Myriad Live 2017 with Justin Falk, CEO of TalentVine
Suzanne: I've go to do the, like ... and we're live! And we're editing along the way. I'm with ... Justin, is it?
Justin Falk: Yep, Justin.
Suzanne: I have to say, I was about to Jason, literally I was about to say Jason.
Justin Falk: That's fine, I'll answer to the name Jason, I get called that so often.
Suzanne: Do you really, literally?
Justin Falk: So often, my stepdad even called me that at his wedding when he was thanking-
Suzanne: Oh no way!
Justin Falk: When he was thanking everyone for actually arriving from overseas, so I've been called it so often I'll turn around and say yes, I won't even correct people anymore.
Suzanne: You don't, because it'd be awkward otherwise, yeah, like this moment right now. I'm really excited to be with Talent Vine, they're doing some great jobs in terms of disrupting the innovation space with their recruitment as well. Let's introduce yourself, can you introduce to everyone who you are and what you do.
Justin Falk: Yeah, sure, so my name's Justin Fox, I'm one of the co-founders and CEO Talent Vine, based here in Brisbane, and essentially what we're doing is we're making it a lot easier for employers to work with the best recruiters out there and just simplifying and making it more cost-effective, that whole outsourced recruitment process.
Suzanne: Excellent. Translation, they just make you find good people.
Justin Falk: Absolutely.
Suzanne: Good talent.
Justin Falk: The best talent, and making sure you can retain them.
Suzanne: Retention's really important because everyone, especially within this lifestyle, millennials, they said that people don't really, we're looking for jobs, but the average millennial is expected to change their jobs like ten times in two or three years or something. And retention is really important for a lot of recruiters, like for a lot of employers.
Justin Falk: Absolutely, retention is like the most important part. When people always look at recruitment, they look at the recruitment fees, but the true cost of recruitment is actually getting it wrong, having to re-hire, when you go out to market, and having to find someone else because of the disruption that this brings to you and your team, it's huge. There's lost productivity, bad code being returned, so it's so important not only to find the right person, and be able to, you know, nurture them, especially from in-house and younger people, you know, that's a completely different way of managing.
Suzanne: Interesting, we mentioned and talked about how you, for two years, was it, 16 months, you just grinded out, when you first started your start-up.
Justin Falk: Yeah, that's right. 'Cause it's like, over-working yourself it's so glamorised, in the start-up space, and you know, if you're not working these 80, 90 hour weeks, then, you know, you're just being lazy, so I kind of bought into that, but then at the same time when you're not earning a salary anymore you need to get a product to market as quick as possible. So yeah, it was about 16 months that I went without a workday off-
Suzanne: You're bootstrapping, so bootstrapping means you're trying to be handling more expense, or burn rate within when you are creating your start-up, right?
Justin Falk: Yeah, exactly. Doing everything as cheap or as free as possible.
Suzanne: So for you, is it you, or how big was your team at the time when bootstrapped?
Justin Falk: So that was just myself, back then, so I found my, I met my co-founder, and that was in January of last year, and so Tex was amazing, so he worked, he still had his own job, and he just building our product just evenings, weekends, we used to catch up, just do it then, and that was for about six months until he, until we were actually at a position where we had enough revenue where he could come on board and we could pay ourselves both a salary.
Suzanne: High five!
Justin Falk: Thank you.
Suzanne: So what happened is, you were working really long hours, 16 months, you burnt yourself out.
Justin Falk: Yeah, yeah, just totally was, I started realising I was being a lot more unproductive, I just wasn't at my best in terms of dealing with, you know, investors and clients and everyone like that, I just constantly found myself on edge, wasn't sleeping well, and you know, it was affecting my own performance, my own productivity, so yeah had a family holiday over in Singapore, and got over there and my sisters and my mom were in tears and they're like you're a complete shell of a man, you're not yourself, you're not engaged.
And I was very defensive and I was like I'm in the start-up world, this is what I gotta do it's all part of the process. And after about two or three days of pretty much sleeping for 20 hours a day, suddenly I all of a sudden felt like myself again, and came back and after that point I actually realised the value of rest, and that this over-working shouldn't be glamorised. And I'm a better person, I can fit more in fewer hours, when I have time off.
Suzanne: You're more efficient, more self-aware, it sounds like it. And you sound happier, dude. Just saying
Justin Falk: It's all a façade ... No, I am happier.
Suzanne: And what is your one tip would you like to give, or that you can learn, that has made a difference In terms of balance.
Justin Falk: Just, I think you know, stay true to yourself, because the whole start-up thing can be so all-consuming, you know. Everything from the moment that you wake up, the media that you consume, you know, getting on to your emails, and the people that you spend all your time with are start-ups, and investors and clients and that. It just becomes your life, but you know, stay true to kind of who you were, I think. Don't let that become your only identity. So, for me, as I'm quite a competitive triathlete and all, so I find that taking that time out and making sure that I spend time on my bike and running and swimming, and you know, spending time with those friends who are triathletes, as opposed to just the start-ups lets you kinda keep that balance, and so when you get back up in the start-up world you're more energised again.
Suzanne: You mentioned like you'd sometimes only have one day a week off, just to have, like, your brain rest, right?
Justin Falk: Yeah, for sure. So one full day, I might check my emails and if there's anything kind of crucial and urgent I'll respond to that, otherwise I have one day where I don't really do anything that's that proactive, and yeah, make sure I just get to rest, and then yeah, I'm back to full strength again.
Suzanne: Awesome. And if anyone wants or, any employees, or companies are interested in recruitment, where can they find you?
Justin Falk: The best way to find us is just Talent Vine, so that's v-i-n-e dot com dot a-u. And yeah we've got all the information there, so any great recruiters as well are always welcome to speak to them, but yeah for employers are definitely the ones who get the most benefit from us.
Suzanne: Talk to Justin, not Jason, okay?
Justin Falk: Yes, although I will answer to Jason, so that's fine.
Suzanne: All right, thank you so much for the conversation.
Justin Falk: That's an absolute pleasure, thanks for having me.