Go to the bottom of the Show Notes for cavnessHR affiliates and resources
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Social Media links for Skylar Below!!
Below is Bjorn’s book recommendations:
Fifty Self-Help Classics by Tom Butler Bowden
Link to purchase Bjorn’s book recommendation is below.
Jason: Hello, and welcome to the cavnessHR Podcast. I’m your host, Jason Cavness. Our guest today is Skylar Bjorn. Skylar, are you ready to be great today?
Skylar: Yeah, I’m ready to be great. So, hi, I’m Skylar Bjorn. Nice to meet you guys.
Jason: Skylar is an 18-year-old tech event blogger. Her interest in tech and business began when she was 14 years old. She started off with founding an organic dog treat line called “Bjornies”. By the time she was 15, she founded a club, had sat on a board for the past year, and received her first paid internship doing operations at a startup called Choctal. Her sales journey also began at 15 years old when Choctal had her sell at events, which led her to be recruited 8 times while in High School. By the time Skylar was 16 she had begun another job in sales and coded her first iPhone app called Closet Track. While a senior in high school, she programmed her second iPhone called Serene VR which is a meditation virtual reality app. Currently, Skylar is a freshman at Loyola Marymount University, class of 2021, which is located in LA. Since college started, she has begun another job as an assistant for an entrepreneur in Playa Del Rey, California, her new tech blog @skylarbjorn, and is a social media manager. Skylar has also been working on her new startup called “Closet Spark” which uses fashion AI. Skylar, you are doing a lot.
Skylar: Thank you.
Jason: You’re you doing some good things. That's really, really impressive.
Skylar: Thank you. I’m flattered.
Jason: You have a lot keeping you busy right now but what is it that you’re focusing on right now?
Skylar: I’d say Closet Spark. The new iPhone app that I’ve been working on, like the proto-tech design, like how to market it and stuff.
Jason: So, what does Closet Spark do?
Skylar: So, it's a fashion AI app – I have not programmed it yet, I'm still figuring out how to program the bot, if it can work. There’s a better recommendation process for our clothing. So I feel like the recommendation process like what people like isn't good enough, so I feel like it should be better.
Jason: So, I'm guessing you’re pretty involved in the LA tech startup, aren’t you?
Skylar: Yeah so I get to do tons of different events. So I meet different people. It's pretty interesting. I've usually seen no one really my age – everyone's usually late 30’s, 40’s. It's cool meeting a wide range of people. But I’m also a sales person so I’m used to talking to all sorts of different people from all sorts of different backgrounds, so that is really interesting.
Jason: So, Skylar, (I might get this stat wrong) but there's a stat somewhere that says though 80 to 90% of young elementary school girls are interested in STEM, by the time they get to high school, it goes down to 5 or 10%. Why did you stay interested in STEM and so many other young ladies lose interest?
Skylar: Well, I didn't even become interested until I was fifteen. I guess I just stayed interested because I constantly surround myself by it. Usually, when they’re younger, they don’t really know exactly what they want. Because I used to do acting and then I realized I didn't want to do acting and I realized that I’d rather do tech business stuff. So, I don't really know the answer.
Jason: That’s fine. So, how do you stay so focused? Most people are scatter-brained, they can't focus on one thing and you’re doing a lot of things at a young age. How do you stay so focused?
Skylar: So, I tend to deviate from the norms. So, let’s say everyone listens to this one song, or they all follow a certain trend. I don't follow the same trend. Instead of following the common path, I create my own in a different way. So, most weekends when people are staying up late, going out to parties or something, I’m usually at home coding or reading. So, focus just put me more ahead, and I don't get caught up in drama stuff. Because whenever I do get caught up in drama stuff, it takes so many hours out of my life because then I’m constantly thinking about it. Which is kind of like a waste because it's not really going to matter a year or even a week from now. So why waste all this time on it when I could be working on other things?
Jason: That’s a great perspective. And – kind of like the same question – so you’re doing a lot of great things, and most people can’t even handle one; what’s your secret? Do you have a secret way to organize things or a certain type of tool you use? How do you accomplish all this and stay sane?
Skylar: So, the first years of high school, I went to a normal brick and mortar school, called San Marino High School, and for the second two years of high school, I went to an online high school. So, when I was in online high school, I was at home, I had to become productive. Because, if I fell behind on things, then I'd have to do over all these lessons. So I had to schedule things. So what I initially did was, at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m., I’d go running and then I’d do yoga, and then usually I do this thing called visionary for 5 minutes. Then I follow this five by fifty principle. So I work in 50-minute blocks and I’d take a 10-minute break.
