Rapid Response: When your business disappears overnight, w/Marriott’s Arne Sorenson
29 min

95% of your business disappears. What do you do? Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson recounts how the travel industry drastically changed last spring, with hotel bookings all but disappearing overnight. In the midst of his own battle with cancer, Arne has spent the year balancing the needs of his workforce against those of his partners; having blunt but critical conversations; and empowering his team to make tough decisions. He has wise words about the role of business leaders in times of social unrest, including how to think about who you speak for – and when to speak up. Arne admits the hotel industry will take years to recover. That hasn't dimmed his personal belief that travel matters more than ever.

Read the transcript at mastersofscale.com/rapidresponse

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Invest Like the Best
Invest Like the Best
Patrick O'Shaughnessy
Zac Bookman – How Government Works – [Founder’s Field Guide, EP.10]
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
1 hr 15 min
The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch
The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch
Harry Stebbings
20VC: Stitch Fix Founder Katrina Lake on Growth vs Profitability, Her Biggest Lessons From Working with Bill Gurley at Benchmark and The Importance of Mental Flexibility as a Leader
Katrina Lake is the Founder & CEO @ Stitch Fix, a multi-billion dollar public company, which has brought an entirely new model to retail apparel by combining data science, technology, and personal stylists, to create a unique shopping experience tailored to the individual consumer. Prior to their IPO in 2017, Katrina raised just $42M in venture funding from some of the best in venture including Bill Gurley @ Benchmark and Steve Anderson @ Baseline. In just 6 years Katrina took the company from founding moment to $2BN IPO and was even cash flow positive after just 3 years. If that was not enough, Katrina is also on the board of both Grubhub and Glossier. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn: 1.) How Katrina made her way from being an associate at a venture firm to reshaping the world of fashion with Stitch Fix? 2.) On reflection, is Katrina happy that the business was forced to be so capital efficient so early? What did Katrina do to structure the business and its inventory management to preserve cash? How does Katrina think about the balance between growth vs profitability? 3.) What have been some of Katrina's biggest lessons from working with Bill Gurley? How does Katrina ensure not to overweight his opinion on the board? What have been Katrina's biggest lessons on effective board management? How has being on the Grubhub and Glossier board changed the way she operates the Stitch Fix board? 4.) How does Katrina think about imposter syndrome and self-doubt today? How does she remedy it? How does Katrina ensure she remains on the front lines with customers despite being a public company CEO? What benefits are there for founders to stay in the trenches even when a large company? 5.) How does Katrina think on the importance for founders to have a vision today? Where do they need to be flexible? What are some dangers or pitfalls associated with "the vision"? How far are Stitch Fix along in cementing their vision? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode Katrina’s Favourite Book: Between The World And Me 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.
36 min
Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal
Slack + Salesforce Emergency Pod with Packy McCormick of Not Boring
Acquired is live on the scene covering Salesforce's blockbuster $27.7B acquisition of Slack, with the help of the internet's #1 Slack bull (and top internet analyst in his own right), Packy McCormick of Not Boring. We dissect the deal itself, Slack's relatively short life as a public company, the impact of Microsoft and Teams, and most importantly what this means for enterprise SaaS startups broadly. And oh yeah — we have a ton of fun too. :) Note: you can find our full June 2019 episode on Slack's history and their DPO here: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/the-slack-dpo If you want more more Acquired and the tools + resources to become the best founder, operator or investor you can be, join our LP Program for access to our LP Show, the LP community on Slack and Zoom, and our live Book Club discussions with top authors. Join here at: https://acquired.fm/lp/ Sponsors: * Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 7. 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://tinycapital.com * Thank you as well to Bamboo Growth and to Perkins Coie. You can learn more about them at: * https://growwithbamboo.com * https://www.perkinscoie.com/ Playbook Themes from this Episode: (also available on our website at https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/slack-salesforce-emergency-pod-with-packy-mccormick-of-not-boring ) 1. Distribution is still key when it comes to selling enterprise products at the highest levels. * SaaS startups can (and do!) land deals with big companies all the time now through the bottoms-up motion of individual teams adopting the product and paying by credit card. And they also can (and do!) expand those deals into large, enterprise-wide contracts. But the massive power of Microsoft, Salesforce, and to a lesser-degree Oracle and Google's salesforces + bundling distribution abilities enables deals to happen at a scale that most independent companies find difficult to match. 2. Enterprise products are like icebergs — 90% of the work is below the surface. * This is true both at the tactical level (integrations, permissions, security, etc) and the strategic: providing seamless connective tissue between work apps inside and across organizations is what makes Microsoft so powerful as an enterprise player — not necessarily because their products are better. * This is why Slack Connect was such an important initiative for Slack, and why Microsoft trained the full firepower of its Teams marketing against it, while mostly ignoring Zoom even though Zoom is much more directly competitive on the product feature front. 