Tell us about yourself?
I am co-founder and CEO of Team Tito.
We make Tito, the ticket selling platform that’s the easiest to use and easiest to integrate, and Vito, a flexible web-based platform for online events. I ran two conferences: Funconf and Úll, and wanted to improve the tooling available for folks who run conferences.
What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?
That it’s glamorous. There are moments, but the vast amount of the time running a company is spent figuring out what feel like really small problems.
You want to wave your hand or do something tiny and have a million people knocking at your door, but really it’s more like archaeology, chipping away for a long time whether it’s building software or attracting customers, and you might only get to celebrate gains once in a blue moon. It’s important to celebrate those!
If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?
I feel like this is cliché, but: never stop talking about your work. It’s so easy to bury one’s head in the sand on product development or solving some problem or other, but new revenue is what grows business, and at least 50% of a founders time should be spent on looking for that new revenue.
Most of this kind of activity has a long time-to-conversion too, so laying the groundwork early is vital.
What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?
I am part programmer, part entertainer, and part philosopher.
I think it’s a pretty unique combination to be able to hold my own talking about programming, but also to have confidence in a performative aspect (although I prefer to give others the stage), and also to bring in elements of aesthetics, logic, and ethic and morals. I value the balance.
What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?
I have a few. The first is batching meetings into particular days. Depending on the kinds of meetings I’m having, I like to allocate certain days.
Internal meetings have been Mondays, but I’m moving those to Tuesdays to give me time to catch up on things on Monday. Tuesdays and Fridays are for sales calls and demos, along with Wednesday evening for folks on a different timezone.
I also consider going to the gym a working habit. Physical health is mental health for me, and I incorporate gym 2–3 times a week, where I’ll check in with work between sets, but make sure to get a good work out in.
Finally: always pick up the phone. No matter how bad a situation is, it’s always better to talk rather than to walk away from a problem.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
We love companies who outwardly care about their customers, with great design and great execution. Probably the biggest influences are Stripe and Apple, but also niche companies like Rapha, Fender, Patagonia are inspirations for how they go about business.
Where do you see your business in five years?
We’ve been on a slow-growth treadmill for too long, then Covid killed the core business and we’re still lifting ourselves out of that.
I’d like to see us increasing our revenue and audience over the next few years as we shift from purely focussing on product development and reach out to more and more customers.
We think we’ve built some great tools and we want more people to use, share and be part of growing that.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?
Consistency and simple messaging. We tend to over-complicate things when sometimes all we need is a simple message.
We also have a bad habit of stopping rather than pivoting when we’re not seeing results, and also we probably don’t measure enough, so we don’t know what to correct for.
Sales and marketing is all about testing and iterating, and it’s easy to get disheartened. Working through that to find 3 or 4 channels that really work for us in amongst the 1000s of potential channels is a really big challenge.
Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?
There are a few, but one that stands out from the last year is working with WeAreDevelopers https://www.wearedevelopers.com as the ticketing software for their 8k attendee+ annual congress.
Sometimes, a big customer comes along, and they perhaps onboard a bit too early, creating stress all round.
For WeAreDevelopers, we were able to say “yes” to most of their requirements, and when the answer was “no”, it was generally “no, but here’s a way”. It led to a really healthy two-way relationship, success for them and success for us.
How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?
Not enough. I’ve recently shifted my internal focus from product development to sales, but it’s still slow going, and we’re still measuring new inbounds on one hand.
After so long in business, that’s a bit frustrating, but I can already see that if we refine our strategy and keep at it, things will improve.
By far folks find us through word of mouth. Our next approach will be running events for potential customers where they can learn from folks who have had success using our software in their events.
What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?
If I could only give one tip. Maybe link to a page with a few tips, but maybe this one: Spend less than you earn.
And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?
I want to build a sustainable, profitable business that I can use to help and meet more interesting people doing interesting things.
In turn, I want to generate enough profit that I can give back to society through further commercial endeavours and beyond that.
Personally, I want to look after my family as much as I can, and have the financial freedom to look after them and myself.