Zac Bookman – How Government Works – [Founder’s Field Guide, EP.10]
Play • 1 hr 15 min

My guest today is Zac Bookman. Zac is the Founder and CEO of OpenGov a budgeting and financial management software for local governments. Before he founded OpenGov Zac was an Advisor to U.S. Army General H.R. McMaster in Afganistan, a law clerk on the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, and earned a Fullbright Fellowship studying corruption in the Mexican government. This conversation is one of the most unique and wide-ranging of any I've had on the show. We cover how Zac built a world-class sales organization, the power of selling momentum, and the role capital efficiency still plays in building great companies. We also dive into the details on how local government works from mayors down to school board meetings. Please enjoy my conversation with Zac Bookman. 

 

This episode is brought to you by Microsoft for Startups. Microsoft for Startups is a global program dedicated to helping “enterprise-ready” B2B startups successfully scale their companies. If you’re a founder running a B2B company targeting the enterprise, you should definitely check them out. 

  

This episode of Founder’s Field Guide is also brought to you by NetSuite. Netsuite allows founders to centralize their payment systems, ditch old spreadsheets and Quickbook tools, and finally gain visibility and control over their financials, HR, inventory, eCommerce - all in one place, instantly. Whether you are doing a million in revenue or hundreds of millions in revenue - see why over 22,000 companies are using NetSuite today. Schedule your free product tour at https://www.netsuite.com/invest.

 

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club and new email newsletter called “Inside the Episode” at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

 

Show Notes

(2:56) – (First question) – His career leading up to OpenGov

(5:45) – Experience in Afghanistan and lessons from his time there

(8:54) – Aligning a large group on a strategy

(9:56) – Aligning the team at OpenGov when getting started

(11:54) – Levels of government that matter and what their systems looked like when he was getting started

(15:24) – Role of budget and how money flows in in government operations

(18:55) – How technology can fix the bureaucracy of government

(21:40) – Can technology help the public’s relationship to government

(24:20) – Defining vertical SaaS products

(27:02) – Picking the right products/customers to build your product well

(28:33) – Their purpose when building their first product

(30:23) – Building a company in a highly regulated space

(32:14) – Selling in this space and lessons learned

(34:04) – Building a machine to distribute enterprise software

(37:03) – Getting the technical, political, and commercial processes aligned

(39:40) – Staying up to date on the market and fending off your competition

(42:18) – Competency within public governments

(44:03) – Metrics that he uses to understand the health of OpenGov

(46:07) – The importance of charging the right price for professional services

(48:36) – Hardest episode in developing OpenGov

(50:17) – Valid early criticisms of the company

(52:34) – Advice to new entrepreneurs entering the vertical SaaS space

            (54:06) – The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

(57:04) – Engineering momentum among teams

(59:00) – Personal improvement as a leader

(1:01:55) – The study of death and why it’s important for him

(1:04:19) – What people can get spending time in the mountains

(1:06:53) – Role of capital efficiency in his work

(1:09:11) – Kindest thing anyone has done for him

 

Learn More

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club and new email newsletter called “Inside the Episode” at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

 

