Trent Oliver – Co-founder and CEO of Blue Telescope

[quote style=”boxed”]Pay attention to the numbers and have clarity about how your personal values are represented within the brand.[/quote]

Trent Oliver is the co-founder and CEO of Blue Telescope, where for more than a decade she has developed and guided an in-house team that conceptualizes, designs, programs and deploys award-winning technology-based exhibits. She has executive-produced exhibits for clients such as Xerox, the National Museum of Mathematics, Liberty Science Center, Pfizer, Merck and many more. Trent’s extensive experience in production began when she was a Stage Manager for corporate sales meetings and Off-Broadway shows, as well as a Production Coordinator for national commercials. Trent has personally produced shows, videos, training programs, websites, intranet sites, CD-ROMs and interactive experiences for corporate clients and cultural institutions.

Where did the idea for Blue Telescope come from?

My Business partner and I wanted to spend our days creating new, interesting media as opposed to the same old thing. While it might be more profitable to regurgitate what has already been done, it isn’t very interesting.

What does your typical day look like?

I am up at 4 or 5 a.m. to run as I am training for the NYC marathon! At 6 or 7 a.m. I check email, put out overnight fires and get the kids and myself off to school and work. At work there are sales calls, proposals, meetings and of course, forecasting where we are going as a company. Then in the evening I either go to a business educational event or head home.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I pay attention to fun tech gear, music, art and theater. We also have creative meetings that mimic Improv – there is no bad idea. I find it’s best to entertain all ideas and see where the creative process takes you.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Online learning, Chromebooks in schools and the ability to find information so that you can educate yourself about most anything. The revamping of education focuses on students actually learning how to learn and not just memorizing details that can be easily found in a websearch.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I have a constant desire to learn and get bored with the standard way of doing things.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Working fast food. I was very good at it, but quickly learned that I wanted more (intellectually, financially, etc.).

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would have reached out to fellow business owners earlier as it is good to learn from others in the same boat!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Pay attention to the numbers and have clarity about how your personal values are represented within the brand.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

We continually reinvent where we are heading and stay on the edge of new and interesting ways to create interactives.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I was very slow to protect our concepts, which was a painful thing to learn. We now are clear with our clients about how they cannot use our ideas without our permission.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

We need coffee carts in the express subway stations! When I lived in the city, I didn’t want to risk missing a train, so I would forgo picking up my morning coffee and buttered roll. Once in the subway station, I would have paid any amount to have a coffee while I was waiting!

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I have no hometown. I am an Air Force brat, introvert and bookworm.

What software and web services do you use?

Asana, Harvest, The List, Sales Force and Quickbooks.

What do you love about them?

They are all online/the cloud. Organization is getting better and less bulky.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Norm Brodsky’s Street Smarts. Norm explains, in plain language, the key numbers that you need to know in order to run a successful business!

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Malcom Gladwell, Paco Underhill, Norm Brodsky, Walt Mossberg and some other assorted readings.


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