How I Launched This: A SaaS Story

from Google Cloud

About the podcast

SaaS embraces the full potential of the cloud and is transforming the way organizations work. In each episode of this podcast, we go in-depth on a different SaaS story, talking with global leaders from some of the most innovative companies. Go behind the scenes as they share stories of success, failures, and what they learned along the way.

Learn more about SaaS

Hosts

Stephanie and Carter in the studio

Stephanie Wong is a Developer Advocate, host of Google Next onAir, the creator of several Cloud developer YouTube series, and supports women in tech. She is a hip hop dancer, former pageant queen, and has an unhealthy obsession with dogs. You can find her online at @stephr_wong.

Carter Morgan is a Developer Advocate for Google Cloud, an international stand-up comedian, and a believer that #BlackLivesMatter. Previously, he was a programmer for the USAF and Microsoft. You can find him online at @carterthecomic.

Episodes

Digitizing the World of Retail with Trax CEO Justin Behar

April 11, 2021
32 min

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Welcome back to How I Launched This! This week, Stephanie Wong (@stephr_wong) and Jenny Brown (@jbrojbrojbro) are joined by Justin Behar, the CEO of Trax. Trax is a cloud-based analytics software company that uses the power of machine learning and proprietary technologies to digitize retail for enhanced customer experiences and more effective goods management.

Justin is no stranger to tech, having spent the last 25 years in Silicon Valley founding and expanding various companies. At Trax, Justin has held various leadership roles and recently was named CEO. Trax technology is able to help stores analyze inventory, product placement, some shopping behaviors, and more to make recommendations for how a company could maximize sales and customer satisfaction. Images of store interiors are uploaded and analyzed, providing tons of data from more than a million retail outlets. Justin walks us through an example of this process of shelf monitoring and data analysis, explaining how the system can help measure things like advertising campaign effectiveness, stock issues, and more. From manufacturing to the retail shelf, Trax offers important product feedback via the Trax dashboard to help companies operate more efficiently.

All companies face challenges, and Justin details some of the obstacles Trax has overcome. Situations like new packaging may seem benign but can lead to bad data if not handled properly. Trax's sophisticated machine learning system compensates for this and other stock issues.

Later, Justin offers insights into Trax data management now and into the future. We hear more about his journey to the CEO position and how he hopes to continue the positive trajectory Trax has been on.

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Project Observability with Instana Co-Founder Mirko Novakovic

March 28, 2021
35 min

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This week on How I Launched This: A SaaS Story, Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) is joined by Instana co-founder, Mirko Novakovic. Instana helps companies build thoughtful cloud-native applications and services with their powerful observability and application performance monitoring solutions.

Mirko is no stranger to the founder's chair. Previously, he started and grew several companies and his passion for solving difficult technological issues led to Instana. Instana optimizes cloud native applications and identifies problems and other areas that could be adjusted for better performance. The fullay automated solution can analyze and help adjust applications for any size project.

We talk about the Instana journey from it’s German roots to sales around the world. Including how Mirko discovered this pain point in development and the growth of Instana to what it is today. He details their work with Dick's Sporting Goods, monitoring billions of live requests. We touch on 2020's effects on Instana and how the established company culture created a safe space for continued company growth and workforce diversity. It's the people you hire that decide the success of your company, Mirko tells us, offering advice for creating a positive company environment.

Instana will continue to harness the power of AI, Mirko says, explaining why it's important for companies to take advantage of this technology and how Instana has begun to do so. We wrap up the show with a look at the Google-Instana partnership and Mirko offers advice to other company CEOs.

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Managing Medical Data with MEDITECH’s VP of Advanced Technology Scott Radner

March 14, 2021
32 min

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Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) and Jenny Brown (@jbrojbrojbro) host this week's episode of How I Launched This: A SaaS Story! They're talking with Scott Radner, VP of Advanced Technology at MEDITECH, an Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) company improving the healthcare of patients since 1969.

In his 30 years with MEDITECH, Scott has seen technology develop from magnetic tapes to advanced cloud-based software capable of securely storing and managing health records. MEDITECH now also offers other software support that empowers care providers to do their jobs effectively. In rural areas this can be especially important, and Scott gives us examples of how MEDITECH's hybrid cloud system is making lives better.

