Monday, May 11, 2015

Managing Your Company Growth with OKRs

Contributed post by: Francisco Ruiz / CEO

Ranktab is one of the fastest-growing group-based decision-making solutions available in the market. Our solution is used by Fortune 500 companies, leading universities and governments for live corporate decision-making, peer reviews, and open voting.

In late 2014, one of my advisors, who is a successful serial entrepreneur, suggested implementing OKRs at Ranktab. He had implemented OKRs at his company and it had a significant impact on the company’s culture and speed of execution.
Searching the web about OKRs, I found the google OKRs video very helpful. Given the growth we were having, I wanted a goals methodology like OKRs to bring sharp focus to our efforts and ensure we were not wasting our valuable resources on too many initiatives.
I asked everyone in my company to watch the video, so that they understood the value of OKRs adoption. In our team meeting, we openly discussed the benefits of OKRs to both the company and individuals and decided to adopt OKRs at Ranktab.
We initially started using google spreadsheets to track OKRs at the company and team level and assigned KRs to individuals. But, it soon became unwieldy and cumbersome to maintain the spreadsheet. There was no easy way to cascade objectives and automatically update OKRs.  Also, we found the spreadsheets didn’t get updated regularly and there were no good reminder cues until the weekly meeting.
I began looking for OKR tools on the web that could replace our spreadsheet implementation. We wanted to keep embracing the OKR culture at Ranktab and found a couple of software options that could work for us without creating more complexity. Our primary requirement was a tool that was super easy to use, encourage OKR process with simple reminders/notifications, would grow with the company without much initial investment and had visual dashboards that we could use to quickly review the OKRs status in our meetings. After reviewing several solutions, we settled on Cove app, given its ease of use, visual dashboards and weekly reminders. We were easily able to migrate all our OKRs from our google spreadsheet to the tool.
With my leadership team, I set the annual objectives and quarterly OKRs for the company and our teams set quarterly team OKRs that cascaded from our company OKRs. Today, everyone in our company updates their OKRs once a week and we review our Cove OKR dashboards every Monday in our meetings. All our OKRs are visible to everyone in the company.
The focus on OKRs has really helped our employees and managers focus on the key priorities. As a CEO, company OKRs also help me focus on medium term priorities but also what I need to get done in a particular week.
The toughest part of adopting OKRs was setting the right objectives and key results for the company and teams. It takes some thinking time up front, but very much needed as it lays the groundwork for the direction of the company or team. It is time well spent. As we are growing fast and could invest our resources in umpteen number of initiatives, our OKRs are helping our employees stay focused. I notice that even my staff meetings are much more efficient, as we start my meetings by reviewing metrics on our OKR dashboards and focus on the important stuff rather than going around the table about what got done.
I like the fact that transparency and data-driven decision making have become an integral part of my company’s culture with OKRs adoption. Hey, it goes well with the group decision-making product we offer to our own customers!  
About the Author:
Francisco Ruiz is the CEO and co-founder of RankTab. Mr. Ruiz has an M.S. in Technology Commercialization degree at the University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business, and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and worked at several technology ventures.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ranktab Gets Admission In Exclusive H/F Acceleration Program

Mountain View, CALIF. (May 03, 2015)  Ranktab Inc one of the fastest-growing group-based decision-making solutions available in the market, is excited to announce that they have beaten tough global competition to win a place in the Hackers/Founders Co-op, accelerator program.

Ranktab is used by Fortune 500 companies, leading universities, business accelerators, and governments for live corporate decision-making, peer reviews, and open voting. The H/F Co-op is an accelerator run by Hackers/Founders (H/F), one of the largest networks of entrepreneurs in the world with over 200,000 members in 95 cities.

Joining the acceleration program will help Ranktab explore customer gains in both the consumer and enterprise markets worldwide. Other benefits of joining the H/F Co-op include access to US technical skills and capital, as well as a chance to work with fellow entrepreneurs right in the heart of Silicon Valley in Mountain View.

