RWL179: Startup Grind’s Evolution and the Art of Balancing Entrepreneurship with Meaningful Connections w/ Derek Anderson

 Embark on an entrepreneurial journey with Derek Anderson, the visionary behind Startup Grind, as he traces his path from small-scale meetups to a  community spanning over 500 cities. In our candid chat, Derek unravels the core values that have knitted together a fellowship of founders and innovators, where the ethos of ‘helping first’ beats at the heart of every connection. 

This episode is not just a conversation; it’s a masterclass in nurturing a global network and fostering personal and professional growth within the vibrant world of startups.

As we navigate the tightrope of work-life balance, I reveal the strategies that keep Derek grounded amidst the whirlwind of entrepreneurship. We dissect how the unique structure of Startup Grind events offers a sanctuary for those striving to blend ambition with family life, painting a portrait of an entrepreneur’s journey that cherishes presence over the grind. If you’ve ever felt like networking events are a labyrinth of business cards and pitches, our discussion on fostering meaningful connections is the compass you’ve been seeking, with tailored advice for those who find networking daunting or draining.

In the latter part of our exchange, we explore the evolution of Startup Grind’s embrace of remote work and the birth of Bevy, a platform that’s revolutionizing how we think about customer marketing. We’ll also shed light on the significance of nurturing a community that’s grounded in gratitude and reciprocity. 

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Speaker 1:
0:00

Well, hello everybody again, wherever you may be in the world today. I mean, I keep saying this, but I only bring the best speakers to the remote work life summit and I'm just so. I feel so blessed in that sense that today I have with me today Derek Anderson of Startup Grind. He's the founder and CEO of Startup Grind and the reason I feel blessed is because Derek has been well himself. I've had successful entrepreneurs and leaders on before and Derek is another example of that. In fact, Derek, right now he's running two companies, which we'll talk a little bit more about in a little while, but Startup Grind was my first interaction with Derek and I think the reason I wanted to bring him on. As I said, you're going to get a lot of inspiration. You're going to get the practical tips as well. As well as that, obviously, Startup with this being a remote summit, we're going to talk about the remote aspects of Derek's company, Derek. As I said, Startup Grind, it's a global startup community which is designed to educate, inspire and connect entrepreneurs throughout the world. So, Derek, I just want to say a massive thank you to you for joining us today. I know you're really busy. Just thank you so much for being here.

Speaker 2:
1:26

Yeah, thanks for having me. It's a very thoughtful introduction.

Speaker 1:
1:30

Not at all. I could have thought a lot more to say, but I want to leave. I don't want to talk too much today. I want to leave the platform to you because I know that people listening are going to get so much from this today and I'm quite good at talking, but, as I said, I'm going to leave the stage to you today, derek, first of all, I just wanted you just to tell us a bit more about Startup Grind and how that got started.

Speaker 2:
1:58

Yeah, startup Grind is designed to educate every entrepreneur in the world and we do that through local chapters that we have set up in over 500 cities in about 120 countries and we host monthly events in those cities. We do about 200 events a month, so in roughly about half those cities are hosting monthly events or an event on any given month, and then occasionally throughout the year we'll host larger gatherings where the whole community comes together. In February We'll be in Silicon Valley. We have about an 8,000 person event there that we do We've done for six years, and so we'll host about 100,000 entrepreneurs in person this year, or, as we like say, in real life, and then we have tens of millions that will be educated through our content online. This year it started as literally just an event for me and my friends to get together to educate each other. It was not designed to really be anything beyond that. We called it Startup Grind because that was sort of what resonated with me as an entrepreneur, of the struggle and the work and the effort that I was putting in. A lot of people who aren't entrepreneurs they think Startup Grind is sort of this negative sort of name, but actually entrepreneurs, I think, really resonate with it because it's really about self-improvement. It's about building and creating and grinding. There's no glory in struggling or making mistakes again and again, and again, but learning and growing and improving. That's what Startup Grind is all about. Our values are to help first, to give before you take, and to make friends, and a lot of people resonate with those values around the world, either aspirationally or they live those values already, and so we've been really blessed to have hundreds and thousands of great people volunteer and sort of join our extended team as chapter directors to lead Startup Grind in their city or to participate it in some way or another, and so that's what Startup Grind is.

