Some people know what they want to do from Day 1. Others keeping moving and adapting as they go. Others, like Fledging’s favorite Venture for America Fellow, Edan, find a way to bring together what they love while they’re in college.
You graduated from Texas A&M University in May of 2019 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. How’d you get there?
“I chose TAMU for the school spirit. I was excited for the atmosphere, the size of the school, and the fact that it’s in Texas - I do miss Texas. TAMU has a great engineering program. I knew early in high school that I wanted to study engineering because I enjoyed my math and physics classes."
What was one of the most interesting things about going to TAMU?
“The school spirit. They have a lot of crazy traditions that everyone is very, very aware of. Things like the Century Tree (which has its own webpage), things like our love of our mascot Reveille (which also has its own webpage), and how the school doesn’t have cheerleaders but has four male yell leaders (guess what). It’s just a fun place to be a part of.
My favorite is the Century Tree. It leans over a popular plaza and if you go under it with someone, the tradition is that you’ll be with them forever. It has so many people who proposed to their partners under that tree, friends will hold hands in big groups, that kind of thing.”
You joined Venture for America right out of school. Why?
“I had an interest in entrepreneurship because of clubs I was in like Startup Aggieland and Inventeers, clubs about entrepreneurship and engineering. So Venture for America seemed like a natural next step. I’ve always wanted to work at a small company and build something from the ground up. The biggest thing is that in engineering, you learn how to make things and in entrepreneurship, you learn how to spread your ideas. There’s something cool about the way they come together. You need innovation and you need to understand the basics of business.”
“Fledging needed someone with my background and I wanted to work somewhere like Fledging. I was attracted to the small team environment (Note: Edan’s joined as Fledging’s 8th full-time employee). Birmingham has a huge VFA community and a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem that was really attractive.”
What do you do in your role today?
I do two things: software development for building data analysis tools and internal web applications, and I help create quality control systems.”
What’s the most interesting thing about working at Fledging?
“There’s a lot of unknowns. The hardware space comes with its own unique challenges not present in software, especially when it comes to finding ways to beat bigger brands because they have the connections to drive down price a lot and compete at global scales, while not caring so much about true innovation. I love working in a challenging environment where I don’t know what’s coming next.”
What’s the most challenging thing about working at Fledging?
“Definitely see above. It’s the competition. Creating something truly innovative only gives us six months of lead time before competitors rush in to copy. This is what happened with our Feather SSD product. It’s a good thing though because it means we invented something that everyone thinks is worth copying. So it’s on us to continue to innovate and build a team that can repeatedly bring quality products to people.”
What’s a fun fact about you?
“Sometimes I eat red bell peppers like they’re apples. I’m not ashamed.”
Want to learn more about Edan, R&D, Bell Peppers, or Fledging? Ask him at firstname.lastname@example.org!