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Interview with Sneha Saigal, Co-Founder of Geeks and Experts



Interview with Sneha Saigal, Co-Founder of Geeks and Experts

Born and raised in Mumbai, Sneha earned her MBA at IESE Business School in Barcelona where she also became a WSET Level 2 wine sommelier. Sneha is the co-founder & CEO of Geeks and Experts, a micro-consulting platform to connect with domain experts via 1:1 audio/video calls, which she started with her husband VB, who is the co-founder & CTO.

A management professional, Sneha’s non-linear career path spans social impact consulting to tech growth marketing. Sneha strongly believes in positively impacting communities; right from her college days of piloting prison programs in Grinnell, Iowa to her fundraising efforts at non-profits in Mumbai, India.

Where did the idea for Geeks and Experts come from?

Geeks and Experts was born out of the need to make social capital available to everyone no matter where they’re from or whom they know. Independent professionals and small business owners, especially, first-generation, immigrants or underrepresented groups spend too much time looking for or don’t have direct access to expertise. At G&E they can search for verified experts, find one that suits their budget, and get 1:1 advice from them.

During our problem-finding research, we found that 89% of users don’t get advice due to access or availability constraints. We’re changing that. We want to make these conversations contextual and easy so that you’re not relying on warm intros or cold DMs.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

On a higher level, I focus on marketing, business development, and outreach for G&E for which I dive into customer discovery interviews to understand the specific needs and requirements of the users while trying to help them find solutions. It helps me to keep a pulse on what they want while also focusing on the overall vision, strategy, and business model of the product.

Often the shiny object syndrome really distracts you from focusing on one task at hand. In such times, I have found that the “Make Time” method by Jake and JZ of finding one key highlight for the day to focus on has helped me make my overall day feel more productive. Showing up every day also looks different for everybody and changes on a daily basis. But, the sooner the ability to do 1% better each day sets in the more productive you can feel.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I am big on writing everything down right from a blog idea to a customer acquisition strategy. It helps to make a running list of items on a notion list. What works best for me to make these ideas turn into a reality is to allocate time on my calendar to “make it happen”.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am very excited and bullish on the micro-consulting trend that is emerging in the knowledge-sharing economy. You no longer need to have a following of several thousand to become a domain expert. You can niche down on your audience, become a thought leader and create multiple avenues to impart your lived experiences and expertise.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’ve recently started to unlearn things that might have caused blind spots in the past and this has helped me to pick up new tools from scratch. It’s always a work in progress but meeting new people, connecting people to one another in a selfless manner, and learning from those around you is a habit I have developed and continue to nurture each day.

What advice would you give your younger self?

It’s never too late to make a change so don’t let your past self hold onto what your future self is capable of. I realized that writing is something that makes me tick and so now I welcome every opportunity I get to write and share my experiences, thoughts, and learnings. Of course, you’ll make mistakes and you’ll do the wrong things but you’ll learn as you grow once you are familiar with the discomfort and learn to embrace the unknown.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The Office is a better series than Friends.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Read, read and read! I have read more books and blogs this year than I have ever. And, it doesn’t have to just be business and self-help books. Reading opens up your window to the way people live their lives, the challenges they face, or the wins they celebrate. A new practice I am trying to implement is to read about a place before you travel there whether you’re going for a short business trip or a family holiday!

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I approach every new connection I make via social networks or in-person events with an attitude of building a long-term relationship with that person. I try to be the connector and introduce people if I believe that they would have a meaningful exchange and I try to offer any support I can by doing the small things – give a shoutout for their new blog, tell them you read a book they recommended, or give feedback for an event they hosted! Do all this without having any expectation of getting something in return. This approach increased my luck surface area and connected me to people who are my mentors/supporters today.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

There are quite a few but the biggest one would be waiting too long to ship the first version of my product. The sooner you get it out there, the sooner you can get feedback from potential customers. The best way to overcome this mistake was to go back to the drawing board and start talking to every user persona and rebuild a more agile version of the product.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Make people less miserable with “Readable”. We all know people who want to become readers, but don’t habituate (are lazy). If I build an app that sent them a paragraph a day (or a few lines if they’re really just starting), I might slowly entice them to read a page, and so on and so forth. This can apply to all age groups of (non)readers.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I’d include workout gear and a meditation app subscription in the $100. I strongly believe that you can’t pour from an empty cup and we know from the pandemic that nothing is more important than wellness. So, I try not to neglect things that can’t bounce back easily!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I love Grammarly because of the correction suggestions it throws back to improve my writing. I have the Chrome plug-in so anytime I write an email, tweet, or google doc, it gives me a great idea of my tone and so on. It’s super handy for any kind of content writing!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky has got to be a book for the modern age professionals who get all too caught up in the “Busy Bandwagons” or “Infinity Pools” and are unable to make time for what matters the most.

The inventing deadlines method from Make Time is what helped me accomplish my milestone of running a half-marathon – a goal I had been putting off for many years. Especially, when some goals and ideas don’t have a pressing timeline, I have found that inventing a fake deadline builds much-needed momentum.

What is your favorite quote?

“Don’t make permanent decisions on temporary emotions.”

