My Top 10 learnings from 2011

I write this from a snowy and beautiful Zermatt, Switzerland on (appropriately) the last day of the year. The snowfall is too heavy for skiing and alas a perfect opportunity for me to compose the thoughts and reflections on 2011 that have been circling my mind for weeks now and finally crystallized in the crisp air of the mountains.

 And I start with this: wow, what a year! Naturally as an entrepreneur the dominant story of my last 12 months is my company that consumes so much of it. What am I saying – hell – PeoplePerHour IS my life.continue reading »

Growing me, Growing You

I recently wrote a Blog post on my Company Blog which reflects a lot on the Journey of building out PPH. I still cant believe what a Journey it has been.. a year ago we were 9 people; now we are over 50, in 2 locations and launching in another one. We have a vibrant team full of passion and energy, a community that’s vocal, demanding and tenacious that keeps us on our feet; a market thats buzzing and craving for innovation and best of all we actually serve a great cause. We help people get on their feet and find work by utilising their skills, living their dream of having their own business, being in charge of their own destiny. Its fun, its challenging, its exciting. I feel privileged and lucky to be be able to help people on that journey, achieve their dream whilst living out my very own. There isn’t a week that goes past when i don’t reflect back on that summer day in 2003 when i was depressed, sad and unhappy with my life and my job. And i decided to change it. I decided to do something foolish and crazy – start my own business at the age of 23. I accepted that people would call me nuts – most of all my parents – that i may lose money and that of others, that I would probably become a workaholic, split up with my girlfriend at the time (which i did), stay lonely for quite some time… but that i would go with it all the same. I did. Its been a roller coaster journey thats kept me on the seat of my pants, but the best decision I have ever made. I now cant imagine life without that passion, adrenalin, the challenge, the fear of the unknown; the loneliness of being an entrepreneur, the eerie feeling of going down a dark tunnel and the emotional exuberance that you feel when you see the light at the end. It makes life worth living.

Anyone thinking about doing it here my advice: stop thinking. Just do it.

And here’s the blog post:

Why Culture Matters

Ask ten managers what their company culture is and they’ll probably send you to the HR department. Frankly, I used to be one of them. Recently, I went through a turning point following which I now consider culture building my No1 priority as a leader. Here’s why.

To set the setting: my company has grown almost three-fold in headcount in the last six months. We went from just over 15 people to now about 50. Naturally what happens at this pace of growth is the controls and processes you had in place are no longer able to give you the same level of grasp on the business as before. There’s just too much going on.

The natural inclination of most managers in this situation is to inject more process, more rules and manuals, more middle layers of management to delegate to so as to ensure that things run as efficiently as they used to. Whilst some of this is necessary, if this is the only thing you do you will – at best – have an efficient machine that simply ticks on. If you’re lucky you’ll stay in business. You wont game-change.continue reading »

PPH in the Wall Street Journal

We had a fantastic piece published in the Wall Street Journal yesterday – you can read it here

The piece features on of our US freelancers – Todd Browndyke based in Dallas – who juggles 9 ½-hour days as a senior Director for a marketing agency, two kids, studying part-time for an MBA and does freelancing on the side working nights and weekends on our site

Now that’s some schedule! And I thought I was busy!

Read the full article and the blog post online.

The move to a cottage economy?

Something interesting is happening in the world today. Whilst the first big step in technological evolution – the industrialization of the early 20th century- pulled masses of people out of their cottages and organised the workforce around large centralized institutions, the second wave underpinned by Information Technology revolution is seemingly reversing that trend and driving people back to their ‘cottage’. How is that?

Let’s take a few innovations that have become integral parts of our personal and business lives. Relatively recent yet ubiquitous innovations – the internet, social networks, the PC even and the mobile phone, or more lately the blackberry – what do all these have in common other than a few microchips? They are increasingly making us more connected, more mobile, more interdependent yet more independent in terms of how where and when we work. And ultimately more in control of our own time and space. So is this rendering the traditional office as we know it obsolete?continue reading »