Building and Scaling a Remote Startup, with Cristian Maria

Gabriela Molina

Cristian Maria is the co-founder and CMO at Reedact.com. Reedact is all about making sure that you have the best CV or resume possible.

Remote work leader

Read the transcript

Luis:

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to a new episode of the Distant Job Podcast, your podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams. I am your host, as usual, Luis, and today my guest is Christian Maria. Christian is the co-founder and CMO at Reedact.com. Reedact is all about making sure that you have the best CV or resume possible, as some people call it. Am I right, Christian?

Christian Maria:

Yes. You are very right. And thank you very much for inviting me, Luis. It’s really nice to be here. And yeah, I’m really anxious in a positive way, I guess, to see what you have on your question list or I don’t know, anything you want to talk about.

Luis:

About. Yeah, I want to talk about obviously what your company does and CVs, and how that applies to the new remote landscape. But I wanted to start by asking just how did you get into remote work? How has remote work influenced your career?

Christian Maria:

Well, it’s a good question and I think 90% of the people who are going to ask this question are going to say the pandemic. Yeah, unfortunately, and luckily, I guess, so I think it works both ways. I worked at a multinational company and because there was a bit of a crisis here in Romania, I’m from Bucharest by the way, my company Reedact is founded in Bucharest. We had to basically flee office and work from home. So everyone that used to work, that company has around three big offices in Bucharest. So now I think even now, even still more than 90% of the people are working from home. So I guess the answer would be the pandemics and also the fact that, to be honest with you, I mean the interaction is good and it’s good to have at the office, but we can also do our job very easily from home.

So I think this opened the eyes of many, many companies. And probably the world of working from home will change a bit, even though the laws are subject to change now in Romania. And I’m not sure how that goes in your country, but here, there are a lot of talks and more and more people are working from home because … So even if the pandemic’s brought this awful stuff on our head, but at the same time, it opened some opportunities, I guess.

Luis:

So in Portugal, the right to work from home was, I don’t want to say enshrined in law because that wasn’t exactly it, that’s not the exact legal terms, but it was made clear very early into the pandemic that if you could do your job from home, the place where you worked had no choice but to allow you to do your job from home. So just from a pure health standpoint. And now that things are getting a bit back to normal, I mean, COVID hasn’t been a thing, although … I mean it’s still a thing, it’s still out there, people are still getting sick, some people are dying, but it’s definitely … It seems that the gravity of the situation has definitely lessened a bit, which is great. And now some people going back to office, some people are happy to go back to office, and I can understand that. Look, remote work isn’t for everyone even though this is a remote work podcast.

I don’t like to pretend that remote work is the only way to do things. But definitely there is a lot of people that try it from home, and that is, I try to make it. One of my missions is to help companies and businesses know how to deal and know how to get those people, how to give them the best possible way to do good work.

Christian Maria:

And what’s the perfect combination, for example, because I saw a lot of companies now approaching hybrid type of, let’s say approach? From your point of view, what would be the, I don’t know, the best approach?

Luis:

So based on … I mean, a fair amount of my clients at Distant Job take the hybrid approach. They clearly enjoy it. Personally, and based on the conversations that I’ve had with almost 200 guests in this podcast, there’s no doubt in my mind that hybrid is the hardest to do, is the most challenging to do. If I had a hybrid operation, I would try to convert it into full remote as much as possible, just because the overhead becomes much, much smaller. And I have a friend that was forced into hybrid in his company because of the pandemic, and then eventually as soon as he could, he put everyone back in the office again and the people did enjoy going back to the office. So some cultures work like that. But in the end, I actually don’t, I am not a fan of hybrid.

I realize that it’s the reality for many companies. Many companies have a very… They would have to turn their world upside down to go full remote, but at the same time, they don’t want to let go of the great talent they can find by allowing remote work. So they’re stuck with hybrid. But if you have any chance at all to go from hybrid to full remote, that is definitely my recommendation.

Christian Maria:

Yeah, and I fully agree with you. For example, here at Reedact, we all work from home. Imagine the team, even if it’s a startup, quite in the early stages, but there are still more than 10 people working on this project together with me. So the blend is perfect. I think going at the office just helps with the chemistry a little, I guess, and a bit of diversity. You get the chance of going out of your room at the end of the day.

Luis:

Yeah, yeah. That’s true. That’s true. I mean, that’s definitely good for getting the creativity flowing, just getting out of your environment. But I actually don’t think that that is a big issue because at least I can grab my laptop and go to the kitchen or go to the living room or go to a cafe. So I can find spaces for my creativity to do … I 100% agree that you suffer if you work every day from the exact same environment, and have no contact with people. But my thought, and this is what I’ve seen with Distant Job and I’ve also seen that with a lot of clients and friends, is that getting people together is very important, extremely important, but you only have to do it twice a year, for a couple of days. So what happens with Distant Job that works great is when there’s an industry event, we fly as many people as we can.

