The key is always to have a process to know when the creative part of an idea ends and the real work of creating something starts. I always try to apply appropriate methodologies and surround myself with talented people who give me an exciting vision.
In 2015, after working for years for several software companies, Héctor Giner realized that practically no one was thinking about the user when it came to creating digital solutions. That’s when he decided to found Commite Inc., a Venture Production Studio for digital products located in Seville whose partners and clients are mainly entrepreneurs from San Francisco and New York. In his experience managing more than ten digital products for different startups at the same time, he had to learn how to balance between the ideal and the realistic, between what theory dictates and customers real needs.
Where did the idea for Commite Inc. come from?
The original idea arose from our frustration working in software consulting companies, where we saw that, as providers, our decisions had very little weight in the projects in which we participated. For a company like ours, specialized in developing and investing in digital products for third parties, the most important thing is the team and the culture that you create. We did not have a product of our own, so we tried to create a business model where our thoughts were taken into account.
Commite Inc. is a group of people, and we try to empower it by making our decisions have value, make them transcend. From the beginning we set out to be more relevant as a technology company, so we focus to a market where technology was important, such as startups, and we started to introduce the investment model, with which you have more to say in the project than if only you are a provider.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
For me it is important to start the day early, at 7AM. In one hour I prioritize tasks and adjust my schedule. Running a technology company that works in three time zones is very difficult to leave your mind blank, so I always reserve a space after taking my children to school to do sports as a form of meditation, which helps me focus on my goals. I have to be available for many hours because of our collaboration with different countries, but I reserve time during the night to be with my family without having to think about work. Before dinner I also dedicate time to my own training.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The key is always to have a process to know when the creative part of an idea ends and the real work of creating something starts. I always try to apply appropriate methodologies and surround myself with talented people who give me an exciting vision. When doing a brainstorming exercise a lot of ideas arise, but the key is to learn to focus, to take just one of them. You start with a bright idea, and when it passes the filter of the methodologies in which you believe, you manage to carry it out. In fact, our value in Commite Inc. is precisely this way to execute the ideas.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The design of interactions between the digital and the physical world. How the daily life of the physical elements that surround us and we already use is improved by applying a digital layer. An example would be Apple Pay: you keep going to a physical store to buy and when you pay you still make a gesture similar to what you did when you used a credit card, but the fact of paying with the mobile phone has improved the user experience in my opinion. This type of tools flees from the creation of entirely new worlds, such as virtual reality. But personally, I find this type of digital improvements of things of daily life much more striking, because I believe that we are still going to live along with our classic models of life for a long time.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Writing all the tasks that I have to do and prioritize them. It’s the first thing I do in the mornings. In my case, I have to make several lists: a central column for each day and several accessories that can last longer. It also helps me to be more productive to point things out, for example, to write down everything it is said in a meeting.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I think something that does not hurt to remember when you’re young is that you have to maintain humility. Learn from the people you admire and help the people around you. Trust and give without expecting anything in return. Never forget that business is a world of relationships and that you will establish real networking with some people. Thanks to that there will be doors that will open for you that would not be open otherwise.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
It is always worth to bet on the design. Although nowadays many agile methodologies indicate that it is better ever to do the minimum possible and validate, I think that introducing a well-executed design layer always contributes to the project. Many people are against this.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Clear your head. To achieve that I use sports, books, music and video games, but never the mobile phone, it does not work for me. Have days to disconnect completely. In my case, I dedicate Saturdays to myself and my family. At least one day is necessary.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
We have grown through referrals, people who have been recommending our work. It seems an unsound form, but it is the opposite. While it is true that you do not have a flood of opportunities or that sense of swimming in abundance, the projects that come out are quite mature.
The strategy we have followed is the flexibility and trust placed in us by the people we work with and who are willing to recommend our work. Demand a high level of quality in what we do and a hefty dose of communication and confidence so that partners feel comfortable.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We have had failures in some projects that have not finished working.The problem is that sometimes we’ve trust too much in the other party and we have lacked the arrogance to make certain decisions. We have overcome it by creating methodologies to define processes that avoid repeating the same mistakes. We go iterating and learning on the fly to avoid repeating mistakes in the future.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I always have in my mind a food service that serves both as a healthy food disclosure and as a food service in which to ask for the ingredients to make certain recipes or the food already cooked and ready to eat.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The last two Nintendo games with which I play with my son: Kirby Star Allies and Mario Kart 8. I do not have much time to play video games, but it is something that makes me happy and clears my head while I share a fun moment with my son.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Right now I use Grammarly a lot. It helps you avoid silly mistakes by writing, raising the quality of your communications.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Hooked,How to Build Habit-Forming Products“, by Nir Eyal. There are many books of this style, but I like this one especially because it collects many cases on how psychology influences product design.
What is your favorite quote?
“More technology only amplifies the problems created by an abundance of it.”
- Do sports as a form of meditation, it will help you focus on your goals.
- Have a process to identify when the creative part of an idea ends and the real work of creating something starts.
- Try to surround yourself with talented people who give you an exciting vision.
- Although many agile methodologies indicate that it is better ever to do the minimum possible and validate, I think it is always worth to bet on the design.
- Learn from the people you admire and help the people around you without expecting anything in return.