June 24

10 min read

Having one another and sharing the burden is critical to our success

Every week we send the same list of questions to a different founder from companies of all sizes. Each week we get new answers, insights, perspectives, and tips on how we all can shine a bit brighter.

“Having one another and sharing the burden is critical to our success.”

Roy Mann and Eran Zinman

monday.com Founders

Meet the Founder

monday.com is a work operating system that enables organizations to build custom workflow apps in a code-free environment - to run projects, processes and everyday work. As of 2020, the company serves 100,000 organizations from around 200 vertical markets.
609 people in 6 offices around the globe: Tel-Aviv, New York, San Francisco, Miami, London and Australia.
In July 2019, the company announced it raised a $150 million Series D round, bringing total funding to $234.1 million, making it Israel's top unicorn with a valuation of $1.9 billion.

1. What is a daily habit you love doing?

Eran: In the past month I have been trying to exercise every day in the morning. It makes me feel good. But the thing I love most is having dinner with my wife and daughters. This is something that definitely became easier lately in the Corona period.

Roy: Every day I wake up around 6 AM and meditate. I found myself continuing to do so now at home during the Corona period. I also love drawing and doodling. I throw a lot of them away because I do it so often and I usually draw to think. I have been like that since I was a child. I learned it in school because that was my way of listening in the classroom. 

Drawn during the founders column interview on Roy’s Galaxy Note.

2. What piece of advice would you give yourself when you started? What advice would you ignore?

E: Don’t be afraid to fail. I tried too hard not to make mistakes and be successful, but that’s a great example of how not to become successful. So I would tell myself to embrace failures and learn from them. That is the main thing to take from starting a company. 

Something I would avoid is accepting people’s advice like it is an ‘absolute truth’. When we first started, people told us that we’re operating in an over-crowded market, that the company won’t manage without a sales team, that bottom-up adoption isn’t the right way to go, etc. People told us a lot of things with a lot of confidence, but a part of our mentality is that we are always trying to take things with a grain of salt and see what makes sense to us. 

This is something I learned about myself as well: People give you advice out of their own context. They only know what they know, and it’s up to you to figure out what led them to give you a certain advice. Don’t take anything as it is, try to understand the logic behind it. 

I also learned that being pessimistic can make you sound clever, but the real winners are optimistic.

R: My advice would be to train myself to raise money because quite frankly it was a huge source of pain and we sucked at it. Like most people, we eventually learned how to do it by failing and learning from our mistakes. But a lot of those mistakes can be avoided since there are a lot of preconceptions on how to raise money that are not true. We sum up everything we learned about it in Episode 12 in the podcast – ‘How To De-risk Raising Capital From Investors’

The types of advice I would ignore are the ones where people tell you you can’t do something. Usually, these are not actual advice, but fears. Sometimes because it comes with authority you ‘swallow it up’ and think it’s good for you, but any advice that instills fear in you will not make you better. It never helped anyone to be afraid of anything, so if it instills fear in you, don’t listen to it.

3. What piece of content (book/podcast/Ted Talk) is your favorite or has influenced your life?

E: I like the book ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’. Most people tend to speak at ‘high-level’ about what you need to do in your company. But here’s a founder that gives practical advice and shares real-life situations that can help you cope with things you go through as a founder.

‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’ By Ben Horowitz

Oren Buskila, Co-Founder of Innoviz also recommended this book. Read his answers here.

R: ‘The story of My Experiments with Truth’ by Gandhi. It helped me understand how to deal with a lot of situations we experienced at the beginning – conflicts with people, struggles with the company etc. I asked myself ‘what would Gandhi do’ (as if I can actually know) because I knew he would have a better solution.

‘The Story of My Experiments with Truth’ by Gandhi

4. What is the most valuable investment (time, money or energy etc.) that you’ve ever made?

E: I learned to play the guitar. I started fairly late, just a few years ago, and I really enjoy it. I gave myself the time to learn it and really invested in a hobby I love.

R:  It will have to be my morning routine. I take half an hour every morning to meditate. That is the best time I spend. It gives me perspective on things, on what matters and what doesn’t. When you look at things differently or wait awhile, you find a different way to look at it and solve things. That happens to me every day in the morning during meditation.

5. Is there a quote, mantra or message you live your life by and that you resonate with? It can be someone else’s as well.

E: I’m a big believer in being positive. It’s important to take every day with an open and good outlook. Pushing forward and being thankful for what you have is key and a big part of that is surrounding yourself with positive people and being positive yourself.

