Building your startup, remote working & future planning – Robert Gelb

Robert is the Founder of Kindaba and the CEO at HeySummit

Ever since he was young Robert has enjoyed undertaking and building projects. He found creating new businesses and processes far more rewarding than working as a small cog in a large company.   

His passion for projects began after university. He started a non-profit project where he and 4 friends worked and lived in a converted school bus. They drove around America and made short documentary films about people doing good things in the country. 

He did this because he wanted a project that would throw him in the deep end of the working world and give him a whole bunch of skills that he could add to his CV. Such as large-scale logistics, planning, how to manage a team, and how to fundraise.

After this Robert came back to the UK and started building software programs for a university for a few years. Kindaba started from a personal pain point which was the difficulty of communicating and sharing images with less tech-savvy family members. He started Kindaba in 2017 to solve this problem.    

Kindaba is a sharing platform for families. If Facebook isn’t private enough and Whatsapp is too noisy you can use Kindaba. There are no ads and no data selling. Its a privacy-conscious way of sharing baby photos etc.


Co-founders, control & wealth motivated people

Why do you need a co-founder? Can you make your company a success on your own? Having a partner in business is a great way to plug gaps in your own knowledge and build a stronger business overall. Robert used examples from Noam Wasserman’s book The Founders Dilemma to highlight the advantages of finding a co-founder in his show. 

Control vs wealth

In the book The Founders Dilemma author Noam Wasserman describes two personality types. Each personality type has its own traits and flaw but both are necessary for building a successful business. These types are labeled Control and Wealth. Robert explained both roles in the podcast.    

 ‘I think different people excel in different environments. There are two types of people, control motivated people and wealth-motivated people. When I say wealth motivated people I’m not talking about money I’m talking about wealth of ideas, wealth for the business.   

If you’re a control motivated person you have a very specific vision of what it is you want to achieve. It’s very likely that the finished product you’re working on is a pure representation of what you want to achieve. 

That product will come at the expense of changing things based on feedback or new ways of thinking or other people’s thoughts. If this way of working appeals to you then a control way of thinking is a good methodology for you. But it also means that your team probably isn’t going to be huge. You’re less likely to want to get a co-founder and be reliant on someone else and you won’t like the idea of taking on investment.  

Whereas a wealth motivated person thrives of a lot of different people and a lot of different thoughts coming to the table.’   


Co-founders 

‘So I think a lot of accelerators, like Y-combinator for example, encourage you to have co-founders as they bring a diversity of thought to a startup and allow people to complement each other skills very well. 

There’s this wheel of responsibilities in a startup which consists of 8 or 9 different things. The wheel includes things like marketing, finance, vision, product etc. If you’re thinking about somebody for a co-founder you need to make sure that their expertise don’t overlap too closely with your own. If they do then your partner will add no value to your business. 

If you find someone with complementary skils to your own its a good sign that you’re able to be passionate enough about your idea that you’re able and willing to relinquish some control over it. 

There are a lot of people out there with great ideas that’ll never see the light of day because they don’t have the emotional intelligence to be able to manage a team.’ – Robert Gelb


Further reading

The Founders Dilemma


Show Notes:

00.32 Founders don’t get bank holidays

05.20 Motivating yourself to start a company

07.24 Its always better to have a Co-Founder

12.07 Incorporating remote working into the startup workplace

17.12 Remote workers shouldn’t be paid less

20.04 How to plan for the future

22.57 Where can you find Kindaba and HaySummit