First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
Aaron Rubens: All things considered we are holding up well. Thanks for asking.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined Kudoboard
Aaron Rubens: I used to be a high school math teacher. At the end of each year, I’d have students pass around a piece of paper with their name on it and their classmates would each write something positive to them. They’d end up on this wall of positivity for themselves — and to my surprise, they loved it. It planted the initial seed for Kudoboard, but it took some time for me to act on it. When I was at business school several years later, a group of my friends who were spread across the country were trying to create a collaborative 30th birthday card for one of the guys — and there weren’t any good tools to do it.
We ended up each recording a video, uploading them to YouTube, and then going through the trouble of creating a web page to embed all those videos. It was super clunky. That — combined with my experience as a teacher — finally convinced me to found Kudoboard. Over time, we have found a niche for ourselves as the premier online replacement for the card that’s passed around and signed on birthdays, work anniversaries, and other special occasions. Particularly during this period when so many people are forced to social distance, it’s been a tool that brings people together. See an example here
How does Kudoboard innovate?
Aaron Rubens: First and foremost, we ask for feedback from our customers. It’s often less about what features they want to have, and more about what problems they are trying to solve using Kudoboard. We also use Kudoboard internally whenever possible, and that often sparks ideas.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Aaron Rubens: Kudoboard is very popular among remote teams, so business during the Coronavirus outbreak has been brisk. It’s also opened up some new, interesting verticals for us — for instance, hospitals using it to gather appreciation from the community for their caregivers. We’ve always believed there would be a longer-term shift towards more remote work, but this has put that change on steroids in a very short period of time.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Aaron Rubens: We’ve had a lot of new opportunities come our way during coronavirus as so many events move digital. While it’s exciting, I can definitely think of a few mistakes we’ve made by saying “yes” to a use case that was a bit far afield rather than remaining focused on our core group ecard service.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Kudoboard in the future?
Aaron Rubens: Personally, I try to run most mornings, and otherwise just spend time with my family to destress.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Aaron Rubens: Our primary competitor is simply physical greeting cards (think Hallmark, American greetings, etc), though we do have some digital competitors (like groupgreeting). Our primary approach is to make Kudoboard as user friendly and fun as possible to keep folks coming back.
Your final thoughts
Aaron Rubens: Stay safe out there!
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