The Agile Operations Podcast

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Spend your time, or spend your money to make more money.

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Few people spend as much time questioning startup conventional wisdom as Hiten Shah. Whether he’s re-evaluating existing processes or questioning best practices, Hiten always seems to find a way to do things better, faster and more nimbly than most. Spend your time, or spend your money to make more money. It's not that complicated.

In this episode of The Agile Operations Podcast, Hiten joins Lola.com CEO Mike Volpe to talk about returning to first principles and constantly checking in on organizational health, including:

  • The constant tradeoff between time and money
  • The metrics that matter at different growth stages
  • How to target the construction industry
  • What market am I in, who is my customer, and what do I need to do to win that market.
  • And more!

About our guest:

Hiten Shah has started and run many SaaS companies, most recently FYI, a tool that helps you find all of your important documents in three clicks or less. But that’s just the beginning — Hiten has also founded companies like Product Habits, Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics and more. 

See how FYI can help you search and organize all your documents all in one place.

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Agile Operations Podcast is hosted by Mike Volpe CEO at Lola.com which is a program on the Funnel Radio Channel

lola.com   Funnel Radio Podcast Channel by the Funnel Media Group, LLC

The Start-up Timeline Requires Patience and Agility

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Documenting company history and decisions and making that available to new hires. Mike encourages new hires to go back one year or even 18 months to catch up. He and Anum both embrace the 100-day success plan for new hires. Since her company, Acciyo, is so new, it's currently at a 7-day success plan with a linked document filled with resources to better understand the logic. There is a lot of information stored in your head, but the more you can get out there to be consumed by those on your team the better and makes them more successful. Learn from them both in this episode.

She's embracing being patient and knowing there is going to be a lot of integration opportunity coming. But now, her storytelling abilities are fully implemented to pitch for funding. A start-up is an entirely different timeline and task list. Listen in to see what she's learned about herself and how she's had to dial back those 60-slide decks to get their initial interest. The old saying, "Just tell me the time, not how to make the watch." You'll enjoy her interview and start-up story.

Anum shares mistakes to avoid embracing agility include:

The best way to make sure everyone knew how decisions were made was to create a spreadsheet with the hierarchy. At first, it seemed that it made them agile with the transparency, but really it hurt morale because everyone could see what their standing was. Also, no one could make a decision quickly.

Another example was that it was determined to switch focus to another area, tasks got dumped on me so I had to switch - being agile, I did. But what was left out was the WHY the switch in focus needed to happen.

Transparency and Agility - everyone interprets them in different ways. Listen in to hear a clearer definition. 

About Mike's guest:

Anum started her career studying journalism and reporting for The Boston Globe. She pivoted to growth marketing at HubSpot, where she grew with the company for five years from startup to publicly-traded. She then decided to find a way to marry her passion for media and technology through an MBA at MIT, which opened up opportunities at Snapchat, Rough Draft Ventures, and more. Now, she's running her own startup, Acciyo, while working on a number of creative projects that help elevate minorities in tech and media. 

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Agile Operations Podcast is hosted by Mike Volpe CEO at Lola.com which is a program on the Funnel Radio Channel

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Buy Some Software or Outsource: Anum Hussain

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Mike's guest is Anum Hussain. She's the Co-Founder of acciyo, Inc.  A start-up is constantly in flux, but if we don't take the time to ensure certain processes are in place, great things won't happen. It's too easy in a start-up to push off "minor" tasks because larger needs are overshadowing them. One of the things was for them to decide was, "Buy some software or outsource?". They had been deadset that everything should happen in-house. But now they have taken on outsourced partners that are experts in these big tasks and removing ego, "We're the founders! We need to handle this part!" fell by the wayside and we are no longer making those sloppy mistakes. It's great to have your vision - it's critical, but we outsourced certain tasks to partners we trust. 

