Interview with Robert Musterer
Robert Musterer is President and founder of the life sciences consulting firm ER Squared, Inc
. and the start-up website UltiCareer
. ER Squared provides outstanding quality and value to our customers covering a wide spectrum of projects for clients ranging from top 15 Pharmaceutical firms, small Biotech companies, CROs, product vendors, and investors. UltiCareer is a community website dedicated to helping people answer the age-old question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. The vision of UltiCareer is become the ultimate career research site.
Very interesting. So how does UltiCareer help people answer that question?
So how do we go about helping people answer that age old question? We do it in a couple of ways. First and foremost we provide the community Web site ulticareer.com where people can go on and search a database of job descriptions. Our intention is to have this be a community database where people from all walks of life share and submit descriptions. What a day in life the type of job is really like- what they like about what they dislike about it and also what someone should do to prepare themselves if they are interested in pursuing that type of career. That's basically a text based database. We've recently added a new feature we we are calling career talks where we are going to have video interviews very much like the one I'm doing right now here for Lama where people are describing what a day in the life of their type a job is really like. We are building this database at this present time and so we are encouraging people to provide submissions that describe what their type of job is like what their career is like. So basically to add value to the broader community by helping students and anyone else to answer the age old question. Now we have very ambitious goals for our site. So we've just started writing an e-book on career topics. We have a pretty extensive blog on career related topics as well. We're going to continue fleshing out a career related resources on our site over time as well. But we have to start somewhere and where we are today is we're at the promotional stage where we are getting word out about Ulticareer and encouraging everyone each and everyone-such as you listening to me right now! To go on to pretty clear outcome and share descriptions of what life your type of job is really like.
What are the greatest challenges in doing so?
Yes there are challenges. There are always challenges. It seems like one of the greatest challenges we face is that people have just been so inundated they are overwhelmed with requests coming at them from every angle, every minute of the day. Everywhere they look there's another advertisement in front of them and it's getting to the point where people have become very suspicious of the motives of them. Of anybody trying to reach out to them. So one of our greatest challenges is how do we get our message to resonate with people? We think it's a very basic message that by simply sharing your career insights in your career story with your Ulticareer.com you're basically helping other people. And it's a way to feel good about yourself. When we meet people one on one it resonates with them. They get it. But having to meet people one on one just can not scale. So we need to be exploring new avenues for outreach efforts to get people to appreciate our message and join our vision and share their career stories with ulticareer.com. Other challenges? Let's face it, I'm basically paying for all of this right now. Now it's strictly a bootstrapped approach and I need to come up with other ways to look at ways to perhaps start monetizing the site and ways to pursue external financing to support the continued development of Ulticareer outcome.
Fantastic, could you please share what led you to founding UltiCareer?
Oh so what led me to found Ulticareer? A little bit of a story but I try to keep it short. I was working in the pharmaceutical industry and the company I was working for at the time was closing the plant here in Connecticut and relocating to another state. Because I have children who were either in high school about to start high school, we made a family decision that we weren't going to relocate. When I told my management chain that my management chain was all German they asked me to stay on for three years. I looked at them like they had two heads said I'm an American. I'm thinking two weeks and you're asking me for three years? So we compromised and I agreed to stay on for a year and a half to get me to my 20 year anniversary in a slightly better severance package. But more importantly it gave me time to think about what opportunities are out there and a great lesson learned here- When you take that time there are more opportunities and we have time to pursue. Which is how I eventually come around to the concept of Ulticareer because I considered a variety of options during that year and a half. And one of those was creating a series of Web sites. One of those being ulticareer now it started immediately I started a consulting firm first because I figured that had a better chance of financial viability and after doing consulting for close to 10 years I decided it was time to put my money where my thoughts were and I started the development of ulticareer.com And then it is now at the stage where we are starting to market the product and encourage people to provide submissions into it. So that's where we are today with ulticareer.
What are the lessons learned that you’d like to share?
Lessons learned! There are a ton of lessons I learned over the course of my career. But I think I'll focus on three top ones that I think are important to share. First and foremost is as I described when I talked about my story about how I decided to found a career. If you take the time to reflect, there are so many opportunities out there. It becomes just a matter of which ones can you pursue. What's most appealing to you? What you have the time and resources to go after? There are a plethora of opportunities out there if we just take the time to reflect and think about it. Second lesson learned is that- you can have the greatest of altruistic motives but they're going to fall flat if you can't come up with a way of tying revenue to that motive. So you can continue to fund it, to keep it moving forward- think of a Church having to take the collection each and every week. It's the same thing. The third one that people are just becoming harder and harder to reach. Yes we've got a abundance of tools now, the social media, the traditional advertising vehicles out there. But people have become so inundated that they are becoming weary of being bombarded with messages every day, every second of the day. Their becoming so suspicious that it's getting harder and harder to reach people than it ever was before maybe not to reach them but it's harder to resonate with them to get them to stop and listen to you and act upon your message.
What's next for your work with UltiCareer? What are the main projects, partnerships and technologies you'll be focusing on in 2019?
So what's next for your career. Well our goals for 2019 are to start pivoting away from the approach we've been taking which was highly dependent on one to one interactions and focus much more on developing relationships with corporations and organizations. Our view is we would like to position Ulticareer as a public relations platform for corporations to use where they can have a showcase page and they can talk about their company culture their values and how they contribute to society and then have interviews with job holders within that company update the descriptions and on our career talks page. Beyond that we are looking at doing some partnerships with professional organizations as well as providers of different technologies such as the lama platform for doing video such as this so we're going to be taking a look at greater use of video Web conferencing as recorded means for getting some of our content. In addition to just the traditional onsite recorded approach and then we're going to be continuing to evaluate how we can add additional functionality to our site and improve options for monetizing it such as providing like brokerage services to offer career related materials that's a pretty tall order for a company of our size to pursue in one year and be great if I can come back to you. This time next year and tell you how successful we've been. And for a closing remark towards help driving that success- help us get the word out about ulticareer and share your career descriptions with us that be great. Thank you.
Hi Robert! Could you please introduce yourself and UltiCareer?
Hello! Pleasure to have a chance to talk to you today. So my name is Robert Musterer. I am the founder of the startup website ulticareer.com and we are on a mission to help people answer the age old question- What do you want to be when you grow up? Our target audience is basically students and anyone considering a career change and the way we go about it is by providing this platform for them to explore a real life job descriptions for people just like yourselves to get a much better sense of what various jobs are really like. In a sense you can think of Lama and ulticareer as being bookends to one another. Whereas Lama is focusing on providing a platform for entrepreneurs basically established leaders. Ulticareer is at the beginning of the pipeline where we are providing a resource for people to explore various career options and get a much better sense of what type of career they would like to pursue and hopefully become the future leaders of tomorrow.