Tech Entrepreneur on a Mission Podcast

Evergreen Podcasts

Welcome to the Tech Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast. My name is Ton Dobbe. I am the founder of Value Inspiration and the author of ‘The Remarkable Effect’. I envision a world where every B2B SaaS business succeeds because they're creating software their customers would miss if were gone 𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲'𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝘆:  Research consistently shows 90% of all startups fail. That's bad.  What's worse however is that +75% of SaaS Scaleups fail - companies that are supposed to have product-market-fit. Far too few Scaleups create the traction they aspire for and fail for the wrong reasons I believe this should stop - and hence I started my business and this podcast The goal I have with this podcast is two-fold: to inspire new forms of value creation by sharing compelling ideas and stories about the potential we can unlock when technology and people blend in the right way. Share experiences from tech entrepreneurs like you about what it requires to create a remarkable software business and how to overcome the roadblocks to do so. read less
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Episodes

#301 - Jason Cohen, Founder WPEngine - on building profitable businesses.
4d ago
#301 - Jason Cohen, Founder WPEngine - on building profitable businesses.
This podcast interview focuses on the entrepreneurial journey to build a business that lasts and creates funding freedom. My guest is Jason Cohen, Founder of WPEngine. Jason built four technology startups, both bootstrapped and funded, both alone and with co-founders. He grew all of them to more than $1M in annual revenue and has sold two.  Beyond that, he's been an angel investor and a founding member of Capital Factory, an Austin-based incubator and co-working space since 2009. Since 2007 he's been documenting his experiences and thoughts about early-stage startups on his blog: A Smart Bear.  Based on his experiences and the challenges he faced as the blog grew, he founded WPEngine in 2010. It's a platform that provides brands with the solutions they need to create remarkable sites and apps on WordPress that drive their business forward faster.  Their mission: To help customers win online. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Jason to my podcast. We explore his lessons in building successful companies. He elaborates on the importance of getting the problem definition right and understanding what moves potential customers to buy. He shares his views on how to select your market and betting a super-specific niche. He talks in detail about his rules for attracting funding (or not) - and what WPEngine did during COVID-19 to keep growing.  Here's one of his quotes The question is, what can you learn from customer interviews? I don't think you can use customer reviews to know, 'Can I build this? Would you buy this feature?'  But I do think you can use customer interviews for stuff like: What is their life like? What do they care about already, or not? What do they do? What are their workflows? Do they see this problem? Or don't they? Are these compelling?  These are things where if you build the product, you don't learn those things. Ask the customer, they actually can tell you because they're not solving the problem for you. They're not building the product for you. They're just telling you about themselves. That they can do. During this interview, you will learn four things: What questions to ask to start your business with a solid foundation for long-term success What makes hyper-specific SaaS companies grow faster His first principle for thinking about raising funds that helps you to stay in control. What he's looking for when making big bets when it comes to profitability. For more information about the guest from this week: Jason Cohen Website: WPEngine Blog: A Smart Bear Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#300 - The most valuable advice from 23 B2B SaaS CEOs
14-02-2024
#300 - The most valuable advice from 23 B2B SaaS CEOs
Welcome to episode 300 of the Tech-entrepreneur on a mission podcast.  Because this is a big milestone on the journey I didn’t want to devote this podcast to one guest – instead, I got 23 B2B SaaS CEOs on the mic. A big element of every single episode of the podcast is my question at the end of each episode.  What would be a Do or a Don't that you'd like to share with other SaaS entrepreneurs? And so, I’ve made a hand-picked selection of these Do's & Don'ts from the last 100 podcast episodes Let's start with the Don'ts Neta Meidav, CEO Vault Platform: Don't take other entrepreneurs advice on face value. Melissa Kwan, CEO eWebinar: Don't start a business that you hate even if it has success. Emil Jimenez, CEO Mindbank AI: Don't think about the money Aleks Gollu, CEO 11Sight: Don't bother people will steal your idea Toni Hohlbein, CEO Growblocks: Don't forget where you are in the process Sunny Han, CEO Fulcrum: Don't allow comfort to take over Jon Ricketts, CEO Writerly: Don't limit yourself in your thinking Patrick Woods, CEO Orbit: Don't ignore yourself Charlotte Melkert, CEO Equalture: Don't think you need to in control of everything Antony Thomson, former CEO Loopin: Don't bring new people on unless you're 100% oversubscribed. Barrett King, Sr. Manager Global GTM Strategy, Partner Ecosystem Hubspot: Don't use the sentence: I'm gonna build a partner program Christian Owens, CEO Paddle: Don't malign yourself with having 2 different interpretations of what a good outcome looks like And now over to the Do's Melissa Kwan, CEO eWebinar: Do create your own definition of success Amir Konigsberg, CEO Pragma: Do something that can be genuinely valuable for someone else Lars van Wieren, CEO Starred: Do walk the walk and talk the talk Patrick Woods, CEO Orbit: Do aggressively comunicate - keep everyone on the same page Christine Tao, CEO Sounding Board: Do ask for what you need Ahmed Elsamadisi, CEO Narrator AI: Do bring your entire team for decision making James Malley, CEO Paccurate: Do learn to fight fair Mads Wedderkopp, CEO Dreaminfluence: Do write the rules before you start Neta Meidav, CEO Vault Platform: Be human - Be a mensch Josh Haynam, CEO Interact: Do highlight positives Guillaume Moubeche, CEO Lempire: Do document as early as possible Rami Darwish, CEO Arrow Labs: Do plant some small flags ahead of time Erdem Gelal, CEO Flowla: Do build a true fan base Ryan Falkenberg, CEO CLEVVA: Do own the outcome Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#299 - Matt Holland, CEO, Field Effect - on turning a market upside down.
07-02-2024
#299 - Matt Holland, CEO, Field Effect - on turning a market upside down.
This podcast interview focuses on the entrepreneurial journey to deliver on the promise of offering the best cybersecurity service in the world. My guest is Matt Holland, CEO of Field Effect. Matt Holland is an authority in the cybersecurity industry. He started his career at the Communications Security Establishment in 1999 as a leading security researcher for top-secret projects in the Five Eyes community. In 2007, he co-founded Linchpin Labs because he saw the opportunity to provide better solutions to democratic governments and corporate clients globally. The company was sold to L3 in 2018. In January 2020, he co-founded Field Effect, which he leads as the CEO. Their mission: To turn the global cyber security landscape on its head by creating the technology and tradecraft to protect underserved small & medium-sized businesses from modern cyber security threats. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Matt to my podcast. We explore what's broken in the cyber security industry, in particular for small and medium-sized businesses. Matt elaborates on the strategic choices he made early on to differentiate the business - being able to offer his solution at a fraction of the price of traditional players. He also shares his formula to build a sustainable business that can successfully compete with very large competitors.  Here's one of his quotes The mission of the company to protect small and medium businesses around the world is a really neat thing to see in action. We have stopped some incredibly challenging ransomware attacks. And when you think about it, if we weren't there, it would potentially be a business-ending event for the customer. It could potentially shut down a medical facility.  When it comes to job satisfaction, […] It's like a passion flywheel that feeds right back into it to make the entire product and service even better. During this interview, you will learn four things: How Matt found the underserved markets he could serve like no one else. How he's able to offer game-changing pricing in a very competitive market. What he's steering for to increase the effectiveness of product development What ingredients he's looking for to keep growing in challenging times. For more information about the guest from this week: Matt Holland Website Field Effect Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#298 - Aditya Varanasi, CEO Awarity - on democratizing marketing
31-01-2024
#298 - Aditya Varanasi, CEO Awarity - on democratizing marketing
This podcast interview focuses on the entrepreneurial journey and critical choices that were required to sustainably enable small businesses to compete with the big ones. My guest is Aditya Varanasi, CEO of Awarity. Aditya Varanasi is a tech entrepreneur on a mission. He started his career at Frito-Lay as an engineer but quickly grew into a brand manager. After 8 years, he then moved to PepsiCo, where he worked for 14 years pioneering new ways to amplify the power of digital media across brands including Cheetos, Cracker Jack, and Lays Stax. He never dreamed of being an entrepreneur until he was faced with a choice: take a risk or sink back into Corporate America.  This sparked the idea and the courage to found Awarity in 2016.  Their mission: World-class marketing should be affordable to everyone.  And this inspired me, and hence I invited Aditya to my podcast. We explore the journey to realize the mission to help small businesses compete with the big brands when it comes to marketing. Aditya elaborates on the initial struggles he experienced to get traction, and what he did differently to fix that. He also shares a framework for making conscious product strategy decisions so that value, stickiness, and differentiation increase. And last but not least, he shares his principles for aligning everyone and growing in a responsible way.  Here's one of his quotes I spoke to the co-founder of a large electronic medical records company in the US. And he gave me some feedback. He said, hey, look, if you can price this at $299 a month and guarantee what they're going to get, I think you've got something.  So I took that feedback very seriously. By the second week of December, we updated the website with a new pricing and value proposition. By the middle of December, we had signed up our first two doctors; by the end of January, we had about 25 doctors signed up. I said, Okay, there may be something here. We still had the same idea. But it was productizing it to something that was a value proposition that was overwhelming. That ultimately helped us get some traction. During this interview, you will learn four things: How to gain traction in a market that wants what you offer badly but can't afford it? What principles Aditya uses to continue to bootstrap the business for as long as possible. The four attributes he is using to score everything on his product roadmap. The pragmatic approach he's using to keep everyone in the company aligned on the voice of the customer For more information about the guest from this week: Aditya Varanasi Website Awarity Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#297 - Jonny White, CEO Ticket Tailor - Making Growth on Purpose work.
24-01-2024
#297 - Jonny White, CEO Ticket Tailor - Making Growth on Purpose work.