Mistakes to avoid embracing agility include:

The best way to make sure everyone knew how decisions were made was to create a spreadsheet with the hierarchy. At first, it seemed that it made them agile with the transparency, but really it hurt morale because everyone could see what their standing was. Also, no one could make a decision quickly.

Another example was that it was determined to switch focus to another area, tasks got dumped on me so I had to switch - being agile, I did. But what was left out was the WHY the switch in focus needed to happen.

Transparency and Agility - everyone interprets them in different ways. Listen in to hear a clearer definition. 

About Mike's guest:

Anum started her career studying journalism and reporting for The Boston Globe. She pivoted to growth marketing at HubSpot, where she grew with the company for five years from startup to publicly-traded. She then decided to find a way to marry her passion for media and technology through an MBA at MIT, which opened up opportunities at Snapchat, Rough Draft Ventures, and more. Now, she's running her own startup, Acciyo, while working on a number of creative projects that help elevate minorities in tech and media. 

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Agile Operations Podcast is hosted by Mike Volpe CEO at Lola.com which is a program on the Funnel Radio Channel

lola.com   Funnel Radio Podcast Channel by the Funnel Media Group, LLC

CEOs want to hear the bad news, not the complaints.

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Rob May thinks a lot about growing fast and empowering people to make the best decisions. As the co-founder of Talla and Backupify, he’s managed to learn how to go slow in order to go fast, and the importance of routine, high-quality employee training.

In this episode of The Agile Operations Podcast, Rob joins Lola.com CEO Mike Volpe to talk about the myths and realities of sustainably growing a business, including:

  • Why CEOs hate getting only good news
  • Tips for tightening feedback loops
  • Determining the right cadence of company-wide conversations
  • Are CEO office hours a hoax?
  • When agile operations tools become a burden
  • The one-step process for a shitty press release

About our guest:

Rob May is CEO and co-founder of Talla, which builds intelligent assistants to help knowledge workers better do their jobs. Prior to Talla, Rob was CEO and co-founder of Backupify, the world’s first cloud to cloud backup company. Rob is driven by complex systems and the interaction of economics, brains and computers. If you’re interested in similar topics, you should check out his newsletter: InsideAI.

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Agile Operations Podcast is hosted by Mike Volpe CEO at Lola.com which is a program on the Funnel Radio Channel

lola.com   Funnel Radio Podcast Channel by the Funnel Media Group, LLC

Why Italian Cooking and People Operations are Similar -Christina Luconi Podcast

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Building a strong, diverse corporate culture is not easy, but if anyone has the framework down, it’s Christina Luconi. As the Chief People Officer at Rapid7, Christina has honed her ability to focus on authentic growth and operations instead of best practices. Whether she’s preserving the company’s unique culture or making senior hires, Christina works hard to make the people the center of the company.

In this episode of The Agile Operations Podcast, Christina joins Lola.com CEO Mike Volpe to talk about the counterintuitive and constantly evolving keys to scaling culture, including:

  • Axing annual performance reviews – a focus on real-time feedback
  • Why best practices are not to be followed
  • How to preserve culture as your company becomes political
  • The connection between Italian cooking and people operations (seriously)

About our guest Christina Luconi

Christina Luconi is the Chief People Officer at Rapid7, where she leads strategic people initiatives, focusing on the entire employee lifecycle: recruiting stellar talent, preserving corporate culture, and acquisition integration. Prior to Rapid7, Christina founded People Innovations, a consulting firm focused on the creation of innovative people strategies.

Her key focus is on recruiting stellar talent in a competitive market, building and scaling culture, and making acquisition integration really work. I love what I do, so I spend a lot of time helping other leaders figure out how to create people's success in their companies too...and helping to build great places to work.

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Agile Operations Podcast is hosted by Mike Volpe CEO at Lola.com which is a program on the Funnel Radio Channel

lola.com   Funnel Radio Podcast Channel by the Funnel Media Group, LLC

How Operations Should Use KPIs - Will Collins from Drift a Podcast

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Have you ever wanted to hear a high-velocity CEO and an Operations Executive talk about the what, why, and how of business KPI's? Here's your chance. 

