Product Interview - Mac Wilkinson @ Moolathon
This is an archived post from 2020 which was posted on my previous blog, Product Distilled. It was a project in which Chris Davis and I interviewed local product leaders in the Louisville, KY area. Check out all the posts and let me know if you'd like to see more.
Mac Wilkinson is the CEO and Founder of Moolathon, a technology startup in Louisville, KY. Moolathon is a social fundraising platform built on a fitness tracker. It gives individuals, charities, schools, teams, and all groups the ability to raise money for a cause, through the pursuit of a cause we can all relate to… Getting Fit!!!
Tell us a little about yourself outside of work!
Former collegiate and pro athlete. Played basketball at the University of Louisville, Howard University, and eight years professional internationally. Started designing flyers in college for extra money … which turned into web design… which turned into a full-service design and branding company.
How would you describe your role within your company's product organization?
Haha. I’m sure all the founders and entrepreneurs can relate to the reality of this answer, but I wear a lot of hats at this stage of this company. Officially, I’m founder and CEO, but I’m involved in it all from product design and development, to fundraising and acting as a spokes person. Looking forward to growing the team with individuals who have specific expertise, though!
What are you working on right now that’s exciting to you?
Launching our iOS app in the coming weeks, developing for wearable devices and Android in the coming months.
What is the most important part of your day?
Time with my 4yo son, Mackie!
What drains you at work?
Right now… not much! I am excited and motivated enough to stay positive about most things as long as there is progress. There is always the occasional set-back, but I don’t know if I’d call it “draining.”
Work & Product
Do you have a daily routine to stay organized or perform better at your job?
Yes. I make lists at the start of every day…. helps me stay focused with all the hats I’m currently wearing. I also exercise and do yoga as much as possible, although I am not sure you can say it’s a“routine” simply because I fit it in wherever possible when I find a break between work and being a single dad!
How do you go about gathering customer feedback?
Customer feedback is everything for us. We have been testing since March of 2019and molding the product and features based off our customers wants, needs and behaviors. Many features and much of the user experience in our product today make the product.
How do you make user feedback actionable?
At this stage, almost all feedback we get is based around how we can make the platform better. We discuss almost all that feedback as a team, especially if it is something that is affecting the user experience. That discussion is usually based around designing a solution to make that feature more usable and then how hard it would be for our developers to implement those changes. Then we listen.
What is something you've done recently with your product that was a huge hit with users?
The ability to High-Five and Super High-Five the organizers of campaigns you support!
Once you create a Campaign and share it, people pledge a dollar amount per mile (limited to a maximum number of miles they set). Then you simply go out and track your run/walk/bike ride with Moolathon, and each mile you log earns a bit more of each contributors pledge.
After each run/walk/bike ride you log, you receive a summary of how you did and how much you raised. Then all of your contributors also receive a progress report that tells them about your run, and how much of their pledge you’ve earned to date.
We recently incorporated a High-Five, which gives your contributors a quick action to give a digital “good job!” and a Super-Five, which allows them to tell you “good job!” in addition to sending a small tip towards their cause for some additional monetary motivation.
What advice would you have for someone who is hoping to grow in their product-focused role?
Listen to your customer. Study your competition.
What’s a lesson that you learned the hard way, but would never take back?
I love the saying, “If you don’t have time to do it right… when will you have time to do it again?”
That is especially true when it comes to building a company and developing a product. Do things right the first time, and hire the right people when you can. It will save you so much time and money!
What is one piece of advice that had a big impact on your life?
EXECUTE! Everyone has ideas…entrepreneurs find a way to actually execute.
If you could wave a magic wand and fix something about one of your favorite products, what would it be?
I am literally always thinking of ways to improve my favorite products, and I love modifying them to my tastes, if possible. But if I had to choose one product, it’s probably my MacBook Pro! I feel so much has been sacrificed in those products versus some of the older models, all in the name of design, and I love good design, but I believe good design considers both form and function. I miss my ports!
What is one product or company being built in in your region that you think more people should know about (other than your own)?
There are a lot of startups from this area doing really cool things and making noise. I feel they all deserve a shout out. I tend to be partial towards my peer group of founders that I’ve gotten to know through pitch competitions, accelerators, and other tech programs we’ve been involved with such as:
Raise The Bar Management
What is a book, podcast, or website that you think more people should know about?
NPR’s How I Built This podcast! I’m sure most reading this are aware of this podcast, but if not, and you are an entrepreneur at heart, this is a great podcast to get reminded of the daily struggles of being and entrepreneur, and it can remind you that there are huge potential rewards for staying on this entrepreneurial path!
What would you do with your time if money was no issue?
Work to create lasting change in the inner-city and those among lower socioeconomic status by teaching entrepreneurial skills and higher-paying trade skills in tech. Then helping those individuals access resources to start businesses or work in tech. My hope is that this would stimulate the economy and generate lasting change that would resonate with generations to come.
Is there something that you want to plug?
Moolathon.com If you know anyone that is looking to get fit while raising money for any cause(philanthropic or personal), or if you’re involved with a group, school, charity, team, or organization looking to take a feel-good approach to fundraising, I encourage you to give us a try! We make fundraising easy!
How can our readers keep up with you?
Moolathon.com | @Moolathon | @MindOfMac