Channel99 CEO and Founder, Chris Golec, shares his thoughts on why a people-first culture is critical to building a successful and sustainable company.
Shooting for the Stars
You may be thinking that this is yet another blog about some crazy unicorn valuation, but not exactly. By “stars” I am referring to proven executives to partner with me to build the next great martech success. And today, I am excited to share that Peter Thompson has joined Channel99! Peter is co-founder of Bizible and a veteran of Microsoft, Marketo, and Adobe so in addition to being a first-class human being, he brings a wealth of technology experience from an adjacent space. This unbeatable combination of EQ and IQ will further accelerate our trajectory to owning B2B marketing performance measurement.
I think it’s important and worthwhile to candidly share why I believe the right team of people is so critical for building a successful (and sustainable) company. Peter and I didn’t start Channel99 in a garage nor did we meet at Stanford. Instead, we both independently built our careers from constructive experiences at both large and small companies. As a result, we know — through experience — where to spend time and where to avoid pitfalls, and I have often said that half the battle in building a successful start-up is knowing what not to do. But, perhaps more importantly, Peter and I learned that the biggest factors of success are hiring the right talent and creating a culture people want to be a part of.
I’ve met more than 100 VCs over the years and they agree that businesses “always find the money” when they have two things — a great team and a big market. Personally, I might transpose that with “make customers wildly successful,”but overall I think the assertion is 100% true. While I feel like we will hit our MVP with high confidence, I am also equally confident we will need to evolve and go through many iterations of product roadmaps, organizational flows, compensation structures, etc. on the road to sustainable success. Stating the obvious, the strong partnership with Peter becomes instrumental for our short- and long-term success.
It’s also important to note that a key reason Peter made the leap from Adobe to Channel99 is because of the strength of our executive bench. Erin Cullen, SVP Sales, comes from Brightcove as a proven sales executive that has successfully built new sales offices from the ground up at some of the industry’s most reputable companies. Nani Shaffer, CMO, was a rising star at Demandbase early on and further built her expertise in leadership roles at ON24 and Ontra. David Kim, VP of Product, not only comes from Marketo, Drift and Demandbase with cross-functional experience in Sales Engineering and Enablement, but he’s also one of the most savvy martech product people I have met in the last decade. It feels amazing to be blessed with their commitment to deliver the source of truth in B2B marketing performance. These are the starters of a martech dream!
So to close this post, I cannot emphasize enough the value that a people-first, culture-oriented focus brings to a company. While leading Demandbase, we ranked as one of the Top 20 Best Places to Work in the Bay Area for seven years and in the Top 10 Best Places to Work in the U.S. on Glassdoor in 2016! Both are amazing accolades, but it required a realistic and honest investment from everyone to make it happen.
A great culture accelerates growth, embraces diversity, lowers recruiting and retention cost, and most importantly, brings a level of satisfaction (I call it happiness) to everyone along for the journey — from customers to partners to investors!