Guest

19

"I think that a lot of people need permission to succeed. But it’s like, wait a minute, you didn't even need the permission to begin with, go act that way. Those are the people who end up getting promoted."

In this episode

In episode 19, Patrick Campbell reflects on his journey as a first-time founder and manager.  

You will hear about Patrick’s early career-building days working at Google and the US Defence Department, as well as what life was like when he decided to go all-in and build ProfitWell in 2012. 

Patrick is the Founder and CEO of ProfitWell, the software company that helps subscription model businesses like Canva, MasterClass, Classpass, Vice and Prezi (and more) with their monetization and retention strategies. 

Tune in to learn about the importance of building a culture of feedback and what it means to be a “mission-driven” company.

Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.


03:42

Patrick’s first time managing a team.

05:10

Why Patrick disliked the first manager he ever had.

08:41

Helping your team connect the dots, as a manager.

10:40

Act like you have the role that you want.

11:27

You don’t need permission to succeed.

13:04

Working at the US Department of Defense VS a tech company.

15:34

Why being connected to a mission makes for more impactful, connected work.

17:43

The early days of building ProfitWell.

20:51

What it means to have a mission-driven culture

23:42

Can your culture affect your team’s performance?

24:03

Your company culture (DNA) is found in your first 20 employees.

25:49

Being too accommodating as a manager and leader.

29:27

Why feedback should be a non-negotiable.


Resources

  • SaaS North Conference
  • Patrick’s book recommendation for building a strong culture at work, Powerful by Patty McCord
  • Follow Patrick on Twitter, to continue learning about #SaaS and  #DTC subscription based companies

Episode Transcript

Aydin Mirzaee  1:57

Patrick, welcome to the show.

Patrick Campbell 1:59  

Yeah, thanks for having me, man. Excited. It’s been a while since I’ve been in Ottawa. So is that where you’re based? Or is it? Is that just where you go for the SaaS North conference?

Aydin Mirzaee  2:09  

You know, that’s a good question. So actually, yes. All right. Most of our employees are located in Ottawa. So we definitely did do a lot of traveling before all of this. But, of course, now more homebound.

Patrick Campbell 2:22

Ottawa is actually the first city I ever visited in Canada, which feels weird, I think. But I grew up in Northern Wisconsin. So even when I went to like Boundary Waters up in Northern Minnesota, I wasn’t, I wasn’t dipping into Canada. So yeah, those are my Canadian fun facts, basically.

Aydin Mirzaee 2:39  

So you know, one of the things that was really exciting for us to chat with you today about was, you know, you are well known in the world of SAAS for being kind of a thought leader around pricing, you know, start starting off, you know, you guys were called Price Intelligently before… you rebranded, we’ve seen you at all sorts of SAAS conferences. But also you have a really interesting, you know, background, you know, you obviously started your career off working at Starbucks, you did things at Google, you were at the US Department of Defense. So you have a pretty diverse background. And obviously, like you’ve really grown your current company to a very sizable portion. So very excited to talk about things that you’ve generally never talked about in a public sort of audience setting and really just diving in on on your leadership and management concepts. So you know, to kick things off, what was the first time that you ever managed the team?

Patrick Campbell 3:37  

That is a great question. I’m gonna have to think a second on that. I think if  I take the definition loosely. It was when I was very young. There was, you know, when we were doing like, lemonade stands and stuff like that actually had this, this really interesting, animal cracker little ring going and in elementary school, where, you know, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t want to make my own lunch, my parents worked a lot, very blue collar. And so, you know, we were responsible for making our own lunches even really early on. And so I would just bring a giant bag of animal crackers and like trade with everyone. And then it turned into a little bit of a cartel and it was kind of interesting in like, third or fourth grade, but I think, you know, kind of jokes or traveler stories aside, I think the first time I ever managed a team very directly, was actually at profitwell.

So prior to this, I had, you know, managed without authority, I guess, is the best way to put it. So I had managed, you know, in training people when I worked at culvers back in the day, which was like, my first kind of official job, and then at Starbucks when I was a barista, you know, that kind of thing. But yeah, no formal management until until profitwell, which has been, which is, you know, I guess, seven and a half years now. So that’s, that’s my experience level of management.

