Thursday, June 20, 2019

My Startup Journey - Perspective



There is always more
Product to build, work to do 
Keeping perspective



I recently started my own company, Olifano. This is the fourth post in a series about the lessons I am learning along the way.

I love to work. It is a part of my identity. I also love that one of the first things many people who have worked with me would say is that I just get shit done. Well, they would probably say a few other things first but if pressed for a positive they would say I get shit done. I think that is a positive attribute for anyone working in a startup. For a founder, especially so. But what I have learned from my own startup journey is that without the perspective of others the get shit done (GSD) mindset can drive you crazy. It’s never enough when there is no one but yourself watching. It’s never enough when there is no one telling you, “Great job!”. It is never enough when you know how much more there is to do.

One of the challenges in my own founder's journey is simply keeping perspective. In the first week, I created a chart with the key milestones I needed to achieve to get to launch. It is only 17 items long, and some of the items are pretty big (e.g., define a go-to-market strategy), but it helps me keep the big picture in mind and not get lost in all of the small and seemingly endless GSD details of the day-to-day. If that sounds trite, it is. This is not the secret sauce to successfully starting a company. It is super basic but important. We usually create milestone charts and project plans to keep teams aligned and working on the right things. I created this one for myself, on paper. I have found it is hard to keep perspective without reminding myself of the milestones and progress. It’s on paper so it is always staring at me from the desk, regardless of what’s on the screen in front of me. There is more to do. But perspective on all the work done so far helps.

I can’t wait to share what we are building with you. We launch this fall so please stay tuned!


About David Verhaag

David is the Founder of Olifano. He has spent his career building and scaling teams at some of the leading HR technology companies. He was most recently the Chief Customer Officer at Degreed, the lifelong learning platform. Prior to Degreed, he held leadership positions at Kahuna, HireVue, and SuccessFactors. David lives and snowboards in Park City, Utah.

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