How To Create a Teal Organisation in 26 Weeks (Week 1) – Growing to a Multi-Million $ IoT Business

Mar 22, 2017

Charles Towers-Clark, Podsystem Group MD

Charles Towers-Clark, Podsystem Group MD

This is the first in a series of my weekly musings on Podsystem, the IoT industry, and why shaking up traditional business models is the only way to respond to this rapidly changing market.

Over the course of the next weeks, months and maybe years I intend to plot the course of Podsystem’s move to self-management, the ups and downs and the journey taken.

So first a little context. Podsystem v2 started in 2011 (I established the company in 1999) when I took on the first of what is now 40+ people working for the company. Since then we have grown from $100K to $3.5m and are growing fast, by providing data connectivity for IoT applications (i.e. providing SIMs to our customers who monitor weird and wonderful applications from tracking cars, counting people or monitoring bee hives).

Why have we grown so fast organically? Obviously I would like to think it was down to my brilliant strategic vision bla bla. Actually, if I had better strategic vision it wouldn’t have taken me 10 years to realise where I should be focusing my efforts… or maybe I was just ahead of my time (again). The real reason is because I have been lucky with who I have hired and I have tried to create the environment that would attract great people.

This includes:

  • Ability to work from anywhere in the world for short periods of time (Tania always spends January in the Ukraine with her family)
  • Ability to work from anywhere in the world if you have relocated (Sam has moved twice, mind you one of those was to set up our office in San Francisco)
  • No holiday policy. Take whatever holiday you want. Just make sure you don’t leave us short in the office.
  • A horrible recruitment process (for the interviewee). Future employees are interviewed (or coffeed) with anybody who they may touch in the new role. Some people have been interviewed 12 separate times. It’s painful, but with this process we generally find issues that we don’t want to find out later, and the interviewee can get to know who they are going to work with.
  • We don’t like stars, we like people who are probably verging on compulsive control disorder (is that a disease?) who are obsessed by not letting anything drop. Persuading people to let go – is a skill I am still refining.
  • Paying a bonus to everybody calculated as a percentage of gross profit. Without upper limits. Everybody will be motivated and happy – right? Wrong.