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 0:06
Welcome back, rampants, to The SaaS(ramp) Podcast. I’m your host, Podcasts Pete. Exciting guests with us today, Jeff Burke in business operations at Replit. Jeff has an extremely diverse background. Interesting, interesting, and I’m super excited to share him with you today. So welcome to the show, Jeff.
Jeff Burke 0:23
Excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Pete Thornton 0:25
Yeah, really appreciate it. Let’s dive right in. What would be your biggest challenge in the last six months?
Jeff Burke 0:34
Wow. Starting with a heavy hitter.
Pete Thornton 0:36
Jeff Burke 0:37
Perfect. No, that’s perfect. So for context, I started at Replit about seven months ago. So I think, right off the bat, the biggest challenge has been ramping up to a high-growth startup. So coming from the consulting world, I actually left Boston Consulting Group on a Friday and started on record on that Monday. And on that Friday, I was in our BCG LA office, which is like 50th floor of a skyscraper on that Monday, I’m back in the Replit office, which currently plays for like 20 or 30 people. So the difference in scale, was definitely a bit of a shocker. But it’s been really fun. And I think that’s been one of the biggest challenges is Replit is a very engineering-focused company, we actually, that’s, that’s really what our core product is, is teaching people to program. And that’s not something that is, in my core skill set in the past. It’s something I’ve always wanted to develop. And so I think jumping into a place that’s very engineering lead from consulting, which is probably the complete opposite, it’s the most business lead, you could be, and having to pick up how to program and do some of these things has been a huge challenge for the past six months, but also one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. That’s for sure.
Pete Thornton 1:44
That is interesting. Interesting. We’re gonna have to definitely know more about BCG. And then, and maybe even how you stumbled upon Replit to begin with, and once the audience understands more about your background, they’re just going to be like, Okay, how this happened? Okay, well, we’ll get there another one, then. Because you’ve been in leadership positions throughout your life— and I when I’m talking about leadership, I don’t necessarily mean like CEO of specific items, but anybody we have on the show is typically helping to lead a process, people or a product of some sort. So do you happen to have the favorite leadership moment in your past? Could be anything.
Jeff Burke 2:22
That’s a great question. I mean, honestly, I think most of my favorite leadership moments actually come from my time in baseball, prior to my time in consulting, or in tech. And honestly, I think a lot of those lessons have carried over. Anytime you’re on a team. That’s where you really have to have moments of leadership. So for me, I went to Boston College, we were programmed when I showed up, that was not very good. Maybe one of the worst in the country. But our class was really a group of people that were designed to try and change the culture and rebuild that. And so I think that’s one of my favorite leadership moments. By the time I left junior/senior year, we actually were quite good. They ended up finishing and going to Omaha, my senior year at that point, I moved on to professional baseball, but they’ve been part of that whole transformational process. And I think that’s something that I actually carry into everything at BCG going through being parts of teams, when COVID that you’re trying to figure out how to do this remote? How do you show up for work every day and bring a good attitude and try and push projects along and make sure everybody feels like you’re contributing, but also you can lead the team? And then I think ultimately leading to a high growth tech company as well. There’s only 60 of us a couple months after I joined it’s the tech markets turn. So how do you continue to just focus on building and make sure that accomplishing the task in front of you? So I guess that’s a little abstract in that I’m not giving the very specific example by when this day did that. But I think those are what shine the most. I mean, for me, even Boston College is a Jesuit school. I think we always talked about servant leadership. So when I think of leadership moments, it’s just really, less so big moments, like where do you have the rah-rah speech talking about it, but more? How do I show up every day and make sure that I’m contributing to a team and helping people around me succeed? And if I can do that every day, I think that’s kind of the ultimate form of leadership.
Pete Thornton 4:12
Yeah, yeah, that’s great. Like that sports background really, really does help especially in a team sport, like baseball and you make a good point about when you gave the rah-rah even just saying that it made me fixture like Al Pacino at any given Sunday, because yeah, scrapping for that one inch, like well, maybe that’s a good that’s like one of the greatest little like lines and all of that sports movie history, their button, but it’s day in and day out and I definitely think some of those carry over. I have a daughter now, so we’re just looking at her I’m like, so I don’t know if you’re going to be a professional athlete. In fact, I’m pretty sure not. You got my gene stock but like, let’s find out like, like, if this can help you there, like what translates because some does from education as a patent educator, I know. And then some really, really does from some of those extracurricular activities, especially if you take it to another level where it gets difficult, you enter into a difficult phase and how to come past it.
