LFP247 – The Long Slow Path To Tech Success, Issues Involved and Moral Choices w/Ruzbeh Bach CEO City Falcon

The tech world focuses heavily on the “succeed fast or fail fast” model of tech growth. In part this is as VC firms generally have limited life funds and hence cannot handle slower models but is also as the tech press loves the hype/condemn cycle implicit in this. However generally most businesses do not follow this model. Whilst rapid success comes to a few, for more it takes rather longer and for many its a slow rocky path. After all hottie OpenAI (ClosedAI?) took quite some years to make a noticeable splash.

Ruzbeh founded City Falcon a decade ago and whilst, like us all, preferred rapid success, he has moved into the more marathon development model of the business. I was particularly enamoured of his very human/ethical perspective and clarity of the social costs of the “succeed or fail fast” model – namely that it comes at the price of burning your friends and family and employees just so that you can get onto your next gig as fast as possible.

With a huge desire worldwide to move on from all business being dominated by neoliberalism – you know, the “humans qua just another resource model” (with some virtue signalling perhaps as perfume to cover the heartlessness of seeing people as resources) – this is a good time to dive into the slower model. This slower model is definitely no picnic – the longer you hang out in business or in life the more tsunamis you will have to face.

Topics discussed include:

  • Malta as a tech scene with incentives to attract talent
  • Malta Enterprise & Start in Malta
  • the competition not just for digital nomads but digital business and entrepreneurs in general
  • why Ruzbeh chose to move the business to Malta
  • 300 days of sunshine every year
  • Ruzbeh’s career journey through Tech into Fintech
  • Ruzbeh’s original intention re the business re timescale
  • pivoting from B2C to B2B and B2B2C
  • “There’s no point failing if we have built all this value and have customers coming to us”
  • Strategic investors eg EToro
  • 48 staff today
  • what led Ruzbeh to move on from the failing fast model
  • “Why do I need to fail?”
  • When is it I should fail?”
  • the challenge of clients asking for more versus being clearer on their needs/desires
  • the criticality of cashflow/raises for the slower model of growth
  • importance of aim… to eg raise $300m to become a unicorn or to get to cashflow positive
  • raised $5m over 10 years
  • HT to Seedrs
  • Case Study in mining of dislocation being ever more likely the longer one is carrying on and need to react to massive changes in business environment
  • Two Case Studies for City Falcon of dislocation due to market changes/dislocations
  • is success how much you get when you exit or providing a supportive environment for employees who are loyal, hardworking and delivering or some combination?
  • prioritising people over money as a founder whilst ensuring a profitable firm
  • the pre-neoliberal English model of sacrificing annual p0rofits before you sack people compared to the modern “HR” model of Profits Uber Alles
  • desire to hire people who play sports as a proxy of finding people with grit
  • the many decision points to quit or carry on
  • the importance of being lean but also having staff buy-in to the economics of the business
  • caring in business and especially Family businesses
  • the relevance of the stage of the Fintech consolidation
  • shoutouts of City Falcon
  • their interesting latest product Dynamic Company Sector Classification which uses automation to dynamically classify sectors for companies
  • thus eg no longer “just” Mining sector or FS Sector but Generative AI subsector
  • how this is done

And much much more 🙂

Share and enjoy!