Top Tips from Dion Oxley, Quizling

What was the inspiration behind your company?

The inspiration for Quizling came from our colleagues and the kids we taught. Having taught in Australia and across the globe, I was looking for ways to engage students, where they could create freely and had access to excellent content. Canberra holds our nation’s stories – so the content from our cultural institutions was internationally recognised – so an obvious partnership! The learning data that came from that engagement was an absolute bonus (much easier than making worksheets!).

What has been your biggest challenge since starting your company?

Coming from a non-technical background, finding a technical team that was passionate about Quizling, was a challenge. In addition, learning and understanding all the requirements of an educational platform, was also another hurdle. We had to create something that was both easy enough for an 8-year-old to navigate, and a 15-year old to want to navigate

Education is its own amazing entity, having similarities across the world, yet having key differences from every other industry.

  • Technical solutions from other industries simply cannot be translated and transferred over as it would not be possible.
  • Another major challenge was the threshold for privacy and security.

 Top Tips

  • Be passionate about the change you’re making – It’s too hard not to be passionate about the future you’re building
  • Stand tall! Be confident. Take credit for what you achieve. Women don’t do this enough, and I have to be really conscious not to give away my achievements.
  • Plan! The plan will always change, but you have to be confidently heading in a direction!
  • Or do yoga. Or something! Running keeps me balanced and somewhere between the 4km mark, all the problems I’ve been wrestling with, fall into place. “If we cannot disconnect, we cannot lead”says Ariana Huffington.
  • Ask for help! Grow a network of advisors and mentors and tap them on the shoulder, often. They have done it before, so they might be able to save a few grazed knees.
  • Grow from mistakes. You will make them – we all do – but grow from it!
  • Find a buddy. You need another person, you can celebrate the wins with, rant over the frustrations with and cry through the hard bits with. Only another founder will understand your situation; you will pull each other through and take each other to the next level.
  • If you’re a woman – find a woman! It’s hard, and the culture is slow to change. Find someone who is doing it, has done it and who will pull you up. Then pull the next woman up after you.
  • Live it. If you are solving a problem, the only way you will really know if you have the solution, is to live the problem! There is no sandbox quite so brutal as 27 teenagers in a room.
  • Keep an eye on the competition! Learn from them – their mistakes and their successes
  • Your experience matters. I wasn’t an entrepreneur before as it wasn’t a goal I had. But, everything I learnt from my parent’s successful businesses, my teaching and development, all counts.

You are where you are, because of who you are. The Canberra Innovation Network has helped me realise that, and honestly, no business degree or entrepreneurial boot camp could ever make up for my life experiences. The Canberra Innovation Network is truly an active network of mentors, supporters, friends and connections. They have been a huge part of Quizling from dining room table days; providing a key source of advice, inspiration, honest feedback, where they have been our loudest champions! 

At 22 I arrived in Beijing with $500 and left with a billboard in Guomao. Make friends with everyone as life is much easier if you have a tribe around you! Just be deliberate in the curation of that tribe!

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