ENTREPRENEUR - APR 10 - Shayan Zadeh and Alex Mehr co-founded the online dating company Zoosk during the 2008 recession. They were running it for 10 years before selling it for ~$300M. They now lead an online retailer Dressbarn with their business partner, Tai Lopez, and invest in or advise other ventures.
Q: What are you more skilled at than most people in the world?
Shayan Zadeh: Starting Zoosk during the 2008 economic collapse taught us many lessons for the current COVID-19 crisis. Most people are shell-shocked during a crisis and don't take action. We utilize data to make quick decisions and optimize businesses. With this mentality, you can quickly spot opportunities, test ideas, experiment and pivot while keeping a lean team.
Q: What was your biggest, most painful failure?
Alex Mehr: We started Zoosk as a market research tool. We struggled to gain traction until we stumbled upon the idea of doing online dating differently. So we pivoted, but it wasn't easy. Remove your ego, acknowledge your mistakes and identify a solution.
Q: What's the biggest common leadership mistake?
Shayan Zadeh: Overplanning. Very few people predicted the ramification of COVID-19. It's easy to get analysis paralysis, especially now. Get out of overthinking, make a move, get feedback and adjust as needed.
Q: How do you prevent burnout?
Shayan Zadeh: A solid support network is critical. Carve out time for yourself and your family.
Q: What are you working on right now?
Alex Mehr: Laying the foundation for Dressbarn's growth. We're also focused on our team. We have three offices across the country and contractors overseas. Decentralization with virtual working has its challenges, but it's working and becoming the standard out of necessity due to current events.