Meet Anth + Zumper
Anthemos Georgiades is the Co-Founder and CEO of Zumper. At Zumper, based in San Francisco, Anth leads the company in its mission to make renting an apartment as easy as booking a hotel. Since 2012, Anth has grown Zumper to 200 employees, 80 million annual users, and raised $140 million in venture capital for the company.
Prior to his work at Zumper, Anth worked at the Boston Consulting Group in London and NYC, and was an Economic Advisor on the 2010 British election. Anth has a First Class BA from Oxford University, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School.
World’s Best Boss with Ruckus is a series of conversations with business leaders, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders that explore how the best bosses attract fantastic people, build up their teams, and keep their employees happy.
Anthemos Georgiades is co-founder & CEO of Zumper, the largest startup in the rental industry. He’s raised $39.2 million in venture capital, grown the team to 70+, and completed the acquisition of apartment search platform PadMapper. Previously a consultant for Boston Consulting Group and Economic Advisor and speechwriter in the 2010 British election, Anthemos founded Zumper in 2012 after his own terrible rental experience.
Anish Shah is the CEO & Founder of executive search agency Ruckus. Anish has worked in-house in Growth roles at Snapfish and Getable. He started Ruckus as a Growth consultancy 11 years ago working with 40+ clients, then re-focused his firm on executive recruiting for Growth leaders.
Watch the Full Video
- 7:35 Anth shares how he started Zumper and his relationship with Venture Capital in the initial steps.
- 13:33 Anth dives into his general philosophy when hiring
- 17:00 Anish shares on his hiring philosophy across the board
- 21:20 Anth shares how Zumper has managed to retain his staff
- 22:50 Anth focuses on how he vets for resilience when interviewing
- 26:38 Anish gives advice for people interviewing for jobs right now
- 28:27 Anth describes his experience with delegation as a CEO
- 31:48 Anish speaks about Salary Survey ran recently at Ruckus
- 34:19 Anth explains how there’s no difference in Zumper in 20th vs 200th hire
- 37:44 Anish shares on common ways companies react to growth
- 43:48 Anth speaks about how the wrong hire can hurt a company’s growth
- 47:50 Anth shares on biggest failures being a CEO
Read the Full Transcript
Grace Portillo (00:00):
Thanks for joining World’s Best Boss featuring Anth Georgiades. I hope that’s, we’re pronouncing correctly. Co-Founder and CEO of Zumper. So this is being recorded. We’ll send an email with link once it’s ready. Don’t hesitate on dropping your questions in the Q and A, or there’s a chat as well. So just let us know if you have any live questions during the event, passing the mic to you Anish.
Anish Shah (00:30):
Yeah, just a very quick introduction. So my background was actually working with technology startups within San Francisco leading growth, digital marketing, so forth with a few different companies, and then transition to actually hiring for those same companies within leadership roles, across marketing, product analytics and design and actually started building up an executive recruiting firm quite a few years ago. Now we’re a team of nine. We still work with fast growing startups and our focus is basically hiring executive level talent for, for a wide variety of companies.
Grace Portillo (01:16):
You can introduce yourself. You don’t have to say all all of this, but give us little intro on yourself.
Anthemos Georgiades (01:24):
Well, nice to, nice to meet you all. I’m Anthemos. So Greek name, British accent. I’m the CEO of Zumper, we’re based in San Francisco. We are an apartment rental platform. The mission of our company is to make renting an apartment as easy as booking a hotel. We have about 18 million users a year. So about one in three adult Americans will use Zumper this year to look for their next home about 14-15 million visits a month. So we got pretty big. But we don’t just want to be known as a search platform. We’re trying to build a full on like transaction platform for a one year lease and excited to be here today and answer any of your questions and share all the mistakes we made getting this far.
Anish Shah (02:10):
Nice. Nice. Yeah, and for everyone who is joining us for the first time, you know, this is maybe our, our seventh or so of these live events. We try to bring in leaders generally across startups who can teach us about how they build, build culture, grow talent and overall do everything they can to, to maintain that culture at various different stages of their company. So we’ve had a lot of CEOs, VCs, executives of popular companies and yeah, we’re excited to have this event.
Cool, so we, we crowdsource questions very frequently for all of this, for, for this event, for, for people who RSVP they’ll, they’ll send us different questions to ask people like Anth. And actually one question we didn’t put on the deck that had been asked by multiple people. You know, how did you come up with the name Zumper? It’s interesting, multiple people were curious about that.
Anthemos Georgiades (03:12):
Yes, it’s a good example of, oh, this is my son. My son can say hi. I’m just on a call. So Zumper is one of those names that like you could have come up with one random night when you’re playing with an idea, never thinking you’re going to be on a, a call with a bunch of people or the company with 200 people explaining why you got there. So Zumper I was at grad school in the US, and I was playing around with the idea for Zumper, which is building an eCommerce platform for apartment rentals. So how can you close your apartment and online. And it came from my own frustration with renting where so many times I gone to open houses. And as many of you guys know you could have submitted an application, it goes into the ether and you don’t know what happens and in British English.
Anthemos Georgiades (03:59):
So I grew up in London and in British English, there’s this word too gazump, which is G-A-Z-U-M-P, which means to take a real estate deal at the very last second. And that’s kind of what we wanted to build, which was like an open platform where someone could go into an open house, pull out their phone, make a great offer and actually transact on the apartment. So it’s kind of like a play on the word gazump so we call it Zumper and it was really like a working project that kind of then spiraled into an actual company. So it’s a cool name, because it’s unique and it doesn’t mean anything. So you can kind of embed it with meaning for more sides, but yeah, there’s no way if I’d thought about it more seriously. I necessarily would’ve ended up on it. I just we never knew quite how big it would get.
Anish Shah (04:43):
Nice. Nice. And of course you’re using a British term launching a company in the US. So when you try to explain because absolute does, does gazump absolutely. Does, does anybody get it or has people in the real estate industry, even in the us have they been like, oh yeah, gazump, I know that word.
Anthemos Georgiades (04:58):
Nothing. So it’s a great question. We get it all the time from VCs when we raise from them. And I think there’s like a lot of kind of examples of other companies where they have this advantage of no one knows what they mean, which means you can kind of build it into anything. So like a good counter example is, oh good, similar example is Zillow where like I think it came from like a zillion pillows. I think that’s where the name Zillow came from, if I’m not mistaken, although it’s almost 20 years old now. So no one knows what Zillow means, but it probably meant someone to the founders on day zero. It may have even been an end joke. And then before, you know, it, it becomes something bigger.
