Outlier On Air | Interviewing Founders, Disruptors, & Mavens
184: Amber Reyngoudt- Doing the Unexpected

"People will tell you you can't do it, but if you want it enough and work hard enough, you can be successful and have what you want." - Amber Reyngoudt

About: Amber Reyngoudt- Co-Founder of Skull Ninja, and former iOS Engineer at Milk

Overview: Amber is a Software Engineer with years of experience in the coding field. Over the past four years, she has taken on her own venture of building iPhone apps with her co-founder at Skull Ninja, and shares with us what it's been like traveling the entrepreneurial road.

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Highlights:

Background: Amber attended school at University of Florida, and majored in Computer Science. Although she hadn't planned on becoming a software engineer, Amber's grandmother really encouraged her to go into Computer Science, and as a Junior in college was interning as a coder. When she graduated school, she worked as an application developer for Intel for about four years. She then moved to LA and eventually began working for a consulting firm. Once she left consulting, Amber attempted to start her own company but soon ran out of money and decided to go back to the mainstream work space. In 2005, MySpace was the hot new social media company so Amber decided to apply and started working as a developer there. She ended up becoming a manger and worked there until 2010. At that point, things started dying down with MySpace and Amber was no longer feeling challenged or fulfilled in her position so she slowly left MySpace to develop apps for iPhones on her own. From there, Skull Ninja was born.

Working at Milk: After leaving MySpace, Amber and her co-founder moved to San Francisco and began working on apps. Amber was fortunate to meet Kevin Rose 4 months after moving there and he asked Amber and her co-founder to come work at his new-found company, Milk. For the next year, Amber and her co-founder worked as the iOS Engineers for Milk, which helped build credibility for the two of them. Milk was eventually bought out by Google in 2011, so Amber and her co-founder were back to focusing on their company, Skull Ninja.

Skull Ninja: Amber and her co-founder are doing a mix of consulting and building apps. Recently, they did some webwork for AirB&B, intro for About.me, created another app for North Technologies, they also created an iPhone, and iPad app for a home hair-color company, etc. In 2012, they created their own platform for shopping in a variety of ways, and soft launched an iPhone app called Hit or Miss that focuses on women's fashion, and discovering fashion. Essentially, they publish a daily trend and the consumers select that trend as a hit or miss, and then they tailor what they want to see according to the feedback. So far the app has been well received.

Challenges: For Skull Ninja, bootstrapping was difficult along with balancing their schedules and time. It's been easy to take on too much, and not even work on their own projects to help the company. For the past few years, it's only been Amber and Dave and they were not able to really scale the company until they bring on employees.

Woman in Tech: One thing Amber points out is that she's had to spend some time proving herself, but is becoming less of a problem since she has built credibility. She does feel that because she is a female founder, it can work to her advantage and make her stand out from the crowd. Amber shares that she's happy there are more women in tech, and in different areas, they bring a lot to the tech world. Overall, Amber has had a good experience and feels very fortunate.

Advice for Entrepreneurs: It may seem scary and unattainable, but if you're driven, passionate, and willing to work really hard- almost to the point of crazy- you can be successful and have what you want.

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Connect With Amber:

Website | @AmberRayn | Soundcloud

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Category:Business -- posted at: 1:00am MST

183: Suzannah Scully - Coaching With a Purpose

"Your purpose is when your natural talents, skills, and interests all align." - Suzannah Scully

About: Suzannah Scully- Executive Coach

Overview: Once a part of the corporate world, Suzannah has taken her experience to start her own practice as an Executive Coach and help large corporations and entrepreneurs. Suzannah provides us with some great insight on how we can improve ourselves and our companies.

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Highlights:

Background: (From her website) "Suzannah Scully is a coach, speaker and blogger with a corporate background working for organizations such as Gap, Inc., Williams-Sonoma, Inc and The Wine Group. Her mission is to give leaders the space and tools to break through barriers and reach their potential. She has given presentations for Stanford University (see presentation here), Haas Business School of Berkeley and Vanderbilt University as well as other local bay area companies on the topics of leadership development, effective communication and personal branding. Suzannah received a B.A. from UCLA in Sociology and has received her C.P.C.C. from The Coaches Training Institute. She is married with two children and a dog and lives in Marin County, CA. When not working or with her family, you can usually find her at yoga, in a library or at the movies."

