The Growth Equation

How to Scale from Zero to being Acquired with Co-Founder of Hatchways, Shums Kassam

December 11, 2019 Rahul Goel & Greg Leach Season 1 Episode 3
The Growth Equation
How to Scale from Zero to being Acquired with Co-Founder of Hatchways, Shums Kassam
Chapters
The Growth Equation
How to Scale from Zero to being Acquired with Co-Founder of Hatchways, Shums Kassam
Dec 11, 2019 Season 1 Episode 3
Rahul Goel & Greg Leach

Many people wonder what is the process like for founders to lead a company from inception to becoming acquired as part of a bigger company and really what it takes to get to the next step.....  

In today's episode of the growth equation we talk to Shums who is the Co-Founder of Hatchways. Shums is someone who started his first company that was acquired by Kik & become part of the team there for a while.  He is now starting his second venture and is in the middle of scaling where he has just return from SF from the famous Y Combinator! 

Listen to story of what it is like starting a company from scratch from someone that is going through it himself and what tech life is like from SF compared to Toronto! On top of that he can explain what life is like after his first company got acquired and what post acquisition life is like.        

Show Notes Transcript

Many people wonder what is the process like for founders to lead a company from inception to becoming acquired as part of a bigger company and really what it takes to get to the next step.....  

In today's episode of the growth equation we talk to Shums who is the Co-Founder of Hatchways. Shums is someone who started his first company that was acquired by Kik & become part of the team there for a while.  He is now starting his second venture and is in the middle of scaling where he has just return from SF from the famous Y Combinator! 

Listen to story of what it is like starting a company from scratch from someone that is going through it himself and what tech life is like from SF compared to Toronto! On top of that he can explain what life is like after his first company got acquired and what post acquisition life is like.        

Speaker 1:

Everyone. Welcome to episode number three of the growth equation podcast. Again, like always really excited about this episode. This is what [inaudible] and [inaudible] is a Toronto based entrepreneur. He sold his first company and somebody, I actually sat across the desk from when I was, uh, working on my own. And, uh, shims is just an inspiring guy. We talked a lot about his current venture called hatch ways where he's really helping talent that's almost undiscovered, especially in the engineering space. Find amazing opportunities. We talked about his Y Combinator experience from the last summer and Y Combinator, if you don't know, is one of the most renowned accelerators out there for entrepreneurs, for startups, for companies in general, especially in the tech space based in San Francisco. And it's one of the most glorified and decorated programs if it's tight. But [inaudible] brought a really interesting perspective and talked a lot about his personal journey through Y Combinator and beyond. So this is just a fantastic, very honest approach to entrepreneurship and overall kind of testimony behind that. So I'm really excited to present [inaudible] in this podcast and uh, you'll learn a lot as well.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Speaker 3:

Hey everyone. Welcome to episode number three of the growth equation. I'm personally so privileged to have [inaudible] on the podcast. He is a good friend of mine, a Toronto based startup hero and he's just done so much over the last few years of his life and we're really, really excited to kind of Chronicle that in this podcast to hear about his advice for up and coming entrepreneurs and just talk about growth in general. So welcome shuns it'd be great if you can start off with a quick intro of yourselves and there's so much to dive into so I'm sure we'll get into a lot more detail.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, for sure. Thanks for whole for that ag glorifying a introduction. And so for me, I started my entrepreneurship career I guess like right in university, I was studying a injury science actually we're whole, that's kind of where I'm at. Well originally kind of getting into development, really enjoying kind of software development, worked at a small, like startup in Boston. And that's kind of like where I got interested in startups. The next summer I did the next 36 program, started a company out of that program called blink. It was essentially a fashion app. It was totally not like what I was super kind of motivated to do, but it was like kind of my first entry into entrepreneurship. Then it got me kind of really into like what it means to build a startup. And then through two years of doing that we got acquired by picking drafted and then at KYCC I worked for two years there on the bots platform and then moved towardsK and kind of a little bit of that at the tail end. And then about a year and a half ago at left kick and started another company, which I been very kind of interested in, passionate about. It's called pathways and hatcheries helps candidates get internships so they outlet web developers get internship and full time opportunities. And most recently we just did the Y Combinator program this last summer. And so I've just come back to Toronto and looking to kind of the build the startup here.

