SpeakerText needs help. Seriously.
The amount of non-technical work and stuff we need to do to make SpeakerText succeed has grown beyond my capacity. In fact, it’s hurting productivity, and not just for me. Tyler still acting as company bookkeeper, and Swanson spends a lot of time sending emails and doing lots of urgent but non-strategic non-technical work.
Funny thing is, while we’ve talked about hiring non-technical folks eventually, we never saw it as a priority. In fact, the whole idea of hiring a non-engineer felt wasteful, a luxury that we couldn’t really afford.
Last week, this changed. For the last month or so, I’ve been meeting each Thursday with a guy named Marc Randolph. He is the original Founder/CEO of NetFlix, which was seed-funded by his buddy Reed Hasting (who took over as CEO after his departure in 2003). Marc gives me advice on matters both big and small. A helpful dude, he is.
Anywho, Swanson joined me for this last meeting, which mostly covered big picture stuff. But then we started bitching about feeling overwhelmed with minutiae. “Hire someone!” Marc suggested.
Swanson’s brow furrowed. “Wait, hold on a sec,” he said. “You’re saying we should actually hire a non-technical person…right now? Like, is that OK?”
“Yeah, totally,” Marc nodded.
Swanson paused, a quizzical look passing over his face. “Before we hire engineers??”
“It will be like adding another engineer to the team, but better,” Marc explained. “You and Tyler will actually be more productive, and that productivity increase will happen right away. There’ll be no learning curve like there will be for a new engineering hire.”
Swanson’s face lit up. He looked like a kid on Christmas morning. “So, hold on a sec here. You’re saying we can hire this person? We can pay them money to this job and that’s not some crazy luxury expense?”
“Yeah, totally. You should have done it already,” Marc nodded.
When we left the meeting, Swanson was giddy. “OMG, if I didn’t have to do all this bullshit work, I’d so much more productive!”
We talked about it over lunch. This is a person we need. And in talking about it with other startup founders, it sounds like this is a person that a lot of startups need.
When it comes to hiring, I tend to think a lot about what’s in it not just for us, but for the other person, for the dude (or dudette) we want to hire. And so I thought about it: What value could possibly come from someone with a lot of talent doing by the bitchwork that we really don’t want to do?
As it turns out, a lot.
For one, we’re a hot, fast growing startup. There’s value in just being there at the ground floor when things are taking off. We just closed a seed round with some top tier investors (announcement coming soon) and in that kind of environment, it’s inevitable that you see things, you see & become part of the process––and that means you learn stuff about how companies are actually built.
Honestly, I wish I had a job like this after graduation. I would have learned so much, saved myself so much headache and so many “school of hard knocks” lessons.
The reality is, we need people who can do more than just bitchwork. I’d expect the random admin stuff to amount to 30% the job, give or take. The rest of the job is going to involve actually talking with customers (30%) and figuring out how to acquire new ones (30%). Think customer support and brand building.
God knows we need help when it comes to customer support. And inherent in customer support is customer development, i.e. figuring out what customers really want, need and will pay for. That’s how you build a company, really.
And finally, there’s that last 10%, the really fun part that only really happens when you’re in an early stage company: plotting world domination. In big companies, this kind of thing the exclusive domain of upper management. No fresh grad is going to be talking grand strategy with the CEO of Google. But when you’re sitting next to the founders 12 hours a day 6 days a week, you’re naturally part of the conversation. And believe me, world domination is something we think––and talk––about a lot.
Basically, it’s the perfect gig if you’re web savvy, hungry and you want to break into the startup world but don’t know where to start.
SpeakerText is hiring people to work out of our new San Francisco headquarters. Backed by some of the top investors in Silicon Valley, we’re a fast growing tech company with paying customers and a real business model.
The Job: Hustler (Entry-Level)
Designed for recent graduates with lots of raw talent and ambition, the entry-level hustler position requires strong people skills, extreme web savvy, detail orientation and a scrappy JFDI attitude.
On a day-to-day basis, you’ll spend most of your time either in front of a computer or on the phone alongside to the CEO and the engineering team, participating in the early growth phase of a hot technology company a la The Social Network. Here’s a rough breakdown of how you can expect to spend your time:
-30% Talking with existing customers
-30% Figuring out how to acquire new customers
-30% Random office tasks
-10% Plotting world domination
Hustling isn’t a job, it’s a state of mind. Whether you want to start your own company one day (which we encourage) or not, being part of Team SpeakerText means embracing the JFDI spirit. We will empower you to get things done, and won’t always give you a ton of direction as to how. You will be held accountable for the results and rewarded accordingly.
Compensation includes a living wage, healthcare, and stock options.
You will learn the following within 18 months:
-How to think strategically about making money on the internet
-How to talk to customers
-Basics of entrepreneurial finance, including the venture capital process
-How to run an online marketing campaign, including how to use MailChimp & the Twitters
CEO’s note: If you’re non-technical and want to break into the world of startups and entrepreneurship, this is the perfect job. In fact, this is the job I wish I had when I first graduated from college, knew I wanted to start something but hadn’t the faintest clue about where to begin.
The Company: SpeakerText
SpeakerText is an online video transcription service powered by semi-automated assembly line software that combines artificial intelligence with crowdsourced labor. Crazy as it sounds, the humans are teaching the machines to become smarter and slowly working themselves out of a job.
The upside of all this technology is that SpeakerText not only makes video accessible and searchable, but it also enables sundry applications like this one that lets you share video quotes that link back to that exact moment inside the video.
Company culture is something we care a lot about. We hire really smart, really hardcore people who like to have fun (e.x. our CEO is a Columbia grad who dropped out of college twice to work on an ambulance in East LA, then fight forest fires in Alaska).
1) Visit http://speakertext.com and check out what we do.
2) Email firstname.lastname@example.org with links to your online resume & web presence, include a brief, non-generic spiel about why you think this might be the gig for you.
SpeakerText is an equal-opportunity, work-hard, party-hard employer.
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