Welcome to the Stretch Goals Podcast. Each week we’ll share insights and lessons learned based on our experiences as entrepreneurs. We’ll challenge you to create ambitious goals as you start and grow your business.
Thanks for listening to this episode of The Stretch Goals Podcast! We'd love to hear your thoughts on this episode and answer any questions.
This is the Stretch Goals Podcast. Where each week we’ll share insights and lessons learned based on our experiences as entrepreneurs. We’ll challenge you to create ambitious goals as you start and grow your business. I’m your host, Robert Dickerson and I’m Scott Davis.
Robert: We want to help you as an entrepreneur start and grow your business and develop great products. That’s really what the focus is on this podcast. Each week we’re going to share our insights, tactics, and some of the lessons that we’ve learned growing our own businesses so that you can apply them and you can learn.
You know starting from scratch as an entrepreneur is tough. It’s a journey, and it’s something that you have to go all in on. We want to share the experience, lessons that we’ve learned, but also build a community and discuss how together we can build great products and businesses.
In these podcasts we’re going to tackle what it takes really to turn your idea into a product. Through that we’re going to give you insights into development of our own products and things that we’ve learned. Let’s talk a little bit about why we created this podcast because I know we’ve been talking for a couple weeks now about putting this thing together. What are you excited about with this podcast?
Scott: I think one of the things that come up a lot when I’m downtown talking to people who are in the startup world or possibly wanting to go into the startup world, is there’s always misconceptions, but there’s a lot of questions. People don’t know where to go to get those answers. It’s hard to talk about yourself and be like, “Hey I built a business, you should come talk to me.”
Really it’s just one of those things where you want to share some of your experiences but people … It’s just hard to reach out to people and really connect with them and share those experiences in the same level. For me, when we talked about building this podcast, it’s about sharing these experiences through various different outlets but it allows us to have a conversation that people don’t always get to have and hopefully inspire people and inform them at the same time.
Robert: Yeah I agree. I mean for me starting out it was tough to find people to talk to. People that have had these experiences and really create a community around entrepreneurship and how you get started. It is really hard and you have to know so many different things around business, around products. Hopefully though this podcast we can share that information.
I’m also excited about learning myself, about what other people have done and connecting with other entrepreneurs.
Scott: I agree 100%.
Robert: Let’s talk a little bit about ourselves, just so people can have a background. Talk about yourself for a minute and what you’re working on right now.
Scott: Sure, so long story short. I’ve been doing software development for just about 20 years now which dates me. Everyone can guess my age pretty much, but I’ve been in multiple industries. Telecom, government, finance, startup space. I think the thing that strikes me and makes me a little bit more engaged in the startup world is that I’ve been in the shoes of many of the people that have gone down that path. Specifically, I had a side gig that I turned into a full time job. That I later sold to another company and that allowed me to get out of the corporate world and focus on that American dream so to speak.
The last few years since I sold that, I’ve been consulting with startups, helping them build mobile apps for iPhone and Android. I’ve been also consulting as a chief technical officer and senior architect wherever those needs may be. I don’t ever see myself going back to the corporate world. I love doing this. I love the freedom and the creativity and everything that’s associated with it.
I’ve got a business right now called MobX and we build software. It’s just a group of people, buddies, friends, whatever you want to call it, and we build products for companies that are in need. Some of us are full time. Some of us are contract. Really it’s just meant to be this flexible sort of outlet for software developers to come together and build great products.
Robert: Yeah that’s awesome. Another thing to note is that we’ve also known each other now for over 20 years. Scott and I both went to high school together and started out in programming and learning how to do things. I think we’ve both taken a similar track, right, in terms of we worked for … Each of us have worked for probably over 15 years within … You know Fortune 500 Companies, small businesses, and I feel like that was a good outlet for me and you might say the same thing, is that you learn a lot. You learn how to do things within companies. You learn what works, what doesn’t work.
Then you can take that knowledge and apply it to your own business, and for me I wanted to start my own company just like you said, because I wanted more control over what I could build and also I wanted more flexibility in my lifestyle. Also it’s more fun, right, when you get the creative outlet to build things for yourself. Those are the things that I enjoy doing as well.
My background is an engineer and I started developing products, both software and hardware based products for companies, so I’ve done that for the last 15 years. I started out with a side business … Or side project that I turned into a business and sold. I started a consulting business where I helped people develop products. Then recently I founded a company called Mapout, and Mapout is a mobile learning platform that really uses video courses to educate your customers about your products and also training. I really feel that learning is a big passion of mine and I enjoy learning new things.
I really feel like if we can apply new techniques and new technology in that space we can really help people grow their products by educating customers, because the world we live in now, people don’t have a lot of time to learn about new products, and so if you can educate them quickly through video and create a more engaging experience they’re more likely to use and try your products. That’s my focus right now.
Scott: That’s awesome. That’s great. Can you tell us a little bit more about the startup that you sold?
Robert: Yeah, so I co-founded a company called Geowake, and the idea was that we put nautical charts and navigation aids on top of Google Maps. What we did is we created a widget that people could embed onto their site, mostly for boating communities that they could look then and navigate around the charts and watch the water ways, and so developed that company with a co-founder. Then we sold the business to marinas.com, which now hosts everything.
That was really cool, because I really like the geospatial stuff, the mapping type of stuff and that was one of the reasons that I started in that business, was to learn that technology. It just kind of grew from there. It was fun to figure out what the end product was going to be because we went in and we didn’t really know. It was a time when Google Earth was really hot and people were just starting to move into the web.
I think with a lot of these businesses it’s about coming up with a good idea that solves a problem but also the timing has to be right with what people are doing in the platforms.
Scott: I think you touched on something that’s really important and that’s … At least in my experience and it sounds like your experience as well. When you have an idea that you’re truly passionate about or interested in. It lends the way to success because if you just have an idea and you’re not passionate about it you’re not going to have that drive to spend late nights or your free time working on these concepts. When you’ve got something that you’re all in for it’s just a natural path to success.
Robert: Yeah and I try to pick ideas that I’m really passionate about because as I’ve learned over the years as you have as well, is that it takes a long time to develop a product so if you’re not passionate about it. If you don’t want to do it every day then it’s probably not something you want to get involved with as a business. It might just be a fun side project.
Scott: Absolutely, and I think some people focus so much on just coming up with an idea that they can build a company around and that doesn’t always make sense. In some cases it does but in other cases it just makes more sense to build something that you’re actually passionate about and can sort of live as it grows.
Robert: Awesome, well I’m excited to start this podcast. I hope you as a listener too are interested and we got some exciting topics coming up. Just hang in there. Subscribe to our podcast. Let us know. Give us feedback. We look forward to engaging with you and talking with you.
Robert: Thanks for listening to this episode of The Stretch Goals Podcast. You can access the show notes for this episode and listen to other episodes by heading over the stretchgoals.fm.
Robert Dickerson is the Founder and CEO of Mapout a mobile learning platform that uses video courses to educate customers and train employees. He helps companies develop and launch their products.
Scott Davis is the Founder and CEO of MobX, a mobile development software agency. He has 20 years of experience developing software for Government, Finance, Sports and the Telecommunications industry.