2017 was such an exciting year for all of us! Scientists discovered Zealandia, the Earth’s eighth hidden continent, we are only a decade away from reversing paralysis, and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was proven correct.
But that’s not all! At 24slides, we took a big step towards achieving our ultimate “why”: to make the world smaller by bridging the gap between talents in emerging countries and potential customers in developed ones.
An unforgettable story and bits from last year
Six years ago, our CEO and Founder, Tobias Schelle, had a brilliant idea from which 24slides was born. He started the company out of his own savings, setting up a small office in Malang, Indonesia with a handful of talented designers.
As time passed, his dream became bigger and so did his ambitions. Together, with a great bunch of people, he moved marketing, sales, and operations to Copenhagen and turned the Malang office into a dedicated Design Headquarters.
Last year, we hit one of the first big bumps on our journey. With a sudden influx of orders, our support department hit capacity and resulted in missed deadlines and a lot of frustration both for us, and our customers.
But this was a huge learning experience for us. It taught us how to scale effectively and absorb even sudden spikes in demand. Now, when we look back, we realize that this was a necessary obstacle in our journey. And thanks to it, we’ve managed to come to a lot further in 2017.
“I am incredibly proud of the team, and the efforts made last year. We were hit hard by a very steep increase in business in the beginning of the year, and we realized that we were (almost) not able to handle it, with the current set-up and processes.
It was very challenging and caused a lot of missed deadlines, stressed supporters, overtime work, and overall chaos. But we were able to restructure the department, establish clear ownership and responsibilities, and limit the work on each individual person.
I would say the result is a more scalable structure, better-trained support staff, and overall better processes. And this could not have been achieved without the hard work put in by the team.“ (Thea Langø, Head of Operations at 24slides)
This is how we scale faster and smarter
After facing heavy pressure on our resources in early 2017, we’ve vastly improved our scalability when it comes to hiring designers. Before, it took us 6 months or more to get a designer through the complete onboarding process. Now we’re now able to hire and train a designer in Indonesia in 2 months. We’ve done even better with our customer supporters; we’re proud to say that now we can fully train a new member in one month compared to the previous 6 months.
A defined purpose
We also realized that if we wanted to scale rapidly, we need to define our purpose in everything we do:
“One of the things that I realized last year was how powerful it’s to have a purpose. It was in 2017 that I really began sharing and talking about our purpose as a company (…) Right now, I have a feeling that when I will look back 5 years from now, I will think that the most important thing we did to scale the company was to put our purpose first every time, in our communication and decisions.” (Tobias Schelle, CEO, and Founder at 24slides)
The core team behind 24slides
But to make sure that we could truly bring our purpose into everything we do, we also had to reasses who we hired in the first place. 2017 was about saying no to anyone who is ‘pretty good’, and making sure our team was only made of people who got a “HELL YES” after the first interview. This practice helped us understand that if we want to set high standards of what we do, then we have to start with the people we’re hiring. So this is something that we need to continue doing in 2018.
“Another thing that I learned in 2017 was that it really IS possible to find people who are as motivated as you are to make things happen and who are driven by something bigger than themselves.
It is actually strongly linked to my learnings about the purpose that I’ve mentioned above, as the key to finding these people is to look for those who believe in the same thing as you do and who are motivated by something more ambitious than just the paycheck.
Either it’s a hell yes, or we don’t hire. And we can apply this to junior positions as well, where it’s just much more about the energy and mindset than the skillset.” (Tobias Schelle, CEO, and Founder at 24slides)
Ownership is the new responsibility
Last year, we decided to give our employees total ownership of their work. This means that they will have an area of work that they are fully responsible for no matter how many people are helping with a project or task. This practice opened a totally new perspective on trust and freedom. For example, we have Project Managers in Indonesia that have full ownership of each client. Even if they have other colleagues who are helping them with the clients, the ultimate responsibility lies with one iProject Manager.
“This area is still an ongoing work, but we have made significant progress. I believe this is the key to scale and keep the quality high in all aspects.” (Tobias Schelle, CEO, and Founder at 24slides)
24Slides: 2017 in numbers
In 2017 we hired 21 more people in Indonesia and 3 in Denmark. We’re proud to say that the 24Slides family now has a total of 65 members.
On top of that, we had 4,910 orders placed from 73 countries. We designed 109,321 slides and turned around 2,332 orders within 24 hours. We also met 99.7% of deadlines.
When it comes to our customers’ feedback, we’re happy to say that you rated our design service with an average score of 4.48 out of 5 stars last year. We received 1,965 reviews, of which 1,322 were 5-stars and 462 were 4-stars. While we think that’s pretty amazing, we’re still working hard to hit 5 out of 5 for every single order.
Besides all the above awesomeness, we also had 19 team building activities last year. AND we finished the construction of our massive new office in Indonesia. Whaaat? Yup, that’s right!
“We aspire to always go the extra mile while creating amazing experiences for all existing and potential customers.”
What are we most proud of?
We’re definitely proud of our new office in Indonesia. We converted a warehouse of more than 2000 square meters from which 800 square meters are reserved for recreation activities. It has a cafeteria, yoga room, gym, sleeping pods, a tennis table and a badminton area. We’re thrilled to say that the 24slides office is the coolest one in East Java (or even perhaps Indonesia) with so many facilities and activities that are focusing on employee happiness, well-being, and productivity.
Our Copenhagen team has moved offices too. We’re now in SingularityU, a global learning, and innovation community. Here, we have access to great facilities, good people, and inspiring companies. Everything we need to keep innovating and delivering a better service to you.
To a brighter 2018 and beyond
As we turn another page of our story, we’re super excited to write a more adventurous chapter in 2018.
We’ll continue to lead the world in presentation design and deliver the best service to our customers. But in order to do that, we’ll invest even more in tech, marketing, and hiring. That means better designs, better service, a better platform and spreading our message even further in 2018.
So once again, our focus in 2018 is on scalability, exponential growth, and customer satisfaction. Part of this is to continue our efforts towards better training and career paths for all of our staff. Better structure, well-defined purposes, and stronger teams will be the core elements of reaching our goals in 2018.
This year will also take us a step closer to our next big dream; building 24Academy – a learning center for all talents in emerging countries. Because we’re not just content with empowering those that work for 24Slides. Our goal is much bigger. We want to give every talent in every emerging country the tools, knowledge, and ability to compete in the global market. It’s an audacious goal, and one you’ll certainly be hearing more about this year!
As a wise man once said: “Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
Thank you for joining us on our journey and helping us make a difference.