Anish Shah (05:34):
That’s that’s awesome. Yeah. I mean we named, we named this company after, after a rap song. So I, I didn’t think, I didn’t think seven years ago, seven years later. No, actually I, I registered this name in 2013, so I didn’t think, yeah, seven years later that we would still have the same name, but here we are and a minute ago we were about some of the, some of the funding that you guys have raised. Obviously you, you even mentioned, you sort of were built, built this company. You didn’t imagine how big it would end up being. And now, you know, you guys have raised what, roughly 140 million, 200 ish plus employees across the, across the country, multiple offices you know, what goes into the decision making process of, you know, staying small versus kind of like going, going for hitting a home run and, and was that difficult for you to say, okay, look, I, I’m not going to stay small and maybe make choices that, that make us profitable faster. I’m going to keep going and hit a home run, like what was sort of like your internal debate. And, and was there even internal debate or was it very obvious to you from the very beginning that this is, this is that this was your vision.
Anthemos Georgiades (06:41):
Yeah. So this is my so my, this is my first company before this. I was a BCG, the consulting firm for a number of years and I, I worked British politics as like a speech writer. So weird route into tech. Yeah. Never thought I’d be a CEO. I didn’t do this to be a CEO. I did this to like solve a problem that I had throughout my twenties. And now I’m doing it. There’s no way back. It’s kind of a wonderful job. It’s super stressful. I never knew how I, sorry, I’m just going to let my son in and I’m going to return banging on the window. One second
Anish Shah (07:14):
Speaker 4 (07:18):
Hey guys, thank you.
Anthemos Georgiades (07:22):
Hey, all right. I’m back. Sorry. My, my son came back from his walk and, and my wife did not hear him. So he was just banging on the window. He’s three. So he was confused. So we raised venture capital at the beginning because it was the best way to test an assumption of like, okay, does this have legs? And so the early round we raised was like a million bucks from like Kliner, Andreeson, Greylock, and NEA.
Anthemos Georgiades (07:44):
But the minute you raise venture capital, you’re kind of in the game, unless you build a profitable business, like immediately afterwards, like you, you are relying on venture capital going forward because the, the game then is like steal market share like really quickly and then use venture capital to kind of reinvest your revenue. So you don’t need to worry about being profitable and like steal market share today because it will be more expensive tomorrow. And I think that’s the, the general mantra that a lot of VC back companies have had for a very long time. Mm-Hmm so once you raise the seed round and definitely once you raise the series, a you’re kind of in the game. And so before, you know, it, you’re a venture backed company that is expected to like triple every year in terms of your revenue and your user base, and is expected to probably raise money every eight, 18 to 24 months.
Anthemos Georgiades (08:30):
And there are absolutely counter examples of companies that like, you know, like Instagram, who didn’t need to go that path and just got acquired for a billion dollars or companies that become profitable after like their first fundraise. But for most venture act companies that end up going public, which is probably our kind of our current path. You’re kind of on this track of raising every two years and delivering like delusion high growth every two years. So the, the upside is you get to an answer of how big your company could be faster than any other method. The downside is you put an enormous amount of pressure on yourself and your team and you sell the majority of your company on the path to doing it. You, if you pick the right investors, you pick amazing guides on the way that help you get to the end. So it’s, it’s worth it. But like we were saying before this, Anish, like you could build wonderful companies that sell for a lot of money or generate a lot of cash flow without raising venture capital. It’s just that this kind of a company that relied on going from zero users a month to now like 14 million required venture capital to build that much. And it, it took a long time and it would’ve taken a lot longer without the, the capital injection.
Anish Shah (09:39):
Makes a ton of sense. And that’s interesting. You took money from Andreessen, Kliner, and NEA in, in, in, in a million dollar round. Those are all very like late stage large companies. That’s interesting. So they were, they choose, they chose you to do seed that considering there, that they’re known for, for bigger investments.
Anthemos Georgiades (09:58):
It’s really changed. This was like back in 2013, so we’re, we’re seven and a half years old now. And back in 2013, it was when like Andreessen was like backing every YC company automatically. And they were doing like seed checks, like left, right, and center. And we were one of those seed checks. The world has changed. I think now, as you say, a lot of those investors do more sophisticated, like A and B rounds, and they’ve got these super angels and superseed funds who do the early stage stuff. So yeah, it was kind of a weird one. And candidly, it was like a risky one because when you have four brand name VCs in your seed round putting in like 200 grand each, if one of them doesn’t step up to do your Series A, you are screwed because the signal effect of like, Hey, Kliner put in a quarter of a million in your seed, but they didn’t lead your series A, why is that? So we had to basically raise our series a from one of our seed investors, which we did but we would’ve been in a tough position if we hadn’t. So it’s risky.
Anish Shah (10:55):
It makes a lot of sense. And I think a lot of people who haven’t, haven’t raised money before, or haven’t been close to that money raising process don’t understand how much signal matters. You know, I talked to Thumbtack, Thumbtack was one of the clients that I worked with in, in the growth world. And you know, they basically said they were a few weeks going out from going out of business until Jason Calacanis, who has a name said, I’ll put a little bit of money in. And then the only reason other people put money into the company was just because someone who has a name put money in and they’re like, well, if he says we’ll put money in, then I guess, you know, if he says he’s putting money in, then I guess we will, he’s done his research and he knows what he’s doing. So that, that, that signal’s so important.
Anthemos Georgiades (11:37):
The signal is massive. Like when I think about those early stage VCs, they even though I don’t have obviously Kliner our biggest investor, because they’ve reupped multiple times since, but like when we went that way, we didn’t have Andreessen re-up or Graylock re-up because we had Kliner, but Andreessen and Greylock from the early stages. I mean like our first 10 hires were almost entirely because we had those names on our comp table. Like even then they only had a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Like I’m a first time CEO, I’m an immigrant to the US. Like I don’t, I didn’t have a network here it’s helped solve the chicken and egg of like, how do you attract next level talent before you have beacon that you’ve been a successful entrepreneur? I think entrepreneurs you’ve been very successful the first time, find it very easy to attract talent the second time, either from their networks or from people that know that, who they are. But the first time, like so many of us you have to solve that chicken and egg of how do you attract talent when no one knows who the hell you are and those brand names to your point about a signal help solve the chicken and egg.
Anish Shah (12:40):
Absolutely. Which is a great segue into a lot of our more talent and recruiting and culture oriented questions. But yeah, I mean from obviously from the side of recruiting for us, one of the first questions we get from a lot of candidates is how much did this company raise? They don’t ask as much about kind of who the comp who, who the startups raised from, but you know, if the number is a high enough amount there you know, it, it kind of checks that box for them. So I guess the first question from the audience is and from the RSVPs is, you know, what do you look for when making hiring decisions? You know, it, do you have sort of a framework that, you know, this human being needs to touch upon 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 kind of check marks for you to be excited about them?
