This week, we interviewed Martin, the brilliant CEO of Huboo. It’s a super busy time of year for these guys, but Martin makes sure it’s fast, efficient and fun is his warehouse.
Find out what makes him tick and all about how relevant a business such as Huboo is today and for the future.
1. What’s your name and where do you come from?
Martin Bysh, Born in London, Living in Bath
2. Give us a quick overview of your company and what it does.
Global 1st mile mutli-channel fufilment for ecommerce clients of all sizes. We store, pick, pack and post, on behalf of sellers (via a mountain of software and systems).
3. What’s the next big idea that nobody is thinking about yet? Why is this so important?
Solving underemployment via automation. See Q12
4. How do you define success for you / your company?
£1bn valuation at sale/float. I’ve never thought that about any other company I’ve founded, but the opportunity here is of that scale, and we have the perfect offer, so not achieving that would be failure.
5. What behaviour or personality trait do you most attribute to your ability to achieve what you have achieved so far?
Creativity and focus (If I’m allowed 2). Start-ups can be seen as a growing (or at least changing) collection of problems in need of solutions. As we’re not experts in everything, and because the problems with running a start-up span everything from a huge range of technical fields and specialisms to hard systems, people management and motivation, and a vast amount besides, you need to think yourself into spaces that aren’t really yours, or are entirely new, to find solutions, and then have the focus to ensure that the solution is implemented, ignoring the extraordinary informational noise a rapidly expanding business can create.
6. What’s your top idea to improve diversity in the workplace?
We hire the best because they are the best, and battle any personal or social preconceptions that might influence hiring, then we promote lots of internal upward mobility. I am firmly of the conviction that if you simply hire the best, you will end up with diversity, because the best are a naturally diverse bunch.
7. What was the most useful resource (networks/books/websites/blogs) you used when starting out?
The single biggest resource was the hardest to come by, my network. When I started my first business 20 years ago I didn’t have one, but it was the kind of business that depended on timing and tech, and had no investment requirement, so I could get away with it. Huboo was designed to scale, and for this I’ve needed lots of help and advice. I hope I’ve demonstrated my gratitude for the people that have helped (and are helping) along the way.
8. What is the single most important thing you’ve done to increase the value of your business?
Via technology and devolution we’ve turned working in a warehouse (a job with an associated 40% monthly churn rate) into a fun, rewarding, job, where churn is a thing of the past.
9. What has been the hardest decision you’ve had to make in your entrepreneurial journey?
Occasionally having to fire hard working, decent, people, because despite their gifts in other areas they were not great at their specific jobs.
10. What will be the biggest change to how we lead our lives in 15 years? And what won’t have changed?
What won’t have changed is human nature, so the big question is how do we adjust to a future where technology removes “necessity” from our lives. What do we do when we don’t have to do much at all?
11. Tell us something we don’t know about you?
Though I eventually trod some of the usual path (e.g. University, etc.), I left school when I was 15 and programmed my first computer game in m68000 assembly language which was a No. 2 European Chart Hit.
12. If you could be offline for 3 days -where would you go and what would you do?
Right now, I’d go mad. It’s Xmas in a fulfilment company! But if somehow this were not so, I’d read a few of the books I keep buying (remembering a time when I had the time to read), but rarely read them, and take up some of the invitations from friends that I keep putting off.