Tech-Entrepreneur-on-a-Mission Podcast show

Tech-Entrepreneur-on-a-Mission Podcast

Summary: Welcome the Tech-Entrepreneur-on-a-Mission 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. See for privacy and opt-out information.

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 A story about solving a massive global health problem by smartly leveraging and aligning technology and (ecosystem) resources. | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 41:16

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the potential to prevent well over half a billion females on this planet suffering from mental health problems. My guest is Michel Valstar, CEO BlueSkeye AIMichel Valstar is a visionary scientist and new-found entrepreneur. He’s the founder and Co-CEO of BlueSkeye AI, and remains a part-time professor at the University of Nottingham, where he also is the deputy-director of the Biomedical Research Centre’s Mental Health and Technology programme.Having worked for 15 years on computer vision and machine learning for facial expression analysis, Valstar now wants to see his ground-breaking research turned into real products to improve the lives of people. He is particularly interested in solving the problem of self-management of mental health using technology that runs privately on people’s own hardware.This inspired me, and hence I invited Michel to my podcast. We explore what’s broken in the world of treating Mental Health. We discuss why this domain is still in the dark ages and what can be done with technology to take it into the 21st century and make a meaningful impact. We explore what it takes to build solutions people in different demographics actually love to use day to day – and build a trustworthy relationship with. We also discuss how take on this massive global problem, with a very small team, while being resourceful and profitable very early on in the journey. Here are some of his quotes:With blue sky, we really wanted to grab a big problem and try to solve it, not just conceptually, but all the way through to implementing it, validating it, making it self-sustaining. Making it actually value generating in the end. And in perinatal mental health, roughly half of the people on this planet will give birth to a child at some point. And 10 to 20% of those women will suffer, unfortunately, from poor mental health.These are extremely large numbers. We hope to help a very large percentage of these people. But even if we could only help 10% of the people that suffer from this is still a massive contribution to humanity.During this interview, you will learn four things: Why creating something for everyone will end up pleasing no one  How you can speed up time to market by working with partners that break your stuff How leveraging one product category can become the funding source for realizing your big vision Why the two core selection criteria for picking your projects should be: Alignment with vision and employee motivation For more information about the guest from this week: Michel Valstar,  Website BlueSkeye AI See for privacy and opt-out information.

 A story about staying hyper-relevant in the business software industry and a front-runner in innovation for over 25 years | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 45:07

This podcast interview focuses on the mindset and approach to shaping a software business that successfully plays the infinite game. My guest is Chairman and CEO of SensoryTodd has broad business and general management experience. He's got a Stanford MBA with technical roots and is a founder, co-founder, or early management team of 3 successful venture-backed high-tech silicon valley startups. Each startup has been involved in audio, music, and speech & AI technologies for consumer electronics markets, including toys, musical instruments, Bluetooth headsets, mobile phones, voice assistants, smart devices, or IoT. He founded Sensory with the mission to enable people to communicate with consumer electronics as we communicate with each other. And this inspired me, and hence I invited Todd to my podcast. We explore their journey as a pioneer in neural networks and how they transformed from inventing everything in house to leveraging the open-source eco-system in a way that strengthened their advantage. We also discuss their drive towards embracing deep fusion – blending different technologies to create exponentially more value. Last but not least, Todd shares his wisdom around building a software business that thrives long-term.Here are some of his quotes:When you have really smart PhDs from the top schools that have strong egos, sometimes, the not invented here syndrome exists with a lot of our customers and within sensory itself. And to get people that are really smart and really capable, and tell them: 'let's not do it ourselves, let's use what somebody else has done,' that can be challenging.When we move to the cloud, we started using open-source acoustic models, but with our own in-house language modelsThere are some advantages to being small. We can move faster, and it's easier for us to integrate different technologies because we don't have these giant groups that are in separate silos. So, for example, we talked about deep fusion of face and voice. Well, it's not like Google and Facebook, and Apple aren't doing voice and face, but they have them in different silos. So, kind of combining them isn't as easy as for a company like sensory.During this interview, you will learn four things: Why focus on solving the hard thing first can give you instant profitability How blending technology enables you to grow a position of advantage while creating impact previously believed unattainable for your customers Their secrets in obtaining highly valuable feedback from their customers How to shape a software business that your best people don't ever want to leave For more information about the guest from this week: Todd Mozer Website Sensory See for privacy and opt-out information.