Anthemos Georgiades (13:24):
Yeah. This is what we do at Zupmer. I don’t know if it’s the right way, it may be completely delusional, but my general philosophy to hiring is that IQ is table stakes. So I know how important intelligence is, but like it, doesn’t, there’s lots of intelligent people out there. And especially as companies move to remote, like we’re going to be able to tap into a lot of other talent. Especially if given COVID and companies being open to more remote talent, like there’s a lot of really smart people there. And so, whereas my training having been at like Harvard business school and like BCG and Oxford was all about like brands and elites and like IQ, you know, you learn very quickly, that’s not correct. And lots of people who didn’t go to college have phenomenal IQ. And so IQ is table stakes and it doesn’t matter where people went to college or where they worked before.
Anthemos Georgiades (14:15):
You just, you can find raw IQ anywhere. The two things we look for that get a hire through the door instead of kind of not through the door is kind of resilience and then for how they fit our cultural values. And that’s what dictates what makes someone successful at Zumper and, and probably many other startups. So on the first one resilience, lots of the smartest people I’ve known in my life are the least resilient. They’re the people who’ve had everything go right for them in their life. You know, they went to like Harvard undergradm went to Goldman, went back to Harvard business school, went to a hedge fund, like everything went right. Or they had every advantage and privilege in their life for things to go right. And when something doesn’t go, right, they’re the first to get spooked, because they’ve often never had to fight for it.
Anthemos Georgiades (15:03):
And resilience is a key hallmark of an entrepreneur or an early stage employee at a company. So IQ is table stakes, but resilience is key. And so I would take a resilient hire any day over some hire who had every brand name on their resume, but like would get spooked because startups are hard and our, our growth curve looks amazing. It looks top, right, but it’s not the truth. Our monthly numbers that look amazing are aggregations of like daily wiggles, where for every up there’s a down and for every up there’s a down and you need someone who can ride those ups and downs and have the emotional stability to get through it because it is difficult as all of, you know the second thing we look for is how it people conform to the cultural values. So we have internal cultural values that we manage performance on that we reward performance on and that we hire for and for every hire increasingly now we have a culture interview where they have to do well against those cultural values. And for example we don’t need like NASA level, like excellence at Zumper in terms of our code. We need to move quickly deploy stuff and see if it works. We don’t need someone who’s used to building like two year code sprints before they know whether it’s going to work or not. And so having values like that help us sift through really smart, resilient people, but who might have worked at NASAs or Microsoft their career, who don’t understand what it’s like to deploy code three times a week or three times a day, which is what Zumper does. So anyway IQ is table stakes, resilience, and conformity with our cultural values is then what gets people through the door.
Anish Shah (16:46):
That’s amazing. And you, you, you would actually be an anomaly from a lot of what I, what I consider is the the formula from, for, for what a lot of the clients we’ve worked with. And a lot of the founders we worked with look for. So my hiring philosophy across the board, and this has generally been true, is that what, what founders look for in terms of hiring is they attempt to just consistently hire themselves over and over again. And from our clients who have sort of Ivy league backgrounds they’re obsessed with whoever they hire to also have an Ivy league, or Stanford or, you know, whatever in their, in their resume. So you actually go against that and not, and aren’t sort, sort of cut up and, and this has been very, very, very true across our clients to you know, let’s say there’s like the, the early twenties, Y Combinator college dropout, you know, they’re also, if, if they’re hiring, they’re also looking for that kinda person as well, that kind of young college dropout hackery.
Anish Shah (17:51):
Yeah. If someone’s, let’s say a little bit later in their career and they had like a 20 year corporate career and they became a, a, you know, a, a CEO after the end of that like 20 year corporate career and they have an MBA. They just want someone else who also like has 20 plus years of experience also has an MBA. Or on the other end, if someone didn’t go to a grade school, they’re just like, I don’t care about school at all. I just want to see someone who can perform their job really well. So, so kudos to you, for not just sort of consistently trying to hire yourself over and over again.
Anthemos Georgiades (18:20):
Well, I think we, I think we got there through mistakes. I mean, I’m sure I have as much as I think I don’t have my own internal biases, I’m sure I do. But the evidence, like at the end of the day, I’m like could have a mathematical background and like, it’s, it’s just the stats prove it’s not true. And like, look, I went to like Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard in my education. So I was wildly risk averse and I, I didn’t come from money. It wasn’t like a predestined thing for me. Like I fought to get to these places and the truth is there lots of really clever people at them at these institutions, but then no cleverer than people outside them. They’re just risk averse. People like myself, who early in our careers wanted those stamps of approval. But, you know, I look at my HBS class and like 10% of them will go off to like change the world, but they, they don’t have any skill set that people outside HBS don’t have.
Anthemos Georgiades (19:11):
They just got hyped and like got given the self confidence to go and do it. And so I think like, if you can give that self confidence to people we hire or founders, I invest in that, they’re like, you can do this. I’ve been at HBS. You are smarter than those people I went to college with. Like, I think it’s just that step up. And I think with like black lives matter and the social movements you see in the last three months, it’s never been more important to make that point that like, everyone’s an imposter, no one knows what they’re doing. And these people that sit on stages and say they have a predestined right to be on stage. And they have these unique entrepreneurs who like got there and they have these things that you don’t have. They they’re kind of lying because it serves their brand to say that. And I’ve know that the hard way, because I’ve sat in the audiences and then I’ve sat on stage, but I’m the same person who is the insecure person in the audience thinking I could never do that. And now I’m the guy on stage and I’m like these people listening to every word I say, but like I’m making this up. And like every week I find out something I’m bad at that we correct for. So all I have is just more experience and more mistakes. And I think that’s, ultimately what careers are built on. But anyway, I appreciate it. And, but it’s just a, it’s a selfish strategy. I, I want to recruit the best people at Zumper and the best people look very different.
Anish Shah (20:27):
That’s a no, I mean that that’s super valid. And I saw, I saw a blog post from the CEO of, of Masterclass talking about the nine things he’s learned. And one of them was literally just being a CEO. One was your job will change every year. And number two is you will always think you’re doing a bad job. And I think there, there is some of that level of humbleness that will make someone a good CEO, right? Like if you walk into a room and say like, I’m so good at this you’re you’re, you’ve probably already lost some kind of game because you’re learning curve is probably not really where your, your aptitude toward learning. And your, your interest in, in, in growing your learning curve just is isn’t going to be there with that.
Anthemos Georgiades (21:08):
I haven’t read that Anish, but it’s a, it’s a great point. And I think the other advantage of your point about every year, you kind of become a new CEO or you kind of reinvent yourself is you have to do that for your team, like Zumper seven years old now. And a lot of our best people are still here. And a lot of them have been here from the beginning. So like we have, like, my team has like five, six years tenure on a lot of the execs and they’ve now kind of grown through the company and they’ve become C-level on their, on their path to becoming C-level. But the way we’ve kind of retained people is honestly Zumper felt like a different startup every January, except maybe one year back in 2016/17 where we didn’t grow as fast and it felt more samey.