One day, we hope to fly all the team. We’re not there yet. We’re not at the point where we can do that yet, but every time, we fly as many people as we can and we have a couple of get-togethers per year. And the afterglow of those get-togethers lasts for something like six to 10 months. So it’s actually great. I mean, I guess if you’re a remote extremist, you’ll say that that is hybrid if everyone gets together six to 10 months in. But I actually, I don’t agree. I think that we’re a full remote company and the groups of people get together twice a year. I don’t think that makes us any less remote. And the benefit is great. I agree. It’s hard to work with people for a prolonged amount of time that you’ve never met.

Hell, it’s possible. I’ve worked with teams, especially when I worked back in the video game industry, I have worked with people for years on end without ever meeting them face to face. So that’s more standard, especially in the video marketing and media industry. In the actual game development, not so much, those guys don’t do remote work almost at all, which is a shame. But in the media and marketing, that’s actually the standard. You don’t meet, you work from home for years on end. So it’s definitely possible.

Christian Maria:

So when you just have to handle campaigns, its maybe a bit more tricky when you have to travel to a business meeting, let’s say, or something like that to actually be face to face with that person. And I guess maybe the traditional coffee maybe does a bit more magic than the traditional camera, let’s say.

Luis:

Yeah, of course sales and marketing is a bit of a numbers game, so it pays off when you’re doing it on webcam. If you are able to generate those opportunities, you can make up for it in volume because end of the day, how many coffees can you have? Probably six to eight.

Christian Maria:

I don’t know. Some drink twice coffees a day.

Luis:

Yeah, I definitely do. But I have to keep them to the morning, otherwise I won’t sleep. So your company, Reedact, is fully remote, right? Did you build it from the start like that or did it just happen that by the time you started growing, you were already in the pandemic, so that was the way that it had to go? And how is it like scaling your startup, which like most startups, I assume it started with one or two people, and now you’re up to 10? So how was the scaling process in a remote world?

Christian Maria:

I would say that 10 is the total number of people involved in this project. But as part of the core team, let’s say, because when I’m saying 10, I’m also mentioning developers, which we are in very close collaboration with, that work on the platform or some that work on the website. But I guess as part of the core part of the team, we are in total six people. And the story of the startup is pretty tied to the online world because I graduated from an accelerator here in Romania, so we were one of the nine alumni of, I think, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it, but it’s called Founder Institute. It’s one of the best here in Romania, and it’s pretty huge. So we were one of the nine alumni and in total, I think there were like 42 or 47 startups that enrolled there.

And let’s say some of people that are still working on the project right now, I met through Founder Institute. Some were recommendations that they became advisors on the project, and others I knew well before beginning the project itself. One is a business analyst for example, and I know her for some time now, but she’s very good. Another one is a talent acquisition manager for a multinational company. So I mean, we just blended and we worked online from the beginning. One of our advisors, Radina, she’s working sometimes from Poland or from Bulgaria. We have another person that’s working from Poland, actually, Argeni, is working from Poland. So we are all working from different places of the earth. Another advisor is working from Slovakia, one from UK. So it’s easier like that, instead of just having an office and going at the office every day we connect. It’s very flexible.

And I think the most important part is people actually doing their part in a startup, because as a founder or co-founder, you cannot do everything, and I don’t recommend that. So myself, I’m focused more on this part of the marketing side, SEO, digital marketing, outreach campaigns, social media, stuff like that. And everyone has distinct responsibilities within the project. We meet regularly. So I think this is one of the, let’s say, the secrets of a successful project, is having a solid team and everybody knowing what to do and when, and coordinating everything, and it can be done online. Go figure.

Luis:

So I definitely agree with that. And I want to go a bit into the details there because you’re absolutely right. That is the key. People in practice, even in such a small group, five to six people, which is definitely a great number for a startup, that’s what keeps the project lean. And you can get a lot of productivity out of someone, but it starts already, people already at that number start having coordination issues. Who is doing what and when? So can you go me through your process of meeting with these people and how do you coordinate, decide, assign tasks, make decisions, et cetera?

Christian Maria:

Yeah, so like I’ve said, the secret is everyone knowing exactly what to focus on and having a lean mindset, but at the same time, being very organized. I think that’s also one of the keys to success. First of all, as a founder, you don’t know everything. And that’s good. That’s not bad, that’s good because it gives you the chance, the opportunity of learning. So one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen founder making was thinking that they know it all and they don’t need advice and stuff like that. So it’s very easy for us. We meet once per week. We have one to ones. We also have team goals where we share feedback and what we’ve learned through different experiences. And I think delegation is also a very important part, but also taking responsibility because they also give me a lot of homework. So if I don’t do and take on board what they say, then the other people in the team will do the same.

