Clearly articulating and communicating your vision to excite, inspire and motivate people is the most important skill to have as a leader. And it's not a one-and-done activity. A leader's job is to do this day in day out because people who are excited, inspired and motivated can move mountains.
In this episode
Are you shipping projects when they’re perfect?
If it’s perfect, it’s too late!
Lloyed Lobo is the Co-founder of Boast.AI and also chairs the annual TractionConf.io.
In episode #93, Lloyed shares why the more you give up as a leader, the better.
We also talked about creating a community of practice first rather than product, and Lloyed shared his CAMPER framework around community building that you can implement into your strategy.
Tune in to hear all about Lloyed’s leadership journey and the lessons learned along the way!
Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.
The story of Boast.ai
The more you give up, the better
Take care of yourself first
Hiring executives too late
Leaders are gardeners
The year of community
Start with a community of practice, not product
Creating a culture of disagreement
Be more empathetic towards people
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 00:26
Lloyd, welcome to the show.
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 03:04
Hey, thanks for hosting me. I’m excited. I’ve been watching or listening to Supermanagers I don’t know if I’m a super manager, but we’ll talk about it.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 03:14
Yeah. No, not very glad to have you on. Do you remember when we first met it was in San Francisco I think for
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 03:21
SaaStr. We are Yeah, so Sastre like we have a close relationship with Jason Lemkin and Sastre he’s been an unofficial mentor to me. And when we launched both AI, he gave us a free booth in 2017 at Sastre, so we’ve had that relationship so every year when Sastre now you got to see it online or IRL when the when the in person event happened. We host like a founder CEO dinner and you came to that I think you were invited by innovate Ottawa or invest Ottawa. Yeah, yeah, invest, or they were a sponsor. And so yeah, that’s where we met. Yeah, that was where we met.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 03:55
And yeah, no, it was a great time. I remember the dinner I met some really cool people there, including Vlad from Webflow, who was also a guest on the show. So I definitely use the opportunity to meet some cool people. So Lloyd, you know, you work at a really interesting company. I’d love for you to just like high level what does boasts do? And tell me about like the last 12 to 24 months because you’ve really scaled the company during this time.
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 04:22
Definitely. So you know, globally, there’s a hundreds of billions of dollars in government funding and r&d incentives to fund businesses US, Canada, UK, Australia, France, New Zealand. The problem is it’s a cumbersome application process because you got to always look back and see what you did that qualifies. It’s prone to frustrating audits, and it takes a long time to get the money. So both exists exists to automate that process so company can get more money faster for less time and risk. We plug into a company’s technical and financial stack to proactively qualify what work they can claim and then they can also we can also give them that money faster sooner, so they’re not waiting For government processing times our our ultimate vision or the big vision here is not really automating tax centers, but enabling innovators to change the world. And every dollar spent in innovation returns 20 to the economy, vaccines, robots clean drinking water is a function of innovation. But if you look at it in the last 15 years, more than 50% of the Fortune 500 companies have evaporated because people don’t know how to innovate and innovate faster and get it to market. And so leveraging both AI and everything, we’re going to continue building, we want to help companies accelerate innovation. Then we run this massive community, which is a community of innovators, every major CEO, CTO from like Shopify, to Twilio has been to our events, to provide the resources companies need to succeed through content and in person events and whatnot. But it’s been an interesting ride, because we bootstrapped the company to near eight figures. We raised a Series A in December 2020, we announced it, got some great coverage, TechCrunch, Fox, Forbes, etc. And then the company went from a bootstrap DNA where the founders, we were doing everything right, I was sending email blasts, and I built the first website, I was doing wire framing for the products and my co founder was balancing the books and like creating operating for everything we were doing ourselves to then we were now over 110 people. And I don’t know more than half the people in the company, which bothers me still today. And so we added a lot of people and that dynamics been very, very interesting. So we went from doing everything ourselves. We never even had any major systems like we didn’t have a Salesforce. A lot of the stuff was Google Sheets managed or cheap CRM, like, you know, inexpensive CRM like Zoho, we didn’t have a marketing automation system I used to manually for leads to salespeople, we had four salespeople, right. And now we have cmo for three or four people in marketing, have a massive sales team SDRs. A is VP sales for us VP sales for Canada, like the company has just grown beyond I would have ever imagined. If you asked me in June of 2020, what do you think you think you’re going to be 100 plus people in two years, I would never imagine that what happened? So we got like, thrown into this, get sucked into this sort of hyper growth, hyper scale, whatever you want to call it.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 07:28
Yeah, no, that’s awesome. And congratulations on that. It’s been awesome. Watching you do all of that. So I do want to rewind, this is a question that we get to ask all of our guests. Do you remember, like when you first started leading or managing a team? I didn’t know if it was at boasts or if it was before that. But do you remember like very early on? What were some of the mistakes when it came to managing a team?
