Guillaume Cabane about Growth and becoming the VC of your time

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34 min well spent

Guillaume Cabane, a true master of Growth, comes on the Tech Bound podcast to talk about investing your time like a VC, building Growth roadmaps, and running experiments.

Guillaume is the former VP of Growth at Drift, Segment, and Mention, current VP of Growth Gorgias, and advisor to G2, Abstract, Metadata, Madkudu, MonkeyLearn.

Get a free pdf with the most powerful lessons from Guillaume’s Tech Bound interview:

Transcript

Kevin: [00:00:00] welcome to the show.

[00:00:06] Welcome to a very special episode of the tech bond podcast. Today, my guest is the Yom cabana, AKG, AKA the crazy professor of growth. Do you needs no introduction, but for the handful of people who actually don’t know him, he started his career at Apple then became VP of growth at companies like drift segment and mentioned.

[00:00:25] He’s also an advisor to companies like G2 met kudu, abstracts, metadata, monkey learn, and many others. He recently started a syndicate. With some of his former buddies and colleagues from segment, which was acquired for $3 billion, not too long ago. And Gillum is the current vice president of growth at gorgeous in this conversation.

[00:00:46] G and I talk about all things growth, but specifically setting up your growth roadmap and running high quality growth experiments beyond drops many nuggets throughout this conversation. So I recommend you to listen to the end, give me a thumbs up and subscribe to the tech Mt. Podcast, YouTube channel.

[00:01:03] Enjoy.

[00:01:08] Three, two, one super glad for you to be on and thanks for, uh, taking the time. Uh, I am super pumped about all these questions I can throw at you then wanting to do that for a long time. And if you don’t mind, I will jump right in. Let’s go. Let’s go. So here’s the first one. Um, what do you think made you as successful as you are today?

[00:01:29] Guillaume: [00:01:29] Hmm, that’s a good question. I think the easy answer is I’m a bit crazy. Uh, the longer answer is I’m a, I’m a risk taker. I have a pretty strong risk appetite, uh, for my professional ventures, uh, and for what I do within the company, I’m not. Too afraid of being fired. Uh, when something goes wrong, I am passionate, but what I do, I’m looking for big wins.

[00:01:59] In all aspects of my life, looking for those outlier effects, um, has enabled me, um, to, um, to find some of those wounds. That’s I say the first part, the first half, the second half is, Oh, many people can do that. Right. The problem is that obviously that doesn’t have the, the winds don’t happen that often. So my.

[00:02:20] My mode, my competitive mode is doing multiple things at once so that there are some wins that happen more frequently. You see when you have one job and you have a few opportunities to do big, uh, take risks and go for big wins, you know, a few times a year, I’m going to do that two, three times in parallel.

[00:02:43] Now I don’t have three jobs. But as we’re going to see, I have multiple business ventures in parallel, which enables me to find things that work and then double down on those things.

[00:02:55] Kevin: [00:02:55] It sounds like a very anti-fragile strategy, which means that if one of the things goes bust or doesn’t work out, do you have a couple of other avenues you can ride.

[00:03:03] Guillaume: [00:03:03] Yeah, it’s, it’s the VC model. Like I’m a VC of my time. If you look at what VC is, do like often, like people say, Hey, like you should go full time on this. Well, this is exactly the opposite. They’re all very smart. Why do general partners at Sequoia Andreessen don’t join full time a company most like 99% of the time.

[00:03:23] It’s because they understand the principle of hedging bets. All right. And basically not putting all your eggs in the same basket. I do exactly that. I see my time. You see Kevin? I think there’s like, I, I plan on working about 40 years between the age of 20 and the age of 60 roughly. Right. Um, if you have a, like you do for your stints at every company, that’s tense, tense, tense, total.

[00:03:50] 10 companies total, right? That’s not nearly enough. Hmm. And you gotta be very deliberate about the time that you spend is this the best thing you could be doing? And so I, I very quickly realized I, I can’t the few things, I can’t be dedicating that much time fully to any one project, because if it fails, that’s 10% of my working life that goes into smoke.