Speaker 3:

Awesome. Yeah, it's going to be really exciting to kind of zoom into each and every one of those experiences and see how things went because you've kind of glossed over so many things and skipped over a lot of details here. So it's going to be great. So why don't we start kind of rewind a bit and maybe start at when you were in school and when you kind of started blink, how did that all happen? And like what were the forces that kind of made that idea come to life before we even jump into the acquisition side of things. It'd be really interesting to see like what was the progress of the product and where did it start and how did you kind of get involved in that whole thing?

Speaker 4:

I kind of did this program called the next 36 so it was at that time was they helped you form teams and you just worked on a product and so it wasn't like I was like, Oh, I have found a problem and like I want it to solve it. It was more of like, I got into this program, I want to start a company. So it was a little bit different in that sense. And so the idea kind of came around the fact that my co founder and I assume co-funder and Jacqueline and she had a background in fashion and a lot of things in that space before. And so, you know, it made sense for us to do something in that space given her expertise. And then myself, I was just interested in, you know, software machine learning, that kind of stuff. So we ended up and at that time like Tinder was a really popular thing.

Speaker 4:

So our first iteration of the product was to build like a Tinder for fashion type application. And this was mobile also when mobile was extremely, like everything was about building iOS or Android apps. So that journey was essentially like we started off building an iOS Android app and we got some traction at the next 36 just from news. It was very different than a current starter startup that I'm doing in the sense that a lot of our original users came around. The fact that we got a lot of kind of news and locally in Toronto mostly and that helps us kind of grow our user base. And then through that that was kind of, we didn't really enter it as much as I hope, but that's kind of how we got started with blink.

Speaker 3:

Well that's amazing. And you and I used to sit across the desk from each other at the DMZ. So how did those kind of experiences the next 36 and even the DMZ, which uh, we'll also talk about Y Combinator, you've kind of made the rounds everywhere. How did those kind of contribute overall to getting off the ground? Like when of resources did they provide and how did that all work out in your favor?

Speaker 4:

There was really early on in the DMZ days and bras like it was a great space for us. It was mostly like, you know, you got like minded individuals kind of around you. Like we're whole, I'm like basically understanding their stories. There was a lot of chance to just bounce our ideas off of others. That kind of gave you that aspect of things. And so it was really like a good space to kind of work out of. In the DMZ. We did also like do a couple other kind of programs outside of the DMZ through blink, which also helped us like kind of like get more connections as I would say. So for example, I don't know if he even knew like we did the plug and play program in SF. My cofounder did majority of that and we also put stat thing was called stone Fest in Montreal where we got some seed funding from there and that was like really helpful for our business.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah. I remember I had no idea of plug and play. Oh my gosh. So now it's the the DMZ and just for anyone listening to let them know that the digital media zone, it's a startup accelerator type of system organized by Ryerson university. So the DMZ, the a plug and play Y Combinator coming up next 36 you've done it all. That's amazing.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Just to jump in those really help you. Like, I mean for a first time founder I don't think I would be able to have gotten into it. Like it's very overwhelming as you may know, as you know, like just start something and you know, starting something without those support mechanisms that makes it very basically makes it less daunting and kind of gives you that more confidence in yourself. I'd say that's really, really important. Especially starting off

Speaker 3:

for young founders, especially ones who are still in schools sort of thing. When you made the decision to kind of pursue blink full time, how did you make that decision and you took a little bit of a break as well from your education, your formal education as well. How did that kind of decision process work out how to do it and do the math in your head for that? I find that it's actually good

Speaker 4:

and good timing is to start a company in school because you have that safety net of just going back to school. Like when you graduate, it feels very different than when you're in school. Um, and so that was why I kind of felt like this was a good opportunity. And especially coming out of the next 36 program where they give you some funding and we just recently got some funding. So we had like a runway for about a year, a year and a half maybe. Um, you know, given our pretty low expenses. And so for me it was like this is, I'm never going to get this opportunity again. And I might as well, you know, school I knew at that time, like I had nine years to finish. I finished in eight years. So it was, it's like I had that kind of timeline that made it possible for me to do this and it de-risked to be honest, like it sounds like a risky thing to start a company or take pause in school, but that's actually like way less risky, right. Than other people's situation in terms of starting a company.

Speaker 3:

Let's talk a little bit about blink cause I think that was an amazing opportunity as so early in her career to just uh, step on the gas and make a some big strides in the startup space. When did you kind of realize for blink that you were in this kind of growth phase that you could even imagine working alongside or being acquired by Kik interactive? Or when did you kind of realize that this is actually something that can be bigger than kind of a project on your desk at the DMZ?

