SaaS Founder Interview with Patrícia Osorio, Co-Founder & CMO of Birdie
Birdie is an innovative startup that helps companies understand millions of consumers opinions, transforming unstructured data into actionable insights.
Tony Zayas 0:03
All right. Welcome, everybody. It’s another SaaS Founders Show. I’m Tony Zayas, your co-host, along with Andy. How are you doing, Andy?
Andy Halko 0:12
I’m doing well. It’s another snowy Wednesday here in good old Cleveland, Ohio.
Tony Zayas 0:17
Yes. I was wondering who your picks are for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2020 long.
Andy Halko 0:23
Oh, I don’t know. I mean, I’m such a big fan of, you know,
Tony Zayas 0:31
The Girl Goes, Carole King. Oh,
Andy Halko 0:32
The Girl Goes, exactly. That’s all. You got it perfectly.
Tony Zayas 0:36
Now. Those are my picks. So you can bandwagon with me?
Andy Halko 0:40
I will. I’ll be done with my signs, you know, in an hour or two?
Tony Zayas 0:45
Awesome. Real good! Well, we have an exciting show today. I will bring our guest on we have Lindsay Tjepkema from Casted. And Lindsay, how are you doing?
Lindsay Tjepkema 0:57
Awesome. It’s a snowy day here in Indianapolis to some
Tony Zayas 1:00
Andy? Okay. Very cool.
Andy Halko 1:02
So you’re right with us?
Lindsay Tjepkema 1:04
Yes, I’m right there with you.
Tony Zayas 1:06
Well, very cool. So to get started, I, we realize that you are formidable. You’re a mom to three boys.
Lindsay Tjepkema 1:16
Tony Zayas 1:17
So you are kind of a superwoman, and a CEO, Co-Founder of Casted. So I think to get started, we just love to hear a little bit about Casted And then we’ll dive in. We’d like to hear an origin story and all that kind of stuff. But just a little bit about what Casted is all about.
Lindsay Tjepkema 1:34
Sounds good. Yeah. So Casted, we are the first and only amplified marketing platform, meaning that we are helping marketers to take the power of podcasting, audio and video shows, like what we’re doing right now, and harness them as powerful marketing channels. I will get into my background, my origin story about how and why this came to be. But really, there wasn’t any software, there wasn’t any technology, there was a platform that serves specifically b2b marketers to harness shows, like this one, as lucrative marketing channels. Not only to build an audience, but also to really drive revenue. And so that’s what we’re here to do at Casted.
Andy Halko 2:16
Yeah, that’s really exciting. I, you know, the first thing I like to always start with is that origin story, you know, how did you get here? I’d love to hear about, you know, what did you do a little bit before? And what was the catalyst for getting into Casted?
Lindsay Tjepkema 2:34
Sure. Yeah. So I was a marketer 15 to 20 years in marketing, always B2B. I’ve been on the agency side, I’ve been on the company side, I have my own consulting practice for a while where I’ve worked with customers of my own, like LinkedIn and CVW to work on their content strategies and help them with execution. So I’ve seen content strategy, I’ve seen brand building for b2b from every angle over the course of nearly two decades, right? And right before starting Casted, I was at a large enterprise SaaS company was brought into, to run content strategy. Was the VP of content and brand. And started with no team and no engine just kind of was brought in to build it all up. To me, any brand, whether you’re B2B, B2C, or any other variation. The more human you can be, the better, right? The more human your brand is, the better. But specifically, in B2B, when you are representing something that’s it’s very corporate ,at times, and you’re selling other people that represent other corporations. Especially, you know, throughout the past couple of decades, it can feel very sterile. Sterile or very inhuman. And so the more you can bring personality and actual humaneness and authenticity, into the brand, the better it creates more trust. It creates relationships. And so that’s, that’s what I aim to do. And so I built up this team, built up this strategy and all through it, it was, you know, we need, we need to be constantly thinking about how we serve the humans and our audience, with real humans that they want to hear from. And so this was, this was in 2016, when I got started. And you know, podcasting was not new. Shows were not new, shows like this were not new, but they were really starting to take off and I said, okay, how can we harness the voices of experts, our customers, our partners, people in the space, our own thought leaders to harness those voices and get those out to our audience? Yes, in shows, but also through our other content, how can we also flow those voices and those unique perspectives out through, you know, blog content and social media and enabling our sales team. So we did that, it was great. And we had a lot of success. But again, like I said, Before, there was just there was no software to do this. There was no platform to help our teamwork the way we needed to work, measure what we needed to measure, and prove our impact. And so long story short, I set out to be the change I wanted to see. Since there was so much opportunity and doing, taking this approach to content marketing and Casted was born to help make it possible.
Tony Zayas 5:07
So quick question on that. So was that around 2016? When you really started focusing on using podcasting?
Lindsay Tjepkema 5:15
Yeah. So we, as part of the content strategy, were harnessing video, launched the podcast, I think it was early 2018, sort of planning in 2017. And yeah, and started Casted 2019.
Tony Zayas 5:29
So that’s great. What are some of the like hiccups and challenges you face? Because I feel like podcasting was like, sitting there for like, 10 years, and everyone thought like, this is going to be amazing. And a lot of the tools to make it happy to happen and make it simple to do like didn’t really exist. So what was your experience with that? Obviously, that, you know, you found that to be the case, since you’ve built a solution for.
