Last Friday, I went home from the Brussels West office at about 16h30. We called it a day, Remko and I. It had been another fruitful afternoon with our ‘huge’ Core Team of two people. Another weird afternoon too. We talked about much more things than we initially intended. And we were very surprised it was not 15h, as we both had in mind, when we decided it was time to finish and go home. No, it was 16h30.
Time is really flying, when having fun.
Only two topics were on the agenda last Friday: an issue with one of the collaborators, and the CV for a Start-up Planner, which we first called the Financial Architect. Oh yes, and I also wanted to give some feedback on the constructive talks I had with our Estonian developers last week. Great team. We’ll need to find the right Product Lead that really guides them, so that they feel supported and get even better results. And, so that I can get away from product details, and focus on the main lines of strategy again.
But hey, that’s for next week.
We were talking about staffing, last Friday. And while we did, I happened to update Remko of an old project about home management services. It’s one of those ideas that has been popping up once in a while. It’s about getting lower-educated people offering quality home management services to the lower part of the Nielsen A class earners, and meanwhile discovering and expanding their real day-to-day talents, on the job. Giving them the chance to see part of the world, and get them love the beautiful global village our world has become. Before they get stuck in a local town, and a local job, with a set of local habits, and an us-against-them attitude. Helping young under-educated people to deploy their talents, before the owner of the talents freezes, and gets stuck.
Euhm. I admit. It had NOTHING to do with the agenda. Really NOTHING. Totally wrong meeting style, of course. And yet, we talked about it. Although the high temperature, we did not get tired. And we found more and better ways to develop that idea into a business. I suddenly remembered I had had an informal agreement to use two hotel and tourism schools’ infrastructure. And Remko remembered how the Rotterdam au-pair scene is getting into ‘adult au-pairing’. And, and, and, …
And while we were talking, the potential impact of the business idea became bigger. Before the afternoon passed, we had a new business idea on the table that really feels great. While talking, also our mutual match and harmony became stronger. Before the afternoon passed, the two of us had an even better bond, and a bigger drive to impact. While talking, the “goesting” to also dig into that project became bigger. Ideas kept flowing, so why stop, and keep the meeting limited to the topics of the agenda?
Only after some time, we eventually started to tackle the topics on the agenda. The search for a Start-up Planner (which we still called Financial Architect at the beginning af that meeting)! Remko had written down a job posting ad. Yes. That was a job posting ad, like any of the better HR managers would have written it. Sounded big. Sounded important. With some extra juice on how much ‘top’ the top talent should be, and how great the job was going to be. But, neither of us liked it. That was not the person that was going to be part of the gatherings and meetings, and drive us away from the agenda towards creating another great impactful business project. That was not the job and the company that we were passionate about, either.
Most importantly, Remko did not try to defend his work against my gut feeling. No. We had the same gut feeling. And I did not try to nag him down for not being able to complete a job ad. We both went for what we felt is what we are really doing. And we both knew it was too important to play a personality game. Trust, result, passion, and authenticity, are our core values. So, the artificial blah-di-blah does not fit with our search.
One of our issues was … how can you say it is a dynamic environment, when it is really-really-really dynamic? No one believes it is a dynamic environment, when you write it is a dynamic environment. Just because writing it, makes it sound very not-so-dynamic. Damn.
That’s when we decided to use story telling. To tell the story about the team. To tell the story about the job – which is not a job, really, it is a match (or it is not the person we are looking for). So we decided to tell about what we think a business should be about. It should be about impact. So we decided to tell about how we think about the financials of a company. Where we want to go. About ourselves.
And that’s when we realised, we intuitively did know who we were looking for. Definitely not the non-existing sheep with five legs. Maybe the sheep with three legs, one of which is lame. Or even two legs plus the intention to grow the third one – while afterwards we might realize the person was the sheep with all the legs we did not think we once might need them, last Friday.
Are you still with us?
“I Agree, some financial background is essential to the financial guy”, said Remko. Weird. Remko always said ‘guy’, and I always referred to ‘her’. Whatever. As long as this third person fits with us. And yes, some financials are really crucial. But those financials should come natural, though. For instance, we would like the Start-up Planner to be as passionate as we were about that new business idea, and then, spontaneously send us a spreadsheet over the weekend, on the margin calculus and how the potential share value could evolve over time, and how many people we should need over time. The main lines of the financials, not the details. The big picture of the planning, not the MS Project details. Some ‘scribble calculus’. Scribbled out of passion and sheer interest. Just like I am now writing this little story on a Sunday evening, because I get enthousiastic about the evolutions in Brussels West. Not because I have to obey someone. Based on the scribbles, we might then schedule a new meeting, and see how we like the main financial ideas, what topics we could improve, how much more impact we could achieve, how we could reshape the business model behind the financial model, what kind of investors and team members we could or should attract for the idea, that kind of debate. And then we might have the Start-up Planner check some countries legislation, to verify how far our new idea can deploy – or not.
That kind of business planning. You see what I mean? Not the accounting stuff. Of course, the Start-up Planner should talk to the accountants (as I do too – we are not thinking in boxes), and tell them how different our reporting should be from classic reports. Tell them how to ensure one can extract the impact from the numbers, and tell them how to book the numbers against their odds. Afterwards, the Start-up Planner should also be following up whether those numbers are correctly reported, whether those numbers are in line with the estimations, what could be improved, and how we could explain the difference to the shareholders, and future investors.
That’s how it feels now, when we talk about a Start-up Planner. That’s what we believe we are looking for. And that’s why I went home with a smile. And with the intention to write about our last Friday meeting, on a Sunday evening.
And now I do hope someone understands this is their place on earth, or gets a hint by one of our friends. In that case: here is the ad. Be aware … it’s not written as a classic ad. But then, you should at least expect that it’s not written as a classic ad, if you read this post all the way to the bottom. Thanks for following and reading, by the way.