Size Doesn’t Equal Success in Product-Led Growth

with Esben Friis-Jensen,

Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer at Userflow

In this episode, Pete is joined by Esben Friis-Jensen, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer at Userflow. The two discuss product-market growth strategies, challenges in the existing climate, using technology to onboard the right customers, and more.
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Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Biggest challenge over the last six months (0:46)
  • What is the one thing you have to get right for success? (2:38)
  • Mediums and channels needed to attract customers in product-led growth (5:14)
  • Filtering channels to attract the right customers and not just any customer (8:15)
  • Esben’s journey to Co-founding Userflow (10:17)
  • Bringing customers through a product-led approach vs traditional sales methods (16:57)
  • How technology can enhance customer onboarding (20:02)
  • Where Userflow is headed in the future (23:00)
  • What SaaS(ramp) means to Esben (36:39)


The SaaS(ramp) Podcast explores how tech leaders scale from product adoption to enterprise success. Learn more at


Pete Thornton 00:06
Welcome back rampants to The SaaS Ramp Podcast. I’m your Podcast Pete. On today is Esben Friis-Jensen. Welcome him to the show today. Esben is co-founder and chief growth officer at Userflow. Welcome to show, Esben.

Esben Friis-Jensen 00:21
Thanks for having me. It’s my pleasure.

Pete Thornton 00:24
I’m super glad to have you on today, we got to chat a little bit earlier. And I really like speaking to heads of growth, just because you can do magic. And in very low numbers, like it doesn’t take huge, massive sales teams like I’m used to actually enact change. So yeah, it should be an incredible discussion today. Maybe I can start off just diving straight into it and ask in growth or at user flow, however, you want to take the question, What has been your biggest challenge over the last couple of quarters here?

Esben Friis-Jensen 00:58
I think four years ago, it’s always how can we get new customers and retain existing customers just like any software as a service business, right? I think four years of userflow will be a bit special, we have only three employees at usable. But we have 550 plus customers. So in the millions in ARR. It’s a very product led growth motion. So we are basically relying a lot on the product to do a lot of the legwork for us. In growing the company. Of course, you still have to do things like marketing, and things like that. But the product is a big component in the growth motion. So for us, it’s always to stay on top of our product, make sure we have the best product possible, the best UX possible, the best onboarding possible. And we of course, use flow and user flow, for onboarding, and so forth. So yeah, there are always small challenges to how you can fine tune your product lead growth motion, because

Pete Thornton 02:01
this is what had captured me about interacting with you at first, because it’s a little different than our ideal podcast, because that’s typically somebody up at a larger organization, maybe 100 employees or so still small ish, but never three, this whole idea that you’re running a company like that, like true product lead growth, because if the product doesn’t do it, and one of you gets a sick day, like what’s going to happen. So that said, this will be an interesting from growth perspective anyway, but also, especially given the challenge that you guys are putting yourself into on purpose this like almost this experiment that you’re running with user flow, what is the one thing you essentially have to get right for user flow, I guess, like in the timeline of this coming year, like fy 23. But what’s the single thing it boils down to? For you guys, in order to see success?

Esben Friis-Jensen 02:53
I think it’s a lot about continuing what we’ve been doing over the last two years or so. It’s very much being clear on our ideal customer profile for AWS, it’s software as a service businesses b2b. Typically, customer success managers or product managers, very clear on that and making sure that our messaging is super aligned with what they’re looking for, in terms of user onboarding. And then, secondly, then provide that value that they expect to see when they then sign up for a free trial or freemium. Make sure our free trial or freemium experience lives up to those kinds of criteria they have for what the product should be, and get them to that famous aha moment as fast as possible. So that’s very important to us. So that’s from a new user acquisition perspective. And for an existing customer perspective, it’s to keep on adding new functionality or UX improvements that can retain our customers. So they keep loving the product and get the value out of it. They want to.

Pete Thornton 04:02
Okay, so I heard kind of like a three step. And it makes sense because it’s, these things all have to happen. But they happen at different points in the journey. So the first one was an ideal customer profile, and you had kind of labeled it out. It’s essentially like this business of business SaaS profile with their heads of customer success, because they’re constantly onboarding these customers. So just making sure that you know what it is they care about, so that you can message them without having to have 1000 different conversations like you can actually capture their interest, I suspect.

