232 episodes

Exploring how the most ambitious CEOs grow great companies. Each week we dive into the strategies and tactics that build transformative businesses with the operators doing it firsthand. Learn more at https://tlaopodcast.com/

Think Like an Owner Alex Bridgeman

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 98 Ratings

Exploring how the most ambitious CEOs grow great companies. Each week we dive into the strategies and tactics that build transformative businesses with the operators doing it firsthand. Learn more at https://tlaopodcast.com/

    Auren Hoffman - Growing Great Data Organizations - Ep.234

    Auren Hoffman - Growing Great Data Organizations - Ep.234

    Ep.234: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Auren Hoffman (@auren).

    In this episode, I sit down with Auren Hoffman, CEO of SafeGraph and partner at Flex Capital. The conversation centers around Auren’s experiences in running data companies and his insights into the data as a service market. We discuss the slower-than-expected growth in the buyer's market for data, and what it takes for data companies to achieve significant scale, using ZoomInfo as a prominent example. The discussion also covers team management, including hiring and letting go of employees. I highly recommend Hoffman’s podcast 'World of DaaS’ for those interested in data businesses.

    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. 

    Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/

    Links:
    Auren on X
    World of DaaS Podcast
    SafeGraph
    Flex Capital

    Topics:
    (00:00:00) - Intro
    (00:04:27) - What trend are you trying to learn more about in the Data market today?
    (00:09:58) - Factors in why companies may not be buying data
    (00:14:13) - Are there cracks in the “data is the new oil” thesis?
    (00:15:50) - Common guidelines for data companies
    (00;17:54) - How would you apply a B2B SaaS playbook to a data sales company? 
    (00:18:53) - What is the sales process for SafeGraph?
    (00:22:17) - How have you reinvented yourself as a CEO?
    (00:26:17) - How do you audit your time?
    (00:28:40 - What traits do you look for in recruiting executives?
    (00:33:47) - Leveraging tools to help one person be as effective as 2-3 people
    (00:40:19) - Are there common reasons you’ve found someone not to be successful?
    (00:42:41) - What questions do you ask to find if someone is a good fit?
    (00:44:53) - What lessons have you learned from hiring and managing? 
    (00:55:46) - Flex Capital
    (00:57:12) - How can folks reach out to you? 

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Sara Heston - Stanford Search Fund Study 2024 - Ep.232

    Sara Heston - Stanford Search Fund Study 2024 - Ep.232

    Ep. 232: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Sara Heston (@sara-heston).

    My guest today is Sara Heston. We discuss the latest findings from the 2024 Stanford Search Fund Study, which reviews trends from the past two years. Key topics include rapid growth in the Search Fund industry, changing searcher backgrounds such as 24% of searchers not having an MBA, return trends, drivers of outsized returns, and industry dynamics. Sara also shares her transition to a director role at Anacapa. The episode provides a primer on the Search Fund model, making it an excellent resource for those less familiar with Search Funds.

    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. 

    Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/

    Links:
    2024 Search Fund Study
    Sara on LinkedIn

    Topics:
    (00:00:00) - Intro
    (00:03:13) - What are some high-level takeaways from the study?
    (00:04:26) - Why has the number of investors declined?
    (00:08:16) - Is there a formula for the ideal Searcher?
    (00:09:49) - How much more prepared are Searchers today than 10 years ago?
    (00:12:10) - What stood out to you regarding the number of LOIs and industries Searchers are looking at?
    (00:16:47) - What are you looking to track regarding long-term holds?
    (00:20:25) - How do you see entrepreneurs exiting holding companies?
    (00:26:24) - Discussing the 2017-2020 cohort
    (00:31:41) - Are there any changes in the questions you’re asked by students interested in Search?
    (00:33:28) - The increase in women and minorities in Search
    (00:35:00) - What do you hope to see in future studies?

