3 Things I Learned About Success While Working At Stakd

Gabriel Schneider


Nov 13, 2023

“Gabriel, it’s official.”

That’s the message Ben used to interrupt my coding flow.

My hands were full with the rewrite of our product.

Meticulously planned preparation and 2 new hires to execute it.

And nothing was as important as that message.

Ben is the CEO of Stacked Sports.

He was my coding student before becoming my boss and eventually business partner.

He had been developing RecruiteSuite for nearly 4 years. And that product had just sold to TeamWorks.

That was the first time I was part of an acquisition.

Most people mistake success for perfection.

Successful business?

  • Doing everything by the book

  • Hundreds of employees

  • Proven expertise

  • 80h weeks

  • Millions in the bank

We didn’t have any of that (except for 80h weeks).

Here’s what we did have:

  • Learning on the go

  • A team of 5

  • Trial and error

Here are the 3 foundational ideas we implemented that helped us get there:

1) Resourcefulness is more important than resources

The initial development of our product cost $30k.

That’s how much Ben paid to the Dev Shop he hired. They saw his designs, sprinkled some dev magic, and started working on our first prototype.

Those same designs? Ben used them to sign his first clients.

That happened before the prototype was even finished.

You see, you might think you’re in a rut because you can’t get your hands on the proper resources.

Tools, people, money.

But what you’re really lacking is resourcefulness.

Ben used his wit to navigate uncertainty.

And came out victorious in the end.

2) Make it work before you make it right

Ben and I worked closely day after day.

Our job was to make sure we were developing features that would solve the bulk of our user’s problems.

Whenever we had a new idea, instead of spending weeks making design revisions, testing with prototypes, and gathering feedback from research, we went straight for the kill.

New features were deployed in a matter of days.

Our test group was our real users. In their day-to-day lives.



Did it work?


That strategy gave us insights as fast as our fingers could type code.

Our one competitor would always copy everything we did a few weeks or months after.

Most people get paralyzed trying to make everything perfect so they can start.

I say perfection is the enemy of progress.

3) Good enough is always good

RecruiteSuite’s revenue was at $500k ARR at its peak.

We had a total of 50 contracts with major US Universities. The average contract being $15k/year.

And yet:

  • We didn’t have any social media presence

  • Our codebase looked like it was put together on Frankeinstein’s table.

  • I hated our marketing website.

But our users loved our product.

Those are mixed signals if you ask me.

Getting from 0 to 80% in quality is easier than getting from 80 to 100%.

And 99.9% of the population doesn’t know the difference between 80% good and 100% good.

Bottom line?

You are your worst critic.

Working for a startup changes your perspective on business forever.

I remember thinking how our product being sold to a company as big as TeamWorks was crazy.

And also how it never felt like we were that big of a company before.

You’d be surprised how seemingly mundane success can look like.

I know I was.

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