‘Exit Interview’ Founder Javona White Bear Shares How Her New Platform Will Change the Way People Exit Relationships.
Ever been in a relationship that went awry but you had no way to know why or how? Think of how much the relationship would have been if you were able to part ways with the information you needed to know about what went wrong? Exit Interview Online might be the answer to that. Exit Interview Online’s web based platform lets users build personalized exit interview requests by selecting from a set of tailored questions, developed by an on-staff therapist. Interviews are confidential, anonymous, and can be sent to anyone via text, email, or by requesting a phone consultation with a therapist.
Exit Interview Online was founded and developed by Javona White Bear in San Francisco, CA during her graduate work at University of California San Francisco after earning an undergraduate degree in Computer Science at University of Michigan.I caught up with Javona to go #behindthebrand. Check it out below!
Rana Campbell (RC): What inspired you to start Exit Interview?
Jevona White (JW): I saw a lack of communication in today’s relationships. People date a lot more now with online dating, but there’s alot more internal work and reflection that we need. We see a general trend toward that whole hookup culture. I was hoping to mitigate that.
RC: What is Exit Interview?
JW: You log in and create an account. You select someone to send a questionnaire to via email or text. Or, you can schedule an actual counseling session. You fill out questions for the interview. We have a list of questions that were written by our social worker. They are not to be confrontational. We really want people to communicate and get quality feedback. The person has 2-3 weeks to respond and after that you get another text or email that they responded and you can look at their responses and decide what you want to do from there.
RC: Why did you decide to call the company ‘Exit Interview’?
JW: I thought it was very interesting that you go to jobs and every time you leave the job, they give you this exit interview. I’m not sure what they do with the data. I thought, “Why aren’t we doing that in the most important relationships in our lives?” Jobs are great but you change jobs quite a bit. Our families, friends, and relationships are the most important relationships in our lives.
Our families, friends, and relationships are the most important relationships in our lives.
That’s a burning disadvantage in our lives.
RC: How will Exit Interview change the “online relationship” industry?
JW: I would like to think that it will push people to reflect more on their relationships and value people more. What I’ve seen is a devaluing of the other person and the experience. I hope that this pushes people to increase their own awareness and to provide better quality relationships for everyone. More of “I’ve learned from this experience and I want to go on and have quality relationships in my life.” This isn’t only for dating. We provide questions for all kind of relationships: family, friendships, or any other relationship in your life. We all need to take some time to look and see what the real problem was and is this something that can be addressed.
RC: What has it been like building the platform?
JW: I am a computer scientist. My main focus is more on developing a good platform that has a good user experience and is well programmed. There’s startup costs involved. There’s also building a team that is going to support what you are trying to do in a positive fashion. I’m happy that we are working with a social work community. This is not something I dreamt up and decided “I know what’s best.” There’s alot of research and work behind it.
RC: How do you build a team that is competent to serve the users you target?
JW: I went to a fairly large school that has a pretty strong social work community and I stayed pretty involved. I did alot of tutoring in underserved communities and working with different levels of social workers in those groups. I was able to reach out to them when I started those projects. Alot were excited to get involved. They wanted to help reach more people. They wanted people to express themselves. It’s what they dedicated their lives to. I was pretty pleased with the positive responses. The biggest factor to accessing that network is being involved in it. Even though I am mostly a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) person, I am from an underserved community and a woman of color. Giving back is a really big part of my life.
RC: What have been some successes and how have you used them to move forward?
JW: Positive feedback. Support from my primary network. All of that coming together at the right time and moments were my biggest successes. I’m still growing so I’m looking for more users and buy-ins.
RC: How do you see Exit Interview growing into a full-fledged business that can pay for itself?
JW: Initially, I would like to have greater buy-in from the online dating community and people from different relationships at the free-level. Eventually, I’d like to develop revenue. We have three main tiers. There’s a text service that is $.99. That will pay for all costs. The premium tier is $29.99 but you get alot more services: You get a session with an actual counselor. We don’t need alot of revenue to cover the actual cost. The main focus is on actual building and building. With my background, we don’t have to worry about the technology, so we don’t have to worry about the costs.
RC: How will Exit Interview change people’s lives?
JW: You’ll have a lot more information about how to approach that person and how to discuss what the problem is. What happens in a lot of relationships is both people get into this place where they are not communicative or talking to each other. When they talk, it’s coming from a place of hurt. There’s always emotions swinging around. What my platform is going to do is provide a neutral “safe place” to begin the discussion without having a heated exchange and giving real key talking points and time to try to see it from the other’s person’s perspective.
What happens in a lot of relationships is both people get into this place where they are not communicative or talking to each other. When they talk, it’s coming from a place of hurt. There’s always emotions swinging around. What my platform is going to do is provide a neutral “safe place” to begin the discussion without having a heated exchange and giving real key talking points and time to try to see it from the other’s person’s perspective.
If you do that, I think that you can build stronger relationships versus having an argument and then storming out (like alot of people do).
RC: Along this entrepreneurial journey, how important has it been for you to brand yourself?
JW: By nature, I am pretty reserved. For me the reaching out and marketing has involved putting myself out there, being more open, and be the voice and face. It’s about making this relatable and trying to answer questions about the platform. Being aggressive has been my approach to marketing. That involved a lot of follow-up, making pointed suggestions such as, “If this isn’t going to work, what is going to work? Can we do this?” You have to take off that barrier of, “Oh, I don’t want to bother people!” and removing the filter. You have to say, “I think this is a good idea and I think you’ll think that this is a good idea.”
RC: What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur who has an idea but no guidance on what to do next?
JW: Sit down and think about where you want the idea to go in the long-term.
Sit down and think about where you want the idea to go in the long-term.
Have a daily plan about what you can do each day to get yourself to that point. Keep moving forward. You are going to have setbacks in any venture that you start or anything that you try to do. Know that the next day is going to be better.
Would you use a service like Exit Interview? Let me know in the COMMENTS section.
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