Double Yolk is an Auckland/Sydney-based company that helps SaaS organisations tap into offshore software talent.

While offshoring has been around for a long time and there’s a number of providers in the market, not many in this space have been able to scale like Double Yolk. So how did the company achieve this in such a short time? The answer is remarkably simple: by doing just one thing at a time.

“This level of ruthless prioritisation looks easy on paper but is remarkably difficult to execute in reality,” says Jack Coleman, CEO and founder of Double Yolk.

Double Yolk has centred its product offering around providing SaaS companies with the ability to go offshore, in a way that actually works. “The most common historic issue has been that people have paid for cheap software development to be done overseas, but it hasn’t been done right. This results in them having to chuck the entire project, with a loss of time and money,” explains Henry Wallace, COO and cofounder.

“Our difference is that we focused on what the challenges were with the traditional model and patched those weaknesses with strengths. Our model is an offshore development agency, but with cross-shore support. For example, we undertake quality control of the projects here in New Zealand before it gets to the client.”

Double Yolk’s USP is local tech support in the discovery and ideation phase, then assistance with the set-up of remote teams, while still working closely with the customer, supporting them on their development journey and taking ownership of the delivery.

“The distribution curve of abilities when you hire offshore is very wide. There are some fantastic developers out there, but there are also some very ordinary ones, which makes this game very challenging,” says Coleman.

“We are a trusted partner and are able to find a ‘diamond in the rough’ using a number of proprietary tools that enable us to vet at scale.”

But perhaps what makes Double Yolk unique in a saturated marketplace is the leadership of Coleman and Wallace. The pair met at university and then went their separate ways into various roles. Their paths crossed again when Coleman realised he needed a partner at the helm of the startup, someone with the skills he didn’t have.

And while their backgrounds are different, the duo’s approach to business and growth is very much the same. They are completely transparent about what has enabled Double Yolk’s success (scaling from $100,000 to $5 million annual recurring revenue in four years), and for the most part it comes down to prioritisation of tasks and strict adherence to the one-thing mentality – focusing on and completing a given priority before starting another one.

“We’re big believers in winning the day before it begins, and that is about having clinical processes of what you’ll work on,” explains Wallace.

“Humans are actually remarkably bad at multitasking, so it’s about identifying the one core thing we can do each day that will shift the business forward. You can answer emails until you’re blue in the face, but it’s probably not a catalyst for growth.

“To identify what one thing you should work on, we use a question: ‘Is there one thing that will make other tasks easier or unnecessary?’ By asking this question we can identify what actions may have a wider flow-on effect.”

This model requires ruthless prioritisation and discipline, and even this far down the track, the pair admit it’s sometimes hard going – especially when there’s plenty of shiny objects to distract them. But from a scalability point of view, they know it’s helped them get to where they are today, along with building a strong team culture.

“We have put a huge emphasis on ensuring we bring on the right people, at the right time,” says Coleman. “We’re also constantly looking at how to improve our products for our customers. I can be walking home at 7pm and we’ll be on a call talking about the business and how we can improve our customers’ journey. We know we still haven’t reached our full potential.”

So, are there disagreements? Of course. But again, it’s something they have a pragmatic approach to. Open to each other’s feedback, typically they align more than they misalign. They also know that disagreeing is an integral part of Double Yolk’s progress, as it allows them to work through things and raise their standards.

“At the end of the day, everything comes down to problem-solving. And how well you can problem-solve is proportional to how successful your business can be,” says Coleman.

“We have a culture of acceptance because there’s no way you can avoid mistakes. We reframe them as ‘tough call learnings’.

“We are hard on the issue, but not on the person, because eventually something has to go wrong. If you are going to scale, problems will arise and there will be challenges, and it’s far better to accept they happen, learn from them, then grow and move on.”

“Tobi Lütke from Shopify has a saying that a failure is a successful discovery of something that doesn’t work. It allows you to build intellectual property and stay ahead of your competition.”

Empowering more SaaS companies across Australia and New Zealand to keep their products and services moving has been a huge win for Double Yolk over the past few years. And while their mindset is still one of continuous improvement, Coleman and Wallace are conscious of how far they have come. They want to support other tech startups by sharing with others what has worked, and what hasn’t, on their journey.

“We are a completely open book. There’s no need for us to keep things a secret. And if we can provide a bit of insight and encouragement to other Kiwis who want to start something, then that works in everyone’s favour.”

Story by Erin Harrison

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