I take a simple, problem-solving approach to entrepreneurship. By aligning myself as a problem solver, I can generate change that impacts the world.
With a love for technological innovation, Nick started his first company, Ingenious Development, at the age of 23. He is motivated by a driving passion for software development and defining it with efficient business processes. He has worked as an engineer at Cisco System, with various startups and consulted with Fortune 100 companies. His career path in technology, business and economics has enabled him to implement streamlined solutions. Currently, Nick is the Founder and CEO of IngeniousIO.
IngeniousIO is rebuilding the construction industry by connecting disparate services into a unified, AI-driven platform. By transforming documents into data intelligence, IngeniousIO gives owners, builders, project managers, general contractors, engineers, architects and other professionals real-time visibility into every inch of their project. Vendor-agnostic and API driven, IngeniousIO is poised to unlock the trillion dollars trapped in construction inefficiencies.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I’ve been in tech my entire life, both as an entrepreneur and investor. One of my construction-industry investments was with a friend’s concrete company. This friend initially approached me for financial backing and I ended up doing a bit of business consulting as well. I noticed that the company’s operations were all extremely fragmented, so I created a web-based app to streamline communications. The idea for IngeniousIO grew out that original app, which solves the lack of communication capabilities between parties in the construction industry and provides a much-needed interface to contextualize and share data.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up pretty early with an alarm around 4 or 4:30 a.m. I usually will get up and read for about an hour, then knock out a run in the morning, and another run in the evening.
Throughout the day, I ebb and flow with what needs to be done: meetings, whiteboarding, analyzing and testing processes, evolving the application and working on strategic alliances in the industry.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I think understanding the ROI of an idea is key in bringing that idea to fruition. At IngeniousIO, we can quickly comprehend ROI because we execute ideas swiftly. From inception, we collaborate on an idea, vet it out, define it and implement it in a short time frame. In software, there’s a speed component. Having good processes in place is fundamental to acting quicker than your competitors, and profitably.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I find AI extremely powerful and exciting. Also, autonomous aircrafts (I’m a pilot).
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I take a simple, problem-solving approach to entrepreneurship. By aligning myself as a problem solver, I can generate change that impacts the world. For example, IngeniousIO deeply changes how the industry builds by using a data-centric approach. Finding unique ways to leverage technology can yield better designs and boost productivity.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I am from a small town in the Midwest and my ingrained sense of trust in others has burned me a few times. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s important to approach things with a healthy dose of skepticism and when working with individuals, to perform due diligence. While everyone likes an optimist, I would tell my younger self to utilize my network to help vet out projects and people to work with.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
With the right shoes and right form, everybody can be a runner (note, that doesn’t mean that everybody will be a good runner).
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I have a constant willingness to learn and grow. I wake up and read. Before I go to sleep, I read. I actively try and learn as much as possible. Each year, I set expectations for what I’d like to accomplish that takes me out of my comfort zone. For example, I have my pilot’s license, I’ve done several Ironmans, and Ultra Running races. This year, I’m trying piano lessons. I believe that everyone should embrace the suck and do something that takes them out of their comfort zone to evolve as a person.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
To grow a business, you have to surround yourself with like-minded people. Driven individuals are great problem-solvers and if your team is chock full of people willing to go the distance and overcome obstacles, growth is inevitable.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest hurdles was a negative experience with a bad business partner. The fiasco is over now but we had to oversubscribe to get him out the door and it ate into productivity time. Once solved, however, we were dealing with term sheets within weeks. Learning that I was too quick to trust was a difficult lesson, but every challenge offers a way to persevere.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have family in Florida and now that we are in storm season, I think there needs to be a platform that enables people to help each other more easily. Like an AirBnB functionality for those with room to communicate with individuals in need. It may exist already, but if it does, I’m not aware of it. Maybe I should dig a little bit more? Google!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I would probably say coffee money. The amount of money spent on coffee and the wisdom I get out of these brief meetings is invaluable.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I love Polymail and/or Spark for email, Trello, Slack and Evernote for work matters. For personal items, I use headspace, Calm and Muse.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Principles: Life and Work” by Ray Dalio. It’s a deeply insightful part memoir, part how-to book.
What is your favorite quote?
I love quotes, so it all depends on the mood or day.
“Everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.” -H. Jackson Brown, JR.
That’s on the background of my iPhone. It just reminds me of a way to think of everyone’s position in life and try to be more empathetic to others.
- Finding unique ways to leverage technology can yield better designs and boost productivity.
- Driven individuals are great problem-solvers and if your team is chock full of people willing to go the distance and overcome obstacles, growth is inevitable.
- Everyone should embrace the suck and do something that takes them out of their comfort zone to evolve as a person.
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.