Ben Hutt

 

Ceo – Searchparty.org

What ignited the spark to work for a small tech business?

Ben Hutt, CEO, searchparty.org

Ben Hutt, CEO, searchparty.org

I've always been really entrepreneurial and loved bringing ideas or objectives to life with teams. Back in 2011 I was approached by others with several ideas they needed help with and my intrigue was sparked by one in particular.

The thesis was pretty simple and compelling: that we were on the cusp of a massive revolution in the way technology could empower people and business to achieve outcomes. New business models would be possible. Cloud, big-data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and mobile handsets would drive this revolution. The industry the idea was to disrupt was recruitment, a US$500Bn behemoth that's barely evolved since job boards and social networks began 10 or so years ago.

So, the spark was a visible shift in tech I could see, a huge industry with a compelling problem I believed in, and which still to this day is true. It takes too long to hire people and companies get it wrong all the time!

How did you secure such a highly aspirational role?

I work with a highly intelligent, passionate and talented group of people who are all motivated to make a difference in the world. We're very diverse in every respect and I have colleagues all over the world. It's amazing though that there's a thread of commonality between all our people and we're all driven by the same vision - to drive a paradigm shift in recruitment globally.

I also like the challenge, and the strategy involved in keeping a startup funded, growing, and headed in the right direction.

How do you juggle tasks in a small company setting?

It's a challenge, and I think focus (or lack thereof) at an individual and a team level is the biggest enemy of productivity in any team. Ours is particularly complex, as we have teams in 4 continents and coordination across time-differences, so this is not always easy.

We have adopted the "Objective Key Results" (OKR) framework for organising the team, which was made famous by Google with their "moonshot" idea, and this has helped massively to align individual and team goals with company goals and also keep track of progress.

Excluding yours, what business or organisation do you admire the most?

Google for sure. A bold vision, exceptionally well executed.

Besides money, what are your favourite ways to compensate and incentivise people?

In our business we believe every team member should be a shareholder, and think and act therefore as a shareholder would.

In one word, characterise your life working for a small tech company?

Intense.

Tell us about a challenge you have taken on outside of work?

I decided in 2011 that I needed a big bold personal challenge which I could raise $50k for charity through. I decided to swim the English Channel.

How did this fit in with your working life and what compromises did you have to make?

Training was a massive commitment, effectively 15-18 hours a week for 18 months. On my first trip to the UK for the swim in September 2012, the weather was too rough to swim and I had to sit around for 3 weeks waiting for a window with good conditions. These did not arrive so I had to come home unable to even try the swim.

This was devastating, and it took real courage to pull myself together for another try in 2014. Thankfully the weather was compliant this time and I made it across in 13 hours.

What did you learn from this chapter of your life?

I learned that with tenacity and a great team of people around you to encourage, coach, and support you, anything is possible.

What is your next challenge?

I'm focused on Search Party right now, but over time I will definitely undertake some other challenges. When I completed the Channel swim in 2014, I set myself a 10 year goal of swimming the other 6 Channels in the "Oceans Seven" (the seven hardest marathon swims on the planet), which only a handful (less than 10) people have completed.

I have only 7 years left so I better get back in the pool!

 
Miriam Murphy