Nadav Shatz – Co-Founder of Tailor Brands

Launch fast and listen to customers. Release MVP’s all the time, not only when you launch your business but for all subsequent features and offerings. Release rapidly and test.

Nadav Shatz is the Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer of Tailor Brands, a branding, and technology company that uses advanced machine learning capabilities to teach computers how to design unique brands with artificial intelligence. He is the creator of Tailor Brands’ original design algorithm, capable of creating unique specifically designed logos in real time in response to the overwhelming need for small and local businesses to access high-end and professional businesses at an affordable cost.

Working closely with a growing tech team, Nadav is tasked with the technological growth, maintenance, and future of the company. Prior to founding Tailor Brands, Nadav was a senior engineer at AppCard and Jajah where he was an integral part in their growth and unique technological achievements, understanding the complexities and needs of the startup and tech worlds. He built his first computer when he was 7, programmed his first piece of software at 14, and went on to study Physics at The Technion before moving to New York to pursue a career in the city’s thriving tech industry. When he’s not writing code, he’s still writing code, or he’s probably either underwater leading dive groups as a certified Divemaster or on the slopes snowboarding.

Where did the idea for Tailor Brands come from?

When Tom (one of the co-founders) came to us with the idea for Tailor, he posed the idea that branding and design can be automated without reducing the quality and value for the customer. I was thrilled, both for the huge technological challenge and as a way to allow any business, small or large, to get quality design and branding and in turn, make the world a better-looking place.

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

As an overarching approach to my day, I try and maintain a single focus at a time and reduce context switching and interruptions. I use a few different tools to maintain Inbox Zero.

If anything is in my inbox, it means I need to handle it NOW. If it’s not now, I snooze it for when I should handle it.

My day usually looks something like this:
Wake up, clear inbox
Respond to anything urgent.
Snooze anything to be handled later today/tomorrow/next week.
Leave what is to be handled first thing when I walk into the office.
Get to work.
10AM – Daily standup with the engineering team
I hear what everyone did yesterday and what they plan to do today.
It also makes it clear who needs my attention and when.
Handle daily tasks.
Till 12PM, I take meetings with other teams.
1PM – 5PM I try and leave free for active development work and assistance to the team.
5PM – 7PM Second open window for meetings.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I work with our incredible product team, where we focus on value and scope. We make sure to keep in mind the scope of everything we do in order to constantly deliver more and more value to our users. It’s easy to sometimes think of a great idea and ignore the implementation costs and time, but it’s worth weighing how the time and effort will actually pay off in the long run.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I’m excited about all the new food-oriented startups, I think that food is such a big part of our life that hasn’t been positively improved in a long time. There has been a long focus on cost reduction but we are now seeing a big push towards quality and health. I like that a lot.

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

I mentioned this before but really removing all distractions, whether it’s email or Slack or small interruptions. Removing distractions on focusing on the single task at hand can really improve productivity and give you constant “little wins” during the day.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I never had a really terrible job because I always tried to find the positive in all situations. I think the best example would be the times I spent standing guard for eight hours in the middle of the desert with nothing but sand around me or the time I spent eight hours at a five-star hotel basement polishing silverware. Both of this jobs required “turning off” my brain and just waiting/doing menial work for long periods of time. I learned that in any situation you can choose to stay positive and find the silver linings. Nothing is forever.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I think that if I started again I would probably do a lot more user testing earlier on and see people’s reactions to my product with my own eyes. There is so much you can learn from seeing how people use your product that they wouldn’t even be able to tell you themselves.

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

I re-think my “absolute truths”. While this would sound counter-intuitive and it’s true that you need to have your “truths” and follow them and push without falter, it’s still important to keep asking yourself “Am I working on the right thing? Am I providing value for my customers?”

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

Launch fast and listen to customers. Release MVP’s all the time, not only when you launch your business but for all subsequent features and offerings. Release rapidly and test.

Listen to your customers when you do that, don’t always do what they ask but try and read between the lines and find the underlying issues and fix them.
This method makes sure that you don’t spend precious time on the wrong thing.

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

We had a major integration with a big partner, we were sure it would skyrocket our performance and metrics. We spent a lot of time and resources on building a custom integration and launched it. It was a total flop. It didn’t even move the needle and caused a huge customer support headache because of all the customizations.

We eventually had to take it down and we learned to believe in “silver bullets” and to not put all our eggs in one basket.

We were lucky enough to continue working on our core offering at the same time which allowed us to bounce back quite fast from it. But even accepting that we needed to shut it down wasn’t an easy choice.

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

I think the entire space of close vicinity chat and introduction is still vastly open. There were some tries in the past to tackle this idea but they all failed more or less. I think that with proper execution this could be HUGE.

I’m talking about a way to start a chat with people next to you in the bar/airport/restaurant/park and so on…

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

$130 for new high-quality headphones from beyerdynamic. Great for reducing outside noise and for getting “in the zone”.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

We use Slack for all our internal communications and we have actually reduced internal email to nil which I like a lot. All the integrations with outside services also make it easier to get a notion of what’s going on without leaving the chat window.

We use Trello for task management, I like the flexibility that it has which means that each team can use it a little differently based on their own process while we can still get a top level view on what everyone is doing and easily connect different tasks from different people.

Two lesser known services I’ve used/tried out are:
Heap Analytics – which is great for retroactive event tracking, something that almost no other tracking service gives you.
Worklife – I’ve been testing this for improving our meeting’s productivity and so far it’s been quite enjoyable.

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

Rework – A huge recommendation and correlates to any kind of business. I found myself nodding in agreement throughout and constantly finding little actionable gems of how to improve productivity, employee happiness, and company success.
It’s a very light, fun and easy read, broken apart into small chapters which make it easy to read it in one go or many.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Ben Horowitz and the book “The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Joel Spolsky and his blog – while I don’t necessarily agree with everything he writes he does make me think differently about a lot of things.

And of course, my co-founders Yali and Tom.


Nadav Shatz on Twitter: @nadavshatz
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