Later, Scott details the technology behind running such mission critical software. With a company culture that supports education and learning, MEDITECH's employees were able to easily overcome obstacles as they first built and now expand MEDITECH, Scott tells us. We talk about how COVID-19 has affected the company and how he sees the healthcare space changing in the future.

Scott describes the iterations of MEDITECH and the advantages of moving to a mostly cloud-based system and offers advice for other companies looking to join the cloud.

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Managing Medical Data with MEDITECH’s VP of Advanced Technology Scott Radner

March 14, 2021
32 min

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Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) and Jenny Brown (@jbrojbrojbro) host this week's episode of How I Launched This: A SaaS Story! They're talking with Scott Radner, VP of Advanced Technology at MEDITECH, an Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) company improving the healthcare of patients since 1969.

In his 30 years with MEDITECH, Scott has seen technology develop from magnetic tapes to advanced cloud-based software capable of securely storing and managing health records. MEDITECH now also offers other software support that empowers care providers to do their jobs effectively. In rural areas this can be especially important, and Scott gives us examples of how MEDITECH's hybrid cloud system is making lives better.

Later, Scott details the technology behind running such mission critical software. With a company culture that supports education and learning, MEDITECH's employees were able to easily overcome obstacles as they first built and now expand MEDITECH, Scott tells us. We talk about how COVID-19 has affected the company and how he sees the healthcare space changing in the future.

Scott describes the iterations of MEDITECH and the advantages of moving to a mostly cloud-based system and offers advice for other companies looking to join the cloud.

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Enterprise Purchasing Power with Stimulus Founder Tiffanie Stanard

February 28, 2021
46 min

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Stephanie Wong (@stephr_wong) and co-host Jenny Brown (@jbrojbrojbro) are back this week for an exciting interview with Tiffanie Stanard of Stimulus. Using extensive data, analytics, and integrations with supplier systems, CRM’s, social feeds and more, Stimulus helps companies make better purchasing decisions.

Tiffanie's varied and accomplished background in everything from payroll to coding helped her learn to take risks and see opportunity even in less than ideal situations. During the 2008 recession, she spun off on her own to add entrepreneurship to her list of talents and went full-time on one of her first ventures. In her years of selling experience, she saw first hand how difficult and impersonal searching for suppliers and making purchases was for businesses. She developed Stimulus to aggregate and analyze real-time data from sources all over the internet to allow buyers to see a full picture of a supplier, find goods/services they need and build partnerships.

Later in the show, Tiffanie describes Stimulus' multiple offerings, including relationship mapping to strengthen ties between buyers and sellers. She describes the process of developing such a powerful tool, taking it from simple search capabilities to a network benefiting both buyers and sellers, fostering meaningful B2B relationships, and even helping small businesses. As the business has grown, Tiffanie and her team have looked to Google Cloud to help them expand, and she tells us all about the technology stack and Google tools they use to keep Stimulus up and running.

Support from The Black Founders Fund, Founders Academy, American Underground and partnerships with companies like Google has been a driving force in the expansion of Stimulus. Relationships with their customers have been important as well, and Tiffanie gives us real-world examples of Stimulus in action.

Tiffanie wraps up our interview with news about the future of Stimulus and some advice for future entrepreneurs willing to take a risk.

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Weather Damage Reporting with WeatherCheck Founder and CEO Demetrius Gray

February 14, 2021
38 min

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Stephanie Wong (@stephr_wong) and Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) welcome Demetrius Gray, Founder and CEO of WeatherCheck, to this week's show. WeatherCheck employs advanced AI, meteorological data, and top class scientists and developers to provide homeowners and claims consultants with specific hail and weather damage data to safeguard one of life’s biggest investments: your home.

When Demetrius began running operations for a roofing company, he saw the pain and confusion weather damage can inflict on structures and people. WeatherCheck seeks to alleviate some of this stress by alerting homeowners of severe weather and helping them pinpointing exact damage that may have occurred. If property is damaged, WeatherCheck gives users tools that help them; work with their insurance on filing a claim, finding a contractor and funding repairs while awaiting insurance money.

