Persevere Podcast

EP 3: Outsourcing: Hiring With the Right Structure in Mind

In episode 3 of the Persevere Podcast, we welcome Matt Smyth of Headland Law. Matt is Checkable Medical’s patent attorney and general counsel. As an electrical engineer, Smyth designed hardware for telecom companies. He later decided to go to law school because of his interest in patent law. He then worked for a large intellectual property (IP) firm, Fish and Richardson, for many years before spending a decade at Honeywell’s legal department managing their global patent portfolios. Matt decided to repackage his law experience and engineering skillset to help medical startups set their foundations in IP. With this goal, he founded Headland Law & Strategy (

Patty and Matt start the conversation by discussing why a statement of work is important when working with contractors. The bottom line, it’s clarity. Clarity around what the startup wants and what the service provider will deliver, on what timeline, and for how much. Patty shares her experience about how difficult it has been to work with contractors to define a scope of work for something that has never been done before or isn’t completely defined. Matt suggests having a solid team of advisors to help a founder define the different phases of a project and all milestones that can be reached. Breaking projects into small pieces allows for each party to clearly understand each phase of the project and a smoother working relationship with the contractor.

Matt weighs the pros and cons of hiring on a fee structure versus hourly structure. He believes a hybrid model (combining hourly work and fixed fees) is the best way for the founder and contractor to equitably share any risks.

Matt also explains what working on retainer means. He details the two ways retainer engagements usually work and how problems can occur when there are not clearly defined milestones in the work engagement.

Matt and Patty both agree that spending the time and money to establish a legal foundation for the startup early in a company’s journey is a great idea and prevents many future problems.

In the final segment of the episode, Smyth explains what a swimlane diagram is, how it can help designers of software/processes, and how it can help define a working relationship with a contractor.

EP 24: Product Production: Optimize Your Workflow from Start to Finish with Ignition

Ignition is a platform that allows product marketing managers to have a centralized location to manage all of their different workflows. When it comes to launching a product, there are many different workflows from budgets to timelines to advancements .

EP 23: Abundance in Mind: Patty's Personal Journey of Relocating to North Dakota to Grow Her Company

If you have a business or are thinking of starting a business, this podcast exists as an example of how to have an abundant and open mindset to help make the best move for your business.

EP 22: Home Grown Capital: Changing the Game of Venture Capital in the Midwest

Learn how co-founders Matt Paulson and Tim Weelborg Homegrown Capital, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota is changing the game in venture capital and angel investing in the Midwest.

EP 21: Future on Focus: How North Dakota Impacts Growing the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

When it comes to growing and sustaining businesses, North Dakota does things differently. By growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem, providing accelerated learning and leading the growth in ag-tech, they provide platforms for founders to help them grow and succeed.

EP 20: Growth Potential: How North Dakota is Leading Commerce Innovations

Learn from Dr. James Leiman, Commissioner at the North Dakota Department of Commerce on how North Dakota is a leader in commerce, supplying innovative programs and focusing on economic development.

EP 19: Redefine Change: How to Make it Possible for You, Your Team and Organization

Learn how to successfully implement change into your organization with Erika Anderson