Lindsay Tjepkema 5:54
Yeah, so yes, they’re definitely challenges. past life. I mean, they’re everything is in was other than Casted made for, you know, if we all want to start a podcast, or launch a show, in our spare time talking about something that we are is a big hobby, right? And the whole point is to build an audience and monetize it, to sell ads, right? That’s great! But that’s not what B2B brands especially, you know, mid-market, enterprise brands, aren’t looking to monetize an audience. I mean, Salesforce isn’t looking to sell ads, they don’t want Poo~Pourri ads in there, in their podcast, to make a buck, right? Like they want it to share thought leadership and build engagement with their audiences. And everything that existed was a little one-off tool and point solutions that weren’t made for me as a marketing leader, or for my team. And so yeah, that was the challenge that we wanted to overcome. And then, in getting started, we saw that this bet that I made that we weren’t alone that podcasting was huge. This is a huge opportunity. Lots of, lots and lots of companies were trying it and getting frustrated for the same reasons there was measurement is abysmal. And the way that you work is, is just really, really tough when it comes to podcasting. So, yeah.
Andy Halko 7:06
I’m always curious that, that initial stage, like, you know, that first month, did you… Are you a technical founder? Did you find co-founders? Did you, you know, raise money or do this while you were, you know, doing your current job? What did those first couple of months look like?
Lindsay Tjepkema 7:25
Sure. Um, I left that job and got started with this one. Had an actual break because I was starting a new job. We’re part of a venture studio. So it was kind of a little bit bootstrapping in a garage. So we got started there with a little bit of startup capital. And I found the two best co-founders on the planet: Adam Padrino, and Zachary Ballenger. My background, as I mentioned, is in marketing, so I, I was our audience, which gives me a lot of advantage. I think, having lived not for a short amount of time for you know, my entire career, is knowing their pain, knowing their motivations, knowing what drives them, even outside of our product just broadly. So that’s my background. Adam has a background, you know, a business school background, but also the handles the product side of the business. And he’s got engineering and design and business and knows how it all needs to work together to drive real value in real results. And Zachary heads up the entire revenue side of the business and is just has a really unique perspective on how not just new business but also existing business and marketing need to work together to be the tip of the spear. So yeah, the three of us work together and kind of cover all areas of the business and just hit the ground running hard from day one.
Andy Halko 8:36
That’s awesome. You know, we talk about it every once in a while on this show, but it sounds like you jump feet first into this. I’m curious about the emotional side of it, you know, what were the feelings of making this transition? And you know, how you felt about the business in the first couple months to the first year? What was the, you know, the emotion behind some of this?
Lindsay Tjepkema 9:02
Yeah, um, I think heading into it, like, choosing to leave my job as a marketing leader at a large company to go start a company and be a CEO, right? And then the first couple months of it, it was the juxtaposition between, I can’t imagine anyone else doing this, this is me, this is what I’ve, you know, been working my entire career for: is to be able to dive in headfirst into something that I am uniquely positioned to lead. And I am weirdly, weirdly passionate about right. I just I can’t even fathom the thought of anybody else leading this and wouldn’t this just be a dream to, what in the world am I doing? Like why would I? Why would I leave everything that I’ve been working for and this… This leadership position and where this path is taking me to go do this other thing. So it was a roller coaster, you know, like, I’m so excited. What am I doing? What am I doing? But I think you know, that was I think most of that fear, there’s that saying that says “Everything you’ve ever wanted on the other side of fear”. And so I think once I, once I made, made the leap, and started telling people that I was Leaving Cert and talking about it, it was like, No, this is gonna be this is gonna be amazing. And it’s been hard. It’s been real hard, but it’s been, I can’t imagine it any other way.
Andy Halko 10:19
That’s awesome. I love I can hear the passion in your voice. I love when people talk about passion. And that idea of there is no one else out there. Yeah, this idea. I mean, it’s such a, I mean, if you’re a founder, and you’re an entrepreneur, and you’re about to go on a journey, I feel like man, that is a great place to be mentally. And yes, it’s gonna waver. But yeah, that’s fantastic.
Lindsay Tjepkema 10:44
And it has to be. I think, if, if you… I’ve talked to a couple other founders that were like, it kind of same question like, How did you know? And I’m really freaked out? Like, should I do this? And the thing I always say to them is, what if you made the decision not to do this, and someone else started the company? If you can’t, if you can’t handle that, if you could not make up the next one, like, oh, somebody else, somebody else is doing it. That’s how you know you have to do it. If you can’t imagine somebody else doing it instead.
Andy Halko 11:15
Do you feel like you’ve been a risk taker? your entire life? Or you know, I always say that, you know, I started this business when I was 22. I’m 41. Now, you know, so I’ve done it for like, almost 20 years. And I always see my mindset is like Wily Coyote, as long as I keep moving forward and keep my head up, I don’t fall. You know, it’s one of those things, almost kind of, you know, that the dumbness of continuing to move forward no matter what happens. But also with that is risk. I’m curious about your life risk tolerance. And then, you know, was that easy, easily translated into starting a business?
Lindsay Tjepkema 11:56
You know, it’s funny is, I don’t think I realized, I know, I didn’t realize how competitive I am or how much slicker I am, until just a couple of years ago, until other people around me like my husband and friends that were like, I could never do what you’re doing or, like, What do you mean, you don’t think you’re competitive? It’s just, you’re the most competitive person I know. And it’s just, I think, when all you know, is yourself, it’s, it’s really easy to overlook some of the things that are just such a natural thing for you. So yeah, looking back from this vantage point, looking at, you know, the twists in the road, and the times where I was like, well, that’s not gonna work time to go bet on myself again. You know, it’s, that’s, that was just, I, what else was I gonna do? You know, I didn’t think of it as a risk at the time. But again, talking to friends and others that are like, I totally would have done this. And you did that. I mean, I got I got let go from from a job that was like, Hey, you know, we’re just, we’re not, we’re not willing to invest further in marketing. And instead of going and finding other job, I started the business, and not this one, but in the past life and death. You know, it’s, but then when that’s all you know,
Andy Halko 13:05
Lindsay Tjepkema 13:05
Andy Halko 13:06
You’ve done it before. That’s cool.
