One downside of the much ballyhooed gig economy is its reliance on reviews. When the system works as intended, reviews can be a valuable source of information, allowing organizations and individuals alike to find everything from freelance writing services to rideshares based on a provider's past performance.
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Sadly, though, the system doesn't always work as intended. Some reviews are biased, needlessly dinging providers for the smallest of (non)issues. Other reviews are outright fake, with providers inflating their value in a bid to gain more clients. If some past client or personal foe has a vendetta against a provider, they, too, can start false-review campaigns to skew the provider's ratings.
Romio, an upcoming gig economy platform, hopes to address the issue of untrustworthy reviews by suggesting services based not on anonymous feedback, but the recommendations of credible experts and people a user knows in real life.
Romio is the third startup from Tarik Sansal, who began his career as a Wall Street research analyst before starting his first company, InvestmentPositions.com. Next came OnTargetJobs.com, which Dice bought in 2013.
While Sansal has founded a higher-than-average number of businesses, all of his entrepreneurial endeavors share a similar mission: connecting people with fulfilling jobs and making the world of work a better place.
Sansal was kind enough to sit down for an email QA with us recently. Read on for his thoughts on the importance of vision, the components of a successful startup venture, and more.
Recruiter.com: The first company you founded was InvestmentPositions.com. Can you tell us a little bit about what motivated you to found a startup? Why did you choose entrepreneurship instead of continuing on a traditional career path?
Tarik Sansal: I wanted to solve a problem. It was difficult to get access to quality investment institutions on the buy side, investment management especially. It was largely accidental, but it matched my personality and I found that, although daunting, it's infinitely rewarding to execute your ideas without being chained to someone else's agendas or objections, especially if you have a strong, socially conscious approach.
[caption id="attachment_100599" align="alignleft" width="259"] Tarik Sansal, CEO and Founder of Romio[/caption]
RC: Since InvestmentPositions.com, you've also founded OnTargetJobs.com and, now, Romio. The common denominator here seems to be that all your ventures deal with helping people find employment and progress their careers. Why is this mission important to you?
TS: I strongly believe that people should do what they love and that the mismatching of people to their passions creates an unhappy world. People would be happier and earn more while companies would be more profitable if this were solved. Romio gives people a platform to follow their passions and turn them into lucrative businesses.
RC: Based on your experience with starting and running successful startups, how important would you say a clear vision is to success? Why?
TS: It's critical. Sometimes, you need to know what it is that you don't want to do. You need to be honest with yourself and your team if you don't know where you want to go, as opposed to being influenced by the perception that everyone else knows where they're going. That will help shape your vision. After that, you need to be diligent in your research to figure out where you'd like to go, with the ability to pivot as you and the targets change.
RC: What are some of the most critical elements of getting a startup off the ground? Why are these elements critical?
TS: The ability to raise capital and having the right investors who follow you and your passion are really important. You also need to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and dive in head first in order to make it work. Having the right people, from your investors to your team, will make it possible to achieve your vision. This is what Romio is all about – building a network of trusted recommendations that you can rely on to fulfill your service needs.
RC: What other lessons or advice regarding being a startup founder would you like to share with our readers?
TS: Always have a deep reason to help people that's far beyond financial gain. Only then can you really succeed. Your success depends on doing your best and is not solely reflected by succeeding financially. You learn by failing, and you successfully discover paths that, at the start, may not seem like the right ones.