[00:04:18] Kevin: [00:04:18] Yeah, absolutely. It makes perfect sense, but I think you have a certain clarity about that and about your time that many people don’t. And I wonder, where does that mindset that risk taking diversifying, um, and, and outlier mindset? What do you think that comes from? Is that nature

[00:04:35] Guillaume: [00:04:35] or, Hmm. Hmm. Just like Q I am a, uh, uh, I come from a family or background of multiple cultures, right.

[00:04:49] That helps see things differently. Alright. My mom’s American, my dad’s French grew up in, in France, went to the U S quite often that helps a lot, uh, understand and see the world, uh, different in, I think that’s one. But I’ve, I’ve always been a tinkerer. My entire life. I’ve been a tinkerer tinkering with things, you know, I’ve started doing like websites in the mid nineties and finding some, some things that work there, you know, we’re not going to go back to the entire up there, but I’ve been tinkering with a lot of things, um, in life and in business.

[00:05:24] Um, and that’s, that’s just a deep passion that I have. I like to say, I am the, I’m the master of a rabbit holing. Uh, uh, you find something when passionate, I’m going to rabbit holding it there forever. Right. Uh, and that’s, that’s something I’m cognizant about, but that I think is also a superpower. I can get passionate.

[00:05:49] About most things. And I will try to be better than the random person in that field pretty fast. And then I’ll move on.

[00:06:01] Kevin: [00:06:01] I share that with you. I totally get it. And so how it’s tied the bridge to growth. Why do you apply that tinkering mindsets to growth? Why do you think it is about growth that pulls you in.

[00:06:15] Guillaume: [00:06:15] Well, if you look into why I got into growth, um, I, after I left Apple, I went into a few of ventures and eventually I landed in, in, uh, InfoSec IQ security software, long story short out of the product I was working on as a marketer, uh, failed technically, but the launch was a pretty big success. Uh, so that’s unfortunate.

[00:06:40] And so then I realized. I have to ramp up my technical skills. I need to understand those things. And for sec products or some of the hottest that come by. And so I started working with a security engineers for year and a half years and the product, and I learned a lot of things which are very relevant to growth.

[00:07:01] When you look into all that happens in the world of security and fishing and scamming. A lot of those techniques are marketing techniques. When you’re trying to send, when a scammer sends emails to an audience to convince them that they have won a prize and they’re going to get the prize only if they wire some money, that’s a marketing pitch, or you’re trying to people to get, to get people to convert.

[00:07:24] Okay, now it’s totally illegal than it should admit, but the, the mechanisms are the same. You’ve got to recognize that. Okay. And then, you know, we had the, the second, uh, wave of the financial crisis in Europe. Um, and, and so that company went bust, uh, and I created my own startup where I manage the engineering team and the product team.

[00:07:47] So I became quite technical. When I went back into marketing full time, I realized that very few marketers who have a good technical understanding, and that was going to be my mode. Okay. Because if you look at marketing and you look at B2B SAS, most products already exist. You’re very rarely creating a product that I know is completely alone and there was no category.

[00:08:10] Right? So you competing with other products and you’re just trying to convince the market that your product is better. I truly believe that in a competitive market, if you do things the same way, so you’re going to do ads on Facebook. You’re going to do some emails with Marketo. You can, you’re going to get pretty much the same results.

[00:08:29] And so your competition is only for the product, not through the marketing. The marketing is not getting value. If I am a marketer and I watched you succeed, I need to create value. And the way that I can compete is by bringing my ability to. Manage engineers on marketing problems. And that happened exactly at the same time that growth started to emerge.

[00:08:54] So in that sense, I was extremely lucky.

[00:08:57] Kevin: [00:08:57] Yeah. That makes perfect sense. And I think you, you keep that kind of balanced between technical ability, but also I certain creativity, um, until today. And I think you have really mastered that. So if, say we say there is a sea of work with a new startup, it has product market fit, right?

[00:09:14] Growth starts to come in organically. You come on as an advisor or you start working in whatever capacity with them. What are the first things that you look at if you want to set them on the trajectory for hypergrowth?

[00:09:28] Guillaume: [00:09:28] Absolutely. And that’s, I think what you said is really important to understand, I Joan, um, just, um, After product market fit when there’s this initial phase of growth and all the early adopters are confirming that there is, there is a need and the product matches that need and things slow down.