Lindsay Tjepkema 13:07
Yeah. Yeah. So…
Tony Zayas 13:10
So, quick question on, you know, your target audience. You’re focus, your solution is for B2B marketers. And that was you, right? So what advantage would you say that gives you? And how have you used having that role of being the audience, to create the messaging and the marketing and clarify, you know, how this, how Casted solves the challenges that are out there?
Lindsay Tjepkema 13:34
Sure, carefully. So I have the distinct advantage of having been in my customer shoes, but I also don’t want to make the mistake of assuming that I know what they know, right? Especially the further away I get from it, you know, so I haven’t been a marketing leader, as my single job for a year and a half now, right? And so I have to continue, and our whole company does have to continue to talk to our customers, ask our customers, ask our prospects, take the voice of the market, and, and really not take anything for granted. Because when you do that, that’s when you make a lot of mistakes. And so, my experience, although it is very, very deep, and I rely, I think your instinct, your gut instinct is data. It’s one data point. And so you know, I do haven’t gotten a customer gotten that’s where the vision comes from. And that’s where a lot of the messaging starts. And you know, this category that we’re creating we that’s that’s where it all originates, because that’s that’s my job in this role is to cast the vision and and to lead the team. But also really careful not assuming that I have the answers of our market because I’m not our market. I can relate to our market.
Tony Zayas 14:49
It’s a great perspective. Just going into that a little bit further. So what’s, what processes do you guys have in place to capture that customer feedback because I think that’s great. We talked about that a lot. Improvements and listening to the customer and understanding. So how does that work for you guys?
Lindsay Tjepkema 15:09
Yeah, I’m early on like the first few weeks that we were a company and it was just myself and Adam and Zachary. First thing that I did I spent 80-90% of my time talking to people, right? So just Hey, marketing person, friend that I know, friend of that friend, you know, just expanding the network, just talking to everyone who talked to us, saying. ‘Hey, have you started a podcast? Why? Why not? What’s your content strategy look like? Are you doing video and just asking a ton of questions, right? And those, it’s taking a lot of notes. And that came back to conversations among the three of us as founders around messaging, and around what we’re gonna build, right? Because I wanted to build this thing that needed to start with this thing. So what are we gonna build first? What does that look like? What does the MVP look like? So that was from day one and that was part of the foundation of who we are as company and fast forward to 19 months later, it looks like in conversations with existing customers, and feedback from prospects, you know, what are we hearing in those just initial calls about what is like, “Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe you’re doing this all the way to?” “Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t really-” That part. Like that’s really important feedback. And just continuing to share that as a team sharing that with product sharing, even support tickets with sales, and just making sure that we’re prioritizing the right things.
Andy Halko 16:27
That’s great. Have you to this point made any big pivots, whether it’s in ,you know, who you target? Or how the product works? or anything like that? Has there been any big ‘Aha!’ moments that have shifted your vision of where this is going?
Lindsay Tjepkema 16:43
Not yet. I’m heading into what ended up being, you know, the year that shall not be named with the pandemic. We talked about? What if, you know, what if? What if, you know, things don’t happen, what her plans don’t happen? What are some potential pivots we could make? Held off, but I’m glad that we did. Because last year ended up being solid for us just continuing down the path. But we had a few kind of like, really, we kind of go this way, or we can open it up this way. But we really largely believe just thanks to Adam and the way that he and his product team build things. It’s, it’s small doses, it’s like, okay, let’s timebox this, let’s invest this amount of time in this feature, roll it out, and not overdo it in case it doesn’t land the way we think it will. And so we’re kind of taking incremental steps, with really big vision and, you know, big goals and big vision and big milestones along the roadmap, but making sure that we’re taking it step by step so that if we do need to adjust, it’s taking a step to the side, as opposed to a big turn , so far.
Andy Halko 17:46
Yeah. Have you run any, any similar to the pivots? But have you run into any big mistakes that you’ve had to, you know, get around or really figure out so far, whether raising money or product, or any of that stuff?
Lindsay Tjepkema 18:04
You know, not huge, I mean, making mistakes every day. I mean, that’s how you learn, right? But I mean, we’re always experimenting with, you know, pricing and packaging, with how we talk about the product, with who we talk to, and how we, how we approach things. There have been a couple features that we that we built and rolled out that we were like, Oh, my gosh, this is gonna change everything. And it was like, you know, and then when it came back to you, I mean, I remember one in particular, where we rolled out a cool feature within the product, and it was audiograms. Right? So we launched audiograms, we were so excited, because everybody, we thought, for sure everyone’s gonna love being able to pull clips and share audiograms. And then it didn’t catch fire as fast as we thought it would. But then we looked at ourselves, and we’re not talking about it the right way. Maybe we’re not, you know, talking about it loudly enough. And sure enough, you know, we’ve made some adjustments on our side. And now it’s, it’s a huge thing that our customers love, and that they see a lot of success with when you’re using them. So I think every, every hiccup along the road, as long as you’re looking at it, in real time, is an opportunity for minor tweaks, as opposed to getting to the point where it’s a big misstep.
Andy Halko 19:18
If you mind expanding on that more, because I think that’s a great point for audiences. You talked about, you know, timeboxing and releasing little pieces, and then you know, releasing something and potentially changing our messaging around it. I think some folks can have the the thought process of ‘They release something, it doesn’t work, and they move on to the next thing’ versus evolving it. So can you talk about your approach to this idea of little steps and constant evolution?
