At TheLadders, we’ve always made time to get out of the office together. And while we’ve never been into trust falls or rope bridges, we have enjoyed paintball and bowling and competitive triathalons -- or even just picnicking in the park with each other -- over the years.
But this fall, I decided to try something new. We’ve all heard the expression “you eat what you kill”, but what if your team had to, you know, actually eat what they kill?
I took my team, by bus and boat, to find out on the swirling seas around Montauk.
Now at TheLadders, which I co-founded with my friends Andrew and Marc almost a decade ago, we’ve always been a nimble company. Our mantra from the early days was “We’ll make it even if we never raise a dime!”
Being resilient has served us well. We’ve only raised $8 mm in equity capital and we pioneered a new industry, signing up over 5 million job-seekers and 25,000 recruiters to our professional job-matching service. After our first raise in 2004, we never raised another round. Success with that type of bootstrapping means always being resourceful.
Which leads me to last Tuesday and a bus carrying me and twenty of my top colleagues to Montauk. We boarded the 85-foot Marlin VI Princess for a five-hour fishing trip. With a twist.
You see, “eat what you kill” is a common saying in our tech community, but tonight, it was also our bill of fare. I told my team that that night, dinner was our responsibility:
“Tonight, we will be eating what we kill.
Fish is the only item on the menu, but not just any kind of fish. It will be true, locally sourced, line-caught, fresh fish, right off of this boat.
Caught by you.
So, if you want to feast, let’s catch a lot of great fish. If you want to go home hungry, let’s come back empty-handed. The choice is yours.”
So we fished...
And took in the scenery.
We had a blast.
And we caught 22 fish: four large striped bass, several bluefish and few tuna.
And they were tasty.
And we learned a lesson, in the way that only “doing it yourself” can really teach you.
If you want to learn about bootstrapping your business, my saying is:
“Eat what you kill!”
Alex Douzet is Co-Founder and COO of TheLadders. In this role, Alex is responsible for the company strategy, global business operations, and product development.