Aydin Mirzaee 4:53  

Cool. And so I guess like when you first started, I mean, you know, taking a lot of lessons from places that you’ve been at before, who would you say is the kind of manager or leader that you looked up to? You know, before ProfitWell.

Patrick Campbell  5:10  

I actually hated the best manager I ever had. And like, hates a strong word. So it’s probably not actually hated, but I actually at the time, really did not like this manager. Or maybe I didn’t respect him. I actually liked hanging out with him as a human, I think it was more. There’s this guy named, his name is Duran Derwin. And he runs. He runs, basically, I think, part of people ops or learning development at stripe now. But I was at Google, he was my manager, and I have this blog post I haven’t published yet. But you know, when I say I’m publishing it, I’ve been working on it for like, three years now. And basically was, like, I hated the best manager I ever had. And the reason I loved her and so much content, or in hindsight, is, like, I was a young punk kid, you know, when I worked at Google, which is where he was my manager.

And, you know, I just didn’t appreciate all the things that he was actually trying to help me to do. He was trying to help me, like, you know, live my authentic self, he was trying to help me, you know, find work life balance, but like, find my strengths. He was trying to help me, like, do all these things that a manager should do. It’s just when I was a young punk kid, I was like, No, my manager should be focused on how do I get promoted, and how I do these things, and all these other stuff, right, like very immature thinking. And it wasn’t until I started painting people and started realizing, wow, like I did not appreciate, like, how important the stuff that he was trying to teach me was, and I didn’t appreciate how much like that stuff that he’s trying to show me was so important to being successful.

And so yeah, that’s one of the best managers I think I’ve ever had. And I did not appreciate it at the time. So I definitely didn’t get as much out of it. And there have been other leaders like people that I didn’t have direct contact with that I really like respect. And I think I’ve learned a lot just by observing or interviewing. But yeah, that was, you know, he’s the best manager I’ve ever had. And I definitely didn’t appreciate it. So if you ever listen or watch this, you know, shout out to Ron, you mean, mean, a lot to me, even though we haven’t talked to him? You know, gosh, five to 10 years.

Aydin Mirzaee 7:03  

That’s super interesting. I’m curious. So this concept of, you know, what you thought he should do? So maybe you can elaborate a bit more on that? Because I think that’s that’s instructive as well. Because, you know, people out there are also going to have, I guess, people on their team that may have the same Exactly. And so like, how do you how do you manage a young?

Patrick Campbell 7:26  

Yeah, young punk kids are not an age thing. Like there are 40 year old, young punk kids, I think, I think it’s one of those things where you it’s very similar to the, hey, what do you want to do? Like, when you ask someone who’s early in the career, I want to be a manager, they don’t understand what that means. Like, it’s very hard to understand what I mean, do you think it’s more money and you’re a boss, and you get to you get more opportunity, and that unlocks your ability to do cool things. And in reality, at least for you know, most of us who are going to be listening to this, like who are in a pretty blessed position where, you know, we don’t have to dig ditches or you know, work at coffee shops, we can build tech companies and things like that, I think that we we have this vision of what our career should look like, especially as like a millennial, or Gen Z, where we should just be going, going going, and every six months, we should get a promotion, because we’re really smart. We work hard, right? And I think that that was like my very immature mindset.

When I started working at Google, and I was surrounded, and there’s a little bit there’s a lot of insecurity there, because I was like the only non Ivy League kid on my team. And I was like, you know, very emotionally raw for for a whole host of reasons. And so I think that, you know, advice is to help that person realize that you’re trying to help them and help connect the dots. And I think that, no matter what Duran would have said, I wouldn’t have been able to connect the dots, you know, because I was just like, too stubborn. But I think that if you can help people connect the dots as to pay these things that we’re working on. And you actually have a manager who takes very conscious investment into the well being and the overall development of that person.

What that allows you to do is that allows you to basically, you know, basically kind of take, take that conception that people have of what management is and what a job is, and kind of shape it and kind of break those, you know, those chains, if you will, of, you know, oh, I have the student teacher relationship that is a very top down and things like that, because that’s really the only concept A lot of people have when it comes to management.

