Key topics in today’s conversation include:
The SaaS(ramp) Podcast explores how tech leaders scale from product adoption to enterprise success. Learn more at www.saasrampmedia.com.
Pete Thornton 00:00
All right welcome back, everyone to The SaaS Ramp Podcast. I’m your host podcast Pete. Awesome guest on today welcoming Robert Williams to the show. Robert is head of sales at a really interesting company, Merge. Welcome to the show, Robert.
Robert Williams 00:20
Thanks for having me. Pete. Excited to be here.
Pete Thornton 00:23
Yeah, really pumped for today’s conversation just based on what we chatted with. You chatted about before and some of the things I know that you guys do, I just, like really ready to unpack that one. But let’s do our positives like journalism, positive meaning not positive. Let’s get our little sound bites. Everybody kind of wants to talk about what the difficult portions of the last couple quarters might have been? Because that’s where everybody? Oh, yeah, I understand. We had that too. Maybe. But if you’re thinking of it, what might have been the biggest challenge for you Sales Team to Merge over the last couple quarters here? Yeah,
Robert Williams 00:59
so great question. I think really just growing as fast as merge has with very limited resources, like we only came out of stealth. In April 2021. I joined in September 2021, with a few customers on board sold alongside the founders. We started hiring the initial sales team December in January into January of this year. And we were more successful than we thought we would be early on. And that just led to, you know, a need to outdo ourselves each quarter that passed. And, you know, we’re growing very quickly, we’re not necessarily having a ton of structure in place, or the resources that you might want to see at the other levels of revenue that we’re getting to, so I’d say, the constants. I need to really think about what you’re working on. And how does it tie into revenue at this point? How does it tie into trying to scale this? And I’d say being pulled in many different directions while pursuing, you know, how do we continue to grow this quickly?
Pete Thornton 02:06
You’ll certainly our that that announcement came out just one month ago. Who had that? Is it Excel? Excel leads?
Robert Williams 02:14
Yep. Yeah. Follow on from all the existing investors.
Pete Thornton 02:18
Okay, so very cool. The only thing that for context for the audience, I’m speaking of a series B, a nice large series B funding, congratulations on that, by the way. Thank you. And the timing of it, just because like over the past couple quarters, all you’ve heard about is economic headwinds and how the funding has very much slowed down. And so when an organization does receive a large funding, it’s, it’s even kind of like more of a check mark on the side of their, of what they’re doing and what you know, what everything all the way to the back end, kind of looks like. So that’s been really interesting. So what you’re saying is just still the sheer pace of growth, from stealth all the way through to this funding round. And all the things moving forward are so hard to keep up with.
Robert Williams 03:04
Yeah, and it’s hard to find the exact words, I think it’s just, you know, we had an idea of what 2022 would look like. And we sort of left that in the rearview mirror kind of early on in the year. And it was like, Well, okay, this is possible, like, let’s just step on the gas and see what we can do here and keep going and going. And, you know, there’s a need to be calculated with your bets and make sure that you are ramping people appropriately. And that you can actually, you know, add more people to the team. So we’re just, yeah, pushing all throughout the year. And, yeah, it’s been a fast, fast paced growth. And that comes with all kinds of challenges.
Pete Thornton 03:43
That is interesting, like boring, the details of it. The same exact thing happened at the same portion of the year to the Postman two years ago, 2001 to two years ago. And it was, it was a plan that was accelerated over a holiday break. And we come back on January 3, fourth 2021. And they say, Hey, great news, accelerate the plan by one year, and it was already a crazy plan. You go, what? And, but it worked. It was a good bet. But to your point, like we had three leaders starting that day one was a head of sales, one was head of CES, one of the head, Solutions Engineering, and they all went, did the double take. And then I was the enablement leader who has like, we had an onboarding program prepared for you since I got here. 60 days ago, maybe irrelevant now. But let me show you what we have, you know, because it’s just the exact same thing. It’s this high growth motion and, and seeing what you can do with it. So it’s very cool, though. So really interesting. Alright, so you have all kinds of all kinds of balls in the air. You’re always looking at what’s going on with the product, what’s going on with your customers, what’s going on with your team with hiring, there’s a lot of responsibilities you have. So the next thing is kind of a challenge. You don’t have to bring it down to one you just can’t. But priority literally means Latin or something. For one, it means one, we say it wrong all the time, like, what are your priorities? And we always named like 13 things. So the challenge and the next question would simply be if you could narrow down what one thing you think you have to get right to merge this coming, say this coming two quarters in order to really be on the right track.
