December 26, 2012 by Andrew Spinner
I’m nearly 2 months into working full-time with @Understoodit, and thought I would chime in and reflect on my experience so far. It’s quite amazing how drastically different the ‘corporate’ world is from startup life. I’ll try and outline a few highlights from my experience to date.
One question that I often get asked is “…do you have a hard time staying motivated?”. When you think about this, it’s a completely fair question. With startup life, you can work from home, your favourite coffee shop (or 2, or 3, or 20), or just about anywhere you’d like. As well, you are now the boss. You set the deadlines. You make the rules for how you’re going to play the game. On paper, it’s easy to get comfortable and abuse the situation. How I often answer this question is normally with a straight NO. What sinks in shortly after you start your startup adventure is that if you don’t work and hustle, you’re not going to make any progress, see any results, and ultimately, make money. With Understoodit, I knew that money wasn’t going to come overnight, although there is always that hope that it will happen overnight! That being said, you are the driver of the bus. If you don’t hustle, you’ll never get paid. Motivation? Not an issue.
One area I have been cannon balling into (note: there’s too much finesse in diving. I went for the bigger splash) is the sales process…trying to drum up some business. To be direct, sales is hard! I have a new found respect for those in sales type roles. However, it does have a great perk. I get to talk to our customers…a lot. I get hear all sorts of feedback along with the success stories. These customers that are thrilled with our product are the same customers who are our biggest advocates. They talk, tweet and blog about us. Even a cyber compliment makes you feel good inside. One customer even made this great comment:
“Congrats on coming up with the coolest idea that happened to teaching since powerpoint.”
I have also been cannon balling into the education technology scene. Learning our competitors has taught me:
1) There are some great companies out there with some really cool products! It will keep us on our toes, and on the cusp of innovation. However, more importantly,
2) The future of education is beyond bright. These kids have a great chance to make the world a better place. I have been speaking with many schools that have adopted or are looking at adopting a 1:1 model, meaning there will be one laptop for each student in the classroom. This includes some schools with primary aged children. With access to a laptop, internet, and all the latest and greatest tools available, students will be learning at a much faster and efficient level.
Thanks to my early readers, and I want to wish you all a very happy and healthy new year, and holiday season. Eat, drink and be merry, and a prosperous 2013 to all.