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Interview with Kim Aviv
Who are you and what do you do?I’m the 27yo CEO and founder of Pathfinder Software, a career development platform for university students. I started the company straight after graduating from Cambridge. While in university I strongly felt the need for a tool that would have supported me in making “good” choices about my career – there was nothing out there though. I had no idea about what to do after university so I looked for advice but was only able to get suggestions and tips from my family and friends. I found myself anxious and confused throughout my studies. I had no idea what industry I wanted to work in, which possibilities were out there, and how or what to prepare for interviews and assessments. Justifiably or not, I felt at a constant disadvantage as everyone around me seemed to present strong commercial awareness and market understanding, I – on the other hand – was just a confused student. There was also a constant fear in the back of my head that I would graduate without a direction and waste years trying to find it. It was that experience – or frustration – that prompted me to create Pathfinder. The “lightbulb” moment came to me when I finally realised that wasn’t alone as I imagined; all of my friends were going through the same, and they all had nothing to turn to except for family and friends. Now, some were lucky enough to have parents or relatives working in sectors and positions they wanted to pursue so it was easy for them to receive advice and information. The rest of us (students) had a very hard time understanding how to go about deciding on a career and then preparing for it. Soon as I graduated I did my research and discovered that only a minority of graduates knew exactly what to do, typically those coming from vocational degrees, while the vast majority was just as confused as I was. Yes, obviously there are agencies and consultants specialised in providing career guidance to students but it didn’t seem like a viable system. First, it is expensive and limited so only a small part of students can receive guidance – what about all the rest? Second, as good as a career consultant can be, students will always have to do some work and research on their own after – they need a reliable tool to help them once they are done with the consultant and they are back in their rooms. Third, while doing my research I found that the most successful graduates are those who develop commercial awareness over time – these students build their professional profile in daily increments as part of their self-development and not as a last-minute task. Such discovery makes perfect sense and made me realise how wrong the current system is, in a way that is focused on boosting the employability level of a student at a specific point in time, usually at the end of the curriculum. It approaches the complex process of turning a student into a professional as a “task” while it really should be perceived as an “ongoing journey”. With Pathfinder I want to address all of this and to give students, graduates or even career changers the opportunity to make informed choices while providing them with preparation materials and information that are up to date, reliable and unbiased.
“Don’t be afraid to knock your product down.” Kim Aviv
What’s the story behind your success?I’ve never given up, and I never will. I’m always willing to put 110% of my energy in my work. I don’t believe in concepts like “burnout” or “occupational stress” – simply they don’t relate to me. I’ve been lucky enough to be born in a family of hard workers so I grew up with exceptionally strong role models which shaped my ideas about work and self-fulfillment. You can say that I’m relentless in pursuing my goals, which is sometimes funny as people (especially males) tend to think of blonde, young women as dolls – they never see me coming. You can say that I’m relentless in pursuing my goals, which is sometimes funny as people (especially males) tend to think of blonde, young women as dolls – they never see me coming. I’m also able to think fast to figure out the bigger picture quickly, this is a skill that has proven particularly useful helped throughout my journey as it has allowed me to approach problems and people from the right angle. I’m also able to think fast to figure out the bigger picture quickly, this is a skill that has proven particularly useful helped throughout my journey as it has allowed me to approach problems and people from the right angle.
What’s been your life’s biggest lesson so far?In business and in life you have to make perfectly detailed plans but always be ready to improvise on the spot. It’s ironic but my experience has really taught me the importance of dancing (I was a ballerina) between the expected and the unexpected. At first, I really struggled at this as I always strive for perfection and I’m very detailed oriented, planning is my second nature. When I started my business however I quickly realised that “improvising” is an essential part of the game, in the sense of finding solutions to new problems almost on the spot. As the founder of a startup, I have to face a number of extremely different tasks every day – some I might have planned for, others will come out of the blue. In such occasions, having a comprehensive understanding of all the moving parts at play allows to come up with solutions in an effective and quick way. And with time, it becomes easier.
What advice would you give to your younger self?I’m still pretty young so it’s a bit of a tricky question! Anyway, I would tell my younger self still at university to worry less about degrees and the skills. As I found once I’ve started my journey as an entrepreneur, you just can’t prepare yourself with the perfect skill set. Like it or not, there’s simply no such thing as the perfect recipe for success. The whole point is in fact about experimenting, testing your hypothesis, getting rid of what doesn’t work and iterate what does work. Resilience really is key. So I’d tell to my younger self to focus more on developing the right mindset and transferable knowledge.
What three tools makes your business run better?AI Marketing, Shopify, Facebook PR Groups
Where can we learn more about your business?www.pathfinder-software.com
Would you like to have your Founder story and business featured?