Lindsay Tjepkema 19:49
Yeah. And I’ll speak to broadly as a company because I don’t want to speak specifically for Adam in the product team, but like, I think as a as a company because it’s everything from product to marketing, messaging to how we’re selling, to how your’re pricing, how you’re leading your team, right? And I think it’s important to constantly be trying new things, listening and accepting feedback and making tweaks, right? Because if the other side of that it’s a dance, because the other side of that is, you don’t want to try something and then be like, Well, that didn’t work time to go back to the drawing board and like, then you’re confusing your team. And you’re confusing the market. And consistency is really important across the board, but so is listening. So it’s like, here’s this thing. What do you think, and listening and waiting. And then if people say, I like it, I’d like it better it was over here, right over here, you know, it’s still this thing. We’re gonna talk about it this way. And just continuing to evolve. And like, again, while you’re while you’re rolling out this thing, you’re still working on this other thing. So it’s really important to have that consistency to have that big vision, we talk about our Northstar a lot. And just what is the what is the thing that we’re always working toward. And I think that’s really important too. Because if you don’t have that, if you don’t know, like, clearly who you’re serving, and clearly how you’re serving them, and the big vision for the product, there’s not a whole lot of room for wavering in those things. But beneath that can, how you get there and how you serve that audience that has room for feedback and improvement and tweaks over time.
Andy Halko 21:25
Tony Zayas 21:26
Yeah, I would like to hear a little bit more about the dynamic between you and your co-founders in like, as it pertains to, you know, the big vision, how did you guys all arrive on where that is? And then, kind of Part two is how you articulate that to the rest of your team? Because to that point, if people don’t understand the North Star, it becomes challenging, but when they do, then they have, you know, your area to work within.
Lindsay Tjepkema 21:56
Tony Zayas 21:56
Lindsay Tjepkema 21:58
For sure. And it’s, I mean, you’d have to talk to the team to see how we’re dealing with it. Because it’s, it’s tough. It’s really tough. I mean, going back to the first part of the question, how do we arrive at that vision? So, to me, I came at this with, with my experience, saying, This is what I did to this company, this is why I’m in my past role. This is why I’m starting this company, this is what I think the big opportunity is. And you know, they came to me as potential co-founders, and they’re like, hey, we’re, we want to be in this with you. We all have a background in enterprise SaaS. We know the product, we know the sales cycle, we know what it needs to be. We’ve all worked in kind of martex, we have have that as well. And I said, hey, here’s, here’s the opportunity. Let’s do this. And I want it to be this big, you know, opportunity leads and content marketing that starts with conversations and spins those out and amplifies them across other channels. It measures it in a way that truly is meaningful, not only to the marketing team, but to the entire B2B business, how is it impacting revenue, right? Our Northstar, who we’re serving, is marketing teams. B2B marketing teams, specifically mid market enterprise. And our big nor perfect one, like what are we doing for that human is helping them prove the value that they have the impact that they’re making on the business, not just ‘Hey, this is really good marketing’, but like, ‘Hey, we’re driving revenue’. And so the more we can do that, the closer we get to that, the better, right? So big vision around like, content marketing, and it starts with rich media like shows like this, and brings it out across other channels, who we’re serving, B2B marketing and happiness, what we’re doing for them, helping them prove impact on revenue. And I took this to, you know, we talked about this as a co-founding team, and I wanted to do these big things. And then Adam with his, you know, product and business expertise was like, what do we start with? You start here, right? What the down, boiled it down, boil that down, and that’s how we got to, you know, the early days in customer you know, potential customer feedback, all those conversations we had, and that’s where the roadmap, road map came in. And that you know, that reset, okay, like how we’re gonna start selling this how to market. And those were early days was like, kind of a vision that started with my expertise, but not stopping there, taking their expertise about how to build it, what you know, what to start with, and how to sell it. And then your point that how do you communicate it to the team? That’s hard. And it’s harder than I think most founders would probably imagine. Because it’s in here. Like I’m, I am living it and breathing it every minute of every day. Like, it’s just, it’s so clear to me, what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, how we’re doing it, what the opportunity is, who we’re going to be. But then I have to remember even with 20 people on our team, especially being remote, how, how can I and my co founders and other leaders on our team, continue to reinforce that message of, you know, we’re not we’re not this, we’re this and this is the vision this is how we’re going to get there. So I think, Say it Say it again, keep saying it. Say it’s more. When you think that you sound like a broken record and people are bored of hearing it. That’s that might start to be enough. And again, you’d have to ask the team, how we’re doing. And if they feel like they have alignment on the vision because it’s, it’s tough, it’s tough to get that to, to ensure that you have that flow of communication.
Tony Zayas 25:13
What does the team look like? Where are they located? That kind of stuff?
Lindsay Tjepkema 25:18
Sure. So we have 20 people. We’re all here in Indianapolis, once upon a time in the office. Right now we’re, we’re distributed, but just because of, you know, pandemic. We’ll go back to an office when it makes sense. 20 people, we’ve got six in new business, three in marketing, three in customer success, and five on product in addition to the three of us as founders.
Andy Halko 25:47
What’s your role now? And then can you talk about how your role has changed since the start and potentially where you see it going? As a founder?
Lindsay Tjepkema 25:57
Yeah, it’s funny, because on one hand, it’s it changes every month. But on the other hand, it’s remained pretty unchanged, right? So for me, one of the reasons that I needed this link was because I saw it as an opportunity to tap into, you know, some of the things that are my strengths, which is, you know, casting that vision and, and building a strong brand. And doing a lot of this and talking about it and sharing my passion, right? So that’s, that’s a big part of what I do is being being out there and spreading the word and literally being being one of the voices of the company and making sure that our message is being heard loud and clear. And leading the team and making sure that it’s, it’s loud and clear, internally, like we were just talking about as well as externally. And just, you know, giving us a bigger and bigger and bigger microphone out in the space, right? And that, that’s kind of been the vision for this role, and kind of what this role is from day one. In addition to running the business and looking at the financials, and communicating because it’s not just about your audience is no longer my audience is no longer just potential customers. It’s, you know, media, it’s my board, it’s my investors, it’s potential investors, it’s the market as a whole. And so being really cognizant of that, and all the kind of different subsets of the audience that I have. And I think I don’t know that that’s changed, I think it’s just grown. Right? Day one, we didn’t really have a board, we can get advisors and partners that can get started with us. And now that’s grown. List of investors has grown, the market has gotten bigger, my internal team obviously has gotten larger. So I spend a lot of time doing that, you know, looking at and where we are now, where we’re going and making sure that everyone who needs to know it, knows it.
