SaaStr Podcasts for the Week with Mapistry and Slack — November 29, 2019

 

 

 

 

Ep. 286: Allie Janoch is the Founder & CEO @ Mapistry, the startup that makes environmental compliance simple. As for Allie, prior to founding Mapistry she started her career in MIT’s Lincoln Lab before joining IQ Engines (acquired by Yahoo). Post acquisition, Allie integrated the technology built at IQ Engines into Flickr search.

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In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

* How Allie made her way from the world of Yahoo to founding the game changer of environmental compliance in Mapistry. Having had both big company, small startup and founding experience, what would Allie advise new graduates entering the workforce today?
* What were the biggest mistakes that Allie made when it comes to sales hiring? What were the learnings from those mistakes? How does Allie advise other founders on scaling sales teams? How does Allie think about sales rep payback period? How can one determine the effectiveness of a sales rep when they are engaging in 9-12 month sales cycles?
* How does Allie think about the importance of focus applied to customer segmentation today? How does Allie measure true customer success? NPS? Churn? Product analytics? How does Allie explain the macro market size to VCs when they initially see the small customer segment?
* Why did Mapistry start doing their own events? How should startups think about whether events are the right strategy for them or not? How should founders think about resource allocation and budget when it comes to events? How does Allie measure the ROI of events?

 

Ep. 287: Join Kevin Egan, Slack’s VP of North American Sales and Dannie Herzberg, Slack’s Director of Sales as they walk you through Slack’s Freemium to Enterprise strategies.

SaaStr’s Founder’s Favorites Series features one of SaaStr Annual’s best of the best sessions that you might have missed.

This podcast is an excerpt from Kevin and Dannie’s session at SaaStr Annual 2019.

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin
SaaStr
Harry Stebbings
Allie Janoch
Slack
Dannie Herzberg

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

Harry Stebbings: We are back and this is the official SaaStr podcast with me, Harry Stebbings, and you can see all things from us behind the scenes here on Instagram at hstebbings1996 with two Bs.

Harry Stebbings: However, to our episode today, and I’m super excited to welcome the incredible rising star, founder of the enterprise world, in the form of Allie Janoch, founder and CEO at Mapistry, the startup that makes environmental compliance simple. As for Allie, prior to founding Mapistry, she started her career in MIT’s Lincoln Lab before joining IQ Engines, acquired by Yahoo ultimately. Post acquisition, Allie integrated the technology built at IQ Engines into Flickr search. And I do also want to say a huge thank you to the wonderful Jason Lempkin at SaaStr for providing both some fantastic question suggestions today and also the original intro to Allie. Jason, huge thanks for that.

Harry Stebbings: However, you’ve had quite enough from me, so now I’m very, very excited to hand over to Allie Janoch, founder and CEO at Mapistry.

Harry Stebbings: Allie, it is absolutely fantastic to have you on the show today. I’ve heard so many great things from the main man, Jason Lemkin, so thank you so much for joining me today, Allie.

Allie Janoch: Yeah, I’m thrilled to be here.

Harry Stebbings: I would love to kick off this day with a little bit about you. So tell me, how did you make your way into the wonderful world of SaaS first, and then did you always dream of changing the world of environmental compliance and what was that kind of founding moment with Mapistry?

Allie Janoch: Yeah, I did. I did not always dream of doing a company, you know, related to environmental compliance, but I did always want to be a programmer. I think when I look back, you even, I looked at the sixth grade yearbook that my friend had saved, recently, and there was a line about like, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And most kids are saying like “an astronaut” or something like that. And I said like “computer programmer” or “software engineer” or something like that.

Allie Janoch: So I always knew I wanted to go to school and major in computer science and build products or maybe I guess I didn’t really know what I would do with the programming, but I thought it sounded cool and I didn’t really get an inkling though that I wanted to be an entrepreneur or start a company until much later.

Allie Janoch: I was in grad school, and kind of not very happy with doing research and I felt like I was writing these papers that no one reads, which is not totally accurate, but it’s different than building products. So I ended up quitting my PhD program and joining a startup and that’s where I really caught the startup bug and I loved working there. I was maybe the 10th employee and it was a SaaS company, but we ended up getting acquired by Yahoo.