 A story about creating a revolution in productivity by controlling our work-environment | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 33:52

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to give everyone of us the opportunity to deliver our best work by controlling our work-environment. My guest is Benjamin Carew, Co-founder and CEO of OthershipBen started his career as an engineer, working on electric and special vehicles for Ford, Ricardo and Nissan. He then led a team driving digital transformation at Ford, before moving to BP as a Digital Program lead. Ben is passionate that the best commute is no commute. His ambition is to break down borders by making it possible for anyone to work from anywhere.That’s how he started Othership. It’s is a membership for people who want to work the other way. It’s built around the believe in a new world of work that revolves around you. That adapts to your needs, and allows you to pursue the work you want to do, wherever you are. Where working for yourself doesn’t have to mean working by yourself. And where fulfilling work is a fundamental right, not a rare luxury.Othership was founded to spark a global flo-working™ revolution. Inspiring people to adopt a new way of working controlled by them.This inspired me, and hence I invited Ben to my podcast. We explore how the world has changed with regards to the way we do work. We dig into the role of the workspace – and what important values it drives that we too often ignore. We discuss how critical it is (for creating traction) truly understand what users care about – and what drives their use-case. And last but not least we discuss Benjamin’s secrets to build a software business people keep talking about.Here are some of his quotes:The way that we try to deliver value is to constantly seek for feedback and use our own service as well. So we live the life that we do. So we work from our spaces, if I'm not working from my spaces, then would I want to be paying that membership. If the answer is no, why am I not working from that space? Why am I not doing that phone calls from a space? Why am I not having a meeting from that space?It’s just accepting that that's our place in this point is to take the pain away from building that relationship, building that connection, finding that right space.It's just our responsibility day in day out to do that. And that's why we will do better than everyone else. Because our first point in is to just make sure that it does add value to you. And then I will worry about making moneyDuring this interview, you will learn four things: Why often what customers buy from you is not at all what you instinctively think it is That technically your product fits many people – but to thrive is to get really specific on their exact use case – and exceed expectations there That to grow a position of advantage is to challenge your business by aiming to become your own best customer That if your customers aren’t talking about you – ask them why. They’ll tell you. For more information about the guest from this week: Benjamin Carew Othership Website  See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Growing multiple X in Enterprise Software by switching focus towards creating a pull effect led by users | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 51:04

This podcast interview focuses on the approach to product innovation to grow remarkable momentum in enterprise software by creating a swell that keeps building because of bottom-up user demand. My guest is Rick Hall, CEO of AginityRick Hall is a software entrepreneur focused on the analytics market. He has led the development of over a dozen software products and taken several companies from the early stage to an eventual sale.He founded Kairn Corporation in 2018 to help organizations, plan and implement intelligent products and systems. Together with his co-founders he have defined a "Pathway to Intelligent Systems." to guide companies on their journey.In support of this journey they begun to invest in companies that will simplify the process of building and implementing analytical programs. That has led to the purchase of Aginity in March of 2020 where Rick has taken over the CEO role as a result.  Aginity was an early innovator in Analytics Management. They are on a mission reinventing the Analytics Engine Room and with that do with the challenges of complex architectures which are dependent on highly skilled engineers, frequently cost millions of dollars, and are not flexible to move at the pace of business.This inspired me, and hence I invited Rick to my podcast. We explore what’s broken in the world of Enterprise Analytics and why the millions and millions of investments underdeliver. We dig into the effects of switching to a product-led growth approach, and how creating a community of fans helps drive multiple X growth with a minimal marketing budget. Last but not least we talk about the secrets to staying resourceful – and resilient for anything that’s next to come. Here are some of his quotes:I think the three key areas of a SaaS company are Sales, Marketing, and Product and Engineering. Product and Engineering is a natural tension. So, I always say that if the two heads of those two groups don't kind of love each other and hate each other, then there's something wrong. Because product is about the idea of anything that I could do - big ideas. And engineering is about the world of the possible. And there's a tension built in there.And then sales is the third piece of that, because sales and marketing is about the demands of the customer. And so, putting the three things together in a world of what I like to think of as constructive conflict is really, really key. I think that is probably one of the most important elements of success for a company.During this interview, you will learn four things: That real value unlocks when you realize it’s not about solving a users’ task in isolation, but about how they effectively collaborate with the business  How introducing a freemium model is not about giving away your software, but about creating software that users love How to convince even the most stubborn C-level decision makers about the value of your product even if they’d never use it Why to succeed in SaaS is about constantly evolving the interplay between a big vision and what people can actually achieve on a stretched goal. For more information about the guest from this week: Rick Hall Aginity Website See for privacy and opt-out information.