Robert Williams 05:28
I think the obvious one is to bring on the right people now with the right profile and find the right people to serve the difference. sales motions that we have across commercial enterprise customers now, but within the team, I think it really the enablement piece, like merge is we’ll get into this but a unified API for b2b integrations. And we’re not just stopping with a single category, we have aggressive growth targets, plans to expand to many different categories of b2b integration, service, HR, payroll, recruiting, accounting, project management, help desk, CRM, those all exist today, those all require specialized knowledge across the board. So in order for our team to show up as experts, trusted advisors, and get on calls and consult on use cases, and so forth, they need to have specialized knowledge across these different categories of integrations. And we plan to add more and more. So how do you scale that across the team? And that’s still being figured out as we speak?
Pete Thornton 06:37
Totally makes sense. We’re still here hiring frequently. And then this idea that, and this is very much the case. And these don’t know cutting edge Bleeding Edge product lead growth organizations. And it’s the fact that you’re shifting the customer conversation so much farther in the continuum towards just the expertise and consultative, like insights. And so that’s great, because the customers are much more interested in that kind of conversation, you’re not having to do top down education, or like, almost like a marketing function before you can move into a sales function. But the downside of that is the high level of understanding, like a rep has to have around it. Because to have that in a one to one or a collegial type relationship is seemingly much, much more difficult. If you don’t mind me asking, and this is a little bit of a side trail, like how to do these various verticals that y’all can obviously work across. And we’ll go into the tool later, like, how do you go and find them? Is it almost like you almost have an ideal customer profile, but for a hire
Robert Williams 07:48
in various fields, to you’re asking, in terms of us, like resourcing on the sales side in the different areas like CRM, or accounting or something like
Pete Thornton 07:57
that? Yeah, go into all the integrations that have to do with like HR software, versus what would be in like CRM space, like those are people who’ve spent like the last four 712 years in different areas. So like, I’m curious, if you go to those areas, specifically, just you have this base level skill set, you understand developer tooling, but let’s bring you in and subdivide and learn a little bit more about whatever workday versus Salesforce if we’re staying with that kind of example. Well,
Robert Williams 08:28
on the hiring side, we have brought on team members that have experienced like in the HR Payroll landscape, and they I would say that they’ve been able to hit the ground running in that regard, and then take that understanding of how the systems work and why data is important and how it might be used and integration, use cases and help themselves level up quickly. Understanding like the recruiting side is the recruiting system side and the CRM side. And so for that has definitely been applicable, if that’s what you’re
Pete Thornton 08:55
asking. Yeah, um, yeah, that’s what I was kind of curious about, like, how much background do they have to have in these various spaces, and only asking that because of, because of how wide like the merge tool allows for the breadth of, of use cases that it can kind of provide for because it’s tooling, postman has the same issue, it’s tooling get the shovel for the gold diggers, not like golden, like gold rush, like you’re selling them a tool so that they can go and put together their own, like, their own products, and which is really interesting, but it opens up the landscape so wide that it feels overwhelming. And so like when you’re hiring, I’m wondering if you’re like going and plucking off like experts from each of the individual verticals?
