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Ben Congleton CEO of Olark Top Tips for SAAS Founders

Ben Congleton CEO of Olark Top Tips for SAAS Founders | Ep. 166 | Business Podcast

Ben Congleton CEO of Olark Top Tips for SAAS Founders | Ep. 166 | Business Podcast

Ben Congleton CEO of Olark Top Tips for SAAS Founders
Ben Congleton CEO of Olark Top Tips for SAAS Founders

Summary

Ben and his co-founders of OLark graduated from the famous Y Combinator program in Silicon Valley with the opportunity to raise millions of dollars from investors.

They opted not to raise money and bootstrap their company.

A decade later OLark is a strong profitable SAAS company. 

In this episode you get Ben’s top tips. For the full story how Ben and the Olark team started the company, decided to turn town investors, bootstrapped the company and have been able to grow over the last decade, tune into episode #36.

Brandon: 

Hello Friends, welcome to the show. 

Today we are going back to episode number 32 where I had a really fun conversation with Ben Conga Latin, who is the founder of oh Lark and oh Lark was probably the first company to ever put that little chat in the right hand side of websites so that you could actually talk. 

And in the episode we talked about how to boot strap a company. Ben and a lark were a y Combinator company and actually turned down professional funding to go on their own path to bootstrap their company and they’ve been around for over a decade and are still thriving. 

You’ll love our episode at number 32 as a long time entrepreneur, you’re gonna love Benz three H. P. T. S. 

Here we go. Welcome to build the business success secrets. The only podcast that provides straight talk for entrepreneurs whether you’re an entrepreneur starting with an idea or growing your business. This show is for you, we’ll teach you how to build a strong mindset, powerful body and profitable business so you can achieve success and here’s your host Brandon. See White three H. 

P. T. S. High percentage tips from Ben to the entrepreneur community of anything from starting company growing company. 

What would those three hp Tsb Yeah, okay so thank you for asking about these events so I could be a little bit smarter about. 

Ben: 

So I felt like five minutes for thinking maybe maybe 30 seconds. 

So yes your H. P. T. S. One. I think you should probably read the book, Radical candor. I think radical candor is an amazing way of framing feedback. It’s written by a lady named kim scott that worked at google worked at Apple University and try to spin off kind of like a thought leadership company called Radical candidate. 

Brandon: 

But the book Radical Canada provides a really good framework of thinking about feedback and in particular what you want to do is you want to care a ton anyone challenge directly. 

Brandon: 

Like that’s the ideal quadrant of her. 

Brandon: 

Her little like feedback quadrant. 

Brandon: 

But within that book it talks a lot about how it’s important. 

Brandon: 

It’s in her opinion that she values direct obnoxious feedback more than kind of like a passive like like I think a lot of times people hold back I’m kind of speaking their mind and for like for fear they’re going to find the other person and her argument is based but it’s better to find other person, let them know what’s on your mind than it is to the insincere and just like shape that message. 

Brandon: 

And I love my wife. 

Brandon: 

Yes. 

Brandon: 

So like so like in in like like in that book I think that framing is like super valuable and it really residents there’s also a bunch of applicators apply lessons for management stuff in that book to tax a lot in well I want to wait before you go to to I want to cover myself because I said that’s why I love my wife not because she’s obnoxious because she’s honest with me and always gives me the straight feedback. 

Brandon: 

Number two, Ben. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, my wife is the same one also. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, amazing. 

Ben: 

In the same way. 

Brandon: 

Probably helping me learn a ton. 

Brandon: 

Exactly. 

Ben: 

Give me a framework to realize why kat was so awesome. 

Ben: 

But the gran to work. 

Brandon: 

So that’s fantastic. 

Brandon: 

That’s what you look for in a partner, a co worker a like I just wanted I didn’t want anybody thinking that. 

Brandon: 

I was saying my wife’s not with, my wife has made me a better person. 

Ben: 

No question about it. 

Ben: 

So number two, Ben. 

Ben: 

Number two. All right. So this is a useful lesson. 

Brandon: 

I think some people are very impatient and I think that they try to see things happen very quickly. 

Brandon: 

So like if you if you look in the metaphor of unease for this is the story analogy. So like basically we went through a Combinator back in those days, I think maybe there’s 28 other companies in our batch, something like that. 

Brandon: 

I would say all of those companies, maybe five are still alive right now operating. So that might be a slight exaggeration. But there’s like very few of those companies that bats are still alive right now and very few of them have and those that I’m counting our dead of them very few had good access. 

Brandon: 

So like you have to imagine like if you’re like running a race right? And you see these people they’re like way ahead of you and how they raised all this money there is killing it. 

Brandon: 

They may be running really fast at the beginning, but that does not mean long term success. 

Brandon: 

And I think that by focusing on customers creating value for customers on if you do that consistently and grow that that scales and that works and that will get you to where you want to be trying to like accelerate that process with a ton of money does not work for many people. 

Brandon: 

It may seem like it when you go out and you like read about a couple of successes, but if you imagine amount of money dumped into the sea versus amount of money to actually have huge successes. 

Brandon: 

Okay a few of these like giant you really, really like we work your Theranos is and you’re like there’s plenty of examples of companies to raise tons of money and like I think maybe didn’t provide the customer value that they, their investors thought they were going to get out of it. 

Brandon: 

That’s a great advice. 

Brandon: 

So so yeah, so I think they just think about that long term, be patient and don’t get caught up in that like like you have to move like super freaking fast to be successful. 

Brandon: 

I think like so many companies fail because they try to move too fast and they don’t try to get to try to go somewhere before they’re ready to be there and they just put themselves in a situation where they can’t win like for example like increasing your burn to the extent where now you got to lay off a ton of people to survive. 

Brandon: 

The act of laying off people is like incredibly depressing and the people that are still around, it’s going to be super depressing for them like it’s it’s hard times and you don’t you don’t have to, you can avoid putting yourself in a situation like that. 

Brandon: 

Just one small example and then my last my last piece of advice is to think about, I like to call them kind of feedback loops like around sort of listening, learning and improving and I think you can apply these like this like that framing of basically any situation, you can apply it to customers right? 

Brandon: 

Like come up some process where you can listen right, actually hear what people are saying, where you can learn like internalized what it is they’re saying like maybe consolidate a bunch of interviews, think of pattern and stuff like that and then improve, like actually act on that information to do something new. 

Brandon: 

So you can do it from a customer standpoint, you can do it from a management standpoint like listening to your employees or your reports and taking the time to learn and taking time. 

Brandon: 

It’s a craft like how this is going to lead to improvement and I think that just if you can like put that like framing in your head, it can be super valuable to approach problems in that way. 

Brandon: 

I think a lot of times people sort of try to like jump in really quickly to say like problem solution or they try to like move like pretty fast from just like oh here’s the problem here is immediate solution, not like yours, like fiber solutions just like that. 

Brandon: 

There’s another kind of like slow down think before you act and then my bonus tip bonus go for feedback is super important and there was a very straightforward way to look at it. 

Brandon: 

I think a lot of times people especially uh engineers and the way you interact and provide feedback over say like positive feedback in particular. 

Brandon: 

Lot of times people will be like, oh like I don’t know, Brandon plus plots like in a channel or bot like Okarma goes up that is shit feedback. 

Brandon: 

The good way to provide feedback is to say that like like Brandon the way that like when we hang out you’re like quite present and all that, your whole mind is on the conversation. 

Ben: 

It has like a very good impact on me because I enjoy it. 

Brandon: 

Like when we’re window that we’re like focus and we’re in it together, it makes me like, you know, respect you as a human being because it kind of helps, helps me feel seen and heard that’s very nice of you and you’re actually talking about this great, I’m told him and I think that like, and I think your candor also like the like your willingness to kind of speak and be vulnerable and have conversations like makes our relationship stronger. 

Brandon: 

And I think and what that does is it makes me believe that like, you do this and more relationships and it kind of shows me that like, you’re a real dude and makes me feel like I can like trust you in many ways, right? 

Brandon: 

So like guys, just so you know, likewise, that’s why you and I get along well. 

Brandon: 

But and I think the point that I’m making is like when you have, when you’re giving to you back cause more negative feedback. 

Brandon: 

I think it’s important to label like the behavior, what impact you perceive and an impact that that has on you and in the world. 

Brandon: 

And I think that if you can frame feedback like that, it can be it’s more work, but it’s incredibly powerful for the people to receive the feedback and you’ll get a lot of positive feedback yourself once you kind of don’t you think that that way. 

Brandon: 

And that applies both for negative feedback and thanks for being generous with your time and joining us for this episode of build a business success Secrets Before we go, Let me ask you a quick question, Are you the type of person who wanted to get 100% out of your time talent and ideas if so you’ll love our monthly built a business Success Secrets newsletter. 

Ben: 

It’s a monthly playbook about the inner game of building a successful business. 

Brandon: 

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Brandon: 

As a fellow entrepreneur who’s aiming for nothing short of success, you owe it to yourself to subscribe, check out the special offer with bonuses for you at be Success Secrets dot com. 

Ben: 

That’s B as in business success secrets dot com. 

Brandon: 

And until the next episode, remember you are just one business plan away. 

Brandon: 

I’m rooting for your success

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