Speaker 1:
4:20

Yeah, and, like I said, it's incredible because you started only a few years ago and you've grown to such a massive network, such a meaningful network of people. You mentioned the events and the content that you put out. It's such a valuable thing and I think anybody listening to this I mean you may be thinking why is it that I've got Derek on here who runs Startup Grind, which is aimed at entrepreneurs? I think that whole word, that word grind, in itself, I think can be applied not just to entrepreneurs. It can be applied to people trying to really sort of do the best in their careers as well. So there's that aspect. The second aspect is that I think the events like Startup Grind puts out are probably undervalued when it comes to developing your career and it can help you with your decisions, whether you choose to go that way or that way. It can help you to meet friends, as Derek was saying, as well, and it's those values I think that really struck me in the helping others first, making friends and not contacts, and giving and not taking, and Derek were those values sort of. How have those values helped you with StartupGround?

Speaker 2:
5:53

Well, honestly, the most important thing that we did was we put our values on the website and that started really attracting a lot of amazing people who we sort of matched our ethos and what we were trying to be. Very early on, I attended the event and he invited me to go to lunch with him. He's a very successful investor. And he said do you understand, he's like I really enjoyed the event. It was very different and I said, oh, thanks, and he's like. I was like you know, it's just an event. He's like no, you don't understand the difference with StartupGround and other programs is. He sort of described these things about it. It's more about making friends. It's not about LinkedIn connections, it's more about giving. I was like yeah, I guess you're right. Yeah, that's true, he's like, but don't you understand? It's very unique. And I said no, I didn't. He said you need to articulate that and put it on the website. So I did, I went back that day and we put it on the website. It really had a huge impact. And so, you know, sometimes I'm not the best embodiment of those values and so they're sort of aspirational to me in some ways. In some ways, you know, maybe we are good at you know being some of those things. So it happens in flows but that's sort of like that's where that's. You know that's the bar that we set for ourselves and hopefully people that you know have that also have that bar. You know they find us and when they see that they're like oh, man these are my people. You know this is kind of people I want to be around and they jump in and get involved.

Speaker 1:
7:37

And the events that you referred to, tell us a bit more about typical types of events. I'm sure there are people out there who may not have heard of Startup Grind, and what I would say actually is, before you answer that question, is that it's so difficult to find quality events, networks for entrepreneurs, and which is why I think it's so important that you listen to Derek and that you, once we've, once you finish listening to the video, that you check out the Startup Grind website to see if there's a local chapter in your area, to see if there's an event, and then you start, you know, putting that into action. But, derek, back to my question what are the typical events and content that you help entrepreneurs with?

Speaker 2:
8:29

Yeah, early on we tried lots of different things and at some point I had a speaker who was going to come and he said, well, I'll come, but I can't prepare a talk, but I can just show up and you can interview me, and then I'll come right before then I'm going to leave right after. I said, okay, yeah, great, we can do that. And so that worked really well. People enjoyed the interview. It wasn't a sales pitch, there was a lot of learnings. And then it was good for me because then I got to be on stage with them. So then that helped my brand and helped me sort of meet more people, and so it was like a win-win-win. And after that we're like let's just do that. So we really 99% of what we do is a fireside chat between a speaker, sort of influential file leader, and a chapter director, and then 1% of our events are the sort of larger, more regional based events. We've got one today in Barcelona with 1,500 people. We've got one in a few weeks in Melbourne with a big group of people. So occasionally do these sort of full day or multi-day events, but generally speaking it's a fireside chat, evening event after work where you can just come in listen for an hour. Network meet people, help people before and after, and then get on your way after a few hours.

Speaker 1:
9:52

And I mean you mentioned the incredible network, the different countries that you're. You know that start up grind is in For me. I mean, I have kids myself and there's lots of people well, yeah, lots of listeners here that have kids as well. How do you any tips, any advice for balancing what is a very busy and very, you know, it's a business that's growing. In fact, you have two businesses. How do you balance family and work life?

Speaker 2:
10:36

Well, you know, I think one thing that is sort of misunderstood is that work life balance does not mean like equal balance, like it doesn't mean perfectly symmetrical. Or you know, 50% here, 50% there. You know when you're, especially when you're building a company area, you're just working really hard, you're trying to sort of level up and move your circumstances from where they are to somewhere significantly ahead, and that requires a lot of effort and work to do that, or you know everyone would do it, and so you know, what I just try to do is just do the like put the important things in first. And there's this analogy that probably people have heard, where you have a jar and you have these big balls and you have little balls and you got to put them all in the jar and you know, if you put the little balls in first, you can't get the big balls in. But if you put the big balls in first, things that are really important, the things that you absolutely don't want to mess up, or, and then you put the little balls in next, then you can get everything in together. And so to me, the big balls include like having dinner with my family or taking my kids to school, or making sure my wife, you know, isn't angry at me. You know, those are the big balls and you know, trying to be a good friend, or, you know, contribute in my faith community, or you know things that like, things that just like I, regardless of what happens with my startup, like I don't want to mess up, and you know, and then I put in all the little startup balls around it and, okay, I spend a lot more time on my startup than I do hanging out with my kids, but I, you know, I just try not to let those things get to the point where they break or where they're close to breaking. Or, you know, where they kind of cross, start to get on that line where I can't come back and I mean we'll see. See, I'm sort of nine years into being an entrepreneur. I got a long ways to go, but I hope that I sort of keep that focus and can figure it out. There are a lot of people, a lot of good people, are not able to figure this out, and so I'm not saying it from a place of like I got to figure it out, I'm saying it from a place of I'm working hard every single day to try to figure it out and I do things like I take red eyes after my kids go to bed or I take crazy flights to get home so I can sleep in my own house as much as possible. I travel as little as possible, you know. So you know you just do things to try to keep some sense of balance in there. And it's very difficult and it's an ongoing thing that I wouldn't say I figured out, but I'm trying very hard to, you know, figure out what works for me and those are. Those are some things that have worked, worked for me to this point.

Speaker 1:
13:58

Well, as a father myself, I find you an inspiration, derek, and I said that before before we got online and it's, it's. I love, I love that analogy that you gave and also the fact that you I think a lot of people think that the work life balance is like a perfect balance. But that perfect balance, like you said, it doesn't have to be 50 50. It can be, like you said, with me. I took my kids in, I take my, my children to school, keeping my, my other half happy, those sorts of things. You know trying to be, you know, in fact, you're what you're doing, yes, but in many ways, you're laying down your, your legacy. You're putting, you're preparing the future, aren't you? In many ways, not just for yourself and your family, but for other people as well, you're helping other people in the world. So thank you for that, derek. Thank you In terms of back to startup growing. Now I want to talk a little bit more about startup growing, because I, like I said to you before, I mean it's really hard to find quality. Well, the reason it's so difficult to find quality networking events is because there are so many. You can look online. You find so many people saying that they've got the next biggest thing, the greatest event coming up. I know that startup grind is. You know is is the one of the best out there. How can something like startup grind, how can startup grind help with those people find a sort of really push that career forward?

Speaker 2:
15:36

I mean, you're always one deal away from dramatically pushing things ahead. So, you know, couple of years ago we signed up a partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs, now Google for startups, which is a group and set of Google that helps entrepreneurs and startups. And, you know, when we signed that deal, it was like we've leveled up, you know, and a lot of things changed. There are certain people that have joined the team over the years that, like, when they joined the team, it was like boom, like we just leveled up. And so, you know, startup grind is a great way to sort of introduce serendipity into your life, into your professional life, whether it be through what you could learn at a startup grind, in a talk or meeting a speaker, or could be somebody meeting the person saying next to you you never know who it is. And so I think, if you know, great entrepreneurs are always learning and, you know, are always opening doors. It doesn't mean you like, say yes to everything, but you're at least sort of listening to everything. And I think startup grind just puts you in a position where you can get a lot of feedback, you can meet a lot of interesting people and, you know, potentially do something great, and there's lots of great examples of that over the years. I won't bore you with them right now, but it's just say you have to trust me, but like if you come. I mean I went to a startup grind last night in Sacramento, California, and I met a bunch of interesting people that I would have never ever met in my entire life. I've never come across them and I think I helped one or two people too, and they made the effort to get there. There's somebody looking for a job. They may end up working for us. You know there's an entrepreneur who's really struggling with the startup. We spent 20 minutes together talking about what he can do to improve and to fix the problems that he has. You know, you just don't know unless you get out of your chair and get out of the building and you know, and you know, put yourself out there and, you know, try to try to get better.

Speaker 1:
17:54

And is there a typical type of person that attends? By that, I mean, do you tend to get people who are, you know, first time businesses or graduates? So is there a typical sort of profile of person that goes?

Speaker 2:
18:09

Many people that are people that are building the network, people that have a little time heads down in a project, you're probably not spending a lot of time.

Speaker 1:
18:19

You know going out and you're, you said, people that are building their network right.

Speaker 2:
18:25

Yeah, people that want to build their network, people that are, you know, sort of at an open stage of their career where they're trying to figure out either what's next or they're trying to, you know, in a sort of building phase. So or it could be like somebody that just sees a speaker and says, like they are an expert in something that I want to be an expert in and I really want to learn from that person. So it could just be people that are, you know, really interested in the content that's being featured on the stage as well.

Speaker 1:
18:58

I'm talking about networking. I mean, like I said before, these sorts of events are great for entrepreneurs to network. They're great for people in general to network as well. Do you have, I mean, do you have any specific tips? Do you have a one-on-one in terms of networking and making new friends, making new connections, especially at an event like Startup Grind?

