How to attract talents to your Startup?

Long term purpose instead of money

Differentiate from big companies to attract talents.

Work tableWhen I started Playax with my partner Juliano, we did not have money to pay high salaries for tech talent in São Paulo, one of the most expensive cities in Brazil. Our startup was a high-tech innovative platform in the music industry, so we needed the best developers to create complicated algorithms. On a first try, we offered bellow average salaries, but even if some developers were interested in the company’s challenges, they did not accept the job. When we started to offer equity, we attracted exactly the people we wanted to our team: people with passion and long-term commitment with the company. Moreover, people willing to give up high salaries in exchange of being part of the company’s construction and purpose. 

When working as CTO at Elo7, a successful Brazilian startup, I organized a developer’s retreat, a week when the engineers would work in a relaxed environment, out of the office. They had pool, sauna, video games and food at their disposal, as well as a working table and Internet access. Besides some communication problems with the main office, the workweek was very productive and the team members had a lot of fun, feeling very connected and engaged after this special and unforgettable moment.

Most startups, especially in the beginning of its existence, do not have resources to pay a salary compatible with market values. Startups need to have other ways to attract talent and motivate people to work on its project. Furthermore, hiring the right people in the early days is crucial for the Startup culture development. The criteria for hiring are very talented people with passion and commitment for the business.

It is very hard to hire talents when you are competing with big companies admired by people.

Big companies have dedicated staff for recruiting and they usually offer high salaries and many benefits to employees. Moreover, known high-tech companies have are admired by people for their achievements. On the other hand, employees in big companies can feel themselves no one in the middle of thousands. They are restricted to companies existing rules and rigid processes.

The first substitute to money is purpose. Startups want to change the world for the better. Show your vision to candidates and let them dream with you. People want to feel pride of their work and like to be part of a big thing.

Another attractive in Startups is the growing potential. In big companies, employees do not have the chance to grow and evolve in career as fast as they can in a Startup. The first Startup employees have the chance to become managers or directors in a matter of a couple of years. They have not only the chance to grow, but also the freedom to dictate the rules and build the company from scratch following their own beliefs. In terms of professional growth, young Startups tends to be more attractive, besides being more risky.

Beside Startups do not have money in the beginning, they can offer the opportunity to earn a lot of money in future, if the business succeed. Startup founders, especially those without investment, can reserve pool of the company stocks and give them to the first employees.


Offer company equity, freedom and job with purpose in exchange of high salaries.

When you offer engagement on a common purpose instead of money, you attract the right people to work with. Workers will behave like founders and will give much more energy to the startup. Daniel Pink argues that people are mainly motivated by autonomy, mastery and purpose. You can offer all three in your Startup. If you are creating an innovative product that will change the world for the better, you have purpose. When you have a participative culture and flexible work environment, you offer autonomy. Startups with dynamic and learning environment permit people to master on their field. You can also offer flexible work schedules or home office days.

To convince candidates to accept equity and motivate them, you need to show the benefits of this option in the interviews process. The interviews must be very engaging. You must show passion and belief on the project. Candidates must feel that you are reliable and strong. In these moments, your reputation counts a lot. Networking is very useful not only to help you to build the reputation, but also to find potential talents in your local community.

If you want to attract people interested in Startups, post job announcements on forums or groups that you believe are aware of the Startup environment. Express your enthusiasm in the job post text. Make it clear that you are looking for people that want to work in startups, people who understand and like this environment. This will save you a lot of time, not only on explaining the Startup context in interviews but also by keeping away the wrong candidates.

O Hype que só atrapalha

O tema startups e empreendedorismo virou moda. Tanto é que já virou até tema de novela na Globo. O fato de virar moda e de muito se falar sobre o assunto em si é até bom. Antes ninguém sabia o que era uma Startup. Esse hype estimula o empreendedorismo e o surgimento de empresas com potencial de inovação. Novos empreendedores nascem e se manifestam. As pessoas têm a oportunidade de aprenderem umas com as outras. Começa a se formar uma comunidade que se ajuda e se auto-motiva.

Junto com esse mar de possibilidades positivas para o empreendedor, surge também muita porcaria. Quando a onda vem forte e arrebenta, o que sobra é espuma, que só faz volume e não tem força alguma a não ser para obscurecer a nossa visão. Não me refiro apenas ao oportunismo ou mal caráter, mas também à incompetência, seja pela desinformação, seja pela falta de visão sistêmica ou pensamento holístico (e diria até falta de um certo altruísmo). Talvez tudo que exista de ruim em um ecossistema de Startups seja uma mistura de um pouco de cada uma dessas coisas.

