The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 7 months ago

Ep 225: You're Underpaying Your Early Stage Team w/ Caitlin Allen


Ep 225: You're Underpaying Your Early Stage Team w/ Caitlin Allen

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the pavilion podcast. I'm your host, Brandon Barton, and you are listening to is this a good time? Show, where I put a billion members on the hot seaker. Five, two minutes. We get their credible stories. Shows are out on Thursday, so please sit subscribe and you will not miss hearing from our experts. Our guest today is Caitlin Allen. She's a be of marketing at open COMP, and we talked about how most companies are under paying their early stage team, something I'm sure many don't want to hear. This episode was brought to you by reprise, the only complete demo creation platform that go to market. Teams turn on when they need to create live and guided demo experiences. All right, let's see this episode. One ten. Is this a good time? All right, everyone, I have Caitlin Allen here with us. She is the VP of marketing at opencom. Caitlyn, so excited to have you with us today. Brandon, me to thank you for having me. Yeah, my pleasure, my pleasure. So look good, we jump right in. I'll meet note filler. Let's get into it. You have such an interesting career and you know from what I've seen. I really want to hear about it. Why didn't you start by telling us what open COMP does? You've been there for maybe a little less than a year at this point. Tells about why you join and then let's go all the way back, because wow, there's quite a number of different things that you've done here and I want to get into sixteen s stuff. Happy Return. I mean there's, you know, acquisitions, lifts, there's everything. So please, thank you. So Open comp it's a compensation intelligence platform. We have about three thousand customers that use the platform to stop losing top talent and unnecessarily burning cash and eluding equity. Basically, the way that competition has been done up until this point is what's available, is about public companies and it's stale and unreliable information and it's not made for startups. And because, because compensation and salaries and equity are... much a part of how much how a startup spends their money, it's something that needs to go from our to science. So that's that's what we do. I do in last summer and I think we can talk later about how I got there, but basically it was about mission people and then potential for huge industry impact. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I really like early stage, and so that's that's how that came about and I absolutely love it. I love that and yeah, I mean it sounds like this is exactly what every company needs. I think. I think most startups like like even like mine. We don't want to really recognize the con the competition with the competitions paying other people or like what the the other job alternatives might be for some people in our staff, whether working for us or prospects, and it's sometimes hard to come to grips with that. So it's kind of like looking into Pandora's box and staring in the face and saying, okay, well, this is what it's going to also to get a VP of marketing a yeah, you know, even at the early stages, totally well, I think what's changing a lot right now is we've got thirteen states that have just passed to pay transparency legislation where companies have to share the pay engine job postings. It's now a candidate market where two, if three employees are looking for a new job in the number one reason they're looking is for compensation. And then we all have to answer this very new set of questions, which is how do we have a remote team and pay that remote team? And you know it, there's just a lot of nuance today. That's that's new and all that is happening while BAC funding is slowing down and more scrutinies being paid to cash burn. So it's it's definitely a good fun place to be right now, let's put it that way. I have a different adjective than fun, but that's fine. So let me let me ask this. I mean a lot of companies are dealing with the folks that are working remote, maybe even moving to places that are different than the places that they sat,...

...maybe not center cities, but non urban areas. Are you seeing compensation change by where somebody lives or use? Are you seeing? You know, you seeing you know, companies kind of try to leverage at to Lowercolm. It varies across the board. I think the first question it starts with what's your competition philosophy? So, like, do you want to pay everyone out of San Francisco rate? Do you want to pay them at a rate that's more local? And then what can you afford? Those are the two questions you kind of have to answer up front. We see companies, you know, like Google, requiring people to come back to the office, which kind of keeps people in certain regions and and there are some that are trying to pay less because of where people lived. I think, more than that, the trends that we're seeing our people are recognizing that in order to get top talent, you generally have to pay for it and that flexibility is just something that that most candidates expect today. Like what's crazy, I just found this out from our platform this week, is engineers are getting the same cash whether they work at thing companies or early, early stage startups. It's the equity piece that shifts a little bit. And just to change roles, on average they're getting fourteen to sixteen percent increases just to change roles, like from one company to another. I'm barring my team from listening to this podcast and I'm really glad I don't manage an enduring teams. Well, I look if you makes sense, I mean with inflation, with all that like it makes sense. I mean this is this is where we are and and in order to to to get and retain top talents, you're going to pay top top dollar, whether you're start up or not. And and you know I would I would also suggest that. And for years early start up employees were taking way more risk then then necessary compared to the compensation that they were getting. And so you know the risk of stops and playing building. Yeah, it's left. It's leveling out. Something that or maybe people just more educated about this.

