Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The entrepreneurial story of Grockit Founder Farbood Nivi :An interesting interview

I've just bought the grockit standard membership and while searching for discount codes (BTG has a 20% discount) I chanced on this interesting interview by Andrew Warner, the interviewer,who gets the real juice on the Grockit story. Andrew doesn't just stay at the surface of the facts, he digs into the details of how Farbood made it happen. For example, how did Farbood make the connections to get himself the investors and advisors that helped.

From a entrepreneur, to a fulltime Princeton, and later Kaplan, teacher, a part time musician, to starting small with the first Grockit venture as just a virtual classroom, Farbood tells about how he started, how his team got in the funds, and built Grockit into a Educational peer-to-peer social networking site.

Click here to view/read the Interview of Farbood Nivi by Andrew Warner

Best Quotes from the interview:

About having the right attitude:
"I’m a huge Russell Ackoff fan, he says that leadership is primarily an asthetic trait, which is creating a vision and living and breathing that vision and all of the sudden, people get into it. I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs and guys that are trying to start up companies and that’s really a lot of times I feel like is missing in they’re just like, “If I raise the money, then I’ll do it.” That has to be the other way around." 
"I think in some ways we’re doing it the right way and in some ways we’re doing it the wrong way. We’re learning about the ways we’re doing it incorrectly so that we can do it correctly. I’m a totally staunch and blind believer in the idea that it’s better to do the right thing the wrong way than the wrong thing the right way."

About how he got people to invest in him and his idea :
"If you ask someone for money, they’re probably going to say no. If you ask them why, well, you got their advice. Right? If you ask someone for advice, hopefully they’ll give it to you and you’ll improve, and then they’ll give you their money"

About his early inspiration, Farbood says :
"The Princeton Review, like most educational models, is this one teacher to many students lecture-type model. There’s certainly a workshop element to it as well. I was teaching so much, sometimes six to nine hours a day, that I got an opportunity to try a lot of things and really develop a process that was better than me lecturing for two hours. It was a combination of teacher-led lecture, solo practice, and then group study practice as well.This is the model that Grockit has followed. Whether you’re studying for the SAT or you’re studying for algebra, you study in one of three ways. You spend some time with experts, you spend some time on your own, and you spend some time with your peers. Grockit has these three same formats of studying. What we do is we apply technology and algorithms to optimize those three forms of studying.I was a teacher at those companies for a while and I’ve seen what was happening with Facebook and Myspace and being like, “I have this social learning model in my classroom. There’s all this social stuff going on on the web.” It just seemed like the most natural thing to do."

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