Jeff Burke 5:05
Yeah, I think that’s right. And yeah, most people have those images in those movies where someone puts their foot down. And that’s where everything changes. But I think, in every bit of experience I’ve had with sports, maybe BCG, or even just observing other people. So write this newsletter, I see a lot of high-growth companies. And I think, a great example, actually Replit I wasn’t there for this initial stages of the company. But I think when they did their YC talk, one of the things that said it was the overnight story that took years in the making. And a lot of people look for that big leadership moment, or that rah, rah moment. It’s like, no, these people were building this for three to four years with limited success before pretty good success, but not the upward trend that you might see now. And most people on the outside look at and say, Oh, wow, it’s happening so fast. They’re so lucky. It’s thought lucky. They’ve been working at it for a long time.
Pete Thornton 5:54
For a long time, yeah. The 20-year overnight success, that’s perfect. Okay, one more kind of random thing. And then we can get back in and give a little bit more context for everybody. But just on the theme of fast start, you’ve done a lot in a fairly short amount of time, like a very diverse background. But given everything that you’ve been through, like if you knew where you were going to be today, 10 years ago, would you have a tip for yourself to kind of pass forward to yourself?
Jeff Burke 6:23
That is a great question. To be honest, I think a couple things, one, they could do a better job living in the present. I know that’s also abstract. So maybe I’m just sitting here with abstract notions today. But I think, for me, 10 years ago, I would have been totally focused on baseball. And I was for a long time. And I think I never would have guessed I would be working in a high-growth startup. And also never probably would have guessed, I’d be enjoying as much as I do now. And I think, but things move quick. And even my time at BCG, I really enjoyed and I kind of assumed I’d be there a long time, then I’m gone. So I think for me, I’ve shown it with the newsletter. When I joined record, I wrote a piece about writing there. For me, writing has been a huge channel as a way to document times in the moment. I actually started writing when I was playing baseball, and part of that was to update my family about all the different things that were going on, share funny stories, those types of things. Now I look back at that and not only am I remembering a lot via that, but I’m learning a lot that way. Even how I think about the newsletters. I write a bunch of stuff and I’m sure I’ll be incredibly wrong in five, six years when we look back, but at least I have a point in time that I can look back and see, okay, this is how I was thinking about it then, and then you can learn from that. So two things I would say if I was talking to myself 10 years ago: (1) focus on the present, enjoy the ride, but also (2) document it, write about it, give yourself a point in time that allows you to reflect in the future on it and that’s gonna help make you better at whatever you’re doing at that time.
Pete Thornton 8:03
Yeah, that’s great. That is interesting about writing, like writing is very clarifying. So I do think it probably, it probably helps you live in the present a little bit because you’re trying to like put things even if it’s just a your hand doesn’t hurt anymore, like can I get this on one single page or like one single page just so that you can, that you can be more concise and not let the wheel spin so much when things are moving quickly. That’s awesome. Very cool about the newsletters. And maybe we can understand a little bit more about that. So that’s great. So why don’t we understand that journey a little bit? Tell us about yourself, tell us like what personal professional experience has lead to the Replit opportunity?
