Katy Lynch – Co-founder and CMO at Codeverse

“Smile, and always be polite. It goes a long, long way.”

Katy Lynch is the Co-founder and CMO at Codeverse, the world’s first full interactive coding school and educational tech platform for kids that was founded on the mission to teach one billion children to code.

Prior to Codeverse, Katy was the CEO of Techweek, the nation’s largest traveling technology festival, as well as the President and Co-founder of SocialKaty, a full service social media marketing agency. In 2014, SocialKaty was acquired by award-winning digital agency, Manifest.

Katy has appeared on FOX, NBC, Inc, Huffington Post, and Today.com, amongst others.

Where did the idea for Codeverse come from?

The idea to start Codeverse came from a panel I hosted and moderated in Los Angeles while I was the CEO of Techweek. The panel was a discussion surrounding the popular documentary, “Code: Debugging the Gender Gap”, which focuses on the lack of women in STEM.

I felt so inspired after the event that my husband, Craig Ulliott, and I decided to launch Codeverse with the simple, but powerful mission to ‘teach a billion kids to code.”

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My mornings are almost always reserved for responding to emails (I have a zero inbox policy) and talking to the media, non-profit organizations, or schools. My afternoons are spent meeting with strategic partners, working on marketing projects, interviewing candidates to work at Codeverse, and responding to more emails! I usually leave work around 6:30pm to attend events happening around town, or to spend time with my lovely husband, Craig.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Less talking, more doing. Seriously, the best way to bring an idea to life is to network, get perspective and opinions on your ideas from your peers and mentors, and then go and DO!

What’s one trend that excites you?

Coding. I don’t even know if I would consider it a ‘trend’, per say, but it’s an extremely hot topic right now. As it should be. Every child should learn how to code. Coding not only teaches kids important life skills (problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity) but also sets them up for success when it comes to jobs in the future.

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

Working out! I’m a huge Soulcycle fan and go multiple times a week. Gives me the energy I need to power through my long days.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Trust your gut, believe in yourself, and take more risks.

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

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are disgusting!

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

Smile, and always be polite. It goes a long, long way.

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

Defining the company’s mission, vision, and values early on. This is incredibly important when you start any business, in my opinion. You should always be able to fall back on your mission, vision and values when making any business-related decision. It becomes your guide!

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

The truth about being an entrepreneur (especially a first-time entrepreneur) is that you’re constantly making mistakes, whether it’s with hiring, firing, or troublesome clients. What matters most is that you learn from those mistakes and move forward quickly.

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

I live in Chicago and I love my subscription to Luxe valet. It’s a service that allows you to valet your car (almost) wherever you want. It’s super easy to use and so handy when I’m bouncing from meeting to meeting.

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

Slack. My team and I use it all of the time to talk to each other and share information easily.

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

I love The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Fascinating read about fads and how trends can instantly and unexpectedly become popular.

What is your favorite quote?

“I don’t believe that old cliche that good things come to those who wait. I think good things come to those who want something so bad they can’t sit still.” Ashton Kutcher

Key Learnings

  • Take more risks! If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not pushing yourself enough.
  • Entrepreneurship is hard. Anyone who has a willingness to learn, is passionate, and will dedicate long hours to his/her work is surely going to be successful.
  • Share your ideas with friends, peers, people within your industry, and mentors. It’s important to gain as much perspective as you can when you’re starting and growing a business.