Yariv Bash, CEO @ Flytrex. Bad managers need good employees.A-Players - The top startups' recipes to build teams of top performers
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- 20 Oct 2020
Yariv is CEO and cofounder at Flytrex, a drone delivery company of 31 employees with a team spread between Israel and the US. Yariv shares his story of building a team (while being right in the middle of the journey), why he crashed a spacecraft on the moon and his thesis on delegating.
Talents will skiing's, but teamwork wins championships. Welcome to a players podcast. We'll tell you how to target, hire, retain and train top performers for your team.
My hypothesis, at least, is that I'm a bad manager, so I need really good employees. On the other hand, my co-founder only likes to tell me that a good CEO knows how to throw anything he doesn't like on other people. And he thinks I'm a great CEO.
So I am rubbing show CEO at Higher Suites and we are sourcing automation software that helps of the tech companies hire the best talent at me. And follow me now on LinkedIn. You want to keep an eye on this?
OK, today we're having Yariv from Flight Rexer. So Sitrick, those deliveries to deliver food and retail product to people straight to their homes. Really happy to have you today, Yariv. Can you tell us more about yourself and about flytraps?
Thank you for being happy to be on your podcast. As you've mentioned, Flyspecked does the deliveries to take people's backyards and it's just a better, cheaper, faster solution than using cars or bikes. So bicycles or even walking. And we just aim to give a better experience to our customers. Using other drones. You can get your humble delivered within four or five minutes from when it's ready instead of half an hour. So you can get your food a lot faster and a lot harder.
OK, what do you do?
Do food deliveries from superstars or from restaurants?
So we are doing get prepared for the food from restaurants because today if you're making an order with got both makes just the 12, all those guys, usually you pay a few dollars or euros per delivery, but the restaurant pays twenty five to 30 percent of the amount. Although these are crazy numbers for restaurants and rewards, we can give them a much better solution for a much lower price. And so I guess the competition in the industry is fierce. We hear a lot about nation building their own drones, so it's very important for you to be able to build a great team in this podcast is about eight players and tough enough on us.
So I'd be curious to know what the top performer to you and how you built the team so far. Can you tell us more about the team?
My hypothesis, at least, is that I'm a bad manager, so I need really good days. So on one hand on the other hand, my co-founder Amit likes to tell me that a good CEO, he was the CEO of this company for so tell that a good CEO knows how to throw anything he doesn't like on other people and he thinks I'm a great CEO.
So these are two things that give you a sense of how we do things that frideric. But basically I try to give my employees as much as possible on one hand. But on the other hand, if it's a make or break, if it's something that can move the needle pretty strong X, they're going to see me behind the shoulders speaking all the time and sometimes even taking control of command of what they're doing. Because if this is something that can make or break my startup, well, I'm there.
And you told me that you're thirty one people in the team, right? Correct.
Most of them are in Israel. We now have a few employees in North Carolina working on our first pilot. OK, so distributed team and what's the time difference between Israel and North Carolina, seven hours, seven hours. And can you tell us more about how you built the team, how you hired those people? I guess you started in Israel because that's where you're from, right?
So in Israel, I have a very good network because everybody served in the military for three years. So it's another layer of mixture of people that you meet from other places besides high school and college or university. And if you walk in large corporations or governmental organizations that also have soldiers in them in the Ministry of Defense, those locations, then you have a very good network of technologically oriented people. So it helps a lot when you have a good network to hire the right people and also get to any contact that you need.
Besides that, before politics, I was also the co-founder and CEO of Space As in space Israel. And it's not for profit that I opened with two friends that ended up crashing the first private spacecraft in the world on the moon. So when you're working on that for a few years, you tend to increase your network of people that you know me. So today I can reach almost anyone in Israel if I need to win North Carolina. That's that's a different story.
That's actually what we see.
There is a real pattern with companies hiring their first 10 to 20 to 25 employees through their network. So not everybody has a strong network as you. But that's a pattern that we see time and time again. And then once the startups hit 20 employees, twenty five employees, then they have to find new sources of data. And that's probably also what happened when you launch in North Carolina. And then you hired the first people.
Right. So in North Carolina, what we did, we started with people who are contractors and contractors and it's called contract to hire. It's basically something that's we've done in the States that you start with someone, Part-Time, as a consultant. And if both sides see that it's relevant, you can then offer him a full time position. So that's what we did with two of our employees there.
And what do the people in North Carolina do?
One is in charge of operations and the other guy is our chief pilot over there. We also brought in another guy from Israel to support them to help with the on the technological side. That was not easy to do during a covid-19, but it happened when you launch that team in Carolina more than a year ago.
We started with a single employee and now we've gone to two local ones and one from Israel. And we should go that team in the next few months to I'd say somewhere between five and eight.
