[quote style=”boxed”]One of my investors told me early on that at the end of the day, it’s not always the smartest guy who wins the race but the one who is willing to put in 80 or 90 hours per week.[/quote]
Jordan Metzner is the Founder and CEO of Washio, offering premium dry cleaning and laundry services delivered to your door. He enjoys making music, snowboarding, running wakeboarding, golf, photography and going to the beach.
Jordan is a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) member and has driven across the United States in a car eight times.
Where did the idea for Washio come from? What does your typical day look like?
Washio was born of the notion that people (particularly myself) hate doing laundry and going to the dry cleaner. I felt there had to be a better way. A typical day revolves around building new products and improving upon old ones to make the Washio experience as convenient as possible for the user.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Everything happens in iterations. We discuss an idea and prioritize them by importance. If we believe the idea could add value to our customers, our team of engineers will get to work and we’ll test it and change it, adding input from the rest of the team until it’s ready to be released.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The elimination of interoffice email. I’d read about it and since the beginning we’ve never had much of a need for interoffice email. Rather than opening emails and derailing your train of thought, we use a program called hipchat which allows us to instantaneously communicate without having to return to our inbox every minutes or so.
Alternately: The entire on-demand model is fascinating to me. I love the idea that we can essentially skip these parts of our days and weeks, like grocery shopping and laundry, to make more time to do the things we love and spend time with the people who are important to us.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One of my investors told me early on that at the end of the day, it’s not always the smartest guy who wins the race but the one who is willing to put in 80 or 90 hours per week. Logging those extra hours allows me to more carefully manage every aspect of my business and sets expectations for how hard everyone on our staff should be working.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Being from LA, I had to have a requisite period in show business. I worked as an unpaid production assistant. Anyone who knows me wouldn’t be surprised to know I was fired from that gig almost instantly. I learned that I do considerably better in situations where I’m my own boss, which led me to start my own burrito restaurant when I graduated college.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would focus on the core competencies of our technology before moving on.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I write everyone’s goals for the week down on a piece of paper at a Monday agile meeting and revisit them on Friday to evaluate everyone’s progress.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
One strategy that helped me grow my business was hiring people who had experience that I didn’t using programs like Mixpanel and Nannigans. From there, I was able to leverage their talents into understanding our user based and adjusting marketing content and channels.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I built a SaaS software that failed. It was an appointment reminder service that helped me realize that building a product isn’t enough you also have sales and a means for generating those sales. I overcame i
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I love making music in my spare time. I free style rap and create beats.
What software and web services do you use?
I’m a big believer in new web services and software programs that improve upon tired ways of doing things. I use Zen Payroll for all Washio’s payroll needs, which allows us to complete payments in house. We use Jira to manage tasks and Zendesk to manage our forums and customer support. We use hipchat to help eliminate inter-office email, which I believe has been a tremendous boon to our business. We use Mixpanel to learn more about who our customers are Nannigans to target our and track the efficacy of our ad spend and Chartio to visualize our revenue, users, efficiency, utilization and accounting numbers in an accessible way.
What do you love about them?
I think what all of the above have in common is their ability to make everything seem or become more manageable. Zendesk allows us to manage and monitor our support tickets and forums in real time. Hipchat prevents us from having 150 emails build up in our inbox and Mixpanel allows us to easily monitor and react to the behavior of our customers.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
This could come across as trite, but I recommend that everyone read Malcom Gladwell. His books give us another layer of perspective by which to view our interactions. Whether his lesson is to trust your instinct (Blink) or to reconfigure the optics of a given situation (David and Goliath), the main takeaway is to always consider any situation from multiple perspectives.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Many tech companies have a blind focus on their customer numbers. One of my investors taught me to not focus blindly on growth, but rather to consider how that growth is being achieved and whether it’s valuable to your company long-term.