YEDaily: Aydin Mirzaee

Aydin Mirzaee’s company produces two impressive online software products, and, an endeavour that started from his dorm room at McGill University. What advice does he have for other young professionals? Find out in today’s YEDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
Our company makes two awesome online software products:

1. is an enterprise-grade online survey tool that is also remarkably easy to learn and use. All sorts of organizations from small non-profits to Fortune 500 companies use our software for a wide variety of things, including mobile data collection, customer satisfaction surveys and more…

2. is a do-it-yourself online tool that allows organizations to quickly set up an online application process. For example, we have colleges and universities set up a scholarship program so that students can apply for grants online. We even have reality TV shows use us to accept applications from people who want to be on the show – it’s a seriously disruptive product and we’re glad to be at the forefront of the industry.

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
It’s really one of those things that I have always wanted to do; when I was a kid, I tried, I really did, to go out and get a job, but no one would give me one because I was too young. Not wanting to give up, I decided to create my own! My brother and I had just heard about this ‘internet’ thing and got into building websites for other people as a first venture… it was fun and that’s where it all started.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is winning awesome customers. It’s a great feeling to be able to have household brands and big names use your software and get tremendous value out of it – it gives you a great feeling of contribution and that’s seriously as good as it gets.
The most challenging and fun part is seeing into the future, and trying to determine how best to spend company resources so that we can win big.

Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
I’d really like to see us get past the $50million/year revenue mark – I think that’s the point where you can seriously say that you’re a big company – it’s a milestone more than anything else… it’s not easy and that’s what makes it fun.

What does success look like to you?
Building a company that can re-invent itself every five years – it’s not easy to ingrain innovation and a culture of change especially as organizations get larger. I think if we can do that, we can still be around 50 years from now.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
When we started the company in McGill dorm rooms, we joked that when we hit $1million in sales, we should rent a boat and take 50 of our friends and co-workers for a big party. When we actually hit the milestone, we seriously thought about it and concluded that it would be a terrible allocation of financial resources… and so we went out and did it anyway. That was fun!

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Work at least 60 hours/week on whatever you do, and be the best at it – it takes 10,000 hours of working on anything to become really great, so get started now.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
The local food bank and community shelters have been getting the most of my support. I just think that if everyone were to pitch in and help with their own communities, we’d eventually be able to cover the whole country.

What is Notable to you?
Doing great things with limited resources. It’s always more impressive to see people and companies that win against the odds.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone and Android are both awesome. I personally use Android because it gives me the most flexibility in changing and configuring what I want. I should say, though, that the game may change with Blackberry 10 – the previews we’ve been seeing have really been awesome – I’m optimistic.

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
I train and participate in one full marathon every year and I make sure to get at least 60 minutes of exercise every morning. I also like trying new things. This year I plan on participating in my first triathlon!