And people in both offices actually interact. They are completely separate teams, separate to interact all the time.
Our chief pilot visited Israel last year as part of his training on the system when they were doing tests over there. They need the support of the tech team here in Israel. So we will go into using emails and WhatsApp, but we are now considering to switch to slack because the WhatsApp is too noisy. And how do you overcome the difference you see, plus that's that's on one side. On the other side. It's you wake up at six, seven a.m. I've got kids, small kids.
So I wake up early and there's lots of things to read from what the US team has been doing overnight. So over my life and today.
So it's actually pretty nice that the whole team actually never stops working.
They're working around the clock, but they were on the learning that other team in China and will be working 24/7. Yeah, exactly. And so, as you said before, you like to delegates. And that's probably also part of the job for a CEO to delegate as much as possible. What are your tips on that? I mean, every CEO knows they need to delegate, especially in early stage companies. That can be difficult because you want to keep you on everything and you have trouble delegating.
So what's your advice?
And then to realize that you have to let go, that it won't be as good as what you'll do. A joke and I sometimes tell my co-founder myth is that if we have an employee and we are a bit. Unsatisfied with the how we handle the certain task, I keep telling myself that if he was as dedicated and is into it as a meeting myself, it would be an employer you would be a co-founder of somewhere. So I'm not saying that the employees are not working like crazy here, but you to understand that it's not going to be as good as you expect it to be.
And quite frankly, at the beginning, I didn't just manage. I was also doing a lot of other stuff of I did a lot of the embedded programming in the early days of electronics, the electronics design, and I had beaches and functions as well. So. You have to learn that it's part of the process. OK, just be ready to see people make mistakes, as you would have done yourself, because sometimes you tend to expect more from others than you would from yourself, and then that's when the problem is.
Exactly. And what kind of tasks did you do? Ligate first because you said you worked a lot on the product, on the electronics, on the software, probably. But there's also all the other tasks that a CEO must do, like hiring, building the team, managing the investors, etc., etc..
So which tasks did you get first between me and my co-founder and me to say that I'm in charge of the investors and the old faces and whatever I can delegate and give me the people within the company, then that's as long as I can handle it. Or we have a lot of other employees that we hired. Technology. That's good. Having said that, we've got 31 employees. We don't have an internal CFO, we don't have a function. We actually we don't even have a conference room.
So we really try to keep things very tight. So, for instance, everything that's related to legal finance, that's things that I handle myself with, of course, external help. But we don't have people who do that internally. So it's a kind of mixture between making sure that you won't get too cold during the day with all the legal advice on one hand. But on the other hand, just keeping an eye on what you think is important in the long run and today.
And so you said that you don't have any top person. So how does it work when you try to hire someone? So you need to open up a new position. What do you do? You do it yourself or how does it work?
So we will now delegate that to our VPs. And basically, if let's say everybody wants to hire someone, then he likes the position description. And even with 30 employees, usually what we do is we just send it to all of our connections and networks and specialists and Facebook, etc. and nicotine. And usually we get to who we will be really fast in case you're just spreading the word and sharing that.
And what are the specific websites or specific job boards maybe what aren't the main sources that you use in your school to spread those job postings?
So at least for me, for flight, currently it's Facebook, LinkedIn and the few secret waiting lists for entrepreneurs or who who used to work in the aerospace and defense industry. And besides that, after that we go for job hunters, help us see if we can find the position. Then we use someone who will help us with that. And you do that often, job hunters only after we fail with reaching the right person through our networks.
OK, so you start by spreading the word LinkedIn, Facebook, the secret mailing lists. And then if you don't have enough people, I guess you resort to headhunters and agencies. And I assume you tell me, because I'm not very familiar with the dynamics of the market in Israel, but I assume this must be on software engineers, right, that you're lacking the most.
So people actually, we have a very good network when it comes to software engineers. We can use headhunters when we need an electronics engineer, for instance, because a lot of software engineers. So the market is always, you know, there's always both supply and demand plus going deliveries. That's a very good product. So usually people are like, oh, well, that's a cool company. Then we get a lot of incoming requests.
That's cool. That's what we're seeing also a lot in grown so used to the coal company, it helps a lot with EPA. Is that all? And as well as each other.
And so you get those people, you start interviewing those people and then what happens? What does the process look like? So usually the VPs interview them and maybe a week or myself will join, but once they tell us that that person is good, then we're good to go. We want to keep moving fast as fast as we can. And if that manager made a mistake, well, that's OK. We realized that we made a mistake and we will fix it.
OK, and since you started the company, what was the biggest mistakes you made when it comes to hiring and how did you fix them?
