SaaStr Podcast #406 with Notion Head of Customer Experience Kate Taylor

Ep. 406: Kate Taylor is Head of Customer Experience at Notion, one of the fastest-growing startups of the last 5 years with over $68M in funding from some of the best in the business including Index, Daniel Gross, Elad Gil, Lachy Groom, Josh Kopelman and Aydin Senkut to name a few. As for Kate, prior to making the move to Notion just last month, she spent an incredible 8 years at Dropbox including holding roles such as Head of Sales Development, North America and Director of Global SMB Revenue and Operations. Before Notion, Kate spent 2 years at Salesforce in the corporate sales and enterprise business units.

 

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

* How Kate made her way into the world of SaaS with Salesforce, and how that led to her 8 year tenure at Dropbox before joining the breakout, Notion.
* Why does Kate not believe that in startups you can “do it all”? How to discover the problems people care about? How to think through prioritisation of problems at the early stage? Where do many people make mistakes here?
* How does Kate approach delegation at scale? When is the right time to start? How can founders let go and entrust others to do the role they have been doing? How can leaders build trust with the people they work with? How can leaders empower employees with act with conviction and invest in them?
* What is the role of sales in a product-led growth organization? How can sales and product work effectively well together? Where do many mistakes happen in sales and product? How can product and marketing also collaborate productively? What can one do to shorten the feedback cycles as much as possible?

 

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Jason Lemkin
SaaStr
Harry Stebbings
Notion

Below, we’ve shared the transcript of Harry’s interview with Kate.

Harry Stebbings:

We are back for another week in the world of SaaStr with me, Harry Stebbings, and I’m so excited for this one today. There are very few power couples in SaaS, but today we have one rising fast. Just last week, we had Sam Taylor of Loom on the show and I’m thrilled to be joined today by Sam’s much better half, Kate Taylor. How cool is that? Next time we’ll have to have them both on the show at the same time. But Kate is the head of customer experience at Notion, one of the fastest growing startups for the last five years with over $68 million in funding from some of the best in the business, including Index, Daniel Gross, Elad Gil, Lachy Groom, Josh Kopelman, and Aydin Senkut, to name a few. As for Kate, prior to making the move into Notion, just last month, she spent an incredible eight years at Dropbox, including holding roles such as head of sales development for North America and director of global SMB revenue and operations.

Harry Stebbings:

Before Notion, Kate spent two years at Salesforce in the corporate sales and enterprise business units, but this schedule today also was such a team effort, Tommy Fink, Jean Carlionetti, and Adam Nelson, thank you so much. Some amazing questions suggestions, I really did so appreciate that. 

Harry Stebbings:

But that’s quite enough for me. So now I’m very excited to hand over to Kate Taylor, head of customer experience at Notion. Kate, it is so great to have you on the show today. I’ve heard so many great things from so many people from Tom Fink, to Adam Nelson, to Caitlin Stock, and then of course the wonderful Sam Taylor, slightly biased I’m sure, but thank you so much for joining me today.

Kate Taylor:

Yeah. No, thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here and to talk to all you today.

Harry Stebbings:

That is so kind. I do want to start there with a little bit about you. So you spent an incredible eight years at Dropbox and you’ve come to lead the customer experience team at Notion. How did you make your way into the world of SaaS, and then how did that transition to Notion happen?

Kate Taylor:

Yeah, so super interesting. I actually graduated from college in 2009, during the recession, horrible time to graduate, but it created a lot of opportunity for me to start getting innovative about how I was going to actually get a job. I ended up emailing Marc Benioff, randomly. He responded. I ended up starting at Salesforce and it just had this foundation for me learning the basics of sales and tech. And it was just an awesome launching pad. I ended up meeting my husband there, who left, went to Dropbox. And he was there very early, so I started hanging out there, like it was very much a casual culture, people were there on weekends. And so finally the company was like, you should just work here because you’re here all the time. We should just start paying you. And so I ended up starting there in support early days, I started up through their like support and engineer or in sales, which we were just starting sales at the time.

Kate Taylor:

So I ended up moving into channel and then eventually product where I found a really good fit and really grew my career trying to figure out how do we monetize customer conversations within a self-serve focused company. And that’s what I did. And just recently left and joined Notion. I think the opportunity there for me was really looking at how do we build out the front door experience, thinking about combining products, sales and support into one role. And for what we’re trying to do is looking at how do we drive value for Notion users across all of the experiences they have with us. So when they open that front door, how do we make them feel at home? And so I’m really excited to join the company. And my opinion is Notion will change the way people work. We’re already doing it today and growing rapidly. So it’s been an awesome opportunity so far, just about two months in now.

Harry Stebbings:

Now, we’re going to dig into lots of different elements that you touched on there. I do have [inaudible 00:05:05] eight years at Dropbox in such kind of instrumental times of growth for the business. How did seeing that hypergrowth really impact your operating mindset today, do you think? I have to ask that one.

Kate Taylor:

Yeah, that’s a good question. I think for me, it was like, we have to be clear on prioritizing problems that we want to solve. We can’t solve everything that is out there. And there are so many things early days where there’s just fires that you’re trying to put out and so you need to pick the ones that you’re going to strategically go after. And I think being between product and revenue, it gave me an opportunity to be crisp on how to identify which problems we’re going to solve. So within the product world, there’s so many different directions you can go. And so we would really spend time looking at what is the problem, identifying it very clearly, and then figure out different solutions or hypothesizing on how we could fix them. And that is really, I think, what helped me start to think about ultimately what I want to do long-term which is being a world-class operator. And it’s about that prioritization framework that I think I really picked up at Dropbox.

Harry Stebbings:

Can I ask? In terms of the prioritization framework, I do the brilliant thing, which is I choose the thing that I enjoy the most and then I choose to solve that problem with all the other problems and then kind of leave every other problem. How do you think about the right problem identification and do you get good at the things you’re bad at and how do you determine between that versus delegation?

Kate Taylor:

Yeah, that’s a good one. So I think with Dropbox specifically, and I’d say also at Notion now, we’re really looking at what the customer feedback is telling us to drive towards. So Notion has an amazing, what we call a tagging database, where all the conversations that come in, we tag them and have a very robust way of organizing that customer feedback. And that helps us drive our roadmap. So mixed in with customer feedback and a little bit of intuition, helps us determine what type of problems you should be solving that are going to really make the most impact for us long term.

Kate Taylor:

And I think that’s been really important as I saw that at Dropbox, we were so focused on users early on as we saw that viral growth and had such an important feedback loop and Notion in a similar way has that viral growth where we’re getting a lot of really interesting conversations going with the user base. And they’re helping us drive that. I think if it were just me trying to pick what was most interesting, well, that’s definitely a part of the intuition kind of equation that goes into road mapping. I think the customer layer on top is really what makes prioritizing easy.

Harry Stebbings:

Can I ask? On the theme of prioritization, you said to me before you can’t do it all. And it kind of flies in the face of a lot of the early stage startup mythology of like, Oh, you’ve just got to do everything, and that you wear every hat. So I guess why don’t you think you can do it all? And how do you think about that?

Kate Taylor:

Yeah, so I think early in my career, right? I was trying to go around and solve as much as I possibly could, I wanted to be everywhere, and then skip ahead to being in charge of shit, how do I become the boss? How do I get that big job? And so it was trying to really do as much as I possibly could. And ultimately what I got down to was trying to solve problems that people care about is like what I’ve made my career on. And so doing as much as I could around how we were prioritizing the problems we wanted to solve, I could focus on those and be there. That was really how I got a lot done. And then I showed through that I could handle complex problems, and so I got more and more to take on, which was really interesting.

Kate Taylor:

But then I started adding some personal life changes in there. We added our first child. And so then you start to figure out like, okay, how do I balance the personal life and doing it all at work? And the answer is, right, you can’t, you can’t be everywhere at all times, you can’t solve every problem, be on Slack all night, all day, be at the office until 10:00 PM, all those things. And so ultimately for me, what happened was as I started to grow in my career, what you brought up earlier on delegation became key. And so the thoroughness that I would have on every area that I tackled before we started having kids and adding on some of those personal life choices, through delegation, I was able to use the extension of the team to continue being as thorough as I wanted to be when it was just me kind of as an individual contributor tackling things.

