May 17, 2015
Most customer surveys are way too long, ask complicated questions, and hardly ever get completed — .04% to be exact. While there are a number of tools to collect customer feedback, Wyzerr is reinventing the way data is captured and analyzed.
“We want to be in every retailer, restaurant, hotel, airline in America. In the same way that you can’t go anywhere without seeing a brand’s Facebook page, we want to be the Walmart of Customer Feedback. A platform so easy, affordable, and fun that everyone wants to use it. Our goal is to replace Survey Monkey as the market leader,” says Natasia Malaihollo, the CEO of Wyzerr.
Instead of long surveys, Wyzerr is giving companies another alternative to better understand consumer behavior, needs, and wants. “Use their feedback to improve your company’s efficiency, productivity, and cut down costs,” says Malaihollo of the startup that is currently based in Los Angeles.
While the company is still making changes, there are a number of signs that the team is on the right track. Malaihollo shared advice about how she stays motivated, her advice for other entrepreneurs, and more.
Tech.Co: How do you stay motivated?
It’s really hard to explain it but I just know I’m on the right path. Steve Jobs once said “You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” I think that’s what keeps me going everyday. I truly believe Wyzerr is my destiny. Every failure and accomplishment in my past was preparing me for this role. This job just feels right, like it was made for me. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have hard days—every day is hard. But I have a vision and goal I’m working towards, and it feels obtainable and realistic.
What is advice you wish you had known?
The highs are really high, and the lows are really low. You can go from being at the top of the world one day to being at the very bottom within hours. Perfect example: about 2 weeks ago, Microsoft Ventures invited us to Seattle to visit them. While there, they literally fed us everything you could possibly wish for. They had an open food and snack bar all day with every possible food item you could imagine, then catered a 18-course dinner for us and the other startups. At a minimum, it was at least a $20,000 dinner (there was also an open bar). However, within hours, we were back on our taco bell diet eating $.99 cent tacos. Startup life goes from one extreme to the other very quickly.
What’s your best personality trait?
Fearless. I’m not easily intimidated. I’m not daunted by unknowns or people in the way that many people are. My friends like to joke that the term “YOLO” was made for me because I really don’t fear getting lost, hurt, injured, etc. For example, I often have to fly to new cities and find my way around town. As a startup founder, keeping costs low is my biggest priority so this sometimes means I’m in the middle of North Carolina at 9:30 pm waiting for the bus and walking a mile at midnight to my hotel instead of taking a $70 cab ride. I also meet a lot of really powerful people. Fearlessness means not holding back my criticism and feedback. It means standing up against investors who are pushing me in the wrong direction.
What’s the hardest lesson you have learned?
Never mix business with friendships. Don’t start a company with your friends!! When you spend every waking second, and everything you have (like resources, time, money) on your startup, you become very defensive, sensitive, and maybe even delusional. As a result, you often come off as rude, mean, and insulting when all you are trying to do is give constructive criticism to your friends/co-workers. It’s also very hard to fire people that you were good friends with first. Looking back, if I had to choose between some of the friends I lost versus owning my startup, I would choose my friends. Ideas come a dime a dozen. Good friends don’t.
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