Anthemos Georgiades (21:46):
And that was a hard year because you couldn’t tell the team, Hey, we’re growing like a rocket ship. But similar to the CEO changing every year, I think a company has to change every year to keep people excited. It’s almost like I’ve run seven startups at Zumper for because every year except maybe one it’s felt like a different company. So it’s motivating to me. But again, kind of cynically, it’s really motivating to our team because it’s literally like they work at different startups every year and work with different people and face different challenges. So I think it’s true of the CEO and if your, your team is good and your company is growing, it should be good. If every single one of your employees from intern to like COO, they should probably feel the same.
Anish Shah (22:25):
Yeah, no, I love that. That, that that’s really great. And that, and that that’s probably even true if you’re going from like, you know, a seven year journey where you’re going from one employee to four or five employees to 10 employees, like you’re still kind of going through that, that journey. There’s two questions that both have to do about resiliency, if you wouldn’t mind me diving into them. One is, is how do you vet resilience? Are you just looking for a track record where someone can say, Hey, I went through, I went through a shit situation and came out on the other side. And I, I felt good about it. Or, you know, what are you looking for when you’re kind of gauging whether someone, you know, either on one side of the spectrum, like just kind of had all the advantages, like you said, or just decided to take the most hedged decisions throughout their entire career. Versus someone else who maybe still has a lot of those marks on the resume. But might have more resilience than it’s shown. I’d love to learn kind of how you, how you vet that.
Anthemos Georgiades (23:24):
Yeah. I mean we so no. And vetting, I saw that question come through is such a good question because it’s you can’t ask someone, are you resilient? Like going to say yes. So I don’t have a magic formula. I, I, some patterns I’ve noticed, one is failed founders or failed early employees make amazing hires. There are often reasons why other startups didn’t work that had nothing to do with the person, but they fought to the final day. We’ve had two or three people, a, a couple of people here now, a couple of people not here now, but who are key members of the journey who were either kind of failed founders or worked early stage at a company that didn’t work. They’re the best hires I ever made. They’re so resilient because they knew what it was, what it takes. And they kind of went down with the ship because they were also loyal.
Anthemos Georgiades (24:12):
And I love that. So failed, failed, early stage people are actually fantastic hires because they’ve been through the worst. There was also a couple of things like references are really important. I don’t spend reference calls asking like, Hey, what are the best things about Jenny? It’s it’s more like tell me all the bad things about Jenny. Like talk to me about real adversity that Jenny faced. Like talk to me about where she came in on a Monday and she’s had the worst week ever the week before. Like how does she show up and like questions. They’re not a, they’re not used to and you tend to get very real answers or you can, because they’ve never had that question before. You can see their pause and it tells you everything. And the other one is like, spend your interviews asking about the bad stuff.
Anthemos Georgiades (24:54):
So like I assume my team have asked all the like clever questions say we’re interviewing a product manager. I’m assuming they’ve asked all the clever questions about product and AB tests and statistical significance. I ask them about their failures in their career. So I, I talk exclusively for half the interview about what they kind of fucked up, what went wrong, what was the biggest failure of their career? What was the biggest disappointment of their career? And like you hear how someone processes these things. And because again, they’re, they’re not often asked those questions especially not repeatedly. I think you hear like the power of someone and like how they show up and the goal of asking them, most people expect, I’m asking a question, because if they tell me they had a master failure, I’m going to judge them for it. But it’s kind of the opposite that the right candidates tell you about spectacular failures that like would never show up on their resume and how they dealt with them.
Anthemos Georgiades (25:46):
And so ironically, the best answers are the worst failures. Because we all make mistakes. I want to hear about mistakes. I want you to be real with me and I want to hear how you overcame them and how you’re sitting here today. The best candidates tell you awful mistakes they made, typically, although it’s the generalization, the, the candidates that don’t work out don’t really have good examples. And I, I don’t buy it. Like I’ve raised 140 million for the company where the largest private company in our vertical, we hope to go public and I’ve made like thousands of mistakes along the way, including some really big ones. So I, I don’t buy it if a candidates haven’t made any and aren’t ready to kind of commit to them.
Anish Shah (26:26):
I love that. And, and that was going to be my same advice as well, ask people about their failures. And I try to see if their eyes light up, you know, or, you know, we interview a lot of marketers and unfortunately marketers try to talk their way in and out of something, instead of just telling you directly what happened, right. They try to reframe a failure as a success when it’s, when, when in reality like failure is phenomenal. How, how else are you going to know something didn’t work. Right? You try it, it, it fails spectacularly and you can just say, oh cool. That didn’t work. That was that was four months of my life gone. But now I know. But yeah, similar to what you say if someone high, and this is an ad, this is advice to anyone who’s interviewing right now for jobs do not hide your failures.
Anish Shah (27:06):
Talk about them very distinctly and in detail, and then come out on the other end and tell and talk about what you learned from that failure. Right? I think if you do every, if you’ve done everything right in your career, that means you’re probably not resilient because you’ve never put yourself in a situation of risk. You’ve never, you’ve always just said no to things that might have a slight, a slight tinge of, of going wrong. And a lot of companies want that person, right? Like the Googles and Facebooks and a lot of, some of our clients as well, you know, they, they focus on people on hiring people who have zero red flags instead of hiring people. Who’ve sort of seen some level of pattern recognition of things that have gone right and wrong. But yeah. For those of you interviewing right now, do not hide your failures.
Anish Shah (27:51):
You know, when you’re talking about them, enjoy talking about them because you know, it’s, it’s like having a really cool scar. You’re going to, you’re going to sound really cool to party. Now that you’re, you know, obviously you’ve grown rapidly now that you’re, you know, have a huge team, what’s kind of your secret for effective delegation and, and, and yesterday’s call, you mentioned that there’s, this is an area where you’ve, you’ve had to do a lot of learning because things have gone right, and, and not so right. Within effective delegation. So would love if you can kind of take us through that journey.
Anthemos Georgiades (28:26):
Yeah. And I think this is my biggest weakness as a CEO. And I’m not saying that with humility, I’m saying that as something, the boards continually tell me, which is, every CEO has to reinvent herself as you go from venture stage to growth stage. So like let’s say venture stage is zero to 10 million in revenue. You’re a different CEO to get to 10 million in revenue than you are as a CEO to get to a hundred million in revenue, which is kind of growth stage. And like what makes you successful to 10 is not what makes you successful to a hundred. On the way to 10 million as a CEO, you don’t delegate a lot of stuff. Even though you start to build an exec team, you’re kind of doing everything yourself, you’re fundraising, you’re selling, you probably still run product. You probably run parts of the growth engine. You run press. You’re doing everything that leap into being a growth stage CEO where you’re like, okay, my, my job now is to set other people up a bit like this diagram you have here and empower them to go and do their thing.