Harry Stebbings:

Can I ask? On delegation, honestly, I truly suck at it and this sounds really arrogant, but it’s like, I didn’t believe anyone can do the things that I do as well as I can and so I’d rather do them and not trust someone else to do them worse. How do you think about letting go, delegating and just having that peace with yourself about letting go of the responsibilities, even if you think you can do them better.

Kate Taylor:

I think it’s building trust with people that you work with. The people at Dropbox that I built early days, I knew them, like we trust each other and I knew what they were capable of. And so when I would delegate something, I knew how they would do it. I spent a lot of time investing in personal relationships early days at Dropbox, which I think contributed to my success there, really just knowing strengths of each person, knowing where they ranked on analytical skills or whatever problem we would throw at them. So I started to feel really confident when I gave people projects and we built this team around trust and over time, the team grew pretty significantly when I was in product. And most of the people, the team was about 30 people, 15 of them had been there for four years or more.

Kate Taylor:

And so we started to amalgamate all the different folks around Dropbox that we had worked with, that we trusted and all of a sudden build this really powerful team where it was easy to pass things to other people because we knew that they were capable and we had this loyal group together, which was really, really powerful.

Harry Stebbings:

Can I ask? When you get that loyal group together? How do you really empower them to act on their actions and to act with conviction? Ultimately, people move into a new role, they’re tentative, they’re nervous. How do you think about really empowering these people? I spoke to Tommy Fink, your old colleague. And he said, this was something that you were really special at, so how do you think about that and what works?

Kate Taylor:

I think when you are early, and you’re starting to assign something out or give someone a project, being able to work closely with them and create a bunch of checkpoints throughout that project, you start to build this trust and become on the same page. I think managers early days give someone a project and then expect to see kind of an end result. They’re not participating with them along the way, and so we were really tight about creating these checkpoints and working really tight in our pod, literally like in the pod together where people were throwing questions back and forth, we were meeting regularly and just making sure we were constantly on that same page. And that, I think, over time, when you build up enough of those, you start to really be able to let go because you know, hey, this is the level of work that people are doing.

Kate Taylor:

And as a manager, I would invest a ton of my time in just being present with people. I think you can get very distracted in recruiting, or trying to impress people above you instead of just acting like a person and being with people on your team, having fun, laughing, and creating those memories together. So I think a lot of it is just being present and really investing with the team early and picking specific projects you want to do that on.

Harry Stebbings:

You said about investing in projects. And again, Tommy told me that you have this very special kind of framework for thinking about investments internally and proposing new projects. How do you think about empowering people with these projects specifically? Tommy said that he literally burned 500K and you let him boil it down to just lessons. Tell me about this and how you think about kind of that investment and empowering through projects.

Kate Taylor:

So I’ll talk about projects broadly and then I’ll get into the 500K fire pit we had. But on the projects broadly and getting cross-functional alignment and getting people bought into it. Early days, it was very important that I actually did real work. I started as an individual contributor and made my way up through Dropbox and that was founded on doing work. So I was actually in support queues, I was actually responding to leads. I knew what I was talking about. And so that credibility with cross-functional partners is everything. So when you ask them something, you know the weight of what you’re asking for, and it’s funny at Notion now because I will be starting in a leadership role or I have started in a leadership role. And actually I find myself I’m in the support queue, I own the SMB lead queue now to really create that rapport with people internally so that I can, when I make an ask, it’s an intelligent ask, I’m coming in and that I understand.

