Interview: Magda Stenzel Senior Designer at NBCUniversal and CEO of StringFlix
A senior designer, cartoonist and animator at NBC Universal there’s nothing that Magda Stenzel can’t do in media. With more than 10 years of experience of being an artist and inventor, she starting a career as an Entrepreneur and Public Speaker.
Magda is the happiest when she is trying to solve problems with her imagination. She loves creating something from nothing and encouraging others to do the same. Through her journey of creativity it lead Magda to developing an app, called StringFlix, which allows people on social media to quickly stitch their mobile videos together for celebrations and create social or branding campaigns as a group around the world.
Lets hear what she has to say about the industry today.
How did you get started in doing what you do now?
I started designing title animations for television shows, while I was still in college studying Advertising Design and interning at a local TV station. I learned to animate and edit show pieces, mostly on the job, at Univision Television Network, in Miami, Florida.
When I moved to New York, I continued working as a Broadcast Designer, mostly for NBC, but I became fascinated with mobile applications and UX design. Then two years ago, while trying to quickly gather some friends’ smartphone videos for a short video presentation, I realized that there weren’t any good mobile apps for collaborative video projects. Therefore, I decided to create one myself. And so, I started my journey as an Entrepreneur.
Why do you enjoy working with entrepreneurs and startups?
I recently read an article from Forbes about entrepreneurship, which asks this question “Are you living by choice or chance?” The author explains that entrepreneurs are the type of people who choose to conquer their lives rather than letting their lives conquer them.
When entrepreneurs see a problem, they don’t wait to have someone else correct it, they just try to solve it themselves. It is such a thrill for me to work with problem solvers. They don’t get overly emotional when faced with a problem. They usually see problems as challenges and life experiences and they try to stand above them, objectively. They are less afraid of failure, because they understand that failure leads to learning. I follow this line of thinking myself.
What do you think c-suite executives can learn from startups?
More often than not, top executives from large corporations, become too wrapped up in their long-standing process of operating within their company, and they forget to experiment and ask questions. They live by the old proverb “if it ain't broke, don't fix it”, and therefore, they get too comfortable with the status quo. In addition, when executives are trying to be more innovative, their risk-taking actions are over calculated, to the point that they spend too much time refining their product before testing it in the market.
What 3 things does anyone starting in your industry need to know?
1 - Sharing ideas with others will only make them better. Ideas which often lead to successful pivots can come from any source. If you keep your ideas to yourself, you are reducing your chances of getting valuable feedback.
2 - When working on a collaborative project, make sure you give credit to everyone that has contributed to your project. People love to feel useful, and to work for a purpose. When you praise your team for doing a good job, and show each team member how helpful they are, they get motivated to impress you even more.
3 - Be intellectually curious and a good listener. The only way to grow as a person, professional, and leader is to never stop learning. Be curious and always ask “Why not?” and then be willing to listen to others and your intuition. You will miss great opportunities if you are not paying attention.
What keeps you going when things get tough in your business?
First of all, I am well aware that there will always be unforeseen obstacles down the path to success and so I use my creativity to adapt to change very quickly. I try to approach every obstacle that comes my way as a challenge and then I get very motivated to beat that challenge. It is commonly said that with each failure comes an opportunity to learn, and I have experience this over and over again.