308 episodes

Welcome to the Tech Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast.

My name is Ton Dobbe. I am the founder of Value Inspiration and the author of ‘The Remarkable Effect’.
I envision a world where every B2B SaaS business succeeds because they're creating software their customers would miss if were gone

𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲'𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝘆: 
Research consistently shows 90% of all startups fail. That's bad. 
What's worse however is that +75% of SaaS Scaleups fail - companies that are supposed to have product-market-fit.

Far too few Scaleups create the traction they aspire for and fail for the wrong reasons

I believe this should stop - and hence I started my business and this podcast

The goal I have with this podcast is two-fold:

to inspire new forms of value creation by sharing compelling ideas and stories about the potential we can unlock when technology and people blend in the right way.

Share experiences from tech entrepreneurs like you about what it requires to create a remarkable software business and how to overcome the roadblocks to do so.

Tech Entrepreneur on a Mission Podcast Evergreen Podcasts

    • Technology
    • 5.0 • 13 Ratings

Welcome to the Tech Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast.

My name is Ton Dobbe. I am the founder of Value Inspiration and the author of ‘The Remarkable Effect’.
I envision a world where every B2B SaaS business succeeds because they're creating software their customers would miss if were gone

𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲'𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝘆: 
Research consistently shows 90% of all startups fail. That's bad. 
What's worse however is that +75% of SaaS Scaleups fail - companies that are supposed to have product-market-fit.

Far too few Scaleups create the traction they aspire for and fail for the wrong reasons

I believe this should stop - and hence I started my business and this podcast

The goal I have with this podcast is two-fold:

to inspire new forms of value creation by sharing compelling ideas and stories about the potential we can unlock when technology and people blend in the right way.

Share experiences from tech entrepreneurs like you about what it requires to create a remarkable software business and how to overcome the roadblocks to do so.

    Slava Libman, CEO FTD Solutions - on selling value

    Slava Libman, CEO FTD Solutions - on selling value

    This podcast interview focuses on do's & don'ts that matter if you want your Service business to become successful in SaaS. My guest is Slava Libman, CEO of FTD Solutions.
    Slava is a driven innovator with +25 years of international experience and thought leader in the space of environmental sustainability in industrial facilities. He has a PhD in Environmental Engineering, and has spent his entire career focused on water technology and its impact on the industry. 
    He leads teams in Ultra Pure Water, industrial water treatment, and facilities technology development, thereby challenging conventional thinking to drive progress.
    In May 2017 he founded FTD Solutions - a Digital Twin platform with embedded expertise to enable new standards of sustainability in industrial facilities
    Their mission: To redefine the way these industrial facilities approach solving problems and drive sustainability performance.
    And this triggered me, and hence I invited Slava to my podcast. We explore the seven-year journey of transitioning from a consulting firm to a pioneering B2B SaaS company. Slava shared his big lessons learned on the importance of aligning product development with market needs and the sequencing and focusing of his go-to-market strategy. He elaborates how traction changed when they shifted from a transaction-oriented approach to a value-/outcome based approach. Last but not least he shares how emphasizing mission, principles, and value helped with alignment and keeping the organization lean.

    Here's one of his quotes
    When we try to help companies minimize their expenses, they ask the question, 'Okay, so what does your enrollment mean from the expense point of view?' 
    So, our focus is on value creation. We believe that if we can create significant value for our customers, then the question of monetization and expenses will not be a roadblock. And in reality, that's the case.

    During this interview, you will learn four things:

    Why he decided to focus the business on the most complex type of customer segment first and how that paid off.

    Why it's so beneficial to search for unique dynamics at your customers when seeking ways to differentiate your SaaS product.

    What approach he's using so that everyone in the company lives the company values - every single day. 

    Why he does't deal with weaknesses in his business.


    For more information about the guest from this week:

    Slava Libman

    Website: FTD Solutions




    Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection
    Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here
    Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed
    (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say)
    My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 52 min
    Pete Christothoulou, CEO of Xembly - on choosing AutoPilots over Co-Pilots 

    Pete Christothoulou, CEO of Xembly - on choosing AutoPilots over Co-Pilots 

    This podcast interview focuses on the entrepreneurial journey to solve the growing issue of knowledge worker unproductivity. My guest is Pete Christothoulou, CEO of Xembly.
    Pete Christothoulou is a serial entrepreneur. In 2003, he co-founded Marche, a publicly traded conversational analytics business. 
    In November 2020 he founded Xembly - The first automated chief of staff.
    Its mission: Ensure your company isn't left behind as we're entering a new era of productivity.
    This inspired me, so I invited Pete to my podcast. We explore what's broken in the world of increasing knowledge worker productivity. Pete shares his vision for reclaiming 44 billion hours annually in the US alone. He elaborates on how he accelerated his way to product-market fit and, from there, predictable traction. Last but not least, he shares what he'd do again if he ever started another Startup.