How it all Started: It was during a business trip to France, that she had her "ah-ha" moment, realizing she wasn't fully happy with her career. At that moment, she decided to leave the traditional work path and began training to become a business coach. Suzannah has now run her own practice for 10 years and will soon be starting her own podcast as well.

Role of an Executive Coach: Suzannah is an executive coach who works with entrepreneurs and corporations by providing them with the tools to access new parts of themselves while taking their career and lives to the next level. Her clients include: high profile individuals, large organizations such as Apple, Sony, Eventbrite, and Slalom Consulting as well as Bay Area startups. She usually works with her clients for 6 months, meeting with them twice monthly. The majority of her clients are in the Bay area, but she is more than willing to work with clients all over the country.

What Sets Suzannah Apart: Suzannah has a strong corporate background- she understands how to navigate a big corporate company. By working with well-known companies, like Apple, her clients can trust that she is experienced at what she does.  Suzannah really focuses on helping clients excel in the background aspect of the company- how to get people on your side, how to network effectively, how to build a team, etc. Suzannah has found that brilliant minds can be impatient, they want everyone to be at the same pace and it can be easy for them to lose the art of listening. Suzannah addresses this issue by teaching the 3 levels of listening, not asking just yes/no questions, and teaching them to really understand the 'why' of what someone may be sharing.

Measuring Success: At the beginning of each meeting with her clients, Suzannah will analyze what success looks like to them. That is what she then works toward with her clients. She ensures they are accomplishing what they have set out to do by creating milestones. Suzannah is there to push her clients to do what they have hired her for while being supportive along the way.

Purpose vs. Passion: Suzannah shares that you can be passionate about something but that t it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be your purpose. Your passions are the things you enjoy doing in your free time. Your purpose is when your natural talents, skills, and interests all align. When you know what your purpose is, you will enjoy what you do, and knowing your purpose will help you determine what you can be successful in. It may not always work out, but it's always worth a shot.

Importance of Personal Branding: Everybody has a personal brand, and it needs to be managed. Suzannah shares 3 steps on how to create an effective brand. 1: Define your aspirations. 2: Determine your unique value proposition. 3: Communicate your brand.

Advice for Entrepreneurs: The best way to reach out to mentors, or venture capitalists, is to make sure you are giving as well as taking. Find ways to help that other person and give back to them. Always look for opportunities to serve, and it will come back to you. What moves you may not move someone else, but that doesn't make it wrong. Trust yourself, listen to yourself, and follow that wisdom.

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Connect With Suzannah:

Website | @SuzannahScully | Facebook | Podcast

Book Recommendations:

1) Give and Take

2) Essentialism

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Direct download: Suzannah.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 11:44pm MST

182: Daniel Faggella - Using Email to Grow Your Business

"It's better to have a surplus of ideas and be forced to go with the really great ones...than to have a limited number of them and pick the one you think is best." - Daniel Faggella

About: Daniel Faggella- Entrepreneur, Writer, Speaker, Jiu Jitsu Champion, and Founder of CLV Boost

Overview: During this exciting interview, we learn valuable lessons from Daniel on how to create effective email marketing campaigns. Dan has a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology degree from UPenn, owns 2 companies-TechEmergence LLC, and startup marketing with CLVboost, is the author of “Explorations into the Philosophy of Transhumanism: A Lens to the Future Through the Thinkers of the Past”, is a frequent public speaker, and holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

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Highlights:

Background: Dan has a passion for martial arts and was heavily involved in Jiu Jitsu. When his local martial arts gym closed down, he opened his own martial arts gym, something he had never planned on doing. He always thought he would only compete but not be involved in the entrepreneurial world. With this endeavor, Dan learned a lot about sales and marketing and launched himself into his entrepreneurial journey.  With a small market, Dan needed automated sequences to categorize potential clients and to maximize their sales. From there, he started CLV Boost- working with software and start up companies to implement email marketing strategies and campaigns.

