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Navigating growth in a recession

Pocus CEO, Alexa Grabell, talked about the challenges of navigating a recession and tips to overcome them, alongside other experienced founders: AJ Bruno (QuotaPath), Sarika Garg (Cacheflow), and Jonathan Friedman (Demostack).

Sandy Mangat
May 3, 2023
Navigating growth in a recession

Pocus CEO, Alexa Grabell, talked about the challenges of navigating a recession and tips to overcome them, alongside other experienced founders: AJ Bruno (QuotaPath), Sarika Garg (Cacheflow), and Jonathan Friedman (Demostack).

Topics they discussed:

💸 Managing cash flow: Practical tips for managing expenses, forecasting revenue, and raising capital during a recession.

⏩ Pivoting your business model: How to identify new opportunities and pivot your business model to adapt to the changing market conditions.

📈 Growth strategies: Ways to attract and retain customers, increase sales, and expand your business during a recession.

💜 Leadership in times of crisis: How to stay positive, motivate your team, and make tough decisions during a recession.

Watch the full recording below or read the transcript!

Extra resource to help your team weather the SaaS market downturn:

5 Common Product-Led Sales Playbooks

As SaaS companies tighten their belts to weather the incoming storm, selling software has become an uphill battle. This is especially hitting PLG businesses hard, which grew astronomically during the pandemic; today net income margins for PLG SaaS have fallen dramatically.

Click the link above to learn about:

  • What doing more with less means for go-to-market teams
  • The importance of product usage data
  • Why PQLs won’t save you (alone)
  • The advantages of a Product-Led Sales (PLS) motion
  • 5 common playbooks to activate your PLS motion

Recording

Transcript

Note: this transcript has been edited for clarity.

Sarika: Hi everyone. Welcome to our webinar. Today, we will be talking about founders at growing startups navigating growth in a recession. I want to start off by welcoming a really wonderful set of panelists, amazing founders, who have amazing companies, and we are going to discuss a very timely topic—one that we are all thinking about, living through, and struggling with.

Last year, 2022, was a time of uncertainty. We didn't know what was going to happen in the market, and we all were trying to figure out what was happening. This year, 2023, you definitely see some slowdown. So it's become clear that there's a slowdown, and we all now at least know what to expect.

So we are better positioned to take some action. As founders and go-to-market leaders, it becomes really important for us to navigate these changes in a careful and thoughtful way because that's what differentiates us from being successful or not.

We often get scared because doing a startup is hard on its own, so adding more uncertainty on top of it is scary. But I think what comes with uncertainty is change. And change is really great because change actually opens up new opportunities.

So what we are going to do today is talk about how we are navigating these times, but also discuss the wonderful opportunities that are becoming available for all of us to take advantage of. And we'll learn from the wonderful panelists that we have today. So let me start with a brief introduction of myself.

My name is Sarika Garg. I'm the co-founder and CEO of Cacheflow, a deal-closing platform. We automate the manual back-and-forth that's involved in deal closing and then help these deals grow afterward with expansions and renewals.

Our approach to doing this has been sort of unique. We've radically simplified it into this interactive seller-buyer experience, very much learning from the B2C world. So that's me. I will go around the panel. Maybe Alexa, if you could go next and introduce yourself. Thank you.

Alexa: I'm really excited to be here. I'm Alexa, the co-founder and CEO of Pocus, and we are a Revenue Data Platform. We help GTM teams at product-led growth companies accelerate revenue, and we do that by taking data from all different parts of an organization, bringing it together into one view for sales teams to really understand who are the best opportunities to be targeting and how to go after them. We work with customers like Superhuman, Webflow, and Loom.

Sarika: Awesome. Thank you, Jonathan. Do you want to go next?

Jonathan: Sure. I'm Jonathan Friedman, the CEO and co-founder of Demostack. Demostack is essentially the connective tissue between product and go-to-market. Every company that builds a product needs to communicate it out, needs to tell a story about it.

