Next up in our Lockdown Diary series, we speak with Samy Fodil, founder and CEO of Taubyte – the CW award-winning Dallas-based tech start-up – heralds the benefits of collaborating in-person, discusses coming out of stealth mode and looks ahead to plans for the Edge in 2021. (All with the kids playing in the background!)
Personally, I can't wait to get back to the office. As a startup, we are missing the creativity and person-to-person collaboration at Taubyte.
The phase we're in, we want to push hard to have more customers – pushing to raise money; our fuel for growth.
Hustling and working hard with a team, in a common space, is what we need. Cooperation and interaction is always better IRL.
Our secret weapon
Then there was our 'secret weapon'. One thing we really loved as asmall team, working on a start-up tech company coming out of stealth mode, was our whiteboard.
We stood up around it, threw around ideas, sketched out plans, strategies or other things – be that back-end tech, marketing, random thoughts. Our whiteboard work together helped a lot to visualise and talk things through.
It is hard to share and exchange ideas, inspiration and challenges virtually. And even more difficult to read body language, expressions – 'can I interrupt?'
Interaction with other people helps too. Not just those in your company – buying a coffee from someone, interacting with people on the street, speaking to someone else while having lunch. Talking about the mundane, everyday things can really help.
And, being honest, I think we're all sick of online conference calls: "Oh, another meeting; headphones on again."
WFH requires discipline
A good work-life balance should have a mix of both those elements.
WFH requires a lot of discipline, that a lot of people don't have. As a company, it is a challenge to ensure your team and colleagues are making an impact, and delivering on duties and objectives.
It is hard – gotta have interruptions from the kids or knocking on the door. You need to have discipline and partition your time.
Working remotely can be good and works well for some, especially if you're a startup, consultant, entrepreneur or similar, and we accomplished a lot during 2020, when we were allowed to be working from our office in Dallas, Texas.
The Taubyte office is inside a coworking space, waiting for our return. Like many across America, coworking spaces are standing empty or clearing out, unfortunately.
Starting up in lockdown
As an adept of the Lean Startup Methodology, I've been working on defining what the market needs Taubyte to be for almost a year before forming the team and coming out of stealth mode around March 2020. We started fundraising a few months later.
As many people reading this can understand, it is hard to fundraise in COVID. Investors were holding up money, waiting on making a decision until things panned out.
By Dec last year, things were opening up slightly, and we've been able to have more productive meetings and discussions to help move our business forward.
Benefits of the Edge
We were delighted to win 'Best Application of Edge Technology' at CWIC last year. It is so great for a startup to get recognised, and we're pleased that CW sees the exciting potential of edge computing – not only to keep data local and protect privacy, but also for speed.
For example, COVID was a good boost for digitalisation. People got to appreciate things that they'd never thought about. Bad Zoom calls. Cutting out. Multiple devices on one connection. The sound and images are going to a central place then distributed to a number of participants – the Edge and peer-to-peer technology can help with online adoption by spreading the load, locally.
We’re excited to see where this year takes us on our Edge startup journey. Be that at home or, hopefully, in the office!