Heather Denniston is a founding partner responsible for operations and strategy at LUDex.
As CEO and founder of the human capital and consulting company Grayson & Graham, she identified and appointed executive leaders for PE-owned firms.
She was part of the leadership team who focused on growing growth businesses.
Heather makes use of her expertise in strategy as a way to streamline processes and offer excellent tools that are more efficient for collectors.
With deep respect for the sport, Heather hopes to allow collectors to be successful at all ages and expand the boundaries of what’s thought feasible.
Where did the idea of LUDEX have its origins?
The CEO of our company and serial business entrepreneur Brian Ludden looked at baseball cards with his son during the outbreak and had difficulty determining the cards he owned and what each one was worth.
He started an investigation into the market for cards, the technology available in markets, and the type of solution that could solve the issue.
Then he found partners to assist in building an initial proof of concept and began to find key players to assist in the realization of his idea.
Brian had a simple concept and a complicated solution and created an expert team to transform the game into the world of cards. I joined to assist in implementing his idea.
What would your typical day look like? And how can you ensure that it is productive?
Does there exist a concept that is a typical day for startups? We at X-Path are constantly changing our plans, making choices as new data arrives, weighing the risk, and managing a team of enthusiastic professionals in the field.
In practice, we begin daily with a standing gathering to discuss objectives, opportunities, and obstacles for the coming week.
The days are spent reviewing progress and focusing on the best practices to maximize the results we achieve and encourage collaboration.
We utilize our OKR (objectives and key outcomes) model to boost efficiency and evaluate our performance.
It is currently used to measure weekly the progress we are making and will eventually move to quarterly goals as well as in the future as we grow.
How can you bring your ideas to the world?
There’s a method to achieve this. Start with a simple business plan. Create a sketch of the idea in the beginning.
Determine where the idea is to the market globally, and then begin researching all aspects of the concept.
Utilize this outline to serve as a reference to develop the idea further. Collaboration with the leaders in the area to dispel any prejudices or assumptions and to narrow locations where there is a lack of knowledge.
The life of ideas is brought to life by hard work, determination, and a process-oriented approach to thinking.
What’s one thing that you are excited about?
While it is not an entirely new concept, Artificial Intelligence continues to develop and expand. It will become more regular in the next few years as the virtual world will become the new norm for commerce, sharing and exchanging information, engaging in entertainment, etc.
AI Machine learning and AI have just begun to alter our work practices; there is limitless potential for the field.
When I consider metaverse dynamics and virtual reality, there are numerous areas of exciting developments which are only getting started to understand how they will impact our lives at work and in our personal lives.
What’s an action you take that helps you be more efficient as a business owner?
Making goals and determining routes to reach them is a process. It’s not uncommon in the startup world to find yourself busy all day long because there is always much to accomplish.
It is an indulgence to have time to set goals and make plans. It’s also an indulgence to have time to think about results, but there are many benefits to be gained by discussions and reflection.
Teams are more productive when there is a consensus and knowledge of where we’re at, where we want to go, and the expected outcomes.
It takes time to reach. Setting goals is likely to note how far you’ve come on a week-to-week basis.
Do you have any advice you would impart to an aspiring young person?
I was asked this question some time ago “How do you feed an elephant? It’s simple in a single bite at one at a time.” In my younger years, I would feel overwhelmed when a task seemed impossible. Now, I view anything as achievable when you’re thinking and focus on each step (one bite at a time!). Learn, work hard and move.
Every goal is possible by working hard enough. It is essential to alter plans when you notice something that isn’t working.
Thus, an initial goal might not have been met. However, you learn many things in the process, and it’s an accomplishment regardless of the path.
I’d tell myself to eat small portions of whatever “elephant” was in front of me. I am observing that the journey itself is rewarding.
Let us know something you believe to be accurate that nearly no one agrees with you on.
I am far too much of a consensus-builder to be able to hold onto something that nobody else believes in it or is with me.
Sometimes, having just only one person agree with your ideas is enough to spark the concept of innovation and change.
However, one area in which I’m not the only one (at the very least in my workplace) is that I require an orderly workplace that is free of clutter for maximum productivity.
This is where the gap lies: we are a tech firm that deals with trading cards. Our office is brimming with various kinds of cards…like… literally cards are everywhere!
Cards are spread across tables in large boardrooms. They appear to cover each square inch—cards spill out of bins, boxes, and binders.
I am a huge fan of cards. However, I prefer an organized method of keeping them organized at work. This way, nobody would disagree with me.
