Logan Cohen: Making smartphone screen time smart

Entrepreneurship can be exciting and challenging. While a successful entrepreneur possesses many qualities, perseverance is at the top of the list.

Logan Cohen, the Co-founder and CEO of KÜDZOO, showcases the genuine meaning of perseverance by converting her simple idea into a globally recognized app. The basic idea of KÜDZOO is to leverage teen smartphone usage away from scrolling through mindless, never ending newsfeeds toward mindful consumption. At its core, KÜDZOO continuously asks, ’what’s in it for our student users?’ This app fosters good habits and grades by recognizing and rewarding students for mindfulness, kindness, and academic achievements.

At KÜDZOO, the belief is that recognition changes everything.

Even though cell phones are often seen as a distraction for students, Logan Cohen sees an opportunity. On KÜDZOO, students submit their report cards, academic achievements, acts of kindness, volunteerism, and answers to daily trivia to earn points redeemable for rewards. As of this publication, KÜDZOO has over half a million student users in over 46,000 schools in the USA.

Logan completed her degrees in Finance and International Business from Florida International University. The tremendous strides made at KUDZOO led Logan to be named to Forbes Magazine’s 30 under 30 in education. She is also a TEDx speaker and was featured at 2018’s SXSW EDU.

Amplifying Product through Assessment 

When asked about the factors that have helped KÜDZOO scale, Logan embraces the importance of market analyzing skills. She mentions:

“So many entrepreneurs are relying solely on their vision and gut feelings. Both of these are important, but at KÜDZOO, we take pride in admitting what we don’t know. Put simply, data and market feedback always trumps opinions. We benefit greatly by diversifying our product offerings to appeal to students by asking students for help. Before a product launch, we conduct countless surveys and focus groups. Students are helping to enhance the product in more ways. Their clear vision and honesty, drive us to perpetually improve our product.”

A Blend of Perseverance and Confidence 

Logan considers the ability to persevere to be one of the top attributes of an entrepreneur. When asked about her success, she referenced the popular quote:

“It is funny, how many nights it takes to become an overnight success.” 

In entrepreneurship, there are many ups and downs, and Logan insists that her momentum is credited to “failing forward.”

“In an environment of motivational memes and social media filled with ’win-only’ posts, we don’t get enough of the authentic story.” 

When asked about additional qualities that are essential in an entrepreneurial quest, Logan includes: empathy, active listening, confidence while avoiding hubris, and lifelong learning.

Striving to be better 

Logan considers it is important to be knowledgeable about one’s market.

“This is not something that one can accomplish in once; it takes to keep a pulse on it. Now more than ever, the market is changing. Especially in the field of technology, the next workforce is expected to master tools that do not even exist yet.”

According to her, KÜDZOO has thrived on being aware of the competitors, but they do not let competitors dictate the company’s strategy. KÜDZOO has been able to differentiate and scale by providing quality products and services to its students and brand partners. The team is sticking to its mission and ensures a valuable user and customer experience, while keeping a pulse on the ever-changing market.

Unfolding Initial Difficulties 

Being an entrepreneur is hard. There are loads of challenges faced by anyone who wants to start their own business. It is, however, important to note the unique challenges that women entrepreneurs face. According to Fortune, “Female founders got merely 2% of venture funding in 2017.” Logan refers Dana Kanze’s Harvard Business Review Study of “Male and Female Entrepreneurs get asked different questions by VCs — and how it affects the funding they get.” Investors adopt a promotion orientation when quizzing male entrepreneurs, which means they focus on hopes, achievements, advancement, and ideals. Conversely, when questioning female entrepreneurs, they embrace a prevention orientation, which is concerned with safety, responsibility, security, and vigilance. Logan learned to proactively combat these types of questioning by answering “prevention” questions in a “promotional” manner to keep the conversation transparent, yet optimistic.

Self-belief is the key 

Initially, Logan prided herself on being a perfectionist. However, she learned that perfectionism can lead to procrastination. Logan encourages entrepreneurs to “launch to learn.” Now, this doesn’t mean to not plan and prepare, but to recognize that too much planning may lead to stagnation. She has challenged herself to emphasize execution. Put simply: stop being busy and start being productive.

When asked what advice she would share with her younger self, Logan says:

“Be unapologetically yourself.” 

She used to think that she had to conform to how a business person thinks, act, speak or dress. She didn’t want to stand out since she was usually the only woman or the only 20-something-year-old in the room in the pitch meetings. Over time, she learned that being you actually help the business. Logan says, “As cliché as it sounds, we are taught to differentiate our businesses, but there is not enough emphasis placed on differentiating yourself as a leader. Take pride in who you are, be aware that you have a lot to learn, and recognize that, especially in the early stages, investors and teammates are getting involved in the company because they believe in you. Give them something to believe in.”

Prepared for the Challenges Ahead 

What’s in store for the future? Logan is looking forward to continuing to grow KÜDZOO. She shares her excitement about KÜDZOO’s positioning:

“We have a unique opportunity that the more we grow, the more students we can impact for the better, and that’s a beautiful thing. We take this opportunity seriously and our team is grateful for the responsibility of scaling a mission driven business.”

Failure is not the End 

We asked Logan what advice she has for other entrepreneurs. She advises:

“Perfectionism leads to procrastination. The only difference between you and those who make a difference is that they decided to go for it. Be the CEO.”

She admits that, early on, she thought that she was somehow lacking, whether it was in experience, networking, or a particular skillset.

“Entrepreneurship keeps you on your toes. One of the benefits is that you’re constantly learning since you’re perpetually humbled about how much you do not yet know. That challenges you to want to learn, to grow to improve.” 

Sources: The 20 Most Successful Shepreneurs to watch in 2019

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