Lessons From Entering the Startup Space

Lessons From Entering the Startup Space

At Donaco, we believe that reflection is vitally important for our development and improvement as such we took the time to interview our founders Michael and Dave about what they have learned since entering this space.

Q) What has been the most unexpected thing about running a startup?

“How much you have to evolve with the startup, constantly wearing many different hats to adapt to roles with different functions and doing this at a fast pace.” – Michael

Q) In what ways do you think you have developed the most?

“Managing people; coming from engineering background and then having to manage new joiners and bring them on to the team.” – Dave.

“Constantly pushed in places beyond your comfort zone – by doing this you need to face things like learn to pitch, speak to customers, not one thing but the journey pushes you to go out of your comfort zone enabling to develop in different aspects.” – Michael

Q) What has been the most challenging aspect to date?

“The amount of work that needs to be done even before starting to write the code.. Such as manage a brand new product and setting up all the pieces that go with that – writing, testing, and managing third party services.” – Dave

“Listening to the customer and being sensitive to the customer because you can have an idea in your mind but the customer is going to be the one buying – being agile and able to respond, not stuck to your own way of doing things.” – Michael

Q) If you could go back and do-over what advice would you give yourself?

“Listen to your customer – make your customer your biggest fan. Important that your customer understands the journey as well as you do. And the product should reflect what you and the customer wants.” – Dave

“Build the team better in terms of long run, get investment earlier, don’t get involved with too many entrepreneurship competitions, although initially they are excellent and provide a great source of learning, doing too many can drive your attention away from your customers.” – Michael  

Q) How do you go about finding the right people?

“The recruitment process is different from a more established company as you need to seek out those who want the startup experience so normal hiring locations don’t really work, areas such as universities however, are likely to have people interested in startups.” – Dave

“It’s also important that they are interested in and believe in the product, if you’re going to bring someone on at an early stage you are going to want them to value what you do.” – Michael

Q) What have you learned about managing your team?

“Diversity is incredibly important; different ideas, different ways of solving problems – do make a difference. Further, it’s important to focus on the little things that people want in their careers and tailor the role for them. Ultimately, it’s about having an open exchange, listening and being present.” – Michael and Dave

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