Max Wright on operating a leaner start-up

Max Wright on operating a leaner start-up

In this interview with’s Becky Liggero, Max Wright of White Hat Gaming shares his learning lessons on how to make a better way to start a business.

Every entrepreneur starting a business faces this kind of dilemma: Are we going to start with a larger? Or will a leaner team be a practical startup growth strategy?

Of course the answer really depends on the need of the business. If you are in a construction or automotive business, you might as well need all the help you’ll find to run your firm. But for start-ups, bigger is not always better.

Going lean in business has its advantages, says Max Wright of White Hat Gaming. He noted that working on a smaller team has improved work output, it also improved communication, and increased morale of employees.

He recalled that during the economic downturn of 2008, his business as an operator in South Africa wasn’t doing so well that they had to let go of 40 percent of their staff in order for the business to float.

At the time, he was fearing that their company was in the brink of collapsing as they lose their staff.

“Obviously, during the crisis, we are already running out of money. They sort of pulled money from the business, saying ‘we are going to cut your costs.’ And so we realized we had to lose 40 percent of our staff and at the time, 200 people, I was like ‘I can’t do this, the company’s going to collapse.’” Wright told “It is one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done but I did it. We did it. And then, two weeks later we’ve got rid of 60 people and then suddenly, everything is running smoothly, it was working. I was like ‘what are these people doing.’”

Wright said he brought the lessons he learned from his old company when he started White Hat Gaming:  a leaner team may work as effectively – if not better – as a larger team.

“And so when I set up white hat gaming I realized this is lean and it’s amazing what you can do with a very few man, few people. When we started out, we had a tech team of two to three people,” he pointed out.

Wright is also on the other side of the fence when it comes to getting business partners. Most believe that it is better for operators to get partners who are not really related or does not have any close relationship with them.

He, however, is convinced that getting your best friends as your business partners is not at all a terrible idea.

“I have some previous investors that I really don’t get along quite well, we had disagreements. At that time, one of my flatmates in South Africa, who is a big affiliate, he just sold his business. I have another friend, who I lived with in the university, he had no experience in the sector, whatsoever. He was sure to join forces together the three of us. We are all very close friends,” Wright pointed out. “I think it generally works. We have screaming arguments but we then go to the pub and have a drink. It works. Because you know each other well you can’t hide anything. You just shout at each other’s names and still get along with things.”

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