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Interview with Andrew Markey

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Markey, program coordinator at Discover Bugs, LLC, and amateur entomologist infamous for his huge collection of bugs from around the world.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have always been interested in insects since my early childhood. The earliest memory of my fascination with them was after I discovered a large grasshopper in my backyard, which led me to catch and observe it. I told one of my elementary school teachers about the grasshopper and he told me that the study of insects is called entomology, and suggested that I should visit the library for some books on insects. I checked out several books and field guides but one specifically talked about how to collect and preserve them. This is what led me to the road to perdition.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

The greatest part of my educational program is that my business associate, Ryan, and I get to share our passion for insects with others. The goal of our organization is to spark children’s interest in science, particularly entomology. We bring both preserved specimens from our collections as well as live critters. The funny thing is, most of kids are very willing to see these bugs up close, with many wanting to hold them. It is the teachers and parents that are most afraid. So I found it interesting that the children were not afraid but the grownups were.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Ryan and I weren’t so organized when we were first starting up. I contacted a lot of school administration offices telling them about our company and what we do. One time, a school got back to my email and called us during our normal day job (we do Discover Bugs outside our main occupation), and so we were trying to come up with a good time and day to do a presentation for the entire school. The woman had little patience and quickly got fed up with us being incoherent. Lesson learned: Be organized and know your availability before reaching out to people about your product or service.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

What makes Discover Bugs different is that there aren’t many organizations that do this kind of thing to be honest. Most entomology outreach programs are organized by university clubs and presented by knowledgeable entomology students. That’s about it. Not only does Discover Bugs do classroom presentations, but we offer workshops to community non-profit organizations, as well as visit residential homes for foster children.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Have a good healthy breakfast, get plenty of sleep, and work at a pace that is comfortable to you. Like I mentioned before, Discover Bugs is a side job. It is something that I am passionate about and it fills many voids in my life. I highly recommend colleagues find something to do outside of work that they are passionate about that will help them relax and stay motivated.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

It is hard to name just one name as a lot of people have helped me along the way. My family and girlfriend have supported me since the beginning with their advice and positivity, and coworkers gave me the confidence to overcome my fear of public speaking. I’d also like to give a special shout out to Oliver Greer for inspiring me to pursue the hobby nearly seven years ago. Oliver has an enormous collection of over 2,400 insect specimens on display at the Harrell House of Natural Oddities in Santa Fe, NM.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?  

I’d like to believe that every classroom presentation or workshop that I organize, or even social media posts, inspires at least one person to become enthusiastic about bugs. Such inspiration may lead to future scientists, and depending on your attitude towards science, has considerable importance and will ultimately change the world… hopefully in a positive way.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I post many photos and videos of my insects on Instagram. Please follow me @bugboy and say hi!

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

And thank you for the interview!

Anthony Delgado (born February 6, 1986) is an American software developer and internet entrepreneur widely known as a professional hacker in the developer community. Anthony Delgado has won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook and Microsoft and hosted by organizations including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the AT&T Developer Summit in New York City.

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Interviews

Interview with Michael Ilyas co-founder of BuyAnyInsurance.com

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Ilyas who is one of the co-founders of “BuyAnyInsurance.com” – a new and upcoming insurance comparison site in Dubai aimed at providing a “solutions-driven” experience to customers in the UAE who are looking to buy any kind of insurance be it car, home, life or health. Michael has also been running Cactimedia since 2003 – a web design agency in Dubai providing creative, strategic and technical expertise to small, medium and large companies in the region, thereby enabling them to drive their business further and dominate the digital space.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Michael: I have been in the digital space for 10 years and I have worked very closely with companies of various sizes and in diverse industries. I would like to think I now understand the unique challenges of the market here in the UAE and therefore I firmly believe that there is room for improvement in the online insurance space and that things can be done better – on the digital side, the UX and also on the sales and customer service side.

