One of the most common issues CTOs face is time management, it’s something I hear from many of our guests on this show. But someone who can offer insights is Kimeshan Naidoo, CTO of Unibuddy. He’ll tell us about his urgent versus important framework and how he uses time blocks to be more productive.
On this episode of CTO Studio, he will also share with us why he is in favor or open source software regulations (at least in some instances) and we stop to consider how that would impact tech if regulations were implemented. Join us as we dive into that and more on today’s show!
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- Why they are using a specific financial model.
- What is the difference between urgent and important?
- Why have they kept their talent in-house right now?
- What has allowed them to grow their platform quickly?
- Why is he in favor of specific regulations for open source software?
- And so much more!
To kick off this episode Kimeshan and I dig into his work with Unibuddy, a tech startup based in London. He explains Unibuddy is a tech startup that is about 3 years old. They develop a platform for universities and colleges; it’s a software application embedded on the university’s web site and it allows perspective applicants to have an online chat with current students from that university. For universities it is an engagement tool and a recruiting tool, and the universities pay an annual subscription fee for the product.
The idea in essence is that student enrollment is higher when an existing student engages with a potential student. And that’s because if a potential student emails the university it may take weeks for them to get a reply because the university’s admissions office receives thousands of emails. Also most students want to talk to someone who is studying what they want to study, someone who is in the position they would be in if they were to enroll and go to school there. Prospective students are getting real-time information from the people who actually have done what you want to do.
Do they incentivize students to interact with prospective students? They do not, universities already have student ambassadors for things like career fairs, open days, etc. So Unibuddy basically brings those ambassadors online and puts them on this platform to engage prospects.
Universities pay these ambassadors, and it is done based on the time they spend helping just as they would get paid for being at an open day or a career fair. Unibuddy measures the time they spend chatting or writing blog posts or doing anything else on the platform.
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Is the ambassador conversational model something that scales beyond the UK? Yes. Currently they are working with 71 universities across 10 different countries. Most of those countries are in Europe, but they do work with universities in Australia and in the US. And the US market is the fastest growing of any for them. There are over 3,000 universities in Europe and over 3,000 in the US that they can scale to. Right now they are speaking to a few Ivy League schools, but they haven’t secured one as a client as of yet.
I asked Kimeshan if they outsource any of their dev or if it all happens in London where they are based. He says all of their engineering and business staff is in their London office. There are about 18 people on the team, half tech and half business/sales. Nothing is outsourced, they keep all of their talent in London. It’s been working well to have everyone in the same office working together. As they grow, they will look at having engineering teams in other countries as well to scale better.
I was also curious about the urgent versus important framework they use, and asked Kimeshan to expand on that concept. It’s a prioritization framework he finds helpful in terms of being able to focus on the right things. Everyone has a long to-do list that keeps growing, and sometimes we can go through an entire day doing things on the list without feeling like we accomplished anything towards our goals.
Urgent versus important is asking a question: Is this task important? Does it push me towards my goal? Or is it just urgent and something that feels urgent but is actually a distraction? Something can be important but not urgent, or it can be urgent but not important. You want to focus on what is important and urgent.
Hear more details on urgent versus important from Kimeshan, as well as what stack they created Unibuddy in and his thoughts on software engineering regulatins on today’s edition of CTO Studio.