Demetrius details the technology behind such a huge undertaking and describes how specific meteorological and other microservices have advanced the success of WeatherCheck. Their team of atmospheric physicists and data scientists perform analyses on weather instances every single day, and have built a multi-cloud system to manage this information and share it with users.

The WeatherCheck system has successfully helped clients identify damage minutes after a disaster, even if the client is miles from their home. Demetrius also discusses the company culture and what values and ethos are pervasive throughout. In that vein, Demetrius offers up advice for future company founders to create an efficient and comfortable workplace.

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Automating Cloud Infrastructure with Altostra Co-Founder Gal Zabib

January 31, 2021
32 min

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This week on How I Launched This A SaaS Story, Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) has an insightful chat with Gal Zabib, Co-Founder and CEO of Altostra. Altostra provides individual developers and engineering teams a no-code platform to create and manage cloud infrastructure based projects.

As a software engineer from a young age, Gal’s previous experiences with the Israeli Military Intelligence force and working for a startup as the R&D leader, really carved out who Gal is as an entrepreneur. With Altostra, Gal and her team use their varied engineering skills to accelerate and automate software delivery for their clients. She details the struggles faced as the company began with a small group of developers working tirelessly to get Altostra off the ground. We hear how they overcame these obstacles and became a company bridging the learning gap for developers and empowering them to adapt and use new tools with minimal time investment. In the fast-paced world of infrastructure development, engineers are constantly struggling to keep up with new and changing technologies. Altostra helps remove some of the learning burden by doing the research and updating pieces automatically so developers can focus their time where it’s better suited.

Later in the show, Gal explains how developers use Altostra and the ways it caters to different coding styles. We talk about why Altostra chose to offer a freemium version and what that means for clients and the evolution of the product. Partnerships are a big part of their business, and companies like GitHub have signed on with Altostra recently. Gal offers insights into why personal and business partnerships are so important for business growth. Their recent participation in the Startup Residency Program at Google has also shaped the company and we talk about how Google Cloud has helped them expand.

Just get out there and get started is the valuable advice Gal gives fellow entrepreneurs as we wrap up the show. She looks into the future and gives us insight into the next few years of Altostra and the cloud and wishes everyone a healthy 2021!

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Quality Networking and Relationship Building with Warmly Co-Founder and CPO Val Yermakova

January 17, 2021
33 min

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Stephanie (@stephr_wong) and Carter (@carterthecomic) welcome Co-Founder and CPO, Val Yermakova of Warmly today on the show! Warmly helps companies leverage business contacts and streamline networking practices for more efficient lead generation: think Warm Intros to Warm Sales Leads!

Val's intellectual curiosity and flexibility mean she's had myriad job titles and hobbies, including FulBright China scholar, Stanford Melanoma researcher, Security Analyst, Interaction Designer, Krav Maga and Muay Thai fighter, Circus Aerialist, Ex-competitive wrestler and figure skater, speaks Chinese, Russian, Spanish and English. At Warmly, Val continues to expand her knowledge base, learning from the many and varied industries that join. As a networking aid, Warmly helps sales departments in all fields find and foster meaningful relationships with people, allowing them to stay in contact with their network even as those people are promoted or hired by new companies.

To begin, Val describes the iterations of Warmly and how bringing on co-founders expanded and improved the company. Market research played a big role in refining the product as well. In the current setup, Warmly clients use the dashboard to control which contacts are monitored and how. When a network contact change is detected by Warmly, email notifications are sent to the relevant company employee along with applicable advice. Val gives us great examples of how this process can increase sales and network contacts

Later, we hear how the company will expand in the next five years. Google Cloud products have been integral in the development of Warmly, and Val explains how scaling has been made easier with Google Cloud. Val details how she incorporates positive mental health and nonviolent communication into the company culture and why emotional awareness is so important in work and private life.

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Customer-Driven Data Solutions with Splunk SVP of Cloud and CPO Sendur Sellakumar

January 3, 2021
42 min

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Sendur Sellakumar, CPO and SVP of Cloud at Splunk, joins our host Stephanie (@stephr_wong) on our first episode of 2021. Splunk is revolutionizing how enterprises use and act on data, making the process cheaper, faster, and more secure. Sendur's background in engineering and finance means he understands not only the importance of building great software but of running a customer-focused, profitable business efficiently and with empathy. WIth the help of Sendur, Splunk has moved more than half their software focus to hybrid and cloud solutions, enabling their powerful data tools to be used by myriad enterprise customers.

