Innov8tiv Talks To The Fem Boss Who Co-Founded WedOCracy – The Virtual Wedding Planner
Last week we featured a story of a couple who overcame the challenges of planning their own wedding by creating an app dubbed WedOCracy. The app allows couples and their family and friends to virtually coordinate their activities in planning the wedding into a successful wedding.
We now bring you a one-on-one session with the fem boss, a co-founder, and the groom at the wedding that sparked off this innovation. She not only highlights that women can have a great contribution to tech development, but also is a role model for many women and girls out there who have an interest in pursuing a career in STEM.
My name is Uchechi Kalu Jacobson, and I’m a tech entrepreneur, User Experience Designer, poet and author. I’ve been an entrepreneur for the past 10 years, focusing on skills ranging from online copywriting and project management to user experience design and public speaking.
I’m currenlty the CEO and Co-Founder of wedOcracy, the virtual wedding planner for couples and guests. My husband and I built wedOcracy to plan our own wedding, and officially founded the company almost 2 years ago. I’m also a User Experience Designer at Linking Arts, a web development and design agency founded by my husband and startup co-founder Peter Jacobson.
Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career
We recently reached a very important milestone. We launched publicly 5 months ago, and since then we’ve had WedOcracy weddings in 5 continents and 10 countries around the world. That’s really exciting because it means people are using our product, and it helps us reach our goal of becoming a global company and product.
What habits and mindset has helped you to be successful?
Learning to not overthink things and trust myself has really helped me become successful. You have to think on your feet and know that it’s better to make the wrong decision than no decision at all. Also, running a “lean” startup has been a key to our success! The startup world is all about releasing a product, testing it and then revising. Being “lean” is about cutting costs and saving time by getting your product out to your users, iterating quickly and then releasing it again. It’s helped us focus on what’s important, not sweat the small stuff and really create a great user focused products.
What was the most difficult period in your Career life, and how did you deal with it?
Things have been especially difficult lately, especially as a bootstrapping startup. We’ve been running wedOcracy with our own funds for almost two years, and sometimes it’s hard to know how long we can keep going on our own. How am I dealing with it? I’ve chosen to focus on what we have accomplished (building and designing the platform, gaining more users every day, public launch, etc) and to remember our mission: to make weddings fun for everyone involved. I recently spoke to a bride about our event planning platform and after our conversation she decided to try it out instead of eloping. Moments like this give me the motivation to keep going. It feels great to know that we are solving a real problem.
In your experience, what do you think is severely lacking within the Tech Communities?
Investment (funding, accelerator programs, interest) in tech communities outside the prominent cities like San Francisco, New York or Boulder. I live in New Orleans, which is a growing tech city, but it definitely missing the same kind of opportunities that major tech cities have. Unfortunately, not investing in these communities creates an idea that innovation only comes out of certain cities. The truth is, creativity exists everywhere, but the lack of investment in these cities makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to grow and sustain their companies and ideas.
What are the most important things you have learnt from your work experience?
Trust your gut, but also look at the facts. As CEO of a technology startup, I make decisions every day and the thing that helps me the most is balancing my intuition with the important details. Looking to hire someone? Listen to yourself, but also check to see if they have the right skills you’re looking for. Both aspects of decision making really do matter.
What is your career advice to college students studying technology?
There’s no one route to a career in technology. Studying Creative Writing led me to technology. When I started writing online, I found a world of opportunities in technology, including User Experience Design. It’s also important to have diverse skills, so study other things as well. Having a background in Art and Graphic Design makes you a really well rounded designer. You can see things from many perspectives, and create products that represent the diversity of the world we live in. Also, you’ll learn invaluable skills. Working in technology isn’t just about coding or design. Sometimes, it’s also about public speaking, teamwork, collaboration, communication, etc. Diverse skills are key!
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Also, I’m very passionate about diversity in technology because I believe we can only innovate and create groundbreaking technology by factoring the people who use it, which is global citizens.