Please join us for tomorrow’s SaaS Product Power Breakfast with entrepreneur and venture capitalist Paul Jozefak, CEO of Receeve (an all-in-one platform for collections and recovery), on how to use SaaS as a layer atop legacy systems to prove return on investment (ROI) and smooth the customer’s transition before setting out to rip and replace them.
This is an interesting strategy that I’ve seen numerous times in SaaS and it cuts to core product strategy issues, most notably, to what extent and in what timeframe do you “design in” versus “design out” the underlying technology.
In addition to both impromptu and (hopefully some) audience questions, we’ll be asking Paul:
- Why layer on top in your target segment?
- Are there any risks to layering?
- What are your customers trying to accomplish when it comes to working with Receeve?
- Where is technology in the segment headed?
- What hurdles do you hit with decision makers?
Thomas has not been feeling well so, while he’s slated to be our lead interviewer tomorrow, I may end up taking the lead on this episode.
Either way, see you there!
I’m delighted to say that tomorrow’s SaaS Product Power Breakfast will feature one of my favorite people to riff with, Alation cofounder Aaron Kalb. Our topic will be on design, data, and disagreement in the context of product and product management.
In addition to cofounding Alation, the inventors of the data catalog, the category leader in data intelligence, and a high-growth company that recently raised a $110M Series D (placing the company squarely in unicorn territory), Aaron serves as Alation’s chief data & analytics officer (CDAO) and before that worked as a designer and researcher in Apple’s Siri advanced development group after graduating from Stanford with a master’s in symbolic systems.
We’ll speak to Aaron both as a product-oriented cofounder of a highly successful company and as a design-oriented product leader. (We may get a little data-oriented decision-maker mixed in as well.) Questions we’ll address include:
- How do you synthesize data-led and design-led product management?
- How did your psychology and software engineering background help you as a product leader?
- How do you hire strong product leaders?
- What was like for a product-oriented cofounder to hand-off the reins to an “outsider” (i.e., newly hired outside expert) product leader?
And, with a little luck, he’ll tell us what the heck symbolic systems is anyway. See you there. It should be a great episode.
Thomas will be joining us from a trip to Paris and says he won’t be asking too many questions, but I’m thinking this subject matter will inevitably draw him in. On verra.
As always, the session will be recorded and made available on the SaaS Product Power Breakfast podcast.
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(Disclaimer: per my bio and FAQ, I’m both an angel investor in and director of Alation.)
We’re back this week with SaaS Product Power Breakfast and tomorrow’s guest is Andy MacMillan, CEO of UserTesting, and our topic is a framework for hiring product teams.
Andy started his career building web applications at EDS (so he presumably has lots of old white shirts somewhere in his closet), was VP of product marketing at content management vendor Stellent, was acquired into Oracle where he spent nearly 5 years in product management before serving as COO of Products at Salesforce (where we crossed trails), then CEO of marketing automation system Act-On, and now CEO at UserTesting, a human insight platform that helps companies get feedback on user experiences — so he’s definitely at the right place at the right time as the whole world starts to value design, user experience, and product-led growth strategies.
Net: Andy’s got a great background, some real product chops, and can simultaneously give us both the Product and the CEO perspective on product issues. Our topic is Andy’s framework for hiring product managers and product management teams. My five key questions for this episode will be:
- Why do I need a framework for hiring PM teams?
- What is your framework for hiring PM teams?
- What goes wrong in hiring PM teams?
- What do you think of the PM as GM or mini-CEO concept?
- When should an early-stage company start using such a hiring framework?
Thomas Otter, my co-host, and I look forward to seeing you at our chat with Andy tomorrow at 8am Pacific time. The session will be recorded and released subsequently as an episode of the SaaS Product Power Breakfast Podcast. See you there!
This week’s episode of the SaaS Product Power Breakfast is Thursday, June 10th, at 8am Pacific and we welcome a special friend and unique guest, Chris McLaughlin, currently CMO at France-based powerhouse LumApps, a collaboration and communications platform backed by top European investors including Idinvest and Goldman Sachs.
I got to know Chris by working together in his prior gig as joint CMO and CPO at Nuxeo, a France-based content services platform that had a great exit earlier this year to Thoma Bravo / Hyland Software, and where I sat on the board of directors for the past 4 years.
Chris has a unique background because of its dualities, working:
- As a senior executive for both US-based and European-based companies.
- At both growth startups and large megavendors (e.g., EMC/Documentum, IBM/FileNet)
- In leadership roles on both the Product and the Marketing side.
