BONUS: special ‘uncut’ episode – Part Two.
Jessica Alderson is the founder of app So Syncd. In interview she shares her story with Nerds of Business host, Darren Moffatt.
Jessica Alderson is the founder of https://www.sosyncd.com/
What to listen out for:
2:12 Jessica talks about the benefits she has found working together with her sister Lou.
5:45 The personality traits Jessica draws upon as a business leader.
8:58 Jessica’s inciting event which pushed her onto her own business path.
12:48 Jessica’s most inspiring famous entrepreneur.
17:34 A killer hack from the founder of So Syncd
19:57 Nerd SUPERPOWER
22:09 Jessica’s Mental Habit to channel her creativity
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Well hello listeners and welcome to the nerds of business podcast. My name is Darren Moffatt, I am a director at Webbuzz the growth marketing agency and I am your host. I’m really excited to bring you part two of our conversion with Jessica Alderson the founder of hot dating app, so Syncd. Out of the Uk. In the last episode we had part one, and we heard from Jessica around her story and how she is leveraging as the Key attributes that top entrepreneurs have such as resilience, creativity, drive confidence and so on, Into a really successful and fast-growing tech business. So, sit back, enjoy, Part two of my conversation with Jessica from So Syncd. I hope you enjoy this edition of Nerds of Business, uncut.
Now, um, we touched on this before, um, your co-founder is your sister Luella, um, just some striking similarities between you guys. I mean, um, you both worked as, uh, researchers and analysts, um, you know, for, um, I started sort of corporate, you know, investment or banking institutions and your, the UK ambassador for women in tech. She's also within that organization. Um, how do you go working together? I mean, you know, this is a bit of a sibling’s question here, you know, uh, what what's that like? And, and, um, more particularly like what advantages do you think, uh, that it gives you guys, you know, how, how does that work for you in the business?Jessica Alderson:
Yeah, I mean, we were actually talking about it today and we're saying that the advantages are so strong. Um, so she's an ESFJ personality type. And as I mentioned, I'm an INFP personality type. So, we are almost literally the polar opposites. Um, and that's, yeah, it's funny that we've got a similar background, um, and we have, you know, done kind of, I guess, some very similar jobs to some extent, um, but we are quite different in terms of our strengths and weaknesses. Um, and that's, that's really helpful because there are just certain things that she does much faster and much better than me. And I think, you know, vice versa as well. And we don't really argue that much, we discuss things a lot. Um, but we, you know, usually, well we discuss things like literally all day, every day. Um, but you know, if it's something that she's better at, I'm like, okay, yeah, Like, you know, she has the final say and same, same for me. And I think there's a few things that, that make it so great. Like one is that there's no like beat around the Bush. There's no like, you know, try and keep each other happy. We just like, say it exactly as it is. Um, like if she thinks something, she'll say it and the same with me. So, we save a lot of time. There's no type of politics. It just literally is what it is. And then also in terms of trust, I think that is like, that's so, so important. And yeah, like that co-founder relationship, you really need to be able to trust that other person, like you hear of co-founders who go behind each other's backs and things like that. And I mean, it's not impossible for siblings, but it's, I mean, less likely for sure. And like, particularly given we are just super close, and we just know that we wouldn't do that to each other. So just having that, like ultimate trust, I think makes all the difference.Darren Moffatt:
And what did investors think of that? So, you know, when you were pitching out to investors for, your venture capital, was that, was that, was that a plus or were they sort of, a little concerned by it? Did they ask questions about it?