Speaker 2:
19:25

I would just, if you go to Startup Grind, just don't pitch people's brains out with your idea. Like, just relax and look to the person to your right, your left and think, how can I help this person? And if you genuinely do that, I promise you you will get a lot out of it. Especially if you do that over a long period of time, it will absolutely come back around, and so that's what I do when I talk to people to say, hey, how can I help you? And I just said that directly, and we sort of get to the point and sometimes I can, sometimes I can. But people are sort of refreshed by the fact that you're not just trying to take all the time and you might be surprised how much you actually can help somebody if you ask and generally try.

Speaker 1:
20:14

Yeah, I got asked a question about. Well, somebody asked me for an introvert. You know, introverts who may be perhaps on the shy side not all the time, but usually on the shy side do you have any sort of advice for? You know, if you're going to a Startup Grind event, any advice for an introvert who is perhaps trying to? You know, they see somebody in the corner there or somebody sitting next to them, an opening line or anything like that.

Speaker 2:
20:51

I don't know, I'm maybe not the best person to advise introverts on how to be less introverted, but you know, like, if you're worried about talking to somebody, at the very least, like, go talk to the person that's running the event. You know, that person should be friendly and open and whether it's Startup Grind or not, so you know, just look for people that are smiling, I mean, look for people that seem welcoming and go talk to them. That's usually who I'd go to talk to anyways, but just find people that seem like they'd be willing to, you know, to sort of work with you on a conversation and then point you to say, hey, is there anybody else here you think I should meet, that you could introduce me to? It's really easy for people to introduce you to somebody else. So, like, oh yeah, I just met this person, they're interesting and maybe that can keep, you know, kind of you can leapfrog to the next lily pad, the next lily pad, next lily pad. But just, you know, asking people, if people sort of walk up, like you know, invite them into the conversation and try to just get more people involved, and then maybe you don't have to. You know you're not doing that much work, but you're just sort of being aware and you know, hustling a little bit.

Speaker 1:
22:06

I like that, I like that and I think it's. I think when people think of networking, they probably are intimidated because they don't know how to open things up maybe. So those, yeah, asking simple questions, isn't it? And just having a general, natural, normal conversation, right?

Speaker 2:
22:25

Yeah, I think that's right.

Speaker 1:
22:28

And another question that I get asked quite a lot, and whether that be from people who are entrepreneurs or would be entrepreneurs, or people who are looking to, you know, understand which direction to take. Their next, you know to look for their next opportunity is about picking a niche, or a niche, as they say in England picking a niche. How do you go about picking an idea or picking, I suppose, your next route, your next direction?

Speaker 2:
23:07

Well, I think Paul Graham, who's our white cominator, sort of describes this the best and you can go read some of his essays, or people that watch this should go read some of his early essays. I think they're really good at this, but I think they're really the best way to do it. It's really approaching from the problem. You know what problem are you trying to solve and how are you uniquely positioned to solve that problem, whether that's domain, expertise or background or something like. I met a guy actually in Sacramento who's doing a construction software company and I said you know what's your background? I said, well, my dad runs one of the 20 biggest construction companies in the country. It's like, wow, you probably know a lot about construction. If that's the case, right, and you probably got a big network in or through your family. You've got a good big network in the construction industry. So how are you uniquely positioned to solve a problem? And I would just you know. And then I would say, like, well, people pay for it. How much will they pay for it? And you don't know unless you ask. And then you ask them to give you a check, and so you know those. Those. That's where I would really start with the problem. A lot of times that's when people start talking to me about ideas. It's always say like what? As I say, like what problem you try and solve? And and I think you can, if you can really distill it down to that, you know you might versus like, hey, I have this really cool idea. It's like well, you know ideas, like ideas, everybody's got ideas but does it actually solve a real problem when people actually pay real money for it? And are you uniquely positioned to actually solve that problem, either from technology standpoint or or otherwise? And if you have good answers to those things, then you might want to invest a lot of time and money and energy into building it.

Speaker 1:
25:07

Sounds good to me, sounds great and obviously a lot of people on here today aspiring to well, the remote, the remote work life summit, spoke to other people on this summit and, as I said to you before, I think the main reason I wanted to speak to the Derek today is because the values really sort of I hold those, that, those values dear to me and values of what often the reason that most CEOs in any case will start start a business. But I just wanted to ask you, I mean, I know that start up grind is obviously it's a remote company, you to remote business. Was that a deliberate, sort of deliberate strategy for you or was it through circumstance?