This podcast interview focuses on the entrepreneurial journey to make the biggest possible impact as a business in the most positive way. My guest is Jonny White, CEO of Ticket Tailor. Jonny White started his career as a software engineer, building websites for clients. On his journey, he spotted a gap in the market for ticketing systems. That became the founding idea behind Ticket Tailor, which he founded in 2011. It started a wild entrepreneurial ride. He achieved product market fit and decided to sell his company after about 2 years. This made him an employee for the first time ever - but only for a short time, since he bought his company back only a few years later.  The next period, he ran it as a lifetime business to then realize its unique growth potential. The rest is history. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Jonny to my podcast. We explore the valuable insights Jonny learned from transitioning from a bespoke to a subscription model. He elaborates on the three things that make his company sustainable: the importance of simplicity, creating cycles of positivity, and tightly integrating social and business impact. Last but not least, he talks about how he remained resilient during the COVID turbulence and managed to come out as a stronger company. Here's one of his quotes: Keeping things simple is a very hard thing to do. But if you can do it, you can move mountains. Keeping things simple often gets confused with ignoring complexity. It's about unpacking that complexity and really understanding it as core. And then we're like, which is the one that's going to be simple, not in terms of this decision, but what's the one that makes it simple in terms of the long term for us, so that we're not compensating for that in the future? During this interview, you will learn four things: How to sell your SaaS business and then buy it back only a few years later, coming out stronger. The methodology he used to gain the confidence to make some fundamental decisions for his business How he doubled down on purpose helped double the business, grow NPS and eNPS scores to benchmark levels, stay very lean, and maintain a healthy profit. Why obsessing over revenue and financials is not the leading thing if you want to build a business with staying power.   For more information about the guest from this week: Jonny White Website: Ticket Tailor Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#296 - Mads Wedderkopp, CEO of Dreaminfluence - on creating a growth machine.
17-01-2024
#296 - Mads Wedderkopp, CEO of Dreaminfluence - on creating a growth machine.
This podcast interview focuses on the entrepreneurial journey to turn a B2B SaaS company with negative growth into a sustainable growth machine in less than a year. My guest is Mads Wedderkopp, CEO of Dreaminfluence. Mads Wedderkopp has been running SaaS companies for nearly a decade now. Mads started his career early at the age of 17. By age 18 he was managing 120 sales reps. After his early success, he founded his own SaaS company, which he scaled from 0 to 70+ employees and 7M USD ARR.  In July 2022 he was appointed CEO of Dreaminfluence, owned by Blazar Capital, where he has turned around the business and grown it from 360k USD ARR to +1M USD ARR in less than a year. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Mads to my podcast. We explore what Mads changed to create a cohesive culture to succeed. He then elaborates on the counterintuitive actions he took to battle the too-high churn numbers. He shares his secrets to building a healthy inbound funnel of talent. Last but not least, he explains how he's been able to 5x pricing AND introduce contractual commitments from customers as a means to further expand the fanbase. Here's one of his quotes There is learning for everybody that sometimes you have to dare to invest in the right places, even though it doesn't necessarily yield an immediate return on investment. But that investment in product is what has helped us bring churn even further down. And enabled us to raise prices over and over again. During this interview, you will learn four things: What questions to ask to reduce churn in your company. Why you should prioritize cash over MRR in your early-stage SaaS journey. How to increase the quality of your customer base. Why customers should pay for onboarding - and how to get them to do so. For more information about the guest from this week: Mads Wedderkopp Website Dreaminfluence Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#295 - Aaron McReynolds, CEO of Alysio - on competitive drive to fuel Sales innovation.
10-01-2024
#295 - Aaron McReynolds, CEO of Alysio - on competitive drive to fuel Sales innovation.
This podcast interview focuses on the entrepreneurial journey to help overcome performance challenges in SaaS revenue operations. My guest is Aaron McReynolds, Co-Founder and CEO of Alysio. Aaron is a tech entrepreneur on an ambitious mission. He's got over eight years of experience in sales and sales management. Working for companies like Qualtrics, Octa, and Lacework gave him a proven track record of leading and growing sales teams in various markets, such as enterprise, corporate, and international. The challenges he faced during that period inspired him and his co-founder to found Alisio in October 2022.  Their mission: to empower sales professionals with the tools and insights they need to achieve their goals and refine their Sales teams. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Aaron to my podcast. We explore why, instead of building a tool primarily for revenue operations, he decided to bet on the end-users (sales reps), thereby challenging the traditional approach of building tools for Sales backend operations. We discuss the toughest challenges he had to overcome early on his journey, thereby prioritizing the success of the business over personal considerations. He elaborates on his 'Minimalist Funding Approach' - acknowledging the necessity of funding, but still advocating for a lean approach. And last but not least, he explains why he and his team decided to take AI off their roadmap.  