TeamRed Founder Chronicle #3: Building a Team
Planning is a crucial stage for any business, and TeamRed was no different. Among many other things, scheduling and planning was necessary in order to grasp the estimated capital that would be required to fund the venture.
In order to quantify the capital that would be required, I had to identify the kind of people that would help make this business a reality. As the founder, I had to be humble and not think I could do it on my own. It was my responsibility to surround myself with capable colleagues that would be able to provide the expert knowledge needed to steer our ship in the right direction.
For this task, it was vital to have a deep understanding of the problem that we wanted to solve, the business model, and our product rollout plans. This would directly inform me about the type of people needed, how many were required, and the amount time it would take to develop and release a product.
So, I set out to build the team in a specific order: Hardware, Finance and Planning, and then Development.
When looking at a hardware development lead, you need to find someone who understands not only the hardware, but also the manufacturing process. When I first approached William Chiu, his background in internet of things devices and hardware was a key element for product planning that we needed. He had both the right knowledge and contacts to ensure that we’d be able to get our prototypes and final products on shelves. He became TeamRed’s first co-founder.
The second co-founder was David Charvat. I knew David since we were in college in the late 2000s, and roomed with him while I was completing my MBA in Tokyo. His eye for detail and numbers, combined with a passion for strategy and the big picture of things, caught my attention. Knowing that I would be busy with day to day operations, I needed to make sure I could trust someone else to manage the numbers and create realistic financial projections and help with strategic planning and other critical business management issues. His intimate knowledge of Japan would also prove important once we were ready to enter the Japanese market
With my two core advisors in place, it was time to hire our development team. This proved to be a difficult affair. As a start-up, we had neither the brand nor the capital to attract expensive talent. I created job postings online and received an overwhelming number of resumes. Among 80 or so applicants, only 5 made it through to the final test. The test was a mix of simple and difficult questions regarding coding, network stacks, information security, and algorithms. The final hurdle was a test of character, and 3 of the remaining 5 made it through that. Good help is truly hard to find these days.
Once the team was assembled, we had a first meeting to introduce everyone and to plan the schedule moving forward. Planning is important, but it is important not to be bound by the plans and schedules we set for ourselves. From previous experience I knew that no matter the situation, there will always be delays in development due to unforeseen circumstance. It was essential for us as a team to remain flexible and vigilant to the ever-changing landscape that is the development phase.
We still follow the same philosophy today, which has helped us get through the inevitable tough periods that come with software development.
This blog post was written by Miko Tan, TeamRed Founder.