Esben Friis-Jensen 04:32
Yep. Especially in sales. I mean, everybody knows how important an ideal customer profile is in sales, because you can end up wasting a lot of time speaking to the wrong people. But when you have a very product lead motion, it’s, of course, less expensive to make a mistake. But you still want to make sure your website is aligned with what these users are looking for because you have less of a high touch outreach approach. So in order to get more inbound, you need to be crystal clear on what these ICP is looking for. And for us, this has mentioned its customer success, and it’s also product managers looking to build onboarding.

Pete Thornton 05:12
Okay. Okay. And so this is a bit of a rabbit hole, but I don’t know what I mean. Again, I don’t live in this world all the time where they exclusively plg. To to that degree, so is it is it website only, are there other mediums or channels at which you would try to like, bring inbound back your way.

Esben Friis-Jensen 05:33
So we do a lot of websites, that’s why we want to bring customers, right, because then they can sign up for the free trial, they can do a you know, go to our product, lead onboarding, build would use a flow, of course. And then they can get familiar when they see the value of the product. So the end goal is to get them to sign up for that free trial. And that, of course, starts with them landing on our website and getting them attracted to the product. So prior to that, what we’re looking a lot at is things like SEM, SEO, of course, the typical marketing, high scale challenge, also for leadership and social selling, right, being active on social networks, putting out authentic content, argues onboarding, and product growth is something we do well. So those are some of the challenges and then a big one for us. And that I think is important for every product. Lead business is word of mouth, right? Like you, you gain more by having more customers who love your product, they go out and speak about your product, and refer more business.

Pete Thornton 06:35
Okay, okay. Yeah, those all definitely make sense. And then that second thing you mentioned, was this basically speed to value? Can they come to an aha moment? Is there something that you design as an aha moment? Or is there just something you’re like, we’re gonna create a great one, everybody will have a different one based on their persona.

Esben Friis-Jensen 06:56
Yeah, no, it’s not something you design, it’s more, you have your product, right. And maybe initially, you don’t have any onboarding or whatever. But you know, you have some hunch about what is your key value proposition. But then over time you learn from your customers what it is they love about your product. And what it is, they found most interesting to begin with, right. And for acid user flow, what we have seen is that they love the way you can Build the flow is how easy it is to build these kinds of onboarding guides with user flow. So just to give some background, user flow is basically like a no code builder for onboarding guides, right, and checklists, and so on. So when these customers come to our free trial, we want to show them how easy it is to do that. And the best way to do that is actually to get them to build a flow themselves within the first couple of minutes. So that’s what we do. So our entire onboarding, initial onboarding is catered towards them building a flow as fast as possible. So it’s not just a blank slate, you know, many software service businesses, they will have this kind of blank slate where you just look, you sign into the product, and then you have to figure stuff out on your own. No FOSS is really driving towards that initial aha moment. So they can see the value as fast as possible. Okay,

Pete Thornton 08:13
It’s critical. Do you have them form fill or like a drop down that says their specific role? Are they more of an individual contributor? Are they a leader? Are they you know, like, that’s kind of things or they’re going to design the onboarding, the same way regardless? I mean, customized to their company. But yeah, I was curious, like, how much that changes from Yeah,

Esben Friis-Jensen 08:32
we don’t have a use case question. That’s the only question we have. But it’s very basic. And I think we can do more personalization like that. But I think it already starts on your website, right? You should allow customers to self select them out of the process. By having a website that’s actually explaining what you do is showing actual screenshots of your product, saying what problem it is that you solve. So that was wrong, your source won’t use your product, right? For instance, it could be that somebody came to you as a flow, because they were looking for a recruiting onboarding solution, right, which is something where you onboard new employees to your company. But because you are searching onboarding, you might end up on our website, right? But we, of course, don’t want those users to sign up for a free trial, because they’re completely wrong for our product, right? So it’s important that our website already, at that point, sends that message that you came from the wrong place, you should go somewhere else, right? So it starts already on the website. And then as you move into the free trial, the user should see even more than this whether it’s something for them or not, right. So that’s where that ideal customer profile, website and product alignment is super important.

