Aspiring Ops with Eric Smith, Head of Business Design at High Alpha
February 1, 2021

Startups pose many unique challenges. To overcome these challenges, leaders are forced to make decisions quickly without having every piece of insight available to them. One way to make these tough decisions easier is to find someone who has faced a similar problem and learn how they were able to overcome the challenge they faced. 


Well, have we got some fantastic news for you. No matter what problem you’re facing today, we can assure you our guest today has likely been faced with something similar. We’re incredibly excited to welcome Eric Smith, Head of Business Design at High Alpha, to episode three of Aspiring Ops!


Before joining the team at High Alpha, Eric served as the COO of OneClick Ventures, where he was instrumental in creating the framework that led them to be acquired in 2018. In his current role, he’s responsible for identifying new startup opportunities and helping Founders put a foundational structure in place to one day scale.


No matter what stage your company is at or where you are in your operational journey, this episode has advice for everyone. Make sure you have your pen and paper close, you’re going to need them as you dive into the third episode of Aspiring Ops!



Didn’t have that pen and paper handy? Use our show notes to cycle back through and replay your favorite part of the conversation with Eric.


Show Notes


💻 0:00-5:01 - Eric’s Background into Operations

🔢 5:02-7:24 - Letting the Numbers Drive Decision-Making

⚙️ 7:25-8:47  - Building the Company Infrastructure Before It Was Needed

🤔 8:48-10:52 - Pushing Yourself to Live Five Years In the Future

🚒 10:53-13:01 - Putting Out Today’s Fires, While Building for Tomorrow

🤝 13:02-14:33 - Creating a Culture Around Accountability from the Start

🏎️ 14:34-17:34 - What 10 Year Old Eric’s Dream Job Would Be

🧰 17:35-20:20 - Early Career Investments That Became Operational Resources

🔮 20:21-22:38 - How Operations Leaders Should Be Planning for Scale in 2021

🌟 22:39-25:20 - Recognizing Your Team in a Remote First Environment


After listening to episode three, there was one piece of advice that we felt was incredibly important to call-out. Eric’s ability to push himself to live five years in the future and ask the question, “What am I going to look back on and say I wish I would’ve done this right now,” seems so simple, but it really lays the groundwork for how great operations leaders are able to put a framework in place that allows their company to scale.


When you’re in the grind of building a start-up, it’s really easy to put the blinders on and focus on today’s problem. But as Eric mentions, removing those blinders and thinking about problems future you will face is critical. Find the time to put a lightweight solution in-place for the future. It won’t be perfect. But in the end, you’ll be thankful for the extra work you put in.


Eric, thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom with the Elate team and our listeners on Aspiring Ops. Your unique story leading a startup through an acquisition and being on the forefront of launching new ventures every year is one that we really enjoyed hearing. We’re confident your words will provide a framework for our listeners as they continue on their own journey building the next great company.


If you’re interested in learning more about the work Eric is doing, check out High Alpha and take a look at some of the start-ups he’s been launching. 


If you’re interested in learning more about how Elate’s helping Strategy and Operations leaders put their strategic plan into action, you can start your free trial here.