Always be pitching

When you’re trying to get a startup off the ground, one of the things you spend most time on is…

Pitching.

Of course you pitch for investment or just any sort of backing really, because you need the support and all the ressources, you can muster, for the journey ahead.

But the pitching doesn’t stop there;

You pitch to future team members trying to get them onboard with the mission, generate excitement and – hopefully – install the love of the problem, you yourself feel, and which you just know is the secret sauce that will be key to (a) getting them onboard and (b) getting them to give it their all.

You pitch to existing team members and collaborators all across the pitch as you try to keep hold of and build the coalition, you have worked so hard to create, out (because no, any chance of success is not just about you – it is always about the team), so that in turn can crank out some impressive results.

You pitch to your backers to keep them engaged, excited and confident that they made the right decision when they decided to support whatever it is that you’re trying to do.

You pitch when you sit in meetings with your team discussing what the next experiment should look like, how it should look, feel and perform, because you’re most often the direct link back to your customers and their needs, pains and gains.

And of course – and perhaps most importantly – you pitch to existing and future customers; you go about trying to understand how you can help them become better off, and you pitch different proposals for solutions to them until you find the one that resonates the most. And then build from there. And pitch again. That job NEVER ends. And shouldn’t.

But pitching is hard work, no matter the context. So not being afraid to pitch helps. And being a good communicator does, too.

So if you think you lack something in the communication department, maybe that’s where you should be looking to invest some time and perhaps a little money in your own personal and professional development.

My best bet is that it will be worth it.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

WFH? Not so fast

A movement is forming around the future of work; saying goodbye to the office in return for unrestricted flexibility to work from wherever whenever and however you might choose. It’s the future, damn it!

First of all, I will always be very reluctant to base any long term strategy on a short term experience of what happens, when you make the switch. Add to that that the switch was forced due to Covid-19 and add all the stress elements of anxiety, having to keep kids at home while trying to work etc, and to me it is just a big NO GO!

It’s just a poor way of using data. Almost fraudulent. Especially if you have the well-being of the people, you’re trying to determine the future of work for at heart.

Second, I strongly believe in working together – also in a physical sense. A lot of the work I do and do with others is centered around creativity, open discussions, listening to arguments and finding the best course of action going forward. I find it super hard to replicate sitting at my kitchen table versus being present in the office with the others on our team. But that’s just me.

What is not just me is the thing about workplace culture.

Let’s for a second forget that going completely WFH effectively eliminate all discussion about work-life-balance, because we take away the one thing that keeps things kind of separate for us – the commute. That’s a problem in itself.

No, the real problem is how we create a great company culture, if we’re never together? Culture is not something that happens at bi-weekly all hands meetings or the annual company picnic. It happens every day in your interactions – little and big – with your colleagues around why it is you come to work every day:

You need to see your great colleagues, your need to figure out great solutions together, your need to know and really FEEL that you’re together in creating whatever it is that your company is working to create – the big “why?”

Even though a lot of leaders talk about the importance of having a great company culture, a lot of companies still ultimately rely on people figuring the culture part out themselves and keeping it alive at the water cooler, the small chit chats and whatever else you have, where you can meet informally and bond.

That is super, super hard to do remote. It least if you care about having a team where the “why?” matters.

And that brings me to the final point:

There are lots of roles, where it makes sense to go predominantly WFH; some very well-defined roles, where you essentially have a tasklist, you can work yourself through on a daily basis, be done and call it a day knowing that somehow your contribution fits into the corporate hamsterwheel of things.

But by and large – for ordinary jobs in ordinary companies (and be honest, those are the 99,9 % of all companies) – the “why?” goes out the window during this process.

You can give people all the flexibility in the world that you want. But once everybody starts doing that, it seizes to be an advantage.

And you will be stuck with the downsides;

It will be as easy for your employees to leave as it was to onboard them. Because nothing is going to be holding them back:

They don’t have a real relationship with your company. They don’t really know the people they work with. They (probably) have an even more crap manager than in the office, because managing remote is even harder than in the physical space). And they are distanced from the mission, the “why?”

What’s not to leave behind for greener pastures?

