Innovators. 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.
Ryan Bales is the founder and CEO of Bync, which he founded in 2011. Ryan began programming at the age of 14. After graduating high school in 2001, he attended the University of Colorado, but left in order to pursue his passion in technology. Ryan has spent the past 10 years working with startups, serving mainly engineering and user interface design roles. In 2010, after developing software that made it easier for booksellers to identify valuable used books, he was able to quit his day job and start Bync.
What do you enjoy most about your work and why?
I think more than anything, I enjoy the process of creating a new product. Despite the obvious (and very real) challenges, there is something almost euphoric about going from an idea you have in some obscure corner of the earth, like your shower, to being able to share the result of that idea with thousands of people.
Where does your passion come from? What drives you, inspires you, excites you?
I think that everybody is passionate about what they love –whatever that may be. For me, I think the whole idea of innovation is enchanting. In a way, it’s very much so what makes us human. We build, create, improve, and work together in order to fulfill our idealistic dreams. I’ve always been drawn towards the idea that we can improve our situation, both individually and collectively. Sometimes after seeing what’s on the news, it seems helpless, but it’s only when we maintain that mindset are we sure to make it true.
Someone reading this wants to start a tech company. What’s your best advice for them?
Many entrepreneurs I know suffer heavily from self-doubt. In fact, I’ve seen a lot of people give up because they have convinced themselves that they don’t have what it takes –they don’t have the “Steve Jobs magic sauce.” You must get over the idea that everyone else has it figured out and you don’t. Here is the secret: nobody really has it figured out –some people are just really good at faking that they do. So cheer up, trust yourself, and be humble –but not too humble. The outside world is a reflection of your inner being, and the more you experiment with this idea, the more you’ll come to believe that it’s true.
What are a few tech startups that you’re really excited about right now and why?
To be honest, I tend to focus my attention on Bync as far as tech startups go. That doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s going on in the tech world, I just don’t really follow other startups. With that said, after meeting with the folks at Uber, I think they are doing some really cool stuff. They’re facing some huge challenges given what they’re into, and I think it’s great that they are facing these challenges in order to change how people get around.
What tech tools (websites, apps, gadgets, etc.) do you rely on both for work and in your down time?
We use a lot of web tools at Bync to run our business. For customer support we use a really cool web app called UserVoice. It makes handling support tickets a breeze. They also have a discount for startups, so be sure to take advantage of that if you’re interested.
We also heavily rely on a lot of tools the people at Google have created like Google Apps and Google Analytics. I don’t think Google Apps is free anymore, but it’s cheap enough to where a small tech startup will get way more value for their buck than going with Microsoft, for example. I’ve been an Apple user forever, so I rely mostly on my iPhone and iMac for everything else.