Here's one of his quotes: We see, in the future, essentially a three-legged stool. And to us, that three-legged stool is comprised of the three most important parts of any sales organization: customers, revenue, and people. And so you talk about customer data: Salesforce HubSpot. You talk about revenue data: Clari, Gong, Outreach. And then, when you talk about the people, 'How do you understand the people who are your most important asset and most valuable asset?', that's almost always where the crickets come up. During this interview, you will learn four things: How he identified a gap in sales tools despite using all the popular ones. How they are creating a market perception to be a much bigger company than they really are. Aaron's leadership style to use humility to make up for the things he doesn't know as a SaaS CEO. Why he's focused on understanding and rewarding individual sales performance, challenging the norm of board, organization-level metrics. For more information about the guest from this week: Aaron McReynolds Website Alysio Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#294 - Sharekh Shaikh, CEO of CleverX - on breaking 30 years of Status Quo
03-01-2024
#294 - Sharekh Shaikh, CEO of CleverX - on breaking 30 years of Status Quo
This podcast interview focuses on the entrepreneurial journey to change the status quo of an industry that hasn't changed in 3 decades. My guest is Sharekh Shaikh, CEO of CleverX. Sharekh is a 2X founder in the human capital and the future of workspace. He has successfully created businesses that have generated $ multi-million in sales. Sharekh’s story is about an immigrant’s Silicon Valley dream. He has lived and worked in 4 different countries and traveled to over 35 countries. He spends most of his time understanding how people collaborate and share knowledge in different contexts of work. Before becoming a tech entrepreneur, Sharekh worked with Gartner. He helped them build programs so technology leaders across industries could collaborate with each other in a trusted space. The challenges he had to overcome in that period inspired him to found CleverX In January 2020. Their mission: To make human knowledge accessible to all and be your trusted place to build real relationships and get work done. This inspired me, and hence I invited Sharekh to my podcast. We explore the journey of building a solution for the broken B2B market in commercial research. Sharek digs into the critical choices he made early on and explains his first principles for creating a SaaS business that people find worth making a remark about. He shares his views on avoiding dependence on venture capital and getting pricing right from the start. Last but not least, he shares what it takes to navigate various company phases successfully. Here's one of his quotes Finding a specific set of customers is really really valuable rather than trying to go after five different people. Because your product can serve five people. It's not like won't. But where does it really solve a pain where people are excited and ready to give you the money right away? That is what you should be looking for. During this interview, you will learn four things: Why he doesn't believe in Minimum Viable Product and what he did instead to drive success early in the process. Why he'd explore more verticals at the same time - if he'd ever get the chance. How he's testing whether he's on the right track with his product fit and strategy. What he's doing differently to get feedback that translates directly into his development choices. For more information about the guest from this week: Sharekh Shaikh Website: CleverX Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#293 - Juha Berghäll, CEO ONEiO - on Cannibalizing your own business
20-12-2023
#293 - Juha Berghäll, CEO ONEiO - on Cannibalizing your own business
This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to plug directly into the services of IT suppliers around the globe at the click of a button.. My guest is Juha Berghäll, Co-founder and CEO of ONEiO Juha Berghäll is a visionary leader and a serial entrepreneur with a wealth of experience in the IT domain. His background spans over 20 years in enterprise service management.  Throughout his career, Juha has held pivotal roles, from being the Chairman of the Board and a Founding Partner at Verco Oy to serving as the Director of Marketing & Partners at Efecte Corp.  Juha's passion lies in tackling the biggest bottleneck of enterprise digitalization - integrations. He understands the challenges faced by Large Enterprise IT service providers who strive to collaborate with teams, vendors, suppliers, partners, and subcontractors on different platforms. That's where Juha and ONEiO come in. He envisions an industrial revolution in the enterprise integration space, moving from a hand-made approach to an industrialized, automated, and cloud-based model. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Juha to my podcast. We explore the shift from one-stop shops to best-of-breed providers and what challenges that gives to managing IT supply chains in a changing business landscape. He shares how he made hard choices on his business model, thereby avoiding consultancy temptation. He then elaborates on the big lessons he learned from international expansion, the impact of VC funding, and his evolving go-to-market strategies. Here's one of his quotes We really changed the game. We wanted to move away from the traditional red ocean of projects, integration projects, and technologies and platforms and provide something that focuses on the end result. ​​This is a reall new approach and different approach for this industry. It required, of course, a quite drastic change in that we cannibalized our own business. During this interview, you will learn four things: Why he decided to cannibalize his business and what it meant to succeed i  doing so. Why he decided to bootstrap the company instead of immediately jumping into the venture capital train Why he'd opt to internationalize the business earlier if he'd do it again How niching down his target market helped to increase deal size by 5x. For more information about the guest from this week: Juha Berghäll Website: ONEiO Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#292 - Guy Cohen, CEO Wonder - on curiosity and innovation.
13-12-2023
#292 - Guy Cohen, CEO Wonder - on curiosity and innovation.
In this podcast interview we explore the journey of building a B2B SaaS business around the bold mission of making the world a little more curious. My guest is Guy Cohen, CEO of Wonder.  Guy is a tech entrepreneur on a big mission. He has worked for three companies in his career. From 2011 to 2013, they worked at Morgan Stanley in the RVR Group. From 2013 to 2015, they worked at Seeking Alpha as the Director of Business Development and Business Development.  During that period he faced a number of repeating problems and started to look for solutions. The result: He and his co-founder started Wonder in 2015.  Their mission: to make the world a little more curious. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Guy to my podcast. We explore the profound link between curiosity and business success. Guy shares the pitfalls of not asking the right questions and how that sparked the idea to founding Wonder. He shares why he chose the route of augmenting human potential and how the helped create defensible differentiation. He also elaborates on the challenges they faced getting traction and what he needed to change to accelerate momentum.   Here's one of his quotes Every LLM and every AI right now is trained in the way that schools train us, which is to lead to a solution to lead to an answer. We took a very different approach. We've been answering professional questions for the better part of eight years, what we've learned is that the initial question you pose is seven degrees removed from the actual things you need to know. And the only way to get to the right set of questions is to ask more clarifying questions. So we built a clarification engine called Claire, short for clarity. During this interview, you will learn four things: Why most failures and how are related to money are a consequence of not being curious enough. How blending technology with a human element has helped them to deliver value no other company can.  Why, if he could rewind the clock and do something differently, he'd choose to narrow the aperture of who they are serving and why. How fear inhibits the asking of essential questions and hindering progress - and how to overcome that. For more information about the guest from this week: Guy Cohen Website: Wonder Free Trail: Try Wonder for free. Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#291 - Graham Hogg, CEO, See6 - on leveraging first mover advantage.
06-12-2023
#291 - Graham Hogg, CEO, See6 - on leveraging first mover advantage.
This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to prepare for tomorrow while successfully managing the present. My guest is Graham Hogg, CEO of See6. Graham is an authority on Sales AI, the author of "Seeing Around Corners", andan industry tech leader with more than 10 years of commercial experience.  He started his career as a UK Commando Forces Officer. During this career, he realized the power of simulations and how this was a very good way to help teams respond positively to transformation.  This sparked the idea to found see6 in 2014 - which he leads as the CEO. Their mission: help organizations, teams and individuals prepare for tomorrow. Their promise: Help sales teams go 6X faster. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Graham to my podcast. We explore how sales is evolving as a skill - and what's required to succeed. Graham shares his vision to enable this in CPG. He also explains why he decided to niche down (and say no to very big markets) and how that's made a meaningful difference in the traction they're creating. He also shares his framework for making the best product strategy decisions. Last but not least he shares how he avoids his teams to become too internally focused - and how that helped them to become a Remarkable SaaS business. Here's one of his quotes Relationship-based selling isn't really relevant in this new environment. The real skill for sales teams to turn it going forward, is actually a writing skill. Their ability to construct compelling sales narratives.  This whole relationship based, 'Hey, buddy, how are you doing and taking you out?' that's not what buyers want anymore. They want much more. They want insight. They want that consumer category lens so that they can see around the corner and what's coming next for their shoppers. During this interview, you will learn four things: Why a very important decision was to not work with marketing, but sales instead. Why he discarded Pharma as a market as 'way too big' - and how that made everything easier. How he tested for Problem Market Fit - and how that accelerated Product Market Fit. How See6 is leveraging first mover advantage in the Generative AI world. For more information about the guest from this week: Graham Hogg Website: See6 Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#290 - Joe Lewin, CEO Foundy - on enabling life-changing moments in SaaS
29-11-2023
#290 - Joe Lewin, CEO Foundy - on enabling life-changing moments in SaaS
This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to buy and sell SaaS businesses in less than 30 days. My guest is Joe Lewin, CEO Foundy.  Joe Lewin is a two-time SaaS founder who successfully sold his first business in 2022. Since selling his company, his vocation has been to modernize the antiquated M&A process for other tech founders.  The demand for a modernized exit process has been accelerated by the turbulence in the tech sector and the broader economy, especially now that it's become harder to raise funding. However, founders face a bottleneck issue because most investment banks and advisory firms primarily focus on serving the most prominent companies (i.e. £15m + in revenue). Foundry is focusing on the bottom 90% of companies. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Joe to my podcast. We explore what's broken in the SaaS M&A market. Joe shares his vision and the change he's committed to creating. He talks about the fundamental decisions he made and the mindset he follows to create a business that lasts. He elaborates on his learnings on how they created early momentum - and how that's now accelerated through word of mouth. Last but not least he shares what he learned from the mistakes he made in hiring Here's one of his quotes I've met hundreds and hundreds of founders now, even those that may raise double-digit VC funding, and a lot of them really do not have the knowledge or insight on how to maximize their valuation upon an exit. And they haven't laid the foundations to build that deep-rooted value During this interview, you will learn four things: Why community-led growth is underrated - especially as a way to get people committed and create viral benefits. The viability of your SaaS business isn't what you say yes to, but who you say no to. The sticky part of your SaaS business doesn't necessarily have to be the product you create. The value your customers love you for isn't often coming from the software but from the life-changing moments. For more information about the guest from this week: Joe Lewin Website: Foundy Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#289 - George Huff, CEO Opal - on reinventing his SaaS business.
22-11-2023
#289 - George Huff, CEO Opal - on reinventing his SaaS business.
