[Reactor Alumni] Gliding Into The Future of the Creator Economy
This is the third piece of an interview-commentary series, Alumni in Action, profiling Reactor Alumni on their past and future entrepreneurial journey, insights, and anxieties on what entrepreneurship has led them to.
Responses have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
Creato is an interactive co-creation platform enabling content creators to be directly supported by audience communities. Audience communities are the ultimate consumers of the content curated by content creators. We harness the creator-audience relationship by engaging the audience into the content curation process with creators and thus enhancing loyalty and trust between the two.
John: To start things off, could you share something interesting about yourself?
Alex: I am not good at writing articles, yet I started to write on medium to practise putting my thoughts into words with clarity. You can find my wrriten pieces here: https://alextong.medium.com/
John: What experiences have you had that shaped you to be an entrepreneur?
Alex: In my previous work experience, I had to talk a lot to share my mental models with my co-workers to make sure things went right. Being able to articulate plans and things in every aspect is crucial in entrepreneurship so that our team can align the collective goal and work towards it step by step together.
John: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Alex: Start early! You will get a much better idea once you are on the journey. You’ll get to meet and attract more like-minded individuals, and it’s always good if you can discuss things with others, be it about the product, go-to-market, fundraising etc.
John: What was your key driving force to pursue entrepreneurship?
Alex: To build products and/or services that bring value to people and the world, and one day I would be proud enough to point at it and say “I made that!”
John: Do you believe there is some sort of formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Alex: I have a strong belief in the business philosophy of “people, products, profits – the order matters” as the foundation of building a long-lived company.
It is crucial to have the right team members in the right positions, then work together as a team to drive progress in building and iterating products to deliver unique values to our target audience. Once all that has been achieved, the sales and revenue would be coming in to fuel our growth and expansion.
John: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Communication - being able to articulate within and beyond the team.
Sales - Likely no one is going to believe what we believe as early-stage startups, we need to be able to sell and get people to come around our ways of thinking and beliefs.
Persistence - setbacks and failures are temporary, we have to be persistent enough to learn along the way and steer ourselves towards the goal.
John: What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs invest their time in?
Alex: 1. Dig deep in the problem-solution fit - somethings there are many solutions to the same problem, we got to find out the unique and efficient way to solve it.
2. Talk to users/customers - we make our products for our target users, therefore every piece of the product should be designed around them!
3. Read more books - get your thinking broader and wider to handle our daily tasks.
John: What motivates you?
Alex: I’m passionate about team success. I like it very much when I'm part of a team working together to achieve collective goals, be it product-related, revenue-driven or attaining a series of small milestones.
John: How do you generate new business/project ideas?
Alex: I’m always curious about how things work and how to make it better for those who use them. There is always room for improvement.
John: What are some struggles, obstacles, or pitfalls you have encountered as an entrepreneur?
Alex: Distraction is a silent killer. I have always reminded myself what the priorities are on a daily basis. There are always tasks we have in hand but they are not top priorities, we need to make sure we are coping with the right tasks at the right time.
John: In 1 sentence, how would you describe your entrepreneurial journey?
Alex: It’s an always-learning process where we either keep growing or we die.
John: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In terms of career development and entrepreneurial growth?
Alex: Honestly I don’t know where life is going to take me in 5 years. In terms of career, the big picture is that I would have built a sustainable business that it can sustain itself to grow and run. In terms of entrepreneurial growth, I would expect myself to be more mature and competent in terms of products’ development and business operations as a whole.
John: How do your values align with Glide and Creato?
Alex: The #PeopleFirst core value is in our DNA. At either Glide or Creato, we believe in the power of teamwork builds a good foundation for collective success.
John: What are some things you discovered about yourself/or other things through writing articles?
Alex: It is a good opportunity to review what we have done through writing about it. I have become more capable of putting thoughts in words with better clarity through the process.
John: What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
Alex: I’m learning something new everyday. I wouldn’t say wearing multiple hats is a good thing but it’s inevitable. On a daily basis, we have to solve problems in different areas e.g. engineering, design, product, operations etc! All of these pushes us to learn more and more.
John: Has there been a moment when you wished your journey with Glide/Creato had been a bit different?
Alex: I wish I was able to learn faster in the startup environment so that I could make fewer mistakes and potentially drive more progress. I’m not a fast learner but I’m getting better and better at it!
John: What are some things that having a people-first culture has paid off?
Alex: We had a 100% retention rate for university students who were interns with us, and they did come back or stay to work with us on different projects after completing the internships.
John: In the case of Creato and Glide, what are some strategies you adopt to maintain the quality of your digital community?
Alex: Understanding what users/customers want is the key, it takes trial and error processes to get it and the want changes, so being able to run constant review and adapt changes are essential to keep and build communities
John: To end things off, what are some pieces of advice you want to give to our future entrepreneurs for building a community
Alex: Talk to the target communities more often to get to know their needs as the only thing that matters is people sticking around in the community.
Alex: I value #PeopleFirst the most. People are the core foundation of building any startups and products. Without the people, it would not go far. The only way to go far is to walk together as a team.
Interested in running an Entrepreneurship Programme for your School? Contact us now. For student founders, who are interested in building your next startup venture, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by John Carlo
John is the Digital Marketing & Community Executive at Reactor School.
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