Matthew DeSantisFounder of MyBhutan Published On: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 Views 4045
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.”
The notion to do something for the community has constantly drove Matthew throughout his life. Launching a startup in a nation known for its communal strength to enable people there get employment, consequently, help their country grow, was a natural reaction to Matthew’s nature.
Matthew’s startup MyBhutan is Bhutan’s premium travel portal that makes it extremely easy for tourists to visit this only carbon-negative country in the world. A New York native, Matthew’s professional life is adorned with several honors & awards, which he has earned for his community works. With MyBhutan, he has a mission to transform the way people travel to Bhutan. Read his interview to learn more about his startup and his vision for worldwide communal growth.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
MyBhutan is Bhutan’s premier travel portal. As the country’s industry-wide services platform, we provide the fastest, most cost-effective way for tourists to visit Bhutan. Prior to MyBhutan, planning a trip and securing a visa to visit Bhutan was extremely difficult. MyBhutan’s advanced technology and unparalleled collection of content make the planning process incredibly easy. Further, with the removal of hidden fees, booking through MyBhutan is the cheapest way to visit. Beyond cross-industry growth, every trip booked aids the philanthropic activities of the Tarayana Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Her Majesty Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to protect the vulnerable communities of Bhutan.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Our inspiration was driven by our model’s envisioned impact on socio-economic development. The model establishes framework to allow developing countries to prevent growing inequality while still promoting trade liberalization and globalization.
MyBhutan supports thriving markets while still preserving its culture and enabling an inclusive approach to survive its traditional crafts – ultimately providing opportunity for locals across all industries. Eventually, we plan to introduce this philosophy to other governments in an effort to nurture a healthier universal platform to support globalization.
To do this we built a platform that finally makes travel to Bhutan easy.
What is your life mantra?
Stephen Hawking once said, “We explore because we are human”. Exploration is one of our most fundamental traits and we should, by all means, ensure that we never lose our inherent curiosity to do so.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
There is little difference between my standard weekdays and weekends.
How did you overcome those challenges?
I haven’t. When you become an entrepreneur, you commit to meshing your professional life with your personal life. Rather than trying to find the divide, entrepreneurs should better understand the passion that connects the two.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
I am a huge advocate of work environments that weigh personal development over a particular job function. By supporting employee wellness, education and interaction, a company builds a community around the work environment. With this, morale rises, so does innovation. MyBhutan is a family and we intend to keep it that way.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
DREAM – and you will be granted the courage to see.
UNDERSTAND – and you will be trusted to lead.
GIVE – and you will find reason.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
A startup team’s organization and communication are essential for long-term success. For this, I recommend Slack and Asana.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Read. Reading is the most accessible way to collect information. It also sparks creativity.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I’d like to sleep more!
Answer in less than 50 words
- One tip to success:
Your team is the success. Only hire people who are smarter than you.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Losing sight of cradling your lifeline. Focus on satisfying your customer’s needs. Always.
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Hiring people with previous startup experience will bring an invaluable set of knowledge to the table.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
To take Bhutan off your bucket list and create more opportunity for Bhutanese.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I would have committed more time to inventing earlier, particularly in college. With so much time and resource at your fingertips, college is a great time to start imagining how you’d like to change the world.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Small villages in Bhutan, trekking across a long mountain range, or any place with waves and a longboard.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” – Rumi