Each month, we'll be hosting an interview with one of Launch22's many brilliant and inspiring members. We'll be asking them about their business, their ideas and their philosophies with a focus on the theme of entrepreneurship. So, without further ado, allow us to introduce Tim Corrigan, the Head of Technology at QDOOZ (and mentor at Launch22).
WHAT IS QDOOZ?
QDOOZ is an app which helps people develops their soft skills or life skills, allowing them to work on their goals to help them to get ahead in life.
TIM, HOW DID YOU GET TO QDOOZ?
My background is software development - building apps and leading technical teams. I came to QDOOZ as head of technology and I have been building the development team over the last year.
WHAT OTHER PROJECTS HAVE YOU WORKED ON BEFORE?
I have worked on all sorts of projects including the UK passport agencies interview system, the Post Office point of sale system and some IPTV projects for Alcatel. Other than that, some fun startups including one for farmers so that they can easily track their animal's growth and health.
WERE ALL OF THOSE PROJECTS SUCCESSFUL?
No. The bigger projects I mentioned were ultimately successful but it depends on how you define success. They were projects that did get delivered and people are using, however, some went massively over budget, as those projects tend to do. In terms of startups, some of those are doing okay, some better than others. The farming one, for example, is going pretty well, the company is trading really well and still using the software that I help them build!
WHY DO YOU THINK STARTUPS FAIL?
They don’t have enough money to keep going and they don’t make money quickly enough. The underlying reasons for that are, usually, that they don’t identify the right market, they don’t validate their assumptions about their market/ product/ business model before building it and spending a lot of money. Therefore, they’re more likely to run out of money before they figure out how to make money. I think a lot of startups fail because they decide to build something before learning about assumptions for business or product or their customer because they think it’s a great idea and they fall in love with the idea - everyone loves building a product.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THESE FAILURES?
The most important thing is to learn as quickly as possible and to test your product or your user experience or your vision, and that it is okay to fail but do it without spending loads of money first.
WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT CHARACTERISTICS TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL CAREER?
In terms of building a professional career, I would say integrity and honesty, because I think that a lot of it is about relationship building. There’s not much you can do on your own, you need other people, you need good relationships and I think that integrity is the foundation of that. Also, professionalism, doing what you say you’re gonna do, focusing on actually delivering something; and organisation is boring but it’s important. In a startup, you do need a bit of passion as well, otherwise, you’re not gonna make it. Overall, you need all of them.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO ALWAYS DO A BETTER JOB?
I love the idea that every day we make our app better. For me, that’s why I get out of bed. I know that we can turn things around quickly, I know that we have an excellent feedback process and an excellent QA process and I know we’ve got an excellent team that can make our app a bit better every single day. And that’s what’s in it for me.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE WORKING IN A STARTUP?
Other then the things I’ve said, I think that you should just think about your user or your customer, which is really easy to forget. What really matters is focusing on what the customer/user experience will be, from coming into contact with your brand or product, through to using it and continue being engaged.
HOW DID QDOOZ GET TO LAUNCH22?
I started at Launch22 3 years ago by a recommendation from Douglas, who was a mentor here. He thought it would be good for me to get to know and mentor other startups. I was, therefore, based at Launch22 quite a lot of the time and when I started to build a development team it just made sense for them to be physically located near me. I love the space, I think it’s amazing, it’s great to learn about other startups and people help each other out all the time. So it just made sense to stay here, and then gradually build up the development team over the last year and now we're at the point where it’s our main office.
HOW HAS LAUNCH22 HELPED YOU?
Launch22 has helped me to feel like I am really part of the startup community. It means I have come into contact with lots of different people running startups, which is inspirational. Everyone is really passionate about what they’re doing and just knowing what type of products people are building and the kind of things they go through is useful. I feel like I have a lot more touch points with people building startups at various stages and that’s really valuable.
Do you want to know more about QDOOZ? Visit their website here.
If you’re interested and want to know more about our space, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply stop by our space to say hello!