Speaker 2:
26:11

It originally was not deliberate, you know, it was just totally out of necessity in the beginning, because my co founder this guy named Joel Fernandez, and he lived in Portugal and when he was very young he was unable to go to school and he had to help take care of his family and so he never went to college. He was a self taught engineer and he's amazing engineers you know, the best engineer on our team and we tried to get him to the United States but we couldn't and so we were just sort of working, you know remotely, he and I, and then from there, you know, we sort of made it work. He would come here once in a while and, you know, we'd hang out for a week or two, or you know, we would get on Skype a lot. Eventually, after years of doing that, it just it works. I mean, we figure out a work really well together, like that, and then we started adding other people to the team to do the same thing and you know it worked because it worked for us. We figure out a way to work with others. So you know, in the beginning, no, it wasn't. You know, it's this big global trend and I'm very happy to be part of this discussion with you and your audience in community. But really like, for us it was just out of necessity, total accident and sort of a big blessing in disguise.

Speaker 1:
27:39

And I mean you mentioned it's a global trend, do you? What do you see? I mean, do you have any predictions? I know it's difficult to make predictions, but do you anticipate the growth of remote work and your own remote team?

Speaker 2:
27:56

Well, here's something to keep a look on in terms of like tracking, a global trend. So every year, forbes does a does this list of the top 100 cloud companies and this year, or this last list that they released not too long ago, there was two who self-identified as being distributed teams. I would bullishly say that that number is going to go up dramatically within the next five years and, for all the reasons that people probably know and I'm preaching to the choir here, but you know access to talent. I live in Silicon Valley. I've lived here for 13 years it is unbelievably expensive to live here. It is ridiculous, it is not. It's beautiful in some places and other places it's terrible and awful in terms of for a place to live. You know some good schools, some terrible schools, so you know, but the cost of living is just astronomical. And and so you know, for us, like we want the best, we want great people, we want eight players, and unless we you know our Google or Facebook we just cannot hire those people here because we can't afford to pay them and we can't afford to move them here, and so, and frankly, like you know, people don't want to live here. There's better places to live. I'm not from here. I've lived six years. I've grew up in Florida. I lived six years in Europe as a kid. I lived in New Zealand for two years. So there's lots of amazing places to live that are not Silicon Valley. But having your company sort of headquartered here, having a hub here, is super valuable and super important. And so you know, we just want great people and we want to scale a company with great people. But you know we we can't compete with Google and Facebook. So you know, getting great people around the world we have people all over the world that work for us, all across the United States, all across you know Western Europe, africa, people in Asia that work for us. So you know there are amazing people literally everywhere and it's just a matter of finding them. You know making sure they match your culture and your values and and then bringing them in. And you know figuring out time zones, figuring out meetings using Zoom or Hangout. You know you can. You can really build a team and make it work. Today, where it was much, even five years ago, it was much more difficult than it is today.

Speaker 1:
30:33

So I think that's only getting easier and how, when you, when you're actually going out into the market and selecting and doing your scoping for new talent, like you said, you've got a. Basically, you've got a global, a global talent for to source from. How do you? What does your recruitment process look like from the actual top, where you're scoping out and sourcing people?

Speaker 2:
31:03

You know, I think when we look at people, you know we just we always say like culture over talent first of all, which is not the sort of unique thing. But in the beginning, when you're first starting a company, it's very easy to like take anybody, because nobody like believes in what you're doing. So if you have, you know, if you have 10 fingers and can type, and you know you have a functioning brain and a beating heart, you're probably right for my startup, a warm body and. But you know, once you get past that initial phase, it's really, you know, just vital that you get great, great people and and like I mentioned this earlier, like I have so many examples where great people have fundamentally changed what we do, and I have great examples where horrible people almost completely destroyed what we had built. And so, you know, you just want to be militant about who you let in, and I don't know, location to me is not a factor in that. You know you need, look for remote people. You need people that are self starters, people that can, you know, people that can work without having to be checked on. I mean, we don't track what people are doing on a day to day basis or hour by hour basis. We definitely check day to day, but you know you just have to. You know if you're going to, if you're susceptible to watching Netflix, if you're a home alone, like you're not going to be a good remote worker, and and so you know it's a certain kind of person and they have to match our culture and have to be that certain kind of person and sort of self start a person. But but I don't know, my experiences shows that those people are in every culture and in every country. So I'd rather get. I mean, we have great, we have two, three great designers from Latin America and they're all women and they're all incredible and they have this unique style and I don't know what we do without them. You know, they've, you know, the ones, the oldest ones that have been around, oldest in terms of the company. Well, I guess with us like fundamentally change the way people perceive our brand. And this is somebody that was not involved until the last few years and doesn't live in this country and you know, I've met a few times in my life but you know, but they just have totally changed what we've done. I don't know what we do without them. So thankfully we're able to work remotely with them.

