Ep. 319: May Habib is the Founder & CEO @ Qordoba, the platform that helps everyone at your company write with the same style, terminology and voice. To date, May has raised over $21M in funding with Qordoba from the likes of Upfront Ventures, Aspect Ventures, Bonfire Ventures and Michael Stoppelman to name a few. Before entering the world of SaaS, May was a vice president at one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, where she was the first employee on the technology investment team, building a portfolio now worth over $20B. Before that, May started her career in the New York Office of Lehman Brothers raising capital for software companies.
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In Today’s Episode We Discuss:
* How May made her way into the world of startups and SaaS from being a VP at one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East?
* How does May think about and assess operational survival in times of such uncertainty? Why does this downturn feel so different to prior downturns? Operationally, what needs to fundamentally change about your processes?
* How does May think about when is the right time to engage with preemptive burn cuts? Where does one look first in the organization when making these cuts? How does one structure those discussions? What is the right way to do it? What is the right way to communicate the cuts to the team, customers, and investors?
* How does one keep the existing team’s spirits high when they have just seen many of their friends be released? What is the right way to manage those discussions? What can founders do to build unity in their team now everyone is WFH? What has worked well for the Qordoba team? Where do many go wrong here?
Ep. 320: We’re obviously in a very unique situation today. The pace at which Corona is impacting us all right now is so fast, it’s hard to keep up.
Today is different from other times but in SaaS. It will probably be like ’08-’09 downturn — just faster.
Join Jason Lemkin, CEO and Founder of SaaStr, and Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight, as they take a look back at what happened to them as a SaaS vendor in ’08-’09, and what learnings you can leverage.
This episode is sponsored by TaxJar.
SaaStr’s Founder’s Favorites Series features one of SaaStr’s best of the best sessions that you might have missed.
This podcast is an excerpt from Jason and Nick’s webinar “What We’re Doing Now. And How We Got Through ’08-’09.” You can find the full replay here.
If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:
Below, we’ve shared the transcript of Harry’s interview with May.
Harry Stebbings: We are back on the official SaaS to podcast with me, Harry Stebbings. And, now I’m in self isolation,. I’m getting up some weird and wonderful stuff on Instagram, so do check it out at HStebbings1996 with two Bs. It’d be great to see you there.
Harry Stebbings: But, to the show today and I’m thrilled to welcome back an old friend and incredible founder to the hot seat today in the form of May Habib. May is the founder and CEO of Qordoba, the platform that helps everyone at your company, write with the same style, terminology, and voice. And, to date, May has raised over $21 million in funding with Qordoba from the likes of Upfront Ventures, Aspect Ventures, Bonfire Ventures, and Michael Stoppelman, to name a few. Before entering the world of SaaS, May was a vice president at one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, where she was the first employee on the technology investment team, building a portfolio now worth over $20 billion. Before that, May started her career in the New York office of Lehman Brothers, raising capital for software companies.
Harry Stebbings: However, you’ve heard quite enough of me. So, now I’m very excited to hand over to a dear friend, May Habib, founder and CEO at Qordoba.
Harry Stebbings: May, it is such a pleasure to have you on the show today for a very special round two. Now for those that missed our first episode, I do want to kick off today with a little on you, so tell me, how did you make your way into the wonderful world of SaaS, and how did you come to found Qordoba?
May Habib: Well, I started my career in banking and then I moved over to the investing side. I worked for a super large sovereign wealth fund in the middle East and it was a great adventure. I loved that, but I always knew I wanted to start my own company and once I had the seeds of an idea, I tried to kick myself out of corporate life before it got too comfortable. I moved to San Francisco in 2015, and I started Qordoba. Today we are a team of 28 based here in San Francisco and our product is an AI writing assistant for businesses.
May Habib: If you are a company of a reasonable size now, you’ve got people in marketing, customer success, of course sales, all talking to your market, all talking to your prospect, and making sure they all say the same things is a really tough job. So, Qordoba provides an editorial style guide. We are a single source of truth for those writing and messaging guidelines. We’ve got a browser extension that sits in the browser and it helps correct and align writing to that style guide. And, our customers are folks like Twitter, Intuit, Braintree. We use Qordoba to help the writers write well, write on brand, adjust things like terminology, messaging, writing style, getting the voice and tone right. And, I was a college journalist, a high school journalist, and so there is a lot of founder market fit right now and helping people write well.
Harry Stebbings: I do want to ask though, because you mentioned there, the time in banking and you also mentioned about the time that the sovereign wealth fund, when we look at the landscape today, it’s a challenging landscape, that has to be very clear. I have to ask, when you think back to that time in 08 at Lehman’s and then 09 in the middle East, how does today compare and how do you think about that as a comparison standpoint, in terms of landscapes?
May Habib: Well, it was an incredibly scary time. I have been here before in terms of this being a very scary time too. I was at Lehman during the financial crisis and I was one of those people, Harry, you saw on TV, walking out of the building in Times Square with my life in a box, and then your countryman, Larry Diamond, saved us the following week. So, I went back into that building with the same box. But, it was certainly months of anxiety leading up to and after the bankruptcy. And what’s crazy about this time is those months of anxiety have actually been compressed into days. And, so it’s an incredibly high amount of stress in a very short period of time for everybody.
May Habib: Then when I was in the UAE, a couple of years later, I was working for the government when Abu Dhabi bailed out Dubai and I was in the heart of the region a couple of years later, when oil prices fell from a hundred bucks a barrel, which is what they were when I moved, to $50 a barrel when I left to move to San Francisco. So, even though this is my first recession in tech, I am no stranger to scary times and it is absolutely scary. I think the suddenness really differentiates this particular economic crisis from previous ones that I’ve had a front seat to, and it’s going to be about survival.
Harry Stebbings: I mean I totally agree with you. When we chatted about it a little bit beforehand in terms of VCs speaking to their portfolio founders, I mentioned to you about mastering it in terms of speaking to portfolio founders about, as we said, their survival, operational survival, so I’d love to ask, how do you think about operational survival in times of such uncertainty?
May Habib: It’s about a few things. Number one is do you have the cash to make it out to the other side? We’ve all just blown our Q1. If you have a listener who’s made their Q1, I would love to hear it because it is a frigging impossibility right now and super impressive if they made their numbers. So, not only have most of us come in under on Q1, we have no idea what Q2 and Q3 hold. I’ve had customers who are incredible fast growing tech companies to prospects who are enterprise and mid market companies, household names, who have said, “I can’t buy software this month. I don’t know what next month will be. Let’s stay close.” And, these are deals that you know we had gotten really close to the finish line. It feels like this may be over by end of Q2 from a health crisis perspective, but it certainly does not mean back to normal.
May Habib: There is going to be a ramp up and that means a ramp up in your prospects going back to normal and your industry going back to normal, so operational survival is going to be about making your revenue projections zero for Q1, making them zero for Q2, having them in Q3 and Q4. And, on that basis, figuring out what it’s going to take for you to survive long enough to be able to see the other side. I just don’t see outside capital being a realistic possibility for most companies. So, that’s one. Do you have the cash to survive?
May Habib: I think number two is what’s happening in the minds of your team. Who is anxious? Who is worried? Who do you really need to talk to, to make sure they’re not freaking out? Now, you know that managing our own psychology as a founders part time job that during society-wide crises, having been through them before, you really need to make sure you know what your team is thinking.
May Habib: If you’re a team of 30-ish like us, then you as a founder, those are one-on-ones with everyone on your team to figure out where their minds are at. If it’s a larger team, focus on your leadership, but focus on your core folks, how are they doing at home? How is it like having their kids at home? Do they still believe in what you’re trying to do? Those are just going to be really important things to make sure the team survives to the other side, because you could have the cash stockpile you need, but if you’ve got people really not able to hit the ground running once you’re out on the other side, then you are going to have to have the team reset as well.