“The entrepreneurial scene in Silicon Valley is so vast it is hard to distinguish the dreams from reality. We are excited to be part of the Hackers and Founders Co-op. The rigorous hands-on approach of Hackers/Founders really makes a difference. Anyone can be a mentor or advisor, but not everyone will roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. H/F has helped us with things as varied as pricing strategies, the Ranktab UX/UI, term sheets and pitches, just to name a few things, before connecting us with investors."
- Ranktab CEO, Francisco Ruiz

Jonathan Nelson, the man who grew Hackers/Founders from five people to over 200,000 members in 90 cities, and is currently CEO of the organization, said, “Ranktab is one of the fastest-growing group-based decision-making solutions available in the market, and we are excited to be involved. We look forward to the opportunity to help Ranktab become a global success."

About Ranktab  Ranktab is one of the fastest-growing group-based decision-making solutions available in the market. Ranktab’s data visualization platform and patent-pending algorithms provide large groups with a live graphical view of the crowd’s smartest consensus. 

Available in both web and mobile versions, Ranktab provides a rich visual platform that lets groups collaborate on collective decision-making with advanced analytics and instant reporting options.

Ranktab customers include Fortune 500 companies, leading universities, business accelerators and governments.

Ranktab is free for up to three public decisions. For users that need more, Ranktab offers Starter, Standard, Advanced and Enterprise packages with prices ranging from as low as $14.95 per month, and going up to $199.95 per month for enterprise users. For a full list of Ranktab's features, please visit ranktab.com 

Ranktab founders – Ranktab was founded by Francisco Ruiz and Oscar Estrella in 2014. Mr. Ruiz graduated with a Master of Science in Technology Commercialization degree at the University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business, and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering, a certification in Product Marketing and Management, and minors in Finance and Software Development. Oscar Estrella has a BS in Computer Science at UNIVA University as well as certifications in Technology Entrepreneurship I and II and Decision Quality MOOCs by Stanford/NovoED.

About H/F Co-Op  The H/F Co-op is an acceleration program run by Hackers/Founders, the largest network of entrepreneurs in the world with 200,000 members in 90 cities. The H/F Co-op is a tightly-knit cooperative, where concierge services are provided in exchange for equity, and where founders help each other and elect each other to the program.

H/F Co-op portfolio companies currently have a net worth of over $350 million. The accelerator is based in Mountain View, California.

About Hackers/Founders  Hackers/Founders (H/F) began as a small Meetup group in 2008. In fact, only five members attended the first meeting. But the combination of beer, burgers and shop-talk about big problems -such as launching startups and hacking the night away- proved potent. So much so, that H/F has grown to 20,000+ members in 90 cities and 33 countries over the last seven years.

From that first meeting, H/F organizers Jonathan and Laura Nelson saw a need for an organization focused on a traditionally underserved group in Silicon Valley and abroad: early-stage entrepreneurs. No ecosystem at the time existed to assist these folks, so Hackers/Founders, Inc. was launched in 2011 as a startup dedicated to assisting other startups.

The mission resonated. In just three years, H/F managed to accomplish more than corporate entities with budgets ten times as large had done.

To equip founders to launch and build their businesses globally, H/F developed a range of services, resources, and activities with the sole purpose of creating more successful startups. The vast majority of our networking, speaker and hackathon events are free (seriously), and we produce free online educational content.

To provide more value to our community, H/F launched a startup-centric accelerator program called the Co-op in 2012. Through a services-for-equity model, which cuts the costs of funding, the Co-op provides more value than traditional venture capital models and allows founders to focus on building their companies. H/F staff get in the trenches with each startup to provide personalized attention, improving their chances of success.

Today, Hackers/Founders has become an epicenter within the entrepreneur community. H/F will continue to grow and offer more services to early-stage startup community. New chapters are opening monthly. More programming and resources (both online and offline) are being produced for founders. The Co-op accelerator will be expanded. And so much more will be announced in the coming years. The future of early-stage entrepreneurship is bright!

For more information, please contact:
H/F Co-op - Jonathon Angell - [email protected]
Ranktab - [email protected]