Accelerating WorkHound Week 3
Co-founder collaboration, competition and picking up the phone
At WorkHound, we’re tackling a big issue in the trucking industry: the 97% driver turnover rate. We’re building a platform to allow drivers to share feedback with their companies. Companies then receive the aggregated feedback to improve the driver experience.
This is our weekly post highlighting our learnings and actions each week in the Straight Shot accelerator out of Omaha.
Other Updates: Week 1 Update /// Week 2 Update
Each week the accelerator has “themes” for teams to focus around, with workshops complimenting the themes. The focus this past week was branding, sales and PR. We spent time mapping and tackling the gritty tactics of what it takes to get the first customer (still a work in progress), what our brand stands for and how to build our brand through thought leadership and marketing. Here are some snapshots of things we worked through this week:
One of the biggest tests of the accelerator was evaluating whether Andrew and I would get along in a pressure cooker environment. Not only would we work close together, we’re also living together in Omaha. Figuring out this dynamic is a make or break piece for WorkHound. We made a bet on one another and if we can’t work together, there is no company.
So far, so good. We’ve created a healthy blend of work at both the accelerator and home while also making our downtime enjoyable.
When we’re not heads down, we’re cooking at the house, working out / walking around the neighborhood (time away from screens is crucial) as well as vegging out to some mindless cartoons to wrap up a late evening.
Andrew has been great at keeping our team on track when it comes to building product the right way, fighting off the vast noise that is out there. I’ve been getting us in front of a variety of carriers, influencers and various good people to learn from so that we can continue to learn as we build.
It’s been a really valuable team dynamic so far and I’m happy with our ability to have healthy debates about next steps and still collaborate.
Oh hello competition
In the past week, multiple people reached out asking “have you heard about…” or “just wanted to make sure you knew about…”
I was fascinated to get these notes because it shows a few things:
1. People are thinking about us and our product
2. People don’t know if we know who our competitors are (trust me, Santa’s keeping his list and checking it twice)
3. I’m sure this happens to a number of other startups and other companies
I’m grateful these folks reached out to share, but I’m also curious as to what the intention was. Maybe it was genuine information sharing or a nod that we’re crazy and we shouldn’t keep building. Regardless, we’re continuing to build. We feel good about our prospects. :)
Pick up the damn phone and talk to people
The trucking industry is a phone-heavy industry. Many of my contacts are pretty terrible with email, but when I get them on the phone, calls can easily go for an hour.
With PR a focus this week, we spent some time mapping out what we hope to gain from building report with various industry media entities. As I spent time building out lists of who to reach out to and what talking points would be needed for a variety of conversation flows, I realized I needed to just pick up the damn phone and call the press contacts and build a relationship.
The big thing for me was to collect the dots before we connect the dots — make sure to build relationships before going in for an ask in the coming months.
Each of these reporters was extremely friendly and open to what we’re building at WorkHound. In each case there was an eagerness for content as I was able to secure submissions for an op-ed or column from 3–4 publications, which is a great win for our team!
There is some intense pressure every week. The pressure to get things right now and not build the wrong way, the pressure of balancing 10 different tasks at once and the pressure to keep pushing forward can be exhausting. To break this up, we hosted our first WorkHound Wednesday at the accelerator where we pressed pause on the grind, ordered pizza, knocked back a few brews and watched BASEketball with a few other teams at the accelerator.
In another light moment on Friday, Kayla (our community manager) chose to turn down a free lunch (offered by Andrew). No one turns down a free lunch at WorkHound.
Luckily Andrew was quick on his feet and still managed to surprise Kayla with a meal… a Happy Meal.
Little moments like this are a blast to be a part of. And yes, that is Go-gurt in the picture.
A big win for us this week was getting our website from a landing page to a more robust site. Kayla led the charge to get the latest version of our website live.
Give it a look around and please share your feedback with us so that we can continue to improve!
With the week capping a quarter of the accelerator, we’ve made steady progress on a number of fronts, but there’s still a long way to go. In past experiences it takes 3 months to figure out what the hell is going on with a product that is being built. We don’t have that kind of time. We’re jelling, we’re gaining momentum, we’re learning and we’re having fun doing it. The hustle continues.
Want to keep in touch?
We’d love to touch base if we can help or elaborate more on our experience: