Entrepreneurship: Innovating, Inspiring, Igniting Change - Brad Brown

The U.S. has more than 31 million entrepreneurs, and 55 percent of adults in the country have started at least one business.

What does it take to succeed as an entrepreneur? We posed this question to Brad Brown, a tech entrepreneur, problem solver, and game changer who is dedicated to bringing smart, clever solutions that add value and drive improvements. His entrepreneurial venture, Learning Break, seeks to harness the positive power of the Internet to add to — not detract from — the growth and development of kids.

Brad, you went from the security of Wall Street leadership to the uncharted territory of starting your own business. How long have you been working on Learning Break, and what are you learning about being an entrepreneur?

“I’ve been tinkering with the idea behind Learning Break for almost a year, but in the last six months, have put in thousands of hours to move the concept forward. Committing to the task and putting in the time it takes to accelerate from idea to action have brought me close to the point of launch.

“The first lesson for me as an entrepreneur is this: While it’s important to have confidence in your own ideas, it’s equally important to know how to collaborate. I have been learning from the many specialists in this space, soaking up what other solutions are out there, and taking to heart what potential customers think. That’s required considerable research, relentless listening, and the integration of multiple perspectives to drive toward something that will work.

“Initially, I was focused on making each hour of screentime more balanced. And my research showed at least 57 minutes of an hour were spent watching low-quality entertainment and the other three minutes were commercial content. My experiments showed that with Learning Break technology in place kids will watch on average 24 minutes of high-quality learning content and zero ads, and the rest is still entertainment. Yet it got even better as I listened to my parents. Parents told me that if we succeed in capturing their kids’ attention online, why not keep the momentum going with an offline experience? And indeed, we found that kids would replace screentime with offline project time. They just needed learning breaks to give them a little nudge to go offline.

“And I learned that empowering parents is key. It was clear that our approach enables parents to enter their children’s worlds more readily, serve as guides, and engage kids in conversations about their questions and experiences. So not only were ads replaced by educational lessons but also, thanks to parents’ feedback, we figured out how to reduce screentime overall and increase the feeling of connection within families.”

Is anyone else doing what you’re doing?

“Not in the same way. A few companies are trying ad blockers to take away ads by intercepting the ad at a technical level and then blocking it out. That’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to buy the ad, own the ad space, and change the message.”

How will you measure your success?

“Success will be gauged by the feedback from families. For example, you’re a parent putting your child to bed. Before the lights go out, your child volunteers what she learned that day about how to identify insects. And you know she learned this in a Learning Break. Or she’s out and about in the yard, building a sundial. Or maybe it’s when you’re stuck in traffic together and your daughter explains how ‘traffic snakes’ work, advises you on optimal car positioning, and explains the efficiencies possible when self-driving cars are commonplace. That’s when you see the value of Learning Breaks: skills and knowledge that build confidence and inspiration, whereas before there was only commercialism. These anecdotes and stories from parents will be ample indication that the program is working!”

We are grateful, Brad, for your efforts to create a better world for us all.

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Brad Brown has a distinguished history of detecting problems and creating solutions through technology. He brings to the Learning Break venture his years of expertise in working with complex systems on Wall Street — leveraging that knowledge today in pursuit of the greater good.

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