Andy Halko 27:46
I’m always curious about digging into the side that I don’t think a lot of people talk about, which is, you know, again, the emotional mindset of being a founder. And so for you, you know, how do you how do you handle things like work-life balance? How do you handle situations where, you know, every entrepreneur has it, where there’s that fear of, you know, failure, and all of these other things? How do you manage your time? Like, what’s the mindset and emotional side of the role that you have?
Lindsay Tjepkema 28:21
And I’m very conflicted in that answer. Because I think this this past year, I mean, with the pandemic, and in my life right now is basically, you know, my, my work and my family. There isn’t anything else right now, I’m not going anywhere. I’m not seeing a lot of people. But I think outside of that outside of this crazy spot we’re in right now. I am a big fan of boundaries. I didn’t have them several years ago, and then I think I kind of hit a wall like many people do. And it’s like, hey, I’ve kind of set it to nowadays because if I’m if I’m doing all the things all the time, that that’s what will be expected of me. Even with those of the best of intentions. And so, especially when you have a team, you know, as you’re a founder and your team starts to grow, they are looking at you to say, you know, what’s, what’s the culture you’re like, when they say you can take time off? Do they mean it? When they say, I want you to take care of yourself, do they mean it? When they say go take a break and go eat some lunch or like take a rest in the middle of the day forget, do they mean it? And so you have to live it and have to really tell people about it. I’m not great at that. I encourage it. But I think that we do a really good job of that as a team at Casted. But as far as work-life balance, I think, I’m one of those I believe that that’s kind of a fallacy that it’s more like work, work-life harmony, and that, especially right now, I mean, I have three kids and they have seen behind the scenes of a SaaS startup, you know, that’s pretty cool. But I also you know, when I have, especially now when I have moments, regardless of the time it is in the day, to just break away for a minute and just spend time with them. I do and so is that balance? Or is that Like, taking a kind of leaning in different directions. And you can, I think that, that’s really important to just be aware of like. Okay, at this moment in time, I really need to lean heavily into this. And I need to when I have a chance, regardless of where it is, in my work day or my work week, I need to lean in this direction to, and that’s sometimes that’s your team. Sometimes that’s your work, sometimes it’s your families, and if it’s yourself, your friends, and it’s it’s easy to neglect them. But…
Andy Halko 30:31
I like that idea of harmony, you know, instead of balance, I think that’s good. And I personally found with this pandemic, being at home, finding a much better harmony in my own life. But I’m a dad and I two daughters, and, you know, I think we can’t turn away from the idea of the male-female dynamic. And, and as a mom, I’m kind of curious. You know, you’re a mom, you’re a founder. How do you find that balance to or the expectations that come from that? Because I do think it’s different for me as a dad than it is even for my wife, as a mom. And so I’m just kind of curious from that perspective.
Lindsay Tjepkema 31:14
Yeah, I mean, I think you know, that that question, thanks for asking it. ‘Cause I think a lot of people are like, Well, why would you even ask me that, but it’s true. I mean, whether we want to admit it or not. It’s true. I think it’s, that’s just kind of the way it is. Good, bad or otherwise.
Andy Halko 31:28
Lindsay Tjepkema 31:28
My husband’s amazing. I wonder if he can hear me. Great. He’s, he’s in sales. And you know, we’ve all along it’s been like, okay, I’ll take a minute so you can lean in, and like,. okay, well, I’ve got you now. So you’ve lean in and we’ve supported each other sometimes to a fault. we’re enabling each other. But ,you know, it’s, I think it’s just super, super important. Regardless of what your situation is to. Just, I don’t know, to just be who you are, and one of the mantras that I have pulled is ‘be yourself’, right? And I, I am a mom of three, three boys, and I am a founder of a company and I am a CEO. And that doesn’t, that’s not an asterix. That’s not a, you know, I’m not a mompreneur. I’m not a SheEO. I’m not, I’m not a girl boss. I’m a CEO.
Andy Halko 32:23
Lindsay Tjepkema 32:23
And I’m a mom. And I’m trying really hard to kick ass at both. And I think same for you. I mean, you’re, you’re a dad, and, and you’re running a company, and I think you’re trying really hard to kick ass at both. And we’re all I think, I think for everybody, it’s, it’s one of those adages, like you never know, what somebody else is, is bringing to the table. So like, acknowledge it, your whole self to what you do. Be your whole self. I think especially now, we’ve all been through this last year, people are much more willing to, to be open to that and to share those sides of themselves. And I think absolutely should.
Andy Halko 32:55
Yeah, I think whether you’re, you know, dad, or mom or, or, or single, or whatever it is, that family dynamic, though, does impact being a CEO, you know, I think my wife, same thing, great balance, and really supports. She’s part of our business in a way. And we have to balance that. And so, you know, every relationship is different, but it doesn’t matter who’s running the business, or if both people are in the business. It’s an interesting dynamic, especially for founders, I think,
Lindsay Tjepkema 33:26
Yeah, it’s, and it’s a lot. You know, it’s, again, every, every founder is on a tough journey. You know, I mean, there’s kinda like the the stereotypical guy that starts a company in college, right, that’s hard. I didn’t do that! I didn’t do that. And that’s, that’s a risk in and of itself. And then there’s, there’s, you know, somebody who leaves a corporate job to bootstrap a company. That’s hard! There’s, there’s having young kids and, and being a woman and certainly that’s, that’s hard in it’s own right. There’s, it’s hard, right? And I think the more that we can just appreciate that everybody’s on their own journey and taking the risks that make sense for them and just, you know, cheering each other on because of the work that we’re doing, not because of what what we’re bringing to it but just saying hey, this is kudos to you for for putting in the hard work and how can we help each other?