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Convite – exame de qualificação doutorado – Startup Ecosystem Framework

Convido colegas e professores ao meu exame de qualificação de Doutorado em Ciência da Computação, trabalho do grupo de pesquisa em Empreendedorismo de Software do IME-USP

Título: Startup Ecosystem Framework

Candidato: Daniel Cukier
Data: Terça-feira, 31 de março de 2015
Horário: 10:00 horas
Local: IME-USP, sala 2 – Bloco B

Comissão julgadora:

Prof. Dr. Fabio Kon (Presidente) IME – USP
Prof. Dr. Guilherme Ary Plonski FEA – USP
Prof. Dr. Paulo Antonio Borges Lemos UNICAMP

Prof. Dr. Marco Aurélio Gerosa IME – USP
Prof. Dr. Martinho Isnard Ribeiro de Almeida FEA – USP


After the popularization of Internet in the 90s and the mobile technologies in the 2000s, we saw an amazing growth on creation of new high-tech companies around the globe. Most of these companies, known as startups, are born in technology clusters also called startup ecosystems. The objective of this PhD research is to advance the understanding of how software startups work, what are the elements that influence their behavior and how startups relate with other players in their ecosystem. For that, we are developing a conceptual framework model by using qualitative research techniques. In these presentation, we will explain the methodology, as well as the preliminary results for both São Paulo and Israeli ecosystems and the expected outputs of a third case-study in a mature ecosystem

Comparing cloud services for Startups

nuvemEvery Startup that has services online needs a cloud provider. Startups do not have time to build their own physical server infrastructure. They need to focus on their product or service development. But what cloud to use? There are so many different options, and CTOs do not have time to test each one of them. Maybe this post will help new Startups  to choose between all cloud providers available.

The experience that I had with Playax was not typical, for two reasons: the first was that I have a lot of experience working with cloud. After working at Locaweb for 5 years, and developing software for internal cloud team, I spent one year in my PhD studying cloud services. The second reason is that Playax product is highly dependent from cloud. We are a BigData company. We needed a big infrastructure from day one. Our MVP needed a lot of cloud resources to be useful to our customers. Most of Startups do not need that much infrastructure, at least not before it starts growing fast.

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Funk Cavala (Go horse)

Esse funk explica a metodologia extreme go horse, uma maneira incrível de desenvolver software:

Meto meto meto meto
Meto metodologia
Enfio um if igual cavalo
No programa faço orgia

Vai cavala, Vai cavala,
Enfia um if e manda bala

Sou programador responsa
Fazer teste é pra coxinha
Só otário refatora
Meto um if e amacio

Qualidade é o meu ovo
Vou fazer bem rapidinho
Compilou já tá valendo
Faz commit e sai sorrindo

DevOps patterns to scale web applications using cloud services

This article was accepted to publication at SPLASH 2013Wavefront Experience track.

Scaling a web applications can be easy for simple CRUD software running when you use Platform as a Service Clouds (PaaS). But if you need to deploy a complex software, with many components and a lot users, you will need have a mix of cloud services in PaaS, SaaS and IaaS layers. You will also need knowledge in architecture patterns to make all these software components communicate accordingly.

In this article, we share our experience of using cloud services to scale a web application. We show usage examples of load balancing, session sharing, e-mail delivery, asynchronous processing, logs processing, monitoring, continuous deployment, realtime user monitoring (RUM). These are a mixture of development and system operations (DevOps) that improved our application availability, scalability and performance.
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Domain Driven Design em Teatro

Apresentamos hoje na Agile Brasil a peça de teatro sobre “Domain Driven Design”, com algumas melhorias desde a última versão. Quem quiser, pode conferir o roteiro aqui. Mais uma vez, fizemos uma música bacana, um Xote! Segue a letra da música e abaixo o roteiro, que está no git:

Xote do DDD

Sou consultor, estrategista sou doutor
Te pergunto seu cliente:
quem é teu fornecedor?
Se não existe tua sina é conformista
Dessa equipe a minha vista
Tu depende sim sinhô

Dê Dê Dê
Não resolve os problemas,
Mas ajuda a entender

Dê Dê Dê
Só clareia as perguntas
que você vai responder
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Migrating from RubyOnRails to Scala Play 2.0 (part 1)

play_full_colorThe last week I was on vacation and I used the time to study a new technology (things that nowadays I don’t have time to do in daily life).

I decided to migrate my wife’s website (for those who don’t know, my wife is the very famous brazilian singer Daniella Alcarpe, known also as @cantora).

The website is quite simple and easy to develop. Actually, there is no rocket science at all in everything I did. But I had a lot of fun and I learn a lot of things. This post cannot be used as a complete migration plan for those who want to migrate from Rails to Play, but it will give you an idea of the work you will have. Basically, you will have to re-write everything from scratch… :-) or almost this…
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Software Developers Retreat (dia 4)

O quarto dia do nosso retiro de desenvolvedores acabou!

Mesão de trabalho

Mesão de trabalho

Recebemos a visita do nosso CEO. Ele veio junto com um programador do time que não pôde participar do retiro por causa de compromissos pessoais. Esse programador era um especialista em churrasco, pois nasceu no sul do Brasil e morou muitos anos “no meio do mato”. Logo que chegou, ele se prontificou a tomar conta do nosso almoço. Foi até a cidade, no mercado central, e explicou pro açougueiro a maneira certa de cortar a carne :-) Depois voltou para a casa e comandou a churrasqueira, enquanto o resto do pessoal trabalhava. Continue reading