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Today's entrepreneur is Haya Odeh, the designer and co-founder of Repl.it. Repl.it's platform lets users start coding in the programming languages they choose, build and deploy apps right from their browsers.
Haya is passionate about building a welcoming community for programmers to develop and launch their careers. Although she's not a developer, she's not afraid of reimagining an ideal beginner-friendly development environment, that's why the platform has grown to serve millions of users. Coming from a background designing for non-profits and educators, she brings a user-focused and empathetic approach to product design.
Before Repl.it, Haya worked as a graphical designer and consultant at companies like Organic, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture and Clinton Foundation. She attended General Assembly as a student to study User Experience Design.
She has a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design and Fine Arts from the Jami'at Amman Al-Ahliyya University.
Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur?
I did not choose to be an entrepreneur. It just happened, we loved working on side projects together, and we deeply believe in our mission.
What is your favorite startup?
Haya: I have always been a fan of Steve Jobs and Apple story, a lot to learn from failure and success moments within the journey of Apple.
Why did you start your current company?
Haya: Repl.it is something special and we believe in it's potential and we found ourselves finding a company because we deeply believe in what we do and in our mission and goals, and we wanted to bring that to the world, Repl.it started as a side project but it grew way more than what Amjad, Faris and I can handle on our own, and we needed extra resources and help, that's why we decided to start a company.
What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?
Haya: I need to agree with what Amjad said. The uncertainty can be frustrating. It's hard to know ahead of time whether what you built is useful and if people are willing to use it and pay for it. The flipside is that when you make something useful that delights people it's one of the best feelings in the world.
What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?
Haya: They give up too fast, or they think about the short term goals and rewards.
What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?
- To be patient, and listening more than talking
- There is no time to celebrate
- It's good to have problems, if there is no problem there is something wrong and that is a problem.
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Repl.it lets you start coding in your favorite programming language in 2 seconds; it lets you build and deploy apps right from your browser. The founders wanted to build something to solve their own problem -- back in school they were tired of setting up their development environment on every machine they wanted to code on, and they dreamed of a world where you could just open a tab in the browser and start working. They built Repl.it to give developers access to simple, powerful tools and a community of hackers, aspiring programmers and teachers. They make it possible to learn, practice and build, all in the same place.