Allie Janoch: I’m really for the tech, not for the business, so I lost that connection to the business side of it when we joined Yahoo. And I just really didn’t want to be at a big company. And so I didn’t last there very long and I pretty quickly was sort of searching around for my next thing. And I ended up interviewing lots of potential users for all sorts of different kinds of products that I was excited about.

Allie Janoch: And what I realized was that if I was going to commit, you know, 10 plus years of my life to something, I realized for me it had to be a B2B product. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to commit myself to a consumer product for that long. And I ended up like quizzing my husband about the problems he was having at work that he thought could be solved with tech. He’s a environmental and civil engineer, and that was the seed for what Mapistry is today. And I ended up quitting Yahoo and starting Mapistry and eventually convincing him to join me to help me build it. And that’s sort of where things got started.

Harry Stebbings: I mean, I absolutely loved that as a founding story and it’s great that he’s on the team now too. I do have to ask, though, and this is totally off schedule, and I’m sorry for this, but you’ve worked at a startup that was acquired, you then obviously joined Yahoo for a brief period and didn’t really feel that the big company person, and then you started your own company.

Harry Stebbings: I’m intrigued, what would you advise graduates coming into the workforce today, who are debating between those three options of joining a big incumbent, starting a startup, or joining a startup? What would you advise them?

Allie Janoch: I think that if you have a sense that at some point you would like to start your own company, joining a startup, like a very early startup, is a huge training ground to learn how to do that. And statistically speaking, if you join a super early startup, they’re going to fail, but you’ll still learn a lot from that failure even if they don’t succeed and if they do succeed you’ll learn even more, and you might stick around.

Allie Janoch: We just hired someone who was at Carter from early days and for five years and so he learned so much from that experience. I was only at this startup for a year before it got acquired, but I still learned a lot. And I think there’s probably tons you can learn by joining a big company too, but it’s very different.

Allie Janoch: And you get exposed to so much at a startup if you want to be. You know, I was hired as a programmer, as a software engineer, but you know, I sat next to the CEO and if I wanted to be in a meeting that wasn’t really something I was going to be invited to, I just said, “Hey, I’m opinionated about this. I want to join the meeting.” And that was fine. Can’t do that at a big company.

Harry Stebbings: No, I’m totally with you. I think it’s very special to be on the front lines and have the flexibility to do that. But I do want to start to stay on the topic, this is the forefront of all early stage SaaS founders’ minds, and it’s the element of really sales hiring. And I know you’ve had a couple of iterations on the right approach here, and so I do want to kind of double click on this. From the iterations, what were some of the biggest, maybe, mistakes that you made in the sales hiring to start with?

Allie Janoch: Yeah, this has been one of our biggest challenges for the past, well for years, actually. Figuring out who to hire on the sales team and how to train them, because Mapistry is a very complex sale–we sell to big companies. So it’s sort of your typical big enterprise sale. But it’s also complex because we sell to people who have often never purchased software before and we start talking to the environmental department, but we have to bring in operations. So it just becomes very complex.

Allie Janoch: And as a sales person, you have to talk pretty intelligently about the domain because otherwise people kind of just don’t want to talk to you. So when we first started hiring for sales, what we thought we wanted was people that were like Ryan, my husband and co-founder, because he was doing most of the sales and so he has all this domain experience and he leans really heavily on that when he’s having conversations. He has very technical conversations with potential customers and so we thought we should replicate that.

Allie Janoch: But what we learned was that, it’s really hard to hire someone who has some domain experience and try to figure out in an interview if they have the aptitude for sales, and then teach them how to sell. Maybe if it was a more transactional sale, it might’ve worked a little better, but to get them from basically never selling before, to figuring out how to do this really complex sale is a really big lift.

Allie Janoch: And Ryan figured it out, but it took him years. So for us to try to teach other people to do that, in you know, the course of a month or two, turned out to be really, really tough. So we’ve learned that that was not the right thing to do; don’t try to replicate the founder, at least for us.

