The Revenant, Startups and joining Talkdesk

João Vazao Vasques
4 min readFeb 28, 2016

Last year I closed my first startup and decided to share some personal lessons I have learned during that time. Today, I am going to talk to you about what happened next.

After two months of holidays, I decided that it was time to do something useful for the world.

“The wind cannot defeat a tree with strong roots” — Hugh Glass in the Revenant

The problem was: I had no idea what I wanted to do.

I had some ideas for some new projects but I had no team, despite having some really awesome mentors I regret not having when I started my first company. Some of them were quite interesting but having no team, there was no way they were going to be successful. I have done that same mistake in the past and I was not going to do that again. The next thing I was going to do will have to win my heart in the first place.

That wasn’t happening and time was passing. As time was passing, the winds of doubt became stronger than ever. There were some dark moments were I though the failure of my startup was a personal one. That I wasn’t capable as an engineer or an entrepreneur. It wasn’t the best of times as you can imagine. Those entrepreneurship soft talks about failure are all crap. When I watched the Revenant and saw DiCaprio’s being torned apart by that huge bear and what followed, I reminded myself of how hard and painful the comeback process after I came from holidays.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” — Steve Jobs

I started talking with some companies and startups. I don’t know how many but they were quite a few. Some of them had some really interesting products and challenges but there always something missing.

They only saw another (smart?) person to write some code and I wanted much more than that. No, it wasn’t about the money, it never was it will never be. It was much more important than that. I wanted to use all the knowledge I have acquired trying to launch a company to build something amazing. I wanted to love what I was going to do and I wasn’t finding it. Tick tack, tick tack…

Startups really need to rethink the way they convince people to join them. I felt this when I was talking with lot’s of them. They need to be human, they need to be fast, they need to show why they need someone and why are they better and different. Hey startups, you already know how pitch to investors for money, it’s time you learn how to pitch for hiring.

Want to know how it is done? Enter Talkdesk!

“A leader wants to see those around him rise to the top” — Simon Sinek

I have followed Talkdesk since the very begining of the company. I remember in 2012 I was doing my Master Thesis and Cristina invited me to their first office in Taguspark. At the time, the company was three people: Tiago in the US, Cristina and Raoul in Portugal. I remember working on my simulations and sensing that amazing vibe and energy. All three of them have been a role model for me ever since.

The company has been growing like crazy and when with a friend of mine who works there said that I should joined I was like: “Man, there’s nothing left to do at Talkdesk, the product is done. I’m going to be there holding walls”

I’ve sent an email on Saturday to Talkdesk, the replied Sunday scheduling a meeting on Tuesday. Remember what I said about being fast? Check! On the meeting, I was asked some stuff about my previous startup. What was the experience like and what have I learned. I wasn’t expecting it but really enjoyed that. Remember the human party? Check!

After that I’ve done one Talkdesk’s technical challenges. It took more around a week and it was super fun. They invited me to spend one day with the whole team and that’s were I decided: “I want to be here”. After completing the engineering challenge, the Talkdeskers liked my work and I had one last interview with one the engineering managers. Again, I felt that not only my engineering skills but my previous experience as startup were being taking into consideration. It was a very, very interesting conversation and I really liked the challenges the company had on the Big Data, Analytics and AI. Remember the importance of pitching to your future employees? Check! This last interview took place on a Wednesday, on Tuesday night I had the job offer. I accepted it on Friday.

Why Talkdesk?

  • Because it has an abnormal concentration of smart and real good people there;
  • Because you never will be the smartest person in the room;
  • Because everyone’s ideas and opinions are taken into consideration;
  • Because it follows the No Assholes Rule;
  • Because it was LOTS of challenging and fun engineering work to be done;
  • Because Talkdesk has no bosses, it has leaders;
  • Because it is one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing companies;
  • Because it serves thousands of customers including some of the world’s biggest guys;

Why not?

Hope to see you soon!

Talkdesk Team in Lisbon — Picture taken during my first week at the company



João Vazao Vasques

Blockchain Analytics @Chainlink | Alumni of: @Unbabel, @talkdesk, @Uniplaces |1x startup founder| Taekwondo black belt