Pop Quiz, Monday with Steve O’Dell, Chief Executive Officer at Tenzo Tea

Steve O'Dell

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. 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 can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur 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?
Steve O’Dell

Steve O'Dell
Photo credit: Steve O’Dell 

What is your job role?
Chief Executive Officer

Tell us about your company?
Tenzo Tea is a matcha brand based in Los Angeles. We were founded two years ago with a mission to share healthy energy and give back. We donate one year of clean water for every bag of matcha sold.

What do you love most about your job?
I love the journey. Every day presents a new suite of challenges and opportunities. There are wins and losses, but in the end, I solve interesting problems, work with amazing people, and make a difference while doing it.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
I genuinely believe that we are given more than we give back. So, I’m on a mission to give back as much as possible. To my family, my communities, and everyone that we share this planet with.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
Oh man, in so many ways. They challenge me every day to be great. A great human being. A great teammate. A great leader. They inspire me with their selfless actions and the example they set. It’s a special group, and I’m grateful to have them.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Ha, we do quite a bit of funny things. A lot of gift giving and storytelling. Some funny Instagram videos. We also do retreats, team dinners, and company parties. We’re a pretty tight-knit squad.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Day to day, it’s prioritizing. There are endless things to work on. Skills to learn. Numbers to crunch. Meetings to have. Events to attend. It never ends. Don’t get me wrong; I like this. It’s just challenging to prioritize.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
The most important lesson I can share is that all the entrepreneurs I’ve seen crawl back to the regular grind have done so not out of failure. They quit. Remember, in startups, the only way to fail is to quit.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
KISS. Or, keep it simple stupid. Too many entrepreneurs, myself included, stretch themselves far to thin early on. This causes all sorts of headaches and a lot of backtracking later on. Focus on signal (and make sure you’re sure you know what it is).

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:


Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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