I like to create outlines of thought patterns that resemble lines of code – that way I can know what inputs are necessary, what conditionals must be met, and what our outputs might look like.
Nicco is the co-founder and CEO of WoahStork. Nicco is also a Ph.D. student at UCLA studying cognitive neuroscience. Nicco received two B.A degrees from New York University in Psychology and Philosophy and a M.A degree from UCLA in cognitive neuroscience. His graduate study is focused on using advanced neuroimaging tools and analyses (e.g. fMRI. machine-learning, and virtual reality) to decode the neural mechanisms supporting enhanced mnemonic retrieval, intelligence, and disorders of consciousness. Nicco has received extensive sources of academic funding including the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship award and UCLA’s NIH funded Neuroimaging Training Program. Additionally, his primary research pursuits are supported by DARPA.
Nicco is passionate about expanding the refinement of cannabis knowledge. Several close to him have benefited from medical marijuana for a variety of medical ailments only after a negative onslaught of dosage and strain experimentation. He also realized that countless users report negative experiences with cannabis and go on to avoid the plant and miss out on its benefits – a side effect that are predominantly strain dependent. In an attempt to build a more robust way to identify the right strain of cannabis, Nicco repurposed his neuroscience toolkit for WoahStork and developed the initial infrastructure that allows people to receive personalized cannabis strain recommendations.
When Nicco is not in the lab or office, he enjoys surfing, meditating, traveling, producing films, and making music.
Where did the idea for WoahStork come from?
WoahStork was birthed out of the desire to provide a personalized resource portal for both novice and experience cannabis users. Too often it is the case that a patient is prescribed medical marijuana and then given no resources as to the right strain for their medical ailments.The same goes for users looking for specific recreational effects. We’ve seen so many people get turned off to cannabis because of a negative experience—likely a strain-dependent outcome. We wanted to help people truly harness the extensive power of this plant. Average strain reviews are of little or no assistance in choosing a strain that fits your needs; one strain might yield a really positive experience for me and a negative one for you. Thus, we decided to use machine learning to provide each user with a personalized strain recommendation based on their medical ailments or recreational desires and previous history. We took it one step further by partnering with dispensaries so that you can actually order your perfect strain online for pickup or delivery.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day for me involves an early morning rise to meditate and surf, followed by either a day with the co-founders at the WoahStork office or scanning subjects in my new fMRI experiment at UCLA where I’m finishing up my Ph.D.
I make every day productive by starting my day off with a meditation and surf and then allocating specific chunks of time each day to specific tasks on my weekly to-do list.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Our team is constantly brimming with new ideas for WoahStork. I like to create outlines of thought patterns that resemble lines of code – that way I can know what inputs are necessary, what conditionals must be met, and what our outputs might look like. I like to rely heavily on designers to bring complex thoughts into approachable mediums that can then be passed along and appropriately assigned to the parties responsible for executing on the concept.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The trend of personalized medicine truly excites me. The idea that we could eventually have nanobots constantly measuring our internal statistics, neural fluctuations, and hormones is a futuristic concept I find great merit in.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I said it earlier, but I sincerely value meditation. Running an exciting startup and managing the tail end of a Ph.D program is constantly stressful. If I didn’t retain a sense of mindfulness throughout the day, I’d certainly collapse under the pressure.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I ever had was working as a door-to-door salesman for a vacuum company. I was originally told it was a law internship. On my first day, I showed up and was greeted by a room of sales people. I was the victim of a bait and switch. It was too late to apply for other summer internship positions (I was in college at the time), so I just went with it. I ended up making enough money to provide me with spending money over the next yea. Thus, I learned that, sometimes, if you just put your head down and work with what you have, you might not always get what you want, but you’ll certainly reach a place where you can change direction towards what you want.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have started on WoahStork when the idea first came to me instead of waiting for validation on the idea from investors and collaborators.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Allocating my time for certain daily tasks every Sunday and sticking to it. I often times get addicting to working. If I trust my week-view time allocation for that day, I can free myself from the grips and allow myself to relax.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Genuine interest. Nothing beats actually caring about your product’s end-users. At WoahStork, our curiosity about the way cannabis can differentially affect users is unparalleled. This led us to develop inherently intriguing technology, which fosters organic growth.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had some failures in the cannabis space before WoahStork – particularly in the cultivation and dispensary arenas. I learned that whom you are doing business with is often times far more important than the business you are doing. Choose wisely whose name you decide to put next to your own. No one will work as hard as you if you are the only one with the passion.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Someone should definitely make a surfboard that lets you play music out in the water and tracks the wave you catch, your speed, etc.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Giving 100$ to Bernie Sanders’ campaign. It’s about time someone stood up to the greed that has been plaguing the progress of our nation.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I live by my Google Calendar, Todoist, and Evernote. Our whole team uses Slack and DropBox, of course. I also use Rewire to keep track of my strings of goal accomplishments or shortcomings. All of these tools allow me to keep track of and encourage productivity in a visually friendly manner.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I read Believe and Achieve by W. Clement Stone when I was 9 years old. It changed my life and I think it could do the same for anyone thinking about paving their own path in business or life.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I am an avid follower of Jason Silva’s blogs and videos. He keeps me enthralled with the sense of awe our universe is in such abundance of. I also love reading and contributing to Reddit’s AskScience and Science subreddits. I read a ton of academic papers related to spatial navigation, memory, and intelligence. I love browsing Google Scholar. When it comes to fiction, I read everything by Murakami.
WoahStork on Twitter: @WoahStork
WoahStork on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WoahStork/
Nicco Reggente on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nreggente
Nicco Reggente on Twitter: @mobiuscydonia
Nicco Reggente’s Website: http://philoneuro.com/
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