The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business people. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you cannot learn in a classroom. We want to thank our interviewee for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.
I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz, Monday.
Can you please tell everyone your name?
What is your job role?
As a solo Founder, my role is pretty comprehensive and ranges from full ownership of key initiatives to filling in lots of small gaps. In that way, founder & CEO is an imprecise term in a fast growing startup. I see myself primarily as the Chief Editor, and my work to design the best team, product, and market capture machine never ends. This is why Chief Editor works as I am always pushing us toward collective greatness (with careful adjustments along the way).
Tell us about your company?
Fixt is an on-demand mobile device repair platform. We provide access to a network of trained and vetted technicians through our consumer-friendly interfaces while servicing our large enterprise customers like The Home Depot, T. Rowe Price, and NYPD, with optional reporting & analytics, integrations, and billing optimizations.
What do you love most about your job?
My job forces me to explore new neural pathways to solve problems continually. What we are doing didn’t even exist for the enterprise 3 years ago. That brings with it many new challenges for which the solution doesn’t yet exist. It’s electrifying to come into an office each day and work alongside 20 other people working through the same puzzles with you.
What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
Learning is a big motivator for me. I am continually reading and expand my knowledge base. While books like Scott Belsky’s Messy Middle provide in-depth relatable stories about working in a tech startup, classics like The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol remind me of the importance of humility. Stories that exist within the pages of these kinds of books happen every day at Fixt, and we are all learning and raising our collective probability of success together.
How do your co-workers inspire you?
They are completely customer obsessed. They are just as happy as I am when we earn another logo. Notice I said, “earn.” My team understands very well that when one of our users has a problem, it’s our problem.
How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
We have lots of fun at work, but we understand that it’s inextricably tied to performance. Our culture is intentionally intense. Partially because I am intense but also because of our customer’s demand (and deserve) something close to perfection. We look for any reason to celebrate a win, regardless of how small. Our culture enables that through lots of transparency and creative outlets like our weekly 5:05 meeting. It’s an important opportunity to discuss anything (big or small) that might be bugging us. Weekly team lunch, group Bird rides, and similar activities also help us stay highly aligned as a team. That said, there are quite a few occupational hazards at Fixt. Any given day you are likely to be struck with a soft Nerf pellet by Sal or one of our other engineers.
What are some of the challenges of your job?
To become a successful entrepreneur is hard, but to become a successful founder of a tech startup is more than twice as hard. Markets move, people move, technologies move, rarely in concert. And there’s no playbook. My biggest challenge is finding the absolute best talent at every position. Often times we have to throw half a body at something because there just isn’t a single individual with the right combination of skills and experience for a given project.
What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Contrary to the convention the best ideas don’t come from talking to customers, they come from OBSERVING them. All of our most significant product enhancements have been developed this way. Limited Brands is one of our customers that helped us in this way. In using the platform, they were repeating multiple steps again and again. When we probed, we saw it was because they needed to submit hundreds of devices at one time which we weren’t set up to do before. Since then, we’ve made several modifications that have dramatically improved their experience, and they remain with us today. All great learning comes from customers but don’t trust what they say, watch what they do.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in your industry?
Don’t get too sucked into all the industry jargon and best practices. Usually, disruption comes from industry outsiders. Don’t believe me? Airbnb, Uber, Stripe, SpaceX, PayPal, etc.
Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web: