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14 Minutes of SaaS - founder stories on business, tech and life

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A Business, Management and Marketing podcast featuring Stephen Cummins
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Listen to wisdom from the true champions of SaaS. Stephen Cummins interviews founders of hyper-growth SaaS ScaleUps. Interviews are conducted face to face at major tech events in Dublin, Lisbon, Berlin, Hong Kong & New Orleans (no remote calls). We examine the personal histories, learnings & opinions of the world’s most successful SaaS StartUp entrepreneurs. And because they speak at these major events, they have strong communication skills. Stephen ensures that the core topic is the founder he's interviewing, and not just the current rocket ship the founder is helping scale.
We cover most of these in each episode; short life history, the WHY, day in the life, personal motivations (many are financially secure), personal attributes leading to success, weaknesses, what makes the current SaaS company special & successful, advice for entrepreneurs, opinion on the future of work & future tech, what they’d do if they walked away, work-life balance, the city they work in, distributed or remote teams v co-located or in-office teams.
Lend us your ears for less than 1% of one day in your week to gain a deeper understanding of the cutting edge of SaaS, as well as insights into the human stories behind it all.
We’re interviewing the true champions of SaaS – from giants to exciting scale-ups. They will share their ups and downs, their vision of the future of human experience, how they approach innovation and sales execution, and how they stay grounded while driving extraordinary success in the cloud. If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur (or if you are on that road already), join us!
“To dare is to loose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” Soren Kierkegaard

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Recent Episodes

E61: Martin Henk, Co-founder of Pipedrive. Focus, Validate, Say No!
Episode 61: Martin Henk, Co-founder of Pipedrive, in conversation with Stephen Cummins. Martin talks about Estonia’s minor economic miracle, it’s pre-eminance in the world as a digital nation and it’s huge success as a 4-unicorn startup nation. He talks about the importance of staying clear and focused in the early days of building a company. We estimate Pipedrive will reach 100,000 customer companies in 2020. It’s in the leadership quadrant of the CRM quadrant of G2 Crowd. However, despite G2’s classification (in fairness they have to draw the line somewhere on categories), PipeDrive is definitely not a full CRM tool. Pipedrive describe itself accurately – it’s a Sales CRM tool. ——- Martin Henk My best advice to anyone that is trying to build something is kind of …  be focused …  be really clear what the problem is that you’re trying to solve and then stay true to that for a while … don’t go all over the place and try to solve every problem in the world, but kind of … really understand your customer and really take care of them and validate… validate… validate. Over the years I’ve said ‘no’ so many times in PipeDrive that when someone wants to say ‘no’ they just use my picture. Luckily, I haven’t yet seen a bot really close a deal. Like there are bots that are gonna help you schedule meetings and kind of take care of the tedium … and that’s good. Like nobody wants to do all of these kind of repetitive boring stuff anyway. But when it comes to kind of really closing a deal, especially when you’re selling something expensive, it takes a long time … you really need that human touch. I don’t think sales people will go away anytime soon. Stephen Cummins Welcome to 14 minutes of SaaS, the show where you can listen to the stories and opinions of founders of the world’s most remarkable ScaleUps. Martin Henk Martin talks about Estonia’s minor economic miracle, it’s pre-eminance in the world as a digital nation and it’s huge success as a 4-unicorn startup nation. He talks about the importance of staying clear and focused in the early days of building a company. We estimate Pipedrive will reach 100,000 customer companies in 2020. It’s in the leadership quadrant of the CRM quadrant of G2 Crowd. However, despite G2’s classification (in fairness they have to draw the line somewhere on categories), PipeDrive is definitely not a full CRM tool. Pipedrive describe itself accurately – it’s a Sales CRM tool. Stephen Cummins So we have Martin Henk, co-founder and head of product management in Pipedrive, here on the SaaS  podcast stage in SaaStock … for 14 Minutes of SaaS. How are you doing Martin? Martin Henk Good… good yeah. Thanks. For having me so. Stephen Cummins Tell me maybe a 90 seconds … your life up to the point when you create you started building this rocketship. Martin Henk Up to the point when we started building PipeDrive? Alright. So. I grew up in Estonia in a really small place. I went to the school that got internet access really early on so. That was in the nineties. You wouldn’t have computers and internet