Pete Thornton 09:49
Yeah, definitely. That term onboarding in particular has so many enablement sales enablement New Hire onboarding sales ramp, I started calling it sales ramp because I Just how many times are we going to get it confused with all the various terms of, of onboarding in general? But yeah, the use case would certainly immediately align them and they would understand. So helpful. Okay, so this helps as I got a little extra out of that when this little rabbit hole, I can’t help it. But those were helpful words. So when you’re this is, again, I’ll just bring up the uniqueness of being such a small organization with such a wide footprint already. How do you go to college for that? Like? What are the personal professional experiences that lead into creating a business like this and the leadership, I

Esben Friis-Jensen 10:36
I can maybe share a bit on my background, so first of all, I started working in consultancy Accenture, off the University. And I think I’ve always been in a world where we were making processes more effective, right, like looking at a problem and making it. Let’s see how we can make this more effective and smarter. Then, after Accenture, I started my first company cobbled together with three other co-founders, a couple days a cybersecurity software service, and it’s still going strong. I just lifted operationally a couple of years ago, but it’s a very successful software as a service cybersecurity Company. Today, I think they have around 300 plus employees. And in that company, we kind of went on the whole sales lead journey, right? We were actually product leads and then we had more and more sales. I think that was very typical for software as a service businesses back 10 years ago that you would move more towards sales lead, because oftentimes the competition was service companies and they were very high touch right. And then you kind of had to build a bridge towards that. So we grow with various sales, lead models, sales teams, customer success teams and all the usual stuff that you probably talk a lot about on this podcast, right? Where I am is how you run the sales team, how you run, the customer sets into scale. We went through all that with COBOL. But actually in Europe, before I left, I raised myself. We kind of sat down and saw Okay, the market is changing a bit. Actually now end users are becoming more empowered to make decisions about tools. And they also expect more cell service, they don’t want to necessarily speak to salespeople or customer success people, they want to actually be able to do a free trial, try the product, you know, and ideally buy without speaking with anybody, right. And that’s where we at Koval decided, okay, at least for our smallest customers to begin with. But maybe also the larger ones, we want it to transition to being more product lead again. And having more cell service, too, he wasn’t as reliant on having sales teams and Customer Success teams. So one to reduce customer acquisition and service costs, but also to just align with the new buyer right like this induced world we’re living in now. And that was a very interesting journey, it’s very tough to change a sales lead company into being more of a product lab, it’s a big culture change. So a lot of things went into it. But it also piqued my interest in the whole product led world. I love building great products and have always been a strong believer in cell service. And it piqued my interest so much that I decided to leave kobold and start using flow together with my co founders Bassen to basically build a company that both helps companies become more productive by having product lead onboarding, but also to a company that was purely product led itself. Right. And really, super product lead Witter? How can we make the most effective product lead motion possible. And so far, we’ve been successful at that. And I think the biggest part of that is really, you need a strong product, right? You can do all these products, lead growth techniques, you can do all these, and a lot of things you can do to make automation, et cetera. But the essence of a great product, that growth motion is you need a strong product, because there’s no fake it till you make it. The customers will actually try your product before they buy. So you need to have a great product that they are where they experience a strong value from that product. And, and Loggly, my co-founder, is a very strong engineer. So he’s built a fantastic product. And we also have a design that is very focused on UX. So those are like critical components to our product growth. Most.

Pete Thornton 14:42
Yeah, absolutely. So at cobalt, you are a little early, like maybe not early, but like you might have not made that step across to as big of a sales lead motion, unless there was a market trend saying you needed to do The expectation of the customer was that you would match this competitor, who was maybe doing things in a slightly different way with with, you know, more human touch, etc. So that’s interesting, like being a little early on something and then trying to back into it like, maybe it was the right bet at the wrong time?

Esben Friis-Jensen 15:16
No, I think Kobo has been a very successful sales lead motion. And I think if you look at the SAS software as a service market in general, a lot of successful businesses have been made with sales lead motions, right? The thing is, the world has changed, and it will keep on changing as the new generations become the decision makers, right? They’re born with it at the bone with software, that bone would sell the service. So you should, you can no longer rely on the same sales methods that you relied on 10 years ago, right? Or 20 years ago, you needed to keep looking at okay, how is the new buyer? Looking at things? What is it? What is it they want to do? Right? It’s, uh, I don’t know about you. But whenever I get a call from a friend, I’m always like, oh, man, why is this person calling me sending me a text message, right? It’s kind of the same thing, right? You want to, you want to be more like digital, you want to be more text driven, you want to be more self service, you don’t necessarily want to do these high touch calls and interactions.