So it’s a two-way street. They help me with advice and I implement it, and I also help them with advice and they implement it where I help them with asking the right questions. It’s very difficult to define, to be honest with you. But I think one of the most important things the team should have is synergy. And everyone should act professional. That’s the key.

Luis:

It looks that you have a very flat organization structure. It doesn’t feel that there’s a lot of people being managers in the team. So how does that work? Who decides what needs to be done, what needs to take priority? Because with six people, you have to have priorities, right? So how is that decided? Do you have a general weekly meeting? How do you organize it?

Christian Maria:

Yeah, exactly like you said. We have our board meeting, let’s say, that’s once per month. And we look at the results that were generated by the decisions we took and it’s lean, like to mentioned earlier. So we take a decision, not all the decisions are the best. Sometimes some decisions end up to be at the end of the day not working for us. And we have to be lean, we have to change, we have to adapt. Who decides? It’s a good question. At the end of the day, I guess I am one of the decision makers and the strategy of the company was designed by me, and we have to take it step by step. But you know what I mean by step by step is, at some point, and I think you probably noticed this as well, things come naturally.

So you have this intuition of knowing what to do step by step because you crossed one bridge and then you know ahead of time that three other bridges are coming. So you have to prepare for those bridges. And when you prepare for those bridges, you need to know to talk with your people and to ask the right questions and to get their feedback and then apply your feedback and then do something about it. And at the end of the day, you see what the results are and say, “Okay, this is the right road or the bad road.” And then you talk again, and-

Luis:

So tell me a bit about these monthly meetings, because I’m usually more used to seeing people do weekly meetings or meetings every two weeks. Monthly, is this a strategy meeting when you do the overall strategy or do you get focused on assigning tasks? And if not, then when do you do the assigning of the tasks? So if I’m part of your team, let’s say I’m a marketing person, but you already have a marketing person, but let’s say that you are a financial officer. When do I know when we talk about our general financial strategy versus how do I know what specific things I have to do that week or that month?

Christian Maria:

Well, the financial part, it’s easy because you look at numbers and you see, id the numbers are good, then you keep it up. If the numbers are bad, you need to do something about it.

Luis:

There you go.

Christian Maria:

So I guess that’s the first part of answering your questions. So looking together at the numbers and seeing, “Okay.” So you’re my CFO, say we don’t look so good. So let’s say the forecasting doesn’t look so good for the next six months. I ask you, “Okay, so do you have any idea of how we can improve this? Here are my ideas. What do you think about them? Do you have anything to add on top?” And we take it from there. And then we delegate. I mean, at some point, it comes natural for people to take things on their shoulders. If you’re the CFO, then you know what to do and what are your main responsibilities. You know what I can help you with.

You can ask me too, “Hey Christian, can you please help me with these numbers, get them from the back end so I can use them and adjust my forecasting,” and so forth. So it’s a lead discussion, let’s call it that way. But at the end of the day, because you have experience and you are in this project, let’s say for two years now, you know what your responsibilities are and what I can help you with or not. And you can also reach out for help from other team members, not necessarily from me, but you can reach out from other people inside the team.

Luis:

Got it. Okay. So thanks for that. I wanted to talk a bit more about the company and what your company provides people, because as you may know, Distant Job is a recruitment company. So we deal with hundreds of CVs every day. And we’re very happy that someone is out there trying to make CVs better because let me tell you, it’s not always the most pleasant job reading some of the CVs we get. I read on your website that most recruiters spend on average 10 seconds on one individual resume. I can say for sure that that’s not true for us. We do look a lot closer at each resume. But I have to say that sometimes I make the decision on the first ten seconds. Sometimes the resume just starts so badly that it’s like you already know how it’s going to go, right?

Christian Maria:

Yeah. Serious, I guess.

Luis:

Yeah. So what was the strategy? What led you to build the company? What made you feel that this was a problem that you should and that you could solve?

Christian Maria:

Yeah. Well, I face the same pain as you are because I’ve worked more than three years as a hiring manager, or I had to build a team from zero of 17 people, marketing operations from zero. So you can imagine that I screened a lot of resumes. No, I think the right wording to start with is glancing. So less than 10 seconds of glancing through your resume. So some resumes are very strong, but because the structure or the format or I don’t know, just the visual sense of it, is just plain old ugly, you cannot read it. Then that potential candidate is lost, I guess. Because imagine going through let’s say 20 or 15 or 20 or resumes per day, at some point your eye is just tired or maybe you just don’t have the patience, even though that’s your job. But at the end of the day, we are humans, so we are prone to error. So that’s how we started.

