A: I like to create autonomous teams so we give a lot of responsibility to our teams and team leads. I like to be involved in discussions. If I’ve asked someone to be responsible for something and I see them making only good decisions, I’ll generally defer to their decision-making. I think that gives a lot of satisfaction and empowerment to the team. On my end, it allows us to grow faster because, wherever possible, I’m trying to remove myself as a bottleneck and let somebody else take on a different role.
Q: What’s important to you in recruiting?
A: The question we ask is, ‘Would I be excited to work with this person?’ If it’s not the right fit, we’ll keep trying to find somebody to fill that position. I’d like to have 10 more people on the team in given roles right now to make life easier, but I know the short-term benefit could hold us back from our potential in the long term.
Q: What’s next?
A: We’re still adapting who we want to be and how we do things as we grow. Even the idea of having policies or written guidelines on, say, how vacation time might work, is a new thing, but we really didn’t like the notion of someone sitting in a room and dictating what it would be. Those things will generally be drafted by someone who’s an expert in the area, but so that the teams have input on the environment in which they work.
We’ll continue to improve our product. Right now, we work with content management and e-commerce, but we can still apply the same skills to other open-source platforms and add on complementary ones that fit with what our clients need. We’re constantly having discussions about where the market might go next and how we can position ourselves for two or three years out.
Q: What else do you have in your life?
A: This whole entrepreneur thing can take a lot of time. I used to be quite the workaholic, but exercise and meditation have helped give me balance. I’ve started to understand that I can take time off and enjoy travel and spending time with my family. Doing things I enjoy helps clear my mind so I can make better and more creative decisions at work.
Q: What’s your advice to young entrepreneurs still working in their parents’ basements?
A: Pick up a copy of The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Set your initial vision, work hard toward that, but keep your eyes and ears open for other things in your journey that may have greater potential. Make sure you’re ready to jump on that and pursue it when it arrives.
Special to The Globe and Mail
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