A WFH defacto for work going forward will do nothing else than (1) make it harder for the vast majority of mediocre companies to make great things happen and (2) make it near impossible to keep the people that go the extra mile to see the vision come true as a true team effort while (3) all along giving the false sense of relief that everything is flexible, fine and dandy.

Choose WFH at your own peril.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Corona thoughts, Part 6

A lot of people are busy talking about how the current pandemic and the lockdown will change the way we live and the way we work going forward.

Focusing on the latter, some people suggest that the time of the office hours is dead, and that more people will be working remotely from hereon, because it is so much more efficient.

A word of caution: Don’t use the behaviour during times of great stress to extrapolate what will happen, when things get back to something resembling a normal situation again. People are right now fighting from a distance for their businesses and their next paycheck. That may seem like a lot of efficience but in reality it is just stress with extra stress and in no way something that is sustainable for the longer term.

All leaders thinking the opposite will – by and large and with a few exceptions to cement the rule – in the long term have a hard time recruiting anybody since through their actions they have shown a complete disregard for the human needs that is also part of what enables us as workers to do a great job.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Get the outside view

If you’re stuck in whatever you’re doing or trying to accomplish, look outside your team and get an outside view on what you’re doing and where you should be taking things.

True, the person you approach may not be a subject matter expert like yourself. But on the other hand the person is also not so deep into the matter, as you are and may thus very well be able to see things a lot more clearly.

And it is that new clarity that you need for yourself, your team and – ultimately – your business. It may be just what the doctor ordered in order to get you out of your current predicament and onto a greater and better trajectory.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Remote humans

Working remotely is getting a lot of additional buzz following the outbreak of corona-virus, as people all over scramble to try to put themselves out of harms way and/or following the advice of local health authorities.

While there is a lot of great things to be said about working remotely – and there are – there are also some downsides of which the predominant one is this: Missing out on the creative sparks that fly when you bring people together, and they start getting creative.

For me, when people (in the absence of a perfectly legitimate health-related excuse, ed) want to work in a predominantly remote way, they send a signal that they care more about their ways of working than what we are working on; what we are trying to solve. Call me old fashioned, but I am the kind of guy who needs to be able to look my team members directly in the eyes to make sure we are all on the same page, driving for the same results – and feel equally passionate about succeeding. As a team.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

We’re hiring!

At inQvation we have a lot of different projects in the pipeline. This includes a couple of projects that we feel strongly about in terms of potential to become new, great startups.

In order get these projects to market, I am hiring a new frontend developer for the Studio team. The right candidate has a couple of years of hands-on experience, an efficient toolbox and a personality that just want to ship things and see what happens in the market.

We work very experiment driven, so we will be doing everything from landing pages to MVPs (and potentially beyond if the project is right), and there is amble opportunity to have a personal impact on the work that we do as a team. We are ambitious, celebrate success and learn from failure, and if that sounds like a lot of fun for you too, then apply today!

(Photo: Shutterstock.com)

Welcome, Alita!

Today is a special day at inQvation Studio. Today is the day where Alita Juzene joins us as our new Growth Designer.

Alita has a background as graphic designer specialized in digital concept development, and in the team she will be on point to help us bring our ideas to life, one experiment at a time.

In her new role Alita is going to be a super addition to the team, and I can’t wait to get down to work on the projects that are already lined up.

A big and warm WELCOME!

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Join us!

If you are interested in working with turning ideas into viable startups, I have the perfect opportunity for you: Apply to become Growth Designer in our Studio team at inQvation.

We never know, when we start out with an idea, if it is going to fly or come crashing down on us. That is why we will be spending a lot of time and energy building, launching and analyzing experiments for a whole variety of ideas with the clear ambition to get to the real outstanding ones that truly stick and can form the basis for a worldclass startup. This is what we need you – our new Growth Designer – to help us with.

In order to be a good fit for the role, you need to be a teamplayer with a capital T. You need a decent toolbox for getting things done (pragmatism seriously valued), a solid curiosity coupled with tenacity. And a real ‘Can/Will Do!’ attitude to your work. We are ambitious, fast moving and just generally like to explore, build businesses and have fun doing so. So if it sounds like a fit, apply TODAY! I look forward to hearing from you.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)