Luis:

Yeah. Appearances do say something about you. If you take the time, to me, if you take the time to make your resume look different and beautiful, that means that, to me, that tells me a story about you being someone that takes pride in doing little things right.

Christian Maria:

And the fact you took an extra step towards getting that job. I mean, your interest was higher than someone else’s interest or dedication, let’s call it, not interest. I think I chose the wrong. But your dedication towards getting that job is higher or bigger than the other person that knows she or he has a lot of experience and they’re definitely qualified for that job, so why waste the time of doing the extra step? While for another person that doesn’t have too much experience maybe for that job, but takes that step, for me, that’s something to appreciate and something to consider. But that’s how it started. So having to go through a lot of resumes of, I don’t know, four or five, I even got one of nine pages, if you can imagine. So quite of a book of a resume.

Luis:

Yeah. That person needed to publish a book.

Christian Maria:

There’s a problem there. Plus I couldn’t take an informed decision, a better decision. So I just thought of a model that helps everyone stand out and be a bit more organized and catch the recruiter’s eye and put them in front of other people that don’t bother to do that. That’s how the idea came. And since then, it’s been a journey. It’s been a ride. Some may say it’s just a resume. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s just a resume. But you and me both know that the work you need to put in to build the startup, to go through an MVP, so a minimum viable product, to collect feedback, all that process, to go to an accelerator, to build a team, to launch a website, a dashboard, that’s a lot of work. At the end of the day, people don’t know because they just see a page and you think, “Oh, okay, nice. It looks good. So maybe I will [inaudible 00:23:34]. Let’s see.”

Luis:

Everything is very easy from a consumer point of view. I do wonder if you feel like if the move to remote work influenced the product at all and in what ways it influenced the product. What were your considerations? Because I mean, in my view, it used to be that a resume was something that used to be made for printing. So you had the good format for printing. But these days, I suppose that some people still print out resumes, but personally, I only look at them on my screen.

Christian Maria:

Yeah, why do that? Exactly.

Luis:

Yeah.

Christian Maria:

So yeah, another direction we want to take and we took was going digital. The beauty about this product and this, let’s say company, is that everything is digital. So you have everything in one page, you have all the information you need, and also it creates a story for the candidate, because the visuals blend with the text. So that’s the whole idea behind it, there’s an entire concept behind this resume, this model, not just copy pasting from your job description. So we help with the visuals and we not only help candidates, but we also help recruiters because through these visuals, they get a chance to dig a bit deeper into the history of the candidates, so yeah.

Luis:

Yeah. It’s definitely nice to have that. So one thing that I also … I mean, I actually don’t know if your product extends to helping people getting cover letters or only resumes.

Christian Maria:

In the future. We have some [inaudible 00:25:14] for that as well, for the cover letters. We want to automate some things because people don’t know how to formulate. So I mean, all the project was built and designed to help the candidates, so we’re just all for the candidate, even our pricing model. So our business model is candidate pro, let’s say candidate pro. Pro candidate. Because we don’t apply a SaaS model with recurring costs and stuff like that. We just have a one time only cost. Okay, the advice is to call it investment, not cost because-

Luis:

Exactly.

Christian Maria:

People will hear the word cost, then they will get scared. But the idea is you are investing in yourself, at the end of the day. Yeah, that’s true. But it’s one time only. So it is as simple as that. Once you activate your account, you can have it forever and ever and you can use it forever and ever. This is where we are at, at this point.

Luis:

Yeah. So I once got an advice from a senior marketer. He told me, “Hey, if you want to have a successful product, don’t target people who have no money. Don’t target people who have no job.” And I know that’s not necessarily what you do. I mean, people with no jobs certainly need resumes, but a lot of people also want a better resume because they want to have a better job, they want to quit. But actually, I was curious, since we talked about, this goes a bit away from both work, but it’s my show, I do what I want. So I’m curious how you confronted that issue, because you have … That issue probably came up when one of the discussions with your advisor. This is a product that’s targeting people that by definition, are not at their peak earning potential.

Christian Maria:

Not really, to be honest with you. That’s the beauty of building a company from zero and actually going through the right steps. Because if you go to an MVP or minimum variable product, many people listening to your podcast right now might know what that is, many won’t. But if you go through the right steps, then you will find out a lot of things that will surprise you. Like how we found about our audience and what you just mentioned earlier, more than 80% of the people that actually build their resume with us, they build it to take a step forward in their career. And they were not that at the beginning of their journey or anything like that. So we were just working on our, let’s say consumer hero, right now. So we are building a couple of personas because we want to do a couple of campaigns.