Speaker 4:

So it's kind of the flip side. Like we both the product at the beginning. So when you kinda think about growth, it's like you've got to think about kind of what number do you want to measure that will represent like growth statistic. What is that one number that you want to drive and then how frequently should you measure it and what should that retention look like. So for us, when we launched, it was really about how active are the users. Cause this is kind of more of a social app. We're talking about how would we make money advertisements or you know, click through rates or something that, so we needed to have high activity for this to be a real thing. And so when we launched, we saw that typical like we've got all this press. So they got, you know, thousands of users but then they would just like disappear, you know, 10 days from after that and eat.

Speaker 4:

We had really low retention. So it was really after kind of experiencing that and doing lots of iterations to try to kind of increase retention. And I think we didn't iterate enough in the sense that we were trying to iterate like on feature level, not on like core product offering level. We really just didn't have product market fit. So because of that we were trying to take I guess a statistical growth approach to early when we really should have been iterating more at the Tronic level. And so that was about one year maybe in that we kind of realized that we need to start iterating on the product itself. And so we started doing some shifts in the product that actually started to help us a lot. And one example was, we actually went through two routes just before we got acquired by KYC. And one route was actually starting to try to license our technology that we know.

Speaker 4:

So through the process we built an algorithm that helped you put outfits together and help them match them with other items in the outfit. So it was not like the traditional kind of approach of like what other pants would you like if you like this pads and there's more of like this times can go with this talk, you know, given your style. And so we started looking at how can we license that technology and we're making some strides there. And then on the kick side it was more around, we actually started building bots for kids and we saw a lot of growth there probably because of the fact that we are on the kick platform and one of the few bots on the platform. And so that kind of really helped us grow. And that's when we kind of decided, you know, between those two paths, which one wouldn't be better for?

Speaker 4:

Really it was like around what would help us in a career right now. What were like the main metrics that you were looking at? Like was it about driving customer growth? Was it about trying to drive like revenue or was it just trying to like we just try and, you know, cause I think like as you think about it, like B2B products are much different than like B to C products. So let me get your insight on that. Honestly, we didn't actually really fully, um, kind of pursue that model because he got and got acquired recently after we made that shift. But the idea would be kind of customer growth, right? Like how many businesses can we get? You know, using that product. We had meetings with like large, large companies. It's kind of excited us and helped us, you know, get through that. But we, you know, those sales cycles are long for, we didn't even kind of pursue that and fully,

Speaker 3:

yeah. Can you talk a little bit about your co founder kind of relationship with Jacqueline as well? We talked to people who are often solo entrepreneurs or people who are have kind of complimentary or almost identical skill sets. Sometimes you find people just connecting. We're both engineers are both business individuals but you do were pretty different. How did you all compliment each other? How did that kind of factor into the growth with link? So there was three of us at the very beginning of blink and so it was myself and another engineer. Actually Erin, Jacqueline and I think we ended up coming down to two because we just found that we actually [inaudible] and I work really well together and it was more of the complimentary side as opposed to like, you know,

Speaker 5:

we have the same kind of the same type of skill set or the same type of way of looking at a problem. And I think that the reason it works while with Jacqueline is that we at the business level, she provides a very different outlook than what I provide. I have a different approach to solving problems. I'm very more like, I call it like depth first. So I kind of go really deep into one solution path and kind of explore that a lot. And it's a very, I missed if you like building things, that's like what you like to do because it's just like I really like to build something. So I kind of like get excited about a product and want to build that. Whereas Jacqueline kind of provides more of that breath first approach where it's like let's explore all the different opportunities we can do here and then going to go deep.

Speaker 5:

So over time that kind of the two different ways of thinking really helped us make decisions. And I think that's really what founders are kind of designed, supposed to do. Hey, at the end of the day they don't do had founders that don't do the work. Like they do like more of the, you know, business development, but they don't do the building. Like there's all these different kind of flavors of founder, but the end of the day all of them have to make kind of decisions together. And we found that process was very easy for us. And so that's kind of why you continue working together.