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 07:51
Yeah. So prior to boast, I’ve been a part of a few venture backed companies. I was on the founding team of speakeasy, which was incubated by Bessemer. Before that, I did a company called automatically, which is a chatbot, in 2012 13, that failed, and worked in leadership or a couple other venture backed startups. And you know, I think the biggest mistake not only me, others make, especially in the startup world, I’ve only ever worked at startups, I’ve never worked at a big company. So I’ve never had that training of how do you manage people and whatnot, whatever is like hacks I’ve learned along the way, is when you work at a small company, a startup, you’re doing everything yourself, you’re an individual contributor, and you lose sight of when I need to become a manager or VP from that individual contributor, and what are the skill sets of eyes of a manager or VP? And then how do I level up now from this VP, to being an executive, right? And so individual contributors, somebody who does the thing, right? Like, I need to send an E blast, or I’m in charge of SEO, or I’m in charge of like user research, a manager is managing a team of people to achieve a goal and their skill sets are different, for example, you, you know, you may have to SDRs and 180. And they need to be nurtured and coached and whatnot. And then when you’re an executive, I mean, you’re an executive in your company, you’re focused on strategy, evangelism, recruiting, and making sure things are aligned. You’re not like managing people, you’re managing strategists. Right. And so my biggest mistake was, I always felt that if I don’t do a set number of tasks myself, that I’m not a leader, and it took a very long time for me to give up my basket of tasks to somebody, but I would always do instead, send the newsletters, send the E blast, update the website. It took a very, very long time and into like maybe sometime last year for me to give up a few things to realize that hey, man, as a leader, your biggest high value or high leverage, you’re the most high leverage person? Where is your time better spent? Is it sending those doing those extra things? Or Is it spent more on strategy and fundraising and evangelizing, maybe hopping into calls with salespeople to close those big deals? Right. And I think that’s a mistake normally I make a lot of first time managers make is they don’t give enough of their basket to people, right? I’ve learned to change that and give up when you first do that things are not always perfect. But think about it. If it’s shipped, perfect, it’s shipped too late. And sometimes, it’s better that somebody does it. 70 80%. And then you sort of edit and edit and course correct versus you hogging it all for yourself.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 10:37
That makes a lot of sense. So just to dig in a little bit more. What was one of the last things that you gave up? Do you remember, like one of the last items wars and like, how you why you held on to it the longest?
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 10:48
Oh, man. So this is funny. We have a YouTube channel, right? We run a big community called traction, we’re big believers in community led growth. And that’s why we never call it the boast community, we call it attraction. Up until a few months ago, I was editing the YouTube videos, or YouTube aggregate for a b2b is about 1.5 million views, which is pretty high for b2b, but I was editing the videos, and it would take me so long. And until we raised money, I was still hanging out with my 2017 laptop. So it was so slow on this, you know, iMovie and then I got when we fundraise. I got a new laptop. It was fast. But you know, I’m like trying to edit now trying for perfection. Every Oh, and I’m trying to edit it out. It will take me hours. And I’m like, do this, but I kept doing it and doing it and doing it. And then we hired somebody. Like, listen, it’s not gonna be perfect, but it’s going to get done. And two videos going on our Youtube every week is good traffic for both too. And people. They’re not complaining for weeks that the videos are not up. So that was one of the last things I gave up. Now, one thing I didn’t give up yet, we’ve got 110,000 subscribers, I still send two emails a week on Sunday and on Wednesdays and a newsletter typically, because we do the live webinars on Tuesday and Thursday. And I’ve never given that up. But it’s very easy. It’s kind of like autopilot. We know the event coming up. But it’s been a very hard thing. I idolize one of the people I idolized is dharma Shah CTO at HubSpot. And he considers himself a super IC. And although he has a CTO title, he often says that he hates managing, but what happens I think is sometimes you’re so nervous of like somebody else touching your baby that you don’t want to give it up. And I think the more you give up, the better you should look at giving up one thing every month, probably or every few weeks,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 12:36
you know, it’s a very tough thing to do. And I can totally relate. One question I will ask you though, is because I’ve had this experience, it’s a once you start giving up some of these things, especially if it happens to be one of those things that is a big chunk. And all of a sudden, you get an extra, I don’t know, five hours a week back or 10 hours a week. It feels strange, because you’re like, What do I do with this extra time? Yes, I know, I should be doing this, these big things or these strategic things. But the difference is like it’s harder to say I worked on strategy and have very easy to point to output to say like, oh, I edited three videos today. So how did you I guess tackle that and allow yourself to feel productive doing other things?
