The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

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Ep 25: The Art of Creating Healthy Friction, and Why Ever Early Stage Company Needs It feat Juinn Tan

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Ep 25: The Art of Creating Healthy Friction, and Why Ever Early Stage Company Needs It feat Juinn Tan

Hello and welcome to the revenue collective podcast. I'm Casey Let Gordon your host. Today's episode is brought to you by Quota Path Commission tracking software built by salespeople for sales people. If you wake up in a cold sweat, dreading the commission process quota path is for you. Quote. A path provides commission transparency for everyone involved while motivating reps to sell more. Plus, it's so easy to on board it'll be running before your next commission cycle. Ditch spreadsheets and formulas simplify commission calculation at quote a path dot com This episode is going to be with June. Chan Ju in is the Ted of marketing at Super Hands. She is a self professed infinite learner and all around nerd. She's armed with a background of math and enjoys creating content. She places a lot of trust in numbers and uses that to guide the decision. She makes him work and her personal life. Joe and I are going to talk about what it's like to be an early stage marketer, or at least the first marketer in an early stage company and also the art of creating healthy friction and the value of it. I enjoyed this conversation so much she brings a ton of authenticity, a different viewpoint. She's from Malaysia and the company is based there with a global presence. And so how did the eastern and Western cultures blend? And way just had a lot of fun. I will note also, it was 11 PM her time. So she has a trouper. She brought a ton of energy and I think you're gonna enjoy today. So with that, let's jump in. Hello. Welcome to the revenue Collective podcast. This podcast is conversations with revenue sales. Marketing leaders globally, um, to talk about how we're doing the jobs that we have, how we lead teams. Onda Today's conversation is around. How do you build a marketing capability from the ground up? And we we hear a lot about established companies and best practices and and the dynamics between sales and marketing. But what I'm excited to talk about today is what happens if you're early on. So my guest is due in Tan. She is the head of marketing at Super Hands. They are a company that well, I'm gonna let Ju in tell us a bit about your bio and I don't have it listed right here. But that's what you thought that was my bad. No, you're good guys. You've been it real here. I'm not even going to try to re record because I think this is hilarious. So you tell me what Super Hands is and then tell me what your role is As head of marketing, of course. So we are a series a startup based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. But we serve well, say 90% of our client out is actually from outside of Malaysia, and we're in a we're data labeling startup. And what that means is that we assign context to the raw data that our clients and machine learning hand over to us. And that data is then used to train their machines to do things like recognize certain objects or even understand text or chat, written chat and what I do as a head of marketing or I lead a team of four. We have growth marketing, product marketing, branding and PR on. We work really closely with the sales team. Thio generate leads close deals faster and on the other side of things, we also play a role in hiring are increasing brand presence within the independent contractors were actually Thea. The data labors are actually the ones doing all the labeling work for our clients. This sounds highly technical, and one of the things that I always find fascinating is because marketing at the end of the day, even in a B two b world, it's people that buy this. And so in a highly technical business, bringing the human element in. And I think that's so much of a role of marketing right to equipped sale with the nuance of how do...

...you speak to the technical audience but also be able to get the buyer or the purchaser get what the heck we do. So has that been Has that been a part of your journey? Oh, yeah, for sure. So, interestingly enough, a lot of us did not come from an AI background. In fact, when I first joined the company about four years ago, we were more be to see we were actually a virtual assistant company and, you know, I was part of that team that decided Thio. Well, I don't want to say pivot because I, like, prefer the word refocus. We refocus the business to be more B two B century, and we saw a huge opportunity in the I M machine Learning Market on. It was scary for everybody, but we decided right as a company, we're all going to start learning new terms and learning about this industry, and that was two years ago. So I think we're all pretty well versed in the in the industry now and having conversations with data sciences and engineers. It's been great. I think it's fascinating that you had to go on that learning journey because you probably have an immense amount of empathy for your customers that may be new to the topic or aren't as well versed in the highly technical term. So I think any time you've gone on that own your own journey, you're probably a better teacher of the topics. Your representing. Yeah, I think having coming, having Thio come from that background where we didn't really know much about the language that they were using it somehow made us more aware off the certain keywords that they were using. And, you know, with sales, especially you kind of you want to use the same language back at them and creates the similarity. So I think it worked out pretty well that we didn't have the immediate assumption that the other person on the other end would immediately know we're talking about. Another cool thing that we do is you know, every because everybody that we talked to is predominantly outside of Malaysia. We're pretty used to selling over video and zoom. So when the pandemic hit, it was pretty much business as usual for us in terms off. You know how we engage with our clients and prospects. That's fascinating. And I think that's one of the things that a lot of a lot of the face to face sellers have turned to companies like yours that they, you know, you understand how to create human connection. How do you capture an audience and keep them tuned in when you're on video? It is a very different dynamic, and I've seen revenue, collective community, so many of those traditionally face to face sellers really turning to their peer network. So I think that's fascinating, and I mean amazing for you that you guys were already operating in this environment. Yeah, definitely. There's a good coincidence. Yeah, right, right. Lemons into lemonade. So one of the things that I had put in ask out to the community and said really around early stage companies. And how do you build out a marketing practice and one of the things you know? Of course, we'll get into some of the I would say quote unquote, more traditional things that we might hear. But what I'm most excited about you and I were doing Cem, Cem pre call notes is around creating, consciously creating healthy pockets of friction that lead to better ideas and innovation. And I think this certainly happens in start of environment. That's part of the magic. But I think you're taking that as you know, your charge as the marketer. I'm excited to get into that. So let's start. Let's start this conversation with just some of your observations and philosophies as you come in market or number one. And then I really want to spend some time around that healthy friction because I think that's that's fascinating. Sure s Oh, well, it's a bit of a weird history. I would say I'm marketing number 1.5, so I was actually one of two individual individual contributors. But my my teammate at that time, you know, I was the only one that came from a marketing background and right around the start...

...of last year, just as we kind of make that shift into the, you know, to fully focus in the machine learning space, she wanted to actually transition out of the team and into sales. So there I was thinking, Oh, shit, I need I need people on my team now. I need to build this out. I need help. We're growing. We're raising a Siri's A And, you know, we need people to do the work. So that's when I guess the whole hiring journey kind of started. And I remember thinking, you know, who are the people that I need on the team that need to work with the different counterparts and the other teams predominant these sales and tech. And I guess I was fortunate enough to go through a certain journey with the, um well, I guess that the leads in both the product and thes sales team that I kind of knew how they work and what their personalities were like. So I was looking for I would say, characters with certain skill sets, but also had the What's that word that gumption to kind of, you know, face up to them and have that confidence without sort of being intimidated because they were speaking to a head of product or head of sales. And with that came that conscious creation off friction? Because we operate in an environment where we really open and transparent with each other, and that can sometimes catch certain people off guard. I think especially operating in Asia, where we tend to be more used. Thio you know, just taking a bit of a step back. Any sort of confrontation can come off as offensive. So you know, you needed toe hire people who would know how toe handle those sort of friction well and respectfully to. So I find that fascinating because you just added a lens on there, which, which makes so much sense of the cultural piece of, you know, being based in Asia and that that not being traditionally how businesses is operated. So I'm curious at the onset of the team, was it just organic that we're going to be direct and we're going to be, you know, transparent or was it a conscious conversation that, Hey, this might be uncomfortable for us. But in order for us to be successful, we need to to do these things. I'm curious how that culture began to form. It was definitely a mix of both. I'll be honest. The good thing is, you know, when the company was started, the founders set up with the intention with to hire people with really diverse background. So, you know, we had people coming in from England from Australia from the middle week off course Malaysia. So we realized that we had ended up having this report that really circled around communicating very openly and transparent. E. And I remember So we're all really into podcasts. And remember one of us were listening. Thio. I think it was masses of scale by Reid Hoffman, and one of the particular episodes was a radical transparency, and he just kind of went, Hey, that's kind of like how we operate, but we never really made it a point Thio. You know, I guess in part this this wisdom on our intention to the newbies who are coming into the team, and that's when the conversation actually started happening where, you know, we actually set out to be more transparent and open with each other, but in front off the the rest of the newcomers who are coming in who may not be so used to this. And that kind of said that example that it was okay for them to, you know, be directing upfront with us. And there was a certain way off course to go about that as well. And you didn't need to worry about whether or not it was the CEO or the head of sales or the CEO that they were talking to. I I think leading by example is one of the it's It does take conscious work, but it is one of the most powerful ways thio to demonstrate what it means to be...