In your role as an entrepreneur, what’s the one thing you’ve done every day and suggested everyone else do?
I am a student and enjoy having difficult conversations. We decided in the beginning what our core values would reflect as a business.
We encourage an atmosphere of respect and humility and keep the egos to the curb. They establish the basis for our “rules of engagement” and frequently discuss them.
When we create our corporate culture, it is crucial to know the person we’re forming, know our north stars, and reinforce them frequently.
I often say, “whether or not you are paying attention to your culture, it is being created anyway.” Therefore, why not make something unique and revolutionary?
What strategy has allowed you to grow your company?
We make decisions based on data-driven information. We review case studies and analyze the best practices, but we are not dependent on them.
Our approach is to utilize data and create our way, encouraging our uniqueness and individuality as a company and team.
It is essential to break away from the established norms and make decisions that might sometimes appear to be radical.
However, there is always a plan behind every calculation. It’s too early to tell what this strategy has done for LUDEX.
It has allowed us to build an outstanding team ready to grow and an infrastructure to sustain growth.
What is the most embarrassing mistake you faced as an entrepreneur? And how did you get over it?
I suppose it is contingent on your definition of “failure.” As I said, you could create a goal but not reach it, even though you’ve learned, pivoted, and re-evaluated.
I would not classify it as failing. Others might disagree. Each closed door opens us to a new chance. It’s not a revolutionary idea.
Let me try to explain it differently. ….. I recently read an ex- Hindu monk and life coach Jay Shetty’s book Think Like A Monk.
In the book, he explains how not to evaluate life experiences that appear to be either positive or negative instead of simply asking, “Is this good, is this bad? I’m not sure. …” We do not know the outcome that will happen.
Therefore I do my best not to ride successes too high, or am I overwhelmed with perceived failures. …. I try to stay in the middle because you never know what’s about to be next.
What’s your best business idea you’re willing to share in exchange for some information from our visitors?
I’d like to see an app that could connect to my electricity, waste management, and gas companies and offer suggestions regularly about simple ways to help me reduce my home’s carbon footprint.
I’m probably one of the many people who would love to be more eco-friendly but find themselves overwhelmed by the idea, are stuck in a state of consumption, and are not currently in preservation mode.
Maybe that app is already available, but if it’s not, I’d like someone to make it!
What was the most expensive $100 you’ve spent recently? Why?
I recently donated an employee at our company $100 for participating in an endurance triathlon to benefit a charity near her heart.
I was impressed by her determination and training to make a difference in the world and was delighted to be able to support her.
However, outside of spending for charity, I recently purchased a Mark Grace autographed Relic Upper Deck 8/10, which I am pretty excited about.
What is the one application or web service that can help you become more productive?
We use 15Fiveas software, which schedules weekly check-ins for our workers. It asks the employees five questions that will take less than 15 minutes to answer by the week’s close.
It’s an excellent way for employees to share their thoughts, identify their weaknesses and strengths, request help in various areas, and allow managers to address issues early and frequently.
We’re creating a company that provides a “high touch” to the users of our platform and also to our workers.
We want all employees to succeed and see their job as a member of LUDEX as the most fulfilling job they’ve ever had.
What is the most important book you think your community read, and why?
I enjoy reading the tales of entrepreneurs. Recently, I read Founders at Work by the Y Combinator’s Jessica Livingston.
I learned a lot from the book and discovered that many stories have relevance to the current state of our journey here at LUDEX. One thing that struck me was how companies experimented initially, adjusting their strategy, products, or methods. Sometimes, they transform into completely distinct entities before they are sold. This has led me to consider, “What else? What else? What else can we do to influence this field positively?”
What is your most cherished quote?
I am a sucker for a great quote, and I recently shared this with my team. Amelia Earhart said, “The most challenging part is the choice to act. The rest is simply perseverance.
The fears are merely paper tigers. You can do whatever you choose to do.
You can alter and direct your life; if you follow the correct procedure and process, you will reap the reward itself.”
This perfectly sums up life as an entrepreneur.
What are the Key Learnings “Heather Denniston” could offer to Enterprenuer readers?
Please use data to make an educated decision for your company while also carving our way, encouraging imagination, and establishing a sense of identity for the business and as a team.
It’s crucial to alter objectives if you notice something not working.
Learn to be able to handle difficult conversations.
Make small bites from the “elephant” in front of you. Be aware that the process itself is rewarding.