Allie Janoch: And then the other thing it was just sort of narrowing in on, there’s so many things on your wishlist when you’re hiring anyone. Or what for us were the most important things? And one interesting one that we figured out, was that we want to hire people that are really smart for the sales team. And I think in talking to other founders, and other experienced entrepreneurs, that’s not always an important factor on the sales team.

Allie Janoch: Not that you want to hire a bunch of dummies, but it’s not usually the case that you want someone who’s unusually smart. But for us, we need people to onboard and quickly be able to talk intelligently about this space that they knew nothing about. You know, before they started working for Mapistry and you got to have to have a few extra IQ points to be able to do that.

Harry Stebbings: Can I ask? It is a very complex product. And so when you do ingest someone new into the sales team and they don’t have the domain experience that maybe you or your husband have. Can I ask, what does that onboarding process look like and how do you get them up to speed on such a complex industry in trying to be as short a time as possible?

Allie Janoch: Yeah, we iterated on a lot. It helps that we have as part of our team and as part of our offering to customers, we do offer some services. So we have a lot of people on the team who are really knowledgeable. Also, one of the products that we offer is eLearning. So we have all these courses that we sell to customers. So one of the first things that almost anyone we hire does, is they take those courses.

Allie Janoch: And then one of the things we’re going to start experimenting with soon that I am excited about is that, the first week of a sales hire, they’re going to spend a bunch of time with our CS team and do onboarding. And by doing that onboarding, they’ll learn a lot. And they also spend a lot of time with other people on the sales team. They do a lot of shadowing and that’s super important.

Harry Stebbings: Absolutely. We mentioned the complex sale, and the type of businesses that you do sell to. In terms of rep payback period, how do you think about rep payback period, given that in many cases for these sales it can be a nine to twelve month process in terms of the sale itself?

Allie Janoch: Yeah, I think that we’re still learning on that. I think that it is a long sales cycle. We can’t expect people to be selling at quota in a few months. It’s just unrealistic. But I think for both the salesperson, and for us it’s important to have milestones, so that they feel like they’re being successful and that they understand that they are making progress. Because if it takes six months to close a deal and you’re on month four or five and you’ve only closed a few deals, or that’s can be really demoralizing, not just for the salesperson. And for us, it’s harder to know if they’re succeeding.

Allie Janoch: But we end up having people pitch in and help out with other deals so that they can get a sense of that. And the other thing that we’re going to start doing, I don’t know, what we started to do, is that instead of having individual AEs and SDRs, kind of the more typical setup for a sales team that you see. Is we’re going to do a pod structure; where we’re going to have three people in a pod, they’re all going to be, have a title of AE, and there’s not going to be a designated SDR.

Allie Janoch: And they’re going to have a team goal, and they’re not going to be comped on individual quota. Instead they’re going to be comped on their team goal. So that if you’re the first person, and you’re the new person, you’re maybe a couple of years out of school and you’re that new person on the pod. And you get to learn from everyone else in the pod, the two other people on the pod, as you ramp up; and then you can be helping them close deals. And since you’re getting comped on the team, if you feel like you’re helping them, then you’re being successful from the beginning.

Harry Stebbings: Can I ask, and I’m sorry this is all so off schedule but it’s too interesting. You mentioned that kind of the team and the collective element, which I love. Are you a little bit concerned that if there’s one under performer, the two that are maybe performing, or feel like they’re carrying the other, and the other is actually financially benefiting from their excellence and that lack of excellence on the poor performer’s side?

Allie Janoch: Yeah, for sure. I mean we definitely have talked about this and I think that will remains to be seen. You know if we have, we’re not big enough to have experienced this in full, but I think that my hope is that with just three people on the team, if there’s one person that’s underperforming, it’s going to be really obvious.

Allie Janoch: And if we have a good management structure around those teams that that poor performer will become obvious pretty quickly. But I mean it is something I’m concerned about and will keep an eye on as we grow. I think if we were to put six salespeople together, it’d be way easier for someone to hide and for an underperformer to not be obvious. But we’re also going to have… Everyone’s going to be comped on team goals, but they are going to have individual goals as well.

