Around 3 years ago, STORM was in a rut.
We made a sellable product in Flexible Benefits. We were so excited that people were ACTUALLY BUYING our product that we…
…made OTHER products instead of concentrating and building on our winner.
I blame my entrepreneurial craziness for this one. Wrote about this a bit for homegrown.ph – on the serial temptation.
Soon, we had more products than we had people! While each idea was an innovative one and made a BIT of money for us, what we mostly produced was a boatload of mediocrity. Instead of making one GREAT thing – we did a number of inspired but UNDEVELOPED products.
So channeling our inner Steve Jobs, we killed all our horses except for the biggest one, the one which put us on the map – flexible benefits.
It’s been a great decision.
My STORM business partner Paolo and I made a little experiment though. Among the dropped products, we decided to pursue the next-most promising (and profitable) one, and spin it off into a startup.
Wary of committing the same mistakes again, Pao and I swore we won’t be involved operationally in this new one. So we then looked for TWO MORE co-founders for the would-be firm: a Pitcher CEO and a DOM (Borrowing Maoi’s awesome definitions). Pao and I would only continue to be involved on a board level.
A few months after?
Strata.ph was launched. What Strata wants to do is to disrupt the way companies manage their people through an online platform which manages competencies.
Within the first few months of operations, it has already managed to secure lucrative b2b contracts. Using the standard of “How much time does it take for the startup to make its first million,” this, by far has been the most successful startup I’ve been involved in.
How has Strata.ph done this?
Here’s why it worked:
1) Fulltime founders
Really quite crucial. Self-explanatory.
2) Sharing the STORM marketing database
Storm and Strata have the same target market.
So instead of Strata calling clients on the phone and asking:
Good afternoon! I’m _____ from Strata. We sell an online competencies platform. May we talk to your HR Director? (pause to listen)
Uhm, no he isn’t expecting my call.
We can instead call clients on the phone and ask:
Uy, Jun how are you? How are the kids and their first days in school?” (pause to listen)
Sounds good! Kamusta naman ang flexible benefits ninyo? (pause to listen)
I’m glad to hear that! Tawagan mo lang ako kung magkaroon kayo ng problema ha.”
Dude, do you remember that sister company I told you about? The one doing an online competency framework? Would you have some time this week to meet with them?
This is a BIGGIE.
3) The board knows the market and the business – from a startup perspective
Pao and I are members of the Strata board. Who better to help the CEO and COO of new HR technology startup than another CEO/COO pair who run a successful one?
So where does this all point towards?
I’m now looking at the remaining dropped STORM product lines with a glint in my eye.
Does anyone want to help me put them up?
There are 3 HR ideas I want to pursue and build startups above.
Here’s who I need (it should be pretty obvious if you’ve read the above):
1) I need people who can commit FULLTIME or if you’re working fulltime, someone who is SERIOUSLY considering a fulltime leap.
2A) The first idea has something to do with training and development. I need 2 people for this one. I need a pitching CEO, and a STATISTICIAN – someone who loves numbers and analysis.
2B) The second idea has something to do with recruitment. For this I might need 2 people as well people. A pitching CEO (ideally someone with recruitment background), a tech guy who knows how to build web products.
2C) The third idea is an OD consulting play. It ALREADY has a pitching CEO, I would need a partner for him – preferably a someone with an OD background.
3) I need people who will LEAD and be accountable. I need entrepreneurs.
These people I’m looking for will really be STARTUP FOUNDERS. I will not be involved directly in operations, so it’s up to you to build the company.
If you’re interested, send me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do attach a CV and a cover letter as to why you think you’d be a great fit.
Want to take a leap? Send me that email now!