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Interview with Paul Ruderman, CEO and Founder of Updatezen

Interview with Paul Ruderman, CEO and Founder of Updatezen

What is your startup and what does it  do? 

UpdateZen is the simplest status reporting tool ever created for CEO’s, business owners, executives and managers. Founded in 2014, UpdateZen limits status updates to 250 characters, focusing only on what’s important — eliminating excessive emails and cumbersome status documents from team members. With project statuses in one location, it also reduces the amount of time spent searching through inboxes in order to find what’s important.

Where did the idea for the startup come from and what void is it aiming to fill?

While working at the previous company I co-founded, managing multiple teams across various departments, I saw the need for far greater simplicity between teams and their leaders. The parameters imposed by UpdateZen help to promote brevity from both workers and their managers. There is no need to be long-winded in these types of communications — only the most important information needs to be communicated to ensure progress is made efficiently

How does your company differ from competitors? 

UpdateZen is designed to be simple and easy-to-use, accessible via mobile and the web. We stand out in our extreme simplicity and clean design. But we also stand out because we limit updates to 250 characters. Our goal is to reduce information overload for executives. And every other project management and team collaboration solution adds complexity and adds information to an executive’s already busy workload. We are the antithesis of solutions like Slack, Asana, Basecamp, Jira and Trello. With UpdateZen, less is more. We give you only what you absolutely need to know. Short, concise updates from your people on everything they’re working on so you don’t have to dig through complex solutions and documents and never-ending emails to find what you need. It’s all in UpdateZen

How did you become interested in entrepreneurship? 

My father was an entrepreneur is his whole life, and eventually built two highly successful businesses in two very different markets. I saw how he comported himself, I saw the flexibility entrepreneurship gave him in his personal life, and I saw the success. And it all made sense to me. I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole adult life, and love starting things from scratch and making them successful. Isn’t that the definition of entrepreneurship?

What has been your biggest challenge so far as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it? 

I don’t live in a tech hub. I live in NJ! I don’t have a high-tech pedigree of having worked for Google or Facebook. I don’t have a wellspring of investors knocking down my door, and I don’t live in that world. Yet, I’ve built successful enterprises through sheer creativity and persistence. You don’t NEED to live anywhere special to be a successful tech entrepreneur. It comes from within.

What emerging trends do you see in your industry and how will your company adapt to them?

Fortunately we are seeing signs of clean design, which is the entry-way to simplicity in technology today. We are seeing great network effects and word-of-mouth marketing that obviates the need for large marketing budgets that many B2B solutions were used to in the past. UpdateZen is built on the foundations of simplicity and brevity, and people/users are responding incredibly well to them. We’ll continue simplifying, simplifying, simplifying.

What growth trajectory do you envision for your company over the next five years? 

We’ll growing organically, through word of mouth and customer satisfaction. No solution exists today like UpdateZen. We are seeing 20% week over week growth in users, and we expect that to continue.

What is one thing you wish you had learned about entrepreneurship before launching your startup?

I wish I knew the power of facebook targeted ads before I went into beta in June of 2014. It is the best user acquisition strategy if you know and understand your target market.

What is your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Stay cheap. Stay focused. Conserve capital. And believe in yourself your vision. It’s your future on the line. Don’t fail because you listened to someone else’s vision. Succeed because you followed your own.

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