...transparent, because everyone can have a different interpretation of that. And I think that at times transparent or, you know, honest can can also lead Thio really harsh communication styles, so demonstrating how Thio walk that line. And I think if you tie it in a start up environment, if you can align everyone around, we're doing it for the betterment of the company. It does remove some of those egos that sometimes can come into place. Yeah, I think is organizations get larger. So I think that's really fascinating. And I love that you used ah, podcast because I find that if you look at a third party validator to say, Hey, look, this is how it great companies dio it sometimes can can give everyone a shared understanding of something versus it, just being pushed from the top of we want honesty. But to be able to demonstrate and give give that example, I think is pretty powerful. And I also just wonder based on what you were saying of, like, you had a global team to begin with and I find any time you're communicating with, well, say English as a second language or whatever, your primary language is not being used. There's a cautious nous and an intentionality that comes in communicating. And so I wonder if that was organically built in just from the fact that people were coming from such diverse backgrounds. Communication was front and center in how they were. They were coming to the table. Yeah, well, the good thing is, I think a lot of people in Malaysia do naturally speak English. Of course, for some of us, you know, I pretty much grew up bilingual, like to my mom. I spoke Mandarin, and to my dad he didn't speak Mandarin, so I spoke to my dad in English. So it was quite normal for us to kind of switch back and forth between those languages. But I would say it's definitely not the case for every single Malaysia and that came into the company. But I think we just made it a point where, you know, we really set straight up, you know, English is going to be the primary language that we'll be using within the office. And I remember at that time we had a group of people from France and we had to just kind of remind them like, Hey, I know you guys are more comfortable speaking in French, but, you know, you gotta make an effort to speak in English so that we could all, you know, just get involved in this conversation, and we were lucky that at that point in time, there was only about 25 of us, pretty much half off the size that we're at right now. so it's just really easy. Um, nobody really took any sort of a fence to it, which was nice. Yeah. I mean, I just think that it's the diversity we I in my past life working in innovation. I talked about diversity of ah, lot, and not just that. It's a good thing to do, but that there is generally better ideas and concepts that come from it. And from just hearing you all talk about that, your customer base is global. So the fact that your team represented with your customer base is, I think, organically probably built in a lot of, you know, culture and communication there. Do you know what? I actually never saw it that way. That, you know, our clients were gullible. I mean, we have clients from South Africa from Australia and New Zealand, so Yeah, I guess that really helped. Thanks. Probably you were talking about with marketing. You want to speak the language of your customer? Eso look atyou innovating without even realizing it. You come in, your counterpart goes to another part of the organization. You're saying like shit, I have to build a team now. So talk to me about um, some of the pieces that you go through and one of the things some of the things we talked about, where alignment with other teams. Clarity and business goals and objectives. We talked about the friction, you know, Team dynamics, KP eyes. Where did you start with this? When you when you set out to say, okay, maybe my annual planning cycle, Or maybe it's quarterly. I don't know how you were looking at it. What was the starting point? Well, as with a lot of early stage startups, that vision tends to be a bit of a moving target. So, you know, it wasn't...

...a matter off understanding the vision off where we going to be in five or 10 years time? Because we were so early into the data labeling game that we didn't really want to set those boundaries for ourselves. So it was a matter off. Where do you wanna be in the year time? And obviously that conversation was with the CEO. And then, you know, speaking Teoh, the head of sales at the time, who is now our c r. O and the head of product and going Where do you see the product going. And where do you see? Um, you know the evolution off our target audience or target clientele. How do you want to have thes sort of conversations with them? What do you want to talk about? What do you want to sell? And it was just a matter of working together, actually, to sort of refined that they're each individual teams vision even more and also understanding how they wanted to build out their team. A swell would also help me understand Who did I need to bring on board. So, for example, you know, speaking to the head of product to understand what what he wanted to see if, with our product road map, what kind of helped it actually helped me gauge how many people actually needed in product marketing. At that time, I thought, Oh, just need one, And then that's fine. But as I continued to speak to him and realized that there's actually a lot more that we could do, so I ended up having to people and, you know, with e company vision being a moving target than I realized that we need somebody who could help us tighten up the branding and with the PR element. It was really interesting because we then needed to shed the old image off us being a virtual assistant business, which was a huge K p I for her, actually, when she came in and again, you know, understanding how quickly we needed to scale Then that led to, you know, growing someone within the team already at the time who could do growth marketing. So, you know, all of this was I would say they were really just ongoing conversations over the course of a few months. And I remember sitting down with our head of sales at the time and just visualizing what I wanted the team to look like. I'm a big fan off visualizing your manifesting things. I remember talking to him just at the start of 2019 going, I want to double the size of the team, and we thought that was the most ridiculous pipe dream ever on. We just There was just no way we're going to be able to do it and come the end of 2019 again. We were just set in the same cafe, just going, Oh my Oh my God, We did it. You know the team's double. How the hell we don't know how we did it, but we did it. I There's so many things to take away their so early stage companies. It sounds like you have to hire a team that is very comfortable in operating environment, a moving environment or an evolving environment. They have to be comfortable with change they can. It's not looking for people that are maybe your tried and true. I have a way of doing it in this kind of company. You need people who can thrive in that environment where it's it is going to evolve. They confined energy from that because I I know myself that can sometimes be really de energizing right as I just got this and now it's changed and finding someone who you know that that is fulfilling to them. I love the fact that you said, you know, we were so early we did not have a five year vision. We just needed to figure out what the next six months were. 12 months, you know, so much shorter, and I think that then very much informs the kind of team you have and that team that you have early stage may look different when you are more evolved or sustainable. Brand like right. And five years from now, your team may not need a growth market, or you may need more of your traditional brand marketing or customer success like those are the things. And so I think that just understanding that what you need today will evolve and adapt. You're not hiring for the next five years. You're hiring and a startup for what the business needs to be. Success full on...