Kate Taylor:

But I think with Dropbox, a lot of the folks, we sort of rose together at the company and had this bond that was fairly irreplaceable and we’ll see how it goes at Notion. It has all the makings that it’s going to pan out the way, so I’m really excited about it. But Dropbox, we had a very tight crew and it was founded on doing work together. And then in terms of the project, Dropbox had an interesting inflection point where we started hiring professional managers, if you will. So senior executives that would come in with ideas and the folks that had been there internally for a while, like every two years, we’d revisit projects that we knew didn’t work two years ago, but we may come back and try it again because an exec had an idea that they wanted to pursue.

Kate Taylor:

This was one of those projects. The idea was let’s try to contact companies that don’t have any Dropbox usage and see if we can bring them onto the platform. People who had been there for a while knew that was not going to work. But I think there is something to, just because something doesn’t work two years ago, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it again, but you should go in with eyes wide open. And so instead of having a pessimistic view from the ask that came down to try this project, really set out some clear milestones that we could track progress against it. So hey, on month two, this is the checkpoint that we’re going to be at. And if we’re not hitting these KPIs, we’re going to shut the project down. And so we had an initial budget that we set aside to do it.

Kate Taylor:

I think Tommy and I as pessimists, we knew like it’s probably not going to work out, but we should earnestly go in and try to prove it and set it up correctly so that we can pull chute if we’re not seeing what we need to. But I think that strategy worked well. We got buy in from the executive team. We just said, we’re not doing this as the bad idea. Obviously that’s not the right way to structure relationships internally, but what is the right way that is like being really logical about how you’re going to check progress. And so while we did technically burn that money, we knew upfront that potentially that would be the loss. And as a group, I think we learned a lot through the process through having those checkpoints and we were able to reframe the project, I think, moving forward in a way that made sense.

Harry Stebbings:

Can I ask you? I think the biggest mistake that I see companies make is they say, “Ah, but if we just give it another month, we could see this inflection point. If we just put two more sales reps on it, we could see this change.” How do you think about when’s the right time to cut and run, versus when to maybe not double down, but continue in the same theme. How do you distinguish between the two?

Kate Taylor:

Yeah, we took an experimentation framework to everything we did. So being, I think in product versus sales, we had an earnest idea that this actually may not work. And that is okay. I think in sales it becomes very personal because it’s about you, it’s Oh, just put these two more people on. And there’s something where you’re like, you have such a personal investment that you’re not willing to cut bait. And I think from a product lens that we had toward most of our projects, we knew the things that we couldn’t control or the variables that we could control and so we were constantly saying, “Okay, one of the variables could be that the people we have in this project aren’t very good.” And so in that example, “Hey, let’s try these two reps over these reps.”

Kate Taylor:

Like we were very careful to design having a variety of different reps on that project so we could see how in best case and worst case this could go if we were to scale it. And so for example, as a sales person, one thing in a sales minded way you build that project is put all your best people on it, which isn’t the reality of how it goes when you scale. And so being really careful about how you’re designing and experiment and taking a product driven approach with failure being an okay outcome, I think that was essential for us.

Harry Stebbings:

I think it’s really important to have that failure being an okay outcome, as well. I do want to dig into kind of more specific parts of the team though in the org. I think when we look at kind of the rise of product led growth, there’s a question that really is born and it’s like, what’s the role of the sales team? Is the sales team really necessary? And I also asked Sam and then realized it was probably quite rude. So how do you think about this? And how does sales teams prove their worth and their value in a world of product led growth and self-serve?

Kate Taylor:

Yeah. Especially in the product driven growth companies, product led, it’s hard because the sales team is always trying to validate itself against self-serve. And I think early days at Dropbox, we took the approach of listening to customers, which was really helpful. But as customers, especially, we had a plan where people would take Dropbox into school and then as they graduate, take it into companies and all of a sudden we saw Dropbox being pervasive at enterprises. And early days, we didn’t have the direction that we were going to say, “Yes, we’re going to the enterprise.” And that was, I think, a mistake. Like picking early on as a company which type of direction you want to go, is important because if you’re not very decisive on that, you bring on a sales team, but you’re not actually driving the product in that direction, they’re probably not going to be successful.

