Marketers Jeff, Neal and Daniel Harmon are three brothers who only do what they love. Their passion for entrepreneurship, marketing and old-fashioned hard work has led to opportunities to work with major companies — Orabrush Inc., Wal-mart and Walgreens, for example.
The Harmon brothers’ success has come from taking risks, failing and then trying again. The cycle continually repeats as the brothers seek out new opportunities, are sought out by others for their marketing expertise and create startups based on market research.
Jeffrey, Daniel and Neal Harmon are all co-founders of VidAngel, their most recent project. Started in 2013, VidAngel allows customers to buy movies and edit the content to fit their preference. Customers can view the entire movie through a “vidmap” and take out any inappropriate content prior to watching the movie.
“Forty-seven percent of households in America want to filter their content, but if you ask them to pay for the filter, then the percentage shrinks,” Neal Harmon said.
VidAngel is innovative because it lets customers to decide what is inappropriate. Rather than create pre-programmed scales for gore, profanity and inappropriate scenes, VidAngel allows users to determine their preferences.
“Hollywood, from a story standpoint, is constantly trying to expand their audience … but the one cut they have neglected to do is family cuts. They do one for the FAA, but that’s about as close as they get,” Jeff Harmon said. “What VidAngel does is it allows a family to make their own cut for their own home, and everyone’s cut is different.”
VidAngel has grown in the last two years and now has about 15 employees. “The way we look at it is we empower families to make better decisions,” Jeff Harmon said.
The brothers’ execution stems back to their youth growing up in Burley, Idaho. When Neal Harmon was 11 years old he purchased a cow and created a plan that would help him pay for his missionary service and aid his family. Jeff Harmon was 12 years old when he formulated a plan to sell Idaho potatoes in Utah for $0.40 a pound. The brothers’ entrepreneur attitude first started because of necessity.
“It was out of need. If you wanted a new pair of clothes, you had to figure out how to get them. It’s either go work for minimum wage for a farmer in the field or figure out a way to make more than minimum wage doing something that’s not so boring,” Jeff Harmon said.
The brothers’ determination is the foundation of their failure and their success. Some of their successes include working with The Piano Guys to create the world’s largest nativity, creating and winning 2010 Utah Startup of the Year with Orabrush. However, these successes have been accompanied by failure.
“Be okay with failure, and fail quickly,” Neal Harmon said. “You never fail until you quit.”
The Harmons don’t shy away from risk — they have learned from risk and are comfortable with it. In the startup industry must become comfortable with failure and risk.
“One of the really frustrating things is you try to go and recruit somebody that is an engineer, has a good job, really wants to get in the startup world, and then when it comes to the meat and potatoes, they can’t give up what they have to give up,” Jeff Harmon said. “They have created a lifestyle that they are enslaved to. … Their burn rate is too high to take the threshold to join a startup where it really counts.”
Working in the startup world is difficult and unpredictable, but the Harmon brothers demonstrate that it can be done through passion, determination and a correct understanding of failure.
“They aren’t willing to take on the risk and go out and fail and make a mistake because they’re too worried, ‘If I make a mistake, I’ll no longer have my paycheck,’” Neal Harmon said. “You’ve got to be okay with falling down.”
Working for a startup is difficult and can lead to failure but with determination and unfailing passion the reward is obtainable, they said.
“If you want to be an entrepreneur learn to wear cheap clothes,” Jeff Harmon said. “If this is your desire, learn to live on dirt and then go make your dream happen, or you’ll never be satisfied.”
Daniel Harmon is the art director at VidAngel and was the art director for Orabrush. as well. He is also a freelance designer and copywriter. Jeffrey Harmon is head of marketing for VidAngel and co-founder of HarmonBrothers.com, where they take on marketing projects. He was the chief marketing officer while he was at Orabrush. Neal Harmon was chief operating officer while with Orabrush and is co-founder of VidAngel.