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Align Focus Grow

I joined Yoco to build out the Customer Success area and team. I learnt a lot about how to and how not to set up a new team. As Edison said,

“I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work”

Customer Success didn’t have a generally accepted definition when I started (and arguably still doesn’t) and the area was new to Yoco.

Based on what I learnt, the three key things to get right are:
1. Alignment
2. Focus
3. Team Growth


You don’t have to have everyone aligned to or valuing what you’re doing to start, but you do need…

Today is my last day at Yoco, almost 3 years since I jumped on board.

During this period, the customer base scaled from 1000 to 35000+ merchants, from 25 to 100+ people and 1 to 3 products.

Before I joined I had been doing a few different things. A few research projects, quitting my masters and delivering courses about entrepreneurship in emerging markets.

I explicitly said I was looking to join an early stage company with a great team, a product customers loved that had inspiring growth ambitions and a mission I could connect to. I found that at Yoco.

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Douro Valley Photo by me

Running a team is a primary capability that you need to build in a growing company where you will start and run a team, then teams of teams, then teams of teams of teams…you get the picture.

This is how I think about running my team at Yoco, my first time. I’ve done this once, so I’m interested to see how this evolves.

Advice I’ve seen over and over again for people and companies has been to increase ambition, set the right next steps and enforce high standards. I think this advice is contained and translated in this framework.


“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.”

- Steve Jobs

Why create?

There seem to be two sides to this, one is from the viewpoint of the self; Why should I selfishly care about creating? The second is from society’s viewpoint; Why does society need us to create?

For ourselves, Happiness is said to be derived from Joy, Flow and Meaning and the last two in particular are tied…

what? for who? compared to the others?

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(en) Apple Core; Apple Core — (en) Claes Oldenburg, born Sweden 1929, and Coosje van Bruggen, born Netherlands 1942, both active in the US. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem — Rights Reserved — Free Access —

1. What job/s it’s doing

Clayton Christensen’s ‘job to be done

2. Who it is solving a problem for…it could be more than one group of people.

a) described as specifically as possible, in terms of what makes them distinct from non-consumers of the product.

b) it is useful to do this for different product versions (planned/historical) and different customer groups (planned/historical)

3. How it solves the problem differently to the existing alternatives

Why your target customers(&/)consumers (will) prefer this product to alternatives (in the future)

Then the acid test to check the alignment between your core value description and product experience.

This started as a post about and Net Neutrality and got me starting to question why we are fucking up our second big chance in 100 years to make the world a whole lot better for far more people.

The promise of the current technology revolution [computing + internet] was the possibility of decentralised (democratised/meritocratic?) production with cheap distribution.

That future is disappearing into a future filled with consumers.

I say this because the smartphone (or some version of it) is seemingly the device of the present and future for the human species and the smartphone is a consumption…

I used to want to call myself a Social Entrepreneur — Now i realise that being able to call yourself that is something you earn through the weight of evidence.

If i call myself an entrepreneur, i need to be able to prove that i am in the process of starting a business.

If i call myself a social entrepreneur, i need to both prove that i am an entrepreneur and that my business produces social benefits.

‘Social’ is an additional claim. If i tell you i am ‘a runner’, for you to believe me i only need to prove…

I’m developing a course at the moment and in module 2 we cover the realities of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets, these are some of my thoughts.

For the second part of this series I’ve chosen:

“The people are the most important ingredient”

At a macro level, we can examine this through two types of talent; Technical and Managerial. Anything that needs to grow quickly to an impressive size needs both types of talent to be successful.

  1. Technical Talent:

If we look at a couple of the indicators, first is estimating the number of developers and the second is the number…

I’m developing a course at the moment and in module 2 we cover the realities of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets, these are some of my thoughts.

Let’s take some startup mantra’s and try to examine them at a macro-scale. In the first part of this series, I’ve chosen “live in the future”.

“live in the future”

One way to live in the future is to play with whatever technology will be mainstream in the future. In this respect, we (people in emerging markets) used to live in the past, but now we live in a smaller, more concentrated, but not uniform, future (I borrowed…

I’m developing a course at the moment and in module 1 we cover ‘Normative Entrepreneurship’, so I was thinking about some simplifying ways of acting and thinking that are useful for entrepreneurs. I think these are useful heuristics (that’s why I chose them), but explore them and let me know what you think.

I arrived at these three; Deterministic Optimism, Effectual Reasoning and Antifragile learning.

Deterministic Optimism, or how to think about the future.

“I can change my world for the better, even if it takes me a long time”

I first learned about it here —

Steve Jobs…

Simon Blampied

I love exploring, understanding and solving problems with great people.

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