Kate Taylor:

And so aligning the product division with hiring and go to market teams is essential. And I think we’re doing that at Notion. We’re looking at sales as a way to craft the enterprise space and we’re looking at product and my team more on the community side to say, “How do we drive growth within the product and help people onboard through self-serve?” So I think if you’re very strategic early on, and make a decision, you can really start to see the value in sales. It’s when you feel a little bit less decisive that sales starts to flounder.

Harry Stebbings:

Can I ask? What does strategic in sales mean? Does that mean like over a typical ACV, sales teams engage, in specific segments, sales teams engaged, for specific usage or feature functionality itself, what is strategic in sales?

Kate Taylor:

Yes. So the sales team for us at Notion is focused on a company size, but specifically a dollar value. So we’re focused on ROI very early on when it comes to being a strategic enterprise. For Dropbox, early days we had segmentation and salespeople focusing up market, but we saw that actually the viral growth and the opportunity was more in mid-market. And so we brought salespeople down into more of the mid-market space. I think that was a tough decision because that’s where we saw the value for our customers, but that wasn’t where we really, from an ROI perspective could actually see it benefiting long-term. And I think flip-flopping back and forth between being more mid-market or being top tier enterprise that ended up being a mistake that I see Notion avoiding and some of the companies now that are more in the collaboration space, focusing on sales teams, more upmarket on larger deals where they’re actually providing strategic value for customers, not necessarily in an order taking function.

Kate Taylor:

And from my team, what we really saw again is when we were looking at assisting self-serve, we actually called the team self-serve assist. And the goal was really to figure out like where they were falling out of the conversion funnel and serve up a human conversation at those points, learn from the conversation why someone was falling out and then ultimately drive that feedback back into product. So my goal was actually to have less revenue and less people on my team over time and make self-serve even better. Whereas on the sales team side, you’re thinking more of like strategic, contract negotiation and really catering to the needs of larger enterprises. My team was like, how do we stack a bunch of pennies, make self-serve better, and ultimately continue to drive more of that self-serve growth through learning from real time customer insights.

Harry Stebbings:

Can I ask? In terms of learning from real-time customer insights, often the two roles really benefit from that kind of frontline exposure. One is the customer success and the other is the sales team. How do you think about building really tight feedback loops between customer success and sales back to products? Because that’s like so cool. How do you think about doing that successfully?

Kate Taylor:

It first starts with having a really engaged engineering team and a really engaged product team that really care about the customer feedback loop and want to build for those customers. At Notion, we have that. So right now, the way the product feedback loop works, we have quarterly forums where customer success, sales, and my team bring feedback from our top customers. And we have a weighted framework of which we look at what we’re surfacing to the engineering and product teams and through they’re able to prioritize like, “Hey, these are the top things that customers are saying,” and that’s more on a quarterly cadence schedule that we re-visit. We have some more informal forums that I think are really important. One is Slack. So being able to post in Slack and get feedback in there, we just have a channel where anyone can post at any time.

Kate Taylor:

Most people probably don’t have regular notifications on there, but it’s something that you’re able to go in and just sort of ingest that feedback as you need it, it’s really important for the design and product process. And then the tagging mechanism, we ended up building that at Dropbox pretty late, like started it about two years ago. At Notion, from day one, Ivan was set on making sure that all customer conversations, we could pull that into a database that we were using in the design process and walking into it, we have a robust tagging database where every single conversation, sales and my team is tagged with specific product markers so that the team can go in and self-serve those insights and those conversations whenever they need. And I think that’s just really, really important that you have a formal process and prioritization, but then do you have these quick self-serve mechanisms where product teams can really grab customer feedback, almost like real-time research, I like to say. Versus these formal kind of like UX forums, we’re actually really live being able to deliver that to teams.

Harry Stebbings:

Can I ask? When you think about kind of the communication between these different functions, why do you find communication breaks down in the scaling of the organization itself and the scaling of these functions?