Robert Williams 09:36
Not necessarily the one that we might think to do that with in particular is accounting, just like infinitely complex and there’s not necessarily a core data object that all use cases sort of center around. If you think of HR, we’re really thinking about employee data, and there’s lots of other data that kind of gets looped into different use cases, but it all centers around the employee needing to use that data. But in accounting, you might have use cases centered around invoices or purchase orders or retrieving financial statement information. And they can be totally unrelated from one another. So that’s one where having a depth of knowledge, there could be something that we pursue like a team that’s focused just on accounting. It’s an idea we’ve been tossing around. But as far as the like, generally looking for experts within each category, I think it’s a bonus. But it’s not necessarily something that we’re only looking for, it’s really the Add experience with a technical sale, can they wrap their heads around a technical product? Are they dedicated to continuous learning, because we’re constantly adding more and more to each API. And I think the coolest thing with merge is that you get a chance to get into a conversation with someone and they’re telling you, you know, hey, I need HR information for this use case, you’re going Okay, interesting. Well, you know how to look at your website, and I see some similarities with other organizations we work with, and they’re using accounting information for this purpose, or project management information for this purpose, or those things that might be relevant. And suddenly it gets a consultation on potential opportunities for them to take their product in new directions, which has been arguably one of the most exciting things that we’ve been a part of.
Pete Thornton 11:22
Totally, let’s do that thread going. Yeah, thanks for the rat hole. On the other hand, I’ve seen that to organizations like where your use cases are, so why are they both in developer tooling, and like, how do you go and jump into these spaces? And do you look for people from them? And I’ve seen it done both ways. So very cool. But um, yeah, to skip ahead, just a little bit, just to give some context for some of the things we’re talking about. What about merge? Would you tell us a little bit about merge, walk us through some of the context for the hypergrowth? After just letting us know, what is it that merge Dev is doing?
Robert Williams 11:57
Sure. Yep. So merge, at its core is a unified API for b2b integrations. And what is that a lot of people are familiar with plaid, you know, connect your bank account to Robin Hood, through the plat app, little pop up that asks you for your credentials, and logs you and so forth. Merge has kind of taken that approach to some extent, with b2b integrations broadly, so you build once with our unified API, and you can connect to, you know, 150 different systems at this point across a variety of categories. And the experience for the end user on the business side is similar to what someone would experience with a plot a little pop up and asking them for their credentials, whatever is required. And then the connection is established. The beauty of this is that, you know, you, our customer just had to build one integration with our unified API, instead of having to build, you know, one by one over and over again, maintaining those, they just have one connection with us to build. And that’s been a huge pain point for organizations today, for a number of different reasons. But it’s super costly and time consuming to build these integrations. It’s even more costly and time consuming to maintain them and support customers over time. I’m sure many people listening have probably lost business to not having an integration that was part of a requirement, or, you know, a competitor, how they didn’t kind of thing, the beauty of merges. We let people just say yes to whatever integration requirements come up through that single build with Merge.
Pete Thornton 13:29
That’s awesome. Do have experience with that in the background as well, because it was it they had a REST API or Oh, data source that we can connect to. And that was not even the value prop of an organization I was at. But sometimes those sales were dependent on whether we could connect to whatever else the system was, in this case, it was an overlay to salesforce.com and CRM. But then in you know, there, were always looking to bring something else in and that was more interesting to them than maybe changing the user interface of you know, at the time Salesforce Classic, or something like that. So it’s a pain point as a salesperson that I actually understand. So that’s interesting. Yeah.
Robert Williams 14:11
It translates really well, like we end up working with technical leadership across engineering, and product, but the ultimate, you know, one of the ultimate beneficiaries in the organization will end up being the sales and revenue side and that they’re able to say yes to more business, like we helped. To get an example here like trip actions. We help them launch their HR integrations for customers, and I was at SaaS back in September. And their whole go to market team that was present at Sastra was like, merge, we know merge. Thanks. Thanks for helping us with the integrations you’ve made our lives easier and that’s that’s pretty cool. That’s kind of what got me into the merge was feeling that pain on the sales side. So it was very validating to have that experience like an unrelated group of people in The tripactions. org that we’re you know, we’re not present in the evaluation and the purchasing decisions, so forth, being the ultimate beneficiaries there. Yeah,
Pete Thornton 15:08
yeah. I love that. And it’s so cool. That is so cool. I think it’s gonna be fantastic. And I hope Brian L sensor. VP sales at Sastra was one of those cheering you on? It seems like the kind of guy who would be on the show. I love it. When guests come together. positivity. You have an interesting background that led into this. And so we’ve already touched on a couple points I just was trying to hold off for a second. So. So your head of sales at this, like really interesting company mergers doing very cool things like you had a bit of a pain point yourself in the past that you’ve already alluded to. And then you’re talking about some of the integrations being around the accounting space even. Would you just walk us back through the kind of personal and professional experiences that led to this?
