Shake and bake baby – MyHeritage buys Kindo

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A few years ago, I think it was October 2005 to be exact, I was leaving Open Box Software, and had decided to go it on my own, for the second time. If someone had asked me then if today was where I was going to be now (start to acquisition in just over a year), I think I would have been hopeful but would probably have laughed.

After all, I had no money, knew few people, and although I was certainly competent technically I was never going to be a Larry Page. Breaking new ground and creating awesomeness is not easy for me, I tried being an artist but didn’t get very far. I’m a zoologist you see, I analyse and optimise, always within the constraints of an ecosystem which has rules and flows. I don’t regret not being a proper zoologist yet, there will be time for that one day.

So here I am 3 years later and what a rush it’s been
Kindo loves MyHeritage
Kindo loves MyHeritage

Full story on the Kindo blog.
Seen on Techrunch UK, VentureBeat, Techcrunch US, paidContent and PHP Kitchen to mention a few of the 130 odd posts thus far.
Here is the official press release.

Along the way, I’ve managed to learn many new things, grow with some fine people, evolve as a person, adapt to changing situations, and almost break myself in the process. Looking back it was brute force until recently. Now I get by on smarts. Hopefully it’ll stay that way.

The chair it all started on
This is the chair it all started on, back in my bedroom.

I’ve been wondering what this post should be about for a while now, as so much blood, sweat and many tears are tied to this, but I’m pretty sure that getting too personal is not really interesting to most people. Those that know me know what I’ve been through and why it’s something I could get emotional about. Instead I think I’m going to thank the people that have been involved along the way, and leave it at that.

Malcolm – thanks for believing in me right at the beginning, truly, truly appreciated.

Joseph – thanks for all the time we’ve spent discussing things dude, you’re a legend.

Rachel – thanks for all the work you did with me, it’s made a massive difference. I’ll be grateful to you for as long as I live…

Fraser and Cliff – thanks for the first lessons you imparted, your support, and the opportunities you’ve given me.

Debora, Georgie, Andrew, Katherine, Leo – thanks for being so good at what you do, being human, and letting me grow in my own lunchbox.

Alistair, Nick, Tom, Tim and Ido – thanks for taking a chance, I hope you guys are realising the benefits of the stuff we did for you.

Ryan, Gill, John, Dustin, Erin, Peter, Ed, Andy, Hash, Dave, Chris – you guys have given so much support and understanding when I couldn’t find that anywhere else.  More than anything, you understand.  We’re all older and wiser now, lets do some cool stuff, shall we ;-)

Stephen – I don’t know what you were thinking when you carried on past the first weeks of working with me back in the Summer of 2006, but I think we’ve come a long way since then. Thanks for being so reliable. Thanks for your sense of humour. Most of all, thanks to the Hoff. Looking forward to company 3… ;-)

Andrew – like Stephen, you’ve stuck around through thick and thin, which for me is both a compliment and a wonder. Thanks for your calm head, and experienced hand. Looking forward to company 4… ;-)

Demian – I’ve learnt much from you, and have enjoyed the benefit of your experience, it’s almost unbelievable we made it through that cold office and into 38k profiles a day ;-)

Stan, Dmitri, Julien, Thomas, Ali, James, Damon – You’re all great hackers, it’s been a pleasure working with you, even when the office felt like a pressure cooker at times.

Ryan, Adam, Andy – You guys gave us the designs that made us stand out and look the business. You’re all great to work with, and it’s been awesome. Hope we can work together more in the future.

Nils – I was doubtful at first, ‘cos I couldn’t see through your calmness, but now I’m a believer. It is a pleasure, and I’m looking forward to the next chapters. Onwards and upwards.

Mario, Martin, Julia, Alberto, Fabien, Sophiane – Guys, we couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it without you. So many startups forget that the human (read: marketing / pr) side of things is actually what makes progress in the real world. All the code in the world doesn’t matter if people can’t find you. So, thanks for the long hours, dedication and hard work, I hope you guys become giants when you’re grown up ;-)

The day of the announcement
An awesome bunch of people, would go with you anywhere.

Saul, Robin, Stefan, Taavet, Eileen, Peter – Thanks for believing in us, the help and guidance you’ve given, and ultimately what’s rubbed off onto us. I/we couldn’t have asked for a better group of people for backing.

Sarah – thanks for being there when things got tough, I’m gutted you’re not around now ;-(

Marisha – your honesty, perspective and values are appreciated more than you know or will admit to… Thanks!

Tina – thanks for your hard work in the sale process, enough said ;-)

Siobhan
– thanks for the advice, even though we didn’t work with you guys…

Morgs – thanks for being so patient, and for putting up with so much of me being unavailable as a brother, and for not throwing my laptop out the window when it would have been expected to do so. You’re the best, almost like a Gillette razor ;-)

Mom and Dad – where do I start? How do I begin? Everything I call a virtue has been instilled by you, so what else can I say?

Michelle
– I’ve only known you a relatively short while, but it’s been great. Thanks for your insight, wisdom, and for hitting me on the head a few times – looking forward to the next few years!

Gilad, Sueli, Uri and Nir – great job on MyHeritage so far, lets build something significant to families around the world!

And last but certainly not least, the good guys that have kept my feet planted firmly on the ground, in no particular order:
Anne, Scurry, Wazza, Georgie, Wagon, Sean, Snorkes, Biff, Cone, Dunners, Tim, Penguin, Pete Z, Worville, Strola, Hobbo, Steel, Deano, Brettie, Mark, Phil, Lazza, Irish, Miles, Richy, Frances, Russ, Hollster, Matt, Trish, George, Brett, Lisa, Jen, Shev, Debsk, Benno, Edge, Jon, Tina, Stoner, Charlie “Heart like fire, Mind like Ice” Reville, Charlie “Richard” Charlesworth, Cookie, Jim “The Legend” Sayer, Badman, B Hanlon, Charlie “Yeah!” Howard, Charlie “C-F” Theux… and more to come as I think of them ;-)

Tips for landing a php job in London

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OK, so I’ve not got long so will be brief and to the point with this one, in the hope that it will help some of the people that read this blog, and maybe even some of the folks that are looking for devs to join their teams.