May Habib: And, then I think survival is also going to be about staying really close to your buyer and staying close to the market in a very empathetic way. Not in a way where you’re trying to sell them things, but really understand how their position has changed, how their jobs are changing. Most of us, most of your prospects are going to have VPs of finance and CFOs putting a pause on budgets until they can figure out what the markets are doing. Do you have a good handle of how your prospects lives have changed? It could be a permanent change. So, talking to them without trying to sell them anything, I think it’s going to be important for this period that we’re going into.
Harry Stebbings: I mean I have so many things to unpack from those. I mean if we take it kind of one by one, you mentioned there about kind of what to expect in Q1 being totally blown in terms of the first instance. Do you think there’s anything you can do to mitigate that in terms of discounts? In terms of much, much cheaper pricing for the first year and then second year where it ramps up so you preserve their cashflow and then it gets to normal pricing the next year. Is that anything you can structure a deal as to eek them out, quite frankly?
May Habib: The kinds of discounts that you provide are going to be dependent on the stage of the company, so we are absolutely doing things like that because adoption is just very important for us. The initial land is really important. There are still going to be lots of folks who say, “I just can’t roll anything out right now, whether it’s free or not.” And, so I think it’s going to be hard for people to commit to things that work when they’re trying to stock toilet paper in their bathrooms. It’s just the psychology of it and they could be there, but then the decision maker may not be, the budget holder may not be. So, just so much has to line up for somebody to make a decision right now. My advice would be try to be as high IQ as possible when talking to prospects and really back off if folks can’t do anything because it could be damaging to the long term relationship if you press, even if you’re giving things away.
Harry Stebbings: No, absolutely. I do agree. You said also about kind of being really close to the hoop and being really close to the buyer in that non-transactional way. If you think about the questions to ask to really gather as much information as possible, what questions should we be asking?
May Habib: I think working from home when companies are not used to that can really fundamentally change what organizations are able to get done. We’re lucky, I think in tech and startups in particular, that we really have a years long headstart on the rest of the global economy. We have built entire software stacks that make this possible. There are an incredible number of companies who are just being introduced to Zoom right now.
May Habib: So, I think having empathy for that and really just trying to dig in on how people are staying in touch. How are they talking to their boss? What’s happening to their direct reports? What about all those contractors they used to have? We are a cross functional product, so those questions are pretty natural for us to be curious about. But, I think that gives you a really good sense of how anxious somebody may be even if they’re not necessarily letting it on.
Harry Stebbings: You mentioned their team there in terms of the customer’s team, in terms of your team, when the customer does provide that feedback that ,”Hey, we just can’t roll it out, free or not,” or the pipe goes to zero or whatever kind of negative unexpected consequence comes from this. My question to you is what do you do kind of deliberately to keep morale high and to ensure that the team members are as empowered and as happy as possible in this time?
May Habib: We have really tried to ramp up the amount of good news sharing. So, customer success has got their cadence of calls, and if anything, people want human contact. And, so customer success has had just a busy calendar as ever. So, really being able to share those nuggets to the rest of the team is important. We had our first virtual happy hour last Friday and very lightheartedly someone came up with the idea of a toilet paper finding service and while on the call over beers, the team launched, findmytoiletpaper.com. It’s live, you could actually go to that site.
May Habib: So, trying to focus on the people versus the business because taking care of that people will take care of the business is what we’ve tried to do and checking in on each other. We’ve got a couple survivalists on our team who would be okay in their homes if all of electricity and water were to be shut off. And, so we’re making fun of them. They may have 15 people show up at their house at any given time. So, really getting to know each other as people, making a real effort to turn on our videos when we’re talking to them, turning any social activities to virtual ones. That’s what we’ve been trying to do these past couple of weeks
Harry Stebbings: And, I think findmytoiletpaper.com will soon be a viral sensation, by the way, I love that in terms of an output. I do have to ask though, because in these extended periods also, a lot of people are considering cuts in certain ways, especially if it’s potentially more prolonged than one expects. These are actions that often preemptive burn cuts. How do you think about when’s the right time to think about and then to do preemptive burn cuts?
May Habib: Well, we did one when we looked at our operating plan for 2020 at the start of this crisis a few weeks ago. We saw that it would be pretty difficult for us to make the numbers work if Coronavirus was going to be more than just a blip. And, we took the extraordinary decision to reduce the size of our team by a third. And, we did that very quickly. So, it was days from making the decision to announcing it to the people impacted. And, we did that the first week of March and literally two days later we went to work from home.
May Habib: I mean I can’t underscore the speed at which this entire crisis has come on. If we really think about where all of our heads were at 10 days ago, and that day was the hardest day of my professional life. The day that we did that, a third of the company is 17 people and it was 17 people who had become close friends to me, close friends to each other, who we had recruited painstakingly. So, that was a really tough day and I am grateful that we got to the other side of that because it makes the likelihood that we will survive what comes all that much higher and that is a win for the team that remains. That’s a win for our product existing in the world. It’s a win for our customers.
Harry Stebbings: I mean, there’s a couple of questions that I have to ask your advice on. One is that I hate conflict, honestly, and as you said, they’re friends, you have relationships with them. I never know the right way to do it and the right way to approach it. Advise me, what is the right way to do it and how do you think about structuring that conversation?
May Habib: Yeah, structuring the entire day was my number one job from when we made the decision to when we did it. I literally didn’t do anything else but prepare for that day and I talked to other CEOs who have done it. Lynn Perkins from Urbansitter was an incredible resource. I talked to former CEOs who have done it. Tony Levitan from Leaders in Tech was an incredible resource there too, talking to me through this. And, we ended up planning for the day that we did it and literally 15 minute increments starting from 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM exactly who we were going to talk to, in what order, what we were going to say, who was going to be doing what in kind of the core people that knew about it. Then who was going to be told in what order in terms of the folks who needed to know because there was people on their teams who are impacted.
May Habib: So, we decided on a Sunday, we did it on a Thursday and my life from that Sunday to the Thursday was only this. And, we had to speak very candidly to those departing. I had to take full responsibility. I let the company grow a little too fast and we were coming into a really incredible economic period that none of us had seen before. I mean, the vast majority of folks that were on our team were people who had never been through any economic crisis in their career. At mid thirties, I am one of the oldest people on the team and so that was really tough. And, I did see a range of outcomes. Folks for whom this was their first job out of college were impacted to a degree. Folks who went through the previous downturn were not. And, so just speaking really candidly about what happened to those folks, taking responsibility for it, rallying the team that remains is just as important.
May Habib: Now, rallying is difficult when two days later you move to work from home. And, so I really feel for the companies that are going to have to do these kinds of workforce adjustments in the next few months because they’re not going to have kind of the benefit that we had benefit in air quotes because it was a really shit day, but we were all together at the office. And, I do think there’s nothing like being able to put that whole office in a room after something like this happens to have those frank conversations about the health of the company, the health of the balance sheet, and the fact that we’re all together to run as fast as we ever have towards these goals.
May Habib: So, yeah, there’s a lot there, but I guess that’d be my advice in a nutshell.
Harry Stebbings: When you think about keeping the morale high there, for you, what do you think works in those situations? And, if you were to advise people that you now have to do it in a remote situation, what would you advise them given your experience having done it in person and kind of now being worked from home, how would you advise?
May Habib: I think being as high EQ as possible. People are going to want to grieve and so moving to a “rah rah, we’re going to get shit done” mode too quickly is not the right thing to do. In your mind, you’re already on the other side because you’re the one who had been planning for days for this and the folks that will be doing it over the next few months, I can’t tell you how many startup founders have told me that they’re going to have to do something like this soon. Not trying to be too positive, honestly, about where shit is going. And, what I have tried to do for myself is really hold lightly to the outcome.
