Written by Shoemaker Scholar Kacey Wood 2020-2021
Kyle Zyck is a senior double majoring in Information Systems and Business Analytics. His business, The Planet Now, focuses its efforts on helping companies establish and improve their sustainability practices.
What is your Personal Story?
At a high level, I am currently a business student with an interest in both technology and helping the planet. Growing up, my first love was always basketball. I was lucky enough to be able to play all through high school and play varsity my junior and senior years. In addition, I was a gymnast, specializing in Pommel Horse.
I have always been fascinated by how our world works at a high level and what are the levers that create change. This led me to a natural fascination with business that really has taken off since starting college. In college, I joined Net Impact: Environmental Business Club, and co-founded Data Visualization at IU. Additionally, I have met many terrific business students, such as Kacey Wood, that have taught me so much and helped to grow my love of business even more. Overall, this love of business is what has ultimately driven me to start my own company.
What project are you currently working on and how did your personal interests help you find this?
I currently am, alongside a great team, working on a sustainable services focused firm that is looking to help companies to position themselves better for the future economy. We do this through tracking water, energy, transportation, and waste levels. Then from this, we suggest areas where sustainable improvements that also make profitability sense can be implemented and work with the organization to get these changes implemented.
I personally have been really interested in sustainability and helping our planet since I was young. I love the idea of being able to be a part of the solution to the biggest problems in the world, and nothing looms quite as large as climate change.
What is the biggest advantage to working on your startup while in school? Biggest disadvantage?
The biggest advantage by far is the high number of students from all different majors that you are able to meet and work with. They are a great pool just to expand your knowledge base and start your business with.
The biggest disadvantage is the uneven nature of the schedules. Some weeks can be relatively light in college while others can be much more chaotic. This can make creating consistent work schedules difficult.
What was your favorite learning experience?
My favorite learning experience is really centered around patience and humility. When creating a startup, things will often move slower than you want and adjustments will often have to be made on the fly. This creates a really awesome opportunity where it forces you to have to become okay with running a company at a small scale at first. It forces you to look inward for confidence and self-belief. This creates a motor that can work through almost any situation.
What advice would you give other students who are planning to start a business in college?
You will mess up. You will make mistakes and that it isn’t just okay, that is essential to success. The more mistakes you make the more you are learning. When starting a business, there are many things from understanding taxes to creating a website that may be out of your comfort zone. This is personally one of my favorite parts about running a startup, and this also means that constant learning is a must. Without constant learning and adapting, you are not even giving yourself a chance to succeed.
Is there anybody who has helped you along your way that you would like to recognize?
I want to recognize my two other team members Cristian Puente-Ortiz who was my initial cofounder and Rob Weede who has been helping the company grow since the beginning.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
One of the formative journeys of my life so far has been my journey to overcome medical level anxiety and consistent panic attacks. I have learned so much from this journey, and I am undoubtedly stronger now because of how I have had to grow to not just overcome my anxiety but to learn to utilize it to grow stronger.
I felt it was important to mention this because while you may or may not have a similar path to mine, we all have internal obstacles in our paths. These obstacles should not be deterrents to starting a business but instead drivers. The harder the journey the stronger you become.
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