Pete Thornton 16:21
It’s so true, I’m just so true. I’m not super young. But if somebody wants to call me, I’d appreciate a text two or three minutes in advance, like I almost want a heads up that my phone’s gonna ring, and I won’t 100% Ignore it. Because I know that’s very true. So let me ask you, this product, if product led growth if somebody wanted to try that, but NATS didn’t necessarily, maybe this is a higher price point kind of service offering or software that they need to offer. Do you feel personally after all your experiences? Again, there’s a rabbit trail. But do you feel like there’s a price point at which the buyer in today’s market is willing to move into free, obviously, but is there a self-serve price point, that is the upper limit of what somebody’s willing to swipe a credit card for, versus having a conversation with a human?

Esben Friis-Jensen 17:14
I think that the border keeps changing in user flow, where you can buy a pro package at 7200 a year and we have lots of customers doing nothing, without ever speaking with anybody. And I’ve heard people say, you can’t do that, like it’s impossible to sell anything at that price. seltos. While we’re doing it without problems, I think right now, I wouldn’t say there’s an upper limit, maybe some will maybe say 10k, or something like that a year, right? Before you want to have some kind of talk with somebody. But still, if you’re a trustworthy business, why shouldn’t they, you know, swipe your credit card, if I go to, let’s say a stripe or somebody like that, right? I have no problem with paying that amount of money, because I trust that business. And with Slack, there are these brands who just credit that you know, that trustworthy. The second thing we’re seeing in the market, especially with product growth is usage based pricing. So you just start at a lower price here. And then you grow with that model. And in that world, you don’t even might not even know this, that you at some point, reach 50k- 60k, you know, whatever. Because you’re just paying for usage. So you maybe started at 5k. And then you grew to whatever. I know that myself I tried that with, you know, Salesforce, or when I bought Salesforce as a CRM, you know, you started with a product called motion, you bought maybe one or two seats at whatever low costs. And then suddenly you have a contract for 100k. You know, for Salesforce, right? And it’s all been self service. It’s never been used speaking with anybody, even though Salesforce wanna, they’re very big on customer success. So they always try to push those calls, right? But in reality, a lot of that growth is just purely self service payments, and not driven by coals. Or meetings. It’s just yours. Its base.

Pete Thornton 19:20
Yeah, use it. I mean, get per user per month, I guess would be

Esben Friis-Jensen 19:24
Yeah, I mean, that’s the traditional model in SAS. Right, what you’re seeing more and more, is that you do it based on some kind of that something that’s more for Salesforce, I would actually say a seed is the value driver. Right. But it could be for any other business, let’s say, for Twilio, for instance, it’s the number of calls you may make with Twilio. Or, you know, it could be for assets. For instance, monthly active users, how many customers are you serving with our onboarding? Right? So the more value the customer gets, the more they have to pay As guide, this idea of user space pricing. Okay,

Pete Thornton 20:04
I spoke with a future podcast. So I did a little pre-call with somebody who is in that world where they embed their, their kind of an API based company, they embed their API connectivity in, in companies as they’re building their product. And it’s really interesting. I’m like, Oh, wow, like they’re willing to take you and trust you to put you inside of their product. So now they can integrate more, it feels like user flow is similar in that regard, as it is a customer onboarding. So it’s touching their customer, which is a very intimate thing for a company to trust you with? So there’s a lot of trust there. But also, do you feel like one that’s a good business model? And two, there’s differences you have to make when you’re designing a company that’s going to touch another company’s customers? Is that even like a variable in your mind? Or is it just, you know, yeah,

Esben Friis-Jensen 20:55
yeah, we definitely think about what in the end, we are kind of, we’re not only selling to our customer, we also have to make sure that the customers love the onboarding, right? So it’s something we have in mind all the time. How can we make design nice, right, like the experience for the end users do? Not only for the people building the onboarding, but also for the Pillet people using the onboarding? How can we make that experience as nice as possible by default, right? How can we make the people building the onboarding, make sure they somehow build something? That’s great, right? So you can do a lot of things like having great default, good looking designs, you know, make it easier to build stuff. So people don’t make mistakes. Also give guidance. We, for instance, have an alert, like something a common mistake in onboarding is that you build these kind of a bit boring next, next tour. And that’s a common mistake. Everybody does that. Right? They build a product, that’s like, nice. And actually, we have an alert in our product that tells the builder that if they add three steps with Next Next, we tell them, you should be a bit conscious about doing that, because you’re not making it interesting for the user. You’re not making it something that drives action. So we are alerting them that what they’re building is maybe not so good. Right? And those are the kind of things we try to help our builders build great content for their customers.

