Startups W|out Borders Are The Future
At this moment, 240 of my colleagues at AgilityIO are 8,329 miles away from our business development and project management office in New York City. Our startup clients are based in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Europe, Singapore and Beijing. Some of these co-founders are scattered between North America, the Middle East, Europe, and East Asia.
It is not unusual to have people across 5 different timezones or more when we get on a project call, yet we are able to manage projects and cross-functional teams with just as much efficiency as a traditional co-located office with all hands on deck. Our company culture goes beyond just working remotely, because we cloudsource — leveraging all the available cloud computing resources, and taking advantage of distributed geography, instead of seeing it as a drawback.
Cloudsourcing enables us to run distributed agile teams.
Tools we use:
These tools allow us to be agile like our name’s sake, and operate distributed teams that were not possible or efficient just a few years ago. Moreover, the cost structure and design of cloud computing allow startups to mobilize their strategies without being weighed down by fixed and sunk costs, or isolated to operating from a single geography.
For further reading on this topic, I highly recommend this WSJ article that compares the shift in computational resources to Pets Vs. Cattle.
Don’t be limited by geography, instead leverage it for global talent and access to international markets.
Startups used to based their entire operations in knowledge and technology centers such as Silicon Valley. By cloudsourcing, a good number of startups are placing co-founders and core personnel at locations that confer competitive labor advantages, such as sales and marketing in NYC or San Francisco, or near-shore / far-shore development and R&D centers in Chicago, Austin, Eastern Europe, Asia and South America.
Even the co-founders can be remote. I visited a successful men’s custom suit startup last year where one co-founder is in NYC while the other is based in Dubai. By making use of knowledge about local cultures, startups can target international customers beyond the reaches of larger companies.
Startups that do not cloudsource will likely experience competitive disadvantages in the future for talent base and cost structure: is yours embracing this trend?
Authored by AgilityIO Founder, Chok Ooi