at home yet, but we were lucky enough to have a really good computer class in school. So I spent all of my free time at the computer learning to program, learning to design, to edit videos … and that kinda progressed naturally … so I kept doing that. And when I went to college I started my first startup with some friends in college. And that failed in a very spectacular way – it became this zombie startup. Went through a couple of corporate jobs … I couldn’t stand them for more than a year. Joined this startup early on – that was a social network for people that really liked their pets. So you could upload your pictures of your dogs and talk to other people that are into pets. And that went bankrupt in a very public way. And out of the rubble of that startup we met up with some other people that were looking to build a tool for salespeople. We started Pipedrive. Stephen Cummins Right now, Estonia is quite a phenomenon. It’s only 1.3 million people – which is significantly smaller than even Northern Ireland – which makes us look big (the Republic of Ireland). I’m amazed at how strong you are in SaaS, Blockchain, crypto … What is in the water? I’m actually a resident …  digital. Resident … of your country. I joined about a year ago. It’s such an amazing program. First of all … what’s in the water in Estonia? What’s happening there? And what do you think of that ambitious plan to bring in people from all over the world as e-residents? Martin Henk Yeah. So many things came together, especially in the nineties where we gained independence again. … ——- [transcript under construction] —— Stephen Cummins In the next episode of 14 Minutes of SaaS, we move to the Web Summit in Lisbon, where we’ll welcome back my old friend Polina Montano, who was the 3rd guest on the show way back at the start. This time, instead of a single episode, we recorded a 3 part mini-series together. She’ll tell her whole history from humble beginnings in the beautiful city of Saint Petersburg in post-perestroika in Russia. Like our very 1st guest, Branch’s Mada Seghete, a strong mother had a massive influence on her career. Polina went on to become an international business person and accomplished polyglot, a champion of operational excellence and a hugely successful co-founder of SaaS rocketship Job Today – an employment networking app and SaaS service. The platform handles over 6 million applications per month and 70% of their job matches happen within 24 hours. Stephen Cummins You’ve been listening to 14 minutes of SaaS. Thanks to Mike Quill for his creativity and problem solving skills. And to Ketsu for the music. This episode was brought to you by me, Stephen Cummins. If you enjoyed the podcast, please don’t forget to share it with your network, subscribe to the series and give the show a rating.
E60: Bridget Harris, Co-founder and CEO of YouCanBook.me – 2 of 2, Nailing a Remote Culture
Episode 60: Bridget Harris, Co-founder and CEO of YouCanBook.Me interviewed by Stephen Cummins. Bridget Harris digs a little bit more into her experiences and knowledge around building, empowering and motivating distributed teams. She explains how YouCanBook.me got into some of their growth verticals and marquee customers. She described Brexit wonderfully as ‘What kind of a circus are you running here’ and since I interviewed her the UK has certainly found a clown to run that circus. Bridget also uses her academic background in what we refer to as the classical world to beautifully illustrate a point about how entrepreneurs need to keep moving forward with positive intent – and not get distracted by past failures or current laurels. — Transcript: Bridget Harris part 2 – SaaStock 2018 14MoS – 14 Minutes of SaaS Bridget Harris In the early days when we were growing YouCanBook.me and it was happening really fast, my analogy was that it was like landing a plane in the dark every six months. I think you’ve kinda basically managed to predict it right. You know, get used to the journey … because actually most of your experience building this tool or business or product is, and it’s a cliché, but it is about that journey. It’s not about landing on the ground. It’s not about the massive exit. Or about some kind of ‘I succeeded!’. How your journey ends is not necessarily your experience halfway through. And I think that for any entrepreneur you need to be alive and intentional about every week and everything that you do. You need to be able to say ‘Yes, I’m enjoying this. This is good.’ rather than I’m sacrificing for the sake of something I think I’m going to get. Because you might not get it. Or even if you do get it, it might take 20 years. So I think you need to be prepared to invest. Nailing your culture, knowing who you are, and making sure that when people join you that remote company isn’t the same as working from home. What it is …. is actually a way of working which requires autonomy and trust and to get on with it. If you love bouncing around an office chatting to a million people all the day – and being an extrovert and that’s how you love to work … probably remote working is not going to suit you. So when we hire, we hire for a remote first person. And so remote changes an awful lot about the way we choose to grow our company. Stephen Cummins Welcome to 14 minutes of SaaS, the show where you can listen to the stories and opinions of founders of the world’s most remarkable ScaleUps. In this our 60th episode of 14 minutes of SaaS, the conclusion of our chat with Brigitte Harris, she digs a little bit more into her experiences and knowledge around building, empowering and motivating distributed teams. She explains how you can book me got into some of their growth verticals and marquee customers. Brigid also uses her academic background in classical antiquity to beautifully illustrate a point about how entrepreneurs need to stay in the moment and keep moving forward with positive intent – and not get too distracted by past failures, current laurels or future possibilities. Stephen Cummins Now you hire remote employees .. which brings its own challenges. What’s the one or two top tips you’d give to companies doing that these days. Bridget Harris So the top tips would be that remote isn’t just like an afterthought. It’s not like a convenient thing to do – to just to hire better people. You actually hire different kinds of workers who want to work for a remote company. And again we’ve been having some really good conversations with huge remote teams here …. like I was talking to David from Hotjar yesterday. Stephen Cummins I interviewed him today. Bridget Harris Oh fabulous. There’s 40 of them now. And one of the things I’m really interested in is … YouCanBook.me is 15 people. How are we going to grow to 40 people. How do you get to … you know someone like Automattic … you know WordPress’s parent company. They have about 500 people and you have to go all in. And me and David were agreeing … you can’t do hybrid. You can’t have a mothership and then some peripatetic people around. Stephen Cummins He has an incredible focus on culture. And he spoke highly of you as well actually. Bridget Harris Nailing your culture, knowing who you are, and making sure that when people join you that remote company isn’t the same as working from home. What it is …. is actually a way of working which requires autonomy and trust and to get on with it. If you love bouncing around an office chatting to a million people all the day – and being an extrovert and that’s how you love to work … probably remote working is not going to suit you. So when we hire, we hire for a remote first person. And so remote changes an awful lot about the way we choose to grow our company. Stephen Cummins You are in the top right hand corner of G2 crowds’ online appointment scheduling quadrant. that’s one. It’s one of the selectors I use – amongst many when when I when I look for the valuable time from amazing founders. Now … you’re number one for satisfaction. The most important thing really. YouCanBook.me versus Calendly. Which on is better? And why? Bridget Harris Yes controversial either way. I’m sure a Calendly is better than you can book me on on many things actually. One of the things you get used to in the online appointment scheduling world is there’s like one hundred and fifty of us. And often people will come to us from calendars because we do something that Calendly don’t. Equally somebody will say ‘well I’m leaving YouCanBook.me because I’m going to schedule once or I’m going to a pointless or I’m going to …. ‘ … you know all of these other great tools, because there’ll be something very specific about the way they like to manage their schedule that we do … or that they don’t or whatever. In terms of Calendly what they’ve done for the whole sort of group of software tools … if you like … because they’ve done a really great job in spreading the word about the utility or online scheduling. Yesterday was talking about the fact that we’re proud of the fact that we’re top of the tree on G2 crowd and I think the reasons why people love YouCanBook.me is because we’re very customizable … we’re very, very personal and customisable experience for the customer. And you know I’m sure you can do something like that with Calendly – but I know that’s why people love YouCanBook.me. Stephen Cummins Now you’ve got marquee customers like Box, Insightly, Shopify and Rovio … amazing customers … but how did you initially get traction presumably with smaller guys. Bridget Harris Yes. That’s a very good question. Well actually … we sort of thought of a bit of a sneaky way of doing it really. I’m not saying necessarily this is repeatable, but we actually built another tool called ‘When is good?’ …  which is an aggregate scheduler. Which I know sounds ridiculous, but it’s a bit like a Doodle or something …  One of those kinds of tools that finds a time when a group of people can meet. We built When is Good. And still there today people love ‘When is good?’ … but it’s a free tool. Wasn’t making us any money. And what we found was that people were trying to use ‘When is good?’ slots for mutually exclusive times. So they’re basically trying to use it as a scheduler – as a booking tool. So eight years ago we built a booking tool on top of Google Calendar – which looked a bit like ‘When is good?’ … but essentially it was doing the job that YouCanBook.me does today. And so we were able to market YouCanBook.me off the back of what was already …. you know … hundreds of thousands of people that were using When is Good. So we did have a bit of a bouncy start – essentially to propel us. And then of course as I said before – online scheduling begets booking – bookings beget bookings – so we’re in a nice world. Stephen Cummins So it’s a very horizontal application which means you’ve got a big market and everyone can benefit from it. But nevertheless, a vertical focus is usually a good thing to build a bridgehead at the beginning. I noticed you’re quite big in the education space. Did that just happen or did you design that? Bridget Harris So it sort of just happened in the sense that when we built the bookings too, we imagined it was going to be used for small businesses. That was originally what we thought, because that’s where our revenue was coming from. And what actually happened was we benefited a huge amount from Google Apps for Education that all the school districts in America and universities have been adopting. And still do. So in the university education sector in schools in America, they would use YouCanBook.me for parent teacher conferences – which was a massive growth channel for us. They would use us for you know professor – student bookings, that kind of thing. So we used to give that software away for free to everybody. And that helped us grow. So it was one of our growth channels, our marketing channels. I think about a third of people who YouCanBook.me are in the university sector. And again they absolutely love YouCanBook.me. And it’s one of those things where we get a lot of love from you know school district secretaries in Wisconsin or something who use YouCanBook.me – and we’re very proud of that. But our kind of major vertical sector that we focus on are the Box … Shopify …these big companies which I would call B2B2B – so their customers are also business customers – and they’re using us for customer success, onboarding, sales, recruitment – that kind of B2B interaction where you’re not charging for your time but you just where time is precious basically – and you just need to get the scheduling in the diary as quickly as possible. Stephen Cummins Describe Brexit in less than 10 words. Oh my goodness that’s just too depressing. Stephen what kind of a circus are you running here. Bridget Harris Oh my goodness that’s just too depressing Stephen … What kind of a circus are you running here? Stephen Cummins Okay it’s a great way one. Linkedin Co-founder Reid Hoffman once said an entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down. If you can pass on one piece of advice, or two pieces of advice, to someone looking to become an entrepreneur … What would you say to them? Bridget Harris I think yeah … that’s a funny analogy. In the early days when we were growing YouCanBook.me – it was happening really fast – my analogy was it was like landing a plane in the dark every six months hoping that you’ve basically managed … to predict it right. I think that a misconstrued assumption is that you think its all gonna be over in two years. You know when people would buy two year upgrades on YouCanBook.me I just could not believe you know that they would have that much trust in my tool. That they seemed to be thinking longer term than I was thinking about my tool – because somehow we would pivot or flip or sell or you know move to Tanzania before then. I just couldn’t think long term. Because you’re stuck in the weeds. And in the day to day. I think I would say to any entrepreneur this is thinking about jumping out of the plane … that’s great but make sure you have a parachute, make sure you packed lunch, make sure you ordered food for next week … you know basically it’s a long way down. You know …. get used to the journey …. because actually most of your experience of building this tool or business or product is about that journey. It’s not about landing on the ground. It’s not about the massive exit. Or about some kind of ‘I succeeded’. And Solon has this … Solon in ancient history. He was saying to Croesus, the king of Lydia, who was asking .. ‘Now who’s the happiest? Who’s the most successful person?’ And Solon refused to say it was Croesus because he was still alive … and he hadn’t finished his journey. Obviously we have this expression ‘As rich as Croesus’ … but of course after Solon went off, the Persians came and invaded Lydia … and Croesus was nearly burned at the stake. And at the end of that, Croesus said ‘Oh I know Croesus meant now’. How your journey ends is not necessarily your experience halfway through … and I think that for any entrepreneur you need to be alive and intentional about every week, and everything that you do. You need to be able to say ‘Yes, I’m enjoying this. This is good.’ rather than I’m sacrificing for the sake of something I think I’m going to get. Because you might not get it. Or even if you do get it, it might take 20 years. So I think you need to be prepared to invest. Stephen Cummins Great advice. Be in the moment. It’s more sustainable and embrace what you’re doing. Final question for you