I think quite a lot about why I do what I do. Starting and growing companies is not hard compared to lots of other jobs and situations people face in the world. I’ve had a lot of luck and support in doing so. But, there are easier ways to make a living. Certainly ones that are less emotionally draining and that have less of an impact on your home life. Living with this additional being in your house that you can’t see and you can’t have breakfast with, but that manages to hang over everything you do as a family, is as draining as it is exhilarating.
Another thing that can be hard for founders is surprisingly mainstream: personal development. Whilst you may be hugely passionate about your business, your own career development, unless you’re the next Netflix, can actually be quite limited. Scaling is hard and usually takes time. You have periods of ups and downs in the first x number of years. So despite the excitement you can find yourself, intellectually, doing the same things on the same sort of scale year after year. This can become limiting too for the lifeblood of your company – your teams. At Notbinary one of the things we look for in our people is “Learn it Alls” rather than “Know it Alls.” But you have to create an environment where the learning can be put into practice. Otherwise the learning is academic and we are all doers at heart.
This is why The Panoply was so attractive to me. The idea that you can maintain a start up/scale up vibe, work with other entrepreneurs on interesting projects but also have a bigger group around you that you can use to develop yourself and your team members in the traditional sense of career development was a huge part of why we chose to join up.
Being part of The Panoply helps me to do the thing that answers the question – why do I do what I do? The best part of this gig is seeing people who might not have thought of themselves as entrepreneurial or even very businessy coming into our company and discovering that actually they might have found a great environment in which to thrive. And that they can still make a difference from this side of the desk. It doesn’t mean they always stay and grow with us. Sometimes they go off and set up their own thing, often they go freelance and most importantly we always stay friends and usually end up working together again in some capacity. But most inspiring of all is seeing them take some or all of the business forward, putting their own slant and style on it in the process. David Biden and Ciara MacCooey, with the backing of The Panoply, split out from Notbinary and they are now running their already successful business, Human +.
All of which is hugely long winded way of saying I am genuinely chuffed to be handing over the reins of Notbinary to Matt Jukes and Jon Holt. Their passion and thoughtfulness over what squads, data and technology can contribute to helping all institutions, but particularly public sector ones, deliver more for their users and society is remarkable and makes them ideal to continue the mission in their own way.
Sacha and I am not going far. Sacha is working closely with the group on its acquisition strategy in the UK and beyond. I will be Exec Chair so still very involved (hopefully not annoyingly so) but I will also be helping to pull together Partnerships and Propositions at a group level. With the recent addition of FutureGov to The Panoply I think there is a huge opportunity to offer something new and refreshing to the market. As a collective our core offering runs with specialist expertise from discovery, experience and design through to alpha, beta, live. All on the cloud. All delivered in a considered modern way. Whilst around it we have specialist voice, data and automation businesses. All founder led, all focussed but all collaborative.
Good luck to Matt and Jon. I hope you have as much fun as I’ve had and I’ll see you on the other side 🙂
Notbinary works with institutions to help them embrace the opportunities of the internet-era.
Our people love to learn. We want our people to share their knowledge and ideas, and that requires an open environment where people are safe to test out thoughts and ideas and even turn them into new products and services.
It’s important to us that our work moves the needle.