Demostack helps by creating demo environments, essentially something that you can show and tell the story from your product, and helps you create it, deploy it, measure it, and improve it so you can actually demystify what it means to have a good demo and just get better at expanding your product and making more storytellers across your organization.

We're two and a half years old, raised over $53 million. Last year we did our B round just as the market turned, so definitely in the bullseye, I think, of all of this in terms of what it means. I'm excited to be here and talk with these amazing fellow founders and hear their stories.

Sarika: Awesome, AJ do you want to go next?

AJ: Thanks, Sarika. I am AJ, co-founder and CEO of QuotaPath. QuotaPath is a compensation planning tool for sales teams. We go completely end-to-end, providing rep visibility to sales ops and rev ops, all the way to finance for payouts. We're five years old, like Jonathan, and raised our Series B last year in April 2022. The company has around 650-ish customers today and has grown considerably. We work with organizations as they're growing, from really small SMBs all the way up to about 250 to 300 sellers on the team.

QuotaPath is my second company. My first company was called Tread Kit, based in Austin, Texas. It grew to about $50 million in ARR before we sold to Precision PR Newswire. Prior to that, I was in sales in 2008, during the first recession. I started my career out of school during a recession, which was a lot of fun, let me tell you. But, definitely have a different point of view today as a founder. Going through it with a more strategic lens has been interesting, for sure.

Sarika: Well, thank you. Let's start with the question. Let's start on a very practical note, right? We're basically thinking about how to manage our expenses, how to manage forecasting revenue, and how to raise capital, because all of us will have to raise at some point. So, what are some tips and tricks that you guys would share with the team that you've used? How are you thinking about this for your companies? Alexa, do you want to go first?

Alexa: Sure. I forgot to mention the stage we're at; we're Series A. We raised last May, right before the economic downturn started. So we're lucky to be in a good position that we have runway, we won't have to raise in the near term. We have been pretty meticulous about managing expenses and forecasting.

What we do now, which I think every company should do, regardless of whether there's a recession or not, is getting into the habit of working with finance or ops or whoever the lead is to bi-weekly review where you are. We have a financial model that shows us cash burn runway and what that looks like in various scenarios. So, my tip and trick is just getting into the habit of working with your team to review your financial situation regularly.

Sarika: Alexa, I love that. At Cacheflow, we raised late last year, so we also don't have to raise just now. We are definitely thinking about scenario planning and thinking about it in a gated fashion, right? If this happens, we maybe spend more. If this doesn't happen, then we spend less. So I totally relate to that.

AJ and Jonathan, what do you guys want to share with the group here?

AJ: I think to Alexa's point, scenario modeling is something every company is doing for sure. We're also taking that approach, very similar, but it's a quarter-by-quarter cut that we're thinking through as well. Where financial planning was usually a year-long process, it is really challenging now, so we're taking it quarter by quarter and adjusting the model to help set expectations at the board level.

I think that's one thing I've advised a lot of companies on, especially if they're thinking about a raise, is the communication and constant feedback loops they need to bring clarity to their team and do it transparently with their board as well. There are definitely companies starting to think about raising, so it's important to ensure that you're getting as tight as you can around your KPIs and knowing all the numbers of your business as well as possible so you can understand what expense, cost structure looks like, where you need to dial up or dial down.

Sarika: Right. Awesome, Jonathan?

Jonathan: Yeah, so I think the major piece for me is to first recognize that this is objectively a hard time. It's probably one of the best lessons for people. In 2008, I had my first internship, joining an investment bank in London. I was a super poor student, so I bought the cheapest suit I could find. I got to Goldman Sachs and found myself at a private desk, where we were getting monthly instead of quarterly updates. I remember looking at the reports and being surprised by what I saw - everyone was reporting that they were going to be out of cash and not selling. I thought maybe this was the real world, not what I had studied. I didn't realize I was sitting in the storm that was August 2008.

