59:40 – Brian discusses his social media strategies and explains why this isn’t a simple topic for CallerSmart, which doesn’t lend itself well to social media.

62:50 – We hear more about Brian’s publicity strategy, which involved both organic growth over time as well as reaching out to publicists and being written about in major outlets.

64:50 – Brian talks about whether CallerSmart will ever branch out into identifying fake accounts on social media, and whether he’s looking into developing into a bigger product than it currently is. He also recommends a tool called Megacool.

67:44 – What is Brian’s thoughts on mentorship, and did he have mentors who helped him in the early stages? As he answers, Brian distinguishes between three types of people: teachers, mentors, and gurus. He also offers his advice on how to find a mentor.

70:44 – We hear about, which is a tool that can help you find experts who know about specific topics.

Here’s where you can find Brian and CallerSmart:

@briandavidcrane on Twitter

Brian David Crane on LinkedIn


Or you can download the App straight from the App Store: CallerSmart App

PS while on the topic, you can join our Facebook community by clicking here. Come and jam with a group of engaging aspiring entrepreneurs and startups all sharing their experiences with each other to grow together. We pump invaluable content regularly in the group to help you build your Startup, the right way. See you on the inside!

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