Aydin Mirzaee  9:26  

Yeah, and it’s super interesting, and I can kind of relate. I feel like I was in a similar position. I had this job at my first, I would call it my first real job. It was at this company called Nortel, Nortel. So this was back in like early.com land that this massive company like $200 billion dollar company, and I had this manager named Chantel and I remember basically being upset why I wasn’t getting promoted and this was a person that was like many levels above me and she just got promoted into another position. And I guess like, I was like, Oh, um, I’ve only been here for three months, but I hope like for your job, which is like an incredibly immature thing to do, but she actually gave me some advice, which, which I thought was incredibly valuable.

She said that, you know, in order to like, if you want to advance your career within a company, I mean, the best thing that you can do is act as if you’re at that next level, like behave as if you’re at that next level, and then you know, the rest will come. But it’s, but it’s not don’t expect a promotion, you know, before any of this stuff. And I thought that was incredibly valuable. And so I’ll never forget that scenario.

Patrick Campbell 10:41  

Well, that’s a really, that’s a really frustrating thing for a lot of people, right. And I was frustrated with this just like, like a lot of people and I had this I had a conversation like this literally in the last week, which was, Oh, well, I can’t do that, because I don’t have the role. And I was like, why? Like, you know, and it’s, it’s this conditioning, that I think that, you know, a lot of folks have had for at least 18 years, you know, if they just went through, you know, straight through secondary or high school, and then probably kind of continued if they if they went into, let’s just say non contemporary jobs, right. Like, if you work if you work in a very, like, hospitality environments, it’s very top down, it’s like, do your thing. And yes, it isn’t necessarily as top down is probably always think, but it is, you know, if you work for a tech company, like, you know, you’re looked at more of an equal as anything, right. And I think that a lot of people, they, they have this concept of, they need permission to succeed.

And ironically, they’re like, well, I’m already being successful. So I should just get this permission. It’s like, wait a minute, you didn’t even need the permission to begin with go act that way. And those are the people who end up getting those jobs. Because then as a manager, I feel bad. I’m like, Oh, my gosh, we’re gonna lose this person, because it’s so fantastic. Like, let’s get them promoted. Let’s do that. And, really, there’s a balance there. But I think it’s one of those things that we’re breaking with this new wave in this new generation of work, we’re really breaking this concept of what it means to be a team member, and what it means to be a manager and what it means to be a leader.

And I think that that’s one of those things that we miss out on a lot is, you know, we get a lot of advice from like our parents and things, and they were just in a very different work environment than we are.

Aydin Mirzaee 12:10  

Yeah, and, you know, it’s one of those things, because you can obviously define a manager or leader and a bunch of different ways. But I think that, you know, one of the things is that leaders probably, I mean, they don’t wait to be given a particular role or responsibility, they just act. And I think that’s a very core element that I think, you know, one should internalize, we may fall into the same trap, even going forward. Like, just because you’re a leader at a company today doesn’t mean that you can’t still act as at the next level.

One question I was going to ask you, though, was you spending time at the department of defense? How are things there versus, obviously, at tech companies? I mean, I like to think that tech companies tend to come up with like, really funky, cool, new things to do. But how much of that is different in the way that I guess, leaders behave here? versus there? I think

Patrick Campbell 13:05  

That’s a great question. I think I’ve never really reflected on that. So that’s really good. I think that when you work for, and it works for the intelligence community, and so it wants the government. So it’s super bureaucratic. There’s a lot of like, top down rules and bureaucracies and then there’s like, some decentralization, just by the nature of working in intelligence, you, you know, can talk to, you know, someone across the hall about your work, but probably can’t give them details, because they don’t have the same clearances and things like that. I think that it was one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve ever had, because of the mission focus. You were literally, you know, saving lives in a lot of ways, which is kind of crazy and quite literally doing that, as well as kind of supporting that. But I think that it was, it was different in the sense that there it was about the work. And it was about learning and the truth and development. And then there was all this other stuff that got in your way of that, because it’s a giant bureaucracy.

