The End of Software with Drift Co-founder and CEO, David Cancel
We're. Really excited today, for. Those of you who are here in the fall for will Colin session you, know drift down, in Boston has become a company. To watch not. Only in Boston but kind of in in tech and market and the b2b marketing space in period and we're really excited please join, me today in welcoming, David, can sell from, drift, is the CEO and co-founder so. Thank you I. Have. Seen the video oh we're going to explain the story yeah, my name about the Boston, butchering. Of your name yeah. Yeah. So um, you know just on that note I'd love to kind of before. We kind of talk a little bit more deeply about drift here a little bit more about your background your story you've, had a pretty, interesting kind, of career progression. Entrepreneurship. Focused. Just. A little bit more about you and in that story so instead, my name is David Kenzo and. So I, grew, up in Queens New York so, start there I was born in the Bronx and grew up in Queens New York and and. My. Parents emigrated to the US my, dad from Puerto Rico so my name is Ken said and my. Mom from Ecuador and then and, I. Always had this they both worked for themselves which sounds more glamorous then than it is and so, I grew up in this household of everyone, working seven days a week and and. Working on their own and so that was my normal right that was my contacts, and but. I always had this idea that I wanted to start a business but I didn't know what a business starting. A business mentor what a business was and I didn't know any of that and my, mom's only dream for me was for, me to be an accountant, which, I failed miserably at. And but. I don't, think for her, an accountant meant that I like would, wear a suit and have. A briefcase and and, have a secure job so I did the exact opposite, and and. I kind, of stumbled on the early internet and and. Became obsessed with that I studied computer science in accounting at in college and didn't. Like it any. Of it at all I wasn't that interested in it but I spent my days all. Day morning, the night in the library because we had early commercial. Internet, access and we had mosaic, and then that scape and that's all I did all day and so, that led me onto this like never, and rabbit hole which is the internet and wanting. To start companies and along, the way I've I. Joined, kind, of three people in New York's new, york and Manhattan and the early kind, of dawn, of commercial, internet like ninety six and we. Created. Three companies and they all spun out and got sold and what-have-you and then I, moved. Up to Boston followed. My girlfriend. Now why for many years I had never been to Boston and and. Moved. To Boston and I've started five companies v. Is drift now the other four companies I sold, I sold the last one perform, about two HubSpot and then I was at when we were like 200 people at HubSpot and, then, was. Chief product officer through, going public and then left. There to start drift, great. And, I think that entrepreneurship. Side, of things is something that's increasingly interesting. Yeah. Yeah right it wasn't before it wasn't before I can you talk a little bit about that and you know how do you how. Do you kind of feed that entrepreneurial. Side of your yourself you know once you started a company you know trying to grow it like, where is it for you that you get them the most of that impact. In value and kind of fulfillment sure I you, know in the first, part of that it's kind of like surreal because like, entrepreneurship. I like I swear like was not a word that I even knew until, like halfway through my career wasn't a word that people would use really. It. Kind of like I always say like entrepreneur, when, I was first, ten years of my career mate meant, you couldn't get a job like that was that code like could not get a job like I'm an entrepreneur, I didn't say yeah unemployable.
Right So it was and, it was really and so like you, know later, like it's really post Zuckerberg, era that it became kind, of popular so. It's always strange to me to you used that word because it was you word that we never used for. Me like I knew. I wanted to start businesses, I didn't really know what that was but I'm like I have an obsessive really, addictive personality, and my addiction has been the same it's been learning, and so I've been obsessed, with learning and learning. New things and, as learned, those learning, those new things and problems and markets always like, end up becoming a company so, every one of the companies has been like I've started with some, problems something that I'm obsessed about and the out is a company, that comes out of it I've never really I've never approached, it as like I want to start a company, what should the company be let's, id8 on some ideas like I've never like I've never started it that way and, actually the, more time that goes on the, more. Against. Kind of ideas like I don't like the idea based entrepreneur, and I meet a lot of most, of them are does because. I was kind of like that early, in my career and I think that becomes an obsession around. Creating. This idea and. You. Only. Care, about creating, your idea and then that causes, you to shut down and not hear feedback from the market and hear. Feedback about. The product or what you're trying to do you just want to create this idea right, and that becomes dangerous, and for me it's been more about learning. And, customer. Problems, markets, changes, in markets, and problems, were trying to solve and who cares what the idea is because the reality is it's gonna, be a radically, different idea, you, know I would say like I've met many, thousands, of entrepreneurs throughout. My career and, the. Story of like I had an idea in a shower and that became a multi-billion, dollar company is never I've, never come across that in reality one time like that's that's, a great Hollywood, story but, like the truth, is that everything has iterated, and changed, and moved, which, should be no surprise because like I think the creation process all. Creation, process follows that same path. Right so like I always say like you know if in sciences, in the sciences, we know that about the feedback loop and we know about testing, right and in. In the arts we know that that. You have to iterate on, it and the first paragraph is never the bestseller and the first like line. On a piece of paper is not the end drawing right it's a painful work. Of iteration, and exploration, and so but, in technology, we have some insane, thought that we're gonna have an idea in a shower and then that's the idea and that's it and so. It's never been that case I think creation, process is always the same so, let's talk about drifts. Solution. To a problem that exists they don't start with the problem yeah the problem that drift is trying to address what, is that problem really yeah, the, problem. Is that, we focus on is that the. The way that people buy, this. It's all obvious right but the way that people buy is radically. Changed, in the last five years really the last decade, largely, fueled by. The. Phone and globalization and new new, kind, of buying, paradigms, coming, in from a consumer standpoint so, it's it's it's, a totally, different world so like we now, live in a world where like for. Most things we can buy everything on demand or we can order them ahead or like everything. Is accessible, to us and at. The same time all of these populations, have come online and everyone, expects, like and, everyone has access, to kind, of endless supply. In every single category that there is like this is insane commoditization, so, all of a sudden what that means is that you've. Moved from a company controlled world to, to. A customer, controlled world and so we think that's the massive paradigm that we're riding on and in.
Our World which is largely b2b, no one has woken up to that yet of like we, no longer in a world where you have only one two or three competitors, you're competing with companies, all over the world and they can replicate. And copy everything, that you do instantaneously. And so, how do you actually buy. In that world and so our thing to, answer this in a long way is like because. Of this shift we've just inverted, and what we've done is we said everything, in our in, our market, in our world today is built to help companies sell more and drift. Is inverted, that and says we focus on the buyer and we focus on helping the buyer buy more. Easily which, is solving, the same thing but it radically changes your perspective to like what you focus on and, because. And we think that's important, because of, this shift that's happening yeah. So. We talk a little bit about what, that looks like from a product perspective so, you know you you you have some really great explanations. On your website if you haven't been to the drip site go go see it check out their blog check, out the podcast right, but, there's. A lot of really great content but you know chatbots is something that i think were we. Hear a lot but i think a lot of folks are still struggling to really wrap their head around what a chatbot isn't sort of how it plays into this mm-hmm this new, way of yeah, of buying, yeah so we you, know so when we started on this journey of like alright so if we're gonna focus on the customer. And this new way of buying like how do i buy everything else well everything else is like available, 24/7. And 365 and, it's on my terms but. Nothing in beat in selling, businesses, buying from businesses works that way that works on 9:00 to 5:00 we. Get back to you when we want to get back to you and fill out this form and download this ebook and we'll get back to you in three weeks right like that's the world so we said how do we change this and we said how. Do we create, this what, we all message, all day like we look around like that is what has become normal and and.
So We started with messaging, and you know my thought was like look. I've been using messaging, for 25. Years at least and so. Nothing is new technically, like it all existed, what's different, is because of penetration again of the. Smartphone in new markets in the world like we've gone from a world where. Messaging. Was used by you, know like million. Geeks like myself, talking. To each other to, like it is normal, right around. The world and not only normal, but. It. Is like the default, for. A lot of for most people on the way that they communicate they'd rather text you then call you right like as. Everyone here will tell you yeah. Yeah. Right, so like it became normal so that, was the first observation, so we said let's if we could use messaging, forget. The way we buy today if we could use messaging, to take someone who goes, to a website which, we think about it it's effectively, your store right they walk into your store and how. Do we connect, that person to someone immediately. 24/7. 365. To, answer their question, and to help them during the brine process, and so, that was the first observation, the the second thing was like well these. People are not online meaning. The people in the company so how are we gonna deal with this and so, we said let's. Try trying. To bot and I will disclose, that I hate bots like at the time I hated all bots because most parts were like the. The main problem I had with them was that they. Were still crude they, were still trying to find a solution most, of the ones that I saw and they, were trying to fake human, interaction. They were trying to convince you as a human right and so like this is Lisa this is like Amy or this is whatever and it's like as soon as you set that expectation as, soon as something is slightly off because. Then. You're like I'm, never going to use this cause yes it's there and wait yeah and it's just like it's not not a human behavior so we said what. About if we use the bot and we designed it around a pattern that said this, is a bot we, will always tell you it's about and we reset, the expectation, from the beginning so, we thought like maybe it's more like IVR. Which is like you know your phone systems where you call in but like if. We reset, the expectation, we lowered, the expectation. Maybe people, because. We're all selfish, will still use, it because it's a faster path to their answer that was the bet and then, and, so that's how we launched we launched with. Messaging. And then, BOTS who could. Answer. Questions for people 24/7. But also qualified them from a sales standpoint in, real-time and make, decisions on real-time that said like if they are qualifying, that happens to be a salesperson somewhere, in the world that. They should talk to that it would figure out how to route it to them in real time which is actually the difficult, part qualifying, route him in real time and the salesperson would not know anything about drift. Or anything they would just get pinged on their phone like a text message and says there's, you, know Patrick, is here and he's, from, Chuck and blah blah blah and do you want to talk to known just click on that and Olson they're they're, conversing. Right and then for the salesperson, it was also, selfish, because they were like I don't have to do any work like I just gave like this thing and then I just click and then it's there yeah, removing. All that upfront well the Frank, seems to be another part yeah and the other the, flip part of it was if we decided it should go to David. The salesperson, and David was asleep we would just offer up David's calendar, and tell, the customer, hey you choose when when, and how you want, David, to get back to you again moving the power to the customer and then, as, soon as we did that we saw that. That for us it worked to me like when we launched it internally, and we weren't sure about it we had one person who, was kind of a pseudo salesperson, and he, walked in the next day we launched it on our website and we.
Didn't Know what was gonna happen and he, walked in the next day and he was like holy bleep, bleep bleep, bleep bleep and we're like what what happened you know we were like five people like what happened it's and, he said my, entire calendar, has. Demo. Demo, calls scheduled, the entire week and I didn't do anything and he was like this, is bleeping. Magic, and we were like what and then but of course we were like oh, it, must be broken like maybe it's like the same meeting like 20, times I started yeah something's, broken here and so we went through all of them and we were like oh no this is real these, are all real right and, and, it was like immediate, like we. Knew that we were on to something real. There and then we started to work with customers and they had the same, experience or even better experience and then we knew like okay, this. Is working and it's gonna help people, those companies sell more even though the focus is on helping the customer buy all right so. You, know you've you alluded, to it but you now have what, over 150,000. Businesses. Yeah this is weren't using triphala, yep. You've grown really. Rapidly yeah, can you talk a little bit about that growth and what some of the sure what does that meant for the company what are some of the challenges that you faced as well yeah that's, so, we know, for a lot of for. Most of our history yeah, none easy very easy yeah. No I think like all the problem all problems, are people problems that's so. Like there's, like I used to think that like most, of the problems were like go, to market strategy. Technology. Blah blah blah whatever, you want to talk whatever interesting, thing you want to talk about and now I've concluded that those are one if, you sum all those that's like 1% of the problem and 99%. Of problem is people writing those that people are people, inside your, company, and your customers, and your market and your investors, and your whatever and getting, all those dynamics, right that's, that's, hard this is like nice and easy and it's great and we can geek out on it and it's fun but this is like this is very I wish, it was just this I wish it was just the 1% and there were no people involved this would be amazing it'd just be great, so is that how you spend your day then mainly is focusing, on those people problems, yeah because, we've grown from like most of our history. We've been around for years so like half, the history were like whatever. 20-something, people you know and then last year we went from like 80 to 260. People and then we went and from one office to three, office. Here boss Boston. San, Francisco in Seattle and then this year were you. Know 260, and we'll and like a 500, Pete this year and, so. That's, a lot of problems a lot. Of people a lot of problems yeah, and then we will open an office in amia and we'll open some other offices so like all of that is his. Problems. The other problem. Is that just from a market, standpoint. We're going from we're in, the middle of that. Crossing. The chasm of like we've gone from those early adopters we've, now gone are in, the bigger companies, if you want to call them early majority or whatever, but we're in that beginnings, that's a whole different thing now we're working with massive. You know global companies, and tens, of thousands of people and and stuff like that so as well as very small customers, and so we're serving, all of those different parts of the market so, that becomes hard so I spend most of my time on. Building. Systems, we become obsessive systems.