Harry Stebbings: Gotcha. Okay. That makes total sense, so there is real personal accountability. I want to ask, and sorry, but you said about the services revenue element. Now, obviously I’m a VC, I also speak to many VCs. If I know one thing, it’s that VCs tend to puke when they hear the term “services rev”. I always actually disagree with it, but taking my view out of it, how would you respond to VCs that puke on services revenue? Are they right to and how do you think about that?

Allie Janoch: Yeah, I’ve really evolved on this. You know a couple of years ago we were raising seed round. I had some slides in my deck talking about how our [inaudible 00:13:46] revenue was going to go up, like the hockey stick kind of chart, and then our services revenue was going to stay flat, or something. And what I realized though is that having that services revenue creates incredibly close relationships with our customers. Not all of them want to take advantage of it, but when they do, it’s basically coming from a place of, “Hey we want Mapistry to solve our problem.” And sometimes, software isn’t enough, especially for us, which we’re in a space where we operate in the real world.

Allie Janoch: If somebody is using our software and they identify they have an environmental problem at their site, the solution is often not a software solution. It might be a treatment system, and if they have to go to someone else to solve that problem, it’s not a complete solution. Mapistry is not offering a complete solution. So they end up creating these super close relationships with our team. They are much, much less likely to churn.

Allie Janoch: And we’ve figured out a way to make the services side of things not a detriment to the team. The services team is highly profitable, and so that’s great. It’s certainly not a drain on our resources. They are, at times, they have propped up the team in terms of the revenue that they’re bringing in, so that also helps too.

Harry Stebbings: Listen, I’m totally with you and it’s music to my ears. I mean, it’s one thing that actually really pisses me off often. Totally with you there. You spoke a little bit about the customers you target. But I do want to, kind of, narrow in on this focus because when we chatted before, you said to me about the focus you apply today to customer profile in market. So how do you think about the importance of focus applied to, maybe, customer segment and profile today?

Allie Janoch: Yeah, we’ve really evolved on this as well because I think when we started, we felt like in comparison with other software companies in our space, we were pretty focused. So we’re within this bigger environmental health and safety software space. And so most of the companies we compete with, they do not just environmental, but health and safety risks, all sorts of huge swath of things. And they do it for any industry. And so we felt like, okay, we’re just going to focus on environmental. No, that’s enough focus. We don’t want to make our TAM too small and make us not fundable and not able to grow quickly.

Allie Janoch: But what we realized was that, if we want to offer a product that is really able to work as out of the box as possible, which is what we strive for and what is one of our huge differentiators, then we have to narrow in our focus so we currently have three industries that we’re focusing on and we’re only focusing on those companies that are quite big in those industries. And by doing that, we can make a product that really is tailored to those industries.

Allie Janoch: That doesn’t mean that that has to be our focus forever. A plan right now is that’s our 2020 focus, and maybe at the end of 2020, we’ll decide that there’s still a lot more room in the market to grow and we’re going to keep doing that for another year. Or maybe we’ll decide to add more segments. And we don’t have to be afraid of focus constraining us, because it’s not a commitment of forever.

Harry Stebbings: I totally agree and it actually very much reminds me of Rahul Vohra’s Superhumans discussion on how to find product market fit and really constraining how you view the ideal user of your product. So totally aligned now. I guess my question is, when we think about tailoring and dazzling that customer with the product experience that they have, how do you measure customer satisfaction; the dazzling of them with the product? Is it retention? Is it NPS? How do you measure that internally?

Allie Janoch: Yeah, we do. We use NPS pretty heavily. We use Pendo to have in app, NPS scores or NPS quizzes, and then we also use churn and retention, like those are super important to us. But I do think there’s a caveat there. I mean we have very low churn, but even when the customers that have churned, I really pay attention to who’s churning. So we have a high enough price point that we don’t have thousands of customers.

Allie Janoch: And so I notice every single customer that churns and the ones that I really pay attention to and care about the most are if a customer is churning, that’s really in that area that we’re focusing on. Because we have customers that we signed up like two, three years ago and the product has not evolved to better suit them because we haven’t been focusing on that industry. We’ve better figured out what we want to focus on.