 The difference it makes when you start creating solutions that are valuable - not just interesting - in the eyes of your customers | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 45:13

This podcast interview focuses what product innovation should be really all about and how complacency can kick-in silently and give you a slap in the face. My guest is Mike Seidle, Co-founder and CTO at PivotCXMike Seidle is an technology entrepreneur based in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a man of many talents with an entrepreneurial mindset. In his past, he founded White River Technology Group, Indy Associates, Professional Blog Services, and Virtual Payment Systems. Today he’s the CTO at PivotCX – a company that’s on a mission to help companies respond to every job candidate in seconds. The result: Recruitment teams will be able to handle 4-6x current candidate volume, improve hire quality and most importantly, deliver an award-winning candidate experiencesThis inspired me, and hence I invited Mike to my podcast. We explore the journey they’ve been through and how Covid became their wake-up moment. We discuss the big lessons learned in bringing their solution to market and what it means and requires creating solutions that customers not only need – but also want – a solution that grows in value as things get tough.Here are some of his quotes:The hardest thing in all of this was that we held on to what we were doing originally for too long. We did our first little foray into doing chat, in 2018. And had we been paying attention to that, we could have made the pivot that we ended up making because we got an extreme slap in the face from the market with COVID.If we had been listening, I almost hate to say this, and I hope none of my investors are listening. But if we had heard that from the market two, three years ago, it's almost frightening to think about how successful this would already be.What I did learn from all this is probably the best way to be prepared, is to really focus on making sure what you're doing is business critical. If you're doing something that's valuable, it will become more valuable. If you're doing something that's extra, it will be extra when things are lean and probably get cut.During this interview, you will learn four things: The importance to start paying attention to the early signals from customers that you are on the wrong track instead of listening to your own stories How shifting focus from selling “cost savings” to “giving your customers a position of advantage in the eyes of their customers” can be the difference from having no traction to winning 8 out 10 deals  Why we often think we are smarter than everybody else – and why that doesn’t help at all How small ideas can mean the difference between having 10 users and 10000 – and how to find them. For more information about the guest from this week: Mike Seidle Website PivotCX  See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Competitive power exponentially grows if we understand ‘Why’ things happened, instead of ‘What’ has happened. | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 37:14

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to give every brand a wealth of opportunities to grow trust with their customers. My guest is Boaz Grinvald, CEO of RevuzeBoaz is a serial entrepreneur, and this is the 5th company he’s managing. He loves building businesses and solving real-world problems. His background is in computer science, started his career in building out technology products but was always drawn to the business side.Today he’s the CEO of Revuze. They realized many analytical solutions on the market focus on what/when/how much consumers buy. However, 97% of consumers will walk away from a purchase to buy something else, and brands don’t know why. So this is Revuze’s mission to solve. This inspired me, and hence I invited Boaz to my podcast. We explore what’s broken in the world of understanding customer and consumer buying behaviour. We also talk about how to grow momentum by taking a counter intuitive approach to your Go-to-Market. And beyond that we discuss Boaz secrets to building a remarkable software business – and the lessons that he learned doing so.Here are some of his quotes:I once had a boss that said: ‘One man with conviction can make a difference’Until you get to hundreds of people, one man with conviction is the core of everything.I love the fact that you can create a business out of no business. And suddenly there's dozens of families that make a living off the business. To me, I think that's a big part of the magic.And obviously, the other part is changing the lives of the customers. When you hear customers that tell you that they get the job done within days that before took them maybe six months. That's like music.During this interview, you will learn four things: Why your SaaS solution shouldn’t give insights to users on ‘What’ happened, but that it’s in the ‘Why it happened’ where real value unlocks That your value should not be about making business more efficient – but to provide them with a position of advantage Why so many SaaS businesses undermine their potential by hanging on to business principles that are serve them more than their customers.  Why we’re often too late in making the right personnel decisions – leaving the wrong people in the wrong place for too long and how no one wins doing so For more information about the guest from this week: Boaz Grinvald Website Revuze See for privacy and opt-out information.