Jeff Burke 8:43
Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible, and then we can dive where interesting. So for me, I graduated from Boston College, I left a semester early to go pursue professional baseball at San Francisco Giants. And I was with that organization for a little over three years. And in that time, that’s actually when I started picking up writing. So I’d done a lot of writing in high school and college but more so when forced by a teacher and less so when interested. And really while I was playing baseball, I’d have the offseasons my wife grew up in the Bay Area, I was living in the Bay Area, so I had to find a way to help pay the bills. So I started working in tech, I started at a reseller of technology called Five Skaife where we primarily resold cybersecurity solutions. And then when I went back, so I did a bunch of content marketing there. We went back my grandmother kind of had this moment where she said, Hey, like I never know where you are when you’re playing baseball or what’s going out. So I really started this newsletter as a way to just keep my grandmother updated. This is a separate newsletter than what I now do. But the point of that is, is somebody actually saw the writing sounded interesting, a baseball fan at Cisco and that ultimately led me to getting a job at Cisco in writing for cybersecurity solutions they gave me said a year To get brighter, we always are looking for people to help write SEO pages, would you be interested. And so that’s really how I got my start. And when baseball came to an end, that’s how I got my first full-time position. And at that point, I really realized, hey, if I can write about something, then I that I truly understand it. And there’s always that messiness, where you say, Okay, I remember what is DDoS is one of my first pages either, right? And you kind of write some things, you go talk to somebody as a technical expert. They’re like, what does this even mean? And then you have to go back and iterate. And that’s actually how you learn. And so if you’ve asked for it a year and a half, at that point, I moved on to Boston Consulting Group. And I had a strong idea that I wanted to go work in high-growth startups. It’s just kind of been an itch that I’ve always had. And so for me, I was like, okay, if I’m gonna go, it’s probably going to be in about a year, year and a half. And I was talking to a couple mentors, and they, and they kept asking me, okay, well, if you want to go work at a high-growth, tech startup, well, let’s talk about it. What kind of startup so I don’t know. Like, what stage startup? Some I don’t know, like, well, what would you do with this startup? And I was like, I actually have no idea. And so finally, they’re like, Okay, if you’re gonna go look for a job here, you got, you got to figure this out. So I started what is now my newsletter, in researching companies I didn’t know a lot about because I kind of took that same previous logic and said, Okay, if I can write about this company, right about their business model, right about what they’re trying to do, then it probably means I really understand them. And in the process, I can also understand all the different attributes of the company, as well as have a point in time where I’ve been track. So coincidentally, the first one I ever wrote about was rep lead. And if you go back that right up, it’s terrible. I mean, I had no idea what I was doing. I was just trying to figure it out. But that was kind of the first point in time for me. And it worked out really well because then I followed Replit for about 1011 months, they wrote that raise their Series V which I wrote a second piece talking about it. And at this point, kind of a year later, I realized, Okay, I’ve written about 10 companies. revolute was the first one. These other companies are really, really cool. But the one that I keep thinking about over a 10-month period is raploch. And my wife and I were talking she’s like, Okay, we should probably lean in that that probably means that’s good place for you to go be. And so yeah, this past February, ultimately, a job opened up in business operations, it seemed like a great set. And at that point, I’d been following and tracking them for 12 months. The newsletter had grown in size, and it it kind of just worked out. So I made the jump.
Pete Thornton 12:30
Nice. That’s really interesting. So there are a couple things from that. First of all, you’ve pursued baseball into Boston College, and which ended up giving you opportunity to go play professional baseball in San Francisco. Is this is the fact that you got this. You’re like, yeah, I need some money. So I jumped into tech. That’s a very San Francisco thing. People out here, or other places, I’ll just say that it might be a different kind of job. It might be landscaping, it might be spinning a sign or something like that. Were you interested in tech before that? Or did this because you were like marinating in the Bay Area?
Jeff Burke 13:14
Yeah, so I always honestly been interested in tech. At Boston College, I competed in entrepreneurial competition. I actually did in the summer when I can. When I wasn’t playing summer ball, I did landscaping and a bunch of stuff in the Boston area to pay the bill. And that’s really what I was planning on doing out here during professional baseball because it was kind of a weird time. So the offseason for baseball is September to like February. And I’d studied I’d studied finance in school, actually. And I wanted to work in finance, but it just was hard to kind of structure for an internship that way. And ultimately, marketing and content marketing ended up being a really good hybrid. So I always want to work in tech to answer your question. This just kind of worked well because they, it’s a little bit easier if you can show hey, I can write, hey, I could do social media, hey, I can do some graphic design these basic kinds of that people will trade some hourly contracting for which actually very much aligned the other issue with some other stuff was landscaping. I didn’t want to do out here because when I did it that summer in Boston, it was really hard to train for baseball. So while I was playing professionally, I was like if I’m in the sun sweating all day long, I’m not going to gain any weight or muscle for baseball, so I did purposely avoid it and that kind of led me to attack if I sit behind a computer then, sure enough, I can at least rest my body that way so it worked out.