Allie Janoch: You know, we have customers that are little wineries and at the time seemed great, they’re going to pay us, fantastic, but now it’s like we’re not, that’s not our focus. So it’s understandable that they might not be as happy with Mapistry as some of our other customers, and so I’m not going to over index on that small customer churning. I’m going to be much more concerned about the big customer that really fits into our focus right now. They churned, which luckily they aren’t, but if they churned, that would be really concerned.

Harry Stebbings: Yeah, no, I’m totally with you in terms of excluding that, what isn’t in the core target zone. I do want to ask, you mentioned that you didn’t want to narrow it too much, that it’s a challenge with fundraising. I’m sure VCs do also in terms of being a very, very niche TAM and market size question. How do you respond to the questions that I’m sure the VCs do ask?

Allie Janoch: So one of the things that’s challenging for us is that we don’t have market research that we can rely on to show investors what our TAM is, or what the market looks like. There’s a little bit of research, but I actually don’t really agree with it because I think that it’s evaluating the size of the market today and most of the customers we talk to aren’t using software to solve the problems we’re helping them with. So it’s kind of irrelevant what the size of the market is today. So I try to do a bottom-up analysis and I look at the number of industrial facilities in the country of a certain size and things like that. And I think that as we’re getting more focused on specific industries, my story is not about the size of the TAM for those industries. It’s a much bigger story and it’s about, today we’re focused on this segment of this bigger market. But the ultimate goal is not that we focus on just these three target industries, but that any big industrial company would be a customer.

Harry Stebbings: Absolutely. When we talk about those companies and how one engages with them, often one engages with them at events, and events is a really interesting area where you said earlier before the interview started that you’ve been really doing events for three years. And it’s somewhere, but actually Jason also said that you’ve had incredible success. So I do want to touch on this. So starting from the beginning, why did you start doing events and what did that own event discovery journey look like?

Allie Janoch: Yeah, so we started by doing typical events where we would go and sponsor a booth and attend the event, and we found that the ROI on these events was very low, for us at least. We found that there were very few events that we could attend where the audience was who we wanted to talk to. You know, we’d go to events where most of the audience was city and regulators and consultants and we don’t sell to any of those people.

Allie Janoch: So on the face it looks like it’s the right event because they’re talking about environmental compliance. But in reality the people who attend are not people we want to talk to. Or we’d go to events where you’d have a range of titles and some people are focused on environmental, sure. But there’s also all these people focused on health and safety and maybe they’re not there because they want to do software, because it’s not a software event.

Allie Janoch: And so maybe they’re just not in the space to purchase software. It’s not what they’re there to do. And so we just weren’t having a lot of luck. And it’s expensive. You have to pay for a booth, you have to pay to fly people out, hotels. It just gets pretty darn expensive. So we had another company who was in the WeWork with us and they said to us, “Hey, we host our own conference. It’s surprisingly affordable and to do a hundred person event, and you can invite who you want to talk to and it can be half customers and half leads and you can make it an educational event.” Not sort of a how to use Mapistry event, but you know, learn about environmental compliance and use that as a way of generating leads and creating closer relationships with your customers at the same time.

Harry Stebbings: I mean I think it’s the perfect solution then. I look forward to going into a Mapistry event if you’ll have me at one of them.

Allie Janoch: Sure, you might not, you might not understand what’s going on, but…

Harry Stebbings: Don’t worry. The English accent carries me a long way. Don’t worry about it. I do have to ask though, because there’s a lot of startups that think about events now and go, “Huh, is this something that actually we should be doing as a strategy?” What would your advice be to them on whether they should or shouldn’t really engage and go deep with the “doing their own events” strategy?

Allie Janoch: I think for me the key was that there were not spaces where our customers were congregating, and so it made sense to us to put on an event where we could put the agenda together to be readily educational and valuable to our potential customers, and that they would want to attend. So if you were in a space where there’s already a lot of really high quality events, it might be hard to get a foothold. I could see that as being the case. And then you know, there’s some things that you have to consider.

Allie Janoch: Like do you have a good enough network to put together a really great speaker panel? My co-founder Ryan is really good at that. So if you can’t put together a great speaker lineup, you’re not going to have a strong event and you’re not going to get the people you want to attend, to attend. And it does cost a little bit of money and we offset it by having some sponsors, but it is a little bit of investment. I think the first year we probably spent like $10,000 on it.

