What does it look like for the leader of a company when your technology and hardware is being developed in Germany, product is being put together in the United States, and design and back-end capabilities are being taken care of in Brazil?
As Anthony Weil would tell you from experience, “My generation grew up with the vision of the world as a global village, and progression of technology has turned that vision into reality. New-born tech startups playing globally can’t afford to limit their talent pools to one location. If we play global, we work global.”
Weil, who I interviewed for this article, is not your typical 29-year-old CEO. Today, he is in San Diego, California at Exponential Medicine, a conference hosted by Singularity University. While absorbing key conference content from folks like Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil, Weil is fielding messages from three continents and a dizzying amount of time zones.
Originally from France, Weil has spent most of his career between Europe and Brazil working in IT and life-science business development for a leading European venture capital firm. With stints studying at ESSEC Business School in Paris, Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Singularity University in Mountain View, he’s further gained international experience that’s served him well in leading scientists, designers, engineers, and business minds from all around the world in service of One X customers.
“Each culture and country has its own subject matter expertise, honed by a myriad of historical and political factors. You want to combine them all in your special sauce. Brazil is exceptional in visual design, the United States in UX oriented products, Germany in fundamental physics research, and Israel in artificial intelligence. Your startup culture get uniquely permeated by a mix of flexibility, determination, pragmatism, organization,” said Weil.
For example, by having the One X research and development team in Germany, they can tap into the leading area in the world for research in biomedical photonics. Advancements the team has made with the help of the science community in that region has allowed them to make the world’s first handheld nutritional biosensor.
If you use Fitbit to track your steps or sleep, then you’d use One X to track the effect of things like food, stress, alcohol, and sun exposure in addition to exercise and sleep in order to get real-time updates on your health.
“You’re actually not what you eat, but what you absorb,” explained Weil. The One X sensor tracks antioxidants in your skin to give you suggestions for diet and lifestyle changes, recommendations on habits to kick or develop, and historic data on how your health has tracked over time.
By having a presence in California, the One X team has been able to utilize expertise from scientific advisors and partners like Singularity University and One X while being close to their customer base of affluent professionals in their 30s and 40s who care about tracking their health and already use “biohacking” devices and feedback to make lifestyle changes on a daily basis.
Overall, Weil admits that managing an international team isn’t easy. That being said, he provided me with three tips we can all use to more effectively manage our teams, especially if they are from different geographic locations and not under one office roof.
The first is to learn to switch off/on your ‘cultural buttons.’ Brazil, Germany and the United States are three extremely different working cultures, and you need to utilize and reach out to each place accordingly.
Next, is to get everyone aligned on a transnational moonshot mission. For One X, aligning everyone on the idea of owning your health and providing consumers with cutting edge technology that can improve lives is a type of shared goal that their employees can get behind, no matter where they live or telecommute from.
Finally, Weil stated, “everyone should feel they own the business.” Intrapreneurship is crucial to managing an international team, and by leaving different tasks to different geographic locations, everyone can work like they’re building their own company, leading to a shared organization that’s as successful as possible.