Life on the Upswing

One thing you learn when studying entrepreneurship is the importance of supply and demand. When creating a product or service, an entrepreneur must understand that his creation will really only be a success if there are people out in the world who need whatever it is he is creating. Recent University of Michigan graduate Austin Waldo applies these principles to every project he sets out to accomplish.

Waldo, who graduated from the Ross School of Business with an additional major in Screen Arts & Cultures, created his blog, The Upswing Report, as an answer to the expanding market of young men looking to arrive at the next level in their lives. He saw a need, and in a true entrepreneurial spirit, figured out what he could do to fill that need.

The blog targets young men in their early twenties and was the product of a long summer of internships during which Waldo started to notice a burgeoning market for blogs that offer advice to young adults. The name “The Upswing Report” was carefully selected because of the way it exhibits the overall mission of the blog. The term upswing refers to the emergence of upward trends, and that ideal is exactly what the content of the blog is all about. The articles and advertising all cater to readers who are working to get to the next level in their lives, both socially and professionally.

As a man whose goal involves becoming a serial entrepreneur (otherwise known as someone who starts a number of different companies), a blog is a great way for Waldo to put his own career plans on the upswing. His dream of becoming a feature filmmaker will be that much easier to realize thanks to the exposure and capital he gains from the blog’s internet presence. In addition, Waldo sees a great many parallels between the role of an entrepreneur and the role of a filmmaker. Either way, everything begins with an idea. That idea can be followed by either a business plan or a screenplay, both of which outline the ways in which the finished product will be implemented. Eventually, all that matters is that the consumers are able to decipher the final vision of the idea and understand the overall value of the product.

His philosophy on creating a personal brand encompasses more than what advertisers he chooses to use and what products he endorses. The idea of creating a product with a unique identity goes deeper than what you see on the surface.

“Branding yourself is all about knowing who you are, and almost more importantly, knowing who you’re not,” Waldo said. With this in mind, Waldo can make decisions about what to write about that adds value and a personal touch to the blog.

Waldo attributes a lot of his expertise on the subjects of advising young adults on the upswing to his time spent at the University of Michigan. He rode the waves of two different worlds—one was the serious and highly professional world of his Ross education and business fraternity, DSP. This rigorous environment taught him invaluable skills that helped him develop a keen business sense and certain comfort in dealing with upper-level executives in the corporate world. The other world of screen arts and culture involved dealing with a much more artistic crowd of people, many of whom were not necessarily business-oriented. With the knowledge he gained in business school combined with the time he spent in a more creative cultural environment, Waldo has created a product that is useful, informative, yet still captures his own personal brand.