Building a Strong Team:
Interview with Guillaume Catella

Tell us how you began on this journey.
It all started more than 10 years ago, during my university, as I was constantly dreaming of building my startup. I was coding every evening and weekend, creating different websites. After several positions in business development and tech, in entrepreneurship, I finally did the INSEAD MBA in Singapore, which helped me to “incubate” my idea, find a co-founder, gain the skills I was missing, and above all… The self-confidence I lacked!


If you were to write a book, describe its title & cover page.

It would certainly be entitled, “The ultimate startup environment to attract the best talents”. But it could also be “the extreme lean startup methodology”. 
It would emphasize how our new generation prefers self-development, tough challenges, being surrounded by geniuses that support them, and working remotely with freedom and control over their lifestyle, rather than just a large paycheck.

Designing the best working environment for your beloved team will attract the best talents across the globe. And the best talents will build the best products if you empower them. And in turn, the best products will serve the best people!


What keeps you going on this journey through all its ups and downs?

Our team first! And secondly, our vision and what we have accomplished with nearly nothing.
 The Bilingua crew is fantastic and detemrined. They are striving everyday to reach a higher quality, and I’ll feel confident. Even if our idea is wrong, we can just pivot. Having the right team means we’ll succeed anyway once we find the right product/market fit.

Then, our vision. All the good we can do, bridging cultures together: through bilingualism, I am convinced we can contribute to a world that is more tolerant, educated and thus better.



What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? What advice have you learnt to disregard?

I will give 2 of each!

1) “Fail fast fail cheap” is one of the most important ones. In 1 year with Creatella, I have failed with my team many more times than I did in my past 10 years.
 By welcoming failure and speeding it up, we learned incredibly fast, allowing us to get better.

2) “Less is more”. Whether applied in a “lean startup” way to avoid waste (in finance, recruitment) or in the actual work (less code, less calls) or even when designing our projects (simpler UX, easy flows…), the “less is more” is present every day in our minds, particularly with our extremely lean approach to work.

The advice I learnt to disregard:

1) “Focus, focus, focus”
 It might be a good advice for many others, but if you know what you do, I’m convinced “being spread” can be turned into a strength, allowing us to capture more positive opportunities and failing faster with a lower risk.

2) “Treat others like you want to be treated” 
Leaders have to (reasonably) adapt to each person’s culture, personality and preferred way of communication. Don’t communicate with others in your own communication style. Adapt to theirs and understand their perspective.

If you could go back to yourself at any point in your past, what advice would you give your old self?

Believe in yourself and do this leap of faith!
 Don’t wait several years in the same company hoping they’ll plan a good career for you. Just create it yourself! 😀

“Don’t be discouraged by your failures. Learn from them and fail even faster so you can succeed sooner.”
In relation to your startup, how are your vision and purpose special & unique?
I don’t think we are unique, but we are extremely focused on people.
 Our vision is not to be a unicorn by building the Uber of X. The product is not even part of the vision. 
Our vision is simply to create the best environment for the people in Creatella. Doing work that matters and creates positive impact for the world, serving people the best.

How do you give back to society? (either currently or how do you hope to / plan to?)

We wish to bring people together across cultures, bridge the gaps and contribute to a better education.
 In those times of ideological and religious conflicts based on opposite perspectives where parties get entrenched in their isolated point of view, I am convinced that bridging cultures via language learning will make this world a better place. 

What has been your most satisfying moment on this journey so far?

Definitively the week we hired our first 3 members, very quickly followed by 7 more!! 
We had been working for months, up to a year, with nothing (no revenues). So, the week I realized that was it, we could create jobs and pay salaries to the team that deserved it so much!!
 I felt as if a part of my reason to be here was fulfilled. 

What does money/wealth mean to you?
Money is just a tool, an asset to leverage to build even more value for the world. It’s an investment, to use to create even more and to share it. I reinvest my personal earning into building more projects to bring people together. If money stops flowing, it stops creating.
Tell us one unique thing about your team / company culture.
We are 100% remote and don’t intend to rent an office space anytime soon!
 We are a young extremely diversified team of 20 passionate “digital nomads” working from our respective homes in 15 countries! Together, we have 50 years of experience in tech, but we are still kids having a blast.
About: Bilingua is a language exchange app. It connects you with other users who are fluent in a language you are learning, and makes sure to match you based on similar interests or personalities.
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