[00:09:48] The Gulf staff start to slow down. Then you need to actually have the second inflection point. That’s my job. That’s exactly. My job is to create the second inflection point from 5 million revenue, roughly to about 50 million. Right. That’s my sweet spot. Okay. And generally what I’ll do is I’ll try to understand how can we, um, engage with the audience in a way that we create value.

[00:10:17] I get back to that, it’s the same thing. I’m going to do things differently so that my acquisition strategies have a, uh, negative, uh, marginal CAC incentive, which means the, each new customer costs you close to zero. Well, as close to as you as possible, that’s the very important, okay. Why, why is that?

[00:10:39] Because if you look at this five to 50, Phase, you’re trying to scale things quite a bit. You can go for two X, three X year over year, right? Most marketing strategies are, have at say an increasing CAC issue. As you grow, you exhausted the, or the audiences you’re going to spend more and more on paid your outbound emails.

[00:11:01] Performance is going to go down and efficiency just goes down. And so you’re churning from one model of the markets or cat goes up, which in turn interestingly forces companies to increase the ACV to compensate for an increasing CAC. Okay. My job in my competitive approach is exactly the opposite is to have diminishing CAC or positive scaling effects, right?

[00:11:22] Whether the CAC is cheaper and cheaper. And so I’m going to try and find how can we create that? How can we create those, those growth loops, those spinning wheel effects, right. And what kind of value can recreate very often? How can we create the either real value or at least a good perception of value?

[00:11:42] And that generally requires engineering talent. And generally it means front-loading the cost of marketing, right. Uh, instead of having a running cost. So example, think of many products when you built a mini product where people can like self-serve discover and get some value, some insights you are building, you’re putting some effort, which means you’re front loading.

[00:12:05] And if people get value, they’re convinced, then that acquisition has cost nothing. After the product experience. All right. So that has a positive scaling. As more people expose the product, the cost of offset by the volume.

[00:12:18] Kevin: [00:12:18] Right. And this is interesting. I’d probably phrase it that, um, in an initial phase you want to more or less not be super CAC efficient.

[00:12:27] I think this is something that, that a lot of, um, people outsides. The Valley, I would say, uh, or outside of a strong sort of ecosystem, don’t understand. It’s like they look at a company, said Uber in the beginning of the, like, they make so many, like, so such a high loss, right. They lose money. How can that be a good business?

[00:12:43] But in a certain sense, they’re just different profitability for more growth. Right. And I think in a certain sense, you can, you can transfer that principle to early stage startups as well.

[00:12:55] Guillaume: [00:12:55] Yeah, absolutely. In that look for example, at a gorgeous, the help desk for e-commerce merchants, we are in a competitive market.

[00:13:04] We have direct competitors like Zendesk and in direct competitors, like our customer got acquired for a billion dollars. Few days ago, by Facebook. When I did the analysis of customer, we realized they had raised more than 10 times. What we had raised their strategy was not costly efficient. Now, most people would freak out and say, well, I’m never going to be able to compete.

[00:13:31] They’re always going to outspend me, which is true, but that’s trying that they’re also being selective about that channels, which means if I do the exact opposite, if I built a very efficient channels, I can acquire customers at a cost that they can’t. And so I can afford lowering my pricing at the point that they can’t.

[00:13:50] Right. Right. And that’s exactly what we did or CAC at gorgeous is about 30 cents for a dollar. For the marketing team. That’s about one third, what it is generally for companies at that stage. Okay. And we used to make customers is, is, uh, more than the average house or a dollar for a dollar. Right? And so they are forced to increase the ACV a lot, and which means they can’t sell to the bottom of the market or the mid markets where we can, that’s my approach.

[00:14:20] So I look at things like that and I decide what my strategy, what my campaigns and what my gross, which is going to be based on that.

[00:14:28] Kevin: [00:14:28] Fascinating. And how you spoke about analyzing customer w

[00:14:37] Guillaume: [00:14:37] um, yeah, so. When I look at competitive businesses, I, I pulled data from a lot of different places, but honestly, like generally I have very good connections everywhere in the Valley. And so I’m able to get the right kind of information, the revenue, how much they waste, how efficient they are, what they’re doing.

