Marie Taulbee has more than 25 years of experience progressively responsible experience as a Project Manager and Business Analyst within the area of Information Technology at Ford Motor Company.
Upon retiring from Ford in 2007, Marie decided to take those years of experience and build a business that used her technical expertise to help horse farm owners expand their business.
Marie has spent over fifteen years in and around horse farms, ever since her daughter started riding at the age of six. The idea for her software product, LaRaedo, came from her personal observations and collectively through contact with other horse boarders and farm owners.
Now more than ever businesses are turning to technology to help increase revenue and customer satisfaction. Marie’s love and passion for both horses and computer technology helped to create this product specifically for the horse industry.
Her vision is to provide a software product for horse farm owners to help them serve their customers better, store their information in a safe and secure location, AND invoice their boarders with the simple click of the button.
Marie recently moved from Michigan to sunny Southern California. She has raised three beautiful daughters who are all independent and creating their own path for life and happiness.
Learning about new technology is one of her favorite past times, along with connecting with new friends on social media. She loves to attend horse shows and expos and stays healthy by running each day along the ocean.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on product updates and added features. The next module will be to develop a calendar feature that will allow all users the ability to schedule riding lessons and reserve arena time for training and exercising of the horse.
Another area of focus is to bring on board a Technical Partner into the business. This person would have part ownership in the company in exchange for software development and technical expertise.
What does your typical day look like?
I donʼt really have a typical day, which is the way I like it. But most days are spenton-line connecting with my customers and learning new ideas and methods that canhelp move my business forward. I may write a blog post if I am hit with a great ideaor thought that might help my blog readers. I spend much of my day reading,researching and planning about anything that pertains to technology and the horseindustry.
3 trends that excite you?
1) Changes in the way we educate our children. I can see so many positive changes coming into play in the way school systems operate. For instance, I foresee that one day there will be no need for textbooks because they will all be available in an online format. Each student will have access to a networked computer to read, research, and get their work done. Homework, grading, testing, etc will all be done online.
2) The role of technology in advertising. It is interesting to watch how one on one communication is coming back and businesses are learning the power of the emotional pull for achieving potential customers rather than pushing their brand in front of them.
3) Corporate employees working from home more often. I think that offering employees the option to work from home makes sense in many ways, such as an increase in employee morale, a decrease in health issues (stay home when you have a cold but can still work), less operational expense for the business, and let’s not forget commuting time back and forth, which can better be spent more creatively (in personal and business life).
How do you bring ideas to life?
Many of my business ideas come to me in the oddest ways. The only way I can describe this is that ideas come when I am thinking about nothing in particular or when I’m doing some physical task where I’m somewhat on autopilot. Usually this happens when I am relaxed, like going for a run, taking a shower or driving in the car.
I like to put my ideas down on paper and then brainstorm with other people. Take that initial idea and build from it using the creative minds of the group to help visualize it more clearly. Then if it feels right, I’ll act on it.
What inspires you?
Many things inspire me. Listening to interviews with other entrepreneurs where they share their story. Hearing about the road they traveled often inspires me to keep moving forward through those challenging moments.
I am inspired when see a farm owner’s eyes light up as I show them how my product will help them improve their business and increase the value they can offer to their customers by providing on-line tracking of their horse maintenance care.
My daughter, Sheila Viers, very often inspires me. We both started our businesses about the same time and on occasion I would feel like ‘Am I crazy for wanting to transform the horse farm industry?’ She would always offer me words of encouragement that kept me believing in myself, my idea and staying focused on my passion.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I think that as a new startup and business owner, I felt like I lacked the knowledge needed to start a business and ended up spending a lot of money paying other people to help me find my way.
Initially, there will be an investment, especially for me not knowing how to code and requiring the help of others to get that piece rolling. But there were many times that I spent money out of fear of not knowing what I was doing.
I have learned that it is important for me to partner with people that hold the same vision for LaRaedo as I do. I’ve learned to be more selective and more aware of listening to my own inner voice when making decision about my business.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One idea would be to use technology already in use by many school systems and make it more robust. I know that many schools offer an on-line method to check current grades, missing assignments and attendance.
Why not take that one step further and use the same technology to add the ability for students to take their tests on-line and then the grades would be automatically updated into the system. This would eliminate the teachers from having to do this manually and it would provide real time updates to grades.
What do you read every day, and why?
I have a list of RSS feeds to various blogs that I read everyday, some are technical news and updates such as 37Signals, Inc.com, Seth Godin, TechCrunch, others are about what’s going on in the horse industry. I prefer to read articles that are uplifting and share positive experiences and also those that inform and provide new ideas that I might implement.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
I am just finishing up a book called ‘If you Want to Write’ by Brenda Ueland. It was actually written years ago and although the book’s title speaks about writing, it is about far more than just writing.
She talks about how each of us is born with the ability to create. Often this creative drive is drilled out of us by well meaning people (teachers, authority, parents) at a very early age. She goes on to express that everyone is talented, original and has something important to say. And I believe that deep inside, we all know this to be true, and it emanates through our creative entrepreneurial spirits.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
Well, number one I have to have my iPhone. I’d be lost without it. And my MacBook Pro is an absolute. Sometimes I record an idea that I have using the Voice Memos app, got to have a place to store all my passwords with 1Password and another useful gadget I use is Evernote to help me stay organized.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
I would love to see those creative minds that have long left us be interviewed -like Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Benjamin Franklin or the Wright Brothers.
But since that isn’t possible, I think Sheila Viers, President of Live Well 360, would be an asset to the IdeaMensch community because of her unique perspective on business and health.
Valerie Waters, personal trainer and inventor of the Valslide, would also be great to hear from as well.
How do you view the importance of transparency in business?
I believe that it is important to be up front with customers and to be authentic. While I may not know everything about the horse farm business, I am an expert in analyzing current processes and figuring out improvements using technology as a tool. I have extensive experience on the other side of the equation as well, having been a horse farm customer.
I want to be that business that helps to bridge the technology gap within the horse industry and help them to see the value it can provide. I think that it is important for businesses to be approachable and open to new ideas. Laraedo’s blog has a combination of informative posts about the software, as well as, posts pertaining to new ways of thinking. People need to feel a connection to those that they do business with and keeping that business more transparent makes it easier for them to connect.
What do you value most in life?
I remember attending a workshop many years ago that asked this very same question. I knew immediately what it was for me. Many people got up and gave answers like “My kids” or “Having a rewarding career”, but I knew in my heart that at the top of my list was my health.
As long as I am in great health, everything else is just an added benefit to my life. If don’t have my health it would be difficult to enjoy time with my kids to attain that fabulous career, to travel, or to have a successful business. Taking good care of my self, both mentally and physically, allows me to enjoy everything else so much more.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.