And so for me, again, being a young punk kid, I was like, Oh, this isn’t moving fast enough for me, right. And also, I really like talking about my job. So it’d be really hard not to talk too much about my job to anyone, like my significant other, no one. And when I went to Google, it’s, it’s almost the same thing, but you lose the impact of the mission, right? Unless you’re working on something as super, super mission oriented. And there’s still a lot of this bureaucratic stuff, but they try to it’s not nefarious, but they try to distract you from it with a ton of perks. Right? So at the end of the day, you’re doing you know, I was I was selling AdWords, essentially. And then I was in sales and ops for AdWords, but, you know, still like, we’re not, you know, changing the world. Like all that moonshot stuffs over there. And we’re technically supporting it. But you’re so far from that, that you don’t necessarily feel it. You don’t feel like you know, the moonshots and things like that. And I think that when I realized and I went through, you know, there’s this thing called the Google depression because I started I got in and I got full of like, the sugar of like, Oh, this cool perks and I get to do all this cool stuff. There’s all this cool technology.

And then all of a sudden, it got to the point I was like, Oh, the work just really isn’t that fulfilling. It’s not that interesting. I’m spending like 40% of my time, like communication management and things like that. And it’s just if it was really compelling work and had to deal with that bureaucracy great, but because it’s not that compelling, here’s like all these perks and things like that. And so that’s kind of what led me led me to kind of leave it, the lesson that I took from it was, at the end of the day, and this is, very, just us, but it has been said many times before, the person has to be connected to some sort of mission, that you’re helping you’re managing your team member. Now that mission might not be they love the products, like they just might not be interested in a subscription analytics product, or a pricing product or some of our other products that we have.

But maybe they’re addicted to the growth of their own career, right, which I think is where a lot of like, you know, young folks, myself included, are very, very addicted to the growth of our career. And it’s really, really important to connect those dots, especially if you have that bureaucracy or especially if you have that that type of environment, because there’s not a there’s not a good, there’s no amount of perks in the world. And there probably are, but probably not enough that you’re willing to give where someone is willing to like kill like a really high performers willing to continue to work in that environment. Because at the end of the day, they’re motivated by that learning, they’re motivated by the truth or motivated that mission and they’re motivated by their own growth. Got it?

Aydin Mirzaee 16:23  

Yeah, no, that’s true. And like, I mean, and the best way to figure that stuff out is, is obviously to do a lot of asking. And so Totally, yeah. So I mean, those are the sort of conversations that I think I mean, they’re very important, because, obviously, I think a lot of people out there, hopefully have one on one type conversations with their team. But I think it’s really important to also make sure that there is a component of those where you get to actually talk about stuff like this. And it’s not just where’s this project that and why is this taking so long? And, you know, let me help you resolve this particular like, specific project related thing. I think that stuff is really, really important for for development.

So I guess one thing that I want to do is shift to profit while for a second, and just go back to the early days. So in the early days, you know, you started in 2014. And you made a decision to pay yourself 50 K, while living in Boston, which is, you know, not an easy thing to do in Boston is not an inexpensive city. Can you tell us about what you learned from that kind of an experience? And then doing that?

Patrick Campbell 17:43  

Yeah, it’s actually more dramatic than that. So I yeah, so I, we actually started in 2012. The profitable product, like there’s a long I know, this is not product podcast. So I’d have to get into like this in detail. But basically, we had one product in 2012. And then we started realizing there’s this greater mission. So we started the second product in 2014. And that’s where there’s a little bit of mismatch, but same company. And what was fascinating is I, I cashed in my 401k. So it was about like 14 grand, and then 10 grand after the tax cut in the states here. And what ended up happening is I basically went to zero for like my salary when we jumped in, and it was just me for nine months trying to like, get some revenue in some way. And what ended up happening then is I tried to push basically as much cash into the business as possible. And I was very fortunate, I had no student debt, you know, no dependents, no wife and kids, no partner, nothing like that.

And so within the nine months, I was able to bring on, you know, someone I can consider my co founder, this guy named Peter Zoto, who was going to lead like the sales and then and like myself, like, I think it was like a 36 grand a year salary just to like cover basically rent and just food. And that was about it. And the thing that we did, or I did, even Peter, is we basically try to keep every time that there was, you know, something that we had a decision between? Do we reinvest in the business? Do we do more in the business? Or do we like to give ourselves more salary, kind of because both of us were making, I wasn’t making an incredible amount of money, but I was definitely making more than double what I was making then. We always kind of chose the business. And that was probably not the smartest thing to do in certain places. Just in terms of my own trajectory, like I went to zero essentially, in my savings and everything. It wasn’t that much. I was like 25. So it wasn’t a lot.