Pete Thornton 14:35
So funny. That’s great. That’s like it’s almost like you see these guys playing these. They just play Xbox all day like they’re like, but they’re looking to like still like keep their like competitive edge while like resting their bodies. That’s what I’ve always assumed. Unless like they just all happen to be gamer junkies. I’m just like, surely there’s some kind of correlation between what I see them doing in hotel rooms 24/7. And then what you say about writing like if you can write about it, you can learn about it like I’m always felt that way about teaching. Like when one teaches to learn is kind of like a very common theme is like what I’ve gathered from biology in my past. And then also with sales, sales being an enablement that’s great if you can find that method of like self-learning, so you can move from one ecosystem to another. So that’s, that’s very, very cool. Okay, I guess one more thing might be around this conversation that you were having before you moved from Boston Consulting Group to Replit. were you speaking to your employers about what you were hoping to do in the future in your one-and-a-half years there? Were they mentoring you on where you eventually wanted to end up? And if so, is there any upside in that for them? Or they’ve just been good mentors for you on the Jeff side?
Jeff Burke 15:52
So most of those conversations I was alluding to with mentorship where people outside of Boston Consulting Group, what I will say is to their credit, BCG is really good about those open conversations. There is an incentive, right, if, if people leave BCG and go work at companies, they’re often the people who then contract back to a consulting firm. So they, they want people to do well, they want people to move on. I think in this case, I just wasn’t talking too much about them. Because the overlap in a large consulting firm and super small, high-growth company maybe is is not that large, I would say the bulk of the people in my position at BCG, who left go to larger tech companies, in part of that is a really good tip for consultants coming out, I’d be in strategy and operations, or a corporate development team or something of that nature. And if you go to a super earlier stage company, those teams likely aren’t really built yet. Unless they are they’re very, very small. So I think it kind of varies. So that’s one of the reasons I didn’t really talk to people BCG, not that they wouldn’t have been open the conversation but more so it just didn’t really fit for what I was looking for. I wanted to go into a smaller company. I wanted to kind of be at the ground floor as they were building it and those types of things.
Pete Thornton 17:12
Okay, okay. Make sense? Yeah. Okay, very cool. Okay, then about Replit. Tell us a little bit about Replit. You’ve alluded to them a number of times you wrote about 10 companies, this was the first company. So what do they do? What are they all about? And then? And then what’s the context for the hypergrowth? Like, why is it just taking off?
Jeff Burke 17:33
Pete Thornton 19:11
Okay, so there’s the IDE makes it easier for whatever, like form factor or whatever device that you actually have to work in. And so that it lowers the, I guess that friction threshold to begin learning. But is there is there? Is there anything, is there? Is it tutorial based at all does Replit attempt to say like, oh, Python, let me show you steps 1, 2, 3, or anything like that? Or is it strictly like a platform to slide into the environment so that you could teach yourself?