Will Collins and host Mike Volpe dig into sources of truth, platforms, automation vs. manual processes, and more. What is an ETL? How does it work? Why do you reformat data, how should you display it? Beyond the nuts and bolts - why choose one solution over another? How should your business develop operations? 

Will Collins is the VP of Operations at Drift. He is working on building a centralized team in charge of revenue operations (think Sales Ops, Marketing Ops, CS Ops), analytics (think Looker, Data Studio), and data infrastructure (think Airflow, Snowflake).  Prior to Drift, Will worked in venture capital at North Bridge and investment banking at Lazard. Outside of the office, Will is a passionate golfer and gadget tinkerer."

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Agile Operations Podcast is hosted by Mike Volpe CEO at Lola.com which is a program on the Funnel Radio Channel

lola.com   Funnel Radio Podcast Channel by the Funnel Media Group, LLC

What it Means to be Data Informed and not Data Driven - Dusty Davidson: Flywheel

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Transparency and trust. When creating a company culture that is successful, you need to give everyone the resources and information across all the things you do. Inspire them to make the decision as if it is their company. That's where DIFUFEE comes in. If you're not familiar with the acronym, listen in. Flywheel talks about that with regards to the decisions you'd make with regards to money or the decisions you'd make with regards to booze in the office. Whatever it might be. The things that we sort of trust people to be grownups about it and keep the company's best interest in mind. Dusty Davidson talks with Mike Volpe about their weekly and quarterly cadence with the entire company physically to realign, to share progress, wins, fails and so that everybody understands where they're going and where they've been.

Flywheel's been around six years. They've gone from three people to 200 worldwide in that time. They understand the importance of tracking progress against ambitious goals and having a level of transparency to drive the velocity of growth.

About our guest:

Dusty Davidson is the co-founder and CEO of Flywheel, a fast-growing WordPress hosting company based in Omaha. Prior to Flywheel, Dusty started a wide range of ventures, including Tripleseat, Silicon Prairie News, Big Omaha, and more. When he’s not building something, Dusty can be found traveling, eating, spending time with his family, and advocating for Omaha.

Atlassian - $1.2B in Revenue reaches a $25B MarketCap

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Many companies adhere to well-established business models; Atlassian, founded in Sydney Australia in 2002, decided to do things a little differently. 

Atlassian follows a freemium, self serve model, targeting developers as an entry point to establishing a strong foothold within their customers’ companies. Their spend on customer acquisition is extraordinarily low at 20-25% of revenue, while R&D spend takes almost 50%. These metrics are the opposite of what is expected and witnessed in similar companies, so how are they experiencing the same levels of growth while turning a profit? How is their market cap pushing $25 billion? And how does their “not no-touch, but low touch” sales model work? Mike Volpe and Rebecca Morrison, Lola.com’s CEO and VP of Finance & Operations respectively sat down.

REBECCA MORRISON:

As VP of Finance and Operations, Rebecca Morrison oversees financial reporting and analysis, forecasting, and budget management for Lola.com. Previously, she was VP, Global Finance and Operations at Midaxo, a leader in M&A software, where she oversaw all back-office operations including finance, operations, HR, and admin. Rebecca spent four years at HubSpot holding various roles with the Sales Strategy and Operations team, as well as the Finance organization. Prior to her time at HubSpot, Rebecca spent nine years in various finance and operations roles at EMC and RSA, the Security Division of EMC, including a three-year stint in Singapore. She has a bachelor's degree and master's degree in finance from Bentley University.

MIKE VOLPE:

Mike Volpe is the CEO at Lola.com, the corporate travel SaaS platform that helps companies stop wasting time and start saving money on their business travel program. He has been asked to speak at numerous conferences on sales, marketing, and growth, as well as people operations, leadership, hiring and culture and is a strong advocate for building great teams with a wide range of talent.

