A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.
Our community is strong and growing with record speed and maintaining a connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we've got a plan.
Introducing, We are #OKGNtech. A showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement. Follow along on the blog and on Instagram @OKGNtech to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I work at Levity, a company I started on the side while I was working full time in Vancouver. With social distancing and quarantine happening you can't really go out with your friends and meet new people. Levity lets groups of friends go online together, recommend matches for each other, and set each other up. A group of friends can even chat with other groups of people on the app. It’s a more social approach to online dating.
What made you decide to start Levity?
Levity kinda just started by talking with friends and seeing how other people were using dating apps, sharing their experiences, and showing each other their phones. The more I saw this happening, and the more I talked with my friends, the more I saw that they wanted to be more social. They wanted their friends to be a part of the experience instead of diving into the dating world alone.
What do you do there?
Right now, I do just about everything. I’ve brought on a co-op student that has helped with some of the things that I’m less skilled in like design work and UX. I’ve also brought on Capstone teams for marketing and engineering work. When I first started, a lot of the fun was building the app and seeing that I could do it on my own. Now I’m trying to rethink that by bringing more people onto the team, learning from them, and working on my own management skills.
How did you get into this kind of work?
I was doing some civil engineering, got my degree, and then eventually started programming on the side. After doing that for a while, I decided to go all-in on programming. I spent a few years at UBC taking computer science courses and then worked in that field for a couple of years. I wish that I had followed my gut instinct when I was younger. I was always intrigued by technology, but I didn’t think that I would want to sit in front of a computer all day and program. Turns out it involves creative design work, psychology, writing, and a ton of other disciplines.
What do you enjoy about the OKGNtech community?
The tech community is quite small, but there is a lot of interest and passion there. It’s exciting to be here at the early stage when there’s a lot of companies popping up and there’s a lot of money in it. When I moved back to Kelowna, I thought that it would be cool to build my career and spend the next 20, 30 years growing with the tech community.
How have you been impacted by mentorship?
Mentorship has had a high value on my career path. I continue to seek out mentorship opportunities for specific things that are happening in the company. I may think I have the right idea on what I’m doing but it’s important to run it by someone who’s more experienced. That can save me a lot of trouble. There’s a mentor that can help you with almost any part of the business.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to start something of their own?
If you’re building something, and you’re going to be putting a significant amount of time towards it, you want to make sure it’s checking the boxes. It’s got to be a good business model but it also needs to be where you want it to be socially and morally, aligning with your deeper values. It becomes your life, eventually. You need to realize that you’re going to be spending the next 5-10 years on your new company, just like starting a degree that will take the next 4 years of your life. When most people start school they do something that fits with who they are and they anticipate finishing. People would do well to look at companies in the same way.
Is there something you want to be remembered for?
Building something innovative that people use and find value in. Something that provides a valuable service to people and enriches their lives. That’s why I got into this business. That’s what’s really important to me as I build out Levity.