Novopreneurs Opening Access to Wisdom of the Masses
car should I buy? university should I enroll in? customer should we invest most heavily in? mission statement better reflects our goals?
These are just a handful of tough questions that individuals and businesses are faced with everyday. Inspired by James Surowiecki’s book, “The Wisdom of Crowds” – in which New Yorker business columnist James Surowiecki demonstrates that large groups of people are smarter than an elite few when solving problems, fostering innovation, and coming to wise decisions – Francisco Ruiz and Oscar Estrella started Ranktab to help individuals gain insights to such questions from their friends and colleagues.
With their online publication Electronicos Online doubling in sales and staff every other year, the duo started Ranktab as another means to further spread knowledge. To help take their idea to the next level, Francisco enrolled at UT Austin for a Masters in Technology Commercialization. However, he had trouble pulling applicable lessons given that the program was based around later stage startups: “though we trained on customer validation in the Masters program, I wasn’t able to practice the techniques with my own product.” Since that time, the founders have pursued a number of opportunities to help scale their venture, the latest of which is Chuck Eesley’s NovoEd course Technology Entrepreneurship 1.
The Novopreneurs found the class’ project based assignments particularly beneficial for making direct progress on Ranktab, including the deadlines which held them at bay when tempted to spend all of their time on Electronicos Online. “It has been a long journey to fulfill our dream: to revolutionize group decision-making. Being entrepreneurs in emerging markets we’ve embraced every qualified opportunity -including TechBA Austin’s accelerator
program, Reto Zapopan and Intel’s Latin America challenge- to nurture our ideas within a global entrepreneurship community. With Stanford’s Technology Entrepreneurship MOOC we’ve finally traced an exciting path towards product-market fit.”
The founders now plan to focus on product management and strategy for corporations, though Ranktab remains applicable for an array of uses in many settings. The tool is already integrated with Facebook and Salesforce, with a standalone application in Beta (snapshot below) which you can enroll in here.