Ryan Smith is the Founder and Executive Chairman @ Qualtrics, the leader in customer experience and creator of the experience management (XM) category. Ryan has grown the company from a basement startup to one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the world, with 25 offices globally and more than 13,000 customers. Qualtrics raised $400M in funding from Accel, Sequoia, and Insight Venture Partners. Three days before the company was initially scheduled to go public, SAP announced its intent to acquire Qualtrics for $8B, which was the largest private enterprise software acquisition ever. In 2020, Qualtrics and SAP announced plans to take Qualtrics public as an independently operated company.
1.) How Ryan made his way into the world of startups having travelled the world and came to found Qualtrics in his basement over 21 years ago?
2.) How does Ryan think about his relationship to happiness and what it means to "be happy"? How does Ryan think about identity and founders aligning their identities to their company? How does Ryan think, if not careful, tech can eat you up? What does Ryan mean when he says he would rather be "opportunistic than an entrepreneur"?
3.) How does Ryan approach decision-making today? In what situations does Ryan think with his head vs his heart? How does Ryan approach risk today? How has his relationship to risk changed over time? What did the sale process to SAP look like? What was that decision-making process to sell to SAP for $8BN in cash vs IPO? What advice did his wife give him?
4.) How does Ryan evaluate his relationship to money today? How did it feel when Ryan sold Qualtrics to SAP for $8BN in cash? How does Ryan think about giving his children the right mentality and upbringing while being brought up in extreme wealth? What are the challenges of doing so?
5.) How does Ryan think about the weight of responsibility? Ryan and his brother Jared, did a lot very young, did Ryan feel the pressure of having to grow up faster than one usually would? How did that impact his mentality? How did Ryan's travels to Mexico and Japan change the person he is today?
Ryan’s Favourite Book: Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream
Marcos Galperin is the Founder and CEO @ MercadoLibre, one of LATAM's most successful companies of the last 2 decades. Today MercadoLibre's market cap exceeds $78Bn and the business includes everything from commerce to payments to logistics. Marcos is widely considered one of the great entrepreneurs of the last 2 decades scaling the business from its founding in 1999 while in business school at Stanford to today, a leader in LATAM operating across 18 countries and plans to end 2021 with over 32,000 employees.
1.) How Marcos made his way into the world of startups and came up with the idea for MercadoLibre while at Stanford Business School?
2.) Talent Acquisition and Retention: What have been some of Marcos' biggest lessons on what it takes to acquire A* talent? Does Marcos believe individuals can scale across company stages? When is a stretch hire a stretch too far? What has been the secret to Marcos having such a retained leadership team? What works? What does not?
3.) Risk and Decision-Making: How does Marcos evaluate his relationship to risk today? What frameworks does Marcos use to make effective decisions today? How does Marcos think about short term vs long term when it comes to resource allocation? How does Marcos prioritise where he makes decisions vs where he is willing to delegate?
4.) Funding and The Crash: How does Marcos reflect on his biggest lessons from going through 2 crashes with MercadoLibre? How did he change the way he ran the business post crash? How does Marcos advise founders today when big rounds are on offer, take the money or wait? What other components are important to consider in this decision?
Parker’s Favourite Book: Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
David Tisch is the Founder and Managing Partner @ Box Group, one of the leading seed focused firms of the last decade with a portfolio including Airtable, Glossier, PillPack, Plaid and many more. Prior to founding Box, David was Managing Director of Techstars New York and was a prolific angel investor making early angel investments in the likes of Vine and Warby Parker to name a few.
1.) How David made his way into the world of tech and startups and came to change the state of seed funding in NYC with the founding of Box Group?
2.) Why does David believe that ownership requirements are "VCs projecting their problems on founders"? Why does David believe that ownership today fundamentally does not matter? How does David feel about his own relationship to price? Why is it important to be price aware across the portfolio, not on a per deal basis?
3.) What does David make of the rise of pre-emptive rounds? How does David advise portfolio founders who have them on the table? What other arguments does David use to founders contemplating taking seed rounds from multi-stage funds? How does David believe founders should assess their importance to the fund investing in them?
4.) How does David feel about his relationship to FOMO today? What have been some of his biggest misses in recent years? How have some of his biggest misses changed how he acts as an investor today? How have some of his biggest successes changed his investing lens? What changes did David and Box make to their decision-making process as a result?
5.) What does David believe are the biggest mistakes to turn down a company? Why is "too early" never a reason to turn down a company? How does David assess and think about market size today? Through what framework does David evaluate and assess competition today? What does David believe are some core concerns that are reasonable to turn down an opportunity?
David’s Most Recent Investment: Ramp
Chris Fralic is a Board Partner @ First Round Capital, one of the leading seed-stage venture firms of the last decade with investments in the likes of Uber, Square, Notion, Warby Parker and more. As for Chris, he has led deals in Roblox, Ring.com, HotelTonight, Rec Room and many more incredible companies. Prior to the world of venture, Chris was VP of Business Development at social bookmarking and tagging company del.icio.us through the Yahoo! acquisition. He was also one of the early employees at Half.com and after the eBay, acquisition spent six years with eBay in a variety of business development, media and entertainment roles.
1.) How did Chris come to first meet Dave and the team at Roblox? Where was the first meeting? Who was in attendance? How did Chris feel post that first meeting with the team?
2.) Turning the company down: Why did First Round turn down Roblox on first look? How does Chris assess his own relationship to price? Through what mechanism does he determine whether to pay up or not? How does Chris retain relationships with founders when saying no? Does Chris believe you can buy up ownership post first check today, with the capital proliferate we have?
3.) What does Chris mean when he discusses the lessons from First Round's portfolio when it comes to "slow bake vs fast bake"? How did the First Round partnership analyse the Uber, Square, Roblox portfolio at the time? Through what framework does Chris think about reserves management given the challenge of "slow bake companies"? How does he address it today?
4.) What does Chris mean when he discusses the hype to substance ratio? Why is it more important than ever today? What does this mean for startups? How can startups with a low hype to substance ratio raise funds at good prices? What advice does Chris have for them? How does Chris think about the importance of firm and individual brand in venture today?
5.) How has Chris seen Dave evolve as a leader and CEO over time? What caused the changes in his leadership style? What moments stand out as the most challenging moments to Chris in the scaling of Roblox? Who does Chris believe are the behind the scenes rockstars that made Roblox possible?
