Tell us about yourself?
My name is Sinan Ata, I am the founder of Exceptionly. I happened to be building global talent acquisition models for software businesses in past eight years.
My primary focus is software engineering talent. I have tested over 2.5 million software engineers from emerging markets by building teams, platforms and processes of engineering talent acquisition.
What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?
I believe people are either too optimistic, or too pessimistic when it comes to startups. Shipping your product as early as possible and learning from the clients is the key.
Like Guy Kawasaki says, try to get the first $100 from your clients as fast as possible and don’t get fooled by “you are awesome” type of useless feedback. Remember, only 4% of your network will actually give you actionable feedback at the idea phase.
If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?
Keep bootstrapping and don’t waste your time with VC meetings. You don’t need a treadmill type of run-or-die setup. Keep building a healthy business and listen to your clients and team only.
What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?
What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?
I happened to be managing remote teams for over 10 years now. Mastering deepwork and using a single success metric was life changing for me.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
Again, I was leading remote teams of 250-300 people before I eastablished Exceptionly. Covid accelerated adoption of remote work on a global scale and brought 2030 to 2021 in a year time.
I decided to build my own talent business where we’d find, test and deliver exceptional software engineering talent for our clients and help them save time and money.
Where do you see your business in five years?
A SaaS business valued over $200M, a hiring platform where you’d go, meet, rate, negotiate and hire top-notch software engineering talent worldwide in a couple of clicks.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?
Scaling up software engineering testing and evaluation steps are the biggest challenge. While all businesses going remote, number of applicants they receive increased dramatically but inevitably, the quality dropped.
Our job is to aim for over 50% interview-to-hire ratio and save our clients’ time and money.
Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?
Building a team of 14 Senior Software Engineers, QA Engineers and DevOps professionals in 30 days time.
Our client didn’t really have an HR function, Talent Acquisition crew or anything else. We did great because we are offering an engineer-to-engineer hiring experience.
How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?
I’m happened to be an influencer in remote work and management-sphere. Since finding great engineers is a massive challenge, people typically ping me over Linkedin and book a quick meeting with me or my team members to see what we have to offer.
What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?
Don’t waste your time chasing money, focus on your product and clients. Take your expenses under control and aim for sustainability vs growth at all costs. Also, keep reading, here’s my bookshelf: https://sinanata.com/bookshelf/
And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?
Fun time with my kids, steady growth, happy clients and sticky success stories. This is pretty much what I’m expecting from the future.