Wesley Lynch is the CEO and founder of Snapplify, a global edtech company that was started in Cape Town, South Africa. The business is focused on content distribution, mobile publishing, and innovation for digital education. Snapplify provides a platform for distribution, reading and retail of digital educational content to educational institutions, and individual readers.
1. Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in as a business owner.
It is tough managing the growth of a company as it begins to expand and bring on new team members. These changes to the core team dynamic and company culture can have negative side effects if not compensated for or planned for to maintain a balance. Although Snapplify doesn’t exactly qualify as a start-up anymore, we’ve tried to maintain that fresh, innovative culture that comes with a start-up environment, which seems to be working so far.
Another challenge is being able to identify and adapt to important differences when entering new markets. It’s impossible to cookie-cut lessons learned across different markets and territories, and hope for similar success. It is important to learn how to adapt ideas to suit changing circumstances and situations.
2. Which business achievement are you most proud of?
This may not exactly answer your question, but every once in a while you’ll meet someone in an organic, informal way, someone who isn’t necessarily looking for another job, but who’s in a job that doesn’t suit them. Finding out that their interests align with yours and being able to give them an opportunity for personal and professional growth is something that I appreciate. It’s satisfying to be able to offer someone else a chance to follow their passion aggressively, and to be part of something meaningful to them.
I feel most proud when achieving great things with such a small, focused team. It’s great that these coincidental meetings can lead to something really special, and that has nothing to do with money or statistics.
3. Describe your greatest weakness as an entrepreneur.
I’d say that I’m a starter, not a finisher. I love creating, but tend to lose enthusiasm when projects become more established. I manage this by evolving the project all the time, to keep it fresh. This often involves inviting new partners on board to bring new perspectives, movement and growth.
4. Which popular entrepreneurial advice do you disagree with?
There is a lot of advice out there that suggests entrepreneurship requires extreme suffering and hardship. I think it’s important not to give up on your life for a business that doesn’t give you success and joy at the end of the day.
Some businesses are the wrong businesses to be in or based on the wrong ideas, and I think it’s important to know when to move on. You can run hard and give it your all, but you must know when it is time to change. It’s a chance to adapt the energy that has been generated into something new, and mould the lessons learned into something more workable.
I think the people who mostly get their life choices right are the kind of people who change their minds.
5. Is there anything you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before you got started?
I wish I had known how important it is to have someone who is already immersed in the concept to co-found the business. It is almost impossible to push hard when you’re doing that every day on your own. You need someone to be there to push when you can’t push.
6. Name a business opportunity you would still like to pursue.
I appreciate business models where there is a transferal of value. I am still excited to see the disruption and innovation that we can bring to education at Snapplify. It is necessary to disrupt the existing models that have prescribed how we should think about education.
Our aim is to connect people who want to teach and learn directly to the tools that they need to do that. That requires increased reach and increased access to quality material, for educational and leisure reading.
We believe in efficient learning through the leveraging of digital tools to make a real, sustainable difference. It’s really as simple as that.