Kate Taylor:

Actually going through this a little bit right now, I would say Slack is a very interesting ability. Like it’s a transformational company to be able to communicate so quickly back and forth. However, you have to be really deliberate about what goes in Slack and what goes in a formal database or like triaged process that you’re able to get that feedback in because it can be distracting or noisy for product teams. And right now we’re sort of looking at, okay, we’ve got a bunch of feedback that happens in Slack. We have a bunch of feedback in our databases. How do we bring that feedback to life in a way that’s really clearly prioritized on high, medium, low for product teams to tackle that and making sure that we kind of reserve Slack as informal product feedback, but anything that’s high priority or where we’re seeing like intense kind of user reports on things, that has a good formal process for engineers to follow so that they’re not kind of fractured through their day dealing with interesting feedback, but maybe not high priority as well as high priority in Slack, I think it can be very distracting.

Harry Stebbings:

Totally with you in terms of the distraction. Speaking of distractions and final one before the quick fire, and it’s like in the world of COVID, everyone’s working from home, obviously, and I know we’re all meant to be these incredibly productive individuals working from home. I know with Narcos and Billions on Netflix, I’m not as productive from home. So my question to you is, are employees actually working from home and what does it take to successfully manage your work from home model, do you think, inside a startup?

Kate Taylor:

Great question. Honestly, I onboarded at Notion in COVID and in this work from home environment. This was new for me, I had just come back from maternity leave. I’d never experienced what working from home full-time would be like with an entire remote workforce. For Notion, our plan is to return back to being in person and having office focused culture. But luckily for us, our product does allow everyone to work effectively, remotely. And luckily we started to prove this. I think before COVID, Notion and probably many other startups, we’re not a remote or work-from-home focused company because so much happens at the lunch table and [inaudible 00:21:53] into social activities and water cooler in-person communication was so critical, but the situation has really forced us to figure it out. And what we found is that, yes, people are working from home and they’re doing it on their own terms.

Kate Taylor:

It’s like we haven’t seen productivity dip, we’re shipping just as fast as we used to in the office, teams are learning how to use Zoom and Slack, my team has casual meetups throughout the week on Zoom where we just hang out, we eat lunch, we do random work together, and it’s just like time to be silly and be people. And I think finding those ways to be casual is what you miss working from home. So the answer I think is we’re able to figure out working from home and we’re going to continue to be focused on the office, but we’ve started to figure out like if someone needs to work from home or they have a reason that it makes sense for them to be there, we’re able to be productive. And then that’s a great learning that we’ll see how it changes the workplace moving forward.

Harry Stebbings:

Well, I’m sure that it’s just me that’s less productive then, I was fully expecting you to say, “No, everyone’s struggling.” And then you said, “No, we’re doing really well. We’re killing it.” Thanks for that, Kate, I feel brilliant now.

Kate Taylor:

I’d say like one thing though, which is just interesting, is that recognition has been hard and I’m assuming a lot of companies feel this, right? It’s like, how do you sort of create that human connection to really thank people or recognize large groups of people or individuals even, it’s difficult, like Slack and Zoom aren’t the best ways to appreciate people. And so we’re having to figure that out. I think that’s probably the thing we struggle with the most.

Harry Stebbings:

Can I ask? How do you think about loneliness within the team? Bluntly, I get lonely working from home all the time. Is that a concern? And how do you think about managing that?

Kate Taylor:

Most of the people in my team, it’s like, you have your bedroom, you move to your kitchen table, and then you move back to your bedroom. Like it’s a very small space and environment to work and people are often lonely and it’s difficult. San Francisco just allowed 25% occupancy of your space, and Notion is going to try out some sort of study hall formats in allowing people to have a space to work that’s outside of their home. Because I think it has been very hard for folks to be isolated. And so I think just these casual meetups for us, we do them three times a week, random times throughout the day, we do co-working sessions where people can talk to each other, it’s just been really essential. We’ve done some interesting team events as well in the evenings, tomorrow, we actually have this, what we’re calling a task bash where we’re kind of going through all these triaged tasks and dressing in Halloween costumes, just being stupid.