    • 39 min
    Rick Ruback & Royce Yudkoff - Think Big, Buy Small - Ep.231

    Rick Ruback & Royce Yudkoff - Think Big, Buy Small - Ep.231

    Ep.231: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Rick Ruback and Royce Yudkoff.

    My guests today are Rick Ruback and Royce Yudkoff, both Harvard professors for entrepreneurship through acquisition and co-authors of the most popular and well-known piece of content in search, the HBR book How to Buy a Small Business which I would consider the bible of the search fund world. It’s one of the first resources I recommend for folks wanting to learn about search, besides this podcast of course. On top of the book, Rick and Royce have now launched their own podcast titled Think Big Buy Small that is a great primer for search funds, especially self-funded models, and I highly recommend giving it a listen.

    Rick, Royce, and I talk about their careers as professors, case studies on small business they often reference, common threads through case studies and advice for new CEOs, ways search has changed, and the mission of their new podcast.

    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. 

    Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/

      
    Links:
    HBR Guide to Buying a Small Business
    Think Big Buy Small Podcast

    Topics:
    (00:00:00) - Intro
    (00:02:18) - What made you decide to write the book?
    (00:07:17) - How have you become a more effective teacher?
    (00:12:29) - What cases or scenarios have been most challenging for CEOs to work through?
    (00:19:03) - What are some reasons searchers buy cyclical businesses?
    (00:25:06) - What recurring concepts are you trying to teach or questions CEOs ask?
    (00:28:32) - What are your favorite cases to teach?
    (00:33:16) - What’s changing or evolving in the Search space?
    (00:40:56) - What are the missions and goals of the Podcast?
    (00:46:11) - What would you add if you wrote a new book edition?

    • 50 min
    Anand Sanwal - Developing Insurgent CEO Instincts - Ep.230

    Anand Sanwal - Developing Insurgent CEO Instincts - Ep.230

    Ep.230: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Anand Sanwal (@anandsanwal).

    My guest today is Anand Sanwal, founder and former CEO of CB Insights, which provides data and intelligence on private markets, companies, and investors. Anand recently hired a new CEO for CB Insights and stepped into a chairman role. Anand ran the company for 14 years and developed a unique perspective on leading that I was really excited to learn more about. He’s a deep thinker, and if you liked recent episodes with Henry Schuck and Ayman Al-Abdullah, you’ll love this one too.

    Anand and I talk about why he stepped out of the CEO role and the type of person he looked for to replace him, how new CEOs should start their first couple months in a new company, how CB Insights has shaped his views on private markets, and the new entrepreneurial school he’s launching to turn young kids into business pros.

    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. 

    Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/

    Links:
    CB Insights
    Anand on LinkedIn

    Topics:
    (00:00:00) - Intro
    (00:03:47) - Evaluating the effectiveness of a CEO
    (00:06:21) - Building repeatable processes
    (00:09:05) - Executive recruiting strategies
    (00:19:06) - Evaluating the instincts of a candidate
    (00:21:44) - What are the best ways to effectively spend your time as a new CEO?
    (00:27:06) - Tactics for influencing culture
    (00:33:33) - How do you think about moving quickly and effectively?
    (00:36:52) - Being an insurgent company
    (00:40:07) - Growth advantages
    (00:42:38) - What have incumbent companies eliminated in order to move faster?
    (00:45:07) - Are there any founders or CEOs you study?
    (00:54:49) - Anand’s entrepreneurship school
    (01:10:35) - Thoughts on private markets

    • 1 hr 24 min
    Brett Kelly - Building a Global Accounting Firm with Permanent Capital - Ep.228

    Brett Kelly - Building a Global Accounting Firm with Permanent Capital - Ep.228

    Ep.228: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Brett Kelly (@BrettKPG).

