Running a tech startup and working on a new innovation can prove to be challenging for anyone.
But running a tech company with millenials in your home can be pure torture when that technology is on a teen’s favorite appendage: a smartphone.
I’ve spent the early days of building my company, Video Fizz, at our global headquarters — also known as my kitchen counter. The Video Fizz app allows friends and families to create video personalized video greeting cards for any celebration.
It’s been a rewarding adventure to create something that consumers will find not only useful, but also fun. Finding that blend of practicality and amusement alongside a group millennials, however, can add a layer of frustration to the challenge.
Imagine toiling away for a week on a new idea, debating the merit of a new feature. Does it belong in the minimally viable product? Can it wait for later? Then one of your teenagers walks by — on their way to the pantry for some Mega Stuffed Oreos — and flippantly says “that sucks” or “have you ever thought of _________?” (Insert an awesome thing we actually never did think of).
I wish I could say these unsolicited insertions of opinion rarely happen, but actually these demoralizing events happen on a regular basis. Lucky me.
As humbling as some of these encounters have been, they have also been instrumental in developing the product that we have today. My teens have two very different talents: my 15-year-old daughter has an amazing eye for design and photography and my 17-year-old son leans to the technical.
As a result, we’ve created a better product that appeals to a wider audience.
So while the uninvited commentary can be debilitating, it’s also offered me perspective. Building any venture takes patience and thick skin. Sometimes the harshest words will come from those closest to your company, but it’s only because they care about your success.
Fortunately, though, I can still ground these early adopters if their criticisms are too snarky.
After a career in career in healthcare and cancer diagnostics, Laura Steward launched Video Fizz in 2014.