Jeff Burke 19:44
Yeah, so very exactly. Coincidentally, a couple of weeks ago, maybe a couple of months ago now, we released 100 days of code that you can go to replicate. It’s actually something as somebody I alluded to earlier, who doesn’t come from a programming background. It’s something that I’m I through going through it, it’s been a huge unlock. So you can go through the 100 days of code, which means you jump in, they map your entire progress, that Replit will slowly kind of level you out and bring you to the next task. All the content is in one place, the development environment, all these things, again, all you need is a basic internet connection. So, so there is that in there. And then there’s the bunch of other vectors of rap, but really, your basic ID, so something like a VS code, or something, wouldn’t necessarily have a community built around it at this point. Replit has millions and millions of users and you can publish your Replit share with community, people can like it, people can fork it, if they fork it, they can then build off it riff or something like that. They can leave comments, you can follow each other, all these different things that allow people to not only get into programming for the first time and have all this technology at their fingertips but also for them to engage with people. Because if you’re programming in Nigeria, and you’re one of the few people in your area of his programming, who do you go show your project to that’s actually a really fun, as somebody learning programming, you build something I don’t know if I waste all that inch to have, but I go over like this thing, if I hit run, look at what it does. It’s super cool. And that’s something somebody learning in a quarter of the world may not have typically had with Replit in the community they and so so I think like the one analogy I always use, as well, excuse me is that I wrote about this in the series v post that I did last year again, at that time, it wasn’t part of our blood. So none of this is official, red blood speak. But this is how I look at it is Replit has built the ultimate floor. So whereas in the past, a lot of people talk about technology being ubiquitous, this is actually really true. It’s not universally accessible. Like until this point, most technology advancement has happened in certain parts of the world, in some cases as specific as the Bay Area. And what rapids done is really democratizing that not just within the US in a remote world, but also universally. And so we built the lowest score possible, let anybody come in and program. And now a lot of our futures building out that ceiling. That’s how I think about it is okay, now you can run basic lines of code, but eventually can you build more and more powerful things.
Pete Thornton 22:18
Okay, that’s awesome. Are there universities that partner with you? Anything like that, or their educational academy folks are like, “Hey, this is probably a way that we could initiate?” Is that happening organically or in a structured manner?
Jeff Burke 22:39
So we do have an education product that’s called red blood team for education and classrooms, do you use red blood, we actually, it’s a free product where a professor wants to teach our class using a template, they can set up a team, and anybody can click the link and join the team and program and complete assignments. So yeah, we have that.
Pete Thornton 22:58
Okay. Yeah, it makes total sense. So postman is very, very similar. Because the, there’s 30 days of postman and so this is if you’re wanting to build and share API’s just understand, like how that entire world works like slightly different, it’s a little bit of a pivot, because we’re talking about those application programming interfaces. But like, it’s a slight, it’s a corollary to what it is, and then universities pick it up in a lot of cases. So people can be Postman certified, it seems like something that would be super cool would be applicable as well. So that’s very, very neat. Like, it’s interesting to see the correlations that are similar-esque sorts of companies. That’s awesome. So, so I can understand why people are like taking to this like very, very rapidly. You guys are growing so quickly now. It’s not overnight, we kind of had a pre-caps discussion, like these things are never overnight. But do you personally find any challenges in the growth like other things that are coming at you that would be coming at you so quickly because it’s a hypergrowth SaaS organization, versus if you were in another industry that was more on an even keel or even a very large company that’s kind of maintaining headcount and revenue year over year as opposed to just in this hypergrowth motion, like in your seven months there? Is there anything that stuck out of being like, wow, this is pretty intense. This is new and fast.
Jeff Burke 24:25
Yeah, I mean, not I’m not sure I’m qualified to speak to Replit as a whole, but it reflux kind of infamous for how fast we move and how fast we ship. So I think we, I am certainly bias so take that for this, but I definitely think we can put our engineering team against anybody in the world. We have amazing engineers, some of which dropped out of school, some of which taught themselves to program but when we call it shipping season or founder Amjad is a 10x engineer himself and always posting about all the different stuff are shipping. So I think on the business side and then coming from a place like BCG, where BCG actually moved really fast on the business side, but most of the people we work with these larger companies felt like they weren’t moving that fast. And then it’d be jumping into a place where you have these engineers can basically build these things this fast, it almost appears to be magic when you don’t, when you’re kind of new to that space. And so I think on my end, that’s, that’s been something that has been really, really fun, and really, really challenging. And then the other thing for me, too, is like, your whole paradigm changes where my focus on the business side is okay, how do I, how do I do my best to make sure I’m supporting these people and building as fast as they possibly can? And not get in their way? Sometimes it’s a little intimidating. I mentioned I’m learning to program and even going through those kind of initial phases of, it’s been super fun. And then thinking about what these people are doing is kind of crazy to me. So that’s been a really fun learning mode. I think the other thing that actually on the business side has been really cool for me is okay, now that I’m learning the program, that’s kind of the ethos of the company, how can I use the power of software and everything to speed up how I work? So a great example is at BCG, I might have done a lot of stuff to pull down data and reconfigure it and like CSV files, but now that I’m learning Python, how can I actually automate that workflow? So if it’s recurring, all I have to do is hit run on a Replit. And it gets me 80% of the way there with some slight tweaks. Those two things, from the speed perspective, have been a learning adjustment. And it’s been really fun, though.