This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power for marketing teams to work better together. My guest is George Huff, CEO of Opal. George has been a business/tech/design geek for a long time. That's manifested in a career that started as a web designer and has culminated in him being the co-founder of a few really great companies. In October 2011 he became the CEO of Opal, a platform Built for Marketers Their mission: To enable marketing teams to spend less effort maintaining internal alignment and more time doing the work that matters. George led Opal till July 2016 - stepped down as the CEO - to then take back the scepter in January 2021.  And this inspired me, and hence I invited George to my podcast. We explore the 12 year journey of Opal and what have been the fundamental choices to grow the business to where it is today. We discuss the lessons he learned from stepping down as the CEO - seeing things from a different perspective - and what that meant when he took on the CEO role again halfway the pandemic. He also elaborates on the challenges he faced managing two innovation S-curves in the business. Last but not least he shares his secret to create a business people want to fight for. Here's one of his quotes As a startup person, you had an initial jump, and your ego is like, 'Yeah, we could do anything, we're so great.' The idea of a slowdown is not even in your mind at all. And so, there's a lot of hubris that happens when you craft all these parts of your product, they are your darlings, and then you have to kill them in order to get to the 'What's next'. You've got to admit failure first. During this interview, you will learn four things: The one thing George tests every time to know they're making the right product strategy decisions  How the pandemic - and NOT being in the CEO seat gave him the clarity it was time to reinvent themselves. What George learned from managing the company through a period of two overlapping S-curves - and what he'd do differently next time. What signals to watch for to uncover 'the rotten core' problem and realize you've entered a dead-end road. For more information about the guest from this week: George Huff Website: Opal Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#288 - Jon Ricketts, CEO of Writerly - on building defensible differentiation.
15-11-2023
#288 - Jon Ricketts, CEO of Writerly - on building defensible differentiation.
This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that gives creators the power to supercharge their productivity. My guest is Jon Ricketts, Co-founder and CEO of Writerly. Jon's career in the SaaS industry spans over 12 years. He has established himself in the field of artificial intelligence and business innovation. Jon’s journey as an entrepreneur began as an early employee at Transcard, a pioneering fintech company specializing in payment processing.  In June 2022, he co-founded Writerly, which he leads as the CEO.  Their mission: to make it easy for creators – both individual and enterprise – to leverage sophisticated AI to supercharge their productivity.  And this inspired me, and hence I invited Jon to my podcast. We explore what it takes to build a successful Generative AI startup in a period where a tsunami of companies is coming to market every single day. Jon shares how he started the business without a clear idea of what problem to solve and how he found his sweetspot. He then elaborates on what techniques he uses to build defensible differentiation and stand out in the market. Last but not least, he shares his secrets on how to stay nimble as the business grows. Here's one of his quotes The hardest part about being in a generative AI market and seeing the tsunami of companies that are being released is just simply being patient. You try to weaponize speed, speed in terms of development, speed in terms of commercial marketing and sales. But the faster you move, the further back you fall.   Because when you see something that you would like to replicate this week. Well, by the time your engineers and developers have completed, you've done your testing, and you're moving from staging to production, guess what's happened: someone else has come out and made that essentially obsolete. During this interview, you will learn four things: How being intentionally patient can become your biggest value driver in a crazy Generative AI market. Where Jon is looking for signals on what to build and how to sell. How Jon found his sweetspot - even though it didn't look attractive at all. How to design your business intentionally to create defensible differentiation. For more information about the guest from this week: Jon Ricketts Website: Writerly Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#287 - Melissa Kwan, CEO of eWebinar - on living the Bootstrapped SaaS dream.
08-11-2023
#287 - Melissa Kwan, CEO of eWebinar - on living the Bootstrapped SaaS dream.
This podcast interview focuses on product innovation, that has the power to run hundreds of engaging webinars without having to be there. My guest is Melissa Kwan, CEO of eWebinar. Melissa is a 3rd time bootstrapped founder. Her previous company, Spacio (real estate tech), was acquired in 2019. eWebinar was the product she always dreamt about because she was drowning in sales demos, onboarding and training webinars every day for 5 years. So, in March 2019 she made the jump and founded the eWebinar.  Her mission: to give people their time back so they can do something else more fun because that's what life is about. We don't need to work harder; we need to work more creatively. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Melissa to my podcast. We explore how she built a $1M ARR business from scratch - deliberately going the bootstrapped way. Melissa elaborates on her experiences in building software that helps her customers provide experiences that their customers love to engage with. She talks about how getting her first 200 customers was easy but how growing beyond that became a big challenge - and how she overcame that. Last but not least, she shares some of her secrets to creating a SaaS business without getting into the vicious cycle of desperately chasing funding. Here's one of her quotes: The toughest nut to crack is not getting it launched and adopted with your first 200 customers. The toughest stuff to crack is what happens after you've exhausted your entire network and their friends.  That was a huge reality check for me. Because that didn't happen until about a year after launch. Because all I know is sales I didn't realize that what I need for this business is marketing. During this interview, you will learn four things: Why she's (being an automation-passionate) is betting on SEO and LinkedIn content creation instead of cold outreach automation? What's her secret to creating predictable traction (knowing there are no shortcuts)? How doubling her prices became a blessing for her business in many different ways Why she'd opt for bootstrapping her company again if she'd had the choice again? For more information about the guest from this week: Melissa Kwan Website: eWebinar Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#286 - Yoav Vilner, CEO of Walnut - on creating a new SaaS category
