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Pop Quiz, Monday with Marina Shumaieva

Marina Shumaieva
Photo credit: Marina Shumaieva

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?
Marina Shumaieva

What is your job role?
Co-founder & CTO at CruiseBe, Inc

Tell us about your company?
Let me ask you first. Have you ever been on a cruise or maybe planning to go? If yes, then my companies product is for you.

CruiseBe is a Dallas-based tech travel company. We have created a one-stop shop marketplace and social network for cruisers & B2B end-to-end easily-customizable turnkey technology solutions for the cruise industry.

Usually, when a traveller goes on a cruise, he/she has to spend an enormous amount of time on surfing the Internet and decide what to do on a cruise, in tech port of call and on the ship. CruiseBe mobile app and website helps cruisers to plan their cruise vacation instantly, literally in one click by selecting the cruise ship and departure day.

What do you love most about your job?
I have always been passionate about tech, I followed the steps of my father to study Computer Science, and now I am happy to be part of “women in tech” community.

On the other hand, I was lucky enough to try the path of an entrepreneur. Together with my husband and launched several startups.

As a result, I believe that I have a great combination of skills that allow me to create and implement ideas into life. This is what makes my job interesting. Isn`t it amazing when you have a new idea in the evening and after 24-48 hours of hackathon you can already test the MVP (minimum viable product)?

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
When making a company from scratch, you should know why you are exactly the right person to do it and what existing problem you are trying to solve.

Being your own boss requires a lot of self-motivation and persistence. The key thing that makes me move ahead every next day is the realization that my company and I help someone in one or another way. As for me, there could be nothing more motivating than reading positive customer reviews and hearing feedback that the app and website were really useful during the cruise.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
Inspiration is an instant one-second feeling that makes your whole day. I can get inspired very easily just by talking with my co-founder. The thing is that you have to let yourselves believe what you hear and what you see and don`t allow yourself to have doubts, at least big once.

When I see that something is wrong and I am just not in the right mood for work, I can have a short walk outside, or I can tell how I feel to my co-founder and husband Alex. He is a very inspirational person. Just several words about how our startup is doing, what are our next plans, etc. and it gets easier. I felt rebooted and inspired for new achievements. The same works vice versa. I am always there for my co-founder and my team to give some inspiration, just talk and cheer everyone up.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
I am a hard working person and, frankly speaking, having fun like games, pranks, etc. in the office is not for me. But what I do support is spending time outside, just walking and talking, having picnics and playing team sports games.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
The gender gap is still big in the tech industry. And so-called women in the tech community is trying to do their best to show some support and prove the world that women are like men can be great programmers, developers, engineers, etc. As a female chief technical officer of a growing startup I face a lot of challenges, and among them, there are some issues connected with me being a woman in tech.
However, I do my best as a tech founder, and I firmly believe that women are more scrupulous and have their inner voice, and we are thinking in another way, and this can be the key to our success.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Each project is unique, and every situation demands a different approach and solution. That is why the most important lesson for an entrepreneur is to realize that there is no situation when you can regret about what you have done. All the choices and decisions that were made are not negotiable. Whether the decision was wrong or right, it does not matter, and you can not change it. This is a life path, and those decisions are lessons that teach you every time something new and significant. As a result, your next decision will be smarter.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
The cruise industry is fasters growing category in the leisure travel market. There are different directions that you can be working in like travel agents, cruise bookings, sell shore excursions, make some new tech tools for the industry, etc.

However, despite the fact of the rapid industry growth, the process of integration of innovations is a long-term commitment. The level of competition is high, and the path of getting to the market can hardly be called easy. Before starting a company on any market, you should be 100 percent aware that the product you are making is solving the real existing problem and there is a demand for your solutions. I know, easy to say, but you never know if you try. However, complete market research and potential customers` interviews will do their job and help you not to make big mistakes.

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:
My personal website: https://marinashumaieva.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marinashumaieva.official/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarinaShumaieva
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marina-shumaieva-860bb043/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marina.shumaieva/

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Written by Ricky Singh, MBA

Founder & Editor of The Startup Growth

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