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Innovators: Chad Halvorson, CEO of thisCLICKS

Chad Halvorson

Chad HalvorsonInnovators. They come in many forms. They dream big but they aren’t just dreamers. They form raw ideas into cool products with disruptive business models. They shatter entire industries and leave established leviathans running scared with their tails between their legs. The Innovators interview series connects you with the most driven people on the planet. What makes them tick? What advice do they have for tech founders? What tools do they use to get the job done? Read on to find out.

Chad Halvorson is the CEO of thisCLICKS , makers of When I Work, a cloud-based mobile employee scheduling software. When I Work simplifies staff scheduling and communication for restaurants, retailers, healthcare providers and countless SMBs in more than 50 countries around the world. With over 50,000 monthly active users and hundreds of new businesses signing up every week, When I Work is reinventing the way businesses manage labor and communicate with staff.

Before thisCLICKS, Chad led the development team at Meditech Communications, a digital marketing agency that provides app development, animation and video production services to the medical device industry. For over a decade, he led the development and architecture of interactive tools, apps and web software for Fortune 500 giants like Boston Scientific, UnitedHealthcare and St. Jude Medical; —plus countless small and mid-sized companies.

What do you enjoy most about your work and why?

I love the anticipation during product development. I love working with people that share the same vision of what software design should be. I love hypothesizing how a problem should be solved, executing on it, and seeing how many people agree. When a bunch of people think what we’ve created is pretty cool, the gratification is the most exhilarating thing on earth.

Where does your passion come from? What drives you, inspires you, excites you?

When I was a kid, my curiosity left every toy and gadget in the house either broken or modified to do something it wasn’t designed to do. Even my sister’s music box teddy bear didn’t escape my tampering. My curiosity for technology consumed me and still does. I love manipulating technology and get obnoxiously excited when people find what I’ve created useful or interesting. Like a junkie getting a fix, I’m addicted to watching people get value from something I’ve helped create. Also, I think 10,000 users that are willing to pay for something is WAY more exciting than 1,000,000 users that aren’t.

Someone reading this wants to start a tech company. What’s your best advice for them?

Focus. Don’t let yourself get distracted by things that dilute your vision or purpose. You may be awesome at two or three things, but you’re better off being the most awesome at one of them.

Pay attention to the experience and wisdom of others. That goes for the tech stars you follow on Twitter to the people in your community that have been running a business for 20 years. Wisdom only comes from experience, but you can get a head start by studying those people closely. Don’t focus so much on what they’re doing, but instead on why and how they are doing it. The what doesn’t really matter that much.

What are a few tech startups that you’re really excited about right now and why?

Kiip —I love what these guys are doing. The concept of ‘moment-based marketing’ is intriguing and the way these guys are approaching it has huge potential.

Vend —Vaughan and the gang at Vend are building very cool point-of-sale technology. In a space that’s notorious for bulking up with features and “doing it all”, they’re staying focused on what they do best—pure and simple.

ZenPayroll —These guys just launched and are backed by some pretty big names. It will be fun to see how they modernize and simplify payroll processing for businesses.

Shiftgig —It’s like LinkedIn for people with jobs vs. careers. I love the concept. Shiftgig makes it easy for employers in the restaurant and hospitality industry to find great employees and employees can create profiles that include work history, experience, references, etc.

What tech tools (websites, apps, gadgets, etc.) do you rely on both for work and in your down time?

Dropbox, Aptana, Gitorious, Backblaze, Tender, Olark, Echofon, iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro

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