Don Weobong – Founder and President of Telania

[quote style=”boxed”]Stubborn perseverance–a dogged determination to produce and execute. I like checking off “to do’s” on a long list.[/quote]

Don Weobong is founder and president of Telania, a technology software-as-a-service company based in Louisville, Kentucky. Telania specializes in e-learning technology, online billing systems, web applications and software development. Premier products include eLeaP, CaptureLeave and Azimio.

Where did the idea for eLeaP come from?

eLeaP online learning software is the first product I created and then produced to sell nationwide after founding Telania, which previously was focused on custom software development. The eLeaP idea began developing as I worked on my MBA thesis at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ken. I was on the Board of a Louisville nonprofit in need of a cost-effective way to develop, deliver and track training and e-learning.

After earning my MBA, I wanted to test my thesis: quality, easy-to-use learning software could help smaller organizations. We took the blueprint from the thesis, created a software architecture document and went into development. The rest is, as they say, history.

eLeaP has evolved into a system allowing users to easily create intuitive online learning courses from their own files and resources. Now, companies, nonprofits and businesses of all sizes do not need to rely on inadequate, off-topic, template-type training courses.

What does your typical day look like?

My day starts at 6 a.m. with a review of emails on existing projects and issues followed by a quick run. I arrive at the office around 8:30 a.m. and the rest of my morning is often spent in meetings or working on high-concentration projects.

The afternoon is usually filled with sales and customer-service activities including product demonstrations and staff collaboration.

During the evening we address sales questions and support inquiries from West Coast customers and plan for the next day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

After an idea is brainstormed, my team performs an initial feasibility analysis. If we decide to move forward, we build a software architecture document (SAD) and wireframe. After this, our development team starts work on prototyping. This process often includes multiple prototypes and changes along the way.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The growth of e-learning in the developing world. As the world becomes more connected, people are hungry for information and knowledge. The global market for e-learning is projected to reach $168.8 billion by 2018. While this represents huge financial opportunities, what is most exciting is the possibility of playing a role in improving the lives of so many people around the world by providing them access to technology and knowledge.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Stubborn perseverance–a dogged determination to produce and execute. I like checking off “to do’s” on a long list.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I was a dishwasher in a high-end restaurant in London. The job was difficult and boring, but also rewarding in many ways. I learned humility and dedication by sticking with it, even when I wanted to quit very badly. It was serious motivation to become educated, have high goals and work relentlessly to achieve them. It also reinforced my desires to help others when I was in a position to do so.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I am not sure I would change much because every mistake is an opportunity to learn. I probably would not get so caught up in trying to be perfect and instead would release products more rapidly and seek feedback from actual users.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Execute, execute, execute. Until we execute there’s no way to even know if the idea is viable.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Without a big marketing budget, we have had to be creative in getting exposure among our target audiences. Investing in public relations and utilizing search engine optimization has helped increase visibility and drive sales. Now we are growing and becoming more sophisticated in our efforts. I think many entrepreneurs don’t realize the importance of investing in marketing and public relations to reach their target audiences.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

One of our products did not sell well and it was a tough experience for me. I hate failing, but I know it’s necessary. We are now examining different ways to market the product and I am trying to “detach” from what I thought would work.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A personal assistant app for social media sites which is able to provide real-time feedback to their user to enhance their personal lives. For example, if you are feeling depressed based on Facebook posts, this app is able to connect with you with some positive books to read, websites to visit, or even a list of mental health professionals.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I was struck by lightning once.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Skype, Google Apps, Articulate Storyline, Breaktaker and Google Analytics just to mention a few. They are convenient and well designed.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan.
Renowned CEO Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan, a legendary advisor to executives and boards of directors, focus on the importance of leaders being passionately involved in executing ideas and strategy. The authors assert that the absence of execution is the biggest obstacle to success.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

My parents ),
Nelson Mandela
Sir Richard Branson
Marc Benio

Twitter: @telaniasphere