Growing Your Email List: If you want to get more people onto your list, Dan says to start learning more about pay per click. Dan helps clients focus on conversion rates on their page (figuring out the percentage of people that convert to your site and the percentage of people who become leads). The next thing he'll do is build a regimen that's reasonable for your company and work on partnering with people that can help drive business to your site.

Email Campaigns: Dan wants entrepreneurs to know that social media is not nearly as effective as email marketing. If you want to make money for your business, it is crucial that you have an email marketing campaign. Dan's personal list for martial arts is about 27,000 people. With the help of his email campaigns, he made approximately $66k last month.

Continual Education: Dan knows the value of education and even though he has successful businesses, understands the need for continual help and coaching. In the last 30 months, Dan has spent a little over $100,000 on education: coaching, school, books, etc.

Advice for Entrepreneurs:  Make sure you know what you want the individuals on your email list to do with that first step in the buyer's journey (call, get a quote, set up an apt, etc). Once you have an answer to that, you will know what your emails need to do next. Then determine what the major benefit is for your customers. Know how you can solve whatever their problems may be. Frame your subject lines and your content around that benefit. You have to make sure that you are closing your audience within 3-7 days, because after that, you lose half of your market. When you are sending potential customers educational material, make sure there is a link, case study, free e-book, something that will lead them to other options. Let them find a way to pay you if they're hungry.

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Connect With Daniel:

Website | CLVBoost @DanFaggella | LinkedIn

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Direct download: Daniel.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 12:03am MST

181: Sinead Mac Manus - Providing an Alternative Education System

"Where you start in life doesn't mean it's where you will end up." Sinead Mac Manus

About: Sinead Mac Manus- Founder and CEO of Fluency

Overview: Sinead is a talented and motivated entrepreneur striving to make a difference in the world through her company, Fluency. She shares the importance of starting a company not just to make money, but to help build brighter future. Throughout this interview, Sinead tells us more about what Fluency does and how it works.

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Highlights:

About Sinead: Sinead is originally from Ireland and has her degree in Geography and History of Arts and a Masters in Town Planning. She worked for 5 years in town planning, but did not enjoy it at all. She left that part of her work life, and decided to start teaching in the creative arts. After attending the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Sinead founded her digital wellbeing company 8fold in 2010 and launched the Digital Academy, training low income women with digital skills, in 2011. This is where Sinead met her co-founder of Fluency, Ian.

What is Fluency: Their vision is to be a global social business that gives access to life-changing work opportunities to people in need. They provide an alternative education system for students focused on vocational skills and just-in-time learning. They believe that people learn best by doing real work and they seek to link learning with real world experiences and opportunities. They especially help young women who do not have work opportunities in the UK and countries all around the world. Anyone who has access to a computer, phone, or internet will be able to have access to Fluency and can be helped to obtain the work they need.

How it Works: Fluency's goal is to provide students with skills to help them standout from the crowd and have something to demonstrate when they apply for other positions. Their courses are only 4 weeks long. Some of the courses offered are in: SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing. Right now, their courses are free, anyone around the world can sign up for free and learn amazing skills that will help them obtain great jobs. Fluency is still unsure if they will ever monetize these courses because they want to provide as much access to knowledge as they can.

Revenue: Fluency generates revenue from the employers that hire their students. 

Biggest Challenges: Supply and demand. 

Success Rate: Fluency has about 20-30 people through a program each month, and have a high success rate in helping these students find actual jobs.

Advice for Entrepreneurs: "It's easy to get caught up in the tech start-up world, but think about how you can use your amazing skills to really make a difference in the world, rather than thinking about how you can just make a quick buck." says Sinead. "If you do that, you will have a greater return in your life. Making a difference and having purpose is the future of the work world."