...on a shorter term timeline. Exactly. And I loved also that you said a shared definition of what marketing's role is like you heard from other people how they were defining it again in my past life. We talk a lot about explicit and implicit communication that when I say Hey, go, go grab a cup Your cup could look like I'm holding up, you know, a tumbler or a mug and those in so instead to say I need a cup for coffee that will keep it hot today. That's very different. And so the to hear from them explicitly what they were looking for as you talk to your head of product to say I need someone that does X y Z or marketing looks like this That then told you that's unreasonable for a single person. To accomplish that, I need more people. And so you begin to create the shared definition and alignment so that you can meet their expectations. And I find that marketing a lot of times, especially in in startup world, can be under resourced, Um, over indexing on what you're responsible for, right drive, demand, change your brand image, help sales. And that's like that, I think, is it can be an Achilles heel of a lot of early stage companies, especially when you're, you know, engineering feels very tangible, but marketing sometimes can feel that intangible. So I'm curious if there's any thoughts you have there, Yeah, I mean, I'm not gonna lie, You know, those those friction points between us and sales and us and product and tech did actually exist. But like you said, you know, we when we brought in the people that we brought in, it was also to make sure that they could handle those sort of conversations bravely and not sort of run away from it. the moment they realized that Oh, my God, something is not going right attack. We also, you know, we're fortunate enough due to all that in this show, early days off, being really transparent that you know, the moment we realized something wasn't going right, you know, I could just sit down with the head of sales and say, Hey, I don't I don't think our teams are getting along as well as we think they they are. I mean, we're getting along. But that relationship isn't naturally translating down into our reporting lines, and that's something that you know. We need to do something about it and similarly with myself and ahead of product. You know, we we have a good relationship outside of work. And then we just assumed that that was going to translate into the workplace, and that actually didn't happen. So it was again that conscious effort to address it and go. Something's not right. We're not exactly seeing eye to eye. Let's start having monthly catch ups and let's start talking about you know what air your what's your feedback about my team? What is my feedback about your team? What do you think we can be working on better and it za lot of conversations that need to take place. And it's also, you know, encouraging our reporting lines to also have those conversations with their counterparts and those other teams, which I thought was a really interesting journey to go on to actually teach someone that and you know, that's a skill that I think it's really under utilized with marketing just because especially to be to be context. It's so important that we work with really well with sales and we take and even up to this point, you still here marketing people and sales people saying that those two teams just don't get along and I don't get it, you know, it's it's quite confusing. I guess to me that it's still an issue and yet no one is really actively doing something about it. Totally. I couldn't agree more and I think I saw my last role. Sales and marketing were separate and then I ended up managing both of them together and it was interesting just the evolution that happened when they did come together of realizing there were very key parts of our sales process of things We were knowing from customers that marketing had no idea about and vice versa. And it's like,...