I've had more conversations with equity on that mind level employees then I have ever before. So it just more information out that and I think it's a good thing in general. People can make the dree whether they want to go take the risk at a start up for big upside, but they fully understand what ris there they have. Yeah, no, it's a really good point. I think that the power dynamic is settling out. Employers have traditionally had way more information and power than employees have had and that dynamic is really flipping on its head right now. Yeah, love that. All right, let's go back now. How did you get here, I mean in such a random way? Bring it, yeah, bring us. I mean look, give us the highlights and stay. You don't have to go to every port along the No, no, no, I'll make it. I'll make it spark notes version. So I started my career out in nonprofit comes I really had a kind of I've always had a heart for why, right and when. Wanted to help the world. We did that for five years. I've always loved writing wanted to get back into writing, and so I reached out to my network and asked, like, who do you know that I can do some writing for? I don't care what it's about, but I just want to do some writing, and I got introduced to the founder of Marquetto John Miller, which, like I, of course, at the time knew that that was or did not know that that was a big deal at all. Thank goodness, because I probably would have freaked out, like bombed it. But I ended up being his ghostwriter for more than half a dozen years. And so you can imagine, right like, Marktto was starting to make a name for itself and marketing automation was growing. I think it was like a hundred percent year read or something at the time, and content marketing was also a really hot term, and so I learned about BEOB sales and marketing. Underneath this amazing expert right like, I wrote all of his definitive guides with him, which are these like a hundred and twenty page documents. So about hearing is operated like be to bees, you know, more God, beyond beyond. And then he also was very generous referral source. So I got referrals from him all in B Tob Sass and all of a sudden I...

