Herry Wiputra - Scaling Growth Teams

How to scale your teams to create effective growth.

Herry Wiputra is the CTO of Campaign Monitor, also known as the "Apple of email marketing". While they've enjoyed exponential growth, they’ve had their hiccups too, including unwieldy code that took a long time to update. He shares how his role shaped their team structure and has helped create scalable growth. 

How do you scale?

The first thing to remember, Herry said, is that the most important thing is to be responsive to change – you need to be able to adapt to change quickly. How do you create a team structure that facilitates that? Herry gave us five areas which you can work on. 

Culture

What do you need in terms of culture? You need something flexible, where people know each other and can comfortably communicate. You need a system that bypasses outdated ideas of hierarchy and instead embraces a system where the value of each contributor is understood and used.

When it comes to managers, you need people who are willing to facilitate learning and inspire their team members – not people who just come up with ideas and expect others to execute.

People

The conventional wisdom is that you should hire the most intelligent people, right? But Herry suggests a different set of criteria. It doesn’t matter how intelligent someone is if they won’t work within a team. You need to look for people who are willing to step outside of their own competencies and teach and learn from others. People who can not just cooperate, but collaborate with others. You need what he calls “T-shaped people”.

In other words, don’t employ people who just want to do their own thing. They won’t be willing to work in the kind of environment you need to create a responsive, flexible team.

Structure

You need to get rid of teams which are focused on areas like “design” or “development”. Instead, you need teams which combine all of these roles – cross-functional teams with members who complement each other, so that they can work on a problem together. And instead of a separate quality assurance team, you need to make everyone accountable for their work. “Quality is the responsibility of everyone,” Herry says.

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Process

You also need to think about your process. Does everyone know what everyone else is doing? Is it clear what the purpose of the work is and what the key results you need are? Something like a Kanban board for each individual will help focus their priorities, increase transparency and get everyone working towards the same goals.

Architecture

Herry quotes Conway’s law: “Any organisation that designs a system will inevitably produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organisation’s communication structure.”

In other words, if you have an unwieldy, hierarchical structure, then that’s the kind of system you’re stuck with. He challenges us to think differently.

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Key takeaways:

· Refresh your company structure. Get cross-functional individuals working in cross-functional teams to see the best results.

· Manage effectively. Don’t set up a hierarchy of management - make small effective teams who inspire and encourage each other, and where managers are a part of the team.

· The structure of your organization will be reflected in the product. If your hierarchical structure is difficult to navigate, then your product will be the same. Renewing your company structure is not a dead end: it’ll help renew your product as well.

Nazar Musa - Investing, Growth & Acquisitions

What are the keys to growth in any industry? Happy customers and even happier employees.

Nazar Musa has over 20 years of experience in the online and travel industry and he has demonstrated success driving multimillion dollar sales growth and award winning sales and marketing leadership in many markets. 

He’s the former General Manager and Regional CEO of LivingSocial and he’s now CEO of Medical Channel, a digital OOH media company that provides content to digital display screens in health practices.

Watch the talk here:

 

Being acquired and acquiring

Nazar has been on both sides of an acquisition. He spent 6 months at the height of the daily deals frenzy building and priming the travel vertical of his own deals business to be bought out. The secret? Know who you want to be bought by, then structure your business and processes after that. Being an early stage startup, the two key factors for valuation is revenue and scalability. By increasing the price of average sales through selling 5-star hotel deals, Nazar was able to raise the overall revenue, becoming an even more attractive investment to be acquired. 

On the flip side, Nazar acquired the Community Network last year as part of Medical Channel's growth strategy. The $25million acquisition of their major competitor gave them scale and advertising opportunities across the nation. However, as with most acquisitions that initially look perfect on paper, the integration challenges soon came. The first was to rapidly grow the employee base from 9 to 90 over 5 months (hire someone you trust, and then let them do their job). Nazar balanced that with the bigger challenge of repairing broken relationships from Community Network. By taking the time to talk to upset advertisers and medical practices, he was able to empathise with them and solve their problems. As simple as it sounds, listening to your stakeholders and acting on their requests converts them to clients for life.

Growing the LivingSocial brand

As the Regional Manager of Asia for LivingSocial, Nazar oversaw the growth of its portfolio of acquired brands. Each country was distinct from the next, which meant that to compete, Nazar hired local experts who knew the market in depth, and then proceeded to create relevant products for those customers. 