Speaker 1:
33:45

And I mean you said it takes a certain kind of person. You mentioned the net, the Netflix thing there. That made me laugh, I mean for me. But I obviously, like you said, you've got a self starter, you've got somebody who you have to have a certain amount of resilience, don't you? Because you don't have? Well, I suppose, in any facet you need resilience, but more so, I would have said, as a remote worker. Are there any other sort of, I suppose, traits that you have in your team in terms of a natural somebody who's naturally inclined to work remotely?

Speaker 2:
34:28

You know it's interesting, we have a lot of people that have kids. We have a lot of people that have families. I find it, if I had a team that was all based here in the same office with me, I couldn't. I don't think I could coach my kids basketball teams or, or, you know, soccer teams or whatever it was, just because, like you need to be in the office, you know you need to have physical presence. But you know, for me again, like putting the big balls in first, I think we're able to help people, like look, if you need to go, do you know, volunteer at your kid's school, or hey, if you need to go do something, and like you can go do that in the middle of the day and then just make the work up later and nobody's, you know we just, we just trust that you're, you know that you're going to do your job and and you can't, you know, if you're driving to an office, you can't just like leave at three o'clock two times a week, like, but if you're at home and you're driving down the street, yeah, you can do that, you can come back and finish your work. So I think you know we sort of over-index on people with kids. Honestly, it's just kind of interesting, I think. Yeah, I mean just, I don't know just people who, people who can run their own business. I lost you, derek, sorry, I said we have a lot of ex-entrepreneurs, people that have run their own businesses, again, because you have to sort of nobody's pushing you to run your own business, you have to do it yourself. So I think those people are pretty natural fits with remote work as well. People that don't cause problems, just people who who just I'm not saying like, not people who don't challenge you or try to make you better. We definitely you know we have feedback and surveys and you know care what our team thinks and how we can make their lives better. But just people who generally are going to be easy to work with and you can see that all along the way. Are they? How are their emails? Are they? Do they communicate well in the email when you meet with them, like sometimes, I will change in like a time for an interview right before I'm going to have it, just to see how somebody reacts to it.

Speaker 1:
36:51

Really.

Speaker 2:
36:52

Yeah, and I'll just say, hey, I need to move this by three hours. And if they're like if, if they kind of are very difficult about it or sort of like ego, you know, show some ego about it, like hey, well, I'm really busy too, or yeah, like I, you know but it, and then a lot of people like hey, and then I'm going to get on the call, say I'm so sorry for moving that, and you know, I kind of judge their reaction and say, oh well, you know, yeah, I was. it was, you know it was kind of a pain, but you know I worked it out. I mean, you know you kind of see how do they, how do they react to, you know, to to sort of challenges that are thrown at them and are they going to be easy to work with? Hard to tell, but different things you can do to sort of test that along the way.

Speaker 1:
37:33

No, that's, I never would have thought of that. It's a handy one for, like I said, everybody out there listening and in terms of just actually taking a step back a little bit, because some of the some people I've spoken to, they they, when they're actually doing the application process, they accept resumes. Other people don't. Other people will look at people's social profiles or their portfolio. How do you yeah, do you accept resumes? Is it typical for you to accept resumes or you have different ways of doing it?

Speaker 2:
38:12

Oh, yeah, sure, yeah, people can just apply on the website, you know, and yeah, we go through them and or you know we have multiple people that go through resumes that come in and we take referrals very seriously and so, yeah, absolutely, I mean, we don't know. Most some people come through our network, but a lot of most people that join the team, you know, nobody knows.

Speaker 1:
38:30

So and do you questions? Slip my mind now In terms of the actual interview process, yeah, the interview process itself. Again, is there a? Is there a typical process that you follow? You mentioned one of those little things, that those little tricks that you throw in there. Do you assess people in other ways at all?

Speaker 2:
38:59

I mean, we have a pretty robust interview process and, for instance, if you're going to join the engineering team, you have to go through about a five hour interview, five hours of interviews with different people. And for a startup, it seems in some ways like well, is that overkill? Like really, why are you doing so much? And but but what we found is people really appreciate it, the people that are like us appreciate it, like wow, this is the most thorough startup interview process I've ever been through. And we have rating system and if you know, if it's like it's important that everybody agrees to us, and if some people don't agree, then there's one. Even if somebody's like I think this person's great, we got to hire him. If somebody else is like, you know, below a certain threshold, we just don't, we don't hire him. So it's, you know, it's this idea that you know some people that you get in the organization. They come in and they multiply and they just have this huge impact. And but but you know, getting getting bad people in can have a way worse than the upside. It's like the negative can be, can absolutely destroy the whole company. And so you know, there's I've talked to somebody who hired hundreds of people at Google one time and they said that when they were hiring Google, they always said that there's no problem, that is so great that it's worth hiring the wrong person for. And that's really hard to take an honest look at sometimes, when you don't have any I don't have a lot and don't have a lot of resumes coming in and don't have a lot of options and don't have a lot of money to pay and all of these things. But you've just got to. It's better to wait another month. It's better to, you know, struggle yourself for another couple of weeks and keep looking for the right person than to hire the wrong person just to solve the problem right now.

