Leo Brunnhofer is the founder and CEO of TaskTillDone, visionary and entrepreneurial Product Manager with over 10+ years of diversified experience in IT Software Industry focusing on Technology Management and Business Consulting for (Lean) Start-ups, Gamification and Software Engineering.
In today’s interview for Magazine MN, Leo shares insights into his entrepreneurial journey, tells us about his new project TaskTillDone and gives valuable bits of advice for startup founders.
Magazine MN: How did you become an entrepreneur?
Leo: My entrepreneurial spirit dates back from my early youth days when I wanted to create something of value. At that time this meant increasing my pocket money. With time that idea picked up a more clear form – I like to work a lot, but I don’t want to spend 40 + hours a week doing something I am not passionate about. And that was my main motivator – making sense of my job I feel passionate about.
Magazine MN: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Leo: As I said before, being an entrepreneur enables me to create something of value from scratch, maintain and grow it. It gives me the freedom to choose the team I want to work with, which automatically translates to the team I enjoy working with. The latter means creating an environment where people express “get stuff done” attitude. Among other aspects that I enjoy are the variety of tasks that come from different areas, and the process of creating something valuable for one, ten or thousands of people. It’s also still fascinating what a small group of people can achieve if they work together and are passionate about what they do.
Magazine MN: What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Leo: I'm not a big fan of universal advice, even if it comes from an individual who has a lot of knowledge to share. I believe that the advice should be personalized depending on the situation at hand. Perhaps, not to trust people who are giving a universal advice. Haha! Joking aside, my approach and, therefore, the advice I would give to others is - if possible, try to find a win-win solution in every situation and/or relationship. To be able to do that, you must listen to what others are saying to you - friends/ customers/ partners/employees. I found Dale Carnegie’s and Stephen R. Covey’s books to be sources of a great advice.
Magazine MN: How do you keep yourself motivated in difficult situations?
Leo: My secret to staying motivated at all times and in all aspects of my life is in having a vision, long and short term goals. Success and failure come hand in hand when it comes to running a startup, and at times the two can interchange in a single day. From my experience, having a clear vision, long and short term goals (naturally those can change with time), are the two most important tools that make your next step easier or obvious. To put it differently, you must know where you want to go. With the end (final outcome) in mind, it’s much easier to find a route there. Which route you take is not that important. Just keep going.
Magazine MN : What’s your attitude towards lean startup methodology?
Leo: In short, I am a fan! I not only agree with its pillars, I implement them whenever I can, and measure the results. I think that looking at what happened is a great way to learn and, consequently, achieve both personal and professional growth. Build, measure, learn is a great attitude for many, many situations in life.
Magazine MN: How do you go about hiring staff for your business?
Leo: Your team is your greatest asset. So when I’m hiring for an internal full time or part time position, I look for a match across various elements. The first step in trying to find a good match is always through my extended social network, where I usually screen people I worked with in the past. The process of finding a great employee for a startup is challenging, especially if your goal is to recruit experienced people. During the first interview I prefer to have a longer talk. I not only pay attention to the hard skills that potential candidate has, but I also listen to my gut feeling that tells me whether I really want to work with that person or not. Personally, I like to work with people who are passionate, self starters and open to learn new stuff. In my companies we always had a kind of friendship relationship. “Treat people as you like to be treated” is my motto.
Magazine MN: Tell us more about TaskTillDone. What is the main mission of TaskTillDone?
Leo: TaskTillDone’s mission is clear. We want to help startups and entrepreneurs in general in their daily lives by making it very easy for them to outsource work. Outsourcing with TaskTillDone means finding the right person for their daily tasks, getting more things done, staying focused, and having more time for tasks that enable their company to grow and succeed. In short, we help entrepreneurs in achieving their vision, be it the growth from a startup to a successful company or a smaller milestone.
Magazine MN: How did you come up with an idea of creating TaskTillDone?
Leo: Many years ago (2004) at Sanaga Labs, my first startup I worked for, I had a similar idea. It occurred again later at GAMINSIDE where we build a great team with more than 10 full time employees and some external freelancers. After my GAMINSIDE leave, thinking about my new baby Task outsourcing was particularly interesting, because if you are a solo founder you have a variety of tasks to do and no internal team to delegate those tasks to. The existing outsourcing solutions as well outsourcing to your social network have their own problems, so I wanted to find a way to make the process of outsourcing your tasks very easy, perhaps as easy as adding something to your future to-do list. And the rest is history.
Magazine MN: What’s your favorite productivity hack?
Leo: I had spent a lot of time around the productivity topic, so this one is hard to answer. I like the “getting things done” approach, but it did not work for me as it is suggested, hence I adapted it a bit. Having a backlog with your to-do's where you can choose on a daily basis what you complete today is a good thing. I think reviews (daily,weekly) are a very important thing to learn that will ultimately improve your “process”. The daily to-do’s are chosen to reach your nearest goal. That goal can be your weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, 3-year, 7-year plan and/or life vision in different areas. The vision should be stable, whereas goals can change. In your daily/weekly to-do you should select what you should do by yourself and what can be outsourced, because you might not have a skill set for a certain task so you cannot do it, or you don’t want to do a certain task or you should not do this task if the task value is not worth your time but it has to be done, just to give you a few examples. I try to outsource those 3 categories of tasks, so I can do what I do best, or what must be done by myself or what I like to do, for example to learn a new skill. The processes I implemented for TaskTillDone will make the outsourcing experience simple and highly satisfying for both the freelancer and the outsourcer. Speaking of it, I am very proud to announce the launch of a TaskTillDone app on 26th of February. Sign-ups are now open at https://www.tasktilldone, so be sure to check us out!
Magazine MN: What is your best piece of advice for the first-time entrepreneur?
Leo: As I said earlier, I am not a big fan of universal advice. It highly depends on your current “level” in different areas of your life and what you can get out of this. But ... To find your own way, be authentic and honest with others and yourself. Never stop trying to find out what you really love or like to do. When you have figured that out, make a daily step towards achieving your vision. Share your idea and thoughts early on without the fear that your idea could be stolen. The value you gain by sharing is much higher than the risk. The idea is just the first step. The way to success is all about daily execution. Even if the idea is not perfect, start by making your first step. Just do it!
TaskTillDone website: https://www.tasktilldone.com/
Get in touch with Leo on:
Leo Brunnhofer was interviewed by Natalie Myhalnytska