    Here's one of his quotes
    I agree with everyone that we have a transformative opportunity. So I think that's obvious. Where I don't agree is here: if we're not careful, AI will actually create more distraction for us and more pain as consumers, if we're not mindful.

    During this interview, you will learn four things:

    How to gather crucial feedback, even if your product isn't fully developed.

    Why he chose to focus on enterprise customers instead of a potentially much larger SMB market.

    What single metric he's staring at all day to see whether they make a difference

    What's the difference between a co-pilot and an auto-pilot, and why this distinction could also affect your SaaS business?


    For more information about the guest from this week:

    Pete Christothoulou

    Website: Xembly




    Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection
    Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here
    Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed
    (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say)
    My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 32 min
    Vinnie Mirchandani, CEO Deal Architect - on seizing emerging opportunities.

    Vinnie Mirchandani, CEO Deal Architect - on seizing emerging opportunities.

    This podcast outlines key strategies for SaaS CEOs to explore in 2024 to optimally prepare for 2025. My guest is Vinnie Mirchandani, Founder of Deal Architect. 
    Vinnie has become a regular guest on my podcast. This is the fourth time over the past 7 seasons. He’s the founder of Deal Architect – a Technology strategy and negotiation firm, a former Gartner analyst, and the author of Silicon Collar, SAP Nation, The New Polymath, and The New Technology Elite - which emphasize technology-enabled innovation using lots of case studies and use cases across industries and countries 
    He's also the prime interviewer/curator of thought leadership books for C-level executives at technology vendors SAP, Software AG, and IFS 
    In this podcast, we explore the evolving landscape of SaaS businesses together. We delve into the future of SaaS for 2024, discussing optimistic and rational viewpoints on market trends, highlighting the most important metrics to give extra focus, and discussing the shift towards customer-centric revenue models over traditional funding avenues. 
    We also address the untapped potential of generative AI and operational automation to enhance productivity and innovation in the B2B SaaS space. Furthermore, we explore what muscles to build to stay relevant in this rapidly changing and evolving market of Software as a Service. 

    Here's one of Vinnie's quotes
    Investors are sometimes fashion-driven. They follow what their colleagues tell them is predictable. So you don't often get the best advice by listening to investors. You have to go to the edge of the enterprise, to the remote parts of the world, sometimes to find opportunities.

    During this interview, you will learn four things:

    Why creating Funding freedom is essential for long-term SaaS success.

    Which metrics to embrace to keep your SaaS business healthy as customer expectations evolve.

    What routes to consider to access new technologies and markets with more speed.

    Where to focus to seize growth opportunities beyond traditional markets



    For more information about the guest from this week:

    Vinnie Mirchandani

    His blog: New Florence. New Renaissance


    Website: Deal Architect 




    Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection
    Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here
    Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed
    (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say)
    My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable.

    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 44 min
    Dean Guida, CEO Infragistics - on business resilience

    Dean Guida, CEO Infragistics - on business resilience

    This podcast interview focuses on the resilience lessons learned from running a successful business software company for +34 years. My guest is Dean Guida, CEO of Infragistics.
    Dean has over 34 years of experience as a CEO and founder of Infragistics, a user interface development tools platform, and an expert in User-Centered Design. 
    He scaled the business globally across 6 countries with a client roster that includes 100% of the S&P 500. 
    What is special is that he guided Infragistics to withstand a series of tumultuous moments in the Internet’s ongoing evolution (think: the dot-com tech bubble of the late 90s, the explosion of the Internet, and the 2008 recession). 
    Not that he got lucky– or happened to be in the right place at the right time, or worked harder than the next guy. He did it by crystallizing the insights at each key moment along the way–from common growing pains to completely unpredictable challenges–into a hard-won philosophy.
    All his lessons are now bundled in his new book, “When Grit is Not Enough.”
    And this inspired me, and hence I invited Dean to my podcast. We explore an inspiring journey of resilience of running a successful software business for +34 years. Dean talks about his near failures and shares the big lessons he learned to come out stronger, again and again. He digs into the fundamentals to build a resilient software business and how he's incorporating that into the day-to-day work, so it's lived to the fullest.

    Here's one of his quotes
    There's nothing like the fear of going out of business to sit in your brain, "how can you do this better next time?" And, what it comes down to is really early investment is making bets on the future where you think the future is, and spending your money there. Even though if you report to others who want to have better financial performance, you have to always keep investing in the future and refreshing your technology. And like there's this great analogy that software's like lettuce it, as soon as you have it, it's already wilting.

    During this interview, you will learn four things:

    How to achieve the Financial resilience to be able to don't fall behind.

    What to prioritize to ensure culture stays healthy and everyone stays on track with the direction?

    What two simple instruments Dean uses to navigate tough times.

    How to build trust in periods where you have to lay off people.


