Interview with Wenceslao García, Co-Founder & CEO of Marketgoo
Although many of us have been lucky enough to listen to the interview that Jaime Novoa did recently for the KFund podcast, to contextualize the reader, why was Marketgoo set up and what are you doing today?
As a product, Marketgoo was born as a result of the experience that my partners and I had after working and starting new business in the Web Hosting and SEO sector. But, above all, what has defined and continues to define our purpose is to develop a unique and lasting corporate culture while creating impacting digital products.
Today we are focusing this passion on a niche market that consists of providing Web Hosting companies (worldwide) with SEO solutions that they “re-sell” to their customers under an SaaS model.
In summary, we are a bootstrapped company with a team of 13 people and several collaborators, fully-remote, with 30 international clients and with more than 300,000 active user accounts, above all in the US and Europe.
Like GetWith, you are also a bootstrapped company. Do you think that this fact has limited you when it comes to growing the team with TOP professionals, or, as you say, of high performance?
Without a doubt, being boostrapped you live with serious financial limitations and that means that you have to bet on promising profiles instead of being able to sign professionals with more experience, especially at the beginning. We also see it as an opportunity to bet on the global development of our knowledge and to find a better cultural fit.
Also, let’s not forget that the 3 founders had previous experience and as we have been hiring, we have been able to contribute to the development of the team and above all to motivate it to be a high performance group.
In relation to the previous question, was it difficult for you to decide what kind of profiles were the ones you wanted to sign first or has it emerged naturally throughout the growth?
Generally it has arisen naturally and we have been hiring in those areas where we have had more “pain” or need.
Few companies (to say none) can be found where the founder is defined in Linkedin as “Head of Culture” and openly affirm that culture is more important than the project itself. What has led you to think like this and exercise this conscious leadership?
You are defined by what you do, not what your title says.
My main role is Executive Management of the company but as soon as I saw that the development of a unique culture made us shine internally, I decided to point out its importance to the point of changing my title.
We believe that a long-term vision and our passion to develop that unique culture is more important than the project itself. We do not know if we are going to continue being an SaaS-SEO company, but we do know the direction of our culture.
Taking into account that you prioritize soft skills when hiring and that you are looking for professionals who want to accompany you in the “very” long term, even in future projects other than Marketgoo, how do you do the recruitment processes to minimize (if possible) the margin of error and make a good cultural filter? Does the whole team participate?
Regardless of the technical validation part, we use different processes to ensure that there is that “cultural match”.
Being fully remote represents a first natural filter by attracting candidates with a certain personality and interest. We always make our strategy and culture clear from the beginning so as not to generate false expectations and rule out the more “mercenary” profiles.
We use tools such as “core values speech” which is a document that explains our principles and values with very clear examples and some background that will be discussed later. Interviews are organized with other people in the company who are not going to work directly with the candidate and who are usually collaborators in our Culture team.
And finally, we doubt those candidates who don’t make the effort to get to know each other thoroughly and to interview us. 😮 I am perplexed when some professionals are willing to commit themselves in the long term and yet they don’t evaluate us to know better where they are going to dedicate those valuable years of their life.
Interviews should be mutual!
It is not easy but I think we are good at identifying that “sparkle in the eyes” 😃
You are growing 105% a year which is a very good sign for bootstrappers and more if we take into account that you are in an unpredictable environment and where frequently they encourage you to remove people. What role does it play here (or what weight do you think it has) to be a full-remote company? What actions do you carry out so that the team is emotionally united, motivated and stay in the same direction?
Being full-remote is a very relevant part of our organizational culture but it is only one of the multiple dimensions that we work on. To list some:
- Clear and communicated long-term vision, everyone understands the meaning of their work!
- Transparency: we share all finances and everything related to management including the 5 phases of design that have implications for the profits for the team.
- Profit-sharing: we share the profits of the company among the team according to a formula that values the number of years in the company and responsibility.
- Systems: we have created a management system to align the entire team that goes from formulating the vision and values to regulating how meetings take place. We have seen that it is key to communicate the company’s strategy and principles.
- Rituals: we all meet physically once every quarter to share everything. Two of those meetings last a week, which is when we go to cool destinations and develop more strategic aspects in addition to encouraging fun together.
- Collaboration: we do not have timetables, we communicate asynchronously and with “radical honesty”.
- Benefits: budget for coworking, € 1000 for training, for equipment and for health such as € 80 / month for gym or sport, etc.
- Birthday: you have your birthday free and you receive € 50 to enjoy it as you want with the only commitment to share a photo of that day with the rest of the team
- Fun: we have frustrating and very self-demanding moments so we continually remind ourselves that we have to enjoy ourselves and have fun. Our “memes” on Friday are famous 😜.
And many other points that would be too long to develop but above all the commitment to a different work model based on trust and the alignment of interests.
We always complain about the high turnover in the IT sector but rarely do we self-reflect. Do you think that leadership by Founders / CEOs or even “Team Leads” has a lot to do with this?
The IT sector is complex, they are very demanding, volatile projects, I would not dare to generalize or point out a reason, but I am sure that the commitment to Culture helps to increase the sense and satisfaction of professionals.
Not to take more time Wences, because we would keep asking you a thousand things … As an entrepreneur, what does it mean for you to have professional success?
As an entrepreneur, I think you have to redefine success. I have always found it strange to celebrate both the rounds of financing or growth in teams. I even consider that the “successes” are overrated because they tend to alter the nature of the projects and affect the morale of the team even if the shareholders make cash.
Doing what you like as a team under a climate of trust while enjoying the process is a success even if there is no notable economic result.