Over time, though, my Jimdo co-founders and I started looking for more. We wanted somebody who would be involved over a longer period of time, who would continually ask us the really hard questions, and thus help us develop Jimdo as a whole.
Most importantly, we wanted someone who could tell us the things he or she sees from the outside that are really hard for us to see from the inside.
So a while back, we had the idea of setting up an Advisory Board. The idea is to meet at least every three months, report on where we are, and discuss the next steps.
We wanted someone who could tell us the things he or she sees from the outside that are really hard for us to see from the inside.
Today, I’m really happy to announce our first Advisory Board member: Neil Bainton. Christian got to know him at a conference in the U.S. (Knowing Christian, he started talking to Neil and didn't give him a chance to walk away!) At that time, Neil was the COO of MailChimp and helped build it into one of the most successful email marketing companies to date. MailChimp is a company we deeply admire that shares a lot of the same cultural values as we do.
It just clicked between all four of us. He asked the really hard questions, and pinpointed and understood the challenges we face right away. We also felt that he was naturally aligned with the culture and vision at Jimdo, which was really important to us.
For example, one thing we discussed at length was the challenge we as co-founders face with passing on responsibilities (something Fridtjof has written about before). Jimdo is now made up of 200 awesome people, and it just isn’t possible for us to be responsible for every team. We needed to free up time for us to be more focused on where we want to take the company. This topic was not new to us, but Neil really stressed its importance and also guided us on what our new approach could be.
The first meetings with Neil have been tremendously helpful. Based on this experience, I recommend other businesses find their own version of an “advisory board” too. Of course it’s not important what you call it, how often you talk, or what the topics are. It will be different for everyone. Here's some of what we've learned so far about setting one up:
Co-founder at Jimdo
Matthias studied at the University of Kiel and the University of Gothenburg and then went into business with Fridtjof and Christian to start Jimdo. Matthias takes care of Jimdo's marketing. In his free time, you can find him hang gliding.