Speaker 1:
40:50

Absolutely, and I mean your team. You mentioned 20 in your team, with around about 20 in your team with startup grind and about 20 in your team with with Bevy as well. Is that well, startup grind first. Is there a typical sort of I suppose lots of people usually hire for their product team, for example? Or do you, is your team? How's your team split up?

Speaker 2:
41:17

About half the team is engineering, and then probably quarter of the team is in success, and then a quarter of the team or what we call BevyCare and then sort of take care of the existing customers, and then a quarter of the team is in sales and marketing.

Speaker 1:
41:37

And actually, yeah, tell us a bit, just a little bit about Bevy as well, because we haven't really talked very much about Bevy, and that's something worth worth talking about.

Speaker 2:
41:46

A couple of years ago, we started to have all these problem scaling startup grind. We were in about 150 cities and we just were sort of getting all this feedback of some very angry local chapter directors saying, like hey, like this isn't working for us anymore. So I looked at all the products that were available in the market and and came to find out it was going to cost us about 150,000 dollars a year in software that was going to solve about 60% of our problem, because we were like such a high usage type of brand or company. And so me and my co-founders decided well, you know, if we just maybe, if we just invest ourselves in building a solution over the next two years, we can probably spend the same amount of money as we would over the next five years with somebody else, but at least we can run it ourselves and we can run it for the next 10 or 15 years. So we set out to build our own solution in 2015. We launched it. It took us a year, we launched it until the 16 and and it worked and our growth started to take off again. And then we started to show it to other companies and they said, hey, can we use that? And they said, maybe I don't know, let's try to figure it out. And and so then we started. You know, some of our first customers were some, some very big companies, and what we learned is that there's this huge trend towards. You know, this digital pendulum is absolutely swinging back and the future does not belong to machine learning and AI. The future belongs to community. If you think about, you know, marketing, you know, in the past, people got on the phones and then you know. You know people visited your office to try to sell to you and then, you know, then it was digitally. They're trying to sell to you with ads. You know, I saw this study from your couple weeks ago that said that 30% of millennials do not trust what they read online. You know. So what do people who do people trust? What do they trust? Can I trust an Amazon review? I don't know. Can I trust a Yelp review? Probably not, you know. But what can I trust? So I can trust other customers, I can trust people who have experienced the product, who've used the product, and that's what our that's what startup grant is is where you have people getting together in real life and building community in real life and talking to each other and educating each other, and there are companies all over the world doing this. We call it customer to customer marketing. It's a it's a new category, but it's something that all the best companies in the world are already doing. They just you know it's. It's building real communities with real people, solving, you know, real people's problems and and you know, you know, all the top tech companies do it and what we just we just see it as this huge trend that many of the best companies in the world do today but that in the future, everyone will do it, and so we help people scale their communities in real life, and we do that for school alumni's, we do that for tech companies, we do that for consumer companies anybody that wants to get face to face with their customers and build deeper customer relationships.

Speaker 1:
45:00

And you think, because of the amount of hype that's surrounding AI at the moment, that's, that was really the that's the future, but it's, it's to me, I'm, I'm, I think along the same lines, as lines as some of those servers that you talked about is that you can trust people. You can trust, you know, you have to put your trust in people above technology or above what you, what you read online, and is that how you're? I mean, is that the direction that you're going? And you're going more away from the artificial side of things and more towards continuing to scale the whole idea of the customer, customer marketing piece that you talked about.

Speaker 2:
45:46

Yeah, I mean we, you know before it's. You know, events are exclusive.

Speaker 1:
45:53

I lost you again.

Speaker 2:
45:57

Events are Expensive, they're difficult to run, there's a lot of cumbersome little details involved in them, and what we try to do is take all of that Pain out and make it really, really easy to run these events and programs. And then, if it's easy to run them, then you can then scale them. And so we have some companies that do, you know, like, start a grind, hundreds events a month with us, with a very small team, because they're working with their customers who are sort of advocating for their brand and, and you know, you think about, like, hey, if I, who would I rather hear from? Like if I should buy this product or the Software or not, what I'd rather hear from the salesperson, what I rather hear from somebody in the company no, of course not right here from a customer and hear their experience, somebody that's just believes in it, just that just genuinely likes it, uses it. So we have one customer who literally went from zero to hosting a thousand events a month with us, and you know the very small team. But they've now scaled. They have this huge digital community there now.

