From Joe over at Dappered on “luxury”:
It doesn’t matter if your outfit cost $7,500 or $75. It doesn’t matter if you’re hopping a private jet to Marseille or riding your bike to the park down the street. That Pinot Grigio can cost $500, or it can cost $6.50. What’s key is that you’re taking the time to actually enjoy life…
It’s a quick and smart read. I’m starting my list…
Raising a round of funding means Business is Blooming? You keep using that word “business”…
The Denver Post’s Andy Vuong highlights the four Denver-based companies that will be involved in TechStars Boulder this summer. Elihuu being one of them:
“[Designers have] tested the market, they’ve figured out price points, they’ve figured out materials, they’ve figured out processes — and they need to get this thing manufactured,” said co-founder Dorian Ferlauto. “They come to us and we find them the best matches.”
Its great that the multiple TechStars locations (Boulder, NYC, Seattle, Boston, etc.) has allowed for these locales to help ‘bring up’ local companies instead of ‘ship in’ entrepreneurs from around the country (sure, that still does happen).
But, this also means there’s more tendency for those folks who started a company locally to maintain and grown their network, continue to stay in town where their mentors and funders reside, grow a startup ecosystem, find more resources, stick around, and turn around and mentor the future incomers. I may be overstating, but in the early days, most successful TechStars companies simply moved to California shortly after getting investments after demo day…
Congratulations are in order to the newly announced summer 2013 class at company incubator and accelerator, TechStars Boulder. It’s hard to believe this is already the 7th group of companies to spend their summer in Colorado.
Having chatted with David Cohen back in July 2006 about his new “summer program” idea, I can remember that TechStars was exactly the kind of thing that young companies and entrepreneurs should clamor to be a part of: access to great mentors, help with raising funds, building a product or service around a market, etc. At the time I had no co-founders, no company ideas, and no good foundation to take advantage of the opportunity about to launch in the coming months…
Fast forward six years and having observed from the outside and made friends in TechStars and working with Alex (a Boulder TechStars mentor) and a very smart group of folks at at Crowd Favorite: I’ve learned a lot about successfully building a web application, designing a solid web experience, taking something from concept to implementation, hiring, iterating and dealing with feedback, making decisions, presenting to stakeholders, communicating, and so on.
Through a circuitous route1, I’m happy to say that the newly-inducted team at Elihuu (pronounced E-lay-who) has asked me to help lend advice and mentorship around building their web-based company. The idea behind Elihhu is to use proven processes and allow technology to connect designers (with product ideas) and manufacturers (who have extra capacity) to create products together and sell them in lieu of the typical agency / brokerage model. I’m proud of what the team has designed and built in a few short months and it’s been fun to watch and be involved in. Now it’s time to turn it into a business… I’m excited for what the summer will bring!
Kudos class of 2013 and best of luck this summer…
- Given Goods
- I’ve worked with Susanna in Boulder since I was in college and I had met Dorian, a family friend, through her many years ago. She re-introduced us a few months ago when Dorian started looking for a team to design and build her company concept and knew that was the kind of thing I did day-to-day now. ↩
I’ve been involved with hiring dozens of fine folks at Crowd Favorite over the past few years and I (think I) know what has and has not worked for us. While our sample size isn’t large enough to draw definitive conclusions, and our industry (web design, development) is unique is some ways I’m curious what others have found to work well.
I see at least three big approaches to finding a good candidate for a job.
I was hired by Alex after reaching out to him through his blog and after having met at a few local meet-ups (including the inaugural Startup Weekend, where we also met our company counsel). One of our front-end developers was interviewed and hired after meeting Alex at a Refresh Denver meetup. I’ve seen plenty of startups and other companies bring on individuals (and merge with other companies) only after long-time personal and professional relationships are fostered — and I’ve seen those work very well.
People often tout “getting a job is all about who you know” which is fair, but doesn’t tell the whole story. It helps to have an “in” because the more opportunities and availability you have to get to know someone and how they work, the better off you both are at deciding if you’re a good fit for each other.
Alex recently posted a position on his blog in lieu of placing it on the company website — ideally he can find that right fit through a more “personal” channel.
I’d say this is the default mode of operation for most companies in our industry: write a job listing that describes the company, what you do, what the position needs to do, what experience is needed and so on. Applicants read dozens of these descriptions, but they’re much like a resume form the hirer’s perspective: they usually do no more than snag someone’s attention to get them to investigate further (visit your website, check out the team, etc.).
While this approach certainly casts a wider net (for a small fee) beyond your social circle, existing industry, and so on, it also means a bit more work is needed to find the signal in the noise. We’ve had mixed results with all these job listing sites:
- Craigslist: great for reaching a wide audience
- 37signals: good to find folks in the industry, but high visibility means you may be skipped past for ‘sexier’ opportunities
- LinkedIn: able to cater very well to existing skills and folks currently employed (usually matches intent)
- Authentic Jobs: great for a narrower set of design-minded individuals looking for opportunities
- Careers 2.0: aimed at fairly technical developers, but low volume (does not usually match intent)
- Company Website: only good for people who already know about you
This is arguably the most expensive approach (depending on how much your personal and professional time is spent evaluating applicants, going to meet-ups and conferences, getting to know folks personally) but can yield high-quality results with little-to-no effort on your part.
Finding the right fit and getting into a routine with a recruiter is just as hard as bringing on an employee or key service provider (lawyer, accountant). You set expectations, you provide feedback, you go back and forth, you communicate a lot. But once your needs are ‘locked in’ you can have excellent candidates dropped in your lap.
Of course, the typical pricing model incentivizes recruiters to be good at finding you the right candidates: they get a percentage of the employee’s salary that you ultimately hire. So they’d be wasting their time (and profitability) qualifying and presenting candidates that aren’t a good fit.
Do you have someone full or part time (Human Resources? Office Manager?) in-house and dedicated to finding good candidates, exploring the above avenues, reaching out proactively?
We’ve not attempted to have position like this ourselves. Mainly because we don’t necessarily have the churn or volume of hires needed to justify the position. But, we’ve pondered this outbound and inbound hiring approach as we realize many larger agencies and companies employ it for good reason. At a point it’s cheaper and easier to get good candidates as a good hiring manager already knows the culture, what a good fit looks like, can talk about the technologies, processes, etc. and dedicate their time exclusively to finding matches.
These are my observations on posting jobs and different approaches to finding job (career?) candidates. What have you found works well?
Obviously this is a compilation of hand-picked interviews, but this video certainly shows a refreshing amount of “a-ha” moments after asking a different (better?) question. I was surprised to learn this was conducted in Colorado Springs given the composure of the community (very large population but not very diverse demographically, very Evangelical Christian and politically…
The team at Crowd Favorite has been working on a solution to a problem a lot of designers and developers (and folks that work with designers and developers) didn’t quite realize they had: when working on a project you typically take notes on the side… but you usually throw that away and lose the snippets of code, outlines of todos, open questions and decisions, etc.
Capsule replaces that scratch document you have open when you’re coding. It creates an archive of your development artifacts.
Instead of keeping a text file open when working on a project, using Capsule means you can have a simple archive of all those notes and easily reference them in the future.
Initial reactions and reception have been very positive from the development and WordPress community so we’re all very pleased.
Be sure to check out Alex’s post on Capsule to read more about the thinking and decisions behind this (free) product.