Pete Thornton 26:45
That’s awesome. It’s very cool. If you can drink your own Kool-Aid, start utilizing the tool internally. And when you’re talking about the speed of like how quickly the product is shipping. Yes, I completely understand. And especially when you’re in a developer tooling space, and these developers are creating or developing for developers, it can be kind of like, it can be mind-boggling to take one from Anchorman from Ron Burgundy. So okay, I totally understand that when I feel you on that completely. So an amazing journey overall, like moving through the various kind of platforms that you’ve been on from one stage to the next, it seems like you’ve been very thoughtful, as it’s moved from one to the next across many different industries and like periods of your life. It sounds like you also say, counsel, like wisely like you seek it, you take your time, consider it, write about it, even like there’s a whole process that you put into play. I’m just like picking up from our conversation. So do you happen to have like two or three people that you’ve just like to offer a thank you to or gratitude for some piece of this journey along the way?
Jeff Burke 28:01
Oh, man. I have way, way, way more than two to three people. So I think I had some great mentors, and David airbag, Peter Bell, my wife, she probably I probably should have listed her first, she has been in the nooks and crannies of me, hearing all my, as I try and I like to think out loud sometimes, which as you can imagine, during COVID, when there are only two people in the apartment, oh, that’s by default makes her to the listener. So I definitely owe her a thank you as far as all the time she’s put up with that. Anybody my family, I mean, the list goes on. And I think that’s actually just a really critical thing. Obviously, everybody’s wired different. And so maybe this is just the mechanism for me, but building that I always refer to it as kind of building your quote unquote, team, and to make another team analogy, but ultimately, anytime you can find people who really do care about your success, your well being, that challenge your assumptions at times— I think I mentioned earlier with the newsletter, even talking about when I go high growth, asking all these questions and basically seeing that I had no answers. It’s important to find those people around you because I think once you get a step deeper, that’s really really to be thoughtful about your next move with a career perspective in my opinion.
Pete Thornton 29:23
Nice. Okay, very, very, very interesting. So I understood about your wife. The first two people, what role did they where did they fall in? Like, was it from a business perspective? Was it from more of a personal? Was it something from former athletic days?
Jeff Burke 29:39
So those two are front of mind for me because they’re both ex-founders. Now working in venture both have been super generous with their time to me and I think they are people who were really good as trying to get into high-growth tech at helping me understand the different types of leverage you might think about. I didn’t realize the importance the stage of company may have on your role, whereas like business operations of what I do at Replit is very, very different, likely from what business operations would look like at a series D company, maybe even very different than other series B companies. Just given that rep, what tends from a culture perspective to run leaner and be more engineering LED. So those were the types of light layers to the industry that I’ve talked a lot with a couple other people, I don’t think high growth, Texas Tech does a very good job of explaining to people how they can get into the industry, and also how they can add value. Because if you can add value, you’re gonna get hired in this area. And I fundamentally believe everybody can provide value, just a function of whether they know where their skill set matches. And so those two guys, I think were really, really helpful in helping me understand that.
Pete Thornton 30:51
That’s just Yes. Great point. All right, then the final one. And this is pure speculation is whatever you like, the name of the podcast is The SaaS(ramp) Podcast. And so you can take this in any direction you wanted to. But what does SaaS(ramp) mean to you?
Jeff Burke 31:09
That’s a great question, it’s a little bit harder from the Replit perspective because we’re not really at SaaS company. I do think, I think one thing that I really like about tacit is how many different vectors there are for growth. And so I think like, what do I mean by that? There’s one component of just selling more of the software, great. There’s a second component about retaining the people you actually do sell to, and then there’s a third component of actually expanding within that account. And the reason I find it very interesting is a lot of my background actually has been in personalized and digital media and paid marketing. And so for me, I think Sastra have the idea of having all the different vectors of A customer lifecycle, and how you think about how someone uses that software, how they get the benefit out of it is a very interesting way to think about customers. And when you see somebody do it, right, I know everybody, sigma is on everybody’s mind lately, because they’re massive exit, when you see something like figma that spent that many years building something amazing. And the second they get it right. I don’t even know if you could qualify that as a ramp. That’s more like a catapult or rocket ship. But that’s the type of stuff that I find really interesting because I think when you get it right, on the SaaS side and software side, there are so many different angles that benefit people, but also you have to operate on in throughout the entire lifecycle.