Key Learnings:

  • It’s never too late to make a change so don’t let your past self hold onto what your future self is capable of.
  • Doing the “safe” thing is not always the safest option.
  • Don’t make permanent decisions on temporary emotions.
Originally published on IdeaMensch.


Interview with Jack Carlson, Founder of Rowing Blazers: History, Tradition, and Innovation



Interview with Jack Carlson, Founder of Rowing Blazers

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Jack Carlson is the founder and creative director of Rowing Blazers, a fashion brand that combines classic American style with a contemporary edge. Jack Carlson, a former national team rower, and scholar of history draw inspiration from vintage sportswear and traditional Ivy League fashion. His passion for design and fashion, combined with his unique background. Jack Carlson has resulted in the creation of a brand that stands out in the industry.

Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in fashion?

I’ve always had a passion for fashion and design, even while pursuing my other interests. I grew up in Connecticut and started rowing at a young age, eventually competing at the national level. While studying history at Harvard, I became interested in the traditional clothing worn by rowers and began to collect vintage rowing blazers. This sparked my interest in fashion and led me to start designing my own clothing. After completing a Ph.D. in archaeology, I decided to pursue fashion full-time and founded Rowing Blazers in 2017.

What inspired you to start Rowing Blazers?

I wanted to create a brand that celebrated the rich history and tradition of American fashion, particularly the preppy style of the Ivy League. At the same time, I wanted to bring a contemporary edge to classic designs and challenge the boundaries of traditional fashion. I was inspired by the vintage rowing blazers that I collected and wanted to create my own versions that were both authentic and modern.

Can you walk us through the design process of creating a new collection?

The design process always starts with research and inspiration. I spend a lot of time looking at vintage clothing, archival photographs, and historical documents to get a sense of the styles and aesthetics of a particular time period or culture. From there, I sketch out ideas and work with my team to refine the designs and select fabrics. We always strive to balance classic elements with modern twists and unexpected details. It’s a collaborative process that involves a lot of trial and error, but we always end up with something that we’re proud of.

How do you stay true to your brand’s identity while also keeping up with current fashion trends?

For us, it’s not about following trends, but rather creating timeless pieces that will never go out of style. Although we draw inspiration from the past, we don’t limit ourselves to it. We’re always looking for ways to innovate and push boundaries while staying true to our brand’s core identity. We’re not interested in fast fashion or disposable clothing – our pieces are meant to last and be treasured for years to come.

Can you tell us about a particular challenge you faced while growing Rowing Blazers and how you overcame it?

One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is scaling the business while maintaining the quality and craftsmanship that we’re known for. We’ve had to find the right partners and suppliers who share our values and are able to produce our garments to our high standards. We’ve also had to be very strategic about our growth, taking things one step at a time and not rushing into anything too quickly. It’s been a learning process, but we’ve been able to grow the business in a sustainable way that we’re proud of.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own fashion brand?

My advice would be to stay true to your vision and never compromise on quality. It’s also important to be strategic about your growth and not try to do everything at once. Start small and focus on doing one thing really well before expanding. And always be willing to learn and adapt – the fashion industry is constantly changing, so it’s important to be flexible and open to new ideas.

What’s next for Rowing Blazers?

We’re always working on new designs and collaborations, but we’re also focused on expanding our brand beyond just clothing. We want to create a lifestyle brand that encompasses all aspects of American style, from furniture to home decor to travel accessories. We’re excited to continue growing and evolving while staying true to our brand’s identity and values.

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Jack Carlson’s passion for fashion and history has resulted in the creation of a unique and innovative brand that stands out in the industry. His dedication to quality and craftsmanship, as well as his commitment to sustainability, sets Rowing Blazers apart from other fashion brands. To stay up to date with Jack Carlson and Rowing Blazers, you can follow him on LinkedIn.

Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Gracie Cedres

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Interview with Gracie Cedres: Insights on Entrepreneurship and Work-Life Balance



Interview with Gracie Cedres, Founder of G.R.A.C.E.

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Gracie Cedres is the founder and CEO of G.R.A.C.E., a company that provides virtual assistance and project management services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. With a degree in communications, Gracie has always been interested in helping others succeed in their businesses. Her passion for helping entrepreneurs led her to create G.R.A.C.E., which has been helping entrepreneurs and small business owners increase their productivity and profitability. In this interview, Gracie will share more about her journey as an entrepreneur and the success of G.R.A.C.E.

Can you tell us about yourself and your journey as an entrepreneur?

Sure, my name is Gracie Cedres, and I am the founder and CEO of G.R.A.C.E. I have always been interested in helping others, especially entrepreneurs and small business owners, succeed in their businesses. After completing my degree in communications, I worked as a virtual assistant for various entrepreneurs and realized that there was a need for high-quality virtual assistance and project management services. That’s how the idea for G.R.A.C.E. was born, and since then, I have been working hard to help entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve their goals.

How did you come up with the idea for G.R.A.C.E.?