Parker Conrad is the Founder and CEO @ Rippling, the employee management platform allowing you to manage your employees' payroll, benefits, devices and more—in one place. To date, Parker has raised over $197M for Rippling from the likes of Founders Fund, Kleiner Perkins, Initialized, Bedrock, Greenoaks and Coatue. Prior to founding Rippling, Parker was the Co-Founder and CEO @ Zenefits and if that was not enough, Parker is also a prominent angel having invested in the likes of Census, Pulley and then also AgentSync and TrueNorth, alongside 20VC Fund.
1.) How did Parker make his way into the world of technology and startups? What was the founding a-ha moment for Parker with Rippling? How did his journey with Zenefits change or alter his leadership style today with Rippling?
2.) Why does Parker believe that the conventional advice of focus, focus, focus is BS? What does Parker mean when he states, "The Compound Startup"? How does the approach of the compound startup differ from traditional approaches of product and company building? What are the core benefits of using the compound startup approach?
3.) How does Parker think about providing sufficient product quality with an increasing breadth of product offering, entailed within a compound startup? In what way does pricing differ when comparing compound startups to traditional startups? How can compound startups optimise their pricing on a bundle basis? What has Slack and Microsoft taught us about this?
4.) Why does Parker disagree with the conventional analogy of the VC <> founder relationship being a marriage? Why does Parker refer to it more as a "General Contractor" relationship for a house? What can founders do to sufficiently protect themselves from overarching VCs? What can VCs do to be the very best partners to the founders they work with?
5.) How does Parker evaluate his relationship to money today? How has it changed over time? What does Parker know now that he wishes he had known at the start of his founding of Rippling? What have been Parker's biggest lessons on talent acquisition? Why did Parker decide to bring on a COO when he did? How has it changed his role?
Parker’s Favourite Book: Matilda by Roald Dahl
Peter Reinhardt is the Founder and CEO @ Segment, the leading customer data platform with over 20,000 companies using Segment to collect, clean, and control their customer data. Prior to their $3.2BN acquisition by Twilio in 2020, Peter raised over $283M for Segment from Accel, Thrive, Meritech, GV, General Catalyst and Kleiner Perkins to name a few. Peter is also an active angel investor having made investments in the likes of Retool, Newfront, Pilot and more.
1.) How Peter made his way into the world of startups and how he came to found a company, Segment, by actively trying to prove to his co-founder that it would not work? Why does Peter believe the Airbnb story is the most destructive myth for founders to follow?
2.) Learning: How does Peter think about learning frameworks for new topics? How does he construct his? How does Peter use data within this learning process to increase his rate of learning? Where do the majority of people go wrong in constructing their framework for learning?
3.) Listening and Debate: What does Peter believe is required to be "a good listener"? What questions do the best listeners ask? What tone do they use to ask these questions? How does Peter create an environment of safety internally where people feel they can debate? How does one balance between debate and thinking vs putting those thoughts into action?
4.) Problem-solving: How does Peter breakdown problems into their component parts? Through what mechanism does he determine what to prioritise first? How would Peter describe his decision-making process? How does he determine between head vs heart in decisions? In what way does Peter use data to further inform the decisions he makes?
5.) How would Peter describe his management style today? Has it changed over time? In what way has working with a coach changed the way Peter thinks about leadership? What elements do they focus on? How often does he see his coach? What have been some of his biggest takeaways?
David Sze is a General Partner @ Greylock where he has led some of the firms most notable investments including Facebook, LinkedIn and Pandora. David has consistently been at the forefront of innovation in the consumer landscape leading to his investments in Discord, Roblox, Medium and more. Prior to Greylock, David was SVP of Product Strategy at one of the first search pioneers, Excite and then Excite@Home. Before Excite, he was in interactive entertainment — in product marketing at Electronic Arts and development at Crystal Dynamics. As a result of his incredible investing track record, David has been frequently named to the Forbes Midas List.
1.) How David made his way into the world of venture and came to lead consumer investing at Greylock with investments in Facebook, Linkedin, Roblox and Discord?
2.) How did David's investments in Facebook and Linkedin challenge Greylock's investment strategy at the time? Paying $500M for Facebook, how does David reflect on his own relationship to price and price sensitivity? How does David evaluate the rise of pre-emptive rounds today? Is David concerned by the excess supply of capital in the market today?
3.) Having worked with Mark @ Facebook, Reid @ Linkedin, David @ Roblox, what are the commonalities of these incredible founders? What does David do to build relationships of trust and vulnerability with founders? How does David do this in the compressed fundraising timelines we have today?
4.) The Partnership: What does David believe Greylock have done well in terms of creating an environment of safety within the partnership where people can really challenge each other? What works? What does not? For younger VCs, what is the difference between those that succeed and those that do not? What is David's biggest advice to those in the earlier years of their VC career?
5.) The Board: How does David evaluate his own style of board membership today? How has it changed over the years? What does David believe are his biggest strengths and his biggest weaknesses as a board member? What advice does David give to younger VCs assuming their first board roles?
Wade Foster is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Zapier, the company that moves info between your web apps automatically, so you can focus on your most important work. Post YC in 2012, Wade raised $1.4M for the company from Bessemer and Threshold but since that round, he scaled the company to $140M in ARR and a $5Bn valuation with Sequoia and Steadfast buying out some early investors earlier this year.
1.) How Wade made his way from email marketing manager to founding one of YC's most successful alum in the form of Zapier? Does Wade agree with the "fake it till you make it theory"? How does Wade advise grads on starting a company vs joining a startup vs joining an incumbent?
2.) Remote Work: Zapier has been remote since 2012, what do Zapier do very specifically that Waade believes has enabled them to be so successful remote? What did not work? What were some of the biggest challenges of scaling the team remotely? In terms of tooling, what specific tools do Wade and Zapier use to make the org as transparent as possible?
3.) In the scaling journey, what have been the most significant breakpoints in the org scaling? How has Eade scaled his style of leadership? What has been the most challenging element to scale? How does Wade structure internal meetings? Who is invited to what? What materials are shared? How are the meetings structured?
4.) Why did Wade decide not to take the venture path and scale the company from revenues? What does Wade believe so many founders misunderstand when it comes to fundraising? What does Wade believe they gained from the bootstrapped approach? Why did Wade still maintain relationships with VCs? How did he choose those he wanted to stay in touch with?
5.) How does Wade feel about his relationship to money? What does Wade think about the rise of secondaries? In what framework does Wade advise founders who have the chance to take secondaries? What is the right amount to take off the table? How does one communicate this?
Wade’s Favourite Book: Harry Potter
Nikolay Storonsky is the Founder & CEO @ Revolut, one of the world's largest and fastest-growing fintechs offering everything from personal to business banking, providing a better way to manage your money. To date, Nikolay has raised over $905M with Revolut from Ribbit, Index, DST, Balderton and Bond Capital to name a few. Nikolay has scaled Revolut to over 2,000 employees across 4 continents. Before changing the world of neo-banking, Nikolay spent 8 years as a derivatives trader at both Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse in London.