Robert Williams 15:53
So if I go way back, I studied accounting, and I tried to tough it out at KPMG for about a year and decided that was not for me, I wanted to get into something smaller, really feel like I was building a business. So I landed on a company in Vancouver, Canada, where I’m from called Procurify. And it was an early stage, b2b Spend Management platform at that time. And as an entry level sales role as a BDR, I can remember like some of the first meetings I booked, hearing from the A’s that they needed a QuickBooks integration to just connect Procurify. With QuickBooks, it’s a no brainer, of course, we should just build that. And all these deals will close. And the integration is just, it seemed really challenging for us to wrap our minds around. And so I became a, it became an AE the same the problem kind of persisted in it persisted as we continued to grow and grow. And it led to, you know, a lot of deals left on the table, a lot of revenue we couldn’t bring on, due to not having integrations and we got creative, like we had an internal API that we were able to use for.One off integrations, I ended up having somewhat of a Rolodex of people. I could call if I needed an SAP integration or an Oracle Integration, even third party apps that we would use force it would ask our customers to buy in order to connect to QuickBooks or something like that. And it just seemed like it was so painful and actually tied into the enablement piece, those that could figure that out, we’re successful. But that was not a very scalable way to grow a sales team, you know, figure out this web of people that you need to loop in order to sell a material deal at the organization. So it led to internal conversations, and basically a decision on my end, and with the support of the one of the co founders to actually step onto the product side for some time to really just kind of have conversations and light a fire around, we need an API that is public partner facing, and we need to start investing in integration. So it was about, I think, about nine months or so that I worked with our product and engineering teams to kind of like brought the voice of the customer into the conversation to make sure that we were able to build a NetSuite integration and QuickBooks integration that we’re going to add value for our customers. And so in doing that, I led some relationships with Intuit and NetSuite and other partners that we then co sold with, as part of an integration strategy. So we were able to get into larger deals by CO selling with Accounts Payable automation platforms to build kind of like a full procure to pay cycle, eventually, that led to just being focused on our more strategic integration deals, and then into sales leadership has kind of had a massive mark on our go to market, like focusing on organizations where we can sell our integrations into NetSuite and QuickBooks.
Pete Thornton 18:49
So interesting, nope, this might be a little bit in the weeds. And I don’t know how many other people have actually experienced this, it just touches, there was a partner that I used to call specifically a third party partner that was services only, who would in order for me to get these integration use cases solved. So I could sell any kind of deal, right? So when we could solve their business challenge, essentially. And I would call out to this person who would call another software that conga, if you’re familiar with, from way back, way back, you know, they’re around. I just don’t, I don’t interact with them day to day anymore. And then he would come in and bring them together and merge these things. And that was his value in His service. And I would bring him into the deal. And these deals would go from your mid market deals, this would be like a 25 $35,000 deal, and it would just balloon up and I would see his S O W later. And I’d be like, how you’re doing well, you’re doing well. He’s like, Yeah, call me anytime. So I just thought that was so and that was all baked around the integration. And there was a little bit of custom coding or something like that on the Salesforce side, maybe visual force or something. So anyway, that challenge is ubiquitous. In my experience, and I assume other people are doing the same The only other thing I’ll have to say, This isn’t bad host stuff. This is just my commentary, no questions associated with it. It simply is really interesting. Like that journey, like the journey is so clean, when you look at it from the standpoint of one DOT connected to the next connected to the next and led you into, you’re doing it almost from like this service and yourself as a W two employee trying to get these things built. And then they’re like, Hey, we actually have a platform over here, we’re launching that, you know, doing this as a software. So that is, that is a piece that’s not not lost. I mean, I’m sure it didn’t feel that way, like inching your way forward through it. But as Steve Jobs says, the dots looking backwards are like, certainly aligned and connected, because I’m sure there have to be anybody better to go straight into it, except for having felt the pain yourself and having actually solved it at some other level, to some degree before coming in and doing it you know, we’re at scale for other organizations, for sure. Yeah, it definitely did not feel like a straight line at the time. I was kind of going, you know, what am I doing? I’m not, I’ve spent two and a half years on the sales side. Now, I’ve sort of stepped out of that role for a minute. But it was always in the pursuit of trying to be successful in that regard in trying to try to sell the product basically, missing certain pieces of it. And yeah, I’m grateful to be scratching my edge, so to speak, like helping people solve this pain or avoid it altogether.Yeah, it feels great. That’s cool.
