Zvi Band Coder & Founder. Co-Founder & CEO of Contactually. Organizer of DC Tech Meetup & ProudlyMadeInDC. Always in search of the best breakfast burrito.
Author

Zvi

Z

Thankful

Being CEO of a growing venture, regardless of current success or support network, is a hard, dark, lonely position. It may be the best job in the world (definitely the best I’ve ever had), but it’s been riddled with many tough periods and scary moments – particularly in my head. Right now, I’m just thankful. Rather than chime in about darkness and depression, demons I have encountered many...

A confession on our 4th birthday

On October 11th, 2011, Contactually was incorporated. We take our Founding Day pretty seriously – we shut down normal operations for the day, make breakfast for the team, retell the origin and history of Contactually, and go and do fun company bonding activities for the rest of the day. In the past, we’ve gone to an indoor trampoline park, played laser tag, and went on a winery tour...

Organizational Design

One of the core tenets of a first time founder is being responsive to the idea that there is a aircraft carrier’s worth of things you don’t know about building a fast growth organization. But perhaps even more jarring is the delta between the expected and actual importance of certain components of a business. One of those is organizational design. Contactually long eclipsed the two...

In this I believe

One thing I believe in – Great companies are founded on one or a few core principles. These could be secrets, facts, guesses, or beliefs about where the ball is heading. Those principles could be ridiculed and trivialized. In our case, it was hated. One of my strong beliefs early on was that email was a big deal, and will continue to be a big deal. For us, it was the best way we were going...

Exit Interview

I’ve written previously about the positive implications and strategy for 1:1s. One of the more important – and often overlooked – one on one sessions is the exit interview. My first job out of college, an exit interview is a nice way of saying that someone from HR runs through a checklist of to-dos with you, then security escorts you out of the building – “just...

All the ways I was weak at building product

Last year I made the decision to hire a product manager, who I soon had fully take the reigns as VP Product. I wrote last year about the decision. The decision was primarily driven by the need for me to operate at the CEO level and the priorities that a scaling company required. But it was also clear to me and others that I was not the type of product person (at that time) that could tak the...

Reference Checks

Christoph wrote a great post about the need for reference checks in a startup. I’m surprised to hear periodically about startups that make hires without doing reference checks. Or, when people that have completely bombed our reference checks get hired. Reference checks serve a few purposes for us: Verifies that this is a good candidate (that’s the baseline you look for) Helps us...

Galapagos

There are ~90 ships that have access to the Galapagos. On recommendation and research, we went on the National Geographic Endeavor, one of the largest ships in the Galapagos. Highlight album available here. Day 0 Connected through Miami (what a dump of an airport) to Guayaqil, Ecuador. From the many Ecuadorians we would later meet, Guayaqil seems like an awesome city, but as we got in so late and...

Affinity Groups

The best source of learning, advice, and vendors I’ve received is from other founders. Great investors know that their portfolio theory not only applies to returns, but to establishing internal knowledge-sharing among companies at different stages. I’ve been to portfolio conferences for a few different funds, and have gotten more value out of them than any other conference I’ve...

1:1s

Michael Wolfe has a great article about 1:1s and the benefits they provide at a startup. I wasn’t familiar with this being an established concept when we were starting Contactually, but we started doing it, and it’s been pretty helpful. At the moment, I have a few different types of standing 1:1 meetings, outside of the ad-hoc meetings to discuss a particular issue. Team Leads/VPs We...

Zvi Band Coder & Founder. Co-Founder & CEO of Contactually. Organizer of DC Tech Meetup & ProudlyMadeInDC. Always in search of the best breakfast burrito.

Zvi Band

Founder of Contactually.
I'm also passionate about growing the DC startup community, and I've founded Proudly Made in DC and the DC Tech Meetup.