His second lesson, become a karaoke master. Jokes aside, relationship building is extremely important to get business done in Asia. Cultivating the right relationships through social events along with leveraging social media influencers who were popular in the market were propellers that grew LivingSocial's brand against Groupon in countries like Korea and Thailand.  

Bringing things offline

While tech companies are all the rage, Nazar also dabbled in starting his own boxing gym in Singapore with great success. To test whether there was a market, he created a fake page for the gym and spent $20 on Facebook ads over 7 days targeting potential customers in a 4km radius of the destined location. A set target of 100 likes would validate his new business idea. Overnight, the page received an astounding 400 likes and in 4 days another 600. That was more than enough validation for Nazar to open up his gym. 

It might have been well-crafted copy, the perfect location, or that he just got lucky, but Nazar shows how we can utilise lean startup methodologies and a very low budget to validate new ideas before executing. 

Key takeaways

  • Never forget you're serving a customer and a merchant- at the end of the day, if you are a marketplace, you have to understand your customers and merchants and make sure they're are satisfied to be profitable.
  • Capital comes to good businesses- there is an abundance of capital all over the world, if you have a good idea and you can prove traction or a path to revenue, you'll be able to get capital (and this applies whether you are in tech or not!)
  • Keep your employees engaged and happy- they are your biggest asset, build an environment they want to stay and grow in. If you hire people smarter than you, and let them do what they do best, the revenue will come. 
  • Be nice to people- whether they are investors or clients, always be nice to people as you never know where you'll meet them down the road.

StartCon 2017 Dates Are Out!

StartCon has officially launched its 2017 dates - and we're thoroughly excited about it! This year, Australia's largest startup and growth confernce will be held on December 1st & 2nd at the Randwick Racecourse. And it's going to be bigger and better than ever before.

Last year we moved StartCon to a bigger venue and saw 3,000+ startups, investors, growth hackers, and international speakers flow through our doors. This year we're expecting nearly 4,000 to attend, as we continue to be the largest gathering of startups, entrepreneurs, investors, media, and corporate innovation teams in the country.  So if you're thinking of waiting til the last minute to grab those tickets, you might have another think coming. 

StartCon has sold out six years in a row, and 2017 will be no different. 

So what can you expect from the most anticipated Startup event of the year? 

StartCon is the crème de la crème of startup and technology events, where hustlers, hackers, and wannabe unicorns unite to pitch, exhibit their wares, and learn from the best global talent. Oh, and did you hear about those funding rounds that were initiated at StartCon 2016? Investors, we're looking at you.

Over the jam-packed 2-day event, 500+ startups, 150+ exhibitors, and 60+ speakers will navigate through 4 levels of exhibition, pitch competition, stages, and party like entrepreneurs afterwards. Also, this year, stealing our unicorns will not be tolerated. 

Attendees and speakers jet in from all over the globe, some of our past speakers include top growth leaders at Uber, NASA, SurveyMonkey, Zillow, Twilio, 500 Startups, Growth Hackers, Pinterest, Atlassian, BitTorrent, Alibaba and more. This year's lineup is set to be even BIGGER with huge name speakers who are shaking things up beyond Silicon Valley.

There are too many takeaways from StartCon to list, but key highlights include notebooks full of actionable insights from our rockstar speakers, a case full of new business cards and contacts, new customers, exposure to new ideas and technology... and massive amounts of swag.

In the upcoming weeks we'll be launching ticket sales and making some HUGE announcements on keynote speakers, so stay tuned and get in quick for those Early Bird Tickets (soon to drop!). 

Oh, and if you're looking for amazing ticket deals and want to be the first to hear about new speakers, use the button below to subscribe... Go on, you know you want to.

Other important stuff: If you're involved in the startup/growth industry and want to partner with StartCon, we have a myriad of different ways for you to get involved. We love sponsors and community partners (without you StartCon wouldn't be the same). If you're interested in getting involved, please contact us here.  

 

Opportunities in the Growing Space Economy

Opportunities in the Growing Space Economy

Jason Crusan is from a small startup you may have heard of… called NASA. He’s the director of their Advanced Exploration Systems division, which is itself part of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. He came to speak at StartCon to update you all on changes in the space industry – and the huge opportunities ahead within that sector.

Grow your startup with ZERO budget

Grow your startup with ZERO budget

Sujan Patel, Co-founder of Web Profits gave a talk about how to grow your startup at StartCon. Even better? All of these methods are things you can do for FREE, to build your company right from the very beginning.