Pete Thornton 32:34
Yeah, yeah, that’s a great example to use. It’s the example right now. So hopefully, we had an interesting cloud VC on who is whose talk will air similar time as yours. And so that was an example used as well, he spoke a lot about product market fit and product-led growth. And there are some very good examples of companies who’ve done it right. But you have to open up the trajectory, you have to think about the ramp has to be a longer ramp because you’ve got to do this thing. The tail grows slowly, but then it turns up. That’s a good point.
Jeff Burke 33:08
Yeah, I think I think the other one, probably actually my favorite example. Now the thing about SOAP Figmas front of mine, for everybody, because that just happened, just happened. But probably I think the best example is Sutter Hill ventures. And so I wrote a piece on it. I think a lot of people aren’t super familiar with Sutter Hill ventures, but I think they’re the kings in this game, Mike Spicer leads them. And so they’re most famous for incubating and building Snowflake, as well as a bunch of other companies. But what’s fascinating is, I did not plug my own thing. But like, I did a full deep dive where you look through LinkedIn data across all these things, plus trying to crawl through a bunch of different articles on them. And even the Pure Storage was another one they incubated a long time ago. If you look at their initial forums and the IPO and hear about their story in the role Mike’s visor played. But what’s fascinating is Sutter Hill incubates companies, usually one to two a year, so they have an entrepreneur in residence, incubate the company, and some of these companies stay building for years. And so sigma computing is one I wrote about. That’s a great example. I think it was four or five years that they had a team of five to eight that just stayed as lean as possible building until they perfected the solution. And then the fascinating thing with Sutter Hill, and they typically stick to sales is once they feel like they have product market fit and have it. They’re an evergreen fund. So they have they can call on capital pretty easily. They ramp extremely fast. And so what I mean from that as an example, lace works another one of their other ones. lacework was, let’s say 1,500 people and within two years went to 1000. And it’s just piling money into it and stealing surely rapidly. So I actually think they’re the best example of SaaS(ramp) if you really dig into it, all the stuff they’re doing and they don’t do a public they don’t do it. EPR and they’re very quiet. But what they do is they build, build, build, build, and the second they get it, they ramp extremely fast the sales, see us entire lifecycle, and basically try and exhaust the space. Wow, wow, it’s blitzkrieg like that’s so wild. It’s very interesting. So that’s an interesting side note for you to like, this is like, this is a hobby curiosity of yours. So I’m gonna follow the Jeff Burke story. I’m, I’m gonna find out what you’re doing in five years. I’ll be super curious. Yeah, it’s a hobby, which I don’t know. I basically um, one of my last interviews got called Weird, which is fine. person, but I was talking to the founder I previously wrote about and he’s like, so this is like, what you do in your free time? And I was like, Yeah, I guess it made a little more sense. And I said in my head and he’s like, I mean, teach their own but I usually play video games is, I guess.
Pete Thornton 35:56
But they will make fun of you in the dugout. Like, I don’t think you’re getting away with this on the mound or whatever. Like, like some somebody in the in, in former lives are gonna be like, haha, what are you talking about? Yep. Diary. Got it. So that’s perfect, man. Really interesting. Thanks. Thanks, Jeff, for walking us through. I know the audience appreciates it and can’t wait to see where Replit goes, where you go, and appreciate the fact that we shared a common town. Didn’t even know about that. So shout out to Chattanooga, Tennessee as well. All in a day’s work on The SaaS(ramp) Podcast.
Jeff Burke 36:29
Absolutely. Thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it. enjoyed the conversation.
Pete Thornton 36:33
Thanks, Jeff. Appreciate you. Talk soon.