6. What helps you stay motivated on good and hard days?

E: I can probably answer this for both of us – what is unique about the way we run the company together is that whenever one of us is feeling low, the other is keeping the morale up and vice versa. I don’t know how founders do it on their own – I feel that having one another and sharing the burden is critical to our success. Somehow, in our relationship and energy, we detect when the other is down and compensate for one another. There’s never a situation where both of us are ‘low’.

R: Something that makes us happy and pushes us forward is talking about the product itself. We love seeing how the product changes and improves – it motivates and lifts us up.

7. What are you passionate about other than managing your own company? 

E: I’m lucky to be doing what I am passionate about. Even though I’m a developer and what I do is write code, what I’m really passionate about is creating products people love. Writing code enables me to do that. I get so much satisfaction from seeing someone getting excited from something that I have built. For me, creating a product that people love and enjoy using is truly a form of art. 

Something that I am passionate about other than the product is computer games – and that’s a problem because I get addicted to it. Roy’s addition: Eran was #4 in the world in “Red Alert” when he was young!

R: There is an assumption in your question that we enjoy the ‘managing’ part of the company but that is something we are not very passionate about – it’s a necessity in order to create a really good product. 

Like Eran, I have been a developer from a very young age and I just love building stuff, in all aspects – also physical things. I love creating things that influence people’s lives, and software just happens to be the best way to do it.

8. What have you recently thrown away or released from your life that made a positive impact and why?

E: I deleted all the news apps from my phone since it gave me anxiety.

R: I don’t listen to any news whatsoever. I have been doing it for years now – I don’t listen to any news. I only get recaps from taxi drivers every now and then.

We see a trend here! Read the answers of Oren Buskila, Gad Maor, and Israel Krush who also mentioned they deleted apps from their phones to better focus.

9. Share a failure you have experienced and what you learned from it.

E: I have millions. Before starting monday.com I closed a startup, and my biggest failure is that I created a product that nobody wanted. I worked on it for over a year and had lots of misconceptions in my head – that the product had to be fully ready before being released, that it needs to be improved, that a lot of features are missing etc. I learned that I should fail often, get feedback often, and then build something people actually want, instead of investing too much in building scalable technology or a super-impressive infrastructure, because nobody cares.

A big part of our DNA at monday.com is embracing failure. We want to move fast because we understand that execution is a big part of being successful. It means that you are confident, it means you know what you are doing, and that you can absorb failure – all of these things that we hadn’t done in the past.

R: I founded two startups before monday.com. The second one was a game about saving aliens. The game was good, a lot of people really loved it, and the execution was amazing – but it didn’t become a business. No matter what we tried, it didn’t really pick up and we couldn’t understand what was missing and why we couldn’t make it successful. 

I tried so hard for so long, and I lost a lot – I didn’t have a salary for a long time. Closing the startup was a low point in my life. But it was a good move because it allowed me to have the right perspective and try something else. I learned that if I want something, I should be the one making it happen – don’t delegate or think someone else will solve your problems, even not investors. It’s not up to them if they invest or not – it’s up to me and if I worked hard enough to make it happen. I learned to take ownership of everything that has to do with success, not just parts of it.

10. If you could have anyone in the world answer these questions who would it be and why?

E: Bill Gates. He’s a winner. I like the person he is and respects the fact that he donates a lot of his fortune to do good things in the world.

R: Gandhi, because he can say things I can trust that are good for me. Also, I would like to read Bruce Lee’s answers because he has a lot of depth as an artist and creator that people don’t normally see. We can learn a lot from him. He has a lot of philosophies on actions and how to live, and he learned a lot in his life from the mistakes he’s made.

More Founders Column Answers

אני חושבת שכל אחד מאיתנו צריך לחשוב לאן הוא הולך כשנגמר לו הדלק, ולדעת לחזור לשם כל פעם שהוא צריך.

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Meet the Founder

monday.com is a work operating system that enables organizations to build custom workflow apps in a code-free environment - to run projects, processes and everyday work. As of 2020, the company serves 100,000 organizations from around 200 vertical markets.
609 people in 6 offices around the globe: Tel-Aviv, New York, San Francisco, Miami, London and Australia.
In July 2019, the company announced it raised a $150 million Series D round, bringing total funding to $234.1 million, making it Israel's top unicorn with a valuation of $1.9 billion.