December 22, 2015

Episode 30 – Will Lucas

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Co-founder and CEO at Classana. Host at of10podcast

What made you decide to work in tech? 

My dad was really into computers when I was growing up. There were always computer parts spread throughout the basement: motherboards, monitors that no longer worked–all sorts of parts. I specifically remember him sitting in his office, which was next to my room in the basement and separated only by a very thin wall he and my uncle had put up, and he would talk from time to time with people on the phone and provide remote support. I was fascinated by it because I couldn’t understand how he could walk people through navigating their computers without him seeing it with his own eyes–it felt like he had some incredible insight into their machines from a distance. It really sparked my interest.

What was an obstacle you faced and how did you overcome that obstacle?

Every day presents new obstacles! I guess one that might be most helpful to share is having the desire to do something but not really having a tangible point of reference. I grew up in a smallish midwestern city, Toledo, OH, and while there was a lot of people who dreamed of working for an auto manufacturer, there weren’t a lot of people pursuing tech–especially people who looked like me. This is the reason I started of10podcast, to introduce people to the names they should know; people in tech who are doing incredible things. And hopefully, that’ll inspire somebody.

What is your experience being a POC in Tech? 

I try to limit my own pressure to things I can control. What I can control is how hard I work, how much I put into learning and getting better, and how I treat others. What I can’t control is how others respond. I can’t control the market. There are people who have been very helpful to me on this path, and I’m very thankful for that. So, my responsibility is to add value. My hope is that I can help somebody else as well.

What was your perception about the tech industry before entering it? What is your perception now?

I still believe that there is limitless opportunity here. If you think about it, we’re only about 20 years into the internet and there are so many big issues that nobody has put any effort into yet. When it comes to education, finance, business services, security, and a hundred other things, solvable problems are everywhere. Lucrative problems are everywhere.

What are three tips you can give to high school/college students who want to enter tech?

1. Try a lot of things outside of your and your family’s norm. A wide variety of experiences will give you a larger worldview.

2. Put your effort into solving a problem you’re interested regardless of if you can find a way to monetize it yet. Just find interesting problems to solve in creative ways.

3. Do it with your friends. Keep positive and ambitious people around you; people who want their life to mean something–those are the friends you want. 

Any projects/ programs/etc. you are working on?

Classana is where my head is, alongside Season 3 of of10podcast. That’s enough! We launched 1.0 of Classana about a month and a half ago, and we’re continuing to talk to our users and launch new products there. Think of Classana as a re-imagined college advisor. We’ll show you the best books, classes, articles, events and people you need to know to accomplish your career goals. 

of10podcast is about to come into its third season. It was never intended to go beyond the first, but it’s been so well received. We’ve featured prominent minorities like Erin Teague of Yahoo, Michael Seibel of Y Combinator, Makinde Adeagbo of Pinterest, and Paul Judge of Luma. It’s an honor to be able to ask these icons in tech anything I want!

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Ruth Mesfun

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