Always learning. 3x founder. 1x VC-backed. akislaopodis.com
Maren Kate
Maren Kate

In this episode of the Startups For The Rest of Us podcast, Rob interviewed Maren Kate.

Maren built Zirtual, a service company in SF that was offering on demand virtual assistants. She hired 400 people in less than 2–3 years, and after leaving the company she launched Avra Talent. On the podcast, she explained her exact recruiting process that’s now being used by many other startups that hire remotely. Here it is:

Forget the title. First define the jobs to be done. Don’t collect resumes, we only look at resumes at stage 5. They are not the right “tool” for assessing an applicant. Let your company culture and your company’s version of weird shine through the job post. …


stock market graph
stock market graph
Source: Yahoo! Finance | Statista.com

The Feb. 28, 2020 episode of the Exchanges at Goldman Sacks podcast was obviously dedicated to the Coronavirus and the impact it’s having on markets. Here are some things I feel are worth noting down:

1/ This is the fastest slide into a correction since 2008

2/ Monday was the worst day for the S&P in over 2 years

3/ China represents 17% of global GDP which is 6 times bigger than it was during the SARS outbreak in 2003

4/ Sales into China for US corporates are at around 2% of S&P revenue exposure so the impact of the virus is affecting mainly the supply…


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I’ve been listening to the Founder Coffee podcast by Jeroen Corthout (Co-Founder at Salesflare) since the beginning.

In Feb. 2020, Jeroen interviewed Rahul Vohra, the founder of Superhuman and I really liked some of the ideas and practices Rahul uses to grow his startup, so here is a summary!

Setting and reaching a goal through a specific type of brainstorming

Let’s say that you need to get to $5 million ARR. Now you’re at $3M ARR. So how will you add $2M ARR to this year’s plan? Well, now we have a framed question.

One way is “how do we generate an extra $2M of revenue”. Another way would be “what could we be doing that would make $5M of revenue”. …


We all fall for the same sales “promise land”. You hear how someone followed the NEW sales approach and signed 100 customers using a little known sales tactic and — of course — you want the same.

Don’t get me wrong though, sales tactics work or let me re-phrase: They used to work really well.

But sales tactics are overused and people are becoming allergic to them. Instead of focusing on building relationships that will grow your business, most business owners get super excited when they see stuff like this table below.

Because OBVIOUSLY, the silver bullet for growing your business is to pick the right day of the week for your calls. …


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Trying to find the right arguments that will resonate with each prospect, is key to the success of any sales and business development process.

If your arguments, your story, your persuasion tactics don’t resonate with the other person, there is no point in trying to persuade them.

You’re wasting both your and their time.

It’s actually purely scientific and if you see it that way, it’s much easier to achieve it.

According to Wikipedia:

“resonance describes the phenomena of amplification that occurs when the frequency of a periodically applied force is in harmonic proportion to a natural frequency of the system on which it…


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  • Rituals: Every community needs rituals. In the old days, humans used to gather around the fire every night. Later on, humans created religious communities that had rituals that brought them together.
  • Rhythm: Having a ritual is important only when you do it repetitively so that people make it part of their life.
  • Respect: Every community needs some sort of values & culture book for knowing what is and what is not allowed within the community.

If you are participating in any sort of community, this will make a lot of sense as Ben Keene’s ideas are amazing. I discovered Ben Keene as I was learning more about entrepreneurship and community building, and I think he is one of those people you should follow. …


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PBL is one of those topics where seeing it in action through videos, make a huge difference (compared to just reading about it). So I watched 100+ videos on PBL and selected the best ones. I’ve separated them in to 3 sections: What is it → Why should we use it → How do start it at our school. Enjoy!

Watch this first (3 min.)

Then watch this (2 min.)

Now watch this (7 min.)

It breaks down the 5 core benefits of PBL and it makes it very easy for anyone to wrap their head around the core reasons and benefits of PBL for students.

Does PBL work? Watch 3 min. from this

Listen to the results from a PBL experiment that was implemented in 48 classrooms across 20 elementary schools. And this is just one of the studies, there are hundreds. …


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I discovered various really interesting accounts on Twitter and I think more people should consider following them. Feel free to suggest other ones you find.


(Originally written and published in 2015)

Optimizing your cold email reply rate can have a tremendous impact on your sales.

Most founders & CEOs I speak with, don’t believe that you can generate sales by focusing on cold sales emails. They think that I’m talking about “Mass Email Marketing” or “Mass Email Blasts”, but I’m not.

They also think that they will need to send emails via MailChimp, iContact or other such email tools which are only good for non-cold mailing lists.

So here is what I’ve learnt during the past year, while working with several companies that asked me to scale their sales. …


(Originally written and published in 2015)

The city

For most of the world, Athens (capital of Greece, home to nearly 50% of Greece’s population) in 2012 was synonym to words like crisis, debt, IMF, austerity, corruption and unemployment. The economic and social reality on the ground was/is harsh and it affected everyone one way or another. Everyone talked about the cuts, bankruptcies, new taxes, lack of political leadership, insecurity and so on.

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The Greek business community was very ill prepared for such a hit and had nothing to hold on to. Athens (and Greece for that matter) had and still has no headquarters of multinationals or globally leading tech businesses that would spur growth/innovation around them. …

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