Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is William Loopesko and I’m the Founder and CEO of PuppTech. We’re an emerging technology startup in Denver, CO that is building IoT technology and software to help dog owners better care for their dogs.
What is one habit of yours that helps you be productive?
Working on a startup requires handling so many different tasks at once that it can make it hard to stay on task. This is especially problematic during the day when I’m facing a constant barrage of emails, chats, calls, etc… that can really distract me from working on projects (software development, product design, content creation, etc…) that the business needs to be able to move forward. I’ve become really good at compartmentalizing the things that I work on focusing on the one task I’m working on. Then about once an hour, I’ll take a break from what I’m working on to be able to respond to all of the emails and other inquiries that have come in in the last hour. I also spend a lot of time working in the off hours in the evening when there are fewer distractions and I can get some real work done.
What is your morning routine and how does it help you get the most out of your day?
I start my day by reading the news, catching up on my emails, checking my calendar, and making mental lists of who I need to contact, and what I’m hoping to accomplish on that day. Because my day often devolves into chaos as things inevitably come up, I try to at least start every day with a clear understanding of how much time I have to devote to the various tasks that need to be accomplished throughout the day so that I can make sure to come back to those tasks whenever time comes up during that day.
In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?
I’ve completely quit social media. While I have to maintain a personal account on Facebook to be able to manage my company’s page I’ve made a conscious effort to never spend time on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…) except for very specific tasks that are directly related to my business. I found that social media is an incredible waste of time, attention, and energy and that spending time on there would only distract me from what’s important or add to my stress. Instead, I’ve focused on direct communication with the people I care about (both personally and professionally) instead of blasting meaningless platitudes into the public sphere.
When you feel unfocused, what do you do?
When I’m at a roadblock, I’ll often take my dog out for a run to clear my head and try to think about things from a new perspective. I find that that often helps. Otherwise, I find that the best thing to help me focus is to think about all of the people that I’m doing this for, all of the people who have invested in my success and who’ve staked their future on my ability to make this company successful.
What is one piece of software or a web service that you get immense value out of? How do you use it?
Slack is amazing. It’s what my team runs on. Slack is a group collaborative messaging platform that’s built with an API to integrate it with all of the other business software that we use so that all of our alerts and communications end up in one place. We use Slack not only to communicate but also to plan meetings, monitor incoming communications, share files, etc… pretty much all of our business is happening through Slack.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz is a great book for anyone who’s thinking of doing a startup and was one of the first books I read. Unlike a lot of books that glamorize startups, this book shares the truth about how much work it can be and how often it really isn’t a whole lot of fun at all. It actually provides a real look at how hard a startup can actually be.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
This sounds like a cliche but follow your dreams and believe in yourself because if you don’t, no one else will. I’ve had hundreds of people tell me that what I was working on was a waste of time, that they thought it was stupid, and things far worse than that, but the only way that I was able to make my business succeed was by believing that they were wrong and I was right and I’d just have to prove it to them. Being successful in the startup world requires a level of optimism that borders on delusion and a level of self-confidence that borders on arrogance and it’s definitely not for everyone. However, the difference between self-confidence and arrogance is the ability to be humble, accept that you’re not the smartest person in the room, and the flexibility to be able to see things from a different perspective or try an approach that isn’t necessarily the one that you prefer. I’ve never wavered in my belief that we were building something worth doing that would deliver a great return to our investors, partners, teammates, etc… but in getting there (and we’re still not there) I’ve constantly changed my approach, given up on some parts of what we’re doing in exchange for others, and followed the advice and examples that were set by others who came before me. When you’re building a startup passion, grit, flexibility, and persistence are all much more important than being the smartest, most experienced person in any room.
You should ignore any advice telling you that you can’t do it, or that you need to have things (money, prototypes, experience, a team, etc…) before you get started. If it’s something that you’re truly passionate about and that you’re truly and completely ready to devote your entire life for as long as it takes to get it done, then don’t hesitate to follow your dream and see what happens. I can’t guarantee that you’ll be successful, but I can guarantee that it will be an amazing experience that will change the trajectory of your life.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.”
Email. LinkedIn can work as well though I don’t check it nearly as often.
As mentioned above, social media is probably the worst way to get a hold of me.