Jan Mechtel is the founder of KeyRocket, a productivity software for intuitive keyboard shortcuts while you work, helping you to save time.
1. If you could trade places with an entrepreneur living or dead who would it be and why?
I really admire Richard Branson, the English owner of the Virgin Group, because he is an example of what you can reach with so much passion and energy. His career reminds me of how many things you can do well if you believe in them and try different and unexpected ways in business. And overall, because he is still down to earth even after all the success he has reached.
2. What has been your most effective business decision to date?
I actually have taken two surprising effective decisions for KeyRocket. One was announcing that I was looking for a technical co-founder, though I didn’t expect to find anybody. In the end, it brought me Matthias Mayrock (right), my actual KeyRocket partner.
And the second one was to stop trying to get things done by myself. Since then, I focus on building a professional, or ‘kick-ass’ in our KeyRocket jargon, team in which I can trust while I enable others.
3. Describe your ‘Eureka Moment’ with your current endeavour?
One night I was trying to think of ideas and was only coming up with half a dozen boring and half-arsed ‘web 2.0 niche apps’. Then I had a bottle of wine and suddenly, the idea for KeyRocket came along and swiped them all aside. Just then I realised I will build a tool that helps every user on planet to learn about software.
4. What’s been the best advice you’ve been given about being in business?
‘Only hire people that are better than you in their field and then trust them’. I think these two ‘strategies’ are the main pillars of a successful business.
5. What has been the biggest failure to get ‘swept under the carpet’?
Definitely, the decision to push a bad update. As a result we lost all the users we had gained at that moment and the worst of it – we didn’t have any way to communicate with them. However, I think even the worst mistakes can bring out the best from you after them. In fact, I was proud of all the work we did to restart and ‘relaunch the rocket’.
6. How would you commence a motivational speech for budding entrepreneurs?
I’ll just tell them: ‘Embrace any fear you have and start calling it uncertainty. There is no risk (as in somebody gets hurt), there is only uncertainty as to how successful you will be’.
7. What is the most important part of a sandwich?
The cheese, I love cheese.
8. What’s the dumbest thing an investor/mentor/advisor said to you, in hindsight?
I wouldn’t call it dumb, but it was for sure ‘irrelevant’:
“What will you do in ‘mobile’ (gamification, big-data insert latest start-up trend here). Most of the time it shows that they don’t really care about your start-up and reveals their ‘herd’ mentality”.
9. What do you think will be written on your epitaph?
‘He helped to make users and software understand each other’. That would mean my business goal has come true.
10. Has your brand of underwear elevated with your success?
KeyRocket has not reached the real success yet! Our mission is to help every software user on the planet, so I will still have some work before we can call it a success. Besides, I was never a ‘brand’ person, I chose my underwear only by color (I love green) and will continue to do so 😉