Few people make the leap from fighter pilot to CEO of a cloud business software company. Ed Molyneux made this journey from the clouds to the cloud, setting up small business accounting software FreeAgent. We caught up with him to discover how a simple need to manage his own finances turned into the launch of a successful cloud app.

[00:02:47] Lessons from 11 years as a Harrier Jet pilot.

“The excitement that you get from being part of a really effective team isn’t that dissimilar to those days [as a Harrier pilot].”

[00:07:49] Building a team.

“You recognize the gaps in your abilities and you hire people who can do the things, and are excited about doing the things, that you just can’t do.”

[00:10:53] Bridging the gap between engineers and pilots.

“If you understand the problem domain and you understand technology, then you can be very effective at solving some of those problems.”

[00:17:03] How FreeAgent came to be.

“The very first inception of FreeAgent was me solving my own problem which was: ‘how do I manage my own finances in a way that I understand?’”

[00:21:28] Apps used by FreeAgent.

  • Google Docs runs its day-to-day, in-company collaboration.
  • Slack is its central hub of communications.
  • Trello is its backbone for general, company wide project management.
  • Zendesk is its helpdesk management.
  • Salesforce is its CRM, because of the amount of integrations.

[00:23:40-00:24:33] Trello use case for a 70-person team.

[00:27:34] An app problem FreeAgent is struggling with.

[00:30:25] Ed’s role at Administrate.

[00:33:16] Three questions a growing company needs to ask itself.

[00:36:30] Beware of the shiny app promising to solve all your problems.