[00:14:57] You’ve got to realize that. Any venture backed startup that has raised a few rounds will have sent its deck around to VCs and other people to raise money that data will percolate through at once a moment or another.

[00:15:16] Kevin: [00:15:16] That makes a lot of sense. And then how do you think about your growth roadmap? So we talked a little bit about the general mindset you apply to early stage startups after product market fit.

[00:15:27] Now. Do you even, I mean, do you even use a roadmap anymore? Is it a much more fluid type of approach or how do you go about defining the first action items are the first steps to take?

[00:15:41] Guillaume: [00:15:41] Yeah, absolutely. So generally I try to understand, like, have we covered the basis of understanding which channels have potential?

[00:15:50] We might talk a bit about the growth experimentation framework, but. There’s no point in doing experimentation, if you don’t know what the baseline is. So you’ve got to set the baseline, you know? Um, and I like setting the baseline in two different ways. What is the minimum, uh, performance, if you do things like everyone, so you just do outbound emails, automated emails.

[00:16:14] Cool. You do standard ads or, you know, some Facebook, you do the minimum class classic efforts to estimate what’s the performance of your competitors. You sure they get what they do. Okay. And then you do a manual, extremely custom effort. Do you see what does the max performance of that channel? So you’re gonna do, gonna have an SDR by the most beautiful human made email ever for a hundred, 200 accounts with a video.

[00:16:40] You’re going to do one-to-one ads. You’re going to do some gift campaigns, stuff like that. Okay. What’s the max. Okay. So now, you know the boundaries of your system. And once you know that you also know the costs say, now, can I create the experience, the mass conversion rates at a fraction of the cost? Can I bring the top to the cost of the bottom?

[00:17:01] That creates margin. So that’s kind of like the, how I create the roadmap. And I see where’s the potential. If I see that there is little difference, there’s little gap in the spectrum between max and min on a given channel. I’m like, Hmm, this is probably not worth optimizing. Or we haven’t found what best looks like.

[00:17:19] I’ll push it back for later. And so those things inform me and then helped me build, uh, the ideas or inform the ideas for the, uh, experimentation framework.

[00:17:32] Kevin: [00:17:32] Are you when you do that, when you, when you pull a lot of data from a lot of channels identified the, basically the, the, the highest potential, maybe lowest effort, extra items, do you use a spreadsheet? Is there a different tool? Do you use pen and paper? Like how do you, what is, what is kind of your,

[00:17:50] Guillaume: [00:17:50] your tool?

[00:17:52] Yeah. Um, Generally at the early stage, it’s just sheets. I have to, I have to say that it works really well. Um, I will not do attribution until it is absolutely necessary. Uh that’s it’s a drag. It’s, it’s a, all the loss of time. It becomes important, but it’s a pain. Okay. But I think what’s important. If you look at some of the work I’ve done these past years, um, what I’ve done is convert all of the marketing metrics into unified, uh, dot forecasted revenue, metric dollar metric.

[00:18:30] Right. And that is very important and that informs the rest of my strategy. Otherwise, it’s hard to compare when you do. I mean, you’re the massive SEO. You drive traffic to some of your content. How valuable is that? Nope, hard to say. Now, somebody else is going to do a webinar. They have registered send participants.

[00:18:49] How valuable is that? And I’m going to do maybe some admin emails in some ads, and those are going to drive some responses and some clicks. How valuable is that? And comparing those together is hard because you have different types of leads or engaged profiles of customers, um, at different steps of the funnel and those, uh, experiments have, uh, Cost different amounts of time and budgets.

[00:19:16] So the impossible to compare, unless you find a way to aggregate or simplify down that to a unique metric, that’s what I’ve done. And so by using some simple, um, lead scoring models, uh, for casting models, we convert all of the engagement metrics into future revenue. It’s it’s just all those. Okay. And the future revenue has a multiplication of factor based on likelihood for any given prospect based on their engagement, based on their size to convert at a future date at the future percentage and a future ACV.

[00:19:55] And so my, my entire team, it looks only at future revenue and that helps us a lot decide to what’s the roadmap. Where’s the highest lift to be had. And also, where is it most cost efficient?