And what we’ve noticed is that the average experience a person has, from the ones that build their resume with us, is over seven years, for example. We have a lot of people that have experience in management and they use this like an extended business card because it opens doors. And that’s the reality of it, I’m not making anything up here. And word of advice for everyone that’s building a startup, keep it real. Don’t lie about your numbers, don’t lie about your performance. Even though a lot of, let’s say entrepreneurs, do that in the beginning because they want to win someone else’s trust, my advice is keep your numbers straight and be true about them. That’s a definite win in the future. So the numbers you see on our website, seven to 3% of the people that actually built their resume with us got an interview.

That number is true, even if it looks a bit … “Okay, three out of four people actually landed an interview with your help?” Well, yes. Our community is growing and I mean, we are really in a phase of being very optimistic right now about the future of the project. But I think I lost your question and I got too enthusiastic about it.

Luis:

No, it’s fine. It’s good to. That’s what this is about. It’s supposed to be a free flowing conversation. But before we move on, because I want to talk a bit more about your own personal approach to work and to remote work specifically, but I do want to make a point that I really get what you’re doing. Back when I was as far away as possible from remote work, but back when I was actually working in the physical locations, one of the ideas that I picked up, I don’t even remember, I picked up from some book that I don’t even remember the title now, it was so long ago, but everyone was using the standard European CV, which is just as ugly and dry as it can be. And I got the idea of putting a bit larger photo of myself colored with a little graphical accent and then actually buying a nice sleeve to put it in, not a cheap sleeve, something a bit leathery that could have my name on the front and et cetera.

So this was of course the days of paper CVS. And I delivered it like that. It looks something very professional and it just exponentially increases, it 10X’d the amount of interviews that got in touch with me. And I’ve been advocating for this ever since. So I’m glad you see that someone is doing something with that in the digital age with that idea, because it’s still impressive how many people don’t get it, that first impressions matter. There’s that old adage. So on my free time I write fantasy fiction novels and I self publish them on Amazon. And the thing that the other community knows is that the old thing that everyone used to say is, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That’s a lie. Everyone judges a book first. It’s the first impression. First impressions matter, and a book’s cover is the first impression. If people aren’t impressed by the cover, they won’t click, so they won’t know what the book is about. And it’s the same thing with a CV. If the visual doesn’t make people want to read, then most people won’t.

Christian Maria:

Yeah. But you were talking earlier about you were a boss. I mean, you did something very professional there. But at the same time, and I don’t want to be a negative or critic or something, is just my opinion. The way the information is split, it’s tiring to read it because it’s split into … You have the personal stuff on the left and you have the experienced stuff on the right, and it’s just like you have to pay attention. And the Z, there’s a saying when you do something on a piece of paper, there’s an imaginary Z on the piece of paper. This is how this resume is being built, starting from that Z, because this is how the eye is used to read things, and our brain is used to. So you go from top left, then bottom left, and then bottom right. It’s that simple.

And this is what I hate most about that type of … And I’ve not only seen it in Europe, I’ve seen it in a lot of other templates. You have things on the left, things on the right. Okay, what should I read first? Should I read about your personal stuff first on the left? And then I go take [inaudible 00:32:35]. It’s just confusing, from my point of view.

Luis:

Yeah, no, no, I totally agree with you. Totally agree with you. So I want to be respectful of your time, and we’ve been at this for nearly an hour now. So I want to ask you about your personal tools, tips, techniques for doing remote work. What is your usual work routine? You’re building this startup full time. How do you keep disciplined? How do you keep organized? What is your regular day?

Christian Maria:

Like most of the people, starting the day with a coffee, a good coffee, I guess, just one.

Luis:

Yeah. Coffee is a big deal. I agree.

Christian Maria:

And then going through emails, prioritizing and last but not least, I think something that’s super mega important, be respectful of other people that are getting in touch with you. And I’m not talking about spam things, but people that actually take that extra step of reaching out and getting to know you and getting to know your product and your company and wanting to meet. Because we also do that a lot, probably you do the same and we’re not the only ones doing it, other people are reaching out. So answering to emails and be respectful of other people’s, let’s say interests. Calls, I use usually get two or three calls per day, mostly with people I newly know or people that I follow up with or we got projects in common or things like that. And I guess I’m trying to be respectful of mine also, my private life. So I think there’s something to be considerate about, the work life balance.

Even though when you are 100% on a project, you tend to work all day on that thing, but at some point, I think you need to de-connect and focus on the private things you have and your private life and try to blend these things up. So I guess coffee, emails, calls, that would be the order, I guess.

Luis:

Yeah. Yeah, that’s a good [inaudible 00:34:41]. People say that it’s terrible to let emails start your day, but I respectfully disagree. I actually think that if you keep it organized … And sometimes you need to reset. My kid was born less than two months ago. I spent one month out of the virtual office. When I arrived, it was just getting to the email, control, alt, delete, start a new. Whatever was lost, was lost. I’m sorry. If it’s important, people will email again, I’m sure, right?