01-11-2023
#286 - Yoav Vilner, CEO of Walnut - on creating a new SaaS category
This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to create interactive and personalized product demos that prospects will love. My guest is Yoav Vilner, Co-founder and CEO of Walnut. Yoav is a remarkable tech entrepreneur. He was the founder of one of the world’s first tech marketing companies that helped 600 startups grow and a founding CMO of an anti-bullying startup.  He has been active as a startup mentor with accelerators by Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Yahoo, and the U.N. and as a writer for top outlets such as Inc Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, Entrepreneur, and more. In August 2020, he co-founded Walnut - which he leads as the CEO.  With Walnut - they pioneered a category that enables sales pros to deliver interactive and unbreakable product demos.  Then they launched a movement for prospects that had to suffer through frustrating sales processes that took forever.  And then reinvented SaaS sales - by enabling interactive product demos that focus on value at any stage of the sales process. Their mission: To solve the pain of buying software and create a way for prospects to fall in love with your product. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Yoav to my podcast. We explore the journey of a startup that rapidly gained traction in the market. Yoav explains why he prioritized brand building from day one and how that helped them differentiate themselves in the saturated sales product market. Last but not least, he elaborates on the power of creating a movement - not only incorporating your ideal customers - but also their ideal customers.  Here's one of his quotes Every time that we're working on a new video, we say, 'Let's just push it and see if people are sick of it.' It just helps us tell the story in a way that no other company is able to do it. And so every time we push the limits and boundaries, we just find out that the experiment has been successful. During this interview, you will learn four things: That you can capture immense value from the market even at the MVP stage. How you can get potential customers to commit before you've even fully explained your product Yoav's lessons about how he leveraged external funding in a way that only created winners. Why they took an aggressive approach to show as little as they could to prospects - and why that paid off. For more information about the guest from this week: Yoav Vilner Website: Walnut Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#285 - Doug Camplejohn, CEO at Airspeed - on creating magic moments
25-10-2023
#285 - Doug Camplejohn, CEO at Airspeed - on creating magic moments
This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to improve your team’s happiness, engagement, and collaboration. My guest is Doug Camplejohn, CEO at Airspeed. Doug Camplejohn is a Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission. Before his entrepreneurial ventures, he was VP of Marketing and Product Management at enterprise (Epiphany), security (Vontu), and consumer (Apple) companies. Then he founded and and became the CEO of three startup companies. Myplay, who got acquired by Bertelsmann. Mi5 Networks, which was acquired by Symantec. Finally, Fliptop, which was acquired by LinkedIn. In January 2020, he left LinkedIn to become the EVP and GM of Salesforce Sales Cloud.  In July 2021, he founded Airspeed, a suite of Slack and mobile apps that provide fun and simple ways to connect with your teammates. Their mission: to help employees feel connected and celebrated And this inspired me, and hence I invited Doug to my podcast. We explore what's broken in the way businesses build culture in a remote-first world. Doug shares his vision of how to fix this by means of technology - creating an operating system for culture. As we discuss his journey, he explains what early decisions had been fundamental to avoid having to do a complete rebuild when his product hypothesis appeared wrong. He also dives into how he arrived at the perfect shipping cadence for his business and his customers, and how he embraced a language to encourage everyone to push the art of the possible. Last but not least, he shares their approach to creating momentum by leveraging customer stories. Here's one of his quotes We've seen tremendous traction, thousands of companies, and tens of thousands of users on the apps in the first few weeks.  It's all about this understanding that employee connectedness is either the number one cause of retention if you're happy and you're really feeling connected to the team and the mission, or the number one cause of unhappiness and people departing when it's not. And so this is really about reinforcing that. During this interview, you will learn four things: How do you build tremendous traction at the launch stage of your SaaS product Why you should be firm on the destination but flexible on the path. Why everyone should be involved in product - not only the product department - and everyone should be looking at the metrics. How to accelerate  growth by leveraging tech to serve product-qualified leads to Sales For more information about the guest from this week: Doug Camplejohn Website Airspeed Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#284 - Josh Haynam, CEO Interact- on building a SaaS business that customers love.
18-10-2023
#284 - Josh Haynam, CEO Interact- on building a SaaS business that customers love.
