First interviews & first fuck-ups

Nov 13, 2019 by Dorena Nagel

It has been a month since the launch of Froggodoggo, a platform where companies can find founders looking for a side gig. This calls for a first evaluation.

So far we’ve received 37 applications (32 founders & 5 companies), invited 27 for a video call (23 & 4), scheduled 17 calls (14 & 3), conducted 13 calls (11 & 2), and finally accepted 8 (6 & 2). This means that about 70 % of the founders made it round after round, and thus 30 % were lost at each step. In the end, we accepted less than 20 % of the founders applying to Froggodoggo. In contrast, we accepted 40 % of the companies that applied. I think we expected such a distribution more or less but were surprised by some particular cases.

Most “founders” that we didn’t invite for a call seemed to be freelancers looking for work, which is not the use case we intend with Froggodoggo. I’m not sure if we made our intended use case not clear enough on our page or if some freelancers just thought it might still be worth a try. One freelancer that I declined told me that we should make our message clearer and that no one would spend more than one minute on a website… and I thought like “Hm - fair point - how dare we force people to spend several minutes reading and processing stuff. Not sure if we want to attract people that are that lazy.” Still, I’m going to think of ways to make it more obvious that we are NOT looking for freelancers but only for people that are mainly working on their own startup/project and that being a full-time freelancer doesn’t count as having a startup.

One thing that surprised me was the low conversion rate between scheduled and conducted calls. I don’t know how other people handle this, but for me, if I schedule a call with someone, I try everything to make it work. And if something crazy important happens, I’ll at least tell the other person that I won’t be able to make it. But to be honest, I’m sure not even Elon Musk is that busy that he can’t squeeze in a 10 min call somehow. Well, my co-founder and I paused our work, sat ready in front of our computer six times, waiting for founders to join the call. At least most of them wrote us after we’ve sent the video call invite (5 min before the call) that they won’t be able to make it. This still bothers me. How can we improve our process to avoid losing time with people like this? Maybe I should send a reminder e-mail 1-2 hours before the call to at least avoid getting ready and sitting there waiting? Is this a typical canceling rate for scheduled calls?

Apart from these few problems, the calls that did happen were great. The founders we accepted to Froggodoggo are people I would hire instantly for my own company. So were the companies. I thought that there would be more mediocre ones where my co-founder and I would discuss if we should take them or not. But after most calls, we looked at each other and were like “Yes - who’s next?”.

After bitching about other people, I have to admit that we also had two little fuck-ups.

In the first one, we were just one second into a call with a founder when we had a blackout in our neighborhood in Istanbul. Unfortunately, the cell connection was also cut off, and we were trying to get an e-mail through to the founder to let him know what was going on and why we couldn’t reconnect. After searching the house for candles and a lighter, running around to find cell connection, we were able to continue our call over my cell phone. Luckily the founder was very understanding and we had a great call after all.

In the second fuck-up, I forgot to switch my google account time zone after we moved from Istanbul to Ireland (-3 hours) and we stood-up a founder because in my calendar the call was scheduled at 4 pm but it was actually at 1 pm. At that time, we were riding our “new” (second hand) bikes home from the closest town, which took us 2 hours. So, unfortunately, we didn’t see the e-mail from the founder and replied 2 hours late apologizing for our mistake and asking for a reschedule.

I hope that these were the last fuck-ups from our side. But as we are now living in a place with a more reliable electricity infrastructure and we don’t plan on switching time zones any time soon, it should be possible.