[00:20:13] Kevin: [00:20:13] Is there a specific model you apply to that new forecasting? There we go.

[00:20:18] Guillaume: [00:20:18] Yes. So I can do a plug for my friends.

[00:20:20] I’ve met kudu who do that. Um, and they do that pretty well. And they actually building in that direction of helping companies understand what is the money that’s definitely the table and just simplify all of those metrics into revenue. Um, And that I think is the easiest way to think about it. Otherwise, any.

[00:20:40] And he did that. Scientists can help you out.

[00:20:42] Kevin: [00:20:42] It makes perfect sense. Um, so in terms of frameworks, do you still use Evelyn? I saw a couple of presentations where you mentioned, uh, Evelyn from, uh, Dario’s from, um, I think it was from Dropbox. Um, and, uh, if you still use it, have you adapted the process over time?

[00:20:59] So,

[00:21:00] Guillaume: [00:21:00] yeah, I, I still use, uh, Evelyn who was greeted by a daughter’s contractor. Who’s now a head of growth at, uh, Our table. And so he created Evelyn, which stands for, um, experiments velocity engine, uh, when he was at Dropbox and I’ve made some adaptations. I think the adaptation is exactly relevant to what we said just before the standard.

[00:21:22] Evelyn evaluates a project and ideas based on the point based system, uh, both for effort and for, uh, and for returns for revenue. I transform everything into revenue. Okay. I transformed the, uh, the future impact into revenue and that transformed the cost into dollar base cost. And so that’s, that’s, what’s, uh, very different.

[00:21:49] And the reason why it’s different is that it helps us, um, prioritize sort the ideas by future revenue impact. That’s the first thing. The second thing why it’s very important is that, um, the reason why I was attracted to Evelyn is because of the challenges I’ve had in my past roles as head of growth in communicating upwards to the CEOs, what I was working on, why I was working on it, I know what was my impact going to be in the future because in a high growth company, CEOs want to know, gee.

[00:22:22] What’s what’s your impact gonna be now? Sure. But like, what’s a headcount. Do you need next quarter or next year? And is how do you justify that head count? What’s the impact and the meat. And I said like, I mean, it’s experiments, like things could fail. I don’t know. And I realize that’s not a valid answer.

[00:22:40] Right with Evelyn, with the adaptation of making it a future revenue based, I can commit to future revenue like a sales leader does that’s the important parallel I work exactly like a sales team. You think of a sales team, they have prospects, leads, deals. If you want. And everybody understands, some of those are going to close and some of those are not going to close.

[00:23:03] Right? No sales team has a closer to a hundred percent. My experiments, exactly the same thing. I have a close rate. No, maybe affect 30%. Right. And when you’re a sales leader, the deals take time to convert into revenue. Same for my experiments and this kind of like a linear path between the number of deals your team can work and the revenue.

[00:23:25] Right. And that’s about the same for myself.

[00:23:27] Kevin: [00:23:27] Yeah. I love that framework. I think he can, you couldn’t apply to almost anything in marketing really. Right. I think maybe be for performance marketing, there’s a little kind of more rigidity and forecastability right. But even. To us, you always see a huge potential to create something like that because in essence, SEO projects have become almost like growth experiments, right?

[00:23:48] Where you place a bet. So you cannot guarantee the outcome, but he can get a rough idea and the art is tying it to revenue.

[00:23:54] Guillaume: [00:23:54] Yeah. And you’re more of, yes, you export the night. For sure. I don’t know if it’s possible to adapt it. This, this, uh, framework requires and, you know, I’m, I’m happy to share some screenshots.

[00:24:08] Um, but uh, this framework requires the ability to measure the impact. Um, Of the experiments. And so you need to be able to do that. And that brings us back to the topic of attribution and then some other things for which, which, which are complicated. Alright. Um, but I’ve done some estimates are for SEO related projects by using Clearbit reveal and things like that.

[00:24:28] So it always.

[00:24:30] Kevin: [00:24:30] For a hundred, a hundred percent. Right? I think, I think there’s, I think, I think it’s possible. I agree with you. It’s it’s tricky. But I also think that as SEOs, we tend to be very lazy in that, and that is our, um, that is our Achilles heel, you know, like the best idea dies if you cannot really.