But I think that it kept a focus on that mission. And I think it also like when we started hiring folks, it set a tempo, because I think there are some companies where, you know, and because they have to right like the CEO is, you know, making six figures, they raise money, but then they’re trying to hire people like a minimum price possible, and they’re driving their Tesla and they’re doing all this other stuff. And that’s a dynamic, I think is absolutely doable, but you have to be careful with like, some of the signal that it sends. And I think our signal in our DNA was mission mission, you know, revenue and or necessarily revenue, but like our own cash out of the business separately.

And then over time, what we’ve started to do is put, like actually like, hey, once we reach these milestones, we will adjust our salary or these types of things there. But yeah, I think it’s not a thing. I’m like, Oh, you have to do it this way. But it was more one of those things that I was just like, yeah, this seems like the right thing to do, at least at the time.

Aydin Mirzaee 20:37  

Yeah. Do you find that like, now, seven years later, or eight years later, that there are like, there’s still that story, as, you know, kind of like a story that goes around in the company that inspires a culture of like being mission driven?

Patrick Campbell 20:53  

Yeah, I think so. I think we don’t really talk about this, this aspect that much. But I think we just act this way, if that makes sense. So I think that we have this fascination with truth. And the truth is, you know, it’s rarely black and white, right? Like, anytime it’s black and white, it involves like, very scary things like body counts and stuff like that, right? You know, we’re making software and we’re trying to help other businesses, which is not, you know, black and white. Right. And so we have this mindset of like, you know, focus on the truth of what makes sense. And I think that that kind of permeated the culture. And that stems from, hey, well, what is the best thing for the mission?

Okay, well, the best thing for the mission is, you know, we should be disagreeable here, I should speak up, because that doesn’t look right. And I think it’s going to be a disaster, or I should speak up and, you know, kind of a challenge, you know, CEO on XYZ, or, you know, whatever. And it has some trade offs. Because I think that there’s a lot of places that we did not move quickly enough. Or we had to micromanage a lot, because it was, hey, we got to move quickly. And therefore, like, it’s gonna be quite top down, which has some ramifications, I think, for relationships with your team members. But I think it’s, it’s, it is something that’s really helped the company, because whenever there was someone who was a little too, like me focused, and we’re all me focus, and I’m not saying like, you shouldn’t own what you want. And that’s a big thing that we talk about with your team members. And first one on ones it’s like, What do you want? Like, what’s important to you? It’s totally fine if money is important to you, but like, let’s be honest about it isn’t money? Is it this, like, what are your trade all sorts of things, but whenever someone was, like, very me focused, or was all about them, they just didn’t they just don’t work out? And I don’t think they work on a lot of organizations, but I think you can, you can be that way in a corporate environment. Because, you know, there is kind of a clear separation between, you know, the identity of the corporate and the identity of the person. But, yeah, it’s been something that’s permeate the culture a lot.

Aydin Mirzaee 22:43  

Interesting. And and how far along were you at ProfitWell before like coming up with the the corporate values and actually writing those things down or like be explicitly communicating them?

Unknown Speaker  22:58  

Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s a tough question. Because I think that we’ve changed our values, like our values. And I think that I actually had kind of a funny story. And we had a really early hire. So this is like the third person. Like, after Peter and me, and, you know, kind of an intern Co Op. And, you know, he wasn’t doing well. And we were, thankfully, we’ve always been a culture of like, well, if that person is not doing well, it’s our fault, what’s going on? What’s going on? What’s going on? And then we started like going through, and we’re like, oh, we don’t know. And we’re trying these different things. So we just talked to him. And, you know, he, he, he said, and he’s young. And I think this was, you know, he might say this very differently now, you know, a bunch of years later, but he was like, Oh, well, the culture just doesn’t make me want to do X or make me want to do y. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, you know, first time founder, like, I screwed up, the culture is wrong, all sorts of things.