How could these two be it odds when they're pretty much responsible for the same outcomes? Yet it's just the you know, I think it organically happens. Maybe people just heads down on their own KP ice or whatever that is. So I wanna talk about a couple of things. You mentioned that this is a part around marketing. You said teaching was something that you ended up taking on, like teaching how to do that. And I wonder if that could be a great indicator of a good marketer. Is their ability to teach or build those lines? Because right, I mean, that's what marketing is. It's like bringing complex concepts or, you know, products into very simple terms so that people can, ideally by it or engage, And so I'm just thinking about when it comes to the interview process of bringing someone on board. How do you measure their ability to teach or communicate in an interview environment? I think that could be really challenging. Somebody may interview well, but the real world doesn't always match up, and then the second. How do you measure their comfortable ITI in a evolving environment or one that's, you know, high volume of change? Do you have any thoughts or tips there? Well, first of all, you know, I was actually having this conversation today about how just what a big risk hiring is. And you you take a massive chance on someone and you just have to accept that in some cases it might not work out. And, you know, in the interview process when it comes Thio teaching someone what I really found great for me was to get them thio explain in a lot of detail. What exactly was it that they were doing in their current role or in the previous roles? And I learned this method or this framework called the Five Wise that actually learned from the tech team on, um, you know, they used to use it on the operations team Thio get them to really justify. Do you really need this feature or is there a deeper reason why you need this? And I thought, Oh, that's a pretty cool technique that I will actually use in an interview, So it z Well, it is The fun part is that you gotta ask those voice without sounding like a child. And you're just going Why? Yeah, Just to see just how how much thought they gave into something and how much they really understood what they were doing. So that was you know what I used on to see how well they could explain concepts that amazing simple at first. But how do you make that even simpler? I think that's really good skill toe have for a marketer, regardless of which marketing discipline they were focusing on. And when it came thio for those that may not be familiar, The five wise it's a framework in which you ask an initial question and the initial answer. You know, oftentimes we give you give you give the most the quickest or easiest one that you know. But then you continue to ask, why five more times and joins point? It's not why why, why it z tell me more about that. Why would that be? What were the motivating factors? And your goal is to get down to really the core of of the question and thio your point. It really forces introspection. One can be a moment of pushing a candidate a bit because they'll feel maybe okay, I just answered that. Let me dig a little deeper so you get to see how they respond in that environment. But also to your point, it helps. That helps you see how they can distill complex or detail oriented concepts into easily communicable answers. And that, to me, is it is like magic when you confined and also is so telling. When you see a candidate that doesn't thrive in that and I think is very tangible feedback, you can give Post interview to, say area. You know that I hear from a lot of candidates, help me improve on. I think that's a really you know, very tangible way. That is not subjective to say when I pushed further on the five...

Wise so you could do some work. There just is from a hiring perspective, because exactly your point. It's a massive risk. Yes, yes, it is on, and you're going to the point about getting what assessing their appetite for uncertainty or risk. I kind of do this thing. Some people don't really agree with it, but I really just lay it out to them in the interview. Usually they will ask me, You know why you? Why you in super hands? Why you in this company? Why you in a startup? And my response is pretty much the fact that, you know, I don't know if we're going to be here in a years time, and that is really that's That's highly possible being in a tech startup. But what I do know is that whatever I'm doing today is going to contribute in one way to where we will be in the years time. So if for some reason the company doesn't exist in a year, I had something to do with that. And I like that responsibility and like the ownership. And if we go into a serious be or Serie C or baby become Malaysia's first unicorn, who knows? I would like to know that I had a part to play in that as well. You know, it could go either way, and just having that sense of ownership was just so refreshing to me, and I gauge their reaction more like the facial expressions. When I say that sometimes you can kind of see that flicker of concern, and they're like, Oh my God, I might not have a job in a year's time But on the other hand, some of them like, Oh, this is really cool. That's really exciting. I could do something big with this company. I could take this somewhere, and, you know, you gauge that that hunger or that that light in their eyes that just kind of give it away. And it's not something that I don't think you can fake in an interview for sure, because a lot of them don't really see that coming. Totally. I mean the concept itself. I mean, I'm sitting here and I'm thinking, How would I respond in that? And I think you know it very well could also depend on where I am my life, like, you know, having my daughter, I probably would have been like, Oh, shit, I don't know if I could do that, but younger, Or maybe, you know, more established or having I might be like Oh my God, yeah, let's freakin do this. I think that, you know, it tells you probably a lot about a person's where they are, and if their life stages a right fit For what? Your company? Me? Definitely. Yeah. Any backfires from that? Like when you've done that in interviews? No, Thankfully, no. But I would say when you know, when I were Hey, Char lady found out what I was saying. She kind of gave me a bit of shit for it. She's just really feisty Australian lady. And I remember her just going like, you can't say that to people and for me, you know, But But why? It's the truth. And I don't I wanna make sure that the expectations that they have and the onset is is it is what it is. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. And you know, I don't I don't do it with the intention of deliberately scaring them away. It's just, You know, if you're going to sign up for a job, you have to know what you're going to sign up for. And I'm not gonna bullshit you. And that's just how I am as a person. If you're gonna work with me and work under me, you have to know that this is what I'm like. I'm going to say it as it is. I'm not going. Thio hide anything from you, which is again. You know, some people like it and some people don't. But that's okay, because not exactly. So is this your first start up or have you been another startups? Um, I was actually in a start up for my first job, and that was seven years ago. That didn't work out. And at that point, I didn't I didn't Really I didn't think I was for the whole startup life and actually joined a bank after that. And then I realized that this is you were like, I am going consist Conservative job. I'm gonna go work in a bank. I I thought I needed to do the Asian wrote and just try it out because my dad was...