[00:24:45] Say w how much impact it could potentially have. How do you think about growth experiments? What would she say is a good experiment? What is a bad experiment and not about the thing you actually test, but more in the way that it is said? Yeah.

[00:25:00] Guillaume: [00:25:00] So if you go back to the first principles of growth, The principle is that you are an experimentation team.

[00:25:09] You’re there to find things that are not obvious. Okay. If you’re working on obvious problems, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. It means your marketing team and you can’t fail. And that is also a question of mindset. If failure is not possible in your role in your company. And that’s not growth. That is marketing.

[00:25:30] That is product. And that’s it. It’s, that’s not bad. It’s just very different. Okay. So you need to be, you need to think about, about the thing. And so when you think about experiments, is this something that has no, that we don’t know what the outcome is going to be with the height of certainty? If you do know, give that to a team who is going to do it well with near perfection, because we already know the future impacts.

[00:25:53] In my case, I. Don’t know. And when I don’t know that changes a few things. I want to cut corners. I want to build an MVP. So the cost of learning the information is low because that is what is going to enable me to ship more experiments in the future, right. Faster and have higher impact. Again, think like a VC.

[00:26:18] I’m an angel VC of experiments. All right. I can put all my bets in one startup. All right. I can put all my bits in one experiment. One of them is going to work out out of 10 maybe, and that is we’re going to put the investment. So when you think of experiments set up very often, the experiment is too big.

[00:26:38] Okay. Takes too long. So there’s too much investments which increases the risk. Okay. And the, uh, too many hypothesis. Which are, uh, not broken down to small pieces. So very often when my team brings me something just, Hey, we have this nice big project we’re going to, we’ll send like Alabama emails. We’re going to bring some customization with high pricing, some data sets from here and there.

[00:27:01] I’m like, cool. What’s the hypothesis. And they said, well, the hypothesis is we customize personalize the email, we get high response rates. I say, how have we tested that? How can we test it? Is there a way that we can test it without doing a three week sprint of investments? Right. And I say, well, can we have an SDR?

[00:27:19] Do it for us. All right. Manually, I don’t care. Like spend three days doing it altogether. Right. And we’ll, we’ll find out. And if the hypothesis proven then build it. And very often they will break down and expand in to the underlying components of metrics. Hypothesis is the lift possible

[00:27:40] Kevin: [00:27:40] that that says everything. I think you really need to know about growth, experiments and about like go and go and the way to run them. Can you talk a little bit about what the most surprising experiments is you ever run or maybe what are the most successful ones? Hmm.

[00:27:59] Guillaume: [00:27:59] I think if we, what is insightful for the audience is giving samples of how I’m able to create value, where most people don’t see value.

[00:28:08] Uh, I’ll give you one very recent. Um, our done emails, people generally think about animals, horrible, and like they are destruction of value. You destroy the time of many people to get the intent of a very few. And that’s true for most of our emails. If you go back to the product that I’m helping with right now, gorgeous, this is helped us for e-commerce.

[00:28:32] Uh, we have a, uh, strategy, uh, which is around scraping, uh, the ups and FedEx websites to find out, uh, which, uh, zip codes with geographies in the U S um, have, uh, service interruptions for package deliveries. Right because of snowstorm or whatever. Right. We, in parallel, I have built a database of all e-commerce warehouses and, and, uh, uh, headquarters, uh, headquarters companies.

[00:29:04] Right. And we will overlay one or the other in the database, and then we will send out emails and we’ll say, Hey, Kevin, Um, I don’t know if you’re aware, but like it’s likely that your deliveries are going to be impacted by severe delays in the next coming days, which means your customers are going to be asking about the packages and the deliveries and they get again, more tickets.

[00:29:25] Are you ready for that? And most of the time Kim is going to say, geez, I didn’t realize. Thanks. All right. That is value. This email is valuable in itself. Okay. And I’m not, or knowing them try and pitching them, asking for a demo. That’s the only thing I’m doing. Okay. That’s one example. I’ll give you another example at drift.