May Habib: The best I can do is lead with my mind, with my heart, create a place where we love and enjoy the journey and that we all feel like we’re playing a fun, challenging game with people that we like and if we win, that’s frigging awesome. And, sharing that and really giving people the room they need to grieve. People that they loved who aren’t working with the company anymore and kind of go through their own cycle of emotions versus being kind of so focused on getting them to a good place really quickly. If you are able to be authentic and open, they will get to a good place on their own and they’ll meet you there. But, you have to meet them where they are emotionally right now.
Harry Stebbings: In terms of being authentic and open, it’s, as you said, it was the hardest day of your career. It’s a horrible and shit situation. And, so in terms of the psychology, I am really intrigued, how do you fundamentally manage the psychology of being CEO and how do you handle these really pretty shit situations?
May Habib: My friend Nick Flanders is a CEO also, and he told me a phrase a few weeks ago that just really encapsulates how I get through the tough times. And, it’s one that I just said, “holding lightly to the outcome.” You can be really obsessed with the process, really focused on the process. If you can hold lightly to what that process gets you to, you are able to be so much more present or able to connect much more deeply and show up more authentically and openly. And, I think it leads to better outcomes for your own psychology and the psychology of others around you.
May Habib: You are leading from a place of joy and love versus fear and anxiety and I think that makes all of the difference in leading. And, our own psychology’s important so that we can show up every day and get out of bed every day, but it’s also important because if we’re not managing our own psychology, there’s a transference that happens whether we like it or not, whether if we feel it’s happening or not. And, people know when you’re leading from a place of security and love versus fear and anxiety and especially in this period that we’re going through right now and I think it’s going to last a couple of quarters. Leading from a place of true peace, it’s going to be more important than ever.
Harry Stebbings: Can I ask you a really weird, quite deep question and I hope it’s okay for me to ask. Where do you find true peace and security in what you do today, in terms of now being also work from home? What is it that gives you that kind of mental secure place?
May Habib: I feel mentally secure knowing that no matter what happens, me and the team will have left it all out on the field. We don’t leave a stone unturned and knowing that you’re giving it your best and they’re going to be all sorts of things that are outside of your control, I think gives me a lot of peace and truly trying to do good things for people. Whether that is your customer, whether that is a person on your team, whether that is contractor who you’re working or no longer working with. I mean trying to do it peacefully is what gives me security that I’m not wronging anybody.
May Habib: Nobody on my team is wronging anybody and we are all just trying to do our best. If we take care of the people, I really believe this, it will take care of the business, and I believe we are going to win and make it through the other side, but these are challenging times. These are unchartered waters, for sure. There is no playbook for this.
Harry Stebbings: Can I ask, how do you communicate the team changes to kind of two very important and specific segments being one, your customer base and two your investor base. Do you need to really convey the changes to the customer base one, and the investor base, two?
May Habib: Definitely to both, for sure, and there are different communications strategies on the customer and the prospect side and we went customer by customer, prospect by prospect. They don’t need to know the ins and outs of everything that happened. They do need to know that somebody that they worked closely with is no longer with the company. Depending on how big that relationship was, it involved me also getting on the phone to just let them know that the company’s in really, really strong position, stronger than ever. And, we wanted to make sure that we were in a position to weather what may, and have our own future in our own hands. And, those conversations went very well. Certainly with investors, they’re part of your initial decision and so the investors have got, for the most part, a head in advance view on what’s coming. In our case it was pretty specific.
May Habib: What’s nice about investors is they’ve got a portfolio. And, so they’ve seen, especially if they’ve got decades of experience and we’re very lucky with our very experienced investors. They’ve seen this dozens and dozens of times. And, so who is impacted and how you do it, they are so well positioned to give you advice on that. So, we brought them in very early and then they’re also there to help you get folks back on their feet and so we created a list of folks who were impacted that was shared with the portfolio companies who are hiring and hire mode of our investors and so investors are very empathetic. They’re very supportive. If anything, they’re asking you to cut even more than you think you need to, because they’ve seen this story before and they’re really incredible and also trying to help us get people back on their feet.