Since then, I had two more years in college. So, I think everyone who graduated around that time never saw a recession like that in the past. We had the golden years. Looking back, you might think the last decade showed us one thing - this was the bubble. So, waking up and realizing that we got extremely lucky is important.

This is the real world, but also recognize that events like these help the market and can help you build. It's almost like it's better to get caught out earlier than later with this thing because it will peel away a lot of layers, dead skin, and things that need to go or don't need to be there or are distractions. It hyper-focuses you.

It reminded me of when I was in Yosemite a couple of months ago and saw that they had started doing forest fires again. This amazing Sequoia Forest, one of the most beautiful things in the world, and they're actually running fires there. They showed how, in the past, they tried to protect the place and put out every fire. But actually, the forest got better when they realized they had to have these forest fires. They make the trees grow stronger and burn up leaves that were covering roots. Different parasites and animals needed to perish in order for the forest to thrive.

So, as hard as this is - and I'm not saying it's not - it takes all the fun out of it in some ways, and you might feel overwhelmed. But taking a step back and thinking about how this is healthy for your company and the environment as a whole, and seeing outside of yourself, helps in terms of gaining perspective.

Sarika: I love the idea that this challenging time makes us better, removing fluff and helping us focus on why we're building these companies and who we're helping. It forces us to think about our real point of view and what we're solving. With focus comes the recognition of opportunities to double down on, as well as things to do less of.

We work with many tech companies and see go-to-market shifts related to being a vitamin or a painkiller. We want to be painkillers in these times. Two shifts we see are PLG-only companies adding a sales-led motion, and larger companies having salespeople focus on big deals while PLG takes care of smaller deals. This creates focused areas of growth. I'd love to hear your opinions on how this fits with your experiences.

Alexa: The answer differs per company, depending on strategy, goals, ideal customer profile, and whether you're targeting SMB, mid-market, or enterprise. It's not a one-size-fits-all approach, and it's crucial to prioritize. A hybrid of PLG and sales is what every company eventually gets to, but it's essential to figure out what to focus on right now. Determine what works and run experiments with high confidence to accelerate revenue.

Adding sales on top of PLG is called product-led sales and can be powerful. It depends on your company goals, ICP targeting, and deal size. Every company will eventually be hybrid, but the steps to get there must be thoughtful, focused, and tailored, especially during challenging times.

Sarika: Alexa, tell us about Pocus. What are you doing for Pocus specifically?

Alexa: For Pocus, we have an interesting motion where we ourselves are not product-led yet. We have a sales model, and we've intentionally done that because we are selling to mid-market customers. So our ACV is higher than what we would offer in self-serve. We are targeting this model for 2023, and then we plan to open up the self-serve model towards the end of the year. This decision is based on our ICP, how much guidance they want from us versus what they want to be self-serve, and what we're prioritizing on our roadmap.

We're prioritizing features like AI, which was a trade-off from prioritizing self-serve. It's all a series of trade-offs. If it was 2021, we would probably do both. We would likely hire a much bigger engineering team and run in both directions, but I don't know if that's a good thing. It's important to be really thoughtful and strategic about high-level company goals and prioritize to achieve them. We want to adopt a hybrid approach and will do so eventually; it's just a matter of prioritization.

Sarika: So a lot of trade-offs are being made. Jonathan, I see you nodding. Do you want to comment on that and share your experiences?

Jonathan: Sure. I think, like I said earlier, the fire helps in certain ways. While I hate it and suffer from it in some aspects, it enables me to focus and ask myself who I am as a company, and as a founder, which translates into the company's direction. What we're trying to do is look inward and assess what has been working and why.

We've done two things. First, we looked at our baseline and asked, "What's going to happen if we can't move from here?" Without optimism, we examined the worst-case scenario, which provided some relief by giving us a steady-state. From there, we wanted to see why things have been working and how to build on that.

In the past few weeks, I've been working 14-hour days, not because I want to boast about it, but because the pressure is higher, and it pushes me to go the extra mile. I believe I did my best work during that time, and it allowed us to rethink and revolutionize the way we sell and the reasons behind our motions. We'll be rolling this out in the coming months, and it feels promising.