 An entrepreneurial story about leveraging technology to turn the tables in Market Research | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 40:04

This podcast interview focuses on the story behind Pollfish – and their approach to reinvent market research for a new era by shortening cycle times to get faster, high-quality feedback from customers. My guest is John Papadakis, Founder and CEO at PollfishJohn started his career as an Android developer. He’s passionate about platforms and businesses that scale and has always had a particular focus on the mobile domain. In 2011 he co-founded Pajap, a service which allowed to create native Android applications, that didn’t need update or installation thereby combining the best of native app world and web app world In 2013 he founded Pollfish, a platform that provides brands a revolutionary way to learn, communicate and interact with existing and prospective customers.That inspired me, and hence I invited John to my podcast. We explore their journey to create a new category and the challenges to grow customer trust by establishing a large enough audience of close to a billion consumers . We also discuss his secrets of growing the Pollfish business – and how simplification and trust in people have been a great asset in that.Here are some of his quotes:Essentially Pollfish started because we had apps, and we want to monetize them. But advertising didn't work for our apps. And we were thinking: ‘There must be a better way to monetize those apps, and that way to be less intrusive since we don't want to spam our users.’So, we created the Pollfish library first, and we saw that people responded to surveys within the app. In a few days, we had hundreds of thousands of people. So, the company started from a need to monetize, and from the opportunity that the mobile app ecosystem (in 2013) was a new distribution channel for market research.It's a two-sided marketplace: you need supply and demand. And you've got to have both. So, we started with the supply, focus there for a couple of years, and then we launched Pollfish as it is today to solve the father decision making problem.During this interview, you will learn four things: Why – if you want to boost momentum - it’s key to focus your go-to-market on your core strengths and true values – and avoid anything that’s outside of that scope  How smart packaging can enable you to change perception and with that open complete new market opportunities Why your customers don't want to worry about ‘figuring your messaging out’. They want it simple – so simple they can share it with their boss. Why throwing way an impressive KPI sheet and focus on just 2 numbers gave focus and boosted creativity amongst all staff For more information about the guest from this week: John Papadakis Website Pollfish See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Measuring success by the level of impact you make on the world: It’s not about numbers – but about stories. Stories that spread. | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 41:09

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to help us create the critical connections that can transform their world. My guest is Stephen Choi, Co-founder and CEO of Hi Right NowHe started his career in investment banking, then quickly started his entrepreneurial journey by co-founding Moxy Media Group in 2009 and Lets Branch in 2017.A surprising detail about Stephen is that he’s never lived anywhere for longer than 3 years. This nomadic experience taught him how to quickly make friends wherever I went. At the same time, floating around from place to place meant he struggled with keeping his friendships. This let him to co-found Vuybe in 2019 and Hi Right Now in 2020. Hi Right Now is on a mission to empower humanity to form deep meaningful connections.When COVID swept the world, we entered a new era of work – an era where remote work has become ubiquitous. And with the majority of the workforce working remotely, people are feeling lonely, disconnected, and having a hard time communicaing freely. That’s what Hi Right Now about to change.And this inspired me, and hence I invited Stephen to my podcast. We explore one of the new challenges that have become more apparent during the pandemic: Building meaningful connections. We discuss why this is so important for human beings and why current technology options available aren’t a real help. We dig into how, by introducing a different approach, we can not only take the problem away, but also deliver a range of unexpected benefits for both individuals as the organization they work for.Here are some of his quotes:I just experienced this rapid-fire transitionary period: Graduating from this program, than trying to pursue this entrepreneurial venture and then trying to fundraise and everything. So, I need a lot of connections, I need a lot of help and I'm just trying to navigate all these things. So, how do I meet these people that I want to meet. Surely there are entrepreneurs and start-up founders that have walked the same type of journey that have gone down the similar a similar path.There was a huge problem: People belong into multiple online and offline communities, yet it’s still incredibly difficult for you to meet people in a fun and consistent way. Number two: with the progression of the pandemic, social distancing has made it incredibly difficult for you to meet new people. And then the last thing is that networking is just stressful and awkward and solace sometimesDuring this interview, you will learn four things: How value can be unlocked by ignoring current connections and relations, breaking down barriers, and introducing serendipity That you can create virality around your software by making people the stars inside your product Why the most remarkable ideas for innovation are often right in front of you – just be willing to see that what’s normal to you isn’t necessarily normal for others. That measuring your success by the level of impact you make on the world isn’t about numbers – but about stories. Stories that spread. For more information about the guest from this week: Stephen Choi Website Hi Right Now See for privacy and opt-out information.

