Following our interviews with mentors, this week we met Ladan Fotoohi one of our mentors who is a market analyst.
Avatech: Tell us about the field you’re working at and your background.
Ladan: I studied industrial engineering for BSc. and MBA Marketing for my MSc. After my graduation, I worked as a Customer Relationship Management Executive in a furniture company for 7 months before migrating to Malaysia to continue my education there. Four years later I returned home and started working as a Marketing Manager in the same company I worked for before my departure for Malaysia. In late 2015, I started cooperation with Sarava Pars Investments.
During my stay in Malaysia, I worked as Marketing Manager in a start-up whose main focus was to develop a customized mobile application for 4 and 5 star hotels across the world. However, I should say that this idea failed due to the start-up’s incapability in executing its brilliant thought.
After that, I started my academic life and worked as a business lecturer in marketing fields; something that promoted me to be recognized as a professional BBA program coordinator within only two months. During the period, I taught different courses including Business Marketing, Organizational Behavior, Operational Management, and Principles of Management.
Avatech: What has been your biggest achievement and what have you learned?
Ladan: My biggest achievement is yet to come, but so far, I’m proud of contributions that I have had in all those companies I worked for. One of them was “Avaye Sarazmin Salam Charity” in which I did a volunteer job for attracting more benefactors and it gave me a positive sense; something like making a change in my living place
Besides, the achievements like having the most creative idea in technopreneurship booth camp, being a successful negotiator in Harvard negotiation workshop, and being selected as the most active student of Graduate School of Business, are some of my achievements that I’m proud of.
Avatech: Have you had a mentor? If yes who was the most important and how was the experience with this mentor?
Ladan: Unfortunately, I’ve never had a chance to work under supervision of a mentor, but I’ve always been reading about it and partook different mentorship workshops. The last one which I joined was the one held by AIESEC and I found it pretty helpful.
Avatech: What has been your biggest challenge and what have you learned?
Ladan: The biggest challenge I went through was moving to another country and living on my own, and this happened to me who was a spoilt child; the one who just had had the support of her loving family. It helped me a lot learn be more independent and stand on my own feet strongly without relying on my family. On the other hand, I used to be an introvert person in nature, but as a marketing student, I had to be sociable and that required me to work on myself in this regard. This was a great challenge and after that I realized that nothing is impossible if you aim to DO it.
Avatech: What is your favorite productivity tool?
Ladan: My favorite productivity tool has not been developed yet; to be honest. I’ve tried different planners and to-do applications; however, none of them really worked perfectly for me. Nowadays, I’m just relying on my google apps such as google drive, Gmail, google calendar, and its lovely reminder. I love its unique feature that allows me to set location-based reminder. But I have not found any ultimate solution to satisfy me.
Avatech: What is your favorite startup book?
Ladan: Lean startup by Eric Ries,
Value Proposition Design written by Alan Smith, Alexander Osterwalder, Gregory Bernarda, Trish Papadakos, and Yves Pigneur,
Running Lean by Ash Maurya
How Google works by Jonathan Rosenberg and Eric Schmidt
Avatech: Why did you choose entrepreneurship as a career?
Ladan: I think, the most important characteristic that people here in this field have is that they never stop and always try their best to examine and test unknown areas in their area of expertise. In fact, they are perfectionist, seeking to reach satisfaction; something that ordinary people cannot even imagine it. I believe, I am at the same boat and I have done everything and still doing different things to be there in that special point. To do so, I will either find it or make it.
Avatech: Besides mentors what helped you through entrepreneur journey?
Ladan: Nothing has helped me more than experiences and failures I have had in my life time. You should get your hand dirty and start doing it, feel the pain of a failure and learn from it, or as a Japanese saying; “fell down 7 times, stand up 8.” It gives you valuable experiences; something that you cannot earn them by means of nothing or find them in any book. To be a member of two failed start-ups, I learned priceless, incalculable experience in this journey.
Which startup do you admire most?
Ladan: Instagram is my favorite, especially nowadays that they are pivoting their business model from a mere online photo sharing platform to an online market place, mostly because they started from a very good MVP and then expanded it.
Avatech: Who has influenced you most?
Ladan: My role model in this regard is Elon Musk. He wanted a new payment method on the internet, so he created PayPal, wanted to drive electronic cars, so he created Tesla Motors, wanted travel to space cheaper, so he created SpaceX, wanted faster transportation, so he developed Hyperloop. That’s kind of a mindset that I admire most and trying to have.
Avatech: How do you spend most of your time?
Ladan: I watch lots of Ted Talks and listen to audio books while I’m doing house chores. Other than that, I love travelling, especially to wired, unexplored places. When travelling is not an option, I watch movies and solve puzzles.
Avatech: How can teams define which mentors are good for them?
Ladan: By the paradigm shifts that is created in their mindset, and the way their mentorship helps them connect the dots to see a clearer picture of their business.
Avatech: What is your advice for young entrepreneurs?
Ladan: To be agile in learning and recycle their knowledge time to time, and learn that information in our era expires quicker than ever before in history, so the knowledge and whatever belief they are holding onto, is not an exception. This requires them to choose their learning media more wisely, instead of reading a whole book, they should focus on selections of important notes, like in Sliedshare, startup networks, etc.