Shuttlesnap: Interview With Brett Seng

Brett Seng is a Bozeman, Montana based outfitter, photographer and entrepreneur. I have admired Brett’s images for some time and my ears perked up when I heard he was launching an online shuttle service App. My move back to Montana coincided with the launch of ShuttleSnap and I’ve been using it all summer. The idea is simple. Go online, select your river, put-in and take-out, and order a shuttle for the desired date and time. Enter your vehicle information once, pay via credit card, track the progress via text and all you need to remember is not to leave the keys in your boat bag. So far it’s worked perfectly for me and the shuttle operators I’ve talked to have been impressed as well. So we decided to catch up with Brett and he was generous enough to answer a few questions for us.

STS: As an outfitter, photographer, and the founder of ShuttleSnap, you have a lot on your plate. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you combine your passions into a profession.

Brett: You nailed that one brother!  The old adage “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it” is my life right now, but I’m feeling up to it.

My parents have preached to me since I was very young that I would be the most successful man I could be if I found passion in my career. It’s a cliché, of course, but I guess it’s worked for me.

The first time I heard of a “flyfishing guide” I knew I wanted to be one.  So I hustled up guiding gigs in Southwest Montana for 13 years, until I could earn my own outfitter’s license. I call my operation Roam Outfitters, as a nod to the path I took to get here.

Then I learned of a “flyfishing photographer” and pivoted down that path, for what it was worth.

I’ve never been attached to the idea of money or riches. (And anyone who is should avoid my path, trust me.)  But I guess hearing millionaires tell you day in, day out “look at the view from your office!” and “I’d love to have your job” helps me stay focused on what life and happiness are really about.

That’s why I keep getting after it.

STS: How did the idea for ShuttleSnap come about and what’s the basic concept behind it?

Brett: ShuttleSnap came to me out of frustration.  Do not get me wrong, we have highly qualified professional shuttle companies here in the heart of shuttle country, and they will earn your trust quickly. But if you’ve ever gotten to your take-out and found no rig and no cell service… it’s just one of those experiences that’ll get you to reconsider, to think there has to be a better way.

In this day and age, technology is so robust and innovative– every day new software is being developed to make our lives easier and more efficient.  I find myself in awe of what we have at our fingertips. And I knew there had to be a way to use that power to improve the process of booking, confirming and paying for river vehicle shuttles.

Shuttlesnap is the name behind that vision. It serves both as a management and marketing platform for shuttle providers, and as a one-stop-shop for their customers.

STS: So lots of us have ideas, but few make something as ambitious as this a reality, what gave you the confidence to make ShuttleSnap happen?

Brett: I agree, we all have ideas. It takes a certain degree of intrinsic inspiration though to make the sacrifices required of making them a reality. Some of that inspiration comes from the elbow grease used to flesh out an idea – setting goals,making plans, crunching numbers etc. So I thought about it for a long time, trying to figure out, among other things, if ShuttleSnap was actually doable.

Then I took the leap of faith.

I once heard someone describe launching a start-up as “jumping off a cliff, then building an airplane on the way down.” That pretty much nails it.

It also helps that I have a lot of peers who are smarter than I am. I guess I was listening harder to them than I realized.

STS: Sounds like ShuttleSnap is off to a great start. How has the launch exceeded your expectations and where do you hope to be in a year? Any spinoffs products we can expect in the next year?

Brett: I’m beyond pleased with how things have gone so far.  I can’t take full credit, by any means. Mostly it’s been finding and surrounding myself with brilliant minds to applicate the software and design.

The launch was nerve-wracking: Will they think the concept is worthy?  Does it make sense to our audience the way it makes sense to us?  Did we over-build? Under-build?  Does it bring our two-part customer base value?  Time gives those answers, and so far the real-time data has brought confidence, and helped us refine and improve. That’s where the true progress that we’re hungry for happens.

Within a year, we aim to have a loyal base of customers and providers. That should provide the foundation and credibility we need to expand into other regions of the U.S. and Canada.  We want to be the “online hub” for finding the best shuttle providers wherever you are, and for whatever activity you’re pursuing. This is our focus for 2015. But if unexpected opportunities arise, we’re ready to jump on them.

The amount of energy and motivation behind us right now is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced, and we are fueled every single day by the growing loyalty and support of our national river community.

STS: When you get your next day or days off what will you be doing?

Brett: I don’t foresee any days off this summer brother. But I’m okay with that because I’m completely in love what I am doing right now.  I will be looking forward to my elk archery season this Fall. Waiting for September to come back every year makes life feel so much faster.

STS: Any parting thoughts to share with us and our readers?

Brett: If you have a vision, and a sense of clarity about that vision– go for it. Regardless of success or failure, you’ll win in the end.

 

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