 The most significant societal problems can be solved when technology and good entrepreneurial spirit blend in the right way. | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 47:48

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to let every employee have its fair share in the capital in our society. My guest is Quintus Willemse, Co-founder, and CEO of The Share CouncilQuintus is on a mission. Every day he is solving societal problems with technology and entrepreneurship. This mission started in 2014 as a long journey to change the world with the use of technology. To change how people work together and the working conditions, change how life and work are perceived, improve education and knowledge spread, improve the equal division of capital, and prepare the world for the next generation of technology and innovation.This is inspired me, and hence I invited Quintus to my podcast. We explore what's wrong in society when it comes to the capital divide. We talk about the biggest bureaucratical hurdles and how we can leverage technology to overcome that. We talk about the importance of big vision thinking when drawing the right people in – people who share the belief – and help spark the momentum. Lastly, we discuss some of his big entrepreneurial lessons learned.Here are some of his quotes:One of the things I stumbled upon along the way was the enormous divide in the capital in our society. Just the example of Europe, 64% of the capital in Europe is in the hands of 10% of the population.The reason that the divide is there is that the return on capital is higher than economic growth. So my salary will never keep up with the speed at which there's a return on capital. If you can leverage that, if you can get more people the leverage of capital, one of the forms is having savings account fine. Another form is having a share.About five years ago, I ran into that and wanted to make everybody co-owner. And I figured out it's pretty difficult in the Netherlands to make someone co-owner of your business.I had a company of about five employees, and to make them co-owner, the first bill I was looking at was between eight and 10,000 euros.This is more or less a smack in the face for any entrepreneur, any good willing entrepreneur who wants to give employees this opportunity.During this interview, you will learn four things: That some of the most remarkable software businesses start because they were bold enough to solve the problem that was in the way of their own success How to spark momentum by having a sensitive eye for the most critical (and often illogical) roadblocks to be removed Having a strong vision and believing in what you do will act as the magnet to get the right people to join you on that journey. That as an entrepreneur, you better be prepared you will make all the big mistakes at the same time – And surround yourself with the right people to protect you. For more information about the guest from this week: Quintus Willemse The Share Council Website See for privacy and opt-out information.

 The future for B2B tech companies is in solving wicked problems | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:29

