The Truth about Working for our Technology Start-Up
Whenever I meet someone for the first time, and I tell them I work for a Silicon Valley headquartered start-up in the mobile space, they first inquire if I’m a tech nerd (which I’m not really), then they assume I play on apps all day (which I don’t really either) and then they assume the business grows virally whilst we sit back, chill out and drink beer (which it doesn’t, not yet anyway).
If the truth be known though, we do have a whole lot of fun at Guidebook. We recently (Feb 2016) invited each person from my International team in London and Seoul to join up with the rest of the company in the 3 US offices, for a week of work and relaxation in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.
Seeing over 80 people from the teams in Seoul, London, Raleigh, Palo Alto and San Francisco meet, some for the very first time, was really inspirational. It re-confirmed the culture that I bought into when I chose to invest in Guidebook 2 years ago. A culture that promotes international collaboration and a belief deep within the 3 founders vision that true success can only be achieved when people are inspired to work towards a unified mission. Jeff, Kevin and Pete, the founders and childhood friends, have been true to this approach from day 1 (almost 5 years now) and it shows in what they have built in the US and are helping me and my teams build internationally, and it also shows no sign of waning. In fact I see in them a renewed determination to ingrain this approach even further.
Having been involved at the early and growth stage of a number of technology start-ups over the past 18 years I know what a $100m tech start-up feels like to grow from a low base, and I know what a so-called unicorn looks and feels like before it actually gets there. Guidebook has all of those credentials and much more, and it’s driven by an investment in culture and great people to build something that will truly stand the test of time. I’m very pleased that we have made an extremely solid start.
However we did not get to this point without a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Whilst in Tahoe I would commonly see a Guidebooker with their MacBook Pro open and working before donning their ski gear to hit the slopes; during the week in SF I would commonly see the International Guidebookers in the office at 0700 in order to cover as much of their timezone as practically possible, before shrugging off the jetlag and heading into back-to-back meetings to learn and share with their US colleagues. Deep within us as people we know that there is no such thing as just turning up to work if you want to win. There is hard graft, creativity and intellect at play throughout every day, and the result is commonly spectacular.
We have grown at a phenomenal pace since our inception, and our EMEA and APAC teams alone have seen 300% growth in the last 12 months. We have acquired some of the world’s best known brands as customers, and are proud to be gaining momentum in new verticals and new markets as I write.
However the truth about working in our start-up is that the journey has only really just begun. There’s a long way to go, but in my opinion, to quote the American born British national T.S Eliot, “the journey, not the arrival matters”.
Anyone joining a technology start-up is taking a risk, there are always easier options, however at Guidebook we are trying to solve a big problem and that is very exciting. In a world where the smartphone is racing towards ubiquity, we are making it easy, and even fun, for non-technical people to build beautiful mobile apps. Whether you’re a large multi-national, a University, a museum or have a large family gathering coming up, being better connected to your audience through their mobile devices has many benefits and Guidebook will be at the heart of that evolution.
To achieve our mission, we need to continue to hire great people, that are also excited by our mission and its challenges, like the sound of our culture and believe they have what it takes to help us get there. If that’s you, or someone you know, check out our vacancies, we’d love to hear from you. Maybe we’ll be having a beer in Tahoe with you this time next year!