Harry Stebbings: Every investor is calling every portfolio founder they have right now and telling them to cut everything they can in terms of burn and really just maximize runway as long as possible. Are founders a little bit annoyed by this when they have every investor they have calling them for the very same call? And, then how do you think about that? Because, it’s something that I’ve been concerned about it as I’ve been making these calls.
May Habib: So, much advice is really hard to internalize and action until it’s lived experience. Every time I’m annoyed by a question or frustrated by somebody asking me something, that’s a moment for self reflection, and we don’t want to do the hard things. It’s just human nature and no matter how annoyed they are at you, Harry, still make the call, still give the advice. I also resisted making our cuts as big as they ended up being and I am now grateful that I took that hard advice and a lot of it is just the founder coming to terms with what they need to do and I think they will thank you for it.
Harry Stebbings: No, I agree. Are you worried about the psychology of your team in this time? A lot of founders I speak to are very worried, especially if they don’t have a remote first team initially. Are you and have you been worried about the psychology of individual team members, loneliness, isolation, fatigue? Is that a concern for you or do you feel that given the infrastructure set up already, it’s a storm that can be weathered quite easily?
May Habib: It’s my number one concern is making sure the team is okay at home, isn’t feeling anxiety. I mean we have had our fundamental needs challenged when people go to the supermarket and the shelves are empty. When people are afraid for the lives of their parents. I think that the psychological impact of this goes deeper than we even think right now and you have to be empathetic to that as the leader of a company. It’s going to impact productivity. It’s going to impact the way folks show up and the only thing you can do, I think, is make yourself available and have these kinds of candid conversations with people very early, very frequently. We try to stay in touch as much as possible on a daily and weekly basis through Zoom and I think it’s going to get a little worse before it starts to get better. But, yeah, I have so much empathy for everybody who hasn’t had a remote first team until now.
Harry Stebbings: Can I ask you, the other thing that we’re seeing is obviously school closures. It also just causes a huge, not burden, but time responsibility, on working professionals who had previously had their days unencumbered when children were at school. How do you think about being a leader when many employees or employees suddenly have children that they need to homeschool and look after all day?
May Habib: Oh, so much empathy for that. I have an 11 month old at home who is being pushed around in a trolley outside right now because I am doing this call. So, I think we’ve had really, from the beginning, a culture where there’s not a really a stark line that divides home and family. I had my newborn at the office at 10 days old and then at three weeks old and that’s same for other folks in the company. I have done calls with candidates with my baby in my lap or you can hear him in the background and it’s just part of life at Qordoba. We’ve got a lot of parents on the team and I think we are all going to have to be okay with kids coming in and out of the frame.
May Habib: Everybody knows this CNN clip from a couple of years ago. I think that’s just normal. I was literally just on a call with a great contractor that we work with and his wife walked into the frame and said hello, the baby ran in and she joined him on his lap for a little while and it was just really lovely and there is a lot of silver lining,, I think in this phase that all of our economies are going through and if it is a bit of the blurring of the line between home life and work life, I think that’s going to be a very positive thing.
Harry Stebbings: Can I ask you a weird one and a slightly messy question, but I’m too intrigued and I’ve been thinking about it a lot over the last few days and it’s, do you think it we’ll be fundamentally so much more appreciative of human connection and human relationships after this period of isolation? Or do you think that the health concerns and the virality of the virus itself will just actually lead people to be more skeptical, more germaphobic than ever. And, that might be the wrong word, but do you know what I mean? More isolatory than ever. Which way do you think it will go?