[00:29:48] Drift is a live chat. It’s a it’s it’s, it’s a chat bot, the live chats for salespeople to drive demos, but the underlying hypothesis of drift is moving people from your website faster to the sales conversation. Increases conversion rates. So skip the demo form. That’s the end hypothesis. What my team built was a, um, a system called get my response time, where we had a combination of freelancers technologies and crawlers that would dynamically request a demo from our prospect’s websites.

[00:30:24] Timestamp that and measure the time that’s esteem talk to respond, and then we’d inject in the outbound email. And we saw it in the CRM for sales team where that website was compelled to their industry standard. And we say, Hey, Kevin, your team took about eight hours to respond to a qualified request from a company of 200 who in your market.

[00:30:46] And just letting you know, if you cut that in half, you would probably increase your conversions by about 20 to 30%. And then Kevin’s the VP of sales like, Oh, there’s no way my team responds in eight hours. Well, here’s a demo request. Just email. We’ve got, do you want to try again? And Kevin, we’ll try again and again.

[00:31:03] Now the third time, say, Hey, like maybe we should talk. All right. And we have VPs of sales, just like ping around the new round of this thing. Again. Creation of value. Front loading. The cost requires engineering, great experience, not to debit my product. So those are the, the key things that I want to impact.

[00:31:22] Kevin: [00:31:22] Thanks for that. Um,  so much, so much, so many value bombs that you dropped here. Um, I want to finish with a couple of rapid fire questions. Are you getting for

[00:31:33] Guillaume: [00:31:33] that? I’m always ready for that.

[00:31:35] Kevin: [00:31:35] Awesome. First one, what do you think is your zone of genius?

[00:31:41] Guillaume: [00:31:41] Hmm.

[00:31:46] Uh, I’m um, stacking technology together, connecting technology together. I’m a plum of the internet.

[00:31:54] Kevin: [00:31:54] I love that term. Um, what have you changed your mind about in the recent years?

[00:32:02] Guillaume: [00:32:02] Hmm, there is more value in empowering my teams. Then in doing it myself, as I’ve gone into being a manager, I’ve realized that

[00:32:14] Kevin: [00:32:14] it’s a million dollar lesson.

[00:32:17] Um, how has failure set you up for success?

[00:32:21] Guillaume: [00:32:21] I’m a master. I show I have failed more often than most people. Um, I, for better or worse, I’m somebody with many regrets. People say, Oh, you should never have a graduation. I love having regrets, regrets, inform me about the mistakes I’ve made in the past. And remind me why should not be making the same mistakes again, I am a man full of regrets.

[00:32:47] Kevin: [00:32:47] Powerful. What do you read regularly?

[00:32:52] Guillaume: [00:32:52] Um, I read a lot about, um, I’d say, uh, how the, uh, behavioral, or you could call it like psychology or things in that, in that direction to understand how people work. I often put myself as, um, outside of the, uh, uh, bubble of humans. Like there’s all the humans and there’s G who’s like halfway between the humans and the aliens.

[00:33:21] And I’m trying to understand as an anthropologist, what are those humans doing? Why do they work like that? Right. It’s very important to extract yourself from that bubble to understand, like, if you an anthropologist and trying to understand why do this population operate like that? It helps you turn doing good marketing.

[00:33:42] Do you have a favorite book that

[00:33:43] Kevin: [00:33:43] you can recommend

[00:33:43] Guillaume: [00:33:43] about that? I don’t have books. I mean, the, the, uh, uh, the obvious book there is the, uh, the book from a child Deni, um, influence, uh, which people might not realize, but it is exactly about that. It is the underlying things that influence people to act in a specific way.

[00:34:01] Um, and if we’re talking about books, I can’t be talking about books and not plug one of my favorite uncommon. Uh, I’d see a management books, which is a Shackleton’s voyage, uh, the, uh, Irish Explorer, uh, Ernest Shackleton, um, and, uh, leadership lessons from, uh, uh, miserably failing, um, in the, uh, venture to success.

[00:34:24] But succeeding once failure has set. All right. That is the most important lesson is that failure comes often in how you react in the face of failure is important. People always say, Oh, like this person has succeeded, but that is like a post analysis. All right. What’s important is that failure happens more often than success.