    For more information about the guest from this week:

    Dean Guida

    Website: Infragistics


    Deans' book: When Grit is Not Enough




    Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection
    Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here
    Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed
    (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say)
    My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable.


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 51 min
    Justin Chen, CEO PickFu - on turning nice-to-have into critical-to-have.

    Justin Chen, CEO PickFu - on turning nice-to-have into critical-to-have.

    This podcast interview focuses on the journey to take a SaaS business to $1M+ . My guest is Justin Chen, Co-founder and CEO of PickFu.
    When Justin and his co-founder John Li were working on another business they disagreed and wanted a fast, informed way to break the tie. 
    Being software engineers, they built it - and that is what sparked the big idea behind PickFu.
    Although it stayed on the back burner for years, like all the best treasures on the internet, people discovered it. Customers used the polling platform and shared it with their friends. Then, in 2018 they started to see increased attention from e-commerce conferences and podcasts, which is where they realized they had built something truly useful.
    And this inspired me, and hence I invited Justin to my podcast. We explore what's broken in consumer research. Justin takes us through his journey to the moment they decided to go all in. He explains why he decided to niche down - and what criteria appeared to be really important to get traction. He elaborates on how they're creating defensible differentiation. Last but not least he explains how they're designing for stickiness across product, customer success, and marketing. 

    Here's one of his quotes
    The focus on industries is super important. Because it's really hard to market a general-purpose tool. But when you're able to speak directly to people about their problems, and their use cases, it resonates so much more quickly. So for E-commerce and gaming, doing the marketing and starting to tailor the product much more specifically to those industries has been really important to getting our traction


    During this interview, you will learn four things:

    How often the best solutions are not the ones that help you do the task correctly, but giving confidence to even consider doing the task at all.  

    That even if companies have sorted your problem higher in the organization, it doesn't mean everyone has access to that.

    How focusing on habit building helped to make the product mission critical for some verticals - and reduce churn.

    What adjustments he's making to make NRR calculation more reliable and relevant. 


    For more information about the guest from this week:

    Justin Chen

    Website: PickFu




    Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection
    Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here
    Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed
    (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say)
    My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable.

    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 44 min
    Rory Codrington, CEO of Trust Keith - on building an exceptional SaaS business.

    Rory Codrington, CEO of Trust Keith - on building an exceptional SaaS business.

    This podcast interview focuses on the entrepreneurial journey to become a trusted brand in a heavily competitive and unsexy market. My guest is Rory Codrington, Founder of Trust Keith. 
    Rory is a Serial entrepreneur. He cofounded Flixtremein in 2013. Founded Slyce Tech in 2015 and WeDelight in 2018. 
    In October 2019 he founded Trust Keith, a company that's dedicated to helping companies effortlessly manage their data protection and data compliance.
    Their mission: to change the "boring" and "unsexy" stereotypes of data compliance to make data protection simple, easy to understand, and an enabler for businesses.
    And this inspired me, and hence I invited Rory to my podcast. We explore what it takes to build a B2B SaaS business that stands the test of time. Rory elaborates on his big lessons from founding 3 other companies - and in particular what must be true. He shares the reasoning to shift focus from a product strategy perspective and how that strengthened their position. Last but not least he shares how to turn even the most boring domain into something you can stand out and proudly own.

    Here's one of his quotes
    By being high touch right now, we're just pulling so much better insights from our customers. I don't want to go and rush this, like 'Let's sprint to get arm's length away from our customers so that we can talk having a plg motion. We're not solving for investment. We're solving for customer retention, customer value, and revenue growth.

    During this interview, you will learn four things:

    What questions to ask to build a business that has the foundation to last.

    What product strategy battles you should have internally to become mission critical to the right segment of the market?

    How to optimize your company for benchmark gross margin - without cutting corners.

    How to align every aspect of your business to become 'the one' in your segment of the market.


    For more information about the guest from this week:

    Rory Codrington

    Website: Trust Keith




    Subscribe to the Daily SaaS Reflection
    Get my free, 1 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here
    Yes, it’s actually daily. And yes, people actually stay subscribed
    (Just see what peer B2B SaaS CEOs say)
    My promise: It’s short. To the point. Inspiring. And valuable.

    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

Shsjkandisk ,

Amazing podcast and host!

Huge fan of Ton and what he’s doing with this podcast.

jetraine ,

Great Podcast!

Wonderful podcast for entrepreneurs in the SaaS community. I find it more inspirational than the “How I Built This” podcast. Great job, Ton!

ASobering ,

Such a wealth of knowledge! 🧠

This show is a masterclass on how to succeed as a B2B SaaS founder! Ton and his amazing guests share so much valuable insight, tons of actionable tips, and plenty of relevant advice, and there’s something to be gained from each and every episode. Truly valuable - I can’t recommend this show enough!

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