Three Lessons Learnt Scaling Double Yolk to $5m in 4 years 

Double Yolk has grown from two to 80 employees in four years, doubling its annual revenue each year along the way. The company, founded by Jack Coleman and Henry Wallace, is an Australian & NZ-owned software company, specializing in ‘cross-shore’ software development. 

In a recent dialogue with Forbes, Coleman and Wallace shared three key lessons that were invaluable to the meteoric expansion of Double Yolk. 

Get the Sandwich Right 

A common trap for companies looking to grow is to spend money and energy chasing new customers before focusing on getting the product right – “we made this mistake ourselves in the early years and paid for it in spades,” states Wallace. “If your product’s crap, you don’t need more people to know about it, you need a better product,” explains Coleman. 

Jack uses the analogy of a sandwich shop to convey this point: “If you want more people to try your sandwich, focus on the sandwich. If people like it, they will tell others. Two tell four, and four tell eight. Word of mouth is non-linear – use that to your advantage.” 

This lesson drives Double Yolk’s product excellence obsession. They know that a poor product will negate even the best promotion. A valuable product that solves problems, improves experiences, and leaves a lasting impact builds customer loyalty and advocacy. 

Henry argues, “worry about scalability later. If your product’s no good, scaling will be the least of your troubles. Work on the sandwich, get it right, and the rest will take care of itself.” 

Humans can’t Multitask 

Double Yolk is dogged in their belief that individuals (and companies by extension) perform best when they focus on one priority at a time. 

Double Yolk has entrenched Gary Keller’s ‘1-thing’ philosophy into their business. The idea is that human output is the key determinant of a company’s progress, and by nature, humans are remarkably bad at doing multiple things. “So over the long run, we are far better off focusing on one thing at a time.” 

“It took us a few years in business to recognize the importance of this. As a result, we tended to tackle multiple initiatives at once, speculating that by trying many things we would increase our total expected return,” explains Coleman. Most university finance textbooks supported this notion – the formula for ‘Expected return’ is equal to the sum of returns multiplied by their respective probabilities. 

Henry argues that “the textbook logic neglects the human element.” Because we aren’t designed to execute effectively on multiple priorities, the probability of each initiative succeeding is reduced every time we add an initiative to our workload. “We can greatly tilt the odds in our favour by just focusing on one thing at a time.” 

“We’ve found the cumulative upside of this to be tremendous for our business.” 

Boring Wins in the Long Run 

Jack & Henry learnt [the hard way] that what serves as an advantage in the startup phase can evolve into a liability over time. “Early on, you need to try new things; it’s exciting and some ideas work, so you’re rewarded,” explains Wallace. 

One of the hardest shifts the company had to make was “from being entrepreneurial to purposeful.” You need to be entrepreneurial in the early days as it’s how you win business and pay the bills; over time, it’s critical to consolidate and focus on what’s delivering value to your customers. 

Jack believes that “Embracing ‘boring’ is a core aspect of our success.” Discipline becomes vital in the long run; determine what you are good at and say ‘no’ to everything else.