Christian Maria:

No. Don’t do that.

Luis:

No, no. But sometimes you just need a reset. Sometimes you need to declare email bankruptcy. But just in general, I think that I do well if I treat my inbox as my to-do list. That works okay for me, because it’s people like you say, right? If you keep a to-do list, a lot of the items and to-do lists are just things that you came up with from your own head and that aren’t really … Sometimes they’re just only serving your personal OCD, at least in my case that’s it. But if you’re treating your email as your inbox, you can still and should triage. Obviously if someone is just spamming me, they shouldn’t be part of your inbox. Your task then should be to press read an archive. But generally, it’s people that are there, and with people, comes value, at least in my experience. Most of the value that I’ve ever had on any business comes from the people that I deal with.

Christian Maria:

And I forgot to mention my to do list, by the way. So I keep it in Notepad. So I try to be as digital as possible. I have a big to-do list in Notepad and everything comes in a, let’s say logical order, because I need to do that. And after I do that, then I can do that and so forth. I need to contact that person, I need to reach out to that person. I need to build the newsletter campaign for October and stuff like that. Everything is logical and prioritized on a to-do list. So everyone should have I think, a to-do list.

Luis:

I agree. I’ve recently converted myself to paper to-do lists. Again, very low tech, but I feel that there’s an advantage because the page eventually ends. So back to your point of keeping a bit of time for personal things, if my to-do lists have reached the end of the page, then I’m like, “Yeah, that’s probably enough tasks for today,” right?

Christian Maria:

Yeah. Save the trees, man. Go Notepad. In Notepad, you can organize it. No, but I’m kidding. I mean, whatever works for you works, it’s okay.

Luis:

Yeah, of course. So tell me a little bit, I want to change a bit the direction of the conversation again. So everyone in your team is working remotely. If you could give them spend, I don’t know, something like 100 euros with each of those persons, to give them something to improve the quality of their work, their productivity, or maybe just their work life balance, what would you get them?

Christian Maria:

I would give them a card that has 100 euros on it, like a gift card, and they can choose their own thing that makes their day.

Luis:

Sure. But that’s kind of cheating that. That’s kind of-

Christian Maria:

Well, you asked me. You have this possibility nowadays, a gift card and they can choose. Yeah, because I mean, we know each other, but people have different passions. Maybe one of them wants to buy a video game from you, from your very big collection. So who knows? So yeah, I mean this is what I usually tend to do. I’m really about presents and stuff, or I’m really more in letting my wife decide usually what to buy.

Luis:

That’s usually a good technique. I do that. Okay, so let me shift gears. What about yourself? That way you can’t say gift card. What did you buy in the past year, or your wife bought in the past year, that improved your productivity or work life balance, whatever metric you care to measure in relation to work?

Christian Maria:

Yeah, I bought a couple of books on Kindle. I love Kindle. I think it’s one of the greatest inventions on the planet of earth.

Luis:

Kindle will respect your podcast. I’m actually looking very forward to the Kindle Scribe, that apparently is one you can use as a notepad as well.

Christian Maria:

Yeah, I don’t have that kind, but it’s just like-

Luis:

It isn’t out yet. They’re launching it this year. Maybe then my to-do list will go digital again. I’ll do it on the Kindle instead of the notepad.

Christian Maria:

Yeah, the book is called The Fate of the Fallen. It’s a sixth book out of 11, I think there are in total. And it’s a fantasy book. And I love fantasies book. I read Game of Thrones. I’m that kind of person, a very geek-ish type of. So if I want to let’s say motivate myself or just … I do something that I really love and it doesn’t necessarily have to be work related. Whatever kicks the ball, that’s good for me. And I love reading on Kindle and I try to take at least maybe one hour per day to read, but I also read some entrepreneurial books like the Lean Canvas and all that stuff. So these are very important books to read, very, very basic, The Lean Approach. But anyway, I think this is all what I would do with that money. Buy something that helps me, I don’t know de-connect or maybe learn something new or maybe just go in a different world, like the fantasy world, where I can imagine anything I want to. I’m a very-

Luis:

Got it. Well, I definitely recommend people go out and buy fantasy books [inaudible 00:40:44] interest. But it’s true that I think that people underestimate the lessons that they can take away from fiction, whether it’s fantasy or other fiction, there’s definitely … It’s not just dumb entertainment. You can learn stuff from fictional situations and fictional character. It helps you reframe the problems that you find in real life. And not just in terms of better or worse, but just in the way that, “Oh, look at how these people approach these problems. Maybe I can learn something from this.” But anyway. So you mentioned a couple of books like Lean Startup. What was the book that you felt you took the most value from in the past two to three years?