Jessica Alderson 04.21
Yeah, it's a really good question. And it just never really came up. You know, obviously we said, we've set this up as sisters, a few asked, you know, how, how does it work? Like a little bit like you did, but there was no, no like known or noticeable, like concern, with any potential investors. Um, so yeah, quite interesting. Mm.Darren Moffatt:
Yeah. Well, I mean, I guess, yeah, trust and chemistry are super important in a founding team. And, um, from an investors point of view, you can see that, well, they're sisters, they obviously, you know, they've got that very long long-term relationship. So, there's probably just inherently a lot of things that investors don't have to worry about with a sister relationship. But I would imagine it'd be quite different if for instance, you were setting up the business with a boyfriend or, or a partner, you know, so I think investors are a bit more gun shy there because, you know, well, what happens if the romantic relationship breaks down, but of course, if you hypothetically were in that same situation and you had met your partner on, so syncd, you wouldn't have a problem because you'd be matched personality wise and it'd be a very, very solid relationship.Jessica Alderson:
Exactly, would give them all the confidence that, you know, it's 100 percent right.Darren Moffatt:
What personality traits, um, do you find yourself drawing on most in your journey so far with So Syncd?Jessica Alderson:
Yeah, I think it's two probably, like creativity and adaptability. Um, so creativity in like lots of different ways, just the, I guess, the subject itself and what we're doing does require creativity, whether it's like, you know, we have a good social media following, coming up with ideas for like blog posts, um, that kind of thing. There's creativity in that sense. Um, but then also creativity in terms of solving problems and challenges. You know, there's, there's lots of things that pop up like sometimes on a daily basis that we have to solve. And sometimes you need to be kind of creative about, and it's, uh, you know, it's not like when you're working for someone else and you're like, oh, I have this issue. Can you please help me sort this out? It's like, you need to sort it out. You're the founders. So, you just, you just need to, I guess, essentially you just work it, work it out.Darren Moffatt:
Yeah, I think, I love what you said there about creativity. I mean, my little pet theory is that, um, you know, all Business or entrepreneurship is essentially an extended, very extended riff on problem solving and to solve problems, creativity, that's what it's all about. Often, I find successful entrepreneurs usually have a high degree of creativity and then they're supported with people around them that can, you know, bring in those sort of operational aspects. So, here’s a nature versus nurture question. I mean, do you think, uh, disruptors, slash entrepreneurs are born that way, or can they evolve, you know, and which applies to you?Jessica Alderson:
Yeah, I know it's a really good question. And yeah, I'm super interested in the nature versus nurture kind of argument. I think potentially a little bit of both. I think you probably do need to be born like some of the characteristics or at least have them to some extent. But then I think you can, you can develop, I guess, certain aspects of your personality. Um, if that makes sense.Darren:
Yeah. Well, it totally does. Did you, in your sort of childhood growing up as a teenager, did you always know that you would somehow be drawn to something like starting your own business or did it, was it a slow sort of evolving thing that kind of came up on the, on the horizon for you?Jessica Alderson:
Yeah, no, I didn't always know. Uh, I know, you know, there's like some people who are like making lemonade from lemons and making, you know, 50p profit when they were 12 years old or whatever, like that didn't really do that so much. I think probably like did have the personality traits that I just described, like, you know, creativity and adaptability, um, but just like applied them in slightly different ways. So yeah, I mean, I think, yeah, exactly. That was it. I think like they were there, it's just like, it wasn't always like, oh, you know, we are going to set up a business.Darren Moffatt:
Yeah. Right. So, I mean, I don't know how much you know about, uh, screenwriting. Uh, I've done a bit of writing over the years and in the world of screenwriting, if you're writing a screenplay for a movie there's, what's called, uh, the inciting event. Right. So, there's, you know, there's the event, that starts the action in the script. Okay. And it seems to me that in your case, the inciting event was the breakup with your partner or your boyfriend. Would you agree with that, like, that really set you on a different path from, from the way you've told the story?Jessica Alderson:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That, that definitely was the inciting event. I guess also what was quite interesting that I was thinking about recently is, like the few weeks before we decided to set up the app, I met someone who had set up an app and he came from like a fairly similar background. He came from finance and that, and I was like, oh, if he can do it, like, I guess it was before it was before, even though I'd had the conversation with Lou. So, like that, it wasn't really an idea to set up a Myers-Briggs dating app at some point. But that was then like the second part of like sowing the seed of like, Ooh, like, you know, could, could do set up a business at some point. And then like the third part was having drinks with Lou, my sister in the bar. And then I guess just that kind of light bulb moment. So, I guess it was like three different things over the course of a year. Really.Darren Moffatt:
