How To Build A Highly Productive Remote Team | Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit

Last week I interviewed  Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit, CEO of Marsbased and Regional Director of Startupgrind, and he is responsible for its expansion in these regions.

His company Marsbased operates 100% remotely, and they are a super productive team.

There is a lot to learn from Alex and the way they have grown their company.

So, let’s get along-

Time-stamped Keynotes-

[01.00]- Alex used to do little research about people he used to interview people before starting Marsbased.

[01.41]- He preferred business stories, lessons learned from the people he is going to interview, as a base for interview questions.

[02.35]- If in any interview you listen more, you create great conversations.

[03.50]-Alex started very young in his background; he built his first website at the age of 12 and became expert at it with time

[04.35]- He joined Delloite as a junior programmer, but he never fitted in the corporate world.

[05.32]- He never wanted to be an entrepreneur, but his friend compelled him to become an entrepreneur

[06.30]- They realized that they were not good at the product, but at consulting and developing.

[06.47]- At the end of 2013, he moved to the US and incorporated Marsbased a software development company

[07.07]- They started to disrupt the way consulting was being done because they were 100% remote and they treat their employees as their best assets

[07.31]- They say “NO” to many projects because they take projects they could perform best with

[08.05]- He attended a Startup Grind event in Palo Alto where he discovered the importance of networking, and it is a platform where people make friends not contacts

[08.45]– He appeared through the interview for the position of Startup Grind regional director of Barcelona and cleared it immediately, and they have done 60 events in 57 months

[09. 30]- Alex explains the importance of consistency

[09.52]-  When you are an underdog, people don’t give a shit about you. People want to see your track-record

[10.45]- The startup events that happen every month are much better than events that occur less frequently

[11.30]- Clients watch track record and many consultancies today get a lot of projects just because of the brand value they have created. Consistency is the only way to overcome such obstacles.

[12.00]- People consider old companies good because they have not died yet so they seem good at what they do

[12.45]- If you ever had a community, it is good, and they will always be there to help you when you need them.

[12.52]- You need communities no matter how big a corporation you are. Even at Startup Grind, there are corporate partners and sponsors, because these corporations understand the value of communities.

[13.30]- Big corporations want communities or want to interact with communities; therefore many big law firms, banks, and other big corporations are communicating with startup grind.

[13.38]- Alex believes that in the next 10-20 years every big corporation is going to need to have a community because those with communities thrive faster.

[13.55]- Companies like Buffer, WordPress, and Basecamp have amazing communities.

[14.26]- Communities are a way to help people, and you will get more help in return when you help people. Startupgrind and Marsbased received help from communities to grow.

[14.45]- If you have any means to help people through communities, you must help people.

[15.05]-When you are a stable company, you must help people to go their way up because at some point, you would have been supported by someone.

[15.45]- Even from a pragmatic point of view, helping others will always get  you 10x in return

[16.40]- Alex gets most of their customers through word of mouth. Startupgrind is a community that was built to help people genuinely.

[16.50]– Alex spends 90% of his time meeting and helping people

[17.10]– The people you help won’t necessarily become your new customers, but they would refer people who might become one

[17.30]- Your clients are your best salespeople. Alex doesn’t do any cold outreach; they do not do outbound. Inbound has been working for them so good.

[18.06]- They don’t send a lot of emails because it feels intrusive

[18.46]- Marsbased wants to grow and get more customers through word of mouth

[18.52]- They do 100% inbound, and they do not rely on outbound at all. They have a specialized blog; they organize events and workshops.

[19.50]- Gerard recommends the book Rework from Jason Fried and David H. Hansson. The book says that one should focus on their product, shouldn’t care what is it going in the startup world.

[21.00]– If Alex were to sell his company, he would have sold it to Basecamp because their company has been built 90%  on the principles based on the book written by its CEO.

[21.28]- Marsbased’s philosophy is 100% inspired by that book

[21.45]- One of their posts with name #noshortcuts in which he has described how they grow without any growth hacking, venture capital investments or any other shortcuts

[22.16]- They are making a million dollar per year, they are a team of 15, and they are satisfied by it

[22.50]- It is their first company, so they focus on taking safe steps.

[22.46]- If you keep prioritizing new clients, the old clients will leave you.

[24.20]- They have retained their clients for more than five years. Their clients believe they are expensive, but they are worth it.

[24.40]- Even if big companies approach them, they say them “NO” if they can’t deliver what those companies expect of them.

[25.30]- Some companies lie to big clients to work with them, and they also compromise with the quality of skills they deliver

[25.44]- In their blog, they talk a lot about the principles they operate by, and they are lifestyle business

[26.45]- They don’t have any office, and they are incredibly productive. They have 1-2 meetings a week.

[27.20]-They have short meetings with their team and one with cofounders on Friday to review all the goals for the week

They operate remotely and sometimes from different countries, so it is asynchronous sometimes.

[27.55]- Alex has been writing blogs since the age of 14

[28.18]- You do not have a lot to tell when you have just started a company.

[28,50]- At the beginning of their company they just blogged about the business lessons they learned, the partnerships they signed up, the events they organized and other stuff they did.

This made them appear honest.

[29.10]- He has pledged to write every day in 2019; he writes guest posts for other websites, contributes to platforms like Medium. He is also writing a book these days.

[30.20]- He has written pretty much every day in January

[31.10]- The first thing he does on Monday is to write a blog post for Marsbased. Another thing he does is advance in all the deals that they have got in their sales funnel and then he checks emails.

[31.31]- If inspired, he also writes a blog post on Tuesday

[32.03]– Writing blog posts consistently has helped them rank good on google

[32.55]- Alex wants Marsbased to be known for everything they specialize in. So he thinks beyond keywords 

[33.20]- He focuses more on topics rather than keywords

[34.00]– Alex does not focus on just bringing traffic all the time. Sometimes he blogs about events only to communicate with followers.

[34.50]- They never promoted their newsletter, but they still managed to get over 300 people for their newsletter. Newsletters do not work so good for consultancies/services.

[36.28]- Commuting between office and home does not make a lot of sense because it has a draining effect on your mental and physical health

[36.56]- When they started, they were only three co-founders as a group of freelancers, but over time they got a lot of business and expanded

[37.35]- They started 1-2 days of co-working in office so that clients could begin to know each other. They kept hiring new people every 3-4 months

[38.54]- They have created a virtual office to compensate the human interaction they don’t get because they operate remotely.

[39.20]- It is essential to call your employees time to time to know them better if you operate remotely. Alex meets his employees in person every two months.

[39.40]- Once a month, they do hackathon and an annual retreat; last year they had their annual retreat in Dublin.

[40.15]- They will never hire people who need an office to work.

[42. 35]- Alex recommends Apple Notes over Trello for task management

[43.42]- Alex workouts, writes and read every single day.

[44.02]- Do not let work get in the way of living.

[44.22]– Work for 8 hours, sleep for 8 hours and maximize the rest of the one-third of your day.

Key Takeaways

  • Communities are important
  • Book Rework by Jason FriedDavid Heinemeier Hansson]
  • Alex’s website
  • Marsbased Blog

Read the interview  with Dot Lung

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