Bridget. What’s the one quality that you have … do you believe … that’s helped you succeed in politics, and now as an entrepreneur? Bridget Harris Anybody who knows me and listening to this will laugh because I think this is true …  which is I think I’m a very strategic thinker. And so I think I’m you know … I’m good at a lot of things, but I think the things where I can see success … on any of the careers I’ve done … is because I’ve been able to think strategically and understand where I’m trying to get to. And then work out the tactics of how to get there. And I think that’s really, really helped me. And I think that that’s again helped me think more about a more longer term vision for YoiuCanBook.me … because of that ability. And there’s great strategic thinkers out there that can also help you get better at thinking strategically. But I think you have to be able to think strategically to do what I do. Stephen Cummins Bridget Harris. Listening to is like a breath of fresh air. Thank you so much for giving us an interview for 14 Minutes of SaaS here in SaaStock. Bridget Harris Thank you Stephen. It’s been a pleasure. Stephen Cummins In the next episode we meet Martin Hanke. He grew up in a small place in Estonia and ultimately became co-founder and former CPO chief product officer of a certain well-known rocket ship known as pipe drive. He talks about the importance of product validation as early as possible and about how entrepreneurs and product builders need to stay focused. Stephen Cummins In the next episode we meet Martin Henk. He grew up in a small place in Estonia and ultimately became Co-founder and former CPO (Chief Product Officer) of a certain well known rocket-ship known as PipeDrive. He talks about the importance of product validation as early as possible. And about how entrepreneurs and product builders need to stay focused and clear, and avoid distractions. You’ve been listening to 14 minutes of SaaS. Thanks to Mike Quill for his creativity and problem solving skills. And to Ketsu for the music. This episode was brought to you by me, Stephen Cummins. If you enjoyed the podcast, please don’t forget to share it with your network, subscribe to the series and give the show a rating.
E59: Bridget Harris, Co-founder and CEO of YouCanBook.me – 1 of 2 – My VC is Viral Cycling
Episode 59: 1 of 2. In this, the first of two episodes, we have CEO & Co-founder of YouCanBook.me Bridget Harris chatting with Stephen Cummins. She chats about her history and colourful CV – from Covent Garden busker to film and television to a very successful career in politics to serial product creator with her husband and co-founder Keith, to bootstrapping YouCanBook.me – appointment scheduling SaaS that has scaled to well over 40 million bookings and is on a current run rate of about 1 million bookings a month. It’s a fully distributed company of 15 with management and design in the UK, Engineering in Spain and Customer Success in the US. It’s in the leadership quadrant for online appointment scheduling in G2. —– Bridget Harris part 1 – SaaStock 2018 14MoS – 14 Minutes of SaaS Transcript —– Bridget Harris And when I was 14, living in London, it was one of the most obvious things to do ..is you go busking. I mean nowadays busking is a lot more heavily regulated, but those days (like 30 years ago), you could just literally walk into anywhere in the underground or Covent Garden and put your case down. The thing about it is that you open up your case – and people walking by didn’t ask you to play – they don’t know what you’re going to play – and that’s a bit like launching a product. You know you’re launching something out into the into the world hoping somebody is going to notice you. And to this day that feeling of somebody putting their money into my fiddle case – and I just aren’t some money – and I could earn good money busking – always makes me feel like ‘well that’s my fallback’ … you know and if YouCanBook.me and everything else goes to the ground, my fallback will be busking. Bridget Harris Stephen Cummins You can book me but you can’t VC me! Why did you bootstrap all the way? Bridget Harris Online scheduling has this natural viral loop. So as a result we could see a natural and very organic growth rate that was kind of presented in front of us. That allowed us to grow and make mistakes more slowly. So bootstrapping definitely stretches stuff out for longer than VC funded experiences and it just suited us better. So after a while we just doubled down on that choice. Stephen Cummins Welcome to 14 minutes of SaaS, the show where you can listen to the stories and opinions of founders of the world’s most remarkable ScaleUps. Stephen Cummins In this, the first of a chat spanning two episodes, we have CEO and co-founder of YouCanBook.me Bridget Harris chatting with me Stephen Cummins. She chats about her history and colourful CV from Covent Garden busker to film and television to a very successful career in politics to serial product creator with her husband and co-founder Keith to bootstrapping YouCanBook.me – appointment scheduling SaaS that’s scaled to well over 40 million bookings on a current run rate of about one million