This podcast interview focuses on the essence of the book ‘The Wicked Company’ and my guest is Markus Kirsch, FRSA, Author & Founder The Wicked Company.Marcus is a .com veteran with nearly two decades of award-winning, international and integrated design and technology project experience.A Royal College of Art alumni and ex-MIT Media Lab Europe researcher, Marcus Kirsch has worked as a transformation, service design, and innovation specialist. With project experience for companies like British Telecom, GlaxoSmithKline, Kraft, McDonald's, Nationwide, Nissan, Science Museum, P&G, Telekom Italia, and many others, he believes that we need a new narrative, mindset, and way of working to align ourselves with what society needs today. As he states: We live in an era of wicked problems. Problems that continue to evolve and morph beyond your solutions even as you form them. The ways that always worked to solve problems, doesn’t work anymore. The days of tame problems—mass production, building bridges, solving for x —are behind us, but we’re still designing companies to solve those tame problems. As a consequence, 70% of digital transformations are failing (McKinsey). Marcus Kirsch is on a mission to change all that. This inspired me, and hence I invited Marcus to my podcast. We explore how the nature of problems are changing from tame problems into wicked problems, and what this means to the mindsets, organizations and cultures we need to develop to succeed. We also address how our measures should change and how qualitative measures become essential in the process. Last but not least we talk about what Tech-Entrepreneurs need to do differently to drive the transformation and unlock new margin-boosting sources of value.Here are some of his quotes:The big thing to realize is that we're living in an era of problem evolution, not a technology revolution. We have organizations who have spent a lot of time creating solutions, without having reviewed what the actual problem is. We know that some problems have changed, because technology has entered our life. Technology has to some extent changed our behavior the way we are connected around the globe. And that has led to a type or characteristics of problems to grow and evolve around us, without organizations or people being able to identify those characteristics. And because we haven't identified it, I think that's why we're failing a lot.During this interview, you will learn four things: Why it’s key to fall in love with the problem, not the product  Why the better way to look at finding solutions it in aiming for effectiveness (i.e impact) rather than efficiency That we have to develop an idea about sustainable failure – to learn faster and grow your innovation muscle better, quicker and more effective Why it is key to embrace emotion as a skill to truly understand what the problem really looks like. For more information about the guest from this week: Markus Kirsch The Wicked Company See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Using focus as an engine for creating surprising growth | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 54:11

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to shape working environments that increase our productivity and wellness. My guest is Tim Panagos, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at MicroshareTim is a technology executive with 20 years of experience in Enterprise Software. He’s a change agent and a vision setter who’s thrilled by building and sees the wisdom in maintaining. He believes that technology is a weapon for strategic competitive advantage, and is most productive when he can team with a business partner who shares his big ideasHe was most recently Chief Architect of Accenture’s global Business Process Management (BPM) practice leading architecture innovation. Prior to that, Tim was CTO at Knowledge Rules, a global consulting start-up and held multiple engineering leadership roles at Pegasystems (PEGA).He holds a Masters in the Management of Technology from MIT and studied Computer Science at UNH.In 2013 he co-founded Microshare™, where today he’s in charge of strategic product vision and the implementation of it. Microshare is all about squeezing more value from more data. The focus has been on harnessing and sharing previously hidden insights on client operations. This unveils vast cost-savings opportunities and delivers new metrics on occupant wellness, building performance and sustainability – and enables the businesses to deliver novel business models that will create new industries and disrupt existing.That inspired me, and hence I invited Tim to my Podcast. We explore how businesses are challenged to make the right and best decisions how to deploy the space they own or occupy, and how COVID has made that challenge worse.We address what opportunity we have in taking employee wellness and productivity to the next level when we bring in meaningful and live data from sensors into the picture. Beyond that we talk about what it takes to build a software business that create solutions that not only has an edge, but also keeps it.Here are some of his quotes:When I was leaving Accenture what I was being getting to see were that there were patterns in how these very large projects, 50 million hundred million dollar a year projects that were being executed, were combining technologies that I felt were ripe to be harvested and democratized.And so being a systems thinker, I began to kind of visualize how we could take and boil these will large projects down and create building blocks that would allow more people to take advantage of them. People who didn't have the budget or the risk profile necessary to launch a $50 million Accenture project to apply these things. How would we kind of redesign and reconceived these technologies to make it more broadly applicable?During this interview, you will learn four things: How to create solutions to aid decision making in areas where there’s a lot of human bias, emotional tension or invisible behaviour. How removing friction in the adoption and decision/buying process of enterprise solutions helps drive momentum How data-privacy can become your key differentiator if you think about it differently How you can grow faster and bigger by focusing with dedication on a smaller, less educated, and narrower defined market For more information about the guest from this week: Tim Panagos Website Microshare See for privacy and opt-out information.

