Tomorrow, May 5, Nadia Kadri is presenting her new company “Bring Your Own Talent” at the Collision Conference in Las Vegas. Nadia first presented her ideas about the cooperation between creative and business people at the Eindhoven Startup weekend, last November at the High Tech Campus. At that time she still worked for Google. And even though many people would do anything to work at Google, she recently decided to quit the company and start her own: Bring Your Own Talent, “the first worldwide platform to connect creative people with the business market”
Here’s how Nadia went from Startup Weekend to Reality, in her own words. But first, a look at her presentation in Eindhoven, last November. How she first managed to survive the technical issues and at the end answered all the jury’s questions:
Bring Your Own Talent
By Nadia Kadri
I always liked the idea of starting something, to work on it from A to Z. That is one of the reasons why I decided to study and work in sales; to hunt for new customers, match the best solution with their needs and follow up even after the deal was closed to be sure that they had the best from us; the best from me.
There is something about being part of a sales strategy, be it in marketing, finance, or technology, that makes curious; that pushes me to always want to know and learn more by simply trying an idea. This curiosity shows in my background; a mix of diverse industries and positions (banking, publishing, pharmaceutical, communications, IT etc.).
The word “entrepreneur” was in my mind for a long time. I did a Masters in entrepreneurship in Paris to gain the knowledge, but I never felt confident at that time to start something, even if I had lots of ideas. As a ‘newby’ in the business world, I had skills to learn from life that couldn’t be learned from books. So I worked in the corporate world, from startups to leading companies we consider the best companies of the world; HSBC, Apple, EMC, AirWatchVmWare, and Google; learning work global/local strategies, replicable admin process, efficiency, prioritization, HR politics, scalability, negotiation, management, internal/external communication, marketing, customer satisfaction and PR.
Yet inside of me I never felt fully complete. I had knowledge and skills now, so why not just settle in a company? Have a stable life, earning a monthly salary, save money to buy a house maybe meet someone and get married (how my parents would love that!).
Still, I yearned for more. Every time that I travelled, I met people (creatives, artists, corporates) I knew my idea could help, if only I had the confidence to give it a try. I was never scared travelling the world going for jobs and trying my hand, so why I stop myself now when I had an idea for 6 or 7 years.
I volunteered at Google’s StartUp Weekend in Dublin (Ireland) because I loved the energy around creation; the challenge, the risk it’s hard to explain that feeling, but all passionate people will understand it. After volunteering I was thinking “why not give it [StartUp Weekend] a try? Go for it!”. I set it as a test for myself. I never considered winning anything, more to hear people’s feedback and gauge interest in my startup concept: ‘BYOT’ (Bring Your Own Talent).
In november 2014, I registered at the StartUp Weekend in Eindhoven specifically, as Eindhoven is world famous for arts, innovation technology, and social creativity: a perfect place to hear a jury’s feedback and see if ‘giving it a try’ might be worth it, or just stop everything and settle finally into a day-to-day job.
I flew from Dublin on Friday morning to give a 30second pitch for my idea on stage that same Friday evening, knowing the first step to winning had to be convincing people of my idea, and to join me and be part of my team, so I could present and pitch my idea on Sunday after working on it with the team. Somehow I was chosen by the other contestants, and it became the first step of an intense, amazing weekend.
I quickly experienced all the entrepreneurs’ challenges
I quickly experienced all the entrepreneurs’ challenges: working all night and day, dealing with people who are not as dedicated as you, trying to motivate them, creating the project’s vision, being always positive even if things are not going the way it should be; and importantly to have a backup plan, like for when suddenly you have no developer in your team as people planned to be there just one day, not the whole weekend.
Before I knew it, it was Sunday and I was on stage pitching to an audience and a 7member jury. I survived despite facing some technical issues until the Q&A; my favourite moment, when I get to answer to people, and see how they understood my presentation and experience the feedback.
Thankfully, I got lots of positive feedback, and even got to discuss my startup with some members of the jury after the event who were interested to use BYOT platform when it will be launched, like the municipality of Eindhoven represented by Fancy van de Vorst, in touch with the mayor of New York city for some artistic projects.
It is clichéd, but that weekend changed my life.
It is clichéd, but that weekend changed my life. I remember going back to work at Google on Monday and not feeling the same as when I had left on Friday, when I was just thinking of my start up and if I should ‘give it a try and go for it’. We never know until we try.
My favorite quote is an Irish one, that I always keep in mind: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better”. (Samuel Beckett)
I am not working for Google since february 2015, and am now dedicated fully to my company. Perhaps it will fail, but never truly, as I will learn from the experiences it will bring. I might lose all my savings, but that risk will be worth it, because I am finally an entrepreneur pursuing my dream. Slightly ironic, as now I don’t sleep a lot!
Perhaps it will fail, but never truly, as I will learn from the experiences it will bring.
Now I am the ‘salesperson’ of my own company, pitching to investors, cofounders and building partnerships all around the world, albeit still with the difficulty of finding a developer fulltime, so I rely on freelancers at the moment. If you are a developer and you are interested by joining BYOT please get in touch!
Our next steps are Las Vegas, where we got selected to be part of the Collision event tomorrow; and then at the end of May BYOT will be part of the International CESin Shanghai.
Our platform launches soon, and hopefully you will be joining us because we need your talent! Help yourself by helping us: “Bring your own talent”.
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