Pete Thornton 22:28
That’s cool. Yeah, that’s very interesting. Just something to give them one more like three dimensional experience. Almost. Yeah, I live on the coast now. And I used to live in a city with mountains around it and bridges, there’s kind of a pain, but you did have to always drive in a 360 degree manner to get around. And I feel myself driving here a little stifled because there’s water. And there’s two linear roads this way and one that goes inland. And it probably feels like that. Next, all the way down to my daughter’s school all the way back. And then before I would have liked more interactions and mountains and things like that, yeah, exactly. So what a little bit about user flow, then we got to hear what the product is, to some degree. What. And this where you’re sitting right now, number of employees, we know the footprint is expanding rapidly, like, where do you think it’s going to go? This is a kind of SaaS, Ram. We talked about hyper growth a lot. Yeah. What do you think’s going to happen this coming year? Maybe if you just want to give it a time?

Esben Friis-Jensen 23:25
Yeah, no, I think what has been interesting so far is we’re growing as fast as any, like a VC backed business with many employees, right? This year, we’re gonna more than double revenue this year with six text revenue. So it’s just, it’s the same that’s really interesting to me is how we’ve been able to grow a company without hiring a lot of people. We might hire some more people in the new year. But it’s not something we do just to grow in headcount. We would only do it if we actually needed that person either at growth, or there’s some kind of area where we felt a lot of stress. But I mean, we don’t really have those kinds of areas today, what we do a lot is solid with the product, always think product first. And really think about how you can automate things, but also how can you improve the UX in your product? So you don’t get a lot of questions from customers? Because the product just works? I imagine. I think everybody, it’s not often you have to call anybody at Apple to know how your iPhone works. And that’s the same thing you should think about b2b. How can we reduce support tickets by building something where people don’t have to ask right? And that’s the same philosophy we’re using for b2b business to reduce headcount. Say up to that, that is how we will continue to keep the headcount at a level that we don’t want to focus on headcount growth, we want to focus on revenue growth and Through retention. And in general, how can we increase the new customer acquisition channels? Could it be partnerships? Could it be, you know, whatever? What are the channels we can add to attract even more customers in the future? But think about it in that way. Instead of thinking about adding a bunch of salespeople, let’s add a bunch of customers as people to add to the growth.

Pete Thornton 25:25
Right, right. Okay. It makes sense. It totally makes sense. Oh, so if you hear triple, triple, double, and that’s the like, oh, that’s the formula. You know, what is? If you start out with a 6x, what does that mean?

Esben Friis-Jensen 25:37
At ya know, so as I think I never know, the question for me in that trouble. level has always been when you actually started, right? But the thing, we’re definitely following something similar to that. And that’s why I’m very proud of what we’ve done. We did the same with COBOL. But there it was a sales lead model where we hired a lot of people to facilitate that growth. We were still I think COBOL was not like, you see, sometimes these very, very highly VC backed businesses that are just hiring a ton of people, right? I think COBOL is always hired with a bit of luck, carefulness and kind of like, step by step to grow accordingly. But still, compared to years of low, we hired a lot more people, right. So it’s just fun to see how you were able to grow without hiring a lot of people. Yeah. So just a different journey. I don’t think any journey is wrong. It’s just what you want to do with your business. And I think we have some unfair advantages. Boats, Besson and I are founders of previous successful companies. He’s a strong engineer. But you know, I know how to automate a lot of the marketing and growth and so on. So we have some unfair advantages, that definitely helps us. As I’m not saying either way of growing is right or wrong. It’s just fun to see that, and not a model that is plausible, right? So yeah. And then I would also like to throw out that now, this podcast, there was a lot on how you, for instance, grow the sales team. In a product led world, I think we are an outlier, right? We’re not, we’re not a company, that would be the typical product growth company, we just have three employees, I think what you’re going to see more in companies is even products that companies have that have this sales assist motion, right. So you’re gonna have some people who are basically they’re not, it’s less of the traditional sales role, where you do a lot of outreach and demos and outbound, it’s more, where you have a more reactive sales approach, where the customer will still do a free trial. But then, as part of that item, after they buy the first package, or before they buy the first package, some kind of sales assistant will be there, to make sure the customer may get the full potential, right, get the full package they need. And we’re seeing more and more solutions in the SAS space that facilitate this kind of sales assist role. That’s an exciting thing to see as well, in the future, how the sales role is going to change for being more traditional sales role with demos hands on to being a more kind of sales role that actually speaks with customers who already tried the product, and understands the product, it’s a whole lot of conversation, you’re gonna have business