We Call that building engines we call it engines in here you know Amazon, calls them mechanisms, and. Bridge. Bridge water calls them, machines. You, know like everyone has it so like we're trying to create these like systems. Internally. And some you. Know I have like 15, books on systems thinking on my table right now and do just trying to teach them and we we, have hired X bridgewater, people, who worked on building machines, to. Help us develop systems, as well so we spend a lot of time on people. System, design how do we build engines, how do we gain not, only build an engine which, can be around anything it doesn't have to be a burnin technology, and how, do we gain insights, out of that because again the core that, we built a company around is around, the feedback loop so the key output. Is learnings, right. Everything, is learning how do we put something in how do we experiment, how do we measure it how do we get a learning out of it we call it an insight but if there's no insight, that comes out of it even though the metrics are going in the right way with, the there's a failure we have to learn something from it yeah. So. You. You are. You've. Spent a lot of time working in the market sales and marketing your. Whole career right you. You got your company, and your team has some pretty interesting kind, of marketing approaches, yeah, we're selling, drift you talked a little bit about that and they the way that you use video and that kind of personalization, mm-hmm, yeah. Definitely so. So we along the way like creating drift we created we thought that drift should be part of this bigger category, which we didn't have a name for we. Then called the conversational, marketing, and then I hated the the name. When we came up we had many names as the least the. Least offensive of them and conversational. Marketing cuz I was like I don't think people can spell conversational, like it's too like long and but. We settled on it and we started using it and then we woke up like a year later and, realized. That other, people were using it and that now and then Gartner was contacting, us and Forrester and serious decisions, and a bunch of other analysts, and they were they were all using it and we were like oh it's, a category now it's a real category, and so like so, we wrote a book on it which we were just released with Wiley. Lasts. A month, less than a month ago now yeah, yeah yeah and it's off to a good start and we've so just around 10,000, copies of that book and and, so. That's. One part of marketing but we've always had this when. We have a free book called this one scale like, all real lessons of like marketing. Lessons you can get it from our from. Our website and we'll ship you a copy of the book for. Free but, like you, are my idea was like that we have to like again. Invert and like rethink. How we want to market like if we were going to come into marketing, use the same marketing, techniques that everyone else use like those, never gonna work for us like we in, marketing, in sales, SAS. There are at least 8,000. Companies right. Now and that keeps accelerating so, we would never stand out so, we went back to basics and said you. Know how do we stand out it's, all about again conversations. And communication and, so we started to study. Copywriting. I was obsessed with copywriting. And copywriting. Mostly from the 30s. 40s and 50s. And so, because. My my, thought was like, you. Know I started to look at it and think like you, know this was the most amazing thing right, like we had lost the art of communication, because like because. We had become in the last 10, to 15 years like, the way I describe it is like look like for no one has sold anything without a conversation. For, all of time like you can go back to history a long time well we've had like a 10 to 15-year gap in the history where we become so, obsessed around, measuring everything. That that, we that we manage everything through proxy, and we've lost the ability to like communicate, right and so we're going back to like original times so, study.
Copywriting, We started like became, obsessed with it because what I was thinking like look, at this these examples, are amazing, if you look at old copywriting, because back. Then someone. Could you, sell, you something in the back of a magazine or catalog that. You had never seen before that, you had to like mail a check for and hope that some product came and they were able to sell these things like, what kind of copywriting, is there and it was an ad that was this big like what kind of writing was this and so we studied that stuff and we trained ourselves on copywriting, and communication, and then we did a bunch, of every. Technique, that was out there we would go the opposite way of like going like conferences. We, were never going to sponsor a conference, we were never gonna have a booth like we, would take over other people's conferences, and so we would take other over, other people's conferences, and be like we're, gonna we're, gonna do, a the, drift 5k at XYZ. Conference, and so, sudden we would have a 5k the morning of someone. Else's conference, we were not involved in the conference and, everyone. Star right away like we would build these human connections, and most. Of all the people who would attend spent. All day talking to each other and about the drift path k like we had taken over the mind share of them and then we would have like, you. Know spin. Class you know like SoulCycle classes, for a free drift. At this conference or Barry's boot camp or like whatever we did all these kind of crazy things. Billboards. Trains this, that we whatever whatever, thing, that people, said didn't, work we would do those things and the reason why to. Kind, of summarize is like is, my thought marketing. Is like when. You from Adam and Jen standpoint is like you're just chasing arbitrage, right like it's arbitrage right, like which people don't understand, for some reason and it's so where, are their arbitrage, opportunities. They're, usually in new, channels, that, no one has exploited yet or things. That are hard to measure and, or right it could be that combination if it's hard if it's hard to measure it or if it's subscale, or new no, one's really investing, in there because it's not provable, yet so that's where there's lots of arbitrage opportunity, just like if you were an early. Advertisers, are on Google when, it was hard and no one could figure it out that's what in the arbitrage was they're the. Same. With Facebook same with every other channel as soon, as it becomes scalable. Easy, to measure the, arbitrage gets taken out of that system it, becomes really expensive and so we spend, our time chasing things that are not. Perfectly, measurable, or subscale and those are whether the opportunities, are so we've done no. End to crazy things like we'll, ship you free books anywhere in the world we'll ship you I'm not wearing right now but I'm wearing this hoodies, hats this, we have drift sneakers we have drift, joggers anyone going to riff joggers, let. Me know and and. Anyone, who asked will ship it anywhere in the world with no expectation. On that because we're trying to build a global brand we're not trying to build a software brand, we're not trying to build a global software brand or Boston brand like we, think part of what we're trying to do is in this new world of sass like you have to build a global brand if, we were to dominate, because. Not. That you asked but like I, think, we're in this third phase of sass I've I've gone through all of I, classified. Like these phases of sass that I've lived through first, phase of sass was early Salesforce NetSuite etc, etc like. Really, you had like one. Or two three, competitors, and they were mostly, with a different technology stack ie on-prem, versus, cloud and so, like they're you we could when I, was building, companies right there you could hide behind technology patents, you could hide behind trade secrets, you could hide behind the fact that technology.
