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4 May 2017

Action story #1 – Dor Garbash, co-founder HeroesofX.com

What is your story?

Born and raised in Tel-Aviv, I was a Photographer and Creative, winning several awards for my visual work (https://garbash.carbonmade.com/). In my late twenties, I became a tiny bit obsessed with how to help people collaborate better. During my Ph.D. at the CRI I prototyped several collaboration tools for organizations. I am currently the Founder and Business Director of Terran Collective, A software agency located in San-Francisco, where we create collaboration tools for organizations and communities.

 

What was your experience as a CRI student?

Finished my M2 in biomedicine. Tried to juggle between my Ph.D. and starting a company. This was very challenging, but ultimately I gained a lot of skills from the experience.

How was your project born?

My project was born when as a masters student I tried to understand the state-of-the-art in the domain of educational technology and was frustrated how difficult it was. I wondered why we didn’t have a system to map what we don’t know – the research questions at the frontier of knowledge. From that came my first prototype which evolved during the years into Heroes of X, my current collaboration software.

How did you manage to combine your studies with the time needed to build the project? Can you describe your routine at that time?

I tried, but unfortunately, there were always fires to put down. Had to juggle my obligations as a student, client, co-founder needs and pivoting the product as we gained new knowledge. To control the chaos, I adopted a lot of agile methodologies such as daily stand-ups, rapid-prototyping and creating synergies between the business and research.

What kind of support or resources did you find within CRI ecosystem? What was the most helpful?

I received tremendous help from Ariel Lindner, my supervisor, and Eric Cherel. I think there was a lot of good will to connect me with opportunities to find early adopters, and indeed there was no lack of organizations and projects I participated at during my Ph.D.

What do you wish you had/knew if you had to start again, at CRI? What would you do differently?

I would’ve probably not jumped straight into technology development, but try to work offline first. Ultimately it’s better to postpone product development to when you have a well-defined market and objectives.

What is your current project status and what are your next goals/ambitions? What kind of support do you need now?

We have launched an Alpha pilot at CRI. We are about to launch a few more pilots in different organizations around the world. The main thing I need help with is getting more people to register to cri.heroesofx.com and express their professional needs in the system.

What is your advice for aspiring project teams at CRI?

Be willing to narrow your objectives to the core of what you actually care about. Try to do one thing at a time, set clear metrics to measure your progress and remember to nourish the relationship with your teammates. Try to be as clear as possible.

Any specific tools, books, techniques that you want to recommend?

Github for managing issues and software projects. I developed with my team a suite of tools for us to work through meetings – The main one being silent meditation for 10m before we start a group meeting. I also recommend placing clear objectives in the start of each quarter and review progress every week. The process of crystallizing what is the most effective next step for each team member is very important!