Later in the episode, Sendur tells us the origin story of Splunk and how they started in the IT and security space. He describes what it was like advancing Splunk and it's customers into the cloud, detailing challenges of this shift and the solutions he found. Their focus on customer needs and support have been the leading factors of change along the way as they adapt and improve offerings to fit client needs. He talks about his time with the company and what it's been like leading as the company grows and changes.

Sendur details the offerings Splunk provides and how machine learning, streaming,  federated search, and other components work together to provide products usable by different types of clients at different stages of development. Through real-world examples, Sendur describes how users have discovered the power of data to solve current issues and empower employees.

We wrap up the show discussing how Google Cloud has enabled Splunk to scale with confidence. Sendur offers his insights on the future of Splunk and how Covid and a company-wide work from home policy have affected them. In his advice to other SaaS companies, Sendur says quantifying goals as much as possible is motivating for companies and their employees.

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2020 Year In Review: How I Launched This, A SaaS Story

December 17, 2020
33 min

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Stephanie Wong (@stephr_wong) and Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) take us on a journey recapping serial entrepreneurs, surprising lessons learned, critical technology pivots and uncovering there is no silver bullet to security. The episodes of 2020 surprisingly revealed many common themes between founders, CEO’s and their respective companies. While dual pandemics plagued this year, we kept the recordings going in hopes of giving listeners a platform to learn, grow from and simply enjoy.

This year, we learned what it takes to start and scale global businesses. Being flexible and adjusting to trends and new technologies was a big theme, and we were lucky to hear advice from multiple professionals about how to keep companies effective as the world changes. The complete pivot CEO Dirk Hoerig of commercetools took early in the company's journey is a great example. Pendo CEO Todd Olson enlightened us on the importance of product-led growth in business and how sometimes things have to break to get better.

Bringing together industry tools to create something more than the sum of their parts was a big take away from episodes like TrueFit and Change Healthcare. Flexible, indexed data that's easy to use was another point a lot of our guests touched on, and MongoDB's product offerings focus on just that. We talked online security with guests like MongoDB's Lena Smart and how important it is to have functional, secure networks for users and employees.

From tips on productivity and remote working to understanding the social constructs that affect workplace comfort, we've tackled some of the big issues of 2020 and learned how entrepreneurs have leveraged technology to help overcome these challenges. Guests like Mandy Price taught us about the anonymous reporting system, Kanarys, that's working to create a safe and inclusive workplace. Aeris CEO Marc Jones joined us in a candid conversation about race and entrepreneurship as well, pointing out how a lack of support can create risk-aversion and limit opportunities for certain races of people. Companies like Upswing are striving to change that by supporting marginalized people through college and beyond. And when companies support diversity, great things can happen, Quitebit was a perfect example of this.

Outside the workplace, entrepreneurs are working for a healthier planet as well. Our very first episode tackled air pollution. We learned from Founder and CEO Davida Herzl, how Aclima is revolutionizing air quality improvement through data mapping and Olea Edge Analytics is helping companies conserve water with their unique meters.

Check out all the episodes from this year to hear in-depth conversations with these guests and more! Thanks for joining us, we'll see you in 2021!

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Software Delivery Management with CloudBees CEO Sacha Labourey

December 6, 2020
39 min

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This week, Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) speaks with Sacha Labourey about enterprise software delivery company CloudBees. CloudBees enables developers to focus on what they do best: Build stuff that matters, while providing peace of mind to management with powerful risk mitigation, compliance and governance tools. CloudBees streamlines the software delivery management process for companies.

Sacha starts the show with a thorough explanation of how CloudBees saw a need in the market and filled it. Previously, companies would take months or years to get their software products out there, often guessing at what customers need. With CloudBees’ continuous integration and delivery processes, companies can now evaluate customer needs, build and adjust useful products, and get them to market quickly. By allowing companies to codify team roles and knowledge and integrate with hundreds of tools, enterprise software can be automated and secured, decreasing time to market.

