Starter Series: Kudoso

Rob Irizarry reviews & interviews

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The Mamalode Starter Series is an exciting opportunity for us to introduce you to some of the amazing people we get to meet. Starting something takes enormous amounts of work, faith, help and community. Every week we'll share another story of starting. So, community of Mamalode, read up, get inspired and check out these wonder-folk.

Tell us a little bit about your business and how you started it.
I started Kudoso in response to a challenge my wife and I were having at home. As parents of three kids ages 8, 12 and 16 we were struggling with helping the kids develop the skills they’ll need to survive & thrive in their future, protecting them from bad content on the internet and instilling good habits and values. After looking around for a solution, we saw a gap in what was available to help parents cooperatively manage technology in their homes so we decided to do something about it.

Tech skills are going to be table stakes for our kids and our country over the next few decades as the middle class collapse continues. At the same time, our kids are being bombarded by questionable influences more frequently and across so many more channels than any time in history—developing a healthy perspective and values is harder than ever for them and it’s critical that they be exposed to the right content for each stage of their mental and emotional growth, these two themes were key drivers for us in developing Kudoso.

What do your kids think about your job?
I have a long history of doing crazy stuff in my life & my career, so while on the one hand this latest venture was not surprising, at the same time giving up the safety & security of a well paid job at a big company struck them (and my awesome wife Hiroko) as a little bit crazier than usual…

Tell us about a total dad + biz fail?
Elke Govertsen and I had a conversation about this the other day. Throughout the arc of my life, my failures all have fear as their root cause. My latest fail is not going big enough fast enough with Kudoso. I knew we were on to something when I first thought of the idea and started talking to parents about it. I got my friend and business partner Ryan Stout and his brother Corey to build the first version of the product & then proceeded to not execute on getting it out to people & the marketplace. It took me a ridiculous amount of time to get the Kickstarter launched and it wasn’t until I had the conversation with Elke that I realized it was all driven by the fear of failure. It’s kind of ironic given my career path, at 24 I took a job offer in Hong Kong knowing nothing about what I was getting into and had a crazy, incredibly satisfying decade living, working and traveling all over the world…

Share with us a total win (brag away!)
My most inspiring recent win is the launch of CodeMontana, a program to help Montana High School students learn about software development and technology. We got 1,200 kids coding in just six months, recently opened the program up to Middle School students and set the next milestone to reach 5,000 students by the end of the next school year. It’s incredibly inspiring to see the joy & excitement as they immerse themselves in coding!  I was honored to be asked to speak about the program at TedX Bozeman.

What's your relationship with Mamalode?
Loving! I first met Elke on June 21, 2012 at the Montana Innovation and Entrepreneurship day in Missoula. I had recently quit my job a Oracle to start my “career” as an entrepreneur, that day rocked my world! Since then I have become friends with the whole Mamalode team & consider you all family. I read Mamalode on a regular basis, and it often makes me cry from the raw emotion, deeply inspiring stories and unabashed willingness of your amazing collection of writers to put their lives out in public for us all to learn from!

Learn more about Kudos by checking out their Kickstarter campaign! 


About the Author

Rob Irizarry

Rob is a husband, father, dreamer, attention span-challenged lover of all things technical, and a voracious reader. He has worked and lived in 38 countries including a decade in the Asian Pacific region. These days he spends his time at the intersection of his two core passions: entrepreneurship and edcuation. Rob runs the Blackstone LaunchPad at Montana State University, founded and has a startup, , that helps parents cooperatively manage technology with their kids.

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