New Year, New team, new opportunities

It’s a huge cliché, but a lot of things happened in one year. More than ever before, 2019 was a true rollercoaster at Stampix. The past few months we have been driving in high gear and some significant changes have taken place. After hitting our targets in the first two quarters we faced some rough (personal) storms during Q3, and separated ways with our CTO. Fueled by new deals towards the end of the year, we found ourselves releasing new products & features without the necessary dev capacity. Needless to say more than a few nuts & bolts jumped off, and we had to rethink everything. During countless hot autumn nights, we dreamt of a killer smartphone app, AI, a scalable platform with robust operations and a well-oiled sales team. Not to forget an inbound marketing machine. Sounds like quite the Christmas wish-list, right? Let us take you through our lessons and how we believe we will to tick those boxes in 2020.

ITERATIONS

In the beginning, running a startup is all about conserving cash, managing your top line and performing enough iterations to reach the so-called “Product-Market Fit (PMF)”.  End 2018 we believed to have reached that point, after experiencing a steep rise in revenue and becoming profitable for the first time in our existence. Backed by our investors, we decided to hire people on sales and development and invest more in B2C marketing, i.e. (gently) switching from cash conservation to cash investment. It turned out that PMF is a simplified view of reality, at least for Stampix. One of the key lessons we learned is that we’ll continuously need iterations while scaling up and that there’s a huge risk in pre-mature scaling.

“Startups that succeed are those that manage to iterate enough times before running out of resources ”

Eric Ries

KEY LEARNINGS

Everything is connected. More sales will go hand-in-hand with new feature requests, and require a reliable tech platform. A better technology & AI will facilitate a frictionless (B2C) experience, delivering customer success (B2B). This will, in return, be a key driver for recurring revenue. So, in a nutshell:

  • We're a tech startup, so we need a tech team for the long term
  • Non-technical founders should focus on closing deals, since they have all the experience
  • Build a sales team with specialized roles and inbound marketing around the founders
  • Measure what we do, and make decisions assisted by data

TEAM CULTURE

I used to believe these topics were for large corporates, with an entire HR-department trying to realise a certain company culture. After failing to scale my team, I’m convinced it’s not only essential to define the core values, but also to make them actionable.

What does each of these values mean?

  • One Stampix: to realize the company’s mission, it’s essential to work together as a team – aligned around the strategy and with the will to sacrifices for the common good.
  • Open, Direct & Kind: regardless of position, we believe it’s important to have an open culture where everything can be said and discussed, albeit in a respectful manner.
  • Disagree & Commit: this famous sentence from Jeff Bezos stimulates the team to disagree at times, but nonetheless commit to the execution, once a decision is made.
  • Embrace and Drive Change: to improve, we must be able to change, and we believe that change should come from within the team.
  • Growth mindset: what is fantastic today, should be normal in 6 months, and not good enough in 12

Each of these values has been translated to concrete actions, and it’s our ambition to hire, fire and organize ourselves around these values. Together, they will ensure the company is growing in a sustainable way and our future iterations are less painful.

2020, here we come!

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