Robert Ludew

Led Business Intelligence at Lime, now an aspiring founder
Founder and Contractor
@
Working on launching a company, and Expert360

How did you get here?

I worked for 3 years as a consultant at Bain, and had the classic generalist exposure to a variety of cases across functions and industries. In my third year at the firm, I did an externship (4 months, similar to an internship) at Lime, the global operator of bike and scooter fleets. I returned to Lime full time after I completed my Senior Associate Consultant year at Bain, and ended up spending nearly 3 years there as well.

I first started at Lime as an independent contributor in a Biz Ops role, with a focus on providing data and insights to support the Operations team. The role evolved to eventually forming and leading the Business Intelligence team. Our responsibilities continued to be on reporting and data, with additional work on internal tools and processes.

I left Lime to take some time off and travel. Now, I’m looking to start an ecommerce company, and also doing some contracting work through Expert 360.

What options were you considering?

I knew I wanted to find my next role after consulting in tech/startup land. When looking at potential options, I focused less on the specific role, and more on the type of company that I wanted to join. I favoured consumer-focused firms, and especially ones with products that I personally identified with. I also wanted a company that was mission oriented. Most importantly, I sought out opportunities where there was momentum and rapid growth. Lime ended up checking all of those boxes; I joined for the externship and eventually returned full time.

How did you make the decision to take your current role?

Lime met all the criteria I was looking for. It was growing quickly and helping to define the burgeoning Micromobility industry. I personally loved using the scooters, and at the same time identified with the mission of making cities more connected and green. For Lime I was also lucky to have a “trial run” of working there through my externship. I decided to return full time because I still saw a lot of opportunity for learning and growth, and I enjoyed the day to day work that I was doing.

After my time at Lime, I’m now working on founding a company. I’m excited by the prospect of building something of my own and tackling this new challenge. It’s a great learning opportunity because of the wide range of problems that need to be tackled in launching and scaling a business.

What are you doing now?

At Lime, I led the Business Intelligence team. We sat within the Operations org, but worked closely with Data and Engineering teams. Our core responsibilities were metrics reporting, management of tools and systems (e.g data portal, dashboards), and strategic support through data insights.

Now, working on launching an ecommerce brand, I wear many hats. I’m figuring out marketing, supply chain, finance, and product. However, I’m still in the early stages of the journey. I’ve also done some contractor work through the Expert 360 network since leaving Lime.

What does your day to day look like?

At Lime, my typical day involved data reporting, meetings with stakeholders and other teams, managing direct reports, and owning some bits of analysis and process. It was a blend of working collaboratively with my team, as well as solo heads-down work. There was also a good mix of recurring responsibilities each week, as well as longer-term projects stretching weeks and months.

Now as a founder, each day is different and variable! I’m doing a lot of learning and researching. I’m also starting to dig into marketing and working with suppliers. I speak most days with founders, experts, or investors. The focus of each week is different, working step by step to launch.

What do you love about your job?

At Lime, I loved the fast growth and immediate impact we could have. In my first 6 months, I saw 3 different CEOs and countless reorgs. It was chaotic, but it was fun; each week would bring something new. The rapid iteration also meant that ideas and suggestions would be implemented quickly. It was not uncommon to put together a piece of analysis, present it to leadership, and for the Operations teams on the ground to implement the new strategy or process right away. It was refreshing coming from consulting, where consensus-building could take months.

Now as a founder I love the ambiguity. Again, each week brings something new - but I am the one making decisions on what to tackle next. There’s a lot of uncertainty involved, but it’s exciting to be challenging myself and trying to build a company from scratch.

What do you not love about your job?

One of the challenging things moving from consulting to a startup was the lack of clarity in career progression. If you stay in consulting, you know exactly what the next promotion will be, when it occurs, and what you need to do to get there. That was much less clear to me at Lime, especially early on. Progression is much less linear, and instead can occur in step changes. You need to produce good output and work hard, but luck will also play a part in what opportunities come up. It’s important to be flexible and keep an eye out for openings.

Now as founder, the thing I least like… is also the ambiguity and unknown, and the uncertainty of what will come next. 😀

What advice would you give someone deciding what they should do?

Early in your career, focus on the company you are joining over role, title, or compensation. At a fast growing company, there will be far more opportunities that come up, and the rapid change creates a more dynamic learning environment. You want to be at a job where you are challenged to grow; consulting and startups are both great candidates for that. And if possible, try to join a team that is primarily in-person. It is extremely valuable early on to be in the same room as your coworkers, as Zoom still can’t replace the spontaneous learning and connections you make in the office.

When you do eventually start a new job, go all in! Work hard, be a culture carrier, meet people across different teams, get your foot in the door at important meetings where decisions are made, and be an expert in your domain of responsibilities. As I mentioned above, you won’t always know when or how an exciting opportunity will come up, so be ready to seize it.

I’m new to Sydney, so if you’re in town let’s grab coffee or a drink! You can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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