Pete Thornton 28:25
It is totally different. It’s been very interesting to work at postman because the user base is so wide, and it was pure plg until very recently, and then in the past 18 months, two years, the trends of slight transition really 18 months, and I’m watching the difference in a sales team that is talking to users who have been using the product for five years, every day for 90 minutes a day. It’s just insistent, saying you’ll never know as much as they know about the product, the fruit, like certain versions of the product, you can only Yeah, assist in explaining this. What else there is, and and for what tiers and what levels so that that challenge that you’re speaking to, it’s a challenge that orgs are actually trying to think about right now for sure.

Esben Friis-Jensen 29:13
I think it’s actually great for salespeople, at least the ambitious salespeople. I don’t know. I’ve been in sales myself. And there’s nothing more boring than doing the cookie cutter demo, right? Like just Do you feel almost like a robot doing like this demo on repeat. And then afterwards, you’re and then people invent things like discovery and so on to make it a bit more interesting, right, which is great, but it often ends up being a bit boring demo and then questions, right. But with a user who actually tried your product, you can have much more interesting conversations, much more value focused conversations, where you can really say you don’t have to focus on the basics. You can go more into what the expansion use cases are. What are the You know, what are the potentials of this tool when you fully get into it? Right. And I think for salespeople, that’s much more fun, right. And you don’t get to have a lot of these conversations with people who are not really interested, you get to have conversations with people who are very interested in your product and just want to understand the full value. Yeah,

Pete Thornton 30:22
So conversely, those salespeople have to know their stuff. At that point, there’s this idea of a sales ramp that you’re ready to move, and whether it’s 30 days or 60 days, 90 days, 180 days, regardless, there’s a finite period of time, and then you will need to be speaking to customers who are super informed already. And so if you’re going to add value on top of that, your level of information must be just so it’s a challenge. It’s a real challenge. I

Esben Friis-Jensen 30:48
think, I agree. It’s a new kind of sale, I think. To be honest, I always think the best reps were the ones who could do it, right, we were able to have those conversations. But now it becomes in this new product like well, that becomes even more important, right, that you understand the product and so on. But then there may be other things that become less important. Some other skills, you don’t have to learn, right? And then you can focus more on that pod. Maybe prospecting becomes less important in this new world, right? And then you don’t have to spend a ton of time learning how to prospect yourself, instead focus on understanding the value propositions of your product. I’m not saying we’re there yet. I still think prospecting is an important tool in our salespersons toolbox. But it’s definitely I think we will see a change in the requirements for the sales account executive role as well.

Pete Thornton 31:46
Like, you are right that user flow and like our conversation is an outlier. But there’s an obvious trend moving in this direction. So these people, these future leaders are not getting any. They are coming from that world. Certainly, I have one more little rabbit trail wrap up because I know I do this, I have a question about whether you would have created this kind of company with this kind of almost experimental idea. If you didn’t have almost the security blanket of a really good cobalt exit beforehand. And I say that with some context around. There’s usually like a, there’s like requirements of the world. Like, there’s zeros and ones, it’s binary, you must pay your bills, et cetera. And sometimes in this world, you have to be very patient to see if there’s going to be this long tail that can develop before the exponential growth. So it’s something you could have done before the success helped you feel comfortable taking the journey. Yeah,

Esben Friis-Jensen 32:46
no, plg, I would have done, I think you could do without that security plg, I think you can see quick results with plg. But you shouldn’t. It’s not classical. If we build it, they will come. That’s not what PLDs are right. PLD is also you still have to go out and attract users to your website, attract customers, do marketing, all that stuff, right. So that’s still important. But you can start with the plg motion. And that’s actually, with COBOL. In the beginning, we were fully plg. It was not until later we went a bit more into sales, lead or more in sales. But in the beginning, the first, I would say 20 customers, or maybe 50, were all plg. So that we already did back then. So that part, I don’t think you need any security. The pot, I would say that it’s a bit special about user flow is that we’re bootstrapped. And I don’t know if I probably wouldn’t have done that. As a first time founder, right. But as a second time founder, I feel a bit more confident. And I have some money in my bank account to be able to do that a bit easier. But definitely would kobold we needed to raise money to continue, you know, building the business and working on the business. So that pop I think is harder to do. As a first time founder, I would probably recommend going out and raising capital as a first time founder. But as a second time founder. To be honest, I don’t see why you should raise capital at least if your first startup was successful, then I don’t see why you would do it.