1.) How Nikolay made his way into the world of startups from derivatives trading and how that led to his changing the world of fintech with Revolut?
2.) How would Nikolay describe his style of leadership today? How did his time in banking impact his operating style? What elements has Nikolay found the hardest to scale into as a leader? How does Nikolay assess his relationship to ambition? What drives him today? How does Nikolay deal with self-doubt and vulnerability in leadership?
3.) Why does Nikolay feel the most important thing in a company is the speed of product shipment? From a product perspective, how does Nikolay determine what to do next vs what to do later? What does that prioritisation process look like? Has it changed over time?
4.) How does Nikolay think about gepgraphic expansion today? Given Monzo's challenges in the US, why did Revolut decide the US remained a good strategy? What does it take to launch and scale a new country? How does Nikolay think about the relationship between growth and profitability? What companies does Nikolay admire most for their international scaling?
Nikolay’s Favourite Book: Principles by Ray Dalio (PDF)
Guillaume Pousaz is the Founder and CEO of Checkout.com, one of the world's leading global payments solutions providers and one of Europe's most valuable private companies. Guillaume founded Checkout.com in 2012 and bootstrapped the business until its record-breaking $230M Series A led by Insight and DST in 2019. Since, Guillaume has raised a further $600M for Checkout from the likes of Coatue, Tiger, Blossom, GIC and Greenoaks. As part of this process, Guillaume has scaled the team to over 900 people around the world and Checkout as one of the category leaders in payments with a reported $15Bn valuation.
1.) How Guillaume made his way into the world of payments following a travelling experience? How that experience led to his founding the now $12Bn, Checkout.com?
2.) Why did Guillaume wait 7 years into the running of the business before raising a massive $230M Series A? Why was then the right time? Was it a difficult mental transition to move from lean, capital efficiency to raising $230M? Why have Checkout never spent a single dollar on marketing? Is it true, Checkout has never spent a single dollar you have raised?
3.) What does Guillaume mean when he says he "has 3 roadmaps for life"? How does he structure his planning for the next 2,5 and 10 years? How does Guillaume think on his own identity and how it is tied to Checkout, the company? How does Guillaume advise founders in terms of tying their identity to their company?
4.) Why does Guillaume believe that becoming a father made him a better CEO? How did it impact his operating style? How does Guillaume analogise the role of the CEO to the profession of being a sailor? How does Guillaume think through his relationship to money today? How has it changed over time? How does he think about ensuring it does not impact his children?
5.) In what way does Guillaume structure his decision-making process today? What does Guillaume believe it is about the velocity of decisions that determine the quality of the leader? What topics does Guillaume struggle to make fast decisions on? What advice does Guillaume give to founders in situations when you just do not know what to do?
Guillaume’s Favourite Book: Dune by Frank Herbert
Olivier Pomel is the Founder & CEO @ Datadog, the company building the next generation of tools for DevOps teams. Prior to their incredibly successful IPO in 2019, Olivier raised over $147M for the company from Index, ICONIQ, Meritech, IA Ventures, Amplify and OpenView, to name a few. Prior to founding Datadog and changing the world of devops, Olivier was a VP with Wireless Generation for 8 years leading an engineering team of close to 100 of the best developers in NYC.
1.) How Olivier made his way into the world of startups and what was the a-ha founding moment for his creating of Datadog, changing the world of devops?
2.) Why does Olivier believe that "short term failure is a source of long term success?" Why did both seed and Series A investors not get Datadog? What would Olivier have done differently if fundraising again? What do investors misunderstand today when investing in big markets looking for the "entry wedge"?
3.) What has been Olivier's biggest learnings on how to run Datadog during a pandemic? What attributes does Olivier look for when hiring senior leaders? Why does Olivier believe the CEO has to be the "equaliser in chief"? What does that mean in practice? How can leaders creat eenvironments of safety where their team can approach them with anything?
4.) What have been the biggest challenges in moving from a single product to a multi-product company? How does one know when is the right time to add additional products? What is Olivier's decision-making process to determine which products to build next?
5.) How does Olivier assess his relationship to money today? How has it changed over time? In what ways has becoming a father impacted Olivier's operating mindset? What 3 traits would Olivier most like his children to adopt?
Olivier’s Favourite Book: Kurt Vonnegut
Linda Lian is the Co-Founder and CEO @ CommonRoom, the place where your organization and your community come together. To date, Linda has raised over $50M with CommonRoom from the likes of Danny Rimer @ Index Ventures, Sarah Guo @ Greylock, Dylan Field @ Figma, Dick Costolo and of course 20VC Fund. Prior to changing the world of community though, Linda spent close to 3 years at Amazon as a Senior Product Manager on AWS and Alexa. Before Amazon, Lida was on the other side of the table in venture as an associate at Madrona.
1.) How Linda made her way into the world of startups and came to start on the venture side with Madrona? How did Linda's time at Amazon shape her thinking around founding CommonRoom? What were Linda's biggest lessons from her time at Amazon and then also being mentored by Jeff Weiner
2.) How does Linda describe her leadership style today? What are the biggest lessons Linda has learned in terms of how to speak with compassion but also directness and clarity? Why is Linda not a fan of "the shit sandwich"? What is the most effective way to give feedback?
3.) What did Linda decide to only hire senior and experienced individuals with CommonRoom? What are the benefits of doing so? What are the downsides? How does Linda approach hiring such senior talent? What works? How is this also challenging? What does Linda mean by "the long poach"?
4.) How does Linda approach delegation today? What framework does Linda use to determine what to do vs what to delegate? How does Linda approach head vs heart when it comes to decision-making? What does it take for Linda to change her mind? What is required?
5.) What does Linda believe are the biggest misnomers around the search for product market fit? Why did Linda deliberately choose to stay in stealth despite raising over $50M from some of the world's best investors? How did that impact their ability on both product and customer discovery?
Peter Fenton is a General Partner @ Benchmark, one of the great venture firms of the last 3 decades with a portfolio including the likes of SNAP, Twitter, eBay, New Relic, Stitchfix and many more. As for Peter, he has led deals, sits or has sat on the boards of Elastic, New Relic, Digits, Docker, Optimizely, Yelp and Zuora to name a few. Prior to Benchmark, Peter was a General Partner @ Accel Partners in San Francisco. As a result of his incredible track, Peter has been on the Forbes Midas List more times than I have done podcast episodes!
1.) How a round of golf led to Peter Fenton leading the New Relic Series A? What did the deal look like both in check size and valuation? What does Peter think that round would be in today's market?
