The story of how one woman’s dog helped create a booming tech start-up, TaskRabbit.

What inspired me to start TaskRabbit…

TaskRabbit was born out of a real need on a cold night in Boston back in 2008. I was just about to go out to dinner with my husband when we realized we were out of dog food for our 100 pound yellow lab named Kobe. I immediately thought “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place online where we could go and say we needed dog food?” I was certain that there was someone in our own neighborhood, who was perhaps at the store at that very moment, and would be willing to help us out. That night, I purchased the domain name “RunMyErrand.com” and started working on the concept. A few months later, I quit my job at IBM to work on the site full time.

My love for technology began when…

I was in high school. My passion for math and computer science started in math class with Mrs. Sabatini. I also used to spend Friday nights building computers with my boyfriend at the time, who is now my husband.

Best advice for fellow tech entrepreneurs…

  1. It is OK to talk to strangers.
    Many founders are reluctant to talk to potential users and even friends for fear that they will “steal their idea.” I encourage all entrepreneurs to talk to as many people as possible to get as much feedback as possible. It will be incredibly helpful in honing and developing the product from day one.
  2. Have a BHAG.
    Set a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG, for short) and take baby steps everyday to accomplish it. I certainly don’t wake up every morning and think how I am going to revolutionize the way people work every day — TaskRabbit’s BHAG. That’s just too big of a goal. But, I do have small actionable steps every single day that I can focus on. I feel so proud when I complete these baby steps, because I know they will enable our BHAG.

The area of technology that excites me the most…

Space travel. If you had asked me when I was young what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would have said an astronaut. There are so many interesting things developing in technology and space right now like Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, and the balloon that will take you to the edge of space.

How we drive innovation as TaskRabbit grows…

  1. Make product changes early and often.
    Startups should be in constant update mode! That way, users are always having the best experience possible with the product. TaskRabbit, for example, updates its products daily and sometimes even by the hour. The company uses analytics platforms to perform A/B testing, pitting two hypotheses against each other in one to two-week studies to test the design, user experience or engineering features of its website and apps.
  2. Nurture your company’s culture.
    Effective branding is often a startup’s best hope for competing in a crowded marketplace, and branding starts with a strong company culture. TaskRabbit seeks employees who fit its culture and are passionate about its mission. Culture is one of the most sacred assets that a young company has and one that’s constantly in jeopardy, particularly when the company is growing so fast. The people you hire and the culture you build internally is going to be reflected in your brand and who you become externally.

How to leverage technology for better planning…

I rely heavily on several apps to manage my hectic day. One of my favorite apps is Asana. It helps me manage my tasks and keeps me connected to my team’s priorities.

I also love the app Sprout Baby+. I use this amazing app for tracking all things related to my daughter, Amelia. I first discovered it during my pregnancy. It makes things like staying on top of meals, napping schedule, and diaper inventory a breeze.

Finally, I obviously use the TaskRabbit app to get things done that I simply don’t have time or the skill set to do.

3 technology trends that will shape the next 5 years…

There are few trends emerging that I find interesting. The first is consumers’ expectation that everything be on demand. With the emergence of Uber, Postmates and TaskRabbit, consumers have come to expect a product and/or service to be available on demand when and where they want it. This need for immediacy will undoubtedly continue.

The second is more of a macroeconomic trend that is impacting technology. It is the move towards freelancing. According to a survey released in 2014 by the Freelancers Union together with freelance platform ElanceoDesk, 53 million Americans, or 34% of the population, qualify as freelancers. This number is only expected to grow over time as people opt to move away from nontraditional employment opportunities (i.e., away from the 9-5) and look for more flexible lifestyles. Technology apps that support this lifestyle will continue to emerge and grow.

The third is platform based. Wearables are taking over and all businesses will have to think about how to integrate their apps beyond the traditional desktop and mobile devices, into what consumers are wearing every day.

Daily must-read tech websites…

Wired, Fast Company and TechCrunch. Plus TheSkimm, which rolls it all up into an easy-to-consume, daily package!

What is next for TaskRabbit…

2015 has already been an incredibly exciting year for TaskRabbit. We’ve seen exponential growth since the beginning of the year. The team is squarely focused on continuing this growth and building the best possible product and experience for our users.

My proudest accomplishment…

Definitely founding and growing TaskRabbit into what it is today. It is awesome to see and hear about all the ways we have impacted people’s lives – from allowing our clients to save time and focus on what’s most important to giving our Taskers the opportunity to build a career on their own terms. And my little girl, Amelia, who just turned two.