Continue learning. If you fail at something, identify what you have learnt from that experience.
Judah Lamm is the CTO and Co Founder of Skill Silo; a website that pairs users with educators via live 1-on-1 video conferencing. As passionate learner, Judah wants to share his love of learning new things with others. Before co-founding Skill Silo, Judah was running his own real estate photography company. “It got dull and repetitive so I needed a change”. After moving to Guatemala with his wife, he set out to learn Spanish and it was during that time he began planning his next career move. When not helping others learn, Judah is continuously pursuing new skills while honing in on his favorites.
Where did the idea for Skill Silo come from?
Skill Silo was originally founded by myself and a close friend I’ve known for nearly a decade. We started Skill Silo due to the needs we were seeking at the time. We wanted to learn Spanish online with a live teacher. We had tons of questions about pronunciation and wanted to focus on topics that enabled us to have basic conversations, in everyday settings. After launching two beta websites and actually generating revenue we took the plunge; we sought out another friend and decided to make learning a more efficient and enjoyable experience for everyone.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Being that we’re a startup and I wear multiple hats, my day is mainly split between marketing, strategy, and development. Depending on where in the month or business/development cycle we are, additional time is applied to more pressing items.
7:00 – Wake Up
8:00 – Complete a coding challenge
8:30 – Review tasks for the day and answer pressing emails
9-10 – Meet with team about issues or problems
11-2 – Implement marketing strategies
2-5 – Build out new features/update code base
6-8 – Strategize/plan marketing, sales or anything related to growing/extending the business
8-11 – Spend time with family, read, relax, or work on side projects
How do you bring ideas to life?
Plan, plan plan. Initially, I think most idea’s are “the next big thing that will change everything”. After fully laying out the idea I pick it apart. A really simple and helpful approach is the run it through the five w’s or the natural planning model. Spending time in each section and delving into the details and how they interact with each other will uncover varying obstacles and opportunities. The five w’s exercise is even more effective when done with other team members.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Virtual reality. We will be able to completely immerse ourselves in new worlds/experiences without having to leave the house.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Inbox zero. I cannot stand when I see inboxes full of unread emails. To me, if an email is unread, it means I have something to do. I find this to be a great way to keep track of tasks.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Fortunately, I never had a job that I didn’t enjoy. Of all the jobs I ever had, the worst one was cold calling. In college, I spent about a week cold calling people asking for donations for a local police association. I learned two major things; 1. I do not enjoy sales and would rather be behind the scenes, designing the operations/workflows. 2. People do not enjoy being interrupted with offers they are not interested in; this seems quite obvious – how often do you enjoy television ads?
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Hindsight is 20/20. There are many things that I would re-order but overall having a perfectly working model is not required. Another method I would enforce would be to build MVP’s for everything until it’s a proven strategy/path worth pursuing. This concept can be applied to business operations, marketing channels, software and anything else that you are creating.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Continue learning. If you fail at something, identify what you have learnt from that experience. If you are succeeding, pick up a book or find a resource to increase your skill set or knowledge of a particular subject. Always be consistent in taking actionable steps towards adding value to your idea/project/business. Don’t wait for anything. If you want something, don’t stop until you get it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Craigslist outreach. When we were looking into other traction channels Craigslist was high on our list. Most of the way businesses approach Craigslist is by posting their services and hoping people search, find them, message them, and take some type of action. This seems to be a lot of effort and the results aren’t impressive. Instead, I built a tool that allow us to reach out to individuals who post on Craigslist that they are looking for what we are offering. From there, we contact them and hope they take action. It saves us mountains of time and helps us filter out people who are not committed.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Failing at something is a double edged sword. On the one hand it sucks to put all your effort into an idea that doesn’t pan out but at the same time, you have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. One such defeat was back in early 2015 when I was not accepted into the first coding bootcamp I applied for. I applied with zero knowledge of programming, expecting to learn it during the program. I managed to somehow get by the first few interviews but when it came to pair programming I was not able to solve the problem. I overcame this failure by continuing to apply myself towards learning to program and within a month’s time, I was accepted into a different, highly rated coding bootcamp.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Workout programs for apartment/office buildings. If you want more information message me!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Being that I live outside the US most of the time, I have been saving a bunch of money by not being able to order things on Amazon directly to my door. I recently spent some money on kitchen appliances that help me prep/cook food more efficiently. A high quality knife and food processor are kitchen musts!
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Gmail/Streak – Having a CRM inside of an email platform is not for everyone, but nearly 100% of the outreach I do, is via email. Having everything in one place is a huge time saver. Also working in a remote team we are constantly chatting over hangouts and having group video chats.
Postico – PostgreSQL database interface. A simple and straight-forward program that allows me to directly access our database and pull the information that I need to make informed business decisions.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses – It teaches you about rapid iteration and how to quickly execute your ideas with the minimum amount of features necessary.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
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