Anthemos Georgiades (29:24):
That’s really hard because you don’t know that that works because what made you successful in stage one, you haven’t seen succeed in stage two. So the, the metaphor is really the leap of faith. Every CEO or leader has to take a leap of faith with delegation. And then there are a couple of things that mitigate the leap of faith. One is OKRs. It sounds so boring, but if you have very clear objectives and key results in your company or KPIs, it doesn’t necessarily need to be OKRs. And your managers commit to delivering two or three KPIs. Every quarter you manage to that, your job is to help that manager manage to those numbers. And objectively you’ll know whether or not delegation works every quarter. So there there’s quantitative ways to set it up. The other way, and the, the, the secret cheat is to just hire people better than yourself.
Anthemos Georgiades (30:15):
So it’s easy to say that it’s much harder to do it in the early stage before you can attract that level of talent. Like in the first three or four years of Zumper, my early team were amazing and far better than me, but I found it hard to add to them cause you, we didn’t have a brand, and we weren’t well known. Since we got a little bigger we’ve been able to attract ridiculous talent. So like our president and COO is called VI. He used to be the CEO at Udacity and, you know, built the, the two, a hundred million in revenue. And you know, he’s the COO now. And like, he is so better at many parts of his job than I would ever be. And it’s kind of insane that he works on my team and we work together. Yeah. And that’s the level of talent you have to attract.
Anthemos Georgiades (31:00):
And so the kind of secret is sure, like chicken and egg, once you’re big, it’s easier to attract this talent. I think the secret would’ve been, I wish I could go back two or three years and pay up for these people early and solve the chicken and egg by spending more money, especially on the stock side, because not a lot of companies can afford to pay the salaries, but I wish I’d gone back in time and made months the stock office to some of these people, COO we just had a CXO join, heads of product, PMs. I wish we had these people three years ago. because we would’ve been further along than we are now, but we got there. But I, I wish we cheated earlier and just made monster offers to talent earlier on and bridged the gap with stock options.
Anish Shah (31:43):
That’s amazing. And we, we actually ran a salary survey recently where we dissected 186 salaries of people we’d interviewed across, you know, different levels all the way from manager to C level. And when we looked at the salary changes within different companies what we learned was that the size of the company, you know, whether it’s 40 employees or 4,000 didn’t dictate whether someone got a higher salary or not, let’s say comparing VP to VP, what dictated, whether somebody got a higher salary, not from a company level was the age of the company. You know, so you look at the differences in a VP from a company that’s zero to five years versus a company that’s been around for 15 to 20 years. Those VPs based off of our data are making more money. So which, which almost speaks to as someone has sat in your shoes over, you know, hiring, hiring, and hiring, hiring over and over again, you’re just like, fuck it. Pay them the money they’re they’re worth it. Don’t go cheap with this hire. Like what’s an extra 25 K for someone who really, really knows.
Anthemos Georgiades (32:49):
That point. And like for everyone listening, that is such a key point. What is 25 K here or there in the moment feels like a big deal or 10 basis points here down equity in a moment. Cause you’re in the heat and negotiation, feels like a big deal. I want to highlight what Anish said, that is so true. You never on a great hire where you just stretched a little bit more. You never regret it. Not once. You never regret you. In fact for the right hires, you think shit I’ve kind of got them. I I’m like so lucky I’ve got them at that level because they’re adding a hundred X that value to the company. So I’ve, I’ve made that incorrect decision multiple times and it’s always false economy. It’s always false economy.
Anish Shah (33:33):
Yeah. Yeah. Penny wise, pound foolish. That whole thing. cool. Great. Let’s go to the next one. You covered a lot of this, but I don’t know if there’s anything else you’d want to add. You know, what are the differences between making your 20th hire versus your 200th hire? Although did you look for someone who maybe is a little bit more seasoned, a little bit more scaled with your 200th hire and maybe your 20th hire was just like, well they don’t know totally what they’re doing, but I, I like the energy or was there, was there any major differences in kind of who you looked for back then versus now?
Anthemos Georgiades (34:07):
Yeah. If you took it generically. So say for both, it was like a midlevel higher, the 20th and a mid-level higher 200th actually, maybe this is contrarian. I think maybe you guys expected like a clever answer here, actually. No, it’s exactly the same. I, I refuse to have like a culture where number 200 feels like she doesn’t matter or you know, she can hide behind seven other people and she, she doesn’t have an influence over the outcome of the company. I think like we fail as a company where number 200 doesn’t feel her autonomy to deliver numbers. Now it’s far harder to convince number 200 that she matters than it is number 20 because in number 20 in an all hands, she probably speaks every week in number 200 in an all hands. She doesn’t speak every week. But I think the challenge with this company and like with every company of how do you avoid becoming this big boring behemoth who just doesn’t move and becomes like a big oil tanker where you can’t really move is you’ve gotta convince each new joiner that they can bend the number themselves. So we look for the same even if it’s harder to convince them that, that they can bend the numbers, they can. And we look for the same. We look for owners who are scrappy and autonomous and yes, to your point, we probably have seen a leadership in place to help guide them this time instead of we didn’t last time, but I still look for the same. So nothing changed.
Anish Shah (35:29):
Amazing, like with that 200th person like, is there some tricks to make them feel special? Because like you mentioned with the 20th person, you can be in all hands, you can take them out the lunch, you can like have these like one to one conversations where you’re talking high level strategy, but with the 200th, like it’s going to be hard for you to like build those personal relationships where this person feels like they’re seen and heard by you. Is it giving your, your VPs and your C level people a little bit more of that? Or like how do you make that person feel like, oh, well I’m, I’m really in here and people people know my name and people know who I am.
Anthemos Georgiades (36:03):
Yeah. No, totally. No, it sucks because it, because you just, I want as the CEO, you want to spend hours with every new hire and obviously your calendar doesn’t allow for that. So I meet every new hire. Like I try, I used to interview everyone, but it doesn’t scale anymore. But in their first two weeks here, we have onboard meet onboarding meetings where I’ll meet everyone, which is wonderful and great to put names to faces. I think like it’s, it’s a lame answer, but like OKRs help. Like if you do OKRs properly, each person cascades their KRs down to themselves, AK like every person has a number or a project that rolls up into the objective of the company. And so they feel uniquely like responsible for helping and that if their piece misses the whole thing kind of misses. So you can kind of use like the, numbers that you manage your quarters to, to help guide this.