Christian Maria:

I think it’s called Emit Revised. No, actually the last, actually, the one that I read and that really got to me was Building Your Story Brand, because it helped me in many ways that I didn’t know, it helped me. Like getting things more organized on the website, for example. So Building Your Story Brand. Yeah, again, it’s a basic book for any entrepreneur. And yeah, it takes you through the steps, because many people or many startups or many companies position themselves as the hero where actually we should position ourselves as the guide because the hero is the consumer. The customer is the hero, and the hero doesn’t need another hero to be successful at the end of the day. That’s the moral of the story. The hero doesn’t need another hero. The hero needs a guide that can help him or her to be successful at the end of the day.

And it takes you through some steps, some very logical steps, and it just helps you tell your story more direct and more clear so people will understand. And it is said that 80% of the sales, when you reach, let’s say on a website, when you go on a website, 80% of the sales is done by the headline. Everything else is 20%. But the headline is super mega important. That’s why, for example, in the B2C industry, you need to test a lot. So we changed our headline a couple of times and we are still testing and we are … In the B2C world, you need to change and be lean and to innovate and to always be ready to do something else. So yeah, I think that’s the last one from an entrepreneurial point of view. Have you read it or?

Luis:

No, no, no, no. I haven’t. I’m taking notes. So I will definitely certainly read it when I have the chance. I actually have the Emit Revisited that you mentioned before on my reading list, so that is probably going to be the next one. Yeah. Okay. Well thank you so much. It was a pleasure having you here. Do you have any parting notes, comments that you would like to say to people doing or considering doing remote work? And then after that, please let people know where they can find more about Reedact, about what Reedact offers and about yourself.

Christian Maria:

I think the main thing I would say is be courageous and try new things. I guess in remote work recently, it is a new thing, so we should always be open to new things and to new approaches at least. And if you’re doing that, be professional about it, as professional as you can, because people depend on you and you also depend on other people. So you know how it’s like. And yeah, don’t be afraid of change. Change is good sometimes and the world is changing as we speak, hopefully for the better, considering all the things going around in Ukraine and with Russia and stuff. But yeah, change is good. It’s good to raise change, but always take it with a pinch of salt, I guess that’s another piece of advice and be optimistic and positive.

Luis:

Yeah, I like that. And to your point right there, obviously there’s dangers in the world, but if we manage not to blow ourselves up, I think that the future is bright.

Christian Maria:

Hopefully. Yeah.

Luis:

So yeah, I do think that the general direction, there are some large dangers, but the general direction, I agree with you. I think it’s very positive.

Christian Maria:

Yeah, I have a question for you, I guess. Do you think Roger Martin will launch the next Game of Thrones book in the next six months, if you read the books?

Luis:

Yeah, so I actually was just talking with my marketing mentor yesterday about that. So this is a question that gets around in the circles. So he pointed out that archeologists have just found out and translated a third epic of Gilgamesh before the latest game of books came out. So there’s literally a third epic of Gilgamesh out, before the last Game of Throne’s book, which is amazing. But I think that book is written, and I’m sure that if, knock on wood, I don’t want anything bad to happen to George, but I do think that if it happens that for some reason he dies in the meantime, something will be activated that will publish the book. So that we will know.

Christian Maria:

There are two books, theoretically.

Luis:

Yeah, yeah. Exactly, exactly. So I think that they are written and that he’s just polishing them and is either going to polish them for 10 years or until he dies, whatever comes first, and eventually they’ll come out. That’s what I feel like. But yeah, I actually-

Christian Maria:

The best thing that … Go ahead. Sorry, I interrupted you.

Luis:

No, because going back to talking about your customers and your fans at the end of the day are also your customers, respecting your customers. As a fantasy writer, obviously if I die, it’s very bad for me and I would rather not, but I don’t ever want to leave my fans in a position where they feel like, “Oh, if he happens to die, we’ll never know the end of the story.” So I actually take measures to prevent that because this has happened a couple of times. Most recently it happened with a fantasy Manga, that I’m a big fan of, Berserk by Kentaro Miura. It’s been going on for almost 20 years now. And hey, he died. And that’s tragic and sad, but it also is, because it was to his benefit to write serialized that the series never ends, well, now it never will end. And that sucks for fans.

So I do think that you have a bit of responsibility, and I’m going to get out of my soapbox in a while and let you talk about your company. But I do think that you have a responsibility for your fans and or customers, to make sure that they get, in case of fiction, it’s closure, it’s a climax. To make sure that they get what they are looking to get and not just keep stringing them along.