I’ve had to run through a lot of agencies and candidates in the last month or so, recruiting for Kindo, and these are some thoughts in no particular order:

As a candidate

DO:

  • accept there is lots of good competition; you have to stand out to be noticed
  • research on the company you’re interviewing at – it’s polite and will help you with 3, 4 and 5
  • send a cv that is relevant to the job spec – java experience won’t interest someone looking for a php person
  • learn how to sell yourself and articulate your experience – enough said
  • accept you’re going to have to send code to show what you can do – send your best relevant code
  • describe what your code is supposed to be doing to there is context – don’t just send a bunch of methods
  • comment more than you think you should – esp if you’re going to work in a team or be contracting
  • write documentation in the code for something like phpDocumentor – that makes people happy

As a general rule (unless you’re a superstar), your work environment, the people you work with, and the work you’ll be doing, should all supersede remuneration unless you have a specific reason (like a mortgage for example).

As someone recruiting

DO:
Read this first:
http://www.nickhalstead.com/2008/07/01/10-reasons-why-i-hate-recruitment-agents/

  • accept that it is going to take up a lot of your time
  • have a clear job spec and role description in place to send around
  • use your personal network first
  • get your agencies to send some cv’s to assess the kind of candidates they have
  • ask for source code if you like the cv – you’ll do less unnecessary face to face’s
  • expect them to do some filtering and work for you; if not, bin them
  • turn your phone off if you want quiet time to work
  • agree on terms first, or re-confirm them if circumstances change on your end

Hope that helps!! ;-)

Intruders.tv interview on Kindo (about scale/product/marketing/revenue)

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Was at Open Coffee last week (looking for developers), and did this interview with Vincent and Eugene from Intruders.tv on Kindo. Talked about how we’ve tackled some of the usual web app issues like scaling our userbase, internationalisation, product dev, marketing tricks, revenue generation….
_ Intruders.tv interview on Kindo.com

Kindo.com is a “new take on the traditional family tree”. In this interview, we sit down with Gareth Knight to talk about Kindo and their user acquisition strategy. Gareth shares with us his experience of attracting users to the site and the effectiveness of strategies such as blogging, Google AdWords and PR.

If you’re building a webapp, could be useful ;-)

Thoughts from recruiting for php developers in London

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I’ve spent the last week or so busy with recruiting, and I’ve learnt some interesting things. So thought I’d post something small just before I take the tube home…. I’ll try not to be too sarcastic.

  1. Most recruitment agents seem to be early 20 something bottom feeders who don’t or can’t read, and have no industry experience
  2. Most of the agents don’t really know the difference between the various technologies or just do a search on language (instead of focus), so therefore send you crud which you still have to filter out – I received a Linux systems engineer CV for a php role
  3. Warning signals include:
    • “I called you earlier”
    • “so you’re hiring a developer, what’s he going to be doing day to day?”
    • “I’m sure he’s great for your social application, he’s got loads of enterprise Java experience”
    • and my personal favourite of today “an excellent web2 ASP Javasphere candidate” (*note, not knocking Java)
  4. There are some gems who know their stuff, who listen, and who actually have good candidates = these are gold
  5. Most developers don’t seem to know how to communicate why you should hire them, so learn to ask good questions that lead to what you want to find out
  6. Your ear is going to get warm, so get comfy
  7. Take water to phone call
  8. Update:Agents seem to get surprised when you contact previous employers to get feedback on candidates (surely this is something they should do??)

That’s it – hope that helps, and I’m wondering whether you’ve had any experiences with agents and recruiting? ;-)

Welcome to the Kindo Family, Denmark!

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Kindo is now in 15 languages… ;-)
_ Gratis stamtræ på Kindo – Welcome to the Family, Denmark!

Kindo just launched in Danish! Our last name research pages for Denmark have been live for quite some time now, and finally we have launched Kindo in Danish! It should soon be available via http://kindo.dk as well.

Danish home pageThe new language was made possible by Aske and Brian who have translated the whole website voluntarily. Thanks a lot for your help guys! Especially Aske has worked incredibly hard on this; and amazingly fast as well.

The new Danish version takes our language toll to 15! The Kindo family is spreading the globe ;-)

Kindo one of top 3 in UK’s Most Promising Internet Company 2008

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So on Wednesday, Nils and I went to Internet World at Earls Court, to do a final pitch to the judges for the “UK’s Most Promising Internet Company 2008″… and we didn’t win, which is a bummer, but we did make it to the final 3 out of 150 companies, which is pretty cool in itself.

_ Kindo one of UK’s Most Promising Internet Company 2008 – Kindo Family Blog

Kindo was one of three companies, who made it to the Finals at the Internetworld 2008 fair, that is going on at Earl’s Court at the moment.

Well done to the Zoopla! guys, I reckon they’re onto a winner ;-)

During “The Award Final” at the Keynote Theatre yesterday the three selected start-ups were pitching in front of the jury and this time to the internetworld as well. Though finally the property site Zoopla took home the prize, it was a great opportunity to present Kindo to a internet-savvy crowd, and all that only about 10 Minutes from our Kindo headquarters in Putney Bridge.

2 comments about internet world:
1. more people than last time overall…
2. … and, way more honeys than the last time I was there ;-)