Speaker 6:

I would love to just dig a little bit deeper on just your experience and how you've kind of found it like your new company like hatch ways. Right? And just understand like how did you approach like just thinking about like identifying that there was even like this need in the market or call it customer problem that was, no, it wasn't becoming a mat.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. So I think catcher is B took a very different approach than blank. So like I mentioned with blanket was around the idea of like we had the opportunity to start a startup and let's start something based off of our expertise. And so I often get the question of like why are you doing hatcheries and you are not a recruiter, you are not a like you're an engineer. What's the relevance? And it came from a different approach. And I think this is like where I feel motivated on working on this product for a longer time. And so we started off with was like a problem space. And myself and Jacqueline, I've always kind of been interested in like how do you help people go from education to employment essentially? Like how do you help people get their first job? And so we actually started a bootcamp.

Speaker 5:

We took time off and we just did something that you know, had no business, basically no business goal around it. It was more around like explore the area. And so we started a a web development bootcamp with just pretty much for free, like designed to just understand how do people go from kind of like learning a new skill to getting a job and like one of the most effective ways to get your first job. And so out of that boot camp experience and you built like an internship co-op platform at the end, and I'm not really like a physical platform but in the sense that we reached out to companies and said like, Hey we want you to hire one of our graduates as like a co op, we'll subsidize it. They worked with the government organization to do those kinds of things. And so out of that we had like a really high employment rate and it kind of gave us this perspective and I mean we originally started this idea also with the kind of Waterloo co-op system in mind, which is just one of the best employers in the world.

Speaker 5:

If you think about it from mrs Busick standpoint, like what percentage of the graduates get jobs? We started actually with like a problem space and kind of explore different ideas and tried it out just to see how it would go. And then that's kind of where hatchery is kind of was formed. And so we've shifted over time and now we're more of a platform that helps scan. It's going from actually already learning their skills. So let's say you're a bootcamp graduate or a new graduate and what do we do to fill the gaps so that you can get your first job. And we're kind of still experimenting and I think because we haven't really reached product market fit and we're still in the stages of experimenting, what does that look like? What are the different tests we can do to kind of get to the next stage? What do you think,

Speaker 6:

because like the biggest learning that you guys have had so far since you've launched the company?

Speaker 5:

I think it came out of YC prior to my son we didn't really have a framework of how to make decisions and kind of grow the company. And what I've learned is like pick a metric and metric that represents your business goal and for us, and it should tie down at the end of the day to either revenue or active users because getting the day for your business, either you're going to need to have a large amount of like activity in your app so that you can do something like ads or you need a lot of revenue, right? To kind of grow the business. And so we chose something along the lines of like getting people jobs, right? Cause for us we make money either on the candidate or the employer side when somebody gets in job. And also it's like kind of hitting the goal of what are the essence of our company's kind of mission is.

Speaker 5:

And so once we've chosen that metric, it's like what kind of tests and different ways can we basically iterate on our products so we can drive that number up. And it's not about kind of building something that will scale. So like we build a product now that can drive like let's say a hundred placements a month. It's more about actually how do we get to the next thing. So if we're consistently doing like four or five players placements now, like how do we grow that to 10 how do we grow that to 20 and you'll see your product will change and kind of morph into what it needs to be to reach the growth that you want.

Speaker 6:

And then just on that, when you're talking specifically, cause I love how you're kind of approaching it from a metric perspective, how has that been different in the way you thought about just like growth metrics when it comes to how CZ weighs compared to when it was like we're obviously running blank.

Speaker 5:

We didn't think too much about the metrics and what they meant. Like it was hard to admit like this is not working. Whereas inaccurate is, I think counting, having more experience. Also knowing that I think YC does a really good job at this. The way they structure the program is every two weeks you meet with your group and your group partners and you just say, how is that metric doing? And in the program it's usually revenue and for us to kind of just like kind of one to one translates. And so if your number is going down, like there's something's wrong, right? And so you need to do something creative to improve that number. Uh, and so that's kind of that whole experiment. And now we're kind of just doing that through the pro, like outside of the program as well. It's this like every two weeks for like, Oh, that number is not, it's not increasing or it's going down or it's staying the same. And we're like, okay, what can we do to increase that number? What's wrong with our product? Where are the gaps that are missing? So us, before we jump into a little bit of that YC journey, I know Greg and I

Speaker 3:

are really, really excited about hearing. It always seems to be a really interesting backstory behind like how you got in no pressure but how you got in and like what it was like during a YC and what happened after. But I'd love to personally hear about what it was like when you were there. I think you were there for like a year or two if I'm not mistaken. Yeah. For two years and over there, I'm sure there was a much greater emphasis on growth metrics and experimentation and all of that. We talk often to people who are kind of in the B to B space. So sometimes revenue is the comment and most common metric there, but oftentimes it's simple things like daily active users or not. So how did it differ? How, how much more intense was it there? What was kind of the focus at KYCC for you?

Speaker 5:

Yeah. So Kik was a very different way of looking at growth and it'll align more with like how you build the right metrics and the right experimentation for that. And so at Kik it was about like daily active user. Then what, what, whether that be the bot platform or Kik itself is blother about like how active are users using bots. And so it was way more um, data involved basically. And so what I mean by that is like, we had metrics tracking, set up AB tests running constantly and it was about kind of running experiments so that we could kind of measure how well does that drive, you know, retention and drive, you know, daily active user. Then. So that was kind of the experience that kick and it was more, it was the experimentation was less like the type where we're trying to still figure out product market fit and at our stage, so it's more around very, very different texts. Right. Whereas a kick, it was like more around how do we do smaller things that can kind of help grow the company. And the smaller things can actually kind of drive lot bigger like inflections and changes. And so that was a very different experience.

Speaker 3:

When you were running these tests were the tools or just in general, just the BI that might be behind the scenes that helped you kind of make decisions on what tests were successful in all. Was this all sort of built in house? Did you have kind of an engineering team behind the engineering team supporting them and gathering these metrics and all or were there off the shelf tools that you're using? I'm just really curious about how the execution you that,

Speaker 5:

yeah, great question. So there's a data team, um, and it was kind of comprised of data engineers for kind of the pipelining work and the data scientists are doing more modeling. I was kind of like a startup within a startup doing the bots platform. So the boss platform originally started as like, actually we just used like off the shelf tools to do it because we were kind of a separate entity. And then as the data team started to build out more tools internally, combination of using off the shelf things like elastic search and [inaudible] and things like that with kind of like building the pipelines. We started to kind of move on to that more of their system as well. So it kind of was a mix of both but because we were like iterating within the company, we started off with like you know, separate tools that were off the shelf cause it's easier to get started and then kind of move towards what the data team was using.

Speaker 3:

Let's shift gears and talk a little bit about why C it'd be really, really interesting to hear what the experience was like. I've personally over the summer, and I don't know if you were actually in attendance in any of those intellectuals, but the entire startup school series, I was constantly being posted on YouTube. It's just awesome. Huge influence Y Combinator has on the entire startup ecosystem. How did you all kind of decide to pursue YC and what was the process of just,

Speaker 5:

we decided, so actually applied to YC with like blink a long time ago and wasn't really an application cause like we were not really the right like in the right mindset at that time. And so we of course knew what it is, what it was about. But I think we really went from like thinking about it to really heavily deciding to do it when we talked to other founders in Toronto. So there were a couple companies in Toronto that were, you know, wa recently done YC and these were potential clients for us and they were really kind of like selling it to us in the sense that it can kind of really make a big difference to your business. And so we just didn't know why until we kind of like talked to them and saw how like it did cause like some sort of inflection point or some really like really, really helped them.

Speaker 5:

And so we decided to apply based off of kind of their recommendation and their like insight into it. And from there it was like, yeah, we just did the application process and we took it very seriously because we knew that it was something that really, really help your company. And we took time to kind of get prep from people, like have people review our, our application, have other founders that have gone through. I kind of take a look at it as well. Once you got into YC, what was just the overall like YC experience like compared to, I know you have some experience working at like the, at least at the DMZ for for a little bit there. Yeah. So why is, he is very intense. If you talk to any founder that's gone through the program, their one advice to you is like focus 100% on your business and to put that time in the three months to really kind of, you're never going to get this opportunity again.

Speaker 5:

So the focus on like how can you grow your business? So for us the experience was a lot more intense than probably like obviously all the other kind of incubators, experiences I've ever done as an entrepreneur. And so everybody that go kind of gets into YC, they go down there. It's kind of a requirement of YC to be in the Bay area. And so moving there kind of like I came back to Toronto maybe once or twice, three times, but just for like very short trips. So I was there for the majority of the summer. The program is very, um, there's no like real structure to it except for the fact that every Tuesday or Thursday you have a dinner which you listen to some story of some YC connected founder. Uh, we started with Airbnb was our first dinner. So you get like a really interesting story, kind of unfiltered story from their side.