Jason: So with all these great opportunities in front of you, how hard or easy is it for you to stay in college right now? Because I would have to think you get a lot of opportunities and offers to go do some great things in the tech world in LA. How do you stay focused on college?
Skylar: So, in college, a lot of people, because they're young – especially as freshman. They just think, “oh, I have so much time and I'll start after college and start working on what I want to work on.” I'm like, “oh, no, you should start now.” So, I just like to read a lot and so I'm really forward-thinking. I guess I think about everything in the long term. See most people just think in the short term like, “oh, just have fun in the moment,” I'm like, “no,” because this is like a ripple effect and it affects everything else. So I just see everything in the long term. I think wasting my Friday nights or Sunday nights doing the same thing over and over, that's not pushing me forward, I think it's a waste.
Jason: Yes, you have a great outlook. If only more people were to think like you. Most people my age don't get that – they’re always in the moment and the next day – they don't have long-term thinking, unfortunately.
Skylar: I think long term thinking is so important, that's why I do visionary – because, when you do visionary. You think about where you want to be the future and then it's like waking up with that vision.
Jason: Yes, exactly. So, Skylar, talk about a time you were successful in the past, what you learned from this success and what we can learn from this.
Skylar: I'd say I was successful when I successfully launched my app Closet Track. I didn't start coding at a younger age or anything. I just kind of learned it when I was sixteen. It took a while but the fact that I was successfully able to build my first app was impressive. So, I had to recode it a couple times; I remember texting my friends, “I'm going to have to recode. I'm going to do it – I did it once, I can do it again.” Because I kept getting all these errors. I didn't even know how to fix this and so I have to recode it, and I couldn’t even figure it out. So I used to do stack overflow for my column and I’m pretty sure I was banned from stack overflow because I was asking so many questions and then it launched in the App Store and I was super happy.
Jason: That’s great. Next, talk about a time you failed in the past, what you learned from this, and what we can learn.
Skylar: So, when I was sixteen, I somehow got put on the Cal Tech entrepreneur club mailing list – I don't know how. So I started getting all these emails and then I got something about a thing called Zap. I didn't know you had to be eighteen and in college to go, and I was in high school. So then I went and I was at Cal Tech and it was for two weeks. But it was only two days (it was one day a week). So I went and I successfully pitched my business model and then I had to do an interview. I ended up interviewing people to see if they wanted to use the Closet Track app. But, on next week, the lady got really mad at me and she was like, “are you in college?” I was like, “no, I'm in high school.” She yelled at me in front of the whole room and it was kind of awkward and I was like, “okay, I'll leave now.” I walked out the room and so I guess it was kind of like a failure because I got kicked out of Cal Tech.
Jason: That's a great story, though.
Skylar: Yeah, that’s when I was sixteen. But then I actually made friends because there’s some upper graduate students in the class and I went to another event at Cal Tech and I kind of became friends with them and they were working on a startup called Astrogo. But that was like two years ago, so I haven’t really talked to them lately.
Jason: Skylar, can you tell us someone who's helped you in the past and how they helped you?
Skylar: My mom always drives me to do different things. So she helps – ever since I was young – and has given me that drive. My dad, he's helped me too. So he introduced me to all these different self-help books. I remember, I think I was fifteen, and I think I was just like sitting on my bed or something and my dad was like, “read this.” My dad's a product manager and he talks a lot. He would randomly come into my room and sit there and talk for a few hours until I start falling asleep. I mean, he's entertaining, but it’s like 11:00 p.m. and I usually pass out at 10:00 p.m. But it’s entertaining because he talks a lot and it’s about tech stuff. I guess he’s kind of like a mentor.
Jason: Yes. So can you tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know? Like your family knows, close friends know, but most people who deal with you day to day don't know this about you.
Skylar: So I used to act and so I was actually on Disney channel this one time when I was fourteen. I had to audition, though, to be on the game show called Win, Lose or Draw. So a lot of people don't know I was on Disney – it was only one episode, thirty minutes. But it was really fun and I felt like a star that day. They'd have water breaks and makeup breaks and it was really fun. I was fourteen I was in the same show and I met a couple celebrities (Disney celebrities). So a lot of people don't know that, unless we’re close friends and I tell them.