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Connect With Sinead:

Website |@sineadmacmanus | Google+  | About.me

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Category:Business -- posted at: 11:53pm MST

180: Nadine Bongaerts - Breaking Down Barriers in the Science World

"Innovators see a problem that's directly related to their personal environment, and they want to do something about it. It touches them so deeply, so personally, that their motivation is so big to create something that overcomes that problem, that they'll do anything to make it work." Nadine Bongaerts

About: Nadine Bongaerts- Co-Founder of Biotecture and Global Community Director for Hello Tomorrow

Overview: Nadine is a unique, accomplished young woman with a desire to help change the world. She shares what it's like working in the science and technology field as a woman, and more about the companies she has and is currently involved in.

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Highlights:

Background: Nadine is originally from the Netherlands and received her Degree in Life Science & Technology from TU Delft. She has an entrepreneurial background and has also been the curious type. Because of this personality, she is always on the hunt to learn more, and be involved in new developments, especially in the life science realm.

About Biotecture: Nadine started this company in 2011- it was a spin off from an international science competition she competed in called, iGem. This company represents the shaping of education and communication in life sciences.
Nadine and her partner, work with clients and partners to create awareness of the developments that happen within the life sciences. By developing and applying interactive and effective communication and education tools, they are able to build a bridge between science, politics, art, and society.

Revenue for Biotecture: Biotecture is a for-profit company. They want to be independent of subsidies and have more control.

What is Hello Tomorrow: From their site: "Hello Tomorrow is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by Xavier Duportet and Arnaud De La Tour. It aims at creating bridges between scientists, investors and entrepreneurs in all major technological fields. In 2014, we organized the first edition of the Hello Tomorrow Challenge, a global competition of tech-startups in Europe and the First Day of Tomorrow Conference, which gathered more than 1,500 participants at “La Cité des Sciences” in Paris on April 2014." Hello Tomorrow is essentially a physical and virtual platform for local and global innovation.

The Hello Tomorrow Challenge: This is a global challenge that Hello Tomorrow hosts for startups from all over the world in six different major fields of technology. If you'd like to learn more about this challenge, visit their page HERE.

Goals to Expand: They'd love to expand their hubs in big cities all over the US. Specifically, to invite people to get on board with Hello Tomorrow to showcase capabilities there. The more people that are apart of Hello Tomorrow, the more diversity they will have within their company.

Female in the Workplace: Nadine feels that being a young beautiful woman in the tech world gives her a fun advantage. Although, she may be wrongly judged at first, she enjoys proving people otherwise with her natural talent and skills.

Advice for Entrepreneurs: Follow your passion. Although it may sound cliche, you have to put a lot of effort into what you're doing and keep on believing. Once you persist, you will achieve the results you desire in the end.

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Connect With Nadine:

Website | @NadineBongaerts | Google+ | LinkedIn

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Category:Business -- posted at: 12:17am MST

179: Michael O'Neal - THE Solopreneur

"I've got a lot of tools. None of them cut corners." Michael O'Neal

About: Michael O'Neal- Founder of The Solopreneur Hour

Overview: Michael is a self-taught entrepreneur who has a passion for network marketing, branding, life-coaching, and internet marketing. He shares with us tips for how to start a successful company, and what you shouldn't do as well. Learn more about how he started his podcast, The Solopreneur Hour, and how he helps fellow entrepreneurs through his show.

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Highlights:

Background: Michael started out in the field as a web designer after receiving his communications degree from Temple University. He worked in that field for 15 years, even starting a company called Whirled Media. From there, he worked a few odd  jobs but became unemployed in 2005 which was when he started his entrepreneurial journey. In 2007, Michael sadly lost both his parents and in 2009, he traveled to Europe as a way to mourn and heal. Following his return, Michael spent the next four years in network marketing, internet marketing, and life coaching. In 2013, he officially started his own podcast called The Solopreneur Hour – Job Security for the Unemployable.

The Solopreneur Hour Podcast: An audio podcast where Michael co-hosts with solopreneurs from all over the world including people with backgrounds in: network marketing, internet marketing, music, fitness, acting, comedy, and more. Michael's objective with his podcast is to take his audience through the journey of his co-host then give them actionable steps to help them with their ventures and inspire them to act. The Solopreneur Hour also shares practical steps and tools including books, smartphone apps, websites, training courses, strategies and stories that will support entrepreneurs every step of the way.