It was quite an organic process. It wasn't like you sat down and went like, I'm going to start this, or I've got this sort of five-year plan. It would just kind of naturally evolved. I'm always fascinated by these stories, because it, the more I talk to entrepreneurs, um, there is, there is no right or wrong way, you know? I mean, so there's, spruikers out there saying, oh, it has to be like this. Well, you know, it's just, it happens in so many different ways and the journeys are all so unique. And on that, you know, with your journey, the journey ahead for so syncd, um, what challenges do you see sort of, you know, coming up and, and how, how will you overcome them?Jessica Alderson:
Yeah, I mean, I think with challenges, one of the things we've learned is we can never quite predict when, or in what way they'll pop up. I think it's very hard to predict them, I guess, bigger kind of bigger picture challenges that, you know, we do foresee is, uh, like scaling the team, you know, kind of, I guess, picking the right people for the right roles and making sure that they're happy and you retain them. That kind of thing, you know, particularly when there's quite a lot of competition for talent and particularly developers, um, that definitely might be a challenge to some extent. And then I guess just like scaling the whole company really, you know, like scaling our marketing, um, scaling things in the right proportion. You don't want to scale your marketing and grow your users faster than your tech and handle that kind of thing. Um, yeah, I think they're, they're the main things really, and then I'm sure they will absolutely be things that pop up that we just didn't really expect, but hopefully we'll just find some creative ways to solve those problems.Darren Moffatt:
Great., now here's an interesting question, like as a, as a, a business leader, as a disruptive entrepreneur, who is your, Your favorite or most inspiring disruptor? So, we're sort of talking about the very, maybe the very top echelon of famous entrepreneurs here that are sort of have disrupted markets. Uh, so who would you choose as your favorite and why?Jessica Alderson:
I think, um, like Brian Chesky with Airbnb. Yeah, exactly. I think like the way that he leads just resonates with my values a lot. He really, he very clearly leads with a lot of integrity, a lot of transparency. He appears to treat his employees very well and also seems to treat them like smart adults, you know? like, I don't know if you read the letter that he wrote to them, um, when they had to make big cuts in May last year. Um, but that was, yeah, it just, it came across as like a good guy, you know? and then, yeah, what he's done with Airbnb is obviously, um, incredible as well. And it's not necessarily, you know, an obvious thing to do, like, because it's so big now and it's widely used it. It's quite easy to think that, oh, you have to let you know that that's obviously at the time when you started it's, you know, are people actually going to rent out rooms and things like that through an app? Um, so it really was I think, very disrupted. Um, and then also they, you know, they had some quite intense competition, in the early stages it's reading about it, um, quite recently, but, you know, there was a company that popped up, they got like lots and lots of funding, and Airbnb kind of ended up winning by, by a lot. I think they actually capacitor shut down, but, um, yeah, they they've gone through quite a journey.
Darren Moffatt 14.24oing back, uh, I think in the:Jessica Alderson:
I guess the other thing I like about him is that he shows that you can be a great businessperson and I guess have strong morals and values. You know, like you don't necessarily have to be this like cold hearted ruthless person to succeed. Like he, you know, yeah. Clearly has strong morals that he sticks to and, uh, you know, has done very, very well. So, I love, He's a great role model on an inspiration for that.Darren Moffatt:
Yeah. Fantastic. Okay. Uh, Jessica Alderson from dating app. So syncd, we now come to a famous recurring segment here at nerds of business called…. Right, so it's nerd under pressure and Jess from so syncd, you are our dating tech disruptor, um, nerd today. And, uh, we are keen to hear from you one killer hack or tip that you could give to other business owners for launching a disruptive startup. I'm going to give you five seconds thinking time.Jessica Alderson:
Yeah. Okay. I would say don't strive for perfection. I read once, you know, if you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, then you've launched too late. And I think that's so important. Like I look back to our first product and like our first website and gotten like mortified. Like it was not good, but at the same time, like the sooner you get it out, the sooner, you know, A if it will work and B how you can make it better. But, you know, one of the most important things is speed of iteration and improving a product. So, to just get it out, like as long as it works and, you know, kind of needs to be like a reasonable, uh, quality to some extent, but like, it doesn't have to be anywhere near perfect. And it can be quite an uncomfortable feeling as entrepreneur, like, if this is your baby and you know, something that you really care about, you want it to be perfect, but just don't, don't worry about that. Just get out really. Yes.Darren Moffatt:
I mean, there is that famous saying, you know, perfect is, is the enemy of very good, you know what I mean? If you, if you're waiting for perfection, uh, you're just going to be waiting for a long time. It's going to delay your progress.Jessica Alderson:
Yeah, exactly. And like, we didn't know whether to launch. And then I talked to a brand-new set of the business, and I said, oh, you know, we're waiting for this patient done on the app. And in retrospect, it's like a pretty small thing. She was like, we've had our business in five years. There's like, you know, these three pages that like are really slow loading on the website and we'll never be perfect, just get on with it. And I was like, I'm really glad she said that because then we launched really soon afterwards.Darren Moffatt:
That's good. Oh, that's good advice. Now I just, we, we come to another, one of our recurring segments here at nerds of business called. Nerd Superpower. Uh, so as the, uh, the dating slash tech, uh, nerd, there you go. What would you be your nerd superpower, So, you know, what gives you the edge, uh, in your, in your professional life, in your, in your work there leading so syncd?Jessica Alderson:
Yeah. Um, I think like I'm interested in lots of different things, so I'm quite good at keeping a handle on a lot of different areas. I'm not necessarily like really good at any area specifically, if that makes sense, but I really like seeing how everything connects and how everything works together. And I, I love learning new things. So, you know, like we've had to learn quite a bit about law, like in terms of say like corporate structure or GDPR. And then obviously tack, like, we, we know, you know, really, quite a lot about tech now, um, like marketing, like content writing, social media, like, I think it's just, I guess, seeing, seeing the bigger picture, um, and kind of working out how all of it fits together.
So, you are obviously What's called an infinite learner. You know, you're someone that continually likes to learn and, and, uh, understand how things work and deconstruct and put them back together and, and, and iterate and so on. Um, where are you, where are you much of a SWAT at high school and university where you were, where you were a good student?Jessica Alderson:
Uh, yeah, so I guess, yeah. Um, like definitely do have some kind of like ADHD tendencies. Um, yeah. So, I don't necessarily always like sit down and concentrate all in one go. Um, but I, you know, I did my homework on time and stuff like that.Darren Moffatt:
Yeah ok, well, there we go. It's harking back to a homework school, homework as an insight to the mindset of a disruptor. And look just, here's one final question for you. I like to ask all of our guests this one, um, you know, I find that, um, as we've touched on today, you know, most entrepreneurs are actually quite deep thinkers, you know, with a restless mind, you know, always sort of thinking about, you know, how can I do this differently or better, now whether it's meditation or a nice bottle of red or whatever, walk in the park. I mean, do you have a mental habit or process that you use to really channel that creativity?Jessica Alderson:
Yes. A hundred percent. I walk three times a day, like religion. Um, so like I wake up in the morning, I walk, I listen to music, so I love listening to music. Um, and then I do that at lunchtime and then I do that after work as well. And I just need that, like it, that is kind of, I guess, my creative time and it's my decompression time. So that enables me to, I guess yeah, like relax to some extent, and also just come up with new ideas. I think if I didn't do that, just like would probably get stuck in a rut sometimes. Um, but yeah, I just, I love that so much and it makes such a difference.
Darren Moffatt 22.54
Jessica Alderson from dating app. So Syncd, we are now asking you to take a ride on the…. Nerdometer
Darren Moffatt 23.06
Now this is the Nerdometer, and this is where we put our guests, uh, to the test on how nerdy they are now Jess, I've got to say, you know, you're the founder of a dating app that works on the Myers-Brigg personality test. It's all about data. I have high hopes here. I think you're going to be quite nerdy, but it's, it's up to you. So, you need to rate yourself, it's a self-rating mechanism here out of 10. How much of a nerd are you?Jessica Alderson:
Yeah, I think probably nine. Yeah, I did, like, I did a chemistry degree. I did a master's in computational chemistry, like, like love, like yeah. Digging into the data of everything to do with the app. Yeah. Eight and a half, eight and a half.Darren Moffatt:
Okay. That's very solid there. I, yeah, I was pretty sure he'd be pretty high up there on the, on the nerdy, uh, the nerd factor.