Moats The fact that no one could replicate the, thing that you built but, then we went into the second phase and that's when Zendesk. And and when I was at HubSpot and other companies where it was like technology. Was no longer moat but what was the moat, business. Models were a moat because, no one really knew how you, did inside sales no one knew what LTV was no one knew what CAC was no one knew what payback periods, were knowing you like freemium, versus, you. Know and like no one knew the mechanics or how you measure it even those first, several, companies going public no one really knew how to understand. Them and then all of a sudden now. Because of all the great content online like everyone, knows that so there's no more moats there therefore, in SAS now there's out in any given category there are hundreds if not thousands, of alternatives, and so we're in third days of sass which is more like I called the Procter & Gamble phase like now we have to figure out how do we build like brand affinity how, do we stand out how do we become. Number one and whatever your niche is so, can we talk you, know one, of the the concepts is the end of software, we talked a little bit about that concept, share. A little bit of what your thoughts on yeah, for. A lot of I'm sure for a lot of students are like I don't know what that is we mean I thought we're in the the Golden Age and software is eating the world know. What. I mean by that is like no software is actually is. Everything, there for software. Has, no like. They're very little marginal value in software right so like again. Back to the. Early first generation, of SAS there was a lot of value software, because no one could replicate it now everyone, can replicate it, which is great that means it's an everything and it's part of our lives that means software, by itself, has, very little value all, right because you can replicate it and so, I think you. Know the way I think about it is like what we need to build what people care about now is our. Experiences. Like like. An experience. Is what. We will pay extra for it was why I paid extra for Starbucks. Which I had a second ago then, something else because it's, an experience, right it's something that, I'm paying more for. And. It's something else and I think people, no, longer are become, numb to software. Like no longer care about software, I always you the examples, of like what, is what is uber uber software, I don't, know is, it people I don't, know, what. Is it I don't know just like a car comes like when I order I don't, know what it what should I think about that as the consumer, as when, I use Google and I search for something do, I care that those results came back because it, was an. Algorithm, it, was a I or, was. A combination, of all three and the three thousand people that they have in the Philippines, that hands picks the, index every day right, like I don't know I don't care and if. They if they got, rid of the 3,000 people and it became all a I or it became all people and no AI I, have. No opinion I don't care as long as the outcomes there as long as the outcome is there same thing with Facebook like every ad goes through another three or four thousand people like I don't, really care about those things I care about like what was the experience, what was the outcome that I got and so, the so my thing, and everything, that we're building is like we shouldn't think about it as software. That we're building obviously we build software today but like it can be anything that these are solutions to problems that we're building yeah coming back to that it's not about the idea it's about the solution, yeah problem and understanding your customer, exactly and in that customer if we gave him an amazing solution, and it, was people, base or software, based or. AI. Base or I don't know something else based like or combination, based they shouldn't care and I think you know one of the things that we are unlearning. In the market today is that for. So long in. Inventor. Back-sass like you, know we had all of our investors, telling. Us that we couldn't have services, you couldn't have professional services, you couldn't have people you couldn't have this you couldn't have that because, you only get one time multiples, on those and you know you want software margins, and software so we were again. That was in a world where the company had all the control all these companies had control and so they could force, their customers, to go through these, crappy.
