Q. Welcome to StartUp Mindset, Jared. We’re very excited to have you here. For the readers who are not familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m Jared Feldman, CEO and Founder of Canvs. I’m happy to say (no pun intended) that we’re an emotional insights platform that uses technology to understand how people feel, why they feel that way, and the business impact behind it. I come from a supportive family background of artists and creatives. My whole life, being right-brained was always a commendable trait in my family. I’ve always been fascinated by emotion and I learned I was an “empath” at an early age, so I’m highly sensitive to people’s emotions. My passion lies in sharing that understanding and enabling the power of empathy to get people to recognize other’s emotion and what elicits it.
Q. You launched Canvs to empower a more empathic world by automating emotional insights from social commentary and open-ended text. Tell us more about the company and what it does differently.
Our company is focused on being the most accurate way to understand open-ended text. I found there was no easy solution to understand human emotion at scale. Our patented, semantic analysis technology enables us to not just understand emotion in a binary way (positive or negative), but dive into what they’re actually talking about; the text and ideas they’re discussing. We try to do it in a way that’s actionable for developers and researchers. After all, developers make sense of the data, while researchers make evidenced-based decisions from that data for the organization. I think what Canvs does differently is we optimize their roles by offering clarity to better understand that consumer emotion and how it impacts the business. Giving them that technology is like a superpower! It helps them do their best work.
Q. What kind of mistakes/shortcomings do you see the industry make when analyzing emotion and engaging with customers? (Not looking at open ended text)
Brands have unlimited texts at their disposal. The crux of the issue Canvs saw is there wasn’t a quantifiable or precise way to summarize those emotions, topics, and ideas within the texts. Researchers agree that understanding the nuances of language is critical, but one shortcoming is there hasn’t been a reasonable way to analyze it at scale. We’ve been competing with inertia. It just requires a purpose-built way to interpret the sentiment behind that open ended text, and more importantly, reveal why looking at sentiment only is not an accurate way to measure emotion.
Q. Canvs is expanding fast. What do you think you and your team have done right that has helped Canvs expand into different areas and continue the company’s growth?
At Canvs, we’re hyper-observant and willing to move fast and take risks. There are billions of texts we’ve trained our system on to learn new facets of language every 24 hours. It’s an advantageous process that continually helps us grow and stay up to date with accurately understanding open-ended texts. Foundationally, we know we have the bones to stay on top of the ever-changing language landscape.
Q. Is there a major leadership lesson that you learned during your career that you wish you could share with everyone in a leadership position? Q. For startups, what advice would you give to help them reach the success stage?
I would share the importance of team and unity. There’s no replacement for hiring, retaining, and cultivating the best talent. One thing I’ve learned from a leadership perspective is hire people who are adaptable, not just those who buy into the general mission but the ones who can evolve within the culture. One thing I notice that has helped me is learning to delegate and letting those people do their job. Once you realize the power in it, you’ll see you’re only helping to amplify the talented people around you.
Most importantly, don’t underestimate the importance of your mental health and own self care. We tend to default for the greater good with little sleep and poor lifestyle habits, but it’s of utmost importance to take care of yourself so you can be in the best position to lead.
Q. What mindset or trait do you think every entrepreneur must possess in order to become successful?
Unquestionably, a winner’s mindset. You have to visualize success and have a general resiliency and level headedness about you. There will always be a daily swing of panic and euphoria, but you must digest those feelings and not react emotionally so you can process before taking action. The role as CEO evolves as the company matures. You don’t have to make all the decisions, you just have to make sure they get made. Empower the people around you to make them so you can continue on your path. Lastly, you have to have courage. Taking the challenge head on with confidence will help you articulate the secret sauce of your business and determine your place in the wider market.