January 30, 2021

Lessons Learned in 10 years of Volcube | Part III: AOB (any other business)

Unsplash | Nastuh Abootalebi

Co-Founders: trust and complementary skills

I am grateful to have Simon as the co-founder and CEO of the business. He did everything: coming up with the idea, making big or small product decisions, even writing some code in questionable quality and most importantly, making sales. I had the easy part: building it. Having complementary skills is clearly helpful from the start.

We did not know each other prior to Volcube. But it is fair to say that we became friends as a side effect of building Volcube. I did not have a system of how to connect with trust between co-founders but to state the obvious:

With trust, there was little or no worry about things not on my plate, and I could make fully autonomous decisions on things within my responsibility. And it made us concentrating on the only thing that mattered: building the product and growing the business.

Team: remote-only and result-driven

It was such a small team to have anything meaningful to say. One worthwhile mention is our approach to remote working. While there had been people working for Volcube from many places (earlier in UK & East Europe, later solely in the UK), we never had an office. Looking back, I think we had always trusted people and paid only attention to results, instead of trying to instil and manage any processes. It was simple when it worked: people spending time individually to get work done, chatting about the work with peers and then moving onto the next chunk of work, rinse and repeat. Your experience will differ if the size of your organisation is bigger.

One thing that is rarely in the spotlight of a startup’s lifetime is access to legal services, which can only be contracted out to legal firms. We had a fair share of it during the 10 years, most notable in areas of:

It is a boring but important necessity and it costs a lot. Most of the costs are difficult to budget for as well. I don’t have any tips or tricks around it, other than bringing it to your attention for its unavoidable nature.

AOB: what we could have done differently

Remote-first came naturally at the time and I would not want to change it.

One possible optimisation is how to reduce legal costs as companies like SeedLegals were non-existent.

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