Harry Stebbings: Wow. Okay. I mean that’s super interesting. So I thought it’d be more like $100,000, so I mean I am interested, and perfect segue there, because I was going to ask, how do you advise founders and how do you think about that resource allocation and budget when it comes to events?

Allie Janoch: So I think, don’t forget about all the ancillary costs. You know, we try to do a really good job about recording every single little cost. So you know, whether it’s the hotels for a couple of our team members that are remote that have to come to Berkeley for the event, or the printing that we do for the flyers, all those little things. So, and do the same when you’re attending an event, like don’t forget about the food that you bought or the flight that you had to take or all of the hotel budget. And so compare those two.

Allie Janoch: And then I think that there’s a lot of ways you can save some money on an event. Like we have sponsors the first couple of years we just did some lawyers that sponsored, which are really relevant to our customer segment and they don’t want to have like a bunch of in your face marketing. So it was great. We’ve always been able to have sponsors who are people that we’d like to invite to speak anyways, so they kind of pay us to come speak, but we would kind of invite them to speak for free anyways. So, that is a really good way of funding the event.

Harry Stebbings: Well, I’m so pleased that this conversation is just between us and they haven’t heard that you would have them speak anyway, but I do want ask, in terms of ROI from the event, how do you measure that? Is that like converted sales? Is that followup conversations? How do you determine the success?

Allie Janoch: Yeah, I mean we’re definitely tracking in Salesforce, converted sales, also tracking retention for customers that attend, upsells for customers too. And then there’s other ways you can get ROI. We’ve always had videographer attend and then we schedule a bunch of interviews with customers at the event so we get these really high quality customer testimonials that you really wouldn’t be able to do otherwise, cause what are you going to do? Go visit a single customer and bring a videographer that would be incredibly expensive, especially considering the fact that only 50% of the interviews end up being worthy of putting on the website. And so, that’s a great way of getting additional ROI out of the event, but mostly it’s sales that are generated from the event.

Harry Stebbings: Got you. Absolutely. Important to track everything. I do want to move to the final element though and it’s actually kind of a little bit of self reflective really on your learnings and development in the scaling of CEO ships. So, how have you seen yourself change and evolve as a leader and CEO over the last few years?

Allie Janoch: I mean so much. I’ve learned so much, but I think one of the things I’ve put a lot of thought into is what are the things that I should hand off to someone else and what are the things that I should continue to own? I’ve never been the person that is a micromanager, so I think some people probably struggle with this in that they don’t want to hand things off or when they do, they keep micromanaging people. But I think that I’ve had this tendency in the past to, when I’m not doing something as well as I’d like to because I don’t have the time, I try to hand that off to someone else. But I haven’t always reflected on is this something that I am uniquely good at? Is this something that I’m really, really good at and I shouldn’t be handing off?

Allie Janoch: Maybe the things that I should be handing off are all the, stupid accounting things that I’m doing. All the stuff that goes around with running a business. Those are things I should prioritize handing off. Even though they seem like small little things, they all add up and that I shouldn’t hand off the details of figuring out what we’re going to build because that’s the thing that I’m really good at. I can hand off, managing the timeline of the product, because that’s not the thing that brings me as much joy and as much energy and other people can do it just as well, if not better. But it’s hard to figure that out, it’s hard to figure out how you can arm your team to be as successful as you want them to be, but without overwhelming them, without giving them too much.

Harry Stebbings: Do you agree with the common notion that as CEO, your role changes every six months?

Allie Janoch: Oh yeah, for sure. That’s one of the hardest parts. It’s so challenging.

Harry Stebbings: No, I love it. Absolutely. Well, listen Allie, I do want to dive into my favorite, which is the quickfire round, so Allie’s 60 seconds SaaStr. Are you ready to rock and roll?

Allie Janoch: Yep.

Harry Stebbings: Okay, so what motto or quote do you most frequently revert back to?