This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to increase your business visibility and tap into viral possibilities. My guest is Josh Haynam, Co-founder and CEO of Interact. Josh Haynam is a life-long entrepreneur, having started his first company at the age of 15 and never held a full-time job outside of entrepreneurship. In June 2014 he and his co-founder started Interact a company that's all about connecting brands and customers at a human level They bootstrapped the company up to this point, and have helped more than 150,000 customers generate over 21 million leads and counting for their businesses. Their mission: to empower digital entrepreneurs, creators, and brands to grow their business through empathetic listening, deeper understanding, and true connection. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Josh to my podcast. We explore his bootstrapped journey and the critical choices he and his co-founder had to make along the journey. Josh explains how he's been able to create defensible differentiation from the start. He shares his big lessons learned to accelerate profitability. Last but not least, he explains how COVID led to a big spike in revenue, that quickly became the worst thing that could ever happen to his company - and the counterintuitive thing he's done to come out stronger. Here's one of his quotes There's always this difficulty around like, we could go faster, or we could build more or we could compete better if we were to have funding or if we would just be able to hire these people.  What I always end up remembering is: There are no shortcuts. We're seeing now a lot of our competition shedding users, because they acquired them in a way that wasn't profitable. And so now they have to get rid of them. And that's just like doubly wasting money because it costs money to acquire that user. And then they're also going to be a detractor for your business. It doesn't actually work. It's just really tempting. During this interview, you will learn four things: What to stay true to when you want to build a SaaS business that lasts. The power of credibly detracting customers you don't want. What to do when you're overwhelmed by a flood of better-funded competitors. His tips about the best way to build marketing that works For more information about the guest from this week: Josh Haynam Website Interact Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#283 - Joel Stevenson, CEO of Yesware  - on competing in a dense market
11-10-2023
#283 - Joel Stevenson, CEO of Yesware - on competing in a dense market
This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to enable Sales Teams to do meaningful email outreach at scale. My guest is Joel Stevenson, CEO of Yesware. Joel loves building businesses and has 20+ years of experience doing just that. He built a supply chain business from $2MM to $30MM, a B2C eCommerce business from $50MM to $100MM, and a B2B business,  from scratch to several hundred million. He earned a BS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from Yale School of Management. In March 2017, he joined Yesware as their SVP of Sales & Marketing. He then transitioned into the COO role - and today, he's the CEO. Their mission: To help sales professionals deliver positive buying experiences and build the valuable relationships their customers deserve. This inspired me, and hence, I invited Joel to my podcast. We explore Joel's journey with Yesware and the challenges he had to overcome growing it in an extremely dense market with many better-funded competitors. We discussed how he'd carved out his niche and what that meant for product strategy, marketing, and sales. Joel then elaborates on how a rise in prices during COVID-19 had an unexpected positive effect on the overall quality of the business. Lastly, we discuss the effects of the merger with Vendasta.  Here's one of his quotes A lot of our early value as a company was driven because we have a very good Salesforce integration. But the peril with that strategy was that with Salesforce as a system of record, we're effectively putting all of our data inside of Salesforce.  And then if somebody decides that they're unhappy with Yesware, for whatever reason [...] it doesn't end up becoming that difficult to switch.  And so I wish we would have done earlier what we're doing now - is completing the story where Yesware becomes more of the system of record. I think that would have massively increased our stickiness. The promise of product-led is easy acquisition. The peril of product-led is retention. And that was the thing that we had to keep working on. During this interview, you will learn four things: How you can create meaningful differentiation in an extremely dense market  The true value of your saas is often about what you offer, but how and where you offer it. It's all about context. How one simple (but controversial) change can help attract much better quality customers The power of reflecting on the potential of the success of your SaaS business - and taking an open mindset (without ego) on how to achieve it. For more information about the guest from this week: Joel Stevenson Website Yesware Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
#282 - Stijn Hendrikse,  Author T2D3 - on scaling a B2B SaaS business
04-10-2023
#282 - Stijn Hendrikse, Author T2D3 - on scaling a B2B SaaS business
This podcast interview focuses on the art of successfully scaling a B2B SaaS business. My guest is Stijn Hendrikse, Author of T2D3.  Stijn Hendrikse is a serial entrepreneur and author and has been a growth leader with over 20 years of experience in both SaaS and AI industries. Early in his career, He was a GM at Microsoft and then served as CMO and CEO for multiple B2B SaaS companies, including MightyCall and Acumatica.  Then he founded Kalungi, a growth-as-a-service provider, and wrote T2D3 (Triple, Triple, Double, Double, Double), a book on how to scale SaaS businesses after finding product-market fit. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Stijn to my podcast. We explore the big lessons Stijn learned in growing a range of B2B SaaS businesses - and dig into the typical mistakes companies make trying to scale their business too early, too fast. Stijn discusses his 10-step framework to measure whether you've received product market fit and shares his assessment technique to understand whether a SaaS company has future potential or not. Last but not least, we discuss the art of segmentation, particularly if you're addressing a totally new market. Here's one of his quotes If you're a CEO or founder, it's your number one job to answer two questions. Who's it for, and what's it for? What's the value proposition that you're bringing to the markets? And why is that important for the people that you're trying to serve? You cannot delegate those two questions to anybody else.  And a great way to test your theory: if you're unable to articulate that in some content, either a podcast episode like this or in a blog article, you're really not ready to scale your company. During this interview, you will learn five things: What's the most important indicator of long-term success for a B2B SaaS company?  The 10 steps to measure whether you have product market fit - or not. Three of most important questions a B2B SaaS CEO needs to answer after finding product market fit. The three things to nail if you're looking to attract investors for your SaaS business How to go about segmentation if there's no market yet For more information about the guest from this week: Stijn Hendrikse Website T2D3 10 steps to measure product market fit Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say) My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices