Moving (start)UP in life, or why I decided to join Hole19.
Hi. I’m Gil and I’m the COO of Hole19 Golf. I recently made a life changing decision, and I’d love to tell you about it.
Imagine you worked for one of the hottest startups in the world for its respective field. One that had raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and valued at over 1 billion. One that served tens of millions of users on a monthly basis. Where you had had the chance to launch 3 new markets in your first year of employment, and worked directly with dozens of the smartest people that you have ever met in your career…
Would you trade that for an early stage startup? Because I did, and here’s the story of why I did it.
Let me start off by saying that I really valued my time at my previous company, and I learned more there than I could ever have imagined I would. I got the chance to work in four different markets within my first year of being there, and I got a chance to work with incredibly smart and talented people. For several times I was left in awe at meetings, just thinking about how good these people were at their jobs, and I’m glad that I had the good sense to shut up and listen more than I spoke.
To say that things moved insanely fast is still an understatement. Growth came very quickly, and so did new challenges. Which meant that I had the chance to contribute in many roles in a short amount of time. As was commonly said there: “You’ve just been offered a seat on a rocket ship. It hardly matters which seat it is.”, and I didn’t care.
I don’t know if this lead to burnout, or if it just accelerated into two years what elsewhere would have taken 5–6. But the truth is that at one point, as much as I loved what we were doing and everyone who was doing it with me, the small things started to get to me. Much like you start noticing many of your partners’ or friends’ irritating traits once you start spending much more time with them. And then, there was this growing desire to help build something from the ground up.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that I had plenty of opportunities to greatly influence things during my tenure, but I could never change the fact that it was already a big company when I got there, and that for better or worse, it would continue to function just as well after I was gone, regardless of how much I was able to contribute. That, along with the fact that me and my wife had moved across the world (literally) for this, lead to a decision to look for something new. An even bigger, better challenge.
So, we came back to Portugal, and here’s where the opportunity came to be a part of what Hole19 was doing. This is a company that is literally 1% the size of my previous one. Yet, the challenges that we are facing here are just as — if not more — exciting.
Golf is a “small niche” of about 70 million golfers and about 40 thousand golf courses spread throughout the world. This “niche” is worth upwards of 76 billion dollars worldwide, and it’s an industry that is ripe for disruption and can benefit immensely from the introduction of technology that helps make everyones’ lives easier.
Being at Hole19 gives me the chance to work with an insanely talented team that is building a world class product, used by almost 1M people, across 154 countries and 14 languages. All of this with limited resources and a fighting spirit. It gives me a chance to feel like I’m part of a team that is building something epic, and that each one of us is essential to building the vision that we have of connecting the entire world of golf.
We don’t work out of a skyscraper, and our engineering team isn’t composed of 100+ devs, but we’re still building something out of nothing every day. And that makes it that much more satisfying. And the amount of dedication these guys have shows in the trust that our users and investors have put into us. Thanks for that, it means the world.
Helping golfers connect with each other and with golf courses so that they can enjoy doing what they love: This is what we’re working at daily to achieve, and I must say it’s been great so far.
There is a lot that still needs to be built here at Hole19, and I know that we’re going to have a blast building it! :-)
We’re looking for more people to help us build the future of golf. So if you’d like a seat on the rocket ship, you can have a look at our open roles (www.hole19golf.com/jobs) or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or would just like to personally connect, you can always find me on LinkedIn or at email@example.com.