Experiences. Because. Like we didn't want to give you services, you got to figure it on your own read your own read the help Docs on your own figure it out you do do it D, what do. Do. It yourself that's right DIY. Sorry, and, then and. Then. You know but I came out of that experience saying like we made, so many customers, suffer, and so, many customers unsuccessful. Because. We. Were running the business based on our margin. Preference, and the customer, actually in this new world doesn't care about what your margin makeup is like they just care about like what the outcome is so, so how do you push back against the v6 right because they're they're writing the check right there's there's their funding you you know what, role have. You seen em you've started a number of companies right how, is that changed, how, do you how what have you learned on that side of of defending. The customer from the, kind. Of parameters yeah not that all VCS are bad right it's not I'd. Say I'd say Lindsey. Lindsey is looking at me spend. Her summer at a VC firm yeah yeah. I'd. Say you know well. If the first thing is that it's kind of like first. Thing I learned is, well I've been doing it long. Enough so like I'm kind of on the other side now so it's a little unfair and and. So it's easier for me now part. Of that is the, big learning is in life, is like when you if you'd need no money that's. When you get all the money right, when you need money there's no money right yeah that's, the law and so like in early days of like starting to raise, money when I needed. Money it was very hard to get money starting. Drift we didn't need any money so therefore money was very easy and free so, that's I, don't know what you can learn from that but that's that's an observation it's you're in a strong cause it yeah strong position I'd say for. The right investors. Now. I think they understand, because they've you, know they've, seen. The cycle now and so they understand, they've seen enough cycles, now where they. Understand like the differentiation, is not just, software and that, these. Are reoccurring businesses. Like every business becoming a reoccurring, base or subscription-based business like and therefore like if you want this long lifetime, value, and this long value, of the customer like you're gonna have to provide these experiences, and I think part. Of it for the investors, too is like is because, they're just consumers. Like the rest of us and so we're experiencing, this in our lives every, second, and so like it's, it's becoming clear that everything. Else is being commoditized, except, the experience, and to the kind of point that you made about drift that line between what is b2c, and what is b2b and what it looks like is it's kind of a being erased yeah it's totally being erased I mean the b2b like there's still humans buying and those humans have human expectations. And as generations, changed, and expectations, changed like they. Dragged those expectations with, them the other thing that so, we started, drift on all of these kind of like mega trends that I'd say like one of them was this, movement from the company having controlled with the customer that's the biggest one having. Control the other was Verizon, messaging, the. Other was this, like this idea that we talked about for many years which was like the consumerization. Of the enterprise right of that. People within the the company, in the enterprise could buy software, outside. Of procurement outside, of siloed. Centers was, going to become true guess what it's true now and in every company that I'd go to including.
Ours Like nobody, knows. Ya. Know CFO, does not know what gets bought ya our CFO does not know what gets bought until afterwards, everyone is buying what, does that mean that means that and the reason that's important, for us is that that means, they Olson you have all these people who are not professional, buyers who, are just consumers, making, buying decisions within, the company and they're, going to their expectation, is that this is gonna work just like, find. Anything in their normal lives they're not going to be like the rest of us who have grown up with buying. In this very, weird, procurement. Process, yeah process, it's a process right and that's where that no. One loves process, no no there, are a few there few there. They. Really love really lovely yeah yeah yeah so, in this in this kind of new world you know one of the concepts that we talk a lot about in the center and here talk is the. Idea of trust and, how that's changing you've you've been a pretty vocal kind of person. On that what is trust even what does that mean to you what does that mean adrift and how do you kind. Of differentiate, how do you think about trust with your consumers, and with your employees yeah yeah I mean Trust is like is, the. Bigger part of the experience, for us right first before you can have the experience you need some level of trust and the the, greater the trust that you have the the more. Time. You have to build that experience and, to have, a deeper, experience with someone and so for us Trust, is is, the thing that we talk about all the time along with the, experience, and that mattering, and that's why for. Us it's not about are they lead are they a prospect, are they a customer are they whatever they're, just just, a person, and if they're interested. In us and they want a book or this or that or they want to talk or they just wanna have a chat. We. Treat all of those people like, we want to be treated like a person right and that sadly. I. Will, say that has been one of our secret. Or marketing standpoint because that blows people, away in our world right, that we would they be like oh you just you actually responded, and, they're like I'm like yeah you send me a you, DM last yeah, so like I responded, to and they're like this, is weird, it's bizarre, how do we get there though because that, wasn't always the case and I think Trust has really take a hit mm-hmm, and and and you, know in large part a lot of technology, companies yeah for sure at the front of destroying, trust you, talked about how we got there or what your thoughts are there and and how do you maintain, a, company, that prioritizes, trust, yeah because there, are a lot of times we're doing, the thing that doesn't, that, hurts trust is profitable.
Yeah Learn it's very plenty times yeah most of the time I'd, say that the, the, quickest way there is going to be through all of the pain and failure, right pain is our greatest teacher and so like we are living through the beginnings of some of that pain right now and that. Will that, will teach us collectively. Where. To prioritize I don't I don't see an easier what an easy way other. Way to teach, this so we got to learn through pain we, also I think because, of this shift from the company the the consumer. Like we, actually are, learning, pretty quickly that we have no choice like. There's no choice there's no alternative right unless, you are one. Of the few companies left, still who have, a monopoly, on a certain, type of market which. Is becoming increasingly rare. You. Have no choice but to rely. On trust, right and and, so as monopolies. Start to fall and this. Kind of global competition. Increasing. Increases. We're. Gonna have nothing but the, ability to gain trust and to. Build experiences, around that trust as the only thing that we sell I really think we're only that's all we're gonna sell right, and so we've modeled, ourselves even though we're software. A company from day one on like we've been obsessed, with the. Four Seasons like, we use that as a model like Four Seasons experience, like everything that they do in terms. Of like not only training but how do you like greet, someone in a certain way how do you talk to someone how do you treat someone like that yeah that culture that they've built of service, and so, we've built everything around a culture of service and an obsession around Four Seasons level service because, we think that is what everything. Will have to move towards right and so you, know we used even the example of early, on of like what is their you know the the Apple, Store right there are some downsides of it but like that's, a radical that, was a radical change of like I could walk in and I didn't have know that, you were in sales or you're in service or whatever I just talked to someone right, like and that's like the world's you know one of the world's most profitable companies depending, on when you measure it and like, they're doing that so like if and they're doing it with largely. A monopoly, on the market and you. Have. No monopoly and a highly. Commoditized market, and you're delivering, a crappy experience like what like how do you a, lot of lessons and there were students, right like, how could you they have a monopoly right like and so like you have no, defense ability or no moat and so there's. No way that you can exist without that level of trust in that level service so. Before. We kind of turn over to questions the audience a couple a couple last questions we, talked briefly about you, know the center being a former library you, have a unique office you had a feature you want a topical library yeah, it's kind of a library so, we're like, from. The beginning like I'm like. I said I'm obsessed addicted with addicted. With learning so that became a core part of our culture. And so like and along. With that like one of our things. That we one of our principles is around. Humility. Right. And battling. Our egos, which we all have egos and so like that's a daily that's an easy thing to say but it's a daily battle for, all of us and. So we spend a lot of time thinking about that part. Of that learning. That humility is, again. Going back to like not wanting to invent everything ourselves. Instead. We say we want to innovate we, rarely invent, we mostly innovate, why, not, because, we, don't we don't have good ideas but because. We. Want, to build on the patterns that people already, know and understand. Instead, of forcing them through some wild new pattern because we, want it to be because yes, yeah, and so, because. Of that you, know one of our things that we lean, into is reading, learning from others and, not making making, lots, of mistakes but try not to make all the. Mistakes on our own right and select pain is is mostly. How I've learned too over the years and so like I'm tired of pain and so I want to learn off someone else's other's mistakes so, we built this culture around reading.
