Welcome to Life on Mars! A podcast about technology, entrepreneurship and innovation from MarsBased. You will listen to stories of the best founders, investors, experts and celebrities from all around the galaxy every two weeks.
025 - What to do when you're approached by a buyer (part 1), with Mike Counihan (Transcend Partners)
Company sales: the miracle all entrepreneurs and business owners aspire to, mostly because we're bombarded every day with company exits news, and articles about serial entrepreneurs selling their 14th startup before they turn 40. However, the reality is very different. Selling a company is an overly-complicated process that drags along for many months, taking your focus away from your company, and in a lot of cases, the business owners don't see a nickel as a result. That is, if the process ever makes it to the agreement stage, so in a lot of cases, we're seeing what is called "survivorship bias". But one thing is still true: as business owners, we're all likely to receive offers for our companies. In fact, in 2017, we received an invitation to initiate talks about a potential acquisition, and if you want to learn the rest of the story, you should listen to this podcast. This time around, we talk to Michael Counihan about what happens when you're approached by a buyer. We wanted to cover the whole cycle, but the episode came out so long that we had to split it in two. In this first part, we'll be talking about the initial exchanges of intentions, what protocols to follow, how to behave in the meetings, what things to do and what NOT to do, how to bring more offers to the table, when's the right time to engage with an M&A boutique and more. Michael is the Managing Director of Transcend Partners (www.TranscendPartners.com), a technology focused international M&A boutique. Michael has executed company sales, mergers and acquisitions across a wide variety of technologies. He regularly speaks with acquirers and investors all across Europe, North America, Latam, Middle East, Asia and Australia. But most of all, Michael is a very great guy. Trust us. You'll like Michael.
024 - The role of Developer Relations in tech companies, with Ana Cidre (auth0)
A few weeks before auth0 exited to Okta for a whopping $ 6.5 billion, we hosted Ana Cidre (Senior Developer Advocate at auth0) to talk about the role of Developer Relations in tech companies. Developer advocates, tech evangelists, developer relations and myriad of combinations describe a very versatile role that companies are incorporating to help them have deeper conversations with the communities of developers around them. But unless you don't have one, you might now fully know what they do and what advantages they bring into the company. What do devrels do inside the companies they work for? When do they do it? How can they combine speaking at conferences, writing blog posts, helping in doing customer success, organising hackathons, developing community around their company, hiring and more? Are they extroverts or introverts? These questions, and a bunch more, are answered in this episode. Ana shares her expertise with us, as well as her background, and we even venture to peek into the future of events, as we're both very invested in that field.
023 - Leadership & communication in difficult times, with Pere Vallés (CEO @ Exoticca)
The last twelve to fifteen months have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. The COVID-19 pandemic brought several industries to a halt and forced many businesses to shut down. Suffice to say, people were gravely affected too on many levels. Among the most affected industries, we find the travel & hospitality sectors. International travel has plummetted to the bare minimum, creating distress and chaos among huge companies like Booking.com, Airbnb or all airline companies, just to name a few. Forloughing workforce, asking for credit, pivoting to other business models, shutting down temporarily, moving efforts to do the minimum to keep the lights on, hibernation mode... were just a few of the measures that a lot of companies were forced to do. To talk about how they navigated last year, traveltech startup Exoticca's CEO, Pere Vallés, joined Life on Mars for an open-hearted episode covering many difficult movements and decisions. If 2020 was a rough year, 2021 isn't looking much better for now, for travel. Exoticca digitises the travel agencies experience for travellers, and they hail from Barcelona. Pere has got an extensive background at the forefront of tech companies, from being the CFO of a NASDAQ traded company, to his latest spell at Scytl for almost two decades. In this episode, Pere and Àlex discuss how they had to communicate difficult decisions to their respective teams in 2020, how they managed the pandemic as business owners, who were in their crisis committees of their companies, when and how to communicate stuff and much more. For the bonus points, check the interview of Pere Vallés at Startup Grind BCN in 2016 to see the contrast and the evolution of his persona in the last five years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtcgARX2fvo
022 - Stonks, Elon Musk, Gamestop, Doge, tech journalism and... metal! with Alex Wilhelm (TechCrunch)
The last few weeks have been crazy on the stock market, or should we say "stonks" market? The WallStreetBets movement against hedge funds, making GameStop skyrocket to an unthinkable price per share, made the front pages of all the newspapers and media outlets around the world. That caused a huge uproar and most trading platforms stopped trading on certain stock to avoid these so-called "unregulated" trades from "altering the market", which, in turn, caused WSB people to turn against the trading platforms, too. If that weren't enough, politicians and highly-influential people added fuel to the flames, allowing the battle to rage on even longer. Amidst all of this, Elon Musk is having the time of his life, trolling everyone, adopting the meme culture, proving he's embodying the current zeitgeist and riding the wave of this controversy like no one else is doing. By the end of it, he will have gained thousands, if not millions, of adepts of his cult. In this episode, we talk to the man, the myth, the legend, Alex Wilhelm (Senior Editor at TechCrunch) and our friend Josh Feldberg about what happened a couple of weeks ago, and try to shed some light on it all. We talked about the role of tech journalism in all this nonsense, but we also talk about clickbait, the madness of the crowds, memes, the mixing of politics and economy, stonks and not as much as we wanted, but also talk about metal towards the end of the episode.
021 - From CTO of TaskRabbit to founding a B2B open-source project, with Brian Leonard (CEO @ Grouparoo)
Brian Leonard co-founded the B2C startup TaskRabbit in 2009 and built its initial prototype coding it in Ruby on Rails, one of our preferred development frameworks. TaskRabbit went on to grow until it was acquired by Swedish powerhouse IKEA in 2017, to expand to Europe and beyond, and a couple of years later, Brian quit the company to pursue his new endeavour: Grouparoo. Brian transitioned from being the CTO and product guy at a B2C startup to co-founding a pure B2B startup based on an open-source model to provide data connectivity between marketing products. Brian tells us how to wear different hats: CEO, CTO, product, sales, and more while running a company effectively and keeping the focus on the product. Brian also spoke with our CEO, Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit, to explain why they followed the open-source approach and how the transition to B2B happened, among other topics like choosing the right technology for your company and how to prototype new projects within a bigger company. This is the first episode with a recorded intro by our CEO, Àlex, so don't be too harsh on him. We'll improve soon.
020 - Choosing the tech stack and taking technological decisions, with Pau Ramon (CTO @ Factorial)
Pau Ramon has been spearheading the technical department of two of the hottest Barcelona-based startups of the last years: Redbooth (previously known as TeamBox) and Factorial. We've invited Pau to talk about how he behaves as CTO of Factorial: how does he take technical decisions, when to delegate them, who takes which decision in the technical department, who chose the tech stack, when is the right time to rewrite an MVP (if ever), tech hygiene & keeping lights on on side projects, how to align expectations between departments - especially with marketers! - and much more. If you're Pablo Villalba and you're reading this, you should listen to this episode because we speak about you, and drop us a line to say hi, pal! 👋