The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch
The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch
Harry Stebbings
20VC: Hims Founder Andrew Dudum on Hims Going Public, The Reasoning and Benefits of SPACs, The Biggest Misconceptions of Successful Company Building & Wall St's Changing Perceptions Towards Growth and Profitability
Andrew Dudum is the Founder & CEO @ Hims & Hers, offering a modern approach to health and wellness and one of the fastest-growing companies to reach $1Bn. Prior to their going public on Tuesday this week, Hims raised over $158M from some of the best including Thrive, Forerunner, Founders Fund, IVP, Redpoint and more. As for Andrew, alongside his role at Hims he is also Co-Founder of Atomic, a company builder and venture fund all in one, backed by Peter Thiel and Marc Andreesen to name two. Prior to Atomic, Andrew led product at TokBox managing a team of 30 leading to their acquisition by Telefonica in 2012. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn: 1.) How Andrew made his way from Head of Product at Tokbox to venture capitalist with Atomic to changing healthcare with Hims? 2.) What are the biggest misconceptions people have with regards to what it takes to build a successful company? Why do you not need big teams? How can leaders drive efficiency within small teams? What have been Andrew's biggest lessons in acquiring the best talent in market? What works? 3.) Hims is the fastest company to scale to $1Bn, how does Andrew reflect on how he managed hyper-growth? What did he do well? What was the first to break? What would he do differently? When is the right time to go from generalist to specialist? When is the right time to add more products? 4.) Why did Andrew believe now was the right time to IPO just 4 years into the founding of the business? How did the SPAC process play out? What are the core advantages to Andrew of the SPAC over an IPO? Why will more founders use it in the future? How does Andrew assess the importance or lack of, when it comes to the pricing pop on IPO day? 5.) How does Andrew reflect on his relationship to money? Why does he feel more scared of it now than ever before? How does he think about bringing up his children with an appreciation and respect for money? What 3 traits would Andrew most like his children to have? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode Andrew’s Favourite Book: The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here! Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.
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a16z Podcast
a16z Podcast
Andreessen Horowitz
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The rise of developers -- as buyers, as influencers, as a _creative_ class -- is a direct result of "software eating the world", and of key shifts in IT from on-prem to cloud & SaaS to the API economy, where application programming interfaces are essentially building blocks for innovation. Developers therefore not only play an outsized role in high-performing tech companies -- but managing and motivating them is actually critical in ALL companies, since every company is a tech company (whether they know it or not). As every industry turns digital, and a company's interface to their customers IS software, "asking" one's developer is the key to solving business problems and to thriving not just surviving, argues Jeff Lawson, CEO and co-founder of cloud communications platform-as-a-service company Twilio, in his new book, _Ask Your Developer: How to Harness the Power of Software Developers and Win in the 21st Century._ So in this episode of the a16z Podcast in conversation with Sonal Chokshi and David Ulevitch (who previously argued "the developer's way" is the future of work), Lawson shares hard-earned lessons learned, mindsets, strategies, and tactics -- from "build vs. buy" to "build vs. die", to the art and science of small teams ("mitosis") -- for leaders and companies of all sizes. But what does it mean to truly treat developers as creatives within an organization? What does it mean to be "developer first"? And how does this affect customers, product, go-to-market? All this and more in this episode.
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Equity
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TechCrunch, Chris Gates, Alex Wilhelm, Danny Crichton, Natasha Mascarenhas, Grace Mendenhall
Equity Tuesday: Everyone's raising money, and Wrike exits yet again
Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This is Equity (Monday) Tuesday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here and myself here — and make sure to check out last week's two episodes, covering all the news sans ecommerce, and then all the ecommerce news. We're here on a Tuesday due to an American holiday, but that short break did not mean that the world's news volume slowed down in the slightest. Here's the rundown: * From the weekend: The story of a fired GitHub employee ended as you expected it would, with a small twist; the Microsoft company's head of HR is leaving. Not sure from this remove is this is a firing, or merely finding someone to axe over the error, but the fact that they are leaving stood out. * Auto1 Group is going public, and Sequoia wants a piece. * In more news from German, Personio has put together a $125 million round at a $1.7 billion valuation. * And Grab, the Southeast Asian food delivery and ride-hailing goliath could raise $2 billion in a 2021 US IPO. * Turning to this morning: The WhatsApp-India saga continues, Citrix is buying Wrike for $2.25 billion, and American stocks are looking up this morning. * On the funding round front: LeoCare raised €15 million from Felix Capital, Ventech and Daphni. PPRO raised $180 million at a valuation of more than $1 billion. And Darwinbox raised from Salesforce Ventures, something that we did not know that the American corporate VC did. * Finally, read this crypto piece. And that's that for today, we are back in short order on Thursday afternoon!
8 min
Acquired
Acquired
Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal
Bitcoin
We had to do it. After 12 years and 3,000,000x appreciation, we kick off Season 8 with the best investment of all-time and our biggest episode ever: Bitcoin. From the first bitcoin transaction of 10k for two Papa John's pizzas (worth about $350m today!!) to $40k+ BTC and maybe the moon beyond, we cover the whole crazy, improbable journey of how a single 8-page PDF document changed the world of money — and perhaps the world itself — forever. If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like emergency pods and book club discussions with authors. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: * Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 8. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: http://bit.ly/acquiredtiny * Thank you as well to Vouch and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: * https://bit.ly/acquired-vouch * http://bit.ly/acquiredcapchase The Bitcoin Playbook: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/bitcoin ) 1. Technological paradigm shifts are ideal opportunities for attacking incumbents. * The traditional finance system worked fantastically well for 500 years, but it wasn't built for the internet. The fact that sharing your bank account or credit card number is required in order to transact, but there's no really robust way to protect against fraud when doing so, provided the perfect seam for a new entrant. Bitcoin and its creators saw this shortcoming and created a new form of money that worked like email. 2. In the early days of a network-effect system, usage matters more than use-cases. * Because the value of a network grows as a function of Metcalfe's Law (value = # of engaged participants squared), in the early days simply growing the number of engaged participants matters more than the specifics of what those participants are actually doing. As the network's value grows, it will become attractive to successively more groups of users and use cases. * Bitcoin started as the domain of researchers and fringe libertarians, then illicit transactions (Silk Road), then speculation (the ICO boom) before finally reaching adoption by the mainstream investment community. Each wave built enough monetary value in the network to make it attractive to the next set of users. Similarly Facebook went from sharing photos of attractive undergrads to how billions communicate, and Airbnb went from ratty airbeds to ~10x larger than any hotel chain, all within a few short years. 3. Distributing network value out to its participants creates large incentives for adoption. * Rewarding miners with bitcoin itself created a huge incentive for participants to join and stay in the Bitcoin network. Although this dynamic got a bad rap during the ICO bubble when it was overused and overpromised by grifters and scammers, it remains a powerful strategy and will likely be used more going forward. * Perhaps most excitingly, this incentive unlocks massive new potential for open-source software development: people who work on open-source software (or provide other functions) can now receive direct value for their contributions, without being employed in any traditional sense. 4. Just HODL, baby. (aka let your winners run) * You can get rich quickly by getting in early on a winning investment. But you can only get really rich by holding a compounding asset for an extended period of time. Sequoia learned this lesson painfully with its Apple investment in the 1970's: selling its entire position for just a ~$6m profit within a few years. Similarly, anyone who bought 1,000 bitcoin for $10 a piece in 2012 could have sold them for $1m four years later in 2016. But four years on from that, they're now worth $35 million. If you continue to believe Bitcoin has a bright longterm future (which, to be fair, you may not!), what could they be worth in 2024? 5. We're only just realizing the implications of digital scarcity. * For its entire existence before Bitcoin, computing and the internet was all about turning scarcity into abundance. (via infinitely replicable + easily distributable software and other digital goods) For the first time in history, Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain have introduced the opposite: scarce, non-replicable digital assets. 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3 hr 12 min
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