Speaker 5:

And then every Tuesdays or Thursdays you meet with your group partners and you discuss what metric are you trying to grow and how do you get to that next stage. And that pressure around like it's kind of like a peer pressure, but it's not like a competitive night. Nature is more of like a family and like you're like all trying to get this number up higher. Even if you have competitors in the batch, like it's not really that competitive. It's more because everybody has their own niche, Shirley and you know, everybody has a tackling their own little problems. It's really around like how can you kind of work together to grow together kind of thing. Then just on that, what would you say are like the benefits of going through an ILEC and accelerator program versus not? The three big ones that kind of come to mind right now is one, it's the best forcing function on your business you could possibly have.

Speaker 5:

There is like no distractions. You're literally in like South or like the Bay area where like there's nothing to really distract you and you're just working completely on your business and people respect that they're around you. And then two is the network of companies is amazing. So for us it's just like, Oh we now have a bigger network that we can reach out to and everybody's kind of really motivated to help you. It's, it's a surprising kind of feeling and different feeling that you'd expect. And then three is like network of investors in demo day and you hear a lot of hype around demo day. But even demo day is like really, really valuable for startups. But it's definitely not like one of the best valleys you can get out of the program. Cause if you're revenue focus, like it's not even about that. It's about helping you kind of grow your business and being more access to customers and to future clients.

Speaker 5:

Did you find just as obviously your experience as spending like three months in the Bay area, did you uh, how did you find the experience of being in like San Francisco versus being in Toronto from like a tech community perspective? Our business was focused purely in Toronto and now we kind of serve multiple cities and, and the other one being the Bay area and working with companies in the Bay area is different from what we've seen working with companies in Toronto. Everybody's kind of like hustling. So it's like a lot more like let's say I do a sales email and say like, Hey, do you guys want this product? We'll say they'll like respond quickly and be like, Hey, let's set up a call tomorrow or today or tonight or like on the weekend. It's very different kind of culture in that sense and it's very like, you know, very fast paced in that sense.

Speaker 5:

For me from the actual like atmosphere, I honestly was like in a house by myself making calls like from seven or eight in the morning till like 8:00 PM every day and I didn't interact as much outside of that. So it was like, it's hard to say like being there other than the fact that obviously the other YC alum and the fact that you're near Y Combinator, but from the actual like physical as an office, it was less, it was more to do with like removal of distractions and more to do with working with companies that are,

Speaker 3:

that's so interesting, the fact that at least I've always had this image in my mind that it's this glamorous kind of experience and it certainly sounds like it is, but just like physically as well. But if you're sitting in your apartment, it really is kind of, I guess that the, the community that's built around the school experience of being at YC, the ability to hear founder's stories and just a distraction free environment. That's really interesting. It's a perspective I've never heard of before.

Speaker 5:

I know I might be a little bit different in that case, but for me like our business is like basically assessing candidates and placing them in small startups or medium sized startups. So most of the calls needed to be, you know, their phone calls. Like I wouldn't spend time traveling to meet a small startup or a small team or I wouldn't spend time traveling, meet a candidate. So for him it was kind of a unique experience in that sense. But I didn't meet one person related to business in person in SF or Bay area. Like it was not a good use of time to do that. So I didn't, but I was there for the whole summer. So I know that's like a shocking thing to a lot of people when I call them up, they're like, why were you there? And it was really just distraction free. Of course you still met or you still went to the dinners and kind of meet other co founders or from a business perspective I didn't. But then of course raising money is a completely different story and that's where another huge value YC comes in and being in the Bay area is very different. Right. You know, meeting and ambassadors is very different story.

Speaker 3:

It's interesting to kind of tap into the theme of the growth equation, podcasts and all of that. If I were to just throw the question at you, if what you kind of define as growth or what you feel growth is, whether it's right now at hatch ways or just in general after all your experiences, how would you kind of define growth?

Speaker 5:

Yeah, that's a great question. And you on the spot? Yeah, no, I think it's like a different definition for every stage of your company. So I think when it comes to early, like very early stage companies, growth is about getting your first customer and making them love you. That's what I think it is. It's really, you know, people have this perspective. If you build something, people will come and you'll grow up and know. It's like kind of like you gotta go suck out of your first server and get them on your platform and make them love it and get them to stick and then have them share that and you can kind of get that to your point where you know you're starting to organically grow and you're, you know, more people are coming through word of mouth and through like you have ambassadors and people are just really motivated and love your product.