The constraints of the market make us better through an unpleasant process, much like a diamond being crushed until it becomes beautiful and shiny. Use that energy to ask the real questions, look in the mirror, and be humble with your findings.

Sarika: I, I love what you're saying. Study the things that work and see how you can build forward motions on that. And actually the best innovations happen with constraints.

Is there something, Jonathan, you can share about your go-to-market motion that you're doing differently, which you learned from what was working?

Jonathan: One of the things we learned is to be very comfortable disqualifying early. You have a lot of people coming in, and I want to serve everyone. I want to sell to everyone that believes in our vision, right?

And I believe nobody should build their own demo environment because, building a demo environment is really like building a whole new product. It kind of looks like your product, but it's a whole new product built for showcasing.  One thing we've gotten better is asking who is really successful with us and really quickly. So, some people could be successful, but it will take a long time. Who are these people?

What's he commonality there? How can we find them? Where are they? Being more singular focused, going after, and seeing a lot of nos. And I think that's the best skill. If I could take away one thing from this whole market meltdown thing, it's the ability to say no and have authority.

I'm a better executive because of that.

Sarika: So it's like, don't spray and pray, disqualify early and be very focused.

AJ is this sort of some of the things you are also thinking about? Share your thinking about your model and how you're shifting that. 

AJ: I mean, one of the big takeaways that I'm hearing is this evolving market trend that we're seeing just in go to market in general for path.

And this speaks to Alexa saying , It's different for every company. We started with a PLG motion for the sales team, but completely free to test and experiment. And after about a year, we're like, okay, we're gonna have to monetize off of this. So, we built an admin and then became a little bit more sales-assist.

Our original thesis was the sales team was going to say, 'oh, hey, RevOps, sales ops, check out this commission tracking tool that that I looked at and that ended up being wrong.' And so we evolved that to the admin functionality bill.

We're very inbound focused on the B2B front. We've shifted that since then, the last six months, to be more RevOps, PLG focused. A lot of what we've worked on in the last six months and in the next six months is acquisition and top of the funnel workspace streamlining.

Alexa mentioned Superhuman as one of their customers, they have a fantastic connect to Google. That's the first experience. You don't have any other choice. Call to action is connect your Gmail. So understanding that very, just, top of the funnel funnel and running experiments is where we are today.

We're also working on a lot of  workflow management on the activation front that's really specific to us. I think that we definitely made some missteps on our go-to-market team.

95% of B2B SaaS companies out there, especially in the last two years, have, and that's okay. So just being open and honest and communicating our go-to-market model, and what's working, so it doesn't feel like a very thrash environment and having really tight alignment between product marketing and sales.

Those are the things that we focus in on so that they understand the roadmap, the choices, the decisions, the prioritization. Not so that the sales team can go pitch early, but really so that we can have this direct link on product marketing on growth, marketing on the copy, and be very much in sync.

I don't see anything changing from that to next year just because of the market. Even though you hear a lot right now that, 'oh, PLG is going away. Oh, companies are just selling to the enterprise.'

I think that's all kind of bogus, frankly. It's what works for your business. 

Sarika: I talk to my team a lot about this, you know, as being younger startups, and we will be young for a while. Our job is to test our hypothesis and learn from it and see what works and then double down on that.

And if it doesn't work, shift it and change it faster. And I think what the constraints do for us is to be able to shift faster. We are not drinking our own Kool-Aid anymore. That's actually a good thing. But, in general, our mission doesn't change of figuring out how to get this product in the hands of the right people.

I want to shift to the next topic, around growth strategies. We are all trying to grow, we are all trying to get more revenue. And, the market has shifted. There's sensitivity to budgets.

What are some ways to attract and retain customers or increase sales? Now are there any techniques, any that you've used? I'll share some of the most common techniques I've seen and we ourselves are using.

So one of the biggest things I've seen, and this is across the board with every customer of ours, is they're actually separating out the contract from the payment schedules. So think of a two year contract, they'll layer on a ramped discount where it may be a 50% discount for the first six months, then 20% and then it goes to zero. Or they actually layer in commits where they say, 'Hey, I'll give you a low commitment right now, or even two months free.'

But then I want you to ramp up to my actual price. This is a way to keep your ACV high, but to be able to get in with customers. There's a lot of logo acquisition that's happening where they're saying, let's go in, get in there, and then let's actually figure out how to expand it.

Would love to hear from you.

AJ: That's a really interesting strategy upfront. I don't know. I'm not sure. I'd have to think about that. I don't love it because it feels like it's disingenuous to the thing that you're trying to actually do, which is provide value in the product.

And I, I'm not saying that they shouldn't do those strategies, but it feels like you're pushing. I definitely think there are ways from a growth strategy to make it easier on payment scheduled. I totally understand that. But, I would say that the one thing we think about is  where users are hitting milestones in the product.

We're doing a full pricing and packaging review right now. We're taking the TAM data, one part customer data, one part are just focus groups that we're creating, and quantitative data with our investor insight partners.

I don't want to make it feel like it's the market and the recession is dictating what that's going to say because I want that to be a lasting strategy. I don't want to have to switch our pricing and packaging every six months because of a market condition.

So I, I would just say from a growth standpoint,  just focusing on your customer, I mean, Jonathan said it really well, you know that the  the competitive noise, has kind of disappeared a little bit. And the constraint and focus that it's added, allows you to really focus in on the things that matter, which is at the end of the day, our customers.

This will allow us to grow more sustainable, which is what we all want to do anyway, and do it at the headcount and the cost structure and the expenses and the CAC and the LTV and the gross margins and all of the things that we know to be true.

That vitamin versus pill. Nice to have versus need to have differentiator. Where are you? Your unique value prop. Where are your day one software? All of the buzzwords that we're saying today, but just really focusing in on that customer journey will allow us to grow. 

Sarika: I really resonate with the milestone approach.

Jonathan, what about you? Are there other techniques that you're using?

Jonathan: A couple things. I can mention, top-of-mind, quick wins. For example, marketing, a lot of money goes there, especially on the short end.

Like Google or LinkedIn ads. I think you'd be surprised how much you can do without them.  We focus a lot on content and doing less, just less activity, but being very powerful for it. And I think it really strengthened our brand.

Before that, I would probably do a million things and try to make it bigger. When we had really quality content, a few key people it did well. Also, content marketing. I'm talking real content marketing, not hiring an SEO unit, but having something to say. Alexa does it really well, for example, I follow her on LinkedIn.

You should do that, if you have something to say that's interesting. Being able to channel that out is worthwhile and actually very additive to a market. Another win for us was what AJ said before about pricing.

We looked back at our pricing and packaging, thinking, 'okay, hey, what is hard for us to do? What is easy for us to do? Let's price priced accordingly.' That actually makes the pricing suddenly make much more sense. Yes, pricing is an art. It's not a cost plus analysis. Nobody does that. But balancing between supply and demand, so you can see what kind of supply you have, how many engineers, how many marketers... whatever your business needs to do for a customer.

And then if it's at zero, you'll have a lot of demand for it. So you need to balance it out. And price is that mechanism for market to balance itself out. So better pricing, looking at what is hard for us - and pricing that accordingly was also a big win.

Sarika: Awesome. I think that's very insightful. Alexa, do you want to share more about how you are thinking of this growth strategy? 

Alexa: Yeah, I think it's all a series of experiments, right? Experimenting with pricing and packaging with your business model, with product features, and with your ICP.

I totally agree, and really enjoyed, what AJ and Jonathan said. I think to add onto that, a really easy experiment to run is messaging. And for us, for example, we sell to sales teams and there was a wave of sales reps unfortunately being let go. And so there were smaller sales teams. So instead of the message being, you know, we're going to help all your sales teams do 'xyz' it's, we're going to help your sales teams do more with less.You have a smaller sales team now, you are strapped for time, and your sales reps are overwhelmed by their book of business and all the data that they have to look at. We can help.

Or instead of saying, 'we're going tohelp you accelerate revenue and we're going to increase your pipeline, actually think about what is the build versus buy ROI.' We're going to help you not have to hire a huge data team in order to build out internally what Pocus-like solution would be. So I think the easiest change to make is experimenting with messaging, whether that's on your website, that's your SDRs going outbound, that's your AE, or CSM, whatever that is.

That is the easiest first step to try to figure out what are the little lifts that we can get in, in revenue, and then double down with what works. 

Sarika: Right. So it's almost like you can string all of these together. If you get your messaging right, that means you're talking to the right audience.

You say something meaningful, and then you make sure that you price it right. I think there's one thing that I've absolutely seen, and Alexa, I think you do a lot of this as well —a rise of communities. People are buying less from ads and they're definitely trusting people, especially when I have a decision to make, then I'm going to come and ask you, what do you use?

The power of communities has become quite important and, at times like this, I think you can lean on that again and again. I think it actually makes for a better environment, almost more helpful to each other. So let's let's shift into our, our last topic of the day, which is basically leadership in these times.

There is layoff news everywhere. Every time I open my Techcrunch or, Wall Street Journal, I see some layoff news. The stock market is, has been down for the tech world especially.

You know, our jobs as CEOs is to motivate the team, motivate our customers, motivate our vendors, motivate ourselves. How do you think of this? What are some ways that you've done this really well? Let's start with you, Jonathan.

Jonathan: All right. I get the hard one. Motivation starts within and I won't lie, it's a difficult time.

It's a difficult personally, for sure. For me, I'm seeing the same things you are seeing, right? Every day. It's something, and it's my friends, it's my coworkers, it's my people I care about. I'm a big believer in making sure that you as a CEO, as a founder, take care of yourself.

And that means everything, there are a million blog posts... I'm not going to say anything new here, but it's, if it's working out, if it's therapy, if it's taking time off, forced... Just book something and make it happen for you.

The company is using your life force to live right now.  You're eating, breathing, and living for two — essentially, in a sense. And then secondly, I truly believe in being very frank and honest. We've done it from the get go. With every slide deck, we start with the good, the bad, and the ugly — consistently.

That doesn't mean tell everyone everything that happens immediately. But, if there's something and you recognize it; and you manage to get your own narrative, it's time to probably communicate it both up and down. And if you do that, what you gain is trust.

Because if people believe you, when you say the bad things, they believe you when you say the good things and vice versa. And I think it also helps people believe in you as a leader because you're not trying to tell them everything is amazing. There's no chance we're going to absolutely crush it and win every time.

But you're also not saying like, 'oh my God, run for the hills. We're dying.' You are a human. You're a leader. You're trying your best. You explain why. If you have people in your company as, as a shared brain, everyone has comments.

It doesn't mean you have to accept everyone's, you eventually have to choose something, right? That choice can be imperfect, but having those forms where people can say, can hear, and feel confident about what you chose and why, even if they disagree with you — I think that builds the trust. And trust eventually is the glue that a company runs on.

Sarika: Very, very authentic and real. Alexa, do you wanna maybe share your thoughts on this? Yeah, 

Alexa: I agree with Jonathan. When I was thinking about this, the number, the word that comes to mind is transparency.

One of our values is to be delusively optimistic. So there is this into existence mentality. Overly positive, optimism can take on any kind energy at Pocus. But, I do realize that not everything always has to be positive, especially in times where things are not going as planned.

So for me, transparency, all those wins. But also being really honest with the team on where you're behind and where there might be roadblocks or blockers, or things that you need to repair a bit. So a big key thing for us is... this is very tactical. We have a "wins" channel. We have a "learnings" channel.

So anytime someone doesn't hit a goal, you maybe have to retro something the product didn't ship on time. A prospect that you thought was closing didn't... whatever that is. The key is making sure that you retro that and put it into a public Slack channel so that everyone can see.

And then we also do weekly recaps. Every single Friday, I will chat with the team live onZoom. What wins did we have this week? What's not going well? What's our plan moving forward? I think the more you're transparent with the team, the more they trust you and the more motivated they are.

Sarika: So you're giving them the good and the bad context - and context is everything.  AJ, what do you do with your team?

AJ: I think both Jonathan and Alexa have, have really given great, great thoughts around this and being present and giving clear communication.

I would also say I got really great advice from one my former CEOs - calling out the monsters under the bed, especially with the board.

We talked about scenario modeling. I think that's the best thing.

You all know what the failure rate of series B companies is? No, it's 87%.  We've seen the last three years of getting these extensions and capital raises, but at some point there is definitely going to be some heartbreak along the way. And learning and growing every single week and just really communicating that and looking for the green shoots.

That's why I talk about this during kick-off.  We're going to have some challenges and we just have to be able to learn from those challenges and understand what's going to come out of them.

And so like that's what I ultimately really push for, is just calling a spade a spade. And it's okay. Stay more consistent. Don't give into that fear and that uncertainty. Be delusively optimistic. I love that. I'm stealing that, Alexa. And, everything will be all right.

Sarika: Right. I'm in that camp. I think there's so much negativity that gets amplified on Twitter, right? I think in the great times, the positivity got amplified and now there's so much negativity that's getting amplified too.

And I think the world we live in, you can't actually predict what will happen. There's no way anybody predicted this bank challenge. At least not the founders that I was talking to. Not as a founder. Maybe if you were an expert. It's really important for us and all our teams to ground ourselves what we're doing and what the mission is.

We are in a hundred-year cycle of digital transformation. This is happening in the world,  we're at the beginning of it, and so this is, in some ways, a blip. And of course, we have to live through this, and come out of it. But, we are really actually on a mission to change things. Change lives. Change businesses.

I find it incredibly important to remind everybody of that so we stay grounded in our point of view and our mission. That helps us to go through a lot of adversity. And a lot of good times.

I really enjoyed my time with all of you over here. I think it's maybe time to wrap up. So let's do rapid fire session around on one key takeaway that you want to share with our audience over here, which is basically founders and go-to-market leaders. What is that one piece of advice that you want them to walk away with?

Who wants to go first? 

AJ: Okay, I'll steal Jonathan’s, make time for yourself. I know I didn't say that and he said that, but I think that is that is super key, especially in remote culture. Having a mental health day is really important.

But then also for your team, seeing that you do that and lead by example, I think that's a really important key trait in the world we're living in, both in kind of the remote. Take care of yourself, so that others will follow that trend.

Sarika: Very real for all of us. Alexa, do you want to go next? 

Alexa: Yes, I think, being delusively optimistic with what's happening in the world. I do see benefits of starting a company right now.  I already feel the benefits of not having to worry about your next competitors that keep popping up, it's really now focused on building your core business and having efficient growth, which is going to build a foundation that will be better than we were.

Sarika: Awesome, Jonathan.

Jonathan: I'll share a mantra — that's my life mantra. Life is not waiting for the storm to pass. It's about dancing in the rain. That's really the best advice. And another one is, you are not your company.

If worse comes to worst, you will be out there in a whole different world. And who knows? ChatGPT 5 could cure cancer next year. So, you know, things are bigger. You eventually remember that it's a game you chose to play. It's a fun game. It's a crazy game.

It's an insane game. It's not your entire life. If you can remember that, you'll feel a little bit better. 

Sarika: That's such wonderful takeaway. I would love to share one takeaway I like, which I use for myself. We are doing this because we want to make a difference.

It's really about our customers. And as we go through these uncertain times, let's focus on our customers and where they are, what they're going through, and how we can help them be better.

I want to thank everybody over here, just you know, for bringing your whole self and for sharing sharing very authentically.

Sandy Mangat
Head of Marketing at Pocus
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