So I emailed Dharmesh Shah, you know, the co-founder of HubSpot, and said, hey, like, and I know him from some events in Boston, I was like, Hey, you know, I gave him the situation and he replied back, he’s like, that’s not what’s happening. Like the people, the first 20 people, that is your culture, there’s nothing on the wall is nothing. It’s just the DNA of the first 20 people, right. And he was basically saying, like, that guy’s DNA is different from your Peters. And it’s gonna be different than you and Peter, because he’s not a co founder, and that’s fine. But it’s, he’s just different to the point where he probably just shouldn’t shouldn’t be in that role. And you should try to find them another job, that kind of thing. And so what we did is I did write down, like, especially in hiring Peter and aligning on things and in the first like, few months, like I wrote down like a few, you know, a few like core tenants. But these have evolved massively over time.

We’ve written them probably three or four times I think the ones we have now are kind of fully baked now that we’re, you know, past, you know, 75 employees and things like that. But I think it’s been more of them that haven’t changed. They just have been codified differently to be more useful, if that makes sense.

Aydin Mirzaee 24:54  

Yeah, yeah, no, definitely. And that’s a great story, and very very truthful just like the first 20 employees actually defining the culture and everything surrounding that. Switching gears for a second, you know, as you guys are basically scaling the company, one of the things that in our research found that you have talked about is this call this concept of just dealing with different personalities as your company scales. Could you maybe talk a little bit about, you know, how you maybe change your management or leadership style, with different personalities. And like, if there’s a playbook or things that you’ve learned or mistakes that you’ve made that, you know, the audience can, can learn from?

Patrick Campbell  25:43  

Yeah, there’s two big thoughts that came to mind when you’re asking that. So the first one is, I was way too accommodating. When in the early years, and what I mean by that is, I, so I already kind of mentioned, I’m a pretty, like, pretty insecure upbringing, you know, abuse kid, bunch of other fun things. And so there’s this, this, this concept of belonging, and this concept of, like, you know, wanting to be like that, I think is probably been too important to me. And it’s slowly coming down in importance over the past, like two decades.

But I think it’s one of those things that’s like, super, super, like, it drives me and then there’s this other thing of like, you know, oh, I work is like a huge part of my identity. And so when you mix those two things, it means like, the people around me tend to just be my friends. Right? And that that’s hard, because it’s like, they’re not friends, you know, like, yes, some of them are friends, like for life, like my business partners, but like, the rest of them, they’re people that, you know, they’re gonna leave at some point, right? Like, you know, even if we do this until the day I die, like, you know, they’re probably gonna, like, statistically leave and go find another job and things like that. And so what happened, I think, in the early days, also, being a first time founder, is I think it was very accommodating. When people would say things like, when that guy said, oh, what’s the culture? I was like, Oh, no, it must be the culture, it must be my fault. Like, I need to make the culture better. And then realizing like, Oh, no, that’s not someone it is for three people, that can’t be what it is, right? And then, you know, there, there are other instances of that happening. And we tried to, you know, kind of accommodate those things. And what we noticed is that when you accommodate those things, you then alienate other people, because these, these accommodations end up being, you know, kind of trade offs with others, right.

So if we accommodate someone on one policy, or one thing that they want to do, then the other person is upset or something like that. And it’s not always dramatic. But you end up averaging out your culture, you end up averaging out your style, you end up averaging out your principles, because you’re basically trying to appease everybody. And so thankfully, you know, being somewhat of just a disagreeable person in general, like, you know, a bit skeptical of most things, but then also having a CPO, who is definitely higher on the disagreeable spectrum than I am, you know, he, he’s someone who just doesn’t accommodate and not in a terrible way, but just to some of these bigger things. He’s like, no, like, that’s, that shouldn’t be a policy or that type of thing. And so, we kind of evened out in a way of like, this is who we are, these are the things we really, really stand for, and making sure that we talk about those in the interview process. Like, hey, these might be non negotiables, we have a disagreeable culture. And that’s very different for folks. That doesn’t mean that’s licensed to be a jerk to people, it just means that anyone at any time could go up to anyone else and say, hey, why is this this way? I don’t think it should be this way. This could be better. And I know everyone kind of can, you know, say, oh, like, of course, that should be what it should be. But most cultures aren’t like that, right?

We have a lot of people come from corporates who are very surprised at how like different this is and how feedback we say feedback is non negotiable. It’s one of our axioms, right? And all of a sudden, they’re going from Yeah, we get feedback here. You know, what their past job to feedback is constant, it’s constant. And it’s not, in a mean way. It’s just a lot more than they’ve ever gotten it both positive and negative feedback, which is always good. So I think that was the first thing is, what are the stakes in the ground from a principles or a values perspective that we really care about? And then sticking to them, right?