After working as a virtual assistant for several entrepreneurs, the idea for G.R.A.C.E. came to me. I realized that many entrepreneurs were struggling to manage their time effectively and needed high-quality virtual assistance and project management services to help them become more productive and profitable. I saw an opportunity to help entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing them with top-notch virtual assistance and project management services, and that’s how G.R.A.C.E. was born.

What are some of the challenges you faced in starting and growing your business?

One of the biggest challenges I faced in starting and growing my business was finding the right team members. It’s important to have a team that shares your vision and is passionate about what they do. I also faced challenges in marketing my services and reaching out to potential clients. However, I overcame these challenges by networking, building relationships, and creating high-quality content that showcased the value of my services.

What is your vision for G.R.A.C.E. in the next five years?

My vision for G.R.A.C.E. in the next five years is to become the go-to virtual assistance and project management service provider for entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide. I want to expand my team and services to be able to help more entrepreneurs and small business owners increase their productivity and profitability. I also want to continue building strong relationships with my clients and providing them with top-notch services.

Can you share with us some of your favorite success stories from working with your clients?

One of my favorite success stories is working with a small business owner who was struggling to manage their time effectively. By providing them with virtual assistance and project management services, we were able to help them increase their productivity, improve their marketing strategies, and ultimately grow their business. It’s always fulfilling to see my clients succeed and achieve their goals.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to educate themselves and never stop learning. It’s important to constantly learn new skills, stay up to date with industry trends, and seek out new opportunities. It’s also essential to have a strong work ethic, be persistent, and not be afraid to take risks. Don’t let failure discourage you, instead use it as a learning opportunity and keep pushing forward.

How do you maintain a work-life balance as a busy entrepreneur?

Maintaining a work-life balance can be challenging as a busy entrepreneur, but it’s essential for your well-being and the success of your business. One of the things I do is prioritize my tasks and delegate when necessary. I also set aside time for self-care activities like exercise, reading, and spending time with family and friends. It’s also important to know when to disconnect from work and focus on other aspects of your life.

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Gracie Cedres is an inspiration to entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide. Her dedication to helping others and passion for entrepreneurship has led to the success of G.R.A.C.E. With a vision for continued growth and success, Gracie is sure to make an impact in the virtual assistance and project management industry. To learn more about Gracie Cedres and G.R.A.C.E., visit her website and follow her on LinkedIn.

Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Evan Cagner

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Interview with Evan Cagner: Insights into the World of Tech and Entrepreneurship



Interview with Evan Cagner, CEO of TechBlue

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Evan Cagner is the founder and CEO of TechBlue, a company that provides managed IT services to businesses of all sizes. Evan has over 15 years of experience in the tech industry and has helped numerous businesses grow by leveraging technology. He is a thought leader and innovator in the IT industry, with a keen eye for emerging trends and technologies. In this interview, Evan Cagner shares his insights into the world of tech and entrepreneurship.

What inspired you to start TechBlue?

I’ve always been passionate about technology and how it can be used to solve business problems. I started my career working for a large IT consulting firm, and I quickly realized that there was a big gap in the market for managed IT services. Small and medium-sized businesses often struggle to keep up with the latest technology trends, and they don’t have the resources to hire full-time IT staff. That’s why I decided to start TechBlue – to help these businesses leverage technology to grow and succeed.

What sets TechBlue apart from other managed IT services companies?

There are a few things that set TechBlue apart from other managed IT services companies. First and foremost, we are incredibly focused on customer service. We believe that building strong relationships with our clients is the key to our success. Second, we have a team of highly skilled technicians who are constantly learning and staying up to date with the latest technologies. Finally, we are very flexible and can customize our services to meet the unique needs of each of our clients.

How do you stay on top of emerging trends in the tech industry?

I’m always reading and staying up to date with the latest news and trends in the tech industry. I attend conferences and meet with other thought leaders in the industry to discuss new technologies and how they can be used to solve business problems. I also encourage my team to stay up to date and share their knowledge with each other.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the IT industry?

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the IT industry. With so many people working remotely, there has been a huge demand for cloud-based services and virtual private networks (VPNs). There has also been an increased focus on cybersecurity, as remote workers are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Overall, the pandemic has accelerated the shift toward digital transformation and has highlighted the importance of having a reliable and secure IT infrastructure.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses?

My advice would be to focus on building a strong team and never stop learning. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and who have different skill sets. Be willing to take risks and make mistakes, but also be willing to learn from those mistakes. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from other entrepreneurs who have been through it before.

What is your vision for the future of TechBlue?

My vision for TechBlue is to continue to grow and expand our services to meet the changing needs of our clients. I want to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies and continue to be a thought leader in the industry. Ultimately, I want to help as many businesses as possible leverage technology to achieve their goals.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and staying active. I’m an avid runner and I also enjoy playing basketball and golf. I’m also a big fan of music and enjoy going to concerts and discovering new artists.

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Evan Cagner is a true leader and innovator in the IT industry. His passion for technology and customer service has helped TechBlue become one of the most respected managed IT services companies in the business. With his keen eye for emerging trends and technologies, Evan is sure to continue to make an impact in the industry for years to come. To learn more about Evan Cagner and TechBlue, you can visit their website or follow them on LinkedIn.

Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Makayla Gordon

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