12 months as a Founder working across 23 brands from £1M to £120M.

12 months as a Founder working across 23 brands from £1M to £120M.
Me trying not to feel awkward taking a selfie in my home office ready to go to London and mentally close out my first year as a Founder.

The last 12 months were my first as a Founder, working across 23 brands from £1M to £120M, advising on tech stacks and building Airtable Apps.

I've shared a 6-minute video with thank yous and some more personal thoughts here.

But as well as some thank yous, I've taken this moment to jot down 23 key takeaways.

1. The people who can't pay you on time often need the most help

2. Sometimes, people don't pay you on time because their finance workflows are messy. Having an ERP doesn't mean they'll have a good invoice-to-pay process; often, it is the opposite.

3. There is a market and need for fancy slide decks from consultants, but the bigger the deck, the less chance it can all be actioned.

4. Most companies need to make 1 or 2 big decisions to make tech decision-making easier. You need better, proven solutions and an unbias experienced perspective.

5. Product design, development, production and supply chain are the most underinvested functions when it comes to tech.

6. ERP = More Google Sheets, not less.

7. You shouldn't buy a platform because of the strength of its integration to XYZ or, most commonly, Shopify.

8. You will need an integration platform, iPaaS, on a long enough timeline.

9. I see some ERPs marketing 700+ integrations. Who the F needs 700 connectors? Strength and depth on what you need are what people should be buying and vendors selling on.

10. A returns platform is one of the highest ROI and easiest to implement into your tech stack.

11. Post-Purchase experience, aka a consolidated view of your shipments to handle WISMO tickets, is close behind. The best way to solve a support ticket is to avoid needing one.

12. Many companies operate without core systems completely integrated doing manual data work, suffering the pains and then think moving to a new core system is the answer. Integrate what you got first.

13. Almost no one writes down the things they love or would miss about their existing tech when they start planning changes but this is usually the greatest source of pain when a change project goes south.

14. software vendors don't provide Project Management. Ecommerce brands don't have project managers. We have an industry-wide delivery problem that is costing us $$$$$.

15. Hubspot CRM is my absolute go-to CRM, and it blows my mind to see wholesale/PR teams operating without a CRM, running mail merges and contact lists on Google Sheets.

16. My default mode is PARTNER. Not all clients want this or are ready for this kind of commitment. I try not to take this personally but instead, channel the energy into those who appreciate what is added when we work like that.

17. Slack is the worst implemented and abused tech out there. So much good stuff in there that should go into your second brain.

18. Airtable is my second brain and should be the second brain of anyone managing products. I manage software products, and physical product management is just as suited to it.

19. The web clipper on Airtable saves me hours each week. I built a database of 700+ tools using it in the past 12 months and never once spent more than 15 minutes working on it in one go. The use cases for ecommerce brands are endless.

20. Some of the quickest wins with tech are often implementing apps like Pleo for expenses or ApprovalMax for getting data into Xero.

21. David Hieatt's course on Lazy Discipline was one of my best investments of the year. Thanks to the frameworks he shares, I launched this blog with 40+ posts within six weeks.

22. Miro has replaced the need to make presentations and is one of the best ways to communicate complex subjects because you can build on the fly. Dynamic Vs Static decks.

23. The road less stupid - google it, then buy it.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far, you're a legend!


Oliver Rhodes

Oliver Rhodes