Day In The Life Interview, Pablo Hesse
Today’s Monday motivation comes from Madrid based startup Teltoo and this Day In The Life interview with CEO and Co-founder Pablo Hesse.
Teltoo develops solutions for the live streaming market, which is one of the hottest spaces right now with Netflix, Amazon, Facebook or Twitter!
1. First can you tell us a bit about your job? What does your company do?
I’m the co-founder & CEO of Teltoo, a startup that went through the 2016 edition of the Virgin Media Techstars program in London. We develop solutions for the live streaming market, which is one of the hottest spaces right now with Netflix, Amazon, Facebook or Twitter making a lot of noise. Our main product is a managed peer-to-peer technology that helps online TV companies to optimize their online video delivery, offering their viewers a buffer-free video experience. How many times have you been watching your favorite game or show online and just in the most interesting moment the video stopped? We solve that. For Online TV companies Teltoo is much better than using only a Content Delivery Network (CDN) because it allows the network to scale much more sustainably at a reasonable price. It integrates seamlessly into their workflow and works on the browsers’ background so as viewers we don’t need to do anything at all. There’s also an analytics dashboard to monitor traffic performance and activity, and it is compatible with most video players. In other words, we are a good deal for both content owners and viewers.
2. What brought you to this area?
We’re living in the golden age of online video. According to Cisco up to 80% of world’s Internet traffic is expected to be video by 2020. Paradoxically, the Internet was NEVER designed for video transmission at all. Online TV content providers are struggling to cope with the ever-increasing amount of bandwidth needed to scale at the pace that users demand. The unpredictable costs they face, together with the infrastructure needed is a huge challenge that many of them just have not been able to overcome. We couldn’t believe there wasn’t a sustainable and affordable solution to solve this problem so we decided to do it ourselves. The result was Teltoo.
3. What time does your day start, and what does your typical workday schedule look like?
I don’t tend to have a very strict work schedule. Rather than adjust to a framework I adapt myself to the circumstances of every day. For instance, there are days in which you have more meetings or others where you can stay in the office and focus on metrics or financials. What is most important is to prepare in advance, review the main topics you need to deliver by the end of the week and prioritize them. What is also important is to know that you only own part of your agenda; others control the other parts. If that’s clear to you, then you can organize better and find time to dedicate to yourself, for example, exercising, reading, listening to music or watching TV.
4. What kind of projects are you currently working on?
We are developing our p2p content delivery solution in several countries in Europe. Most customers have common requirements, which help the product to scale, but there are parts that need customization and those are things we are currently working on to then offer better services to upcoming customers.
5. What do you consider the greatest achievement in your work to date?
We have implemented the solution in big companies. One of them is the Spanish state broadcaster, RTVE. For us, this was an incredible experience as we could work hand in hand with a really big player in Spain and then show the result internally. That was indeed a very special moment but this is just going to be the first of many more.
6. What is the one app you could not live without?
I would say Google Maps. I’m always travelling and in a rush so I have little time to check the map before going to one place to another. I always prefer to go walking or take the underground because I feel it is the best way to feel the environment of a city but what used to happen was that I found myself lost in the station or in the middle of the street. Google Maps was the solution to all my problems. I can prepare the route, check it at any time or change it on the go. Now I’m always on time for my appointments.
7. What’s the best thing about working at your company?
One of the things we decided to look after was our company culture. We all come from big corporations where the values were just represented on a stylish frame on the human resources department. We quit our jobs because we thought we could do things differently. I reckon it is really hard, maybe the hardest thing to do when you start your own company but it is worth taking the time to do it properly. For now, we’re learning and making mistakes but that moves us one step closer to our goal: to create a space where people could express themselves the way they are.
8. Where is the after work hangout?
That’s definitely one of the things we must improve. We eat together, play sports, attend community events but we do little after work drinks. As I said, it is definitely on the board of things to do ☺
9. Who is your professional role model?
Too many because I like to pick things from various people to then incorporate them to my own personality. I like to read biographies. For me, biographies are a good way to learn from others while reading a story. Fiction stories are good but real stories are the best because it’s when something is real that you can say to yourself “that’s doable”. Last biographies I read were Johan Cruyff’s and Paul Newman’s. From the latter I learnt how important it is to be perseverant to achieve your goals while from the former how to ask yourself the right questions to put things in the right place.
10. What makes London a good city for technology and startups?
If I could only choose one factor then I would say its people, the network. There are a lot of talented people, passionate about technology startups in London that are either willing to give a hand, work with you or do business with you. There are also a lot of spots where you can connect, from Google Campus to Techspace to name just two. In the end, the people you surround yourself will determine all the things you will become in the future and London is definitely full of good people that can put you on the right track. Other factors, of course, are available capital and business activity.
11. Which tech trends are you most excited about?
I tend to be cautious with trends. I don’t like when people are exaggerating the benefits of a certain technology. I believe it is better to adopt, observe and give time before promoting things as if they were the panacea. Having said this, I like to see what technology can do for education. Education is the enabler of peoples’ life improvement and technology can reduce the costs to access to it.
12. What are the top 3 qualities you look for in an employee?
Rather than 3 specific qualities I like to see how a new employee is going to combine with the rest of the team. Of course, when we look for someone we are looking for a role, i.e. senior software developer, but once we have a pool of people that could fit into that description I then look to their traits. A good team is like a good orchestra, when all things combine well the symphony is perfect. One specific trait I always like to test is how likely is someone to try something they haven’t done before. This demonstrates to me two things: willingness to learn and no fear, which are key in the startup environment.
13. And finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to an entrepreneur starting out?
The most important thing is to start with a concrete problem for a specific group of people. Then, make sure you can dedicate to it full time for a year and your team is composed of 3-4 people that complement each other really well. Pick one metric that will later lead you to revenue generation and make it grow. Only when you can demonstrate that that metric is growing, go for capital with the only purpose to make it grow faster.