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 (headlandlaw.com).


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 17: Build your brand as a force for good

We find fulfillment by serving others. Join our conversation with founder and CEO of We First, Simon Mainwaring. Simon is a global thought leader, author and keynote speaker. Tune in to hear how he is inspiring companies to find their purpose.

EP 16 How to Take on Any Hardship Life Throws at You

How mindfulness and optimism can shape your experience and help you live a full life. Join Patty and Kevin to talk about how Kevin's fight with cancer lead him to live a fuller and happier life than before his diagnosis.

EP 15: Creating Culture: Hiring That Goes Beyond Skills

At the core of every business is its people. Patty sat down with Erik and Peter Stenehjem of First International Bank and Trust to discuss how their family business has created a concrete culture that supports the individual employee and the organization’s growth.

EP 14: What It Takes to Be Successful in Business and Life

In this episode of the Persevere Podcast, Patty chats with Chris Berg, a media host, and personality about what it takes to succeed in business and life - including practical tips for overall success and a great morning routine.

EP 13: Personal Branding: How to Establish and Own Your Personal Brand

In this episode, Patty chats with Mel Stanley about personal branding and setting yourself apart as a confident woman in the business world. 

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