May Habib: Oh, I think we’re going to become so much more connected. I leaned my head out the window today and told my neighbor that the Walgreens had restocked toilet paper and his dog barked up to my baby and it was just moments like this happening now throughout our day that just didn’t happen before. I think one of the benefits of working from home is going to be feeling much more present in our communities and especially in San Francisco. We’ve got such a transitory population and being able to just breathe in to the physical place where you’re at because, I mean right now San Francisco is on lockdown and we are not supposed to leave our house for non-essential anything for the next three weeks till April 7th, and that is a forced step back. It’s a forced reckoning in a way and that I think is going to have really positive impacts in the kinds of bonds we all make and just the physical communities where we live.
Harry Stebbings: That makes me super happy to hear. No, I’m very pleased to hear that. And, I do hope for the same. I do want to move though into my favorite element of any episode though, May, being the 60 Seconds SaaStr. So, I say a short statement and then you hit me with your amazing immediate thoughts. Are you ready to dive in?
May Habib: Okay, great. Let’s do it.
Harry Stebbings: Okay, so let’s hit with what do you know now about the process which you wish you’d known at the beginning of your time with Qordoba?
May Habib: That advice would be useless. And, what I mean by that is once you’ve learned the lesson yourself with your own lived experience, you can kind of look back and say, “Ah yes, that’s what that advice was about.” But, nothing I would say would be as helpful as if you want to start a SaaS company, please just get started and get all your mistakes over with.
May Habib: It’s like when you start a company, there should be a syllabus of all the mistakes you’re going to make, some of the multiple times in different flavors. And, just pick yourself up, check it off the list, take the lesson with you and move on. I wish I had known that that’s what it was going to be like.
Harry Stebbings: If you could change one thing about the world of SaaS today, May, what would it be and why?
May Habib: I think they would do an industry founded nonprofit whose purpose was an education effort for the mid market enterprise on just what SaaS can do. It’s not just about CRM and ERP and accounting software. There’s a whole software stack that makes us startups super efficient and innovative and if non startups could really understand that flow, I think it would change the speed at which they bought and adopted software.
Harry Stebbings: What’s the hardest element of your role with Qordoba today, May?
May Habib: I think on the work front, I would say the hardest part is going back to build that inbound and organic engine. We just got so good at outbound that we never did that and now we have to because the buying journey is changing and it’s a fun and it’s an interesting skill set for sure, but it’s just a different one than the one we had been developing and I would say that it’s been challenging, fun but challenging.
May Habib: And, then I think from a leadership perspective, the hardest part today is really just trying to keep the team together, keep us positive and get us to the other side.
Harry Stebbings: Tell me, when you’re stuck, who do you turn to for advice and what’s been your big takeaways from that relationship?
May Habib: I turn to books, and I have lots of great conversations with people in the industry and investors, but I kind of have this like three-part Bible that really helps me when I’m stuck, stuck now, because I feel like when I’m stuck I just have to go into my own mind for a minute and in the rereading of this canon and with the new lived experience, it’s where I think my insights happen for me and my three go-tos are the 15 Commandments of Conscious Leadership by Diana Chapman. That really changed my life. It was recommended to me by Karen Norman.
May Habib: And, then you had him on your show last week, Matt Mocharyi, The Great CEO Within. Loved the episode and I’ve been rereading chapters of that book for months now. And, then Disciplined Entrepreneurship by Bill Aulet for those of us who are gut driven, it’s just, it’s a great balanced, very data-driven approach to building product. Those are sort of my Old Testament and New Testament and Koran, I love those three books.
Harry Stebbings: Listen, I loved doing the episode with Matt and it’s been such a pleasure to have you on the show today so thank you so much for joining me today and I really do so appreciate it, May.
May Habib: Thanks so much, Harry.
Harry Stebbings: My word, I absolutely love May and such exciting times ahead for Qordoba. And if you’d like to see more from me you can find her on Twitter at May_Habib. Likewise, it’d be great to welcome you behind the scenes here. As I said, self isolation and so doing some very weird and wonderful shit. You can find that on Instagram at HStebbings1996 with two Bs. I would love to see you there.
Harry Stebbings: As always, I so appreciate all your support and I can’t wait to bring you a fantastic episode next Monday with Anthony at Front.