The SaaS Product Power Breakfast with Dave Kellogg and Thomas Otter

TSPPB: Dave interviews Sandi Lin, CEO and co-founder of Skilljar

Sandi has had a remarkable career so far. She trained as a civil engineer at MIT, did an MBA at Stadford, moved into product management at Amazon, and now runs a very successful SaaS company, Skilljar.  Skilljar, founded in Seattle in 2013, is a fully distributed, ~150-person company that provides a customer education platform to over 400 customers. 

We discuss:

  • Why do product managers make great founders?
  • How has your product planning process evolved from founder to startup to scaleup stages?
  • As CEO with a product background, how do you interact with your product team now? Has it been challenging to pull back?
  • You used to work at Amazon. What are key similarities and differences in product management from a large company to a startup?
  • What have you found as your blind spots as a former Product Manager?

TSPPB: Dave and Thomas on big co vs small co Product Management

Dave and Thomas talk about their experiences as product leaders, and the differences between PM in big companies and small companies.
We look at how Salesforce, SuccessFactors and other large companies manage product teams, and explore if that helps or hinders in the context of small companies.  One nugget. Big company product management is usually big M small p. Start-up product management is big P small m.  We talk about the day in the life of a product leader, and we also mention rhinos and kangaroos.

 

TSPPB: Thomas interviews Simon Bouchez, CEO and founder at Reveal.co

Simon sold his first venture, an HRTECH company, multiposting, to SAP.  After successfully delivering on the post merger integration, Simon has started a new venture, Reveal.co. It aims to revolutionise how sales and marketeers collaborate between companies. 

In this episode we talk how product management has changed in the last 10 years, becoming more commercially savvy, and aware of what it takes to build a successful business.  We talk M&A, and how to do post merger integration well, and we continue to explore the themes of product led growth. We also talk Paris as an innovation hub and start up mecca.

TSPPB: Thomas interviews Tim Geisenheimer, CEO /Cofounder of Correlated.

Tim is the CEO and Co-Founder of Correlated, the leading product-led revenue platform for sales teams. Correlated recently launched publicly and announced an $8.3 million round of funding led by Harrison Metal and NextView Ventures. Prior to founding Correlated, Tim was an early executive team member at two data and analytics startups: Facet and Timescale. Timescale recently raised a $40 million Series B from Redpoint. Earlier in his career he was on the founding team of TapCommerce, a leading marketing tech startup which was acquired by Twitter for a reported $100 million. Tim has led sales, partnerships and go-to-market teams throughout his career and has witnessed the transition to product-led growth as a go-to-market motion firsthand." He also plays a mean game of Poker. 

We talk Product Led Growth/Revenue.

  • What is PLG? Hype and reality…. 
  • What are its strengths and limitations?
  • How do product managers work in the PLG model?
  • Which team in the revenue org is most responsible for expansion, sales or CS?
  • How do sales teams in companies with a PLG motion optimally insert themselves into GTM?
  • When should PLG companies hire sales?
  • Are “traditional” SaaS companies starting to pursue a PLG model? What’s working/not working?

 

TSPPB: Dave and Thomas interview Dan Faulkner from Plannuh. How to build great product teams.

We speak with Dan Faulkner, CTO of Plannuh, about building great product teams.  Dave is an advisor to Plannuh.

After getting a master’s in speech and language processing, Dan worked for speech recognition powerhouse Nuance for well over a decade, first as a researcher and later moving into product and business unit management.

Our topic is how to build great product teams.  Among other questions, we ask Dan:

  • What makes a great product team?
  • What is his four-part framework for thinking about product teams (e.g., context, talent, change, and location)?
  • Why context matters so much?
  • How to deal with the army you have vs. the army you want?
  • How to think about change and risk?
  • The tradeoffs in location strategy and colocation of PM and ENG?
  • How to think about and drive diversity across a number of dimensions?

 

TSPPB Dave and Thomas Interview Paul Jozefak, CEO of Receeve

Paul was a successful VC, but moved to become a founder and CEO.  In this episode we explore how to build a successful enterprise SaaS business, targeting the complex problem of accounting collections. It sounds niche, but there is lots to learn from Paul about building products for the line of business.  Niches can be super profitable, and can grow into significant market categories. We look at how SaaS products can function as a layer on top of existing applications, partner strategies and much more. 

TSPPB: Dave interviews Aaron Kalb, Alation co-founder

 This show is with Alation cofounder Aaron Kalb.  Our topics: design, data, and disagreement in the context of product and product management.

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.

Questions 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?

 

TSPPB: Thomas interviews Holger Müller. Constellation Industry Analyst and former product leader

Holger is one of the leading industry analysts (at Constellation Research) and former product leader. In this episode, Holger and Thomas talk about the dynamics in enterprise software.  We dig into history and the current state of product management, the shift and limits of more analytical PM, the growth of DIY (low code no code) tools, and the imbalances between tech vision and business process. We also talk Tour De France. And Holger gives some blunt advice on working with Analysts.   Warning: Holger thinks and talks fast. 

TSPPB: Dave and Thomas with Andy MacMillan, CEO of UserTesting

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.   Key questions for this episode.

  • 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?

We cover most of these...

TSPPB: Dave interviews Evan Kaplan, CEO of Influx Data

Evan Kaplan is the CEO of Influx Data. It helps developers to build IoT, analytics and monitoring software. In this episode we continue to discuss how open source is changing with the Cloud. We talk in depth about what it is be to cloud native and open source.  We also digress into ingress and database history.  

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