Finding the Right Business Leadership Style for Your Startup Yahoo Finance Australia
“startups when:1d” – Google News
Ok here’s the deal. I started a digital agency 6 years ago with a chap I worked with at an IT company. 7 months ago, I sold my shares to him because I felt we weren’t delivering the quality of work / working with clients that I aligned with – I didn’t get a restraint of trade because digital is my craft. We had a team of 7 and built it to the point where we had solid cash flow and a core group of clients, but it just wasn’t my jam.
I’m passionate about digital commerce + cutting edge stuff, he liked small businesses – so there was a huge disconnect in where we were passionate / where we could build value.
Over the past 6 months I have built another agency that focuses on 80% digital commerce – its going swimmingly to be honest. Turnover of 35k a month on average with this looking to increase from here. The profits margins are insanely high because a lot of the work is done by me. I specialise in the digital side of things – PPC, SEO and high level strategy – mainly digital performance based stuff.
I am technical enough to manage dev ops and can use XD to the point where I can mock up wireframes and hand then over to UI guys to make them look pretty.
I have a team of devs I use (that i have used for 3-4 years) and they are “ok”, a lot of managing and a lot of bug testing – the end product always turns out good though because they do what you ask, but just dont have the X factor when it comes to development (most outsourced dev outfits are like this IMO).
I have a few contract UI guys and although the work they do is good, its still missing that 20% that takes an ok design to an amazing design. This is generally due to the disconnect between the designers and devs. Some of the best projects I have worked on is when they communicate directly and can have open and honest convos about what animation, where, how it should behave in screen X vs screen Y – all of those final touches that make a web presence amazing.
My plan is to run my current setup like it is now to the end of the year and make a decent buck at the end of the year. In the new year – I want to take it and scale it. I strongly believe that by the end of 2021 we could easily hit the 2m mark (have done it before but with a completely different set of clientele), with a set of large retail / ecommerce brands as our core clientele….. These higher end clients always appeal to me because:
A) Larger paid budgets so the retainers are generally a lot juicer + it allows search guys to actually drill down and fine tune their craft – not work on 100+ smaller accounts that are, well, shit and boring.
B) More technical requirements for web – more complex website = more hours = bigger projects. Once again, more room for devs and designers to properly get their teeth sunk in to projects to produce industry leading platforms. Not a lot you really do for a client that has a 5k budget apart from banging up something that “works”, but is by no means “wow”
C) Way more recognition and the potential to start hitting exponential growth once you have landed a few whales are huge (there is an agency where I live that have done just this and now look after some MASSIVE brands world wide)
To do the above, I really need people who are some of the best / motivated in their field. I have worked with lots of devs who are ‘ok’, lots of designers who are ‘ok’, but the majority of contractors that you pay $ 30-$ 40 an hour to are there for the pay check and I have found aren’t able to properly take full responsibility for an outcome (I realise this could just be a bias).
Now, this isn’t a “a want the whales to come to me” post. I actually work on some worldwide brands that pay very hefty retainers. This is on the search and organic side, and I am gearing up to roll out a new web solution to them. But, before I do that, I want the right people on board.
After many hours thinking, weighing up options and and generally banging my head trying to get out of this paradox, I have finally realised that the only option to create beautiful things, is to dilute my share holding and find people who have the potential to be the best in their field – and give them a piece of the pie.
For instance, development is a whole other world and so much time is burned going back and forth between my dev team….
So I need a CTO / Technical lead that can:
A) Do the dev work at the start B) Come up with a workflow and choose scaleable frameworks that fit with what we want to do C) Help find other devs, induct them in to the fold of the way OUR dev ops works.
I will also need a creative director that can:
A) Do the UX/UI work at the start B) Come up with a design framework C) Find other designers who fit well with the way we flow.
I’m writing this because I literally do not know where to start with finding these guys. I believe it’ll take some time to find those that have the technical acumen but are also willing to grow this to something amazing AND can communicate within a team (once again, yet to find a dev that can communicate properly – once again, could be a bias and I could just be working with the wrong types of devs).
Reddit, any thoughts on how I can do this….
Suppose you're a one-man company, you are fundraising, securing leads, marketing. However there is no working MVP yet. Not talking about myself here but someone I've seen elsewhere is looking for someone to build the MVP.
What is the better plan to build it: Get a technical co-founder to build it or do you contract out a developer for some X number of months?
They're considering the former. Is it necessarily better to have a tech co-founder as the first person to develop the MVP?
Suppose you went with the co-founder route. Do you normally vet them by giving them a short trial period to see if are good co-founder material? Or is it uncommon to do that? They are trying to do that, to get a feel for someone for about 4-6 weeks before they can be sure, of "this is the person I want to move my company forward with."
