NoteStream™, like so many entrepreneurial ventures, was founded to fill an unmet need. The idea took root while searching on mobile for credible information on French wine. I wanted articles that weren’t shortened, but were actually formatted for reading on a smartphone. After failed attempts to find anything useful, NoteStream was born.
NoteStream is a free learning app that encourages personal growth and exploration. It presents compelling content – something more than news – that is written by expert contributors, covering a wide range of categories. Yes, there is even content on French wine! Today, NoteStream presents hundreds of authors in an ever-growing array of topics, from the Library of Congress to the Public Library of Science. Many nonprofit organizations, looking to create awareness and engage mobile readers with their causes and issues, are also represented on the platform, as are several corporate partners who embrace the NoteStream mission to help readers “Never Stop Learning”.
A surprising fact: I may be the CEO of a growing app company, but my background is not in technology. I’ve since learned a lot about tech itself, but it is my non-tech background that has proven most valuable. I can only approach things from the perspective of what I, as the reader, would like. I had no idea what was possible, or even what was normal when building an app. Sure, some of my ideas were hilarious to the more technical people, but it was just as common for them to say “that’s not the way it’s done….hmmm….but that makes sense….let’s do it!” Companies need to nourish a culture where multiple viewpoints are welcome and embraced.
I’ve had my share of ups and downs and pivots along the way, but here are four things I’ve learned that could help entrepreneurs start breaking barriers and find success:
Don’t Get Distracted By Statistics
Case in point: TechCrunch recently reported that more than 97 percent of all venture-funded businesses have male CEOs, and this is not exactly music to the ears of women CEOs seeking funding! The NoteStream tag line is “Never Stop Learning”, and I figure that includes VCs. Women and men are different, and I spend some of my time figuring out ways to use that truth as an advantage as I build NoteStream. I simply will not let a mere statistic stand in my way of securing funding for growth
Statistics will often be a distraction, or even misleading. It is vitally important to understand the marketplace, the industry, and the opportunities, but those intimidating statistics are a representation of the past. They don’t represent what the future holds as innovators set forth.
Do It Yourself
Can’t find what you want? If it’s important enough to matter to you, build it yourself! No matter what your background may be, now is the time to innovate and grow. My role as CEO of NoteStream means I’m always seeking better ways to make it even easier for readers to access the content they’re passionate about. I look for new ways for nonprofits to further their missions, and innovate new solutions for our corporate partners. You have to believe in your idea, and learn the self-confidence to shatter your own self-limitations and give yourself the maximum opportunity for success.
Be The Leader You Would Follow
There are many role models in business. You must create your own unique leadership style that is authentic for you. Breaking barriers doesn’t happen when you’re not true to your core beliefs.
It has been said that ideas without action aren’t ideas. They’re regrets.
Being a leader is about making regret obsolete. Leadership means you’re the one replying to emails late at night. You’re the one pushing to get “just this last thing” done. You must not just try something new, but inspire others to believe. It also means you take responsibility when plans don’t go smoothly – and that you still confidently take the next step forward after setbacks.
Giving back is more than just a nice sounding phrase. It’s one of the most potent opportunities we as humans have. There are so many incredible organizations and inspiring people actively making our world a better place. Our society is increasingly dominated by quick sound bites and news updates, and that can make it very difficult for these powerful messages to be heard. NoteStream wants to help amplify their voice.
Learning more about the organizations that change the world could inspire each of us to do great things. Whether it’s helping to #MoveToEndDV, taking plastics out of the oceans or finding out what “cage free” really means, the more you know, the easier it is to find the right cause that will not just resonate with you, but give you a real chance to pay it forward.
Giving back comes in many forms. Perhaps it’s mentoring a young professional with entrepreneurial ambitions. Perhaps it’s building a business on a foundation of giving back. Or perhaps it’s being a positive role model to a child and instilling in him or her that gender, industry, statistics, and resources are not limiting factors. Challenges, certainly. But nothing should stop us from achieving our dreams and breaking barriers.
Smartphones now dominate consumer interactions, but they haven’t changed people themselves. I’m a woman CEO in the technology field, carving a new path. I’d like to inspire others to break barriers and pursue their goals, regardless of their background, gender, education or any other prejudice. My dream is to build a platform that provides an opportunity for real and genuine personal growth in a world increasingly filled with noise.
What you may have missed — and really should read:
1. Top 25 countries with the highest individual income tax rates in the world, 2015
2. The 10 Most Endangered Jobs In America, 2015
3. 9 Ways On How To Handle Your Competition And Your Stresses
4. 4 Tips for Founders to Motivate Your Team Through a Seasonal Downturn
5. The world’s most favoured investment destinations, 2015
Author: Michelle Forsythe is the Co-Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of NoteStream, an innovative mobile learning app that encourages growth and exploration through the presentation of enriching content by expert contributors on a wide range of topics.
Cover Photo: Michelle Forsythe, Co-Founder and the CEO of NoteStream.