2.) How does Peter create an environment of safety with entrepreneurs where they feel they can be vulnerable with him? How does Peter approach building relationships of trust in compressed fundraising timelines? In what way has Peter seen relationships go bad? What can been done to mitigate that and optimise the Founder <> VC relationship?
3.) How does Peter assess market timing when making investments today? What does Peter mean when he says, "you have to understand whether you are unlocking consumption"? What does unlocking consumption look like in reality? How does Peter think about positive or negative externalities that could impact the business?
4.) Does Peter agree with Bill Gurley that the biggest challenge today is the "oversupply of capital"? Where does the oversupply of capital become a real challenge? What does Peter advise growth-stage founders do to prevent this from damaging them? How does Peter think about capital efficiency in the companies where he is on the board?
5.) What were Peter's biggest lessons on what it takes to be a great board member from his 12 years at New Relic? How did he see his style of board membership change? On the founder side, how do the very best founders manage and navigate their board? What do most boards misunderstand or mismanage?
Peter's Favourite Book: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
David Velez is the Founder & CEO @ Nubank, one of the fastest growing digital banks in the world with operations in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. To fuel this growth, David has raised over $1.5BN for Nubank from some of the best in the business including Doug Leone @ Sequoia, Micky @ Ribbit, Thrive, Founders Fund, DST, Tiger and more. Before changing the world of LATAM finance, David was a Partner @ Sequoia where he was responsible for all LATAM investments. Prior to Sequoia, David was the co-founder of General Atlantic's South American investment programme.
1.) How David made his way into the world of startups through becoming a Partner @ Sequoia? How that led to his founding of Nubank? How his time at Sequoia impacted how he thought about building Nubank?
2.) How does David think about the relationship between growth and quality in company scaling? When scaling so fast, what are the first things to break? How does one know when is the right time to expand geographically? What is the right thought process to go through when determining how to know when is the right time to expand product lines?
3.) Looking at the market today, how does David for-see the future of digital banks? Will we seen increased consolidation over the coming years? How does David think through the verticalisation of neo-banks? What does the reduction in barriers to creating neo-banks really mean? How did Nubank scale to the scale it is today with $0 CACs?
4.) How has David seen his leadership style change with the growth of the company? Why does David feel it is wrong that the titles of Founder & CEO are so inextricably linked? What element of being a great founder are actually not good for CEOs to have? What elements of great CEOs are bad for founders to have? What has David found the hardest to scale in himself?
5.) How does David use "the responsibility framework" when making decisions today? What are David's thoughts on imposter syndrome within leaders today and how it can be harnessed for good? How does David approach head vs heart when it comes to decision-making today? Does David engage with regret minimisation as part of this?
David’s Favourite Book: One Hundred Years of Solitude
Jeremy Levine is a Partner @ Bessemer Venture Partners, one of the leading venture firms of the last 2 decades with a portfolio including the likes of Pinterest, Shopify, LinkedIn, Yelp, Twilio and many more. As for Jeremy, five of his early-stage investments—LinkedIn, MindBody, Pinterest, Shopify and Yelp—grew into billion-dollar publicly traded companies. As a result of his incredible portfolio, he has featured on the Forbes Midas List for several years running.
1.) How Jeremy came to make one great decision and make one big mistake all in one rainy afternoon in Palo Alto? What was the story behind meeting the Pinterest team for the first time? Who was there? How did it go down?
2.) Market: How did Jeremy analyse the market at the time of the investment? What had been some core lessons Jeremy had learned on what made successful user-generated content plays? Where was Jeremy wrong in how he analysed the market? In what way is Jeremy surprised with how the market evolved? How does Jeremy analyse market timing today?
3.) Team: Jeremy has previously called Ben Silberman a "product visionary", what made Jeremy say this about Ben? How did Jeremy get over the concern of many VCs that Pinterest did not have a technical co-founder? Having seen Ben change over the last decade, what have been the biggest changes in Ben's leadership style over the last 10 years?
4.) Traction: When evaluating traction, where does Jeremy think so many investors make mistakes today? How should founders determine what is their core North Star metric? What gave Jeremy the confidence Pinterest could "cross the chasm"? How did the early Pinterest cohorts look both from usage and retention? What elements surprised and impressed?
5.) Pre + Post Mortem: What did Jeremy see as the likely reasons why Pinterest would not work? How did Jeremy think through what it took for UGC platforms to monetise at the time? Where was he wrong here? What did Jeremy see as the upside? What did he believe Pinterest could be if all the stars aligned?
Jason Fried is the Founder & CEO @ Basecamp, the project management and team communication tool trusted by millions. Over an incredible 22 year journey, they have scaled to over 3.5M accounts and in 2020 they went back to being a multi-product company with the launch of their integrated email client & service, HEY. Jason is also the co-author of the widely acclaimed, ReWork and has also made several angel investments in the likes of Intercom, Gumroad and Hodinkee to name a few.
1.) How Jason Fried made his way into the world of startups and came to found one of the leading project management and team communications tools in the form of Basecamp?
2.) How does Jason analyse and evaluate his relationship to money? Why does Jason believe that he has this inherent downside protection when it comes to money? How does he structure his personal finances between stocks, cash, crypto etc etc? What have been some of Jason's biggest lessons when it comes to tying happiness to monetary levels?
3.) What does Jason mean when he says, "I have a fantasy of getting fired"? How does Jason think about knowing when is the right time to step away from the business? What would he like to do with that time? How does Jason feel about the challenge of tying his identity to his company? What are the dangers of doing so?
4.) How does Jason approach decision-making frameworks? What does Jason believe is the right way to respond when a decision does not go as planned? Where do many make mistakes here? Does Jason feel regret with decisions? How does Jason try and minimise regret?
5.) How does Jason feel about his biggest insecurities as a leader and CEO today? What are Jason's views on a CEO's ability to have self-doubt and be vulnerable? How have his views on this changed over the years? In what way has having kids impacted Jason's operating mindset? How has it changed what he values and appreciates?
Jason’s Favourite Book: In Praise of Shadows
Simón Borrero is the Founder & CEO @ Rappi, the startup that has become a cornerstone of the Latin American mobile ecosystem, coined as "the next Everything Store of Latin America". To date, Simon has raised over $1.7Bn for the company from the likes of Sequoia Capital, a16z, Softbank, DST Global, Y Combinator and more. Prior to Rappi, Simon was the founder of multiple former companies including Imaginamos, a software studio he grew to over 300 people.
1.) How Simon made his way into the world of startups and came to found "the next Everything Store of Latin America" in Rappi?