I'm arguing more against it. My clearest argument to them is that they're slicing up the pie way too quickly, and getting a contractor can concentrate all their focus on delivering the MVP.
I'm almost 100% sure they're trying to reaching out to people they don't know well, because it seems he doesn't really know any developer well enough yet.
Justin Kan and Robin Chan have each been angel investing for more than a decade. They’re starting a new fund together now, though, to stay involved as cofounders of more startups.
Goat Capital is a hybrid incubator versus a pure seed investment firm, Chan explains. It will be writing checks ranging between roughly half a million and $ 3 million dollars, and it is only planning to raise $ 40 million — so the checks will be selective.
The offering is that “you’re going to be working with Justin and Robin,” he says, as a direct collaboration to help your company succeed. With $ 25 million closed already from themselves and several family offices, the fund has begun investing globally with particular interests in digital health, ecommerce, digital entertainment and gaming, robotics and climate change.
The goal is not just about being the Greatest Of All Time, Kan adds. In a startup, you “climb high heights and eat shit to get there. That tenacity is what we want.”
It’s a nod to their own successes and struggles as founders over the years, and what they have seen as investors and advisors to a wide range of companies around the world (Twitter, Xiaomi, Bird, Uber, Square, Ginkgo Bioworks, Scale.ai, Cruise, Razorpay, Xendit, Equipment Share, Wave, Teachable, Semantic Machines, Rippling, Built Robotics, etc.)
Kan was a cofounder of Justin.tv, which became Twitch as well as Socialcam. He later had an on-demand company called Exec and previously a calendar app called Kiko, both of which sold for small amounts. Most recently, he took a big shot at the traditional legal industry with Atrium, a law firm and legal software startup that raised big rounds of funding before shuttering earlier this year.
His prototype for Goat is Alto Pharmacy, a booming digital health unicorn today that the founders started in his living room.
“We do think founders should be treated like athletes, going for gold really hard… the Olympic metaphor,” Kan qualifies about the name. “That means grinding for years — and having to rest, too. I’m very passionate about mental health and wellness as part of the journey.” (More on that here.)
Chan, meanwhile, sold his gaming startup in China to Zynga a decade ago, then helped lead a failed attempt to buy Blackberry before founding Operator, a well-funded ecommerce company that closed a few years ago. During the pandemic, he helped create Operation Masks, a nonprofit that has been providing PPE across the US. He’s also an ongoing advisor to Sleeper, Bird, Expa and Flipboard.
The focus will be fully global now. Chan explains that even though you’re seeing more challenges to building a truly global company these days, there’s more space for local startups to win big.
“There’s the US internet, the China internet, the India internet, the EU internet — in some ways it makes those markets more valuable to win, like traditional media. Broadcast and cable are highly geographic but the franchise value becomes higher because of the regulatory moat.”
Chan, on that note, met Kan back when he was a director at [current TechCrunch owner] Verizon Wireless, when Justin.tv was trying to negotiate for free data. When I asked if they had worked out a deal during a phone interview, Kan said “you [expletive] didn’t.”
But it did lead to other co-investments later on, including Ramp, Workstream and others, and now this fund.
Today, Kan says that the focus on teams will be as flexible as the times. “When we started, the internet was America,” he says. “If you weren’t there, you weren’t a company. It’s been a complete reversal of that. Now teams are international, talent is international, more and more companies are building remote first — although you’d seen that before given the costs of the Bay. We have an entirely remote company in North Carolina, Grammarly in Europe… it’s more and more the norm. Smart founders are going anywhere to find talent.
For the two partners, this new fund will be about staying connected to that certain startup feeling that is elusive for anyone trying to build something great.
“There’s nothing more magical than being in the first step of a special company,” Chan says. “That glimpse of the future. We wouldn’t get the same feeling at the growth stage versus working with small teams or a single founder. I think we have the instinct.”
I'm starting a mobile app company. I explained more in a pervious post to r/startups but I won't reiterate.
Here are my goals of things I need to setup before actual development can take place:
- Purchase domain for company
- Purchase G Suite so I have a company email
- Submit paperwork for LLC
- Use the company email to register for Android/iOS publisher licenses
- I have my personal iOS license which I think I will cancel if I'm only publishing under the new company.
So that's basically the path I'm going to take. I assume it's right to make any developer account under the newly created business email. Am I missing anything there?
I have access to a Windows and Mac computer, but the Mac one is pretty outdated. I also have an Android and iOS phone, because I've been publishing apps for the past few years. But eventually I need to get a Mac and make it my main development computer. Which model would be best for this? Should I wait for ARM?