Christian Maria:

Do you know The name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss? That’s another good series. So that one is also incoming for I think five or six years, something like that. So there are a lot of good books there that unfortunately … I mean stories, wonderful stories that we are reading. Hopefully they’re listening to your podcast, well, watching, and get a bit more motivated to get those books there. We’re waiting for them.

Luis:

A story needs to have a beginning, a middle and the end. That’s what makes a story. And you know that, right? Because take Star Wars for example, they got an end, they didn’t have a beginning, but then they made the beginning and that was controversial, but whatever, it had a beginning, a middle, and the end. And then they tried to extend it, and it’s like three zombie movies rising from the gray.

Christian Maria:

I get the Disney ones are, let’s see say-

Luis:

Look, it’s not their problem. I mean, it’s talented people working on them and talented people, talented actors, et cetera. But they were just trying to keep something that already ended, going, and that’s not ever great. So back to resumes, I guess.

Christian Maria:

Back to resumes.

Luis:

Back to resumes. Tell people what can they expect from Reedact? Why is Reedact for them? Where can they find it and where can they find you?

Christian Maria:

They can find us online, so just by Googling Reedact with double E, like the logo says here. So they can find us on Google or directly on our website, reedact.com. The website is in English and also in Romanian, because the project was started in Romania. And what we expect, I guess we’re in a period where we are looking for partners. So we are also looking to introduce interview simulations on our website. We want to help students maybe get some internships, we want to do some workshops. Everything is also on our social channels, on Facebook or LinkedIn. We’re not too active on Instagram or TikTok because honestly, TikTok is a different type of audience, and Instagram kind of the same. But on our Facebook, if you just search for us on Facebook, Reedact or on LinkedIn, they will definitely find me there as well. We also have a couple of pages on our website for media.

So people that want to get in touch with us and learn about our story and publish an article about us and the partnerships we also have. So we launched the partners page on our website. So we want to meet as many new people as possible and to expand to a lot of new ideas and new grounds. And we are really open to knowing a lot of partners. I guess in a nutshell that’s it. So if you’re online, then you can definitely find us. And recently, it’s something important to mention, recently, we also added the option of having, let’s say a 30 minutes call, a free call, to help people build their resume. This call is for free. They don’t have to pay anything, they just have to create an account and book a call with us through [inaudible 00:51:42], so it’s very easy. And a member of our team will talk with that person and we can help people get started on their journey.

Luis:

All right. Well, that’s great. So I guess that’s it. We’re going to have all those links in the show notes so people don’t have to actually Google, they can just go and click. And yeah, Christian, it was an absolute pleasure having you. Thank you so much.

Christian Maria:

Yeah, me too, Luis. And thank you very much also for having me.

Luis:

Yeah. And thank you for listening to the Distant Job Podcast, your podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams. Thank you so much. See you next week.

Speaker 3:

And so we close another episode of the Distant Job Podcast. And if you enjoyed the episode, please, you can help us out by sharing it on social media. That would be great. It’s how we reach more listeners and the more listeners we have, the more awesome guests I can get in touch and convince to participate in these conversations that are a joy to have for me, and I hope they’re a joy for you to listen to as well. You can also help a lot leaving reviews on iTunes or your podcast syndication service of choice. Reviews are surprisingly helpful in helping the podcast get to more listeners. Now, another thing that you might want to do is go to distantjob.com/blog/podcast. Click on your favorite episode, any episode really, and subscribe. By subscribing, you will get a notification whenever a new episode is up and whenever we get the transcripts of the episode up so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form.

And of course, if you need to find a great employee for your team, a great remote employee, you should take the whole world into consideration and not just look to hire locally, not just look to hire in your country. Look around the whole world because that’s the talent pool that contains the best talent. And to help you with that, again, distantjob.com is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who you need and we will make sure that you get the best possible candidate, 40% faster than the industry standard. And with that, I bid you adieu. See you next week on the next episode of the Distant Job Podcast.

The pandemic led most businesses to transform their work structures. In some cases, some shifted to a fully remote environment, and others to a hybrid. Also, working remotely led many entrepreneurs to build and scale their startups 100% virtually.

This is the case of Reedact, a company that was born when the pandemic took place and has been remote since its early stages. During this podcast, Cristian Maria shares how he built and scaled the company and some helpful strategies to succeed. 

Highlights:

  • Insights about scaling startups
  • The importance of delegating
  • Why organization in a startup is key to succeeding 
  • Why remote teams need synergy 
  • Tips for building a solid resume

Book Recommendation:

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE so you won’t miss all of the other interesting episodes that we have coming up every Friday!

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You live, breathe and eat code, and have fun figuring out how to solve problems. And you love living in South America or Eastern Europe. But you don’t feel as fulfilled as your friends in North America.

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