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Fast, far more than a name
We hear lots of Fast puns given the name, but more so because people are usually surprised by how fast we act & respond.
Being an early-stage startup, speed really is everything. It’s not about rushing through tasks, it’s about efficiency, and reducing latency between tasks. The absence of a deadline, should not eliminate the importance of speed; it needs to be a default state of the business.
The more efficient you are, the more runway you have, without more capital or dilution.
Once operating at speed and highly efficiently, the momentum you achieve is incredibly difficult to slow down and propels you far further forward than your competitors.
To give you just some insights into how this philosophical adoption of speed transposes to real-world activity:
Notifications ON, always monitoring email, Twitter, LinkedIn, there is simply no other way to be prompt and reactive.
Respond to highly suited candidates/partners/investors immediately, 24/7.
There is simply no point in delaying a response, reducing delays between contact, decreases total engagement time before action: ie. hiring, partnership, investment.
Every activity/task/job should be an ASAP job, no matter how big or small; allocating the priority for speed to non-time sensitive tasks helps to set a culture of speed.
External suppliers will quickly start to prioritize your tasks by default above others, simply because of your continued insistence on speed.
A 10-20% premium cost, for speed, is typically always worth it; sometimes as much as 100% more could be worth it for a much faster response time.
In all periods of downtime, drive more activity and push outbound activity. (Not saying you can’t ever not be working, but during work periods, you simply must be as productive as possible)
Find early team members and co-founders who are highly autonomous, the less guidance and management they need, the less bandwidth they will take from you or their manager.
Without a doubt, the early success we have had, has been in building our team, as well as because of the team building we have done.
I only arrived in the US in June 2019, with no network, and with only funding from a small angel round, I began cold outreach amongst very high-quality individuals, seeking ‘mentorship’.
7 months on, one of these individuals, Allison Barr Allen, left a 5-year stint at Uber, to become our COO, postponing a career in VC. Several others are active mentors and/or angel investors in our company.
As soon as I received the first term sheet for our pre-seed round, I kicked off full-scale recruiting, I engaged and employed 12 contingency recruitment agencies, I bought the LinkedIn, StackOverflow, AngelList, Woo hiring products as well as some other smaller ones.
I then began huge amounts of outbound activity through GitHub, LinkedIn and Twitter (I still actually drive lots of activity now despite a big talent pool).
I began interviewing, often 10+ candidates a day, I screened hundreds and interviewed over 80 engineers before hiring one; all were from top companies - Google, Apple, Facebook etc…
We hired a videographer to produce high-quality hiring content and staff interviews, which we posted to social media to attract new candidates, and promoted these through the ad tools on social media.
We pitch our candidates during interviews, in the exact same way that we pitch investors during meetings.
We only hire candidates who follow up in the day or two after an interview professing their desire to join the company. This keeps our early team highly engaged in the mission, continuing to drive us forward despite the typical startup ambiguity and change in roles, team etc…
Our entire team helps interview and screen candidates; we extended offers to multiple candidates last week that I haven’t even met yet. The quality of these candidates, and our ability to attract the level of talent to the team without me, speaks volumes to the quality of the team we already have.
We now have an active talent pool in the thousands and have the most incredible candidates competing for our roles, who typically wouldn’t work at a company as early as ours.
Our team is already built of an incredible group of people coming from Uber, Square, Shopify, Paypal, Postmates, Visa, Walmart, and many other leading companies.
There is no silver bullet to hiring, but if you drive lots of activity, pick the right candidates, inspire and sell to your candidates as if they are customers or investors, you will be in a great position.
Thanks for visiting
Thanks to everyone who came to our casual drinks on Friday, we plan on hosting lots of events in our new space so stay tuned.
I like the idea of a public Friday show-n-tell for our latest product advancements, highlighting a particular team (ie. design or engineering, or product…) each week.
Make sure you are following on Twitter for more info:
Want to hear about something else that I didn’t cover here, let me know:
Key open roles
Technical hiring manager
Head of engineering
Senior product designer