Speaker 5:

That to me is like gross at the stage that we're at. It's like another equation when you kind of go look at it when you're at like when I was like kicks level, which is more about can you tweak your product to a point where like it's growing and people are kind of coming back and constantly using the product and so it's more data driven. When you're talking about kicks level, it's more of like you're making tweaks that product and measuring. How does that change in terms of like statistics and looking at conversion funnels verse for Iceland, you have a conversion funnel of 10 people. It's not really relevant data. So it's just like how can get people motivated on your platform and like coming back to it and growing that way. It just on that, you know, what would you say to say call it, uh, a fast growing startup is trying to find product market fit.

Speaker 5:

What, what would you say? Well from a growth perspective they should be focused on what should like what is like the one or two things that should matter the most as they think about scaling? I don't know how equipped I am to answer that until I can get into that stage of like actually, um, you know, finding it and I think the best I can answer it is like, it's an iteration on that one metric that you're trying to measure, right? And whatever that is that kind of relates to your business and its growth. And so for us it's like building all these experiments until that one metric is basically you'll have a feeling of like this specific experiment drove that one metric in a way that we can see it like get to that next stage. And so it's kind of focusing on that one metric and how do you drive that higher and keeping doing iterations on and on the product to get there. One kind of thing.

Speaker 6:

One last question I have just on my end. Um, you know, just based on some of your experiences, obviously you know, started one company successfully sold that one off and they'll start another one. You know, for all the people out there that are current founders or entrepreneurs or looking to become a first time founder of people just really trying to drive growth with their company, what is like the main piece of advice that you would give them when it comes to like trying to build a company?

Speaker 5:

I think it comes down to I'm not giving up and surrounding yourself with people that you'll be motivated to work on the product on. And so if you do that, like may may not be the equation to success. Like success I think is like hard to find. Like it's not going to be just purely like you're, you're self-driven, there'll be other factors involved but it'll at least like kind of like keep you motivated and you won't and you don't get there, you know you have a higher chance of success. And the reason I say that is like from our experience, like most companies would die because either you know, founders break up or or the team kind of falls apart or you give up basically. I mean this is such a basic kind of concept but like it comes like we've heard stories of like kind of people raising a lot of money growing the team and then not giving up, kind of laying everybody off, working as two founders and just continuing growing the business until they can get to the next stage

Speaker 3:

jumps totally unrelated to growth and companies and all. And guess our last question here, I'd really love to hear about what you do kind of in your free time. Like, what are some of the things that you're excited about? [inaudible]

Speaker 5:

so your hobbies, how do you spend your time? For me, like some of the things I like to do is I like to play soccer. That's probably one of the bigger hobbies that have from like more of a outside of work standpoint. At times I've done different things on the side. I like to read, read books and like the subway. So it's kind of like the most ideal time. So I read like kind of a whole different wealth of types of books, everything from like historical figures and like autobiographies to kind of mystery novels. And so I'd say those are the two that kind of come to mind right now. What are you reading right now? So I, we actually saw my wife and I, we like, we listened to a books together and we're kind of hooked on Robert Galbraith series right now. So that's like kind of a being from a fictional standpoint, I've been really interested in, uh, for those that don't know, Robert Galbraith is like a pen name for JK Rowling and it's like a mystery series that she's writing. That's pretty good.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's amazing. Well, Sean's thank you so much for making time for chatting with us or telling us a little bit about your last few years. It's amazing to just reflect on how young you are, still, how much more there is to accomplish. So Greg and I both going to wish you the best of luck and really excited to hear about the next steps in your journey and um, until you know, episode number four, we'll thank chums. And the last thing, Shawn's, if you wanted to, uh, plug hatch ways or let people know how they can talk to you or connect with you. Do you have any outlets for that?

Speaker 5:

Yeah, for sure. So just if your candidate or employer kind of looking for some junior talent, uh, just check out hatch ways.io or you can even email us@helloathatcheries.io awesome. And I'm sure if anyone wanted to connect with you, they can find you on LinkedIn. Yeah, LinkedIn or, I'm always monitoring emails on there as well, so you can send us an email. Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, thanks again. This has been a super insightful podcast episode here, and I'm sure the listeners are going to get a ton of value in everything that you've talked about today. Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure chatting with you, Greg. Andrew Hall.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible].