George Spencer and Chris Pateman work together on start-up company Started 18 months ago by George, he asked Chris to join him 10 months ago, inviting him to be Sales and Marketing manager and invest shares in the company. They’re part of a team of six people.

What does George do?

I own and run the company. I do a bit of everything. Technical stuff, marketing, hiring and firing.

Why did you bring Chris in?

I got Chris in because we wanted to do research with landlords to find out they could use the site and how we could acquire them. I’m bad at working with people, Chris is good with people. He was working in recruitment and doing a lot of coldcalling – a lot of getting knocked down and being up for the next call. So I got him in and he coldcalled landlords for us for three months. Everyone here has stock in the company so that’s an incentive that he didn’t have before. When he came along, we’d only done the next six months of fundraising, so it was like “you might not have a job in six months” but fortunately we’re still here.

What’s it like working with a friend?

The company would not be here today if it wasn’t for Chris. We’re very good at reading each other and knowing what each other is thinking. 

And how did you two first get to know each other?

We went to university together and both studied English. We once did a presentation about irony and we made it about the Paris Hilton sextape. Chris was the guy and I was Paris Hilton. We tried to make that happen, but we didn’t get away with it. We played football together. They were the foundations of our professional relationship…

Chris Pateman

What does Chris do?

I’m responsible for all the growth and user acquisition on the website. Everything from calling up landlords to looking up ways we can find new data and leads to marketing. Because it’s a start-up we all pitch in with strategy. 80% is doing your primary function.

Were you taking a risk by joining George?

I wasn’t expecting a call from George this year, last year or next year. I was working for a recruitment company, which was shocking. And before that I was at a marketing agency. It was just a case of him being told by his directors that he needed to find someone like this and he said ‘oh, that sounds like Pates!’

I didn’t know that I would be here for more than 3 months, so it’s good to be here 10 months down the line.

What’s it like working with a friend?

He can ask me to do something and I’ll either do it, or tell him why I can’t. There’s no uncertainty about whether the job’s going to get done. There’s none of that manager-employee bullshit, where the manager is putting on a nice guy thing and equally so is the employee. There’s a bit more banter.

Is there any competition between you two?

The bottom line is he is the head honcho but the day-to-day mechanics of it is that we’re a bit more like colleagues. We’ve got different skillsets. He knows what he wants in terms of growth but he wouldn’t be able to do it himself so there’s not that type of micromanagement you’d get elsewhere.

Doesn’t working with a friend become distracting?

We don’t just joke around, but if we find a funny article or if someone did something outrageous the night before…but no distractions out of the ordinary. It works very well in my opinion.

George has told us a story about how you met, but what’s your version of events?

We met we were in the same class together at university…