I read a couple of the responses to Jason Calacanis’ post on saving money and running a startup. I have to admit, I threw up a little in my mouth when I read this post by Jason yesterday. It truly made me think of the one person who drives me the craziest in this world…. MY BOSS!
I love working for a small up and coming company. It is the greatest thing in the world to be part of a company that struggled to make payroll a few years ago and made more than 8 times the profit in 2007 than it did in combined profit for 2002 – 2006!
However, in Mr. Calacanis defense, in looking over his post again this morning after reading all of the responses from blogs I admire like CenterNetworks, TechCrunch, Tech Confidential, Venture Chronicles, 37 Signals, and Sean Percival, there is method to this madness.
I work for a company where the owner/president works at least 12 hours every day. I’ve given up on telling him that he needs to find other things to do. He expects his staff to work as hard and be equally dedicated. We all work hard, but until there is more profit sharing involved, I can guarantee you that the dedication level varies. In order to compete with the big boys in our industry, even the president takes home much less than he would working for anyone else.
Yes, it does seem that Jason Calacanis does give quite a few more perks that my boss, but also consider that Mahalo has backers and is in LA.
Paying $50 per person for email? Ummmm no, but we do have company email addresses. We each have our own phone on a small phone network (but yes, our company is less than 10 employees). Everyone has everyone else’s cell phone numbers, too. If you are needed and you are not in the office, we gotta be able to talk to you.
There is one significant thing that I am glad my boss does, or I would not have a job there! The outsourcing of Human Resources and Accounting??? GAH! My official title for the company is ‘Business Manager’. In four years, I have cut costs, reduced outstanding receivables, gotten the business aspect down to an art, created and implemented an employee handbook, researched and learned as much about our industry as I could find. I am there when the boss wants to know something (sometimes not even remotely close to our industry) and I am expected to find the answer. Of course, I get extra points if I can give the answer in 120 seconds or less. I gather the info that is needed by the company and put it in a logical location for other employees to find. Other things that I do but are really not issues once you have a system developed include the electronic and paper filing and maintenance of the website… I’m also the one who answers the phone, but as Jason mentioned in his post, most communication is via email in the business world now.
With all that I do, and because I have perfected my job functions so well, I have found the time to create this blog, do a lot of surfing, work on creating a social site presence, and chat away on my cell phone.
I have seen a few people leave… people who were not cut out to work for a small company. Many times I have thought of changing jobs myself. Yes, I do have a fairly easy work life, but more than three times a year in the last couple of years, I have had to correct the accountant. I have worked to cut costs by getting vendors to cut their profit down significantly (I’m almost worried that one may even be paying for our business now!). I am good enough to know several things off the top of my head, plus have such a filing system that I am able to pull up the answer 90% of the time within that 120 second limit.
Though his list of ways to save money sound frightening and the ‘fire people who are not workaholics’ opinion is not popular, it is how business is run in this country and not just in Los Angeles or New York. Jason Calacanis pretty much hit the nail on the head with how our company is run in Kansas.