Anthemos Georgiades (36:52):
And then there’s obviously like recognition in all hands and coffee meetings and stuff. But it’s, I’m curious to hear from your perspective, like what have you seen work? Because it it’s difficult and whereas has a great culture. Like this is increasingly difficult to kind of authentically get in front of these people and could have give them a hug and say, look, you matter so much. And it’s true, but it’s just harder to do when you can’t do it yourself and your, even your exec team doesn’t have as much time. I mean, what have you seen? It’s a, it’s a key question to avoiding becoming a big boring company.
Anish Shah (37:25):
I’ve honestly, well, first of all, it’s fucking hard. But number two, I’ve honestly seen it go wrong more than I’ve seen it go right with, with some of the clients that we hire. I think the general thought process for a lot of people, and this often comes from investors like the VCs are pushing companies to do this is bringing in extremely senior executives who come from some of these much, much larger, you know, like five to 50,000, you know, person companies, because, you know, they quote unquote know how to manage. They quote unquote know how to create systems. They quote unquote know how to like you know, build something that that’s large and almost it, that, that, that has a lot of foundational elements because they’ve come from let’s, let’s say SAP or something like that. That’s like in a worldwide leader.
Anish Shah (38:10):
And unfortunately what I’ve seen is those people bring a lot of those big company politics into the organization. And there’s a lot of ego and there isn’t that sort of like rolling up their sleeves and kind of doing the work with the people below them. But those people are very good at managing up. So the CEO at times doesn’t realize what’s happening yeah. For, for a really long time. And I’ve honestly just seen that go wrong. So I, I think the best thing I’ve seen work is don’t get that sort of like inkling to, to feel like you need to bring in that ultra ultra senior executive who doesn’t have startup experience, even when you are 200, 300, 400 people. Like maybe that person is right for you after you’ve IPOed. But we we’ve been brought in to replace that person multiple times cause because unfortunately they, they don’t work out and that’s advice.
Anish Shah (39:04):
I give a lot of our startup CEOs as well because they ask for that person, they ask for that person, we want that person who’s managed hundreds of people who has, you know, tho tho those foundational elements that we as a startup don’t have. And you know, they go get a senior executive for Microsoft or something like that, because they’re like, you know, we’re all junior here. We’re all startup people. We don’t really understand how to build a big company, but six to 12 months down the road that hire just all, almost always goes wrong because they, they, they don’t know how to switch to a company where their contributions are directly responsible for the company being a failure or success or not. Right. Microsoft with or without you it’ll be there. You know, so what your, your, what your agenda is in that role is going to be different.
Anish Shah (39:50):
So I think just what I’ve seen companies do it right, is keep, keep hiring those people who are kind of startupy and hire people who, the other thing I, I think goes well that a lot of our clients don’t love, but I try to push on them and I I’ll lose this battle all the time is hire someone who has something to gain, you know, like they, they, they still kind of fall a little short on certain areas of experience or knowledge because they’re going to work toward getting better at that, you know, over the next 1, 2, 3 years. And that’s, what’s going to keep them in the role much. Like you said, you have to keep the company fresh after year to keep people motivated and keep the right people motivated the ones who want a stale role. They, they, they maybe aren’t the best ones to stay with the company for a really long time. But you know, hire someone who’s just maybe came from a different industry. But they have the right functional skills. Like they’re a great product manager, but like they’ve never done real estate before, but they’ve done really well with, you know, some other marketplace business or like a FinTech app or something else, you know, give ’em the opportunity in your organization and you know, there’s going to be a learning curve and that excites certain people.
Anthemos Georgiades (40:57):
Yeah. I, I often see it. I completely agree with your comments and like, it often comes from the board. So, you know, as we go back to that, like yeah. Scale from like the venture one to the growth, one, add that intersection. And like luckily I did find the intersection between like someone who could operate a scale, but someone who was scrappy and it took me a while to find the COO, but I found him. But so many cos I speak to have this higher imposed on them by the board where like these CEOs just didn’t scale to the next level. And so the board are well intended because they’re pointing out the right observation that you need to be a different CEO with potentially a different team for the next stage of the company. But unless you’ve seen it work well, you dunno what it looks like.
Anthemos Georgiades (41:42):
So it’s very easy to go and satisfy the board to your point. And he about someone who’s good at reporting to the CEO and actually also good at reporting to the board and showing really well in board meetings. But then in between those board meetings, they don’t do anything like they they’re just there. That’s a risky reality that many startups and like you mentioned have made that mistake because it was kind of imposed on them by their board. So again, well intended by the board, poor consequences. And then they fall back on actually this hybrid exec that can roll their sleeves up. But it’s, it’s a, it’s, it’s so predictable, like clockwork at around that like series B series C time. You just, it, it happens to six outta 10 companies and they dunno how to do it. And it’s really hard. We didn’t know how to do it either.
Anish Shah (42:29):
And how do you have that conversation with the, with the board at that point? And, and also a lot of my friends who were founders and CEOs who took a company into a series, a possibly even a series B where themselves pushed out by the, by the, by the investors. And they put in someone who was sort of like a, a corporate senior executive as a CEO of the company. You know, so it seems like a very difficult conversation where if you push too hard and say, look, I’m not listening to you guys, they’re going to maybe get rid of you, but then if you completely succumb to them, you’re, you’ve just suddenly lost control of your own team below you. And you’re just hiring whoever they want. Like is that, and, and you know, I haven’t been in those direct conversations before, so I don’t know if like, do you have a leash to sort of say, look, I, I, I hear what you’re saying, but you know, this is what I want to do to, to help resolve it. Or is it just that, that leash isn’t there?
Anthemos Georgiades (43:21):
Yeah. The best CEOs have that leash, like the best CEOs talk back to their board. Like, I don’t think a board wants a CEO who just takes the first term sheet. They give them, or they don’t want a CEO who just takes every idea. They mention in a board meeting and like puts it in a product. I think great CEOs that I aspire to be, but I’m, I have a lot more work to do together. They push on their board all the time and they push back. And so in our story, our board, as we were scaling, we, our, our consumer numbers were on fire, but our revenue was taking slower to come behind it on our path to first doing 10 and now chasing a hundred. But in our first step to get to 10, I think they were like, you, you guys have several million users a month.
Anthemos Georgiades (44:02):
You should be way north of 10. This was like three years ago. And I pushed back for a year because I didn’t want to lose the culture because you know, you bring in that executive, what happens to the people that got you to this stage? How do you retain them? because they have so much institutional knowledge while also leveling them by bringing in a COO who’s actually going to sit on top of them. And for a year I felt the boards were kind of nudging us to do this too early. And then so I think, I don’t necessarily think I was wrong on that, but I was wrong that the right hire couldn’t level us up and attract a whole new level of talent and a whole new level of growth because eventually when I started interviewing and it took me eight months to find our COO but he’s phenomenal the board tend out to be right.