...was like I can't handle all this work on my own, I'm going to start an agency to kind of respond to it. So it was accidental entrepreneurship and because of the referrals I had a very specific niche from the beginning with like exactly in, Linkedin and you know, couple other with twenty five clients at the when we sold five years later. But it was just a right place, right time and hard moment kind or hard work kind of moment. Sure, definitely. I wouldn't call it luck, though, Brandon. Like I, I think luck is it's not just luck that certain communities don't get the same opportunities. Like there are system systemic inequalities that need to be addressed and I was a very fortunate person to have exposure to that opportunity. That's yeah, that's entirely true. I mean I would I would almost douse the luck part on on you not knowing who he was and having the confidence to walk into the I mean, like you know, Pempot, I mean you talk about these moments that are pivotal. I mean this is the first one you brought up and Um, and you certainly can think back and again you were in that situation because somebody perhaps open that door and so forth. But man, what a fortunate moment, right, and you can whatever you did to impress him at that moment. got that got that role in. Then that's that's kind of rolled. Seems like the thing that accelerated the rest of the clip did, did very much. So we sold the business five years later because of a lot of the referrals and the hard work that he helped us kind of start. I was an injurison after the year where I worked at the company that acquired my agency, and then I've been an early stage marketing executive ever since then. Yeah, so talk about the and Reson to lift to I mean, you know, yeah, happy returns. I mean kind of there was a period there where where, you know, you were bopping around to all the Silicon Valley you know names here. Sure, yeah, and reason. I so one of the things I learned that I love... my agency days before, and reason was how much I like partnering with founders, especially technical ones, to create an industry shifting narrative that captures the attention of the world. And so I really wanted to go somewhere like adventure capital firm to do it across their portfolio. And again, kind of a random like luck story, I was at the gym at six am one morning and someone asked me what I wanted to do next after I finished my earn out at the company that bought mine, and I randomly spouted off my dream, like the working at somewhere like and reason, but also concluded that I didn't know anyone in Durson and probably wasn't important enough. And that person happened to know they're hiring manager or their head of talent, and so that's how that came to be. Very yeah, we're we're not going to even ask the luck question because we have too amazed. That's an amazing so of course this is this is the virtues of being a part of Equinox. I'm clearly I didn't even need to ask that. Waiting for the invitation to be part of one of their like vide their photograph campaigns. You know, I'm sure exactly is an equal. I've listened. So they're coming because of this point. Andre No, but and then you know it. Indurson, like I had the choice that I go to and reason or do I go to business school, and I chose Andreson because I figured I'd get more like on the ground learning, and I'm so glad I did. I worked for Mark Cranny, WHO's mentioned a lot in Ben Horwitz's books as the guy that like to turn the sales guy that turned some of their companies around. Sure, not a soft character, but also someone that you learn a lot from and, you know, working in all sorts of different industries that I have not had exposure to previously. So that was really cool and fun. And then lift happened from there, because lift is an Andreas and portfolio company that I worked with at the time and I was at lift business, which is a it was the only profitable business unit at the time of the IPO. It was a hundred and twenty five person start up inside of a company of six thousand and it was selling lifts, soft foreign services and a separate platform to businesses... hospitals and corporate travels teams and stuff like that. And you know, from there I basically have just continued to work at companies that are earlier and earlier stage, because I found that there's like the geness aqua of the beginning of a company where the founding team is very influential and culture a very influential story construction, and I need that really close relationship with the CEO Visionary to help construct that visionary story. So that's that's kind of like what's been at the core of all the transitions. I love it. I love meeting other crazy people who like these early sage things because they it's like otherwise it's boring. N Yes, for people like you and me who are a little crazy, the other ones, you know. Yes, I'm a stainer. I'm extending the Olive Brandt here, and it's not crazy, it's just thrill seeking. We're thrill seekers. Why take the short thing when you when you can double down on six? You know anyway. So you know, throughout your years you've obviously not. You know, this is not even a Shret to say you've written books about marketing. To Talk to me about just what is something you believe people are missing today, or like a tactic that people might apply today to what they're doing stick in that be tobe zone right, like, like I wonder, I wonder what you're sharp right there. Yeah, so I've two answers for you. They're brandon. So, so one is not answering the question directed, but actually think it's a more important answer. The way that I'm currently hearing about the best and the works tactics right now is going to something called the CMO coffee chat, which is a Friday event every Friday morning and it's like, I think there's about two hundred and fifty members. It's led by hindes marketing and sixth sense, but we're all panelists on this zoom and we get together for themed conversations and then I also have virtual one of ones a lot with different members, and the things that I hear there are basically the best sources of tactic. So I think the the tactic I would answer, like at a high level, is find a group...

...of peers that have the bars high as you do in similar roles. Right. To answer your question directly, what my team does every month right now is effectively create an avalanche of Evergreen content around really controversial topics. So, like this month's topic is is the future of compensation negotiation. None at all. And so from that particular topic we create a Webinar that gets your purposed into an undated guide and Infographic, a blog series, outbound email campaigns. We've expert spotlights that come from it, we craft our CEOS for articles about it, we have media pitches that have the same topic and then there's like social post, a weekly Amas on our slack community, and it's just this like it's a repeatable package that's a like a lot of content, right, that it creates a an organic mote over time that competitors can't win from you quickly. Wow, interesting. So it's really a content strategy now. I mean just I'm curious. Is that then supported by like, you know, tactical ser work and and the sorts I honesty ours. Right, Oh, interesting, okay, it definitely is. And then we do a lot of incorporating of our customers, third party experts and internal experts to actually be this books people for the content on the Webinar in the written content as well. So it really gets the whole organization rallied around a theme the whole month. So there's a lot of alignment that happens, which is great. Well, speaking of the Org, anybody, anybody you're hiring for? None of my team, thank goodness. I've I'm fully hired out engineers. You know, every startup needs those. We need a lot of engineers and have an amazing engineering org they can join. Love, and this is obviously remote positions, a hundred percent remote. We started during Covid January two thousand and twenty one and have no no plans to ever change. Okay, Denver, for instance, and I've got a member of my marketing team in every single time zone...

