As an entrepreneur, it is my prime responsibility to set and improve processes, so I always look for flaws or try to anticipate where the next problem will arise.
Nathan Candaner is the co-founder of JobzMall, the new way of finding jobs and exploring organizations. He launched the company in 2016 with the belief that humans are so much more than a resume and companies are so much more than a job post. Nathan strives to make the job finding process enjoyable, engaging and accessible to everyone.
Where did the idea for JobzMall come from?
JobzMall is a virtual shopping mall where job seekers and organizations meet. The idea came when the existing job boards failed to engage and help me and my friends. Browsing, finding and applying for jobs is a very long and arduous process. My generation swipes right for dating, shops with one click, communicates in a few second-long snaps, and yet is expected to read through long blocks of texts as job posts, and apply over and over again with another block of text – A Resume.
So we started JobzMall on two core principles: How can we make this process more engaging and how can we make the process smarter for both the job seeker and employer?
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Everyday is unique and unpredictable, which is part of the journey. There are many unforeseeable problems that you have to be prepared for on a day-to-day basis. I have a black book that I carry around with me that has Daily and Weekly goals, along with any new ideas I may run into. It really helps me to focus on what’s a priority for JobzMall. I will highly recommend to have a recap at the end of each day, and go over what went well and what didn’t that day, and what you are hoping to do tomorrow. And write them! Writing becomes essential when you have different teams under you that are working on completely different projects for the same unified goal. Without keeping a personal track, it is as if you’re conducting an orchestra without the musical notes.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I try to imagine what the end product will look like. How it will function, and why that ‘idea’ will exist. What problem is it trying to solve? Are there any other products trying to fix that problem? There probably is but what are they lacking? In what ways are they successful? In what ways do they fail? A lot of what I do involves thinking and research, and then I design and prototype. Prototyping is actually when raw thoughts become alive. I then, adjust based on feedback.
It is very important to weed out useful feedback from the naysayers. When you challenge things that people are used to, it is very normal to face some push back. Believe in yourself, however, don’t label everyone who disagrees with you as a naysayer. There’s probably some good feedback in every reaction.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Developments on artificial intelligence. It both excites me and scares me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Just like JobzMall, I had to gamify my productivity. I have an hourglass and sticky notes on my desk at home and office. Before I start my work, whether it’s UI design, coding, partner relations or content creation I set a time for that work. And then I race myself to do it. If I finish the work before the allocated time, I receive imaginary points. If I don’t, I lose my imaginary points. If I hit a certain milestone, I treat myself to things. It is similar to an arcade with tickets but for work.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Relax. I stressed over so many problems that I foresaw and preemptively created stress over myself and others. I believed being relaxed was being complacent, something that I have a huge problem with. As an entrepreneur, it is my prime responsibility to set and improve processes, so I always look for flaws or try to anticipate where the next problem will arise. I would say: “stay true to yourself, have clear expectations from yourself and others, improve every single day and work hard. Things will be fine.”
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
It is such a cliche, but It is very very true: Believe in yourself. Have a very well-thought out, researched, debated, strong belief system, and act on it. The world we live in is entirely built by human mind. It wasn’t built by minds that posses mental powers that you do not. You can change it for the better, as long as you act on it. You will encounter a lot of naysayers, and it is very normal. They will reject your ideas because you challenge what they know today based on their learnings of yesterday. Yet you are architecting tomorrow, it is only natural to encounter friction. Believe in yourself, and work hard on it.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Don’t forget why you are doing what you are doing. Remind yourself over and over again. Over time your business will evolve, your problems will change, and things will get hard. Very hard. ‘What’ you do will change. It is very easy to lose track of the ‘why,’ however, you need to derive strength from your purpose and stay true to yourself. Your problems will fall one after another if you always remind yourself of the purpose.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Listen to people and offer help. It is very easy to look out just for your needs, but that’s a recipe for loneliness. Everyone in the world has hopes and plans for the future. Listen to them. See where you can help them achieve their goals. There is nothing more noble than helping another person for a good cause. This will allow you to open so many doors at different stages in your life. In business, think about the value you are delivering to your customers, deliver them now and think about the money later. If you are best at what you do for others, you will make money, but money shouldn’t be your focus.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I started JobzMall, I knew extremely little about so many things. This caused me to form the team three times from scratch and endure many problems. I overcame them by viewing my work as a learning experience. I try to learn and improve every single day and make decisions based on what I know and believe the most at the time. Remembering the core purpose – the ‘why’ – helped me not lose direction. I hired people that are excellent at what they do and created an environment where they can perform at their best – and while doing so, learn from them.
In the early days, some told me it was a dream to develop the platform. After all, I had no prior experience. Nor the required network to challenge a very mature industry. Now the same people that doubted me, praise JobzMall on our audacity and traction. Do not let failure demotivate you. LEARN from your mistakes and never make them again. Having mentors you talk to on a regular basis is very key in improving yourself. A knowledgeable outside perspective always helps.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A “Smart City” like Amazon Go really excites me. Having houses that have Alexa in every room, a city watched over, governed by a singular consciousness. It may be a scary thought, but so was talking to someone on the other side of the world through a device 100 years ago, and doing so for free 10 years ago. Although the entire concept would be unachievable by a single person, the pieces that would be included in this giant project are very achievable. Maybe a software that detects when your favorite grocery is running out of your refrigerator and automatically replenishes them through Amazon?
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I had to extend my Sketch license. Sketch is a very powerful tool for UI/UX design and building out components.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Invision is an amazing tool for prototyping. I owe a big “thank you” to them. It helps you prototype a very realistic app, a website, a concept very quickly with zero coding.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Super-Intelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies” by Nick Bostrom. It is a very expansive book on the development of artificial intelligence.
Though, it is the celebrities, politicians and athletes we venerate as a society, it is the progress on science and engineering that shapes the medium of how we operate and communicate. If it wasn’t for nerdy teens coding the social media platforms that we use today, we wouldn’t be following these celebrities. Developments on artificial intelligence will be the biggest events in human history. It will affect every aspect of human life just like internet has done, but even on a more dramatic scale. I highly recommend this book and understanding the topic.
What is your favorite quote?
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. I think being an entrepreneur requires both at different phases. You need to move fast but also form a team that you can grow with.
- Don’t forget why you are doing what you are doing. Things will get hard, and change. Always stay true to your purpose, stay true to yourself.
- The world we live in is entirely built by human mind. It wasn’t built by minds that posses mental powers that you do not. You can change it for the better, as long as you act on it.
- Listen to people and offer help. It is very easy to look out just for your needs, but that’s a recipe of loneliness.
- They will reject your ideas because you challenge what they know today based on their learnings of yesterday. Yet you are architecting tomorrow, it is only natural to encounter friction.
- There is nothing more noble than helping another person for a good cause.
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Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.