[quote]Have a sense of urgency. If you don’t feel the need to achieve progress every day, you will be wasting valuable time. Usually time and money are scarce so you have to be very aggressive.[/quote]
In 2010, Ricardo Suarez became the Founder and CEO of Yumbling. Before starting Yumbling, he worked for 3 other startups as one of the first employees or as a founder. Most of his experience is in general management roles at high tech ventures. He founded his first Internet startup when he was in his last semester of college in 1996. Even though this startup didn’t go well, he decided this kind of endeavors was what he wanted to do in the long-term. In between 2 startups, he also spent a couple of years working as a technology-related consultant in Mexico and South America. Ricardo has a degree in computer science from ITESM and a MBA from UC Berkeley. Ricardo Suarez currently lives in Mexico City with his wife and two daughters.
What are you working on right now?
I founded Yumbling a few months ago. Yumbling is a social app that is focused on entertainment. It concentrates information about restaurants, bars, movies, plays, concerts, etc. and gives real time personalized recommendations to the users considering location, time, gender, preferences and behavior of the user in the app. We look forward to being different based on our recommendation engine. Even though it’s in its early stages, we are seeing good adoption by users. Currently, I’m working on the final stage of a new release of Yumbling. This release is very important for us since: – We are growing from local content to a nationwide scale. – We are also releasing the Android app. – We are including third party content through a new concept. I’m doing all kind of work to get this release in our user’s hands (testing, public relations, developing communication materials, etc.), running fast as always.
Where did the idea for Yumbling come from?
It came from the converging of: a) my interest in highly targeted advertising using leading-edge technologies, b) very optimistic trends about mobile and mobile advertising and c) the lack of a good social source of user-empowered entertainment guides in Mexico. We live in cities with hundreds or thousands of entertainment options every week and many times we don’t take advantage of that for several reasons; one of them is that information is disparate and not personalized to our interests and preferences. Yumbling looks forward to being the source of personalized entertainment information.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up at 7:00 AM and take my daughters to school. Then I catch up on emails, calls, etc. for a couple of hours (typically in a Starbucks or so). Then I usually have 2 or 3 face-to-face meetings (they love it in Mexico) with potential business partners, doing PR, etc. during the day. Between meetings, I stop in any venue with an Internet connection to work on my never-ending to-do list. I go back home around 7:00 PM and spend a couple of hours with my wife and daughters. Finally I work for another few hours on pending tasks, chatting with my team (they like to work late), reading blogs, planning the next day, etc.
How do you bring ideas to life?
A little bit of dreaming and a lot of execution. You need a dream or vision to go for, but you shouldn’t spend a lot of time on that. Once you have it, you have to work really hard to make it happen. Every day is a great opportunity to move forward, to answer key questions, to improve your product, to close alliances and to meet potential business partners….a great opportunity to achieve. Making progress every day, even small progress, helps keep up the motivation.
3 trends that excite you.
- Mobile: mobile devices + Internet are changing our lives.
- Artificial intelligence: how our context gets smarter to be more relevant to our needs and preferences.
- eBooks: we’ll see great innovations in how we read a book and I believe this will help people get closer to reading.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
For some time when I was a teenager, I worked in a street market selling clothes on weekends and holidays. Although it wasn’t disgusting, it was intense (from 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Monday through Sunday). This job helped me to understand that I wasn’t up to for traditional commerce. It also helped me to learn some skills in selling (listen to prospects, persuasion, etc.).
If you were to start Yumbling again, what would you do differently?
I would be less ambitious about the initial scope of the product. I used to underestimate the effort needed to develop and release something to the market. Most of the time, less is more, but it’s very easy to forget this!
What is the one thing you did/do as an entrepreneur that you would do over and over again and recommend everybody else do?
Have a sense of urgency. If you don’t feel the need to achieve progress every day, you will be wasting valuable time. Usually time and money are scarce so you have to be very aggressive.
Tell us a secret…
Not exactly a top-secret, but I’m a happy atheist.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Gamification, it could be consulting, analysis or a software platform, but I believe game dynamics will be much more present in our daily lives in a more evident way. Around these dynamics there will be some business.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. It is short, to the point and inspiring. It motivates you to execute on your dreams and to fight against the resistance. In any venture (writing a book, starting a company, etc.) you will face a lot of challenges, but then it’s up to you to achieve your goals and make the difference.
If you weren’t working on Yumbling, what would you be doing?
Working in another startup. I really enjoy that feeling of working in a small and creative startup where we create new things and bring them to the market.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why.
@francispisani: He is doing a world tour interviewing startups and other people to discuss innovation, technology, etc.
@richardbranson: Great entrepreneur.
@apisanty: Mexican activist in technology, government and other good initiatives.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
With my 4-year-old daughter. It’s incredible all the things that she can say that make me laugh out loud…from unexpected questions to funny dancing.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Chef Gordon Ramsay. His passion about what he does is amazing. It’s motivating. Also, he has been able to create good business around his passion.
What does failure means to you?
Failure is when you don’t even try, when you don’t do something because you are afraid.
What’s your favorite sport?
I love soccer. I’m a Pumas (local professional team) fan. When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player.