We had the good fortune of connecting with Shawn Woodall and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shawn, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind my success is people. I don’t think I would have had any success without other people believing in me and the vision that I have. I have a very high amount of determination and grit to make things happen, but I realized through this process of becoming an entrepreneur that it’s the connections that I’ve made that keep me going. I have an amazing family that support me as well as awesome friends that help out and support in anyway they can. I’ve even met people that were once strangers that are now good friends and they give me contacts, tell people about my services and encourage me to go further.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Thanks for asking this. My career is one of perseverance and determination. I believe that is what sets me apart from others. My Alma Mater, Clark Atlanta University has a school Motto, it is, “I’ll Find a Way or Make One”. That line is engrained into my personality. I was always a determined person but hearing that and being around people that embodied it made me who I am today. When I graduated from Clark with my degree in Computer Science it was very difficult for me to get my career going because I had no experience, I worked all sorts of jobs to try and jumpstart my career. The thing that helped the most is that, I used the money that I got from family and friends for graduating college to build a custom computer. The point of building this computer was to have something I could use to build websites for people. I learned that if I just had what I needed I could make my own experience. Building websites for people built up a portfolio as well as gave me real world experience that companies wanted. There were lots of companies who only talked to me because they knew I was at least capable. So many doors opened in my life because of that investment in myself, I learned a lot about development and made some money too. Even with my self starter attitude it was still difficult because there were lots of NO’s along the way, but I pushed through those because I knew I had what it takes. One lesson that I have learned along the way is that anything can be done. There is a line from Jay-Z where he says “Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week”, I take that message with me everyday. What I want the world to know about my brand is that we want to push the youth forward through building their problem solving skills. Just like every other generation this next generation will make their mark by the problems that they solve. I believe building a kids problem solving skills is one of the most important life skills they can have, because if they can think through things even when they done know what’s ahead they can accomplish anything.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my friend came to Atlanta for a week long trip, I would make sure they came to Atlanta on a weekend where there was a festival like the Jazz Festival or One Music Fest. Coming on a weekend like that guarantees that there will me a multitude of things to do. There are lots of great restaurants here in Atlanta , but I would make sure we went to Community Barbeque, Various places on the belt line where you can just hangout, Superica which is my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant ever, A nice Korean BBQ place(I like a bunch of them, so we will pick whatever is close to where we happen to be), Busy Bee, and Lastly we would go to the Municipal Market for Arepas. Night life would include hanging out in East Atlanta, a visit to The Painted Pin, Movies and The Battery Park in Smyrna.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are a bunch of people that deserve recognition for any amount of success that I have had with Code Elephant. I’ll only mention them by their first name because they all know who they are. First and foremost is my wife Emma for encouraging and challenging me to really go after things when I want to take it slow. Terrence for always being a willing hand in helping with whatever we need. Autumn for hearing my vision and immediately showing me the way. Cliff for making the visual effects that everybody loves. William for being my presentation coach. Shafeeq for proofreading my material and giving me real advice as a teacher. All my friend’s kids who critiqued my logo. Dominique for helping with various things, you’ve been one of my sounding boards. Mrs Dover for opening doors, that were once closed. Charles for being the person I didn’t know I needed. We have some amazing parent advocates like Ericka, Eman, Shona, and Ena, there are many others and we appreciate them all for anything they have done. Lastly, anybody like Iva that has shared or posted about us I truly appreciate it and any parent that trusted me teaching their kid problem solving and how to code.