Allie Janoch: I think one of the things I like to think about is Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great. There’s a bunch of awesome stuff in that book, but one of the things I love, is he talks about the fact that you should figure out what your company can be the best in the world at and focus on that. And he has lots of awesome examples, but that’s something that I often think about, you know, let’s not try to copy what someone else is doing or try to add this thing to our product that we don’t totally understand. Let’s figure out what we can be the best at.

Harry Stebbings: What’s the most challenging element of your role with Mapistry today, do you think?

Allie Janoch: Well, sort of back to what you said, it’s constantly changing. But I think right now, the most challenging thing is that we are growing and figuring out how to grow the team most effectively, how to empower people, and when to hold on to things. And then the other challenging part is just that we’re getting closer to a point where we’re going to probably want to start fundraising. So when do we do that? And there’s a lot of thought about that, you know, how do we tell a good story to potential investors? And gearing up for that is a big thing on my mind right now.

Harry Stebbings: What do you do when shit hits the fan? How do you deal with it?

Allie Janoch: I think the first thing is just to take like a big breath. And I think that I definitely get that sort of tightness in my chest when something bad happens and that can help. And then I think just to remind myself that things have gone poorly in the past and we’ve muddled through it. We’ve persevered, we’ve figured it out. In 2015, we had to lay off our whole team and we’ve gotten to where we are today even though that was in our past. So I think that feeling that we can figure it out, we’ve been there before, really helps. And then I got a dog a year ago, so going to the dog park and snuggling with her is also super helpful.

Harry Stebbings: What would you most like to change in the world of tech in Silicon Valley?

Allie Janoch: Oh, I mean probably something around diversity would be fantastic. We have five values at Mapistry, and the first one on our list is diversity. I think that there’s so often these little things I think about where I wonder “Is that because I’m a woman.” I mean never, well maybe not never, but you almost never know and I just would love if that wasn’t the case. I would love if when I was hiring for sales roles or tech roles, if I was seeing a really diverse group of people, not just men and women, but racially, socioeconomically, where people come from. I think that diversity yields much better and more productive teams and much better products. Our customers come from a huge diverse background, so we should, if we have diversity, we’ll build a better products for them as well.

Harry Stebbings: Can I ask, and this is a personal one, you don’t have to answer, but in terms of like asking yourself that question, like would that have happened if I was a man, where do you think that’s most common? Is that in sales? Is that in hiring? Is that in fundraising? What do you find that most often?

Allie Janoch: I think it’s mostly when I’m interacting with people outside of our team. Like I don’t feel that in the office on a day to day basis. So yeah, like in sales and fundraising and if I’m at some sort of networking event. Those are the kinds of places where I think that. But it’s hard cause it’s totally unproductive. No, there’s nothing you can really do about it in the moment. So it’s not productive to be focusing on that. It just brings you down. But it can be demoralizing.

Harry Stebbings: I do want to finish. What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the beginning of your journey with Mapistry?

Allie Janoch: So many things. I think that there is something to be said for prioritizing myself and prioritizing health and wellbeing so that we can continue on. Because Mapistry has been a long journey and it has not always been easy. And so there’s everything from making sure you exercise and eat right, to making sure you spend time with friends. I recently started working with an executive coach, which has been absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend. It’s kind of a mix between mentorship and therapy and it’s awesome. So I think there’ve been times where I haven’t been as confident in my abilities and usually that has just been a detriment to the company and in the end I realized that if I had confidence in myself I probably could have done a great job. And that just sort of means that we might not have gotten to a some milestone as quickly as we would have otherwise.

Harry Stebbings: And listen, Allie, as I said to you before, I heard so many great things from Jason. I absolutely loved this. I’m sorry for going off schedule so much.

Allie Janoch: That’s okay. No worries.

Harry Stebbings: Absolutely loved having Allie on the show. They’re in such exciting times ahead for her and Mapistry and if you’d like to see more from Allie, you can find her on Twitter @alliejanoch. Likewise, it’d be great to welcome you behind the scenes here. You can do that on Instagram at @hstebbings1996 with two Bs. 

Harry Stebbings: As always, I so appreciate all your support and I can’t wait to bring you another fantastic episode next week.

 

Published on November 29, 2019

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