I’ve been delighted to receive a ton of excited responses to my recent announcement about becoming a co-founder of Nobody Studios, a new venture studio set to revolutionize company creation.
The top question people have asked so far is, “How can I get involved?” and I love the enthusiasm! Because that’s how I feel about taking on this challenge—something that’s never been attempted before.
100 compelling companies in five years: we truly have a BIG vision!
For now, what we need is talent, capital, and influence. We have a strong start on an amazing team already, and lots of opportunity to work with great humans, having fun and growing together.
But this endeavor is not for everyone, nor should it be.
From the beginning, our Chief Nobody Mark McNally has taken the approach of “self-selection”—telling people about our vision and values and trusting the right people will put their hand up to discover if it’s a good fit and win-win scenario for all.
So now that word is starting to spread and people are getting excited, I thought it would be a good idea to share who might actually want to be part of this (and who wouldn’t).
The Values of Nobody
A lot of people have asked about the company values I mentioned in my last blog, so let’s start there.
Time and Capital Efficiency
We believe too much money going into startups too early is ruining many of them. Before raising millions in capital, it’s important to make sure we’ll actually build a product that people pay for.
We’re focused on being frugal and aggressive. We have ruthless internal hurdles for investment decisions to make sure we accomplish what one ought to in the pre-seed stage.
Take one of our first companies, Parentipity. We built it in five months and launched in 14 languages in 20 countries…for $78,000.
In the startup world, that amount would typically cover the first call with attorneys. For us, this is closer to how it should be, and we intend to do far better.
We’re creating an environment where the best ideas come to the top. It’s not about who is the highest paid person in the room. It’s about encouraging healthy, honest, quick debate to learn fast and make hard decisions.
Then there’s the financial aspect. 90% of people on a startup journey never see a transformational upside. We give equity across the portfolio so you’re part of the family.
We also have a merit-based equity award that creates the possibility for high-impact contributors to get executive level equity. This is bold—and not something we’ve seen done anywhere before.
We want to bring our ideas to market quickly and learn publicly—not hide behind closed doors. We’ll talk about them, see what people think, and invite challenges to make them better.
We want to let the crowd guide us, give us feedback, and support the work. You can get involved financially, as a fan, or as a participant in a company you love, that represents your values and brings your vision of the future to life.
You can see all the companies we’re working on today and some we’re hoping to create in the near future here.
We’re also offering a new Clubhouse series starting May 13th. We’ll bring together leaders from diverse domains, form uncommon collaborations, and debate ideas for what companies we could create—you can come on stage and enter that conversation too!
(Read this blog about Crowd-infused Innovation)
Transparent To The Core
Our intention is to share all our decisions, mistakes, and lessons learned in the open. We’re looking at ways to document and publish it all publicly, without much narrative—just being raw.
We’re going to surround ourselves with people who know how to Think BIG, start small, and learn fast. Transparency is core to our insights. Trust is core to our speed.
Sharing the mistakes we make will help us get smarter, and hopefully save you some pain in your entrepreneurial endeavors—with or without us.
To truly bring these values to life in our daily work, Nobody’s thesis centers on culture. People first and people matter the most. The company we’re creating is inclusive, collaborative, and focused on collective benefit.
One step we’ve just taken is bringing on a Chief Culture Officer at the outset, Sejal Thakkar. Sejal trained as an employment attorney and later shifted her focus to coaching companies to treat every person with dignity and respect.
Her mission is to educate and empower others to be a part of achieving this goal around civility, inclusiveness, diversity, and creating positive workforces and work environments (look out for my interview with Sejal on an upcoming podcast episode).
There are particular mindset factors inherent in our studio culture that we believe represent the evolution of the way companies are built and operated.
For example, the collective ownership of Nobody Studios stands out: you will not find that in a startup accelerator. We believe this approach will provide a breath of fresh air for all who have been locked out of this kind of wealth building opportunity.
We also embrace humility and curiosity, because it’s not about competing or defending your ideas to the death. It’s about sharing, testing, learning, and getting better, so together we can find out what works and what doesn’t.
We define success in terms of insight gained, hard decisions made, and best outcomes achieved to make progress.
Flexibility features heavily as well. There may be frequent changes in people’s jobs, roles, and which companies they contribute to. If companies don’t work out, we accept it, and make it okay for our talent.
We’ll capture the lessons we learn, share them, pick up the next best idea on the board and put the right people to work to find out as quickly and frugally as possible if it’s viable.
We’re testing ideas, not individuals—we know our people are great. The ideas we don’t, yet.
These factors offer a radical departure from the status quo. If you go into an accelerator and your company doesn’t work out, the failure is typically pinned on the individuals.
Our ethos favors camaraderie, cross-collaboration, and aligned incentives. We encourage everyone to help one another and each team in the studio. Because if one company wins, everyone wins.
“We define success in terms of insight gained, hard decisions made, and best outcomes achieved to make progress.”
So Who Wants to Be a Nobody (and Who Doesn’t)?
Hopefully it’s clear at this point why I said our approach is not going to be a good fit for everyone.
If you’re a company founder with a specific dream, a team, and funding, already focused on developing a fully formed idea, our studio wouldn’t be a good fit.
So who could this be a great fit for?
If you’re excited by the concept, that’s a great starting point. We want to put that energy to work on the business ideas that will shape and invent the future.
You may also:
- have diverse interests
- thrive with change
- enjoy parallelizing multiple streams of work
- be action-oriented to cut through complexity
- readily learn your way through uncertainty, and
- love tackling big challenges with many unknowns
At a startup, there are always 50 to-do items. Can you decide which are not only urgent but most important and execute toward meaningful outcomes—all while keeping track of the rest?
100 compelling companies in five years is a bold ambition. We know we don’t have all the answers. Yet we’re asking tough questions and actively working to figure out the best solutions.
If you’re still reading, and still excited, there are three ways you can get involved:
Talent. Become a Nobody, whether full-time, part-time, freelance, or by joining one of the companies we create. We’ll need product, engineering, and design talent (visual, UX, marketing)—people with an entrepreneurial mindset and a passion to see and direct the impact of their work.
Influence. If you’re inspired by what we’re doing, share our story with your network. Raise awareness and help build momentum towards our crowdfunding event in the weeks ahead.
Capital. We’re going to be the first venture company to offer equity to investors through crowdfunding—and the equity will be spread across the whole portfolio of businesses. Meaning investors won’t be betting on just one company. They’ll have a stake in every company we create, forever!
It’d be amazing to have you on board as an investor during the crowdfund campaign or as an angel if you’re so inspired.
Still Interested in Being a Nobody?
Think about if you’d like to be involved, and how. We need talent, capital, and influence—offering any or all of these would be amazing. If interested, get in touch to join our growing community of Nobodies. We’ll make sure you’re the first to know as things develop in the coming weeks and months!