Later, we talk about CloudBees’ specific offerings for different types of enterprise customers. Sacha details the process to build, iterate, improve, and deliver software quickly, all while efficiently managing the team members and tools used. We learn about the compliance and security measures in place to help clients not only work quickly but safely.

CloudBees continues to grow and expand their offerings, and we talk about what’s in store for the future. Sacha graciously shared stories of the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, from getting the first customer to continually improving and learning from the lows while celebrating highs. Covid has impacted many businesses, and Sacha shares how CloudBees has handled this curveball.

We wrap up the show discussing the special relationship between CloudBees and Google and the changes customers can expect from CloudBees in the future.

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Online Reputation Management with Reputation.com CEO Joe Fuca

November 22, 2020
42 min

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Welcome back to How I Launched This! Stephanie Wong (@stephr_wong) is back this week hosting Joe Fuca of Reputation.com. Their advanced algorithms based on years of machine learning experience help companies find, manage, and maintain their online brand presence.

With his history growing companies into worldwide successes, Joe starts the show telling us about his fascinating experiences with category creation, from infancy to acceptance to widespread use. His current work at Reputation has brought him to the feedback economy, which he says is still growing. As more users leave reviews for various companies and services, these organizations are beginning to realize the benefits of customer opinions. Reputation.com is able to aggregate feedback from online reviews, surveys, social media, phone calls, and more to create Score X for industry-specific companies. This score allows users to directly compare vendors of the same industry and lets companies know how they're doing relative to their competition. It helps companies be found by customers as they research which doctor to use or car dealership to patronize. In addition, Reputation is providing businesses with specific, real-time metrics they can act upon to enhance the customer experience.

Joe tells us more about the progression of Reputation from novel idea to powerful tool. He talks about how changing technologies have affected the company and how they've been able to adapt and build a better product. From their start in personal reputation management to their current enterprise offering, Reputation.com has taken advantage of cutting edge technology to collect and analyze pertinent data. General Motors, a big client of Reputation, is a great example of how the company has integrated and adapted their platform for their enterprise clients.

Later, we talk about how 2020 has changed Reputation.com and how they're keeping up with the increased traffic the year has brought. Joe offers valuable advice to other company heads as they deal with Covid-19 and drives home how important customer loyalty is in these trying times. The future of Reputation.com will see a fun rebranding that really expands the reputation experience management platform.

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Perfecting Product with Pendo CEO and Co-Founder Todd Olson

November 8, 2020
39 min

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Stephanie Wong (@stephr_wong) and Carter Morgan (@carterthecomic) are back with a new episode of How I Launched This. This week, we talk with Pendo CEO and Co-Founder Todd Olson. With a passion for helping teams build and adapt digital products, Todd and his co-founders from Google, RedHat, and Cisco created Pendo to help companies analyze how their product offerings are used to optimize performance for customers.

Pendo offers analytical tools, messaging features inside products, feedback polls, and customer feedback roadmaps to allow users to impact product development and companies to adjust products to fit real-life user needs. With situations like the global pandemic, this has become especially useful as users adjust to a new way of working with products. Pendo helps them navigate the products in these new ways and provides feedback to companies so they are able to adjust if necessary to ensure user satisfaction

Todd is no stranger to startups, having launched many himself starting from a very young age. With Pendo, he wanted to focus on what users really want, what they really need, and how they're actually using products that digital engineers build. He tells us the process of Pendo's creation, starting with the initial ideas and partnering with like minded individuals. Todd feels it's important and quite honestly, more fun, to have co-founders to help support the mission and bring complimentary skills to a project.

Later, we hear more about Todd's journey through entrepreneurship, from his first company to Pendo. We talk about how a lifetime of entrepreneurialism has changed him, and he tells us lessons he's learned, giving insight into the process of building a company, realizing it's potential, then moving to the next project. He details the evolution of Pendo from inception to edited iterations, to the useful service it is today. We talk about tradeoffs entrepreneurs and their startups invariably have to make and how to make the tough choices.

We dig into the technology behind Pendo later in the show as Todd outlines the tools they use and why. Todd also takes the time to talk about his new book on product-led businesses. The show wraps up with a discussion of how product-led businesses can adjust for the future and embrace the changes that come with it. We end with Todd's thoughts on the future of SaaS companies.