Andy Halko 34:24
Yeah, love it, love it.
Tony Zayas 34:28
That’s a good team dynamic, a little bit. It sounds like you’re really good at listening and self awareness, right? So areas where you’re stronger is where you can improve. What is the you know, what is the culture that… How would you describe the culture of the team?
Lindsay Tjepkema 34:45
Oh, man, I love this team. They this team from day one has been curious, passionate. I talk to them a lot about passion from from day one. It’s the intangible thing that’s also non negotiable on our team. Is it doesn’t have to be for what we do. It’s not about like. Oh, I’m so passionate about Casted. It’s like be passionate about your work and about what you bring to it. And if and, in fact, you’re talking about superpowers, that you bring to the table. I mean, that’s, I want you to use those here. I think you’ll feel a lot of that and caring, especially this last year, when we all went remote, people showed up for each other, we really encourage each other truly, to take breaks, because I say, look, we’ve got a lot of hard work to do, I and this team is going to ask a lot of you and I need you to show up. So if you can’t show up, take a break, like, take a nap in the middle of the day, go for a bike ride, one of the guys on our team is big, you know, cyclist, and he will go for a bike ride and comes back super inspired and refreshed. I would much rather have him do that. And be like, No, I mean, it’s noon, to be working. But you know, take care of yourself. And I think this team is really good at doing that. And also telling each other to take care of themselves. Obviously, super creative, really supportive, and very supportive not only of who we are in this company, but of kind of what we bring to the table, we have this thing called ‘disagree and commit’. So even if we have conversations around like, “Hey, I don’t think we should do that with the product”. If we do not get out voted, but we have a conversation and it’s like, yeah, okay, clear consensus is we need to move forward this way. I might disagree, or somebody else may disagree. But we commit and from then on out, it’s like, it’s not like, well, I told you, I told you so. We’ve got to be supportive, because it’s it’s hard work. And if there’s somebody, if there’s a naysayer, so it’s not gonna do any good. It just doesn’t do any good.
Andy Halko 36:36
Yeah, we talked about the disagree, ‘disagree and commit’ here as well. And I really love that concept is, you know, what you don’t want is people working against something that they they don’t like, and instead, it’s okay, take your emotions out of it. Now, let’s all get on board and move this forward,
Lindsay Tjepkema 36:52
And not doing it until you can disagree and commit. Because if you’re not ready to disagree and commit, like we got more talking to do, because we have to end it now, as opposed to next week. Yeah. Yep.
Andy Halko 37:03
So what’s your superpower?
Lindsay Tjepkema 37:06
Oh, man, that’s what, I have to talk about your own superpowers better talking about other people’s superpowers. I mean, I think, I mean, as hard as it’s been as challenging and like, hard, as challenging as it’s been to make this leap into being, you know, CEO, and co founder, I think I’m doing what I should be doing. Talking about what I’m most passionate about. Like this, I think this… This is it, it’s being out there and sharing, sharing the vision and talking about the incredible people on our team and how we’re gonna change the world. I think that’s it.
Tony Zayas 37:38
Andy Halko 37:40
I’m kind of curious, going back, I’m always interested. Especially in the B2B businesses, but across the board, how did you find your first customer and your first several customers? What did that look like?
Lindsay Tjepkema 37:57
Yeah, so we had our first customers before we had a product for them to log into. And really, you have to, if you’re going to go that route, which obviously doesn’t work for everybody, but if you’re going to go that route, you have to know that that type of customer is not normal, right? Like that type of customer, is the type of customer that sees their purchase as an investment. Right? So you’re probably going to be speaking more with a leader in the company that says, Okay, yeah, I get it, I see your vision. I believe in you, it’s just like an investor. I believe in you. I believe in your your story. I think that you’re the ones who can do this. And you know, what, if you can pull it off, you are solving a problem that we have. And what I get out of it is a deal. Because I’m not gonna pay you a lot, I’m gonna pay you. And I have influence on on roadmap, right? And so choose those customers wisely. Because, one, they are like investors, they are going to want not to tell you what to build, but influence. And so, you know, we could have brought on a customer way over here that was like, Oh, yeah, I want you to build XYZ, but that would have not been good, because that would have either changed the course of the company or attempted to. So yeah, see them as investors, and kind of, you know, choose your path accordingly. And in doing so, we leveraged network and just kind of reached out and pitched and so this is where we’re going to deliver it. This is why we think that you would be a great customer, this is when we can deliver it to you. This is what we’re asking from you as far as feedback. Would you pay this? And it’s just like, yeah, you know, I think what you made here, I’d pay this. And so and then from there, just, you know, once we had something for them to log into. Once we had advances and you know, pricing went up and conversations went up, and we just kept talking to people and paid off.
Andy Halko 39:48
And how has that evolved over time. Now, you know, what I’ve heard a lot is from founders is the beginning stages are very one to one sales processes. And then as you evolve It just becomes into the marketing side of things. And, you know, that happens less. You know, for you, how do you sell your product? Is it still very one to one? Have you, you know, shifted that approach? Yeah, what’s it look like now.