Jason: Yes. So, Skylar, I understand you have a book to recommend to our listeners.
Skylar: So, I recommend the fifty self-help classics by Tom Butler Bowden. That one really changed my mind. I didn't really think that your thoughts affect you that much until I read that book. I didn't realize you create your mind. I used to think that I just thought in a certain way. I never really thought about it and I was like, what I think really changes my life. It's like all about your perspective, and I didn’t know that. That book was just really good, just changed everything for me. I think it made me more confident. I guess I was confident before but it made them more and I was like, yeah, it’s all in my head.
Jason: Skylar, so all the tech events that you go to, do you get invited or do you just show and then start blogging about it?
Skylar: Some things I do get invited to but, most of them, I don't know.
Jason: Next, can you share your social media links so our listeners can reach out to you?
Skylar: On Instagram, I am @skylarbjorn, and then my website is bjornsky.com.
Jason: For our listeners, we’re going to have the links to her book recommendation and all her social media in the show notes. So, Skylar, for all the things you’re doing, what is the one you like doing the most? What brings you the most joy and the most fun? Or are they all equal in your eye? Like if someone said you can only do one thing from now on, what would you pick?
Skylar: I’d just say tech stuff, in general, and business stuff.
Jason: So what’s your long-term plan, like five/ten years from now. Are you going to start another company, are you going to continue tech startups in the foreseeable future, or what’s your future plans right now?
Skylar: So I'm a freshman in college right now. My plan is to grow my blog, big, so I have a personal brand. Then I'm going to work on Closet Spark. So then Closet Spark will then open me up to the “world of artificial intelligence.” But my big, big plan is to become a synthetic biology entrepreneur. Because I really like synthetic biology, so that would be a lot of research. But I need to build myself up mentally. I need to do all sorts of things like reading and stuff. I just really need to build up myself mentally to believe I can do it. Because that's pretty hard doing synthetic biology and so that's really my long-term plan. So I just really like synthetic biology and living forever and stuff and I’m just really obsessed with advancing the human body – it just amazes me.
Jason: Yes. So, Skylar, for those who don't know, what exactly is a tech event blog, like what does that mean?
Skylar: So, I live in Los Angeles and I go to school at Loyola Marymount University which is right in the Vista West Chester area. So Santa Monica, (or I don’t know if it’s all of Los Angeles), is considered “Silicon Beach” so there's tons of events always in Santa Monica and downtown L.A. So I usually just drive to Santa Monica and downtown LA and I’ll blog about the events. So I’ll write about what I learned. I'll take some pictures; and it’s kind of interesting because when I go. I network and I meet people, too. So, essentially, a tech blogger is going to events and blogging about them and finding events where they talk about tech stuff or business stuff.
Jason: So, you worked at this startup called Choctal at 15, how did that happen? Did you go find them, did they find you? Because it's not the norm to have a 15-year-old person working at any business, much less a startup. What’s that story?
Skylar: So I went to this food convention and so there is a stand – it was Choctal – and the CEOs were there. Because it was a big convention and usually the companies go and so I was like, “can I have an internship?” Then he was like, “yeah, sure.” Then I got the internship and then I went in for an interview and he said he was so impressed by me that he decided to employ me so then I actually got paid for it. I was going to do it for free but I got paid.
Jason: That’s a great story. Skylar, we’ve come to the end of our talk, can you provide our listeners with any advice or wisdom that you have on anything?
Skylar: Throughout high school, I never went to parties. I was at home most weekends reading or coding. I just really liked maximizing my time. Waking up at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. has made me the most productive. If I go to bed later, then my day’s practically ruined if I wake up late. have to wake up early because something about waking up early just sets my mind. Because you’re completely alone because no one’s really up early. I just think really maximizing your time and figuring out the perfect schedule that makes you productive. I'm sure everyone's different with how they're going to be productive But figuring out how to be most productive is what really helps me. And not getting your mind fogged by daily worries of life. You just need a clear mind and a productive schedule.
Jason: Thank you, Skylar. Skylar, thank you for being on our podcast today. You brought a lot of value. You’re a very impressive young lady, you’re doing a lot, and you have a bright future in front of you. Thank you very much.
Skylar: Oh, thank you. Thanks for having me, this was pretty cool. And to the people on live, thanks for watching to the end.
Jason: To our listeners, thank you for your time as well, and remember to be great every day.
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