David Filipi | Crain's

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

David Filipi


Wild Dog Digital is a multi-service photography and digital media company that focuses on real estate. Initially launched as a specialized photography company, Wild Dog has since grown to also offer video services and 3-D modeling to assist real estate agents in marketing the homes they sell with visual media.

The Mistake:

Our biggest mistake was that we assumed if it worked in Europe and Australia that it would also work in the United States.

Back in Europe, we had jobs and the main purpose in us moving to the United States was to start our own business. When we moved here, we came up with a couple of ideas and we chose one where we wanted to start a website here in America that allowed people to create their own breakfast cereal mixes.

So you would go on that website and choose if you wanted to start with a granola base or muesli or flakes, and then you would choose additional fruits, seeds, nuts and flavors.

But the market here is different and the concept just didn't catch on much, even though we were featured by a couple of magazines and blogs and people wrote about us. It didn't get as much traction as it had in Europe.

Even though we did market research, we somehow missed the mark here with our target group. It basically cost us one or two years of our lives and some money before we started our actual business, which is doing really well. We have six employees and it's working out.

I wouldn't say it was a "mistake," but it was an experience.

Even though we did market research, we somehow missed the mark.

The Lesson:

We were just too optimistic and we ignored some warning signs.

Other companies had tried the same concept here before us, but we just assumed they didn't do it good enough or they just gave up too soon or something like that, so I think we ignored those warnings.

Follow David Filipi on Twitter at @DavidFilipi and Wild Dog Digital at @WildDogDigital

Photo courtesy of David Filipi

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