Title:Founder and CEO
First job:Waiting tables at my dad’s restaurant when I was 14.
Dream job:Hmmm, that’s a really hard. I love starting companies, so I would say “Entrepreneur”. I also really love exploring the world and meeting interesting people, so I also think “professional qdventurer” would be an amazing dream job.
Most-played song:Outro – M83. Gets me pumped up every time.
Who (and or what) inspires, motivates you?Ideas inspire me. I like reading, listening, watching any type of TED Talk or any article that comes out in Popular Science. It really helps to get the creative juices flowing and motivates me to build better products or think of situations in different ways. I also really like to read futuristic books (currently reading the Foundation trilogy). It’s obvious to try and draw inspiration from business books, but often times the biggest things that inspire me come from talking to creative people or reading books that you would never imagine could be inspiring.
In under 40 words, what makes Makemoji distinctive in its marketplace:Makemoji is a new app that lets you construct your own emoji icons, whether they be devilish smilies or a some other cuddly incarnations. With an Instagram-like news feed and profile, it’s technically the first social network for sharing emojis.
If you could dominate the world through Makemoji, how would you do it?I would start with the most impactful part of people’s lives: their personal conversations. You’ll notice that best friends, family, or people in relationships have inside jokes or things that only have meaning to them. Makemoji can be used to create a strong bond between people that starts with the way they communicate. It’s very hard to be 100 per centunderstood, which drives a lot of miscommunication and tension in relationships. I truly believe Makemoji can solve this problem. A lot of people might think of emojis as “silly” or “pointless”, but they really speak to a bigger issue of not being able to be understood in a digital age. Emojis can have a big impact, and if Makemoji can change the world of personal communication, we’re all for it.
How would others describe your leadership style?Focused. I like everyone to do one thing very well. The people I work with are amazing at what they do, so I defer to their expertise a lot of the time. There is a fine line between pushing people and getting the most from them. I really like to drive everyone (including myself) to get better every day. When people are focused, they’re able to see and do great things. For example, when you are very focused on a product or concept, it will drive you to test and perfect every little detail, which is really impactful when it comes to starting and building business.
What is the strangest marketing experiment you ever did?When we were first starting out, we did a lot of experimenting. I think the weirdest thing we did was to have our users send us photos and ideas of emojis they had. We emailed out beta user list of about 4,000 people and I had no idea it would be so popular. Within about 15 minutes we had 100 submissions (drawings) and about 300 in the first half hour. It started to fill up our mailboxes to the point where we had to put a system in place where we could have all of this in one place for us to review. We’re currently working on implementing almost all (we left out the NSFW ones), and adding them to our library on the app. In addition we’re working on a better way to get this information from our users in the future.
What’s your favourite quote?“Take what you want in this life”
What was the best piece of advice you ever received?“Take what you want in this life” was probably the best business advice I’ve ever received. It was from one of my early mentors and it really had a large impact on my life. There are a lot of things you can’t control, but sometimes those things are because of personal bias. For example, I love hearing the worlds “that’s impossible”, as it really tells you a lot about the person who says that and just because they don’t think they could do something, it doesn’t mean you can’t.
What do you think is the most important innovation of your lifetime thus far?Mobile Internet. When you think about it, the Internet is incredible in the way it allows us to speak, or even video call, people that are on the other side of the world. It also enables us to look at the world from space and share ideas/news with people who we never met; something that didn’t exist ten years ago and something that we today, take for granted. The reason I use the word “mobile” is because the ability to take the Internet with you (via your smartphone) without being bound to any particular place or expensive financial impact. Because the Internet is “free”, it has really driven the world forward and opened up for new amazing opportunities. Especially if you consider Facebook/Googles plan to get the next billion people in Africa online, it will really promote social welfare as well as aid and improved healthcare/jobs. I can’t think of anything that would be even close to the Internet in terms of innovation. Seamlessly sharing infinite amounts of data can be used to send us into space, draw attention to global issues, as well as help people communicate and learn on a fundamental level. By Shané Schutte
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