...trying to push me to try it out as well. So I thought, Okay, I'll give it a year and we'll see how it goes. And I think within three months I just knew that it really wasn't for me. All that rates tape and, you know, we were relying on agencies too much. I didn't feel like I could get much done within my own interest in marketing. And I kind of found out about super hands through word of mouth. I just heard that the CEO was a great boss and I thought that's that Sounds great. I wouldn't mind that. Let's go. I think that's I mean, you know, we talked about hiring. I do think that a great boss or a great leader can be It can be the marker like I don't necessarily always care the subject matter I'm working on, but who I'm working with eggs that matters on. I think that, you know, if you're somebody who's wired to say I'm you know, I looked in your bio and you said Like I'm a lifelong learner learning is something that's so important. And so when you a line with a leader who you know you can learn from than any of it is just exciting like that Me. And so I think, emulating that down to the teams that you're hiring again, you find the right people toe, get on the bus, so to speak. Exactly. Yeah. Okay, So you are. I'm getting the gauge that maybe you're like an adrenaline junkie. You love the startup life. You're you're like, ah, high risk, high reward. I have a hand and whether we succeed or fail. So I props to you because that e feel like I would drink a lot of caffeine and alcohol. That is what I feel like that would be from alcohol is definitely a staple in the diet. Okay, E o alcohol. Healthy amounts. Yeah, I love it. I love it. You gotta, right. But, I mean, the interesting thing is, you know, I'm I'm not the type Thio go bungee jumping or skydiving whatsoever. I'm not a physical adrenaline junkie, I But I do like the the challenge of the mental simulation of just trying to figure out How the hell do I do my job in this company, Especially in this industry that I never once thought I would be in. But at the same time, I found it really cool and a bit nerdy and exciting. And, you know, the the thought that I didn't know what I was doing was, in a way, very enticing for me. And that's kind of why this is the longest job I've had. And I have no intention of moving anytime soon. Fingers crossed. I love that. It's like the I don't know, proverbial Rubik's Cube, right? Like you have that now and you're like, How do I figure this out? And as long we're trying to put the pieces together, it's fun. Yes, exactly. Get some days where you're just knocking the cube and you're like, Why don't you work? And sometimes you just sitting there so fixated on it. So it's it's good Ups and downs are actually really fun. That's that's amazing. And so, as the early on marketer and you're building teams, how do you make sure that it is? The environment is changing a lot, but how do you create a team that at least the team dynamics are consistent? Because you, the environment, the goals may be moving, but you gotta have a solid base. You gotta have a group that can can pivot with you or or refocus with you to use your word earlier. What are some of the ways that you begin Thio build that camaraderie? Well, the important thing that I recall doing at the time was definitely hiring them in stages, so I definitely didn't want everybody to come in At the same time. I kind of arranged it in the way so that they would trickle in one after another in the sequence of three months Attack that time already had two people on the team, and I spoke with, um a lot to manage their expectations in terms of what what to expect. So, you know, when I set out to hire someone whom I knew would create that healthy pocket of friction, it was to get the existing two members on the team on board with it, and they were just so confused. I...