bookings a month. It’s a fully distributed company of 15 with management designed in the UK, engineering in Spain and customer success in the US … and it’s consistently in the leadership quadrant in the G2 grid for online appointment scheduling. Okay for the live audience here ancestor I’m with the wonderful Brigitte Harris CEO and co-founder. YouCanBook.me here on the SaaStock podcast stage – and this is for 40 minutes as SaaS. Welcome Bridget! Bridget Harris Hello Stephen. Thank you. Stephen Cummins So tell me. Give me the 90 second version of who is Brigitte Harris … prior to you setting out on your entrepreneurial journey. Bridget Harris I’ve had actually lots of different careers Stephen and I had one of those portfolio careers which is a polite way of saying you know … trying to figure out what you want to do in life. But I started off actually working in film and television … so my first career was working as a vision mixer and an operator for live TV, and then I worked in film as a runner, and for adverts and things and so I drifted took me through university. And after that I got a real hold over my interest in politics. So I went into politics. Ran an MPs’ office in Westminster. And then kind of made my way up a political ladder in the UK parliament, and then after that local governments. So I’ve done 15 years of work around political engagement, democratic theory, representation, all sorts of good stuff like that. I worked for Lib Dem ministers and others. My interest really is in constitutional change. And at the same time latterly myself and my husband Keith had always been working on web projects. And basically if you work in politics your first your first and only real purpose is to try to get people to agree with you and vote for you and do all of those sorts of things. So Keith and I had been working together for a long time. He’s a developer and we’d worked a long time on our web campaigns, political database, voter contact type things. And so we basically proved that we could work together, and in the meantime Keith had started to … we’d started to build and develop products together. So SaaS products essentially. We built quite a few of them. Had quite a lot of starts and failures. And actually I did a presentation a few years ago about the 10 products that we built before YouCanBook.me. Stephen Cummins 10! Bridget Harris So YouCanBook.me is our first company, but it’s not our first product. And so 6 years ago, almost to the day … I did one of those really big major things an entrepreneur has to do to run their companies. You give up your full time job and you start running your company and expression I think is that ‘you go all in’. So I sort of took my experience of working in these different industries as a professional and I basically started to learn the ropes again of how to build up a company. Stephen Cummins Now before we talk about the amazing achievement that is you can book me. You busked, and I believe the first time you did that was in Victoria Station. How did it feel? … that first coin … was it like the first sale for YouCanBook.me? Bridget Harris I think there’s a lot of parallels here Stephen. Yeah. I’m an Irish and Scottish folk fiddle player. And when I was 14, living in London, it was one of the most obvious things to do ..is you go busking. I mean nowadays busking is a lot more heavily regulated, but those days (like 30 years ago), you could just literally walk into anywhere in the underground or Covent Garden and put your case down. The thing about it is that you open up your case – and people walking by didn’t ask you to play – they don’t know what you’re going to play – and that’s a bit like launching a product. You know you’re launching something out into the into the world hoping somebody is going to notice you. And to this day that feeling of somebody putting their money into my fiddle case – and I just aren’t some money – and I could earn good money busking – always makes me feel like ‘well that’s my fallback’ … you know and if YouCanBook.me and everything else goes to the ground, my fallback will be busking. Because what you can do is that you can generate basically business right there – just by playing your instrument. And I tell this to, you know, to people who are learning instruments right now. It’s a great way to make money, but it also – you know I didn’t know at that point I was gonna become an entrepreneur – but t I think you need the same sort of gumption to stand there and start playing. You know you launch your product into the world – you say ‘look I’ve decided that this is a problem that I’m going to solve this way and I you know I want you to pay attention to me’ – and you’re not entitled for them to pay attention to you, just like you can’t force people in Victoria Station to like what you play. But if you do it well, then yes you can make some money. Stephen Cummins Brilliant! So you always had that entrepreneurial itch. And maybe that ability to get over the fear to do this. Bridget Harris Yes! Stephen Cummins Harold Wilson once said a week is a long time in politics. Now that you’ve left politics … Bridget …  Would you agree that a week is