Recruit Rockstars 345: 2 Founders + 2 Continents = 1 Booming eCommerce Biz

This episode is guaranteed to help you sleep more soundly.
Because ettitude (with offices in LA & Melbourne) is selling so much of its bamboo-based bedding, it’s landed on the Inc5000 list of fastest-growing companies.
Bamboo? Isn’t that hard?
Yes, but turns out it makes incredibly soft sheets, bedding, and jammies.
So Co-Founders Kat Dey & Phoebe Yu have scaled a team of 15 to make it soft on the skin, yet gentle on the planet.
Bamboo doesn’t need much water to grow, or chemicals. It’s a closed loop production system, using recycled water & solution to extract the fiber.
Kat & Phoebe recently raised a round of venture capital from Drumbeat Ventures and TA Ventures.
And in this 20-minute episode, they’ll reveal how they’re scaling the team that’ll help you sleep like a baby.

Recruit Rockstars 344: Why Hiring Sales Reps Can Make You Weep

If ever there was a role that’s a nightmare to hire, it’s the Rockstar salesperson.
Most companies try. But fail.
And for good reason.
Salespeople are good talkers. So the typical interview can be highly-misleading. Not to mention, most sales managers haven’t agreed-upon what makes a great sales rep.
Plus, there are 14 million full-time US salespeople, and most have never been formally trained.
So when Bruce – tall, dark, handsome – walks into the room, it’s no wonder the sales manager hires him. He’s straight out of central casting.
Brian Bar knows better. And he created Victory Lap to help you avoid this whole mess.
Based in Chicago, Victory Lap is the 4-year-old Sales Bootcamp. They find, train, and match great sales reps with deserving companies.
He’s well-suited to do it, having been a top sales leader and Head of Sales Onboarding at Groupon for 4 years. He systemized how to select, interview, assess, and onboard the best.
Now, Victory Lap helps other 150 growth companies do the same. And over 600 sales reps have graduated from its Bootcamp.
In this 20-minute conversation, Brian shares how to avoid the biggest mistakes when building your sales organization. And when you do finally find a great sales rep, how you can close the deal every time.

Recruit Rockstars 343: What You Can Steal From Amazon's Culture

At Amazon, “Day One” is code for inventing like a startup, with little regard for legacy.
Day Two is, in Jeff Bezos’s own words, “stasis, followed by irrelevance, followed by an excruciating, painful decline, followed by death.”
Sadly, most companies today are set up for Day Two.
They build advantages & then defend them fiercely, rather than invent the future. But Amazon and fellow tech titans Facebook, Google, and Microsoft operate in Day One: they prioritize reinvention over tradition and collaboration over ownership.
To dig in, I just interviewed Alex Kantrowitz, author of the fascinating new book “Always Day One: How the Tech Titans Plan to Stay on Top Forever.”
After years as a reporter for Advertising Age, Forbes, and Buzzfeed, Alex stepped out on his own to launch Big Technology where he covers the Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.
Through 130 interviews with insiders (from Mark Zuckerberg to hourly workers) Always Day One reveals the tech giants’ blueprint for sustainable success in a business world where no advantage is safe.
Even if you’re not in tech (aren’t we all?), you’ll find this 20-minute conversation fascinating.

Recruit Rockstars 342: Why VC's Drilled Into the Dental Market

Last year, the SaaS company Curemint was just 1 person in Los Angeles. Now, it’s 15 people in Durham North Carolina.
Brandon McCarty is its CEO & Co-Founder.
Curemint is the procurement solution for dental practices. Its intuitive ordering experience is optimized specifically for that sector. And the software increases spend visibility, automates workflows, and realizes increased operational efficiency.
Its venture investors include Jumpstart Foundry and Cofounders Capital
In this 20-minute conversation, Brandon shares how he’s scaled the team that’s drilling into the dental market.

Recruit Rockstars 341: How the Pandemic Forever Changed Career Paths

Clearly, there’s a movement afoot.
The more companies announce they’re going virtual/remote, the more it doesn’t matter where you live.
So, companies can now hire the best talent in the world, not just in town.
Everything is turned upside-down. I wanted to find an expert to help us make sense of it all.
Patrick O’Brien is Chairman & Co-Founder of Patina Solutions, based in Milwaukee & serving clients nationally. It’s the leading professional services firm that provides executive experience on-demand, and has appeared 5 times on the Inc5000 list of fastest-growing companies in US.
Prior, Patrick served as CEO of Paris Presents, a leading provider of cosmetic accessories. And spent 29 years working within the SC Johnson family of companies – most recently as President.
In this 20-minute conversation, Patrick shares what he sees the smartest executives & sharpest companies doing to adapt to the new landscape of careers.

Recruit Rockstars 340: CEO Turns His Industry Upside-Down

There’s a whole new way to increase your customers’ loyalty, and it’s called product protection.
You know what this is. When you check out at Apple, they offer you AppleCare. When you buy something at Best Buy, same thing.
Well, now you too can add this to your website, increase revenues, and more importantly better serve your customers.
The company is Clyde (love the name!) and I tracked down the Founder & CEO Brandon Gell because he’s onto something big.
He started Clyde 3 years ago. Then raised $17M from top-tier VC’s like Spark Capital, Correlation Ventures, Starting Line, Red Sea Ventures, Knightsgate Ventures, RRE Ventures, and Techstars.
In this episode, Brandon reveals how he’s scaled a sharp team of 30 to turn an industry upside-down.

Recruit Rockstars 339: He Leads the First Data-Driven Winery

Geoff McFarlane is turning the $72B wine industry upside-down.
He’s CEO of Winc Wines, which he co-founded 8 years ago. Now, annual revenues exceed $40M
Geoff spent years in the hospitality industry, where he learned how to create experiences for people. Now, he’s brought that skill to the wine business to fundamentally change it.
Winc builds direct relationships with vineyards, farmers, and winemakers to make exceptional wines. Distributing directly means you get them at a great value.
In short, Winc tests wine concepts with consumers & then produces the ones they love. Instead of “pushing” what they can make (like most wineries,) they “pull” consumers in based on preference.
Winc has created a customized experience for its members & brings ease and exploration to buying & enjoying wine. Based on consumer insights, they’ve developed iconic brands like Summer Water and Folly of the Beast.
Now, Winc’s sought-after brands are available in Whole Foods, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and restaurants.
Backed by Bessemer Venture Partners & Amplify.LA, Winc has landed on the Inc5000 list of fastest-growing companies.
In this 20-minute conversation, Geoff reveals how he’s scaled the 100-person team. And some of the mistakes he’s made along the way.

Recruit Rockstars 338: Scaling a VC-Backed Company in the Windy City

Founded in 2013, Raise changed the way the gift card marketplace worked, with a goal to help others give themselves a raise.
Based in Chicago, Raise has partnerships with over 500 national retailers including CVS, Chipotle, Subway, Macy’s, Domino’s, and Best Buy.
Now, Raise is the easiest way for its 2.5 million members to buy discounted gift cards & get cash back for everyday purchases while helping retailers drive traffic in-store.
CEO Jay Klauminzer joined the company in 2018 to add even more retailer partnerships & help customers give themselves a raise.
After a decade as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company, Jay held a number of roles with e-commerce leaders Groupon & DoorDash.
HIs top-notch VC backers include Accel, NEA, and Bessemer Venture Partners.
In this 20-minute conversation, Jay shares how he’s upgraded the team, how to assess candidates for culture fit, and in-depth how he interviews a finalist.

Recruit Rockstars 337: Meet the first Anti-VC

You’ve likely met some Venture Capitalists.
But you haven’t met the Anti-VC. He’s Sammy Abdullah, who heads Dallas-based Blossom Street Ventures.
He considers himself the ‘Anti-VC’ because he moves fast on investment decisions (often in 3 weeks), is a straight shooter, and tells you Yes or No without leaving you hanging on an investment decision.
He’s already invested 22 portfolio companies – typically in Series A or B. Average check size is a cool million, and he usually leads the round.
Sammy’s investment portfolio includes: SpotHero, DivvyHQ, Take The Interview, Three Day Rule, Lovepop, and AppBuddy.
And in this 20-minute conversation, he reveals the 3 big things that CEO’s should spend their time on. (And what they shouldn’t.)

Recruit Rockstars 336: Investor in 120 Startups Spills His People Secrets

Hiten Shah has built a reputation as one of the nicest guys in tech.
But don’t be mistaken.
He’s competitive, successful, and insightful. You may not know Hiten, but you’ve likely used his SaaS products.
Hiten & his Co-Founder Neil Patel created Crazy Egg in 2005. The product creates a heatmap to show where people are clicking so you can get more insights about your website & improve it.
He’s also Co-Founder of the popular KISSmetrics and Quick Sprout.
And if that wasn’t enough, he’s also investor and advisor in 120 companies.
Now, Hiten is Co-Founder & CEO of FYI. Based in San Francisco, this new SaaS product helps you keep track of your countless documents.
In this 20-minute conversation, he reveals what he’s learned about the people part of growth-stage companies.