When I met Mark Bachayani, co-founder, an insurance veteran in the UAE, we both felt strongly that a platform that only does insurance comparison but does it perfectly, would definitely be worth investing in.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

There are so many interesting stories, but one that really comes to mind is when we began discussing PR and the launch strategy for BuyAnyInsurance.com.  I hadn’t realised the task at hand and how instrumental PR would be in developing our brand, and some of the ideas for the launch ranged from Flash mobs, through to coming down the longest zipline in Ras-Al-Khaimah holding an umbrella, to painting a whole island blue. 

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Michael: We have just started so there are not many funny mistakes yet. But we are hoping to keep a lid on the mistakes and if we do make any we want to make sure we learn from them and adapt quickly

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Michael: What makes us stand out is our relentless focus on providing a seamless and hiccup-free experience to anyone who wishes to buy insurance in Dubai and from across the UAE. I specialize and have been doing digital for 10 years in the region and Mark has been doing insurance for a decade in the region. With our powers combined we can ensure our customers get the best of both worlds.

Our company is built knowing that we only hire the best people to do the job and we share a common goal, to be the most trusted and transparent insurance company in the UAE.  We take care in choosing the right people, whether it takes 7 plus interviews, we want to be sure that everyone who joins what we call our “family”, all share the same common goal, so through thick and thin, we support each other.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Michael: It’s about working Smart and not long hours.   Take the time to understand your customers better. Orient and optimize your company and value proposition according to the pain-points of those customers. I think a lot of businesses in the region make the mistake of following industry leaders but don’t take the time and make the effort to learn about customer’s wants and needs first hand. I know this is easier said than done and it takes tremendous discipline to ingrain this principle into sales teams, client management teams, technical teams and customer service folks.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Michael: It’s still early days for us, but without a doubt, I would like to thank the team that has worked on the company and the investors and brought it to life. These guys are an invaluable resource. Other than that I would obviously like to thank my family and friends who have stuck through thick and thin.

Having mapped out the business plan for BuyAnyInsurance.com, the next steps were to find an investor.   I met with a potential client for Cactimedia and over a coffee, I spoke of BuyAnyInsurnce.com and within 2 days we were at the lawyers office signing the paperwork.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Michael: The reason BuyAnyInsurance.com exists is to make life a little bit easier for people in the UAE – and we want to do that by making their insurance buying experience easier, cheaper, friendlier and pain-free. With BuyAnyInsurance.com you can have an insurance coverage at the best price in under one hour. That’s how we want to begin spreading goodness and then work our way up and find other ways to do more good.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

Michael: It’s a bit cliché nowadays to say this but I really relate to the Steve Jobs quote “Stay hungry, stay foolish”. For me it means that one should always push oneself to achieve greater things and better things and to never settle. In today’s world where technology changes so rapidly, it’s absolutely imperative to stay “foolish” – to keep the thirst to know more and learn more alive. You can say that another word for “foolish” is “curious”, but I like “foolish” more because it has more punch and it takes guts to be foolish and I really admire that quality.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Michael:

Hire the best team possible. Do not compromise on that.

Be embarrassed about your product, don’t wait until the product is perfect to launch. We launched 6 weeks ago and have version 2 ready to roll out

Listen and learn from your team and keep an eye out for your competitors.

Build out processes with checks and balances that are independent of your input.

Keep a flat structure and promote lots of communication

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Michael: I would create spaces in which people of great talent could develop their skills in. I have seen a lot of talented people struggle, and as a result I am initiating an internship programme to help grow and retain talent in the UAE. 

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/BuyAnyInsurance/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/buyanyinsurance/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Michael: Thank you!

