I and my co-founders started Uiza one year ago and this is one of my most eventful year of my life. I have been through at least 2 startups before as a Co-founder but the experience in Uiza is a whole different story and worth a blog post.
Everyone asks me how Uiza works as a global startups and nurture from Vietnam, others ask me how Uiza managed to close 2 funding rounds a year, or how our cultures are. Beyond everything, I personally think there are some core values that made us to be there today.
1/ Commitment decides everything
In July 2018, we have our first soft-launching in Broadcast Asia, the Asian biggest broadcasting and OTT conference.
According to our plan, we will demo 3 best things we can do. The first thing is the fastest video processing/encoding technology in the market. The second thing is ContentID solution using AI/ML. And the final thing is the ability to scale up livestreaming to 1 million concurrent users within few minutes. All the teams worked tirelessly for the last 2 weeks to deliver whole 3 demos on time. Until the day right before the show, all the engineer team worked for nearly 72 hours without sleeping to make sure all the demos are working fine. The result is we can deliver only 2 first demos but not demo 3 due to a technical issue that we unforeseen. Engineer team have fighted together until last minutes and even during the show to keep our commitment.
Of course we have learnt a lot of things related to appropriate planning or resource allocation, however the spirit of extreme commitment is best demonstrated through this hard time.
Trust is our foundation concept and commitment is the way to build trust. Throughout the whole year, there are some moments that we cannot make our commitment in time, we learnt from that and fix that immediately. But wherever in Uiza, word "commit" is the thing that you can hear everyday.
2/ Growth mindset is Always On
In November 2017, we have a just-graduated fresher called HuyNT. At that time, he knows nothing about what actual programming is (blame to Vietnamese education system). The only reason we hired HuyNT is because of a strong good reference from our friend calling his potential.
After just one year, Huy has tremendous development from a guy who didn't know how to pull a git to an engineer working on among variety of expertise including back-end infrastructure, data streaming, and even front-end application. He is one of the best growth mindset people that we have ever seen. Everyday he knows that he must know additional things, he knows that the unknown things are much more than things he knows. He put his ego at the door and keep learning with a hungry curiosity.
There is no formula, there is no science, and there is no perfect outcome either. Every day there needs to be success and every day there needs to be a step forward. And everyday we achieve, we need to feel like we are still behind.
3/ The customer’s perception is our reality
Yann, our VP Product is the most customer-obsessed one I ever known. She joins in every clients in-person meetings, chat with everyone who had been trying our product through Intercom, meet anyone that she think they could be our potential client, working with Growth team everyday to discuss about client pain points.
But the best thing is when she fighted with the team about the features we want to put in the next version. Her authenticity to our clients also demonstrated in every sentences she will begin with: " It seems our clients..." or "Our clients think...".
At Uiza, we believe in creating products to solve real problems and helping developers (our customers) to maximize their benefits when using them. Developer is our guiding principle. We always go back to the "why" to make better decisions by customer data and insight-driven and actually deliver benefits to our clients by anticipating their needs is our principles.
4/ Straight is the shortest route
Straightforward embed in our daily operations through 1-on-1 meetings. Actually 1:1 is not presented in the first days of Uiza. At the beginning, all the teams are too much focused on coding and building the product. Through long time of stretching our goal, someones get frustrated by other working style by no talking to others. The conflict seems bigger and bigger but we find no way to solve it completely.
Finally I decided that we should do 1:1 weekly among everyone with their direct report. After experiencing 1:1, we learn that the fastest way to solve the problems is talking directly to other even they are your peers or your manager or whoever you are working with. Even with our managers, they experienced that the only way to improve team performance is going very straightforwardly in almost every situation with their team members.
The second thing is the perception of straightforward is different among people. What we need to do is the set a very straight way about how we consider what is straightforward in every major situations while working. And we need to try to be the one who demonstrated first and frequently. If you throw everyone to 1:1 meeting without guidance or principles, they will not know how to do that in a meaningful way.
5/ Excellence is a habit
To my personal opinion, we could not be smarter than our competitors, we could not be having more money than our competitors, the only chance that we could get over our competitors is by working harder and be self-disciplined than them. Anything they build in 1 years, we need to build within 2 months. We need to quickly build something that they don't know and they will not be able to catch us at any speed.
To achieve that, self discipline is the root of all positive qualities. It is the glue that holds together all of the other attributes within the character of a great individual. Self-discipline is more specifically about your ability to control your desires and impulses in an attempt to stay focused (for long enough) on what needs to get done to successfully achieve that goal.
We all started with a very embarrassing product (https://twitter.com/reidhoffman/status/847142924240379904), and if we cannot keep our self-discipline in building our product, we cannot go there. We are so proud that what Uiza have build in 1 year, others will need 2x-3x times to build.
In the end of the day, we believe if we can build a solid trust among people, this is the most sustainable and scalable foundation we have. All core values are our trying to demonstrate trust with everyone we work with, our people, our developers, our customers, our investors, and our potential candidates. It will become our competitive advantage. And it will become something may interest you. We are hiring talents to be our part of culture and our journey. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you find Uiza is interesting and worth a try!