Ruthy Lichtenstein is a super motivated entrepreneur, designing and crafting technical solutions to everyday problems. Currently, she’s tackling the phone repair industry with trufyx.com. As a person with high service expectations, she believes it’s time to bring phone & tablet repair experiences to a 2021 standard, using modern design and technology.
During the pandemic, Ruthy joined team TheHeroLoop in a quest for tech solutions to help the world in such unprecedented times. The project focused on assisting lonely elderly community members. She designed the product and brand from A-Z, and won IBM CallForCode EU with her team, then won Nordic Smart City Hack with their second-phase design for business and government involvement.
With a strong technical background (Front-end Nano Degree by Udacity) and a uniquely creative point of view, Ruthy is leading trufyx from ideation to launch, through user testing, re-iterating, development, and building solutions in no-code and low-code platforms.
Ruthy started her professional journey as a teacher, where her presentation and natural coaching skills got in shape. She feels like this is one of the best paths for a product designer, where one can prepare for tackling a problem from many different angles, coming up with creative ways to explain and help listeners/viewers “understand it on their own”. Her bubbly personality and endless curiosity for technical tools and services make Ruthy a fun conversation partner and a good source for advice about business tools.
In her work, Ruthy is excited about no-code apps, especially if one can control the UI and make them visually appealing. “Love at first sight” is her goal with every product she designs, including every touchpoint on the customer’s journey.
Where did the idea for trufyx.com come from?
The initial idea was the fruit of a very frustrating day my co-founder had, trying to fix his phone. He had to go to 3 different places, spend over 5 hours waiting without his phone (and then pay more than double than he expected). His schedule got so messed up, he just asked “why couldn’t someone come to me and fix it?” – so we made it happen 🙂
Currently, phone repair is stuck in the 80s pretty much, with the most advanced of solutions allowing you to book an appointment at a lab in advance (to leave your phone there for fixing)
He started this with a simple online form and an excel sheet (and lots of manual phone calls back and forth) and when I joined, we built our vision together and developed an MVP.
I think anyone who had to fix their phone or tablet recently, can relate 🙂 It is a painful experience currently, but not for long. We’re here to change that.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start by cleaning up the emails (yes, I have too many addresses), clearing them religiously – everything is stored in folders, inbox only holding the to-do stuff.
It’s such a great habit!
Then, I go to my notion boards, and that’s where I manage all of my work. If it’s not there or in my inbox, it probably won’t happen 🙂
We have shared boards for each team, and one for everything combined to see the full picture, roadmap, and progress. We put due dates and follow them to the t, which helps a lot with sticking to deliverables and producing results.
Another thing I started doing recently and helps is planning my days ahead with booked times on my calendar. It helps me to rationalize my plans (with only 10-14 hours a day to work, unfortunately) and stick to what I can fit on the calendar.
It also helps me focus during the day, and prioritize tasks/emails accordingly.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Most of our ideas come from the field. I or Jacob would hear feedback from a customer/prospect, it will spark a discussion, and then an idea to solve their problem.
Then, I work with Jacob, design, dev, and marketing teams on the validation and planning, to determine if and how we wanna do it.
I recently learned about the almost unlimited possibilities of serverless development on AWS. It’s an amazing way to test ideas fast, and iterate until you have a satisfying MVP. I cannot wait to start our next phase of development there.
Fortunately, many of the ideas we have don’t require dev time, and can be implemented right away. Thanks to many amazing tools like Webflow, Canva, ActiveCampaign, Zapier, and more – we can power our ideas and deliver them to the world pretty quickly.
We have a dedicated test group, where we run marketing focus tests. We work with their feedback and then release it to everyone.
What’s one trend that excites you?
VR and wearable screens. I’m sure the next 10 years will unfold astonishing technologies with these new abilities. There are endless possibilities, currently used mostly for fun and learning, there’s so much to be discovered!
Also, pretty much anything Elon Musk does. This guy has a brilliant mind and inspiring courage to dream big and far into the future.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Definitely my morning routine; Wake up early, clear the table for today’s work, go out for an hour’s walk, start the day. Sounds easy, but it took months to curate and tweak 😉
For me, working from home is the best thing covid created, giving me so much more work time over travel/idling/trying to gather thoughts in a busy office.
