June 5, 2013
Say ahoy to Boatbound, the “pier-to-pier” boat rental site that is launching this week out of Miami.
Boaters across the United States can now rent unused boats from their neighbors for hours at a time. The boats are insured, and Boatbound takes a fraction of the transaction.
As a survey of BoatUS members showed, boat owners use their boats for an average of 14 days per year. Founder and CEO Aaron Hall was struck with the idea for Boatbound when his family wanted to rent a boat: all the rentals were gone, he recalls, but the docks were full of private boats sitting idle.
Hall is an avid boater and serial entrepreneur, who helps employees create a “100 List” of things they want to do in their lifetime. His list includes items like become a beer sommelier, make a $10,000 bet in Vegas, run with the bulls in Pamplona, and have at least four kids.
Below, Hall tells us more about the culture of nine-person Boatbound.
Tech Cocktail: Tell us about the culture of Boatbound.
Aaron Hall: We are really enjoying the journey that we are on and the people we are meeting along the way. We’ve been travelling all over the US meeting with people – avid boaters, new renters, marina owners, you name it. The boating community is a very social, friendly community and we want that to be the type of atmosphere we have in the office within our team as well as online and out in the real world.
Tech Cocktail: What are some of your unique perks, values, policies, or traditions?
Hall: We’ve created something we call the Ahoy! culture. This is something we developed to not only have fun, but to bring the community together and create a sense of shared responsibility and respect within the community. We start by putting a Captain’s hat on every Boatbound rental.
Tech Cocktail. Tell us about your idea of the 100 List.
Hall: Before I’d ever heard of a bucket list I created my 100 list. In college some of the items weren’t as big-picture as some of my newly added items, but they still were goals all the same. Since then, it’s grown to well over 100 goals but the idea is still the same.
After college, I started my first real company (real = had paid employees) and decided to turn my 100 list into a motivational tool by getting each of our employees to create their own. After they did, we’d randomly pick one or two each people a month and try to knock something off their list. As the years went on, I’ve done this for each of my companies and it’s always been a great way to enrich peoples lives, conquer fears, and push people to achieve great things together.
Tech Cocktail: Why is a company’s culture key to its success?
Hall: You have to practice what you preach! If you ask your team to create a positive experience for your users, that experience needs to start with happy employees and a positive working environment. Creativity is at its best when people are happy, which results in a better product, stronger community, and a higher employee retention rate.
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