3. Telling your story well always matters, no matter how big you get. * Perhaps the biggest reason Slack "failed" as a public company was its inability to effectively communicate what it did that was special, why that was important, and why it was defensible enough to withstand the assault from Teams. Arguably, great answers existed to all of those questions — and the company kept posting impressive numbers to back them up — but Wall Street never bought the story Slack sold. 4. Enterprise collaboration is moving deeper into work apps themselves. * Today's native SaaS tools like Figma, Coda, Notion and others are embedding collaboration and chat natively into apps themselves — which reduces the primacy of a centralized platform like Slack, Teams or Discord. While on the one hand this is a threat to dedicated collaboration platforms, it also presents a massive opportunity: if they (or someone else) can decouple the core "collaboration layer" service from their own dedicated apps and also embed it directly into those work apps via APIs, it exponentially increases the surface area of workplace productivity that they can address. 5. The "Outsiders playbook" of growing through acquisition once your original product approaches market saturation works just as well in tech as it did in other sectors like media and industrials. * As Will Thorndike outlined in The Outsiders, many of the best CEO capital allocators of all-time utilized the grow-through-acquisition strategy very effectively. Salesforce (and other big tech companies like Facebook) are clearly adopting the same approach. Links: * Not Boring: https://notboring.substack.com * Packy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/packyM * Packy's bull thesis on Slack from November 2020: https://notboring.substack.com/p/slack-the-bulls-are-typing
1 hr 25 min
Coaching for Leaders
Coaching for Leaders
Dave Stachowiak
502: The Way to Build Wealth, with Chris Hogan
Chris Hogan: Everyday Millionaires Chris Hogan is a best-selling author, a personal finance expert, and America’s leading voice on retirement, investing, and building wealth. His goal is to help as many people as possible avoid financial traps and set their families up for the future. His book Retire Inspired: It’s Not an Age; It’s a Financial Number* is a number one national best seller, and The Chris Hogan Show has millions of downloads. He is also the author of Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth―and How You Can Too*. In this conversation, Chris and I discuss the national study that his organization conducted on everyday millionaires. We address some of the common misconceptions about millionaires. Plus, we detail both the mindset and behaviors that millionaires have that support the creation of wealth. Key Points The top three occupations for millionaires are engineer, accountant, and teacher. Millionaires steer clear of debt. Millionaires have a mentality of abundance vs. scarcity. They embrace change and usually see adversity as an opportunity for growth. Millionaires are frugal, not flashy. They spend less than the general population on groceries, restaurants and clothing. Employer sponsored retirement plans are a key vehicle the vast majority of millionaires use to build wealth. Only 1 in 5 millionaires receive any kind of inheritance. Resources Mentioned Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth―and How You Can Too* by Chris Hogan The Chris Hogan Show Related Episodes Improve Your Financial Intelligence, with Joe Knight (episode 244) Four Rules to Get Control of Your Money, with Jesse Mecham (episode 356) Dumb Things Smart People Do With Money, with Jill Schlesinger (episode 396) Discover More Activate your free membership for full access to the entire library of interviews since 2011, searchable by topic.
32 min
North Star Podcast
North Star Podcast
David Perell
Nik Sharma: Building DTC Companies
My guest today is Nik Sharma, the founder of Sharma Brands and an advisor to companies like Judy and Cha Cha Matcha. Nik is one of my very best friends and my go-to person for all things commerce. Since we first met, we've spent hours exploring the future of marketing and commerce together and recorded this podcast to give you a window into what our conversations are like. We started with Nik's philosophy of launching Direct-to-Consumer brands. I particularly liked Nik's idea of "The Brag Bar" on landing pages, where you can use social proof to sell your products. We also spoke about managing relationships with influencers and finding the supply and demand equilibrium at launch. Towards the end, Nik and I talked about our process for turning conversations into articles, and the time he cold emailed Mark Cuban. Please enjoy my conversation with Nik Sharma. ____________________________ Show Notes 2:21 - Why Nik has the "world's craziest fridge" and how it helps keep him in the know on DTC brands. 6:29 - What marketing strategies Nik has found most successful for DTC brands. 13:31 - How brands can differentiate themselves in a world of emerging brands in already burgeoning markets. 19:25 - Nik's approach to launching a successful DTC brand and when to concentrate your advertising versus diversify. 30:19 - The role of A/B testing in building a brand. 35:43 - How influencers play into the big picture of marketing and why the "shaky video" effect is so successful. 42:12 - The selection and audition process of influencers in Nik's campaigns and how he chooses those he sees as the best for his brands. 45:52 - The costs and benefits of starting your brand through heavy promotion via influencers. 49:56 - How the process of rebranding Hint Water's bottle was performed and the qualitative process that got them to the bottle you see today. 57:27 - The metrics and methods Nik uses in his development of marketing strategies with his brands. 1:05:19 - What Nik looks for in a great landing page, and why all landing pages should be easy to read for everybody from a 12-year-old to a drunk person. 1:10:07 - What UGC is and why Nik thinks it is so underrated by marketing teams. 1:13:31 - The different marketing funnels and when you should use each one. 1:17:09 - Why Nik creates landing pages for fake products and makes them live on the internet. 1:22:56 - The importance of having great merch for your brand. 1:26:22 - What about internet culture makes collaborations so successful and popular. 1:34:05 - How somebody can convert a large personal following into sponsorships and meaningful collaborations. 1:35:46 - How new brands should position themselves when huge players like Amazon are in the same space. 1:44:01 - What happened when Nik cold emailed Mark Cuban and how he got an almost instant response. 1:50:46 - How David and Nik collaborate to develop, write, and publish the articles they make. 1:56:14 - Why Nik doesn't sweat the details of his personal brand that much.
2 hr 1 min
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