INTERVIEW | Getting to Know Maci Peterson
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur, developing the app, On Second Thought?
I am a born entrepreneur. When I was little, my mom had a basket business called Baskets of Joy. As a young child, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d reply, “I want to be a Baskets of Joy lady.” I didn’t realize I was actually saying I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The idea for On Second Thought was born out of sending a few texts I wished I could get back.
Tell us about On Second Thought.
On Second Thought is a messaging app that lets you take back text messages before they get to the other person’s phone. The app also has the Curfew feature, that is there to help during those times when inhibitions are lower than usual.
The app’s retention rate and download rates are high. What’s behind this success?
We’re thrilled the response and connection to the app has been so successful. With On Second Thought, we’ve solved a problem that people encounter on a daily basis. We’ve been successful because when people hear about OST and download the app, they realize how useful it is and they are grateful that it helps them navigate their text-driven lives. We’ve been extremely blessed, and our success can be attributed to three major factors: 1) Prayer 2) Solving a problem a common problem 3) Taking risks and seizing opportunities.
How did you get involved with the technology industry?
I got involved in the technology industry by having ideas for tech-driven companies.
Tell us about philanthropic efforts outside of your company.
I am an active member of my church, DC Metro Church in Alexandria, VA. I am also a member of Chapman50, an alumni board at my alma mater Chapman University.
What are some difficulties African-American women face in the technology industry?
Being an entrepreneur is challenging, and it’s not for everyone. In terms of difficulties, I only know my experience. I don’t know if challenges I’ve faced have been because I’m an African-American woman, or if they just come with the territory. Raising money is hard for everyone. I don’t know if my experience has been difficult because I’m a black woman or if it’s because the institutional capital funds in DC tend to shy away from investing in B2C companies. My partners and I have been focused on working with investors who can bring more than just money to the table, and that adds another level of complexity.
Name the biggest mistake young professionals make as entrepreneurs.
I think the worst thing that could happen for any person is to become a victim of their own hubris. Entrepreneurs, and people in general, need to be comfortable with the fact that we don’t know everything, and align ourselves with those who know more than us.
What advice would you give to other young professionals who desire to become a CEO one day?
Seek the truth about yourself, accept it and use it to fuel your drive. Whenever anyone tries to project things onto you that don’t align with that truth, brush it off and stick to what you know.
What’s been the best experience of your career?
My career has been filled with many great experiences. The best experiences are when people have shared their stories about how On Second Thought has saved them in what could have been precarious situations.
What’s next for you in your career?
I just left Marriott where I was a Brand Manager so I could give On Second Thought my undivided attention. I’m focused on building On Second Thought into an industry leader in the United States and abroad.
Describe yourself in three words.
Blessed, optimistic, ambitious
How can people reach you?