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 13:21
You know, that’s the best part, right? Like one of my mentors, unofficial mentors is Jason Lemkin, high regard for him. When we launched, he gave us a free book that Sastra always talked to him. And I asked him, what is the job of a founder, once you’ve raised this money and brought in a bunch of execs, and tied to that is, you know, most startup founders delay hiring execs now, we brought in a CTO before we our CTO came, she runs product as well. I was managing product. I was a marketing team of one. So I was also running marketing. And I was still doing the public speaking the press and everything. And I was also running attraction community. So I was going crazy. There’s so much time, right? Then these people came and I started getting more and more time back. I think as a founder, you got to realize there are some things that’s not immediately measurable, but it pays 10 for like high leverage stuff like, you know, strategy, recruiting like evangelizing the company to recruit that one, two extra hires that otherwise wouldn’t come in the door, setting the vision, the product vision, the roadmap, helping drive that fundraising, talking to investors and evangelizing helping your salespeople close that one to execute. Those are high leverage things that will increase the enterprise value of your company and you got to think about it as a founder. What can I do today? Am I doing are the actions I’m taking today, contributing towards increasing the enterprise value of the company? If it’s not, then somebody else can do it? Yes, like editing that Enthu video? Sure, it’s good. It feels like you’re checked off a box. But you know, what, is it increasing the enterprise it’s going to take a lot of those to go viral for you to increase the enterprise. You’re the company. But if you can spend time on the phone talking to three investors, if you’re raising or if you’re four series in the next 12 months, or your team is making a hire in a very competitive market, and you can hop on a call with that, recruit and evangelize them, nobody can pitch the vision, the mission, the values like you can as a founder. So if you can do that, if you can spend more time on the roadmap, spend more time talking to customers, I think that’s so important spending, like, every week talking to customers, I think the compound interest on that will pay dividends and increase the enterprise value of the company. And so getting in that mindframe was hard for me and I so I inherited all this time in the last few months. Also, partially, after we fundraise, I got COVID I was hospitalized, almost died. And I said to myself, if I went today don’t my biggest regret would be. I didn’t spend enough time with my family. I got three kids at the time to eight year old three and a half in a newborn. And I cried to myself, my wife being a doctor wasn’t allowed to come into the hospital, she set up a 24 hour zoom. It was freaky. And then after that, we went on and hired like 100 people, and I still kept myself busy doing all these things. And late summer, my daughter comes to me and says, Hey, everything you said in that press article on the San Francisco Business Journal that all you would spend more time with family was a lie. Because you know, two months in, you’re still like, few months in, you’re still working like crazy. And I said, Hey, you know what, now the company has grown. And I want to make sure like everyone else is successful. And she tells me, why don’t you go and work for another found some eight year old issue seven and a half of the time? Why don’t you go and work for another founder who thinks like you, so you can spend more time with us. So that like set things off and you know, started giving up things started focusing more on community. And I said to myself, 2022 is going to be a year of personal goals. No business goals for me, because you know what? I have great team. They’re great leaders. They know the mission, the vision, the values, they know the metrics, they have the business goals. If ultimately, you know your job as a leader is to build, inspire and motivate a team to deliver deliver is a lagging indicator, right? If you train your people love and help them grow the business, they’ll help the business grow. And so for me, it’s personal goals for mid December, I basically shut off everything. I removed every app from my cell phone other than text message. That’s it. No LinkedIn, no slack, no Facebook, nothing. I’ve still left it off. That created so much time for me that I was just spending time with my kids. There was no reason for me to be on the phone because nobody’s texting me. Right, like, so at the dinner table, no phone. I don’t feel the need to for more reactive things. I sleep better. I spend more time with the kids. I still left it off. And my daughter comes to me recently and she says just a couple of days ago. Oh, I love it that you spend so much time with us. We love the new data. Yeah, this feels so good, right? And I’m learning a lot. So like I started taking parkour classes. I set up every month this year, I’m going to have a personal goal. Like you know, one month learn parkour and get decent at it one month, learn breakdancing. I enrolled in the DJ Academy. I’m learning music production, like just learn have like personal skills, because I fundamentally believe when you’re doing a startup, as a founder, you’re super icy, you’re learning many things like I learned website building, SEO, email, AB testing, all of these things I learned myself now I don’t have the need to learn those things. Because we have people doing all those things. And I fundamentally