“To be successful, you have to learn some tough lessons…”

So says Justin Cooke, the 33-year-old CEO of Tunepics, the London social-media app being touted as the next big internet thing.

In much the same way as many people think they’ve got a bestseller inside them, most have contemplated achieving world domination by creating the next big app or website – the new Google or Facebook. Justin Cooke is one of the select few who has actually followed through – and done so in grand style. Tunepics, his new social-media app that pairs your favourite pictures with your favourite music, launched earlier this year and is already being touted as the next big thing in the world of technology. And, with 100,000 downloads a week so far, it’s no flash in the pan. So, how did its creator get to where he is? By being nice, among other things…

Learn from the best “I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with very big names in fashion, such as Tom Ford, Angela Ahrendts, Stella McCartney and Christopher Bailey, and I’ve learned so many interesting philosophies from the people I’ve met. I’ve collected invaluable advice and experience from talented people, and they’ve shaped me personally, along with my approach to business.”

You never know who you’ll meet “When I was 19, I was working on the shop floor at Gucci. A guy came in and I looked after him in the same manner as I would anyone. He bought a number of suits and then explained that he was actually an executive for the company. He asked if I would like to come and work in head office and I jumped at the chance, even though I started off as a post runner. I soon worked my way up, though.”

‘Just enough’ just isn’t enough “It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I will always make sure to do the job properly – even if it’s just getting a coffee for someone. When I started at Gucci, we didn’t have a computer system so I took my own in and digitised the post room. Later, I pushed through our strategy with social media, created global events and really threw myself into every role I took on. I treated every company I worked for as if it were my own.”

Be nice “The thing about being a post runner was that I got to interact with everyone who worked in the building. The flipside was that when I was promoted over the people I’d been dealing with every day, I could see that some of them resented it. I just gave out kindness in return and they didn’t resent me for long – and, besides, they knew deep down that I’d got my promotion through my abilities.”

Think on your feet “Tom Ford is an absolute perfectionist and part of his success lies in his extraordinary attention to detail. So, when I was taking care of the renovations at Gucci headquarters and a scaffolding pole fell from the ceiling and obliterated a mirror-topped table, you could say I was mortified – especially as it was at two in the morning and Tom was due in the office in a matter of hours. Nevertheless, I organised a 24-hour glazier who replaced the glass with something similar. I think Tom noticed, but he never said anything about it.”

Don’t fear failure “You certainly learn more from your failures than your successes. When you make a mistake, it’s so important that you learn instantly from it. What’s even better though, is if you can learn through other people’s mistakes – then you don’t have to suffer yourself.”

Think big “With Tunepics, we’re trying to build a totally new social network right here in London, and that’s going to take some doing. I’ve not got everything right so far – see what I said earlier about making mistakes, for instance – and I even wasted three months’ rent, because I took the wrong-size office space to begin with. However, I truly believe we will be a huge company one day.”

Don’t congratulate yourself “When you start congratulating yourself, you run the risk of standing still, and in business, you need to keep moving forwards. However, do congratulate others. All the time. Without my team, I couldn’t have done this [Tunepics] and I let them know that I’m grateful for their efforts. Ours is the fastest-growing app in the App Store – we thought we’d have 10,000 downloads in our first year and it’s now 100,000 a week.”

Stay grounded “While we’ve got all those downloads, and celebrities like Jamie Oliver and will.i.am are joining the platform and getting behind what we’re doing, we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground. After all, when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re always one month away from being broke. I know the value of every single pound, because I’m the one signing the cheques and I have to turn my hand to whatever the business throws at me.”

Always pay attention “I once ended up at a dinner with Sir Philip Green, sitting opposite Simon Cowell, Carmen Electra, Rosie Huntington- Whiteley and Will.i.am. We shared some great stories late into the night about music, fashion and technology – it’s amazing what kind of interesting conversation and learnings you get when you combine completely different perspectives and experiences like that.”

This interview was carried out by SIM7’s Simeon de la Torre and first appeared in easyJet Traveller magazine. To read the latest issue (and the entire back catalogue of magazines), visit: https://ink-global.com/our-clients/portfolio/easyjet-traveller/