Video Transcript

00:11 Melinda Emerson: Now, Alexis, your business has had incredible growth particularly in the last year, year and a half. You've gone from six employees now you're up to what, 900? And you're about half a million in revenue?

00:27 Alexis Maybank: Half a billion.

00:28 Emerson: Excuse me. Half a billion? Excuse me... Excuse me!

00:30 Maybank: It's the difference between an "M" and a "B".

00:33 Emerson: Half a billion in revenue. Right.

00:34 Maybank: Add a zero. I almost agreed with you though.

00:36 Emerson: Sorry, sorry, I'm sorry.

00:38 Emerson: When you get 10 figures, seven figures, it's like, "Wait a minute... " Yeah, okay... So, when you talk about managing the growth like you went from an internet startup to an internet powerhouse. Managing 900 employees is a lot. So, can you talk to us about how does one... How do you evaluate even your own skill-set to manage that number of people and what did you have to do in your business to prepare to have to hire... I mean, 'cause for you to ramp up like that, you were hiring what, a hundred people a month?

01:15 Maybank: Every quarter we had more new people coming in than pre-existing for a long long time. I mean, now, we're bouncing out a little bit but it's challenging. It's a few things that... At the very beginning, actually, I invested in getting an executive coach because it's really important to recognize the people that you have around the table. All entrepreneurs hire people just like themselves and that's a known fact. So, you gather these lopsided teams, in our case, it was everyone loves the ideas, we're all running quickly after it, we never saw an idea we didn't like, we make decisions all based on gut intuitions. We had to make sure that the team around the table was really balanced from our personality standpoint or we would've all run down the wrong road, really quickly. The second is we invested really heavily in getting a great recruiting team in place, a great recruiting staff.

02:07 Maybank: We also, given the fact that we're hiring, in our first year alone, we hired over a hundred people, we met five or six people for every open position. So, we had to find ways to use our own employee group, too, and it's a great way to actually keep culture continuous. If you have individuals in your company who you know really good at vetting for certain cultural values, if you will, even if it's not their own team that they're interviewing the person, if they're doing cross-interviews. It's a great way to get your employee base involved in streamlining the hiring process and helping vet for certain cultural norms so that as you grow that quickly, you're not losing sight of your own values, you're not compromising the quality of the employee you're bringing in.

02:52 Maybank: And then, second of all, is getting those individuals involved in every step of the way with those employees coming in. Let them host cocktails, let them present the company mission, the values, whatever it is. So, keep that socialization process going. And one of the things I really focused on at every step, early, when I was hiring people was that you have to emphasize the amount of change that comes with growth. I've seen so many employees during my time at eBay, where we went from 40 to 4,000 people, fight against change, really uncomfortable with the natural kind of evolution that comes in their position and in their role that appears to shrink over time.

03:37 Maybank: So, in every interview I had, I mentioned that, "I guarantee your role will change a lot. It could change as often as quarterly or every six months." I mentioned that, "On paper, it would look like today you're running facilities, HR, operations and finance, but I guarantee, fast forward a few months, years", who knows how fast we were growing at that point, "that you'll be in charge of one of those things and at a very different level." And I even emphasized the importance for flexibility by saying, "I know my role will change, too."

04:15 Maybank: "And that it's important to recognize that it's a sign of success, it's not a sign of failure and that you're responsibility level is gonna grow every step. So even though your role appears to shrink, you're gonna have 50 direct people on your team instead of just five. You'll be in charge of 50 million in revenue instead of just 500,000." And it's a really hard phenomenon and a really hard thing to get across, but to the extent, you can really indoctrinate flexibility in your employee base, it's critical, early on.