[00:34:42] All right. So how you react in the face of failure makes you the leader, not the opposite.

[00:34:47] Kevin: [00:34:47] And that is a lesson that I, that I think a lot of successful people have really embraced. Uh, one of my favorites is Ray Dalio where he, uh, I think his formula is pain plus reflection equals success. And it’s the same concept.

[00:35:00] It’s the same idea. That’s question. Who do you look up to or who are several people you look up to?

[00:35:10] Guillaume: [00:35:10] That’s interesting. Um, Hmm. The thing is that I’m inspired a lot by that people who I don’t want to, I don’t want to be like them, but I still do admire them. So, I mean, I worked at Apple for five years and I met Steve twice.

[00:35:27] Once when I was a kid, I was like 14 and another one where I was 18 years old. And. By all aspects. He was a horrible person and a horrible manager, but by all aspects, he was a genius too. And I think, and I’ve, I’ve been, uh, countless like events, uh, employee events where I could hear him. And I had a deep admiration for his genius and his ability to focus efforts in one direction.

[00:35:55] Ignore the current state of school. Uh, It’s something that I think about often. All right. How can you change the current market understanding of how things operate, change them committee to change the game, right? Like, and that for me is important. And if you look at Apple, their strength is changing the game.

[00:36:23] That’s what I wanted to do. I’m not going to win in somebody else’s game. That’s not what I do.

[00:36:29] Kevin: [00:36:29] Do you think that had something to do with how you develop this mindset for risk-taking and maybe diversification?

[00:36:38] Guillaume: [00:36:38] Yeah. I mean, I’ve always wanted to do things differently. I always do things differently. And in all aspects of life, you going to see me skiing on slopes.

[00:36:45] You won’t see me with regular skis. You see me like, I, I, I enjoy trying to do things differently than other people. Um, not so much the, because I, I hate, I deeply hate having the impression that I’m a sheep. And with other sheep that I hate that, and that might not be true. I don’t mean to, that should be disrespectful to most people.

[00:37:07] Like I just, I can’t be doing things like others do. It’s impossible. I hate it. And so that forces my actions for better or worse sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse.

[00:37:19] Kevin: [00:37:19] Because you’re diversifying you’re, you’re not feeling that sense. So,

[00:37:23] Guillaume: [00:37:23] well, I’m a marketer. So you’ve got to understand that I market the successes because especially in the U S people crave for successes, they want to see all the, but most often people don’t see that the successes are one out of 10.

[00:37:38] Of course I market their successes, but you don’t see the calculus failures. But I have had to work, develop in and invest time and effort and money into,

[00:37:50] Kevin: [00:37:50] right, right. Hey, I think we became perfectly full circle. Right? We, we started with the, uh, the, your mindset we ended with your mindset. I think there’s, there’s no better way to wrap this whole thing up.

[00:38:02] Uh, so I want to, I want to agree. I want to thank you very much for your. Time deeply appreciate you, man. Um, also because you make the game better for everyone, right. And you share knowledge and, um, they come on podcasts like mine to tell people, um, how will master things operate so huge. Thank you for that.

[00:38:20] Um, where can people find and follow you,

[00:38:23] Guillaume: [00:38:23] uh, on LinkedIn? Um, and on Twitter, LinkedIn is probably the safest.

[00:38:29] Kevin: [00:38:29] Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on.

[00:38:31] Guillaume: [00:38:31] Thanks for having me, Kevin. [00:38:33] Kevin: [00:38:33] Man. That was fun. That was amazing, man.

Timestamps

0:00 Introduction

1:23 Be the VC of your time

4:28 The risk-taker and tinkerer mindset

8:57 The first things Guillaume would look at when growing a company with strong PMF

12:18 When to be CAC-efficient and when not

15:16 Building a Growth roadmap

17:32 The master’s tools

20:43 EVELYN – Experiment Velocity Engine Lifting Your Numbers

24:49 What distinguishes good from bad experiments

27:47 Creating value where others don’t see value

31:36 Guillaume’s Zone of Genius

31:56 Teams > Self

32:16 How failure set Guillaume up for success