On knowing when to hack and knowing when to build - Technical.ly Philly


Dec. 12, 2016 8:35 am

On knowing when to hack and knowing when to build

That was the crux of Zoomer exec Scott Hillyer's talk at Founder Factory.

Zoomer VP of Operations Scott Hillyer.

(Photo by Roberto Torres)

When a company passes the 100-employee mark like Y Combinator-backed food delivery service Zoomer, looking back to see where you got things wrong can be an exercise in humility.

That’s why it was cool to see Zoomer VP of Operations Scott Hillyer say the decision-making process was one area where the company had failed in the past. He (kinda) opened up about it during a talk at Founder Factory, Philly Startup Leaders’ conference, last week.

“More often we were hacking when we should have been building,” Hillyer said, in reference to the dichotomy between hacking, which he defined as whipping up a quick solution for a problem, and building, or taking the time to engineer a long-term fix, during the early years at Zoomer.

The exec took the audience on a hypothetical decision-making process under the whole build vs. hack dichotomy. He shared tips on when entrepreneurs should go down one path or the other. But what we were really curious about is: was there a time where Zoomer built when it should have hacked?

“I’m not going to share the exact metric, but one of the metrics that we were paying attention to started to get out of line performance-wise,” Hillyer said. “And it was because we forgot we still had to hack sometimes, instead of building.”

Companies: Zoomer
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