Pete Thornton 21:31
Yeah, very cool. Before I even move on to another thing, I would just, it would be kind of interesting to talk about. Would you tell us a little bit about the culture of Merge, what you guys are doing, headquartered, the whole, the whole thing that you’ve kind of built, because it is unique and worth mentioning?
Robert Williams 21:47
Sure. So we are, we’re building out of New York, and San Francisco rates in person. So we spend five days a week together with each other. There’s some flexibility there, but it starts at the top. And the founders Chauncey and Gil really believe that, you know, they want to build an in person culture, they think that we can, you know, grow the team in a way that is allowing us to, you know, be very efficient, be very effective working with one another together. And I couldn’t agree more. I think a lot of the people that not a lot of people that join merge have oftentimes experienced both sides of the fence, like they’ve had the in person world they’ve had the remote worlds. And, you know, there are aspects of remote that are positive. But if you’re really committed to something and want to grow, as an individual, learn, network, collaborate, build something truly great, I think it’s hard to argue that in person is not a very effective way to do that. And so it’s been really nice getting to know our wonderful team, and building quickly, efficiently, effectively all in person. Yeah, it’s interesting, because of the
Pete Thornton 23:01
I don’t know, everything associated with a product with high growth or high technical acumen even is essentially a remote first company. But there’s pros. And there’s cons to that. And like some of that was just necessary for organizations at the time of pandemic. And then some of it’s just like the way maybe developer tooling space or remote sales, like Field Sales has been over the years. But there’s certain things that are just definitively lost in that process. From an enablement standpoint, which every sales leader is or enablement leader, anything like, it’s hard not to have those people right there and be able to interact with them shoulder to shoulder when you’re building, especially because it’s not pure scale. It’s not like we can do XYZ in a more efficient, faster manner. That’s some of it. But a lot of it’s just like, hey, what are XY and Z even going to be like trying to reprioritize those rigorously month over month as well. And that’s a bit of a loss. And there’s a bit of a commitment that comes when people are coming into an office or wouldn’t even relocate to it. This. It’s not for everybody, but for the people who want to do that. Like it’s actually in it because it’s flipped. And there’s a little backlash, you know, how there’s like a little rebellion to every movement, you know, the 70s, then you get the 80s, and you get the 90s. It’s all flip flop flip flops. This is almost like a little bit of a backlash. Everybody went home and never came back again. And so just find that. I find that intriguing. Do you see a lot of people who were like, cool coming to New York, like you did from Vancouver, for example.
Robert Williams 24:35
I think it’s something you touched on Sunday. It’s definitely polarizing, right? Like our talent pool for New York and San Francisco is still great, but it’s definitely smaller than saying, you know, we can hire anybody, anywhere. And I would say those that are interested are deeply interested and there is definitely enthusiasm to relocate if needed. We have had a handful of people move to either side. Francisco or New York from different places. Just had a couple guys from Austin, Texas.