...of the US. Ah, love it. That's awesome. And he shout us that. You want to give people that you you know, people content that you're digging in terms of learning. Yes, yes, so the I'll start with with people on my team and then I can go go broader. I made a decision a couple months ago that was probably it was. It made me very nervous, and it was to hire someone with more experience than myself. Her name is Aaron Hanniford and she is a Badass. It's the first time I've ever really had like a number two WHO's like a thought partner. She owns growth, which is where a product like growth motion. So she owns a very large team and I can honestly say that our team would not function at the level that it does without her. So it's definitely a call up to her. In terms of content, I read first round blog content religiously, because that's just like literally best the industry, and then the exit five and Saster, podcasts, love, and then books. I read about one or two a week because I listened a lot on audio. WHAT'S A book? What is that like? A is it written? PODCAST? Well, you see, you put it in a cassette thing. You could go the ultimate skill reading man. Yeah, not like real books. They're you know, you touch him, you hold them, the best thing ever. But I have loved maker Brazinski's biography, as well as Film Knights and Gabrielle Unions. So I think it's just so nice, like we had exposure to like these great minds and then just a hail back Dan race and Ben's most recent book. I think it's like you are you are what you do, or something like that. What you do is who you are. Is that about? Thank you. Yeah, yeah, so surprisingly not fluffy, not that he's a fluffy person, but that topic could be really fluffy and he did a really good job of making it concrete. Oh, it's like I don't even want to open that book, because then then I might actually have to put the mirror up. I mean you do these other times,... it's going to bring you on. It's like going to Mexico and take an Ayawaska something like that's a take you a different place and you when you start it. Anyway. Well, look, let's get to the serious stuff, because all this other stuff is fine and any but like we got to eat, we we're give us, give us your recommendation on where we should be eating. Okay, so I live for Sashimi and I live in Denver. So I hands down all that time, lots of ocean, lots of option, know, and actually we moved her two years ago. I was very down on the Denver food team before I actually try it, and now I'm very excited and very grateful. But I didn't have to leave San Francisco completely. So matsuhiitia is my favorite go too, and then is a Kayaden, is also amazing. Love it, love it. You know, fish coming in a couple times a week, I imagine, from West Coast instills. They fly in from Japan at Montsuhisha. Yeah, just I love that. And some of the best Sushi I've honestly ever had has been in Las Vegas, which clearly gets plains every day from Japan where. I just love that. That has happened through the world, probably to best from a front no sustainability standpoint, but hey, a good point. Well, I make a point. The other thing I love is both of those places also have good wine lists, which is usually my complaint about Sushi places like I don't really loved the alcohol the usually offer. So you know the clutch in my opinion. All right, we're going there next trip to Denver. This, Kaylyn, this is awesome. Thank you so much for being on. Thank you, Brandon. Let's an interesting career. I hope everyone jumps on and follows Caitlin's you know, like Dan and everything, because she's putting up great stuff and thank you for being here. Thanks preading. This is an awesome podcast. Appreciate the opportunity. All right, that's our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, rate and review five stars everywhere. Send me a send me a postcard saying hey, I love...

...the show. This episode is brought to you by reprise reprises, a notecode enterprise ready demo creation platform that gives go to market teams of power to control the narrative with their demos and deliber custom product experiences without developer involvement. I had so much once, Dida. I hope you did too. Now get out and Qrush your numbers.

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