Speaker 1:
47:05

They have this huge real-life community that that is, you know, basically powered by bevy and, yeah, you're building your business on, on, on community, and again, that's another thing that that I really love about start up grind, about bevy. It seems to be. It seems that it's it's your business, embodies your own sort of Ethics in many ways, and I think those ethics of people though Sorry, those ethics Obviously chime with a lot of the people and I think that's what's building your success in Terms of the future. Then what? What do you see? I mean, as we've talked about those aspects of community book, what's the the future for you, derek, and for start up grind? What's the next few days? Look like busy.

Speaker 2:
48:02

Well, we were trying to build a bevy into, into a big, scalable, you know technology company and you know we hope that a lot more people will Join our sort of movement and, you know, use our product and we're working very hard on that and and with start up grind, you know our goals to educate every entrepreneur in the world, and so we've got a long ways to go to doing that, although we've made some progress. So I think we can, you know, be in thousands of cities eventually, and today we're in 500, but we've just got a long ways to go and helping people and you know there's always new people coming in, because there's, you know, always new people with ideas and trying to figure things out. So so we, you know, we're just trying to serve entrepreneurs as best we can and we sort of put one foot in front of the other and Listen to them and try to take their feedback and hopefully deliver something that you know that meets our expectations and, you know, delights them. And and so I Don't really know, you know, you just who can predict the future right now? You have to just go out and make the future, and so, you know, I, I Hope, I hope we have more success and you know, I hope the World economy keeps doing well and I hope, you know there's there's lots of other things that are out of my control that I don't worry too much about, but but you know, we'll just keep working and plugging along. And you know, one thing is like, like you know, I always say, like our competitors will never outwork us. They can't, because we, just we, just we work too hard. And you know, but at the same time, like we want to live life. So it's, you know, sort of sort of figuring out how do you live life and grow as a person, and then also how do you develop and build these products and companies at the same time, and, and so hopefully we'll keep that in line and Do more of the same.

Speaker 1:
50:05

And my last two questions, because I know you're gonna rush off, wrap two questions in one. So the first question when do you typically, what times of year Do you typically hire? And the second question at the second part of that question is it in terms of if somebody's considering Applying for a remote role, what's your biggest piece of advice?

Speaker 2:
50:33

For us in hiring. You know our first start of grant, our global conference, is in February. So usually we have a lot of hiring leading up to that and sort of getting ready for that, because that's sort of like our big moment, that's like our World Cup each year and and then usually gets kind of quiet in the summer. So usually in the fall is is you know, sort of when we're hiring most. For that, in terms of one piece of advice for working remotely, I Would just say Deliver results that make people feel like You're not that you work remotely, but that you work everywhere. You know Ideally people are in the same room working together. There's just from a communication standpoint, that is still the best way To to get anything done. It's to be in the same room. So you've got a really deliver to make people feel like you that you actually get more, not being in the same room like you do. You're doing so well, you're delivering so well that you know you couldn't it wouldn't matter where. You know if you were in the same room or there was some other situation like you couldn't be doing and delivering more than you are. So just say like, work really hard and and make people feel like if you leave it's going to be a massive, massive problem. And you know, create that creates leverage for yourself and you know, and also helps build whatever you're trying to build. So be indispensable, be irreplaceable. Not because you put a process in place that nobody else understands, but because the work you do just delivers so well that you know that no one could ever imagine you leaving, and people Sort of before. Hopefully they'll take care of you regardless, but then they're sort of forced to take care of you and that's a good, good position to be in as a remote worker.

Speaker 1:
52:27

Derek it. Thank you, what can I say? Thank you.

Speaker 2:
52:31

Thank you very much. You're very gracious. I really enjoyed this. Alex, thanks for bringing people together and for let me be part of, you know, your remote work community. It's really cool.

Speaker 1:
52:43

It's been a yeah, it's been an honor for me as well and obviously I'm going to be spreading the word far and wide. And, yeah, if there's anything I can do to help you, because you've given me your time, like I said, I mean I wasn't just saying it, but I just love, I love what you're doing. I love those. The values are just so dear to my heart. I'm very much, you know, love connecting With friends who are who share the same value. So if there's anything I can do to help you, please let me know.

Speaker 2:
53:16

Thanks so much, and the same for me and same with the audience. My email is Derek at startgrindingcom. Derk is my first name, so if there's something I can be helpful with for the audience as an only email, so feel free to email me and Let me know what I can do to be useful.

Speaker 1:
53:32

Wonderful, okay? Thanks so much, alex. All the best for the future, derek. Thanks a lot, bye, bye.

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