I’m very thankful to be able to build things with great people every day. Check out my latest Inc.com article on why you should consider starting up with friends.entrepreneurship startup friends Inc
Paying too much attention to the wrong details can lead to missed opportunities and wasted money. In this post on Inc.com, I talk about the numbers game of starting a business and how the most important metrics might not always be what you’d think.Inc Inc.com Startup metrics entrepreneurship
My latest on Inc.com - How to use a weekly one-on-one with a manager to get real work done, remove obstacles, and tackle your biggest challenges together.
A key challenge for entrepreneurs is finding a way to keep everyone in sync and maintain open communication while continuing to scale the business.
Below is a link to my latest article on Inc.com, where I explain my thoughts on how I think about building a culture of communication in a growing company.
Originally Posted on Porch.com.
Friends – it has been a while since I’ve posted. That it has been a busy 6 months would be an understatement. Porch has grown from 25 to 125 employees since our launch and assuming things continue to go our way, we’ll continue our ramp aggressively. The family home we’ve been building is 3.5 months away from move in and the family and kids are awesome and busy. It’s a fun time and I’m deeply engaged and energized, but sharing my thoughts and learning has taken a back seat. I’d like to promise that I’ll be posting more often, but the reality is, I know the next several months will continue to be amazingly consumed with a number of big announcements coming. I’m capable of focusing on one thing at a time and growing Porch consumes all the non-family time I have. (I’m on a flight right now back from the east coast and after reaching zero inbox, it’s the perfect time to update my blog!)
I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on what Porch has accomplished since our launch, and more useful to many of you, what I’ve learned over the last 6 months.
Since launch in September 2013, on top of scaling our employee headcount, Porch has gone from launching our product to becoming the best place to find a home service professional across the country. We announced a major (and fantastically aligned) partnership with Lowe’s, rolling out to 139 Lowe’s stores (Porch signage and kiosks throughout the store and all employees trained to use Porch on their phones or kiosks whenever a homeowner asks for a professional). We announced some compelling new partnerships with Home Innovation Research Lab, HuffPo, Orkin, and many others and home service professionals are flooding into Porch, getting significant lift in the number of jobs. We’ve been filling out our leadership team with incredible people and have relocated our San Diego team up to our awesome new Seattle office (with the team cranking nights to make it our own).
Porch is forming what is the start a truly amazing culture/philosophy/process that is demonstrated by the pace we are cranking. Just last week, we announced a new product that launches us into the real estate space through a partnership with Realtor.com that helps prospective homebuyers access information about homes for sale that they have never had before. (Check it out – go to Realtor.com and request a report for a home that is actively for sale). During this time, Porch continues to expand our data platform as we look to aggregate all home information that has never been organized to create real value for homeowners.
I have learned a great deal during this time. Here are the 5 most notable learnings that may be helpful for fellow entrepreneurs:
- Be in 1 location. It was the right decision when we’d started the company to have a team in San Diego – we were able to get fantastic technical talent that helped to get the company off the ground and build our data platform. However, relocating that office to Seattle has so clearly been the right decision. It has been one of the most refreshing and amazing shifts to have our entire team located in the same spot. Over the past 5 years, during my time as an executive at Active Network and during the formative stages at Porch, I’ve worked in an environment where employees were disbursed geographically. I’d forgotten how big of a difference it makes to be in the same place. Over the last month, the pace that we are able to move, the lack of friction we feel, and the ability to communicate more effectively to make great decisions, has improved dramatically. For at least the next several years, I am deeply committed to keeping our team in the same location.
- Have great and aligned fellow partners/executives/leaders. I feel incredibly lucky with the team we’ve put together. We have a mix of talent and experiences, but most importantly, over the last month I can feel the culture taking hold, the sense of team, new individuals starting to gel, more open communication, and better alignment/spirit/approach around what we are trying to accomplish. The team is in it together to build something truly great and I’m most grateful for the folks I get to spend my days with. It hadn’t crystalized how fun it can be being shoulder-to-shoulder in pursuit of something difficult… that it is rewarding is an understatement. Pick the right people.
- Be clear about the culture you want to build and repeat it to the team again and again. It’s remarkable to me how challenging communication is even early on – I feel like I often repeat the same messages to our team in our weekly all hands, but when I fail to do so, we immediately get feedback that not everyone is in sync. Don’t underestimate how important it is to communicate clearly what the company priorities are, the tenants of the company’s values and culture, and to create the standard of having open and frank dialogue.
- Press matters. When you are scaling, PR matters for a lot of reasons, but for us it has made great impact with recruiting talent. So many of our employees joined after hearing about Porch through our PR teams’ efforts. Given building a company at the formative stages is all about having amazing people that gel, these efforts have and will continue to have a massive impact on the company. Be strategic about PR – save stories until it is the right time to share and have a positive impact on the business from that effort.
- Don’t worry about mistakes… just move fast. I was guilty early on of worry too much about certain details, when really I should have been worried about maxing out our pace and output. Speed has to be a differentiator for early startups and make sure you are thoughtful about how to design the structure of the organization to continue to be fast at scale. I used to delegate the approach to building software and now I’m in the thick of product and development to the benefit of the company. There is nothing more important than building amazing solutions fast and it’s something every CEO should be close to.
Thanks for using Porch for finding the right professional for your home and collecting ideas for future projects. Thanks for using and downloading the Porch Home Report through Realtor.com if you are considering buying a home. And most of all, thanks for your ongoing support, feedback, spreading the word, and telling your most talented friends to apply at Porch… yes, we are hiring!
After running different kinds and sizes of businesses, from a startup in my dorm room to a public company, it feels good to get back to the basics with Porch—hacking on the [click to the post on Inc.com…]
See my latest article in Inc. with 3 best pieces of advice I try to live and work by.
Today is a monumental day! Porch is now available across the country. I couldn’t be more humbled or more excited about what’s to come. Read my post about our launch on Porch’s blog.
A sneak peak at the new look and feel of Porch.
It’s been a tough few months, to say the least. Not only is Ronnie Castro of my greatest friends, but he’s also a business partner. Neither school nor work prepare you for a challenge like this – one that’s wound tightly not only around personal emotions, but a greater [click to continue to the post on VentureBeat…]
My latest post on VentureBeat about Ronnie’s struggle with brain cancer, and what it has meant for Porch both as family and as the pursuit of our passions. If you want to hear more about Ronnie’s amazing story, you can follow him at his blog here.
GUEST MENTOR Matt Ehrlichman, co-founder and CEO of Porch: Most young entrepreneurs grew up watching “Law & Order.” I grew up watching my father, a successful Seattle litigation attorney who gave me a lifetime of coaching on what to do —and what not to do — in the legal affairs of running a business. Here are some legal guidelines for building a startup that I rely on, with credit owed to my dad …
I am days behind after Porch was announced to the world. Apologies to those of your I’ve been slow to respond to. It’s remarkable how consistently sales people trigger off of press articles. They email out-of-the-blue during a time that is likely to be the busiest for their target.
Rather than ignore, I’ve decided to respond, but in a very different way. Here’s my advice for entrepreneurs or others being sold to:
For sales representatives, my advice:
… partially because I’m interested in your unfiltered feedback.