Previously Mike was CMO at Cybereason, a cybersecurity SaaS company, where he helped the company increase sales pipeline by 650% in a single year and grow revenue by five times during his tenure. He was also part of the founding team at HubSpot, where he spent eight years growing the company from five people to over 1,000 employees, $175m in revenue, and a successful IPO.

Mike is well-known and active in the Boston SaaS and startup communities as a member of the board of directors of Validity and Privy, and as an angel investor in more than 30 startups. He holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BA from Bowdoin College. Check him out on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Beautiful Numbers: Zoom’s Story - $150M to 300M

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Plenty of companies turn a profit. Many companies experience high growth. Some companies are able to accelerate growth even after they reach massive scale.

But it is the rare company indeed that somehow manages to accomplish all three at once. Only the best of the best are able to remain efficient while growing rapidly at a massive scale.

Zoom is one of those companies. A few months ago, the teleconferencing giant filed its S-1 and the SaaS community could not contain its astonishment at the data. Zoom grew from $150M in revenue to $330M? While being profitable?! With a 9-month payback period!?! Now those are metrics that will make startup founders, executives and investors envious. no such people are Mike Volpe and Rebecca Morrison, Lola.com’s CEO and VP Finance & Operations, respectively. They sat down a few weeks ago to comb through Zoom’s financials and explain what exactly makes the figures so enviable.

Put another way: They geek out over Zoom’s beautiful numbers.

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REBECCA MORRISON:

As VP of Finance and Operations, Rebecca Morrison oversees financial reporting and analysis, forecasting, and budget management for Lola.com. Previously, she was VP, Global Finance and Operations at Midaxo, a leader in M&A software, where she oversaw all back-office operations including finance, operations, HR, and admin. Rebecca spent four years at HubSpot holding various roles with the Sales Strategy and Operations team, as well as the Finance organization. Prior to her time at HubSpot, Rebecca spent nine years in various finance and operations roles at EMC and RSA, the Security Division of EMC, including a three-year stint in Singapore. She has a bachelor's degree and master's degree in finance from Bentley University.

MIKE VOLPE:

Mike Volpe is the CEO at Lola.com, the corporate travel SaaS platform that helps companies stop wasting time and start saving money on their business travel program. He has been asked to speak at numerous conferences on sales, marketing, and growth, as well as people operations, leadership, hiring and culture and is a strong advocate for building great teams with a wide range of talent.

Previously Mike was CMO at Cybereason, a cybersecurity SaaS company, where he helped the company increase sales pipeline by 650% in a single year and grow revenue by five times during his tenure. He was also part of the founding team at HubSpot, where he spent eight years growing the company from five people to over 1,000 employees, $175m in revenue, and a successful IPO.

Mike is well-known and active in the Boston SaaS and startup communities as a member of the board of directors of Validity and Privy, and as an angel investor in more than 30 startups. He holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BA from Bowdoin College. Check him out on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

 

Will Collins: Putting KPI’s into context

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Have you ever wanted to hear a high-velocity CEO and an Operations Executive talk about the what, why, and how of business KPI's? Here's your chance. 
 

Will and Mike dig into sources of truth, platforms, automation vs. manual processes, and more. What is an ETL? How does it work? Why do you reformat data, how should you display it? Beyond the nuts and bolts - why choose one solution over another? How should your business develop operations? 

 
 
Will is the VP of Operations at Drift. He is working on building a centralized team in charge of revenue operations (think Sales Ops, Marketing Ops, CS Ops), analytics (think Looker, Data Studio), and data infrastructure (think Airflow, Snowflake).  Prior to Drift, Will worked in venture capital at North Bridge and investment banking at Lazard. Outside of the office, Will is a passionate golfer and gadget tinkerer."