Or On learning that became a podcast, called seeking wisdom where we talk about learning now, only it's. Not a little. Bit has to do with professional, but it's about learning in every dimension right, like in our lives like not only professional, like we are whole, people and so like if we become better than anyone in mentions, we think we become better at what, we do professionally, and so, we. Have a crazy. You know everyone in the company can order as, many books as they want every, room is named after different authors that we like every. Room that you walk into is filled with books and anyone if you ever walk into our office take as many books as you want and as much swaggin. So it feels, like a library. And most. Of our walls are done with different. Authors and different people that we admire. But. We what, it's done and the reason that we did it is first. A humility but also that we wanted to build we. Wanted to everyone. That we brought into the company to be obsessed with their own personal, progression, and so that's the one, of the main things that we and so they want to learn and then we want to build the. Entire organization, to be a learning machine and we want every person to be their own personal, learning machine, and so we. Think if, we can do, that then those every. Individual, will pull the company as a result of their own personal, progression, versus. The flipside we, will have to push everyone in the company towards the goals that we want so, we want to create this like pull effect where the company's, drafted, by by. Everyone in the company so. On that note I have one question I'm gonna steal it from a member of our audience you asked a really great question earlier, this week we, were with some of the executives from HubSpot sure and. And. Lindsay. That so. We had Katie, Burke and, Allison L worthy so, Allison's a chuckle um sure and. You know they come up and teach in. A course taught by our faculty. Director, so, we're. Having lunch and so Lindsay asked a really great question writers which is you, know for MBAs like where the where are some of the the, oh maybe. I'll just actually ask Lindsay, since she has a mouthful yeah. That's. The perfect timing to ask. I think, my. Question was really centered around where. Are you know the skill gaps that. You see with MBAs, or just general you know people our age but specifically, MBAs, what you know when you come out of school what skills, or, qualities, do you wish you. Had. Yeah. You. Know I think it's. A whole bunch of them. Yeah. Yeah, sorry, sorry yes. Sir for, two on that one Lindsey yeah yeah, no, I spend, I'm, like an ER did another, school in Cambridge which. Won't talk about so I spend a lot of time with. MBAs. There and talking. About this very question you. Know I'd say one, first. I would say that I was, for. The, it's been interesting to watch that you know, my first half of my career like it. Used to be like all these product managers, would. Leave to get their MBA because they don't want to be product managers anymore and now it's like flip like now I talk to a lot of MBAs they want to be product managers I'm like well this is like flipped right because, the world is flat but like it's interesting I, think. I'm. Learning, the I'm first learning the appreciation, of having. MBAs in companies, and, I learned a little bit of that at HubSpot during, my time there but right. Now we are we, recruit heavily adrift. Because we're in different phase, we, didn't at all will. Collins. Who's the Tuck alum joined us kind of only like 20 people or less maybe less than that and as. An experiment, and he turned out to be so great that now, we have a lot of wills yeah, yeah yeah yeah that model but really as we start to scale now and we're, building systems, it's. Great we are trying to only hire, in some ways NBA's. But, the skill gap that I see is more. Is. Is. That. A lot of people who have come in do, not have a lot of experience, in this context, and so like I will I will compare it to from, an engineering and design standpoint we recruit a lot from, and, I did in the past two from Northeastern, School, in Boston and that's, a school, that's built around a co-op program and so like those, kids, are insane.
Amazing, Like some of the best, day out cloud any other school that we come because, they come ready. To work, with lots of experience and, and. They as that. Will have coops they're way better, than, people. Who are experienced, engineers on the team right because they just have been, in the cycle so much yes 'burn to learning well yeah, and so the exponential learning part I think is the big hole that I see in MBA is I like the, ones that I get, in Cambridge like yeah, they intern a little bit in the summer with, some companies and whatever but. They're bouncing around too, too much and so they haven't spent enough time going, deep in any one area and the, common, thing in my sessions, with them is is. Around it's. Almost always the same topic they're trying to decide between joining, a company starting, a company taking. This banking job doing this thing and I always say like you know the curse that you have is like you have too much ah too too much optionality like, this, is like you have too many options like, you're in a this, is like the worst scenario right for you to be talking to me about like an early stage company because you're in like a market, that's like this you're, like in a school that gives you infinite, options and you're, amongst other people who, are just talking about their options and, so like you're like crazy, about lessons, yeah share this yeah I'll hear yeah it's like should I do this oh I'm gonna do I'm gonna do a startup and then I'm gonna I'll, be a PM part-time, but then I'm gonna do this other banking thing if that doesn't fall through I'm gonna do VC and it's just like you. Have too many options you need to like a back-up. Plan yeah yeah, they want back-up, plan back-up plan back-up plan back-up plan and it's like look you're gonna have to like at, some point choose, and just go in it and focus. On what. Are you gonna learn from this thing prioritize, learning, is what I say like whether. The company fails or not or you succeed from a career standpoint in there if the, unit of measurement was I want. To learn XYZ. And I, learned it even though the company failed or like there was an option there that was massive success, and then you can take that and that is your option ality to go to the next thing so I guess that long answer to your question is like the, exponential, learning is the big part and a lot of that is available to you but you have too many options usually, to want, to focus and and go, through be, intentional, with kind of yes focus, absolutely. Yeah that's, really hard, definitely. Less, maybe you guys are better up here then than, in Cambridge. So. Want. To open it up to the audience for questions what, questions do you have Wow, we got lots all right Mike you're out in the animal. Yeah. That was painful there was a lot of that's only two years of a lot, of cursing. Let. It go and back and forth so as, you're thinking about the future horizon for drift where do you see, the most opportunity, is it going, kind of vertical, and looking and being this marketing, sales bot, tool and a service provider for, every enterprise no matter what size or is it thinking about stretching. For, or horizontally. And thinking, about what other areas, or. Business operations, can intelligent. Pots, I'll. Give you the answer that all. Logical, people hate both is, the answer the book as the answer to most questions and life is both and every. Engineer I. Drift. That I tell that but blows their mind all right like the answer always has to be one it's kind of both you know like what we really think about what we have in the market today drift. Is just a little wedge solution. Like really what we're thinking where. We think we evolve is. It's. Pretty different, like our focus is not the marketing in sales or. B2b software. World that's not the world that we see ourselves in because, we're focused. On buying like we see our world as the. Even, in the US the 1.2, trillion in b2b spent their commerce right like that's our market like we have to figure out that market and so like, we. Have chosen to focus on, revenue and that's what puts us in marketing, in demand. Gen and sales. Specifically. But, all of our customers measure us on three things you know like the number of meetings that we bring the number of opportunities from on a dollar basis, and the pipeline that they closed and we've been a market for a very short time but we our customers, have closed. Over a billion, six in revenue, through that, has come, through drift right and we've influenced, like 6.8. Billion in in, revenue and we're just getting started so like we got to finish we have to figure out how we get closer to the bottom of that how do we get that, how.