I guess it's the default answer about the hiring of people who you thought of them in a certain way and realized that they're not what you think they are. And in the most extreme case, I think we fired someone after three weeks or so. That was the most extreme case. But usually we we on the other side, we usually people don't leave us and we don't fire them.
OK, so mostly good decisions that are the lucky decisions.
How many do you have today? For five years. OK, and do they all have previous experience managing and building teams or do some of them are first time VPs, most of them all CEOs of a company in the past.
So it takes a lot of startups, small startups. But the.
OK, and what's the advice that you give to a VP joining your company about hiring, if you give any one, is too much.
I just you know, I am always happy to hear their thoughts because they'll be the ones working with that employee.
So, you know, so everybody's building their own process and everybody can ask a different set of interview questions, make sure.
Yeah, I'm guessing that as we go and have functions, things will change. But currently it's more of a commando unit, the large corporation. It's also what we see a lot in companies below 20, 30 people is that you need to start building your interview process and then it's good if you have some kind of actual process and predetermined questions so you can run standardize interviews, but everybody can build their own processes. And then in the end, at some point, you'll merge all those processes to one that fits the whole company.
But you need not to overthink. It's in the early days of the company.
And what all the software is that you use to use any software to track the applicants and to track the interview process.
So we use Monday, Monday dot com. Yeah, it's pretty nice for us. This is a project management tool, right? Correct.
But it's very versatile. You can do almost everything with that Israeli company, right? Yes. Pretty big now. Yeah.
Herberton, they have a large office in New York as well because we use Monday. What is that?
To track the interviews so you can leave comments and someone in the interview are it's to talk the process to make sure that we don't forget the someone in the middle of the process and use anything else.
Or is it just that most of the insights that it's just, you know, asking questions, we have a set of homework that you that you can let the candidate focus on those kind of things.
And so VPs hire the people for their teams. And who hires the VPs? Do you it myself together with me?
Of course, we want to VP without both of us agreeing on him because we both have to work with him.
So, OK. And it's way more difficult to hire part of the executive team right now for sure. Yes, mistakes are much more expensive than individual contributors. What are your tips on that? If you have any.
So what if your network is big enough and you can either hire someone that you've worked with in the past and we've done that, then it's great. And if not, if you can get some opinions on that person through a third party that you know and trust, then that also helps a lot. And if not, then since you most likely you are doing that V.P. job, the amount of work is going on. You need a dedicated person to come in and do that work.
Then you should be able to gauge its performance because you partially did this before. Is the CEO? Yeah. And so do you have an actual case study or a technical interview questions or is it mostly field questions?
Again, each VP has like his own in terms of talking with of hiring VPs, I don't have anything in particular. I do try to dive in very deeply when I talk with someone who is a potential for that kind of position. You tell me what kind of project. I want to know exactly what you worked on. If he's a technical guy. Well, I've got twenty years of experience in a lot of technical realms, so usually I have some understanding of the jargon and tools that he was using.
So I would go down to the details to make sure that he's sharp and he remembers what he did and how he did it. And that usually gives me a good indication if that person is serious or just bullshitting. If I don't have it, then I even do some research on my own before we you to better understand what he did, what he worked on, what other tools really go down to the technical details to see that he knows what he's talking about.
And what are your plans for the next few months, a few years now? How do you expect flight rates will evolve? What are your plans for the team?
We have exciting things. We should be getting a certification from the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States to start doing deliveries by the end of this year. And that's like a federal approval, which means that they can start anywhere I want. In the US. It's usually those certifications take a few years to get them. We took us almost three years to get that. So it's really these are exciting times when we move for mostly doing technology to start doing operations with real customers in the US.
So it's going to be a I'm not going to get a lot of sleep in the five months, which is good, which you don't want exotic.
And so I guess the center of gravity of the team will slowly be moving to the US because I understand that's where your biggest market will be, right? I correct. And how do you plan on building the team? So you already have some people in North Carolina. Do you want to get on the team there or do you want to have different cities?
So we will probably start in North Carolina. It's a great base. We have a great partner, local partner there, and we'll probably go from there. The US is. Big and we're talking about delivery, so this is physical, you have to go model involves the shopping centers, so we have to start deploying systems, shopping center, shopping center. So it doesn't really matter where the person would be at because they'll be flying to LA.
OK. I expect that. OK, cool. So it was really great having you today. Yariv, we are the end of the podcast. Is there anything else you'd like to add or any advice that we missed excepted from hiring from the network, not overseeing the process, then probably one that you didn't mention is higher VPs soon enough. Is there anything else you'd like to bet your audience?
I think we recovered pretty much everything and hopefully we'll be able to deliver to your audience. Yeah, go fishing in the upcoming year.
We'll be looking for it and we'll be keeping an eye out for you. Thanks a lot. Bye bye. Thanks for listening.
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