I recently resigned from my role as Digital Manager at Hippo Jobs, an Australian start-up focussed on the online job space. I’ve learnt so much in my time there it isn’t possible to distill it into one or even multiple blog posts, I can say though it did hammer home a simple truth I went in with, and that’s in a start-up, everyone needs to be 100% on board.
One of the first things that struck me about Hippo was its development was outsourced. Call me old-school in this regard, but while I’m a big fan of outsourcing, your ability to innovate on your core offering should never be in the hands of another company. One of my prime objectives from day dot was to get a team established in house that could lead the next phase of development for the company, and thankfully we’ve begun that process, taking Hippo to a place where its ongoing development is sustainable. When you place your ability to be exceptional in the hands of someone who values that less than you do, you set yourself up for a world of hurt.
Something I completely underestimated was how hard it would be to bring traditional media types around to thinking about digital media in a manner that went beyond headline grabbers like Myspace and Facebook. Talking to friends at larger organisations, it seems more generational than anything else, and only makes me wonder what people will be doing 15 or 20 years from now that I just will not understand. I hope I’ll have the presence of mind to recognise it when it happens and embrace the change that will be so very necessary, but a bunch of smart people who should know better don’t seem to be able to, and that gives me pause for thought. Thankfully in DMG Hippo now has a partner with a breadth of knowledge about traditional media, and some incredibly savvy digital people to boot.
I’m pretty close to signing a deal for my next move, one that unfortunately doesn’t give me the five-album deal I’d like, but never the less ensures I stay surrounded by exceptionally smart folk who will hopefully inform my thinking on ways I can simply play music and not have to worry about the major labels.
For the rest of this month though, I’m committed to helping Hippo shore up its position as the leading job site for Generation Y – of which I call myself a proud member. It remains as good an idea as the day I joined, and with or without my presence can’t help but go from strength to strength. Thanks to the people who have informed the conversation around this space in months past, I will continue to watch as Hippo implements the ideas brought forth over the past year, and with a little luck leaves everyone else in its wake.