Anthemos Georgiades (44:46):
So to your leash comment, the best CEOs do push back, but they take the feedback and they test the market to see what it looks like. But for anyone out there trying to do this nine outta 10 of the people you’re going to meet are going to be time wasters and big feedbacks who aren’t going to be able to do anything, but one outta 10, you’re going to meet them and you’re going to be like, shit. That is what the board meant. And, and it, one, one other thing I talk about is there’s kind of this like wonky chart I’ve seen about like the, the zone of genius, which is basically like a two by two of like the stuff you’re good at and the stuff you enjoy doing on the two axes and a lot of executives end up doing stuff they’re good at, but they don’t enjoy. So they’re in that quadrant, hiring a COO who compliments you.
Anthemos Georgiades (45:29):
So there’s, there’s someone who does stuff you don’t want to do as a CEO, you can get into your zone of genius, which sounds like a ridiculous, like kind of quadrant, but is like stuff you’re good at. And it’s stuff you love doing. So for me, it’s kind like fundraising, press strategy product influence. I don’t want to run the day to day like sales team or operational team. Cause I’m not the best person to do it. I don’t come from that background. And so turns out there are loads of people who love doing that, who want that job. And so I think the board were right to point out that I could do the stuff that I’m uniquely able to do and have someone else do the other stuff that they’re uniquely able to do. And I don’t have to do it all. It just took me a while to realize that they were right and to pick the right time to make the switch, the easiest way to test whether they’re right or wrong is meet 20 COOs or meet 20 executives that they’re pushing you to hire if all 20 aren’t good fit, maybe you are right.
Anthemos Georgiades (46:25):
But I’m willing to bet that if one or two are good fit, there’s someone out there who can alleviate a whole world of pain for you.
Anish Shah (46:33):
That that makes a lot of sense. And I guess it only made sense to you that they maybe had a good point problem. Maybe when you met the right person. That was
Anthemos Georgiades (46:39):
Anish Shah (46:41):
Anthemos Georgiades (46:41):
That was, it’s like getting married, right? Like to use a random
Anthemos Georgiades (46:44):
I didn’t like go out in life to get married. It’s like, I, I was like, I’m an only child I’m pretty independent. Like I’m I was very happy on my own. And then like when I’m met my wife, it was like, well that I’m done. Like this is, this is the right thing. And like, you know, she, the metaphor, I mean, you are kind of getting married to the people you hire, you spend more time with them than you do with your family and your significant other. So it really matters that you like them. And it’s, it’s kinda the same that like, you may not be going out to look for a COO or a CMO, but when you meet the right person, it’s like all you can think about and you have to go and hire them.
Anish Shah (47:18):
Yeah, yeah. No, that you’re, you’re a hundred percent right at that point. And that’s exciting that you found the right people. So you you’ve been very honest at saying, look, you’ve had, you’ve had plenty of failures. You know, can you pinpoint one? And it doesn’t, you know, I, I, I think putting the, the, the pressure on to say the biggest might be hard unless it’s really obvious what the biggest one was, but you know, any, any, anything that comes to mind that was, you know, fairly large and, and that you took away some, some awesome learnings from,
Anthemos Georgiades (47:49):
Yeah, I think in 2017 we just AC, so we obviously Zumper is our core brand. We also owned this other platform called Padma that we acquired in 2016. And when we did that, I, there was a lot of integration work and I, I kind of took my eye off the ball in terms of culture. And even with a company of like 25 30 people, I stopped interviewing everyone. And for one year I kind of gave into my team who was super stretched, saying, I’m dying I just need to interview, I need someone to come in. If they’re seven outta 10 instead of an eight or a nine or a 10 it’s okay. Even a six outta 10, I just need warm bodies. And I really regret saying yes to that. Cause it’s a very easy argument to say yes. And you are empathetic as a CEO, hopefully.
Anthemos Georgiades (48:32):
So you feel for your team, but we hired a bunch of people that year that just didn’t work out and it, it wasn’t their fault. Like I think we were the wrong stage company for them and they were the wrong hire for us at that stage of company. And I could have seen it coming, but I took my eye off the ball of hiring and culture for a year while I could have integrated this other company and also raised our series B, which is a really hard round to raise in a, in a bad year for fundraising in 2016. And I really regret it because it probably set us back a year in terms of talent, because a lot of those people are no longer at the company and we don’t really have a high churn rate. We keep 90% of our best people forever. And like, we have a fantastic culture, but that year we just did not do a good job and it sucks for us. And it also sucks the people that made a career bet on us, even though they were probably the wrong candidate for the role and they lasted 10 months. And so I feel a lot of regret for that year. And I hope I won’t do that again.
Anish Shah (49:34):
Cool. It sounds like you have a pretty major learning. So you know, at the end of the day you had, you had to go through that process to, to come up the other end. So here’s a very, very broad question. You know, what, in inspires you and you know, obviously you’ve taken a lot of personal and professional risks to, to continue to grow this, this company you’ve taken on a lot of funding, which comes with crazy amounts of pressure. You know, so like what inspires you through, through all of this?
Anthemos Georgiades (50:03):
Yeah, I mean the, the mission of our company it just, yeah, we think about it every day. It sounds so lame and trite to say it, but it’s true. Like make renting an apartment as easy as booking a hotel. The idea for Zopa came when I was at undergrad in the UK and I moved out and this is back in like 2003 like moving outta college accommodation into the private market. This is around where the internet was just starting. Even then it seemed crazy that like people used to camp outside, like property management offices in, in the UK for when the leases for when the new inventory came to market. And like, even then it was like, okay, cool. You can create a listing site. I get it. But like, how is the transaction for this huge purchase? The biggest economic event of your life is a renter.
Anthemos Georgiades (50:49):
Why is this not online? Like, how is this happening offline? And that was true in 2003. And here we are in 2020, and Zomer has all, a majority of our revenue already comes from transactions. So not just making money like Zillow does like lead gen, but actually powering transactions for our small landlords like Airbnb does for shortterm rentals. We do for long term rentals and taking a slice of the transaction, but we barely started. And like most people know Zumper as a search platform, not as a booking platform, but we’re moving that direction. So that kind of inspires me and gets me outta bed. And like most people who join Zumper can connect with that because all of us have had shitty moving experiences. And like, we we’re the only company right now who’s going to solve it. There, there are some big public companies in our space, but they’re kind of great at Legion.
