Do not make decisions about things you do not understand. If they are essential to the business, get someone in the business who covers that area.
Fabian Dudek, is the founder of Nestpick, a student housing platform that allows students to rent places from various accommodation providers online. He is responsible for the business strategy, expansion plans and general management.
Only being 21 years old, nestpick is Fabian’s third company. In early 2014, he won the “Get in the Ring” award and earned the admiration of Mark Rutte (Prime minister of the Netherlands). Since then nestpick has been growing exponentially.
Fabian Dudek finished his Bachelor of Science in “International Bachelor Economics and Business Economics” at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and is now finishing his MS in Strategic Management.
Where did the idea for online rental platform, nestpick come from?
In 2010 I came to Rotterdam, as an international student and had huge trouble to find housing. In fact I ended up almost homeless. After I heard from more and more international students who had the same problem, I decided to do something against it. Out of helping a couple of students, became a business that now aspires to help thousands. It is called http://www.nestpick.com/
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Getting up early is what I believe makes the biggest difference. Routine can help with that.
Being early at the office, helps you to focus on tasks that require more attention without the noise of the day to day operations.
Afterwards I would typically finish of some points on my to-do list, have some talks with our development team and designers and attend other meetings.
Generally I try to organize tasks depending on the concentration level needed in order to complete them. Meetings often take long and do not require too much attention (sometimes) so I would schedule them at the end of the day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Motivation and passion. Envisioning the world with that particular idea being in place can be such a strong source of motivation, that getting up early in the morning or working on weekends is not that hard anymore.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Social entrepreneurship and start-ups that seriously care about social responsibility.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Headphones. Might not be a habit, but I explained some above already. I feel headphones are a great way to concentrate and get things done though.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I did a lot of simple jobs like delivering newspapers, logistics or just quality management of parts in an assembly line.
I do not really consider any of them as bad though, because they still offered so many opportunities for me to reflect on what I was doing, how things could be optimized or in the worst case just gave me motivation to do better, so I could finally do a different job.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would be confident about going big early. The boundaries in you head are the hardest ones to overcome.
If you can build a scalable business, do it from the start, don’t be scared.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Collect useful data about your business and base your decisions on a thorough analysis of this data.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Use incentives. Make sure to give everyone on your team to do exactly the job you hired them for. In small businesses things can get messy quickly, incentives can help to keep the focus of everyone on what is actually important.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Outsourcing website development. Do not make decisions about things you do not understand. If they are essential to the business, get someone in the business who covers that area. That is what we did with our CTO.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Customize your frozen pizza
An online shop, in which you can customize your own frozen pizza, of which 5-10 will be delivered to your house in X days. If you like it, then you can switch to a recurring model where you deliver the pizza once a week or so.
Through the data you collect, you find the best pizzas and can start retailing them, while letting the inventors participate with a royalty.
(Of course that also works with other products, pizza was just the first I thought of)
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I live in the same apartment for 3 years now, while having rented hundreds of which certainly many were a lot nicer. .
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The classic is of course: Lean Start-Up, but I also enjoyed “Trust me I am lying” (even though it dries out a bit at the end).
Very nice guide that teaches you how to get the most out of your and your businesses time and resources.
Trust me I am lying is just interesting, since it might give you some insight into the way a large part of the online world works.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
My microeconomics professor. Maybe you should not necessarily check mine out, but I think that understanding microeconomics helps so much in understanding customers on a rational perspective.
Nestpick on LinkedIn: https://www.facebook.com/nestpick
Fabian Dudek on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/fabian-dudek/70/a76/147
Nestpick on Twitter: @nestpick