Pop Quiz, Monday with Ben Winston, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Beauty By Design

Photo credit: Ben Winston

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?
Ben Winston

Photo credit: Ben Winston
Photo credit: Ben Winston                                                                                             

What is your job role?
Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer

Tell us about your company?
Beauty By Design is changing the way skincare is bought. We provide a personalized, concierge service where users answer five questions, upload a selfie and text with an esthetician. The esthetician’s a real, licensed expert that you can talk to any time on text, and ask questions and get recommendations from. For product recommendations, we deliver a “SkinScription” that includes 100% transparency into why we recommended the products you’re seeing, and what’s in them.

What do you love most about your job?
As CTO, I love being able to work on both Product and Engineering. This means working with stakeholders (estheticians, marketers, merchandisers) to come up with new ideas on improving our service or enabling our team to improve our service. When we arrive at the best ideas for the next version of our product, I get to hunker down with the engineering team, work on architecture and code, and solve problems at an advanced level that’s rewarding. Researching how new technologies can help our business is also a thrill.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
Customers across the country are saying we have changed their lives or provided value in some way. I love enabling our estheticians to do their work and having a tight feedback loop on what customers like or dislike. Over half of customers that bought from us have purchased again, and that’s because we make it easy for estheticians to have real conversations with people.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
I love this question. My coworkers are all data-driven, dynamic thinkers. They want to prioritize what’s best for customers, and it’s inspiring. This attitude applies to simple tasks like designing workflows for signup, all the way through to architecting complex algorithms that analyze a customer’s data.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
We are all super focused but find a way to have fun. Everyone on the team has a great sense of humor. Sometimes pranks are involved, for instance, if one person was working from home on a Monday, we’ll pretend that a celebrity was in our office that day, and they missed out, and we all had a great time. The pranks are short-lived, lighthearted, and everyone gets a good laugh.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
The primary challenge is listening to what customers tell us – not only through direct feedback but through behavior. We are continually presenting customers with different experiences in our funnel, figuring out what kinds of data they will readily share with us and how to build trust and accuracy by making the sales process more collaborative. We wire every component in our UX and back-end with analytics tools to understand how well the various experiments are working.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
No matter how good the idea, you have to believe in the team that’s as capable and ambitious as you are in their respective discipline. If you are building something on the Product and Engineering side, you not only have to believe in the ideas you’re building but that Sales and Marketing will get your work in front of customers and tell your company’s story the right way.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
I’m sure this applies to any industry outside of hard tech – don’t let technology be the full story. Learn how to provide value to customers and earn their trust through customer service. For us, we realized the “human touch” (our Esthetician Consult) was the most valuable facet to our service, despite building all of this technology we were excited about. Then our strategy pivoted to building the app around the esthetician and the customer and to foster that relationship.

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:


Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth 

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind reveals the missing link between wanting success and achieving it!
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get rich easily, while others are destined for a life of financial struggle? Is the difference found in their education, intelligence, skills, timing, work habits, contacts, luck, or their choice of jobs, businesses, or investments?  –Publisher

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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