Rahul Dewan is the founder of Duet Display, software that lets you use your iPad as a second display for your Mac or PC. It is in the top 50 paid iPad apps in the world, and has been featured in TechCrunch, Forbes, Business Insider and more. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Rahul held a software engineering role at Apple and attended Stanford University and Georgia Tech.
He will be speaking at 1,000 Upvotes: Meet Top Product Hunt Makers on Tuesday, April 25th @6 pm. Click here to get 20% off tickets to the event.
Q. When you were growing up, were you always interested in entrepreneurship?
A. Absolutely. Since I was twelve, I have been developing ideas, products and side businesses. However, at my core, I consider myself an engineer. I love building technology and solving challenging problems more than anything else. For me, being an entrepreneur is the intersection of those two paths.
Q. What were some early influences on your career choice?
A. The great thing about being an engineer is the power to bring your ideas to life. If you have that spark as a kid, it’s easy to learn and just build things yourself. So I bought a book and learned to code. It’s incredible how many resources there were back then, and there are even more now, so I’m not surprised in how many kids want to be engineers now.
Q. What did you study in college?
A. By the time I was in college, I had taught myself how to code. So I went into computer engineering, which is a blend of software and hardware. I think it’s important to learn something in college that you’re interested in and would be difficult to learn on your own. I was lucky enough to have access to world renown professors and state of the art hardware, and it gave me a good background for my what I do now.
Q. What did your parents do?
A. They both worked in finance, which provided me the opportunity to learn about business. This was incredibly useful when I had to run one for myself.
Q. Tell me about your first job.
A. My first job was luckily at Apple where I learned the invaluable startup lesson of how important it is to focus and do few things, but do them extraordinarily well.
Q. What were some early lessons you learned about business?
A. To really question trends and analogies people use when describing a business, idea, or concept. Many people describe their company as ‘Uber for x,’ ‘Netflix for y,’ or adopt strategies because another successful company advocates them. I understand why people tend to, as those analogies can seem like a great shortcut to pitch complex concepts. But most of the time there is an underlying reason it doesn’t apply.
Q. How have you funded Duet Display? How did you first attract investors?
A. Duet has intentionally taken no outside investment. We’ve had a few options, but haven’t found a great fit. Sometimes it’s more important to find the right investor than the right valuation, and we just haven’t come across that yet.
Q. What career advice would you give to young people today?
A. There’s no right or wrong answer for what you want to do. Learn what you stand for, what is important to you, and what will make you happy. Then go after that.
Q. Hardest part of being a entrepreneur?
A. There is a lot of responsibility in leading a company. I’ve met plenty of people who want to be a business owner and simply delegate the important parts of a business. As an entrepreneur, and as a leader, everything should be your responsibility. Mistakes are always your fault, and it is always your job to fix it.
Q. Favorite part of being a entrepreneur?
A. Though I love building things, you can do that inside a large company. Being an entrepreneur may sometimes make that more difficult and resource constrained. However, I make that trade-off because as an entrepreneur I can continuously experiment and learn, perhaps at a rate unmatched to any other opportunity.