Lindsay Tjepkema 40:16
So as I’m sure you can imagine, because my background, actually my co founders to being in MarTech and enterprise SaaS. Developing a strong brand from day one, especially because of what we’re selling, and who we’re selling it to, is really important. So I think I know that we invested in that earlier developer, put more of our resources toward that from day one, when we our own best use case. So we launched a podcast, we started using that podcast to fuel all of our other channels to talk to incredible people that our audience would want to hear from to get original content that they hadn’t heard before. And to really amplify our message through the voices and partnerships of others, right? And that, that was great. From day one, it started some great conversations, some of those early interviews that included and conversations we had talked turned into customers, or introductions to customers. And then since we stayed consistent with it, and continue to really invest in content marketing and brand building, we’ve started to see great results in that in inbound. So we’ve had some people you know, people come to us and find our show and see see us doing, you know, shows like this and talking about what it is that we’re doing. And they’re like, ‘Hey, I would like to learn more’. So inbound has been really strong for us. It is not a sprint, it is a marathon. You know, it took us probably a year before we started to see results and little results right away. But a year before we started seeing like, okay, now we’re starting to see inbound, like inbound is an actual real thing. Now, it’s a very strong thing. for Casted. On top of that, you know, we we do have outbound, and we have some incredible salespeople that are starting up great conversations and prospecting to try to talk to people that we know we can really add value for and so it’s about as far as how we’re how we’re selling today. So yes, we’re out of that kind of one to one, we’re definitely out of founder selling. That’s how we got started.
Andy Halko 42:05
Tony Zayas 42:07
So, what’s on the roadmap here for 21?
Lindsay Tjepkema 42:11
Oh man, growth, right? growth across the board. We got some exciting things happening in product we launched videocasting: video, podcasting. So now it’s not only just audio, but it’s it’s capturing, you know, video like this and using that to fuel other channels. It’s saying how can we leverage all this content that we have, and data that we have on how people are consuming it to provide insights and to add a layer of AI on to it to say how can we provide real actionable recommendations to our, our users and audience. So watch for that. And just growing, growing, the brand growing the team growing product? And, you know, World Domination comes shortly after that. So
Andy Halko 42:57
As long as it’s on your roadmap,
Lindsay Tjepkema 42:58
Lifestyle around that.
Andy Halko 43:02
I’m curious about asking founders, a little bit of a difficult, you know, sometimes difficult questions, but social questions, what do you think since your platform, you’re really helping others distribute their message? And what we’ve seen in the world over the last year of platforms, letting people distribute any message? What do you think the role is for organizations like yourself? With, you know, giving folks and I know, we’re talking about B2B in your space, but that doesn’t change, you know, the dynamic, what do you think your responsibility is? in the world to kind of, you know, manage these things?
Lindsay Tjepkema 43:46
That’s a good question. We are a little bit insulated from that, because we are B2B. Right? Right. We have, you know, its brands, and especially since we are, we’re not working with really small companies, it’s all mid market enterprise. And Salesforce is one of our customers, right? So. So that does kind of buffer that for us. However, any company and you know, certainly, ours included, has a responsibility to humans, to the people. And so I think it’s, it is important to make sure that what you’re doing goes beyond building the business and is serving the humans in it, and around it, and through it. And so, I mean, it looks a little bit different for everybody. And there’s, there’s responsibility there to say, you know, how, how are we making sure that we are adding to the greater good of the world, and not anything else? So….
Andy Halko 44:40
You’ve talked a lot about human, and human to human, which I love because I love the idea and marketing of moving from B2B or B2C into H2H, you know, that human to human. And it sounds like you’re a lot around that. I’m kind of curious, extending that into your customers. You know, what does it look like for you for customer experience and customer support, you know, and how do you have evangelize that in your, you know, business?
Lindsay Tjepkema 45:09
Yeah, I mean, it is it’s hugely important. And not just me. So it’s it’s our whole team. First, you know, it was important to me and one of the earliest conversations I had with, with Adam and Zachary, when we literally thought first in person conversation we had about hearing do this thing together, we spent more time talking about culture than we did about the product we were going to build. I think that shows up in the way it feels to work here. And the way it feels to work with us, is I hope so. And so it’s just you talk a lot about having tough conversations, you know, saying what needs to be said, being respectful of each other, caring for each other first, right? Again, we just finished talking about what that what that feels like in our company. And that absolutely can and should be felt by our customers and by our prospects, right? So being respectful to each other being being saying, doing what you say you’re going to do following through, if you say hey, I’m going to take that to product and make sure they hear about it, take it to products, make sure to hear about it. And just make sure that we are taking really good care of the people in and outside of this company. I’m really happy to say that I hear all the time about customers. When I when I check in with customers almost every single time. They say oh my gosh, I absolutely love. You know, Kate is one of our CSM. And Clay is one of our new CSM and Cara is leader of that group. And I hear their name called out as just incredible reasons that people love Casted like, yes, they love the platform. They also love who they’re who their contact is here. And I love hearing that we actually had one of our customers recommend Casted to one of their friends and another company. Yes, because it was great. But they’re also like, and they’ve been so great to work with. And that’s just that’s how it should be right? It’s easy to overlook that flat for that factor or to just assume that it’s going to be that way. So you have to be really intentional about, you know, that being a priority.
Andy Halko 47:01
How do we take customer feedback on the product and incorporate that in the roadmap, but I’m always interested in that too. Just because, you know, your customers can have different ideas or maybe, you know, things that move away from the vision. Yeah, they take that feedback. And then how do you evaluate it appropriately? internally? You guys?