Revenue: Michael does have people pay to advertise on his show but he also offers a mastermind group- Sololab- that listeners can subscribe to.

What Entrepreneurs Can do to Get Started: Michael refers to this article he recently shared on his podcast: HERE. To summarize the article, Michael shares that you have to have good gear, nail your brand, make real connections with people, be patient, study your craft, push through adversity, go to conferences and know your competition, study others who are successful at what you want to do, promote tirelessly, and finally, be thankful and show your gratitude. Michael also feels that it is crucial to get a coach; someone who can support you and help you as you venture out into the entrepreneurial world.

The Worst Thing an Entrepreneur Can Do: Be too impulsive with their business idea before testing the waters and doing it blindly. That's where having a coach involved can be very helpful.

Advice for Entrepreneurs: Let branding be your fallback. People will know more about who you are if you nail the brand. If you are introverted, focus on building a successful, well-known brand, and getting to know people; making those connections will come after.

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Connect With Michael:

Website | Facebook | @SoloHour | SoloLab

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Category:Business -- posted at: 9:38am MST

178: Andreia Almeida- Loving Your Audience

"Always remember you only get what you give – so give it all." - Andreia Almeida

About: Andreia Almeida- Founder and CEO of We Love Social

Overview: Andreia is a long-time freelancer turned entrepreneur. She shares with details about her social media company, and the challenges that she faces to help companies understand the need to connect and establish trust with their potential clients.

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Highlights:

Background: Andreia received her Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations and later went on to specialize in Customer Relationship Management, and Social Media marketing. She has always been an active person with a strong interest in constantly helping companies, and helping those companies establish deeper relationships with their audience. Andreia is currently living and working in Lisbon after moving there 2 years ago to start her company, We Love Social.

What is We Love Social: We Love Social is an e-PR agency that is all about engagement and providing clients with a fully integrated strategy on PR and Social Media. Their main goal is innovating how brands use social media to connect with their public in the digital world. They provide services such as: consultancy and training-offering specific training plans for companies, according to their needs, and help increase their position against competitors. We Love Social encourages companies to actually talk and get to know their public, but above all to listen to what their potential customers need.

How it All Started: Andreia shares that when she hit her 30's, she realized she wasn't exactly where she wanted to be. So, she started thinking- "what should I do with my life that actually makes me happy?" Andreia knew that she had a passion for social media and by that time was already at TEDxLisbon in charge of Social Media. So she decided to get a talented team together to get started on her own Social Media company. She was able to receive some good advice from two successful entrepreneurs that enlightened her with their insights and expertise.

Setbacks: For Andreia, the entrepreneur life is still fairly new to her, and hasn't experienced a major setback yet, but she does think her main failure in life was not taking the entrepreneurial step earlier. She finds herself more accomplished than ever now – and being on a startup co-working space, she gets the same reaction from other colleagues every day. Andreia states that as an entrepreneur you learn to face failure as a learning experience, and the lessons you take from it make it worth the trial. You may not have the security of a 9-5 job, but you reach the end of the day feeling accomplished.

Biggest Challenge: Something Andreia has learned while freelancing for many years and now as a recent entrepreneur, is that while most people in the world of business have accepted the significance of a digital presence, many still do not understand its terms. In order to survive and succeed online, businesses need to relate to their audiences, and build trust with them.

Advice for Entrepreneurs: Andreia shares how important it is for entrepreneurs to connect with their audience, to know their business and customers, and to establish deep connections with them. Always remember you only get what you give – so give it your all.

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Connect With Andreia:

Website | Facebook

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Category:Business -- posted at: 11:54pm MST

177: Joe Jacobi - From Olympic Gold Medalist to Entrepreneur

"Change is a matter of practicing small habits everyday." - Joe Jacobi

About: Joe Jacobi: Olympic Gold Medalist (Canoe Slalom), 10x U.S. National Champion, Consultant, and former CEO of USA Canoe/Kayak

Overview: Joe is an Olympic athlete with years of experience in canoeing/kayaking. He shares his experience of getting to the Olympics, and his entrepreneurial journey since. 

