Opensolutions-London: Can you explain how it works?
- You book a session in your calendar whenever you want to work on something/along with someone (it can be something that you like/don't like/postpone on doing, etc.)
- We do our best to match you with a member from our community that has similar working preferences as you have.
- The session has a fixed time limit to enforce a good habit of focused work followed by rest.
- At the beginning of the session, you share with your partner what you will be working on, this should not take longer than 3 minutes, then you mute yourselves, leave the video on and start working.
- At the end of the session, you get to rate your productivity, energy, motivation, attention for the specific task and have it displayed in the analytics panel. This way, you get insights about your productivity that will help you dive into deep work more often.
Opensolutions-London: Did you have in mind any specific type of people when creating the platform?
Viorica: Procrastinators who work alone from a computer. We don’t really need motivation when it comes to doing things we like, we always find time to do them. But what about things we don’t like, things that might seem too overwhelming to do them today? This is when the platform comes the most in hand.
Opensolutions-London: Yes, I can see this being very helpful.
Can you tell us about your journey so far? There are a number of places listed on your Linkedin profile. I always find it impressive when young people travel a lot and are not afraid of trying themselves in different scenarios and work environments.
Viorica: I started traveling at age 15 within professional dancing competitions.
That was the moment I tasted a bit of leaving abroad. My mom didn’t have enough resources to finance these trips for me and my twin brother, who was my dancing partner at that time, so we always had to find sponsorships. I guess I got used to searching for different opportunities to facilitate what I wanted to do because I have never stopped searching.
While being enrolled for my BA in Bucharest, Romania, I did 3 Erasmus programs: one in Krakow, Poland; one in Porto, Portugal; one in Kiel, Germany; and 2 Work and Travel programs in Maryland, Utah, and California, USA.
I got my first official job at HPE, in Romania, I was 21 years old at that time and thought that was the way to go. I can't say it was a waste of time, it actually helped me understand what I don't want to do with my life. So I quitted.
I traveled alone to 25 countries within 5 years and I learned a lot about other cultures which helped me challenge my own perspectives of life and how important it is to have a humble, open-minded attitude when interacting with so many cultures. I feel this fits me well as a community builder for MyFocusSpace.
Opensolutions-London: I am also sure some of the previous experience must have prepared you well for the current project. Those of us who had or have a startup, know well that the startup journey can often be uphill. What were the biggest challenges so far and how did you overcome them?
Has this previous experience helped you and in what way?
Viorica: I am not sure that you need to have a start-up background to actually be able to build one. I see the eagerness to build a start-up as more related to personal values and how risk-tolerant you are. That being said, I think all my experiences brought me to who I am today and what choices I make. In terms of my biggest challenge, I think it was to learn how to talk to our users, to be able to see behind their requests. I overcame that by using Rob's Fitzpatrick guide, which you can find more details about - here.
Opensolutions-London: Yes, for a startup, every single user is valuable, and it is extremely important to invest time and effort to understand them and talk to them as their feedback can influence the product in so many ways.
Would you have any tips for young startup founders developing their products or preparing to launch?
Viorica: Launch as soon as possible. You might want to read The Mom Test Book by Rob Fitzpatrick as well to get an idea of how to talk to your users. Also, don’t wait for a big launch, I found the approach of launching, again and again, the most appropriate in order to find the market fit.
Opensolutions-London: So, coming back to MyFocusSpace... How big is the team so far and do you and the team use MyFocusSpace while working?
Viorica: There are four on the team.
Ionut Mistreanu – co-founder of MyFocusSpace,
Viorica Vanica - co-founder of MyFocusSpace,
Vlad Tarniceru – UI Designer,
Vlad Cerna – Software Developer.
Yes, we use MyFocusSpace every day. Ionut and I, for example, use it to start our day, so we both book a session at 6 am to do our cardio exercise and meditate together.
Ionut also uses it whenever he feels like procrastinating on working on something complicated.
Vlad Tarniceru uses it whenever he is in the state of "I don't feel like doing it".
Vlad Cerna uses it because it brings variety to his working schedule.
I mostly use it in the second half of the day, when I naturally slow down, after lunch. And being matched with someone to work alongside, helps me stay accountable for my tasks.
Opensolutions-London: MyFocusSpace has been created to address some of the challenges we are all now facing. Where do you see it used? What is the ideal model for now?
This setup helps with procrastination because is harder to neglect the session knowing that there is someone else waiting for you to start working.
This setup works with distractions because you share with your partner what are you going to work on during the 50-minute session (and this makes the goal specific) and because it taps into our natural inclination to try to perform better when we are observed by someone else.
This setup works with loneliness and tiredness by bringing variety in the work experience and healthy breaks.