Nicolas Cava

I decided to pivot my business

Nicolas Cava
Nicolas Cava

Nicolas Cava

6 minutes read
I decided to pivot my business

We are way overdue to rethink how we design companies and teams. Additionally, the corresponding lack of strong leadership is concerning in the face of the collective challenges that lie ahead. But first, let's talk about why it is suddenly a concern to me.

I recently stopped my time investment on Meet Crew and my business. The main reason is that I was demotivated and needed to rekindle my entrepreneurial flame. I tried to find the cause of my state. It's not the first time I experienced a loss of motivation in my entrepreneurship journey, so I learned to understand the symptoms quickly and act swiftly.

I started being an entrepreneur in 2009 before being a software developer. I eventually moved into a management career track, but building businesses never totally left me. Because of that, I knew the flame was still there, so the cause was somewhere else. It was not a loss of motivation to continue bootstrapping businesses. Still, maybe a misalignment between my vision, the lifestyle I build, and what I'm passionate about. When I'm committed, I'm fully invested. I seek to invest my time in general toward a vision that encapsulates my whole life. Consequently, having a gap between what drives me in private and what I work with my business can't exist. I need a holistic purpose that encompasses all aspects of my life. I felt my current mission of advocating remote work was not that one.

I'm still passionate about remote work as a domain, as my history explains. I'm still convinced it is not only part of the future but also the present of work. However, I felt remote work was scratching the surface of something deeply gangrened into how companies run globally. Therefore, I understood I was not aiming precisely enough with the core of the problem. I have had to search for the fundamentals of what drives me for so many years now.

Narrow my investments

I'm also dedicated to a quest for building a simpler life. I find we have reached a level of complexity in every aspect of our existence that is concerning. Furthermore, simplicity brings clarity of mind and enables us to generate more significant value in our beliefs. However, I know picking the entrepreneurship road is not a journey for simplicity, but that's who I am, deeply passionate about it. I cannot also go entirely against my nature.

Therefore, I try to balance everything I care about, meaning mainly family, friends, gaming, workout, travel, and business. This balance must be operated as straightforwardly as possible; I'm trying to manage my time very carefully. I have additionally to perform a full-time job on top of all of this.

As a consequence, I decided to pivot my business effort on selling myself instead of building SaaS products (at least for now, more about it later). In short, selling my expertise and experience in managing teams and organizations. Why?

  • Investments are focused on refining my expertise, working on my personal branding, and selling what I already do as part of my career.
  • Go all-in into what works and is validated by the market.
  • Remove SaaS products as intermediaries between me and my audience.
  • Support the effort I already have to make for my full-time job to keep getting better and stay up to date.

However, I love building products, so it's a significant change; it has to be done if I want to eventually reach sustainability and peace of mind. But I don't close the door for it depending on how my business will grow.

Interestingly, marketing myself directly to my audience triggers my (managed) impostor syndrome and may become one of the first roadblocks I have to solve. Being a non-English native speaker, I'm not as eloquent as in French. It may also impact how I distribute my brand through videos, podcasts, or videoconferences (think consulting hours or workshops). This is weird because I already do that as part of my career.

It's a brutal yet healthy pivot in my business model, and it is not exempt from challenges. Still, now the path is more apparent and more straightforward, and that was one of the goals of this move. Now that I acknowledge it, I'm returning to the problem I want to solve.

Assuming a more opinionated and holistic vision

The current vision of my business is to empower remote-first companies for a better life. While it still stands, it doesn't entirely illustrate what I wanted to solve. In this vision, remote work was the core of the issue, but it is mainly a tool to implement a broader and holistic vision. An idea for calmer, efficient, inclusive, and uncompromising companies.

I'm deeply convinced core systems of how companies run are now broken relatively to the new world state unrolled during the last 10 years and emphasized since the pandemic. A world crumbling under exponential complexity, diverting and consuming people's attention for the worse, and generating tons of process waste. We miss considerable opportunities to redeploy human potential on the most challenging problems of our civilization. The DevOps Handbook tells us we estimate that we lose trillions of dollars per year due to inefficiency.

I'm sure we can do way better and accelerate the urgent changes we need in ecology, economy, infrastructure, politics, etc. The emergency is real, but the machine that powers our productivity is drastically slow and generates an awful level of stress on people. We are merely patching traditional organizational systems for decades now. It's time to flip everything and start fresh, inspired by what we learned collectively. I want to propose a new model for building distributed companies using a systematic and uncompromising approach. I'm persuaded we design our products the way we are organized, so I expect an impact on this outcome.

I'm passionate about creating order, building systems, managing time, deploying workforces, implementing operational tactics, and opinionated leadership. I also worked in the tech industry for many years within various business models, verticals, organization types, and more. A significant chunk of it was in leading distributed teams. I saw good things and incredibly rotten ways to execute teams alongside the scale of performance and well-being. Furthermore, I found a lot of BS from companies thinking they should mess with their employees' life.

I don't have all the answers, though. Personal growth and continuous improvement led me to challenge the vision and its implementation every time. But I hope to provide fundamentals that will last and make the whole simple enough to properly build iterations on it in a sustainable way.

Again, many organizations are broken regarding collaboration, planning, and execution design. They miss tremendous opportunities to generate value and be definitive on well-being. Even if democratizing remote work was a crucial advancement, it's far from enough, and it's due to flipping the status quo and stopping acting like hypocrites.

I will progressively unroll a system for uncompromising organizations dedicated to maximizing two axes: value generation and well-being. Well-being is a constant that is never reduced to benefit value output. Performance is the variable you can manipulate to min-max the whole. Uncompromising organizations are a model where retention is unchallenged, value delivery is pristine, and where they get the fuck out of people's lives.

Let's focus on what really aligns us.

Productizing this vision

Money should not be the final outcome of companies, but everyone needs revenue to survive, unfortunately. How can I productize this vision in a new and viable business model?

  • Write and sell books and courses.
  • Sell my expertise through consulting hours or group workshops.
  • Private and conference talks.
  • Content sponsorship like podcasts.
  • Write about it for days long on social media or blogs to build an audience.

And finally, build products that solve each part of the vision in a standalone way while creating an ecosystem that eventually integrates as a whole. Example: solving salary indexation on inflation and top markets, off-sites logistic (hello Meet Crew), PTOs management, etc.

As you see, I'm not closing the door of the SaaS model but I put it on ice for a while. Once I (hopefully) grow to a sustainable level where I am happy, I'll reevaluate my investments. This decision will lead me to better balance my life while focusing on what has been proven to work.

What's next?

Now that the pivot is done, it's time to write everything down detailed and actionable. I have a lot of research on many topics to design the system for distributed organizations that I envision. I'm iteratively building my first book to dig into it and deliver something tangible that can be challenged, gathering feedback alongside the journey (and putting a name on the idea).

My manifesto (slightly out to date) and marketing, in general, will be updated to reflect the final vision. Indeed, I plan to continue writing posts (like this one) and posting actively on Twitter.

What about short-term sales? For now, my full-time job is doing great work to feed my family, and I don't feel rushed to make revenue from my business, which is a luxury. I'm focusing on building au audience and exploring any opportunity I may encounter throughout the way. Once I'm more confident in selling my vision and its implementation, I'll proactively try to acquire customers and generate revenue through the options I wrote about earlier.

Let's discuss building better companies.

You have better chances of finding me active on Twitter. I tweet about leadership, remote work, software engineering, personal growth, and systems. I also build my company publicly.

I'm also active on LinkedIn, where I post longer thoughts.

You can also contact me by email.

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