An interview series featuring product leaders in tech about the lessons they've learned building great products and teams. Hosted by Allen Pike of Steamclock, new episodes every 3 weeks.
Building and Funding Growth Teams, with Panobi CEO Merci Grace
Merci Grace, CEO and co-founder of Panobi, and former partner at Lightspeed Ventures and first Head of Growth at Slack, shares lessons about growth as a discipline, pitfalls of fundraising and her “Marauder’s Map” to raising capital, best practices for starting and scaling growth teams, and her vision for making metrics and growth tooling far better.
Winning with Boring Competence, with Ian Crosby
Ian Crosby, founding CEO of Bench and now Teal, talks building Bench from zero to hundreds, how vertical SaaS is transforming SMB startups, what it really takes to become highly profitable, why Teal hires for “boring competence”, paying highly for top talent, the psychology of firing, and the limits of culture docs.
A Way Better Mousetrap, with Quilt founder Paul Lambert
Paul Lambert, CEO and founder of Quilt and former Director at Google’s Area 120, joins Allen to talk society-scale problems, why searching for product-market fit is overrated, the power of building a better mousetrap, why the “internal incubator” model usually fails, how modern hardware startups iterate rapidly, and why different cities lend themselves to different startups.
Doing Something Hard, with Unblocked Founder Dennis Pilarinos
Dennis Pilarinos, founder of Buddybuild and now Unblocked (and former Director at Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple) shares what he’s learned about product leadership. We talk about why you should build a product that is hard, how providing support is key to product culture, staying deeply curious about what’s not working, cutting down recurring meetings, and how startups with distribution outcompete the giants.
The Culture You Want to Build, with Charity Majors
Honeycomb.io co-founder and CTO Charity Majors joins Allen to share what she’s learned growing Honeycomb from idea to 170-person distributed company, including what goes into being a good manager beyond supporting your reports, how to build a team that feels supportive and safe while still keeping boundaries and limits, systems thinking for teams and cultures, the difference between generic company values and ones that take a stand, and why having a healthy culture is more important than having a novel one.
Building Great Experiences Using LLMs, with David Hariri
Ada co-founder David Hariri joins Allen to talk about an audacious product discovery process that kicked off a 250-employee startup, limitations of hand-scripted workflows, strengths and weaknesses of LLM techniques like code execution, RAG, and function calling, and how support automation may create whole new business models.