What does ‘global-first’ mean and entail?

In this video I answer to the question of what “global-first” means and entails.

Video Transcript

Hey everyone, I’m back to answer another question that we often get about Tomahawk.VC. And that question is: “What does “global-first” mean, and what does it entail?”.


So global-first is a term that we’ve invented to describe the companies that we invest in. What it does not mean, first and foremost, is remote-only. A lot of people confuse this. They think that global first means that the team needs to be distributed, there can’t be an office, and so on and so forth. But that’s not the case. We very much believe that there is value sometimes to having a group of people, maybe one department or even the whole team at the beginning, in one office, but we also strongly believe that every modern founder should set themselves up from the beginning so that they can tap into a global pool of talent. We believe that nowadays it has become so easy to work together remotely and a lot of us learn this for the first time during COVID when we all work from home, and we are forced to communicate with each other via video and phone calls mostly. It has become so easy that it’s just too much of an opportunity cost not to set yourself up so that you can work with a global workforce.

Global sales

We also believe that tapping into global sales is something that startups should do much, much earlier. Now that a lot of the legislations are much easier to access and have been somewhat unified in terms of how you can enter them.

How can you make yourself global-first?

What does it typically entail? How can you make yourself global-first? There’s not that much that needs to change, I think. But it’s mostly a mindset topic. And one crucial thing is that from the get-go when you build your company culture, and your processes and your documentation that you think of those people that are not in the office with you constantly.
Personally, I’ve done this with Sendtask and a few other companies. And it typically means you need to document things a bit earlier in writing so that everyone can just go and look at your wiki and have a good idea of how things are done at your company.

Get to know the person on the other end of the camera

And then you want to think about how you get to know the person on the other end of the camera or the person behind the Slack name. So for us at Sendtask, that meant that typically after the weekly all-hands, we kept about 30 minutes in the calendar for us to stay on the video call and do something together that has nothing to do with work. For us at Sendtask, that usually meant we would solve a riddle together. Every week, someone from the team tried to bring a very hard and difficult riddle, and the rest of the team tried to solve it together. That’s just because we like riddles. And it’s something that we all had in common. But it could also mean for you that someone does a movie review or shares their recent notes on a book that they’ve read, or anything as long as it’s not work because I think it’s important to… Culture happens when you talk about everything that’s not work, but you talk about the person, what is it that drives people?

All right, and I hope that answers the question: “What does global first mean and what does it entail?”.

Hopefully, I’ll talk to you soon, and with that, stay curious.