Accelerator, Fundraising, Team and more…

It has been a while since our last update and a lot of things have happened so, continuing with our transparence culture, we wanted to share them with you.

Accelerator Program

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We applied to some accelerator programs and were selected by Plug and Play Spain. Our association with Ruben Colomer, one of the directors of the program, comes from some time ago. Colomer gave us some precious advice previously on another project, and the second time we asked him for advice, this time about Tractionboard, he told us that we had to apply for the program. This was a validation for us, because the previous time, he didn’t say anything, but this time, he told us about the program.

Before applying for the program, Colomer made some connections for us, and we kept in contact. When the next program was launched, we didn’t hesitate to apply and we were selected after a couple of interviews and the usual documentation.

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Our Recruiting and Onboarding Process

One of the biggest challenges that we are facing as early startup is the amount of ins and outs that we are suffering inside the team, which is causing a big delay in our progress spending a lot of time recruiting and introducing the new teammates to our workflow.

Our project started with three members and has had a maximum of six people (currently there are six of us). But since March of this year, we have had four departures for different reasons. There are times when you can’t do anything in your situation, for example, one of them had personal matters and had to leave and another got a bigger offer from another company that we couldn’t afford to match (however this was our kick off to start raising funds).

On another occasion, we liked the candidate’s profile and his enthusiasm a lot, but we detected a lack of communication. We looked for references and almost all of them were positive (they attributed the lack of communication to his shy personality), so we agreed with him to do a one-month trial and then decide. The communications didn’t improve at all during that time so we paid a month’s salary but didn’t hire him. Maybe with more time we could have made him more comfortable inside the group, but when your zero cash day is just four months away, time is a luxury. I guess, once we get more experience recruiting people, we will make better decisions, but even with experience, it’s almost impossible to be 100% accurate with all our candidates. That’s why companies like Buffer, Basecamp or WordPress have a bootcamp or incorporation process in which they (company and candidate) can detect if they are a good fit for each other.

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Tractionboard in September – 2015

In the last weeks, we have suffered several steps back that have delayed our progress. We have lost two members in the DEV team, one for personal reasons and the other wasn’t a good fit for Tractionboard and Tractionboard wasn’t a good fit for him. Also the designed methodology hasn’t worked out.

Team

We are learning a lot about team management and with each change, we learn from our previous mistakes, taking them into consideration for the next try. As for examples, we don’t usually speak too much about technical issues in the interviews. We try to be open, telling the candidates what failed last time or what problems we are facing, to know their opinion about them or how they would act in that situation.

Also we are very interested in what they are looking for. We have detected, in some cases, that there is a misunderstanding of remote working (normally in people who had never done it), thinking that remote working is a kind of relaxed job where you don’t need to work very hard.

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Tractionboard in July and August – 2015

The summer is almost done, as is our first release. It has been about three months of testing our product, fixing bugs and improving the experience, all of this thanks to our users. We have also launched the first two integrations and we expect to start incorporating other ones. The new release will be launched with four useful views, one based on your marketing funnel (with multi funnel option), another with information from marketing channels and two for business, one of them based on your historical data and the other one is a one year forecast based on the growth of your last three months. The Segment integration will also be available in this first release.

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Defining our methodology: self-managed team

Some months ago Leo Widrich, from Buffer, wrote an article about how they were switching to a self-managed team. He mentioned a book, Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux, where the author studied several successful self-managed companies and created a methodology. At Tractionboard, we are building a self-managing team too. For example, when we hire a new teammate we always say we are hiring you, because you are better than us at this, so it would be stupid to ignore you when you have something to say, but until now, we didn’t have a defined methodology for managing this situation, so after reading Leo’s post, we got some ideas from the book he recommended that could help us to define our methodology.

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How we reached 2,300m in just one day

Last Sunday, part of the Tractionboard team took the challenge to reach a 2,300m goal. We have to be honest, we didn’t start from zero, we already had reached 1,000m, so we just had to get the other 1,300m. It wasn’t easy, but this is the way it was done.

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Exponential Organizations: Staff on Demand

Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, cheaper than yours (and what to do about it) is a book written by Salim Ismail and co-authored by Michael S. Malone and Yuri van Geest that will give you a lot of ideas about how to create your own exponential startup.

Ismail offers a framework to introduce key elements in your organization that will help you to reach an exponential growth. He helps you to understand why current big companies are where they are. It is one of those books that make you think and want to try new things.

Exponential Organizations

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Hirings and Departures of team members

At the end of last month, one of our team members had to quit our team due to personal reasons. It’s hard to lose them when you have invested so much time looking for them and they have proven to be a great teammate. This has been a setback but we have to continue and keep working hard.

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Our hiring process

The hiring process is really a pain. I can understand why there are so many companies in this niche, but even with so many, I don’t see anyone who really solved the problem. You have a lot of sites where you can put up your offer and wait for applicants. You will have more or fewer applicants, more accurate or less, but at the end you will have invested time researching them, talking with them, explaining what you do, how you do it, what you offer, what you expect from them… I don’t see any way you can avoid this process, but I guess if you find a solution you will have the next big thing.

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What our MVP told us

After 4 months in our customer development process, where we got a lot of insights about the kind of product we had to build, we started to do it and launched an MVP in two months. We already learned how important is to launch fast in a startup (we learned that from our previous project). One thing is what people tell you and another thing is what people do (and another thing what people pay for).

We had some assumptions that have not been true, so we need to change them and try again. But this is the purpose of an MVP, isn’t it?

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Tractionboard in June – 2015

June was an exciting month for us. We launched our prototype with a demo and we started to welcome aboard our first users. We are getting feedback from them and fixing some problems that they have reported to us.

Both integrations with Google Adwords and Stripe are almost done, but we have found a couple of setbacks that have delayed their launch.

David G., one of our employees, has to leave the team. His personal situation has changed and he can’t afford to keep working with the salary that we are offering right now. David was working on the Adwords integration, it’s almost finished, however he will leave at the end of the week, so Miguel (or the new employee) will have to finish it.

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