The J. David Group

Turning A Career Frustration Into The Inspiration For A Startup with Kayvon Touran

In this episode I had the pleasure of speaking with Kayvon Touran, CEO and Co-Founder of

He shared how a career frustration he had inspired Zal which helps organizations implement career pathing and specifically to help them contextualize, apply and measure the efficacy of their learning and development programs. 

That said, more than anything, this episode is about the start of an entrepreneurial journey and how to take an idea and see it through all the way to builing a product with a market and a strategy to sell it. Lots of leanings along the way. 


Kayvons Linkedin Profile


The ideation phase ([00:02:05]) Kayvon’s journey in early stage technology startups.

The need for context in learning and development programs ([00:03:19]) Kayvon’s realization of the context problem in workforce development and the need for personalized, dynamic, and applicable learning content.

Challenges in career pathing implementation ([00:05:25]) The difficulties and opportunities in implementing career pathing, the value of career pathing, and its challenges in terms of cost and time.

Creating alignment between strategic initiatives and career goals ([00:07:11]) The importance of creating alignment between an organization’s strategic initiatives and employees’ career goals, and the challenges faced in achieving this alignment.

The messy process of ideation and information gathering ([00:16:56]) The chaotic process of gathering information, following instincts, and overcoming doubts during the ideation phase.

Judging information and separating signal from noise ([00:19:58]) Kayvon’s intuitive approach to processing information and the importance of combining different perspectives to determine the accuracy of the information.

Resources for Research ([00:21:40]) Kayvon talks about the various resources used for research, including programs and homegrown research.

Challenges in Job Architecture ([00:25:33]) Kayvon explains the challenges faced by companies in creating accurate job architecture and how Zol addresses these issues.

Career Path Tool and Skill Verification ([00:28:44]) Kayvon details the features of the career path tool and the importance of skill verification in their platform.

Staying Disciplined in Feature Development ([00:30:54]) Kayvon discusses the discipline required to avoid building unnecessary features and the focus on delivering value to users.

Building the First AI MVP ([00:31:29]) Kayvon explains the process of creating the first AI minimum viable product and the value-driven approach to development.

Customer Acquisition Strategy ([00:37:40]) Kayvon shares the strategy of building a community of interested individuals and incorporating customer feedback into the product development process.

Pricing and Commercializing ([00:40:39]) Discussion on pricing strategies and challenges in quantifying the value of solutions for changing job dynamics.

Iterative Process and Refinement ([00:41:27]) Emphasizing the iterative approach in developing the business, including pricing strategies and market positioning.

Investing in Company Growth ([00:45:38]) Strategies for reinvesting in the company to enhance product offerings and expand the customer base.

Target Market Segmentation ([00:49:40]) Segmenting the target market based on company size and tailoring offerings to specific audience and organizational needs.


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