Pete Thornton 34:23
Yeah, I know. There’s probably many opinions that agree. On my side with that, from my experience. Yeah, I’m the founder. Okay. That’s really awesome. I like to close with a couple questions. One, are you on this journey that you’ve had? I’m sure you’ve met a lot of interesting people. You have anybody that comes to mind as far as thank you or ingratitude back towards

Esben Friis-Jensen 34:45
Oh, man, there are so many of you. I mean, of course all my fellow co-founders at Cobo use flow. They’re always been great to work with right but the awesome people I’ve met during the first person I met when we were in Silicon Valley was Adam Draper from Boost VC. He’s the son of Tim Draper’s venture capital family. So that’s cool. I went through that accelerator program. And that was our way into Silicon Valley, we were 14 ish, guys coming to the US NO CLUE didn’t know anybody. And we got into the Silicon Valley net worth through Adam Draper and that accelerator. So that’s been a great person for us. And for me, he also writes a lot of great stuff on startups, a lot of great quotes that he’s done, like, beat a cockroach and use your unfair advantages, and all these different things that are really cool. So he’s definitely a person who I had a big impact on my Silicon Valley journey. And not a person I want to highlight his West, who wrote the book on product led growth and lots more reasons that he has had a big impact I think on the SaaS world. And he’s still doing a lot of fantastic stuff for the product lab. World. So that’s another person I think we should all think of putting a focus on product lead growth. And yeah, then, of course, my wife and so on for all those things. Right. Always remember, your family is important.

Pete Thornton 36:18
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Good. Good. Throwing that one in. I’ve been solo with a child for three nights, and I have done Elf on the Shelf. I don’t know if you know anything about Elvis? Oh, my gosh, what a phenomenon. That was what I thought was ridiculous five years ago. And now I’m like, I don’t know Christmas without it. So I appreciate not having to do that at 5am every other morning. Okay, those are excellent. Yeah, appreciate those. And then this is SaaS, a ramp podcast, you know, and it means different things to everybody. So as head of growth, although your founder as well, and you’ve been through so many experiences, does What does SaaS ramp mean to you? And there is no wrong answer. It can mean whatever to two different kinds of person. It’s

Esben Friis-Jensen 36:58
Really, how do you ramp? How do you scale your business? As you grow? As a business? How do you keep changing your business to fit with that growth? Right. And I think what’s interesting is you can ramp. Traditionally, you’ve been ramping your sales team, you’ve been ramping your customer success team. But I think the story I wanted to put out there today was really, there’s another way to ramp and that’s just by looking at how you can improve your product and automation to grow faster and retain more customers? So it’s not always about ramping on the people’s side? It’s also about how can we become more effective, efficient and Work smarter with

Pete Thornton 37:41
our product? Oh, absolutely. As Ben, I really appreciate it like me personally, I think it’s just fascinating what you guys are doing. And I’m just like, I’m a former science teacher, you know, so I’m like, in for the experiment. I’m like, Okay, here’s where we’re at. Let’s see if we can watch this thing grow and curl and, and then of course, the NDCs leader who has interest I think it’s pretty easy. We throw out the website once again, because it’s probably not Yeah,

Esben Friis-Jensen 38:03
It’s always user So it’s always it’s

Pete Thornton 38:08
fun. Okay, okay, that was it. Okay, cuz sometimes you have to get in front of that. Yeah,

Esben Friis-Jensen 38:13
we used to have that. But yeah, we now have the true years of flow domain.

Pete Thornton 38:18
That’s pretty good. Somebody negotiated with you and got back.

Esben Friis-Jensen 38:23
A lot of domain sharks out there. That’s how the world is

Pete Thornton 38:27
and they insure Yeah, get your own name or something before everybody else knows about you, too.

Esben Friis-Jensen 38:32
That’s ever true entrepreneur. I own 20 domains that I never use.

Pete Thornton 38:39
You only take one right? And a little closer. Thanks, Desmond. Thanks so much. I really appreciate it and thanks for the SaaS ramp audience. Thank you. Cheers.