Be highly selective when choosing your business partners and investors. These are people who will be nearly inseparable from you and your business.

 

Jeff Lewis, Ph.D., is the founder of YouSeeU, creators of an industry-leading soft skill development and video assessment platform called Bongo. As a tenured business communication professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Dr. Lewis is uniquely positioned to develop technology that addresses the needs of instructors and advance the learning experience forward.

Where did the idea for YouSeeU come from?

I’m a tenured business professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the courses I teach center around student presentations. I founded YouSeeU in 2009 to solve a problem I faced in my own online classes. At that time, I had students record their presentations on DVDs, collected them individually, and then provided handwritten feedback to each student. This process wasn’t very efficient, so I started searching for a way to record student presentations and provide feedback all in one place. There wasn’t a solution like YouSeeU available at that time, so, with the help of a development team, I created one myself. Since that time, the company has evolved into a global leader in video assessment and soft skill development.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I bring ideas to life through extensive personal research to determine feasibility, followed by strategic planning, which begins with me garnering feedback and buy-in from trusted advisors.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Crowdfunding. I’ve not yet used Kickstarter or other crowdfunding methods, but I enjoy keeping track of entrepreneurs and ventures who are able to garner capital this way.

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

I have a research and investigation habit that helps me educate and enable myself to wear many different hats as an entrepreneur.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be highly selective when choosing your business partners and investors. These are people who will be nearly inseparable from you and your business.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

There’s no such thing as a million dollar idea — ideas are worthless. Goods and services that customers are paying for have value and there is a huge gap between the idea and a million dollars that must be filled with tremendous hard work and some fortuitous events.

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

I check how our customers are actually using our products. A customer’s implementation is often surprising and enlightening because they use it to solve their own unique problems or initiate their own innovations.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

We have a strong focus on enabling partners, and our team has found that we can bring innovations to life faster than a large company. But, a large company has more sales and marketing reach and a large customer base to adopt the innovations.

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

This is my third venture — the first two businesses were failures. I’ve committed to learning from failures and never making the same mistake twice.

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

Choose a specific topic that you’re passionate about and become a researcher and aggregator of information. Mine the Internet to find and consolidate articles, then identify and follow the associated thought leaders and experts. Become an expert yourself and begin publishing your findings on social media. If you go deep, eventually you’ll be able to write analyst papers and make presentations that can be commercialized.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I recently spent $100 on a subscription to the MIT Sloan Management Review. I wanted to add another periodical to my regular reading list, which includes HBR, INC, and Fast Company.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I spend much of my day using Jira to manage software development. I would be lost without it.

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

Read a classic like “Good to Great” by Collins because entrepreneurs need to have vision for their company that extends past the startup phase.

What is your favorite quote?

You have no idea how high I can fly.” – Michael Scott of The Office 🙂

Connect:

www.youseeu.com/contact-info/
Dr. Jeff Lewis on Twitter: @JeffLewis7
Bongo on Twitter: @bongolearn
Bongo on Facebook: www.facebook.com/bongolearn/

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