Starting from Nothing - The Foundation Podcast | Building your business ENTIRELY from scratch.

Siamak Farah is the founder of Info Street (now SkyDesktop), an in-browser cloud app platform that allows small business owners to access, manage, and use all their business apps in one place. Siamak has had an amazing career working his way up at multiple software companies, including Steve Job’s Next Computers. With the knowledge and experience he acquired, it’s no wonder that he now runs his very own successful software company.

In this interview, Sia shares his journey of how he learned every facet of running a software company, from his time at Next Computers to starting his own web-based operating system. Sia gives us his insights on automation, being ahead of “the cloud” curve, and implementing the lattice management structure to empower his team’s passion.


In This Interview I Ask:

2:54 - When did Info Street originally start?

3:47 - Tell us a little bit about what you were doing before you started Info Street in 1994.

4:46 - What was your role at Next [Computers]?

10:03 - What did a Next computer cost at that time and who are you selling them to?

12:43 - So when you started Info Street 1994, where was your head at, in terms of what problem are you going out there and looking to solve or what sort of a solution we're looking to provide to people?

16:12 - Give me some examples of the study the type of stuff that you guys were


17:48 - So take us through a little bit about like the-the progress of Info Street as it evolved.

22:15 - What was it like when you started telling people in `95 that the best

operating system was going to be no operating system at all?

24:39 - How do you sustain that passion when things are getting tough?

28:34 - there's a certain percentage of your employees that are human and then for the rest of it, you employ technology. Let’s talk a little bit about that.

31:34 - what have we got going on in July for Info Street?

33:40 - what are some of the must-haves in there that every small business needs?


Know How to Speak the Language of Your Staff

Prior to starting his own software company, Siamak worked for other software companies to learn the multiple facets of running a software company effectively. Having that base understanding of different roles in the company gave Sia the experience to manage his own employees.

“I have a policy of hiring people smarter than me and always listening to them, but nowadays everything's gotten so detailed that when you hire people smarter than you and you want to listen to them, if you don't have a base understanding, you can't listen to them. You don't know.”


Railroad Track Your Processes

Info Street was growing too fast for its small team, but not fast enough to raise funding. Siamak then decided to implement automation, or as he likes to call it “railroad tracking”, 90% of his company to better serve his clients and increase revenue.

“Whatever we're doing twice we are going to automate, and whatever process that other people [would] have to use to do, we are going to go ahead and automate that and basically write it down.”

Pro Tip: Write down the processes of ALL repetitive, tedious tasks that you do for your clients, and AUTOMATE IT.


Have Passion and Stick with It

Many people think they can go work for themselves, but they forget the benefits of an established organization (things included such as HR, legal, and sales). Eight out of ten small businesses go belly-up in the first year because of passion missing. You have to have the passion to see it through. “You have to go through the passion and not get slowed down with things that seemed more important than the bigger goal.”. It’s easier said than done. If you have a passion you will succeed, but if you don't have the passion, within a few months, you’re going to miss that paycheck.


 Empower Employees with Lattice Structure Management

The typical pyramid structure management has a top, middle and bottom. Lattice structure management is characterized by self-management and has no hierarchy or defined leadership. Every point is in support of every other point. The person closest to the problem is the one that's going to make a decision.

“So I may be the CEO of the company, but for instance, if the janitor comes in and says our vacuum cleaner is broken, it shouldn’t be my decision to decide which vacuum cleaner to buy.”

When you empower people, you actually give them passion. If you delegate properly everybody has their own area, and then we all work in unison together, you get very nice results with very little tension.


Build Your Business on “The Cloud”

“The internet is a great democratizer.” - Siamak Farah

Thanks to “the cloud”, some things that were only available to the large businesses ten, fifteen years ago are now available to everybody. Nowadays you could work from home or work from some of these shared office spaces or whatnot. You don't really need a secretary. You could answer your own phone, voicemail, whatever. Plus Info Street / SkyDesktop provides various packages of the common tools every small business needs to foster start and grow their business.


Show Links:

SkyDesktop, website

Get 10% Off Info Street, link

Direct download: Episode_167_-_Siamak_Farah.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:48am CST