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Highlights:

Background: Joe started canoeing as an 8 year old boy in Washington D.C., specifically in the Potomac River. When he was 13, Joe unintentionally became involved with a talented white-water canoeing group where he excelled for the next 10 years. Joe went on to win an Olympic Gold medal in 1992 with many of those teammates from that original group. In 2004 Joe competed again at the Olympics (placing 8th). He discusses how much he changed over the 12 years as an athlete and what it was like competing the second time around being in his 30's, with a wife, and a 3 year-old at home.

Joe's Entrepreneurial Journey: Joe was the CEO of USA Canoe/Kayak from 2009-2014, and although it was a big leap of faith, he decided to step down to pursue other entrepreneurial dreams like writing, speaking, and consulting. Currently, every Sunday, Joe writes a newsletter where he shares his thoughts with others, offers encouraging words, tips on improving performance, and other meaningful topics through many experiences. With this newsletter, Joe shares that he is exploring his vulnerabilities writing each week, and has found that people are drawn to that and his email list continues to grow.

Shifting to the Entrepreneurial World: Joe explains that his wife has always been an entrepreneur and is very successful at it. When he decided to make the shift to focus on his entrepreneurial aspirations, he was worried about what his wife and daughter would think, but shares how they were more than happy to support him with his new endeavors. He feels that with this new journey, he has had more time to focus on being a dad, working smarter each day, and really focus on what he wants to do for the future. His life now has space and room to grow and incubate new ideas.

Consulting: Joe works more with the corporate and executive space in the performance and strategy world. He focuses on starting with his clients' health and giving them the capacity that they need to perform successfully in whatever form of work they do. Joe feels that good health is crucial to cultivating a better environment, which in turn will allow smoother-running systems.  Joe wants his clients to be able to continue on a positive path once he leaves.

Work-Life Balance: Joe starts his day on a positive note- he wakes up early, exercises daily, and practices constant gratitude. 

Take Away: Overall, Joe teaches us that we should always strive to have balance in our life and make our personal health a priority. As we do so, all other aspects of our life will flow smoother. He has also teaches us that gratitude is an important part of life and that we should be grateful more often. 

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Connect With Joe:

Website | Google+ | @JoeJacobi

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Category:Business -- posted at: 12:00am MST

176: David Bradford - How to Network Your Way to the Top

"True networking is where you are more interested in what the other person is getting out of the relationship than what you get." - David Bradford

About: David Bradford - Executive Chairman of HireVue, Author of Up Your Game: 6 Timeless Principles for Networking Your Way to the Top

Overview: David is an experienced entrepreneur who has mastered networking by simply giving before he recieves. He shares the 6 principles for networking your way to the top, which can be found in his book. He also shares his experience working with Infusion.io, Steve Wozniak, and HireVue.

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David Bradford | Ever Gonzalez

 

Highlights:

What is HireVue: It is the largest digital interviewing platform in the world. In order to find great candidates for the job, HireVue helps large companies simplify the interviewing process- find better talent faster, and save money for the company. HireVue aims to eliminate the bad interviews through online interviews, sort of like a Skype on steroids, that involves an entire rating system, recording system, and other methodologies that employers can create.

Biggest Challenge: Once HireVue had the right people on board, it was important/challenging for them to find the right companies to get onboard. When they were able to obtain large corporations as clients, it helped well-known entities feel confident in using HireVue as well.

End Game for HireVue: HireVue believes that they are the next greatest online HR company. They are trying to gather and bring back greater personality to the entire interview process. Nothing is more important to a company or CEO than finding amazing talent.

