I think that a chronic case of itchy feet has caused me to bounce between the technical and business worlds quite a bit.
Over the next two and a half years I was lucky to be a part of solving interesting business problems at companies that made everything from jamón to jumbo jets. Constantly working with new teams, companies, and problems meant that the work was never boring, and the learning curve was steep!
There were two main reasons why I decided to do Le Wagon. First, because I thought it would be a lot of fun to learn to code. I’ve always liked the type of puzzles that coding can feel like, and I had a small taste of coding in my undergraduate program. Most of my classmates hated it, but I secretly enjoyed it.
With both things in mind, Le Wagon seemed like the perfect fit.
At the end of every day at Le Wagon, I felt like a soaked sponge: At total max capacity.
I think that my background in engineering and business analytics helped me pick up some of the basics relatively quickly, but the tough exercises kept me busy, and the final project was a totally new challenge – my favourite part for sure.
Designing the product from the ground up and figuring out how to code well in a team were both tough, fun challenges, and in the end, we were able to build way more than I expected. It was also an awesome way to quickly test one of our ideas (which ended up flopping, but thankfully led us to our current business).One thing I didn’t expect was to meet such a diverse group. Everyone was a different age and from super varied backgrounds, but we helped each other through the ups and downs of the program. It was a great bonding experience.
About half of all taxes we pay end up flowing to private companies that work for the government to provide everything from road repairs to medical imaging software.
We think that it’s vital to help the most deserving businesses win these government contracts. We do this by aggregating data from many government sources into one intuitive tool that helps businesses to find the contracts that are relevant to them, understand if they should bid on these contracts, and manage the bidding process that follows.
There is no doubt that we wouldn’t be where we are today if none of use were technical founders.
The dynamic nature of an early stage start-up means that ideas are constantly changing, and the product needs to change to reflect that. Nobody gets it right the first time, so being able pivot quickly and cheaply is vital for survival.
Leaving Le Wagon to start Stotles meant going from a structured, to totally unstructured environment. While slightly terrifying, it was also super exciting. After Le Wagon I knew that I could build products that worked, which gave me the confidence I needed to commit to building the MVP product. In my opinion, to launch a tech business, you need exactly those two skills, tech and business.
Given that all three co-founders have business experience and a business education, Le Wagon really gave us the final tech ingredient required to get things off the ground.
However, today I don’t know how I would do that. I’m excited to learn about the specific technologies and theories that we could use to provide this feature, and many more.
My advice would be to always aim for the learning zone.
For me, getting to the learning zone means setting goals that I’m not quite sure I’ll be able to pull off. It can be a difficult balance to strike, sometimes I’m comfortable, and sometimes I overshoot and land in the panic zone (which is not fun).
But the only way I really make progress is to be uncomfortable. It’s the only way I’ll feel satisfied and accomplished at the end of the day.