We had the good fortune of connecting with Steve Tiseo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Steve, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’ve always wanted to start some form of business that I could say is mine, to some degree. I just didn’t know what that business would be. When I was new to Los Angeles, I was working in VFX and the thought of starting a boutique ad agency interested me. There was not much urgency and it sort of went by the wayside until a few years later while I was working in experiential marketing and, while loving the type of work it entailed, something wasn’t sitting well with the types of clients I was dealing with. Most of these were in direct conflict with some of my personal values. Also, at this same time, I had coworkers who were feeling the same.
So we started to put some thought behind what it would look like if we started our own experiential marketing agency and the types of experiences and clients we would like to work with. It was really about reclaiming what we loved about our work and removing the parts that were draining at times.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Friendly Vengeance is a small experiential marketing agency that strives to find innovative ways for brands and organizations to reach their audience. We like to integrate the notion of “play” into our work whenever possible, in order to bring a fun or explorative aspect to an experience.
If starting a business is easy, you probably are coming from a place of pretty extreme priviledge. That is one of the major problems I noticed being close to the startup world is a lot of folks that talk “hustle” and brag about how much they work also have a pretty nice safety net (i.e. parents with money) waiting should their idea go belly up.
I think one thing I am extremely proud of is that we’ve not only made it this far, but actually gained momentum during the second half of the past year of madness even with the event world getting put on hold due to the pandemic.
I mostly want people to see Friendly Vengeance as a group of passionate creatives that want to get their clients to get the same amount of joy out of our work as we do.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Going to assume this is a post-pandemic world we’re talking about here…
If I had a friend visit for the first time, I would probably mix it up with a cross between very low key hang out stuff and some random touristy things (visitors give us that excuse, right?).
Since a lot of it would be winging it, I won’t lay this out in any specific order, but probably hit a few breweries in the greater Los Angeles area – Golden Road, Smog City, Arts District.
For food, I would mix it up between some divey places and some more hip ones. Really looking forward to Citizens Public Market to be fully open and living up to its potential. Would definitely hit up Hinano (in Venice) for a burger and Myung In Dumplings in Koreatown.
Touristy stops would include Griffith Park, a bunch of beaches, maybe some rooftop bars.
Oh! Definitely would go to Lost Spirits Distillery and Two Bit Circus! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Around when I was making the decision to leave a well-paying, steady job for a rather uncertain path, I was reading “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh (rest in peace). While the relationship wasn’t a direct one, I do think the approach he and the Zappos team had to work culture was inspiring.
Of course, I’d be remiss to not share the credit for what Friendly Vengeance became with my business partners Amy Hua and Dave Wolfe.