Dr. Chris Drane was a pioneer in cellular location back in 1983. Today, Dr. Drane is more interested in putting the fun back into golf through his startup Golf Mentor.
Drane notes that golf is a difficult game that is even more difficult to learn and improve on if one begins later in life. The Golf Mentor site allows users to set goals, post scores, and list practice sessions. From there, Golf Mentor analyzes a user’s game looking for the weak points that need the most improvement.
Golf Mentor also allows users to plan out their practice regimen online. An added benefit is that golfers can even decide what their rewards will be for their efforts. Golf Mentor reminds users of their planned rewards when goals are met.
Knowing that golf is a difficult game, Dr. Drane wants golf to be fun for golfers wanting to improve their game knowing how much discipline and determination is needed to improve.
We had a chance to get the lowdown on Golf Mentor recently and here’s what it’s founder, Dr. Drane, shared with us :
So how’d you come up with the name for your startup?
The name was obvious once I understood what the business would do.
And what’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
Work out what I am going to accomplish for the day
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
I am still the only full time member of the team and intend to keep it that way until the case for scaling capital becomes a no-brainer.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describe the struggle you went through?
In my last startup, I was CEO with many employees and totally consumed by commercial considerations. In this one I decided to have the fun and do all the coding myself. So at 57 years old, I started to learn Ruby on Rails, despite the last serious coding I had done was 25 years ago on a PDP-11 environment and using FORTRAN and assembly language. For the first two weeks of trying to learn and use Ruby, Rails, SQL, CSS, and git, it was terrible. I was sure I was too old for this. But it turned out that like riding a bicycle, it does come back, albeit a lot more wobbles than bicycle riding.
How do you handle frustration? When/how was the last time you dealt with frustration?
What’s your office environment like?
Very, very, quiet.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
I see it as THE web site for anyone that wants to learn to play golf.
Who or what inspires YOU?
I regret that I have found that my favourite sayings often told me more about my blind-spots than being guides for reliable action. Mandela for his ability to forgive and heal, and Ian McEwan for his extraordinary insights into people. Golf.
How’d you fund this venture?
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
- Concentrate on being profitable.
- Make sure you will really enjoy your role in the startup.
- Start off with the least possible functionality that provides value to your customers and then let the marketplace lear your development.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend?
I would spend half of it travelling leisurely and in style with my wife, with many great golf courses and top restaurants on the itinerary. I would spend the other half setting up a not-for-profit to enjoy once the year is over.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now?
I have had my share of success and failure and try not to premise my self-worth on the outcome of my current adventure.
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
I gain great pleasure from www.aldaily.com, I often read articles there that widen my horizons.
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
Evernote. It is so simple but so useful.
Dogs or cats?
A grumpy long haired Chihuahua and a gorgeous Pekinese-Maltese who has me wrapped around her little claw.
iOS or Android?
I seemed to keep being sucked deeper into iOS.
What’s the greatest thing about Golf Mentor?
Most people who try to learn golf over the age of 25 years really struggle. This website can really make a difference to those people.
Where can our readers get ahold of you? Also, are there any other projects you’re working on that we should check out?
On twitter @thegolfmentor.
As far as other projects, I am an adjunct Professor at the University of Technology, Sydney where I am developing a program for mentoring staff and students interested in doing startups.