Anthemos Georgiades (51:35):
And that’s what they’ve done for decades where we’ve got this slightly other approach that inspires me. And then like, I know I love my family. I want them to be proud of what I’m doing. And then like, when I think about when I’m 80 and I look back on like what we did and this crazy time we live in I kind of like kind of inspired to like make my team successful. Like, I’ve got some, some people on our team who are junior, who hopefully this is going to be a home run for them. And like, they can do whatever they want after Zumper. I would love that if that was true. But then I also have people who are kind of in their forties, they’ve maybe worked in tech for 20 years and never had like a big win and I’d love it if Zomer was a big win for them.
Anthemos Georgiades (52:13):
And it was, it’s not about the money. It was just more like emotionally, they did something that really mattered and like someone else like agreed or valued it that way. That’s really cool. And like changing people’s lives like that internally is like very motivating. And like, I think most CEOs would agree. It’s like, you know, you’ll be fine as a CEO, if the company fails your experience, it would probably be fine. You could do another startup and raise a bunch of money yesterday, but to take your team, if you didn’t have that opportunity and to give them the opportunity to do that. That’s awesome. So I think that, that, I wouldn’t say that inspires me, but it’s kind of very motivating if we get this right.
Anish Shah (52:54):
That’s awesome. And it just shows you really care about the team you’ve built and, and I’d say it’s not true of all CEOs who really care about the team that’s below them. Right. They’re, they’re pretty selfish and they’re just looking to kind of drive as much success for themselves and people below them are, are expendable when necessary. So I think I think your approach is not, I, I, I, I would I would halt at saying that it’s, it’s a universal approach for, for all CEOs. So I have a hard stop in six minutes. So if someone has a burning question, they want to put in the in the chat or the Q and a please do oh, this is actually a good one. Okay. What is one thing that would make Zumper culture even more impactful? Have you guys fell short somewhere? And you’re like, man, I, we gotta get this right. But we haven’t gotten it right yet.
Anthemos Georgiades (53:44):
Yeah. We talk a lot about transparency is one of our key values and we’re very transparent. Like we show every number in the business every Monday at 1230 Pacific. We just had a quarterly kickoff where we show every number in the business, every revenue number, cost, numbers, headcount, numbers I think there’s one level, more transparency that we don’t do that I love to do, which is like, you know, for example, when we exit people from the business or people leave the business, like we’re still like, you know, there’s this a awkwardness between transparency and giving people the grace to leave on their terms where like, if we fire someone we’re, we’re not transparent about him. Like we, we want to leave people kind of with their heads up. But I also think it’s inauthentic to our culture because we say we’re very honest. So I’ve never figured out a good way to do that where we obviously announce all our new joiners, but when say, say someone doesn’t scale to the next level, I’ve never figured out a way, which is authentic to our culture. And I, I think people would appreciate how brutally honest we are of kind of telling people what happened whilst still allowing someone to have their dignity and their grace. So I think transparency is key and we’re almost brilliant at it, but we’re not quite, and I want to get one better.
Anish Shah (54:54):
Interesting. And, and, and just to be clear, it’s transparency to the rest of the team. That’s still in the company of why, you know, someone who right. Just parted ways, why they’re no longer there. Yeah.
Anthemos Georgiades (55:04):
I just think it’s crazy sometimes that like we show like our revenue numbers, our burn numbers, how much money we have in the bank, like really radical candor. But then sometimes we’re not honest about like why we made a personnel change, but I understand why we don’t, it’s it’s about
Anthemos Georgiades (55:22):
Grace and, and like giving people their story. But I think when I talk to other CEOs, it’s often like the biggest like counterpoint to their culture, which is, we all talk about transparency and preach it and yet we don’t fully live it. And that’s one example of there, there are other examples of transparency, like when something really bad happens. Do I tell my team immediately? Like, of course not, I try and digest it before, like coming back with a plan. I, I love to make our culture one notch higher on transparency, where I trusted our team to deal with the information with grace. I do trust them. I just think that like, sometimes that can be harmful. And so there’s this like tension
Anish Shah (56:01):
It’s hard. It’s really hard. And what just, and I, I, I don’t have the answer to that either, but from some blog posts I’ve read from other CEOs, they mentioned that was one of the biggest turning points is when things went wrong, they didn’t keep it to themselves. Where for, you know, years they would run a company being like, yep, okay. If I tell people about this thing going wrong, they’re going to flip out. They’re going to start interviewing for new companies. They’re going to, you know, worry about their livelihood and you know, whether they’re able to feed their children. So I’m just going to keep this to myself. And then when they sort of one day were like, oh fuck it. Lemme just tell someone. I’m like, I need like 15 therapists. Right. I gotta tell someone what’s happening. They’re like, they felt like the tight team around them like stepped up and we’re like, no, we’re going to solve it together. We’re not, we’re not jumping ship because just cause you know, something didn’t go. Right. but I, again, it’s, it’s a very tough thing to overcome and, and, and say, all right, I’m going to do this. Cause you’re scared of the repercussions. It makes a ton of sense. Yeah. How, how do you, how do you be transparent with the whole company when someone is let go for performance reasons? You know, maybe just wording it really well. like I don’t know.
Anthemos Georgiades (57:07):
I don’t have a good answer and I’ve never heard a good answer. And I, I talked to the whole time. There’s there’s I don’t think the company should ever like write a, a response. I think like taking away the voice of the person leaving is the wrong core. But the, I, I, I actually genuinely dunno the answer like right now, the way we run it is the person leaving T sends an email to the, or slack to the people they’ve worked really closely with with just their narrative. And like, we don’t say anything publicly. But it’s kind of weird because sometimes people leave for sometimes it’s mutual. Sometimes it’s not a good fit for them. It’s not a good fit for us. And yet we haven’t found a medium to tell the company about it. So right now the person leaves on their own terms, emails, a subset of people.
Anthemos Georgiades (57:50):
And then the managers tell their teams the next Monday morning to make sure there are no independencies missed mm-hmm it still feels weird. Given we announced like every new join to the company and we don’t have a good way of expressing that. It’s actually from a transparency perspective. I think the most common problem I see with CEOs, most CEOs are happy to disclose burn numbers above that because they’re trying to do the right thing, but it it’s a yeah, it’s, I, I I’m all for transparency, but there are lots of subsets of it that are very difficult that I haven’t solved. So if anyone has any ideas, let me know.
Anish Shah (58:26):
well, if we get emailed some, some phenomenal ideas on how to take that on, we’ll definitely send them your way. Thank you so much for joining. You’ve basically covered such an incredibly wide range of topics and I have no doubt that everyone who’s been listening along learned a ton of things from your, your journey. And I, I would say not just the journey, but the humility. Like I, I always, I, I really think anyone who’s reached a certain level they have more humility than, than sort of proudness because they know there’s so much further to go. And so now I appreciate all your humility and honesty and, and thanks for joining us today.
Anthemos Georgiades (59:05):
Thanks for having me. Thank you. Appreciate it.
Anish Shah (59:07):
Have a good one.