Today's Entrepreneur is Daniel Odio-Paez, CEO of Socialize. Socialize puts app users to work boosting downloads and user re-engagement in an app by turning their social actions into new user installs.
Vator’s community is the home to entrepreneurs who embrace their passion and follow their dreams. Our profiles allow members to express themselves by sharing their interests, lessons learned, as well as bits and pieces of their roller-coaster journey.
These profiles give entrepreneurs an opportunity to showcase themselves and tell their story. So if you are an entrepreneur, a serial entrepreneur, or even an aspiring entrepreneur, we'd like to hear from you.
I am a(n):
Companies I've founded or co-founded:
Socialize, PointAbout, AppMakr
Startups I worked for:
GE (ok not exactly a startup!), NetWhistle, AcceleratedServers
My favorite startups:
Dropbox, Socialcam, Rapportive, Envolve, CloudApp, Evernote
What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
I always say that being an entrepreneur is like getting punched in the face every day, then jumping up the next day to do it again.
You have to absolutely love what you're doing to take the abuse. Creating something out of nothing is hard work. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.
Creating something people want is hard work and emotionally draining. The emotional impact of a startup is a taboo subjet to discuss in the Valley, but every entrepreneur I know talks about it privately. Just believe in yourself, because you've chosen a different path than the superstars at large companies. It might be lonely now, but people will be in awe of your accomplishments later.
What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?
Spending money too quickly. It's really easy to feel like you need to make a hire, or you need to spend money to have a first-mover advantage. Sometimes, it's true. But often, until you've really achieved product/market fit, you need to be especially frugal, because you can't unspend the money. I wrote a detailed post about this and related topics here: http://go.danielodio.com/evolution
What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?
1) You are not smarter than your users. They may not know what they want, but they definitely know what they don't want, and trying to convince them otherwise is time wasted. Simplify so you can release & test quickly, then iterate and repeat. It's a main point of our company manifesto: http://go.GetSocialize.com/manifesto
2) Use data, not emotions, to make decisions. Examples include A/B testing through Optimizely (http://go.DanielOdio.com/optimizely), ghetto testing, and fast release cycles via agile scrum methodology (http://go.DanielOdio.com/scrum). Having said all that, if you're at a crossroads and you don't have data to support one choice over another, always trust your gut.
3) Most importantly: Don't give up. Success often comes right on the heels of failure, or just after everyone else has given up.
I write a lot on my tech blog for entrepreneurs about what I've learned. Some of my favorite posts on the topic are my fundraising manifesto (http://go.DanielOdio.com/manifesto), my Hierarchy of Speed (http://go.DanielOdio.com/hierarchy-of-speed) and how to create a strong personal brand (http://go.DanielOdio.com/brand).
Is being an entrepreneur a skill one is born with, or anyone can learn?
I'm 100% sure it's something everyone can learn. They just have to want to badly enough. Most people don't. Most people are too comfortable and risk averse to be entrepreneurs.
I have a great blog on this at http://www.danielodio.com/2012/03/14/high-school-students-vs-mbas/
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