Sramana: How did you go about building your team in Croatia?
Alex Fuller: We flew out there and did some relatively simple job advertising. We set up an assessment center where we invited people to come and spend a couple of days with us. We put them through a training course because the Force.com platform was a new technology. It was not a well-known platform at the time, so we knew that we would not find experts in Force.com development. Our strategy was to acquire talent with the right technical skills, experience, and understanding. Once we knew they had the skill sets we needed, then it was just a matter of training them to understand the Force.com platform.
People came to our assessment center and did a two-day course. We gave them the benefit of getting introduced to the new platform and it also gave us a chance to assess how they responded to that. We got to watch how they worked and see how they liked to communicate. We finished the process with a formal job interview and made our selections after that. Overall, this process was very successful and that is how we found our first hires.
Sramana: How many developers did you have involved in the nine-month period leading up to the product?
Alex Fuller: Initially, we approached the market as a hybrid of product and services work. We used the market as part of our bootstrapping mechanism. We hired these developers and used them in consulting work. That helped fund our product development.
Sramana: Bootstrapping using services is a very common strategy. We have a book on this process. When you were doing services, was it in the same domain as your product?
Alex Fuller: We were not building solutions for customers that we would replace with the product. We did work in the same domain as far as the work was in cloud-based technologies. We would help companies with CRM implementations and custom functionality around that. We also did strategic advisory around that. In 2009, in the UK, that was still the forefront of technology.
Sramana: So your consulting work was not necessarily in the order management area?
Alex Fuller: The order management software that we have is a natural extension of the CRM and sales process. We were in the same areas in some companies and we proposed our product to them when it was available, but we generally started higher up in the domain.
Sramana: It sounds like there was leverage from the services work into the product business.
Alex Fuller: Yes, there certainly was. We operate a R&D team now, but back then the consulting division was key to funding our R&D.