...remember during one off our one on 11 of them was like, But why do you want to do this? You know, why do you want to stir shit and it's, you know, it's I'm not doing this to stir shit. It's to understand that, you know, through this person, you're gonna be pushed to certain levels of discomfort that once you get over, once you get through, you're going to be so much better A swell. And you know, I can only do that to a certain extent because you already have that camaraderie and that report with me. Once you throw a new person into the mix, you're gonna have to learn how to function with someone new. You're not gonna always go through life only meeting people that you get along with. And this is going to be so important for you, regardless of whether you continue to stay at Super Hands or you go off and start your own thing. Are you trying another organization? It's just really important. And once you got them to understand that they kind of get prepared thio for those difficult conversations. And I kind of did that with, you know, with every new hire that came in, it was just to keep talking to them and go, You know, if you are having any sort of challenges, that it's fine, it's not a bad thing. The important thing is that you got to talk to me about it, and we have to work with the individual through it. And once you go through it, trust me, it's gonna be great. You guys, we're going to go. You're going to do more than you were doing previously. And then it's going to get to a point where you know I can take a step back because I know you guys got this down. You know, I don't need toe hold your hand anymore because you're so much better than you were before. I think that independence and that growth was you know what really drove thumb. So independence and growth those air. Two things that I think within a team, especially in early stage team. It can be challenging because right, I mean, at the end of the day, you are responsible for how successful the team in the organization is. And I think as someone I'll speak from my own experiences. I'm very achievement oriented. Very traditionally Taipei, it could be really difficult to relinquish control. However, over time I've realized if I don't relinquish control, that I do a shit job. So it's this balance. And I'm curious if you've struggled with that or if this is organically happen just through, you know whether it's bosses you've had or cos you've been in. Yeah, I told you about what you mean. I'm I'm pretty Type a myself on. You know, you go through a phase where you're just sitting here, especially when those friction points start happening. I have to say, Even though I knew it was coming when they started happening, you do go half that flicker of that where you go? Oh, my God. Did I make a mistake? Am I going to destroy the team? Um, you know what I realized was, You know, you don't Don't let yourself get into that spiral of thinking that you make a mistake as long as you're actively working with, you know, the parties involved to go through it, that's essentially the best that you can do. And, you know, with hiring again, you know, that's the risk. You know that it's not always gonna work out. And you just ready to accept whatever outcome that that happens from it. Thankfully, everybody is pretty happy. I think I struck gold here. It's been almost a year, so yeah, I mean, yeah, I definitely struggled with those those insecurities. But again, it's just having those ongoing conversations. And sometimes, you know, you have to be okay with the new stuff that tends to take a little while for them to pick up. And it's hard Thio not just die straight in there and go No, no, no. This is not how you do it yourself, right? Do it. E Think they have more ownership over it as well once they start figuring that out themselves. Yeah, and one of the things I have found to be really helpful in establishing new teams and you mentioned it is helping them see the lesson through their career trajectory. It's not just about their role is Super Hands. It's the fact that no matter where they go, learning the skill is going to help them. And I'll give an example. In my last team, I had a woman who wanted to be an operator. Her eventual goal was to be maybe a CEO or or have her own business. And so any of the challenges we ran up against,...

...whether it was team dynamics or skills to improve, I was able to put the lesson through the lens of. If you want to be a great operator, this is something to do, and I think it it takes the challenge or the opportunity out of I'm doing this for the company. But mawr, I'm doing this for myself and that shift and I, you know, similar to you. I would put it in our one on ones, make a K P I around it. Your ability thio to do that, and I think that that's one thing that sometimes, as managers could be challenging. But how do you build KP eyes around the quote unquote soft metrics and being able to incorporate those in your check ins and your one on ones and asking questions around how they're thinking of it? It helps build a culture that that's top of mind for them. And it sounds like that's something you're doing with your team by by saying you like, you know, they're asking you like, Why do you keep doing this? You're like, No, because it's something we're going to build a muscle around. Yeah, I think, you know, again working with them to identify those those soft metrics that they need to work on all those soft skills and helping them understand why it's important will give them more drive to definitely want to work on it. So an example would be, you know, one of the product marketers that joined the team. He had never done product marketing before, and he learned that, you know, client empathy with such an important skill that he needed to have because we pretty much thrust him into the pit off. Now, do all of our client demos but you need to talk to those clients is if you know exactly what you're going through. And he had this whole confusion off. How do I even do that? I'm not a machine learning engineer. I'm not a data scientist. So you know, we've just worked on different communication styles, different listening styles, different story tiling styles that you know could help him work on those little things for client demos especially. And that ended up actually spilling into how he would then communicate with other members of the team, too. And, you know, he's made it a point. Everyone on one and we do this every two weeks. Thio just touch on instances where he saw improvement or where he thought he didn't do as well as he wanted Thio. And it was just constant feedback. And one thing that was really great about him is that you know, he also made it a point to ask for feedback from the other people who were in the call. So it could be an SDR or an E. Sometimes he even spoke to our head of sales about it, which I thought was nice and he did this all on his own initiative. And, you know, that's the whole thing about owning that metric. That I really like Is that, you know, I don't need toe pretty much laid down that found date that path for you. You're doing it yourself. And for me, I'm just kind of lodging you along and giving you little pockets of encouragement and telling you you're doing a great job. Keep doing it. Yeah, it's almost coach versus manager it Zaheer Thio to feed, you know, feed the path you're on. I'm here to guide if you step off. But at the end of the day, I'm hiring a team, especially early stage that is capable, that it's independent, and I think that probably is. One of the biggest markers of an early stage team is a group or individuals that are willing to take that individual ownership and, to your point in the interview process, to say, Listen, you could have a hand and why we are or are not here in a year, and it's, you know, one of the interesting questions that we're having right now is that ah, lot of thumb even at the most, junior levels are asking us, you know, how do I see the impact I'm having on the revenue? And that is something that I honestly didn't expect to hear from an entry level marketer or someone who's just two years into marketing. But it's so refreshing because they want to know that they're doing something, um, for the company, because they know that at this stage that we are at right now, revenue really is the most important metric for us because it determines, you know, the next round that we raise how much runway we have, and it's it's interesting to see just how much they...