Working with Steve Wozniak: David was able to work with Steve when David was chairman of a company called Infusion.io. When asked how he was able to get Steve to work with him, David shares, "True networking is where you are more interested in what the other person is getting out of the relationship than what you get." He states that with that attitude, at some point the law of reciprocity is going to help you out. And with Steve, David simply implemented the idea of true networking. (To learn more about this story, check out David's Book)

Up Your Game: 6 Timeless Principles for Networking Your Way to the Top: David has been blessed by relationships in his life and has constantly strived to surround himself with inspiring people. He started this book in an effort to help others learn how to network effectively. In May of 2014 he launched the book, and has had great success with it since. However, David is more happy with the personal feedback that he has had with his book and how many people he's been able to help. Some of the principles include: 1- Start your network by giving with no thought of getting, 2- show up, 3- follow up, 4- link up by connecting with people and forming meaningful relationships and organizing those contacts, 5- stand up, by being a person of integrity and character, and 6- scale up, by working hard at forming, building, and nurturing your network.

Advice for Entrepreneurs: You simply have to be interested in other people- ask basic questions and get to know them. As you begin asking others those questions, people will naturally begin to ask questions about you and as the conversation moves forward, people will begin to build trust with you. It's vital for you to build strong relationships with others as you network, and as you do so, you will become successful.

Connect With Ezra:

Website | Facebook | @DavidBradford | Google+

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Direct download: David_Bradford.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:50pm MST

175: Christopher Prujisen- Education on a Global Scale

"[When starting a company] don't just look at your local state or country...there are bounteous opportunities outside the U.S. and Europe." - Christopher Prujisen

About: Christopher Prujisen Co-Founder of Sterio.me

Overview: Christopher is a driven, entrepreneur who is constantly reaching outside of his comfort zone to help on a global scale. Throughout this interview, he explains more about his company, Sterio.me, a company that he co-founded in 2013 and what he plans to do to help students all over the world.

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Highlights:

Christopher's Background: Up until the age of 17, Christopher lived in the Netherlands where he attended public school, then attended Oxford University for about 2 years where he studied Philosophy and Economics. In his first year of college, Christopher went to China and taught English and was fascinated by the amount of learning and homework the students were given. He later returned to the UK and organized a very big entrepreneurship competition, and went on to become the President of the Oxford Entrepreneurs organization. Eventually, through different experiences, Christopher left Oxford to become an entrepreneur and started Sterio.me.

What is Sterio.me: (From their site) "Sterio.me is a technology that saves teachers time by automating the homework process from preparation, distribution and marking to administration, and improves access to relevant out of classroom learning reinforcement materials for learners. Sterio.me offers full reading, writing, listening and speaking pedagogy and is accessible via basic phone, and no internet is required."

How it Started: In 2013, Christopher and part of his team at the time went on StartupBus in Africa where they traveled for 5 days with other entrepreneurs (half African entrepreneurs, the other half Entrepreneurs all over the world) and through these 5 days they saw the need to develop technology driven solutions that would allow students that don't have access to out-of-school resources to continue to learn and complete homework assignments at home. It's been a long process to create the right model for the company, and by coming to Chile they have been able to find the right help to get them to where they are now.

Biggest Challenge for Sterio.me: Money is always a challenge, but through Christopher's experience he has learned that having a team is the most important factor to buoy each other up. So, finding the right engineers, project managers, local market expertise's, etc, is crucial to the success of their company.

Funding: Sterio.me started out bootstrapping, and then they were able to receive a grant from Chile. With the grant, there are some spending restrictions (you can't just outsource the way you want it to), but in general it's been very helpful for the company and for the local economy in Chile.

Future for Sterio.me: Starting next year, they will finish up the Android app for Sterio.me and really focus on driving it towards private schools in Chile, as well as certain wealthier markets in Africa. And then on the GSM solution side, they'd like to launch it in Madagascar. Overall, they really want to help the homework issue on a global scale, and possibly start some other side companies down the road to help.

Advice for Entrepreneurs: Decide what your goals are and what type of business you'd like to start. Determine what you're passionate about. When starting a company, don't limit yourself to your country, look internationally and possibly do a fellowship to see what's out there and what's needed. It's also a great idea to consider small markets, like Christopher has done in Chile.

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Connect With Christopher:

Website | @Steriome | Facebook | 

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Direct download: Christopher_P.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:24pm MST