Inside Simplifyd is a short series where we give you, our reader the chance to get to know the people behind the screens. Discovering everything from their childhood aspiration, to their current inspiration, finding out what drives both them and their business – so you can see what makes each of them so great!
Today, we’re talking to Sean Miller, Founder of Simplifyd, a small business tool/client centralising app. We chatted with Sean about the challenges he faces daily working on a new startup, the inspiration behind the Simplifyd webapp, and a little about himself and the rest of his team.
Hi Sean! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. We’ve got 5 quick fire questions to get started:
Where were you born?
In ten seconds tell us about your past ventures?
I spent ten years working in television production – the majority being in cricket. I’ve traveled the world. I started a few businesses… which failed. Ran a dance and model agency. I then eventually set up Jyst Creative and later Simplifyd, which is where I am today.
What did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to be an F-14 Tomcat pilot.
Name all the members of the current Simplifyd team?
James, Branko, Drago, Hannah and myself.
Your favourite work based app?
Slack, I’m all about communication and this is the best I’ve come across yet.
Now lets talk about your current startup. Where did the idea for Simplifyd come from?
Two years ago James Willard, another colleague and I attempted to build a web application specifically for professional golfers and teaching/coaching professionals. What soon became apparent to us was that this market was far too niche. We realised that whatever the end product became it needed to be more generic and have a framework that would allow multiple usability, by this I mean that more than one person within a team could use the app simultaneously. We also wanted it to be usable for anyone, regardless of the industry or field of work they were in.
In February 2014 we headed to the boardroom with these points in mind, to discuss the future of the app…two weeks later we emerged with a new brand, a whole new direction and the blueprint for its framework. Simplifyd was born.
Those two weeks were key to the initial development of Simplifyd, they really allowed us to strip back what we had been working on for the last year and get to the core of what we wanted to create. We wanted a tool that would simplify your business relationships and day to day admin.
Do you have a business partner, if so how did you meet ?
James and I met at the ripe old age of 17 months during Tumble Tots, it was here where the initial discussions about our business future first began – somewhere between the crash mat and bean bag gauntlet. I then moved to Zimbabwe when I was young but our families remained good friends. Over the past 10 years James has been involved in most of my projects in some capacity, and a few years ago we decided to set up a creative agency together, now known as Jyst Creative.
Walk us through your process for developing new features for Simplifyd?
This is an interesting one because having a very small, talented team changes the way we approach such tasks. At Simplifyd it’s very easy for us to make changes and adapt certain features specification on the fly. Usually we find that our features normally evolve from a discussion about another feature or process within the app.
In the case of a completely new feature or something which needs a little more thinking time on it, I normally spend the day in a random coffee shop. Drawing out numerous ideas, plans, layouts, etc that I can then take back to the board room to discuss with James, Branko and the rest of the team. Taking time away from the office is sometimes key for progression.
What is one of the most important lessons you’ve learnt so far from running a startup?
Despite what you may think, startups are not easy. In recent years they have been heavily glamorized both in the media and with the current gold rush in Silicon Valley. When in fact nothing is harder than starting a new business. So if you believe in your idea, concept or product then just go for it, don’t wait around to be told it is a good idea or someone else to do it first. Inspiration is perishable – it’s key to never to give up, because it’s far too easy to.
And finally a question we must ask everyone, what was your favourite childhood band?
This is easy………East 17 !
If you enjoyed the first of our ‘Inside Simplifyd’ series and want to see more posts like this or you have more questions for Sean, then tweet us @GetSimplifyd or leave us a comment below. We love hearing from you.