never long enough in StartUp Land? Bridget Harris Oh my goodness! You know we we’ve gone for like a one week sprint to a two week sprint to a seven months sprint to a five year sprint. No I mean … one week is … right now I am trying to … we’re trying to retrain our team to basically land on Friday afternoon having roughly achieved maybe 80 per cent of what we set out to do on a Monday. And there’s always more to do and in fact actually here at SaaStock … Patrick Campbell did an amazing talk this morning-  from Profitwell – around founder work-life expectations and founder mental health and management and essentially understanding what you’re trying to achieve. And I think that we do ourselves a disservice if we say you know you can get it all done in hyperventilation of growth. Actually it can be very stressful. I think founders and any entrepreneurs need to understand the context. And one of the advantages of being a vision mixer for a live television show is that in the middle of an outbreak you have five minutes – and actually sitting there for five minutes waiting to come back online again is a very long time when you’re sat there in the gallery. And it also if something goes wrong and you’ve only got two minutes, you start to know how much you can achieve in two minutes. Equally in politics, as you said … a week … the press officer that I used to work with used to say you know today’s paper is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrappers. You know like … it’s like whatever news is happening today you have to be able to cut through that. And it’s the same really in the business that we’re in. Stephen Cummins I actually interviewed Patrick yesterday – and what I loved about interviewing is how open he was about about his struggles as a founder – and it takes a bit of courage. Bridget Harris Very raw! Very raw! … It does! Stephen Cummins A very, very human person. Gave me a big hug after interviewing him. Just the type of guy he is. Bridget Harris   Stephen Cummins   A very, very human person. Gave me a big hug after interviewing him. Just the type of guy he is.     Harold Wilson once said a week is a long time in politics. Now that you’ve left politics … Bridget …  Would you agree that a week is never long enough in StartUp Land? Bridget Harris   Stephen Cummins   Harold Wilson once said a week is a long time in politics. Now that you’ve left politics … Bridget …  Would you agree that a week is never long enough in StartUp Land? Bridget Harris   Stephen Cummins You can book me but you can’t VC me! Why did you bootstrap all the way?   Bridget Harris We did it through … partly inexperience … like everybody we were told that’s the way to go. And we had conversations and we talked to people. But we didn’t do it very seriously. I think we did a couple of pitches to VCs, but I would look back in embarrassment about them now. I think now I know what a real pitch to VC actually needs to include. I think our pitches were kind of awful.     But I also think there was a part of intuition as to what kind of business did we want to build. It’s a bit like asking me why was I a busker and not a concert violin player? Why wasn’t I going to play in an orchestra? Why was I basically you know jobbing around Covent Garden? And it’s just … it’s in a way what you have to do what naturally feels right. YouCanBook.me with the products that we’d built earlier … it was obvious to us we weren’t gonna be able to succeed in growing them without external investment. Basically the whole job of finding customers and finding growth and product market fit would have required funding.   Where as with YouCanBook.me online scheduling has this natural viral loop. So as a result we could see a natural and very organic growth rate that was kind of presented in front of us. That allowed us to grow and make mistakes more slowly. So bootstrapping definitely stretches stuff out for longer than VC funded experiences and it just suited us better. So after a while we just doubled down on that choice.   Stephen Cummins   You’ve been listening to 14 minutes of SaaS. Thanks to Mike Quill for his creativity and problem solving skills. And to Ketsu for the music. This episode was brought to you by me, Stephen Cummins. If you enjoyed the podcast, please don’t forget to share it with your network, subscribe to the series and give the show a rating.     In the concluding episode of our chat, Bridget talks hiring remote first people. And when it comes to founders … she says they need to be alive, intentional, patient and prepared to land planes in the dark – over and over again.

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E61: Martin Henk, Co-founder of Pipedrive. Focus, Validate, Say No!
E59: Bridget Harris, Co-founder and CEO of YouCanBook.me – 1 of 2 – My VC is Viral Cycling
E60: Bridget Harris, Co-founder and CEO of YouCanBook.me – 2 of 2, Nailing a Remote Culture
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Podcast Details
Started
Feb 26th, 2018
Latest Episode
Sep 6th, 2019
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
70
Avg. Episode Length
15 minutes
Explicit
No
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