It seems like it was 10 years ago when my co-founder and I worked on the basic idea of Yotpo. A few days ago I was driving back to the office after a long meeting and thought to myself, wow there are 6-10 people working on the Yotpo dream. We have 4 engineers, a content producer, a social media manager, investors and advisors. It amazed me to think about what has changed and the progress we’ve made, so I thought I’d share some of them with you.
During the last several months we’ve met a few dozen very smart people: fellow entrepreneurs, investors, future employees and clients. We have presented our dream in one way or another to all of them. We have received some good advice and some bad advice but more importantly we have started getting some feedback on why our idea is great but not perfect. We have changed our basic idea and it has evolved into what we are working on now; you can call it pre-launch pivot.
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It only makes sense that if you bring more engineers your R&D speed should increase., Well it does – and not at a linear pace, but rather at an exponential one!
For us, we were lucky enough to find different types of engineers (I could say it was very well planned and that we are great at recruitment but luck had played a big role) which has given everyone the ability to bring their talent to the table. What I have also discovered is that each extra engineer is an additional side in a discussion. We encourage each one to express his opinion and it has helped us to solve many of the complexities we have had in our system. I have learned that more engineers speed your R&D progress but everybody should be on the same page in terms of the R&D priority.
In the beginning it was easy; we were very involved in writing our product and designing it at lunch breaks. Today we have to deal with market segmentation, R&D problems, bringing first customers, deciding our message and developing new features (I could write another 500 tasks but you get the point).
When I interviewed Shopify’s CEO Tobias Lütke, he recommend focusing the team on your product’s impact on the end user:
“Never forget the implications of your product. When we make a sale at Shopify (and we make hundreds a day), what does that mean? It means that someone signed up to start their own online store. Many entrepreneurs that start an online store as a side project end up shifting more and more of their time and resources to growing their business. What startedas a weekend project can quickly become a new full-time career.
The point is, we have a product that has the ability to dramatically improve people’s lives, and it happens every day… it’s incredible. Everyone at Shopify understands the importance of their work and is proud to be a part of so many new and successful.”
I learned, like Tobias, that being focused is extremely hard and it really is an everyday struggle.
When we were working at my apartment we didn’t need to worry about salaries (there were none), lunch or dinner arrangements (my co-founder’s girlfriend cooked us some food) or insurance and accounting. Today it is our job to take care of all of the administrative tasks and it is an integral part of the job. I try to minimize the time I spend dealing with these issues but it is very important they get done.
First off, these are very important. At the beginning Omri and I were coding together, meeting with people together and doing basically everything together. Now, that we have more responsibilities and tasks each of us are doing different tasks. We talk 20 times a day and keep each other posted but each of us has a totally different schedule. We have learned to give the freedom to one another that each of us need. Don’t get me wrong, I have some things I don’t agree with and I’m sure he has a few of his own. The important thing is the confidence we have in each other (I know it’s a bit sappy but I had to write it anyway).
It is truly a remarkable thing seeing a group of people you appreciate and love all working together on an idea we initiated. Working in a small and focused group is extremely challenging and beyond any doubt has been the best time of my life.