Didier Elzinga is the founder of Australia-based Culture Amp, the maker of Murmur, a People Intelligence Platform made for analytics driven organizations.
Watch this video then remember it is how many people that believe in you that matter, not how many don’t. It took me a long time to realize that being both naïve and arrogant was actually a prerequisite for startup success not a hindrance.
I am sure other people have done this but I don’t know of any… When we first went to Silicon Valley and managed to get in the room with some VC’s we decided that rather than pitch for their money we would pitch to have them show our tools to their portfolio companies. Some of them loved what we were doing and were more than happy to reach out – we got over half of our first batch of customers that way. Didn’t hurt in what the VCs thought of us when their portfolio companies all came on board.
I was previously the CEO at a visual effects company. Working for Hollywood got me used to working all night. It also taught me that behind everything glamorous is a lot of painstaking work. At some point I realised I wanted to build something bigger and that a service business wasn’t going to get there. I had the opportunity to stay doing what I was doing or take the harder path and try and start it all again. In general when confronted with an easy or a hard choice – take the hard one (although if you had asked me about this through the first 2-3 years I might not have said the same thing!).
As 4 people in their early thirties who had been relatively successful to date we had enough cash to kick off our own runway and we supplemented with consulting and advisory work as required. Being based in Australia also makes things interesting from an investor stand-point. We have a pretty amazing US client base so, as one VC told us, we look like a US company anyway but the vast majority don’t want to deal with the complexity of a company domiciled overseas.
We actually built two products that didn’t work before we started on Murmur. We learnt the hard way what we were reading in ‘4 Steps To The Epiphany’ by Steve ...