Lindsay Tjepkema 47:21
Yeah, I mean, broadly speaking, it’s it’s a matter of a couple of things. I mean, taking the feedback and listening, right? If it is kind of, off to the side, asking more questions about. Well, tell me more, right? Because maybe you think you’re asking for one thing, or maybe you think you need this thing. But you really need this or, or thinking of this thing, cuz you’re having a problem with this other thing, and maybe help solve that problem without giving you this thing you think you need? I think those conversations are obviously really important. And our teams are really good at that. But then if it is something that we’re hearing, and it’s like, yeah, you know what that is a bug or that is, you know, something that we need to work on, just being clear about, you know, I don’t if you don’t know, say it, like I don’t, I don’t know if that’s on the road, I don’t know if it’s something that we’re working on. But I’m and I’m going to go find out and again, doing what you’re saying you’re going to do and bring it back. Because you know, not everything should be built. Most things can be built, but that everything should be and, but our customers feelings and issues that they’re having the ideas that they have matter. And so again, listening and having conversations and and actually talking it through is super important. We all want to feel I mean, putting yourself in your customers shoes, and we want to feel like what you’re saying matters, right?
Andy Halko 48:39
Yeah, I agree.
Tony Zayas 48:41
Going back to that talking about, you know, human to human. Is it something that you guys have tried to do like humanizing your brand? Because I think, you know, we actually had an internal discussion about this thing earlier this week. The idea of, you know, a lot of SaaS companies, you visit their site. In other businesses, you see, you know, a team. You see a lot more of the actual people involved, and a lot of SaaS businesses that are out there, you don’t see that as much and feels more software. You know, humans are removed to some extent. What’s your feelings on that? And how do you guys do it?
Lindsay Tjepkema 49:19
Yeah, I mean, it just kind of always has been a thing. Especially being a company that’s so deeply rooted and thought leadership and conversations and brand, right? So it’s really important that our customers and our prospects can see and feel themselves in our brand, right? So it’s not about me, it’s not about our voice. It’s not about our podcat mascot, which is a really fun way to kind of humanize a human, but to bring personality to a brand. First, you have to feel it has to feel approachable, right? And it has to be You know, like I can, I can understand, I can comprehend, I can wrap my mind around this company. And then, you know. Quick next step is, can I see myself as a part of this brand, because our customers are absolutely a part of this brand. I mean, we should be helping them be the heroes, we should be the guide, that helps them to be the heroes in their work. And it’s, it’s a lot easier to picture yourself in that scenario for our customers if, if we need there’s kind of a human element and a personality to that trusted advisor, that guy like, I can trust Casted, I can trust what they tell me to do, I can go to them for thoughts and go to them for advice, they’re gonna help me be successful. Yeah, I mean, that’s been super important. From day one, and establishing that I don’t think that it’s definitely been a decision. It’s just been like, okay, we have you know, constantly it’s about our customer. It’s about what we’re doing for them. And we have to be their guide, be their advisor.
Andy Halko 50:56
Is there any one tactic over your tenure that you think is really helped propel the business forward?
Lindsay Tjepkema 51:05
Brand, right? I think that’s where my background ,specifically, and then also my co-founders, and then kind of even next steps, our leadership team, we all have a background in this space and working not only in building these kind of products, and working with these kind of clients and selling this way. But also know how important and in marketing are, that they are critical to the success of any brand. So there’s never, you have a CEO, you have a founder of the founding team that understands the value the importance of brand. And for me in particular, having built many supportive very large companies, very small companies and building there’s knowing that it’s not a logo, it’s not a color palette, that it’s everything you say and do. It’s how you show up as a company, that’s been in our blood. Since it was just me, right? That was one of the things I was really excited about doing and stepping into this role. And I think that’s really served us well, because it’s not something that, when we woke up on our first anniversary and said, Oh, my gosh, we need to work on a brand like it’s been. It’s been foundational, all along.
Andy Halko 52:17
That’s really good.
Tony Zayas 52:18
We’re getting close to the top of the hour here. And you want to ask your coffee with your past self question.
Andy Halko 52:27
Yeah, sure. So I always want to find out, like if you could go back in time, right before you started the business, and you’re sitting down and having coffee with yourself, you know, what advice would you give? Obviously, your past self, about the future and where you’re going and what they should do?
Lindsay Tjepkema 52:46
Hmm, jump. do it. Again, I mean, it is so not my quote. But it’s just it keeps coming back to me is like ‘Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.’ You know, fear is nothing fears a liar. And it does no good, right. So just step out, you know, even if it’s one step at a time. And don’t hold back, like don’t hold on to all of the things you’re bringing with you. Unless it’s going to serve you like to take things that don’t serve you, and the things that are going to serve you in this next, in this journey that’s ahead and just bet on yourself and bet on all of that data that you carry with you, which is not I mean, your instincts and your gut are data. And chances are you have enough to bet on it. And there’s no room, you will not have time for the doubts and to take care of those with you just step out. Have faith in it and just steal it take it one step at a time.
Andy Halko 53:46
Life is short.
Lindsay Tjepkema 53:47
Life is short, right? Life is way too short to bring. I mean, they’re heavy. Just, Just go for it.
Andy Halko 53:55
I agree. So what would be good ways to. “Hi, baby. So see? Kids at home. She’s brought me some candy. Yeah, she must’ve had her Valentine’s Day party. Now I forget my question, but well, so how can people connect and engage with you? What are good ways for people to reach out to you or you know, engage with Casted?
Lindsay Tjepkema 54:24
Sure! Casted.us is our website. And then our podcasts, you can find them at Podcast.casted.us called Casted podcast. So you get a lot of information, insights there. And then for me in particular, I’m really a heavy, heavily heavy user of LinkedIn. Find me back my name there. And then Twitter. I’m Casted Lindsey on Twitter.
Andy Halko 54:48
Tony Zayas 54:50
Very good. This has been fantastic. So thank you so much for spending this time with us and we really appreciate it. hope everybody enjoyed the show and we’ll be back again. next week with another one. Thank you guys. Take care. Thanks again Lindsay.
Lindsay Tjepkema 55:04