We’re big believer, and you don’t write a ton of policies, we don’t want a lot of policies, we don’t want to say, Hey, don’t do this, do this. It’s more like you’re an adult, we’re going to treat you like an adult, if you’re not going to act like an adult. And we all don’t act like an adult every so often. You know, we’re gonna have a conversation and go from there. And then I think the second thing was, and this is I think, very, very tactical, is

Patrick Campbell  29:27  

everyone, like I said, feedback is a non-negotiable, right? Well, the way you want to receive feedback is different than I want to receive feedback is different than everyone else wants to receive feedback, right? And in the early days, I would just get feedback the same way to everybody. Right? And then you would have someone who was a little bit higher on the agreeable, you know, spectrum or was a little bit more timid or something like that. And even if we were just talking like this, and I was like, Hey, you know, you know, hey, Judy, I don’t really like I didn’t really think that look good. The thing that you did, right like if you’re disagreeable, you’re presumed like cool, like why? Right? And you’d be like, have a lot of conversation if you’re an introvert or designer or something like that. You just, I just crushed your soul. Totally unintentionally. I just crushed it. Right.

And so I think that was a big thing is like not being accommodating on the principles of the core tenants. But yes, being accommodating on everyone’s a little bit different. And now, you know, when I have a new person report to me, I, you know, we really go through and I say, how do you want to see feedback, and it’s not a game, it’s not a trick, like, you want it to be in a deck in bullets in closed door, session one on one, great if you’re a fire hose person, that’s totally fine. But, you know, really evaluate if you’re a fire hose person, because a lot of fire hose people, they’re, you know, they think they’re firehose people. And then they’re not when you know, something’s in front of someone, and they’re feeling insecure, or these types of things. And, you know, it goes down the whole gambit of like, you know, what’s important to you a bunch of different things so that I can be a better manager to them.

Aydin Mirzaee 30:48  

That’s awesome. I mean, so many great takeaways there. I mean, I love the feedback is non negotiable. And that’s a very eloquent way to put it, like, you know, the core tenants or non, you know, like are, those are the principles that we stick to. But you do make variations in terms of how you communicate things that like feedback to each different person. I think that’s and you kind of hinted at it that when an employee first starts, those are amongst the questions that you first asked them, like, how do you like to receive feedback and like actually going deep on that? That’s an incredibly valuable thing.

And I, you know, it’s one of the things that I think everybody should do, if they’re not doing it, if you haven’t had that conversation yet. That that’s a that’s a question that you need to ask in your next one on one. Two, Patrick, this has been incredibly valuable. I know that we’re coming to an end here. And so I just wanted to ask you about, you know, I know that two of the books that you’ve talked about in the past are things like high output management and radical candor, as like being good sources, are there other things that that you think, you know, aspiring leaders out there should should definitely indulge in or, or read or take part in?

Patrick Campbell  32:06  

Basically, anyone who starts they get a couple books, you know, to read, but the one that has to do with like culture and things like that, I recommend Patty McCord’s Powerful, or might be power, it’s, I believe it’s powerful. And the reason is, I think Netflix, and this is a little out of Vogue. It was in vogue a little bit for a while, but it’s out of Vogue, but I think it’s, I don’t want to say it’s like a brutalist view. It’s like so intense. It’s more just like a very, this is who we are, treat people like adults like that kind of like a mantra of like how to do people ops and culture and these types of things. And that’s, that’s the one that I think is most resonated with me and most resonated with our team. And we try to emulate you got to always make things your own and change things and take a little bit, don’t take everything. But that’s that’s the one that I would recommend for most folks.

Aydin Mirzaee  32:57  

Cool. And actually one that I haven’t read myself, so I will make sure to pick that out. Yeah, definitely. Patrick, thank you again, this has been awesome.

Patrick Campbell  33:06  

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me, man. And next time, hopefully, SaaS North comes back. Probably not this year to space on everything going crazy. But hopefully the following year, we can hang out.

Aydin Mirzaee  33:16  

Yeah, definitely. Thanks again.

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