But even I had a hard time controlling the schedule or making sense and meaning of days/time in the midst of 2020.
I wake up every day around 5 am, that didn’t change with the WFH environment, and I love it. There’s nothing like the morning hours!
But as a workaholic I quickly found myself glued to the screen for days at a time. I craved structure.
So I started an online walking group with my friends (yup, not a joke. We just meet on Facebook video chat instead of the park or the corner of the street) it’s been amazing – having a daily schedule for an hour walk, finally created that differentiation for me.
We’re 4 people from 3 countries, and it feels like I’m visiting Toronto, London, and the English Countryside every morning.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to show what you’re capable of, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you really want.
As a woman who grew up ultra-orthodox (Hasidic) I was born and raised to be modest in everything – including success in life. The main idea of modesty is “how to attract the least attention to yourself” which brings with it its own beauty, but also a habit of never asking for anything because “if it’s good for everyone it should be good for me too. No need to stand out”.
This goes against my creative and innovative personality. It was my biggest internal struggle those days, where I felt I was born with abilities I can’t pursue completely, just because I’m a woman. Took some years and hard work to be able to recognize, identify and get over those belittling beliefs.
And to my biggest surprise – when I started asking, people listened. And many times, I got what I wanted. People are generally so nice and ready to help, give advice, or just share information and network.
Just ask, worst case they ignore you or would say no 🙂
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Parenting license should be a thing.
Too many children fall into the system every year, it’s heartbreaking.
Before we even consider the psychological part, it would be amazing if a life-skills course was part of a curriculum. A course for young adults to learn how to sustain income VS expenses, how to plan financially and technically for having a kid, what parameters need to be considered, and how to evaluate and plan raising children for the years to come.
No one is born knowledgeable. No parent is perfect. It’s ok to say “we need to learn this properly”. I’m the oldest of 12, helped a lot with raising my 11 siblings and I’d still be interested in taking a class like this.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I write everything down. Everything.
From to-do-lists to smart sentences I heard, to key takeaways from webinars, to meeting notes and summaries.
This has been so helpful for me to:
1. Never forget what I wanted to do / an idea that sparked
2. Have another method of internalizing info, by writing it down.
3. Always have a personal searchable reference hub for inspiration, information about tools/technologies I looked into, etc.(Slack and notion are amazing for that with the flexible search)
4. Easily share information with others.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Through our testing phase, we found out that more and more customers reach us as a referral by a friend, or just because they knew who we are. We conducted some interviews and the main takeaway was that people usually ask around where is best to fix their phones, before Googling or heading to the local lab/store. In our test area, we had key people right there to answer this question, and business was booming. We based our model on offline, local influencers, combined with the usual SEO and social campaigns. The librarian, the dog walker, the outgoing mom from school – the people you’ll ask “where would I fix my phone around here?”.
Now, we’re slowly replicating this in larger areas, and raising seed investment to create the bandwidth for rapid scaling. We can’t wait to bring this program nationwide.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Our website – we’ve had so many technical hiccups with that thing, I thought it will never end. To some extent, it never did (lol)
Post-mortem analysis after 6 months clearly showed I skipped much of the research part when looking for tools, because “I already know what’s out there” (after all, built quite a few sites in my life, successfully, while encountering numerous WP conflicts, of course)
Well, here’s my biggest lesson: Even when you know something well, still do your research. There are SO MANY new tools out there, every month. Some of them are barely worth the 10-15 minutes it will take you to evaluate them. Some of them will change your life.
Specifically, if anyone is still considering WP with whatever builder, I’d recommend spending 6-10 hours on the Webflow Academy to learn about the new kid on the block. Every single moment will be worth it, I promise.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’m allergic to a ton of foods, and also not excited about cooking so much. (Try no gluten, dairy, red meat, alcohol, caffeine, spinach, processed sugar, soy, or deep-fried)
It will be amazing if someone came up with a recipe app where I can set up all of my limitations, enter the ingredients I have at home, and get optional recipes to try based on that.
