I recently joined Structural (structural.com), the Employee Success Platform. Moving to a startup has long been a dream of mine. But, the right one needed to be... well, right. So, what follows are a few reasons why I chose Structural.
I've been incredibly impressed by the talent of this company. Formed by High Alpha, a venture studio out of Indianapolis, the product was incubated with the ideas and expertise of a broad groups of experienced leaders and engineers.
Structural, as a business, was founded by Scott Burns and Chip House a little over a year ago. Both are successful leaders and entrepreneurs themselves: Scott is an inspirational leader - as can be attested to by former colleagues at GovDelivery which he started and recently sold, and Chip is likewise talented and proven - having helped Digital River and ExactTarget reach maturity.
Since the founding of the company, the two have gone on to hire smart and motivated individuals who know how to get stuff done. Impressive.
Right Product and Market
I have a personal mission to help working professionals develop and succeed. So, it was a perfect match to find Structural with a similar mission: to help companies find, develop, and activate talent.
The opportunity is massive: using a mix of rich data sources and data science, Structural enables the third wave of #peopletech: moving beyond storage and reporting of people data, to providing real-time insights and data-driven behavior across the organization.
Artificial Intelligence + People Data + Analytics + Employee Success + Mobile First = Sign Me Up!
Right Stage and Funding
I was looking for an early-stage organization (sub 50 people) for a few reasons.
First, I believe I can do lots of things well; and a smaller organization would give me ample opportunity to exercise that belief.
Second, I wanted to recapture some of that feeling and nostalgia from the early day's at my previous company. I started as Developer Intern on a small team of seven developers; and grew into a role of CTO leading an organization of ~450. Those early days were difficult, but also the forge upon which many of my best friends and deepest relationships were formed.
Third, I felt I could apply my two decades of technology, product, and leadership experience to have an outsized impact on an organization in the middle of exponential growth.
It's icing on the cake that Structural also has the backing of High Alpha: lending it not just stability, but a rich network of talent and expertise. It's like having the upsides of the resources of a larger parent corporation without many of the downsides that traditionally come with that arrangement.
I wanted a role where I could lead both Product and Technology. I believe that, especially in product-based organizations, separating these two functions at a minimum leads to disruptive inefficiencies, or worse, leads to a dysfunctional product. Nowadays, it's not too much to ask for a leader that can do both.
Surprisingly, even though Structural was a year along, a CTO had not yet been hired. Perfect!
Lastly, I was adamant that my next would be in either Minneapolis or St. Paul.
As I've recently joined Full Stack St. Paul, a public/private partnership to add 2,000 jobs to St. Paul by 2020, I was looking for a company that would actively help foster the growth of our local communities. Structural is a perfect fit: headquartered in downtown St. Paul and located in Osborn370 - which is developing 200,000 sq. ft. of space focused on Innovative businesses.
As the stars aligned, it felt almost impossible that I'd hit all the previous requirements and have an opportunity to work in the same city that I live.
It's incredible to find a company that fit so many of my criteria so well. And it feels great to be living the dream!