 The art of building a SaaS business that’s so good, they can’t ignore you. | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 32:23

This podcast interview focuses on what secrets investors are looking for in B2B SaaS companies. My guest is Akeel Jabber, Investment Director and GP at HoriZen CapitalAkeel is an expert in growth marketing strategy and business operations. He’s also an engineer who was previously a partner and operations director at Wired investors, a micro private equity firm focused on digital asset acquisitions and has been involved in over 15 company acquisitions. Today he’s a general partner and Investment Director at HoriZen Capital, an investment firm that invests and acquires SaaS companies over $500k in ARR. He’s also the host of the SaaS District podcast where he interviews entrepreneurs and investors on topics such as leadership, B2B sales, growth marketing, innovation, scaling, funding and M&A. The combination intrigued me, and hence I invited Akeel to my podcast. We explore what’s essential to make the ‘marriage’ between a start-up and investor magic. What do investors look for, what do they value and care about and what turns them off. Besides that we discuss (through the eyes of an investor) what it takes to build a remarkable software business.Here are some of his quotes:When you're building a company, try to think outside the box, and be so good they can't ignore you.There's kind of two kind of trends that I found with how people stumble upon starting to their companyNumber one, you have the people who just know it from the beginning: I'm an entrepreneur. I have to build something.And then once I build the next one, I go to the next one, and it's just in my DNA.And then there's the other side, that people don't think about it. They're stuck into a problem that they never even thought to monetize or build as a solution. So, they just build a solution, because they're creatorsThe moral of the story is like, it doesn't matter. You don't have to be a born entrepreneur think that it's built into you, you just have to be able to look around for a problem to solve. If you feel you can solve it, take that courage, take that step, I think you have nothing to lose, you'd be surprised with yourself.During this interview, you will learn four things: That it doesn’t matter how you start and build your SaaS business. The power is in starting. Ideas are cheap. The value is in bringing it alive Why you should avoid fitting into the norm – build your business the way you want to build it.  That your ability to have customers stick around for the long-term is more important than growing fast.  That we tend to be proud in saying we’re doing ABCDEFG – but focus is king. It’s more important to showcase how you do 1 thing extremely well. For more information about the guest from this week: Akeel Jabber Website HoriZen Capital SaaS District Podcast See for privacy and opt-out information.

 A story about creating extremely sticky technology that marketers actually want to use | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 40:39

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to change the way that marketers create. My guest is R.J. Talyor, CEO and Founder of Pattern89R.J. has been a B2B software entrepreneur for well over 15 years. He fulfilled various roles ranging from strategist, director Product Marketing and VP of Mobile Products at ExactTarget, became VP of Messaging Products at Salesforce, and served as the VP of Product Management at Geofeedia. He’s recognized as one of the Indianapolis business Journal’s 40 Under 40.In 2016 he founded Pattern89. With this company he’s on a mission is to inspire creativity – and to build something that will change marketing forever. Their strong believe is that AI will make brands, agencies, and marketers more creative, and more human in an increasingly automated world.This inspired me, and hence I invited R.J. to my podcast. We explore what’s broken in marketing – especially on the creative side. We discuss how marketing is becoming more and more metrics driven, while we still make creative decisions based on gut-feel (often by the highest paid person in the room). We also dig into what it takes to build a remarkable software business – creating software that’s extremely sticky – software that people want to use.Here are some of his quotes:Marketers spend a ton of time on audience development, on reach, on frequency. Everyone talks about journeys, but they don't talk about creative.What I saw was that there's a better way to create what images or videos or copy that you see, and machine learning provides marketers with tools to allow them to do that, like never before. So, the big problem is how do we get more efficient at the creative process, without asking marketers to act more like machines?What they want to do is understand if their idea is going to work or not. And so marketers are kind of trained themselves into machines to try to compute that when we should say: “Hey, no, no human marketer, go create something else. You're the creator, you're the idea person, you're the idea. Machine machines can come up with ideas, let the machines simulator validate what's gonna work, and you human, you do what humans can do best.”During this interview, you will learn four things: That very often stickiness of your applications increase not by building a better User Interface to perform a task, but by making it magically happen How you can help your customers make a difference is by avoiding the ‘highest paid person in the room’ to feel inclined to make a decision Why your future success and momentum can be hidden in killing your darlings i.e., get rid of those things you’re just hooked to. How Data-Coop across your customers can shift from a nice to have into your primary selling point For more information about the guest from this week: R.J. Talyor Website Pattern89 See for privacy and opt-out information.

