I really enjoy getting involved with businesses very early – often before there is even a powerpoint presentation.
It’s risky, of course, but lots of fun.
When I left my proper job at Deutsche Bank in 2003 with a vague notion of setting up my own company I kept on telling myself that it wasn’t risky because I was in control – and I trusted myself to make things work (although of course I’m not really expecting everything to work out the whole time).
I joined Lingo24 as a Director and only the 5th member of the team alongside founder Christian Arno, who was a tennis friend from Oxford. Lingo24 wasn’t really a startup in the sense that it had been going for a couple of years already, but it had a startup mentality in the sense that it was small with ambitions to become big quickly. And even 10 years later the company has a very entrepreneurial spirit which grew from those early days. In fact half-a-dozen businesses have been formed by ex-employees of Lingo24 (most of whom left after a good stint at the company and on good terms!), which I’d like to think had something to do with the culture we fostered.
You can read a bit more about QuizQuizQuiz on the World of Quiz page - this is really the only company that I started completely by myself, my idea exclusively etc. It grew very quickly to its current size, and although still a very small business it pays some bills for me, and (I hope) all the bills for the full-time staff who do the day-to-day stuff, and the occasional modest dividend for me and my quiz loving friends who helped me out in the early days, all of which is nice. One day I’ll spend more time on it – as I love it – and we’ll grow it to be a bit less small!
Property Detective evolved from a lunch with my co-founder Barry Bridges. We’ve still got a lot of work to do – but feedback on the concept has always been very enthusiastic, so the challenge now is to make the data and the product better and reach more customers. My time on Property Detective is spent supporting Barry and helping the him and the business make good calls on the important decisions.
This has been fast…initial approach from what3words co-founder Chris Sheldrick with core concept in January 2013, company formed on March 14th 2013 (the same day as my son was born…), and go live with mainstream and tech press coverage in the UK and US on July 2nd 2013. Still very early days, but it has (literally) world-changing potential. I’ve enjoyed getting stuck into the details, as well as ensuring we make sensible judgements on strategic matters that could influence our chances of being huge vs big.
And yes, I like working hard. As long as its fun, success or failure, then I’m happy.