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Interviews

Interview with Entrepreneur Rueben Wood

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Rueben Wood, the 27 year old who is originally from Brunswick, GA, that made his way by becoming a media consultant, Actor/Director, & Media Personality for his own show, and most importantly the owner of SOM Magazine and SOM Networks. Throughout his career as a journalist, Wood has had the opportunity to meet a list of entertainers, celebrities and other business owners.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Well, to start, I was always a salesman at heart and low key doing marketing since the third grade. I started selling candy throughout school and always had to find new ways to sell and market what I had since it made no sense to buy boxes or bags of candy and just keep it in my back pack.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

I would say one of the most interesting things was meeting Mark Rufalo,  specifically because I was like wow you know, I’ve come this far with my business and brand to be able to do this and do marketing and media for a lot of great people.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Overthinking and spending too much time on things. Some of my best work has come from just executing and not thinking at all about the work at hand.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think it’s just me, and the name itself. When I originally started SOM it was more of a magazine only and more geared toward music and artist. Years later we are helping small and major brands engage with the masses and me myself continues to curate more content for the public.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Don’t worry about anyone else, focus on you and only you. It helps, trust me. Nobody really cares if you rise or fall except you, you can either tell yourself you can do it, or you can stop yourself from doing. So be your own biggest motivator so to speak.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Actually majority of my success didn’t necessarily come from help, it actually came from me really working a lot and connecting with others. I’ve me so many people along the way that consider close associates that I’m grateful for, and thankful for encouragement and a connection where was needed and I always will be.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?  

Yes from doing charity events, to sharing stories that shed light on global issues.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Believe in yourself.” Going through life and starting s business is not easy at all, so with my own self doubt I had to overcome that and not look back.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Become a commodity

Have good time management

Read more books

Let go of doubt, fear, and depression

Keep your job until it is truly not an option.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement  that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would start a grow your own garden movement, I feel as though the world is set up on so much division and separation that we as a whole forget to look at the simple things already given to us. What each person started their garden? Would it end world hunger? Would make more people get up and exercise because they have a reason? Would it help the agriculture system when crops don’t grow? Would it limit disease outbreak? Who knows, but that’s what my movement would be.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

@realruebenwood on all platforms

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

 

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Interviews

Interview With Zion Antoni owner of Urban Cry LLC From The Bronx, NY

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Zion Antoni is a Freelance Journalist and Grassroots independent Recording artist/Record producer from the Bronx NY. He is the Founder/Chair of The Urban Cry LLC, a limited liability company with two main branches: Freelance Journalism, and an independent record company.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Starting years ago. As early youth development of love for writing music and even knowledge, life experience environment upbringing and perspective kind of set it into place.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

I think seeing how publishing has impacted people with like minds or visions. The inspiration the dialogue between persons and groups of people over a time period. The ability to add on in many ways.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Honestly? Providing services for certain individuals for free. Kindness is a virtue but in a predominant selfish world, you cannot prepare to serve and eat it LOL. The ability and balance to help others handle business and not count yourself out.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

It’s progressiveness but with content that’s always relative. Staying true to self is a virtue some cases a vow.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Take your time to always be you. Take your time to develop and learn. And brand your voice the way you desire.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Circle of brothers that persevered through the years.. vision and growth. The family that never change through loyalty and resource. We improved and gave thanks because we knew nothing was ever easy.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?  

Awareness and a good sense of diplomacy in manuscript and sound. The world is already dark. So there is a Remnant that understands the weight of living at its true worth.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

There is nothing new Under the Sun. My Abuela, Grandmother said it repeatedly years ago in the past. In the sense and balance of life that will always be relevant.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

Be ambitious to earn as well as give. Very few will give you or be willing to give you the platform you need.

Know who’s around you. We do not live in a utopian world. There are brothers and Friends and there is other. And there is the sharp ability to tell the difference.

Know the difference between constituents and confidants…

The first work with you and honor you. The other go above and beyond to make sure you are well.

You will always grow from mistakes. It’s just a learning process.

Be nobody but you. There is no other copy. That’s the greatest gift.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Simple. To love and respect all. Common sense but strange in today’s world. I see progress in it alone.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Currently on Facebook @Urbancry1978. It is the most current and developments will follow.

Video Promo: https://vimeo.com/301151508

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

And thank you for having me.

 

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