Does That become 100 billion right like and, so, that's the market that we think about we think the way that the Reese eggman tation happens is is, not around again, software, tools and software categories, it's really around the buying process so we, think what we're doing is really. Closer. To you. Know it's not ecommerce but it's closer to a Shopify. In the b2c, sense or a stripe in the b2c, sense ours, is b2b sense so it's a little bit more complicated than humans, are involved sometimes and not always so, that's our world enough, that gives you an answer but we will vertical eyes and we do. Yeah. I. Think, you know when I started go through yeah. It was just a side. Project and, so like I just, made it free I had never thought that it would. Oh. Thanks. Oh thanks oh yeah. Yeah yeah yeah. So I created. It I thought like only, I would care about it because it was so geeky and then I only. Released it publicly because. I had a friend in San Francisco who's equally, as geeky and then I woke up and whatever. The first year and it was like three million people using it and now it's like I'm. 36, million or 40, million or something like that but. Anyway I never really thought about it from a monetization, standpoint, with that one with, HubSpot. We were it, was an inside sales only product when I got there was an SEO tool when. I got there and then we built out the platform and did all that stuff and then we layered on a freemium, option, much, later like towards the end right and end. Of my time there before I went public and the, reason was again, in that second phase of SAS we were all trying to figure out the business models we had an incredible Inside Sales lead. Gen model that we had built that at HubSpot. But we were always looking at companies like, our friends at Dropbox, and Evernote and. Other. Companies on the west coast and thinking like oh there's. Is much better like there's is like there's no salespeople or whatever and so we would spend a lot of time going over there and.
Meeting. With those. Founders, and those exec teams and they would at be asking us how, do you build a sales team like, how do you build that because they want to do the sales and, we were asking them like how do we do this ramune thing and so like we built this freemium stuff. With the crm, and other things that at HubSpot and. From. That standpoint like my, learning was like. It's. Hard to change your DNA our DNA was the sales driven approach, and even though we had this freemium stuff when we wanted to move more product centric it was interesting. But the company, was always going to unless you committed like you, know company suicide it was always going to be sales. Driven approach and this was going to be and after you know not on kind of thing which is kind of interesting I drift, we chose to be intentional, from the beginning and say like Freeman's, quarter our offering, and we started only as a freemium business and, then layer later added, on sales we were free only for. The first year a free, premium, I should say only and for. Us but for us it made sense because we had a viral mechanism, in our product. Which was, by. Definition every, website that uses drift says that it uses drift and therefore, we, can track and from the very beginning, until this day like 30 to 40. Percent of our signups. Come. From other, people's, websites right, and we can track where they come from so we had an incentive in there where when, we were trying to do it HubSpot, it was good but we didn't really have an incentive in there and it was always gonna be small, versus this thing and. So for us we have this incentive and even if free people in our profit or people, pay us 50 bucks a month or whatever you use it they. Still end up referring people, who maybe enterprise, or mid-market commercial, opportunities. To us because, they that, person, had an interaction on that businesses, small, business website so it makes sense for us so am i learning from it is really. Like it has to be core part of your model you have to build a flywheel around it otherwise it's. Hard to justify no. Matter how much you like it was, the was the referral, a part of from the beginning that you were hoping that that would really drive, adoption. We. Had you know or. Expectation. Both, it exceeded the expectations we, thought we all had heard stories of like Oh Survey, Monkey has these little links and hotmail.
No, One here is old enough to know hotmail maybe you yeah, hotmail. Had. You know grew through these like through, these links powered by hotmail and it was like let's just try it maybe we'll get something we didn't know the magnitude, but we knew like we would get something from it and so we, saw right away like what was happening and and. So therefore we invest heavily in that we will invest even more heavily going forward. So. I think they give an interesting. Approach from. On marketing, in general. Product. As well as like your, life. How, do you see that and, I can see why it works really well with b2b you see that translating. I. Don't. Think there's you know my whole rant is there's no difference anymore. There's. There's, just people right unless until the bots buy from the bots like which, then. Maybe none of this will work but it's still people that's why in the beginning I've, kind of skipped, over this in my long rants but like around our form of marketing what, we did was go back to not only old copywriting, but to, understand, and what we teach internally, is like social, psychology, and biases, and you know why we make decisions, the way that we do and like when I speak to marketers b2c, and b2b marketers. Which I speak to all the time I have, some like how many people know about cognitive. Biases how many people have read influence how many people have done this XYZ usually. A. 99%. Of the crowd has. No idea what I'm talking about and my point is that is all that marketing is there's, nothing else right they have been grown up in a world to think that the, mechanism. Of buying. An ad or doing. A post or whatever that that's marketing, that's not marketing that's just like a mechanism, which anything, could we. Can automate, that right that's not actual marketing and so like the, reason I say like there's no difference, between because. People, make decisions the, way that they've always made decisions, and so you have to do that in b2c and b2b and we look mostly, we never look at b2b models, adrift, like. If we're you see someone in be to be doing something we'll almost, like knee-jerk, never do it we, look at more b2c, stuff and we look at.
Different. Types of buying models we study infomercials, you have to study, infomercials, like go, back I don't know if you're too young for for and from you might be too young for infomercials. But, but. Once you start to study. Social. Psychology, the way that we make buying decisions and, the biases, like once, you really start to study it and then it's. Almost like going, to you might be too young for the matrix to but like you might be like okay. Alright, so it's, like that it's like the matrix moment, like you, will be born you will be like that you will be in a new world because all of a sudden you'll be looking at everything and then you're understanding, exactly what's, happening and why, like, Charlie Munger calls a Lollapalooza, effect which is like a comedy, no biases, like you'll understand, why you're making decisions I always used like the as a teaching, tool like the Amazon. Product. Detail page because. It is it's perfectly, designed right from a designer standpoint they look at and they always think it's ugly and every designer who tries to build a checkout page actually, removes, all, the parts that actually make that page effective, and make this beautiful page that doesn't work when. You study it you'll understand, like how many triggers you're getting on this page and that, they have triggers, that are for different. Buying. Types right people who are more action oriented people who are more social, that, makes more social based decisions, and it is like the perfectly, designed page, and maybe we'll do a course and they'll send it to you you can see, that and so that is, the same in b2b as in B to C right so, that was probably more than you wanted to know okay. You. Said that the, software is, essentially. Getting commoditized, know that traditional. Licensing. Looks. Where. Do you see customers, what are they willing to pay for is it better service better content. Yep. So. All of those I think you know for us specifically. The way our models, changing, is and we're exploring this so it's not proven is there's. A part of drift that we will be offering as, just a service, and, and. Some. Of that will be human powered and some of it will be most, of it will be software powered some of it will you human powered but. Companies. Will buy that as a, utility. They have they. They don't actually care what the mix is that's our problem and so right now we only sell software they, have to provide some humans. In that system, whether it's marketers, or salespeople we, will will, be moving more towards, end to end with some of our customers, and. That's that's what we're hearing from them like that's what they want they just want to buy it and they just want the outcome like, that like, I don't care like what the mix like can't you figure out the mix basically.
Is That they're asking the experts yeah yeah you're the expert and like can. You teach can you also like teach us can, we come to your office can we do training you, know like that's all the stuff that they want because they want this transformation, you do that then we. Are starting to we're in the beginning instead of doing that we're not doing that to the extent that we need to and the market is like dying. For, our, market, is dying for that. 18:27. Products which, leads the rise of these like integration. Company. How. Do you guys think about integrations. And. Specifically. Like trying to be the center of it every company wants me to say. Yeah. Yeah. I mean there's been amazing, zapier it's done a good job Wade and those guys and then mule soft and then, those companies Trey I oh so. There's there's a lot of stuff happening there the way we think about it is, we're, largely a point solution around on purpose because we want to scale from, SMB. Or VSP to high, enterprise, and so we did, that on purpose which, means we have to rely on a lot of other partners and existing, Stax especially, in an enterprise, where best-of-breed, wins, and so, we're, we, built we started the beginnings of building our ecosystem, and our integrations, there and of course we do that beyond Trey and mule soph and we do all that kind of stuff it's super important, for us. But. The way that we think about it strategically, is that that's. More. That's. More kind of like exhaust, data like if we look at our if we look at the buying stack like we think the CRM. If, we're effective, will be it's quickly becoming storage, right, like that is not the center of intelligence, that is a storage mechanism. Continue. Down that line just like ERP, and there'll be a few users, who use that thing but like it's largely storage and that. We're. Getting in the middle of, communication. That's happening throughout. The entire company, and the customer across the entire lifecycle and we, think the new new. Layer of intelligence, that we're trying to own is around that. Conversation. Data and what you can do with the conversation data, but also the coordination, data. That you have to build amongst that that like that's the new premium like of stuff, not this. Weird CRM. Stuff that we have in our world of like that's human entered by salespeople who don't want to enter it in and so they enter as little as possible and then we build reporting, on top of that it's kind of nuts or event. Data that's piped, in through one of the integrators, that you're saying it's not much interesting. In that if you log into CRM if you are user like looking at thousands. Of events for someone or like weird. Stuff, that's entered and there's not that actually useful but. The actual words from the customer that we can capture the, sentiment, of those words or words from the people in the way that are communicating, what, what they're expressing, is really, valuable, so we think value will move, that stock. Probably. One, more yeah. The. Willingness to push, out push out. Features. You. Also mentioned, that. And. So I'm wondering how. Do you operationalize. Yeah. Yeah. No. It's a great question I mean when I got to appspot, we. Didn't really have a product and we hadn't.
Shipped And probably, they, hadn't shipped in probably the year and. So we built this mechanism. The point that the thing that we did was to build the organization around learning and we part and we had to build in these what I call guardrails, and constraints, and to assist in the force learning to happen one, of them was speed right, and speed speed. Did not speed, does not matter right like speed, for speed sake is useless. Speed. For us is super important because it, is a constraint, that we put in the system because, we want to have as many feedback, loops that's possible, so if we think of traditional software, development and you say you, release once, a month you have 12 feedback loops right like and so art my thought was like how, do we have thousands. Of feedback loops how do we have tens of thousands feedback loops in a year right, so like and so. How, we could force that to happen by with humans is like we're gonna have this constraint that everyone, ha