These are times of great growth at FindHotel, allowing us to expand our scope and raise our organization targets, as we are adding contributors and leaders across the company. This post aims to share more about the current working lives at FindHotel, what we value & who succeeds here, in the hope it helps each candidate understand if it is the right place for you.
While there is no direct correlation between growing scale & growing teams, at FindHotel people are the ones building the growth machine and many of them are remarkably adaptable and able to achieve a lot with very little.
Let’s break down these statements into workable data:
Our people are remarkably adaptable
Given that we are in an hyper-growth and rapid-change stage, most of our people end up doing bits of very different roles very well almost simultaneously.
For example, Mike may have a call with a partner at 9 am, expand a huge SEM campaign at 11 am, and take a data science course at 4 pm.
Lee may hack a scalable solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem in day one, orchestrate a new feature development on day two, and meanwhile actively recruit for various key product roles to help get the jobs he just started defining carried out on the long-run. In times of great change our engineers may end up moving from one squad to another within the week, as has happened to Pavel, Vladimir, and Pedro this month over and over again. That means new development environments, new rhythm, sometimes completely different programming languages. The only way they can do this well is because they embrace and drive change.
This need to constantly adapt, learn on the run and ‘do what it takes’ (to reach your goal) instead of ‘what the role describes’ (should a data analyst be doing this?) is constantly asked of each of us, and ownership of those tasks isn’t a mere assignment of a Jira issue. We all have basic skills to do the job, but since the job constantly changes, our basic skills are never enough. What makes a difference is the way we handle setbacks (from the work itself, from each other), the way we adapt to new requirements, the way we keep on believing even when in times of despair (and startups are packed with times of despair). It takes a special attitude to work here and FindHotel really isn’t a place for everyone, although it can be a great place for anyone who has the right motivation and a solid basic set of skills.
We achieve a lot with very little
We recently shared our March 2018 stats (read the full story here) and some of the highlights are that we crossed milestones such as tens of thousands of nights booked (enough to fill all Amsterdam hotels for 3 nights), while helping customers save over €1.7M during the month (compared to the prices they would have paid had they booked directly in traditional booking websites), with a steady and very promising growth path.
What we didn’t mention is that we have done that without ever raising funding (FindHotel on Crunchbase is a very dull entry), mainly because we believe that the best companies in travel (Booking.com and Skyscanner are my favorites) were built with little to no funding and only used it late in their journey to scale a very strong base. You can read more about how I personally view funding strategy here.
That means that while our people have access to the very best tools (we use great products like Looker, Algolia, uncountable AWS services etc.), they need to outsmart the competition every day as overspending is not an option. To put this in financial terms, we are not competing in the Deloitte Fast 500 which is a great display of VC funded revenue growth; we are competing in the run to build a long-lasting organization that will one day be publicly traded by its profit multiples and not by some temporary hope. Or, so we dream.
That requires frugality, excellent prioritization & coordination skills, little focus on personal short-term goals, and plenty of resourcefulness and empathy to your colleagues, as well as respect to your better resourced competition. You need to fight, win, and stay humble, instantly focused on the next challenge.
We are looking for company builders to join our company builders
We look for ‘shapers’ who look at the ‘machine’ they operate at from a higher level and will join our existing lineup. Who is a company builder?
A) A hyper realist: Dreams + Reality + Determination = A successful life.
B) Be radically open minded and radically transparent = these are the core values that lead to rapid learning and effective change, and they are key to meaningful work and meaningful relationships.
C) Own your outcomes = You understand what the team is trying to achieve and will find the way to succeed; even if you start out as a junior, even if your leader is not inspiring the right process or clarifies your most important goal (which requires its own attention), even if the challenge is greater than we first thought: you will work at the highest standards, and find a way to succeed.
* Much of the definitions used here are inspired by Ray Dalio’s work at Principles. Read more about the book at: Principles.com
What do we offer in return?
1. Be part of a great adventure. Building a significant company in the travel space is challenging, competitive, and very rewarding.
2. Be part of a great team. We have some excellent leaders, executors, and team players who would succeed anywhere and have chosen FindHotel. If you like be surrounded by humble, hard working & talented people, you will enjoy your time here.
3. Own part of the company. Every person on the team is offered ‘a piece of the pie’. If you come for the long run and we succeed → you will earn a lot more than you can at any salary job.
4. Do meaningful work and have meaningful relationships. Because we spend much of our time working, it really should never be about the money or about the title. You should strive to work in a company that cares about the work it does (and the work it chooses not to do), and the people you are journeying with (and their background and their dreams).
5. A chance to grow far beyond ‘your role’. Evolve or die is nature’s way to progress and something we deeply believe in. If any of us wants to have a role here 18 months from now, we will have to evolve. Growth is expected from everyone and it is the only way forward. Even if you are already an expert in your craft, you will learn a lot, and hopefully get a chance to teach many of us so that we can too.
6. Good work & life balance. We work hard, but we don’t over-work and we don’t skip vacations (unless times are really hard), which is why we follow a take-what-you-need vacation policy. And while we are happy to see some people at the office at 9 am or earlier, we don’t demand it from anyone, nor will we expect you to answer Slack messages over the weekend (unless there’s a fire to put out). We are investing some of our best years at work, and we know you have partners, children, far-away-places to visit and other adventures that happen outside our office lives, therefore we will support you in finding that great life-work balance and really enjoy your years here.
7. Earn competitive salaries that grow with you & with the company. If salary is the only thing you are optimizing for, you will do better elsewhere, and that’s how we are designed. If you appreciate other aspects too, we will offer the best ‘package’ you can hope for.
Is FindHotel right for you?
If you feel that the trade-offs described above inspire you, and if you are eager to build a long-lasting company that improves travelers lives globally, please reach out to me or to our recruiting team and see if we can journey together.