believe pain is a precondition for growth, right? When you look at these bodybuilders, the way they grow is because they keep increasing progressive overload. So I’m like, I have nothing to learn, right professionally, like we got all these people. But if I don’t keep learning, my brains are gonna just be stagnant. So every month, I’m gonna learn something else and pick up a skill. And a lot of people don’t do this. They don’t focus on their personal lives. But if you look at it, the biggest outcomes in tech, our founder led from Shopify Dropbox to Airbnb, they still run by founders. And as a founders, if you don’t take care of your personal life, your mental health, it’s like putting the oxygen on yourself before you put it on the person next to you on the plane, right? You won’t be able to take care of the business and learning new things. I feel like open opens your mind significantly.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 19:15
I mean, thank you for sharing all of that. That is amazing. And yeah, a lot of people have the advice of, you know, obviously make time for family make time for personal growth, and so on, so forth. But it’s really nice to see that you’ve done it. And I’m sure it’s a really good example. I did want to dig in on the executive hire thing, because one of the things that you said was that, you know, founders typically delay the process of hiring an executive earlier on in the process. Did you just right away do it? Or did you also take your time and you were kind of like talked into the process of that,
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 19:49
you know, I think we hired execs too late, right? But we were also a bootstrap company. And so cash was king. Had I raised before we were hired execs before because Think about it right as a founder like, say two founders doing everything, you can’t be an inch, you can be a mile wide and an inch deep. things don’t get done perfectly. But imagine your hire that VP marketing sooner. Right? Anything they do is going to be accretive. Even if they come in one two years early, because they’re going to take the actions to help you sign more leads. If you bring a VP product, if you found the right one a little early, you’re going to talk to more customers, they’re going to figure out how to better prioritize your roadmap, they’re going to maybe join customer calls and help close those deals faster. founders don’t realize this, but if you find good executives, it becomes a creative, right? It adds value and overall moves the company forward faster. And we don’t do this. We like are we stingy and we save and whatnot, but like you know, having that VP marketing, or having that VP product, having those people sooner versus you blowing your brains out trying to do everything yourself or manage all these people yourself. The worst is like VP sales. I don’t know why people wait a long time to hire if you’re a founder, you’ve learned to sell you’ve sold your product is a product market fit. As soon as you have like two salespeople firing higher than VP of sales, right? Because you can’t be a founder and VP of sales and a perfect fundraiser and a recruiter and an evangelist and doesn’t want you’ll burn out. And if you don’t burn out, none of those other things will be done perfectly.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 21:26
Yeah. I mean, this is really interesting. Because like, it’s always a if you end up growing a lot, eventually you’ll have less time. And so maybe if you had more time previously to spend on sales or marketing, now, like each one gets very, very little of your time. And eventually you’ll actually need to hire someone for these roles. But the question is, do you wait until it’s you’re almost forced to do it? Or do you do it in advance? And the sense I’m getting from you is that it’s a creative and if you do it in advance, you will grow faster?
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 21:55
Definitely. Right. And you know, a lot of people many more factors, which don’t let you hire right. If you don’t have money, and you’re bootstrapped like us, then you know, didn’t permit it. But if you’re in fundraise, I would say almost hire them, like don’t hire them immediate. Now, some people will take that advice and say, oh, you know what, I’m not a product market fit, raise the seed, or I’m going to go and hire all this stuff. And that’s a mistake we did at speakeasy, you hire all kinds of people. Once you’re a product market fit, you got like high retention, then then like, hire the right people you need like you need a VPN, you need a VP product, you need a VP marketing, you need a VP sales, right? And whoever you can find faster, the better it is because they’re gonna drive growth. Ultimately, you got to think what are the actions I’m going to take that will increase the enterprise value of the company? Yeah, I
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 22:42
think that’s good advice. Pay there. Just a quick pause on today’s episode to let you know that we really appreciate you helping us spread the word about the Supermanagers podcast, if you’re enjoying what you’re hearing so far, dial into your podcast app of choice, whether that’s on Apple or Android or Spotify. And just leave us a quick review. Now back to the interview. One thing that I did want to chat with you about is I think you quoted the CTO of HubSpot, and said something about like, he doesn’t like to manage people, like in your opinion, and we were talking about this a little bit like what is the ideal? Like, what do you think about managing people? And like, what does the perfect style of manager look to you?
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 23:27
Definitely. So I fundamentally believe this that people leave that managers they don’t leave companies. And it’s this the reason why I started both right, I was working at a company where this Founder CEO would say, I see everyone has lemons, I want to squeeze as much as possible. I used to say to like eight, nine in the office one week, I started going home at six, and I got an email from him midweek saying, hey, you know your wife is in residency. So she’s working 100 hours, what do you need to go home for? So like it were in the office, so eight or nine, my parents were visiting town. Now I know most of my career is spent in the US there in Toronto. And I’m like, man, and then Alex called me that day. And he’s like, hey, r&d credits is broken. Let’s work together to fix it. I’m like, man, as long as I can build a company that I want to work for him, right, that was the thing. And so, Dharmesh, you know, he says that he doesn’t like managing people, but he’s a great leader. I feel like the job of a leader is to not be a manager, but to be a leader. You know, there’s a difference between being a manager and a leader manager meeting. You’re like watching tasks, a leader, you’re setting the mission, the vision, the values, and you’re basically a leader is like a gardener, right? You’re like nurturing a plan to grow, versus a manager’s like, you’re a taskmaster and I think everyone should focus on being a leader versus a taskmaster. Right. And so the number one job of a leader is to build, inspire and motivate a team to deliver delivery is the lagging indicator, right? If you treat your people with love help them grow, they will treat your business with love and help your business grow. Right? When you’re a sort of manager, you’re playing this game of chess where you dictate every move. Instead, you need to create an environment where everything grows simultaneously like when you’re you’re gardening, right, my grandparents and my father was a farmer. So I seen that like, you know, nurture, nurture and care versus like, you know, playing a game. And so then what are the most important skill sets to have as a leader, I feel one of the top skill sets and I’ve interviewed now hundreds of people on our podcast as well. And you know, I’ve seen people who’ve gone from being, like, sort of just starting out to being fantastic leaders like Jeff Lawson, we’ve seen his journey from like 2014 15, Twilio CEO. And he’s one of the best speakers. And I feel like, clearly, articulating and communicating your vision to excite, inspire and motivate people, is the most important skill to have as a leader. And it’s not a one and done activity, right? A leaders job is to do this day in day out, because people were excited, inspired and motivated. They can move mountains. And when you communicate daily, regularly town halls for you know, not doing a quarterly townhall, but doing something weekly, where you’re constantly communicating to excite and inform and motivate people with transparency. They feel like they’re part of the equation, right? If you don’t let people when you’re not going to get buy in. And a lot of people think like, oh, they should just hide stuff from their employees or say it when it’s relevant need to know basis, I think the biggest companies of the future will be built on the principles of empathy, and community where you know, you know, and there’s transparency. And, you know, I have this piece together this framework, actually, I call it Kampar. I feel like everyone working in a company should be like riding a peloton bike, right? And for, you know, hopefully, that your audience knows what the peloton bike is. But it’s a bike that’s attached to the screen. And when you hop on the bike, when you switch on and you log in, you see a whole bunch of riders. So you have that camper connection, you’re connected to the people, you have autonomy, meaning you’re in charge of your own destiny, nobody is like sitting and micromanaging you. You have a shot at mastery meeting getting better and better. You’re leveling up constantly. There’s a sense of purpose, which is greater health. You’re energized by the person in front of you, the leader who’s saying, right, right, right, like, you know, they’re there, you’re energized. And then you’re earning rewards and badges along the way. And so there’s recognition, so connection, autonomy, mastery, purpose, energy recognition, someday, maybe I’ll write a book on that. But I’m what I genuinely feel, is people crave those things. And if you proactively incorporate into your company, you’ll build a great culture and sort of self managed culture.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 27:55
Yeah, what a great way to put it. Kampar we’ll put that definitely into the show notes. I did want to ask you on the community aspect, because you’ve been so successful at building out attraction in the community. I was curious to know what kind of things you do like inside of the company inside of boasts to really build a sense of community are there like tactical things that others can also maybe learn from?
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 28:18
Yeah, definitely. And you know, the I say this often, right? I speak a lot in community, this is the year of community let go this funny. A number of VCs and organizations are asking, Hey, share your insights and community. So effectively, we were building community before we even had a product, right? We used to do these pizza nights as failed founders. And every time we do a pizza night, more and more people would show up. And eventually it turned into a conference. And that conference turned into multiple webinars and events. And now we do like over 100 events a year. So whoever grew up with the company saw that we grew up by building this community and we partner with a nonprofit launch academies, all profits are donated into the community, I feel like the joy of giving is second to none. It also like improves your mental well being. And it’s a great feeling when every week somebody says Oh, thanks for bringing that speaker or thanks for connecting with XYZ or because of you I met my employee or I met an investor, everything most things that we have, at most our growth, our key executives that we hired, our investors, all the press people like TechCrunch covered us like this venture be because it’s all from that traction community because they’ve been engaged. And I tell people don’t start a community just for an ROI. It takes a very long time. It took us many, many years. And we didn’t do it with an intent for ROI. If you look at it Dharmesh is the community builder at HubSpot Gainsight. It’s Nick Mehta, and he says often right, he’s effectively the Head of Community for Gainsight. Customer Success is not a novel concept. It’s just product to customer support, but they’ve created this whole community around it. And I feel like you got to start with one kind of community there. There’s a community of practice, which is like, you know, people, Harley almost went bankrupt. But then they turn around the company by creating a community around riders then, or like HubSpot or Gainsight. You know, inbound marketing community, Customer Success communities, you got to start with a community of practice. And then eventually, you can build a community of product, which is a community on your product, a lot of people are trying to start, when they’re new, they start a community of product, and people just think they’re going to be sold to So focus on making a community of practice and helping your community members become better versions of themselves, like you guys are doing Supermanagers. Right now you’re helping people level up their management skills, eventually, then there will be a product sub community. And then I say the other thing is, you know, you’re serving one audience really well with Supermanagers, then start with one thing and do it very, very, very consistently. And a lot of people what they do is like, oh, you know what, I got to start a community. So maybe I’ll do a podcast, then I’ll do a blog, and I’ll throw some guides, maybe I’ll host events. Maybe I’ll have ambassadors, that like, you know, it’s like it’s a recipe for disaster. And I often remember he Tanesha, who was the founder of KISSmetrics, very active angel. He was an advisor at speakeasy. He’s also been on the podcast. Yeah. So one day, he comes into speakeasy. And he’s like, show me your marketing plan. My whole team’s there, I opened the marketing plan. See all these channels, I’m gonna do this that sales marketing event, like ads outbound, he sank in his chair, like he went, and he went blue in his face. He’s like, Lloyd burned those frickin slides down, man, just burn them down. He’s like, You guys are gonna fail. I’m like, what happened? He’s like, I call this the marketing shitless, you got too much going on? What’s the one channel that’s working? I’m like, outbound sending automated emails. But I start generating some trying these other things like no, just focus and jam more data and do that really well. And so the same thing with community, you got to treat your community like launching a product, one ICP one kind of customer coming to one kind of channel getting one kind of value, right? So you got Supermanagers You’re running the podcast, maybe start doing IRL events. Like if you look at Canva. Yelp, they start by hosting events. Because I also believe this. Anytime you incorporate more than two senses, into an equation, you build genuine connection. So now we’re sound and sight. But once you incorporate taste, touch smell, you’re shaking hands kissing babies, people can build genuine bonds. So hosting a lot of IRL events on a cadence, which is centered around connecting people building that energy and connection. And doing it regularly is a great tactic for building communities. And everyone asks like, oh, maybe there must be some other tactic like, you know, Slack group, the world doesn’t need the 100 slack group. And I don’t know how many slack groups are you a
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 32:42
part of too many? And I don’t really engage with them.
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 32:46
Exactly. Right. Like and they’re like Facebook group. I’m like, No, you know, bring people together frequently around some whitespace. Or some common topic like you guys are with a podcast. So a perfect complement would be IRL events, right? masterminds with like good food. And when you incorporate good food that people are like, you know, what are they remember, something unique that they didn’t expect, like when people come to attraction, like the CEO of intercom came to attraction twice, every time she says, I don’t understand why your food is so good. Conference, food is not supposed to be so good. Like people remember, like the unexpected. And so when you introduce that unexpected into an experience, then you build genuine connection. So my tip is like serve one audience exceptionally well start with a community of practice, not a community around your product. So make them better, whether it’s like marketers, or salespeople or managers perfect Supermanagers, right. And then bring people together deliberately on a cadence, don’t do this one and done stuff. And then a couple of other things is when they come to swag them up. Like we have this t shirt that says I love it when you talk data to me. And when your community starts growing, then you sort of look at the data, where are all these people coming from and then maybe start chapters at wherever there’s a critical mass forming. And then you give a community leader that autonomy and some budget to start hosting more and more of these.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 34:07
So what are your thoughts around like for people who are saying like, I run a department organization company, and I want to build more of a sense of community within my company, and for the employees that work there? Are there any tips like what do you guys do at both to, like, get people more connected with the company division and also each other?
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 34:30
Yeah, definitely. And I apply the same principles, right? Like just bring people together more frequently, and give people the autonomy and each department and a budget to do their own thing, right? Take out some friction points, like people do want to meet, you know, whether it’s a virtual happy hour, and I tell our team, like, for the longest time had this complaint. We do all these meetings and games, but then I see people eating shitty food that they pulled out two days or from their freezer. It’s driving me crazy. Can’t you just like figure out a solution? where people order and the food gets delivered to them, like, wow, people give them an experience. Because otherwise people are like, Oh, it’s a virtual meeting. And I said, no virtual meeting. And then you tell them, no buy food and expensive and 90% of the people don’t buy food and expensive because they’re working at their table. But if you make it one click for them, and they’re delivered food, they’re like, Wow, they care for me, right, then you deliver a six pack of beer or wine or whatever. So focus on creating experiences, I love hosting events and creating experiences, I planned my whole wedding. I love that. And so getting people connected more deliberately, frequently, and keeping open lines of communication, and trying to alter experiences, like maybe come together to donate something, or build something, you know, the joy of giving a second to none, and come together to build something to donate to people, or give back to the community. Right, like now attraction, it’s mostly volunteer, and we get maybe one and a half full time person, the one being me, and, and then three other full time equivalents, right. And the rest is all volunteers. So people are volunteering their time, because the money is going back into the community. And that energizes people. But I think what the mistake most people make, is they do one thing that’s Wow. And then they look for some other idea or hack. Just if something has wowed somebody, just do it more frequently on a cadence, not much different than a podcast, you do a regular podcast, people look forward to it, the YouTube that the events, people look forward to it, then you start incorporating experiences, but like, just because you did one event don’t look for like some other magic, there’s never a silver bullet, like something works, just do it more frequently bring people together, around joys of giving, or some way for them to play together, communicate, connect, right, I love sort of outdoor activity. And I love volunteering to common activities because people sweat together, you know, like this whole incorporating more than two senses. They eat together, they didn’t together, they work out this wet together, like so basically building something, or like doing something outdoorsy together. I love those things being done in a cadence.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 37:13
Yeah, no, that’s awesome. I mean, especially coming from someone who’s really been successful at building communities. I think like, That’s great advice for all leaders. I did want to quickly ask you about a topic that you’ve talked about, which is for on the topic of conflict, you believe great relationships are built on the ability to disagree? How do you approach conflict at boasts? And do people disagree with you all the time there?
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 37:39
Yeah. So you know, it’s not just me, I think what happens is this. I think most companies today are using the playbook from 510 years ago, the need for empathy and transparency as an all time high, like look at what happened with better calm, right? You’re not transparent, you don’t have empathy, and then people are mentally checked out. And one of the best ways for leaders to build that trust, right, empathy and transparency are the keys to building trust, is as a leader, you be vulnerable yourself, be vulnerable, bring out your flaws. What happens is, if people around the table whether your exec team, like think about it, it starts at the top and then that culture proliferates. Right? If people feel like they can give candid feedback, because it’s x a, they don’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings, then they passively commit, right? Meaning they’re not really committing. And then what happens is, when it fails, they go until other people I always knew that shits gonna feel like how many? I’m sure I’m sure have you serious? Yeah, you’ve either experiences or you’ve done it. So the best way to overcome that is create a culture of disagreement. Like, it’s okay to conflict, as long as you’re not being a douchebag. And like, you know, insulting each other and whatnot, it’s okay to conflict. But if you don’t conflict around ideas and issues, it festers and comes out in a hurtful way later, right. And so it’s very important to confront problems head on as a team, because if you don’t attack the problem, it eventually becomes about the person. Think about it. And you can decipher any example where there was a workplace incident where two people are like, you know, cursing at each other swearing at each other, they just hate each other. play that back, rewind that scenario. It started with a conflict around an idea or an issue, because you sat on etcetera, etcetera, etcetera on it and fester. It became about the person. I’ll give you an example. I used to be a very shy kid growing up, and my wife and I, we’ve been dating since high school. I was a prom date. Right? And her dad never liked me because I mean, she got into med school in second year of undergrad without MCAT. And I was just like this frickin guy bumming around startups who barely finished engineering. But like he always wanted me to, you know, brown parents, right? Like, he wanted me to either study to do my MBA You’re studying to go to law school like all of this stuff, and I just didn’t want to do it. I’m like, a colossal waste of time as it’s not for me. But I never confronted that issue. And that turned into massive, massive conflict. But like, we never confronted it, and I’m saying everything stems, you know, from personal to professional. And like, two days before a wedding, like, you know, 50, people had to separate me and her father, because we came to blows, right? This is a real story, if you every situation of, of extreme conflict started with a conflict around issues, not the person, if you ignore it and sweep it stupid, then you’re like, I hate this person, this person is a douchebag, this person’s abuser, how many times does that happen? But if you rewind it, it’s always a conflict round issue. And the best way to inculcate that culture is you as a CEO, or a founder, key leader, you got to go and call it out right away. You know, many times founders don’t like to call their baby the cutest, but say, No, you know what, I am really worried that this competitors, UI or design or product or traction is better than ours, just say it in the open or whatever, just see it. Right? And what are your thoughts? And if somebody says, no, no, no, you’re wrong, challenge them on it, right? And then start creating this culture, everything becomes is hard in the beginning, but it’s like working out right, then you start lifting more and more weights, and you get stronger for it, right? Progressive overload. Like, I remember an example from intercom, I think, the founder CEO at the time, you know, drift became a very solid competitor in this space. And he’s like, I am really worried about drift. Like they are a solid competitor. And at the time, everyone was saying ignore, drift ignore. But what happens, right, if you sweep things under the rug, they become a mountain and you trip over it. So confront those things early on, and call it out as a founder CEO, you may not even agree with it. But if you call it out, just to see people’s reaction, because oftentimes, your team is afraid of you, they want to keep their jobs and their equity. So they may not say things that they think might be offensive to you. And that could be competition or something negative about the product. But if you have a hunch, and as a CEO, or founder, your job is to keep your ears to the ground and listen to what people are saying. And then you just bring it up, like you know, rather than saying, Oh, I’m hearing, the product is shit, you know, then I was like, all those people are stupid, ignore them, fire them. I think I just logged into the product. And I think the onboarding feature that we’re about to release is garbage. It’s really garbage for XY Ray. And what do you guys think? And you may not feel as garbage because you’ve heard some feedback, rather than saying, I heard it from others. You say, I feel you’re putting the spotlight on you. Then watch your leaders around you pylon, right. Because now you’ve been more vulnerable and you’re giving them the floor to bash it. Yeah, you know what you product and listen to me, I had all this sales feedback. I always knew it was gonna be garbage. I’m glad you’re seeing it. You know, we should delay the launch. You’re gonna start getting feedback like that.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 43:10
Yeah, that’s super helpful, I think. Yeah, conflict. I mean, like you said, I think he said, If there’s no pain, there will be no growth. And so I think inflicting some pain this way can be helpful. Lloyd. I know we’re coming up on time. This has been super incredible. And we talked about how you guys scaled the company. We talked about camper, we talked about community. One final question. Everybody on the show gets asked us for all the managers and leaders out there constantly looking to get better at their craft. Are there any tips, tricks or final words of wisdom that you would leave them with?
Lloyed Lobo (Boast.ai) 43:43
I think the best way to manage people is to you know, if you could walk away with one thing today, walk away with how can I be more empathetic towards people? How can I distribute love? How can I have like a gratitude journal and say just thank you more often to people. Because when you see somebody smile, it will eventually Hamid you got to be sort of a sadist. If you don’t get joy from seeing other people smile, right? Happiness breeds happiness. Positivity breeds positivity and you know, distribute more love, give more empathy, understand where people I get a lot of flack for sort of having this on Lloyds, everyone’s friend, he has too much empathy kind of thing. But I genuinely believe the biggest companies of the future will be built on a culture of empathy, and community. If you treat your people with love and help them grow, they will treat your business with love, and they will grow your business.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 44:40
That’s great advice and a great place to end it. Thank you so much for doing this Lloyed.