I’m sure there are lots of monetization opportunities in such an app, and with the growing number of new ‘diets’ every year, I’m sure there will be many happy users, among them of course – me!
If anyone is in – let’s talk, happy to provide more insights and problems with “regular” recipe sites.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Audible subscription. Bringing the best mentors in the world to my ears.
And on the professional side – Hotjar! In the early days, it’s so important! I sit and watch interactions for hours, it’s amazing how much you can learn about users by just watching!
As a separate benefit, you can get recordings of technical issues pretty easily. No more painful “can you share a screenshot?” back and forth with the client – you just hop on and view the issue, then share it with the dev team.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Notion+Slack+Jira. The holy trinity (sorry, Google. G-suite helps too!).
Being remote first, those three are our virtual office and team boards/rooms.
I can’t recommend Notion enough – it makes even the biggest scariest projects seem doable, one task at a time. I personally think their onboarding needs revision, but don’t let it stop you from trying this truly amazing tool.
When you sign up, a whole lot of auto-boards are created for you, and there’s SO MUCH you can do, it’s just… overwhelming. Took me a few months to try again, and the first thing I did was delete all of the auto-templates and start from scratch. I suggest every new user do the same because you can always reach any of those templates again from the templates menu.
On the first month implementing Notion we’ve increased productivity and completed 1.5 times the tasks, comparing to the previous period.
Slack is the virtual office, and with the right setup, it could really be a suitable replacement. There are numerous ways to create team intimacy and fun chit-chat online, supported by in-person social events. In tech, it is more about who you hire and how you structure the relationship, than where they physically work.
When I joined TheHeroLoop team during IBM CallForCode 2020, we were 10 people from 9 different countries. About 2 weeks into the hackathon I realized I know some of them on a much more personal level, comparing some co-workers who sat next to me 10+ hours every day, for years…
I love how diverse of a team you could have when working remote, and how big the talent pool is. Slack is enabling that.
I believe Slack is built for the c-suite people who base their culture on trust and KPI achievements, instead of project tracking and/or qty of hours worked.
Jira is amazing, and I can’t wait to see all of the new directions Atlassian will take in the next few quarters. Their product announcements are always innovative and exciting!
It takes setup time, and the setup flow is kind of horrendous, but I cannot imagine any moment of my professional life in the past 4 years, without Jira.
The ability to run complex dashboards & reports, analyze work and technical debt, alongside a superb personal to-do list answers all of our needs as a startup, helps us evaluate progress, and improve results.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
People Powered by Jono Bacon. It completely changed my approach to marketing and building products.
As someone who grew up in a tight community, it was something I was a little hesitant about. Getting a too-tight-hug from the world you know is not an easy experience, and it took time to shake off. To do that, I started traveling and developed one of my all-time habits: visit communities around the world and learn how they do things differently.
I sampled a bunch of Jewish communities around the U.S and Europe, visited a group of spirited people living in a shared community near San Francisco, and became friends with a Native American woman living on reserve grounds in Taos Pueblo near Santa Fe.
Learning about all the colors and shapes a community could take, opened my heart to see the beauty in different paths, and helped me analyze and start looking at a community as a means to build a moat for brands and products. (Just look at Nike, Peloton, Noom, and Apple users!)
“People Powered” helped me connect all the dots and put a method to the feelings. It was part of the inspiration that led to building our ambassador program.
Customers are our most valuable asset. Not because of their LTV, but because they are part of the product today and all of its future.
What is your favorite quote?
Not sure it’s a “quote” but Nike’s “Just do it” is my motto. Just show up, just start. The rest will follow.
- It is more about who you hire than where they physically work.
- Slack is built for the c-suite people who base their culture on trust and KPI achievements, instead of project tracking and/or qty of hours worked.
- Even when you know something well, still do your research.
- People are generally so nice and ready to help, give advice, or just share information and network.
- Just ask, worst case they ignore you or would say no 🙂
- Customers are our most valuable asset. Not because of their LTV, but because they are part of the product today and all of its future.
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.