What was the inspiration behind your company?
The inspiration for Quizling came from the kids we taught and our colleagues. Having taught in Australia and internationally I was looking for ways to engage students, where they could create and where there was excellent content. Canberra holds our nation’s stories – so the content from our cultural institutions is internationally recognised making for an obvious partnership! The learning data that comes from that engagement was a bonus and much easier than making worksheets!
What has been your biggest challenge since starting your company?
Not being technical, finding a technical team that were passionate about Quizling, learning and understanding of all the requirements of an educational platform. Education is its own amazing entity – it is the same around the world and different from everything else! Technical solutions from other industries can’t be transferred across. We have a very high threshold for privacy, security and it all has to be easy enough for an 8 year old to navigate, and a 15 year to want to navigate!
Dion’s Top Tips
- Be passionate about the change you’re making – its 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 heading confidently in a direction!
- Run. Or do yoga. Or something! Running keeps me balanced and usually somewhere around the 4th km 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, and you will pull each other through and drag each other to the next level.
- If you’re a woman – find a woman! It is 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 a 27 teenagers in a room.
- Borrowed form Michelle Obama – There is no limit to what we as women can achieve. Go big.
- Keep an eye on the competition! Learn from them – their mistakes and their successes
- Your experience matters. I wasn’t an entrepreneur before, it wasn’t a goal I had. But everything I learnt from teaching, from development, from growing up in a house where both parent’s ran successful businesses – it all counts.
How has the Canberra Innovation Network helped you?
The Canberra Innovation Network is truly an active network – of mentors, supporters, friends and connections. They have been a part of Quizling from dining room table days, and has been a source of advice, inspiration, honest feedback and our loudest champions!