 How leveraging technology can help to eliminate bad customer support experiences from the world | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 49:25

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to engage your support team and empower them to do their best work. My guest is Justin Winter, Co-founder and CEO of Boostopia.He has been an advisor to over a dozen companies and acted in a consulting capacity with over 150+ consumer brands and technology companies across areas of growth, retention, product, and operations. Justin studied for his Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. In 2010 he co-founded Diamond Candles, the fastest growing and largest online  home fragrance brand in the world. He lead the company as the CEO for 5 years.In that process he became frustrated with the solutions available to him to deliver customer support that his customers loved. So he decided to set out to assemble a team to lead to build what he wish he would have had during his tenure there. This became the spark that started Boostopia of which Justin is the the Co-founder and CEO. Boostopia is a technology company that helps B2C companies decrease the number of tickets they get, discover ways to efficiently manage support issues, and transform support into a new revenue generating channel.This inspired me, and hence I invited Justin to my podcast. We explore why bad customer support still exists and why the current approach of focusing on the support agent is not enough to solve it. We also discuss the opportunities to turn the support department from a cost-centre into a profit-centre, and the opportunity to increase the wage of support team members by a mere 50% as a consequence of that.Here are some of his quotes:We fundamentally believe that the way to create better customer experiences isn't by getting the latest and greatest fancy ticketing system. It's really about engaging your support team that you have and empowering them to do their best work.Why does customer support, from our perspective as a consumer, why is it so horrible? We all hate talking to customer support. We have lots of frustrating experiences. So, we fundamentally believe that the reason why bad customer support still exists. It's not because companies don't know that that's happening. It's because they don't have an underlying attribution model for understanding how those bad experiences lead to them making less money.During this interview, you will learn four things: How to spark momentum by overwhelming your users with opportunity i.e. give them a clear picture of the value they are creating with your product How to find balance in your investment between ‘selling what you got’ versus making ‘the next big thing.’  Why companies that bet on product-led growth are proportionally better rewarded than those that are sales led. Why you’d drive more value for your customers by instead of helping them be more efficient, help them eliminate the underlying problem all together. For more information about the guest from this week: Justin Winter Website Boostopia See for privacy and opt-out information.

 Mastering the art of driving a 3-4x uplift of companies coming to your website without dramatically transforming cost | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 41:30

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to help marketers to build the meaningful relationships with the right companies. My guest is Riaz Kanani, Founder and CEO of Radiate B2B.Riaz is a mix of marketer, technologist and entrepreneur who worked with cutting edge technologies throughout his career, whether it be the nascent flash/java video space in the early 2000s to combining email, mobile and social media marketing technologies in 2008. Throughout it all, he’s used data as the backbone behind these technologies to better understand how people behave and use these new approaches. In that journey he founded 6 companies and worked for IBM, Lyris, Alchemy Worx and Profusion. He’s also a mentor at Techstars.Today he’s helping to build a better way to do B2B Marketing that increases both average contract values and the speed of closing contracts.And this resonated with me, and hence I invited Riaz to my podcast. We explore what’s broken in marketing automation and why the answer is in choosing a different approach, not in more tools.We also discuss what it takes to succeed in B2B software, and what decisions and mindsets are fundamental to stand out.Here are some of his quotes:It became really clear when talking to those companies that we've become in the b2b or business marketing space, very reliant on content and events to drive lead acquisition, nurturing, email marketing obviously as well. Basically, we were all reliant on exactly the same things, and b2b marketing would become homogenous. And the only way to stand out was really to be doing better creative. And I think that's a marketer’s worst nightmare.I felt that there had to be a better way.The more I looked at it, the more I realized that if you were building a marketing automation company today, you wouldn't build a platform that looked anything like the marketing automation platforms that exist today.During this interview, you will learn four things: That there’s no nice handbook that tells you exactly what’s going to happen with your software business: so, to succeed it’s your duty to hire people that can think on their feet Why your marketing will become exponentially better if you start thinking about the world as being a list of companies that you build relationships with How defensible differentiation can be created by blending a strong product with an irresistible business model. That your decision how to position yourselves in a space can create a significant problem around your messaging For more information about the guest from this week: Riaz Kanani Website Radiate B2B See for privacy and opt-out information.


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