Kate Taylor:

I think finding that space where people can just be silly and be themselves, there’s no like face or front, you have to put on being on Zoom. That’s the piece that I think can combat loneliness. We also have programs for folks, incredible benefits that they can work with health providers, we’ve increased our health coverage, we’ve increased stipends for folks who might need medical services to make sure they’re getting the support that they need. So I think from a company standpoint, we’re also trying to find innovative ways to give employees what they need to feel supported, both inside and outside of work.

Harry Stebbings:

Yeah, no, I totally agree. And I think as you said earlier, kind of bringing the casual and fun back into the virtual world. So I think that’s really important. I do want to dive into my favorite, though, which is the quick fire answer. I say a short statement, Kate, and then you give me your immediate thoughts. How does that sound?

Kate Taylor:

Sounds great.

Harry Stebbings:

Okay. So what’s the biggest challenge of your role with Notion today, two months in?

Kate Taylor:

I’d say that we have a global audience and how do we make that feel personal for everybody? Most of our users are not in the U.S., so for me, providing support across the languages that are native to those folks, how do we make them feel at home in Notion when Notion is headquartered here in San Francisco. And we’ve extended reach through like some global offices, but for me, it’s like, how do I keep making that feel personal for folks who may not be English speaking, or maybe not located here in the U.S., how do I extend that feeling of hospitality?

Harry Stebbings:

What would you most like to change about the world of SaaS today?

Kate Taylor:

This one’s a good one. Honestly, the exclusivity. I just talk to so many people who are saying, “How do I get into tech? How do I get into some of these companies?” They feel like what school they go to, or where they’re located limits them from being in technology and I’d love to change that. We’re trying to change that at Notion.

Harry Stebbings:

What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to someone graduating today from university, entering the workforce in a world of COVID. I mean, it’s a real shift there.

Kate Taylor:

Literally. Honestly, be willing to do anything. I had got my first job because I offered to work for free. And then they’ll be like, Oh, you have a good attitude, we’ll pay you. So I’d say be willing to do anything, offer to work for free, who knows what’s going to come out of that? People like the hustle mentality. And the other one I would say is, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I mentioned earlier, I emailed Marc Benioff, he responded in 10 minutes. That was many years ago, Salesforce was a smaller company at the time, but don’t be afraid to email someone, find a common connection and ask for help. You’d be surprised how many people want to help others.

Harry Stebbings:

Yeah, no, I think it’s a beautiful thing about a lot of tech actually, just how giving everyone is, so totally agreed. And I think cold emails  is the way to go. Tell me, which customer experience do you most respect [inaudible 00:26:03] and why?

Kate Taylor:

For me, it’s Nordstrom. Honestly, every time I go in there, it always feels personal. There’s always someone who’s trying to greet you, help you get to the right spot, when you buy something, they’re helping you do that right on the spot, or they’re walking your bag around to you. When I go into Nordstrom, I always feel like I’m having a personal experience that’s designed for me. And that’s obviously like part of their experience, but that’s a lot when I think about Notion. How do I make this experience feel personal to anyone who’s interacting with us?

Harry Stebbings:

And then final one, where do you see Notion in the next five years? How do you see that playing out?

Kate Taylor:

I think you’ll see us really spending time on our different use cases and building out Notion as the place you can start and end your day, connecting into many different applications and being that hub for our company. So exciting really to see where that goes. I see us really changing the way people work. We’re not trying to be Google. We’re not trying to be Microsoft. We’re trying to re-invent the way that people are working today. And it’s exciting. And I think we actually will. So look out, here we come.

Harry Stebbings:

Okay. Thank you so much for joining me today. As I said, I heard so many great things and say, this was such a pleasure to do, and I really appreciate you putting up with me going so far off schedule.

Kate Taylor:

No problem. Thank you so much for having me.

Harry Stebbings:

I mean, so much fun having Kate on the show there, and I can’t wait to see her incredible journey with Notion. We must have both Sam and Kate on together next time. And if you like the show, and would love to see behind the scenes, you can do that on Instagram @HStebbings1996 with two Bs. 

Harry Stebbings:

However, that’s quite enough from us. And I’m very excited to have Caitlin Stock at revenue count on the show next week.

 

Published on December 12, 2020

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