    My guest on this episode is Brett Kelly, founder and CEO of Kelly Partners, a publicly traded accounting, tax, and advisory firm with global ambitions and a roughly $350m market cap. Since 2006 they have done 80 acquisitions and developed a strong playbook for building best-in-class accounting firms with a focus on high-net-worth clients and growing companies. Brett is a really serious and motivated leader who’s pulled tons of great ideas from others and has a multi-decade vision for Kelly Partners. He’s also the author of 5 books, one of which he wrote before launching Kelly when he was 22 years old.

    Brett and I talk about the origins of Kelly Partners, companies and leaders he draws inspiration from, elements of his consolidation playbook, the role of technology and software, and what the future holds for Kelly.

    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. 

    Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/

    Links:
    More on Brett Kelly
    Brett Kelly's books
    "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill
    "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
    "The Art of Being Unreasonable" by Eli Broad
    "Rich Dad Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki
    "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller
    Founders Podcast

    Topics:
    (00:00:00) - Intro
    (00:04:30) - Founding Kelly Partners and Brett’s early career
    (00:14:01) - What steps did you take to fast-track the company’s growth?
    (00:26:24) - Why is the accounting field less competitive than it seems?
    (00:30:49) - The power of consolidation in business
    (00:40:07) - How are you running your firm differently than a typical accounting firm?
    (00:44:24) - What does an average day look like for you as CEO?
    (00:48:44) - What impact did IPO-ing have on the business?
    (00:53:30) - Learnings from writing books
    (01:00:11) - What skills are you working on to become a better CEO?
    (01:05:42) - How do you view technology as part of your firm?
    (01:10:32) - What are you excited about over the next 5 years?

    • 1 hr 16 min
    Dustin Seale - Lead Through Anything - Ep.227

    Dustin Seale - Lead Through Anything - Ep.227

    Ep.227: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Dustin Seal (@dustinseale).

    My guest today is Dustin Seale, co-author of Lead Through Anything alongside Ed Manfre and managing partner at executive search and leadership firm, Heidrick & Struggles. Dustin has spent his career working with high-performing CEOs from over 70 countries to help transform teams and find the right successors for CEOs and other C-suite executives.

    We talk about what to look for in CEO successors, including the Microsoft search Dustin’s firm led to replace Steve Ballmer, why internal talent is often discounted, key predictors for success in leaders, and the core characteristics of purpose, vitality, and agility that all the best leaders Dustin has studied have, and how other CEOs can develop those traits.

    Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. 

    Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/

    Links:
    Lead Through Anything by Dustin Seale
    Dustin on Linkedin

    Topics:
    (00:00:00) - Intro
    (00:04:48) - The process of replacing Steve Balmer as CEO of Microsoft
    (00:09:31) - Pros and cons of internal vs. external candidates in a CEO search
    (00:10:59) - What qualities are you looking for in a CEO for a company as large as Microsoft?
    (00:16:46) - Creating flexibility with nonlinear planning
    (00:26:51) - Pushing messages as a CEO
    (00:29:39) - Turning a group of individuals into a team united
    (00:32:47) - How new CEOs can make efficient evaluations?
    (00:41:06) - Dustin’s process for writing the book
    (00:47:58) - Measuring purpose, vitality, and agility
    (00:52:17) - Dealing with burnout and lack of fulfillment
    (00:56:24) - Dustin’s journey to improve vitality
    (00:59:54) - Key concepts to take away from the book 

    • 1 hr 8 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
98 Ratings

98 Ratings

ArlieLP ,

{Listen} Like an Owner

So glad to have found this show! Think Like an Owner features thoughtful discussions with leaders on the ground - real perspectives from the trenches. Alex is a stellar interviewer who really gets to the heart of each topic of conversation, leaving you with actionable takeaways that directly apply to your own leadership and life. Highly recommend!

UpandComingInvestor ,

Very valuable information

Great content that will help you drive your business forward

clayton_collins_hw ,

Five stars

Alex’s guest lineup is second to none. Richard Reese is an absolute mic drop convo.

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