2.) How does Simon think about the importance of zone density for a business like Rappi? What are the number of deliveries required for Rappi to make for the business to be breakeven? What is the key metric that determines the success of the business for Rappi today?
3.) How does Simon approach the balance of capital efficiency vs growth? How does one know when to pour fuel on the fire and go for growth? When is the right time to really focus on unit economics? Why does Simon believe expanding Rappi can be analogised to scaling a coffee shop?
4.) Rappi has now raised $1.7Bn from some of the best investors in the world, what does Simon believe Rappi did to enable them to be so successful fundraising? Was it a difficult shift for Simon to make moving from lean to capital abundance with the successful fundraises? What changed? How did Simon change as a leader? What is the story of Sequoia coming in?
5.) Customer acquisition: What were some of the biggest challenges when it came to initial customer acquisition for Rappi? What does Simon mean when he says "donuts for downloads"? What is the story there?
6.) Driver acquisition: In the UK and the US, driver acquisition is a big challenge, what did Rappi to do enable them to scale their driver supply so efficiently? What works? What does not work?
7.) Restaurant acquisition: What were the hardest elements of onboarding the first restaurants? How did Uber Eats entering the market actually make Rappi so much more efficient as a business and service?
Simon’s Favourite Book: The Prosperity Paradox
Tony Fadell, often referred to as “the father of the iPod,” is currently Principal @ Future Shape, a global investment and advisory firm coaching engineers and scientists working on foundational deep technology. Prior to Future Shape, Tony was the Founder & CEO @ Nest Labs, the company was ultimately acquired by Google for a reported $3.2Bn. Before Nest, Tony spent an incredible 9 years at Apple Inc, where, as SVP of Apple’s iPod division, he led the team that created the first 18 generations of the iPod and the first three generations of the iPhone. Fun facts, Tony has filed more than 300 patents for his work and is also a prolific angel investor having invested in the likes of mmhmm and Nothing to name a few.
What was the moment that Tony realised that he wanted to be an entrepreneur?
“I got my first money when I was in third grade, because I had an egg route. We'd go get eggs from the farmer, and I'd load them in my wagon. Then my younger brother and I would go door to door around the neighborhood, and we'd sell eggs. And that was an every week or every other week situation. And I got money in my hands. And I was like, Oh my God, I can do whatever I want with that money – I don't have to ask anybody, I can just do it. And so that was the level of freedom that, especially when you're young, feels really cool. And then as I got older, I started to buy Atari video game cartridges for my 2600 (yes, I'm that old!), and that was really, really fun too.”
What was the biggest lesson that Tony learned from his father on sales and building trusted relationships?
"And he said, very clearly, Look, this is a relationship. If I make this person successful, he's gonna want to come back to me over, and over, and over. But if I sell him something and it doesn't sell, and he has to discount and he loses money, he's not going to come back. Even if I don't have the right product, I'll tell him where to go to get the right product they're looking for, or if they're picking the wrong one, I'll tell them, here's the right one, because my job is to make them successful. Because if they're successful, they'll come back to me year after year after year. And even when we have a down year, they're going to trust me, and they're going to come back."
How does Tony Fadell think about and assess his own relationship to money? How has it changed over the years?
"So my relationship to money now is that it's just a means to make change happen. And so literally, for me, I can just have a backpack, my computer, my phone, a couple of roller bags with my clothes. And that's enough to live life with my family. I don't need all this other stuff. COVID taught me that even further."
How does Tony determine true friendships vs transactional relationships?
“If it's not a reference – if it's not coming from somebody saying, Hey, you really need to meet this person – I take everything with a grain of salt. With anybody who comes to me cold, I think they probably want something. I try to find that out through the network, Do you know this person? What are they about?"
Why does Tony Fadell believe that founders have to be "coachable"?
“I think anybody who's trying to do something that the world has never seen before, or trying to work with people who are, they'd better be coachable. Because you're going to be so narrowly focused, you're going to be so heads down, you're going to be so on a mission, that sometimes you'll be blinded, and you'll need somebody to come from left field and go, Wait a second, dude, you're not thinking about this right."
What are the core signs that an individual is coachable?
2. Willingness to listen
What does Tony believe is the right way to deliver advice without fluff?
"First, it's about trust. You have to be able to have a trusted relationship with somebody. And second, there are different ways of delivering a message. You can deliver a message the first time in an iron-fist-in-a-velvet-glove kind of way. But sometimes the velvet glove is going to come off."
How do people make mistakes when giving advice?
“I'm in too many board meetings; we have over 200 investments. I've seen all kinds of different CEOs and different boards, where the investors don't want to feel like they're going to get a bad rep because the CEO is going to say something if they say something negative."
What does Tony Fadell advise founders when it comes to finding mentors?
“Usually, a really great mentor is going to be highly selective. They're going to be like, I don't want to work with you. They only have so much time for people who are actually coachable."
What are the characteristics of the best mentors?
"You're gonna have tough love with them, you're gonna say things that they don't want to hear, you're not going to be liked all the time. Hopefully, one day, you'll be respected if not liked. And that's what it means to be a mentor.”
How does Tony assess his own relationship to self-doubt?
“Everyone goes through imposter syndrome. Everyone does. We all have gone through it, I go through it. Because you know what, when you're doing stuff you've never done before, and you're changing the world, no one else has done it either. No one else has done it either. That means it's okay. And I always say, if you don't have butterflies in your stomach each day, you're either not paying attention, or you're not pushing hard enough and taking enough risk."
What are Tony's views on failure?
“Now, there's taking stupid risks versus risk mitigation and taking calculated risks. But you should always be living on the edge of pushing yourself because that's where the growth is, that's where the change is happening."
Does one learn more from success than from failure?
"How we do and change the world is through the same method. We go do, and then we fail, and then we learn from that, and then we do again.”
What does Tony mean when he says, "do, fail, learn."
“Look, it's do, fail, learn; do, fail, learn. There's no such thing as learn and then you're able to do. No, no, no. When you really learn in life is after you've tried to do it."
What is the right way for entrepreneurs to present their boldest of ambitions?
"Look at Elon now. If he was pitching what he's doing now 15 years ago, people would go, No way! A few people, like Jurvetson and others, said, Yeah, sure, okay, great. But very few people would get behind that huge boldness."
“So what they do is – and this is what I've had to do – they start and just pitch that simple ‘What's the next three to four years look like?’ and never tell anybody about the big picture. Because you scare most people off."
How do investors need to change how they think about ambition and upside?
5.) Why does Tony believe the first trillionaire will originate from the climate change space? Why is the majority of plastics recycling total BS today? Why does Tony believe we need to fundamentally transform our economies? How do funding markets need to change to fund this structural reshaping of society?
Scott Sandell is the Managing General Partner of NEA, one of the leading firms of the last 3 decades with now close to $24Bn under management and a portfolio including the likes of Salesforce, Robinhood, Plaid, Databricks and many more incredible companies. As for Scott, since joining the firm in 1996 he has led investments in many industry-transforming technology companies including Salesforce.com, Tableau Software, WebEx and Workday. Scott also serves on the board of rocketships including Robinhood, Cloudflare, Coursera and Divvy to name a few. As a result of this investing success, Scott is among the most frequently named venture capitalists to the Forbes Midas List.
1.) How Scott made his way into the world of venture close to 3 decades ago back in 1996? How he came to be Managing General Partner of NEA today? What is entailed in the role of "Managing General Partner"?
2.) What has been the single biggest change in the venture landscape that Scott has observed since his entering in 1996? How did the boom and bust of the dot com and 2008 impact his investing mindset? Consequently, how does Scott advise founders to think about capital efficiency and business model flexibility? What concerns Scott today?
3.) Why does Scott believe "this is an incredible moment in history for the asset class of venture"? How does Scott think about the core physics of company building changing? How is it companies are able to scale and grow so much faster today? Does their speed of growth change their capital requirements?
4.) Does Scott agree with Bill Gurley, "the biggest challenge is the oversupply of capital today"? How does Scott analyse his own relationship to price and price sensitivity? What is Scott's framework for determining when to pay up vs when to remain disciplined? How does Scott feel about the rise of SPACs? How will this shake out over the coming years?
5.) How much have NEA companies raised over the last decade? Of that, how much did NEA invest? Is the answer to continuously scale AUM? How does NEA approach investment decision-making with the size of partnership it has? What does Scott mean when he says, "we vote on the process"? How do you create a partnership of trust at scale?
Scott's Favourite Book: The Old Man and the Sea
Scott’s Most Recent Investment: Loanpal
Daniel Ek is the founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the board of directors of Spotify, the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service with 345m users, including 155m subscribers, across 170 markets.
1.) How Daniel made his way into the world of startups and came to found the most popular audio streaming subscription service in the world in the form of Spotify?
2.) How does Daniel approach effective decision-making today? What is his core process? How does Daniel determine between reversible and irreversible decisions? What does Daniel's learning process look like for new topics and material? How does this differ from topic to topic? What does Daniel mean when he says "I look to become the Chief of X Officer" for a time?
3.) How does Daniel think about the transition from Founder to CEO? Why is the topic not discussed enough? Where does Daniel see many founders struggle to make the transition? Which elements did Daniel find the most challenging? How has he scaled into them over time? Is it possible to change who you are as a person with this transition?
4.) How does Daniel think about what it takes to create an environment of safety where everybody can feel free to express their ideas, thoughts and concerns? What sort of failure does Daniel accept? What sort of failure does Daniel not accept? How does good news flow through an organisation differently to bad news? How does Daniel determine when to quit a project vs when to persist and stick to it?
5.) Prima Materia: Why is Prima not just another fund? How is Prima fundamentally different? What does Daniel believe Shak is world-class at? A walkthrough of Shak and Daniel's decision-making process for choosing to partner with each other on Prima? What has been their first investment? Why gave them the conviction to write this check as their first?
Daniel’s Favourite Book: Shantaram
Vlad Tenev is the Founder & CEO @ Robinhood, the company that provides commission-free investing, plus the tools you need to put your money in motion. To date, Vlad has raised over $5.6BN with Robinhood including a $2.4Bn raise this month and some of their investors include the very best in the business; Ribbit, Sequoia, Greenoaks, Index, IVP, Thrive, GV and more incredible names. Before Robinhood, Vlad started two finance companies in New York City.
1.) How Vlad made his way into the world of startups and how the "Occupy Wall St" movement spurned much of the inspiration for the founding moment of Robinhood?
2.) Looking back over the last month, does Vlad believe Robinhood is a victim or an enabler of the crisis? What does Vlad believe upset customers the most? With the benefit of hindsight, what would Vlad have done differently? What does Vlad believe are some of the biggest misconceptions about how the last few weeks played out?
3.) Funding: Why did Robinhood need the scale of funding that it took, so fast? What are the capital requirements for a business like Robinhood? Who regulates their compliance? Was Robinhood forced to put the interests of the business ahead of the interests of their customers? Why does VAR need to be changed as a risk estimation mechanism?
4.) What has Vlad learned as CEO about managing through a crisis? What did Vlad do to ensure morale remained high internally, despite the external events? What works? What does not work? What did Vlad learn about himself through the experience of the congressional committee and testifying before them?
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the Founder and CEO @ Klarna, the company that makes online shopping simple, allowing you to buy what you need today and pay later. To date, Sebastian has raised over $2.1Bn for the company from the likes of Sequoia, Silver Lake, Blackrock, DST, Northzone, Creandum and even Snoop Dog to name a few. Klarna has been an incredible 16-year journey for Sebastian with it now being the most valuable private technology company in Europe with over 3,500 employees.
“People talk about it like there's this learning curve, and the best spot is at the place where you're challenged to the precise point where you're almost giving up, but not entirely. That's exactly it.
“And I have this amazing swim teacher for my children, her name is Petra, and she's just fantastic. I just love watching her because she has this ability of taking my children in the pool and pushing them to that exact point where they are almost, almost giving up, and they're learning at such a pace. And if I can recreate such an environment in Klarna, if I can create an environment, if I can be part of creating an environment where we put people in that position where they just are exactly at that curve where they are challenged, supported, and kind of at the edge and being given the ability to learn really fast and really discover what it means to have an impact.”
“I don't think that much about what other people or other companies or other things out there could have done different. And there's pros and cons to that. But the benefits of that is that it speeds up my learning. Because a lot of people – and I've realized that as I manage other people – is that because they're so obsessed with trying to think about what other people could have done differently, and why situations arose, and why it wasn't their responsibility and so forth, they spend a lot of time on that, because we've unfortunately been brought up in some kind of guilt that it's bad to do wrong, and it's bad if it's our fault, and you want to avoid that.
“And these psychological constraints, unfortunately, hinder people from developing much faster, because if you go into every situation and say, the only thing that's relevant here is what I could have done differently, what I could have learned from this – if that's the only thing, it's just like, whatever, I accept my responsibilities. What could I have done differently? If you only focus on that, you just learn much faster.”
