The Startup Growth

Pop Quiz, Monday with Glenn Elliott

Photo credit: Glenn Elliott

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Glenn Elliott

Photo credit: Glenn Elliott

What is your job role?
I’m a co-founder and the CEO of Practifi. My focus within the company is to develop and grow our product with an emphasis on integrating the best-of-breed industry solutions. Before Practifi, I spent nearly 20 years designing and delivering integrated customer applications for some of the most innovative enterprises in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, I have specialised in the rapid deployment of cloud-based platforms and brought this experience into Practifi to scale the business.

Tell us about your company?
Practifi is the number one business management platform for financial advice. We are passionate about creating a technology solution that helps advice firms realise their growth potential. Our platform allows advisors to run their business in the cloud, automate processes, integrate point solutions and build a company for the future. Helping advisers leverage technology for growth and identify the tools they need to do this, is what we love to do every day.

What do you love most about your job?
It used to be playing ping-pong with the developers in the evening because I used to win a lot. Now that they’re all better than me, I mostly love the incredible teamwork that happens at Practifi. I don’t really know how it came to be, but it’s rather amazing.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
That if I don’t, I’ll be letting down a whole lot of people that I care about. And there’s the added pressure that everyone at Practifi turns up, all the time. There is zero dead wood. So I’m motivated merely to keep up.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
They’ve taught me that culture and team spirit have nothing at all to do with mission statements and value propositions. My team inspires each other through camaraderie, mutual ridicule, raucous laughter, lots of sweat, occasional tears and serious dedication. That, in turn, inspires me every day.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Our staff like to throw projectiles at each other, make fun of the CEO’s increasing baldness and practise 90s dance moves in the office. But mostly it’s late afternoon red wine and cheese that keeps us going.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
That makes it sound as if some aspects of the job aren’t a challenge! The life of a tech entrepreneur is a constant, unpredictable, make-it-up-as-you-go-along, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mountain to climb. The biggest? Early on, it’s how not to run out of money. Later, it’s how to invest it fast enough to scale rapidly.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
I learnt the hard way — then heard the same from Ben Horowitz (of Andreesen Horowitz fame) — that it’s no more effort to try to build a big company than to build a small-to-medium one. It’s going to be a massive fight anyway, so you may as well think big and aim for the stars.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
If you’re starting as a tech entrepreneur, be ready to work harder than you’ve ever imagined. But you’ll never, ever regret it, so jump in and go hard. You can sleep later.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

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