So it has been a week of working full time on Captivoo, my startup. I never knew that so much could happen in a week, and the experience to be so different from what I’ve imagined. I’ve decided to capture random snippets of thoughts and work schedule on my this blog to hold myself accountable to the growth of Captivoo. There will be at least one blog post every week as I reflect on my past week and plan for the next.
If you are reading this, feel free to laugh and learn from the mistakes I will be making along the way as a founder.
Random Snippets of Thought
Full-Time vs Part-Time
It is a norm for me to work on side projects during my university life. In fact that is how Captivoo came about in the first place. Thinking that I could do quite substantial amount of work on these side projects by dedicating just a tiny portion of my time to it, I thought by spending more time on it I will get tremendous result. I was wrong. Result does not multiply by just spending more time on it. In a span of one week, I found myself burning out a couple of time with a few days where I will say I performed terribly.
I thought it is cool to have an office. I now have an office that I can call mine. Although it is not in the start up cluster or in the CBD area, it is still awesome to have a second home (with a real karaoke setup).
So I’ve hired two interns while I’m on exchange at Georgia. Both of them reported to work on Monday and just yesterday (Thursday), one of them called me and said that he wants to leave. I felt terrible yesterday, knowing that it is my fault either he sucks or not. Here is the logic:
If I’m just a terrible boss…
The internship experience was designed to be experimental in nature. There were plans drawn out for the interns in terms of the weekly tasks. There was a short introduction to products, a sales training, and simple instructions to work on the first few prospects. I later gathered from the other intern that he felt immerse stress as the onboarding process was shorter than he imagined. In addition he felt that he is responsible for the company performance in sales and he is not quite up to it. Also, upon reflection I think there will be a need to clearly state that making mistakes in the company is fine and that we are all there to learn. Lastly, it seemed that no one really likes sales, the top sales person around the office (other companies) did not start out in life thinking he wants to do sales. There needs to be a better way to introduce people into it.
If he is just a terrible intern…
He was exhibiting signs of rogue employee. Before being hired, he was asking for more pay simply because his previous employee paid him that rate. Also, he asked about what would be the policy if he had decided to leave. He turns up on the first day of work in smart casual despite being asked to turn up in office formal (its awkward). Turning up late (a minute late is still late, and he is way past a minute late). He decide to take a day off on Thursday on Thursday morning to settle ICA related issues. He failed to perform simple task such as buying a SIM card for work since Monday although the company is paying for it. There were many other tell-tale signs even before turned up on the first day of work. I should have picked up on these and shouldn’t have hired him/dismissed him.
Turns out it is a mix of both reasons. The company does not work out for the intern and the intern does not work out for us. What I was feeling was just like a break up in a relationship. Moving forward, the intern and the company are both in better places now.
True Hard Work
I work very hard every day, first to turn up to work and last to leave. Or so I thought. Often I find myself turn to easier and more time consuming work to do. Between giving a prospect a call and programming a whole new module, I chose the latter anytime. Deep down inside, I know that the company will be much better off if I’ve just made the call.
Seth Godin talked about this problem in his book Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?
The future is not about time at all. The future is about work that’s really and truly hard, not time-consuming. It’s about the kind of work that require us to push ourselves, not just punch the clock. Hard work is where our job security, our financial profit and out future joy lie.
It’s hard work to make difficult emotional decision, such as quitting a job or setting out on your own. It’s hard work to invent a new system, service, or process that is remarkable. It’s hard work to tell your boss that he’s being intellectually and emotionally lazy. It’s easier to stand by and watch the company fade into oblivion. It’s hard work to tell senior management to abandon something that it has been doing for a long time in favor of a new and apparent risky alternative. It’s hard work to make good decisions with less than all the data.
Seemed like I have to do more hard work and not just be working long hours.
The Game Plan
A week has passed, mistakes are made. Now it’s time to make things right in the next one week…
Corporate Partnership Pitch
I’ve managed to catch the attention of Y&R last week at innovFest unbound during my 5 min retail innovation pitch. They mentioned that they will have clients who are interested in the product and wants me to talk about it. So I’ll be preparing a pitch on how the product can provide value for their retail clients and how we can build a sustainable partnership with the company.
Marketing Plan Revisited
Previously, the plan was to email leads, then call them to set up meeting and finally meet them to close the deal. Turns out, we are spending most of our time doing things we don’t like and doesn’t scale. After revisiting the plans, we are adding SEM, content marketing and flyering on top of email marketing and cold calling. Our intern turns out to be both good at designing content and passionate about it. It is a good time to put his talent to good use. We will also turn our focus to one industry which we believe our product will have a high product market fit to.
“If my technician can use computer he won’t be technician already loh”. It seemed that while some companies cared about customer retention and wish to implement the product, their major concern is if the staff is competent enough and willing to use the the product. A new extension to the product will provide a customer-side interface to eliminate the need of a staff in the process. Instead of using the amount spent by customer, it will record the number of visits.