...really, really care. And it's really nice as well, you know? Yeah, I I feel like we need Thio do like a second session with members of your team and dig in here. And then on the other side of like what? It's like Thio have that kind of transparency because about it's refreshing, probably scary. Sometimes it is very refreshing. Um, so if you're talking to someone you know, think about our community Early stage company marketer number one or 1.5 in your case. But what are? Maybe if we go through, like, two or three things, very tangibly that you would say, you know, okay, be thinking about this and take this away from today's conversation. First is definitely align with what the company is doing. And don't just take the first answer as you'll go to answer, keep asking the five Wise, even to your CEO, and then apply that same framework to the teams that you know you're going to be working a lot with. I would say most B two B tech companies that would typically be the sales team and the product or the tech team. Keep having those conversations have regular cat droughts with your leads or your counterparts and understand how your team's fit in week each other. So that's the first one. The second one is when things start when shit starts hitting the fan. Don't worry. Go through it. It's necessary, I would say. Well, at this point, you know you can't run away from it, especially when at such an early stage startup, and your most important thing is just to keep your eye on the prize and keep focusing on that. That moment, when you can finally take a step back and your team can handle those things by themselves. And finally, you know, work with them to come up with their KP eyes, whether it's a soft KP or hard K p I. You know, I don't hire people in the team who are just waiting to hear what I have to tell them to do. You know, I want them to tell me what they want to be measured by. And, you know, I work with, um on realizing on seeing whether or not they're metrics, that matter, align with the company's metric that matters and you know it again, Gibson. More ownership and more responsibility and more involvement into how well the marketing team is going to be doing. And, you know, at this point I have. I would say, I'm quite lucky that I have a lot of time to spend thinking about 2021 Strat and where we're going to be going and given how uncertain this year is, and that is genuinely because my team has gotten the independence that they've grown over the last year. Yeah, I would say Give yourself a little credit there because you also, You said your four years in with this company is that 4.5 years we're and a half. And so over the last year, you've built a team. But that was 3, 3.5 years that that you were pouring into it, that you were building the foundation. And I think that is one thing. As a marketer, you may be the one that's rolling up your sleeves and doing a lot of work to start. But the one early in your career, it could be a really great way to catapult you into leadership faster, because if you're willing to get in and you do know the hard skills of doing it, you're also in an environment where you can rise to the top very quickly. Oh, yes, definitely. You know, our I mean, our head of product is honestly the best example. He's 26 he is one of the hardest working people have ever seen. This guy was sleeping in his car in the parking lot just because he was he just didn't have time or he just wanted to get stuff done. And, you know, he's always been an inspiration for me. Honestly, just because he's a prime example that the years of the experience doesn't necessarily mean how quickly you climb, you know, it's just all about how much you're willing to put in for it. God, I love that. That is that is a great note...

...to end this on. Is that you know? Especially in this early stage companies. Look at those as an opportunity not just to build your skill set Thio grow wherever you want to go in your career. But what you put into it is what you get out of it. So yeah, doing tan. Thank you so much for joining us today on the revenue collective podcast. I wanna let you all know that she is calling in at 11 p.m. It is now probably 12 e. She is the MP of guest right now. Right now, You have. You have outpaced any of the other guests because most of them have been, uh, with same time zone. I have loved this conversation. I love the energy you've brought. I like that. We've laughed, and we've kept it. Riel, um, that you weren't afraid to talk about some of the heart or ugly parts of what it looks like to be in an early stage company. Andi, I think that we gave this audience, um, really tangible things that that they can implement today. So thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I had so much fun. Me too. Me too. All right. This is Casey. Like Gordon. I'm your host of the revenue collective podcast, and we'll see you next time. Alright, Crew, that's a wrap. This is the revenue collective podcast. And this episode was brought to you by quota path. Quota path is the first radically transparent and and compensation solution from sales reps to finance. Get started for free at quote a path dot com. And your next commission cycle could be totally automated. With that. I'm signing off. This is Casey. Let Gordon and I'll see you next time.

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