[quote style=”boxed”]For the sake of brevity I’m going to generalize the process, but first I consider the economic feasibility of an idea (i.e. what’s the amount of potential demand for it, will someone or some organization be willing to pay for it for more than it costs to deliver it, are there any regulatory or licensure hurdles, etc). Then I do extensive research to see what has already been done around an idea to determine what can be improved. Finally, I speak to as many people in that field as possible to learn from their experiences and find the right people to help me implement the idea.[/quote]
As the business head of a small startup, Andres Moran handles many of the business affairs of Earndit such as business development, marketing and customer support. He’s no stranger to the entrepreneurial life, having recently sold his first venture which he started at the age of 25. Prior to founding Earndit, Andres was an Associate with an early-stage venture capital firm in New York where he was the only junior-level professional at the fund. He graduated with honors from Columbia Business School in 2008 with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and management.
There are few things that Andres cares about more than the startup world, but his wife and his friends definitely make that short list. He always tries to make people laugh and remind them not to sweat the small stuff. While this approach to life has been in his fabric forever, it really took hold while on a one-year backpacking trip through Southeast Asia shortly after 9/11.
Andres Moran is doing his part to try to make a small impact on many people’s lives by motivating them to be more active. He’s the first to admit that he struggles to find motivation to exercise and doesn’t do it nearly as much as he should. This is why he’s building Earndit.
What are you working on right now?
Earndit.com. We give you extra motivation to exercise by rewarding you with premium products for doing so. Earndit also lets you create exercise challenges among your friends where the winner gets a prize bought using everyone’s entry fee into the challenge.
What does your typical day look like?
I spend virtually my entire day sending emails and reading up on the latest news in the startup world. In the early evening I’ll take my hyper yellow Lab named Moby for a walk before hopefully getting some exercise in for myself (go to gym or run along the Hudson River). Nights are usually spent having dinner with my wife and/or good friends (I’d be lying if I didn’t say a bottle of wine is usually involved!). Then I’ll do a bit more work before going to bed.
3 trends that excite you?
- Devices & apps that track physical activity.
- Greater accessibility to people thanks to things like Twitter, Formspring, etc.
- Mobile computing
How do you bring ideas to life?
For the sake of brevity I’m going to generalize the process, but first I consider the economic feasibility of an idea (i.e. what’s the amount of potential demand for it, will someone or some organization be willing to pay for it for more than it costs to deliver it, are there any regulatory or licensure hurdles, etc). Then I do extensive research to see what has already been done around an idea to determine what can be improved. Finally, I speak to as many people in that field as possible to learn from their experiences and find the right people to help me implement the idea.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by founders who have built successful companies that improve the lives of millions of people. I’d like to be one of those founders.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
When we launched Earndit, we purposely avoided social features because we thought they’d make us look like we were trying to build a fitness social network (which was never our intention). We quickly learned that making a consumer web service social is a critical ingredient for success because humans are inherently social creatures. To address this, we created our new Challenges feature which is entirely social and engaging.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’d like to see a banking product that rations you money on a daily basis based on your pre-determined budget. Hence when your paychecks are deposited, they’d be held in a quasi-escrow account that immediately sets aside money for fixed monthly expenses, and releases funds for discretionary spending on a daily basis. This would solve many consumer debt problems.
What do you read every day? Why?
I read my Twitter stream every 15 – 20 minutes. It’s the best way for me to stay on top of what’s happening in the world (especially the startup world).
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
The book that really catapulted me into entrepreneurship was “Pour Your Heart Into It” by Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks. That book teaches you how to build a company using passion.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
This is cliché: my iPhone. It’s the gadget that has had the greatest impact on my life.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Keith Rabois, for a couple of reasons:
1) he doesn’t blog and thus it’d be great to get a glimpse into his mind, and
2) to hear him admit that he’s actually made a mistake before.
What is the most frustrating aspect of building a consumer web company?
Many people have become so accustomed to receiving fantastic web services for free that they’ve sort-of lost touch with reality. Some of these people feel a sense of self-entitlement and can be quick to make nasty comments when things aren’t perfect. I’ve learned to grow thicker skin.
What was the happiest experience you’ve had in the past two years?
My wedding! It was essentially a grown-up version of spring break with my wife and all my closest friends. We were on the island of Curacao for a week and there was nothing but positive energy from everyone.