“I think self-doubt is not nothing. It's not a bad thing, right? It's a very healthy thing, if it represents you continuously trying to understand, am I doing the right thing? Is this something that I want to do? Am I making the right decisions? So I think it's extremely healthy to do that. I'm not saying it's not painful or tough when you have it. But I think it's a very positive thing.
“I'm much more worried when people tell me they have no self-doubt. And then I'm like, uh-oh, because that means that you're not really reflecting on your actions, and you're not learning from them. So I wish I could give you something more comforting than that, but I would actually say enjoy it. Be happy that you have it, and it's gonna make you a better person.”
“I love the fact that Michael Moritz wrote this book that I still haven't read, so it's kind of funny that I'm referring to it, but he wrote this book about Ferguson, that manager of Manchester United. And I think it's very relevant, because today, the saying is that for people to be motivated at work, they need to have a higher purpose, the company needs to do something good, and so forth. And I am not disputing that, that is very true that it contributes to people's sense of purpose, and so forth.
But before you even get to that level, we have to ask ourselves, what is it really that makes people motivated and enjoy themselves? And I think when I think about that, I often look at sports, because why do people love soccer? What's the higher purpose of winning Champions League? People say, oh, there's a massive higher purpose, but not entirely, you're not really making the planet better by winning. Still, people are massively engaged in these things. Why?
“Because it's a team effort, there are clear roles, you know exactly what you're supposed to do – I'm supposed to put the ball in that score. And then it's very clear how you win, there is a referee that stops people from cheating. And so there's a lot of things in that environment that makes it motivating, that makes people engaged, and those things are usually lacking in companies.”
“The problem with a company is that it's a much more complex environment with a lot of other things going on in parallel in people's lives. And so I have definitely occasionally missed to see that people are beyond that point.”
“In Sweden, there's this course called Situation Adopted Management, which basically means that there is no single management technique. You look into the situation, you try to understand it from multiple angles. And then depending on where that individual is, and how you perceive the mental status, and the mood of that individual, and so forth, you try to adapt. Either you coach or you challenge or you instruct or you do different things. There's not a single methodology that will allow you to deal with those situations. But a lot of it is empathy. It's the ability to look at people and read them, and try to understand, and ask them questions, and understand where they are.”
“I think a lot of times as a company grows, what ends up happening is the thing just becomes so complex. So management tries to organize the company in a way that makes sense to them and that is easy to understand for them. But the consequence of that often, unfortunately, is it makes no sense for the person who's actually doing the job. So they lose the purpose. Why am I coming to work? What are we trying to achieve? All of these things get lost.
“So what we said is, we have to do the exact opposite. The critical element is that the people who are actually supposed to do something – not the manager – the people actually supposed to do something, if they program or to do a marketing campaign, or whatever they're doing, they need to come to work every day and feel I know exactly why I'm coming, I know how I'm contributing, I know who I'm contributing for, I know what value I'm creating.
“And if that thing creates tons of complexity for us, as managers, because the whole system becomes much more complex, then that's what we're getting paid for. That's the one. That's why we're getting a good salary. Because we need to manage that complexity.”
“Keep very close on the recruitment … Especially in a country like Sweden, a country where a typical saying is, alla ska komma med, which means, everyone should come, everyone should join. And it's very nice. And I appreciate that with Swedish culture, I'm not trying to really call it. I think it's fantastic and it's a fantastic society. But as a consequence, it took us some time to conclude something which maybe in the US or maybe even in the UK as it would have been much more obvious, which is that it's not a company for everyone. It is a company for the people that want to have that challenge, that want to be in that environment, that think that's interesting, that want to learn a lot fast, and want to get a lot of things done. And that's not everyone, and that's okay.
“Like when you play soccer – some people play soccer for fun, other people play to win the Champions League. People do it for different reasons. And they have different ambitions with it and different objectives with it. And the same applies to us.
“So it took us some time to realize that we need to tell people, look, just so you know, this is not going to be your standard company, you're going to be expected to do a hell of a lot of things, you're going to be expected to be challenged, you're going to expect it to do your utmost. And we're going to try to support you and help you and grow. So just know what you're getting into, before you get into it.”
“One thing I would say, it's going to be a much smaller industry. And that's because it is ridiculous that moving money back and forth is a trillion-dollar industry. That is ridiculous. There is no good reason for that whatsoever. This is going to be a much more cost-efficient, much smaller revenue business than it is today. But even though it would be much smaller than it is today, it's still massive, and Klarna has the opportunity to be one big player in that industry, similar to what Tesla is doing in cars or whatever, that's what I want to do. And I feel we have all the prerequisites to accomplish that.”
“There's going to be this push that's going to transform this industry and the people are going to lose on it are the suits in the marble offices in the city centers. That's where the pain is going to be felt, but the winner is going to be the consumer.”
“It's a little bit like self-driving cars – we all know it's going to happen, the question is when. And based on what I've seen in the last 15 years, and I've seen how retail has gone from retail to ecommerce and all these trends, this decade is going to be the disruption of retail banking.
“At the end of this decade, there will be a couple of new total players that will be very dominating in this space, and the rest will either cease to exist, will merge and try to acquire some of the new ones, or maybe a few of them will manage to reinvent themselves. But this is going to be an extremely interesting time.”
Sebastian’s Favourite Book: The Neverending Story
Patrick Spence is the CEO @ Sonos, the sound experience company connecting millions of listeners around the world to the content they want. Prior to their IPO, they raised over $450M from the likes of Mike Volpi @ Index, Satish @ Redpoint and e.ventures to name a few. As for Patrick, prior to Sonos, he spent an incredible 14 years with RIM (makers of Blackberry) across multiple different roles.
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:
1.) How Patrick made his way into the world of tech and startups and became an instrumental part of the exec team at Blackberry? How that led to his joining Sonos as COO and later becoming CEO?
2.) How did building and growing RIM influence everything that Patrick does at Sonos? From the battle with Apple, what were Patrick's biggest lessons on the right way to approach competition? How does Patrick think about both partnering with Google today whilst also suing them at the same time?
3.) From COO to CEO: How did Patrick make the transition from COO to CEO so successfully? What were the most challenging elements to scale into? How does Patrick empower his team to have the confidence to stand up and say no to the CEO? How can one encourage debate and dissent in the team?
4.) How does Patrick feel about the role that vulnerability has to play in leadership? How does Patrick approach his own self-doubt as a leader today? How does he manage it? How does he advise founders unsure if they can scale into their leadership roles? What mentors does Patrick have? What has he learned from them?
Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode
Patrick’s Favourite Book: The Infinite Game: How Great Businesses Achieve Long-Lasting
Jeremy Liew is a Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the leading firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Affirm, Snapchat (Snap), Mulesoft, Epic Games, Carta and more amazing companies. As for Jeremy, in the past he has led deals and sat on the boards of Snap, Affirm, Blockchain.com and The Honest Company to name a few. Before Lightspeed, Jeremy was with AOL, first as SVP of corporate development and chief of staff to the CEO, and then as general manager of Netscape. Due to his incredible investing success, Jeremy has been featured on the Forbes Midas List multiple times.
How Jeremy Liew first heard about Evan Spiegel and Snapchat?
"It's actually kind of a roundabout story. We first heard about Snapchat, because one of my partners Barry Eggers is a very involved dad. And he noticed that his daughter had started taking weird selfies"
What was the process to first get in touch with Evan?
"The challenge was, the website only had info at Snapchat email address was the only info The only contact info available. So I emailed them, and I never heard back.
Why was it such a challenge?
"I then looked up Snapchat on LinkedIn, and I couldn't find any contact information. And I was in a little bit of a loss, I wasn't getting any responses from the email, there was nothing listed on LinkedIn. So I ended up doing a who is look-up to try to find out who had registered the Snapchat URL, and I got an info@ snapgrouplimited email. So I emailed that. And then as again, I didn't get any response.
What was the breakthrough in the end?
"....Finally, what I decided to do was since Evan was a student at Stanford, and since I graduated from Stanford for business school, at that time, Facebook allowed you to message people who were in the same network, and Stanford constituted that. So I messaged him through Facebook, and I finally got a response. But this time, I got a response within five minutes."
What are the 4 things Jeremy looks for when making an investment in consumer?
Why does Jeremy believe that usage with young females is the biggest predictor of future consumer social success?
"Generalising, Women build their relationships through, you know, conversations, and they build those relationships through sharing information with each other. And obviously, that sort of conversation or relationship is a fantastic conduit for word of mouth for anything that people really appreciate."
In what ways does Jeremy like to see consumer social companies become part of pop culture?
"Today, if you think about whether it be social networking, apps, messaging, e commerce, streaming media, it's all part of pop culture. And so as much as movies or television or music or dance, and so if you ask yourself who are the early adopters of pop culture"
What are examples of this?
"Social networking, apps, messaging, e commerce, streaming media, it's all part of pop culture."
Did the market evolve the way that Jeremy thought it would?
"And one of the things that surprised us a little bit was that this was very strong in Southern California, Northern California, and Georgia, when we first invested and parts of the South"
What was a surprise to Jeremy Liew in terms of market evolution?
"In Norway, which had actually transcended, that sort of high school and college-age population, in fact, become the number three most downloaded app, most popular app, in Norway at that time. So ahead of Instagram, ahead of Facebook, and so forth. And so that's what I think gave us that early indication that the app was going to be able to break out beyond its high school, college student, initial starting point, not just in the US, but everywhere"
What did the Snap user to install count look like at the time?
"In, you know, March, April of 2012, they had about 90,000, daily active users off of the base of 180,000 installs."
How does this compare with many others in the consumer social space?
"That's a very, very high ratio."
What were Snap's retention numbers at the time?
"50% retention after 90 days, which again, suggests high engagement, high retention, high growth that speaks to upside volatility"
How did Snap's frequency of usage on an individual basis look like at the time?
"So people were opening the app six times per day, they were opening at least once every second day."
Across, retention, usage and user to install, what are the benchmarks for great, good and average?
" I would say as a rule of thumb, in messaging and social networks, you would want to see at least a DAU to MAU ratio of north of 50%. And you would want to see at least a D 30 of say 30 to 40%, for your for something to really be working to be sort of at that outlier level."
What unique insight does Jeremy believe that Evan always held for the company and the product?
"One of the things that was so special about Evan, and that I think, has continued to contribute to the success of the company has been that he's always been able to do that to look at something with fresh eyes, and not iterate over what the current state of the art is that, you know, just from first principles basis"
How has Jeremy seen Evan change and evolve as a leader?
"I think his maturity as a business leader, as a leader of people, as a manager, you know, as a strategist, although he always had very good strategic instincts, but they've just continued to grow and evolve and blossom."
What were some of the big inflection points in his development?
"So you know, the feed has always been up until this point, in reverse chronological order, I think largely because that's what friendster do choose to do. And then Evan comes along. He says, How do you tell stories beginning, middle, end. Now go to social media? How do they tell stories in reverse chronological order means and middle beginning? Well, that doesn't make any sense. And so he said, we're going to create a whole new feed of stories, and they're going to be told in chronological order beginning middle end."
Who are some unsung heroes from the Snap journey that were transformational?
"Bobby doesn't get enough credit. From the very beginning from I think maybe a couple of months in was thinking about the breakthroughs that had been happening computer vision and the implications for what that could build....Imran Khan, he really helps take a lot of the load off of Evan allowed me to focus on product engineering, he took over sales and monetization Ops, he did a lot of the financing work in the time when Snapchat raised a lot of capital."
Todd McKinnon is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Okta, the identity layer for the internet, providing one trusted platform to secure every identity, from customers to your workforce. Prior to their IPO in 2017, Todd raised over $229M for the company from some of the best in the business including Sequoia, a16z, Greylock, Khosla and Floodgate to name a few. Prior to founding Okta, Todd was VP of Development @ Salesforce.com where he spent an incredible 5 years and before that enjoyed an 8 year run in the software development team @ PeopleSoft.
1.) How Todd made his way into the world of startups with PeopleSoft and Salesforce? What was the a-ha moment for Todd with the founding of Okta? What were the biggest management takeaways from his time with PeopleSoft and Okta? How did Todd convince his wife that leaving a safe job with Salesforce to found a company was the right decision?
2.) How does Todd approach decision-making today? What frameworks does he use to optimise his decisions? How does Todd analyse reversible vs irreversible decisions? How does Todd know when he has done enough work and is ready to make the decision? Who does he debate the most important decisions with?
3.) What does Todd believe makes for a truly great enterprise software entrepreneur today? What were the first elements to break in the scaling of Okta? When is the right time to hire your first recruiters and Head of People? What should you look for in those people? How did Todd make mistakes when it comes to hiring recruiters?
4.) What are Todd's biggest lessons on successful board management? How would Todd describe his style of board management? How has it changed over the years? What can CEOs do to extract the most value from their board? What were the biggest mistakes Todd made in the early interactions with his board?
5.) How does Todd balance the growth expectations of Wall St on a quarter by quarter basis with the long term vision and strategy? Why does Todd believe that Okta has been able to make the transition from unsexy to one of Wall St's most loved companies? What is the secret to investor relations as a public company?
Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode
Todd’s Favourite Book: Slaughterhouse 5