Pete Thornton 25:10
Oh, that’s very polarizing to go from Austin, Texas, because that was the place to escape to for so many for so long. And then we’re going back. I really like it. I think it’s interesting. It’s an upfront commitment I’ve seen it work for. So other people in my space, there was somebody who moved from where we lived in Metro Atlanta and between Atlanta, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and then made a move out to Mountain View. And he was a low performing rep at the time, if you simply look at the numbers, always the potential and value was there. And he went out there and he did unbelievable things in the cybersecurity space in the last four or five years. I think it just started with the command member when he looked at me and his desk because we were still in person. He goes, I think I’m going to SFO man, I was like, what, like, with what money you have closed anything out? You know, I just like all of us making fun of Bumblebee. But seriously, what do you do? And he goes, No, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna make it. I was like, okay, and he took the physical step to go and do it. And then he just went all in with it all the way there. And I’ve just never quite forgotten that. That big step in the commitment. And it’s the first time I’ve seen it since then I’m, we’re probably talking 2017 to now is probably the first time I’ve seen somebody be like up and going to relocate for a job opportunity.
Well, we’re definitely seeing it.
Robert Williams 26:21
Seeing it emerge, for sure. People think a lot of people are missing that in person aspect and the ability to network. And just learn and develop in a way that’s substantially more challenging when you’re just fully on Zoom. I think nothing beats too for earlier employees, like earlier in their career, like the ability to do you know, just lean over and ask a question or overhear something and ask questions and just get gas questions and get immediate feedback instead of kind of, okay, this I just had this experience, emphasize it, should I Slack message somebody? Should I schedule a call? Or should I wait till a one on one or something like that, like, just the feedback is so instantaneous, and in a startup, especially, you know, any information or an experience that someone has can be directly relevant to someone else that ends up chain making, you know, changing a decision or something like that. And just the fast feedback loop has just been so impactful? I would say.
Pete Thornton 27:22
Yeah, that is fantastic. I could go on and on about some of those other experiences as well. And BDR space, especially like those early stages, things where you’re just over here, and you’re hearing what works. As you’re there speaking, and you’re gathering in the energy, all those types of things, there’s things that would have been incredibly difficult for a career change, or to have changed careers and changed into remote as well. So I agree with you there. So this hypergrowth, like, set up that you have going on, like you’re moving fast, you will continue to move fast. Obviously, if y’all are receiving that funding within, you know, like a month ago, then there’s many plans for it throughout fiscal 23. There’s not an idea of sitting back and kind of waiting and seeing what’s going on, there’s a definite move forward motion. Are there any particular problems of scale that you feel have to be addressed? Is there anything on your mind that like, just this sheer growth pattern is going to bring that you’re just trying to, like, anticipate?
Robert Williams 28:27
I won’t beat it to death, but like the enablement piece, right? Like, how do we scale that as we add new categories? Like how does our go to market entering a new category include enablement, like making sure that the whole post, the customer facing side of the organization is leveled up where they need to be, so that when we launch a new category of integrations, that we’re ready to get on calls and be trusted advisors, and help people build confidence in that new category? So that’s like a big piece that we need to kind of codify. But we’re well, on our way there. Another one would be we’ve seen, you know, we’ve seen now different go to market motions kind of come to fruition across like self serve what’s quite obviously, like commercial segments of the business and an enterprise motion kind of taking place. So those need all their own investments and structured resources. So for getting those right as we enter 2023.
Pete Thornton 29:24
Yeah, that’s interesting. Okay. Yeah. Because of course, you would if you’re having interest in those three locations, and then trying to like, segment them out a little bit and give them each their own do essentially. Okay, yeah, very cool. Very interesting. So it’s great, it’s great. It’s a great organization. It’s really interesting what you guys are doing. The last I have a little piece of commentary before maybe we wrap up and that is that. And I don’t know if you can expand on this or if you have any kind of like, like a little bit of a story around anything in particular. But you mentioned you’re working in some cases with founders. or leaders of these companies who need to actually create their products? Could you speak a little bit about how some people are actually utilizing merge to create their products, because it’s a big deal to go ahead and bake in another organization’s product into your product that you’re touching? Because it’s an N double exponential thing, you’re moving over into their customer base. And that’s not something I hear every day.
Robert Williams 30:24
Yeah, absolutely. So we do, we’re working with many founders, lots and lots of startups. And I think we can answer that be, you know, Merge is enabling for them. The ability to build products that might have been,
Robert Williams 30:47
too, you know, might have been too expensive, or labor intensive to access the data that they need across a wide, you know, a wide array of systems. And now with merge, it’s suddenly possible. So I think I’ll try to give you an example here. Any kind of analytics or analysis to look at financial planning and analysis tools, if it wants to plug into, you know, all aspects of the business to provide insights and analysis. Like you’ve got accounting integrations to get financial data, you’ve got HR system integrations, to get information about the employee base, you’ve got recruiting system integrations, to get information about, you know, candidates that are in the pipeline, and so forth. For the purpose of like forecasting headcount, you’ve got other integrations, the CRM side for revenue, for example, there’s all kinds of information that if you were to go out and build all those sets of integrations, one by one, it might take you years, I mean, I think the better of analysis, there would be, you probably wouldn’t do it, you’d pick one or two key ones in each segments, and probably just only serve like enterprise customers kind of thing. But now we’re seeing more, and midmarket SMB focus platforms that are able to be created, because it’s not such a left to get all of those different data connections through merge. So people are coming to us guys, you know, we have these ideas about what we might be able to do with, you know, these different connections, is this really possible, is it really just a single build, and so forth. And suddenly, they’re going to market with products that are a lot more lightweight, that would have just been available to like enterprise customers that are all using, you know, large scale, ERP systems and so forth.
Pete Thornton 32:30
Yeah, I like that. I like that just to kind of pseudo incubator status that you can like, or incubation that you can kind of enable through that. That’s just a, I don’t know, if that’s like, oh, that’s where we’re headed. And that’s the only thing we’re focused on. It just seems like an interesting side conversation for people who want to innovate and create something new to come and just have an additional tool to do it with. Because it, you know, those from idea to execution, that is where things die. And like anything that can close that gap is generally good for innovation. So that’s just a cool side story that I thought was worth bringing up your journey across, like, you’ve done some different things. And they do seem to line up and everything like that. But I know there’s people that help along the way, there’s people that helped me, you have two or three folks in particular that you’d like to shout out or say thanks along the way for the journey. So the tips, whatever hat how many,
Robert Williams 33:24
for sure. So I’d say the first one would be Paul Benson. He was my first sales leader while at Procurify. And he leveled me up as an individual contributor and taught me what I know there. And he showed me what it means to build a great culture, and team and elevated me into my first leadership role. So thanks to Paul. And I’d say definitely my parents, Lynn. And Paul always supportive gave me a strong foundation from which I was always not well, you know, aren’t afraid to take risks and not be afraid to fail. So without that support, I don’t think I’d be where I am today.
Pete Thornton 34:02
Nice. Yeah, that’s fantastic. If you have a firstborn son, there may be a name in there that you leverage. The pole seems to be strong. Okay. Yeah, that’s fantastic. I really love that. The last one is a little, just like, this is SaaS, Ram podcast, and then, you know, you’re ramping extremely quickly in this space. It might be just completely intuitive, but different people have different takes on what that might mean. So what would your take be on what does SaaS ramp mean for you?
Robert Williams 34:35
I had thought about this. Well, I think it means you know, striving for fast, continuous improvement and learning across the business. So I’m thinking about my experience with merge and what we’re doing wrapped in that business and nothing came to mind.
Pete Thornton 34:52
Yeah, totally makes sense. Yeah. And you can take that in a variety of different directions. You will have your challenge cut out for you because Your experiences naturally over the course of seven, eight years lead you directly into this space. So there’s going to be things that you have from your library of knowledge that it’s just intuitive to you now that you’re going to try to impress upon people in 90 days. And you’re just like, Okay, how can we make this so? So yeah, I’m sure that somewhere if they can just take your mind and like, somehow efficiently, projected across others to kind of understand the challenge, potential solutions, etc. But when you’re saying those things, that’s kind of what I’m picturing for y’all as next steps knowing how fast you guys will, will grow and scale. Congrats on all the success. I’ve been fascinated speaking to you and understanding more about merge and like between the culture piece, the product base, your personal journey, it’s really interesting to me so I hope that lens goes into the audience and so big thanks to you from the Sastra audience as well. Thank you to the participants.
Robert Williams 35:57
Thanks for having me on Pete. Appreciate the conversation.