In this week’s episode we — and the audience — will ask Chris many questions, including:
- How to get product and marketing working together, especially when they aren’t under a common boss.
- How European startups should organize their go-to-market functions to enter and grow in the US market
- The role of both the product and marketing leaders in startups with either a technical founder or business founder
- When is the right time to hire your first CPO and/or CMO
- How to align product, marketing, and sales around a strategy — and dealing with the normal challenges in focusing that strategy
See you there, Thursday 6/10 at 8 am Pacific — and bring a friend.
As always, the room will be recorded and posted. We think of the show as a podcast recorded in front of a live, studio audience.
Last week’s episode of the SaaS Product Power Breakfast was, to paraphrase Jerry Garcia, “crackling with energy” as we interviewed Stephanie McReynolds on category creation.
In this week’s episode, Thomas is out (I guess he’s getting another degree as a result of his latest mid-life crisis), so I’ll be flying the room solo. Moreover, I haven’t lined up a guest (see How’s Work Going for an indication on why), so I’ll be doing an Ask Me Anything Session on strategy, product marketing, and product management.
I’ll open the room with a few opening comments on:
- What I think makes for greatness in product management
- What most often interferes with that
- What to do about it — i.e., how to execute a strategic job strategically
And then we’ll cut to an open mike Q&A / AMA. Please don’t leave me alone — and please do bring some questions! We’ve not yet run the room in this format — and a big part of this project is to experiment with and understand Clubhouse as a new medium — so I’m excited to give it a try. Please join in and learn with us (or, in this case, me).
Fear not, by the way, in response to some outreach I have been doing, I have some great candidate guests in the pipeline, including:
- Andy MacMillan, CEO of UserTesting
- Evan Kaplan, CEO of InfluxDB
- Nick Mehta, CEO of GainSight
- Heidi Vasconi, noted Analyst Relations consultant
- Chris McGlaughlin, CMO and CPO of Nuxeo
Several folks have requested Lelya Seka (don’t let it go to your head), but last I checked with her that might have to wait until (and if) we ever move to Spaces.
I know Thomas has a great pipeline as well. So, tell a friend, block your calendar Thursday mornings at 8:00 am (pacific) and join in the fun!
See you Thursday for the AMA session with me on product.
Please join us for our next episode of the SaaS Product Power Breakfast at 8am Pacific on 5/20/21 as we have a discussion with former Alation CMO Stephanie McReynolds on the topic of category creation and her learnings as she helped drive the creation of the data catalog category and establish Alation as the leader in it .
In addition to her gig at Alation, Stephanie’s had a great career at many leading and/or category-defining vendors including E.piphany, Business Objects, PeopleSoft, Oracle, Aster Data, ClearStory, and Trifacta.
Questions we’ll address include:
- Does a vendor create a category or do market forces?
- In creating a category do you lead with product or solution?
- How do you know if you should try to create a category?
- What role do industry analysts play in category creation?
- What happens once you’ve successfully created a category? What next?
This should be great session on a hot topic. See you there. And if you can’t make it, the session will be available in podcast form. We think of our show, like Dr. Phil, as a podcast recorded before a live (Clubhouse) studio audience.
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 I am an angel investor in and member of the board of directors at Alation.
Please join Thomas Otter and me this Thursday, May 6th at 8:00 am Pacific for the SaaS Product Power Breakfast on Clubhouse with special guest Brett Queener, partner at Bonfire Ventures, former President & COO at SmartRecruiters, product-line general manager at both Salesforce.com and Siebel, and member of the board of directors at Aforza, Atrium, ClearedIn, Cube, Invoca, Lytics, Pendo, SmartRecruiters, and Spekit.
Our topic will be The Product Superpowers That Few Flex: Intention and Conviction.
We aim to cover the following questions:
- What was it like running product for Marc Benioff? (Or, for that matter, Tom Siebel?)
- What do you look for when evaluating products for seed-stage investments?
- Cadence: daily / monthly / quarterly releases — which is best and why?
- What in your mind is a world-class product manager?
- How is the role of product decisioning changing?
- In a product-led growth (PLG) world, does product own growth?
- What’s a feature and not a company?
With Brett, the action is sure to be cutting, frank, insightful, fast-paced — and funny. Content warning: when Brett and I get together, the errant F-bomb has been known to drop, so this may be our first R-rated episode.
Bring a friend — it should be a crackling session. If you need a Clubhouse invite, ask. And for those who can’t make it live, the SaaS Product Power Breakfast is now available in podcast form, so it will be recorded and you can always listen to it later.
See you there!