Barefoot CEO: opening a store in Colchester

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This an email sent to the team t say thanks for all the hard work in opening our new store in Colchester:

Team,

Last week everyone put in a lot of effort to get the store live, and then on the weekend it was really awesome to see everyone (some spouses included!) pitch in and help out. So thank you for all the hard work, and for helping to get Colchester launched on time.

To Andy, Andy, Paul & Ray, you’ve put in a lot of work to make the store come to life in a way which reflects what we’re trying to do with our brand and from the customers I overheard, you’ve done a fantastic job (and we’ve only just begun!).

For me, this was a huge task which involved pretty much everyone in some capacity, so it’s given me an opportunity to watch everyone work together to get something (significant) done. I think we’d all agree that we’ve learn’t some important lessons about collaboration and teamwork, and we’ve also learn’t what you can accomplish with a small team of determined people who all work together.

So thank you ;-)

Onwards and upwards,
Gareth

And this is what they put together:

Our Wedo Home store in Colchester

The retail park

IMG_1224

Wedo Home frontage

Wedo Home store in Colchester

Inside

Barefoot CEO: This is what a day from hell looks like, and this is what a good team does…

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Lookin’ for the day
Hard as it seems
This ain’t no damn dream
Gotta know what I mean
It’s team against team
Catch the light beam
So I pray
I pray everyday
- Public Enemy

So the week has been working out really well.  Margin numbers are good, revenue numbers are good, we’re cranking out tech stuff, improving everything across our entire stack, and I’m starting to feel we’re getting on top of our growth curve.  We’ve had one or two difficult discussions over the week so far, but that’s all in the course of business.

So I’m up at 6 to crank through email from 6:30 to 8:30, so that I can go do breakfast with Dees who is changing the mobile world one Firefox OS handset at a time, I get to enjoy a super awesome Chai at Dishoom, the tube back to work is fast, the sun is shining for the first time in 9 months, we’re hitting nice weekly KPI’s, and we’re on top of what we need to do as a team.

And then I walk through the office door and one of our carriers has dropped a bombshell (we can’t deliver to customers), our merchant provider has terminated our trading account (if you’re not in e-commerce that means we can’t process credit card transactions online), and a technology supplier just doesn’t get what they’re doing to us (I’ve promised not to reveal more, although I fear I soon will). In about 30 mins of each other. This is on top of a tough few months of pushing things uphill every day.

The rest of the day is firefighting.

So everyone starts firefighting their corners, after 45 mins of progress we do our morning huddle in the reception area to report back, we have a plan and options.

As the day progresses we understand problems, make calls, find alternatives, get to the bottom of issues, find solutions, deploy code, and generally sort shit out. By close of play we’ve gotten through one problem and are solving the other. The last one is not done yet, but latest email at 18:45 or so says it is. More importantly, we’ve got 3 backup solutions to the merchant problem and revenue is back on again. No one shouted. No one did anything stupid. We just worked through the problems.

25 odd phone calls (everyone).
2 Angry Gareth (*) appearances.
1 Code deployment.

I thought we were through the day, and I could go back to the tech team roadmap and revenue meeting. I get another email from the tech supplier, which almost sends me into the kind of catatonic rage I’ve resisted earlier in the day. I take the blue pill, and work through the email. They just don’t get it, but they’re on borrowed time anyways so I try my best to be civil and just join the dots for them.

I’ve assigned two tasks, done two other phone calls which are useful, cleared some email during the day, seen my cousin (cut lunch short ‘cos of the above), and done two useful meetings.  I feel like I’ve got a full day’s work ahead of me, and it’s 19:29.

Just another day in paradise ;-)

* Lately, the Angry Gareth in me comes out when I need to go to bat for my team. Sometimes someone just needs to get angry and shout at people / suppliers / whoever, to get them to actually do things they are paid to do. I don’t like it, but have found that a conscious instillation of the fear of the Almighty into someone does something polar to that person. They either hate you and get the job done, or they fear you and get the job done. But they get the job done. All other attempts at being nice have failed, so this remains the last port of call in situations. I never knew this person existed until a few months ago.

Barefoot CEO: This is the kind of cover letter which gets you an interview…

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This is the kind of cover letter which gets you an interview
… a good interview gets you onto the shortlist…
.. and then a good cover email to say thank you get’s the job:

Hello again to you both,

Thank you for meeting with me today to discuss the Graphic Designer/Artworker position. I’m now even more enthusiastic about working with you both and everyone else at Wedo. I am also more convinced than ever that my skills in Photoshop and Product Retouching would be a strong match to be able to accomplish the challenges and issues that were discussed.
With your current backlog of product imagery that needs addressing i feel it would be the perfect opportunity to implement style guidelines, which will assist with quality assurance, keeping the imagery on brand and consistent. This is exactly the sort of challenge i am looking for and one i would conduct with great enthusiasm.

I also believe that my experience with Graphic Design, Illustration Animation, Still and Moving imagery would bring additional advantages if the business needs allowed for the position to develop further. It is exciting to see that the company has scope moving forward and for the visual elements to develop further, should the opportunity arise; my dedication, ideas and solutions would ensure that Wedo’s future visual identity is delivered to an exceptional level and exceeding expectations. I am really looking forward to discussing this with you again and look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Once again, many thanks.

Kind Regards

James Burton

It’s not hard ;-)
** Full disclosure: I sucked at this when I first started job hunting in London, so speak from both sides of the table!

Our guiding principles at Wedo

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Just done the April all hands meet with the whole team, thought I’d post the essential bits and the deck here:

Who we are:

We do simple shopping
We do simple shopping
Simple, informative, easy, reliable eCommerce.

In everything we do, we follow these principles.

Be human, be interesting

We hire for talent and fit, and you need to have both to make Wedo your home. But you also need to be interesting. Everyone is unique, so after talent and fit, we celebrate diversity.  Show everyone honesty, integrity, humility and be trustworthy. We show our customers why they should think of us every time they go online.

Focus on simplicity

Take the complex and simplify so anyone can understand. Unearth the simple in everything you do. Focus on the fundamentals and eliminate distractions. The best products polarise.

Make yourself at home

Life is too short to do something you don’t enjoy. Treat your colleagues and our customers the same way you’d treat them when coming over for a cuppa tea. Bring a positive energy to everything you do. We work hard, and play hard. Make what you do fun, or find something new to do.

Measure & Adapt

Ask the tough questions to create focus, then use data to validate and measure. Reveal the complexity, then analyse to make sense of what you find. There are very few absolutes. Always look for the improvements you can make, and always ask whether something can be done better, quicker, simpler, easier. In data we trust. Most of all, change is good.

Make it happen

Ideas are cheap, execution wins over great ideas and technology. Execution is where great teams define industries.   While others are talking & blogging about their ideas, we’re working on them relentlessly.  There is always a solution. Be resourceful. Make every day count. Seize the opportunities presented to you every day. Don’t shrink from anything. Make mistakes fast, and then learn from them. Most of all, #JFDI.

The deck: