Nicolas Vandenberghe, CEO of Chili Piper | The Playbook For Success

https://youtu.be/GAbn6JTZ340

 

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In this week’s episode we sit down with Nicolas Vandenberghe, Founder of Chilipiper. Nicolas bootstrapped Chili Piper past $2 Million ARR before taking any VC money. He is a 3x Serial entrepreneur, including having sold his 2nd startup, Redact, to Microsoft.

Show Links

twitter.com/nicolasvdb

chilipiper.com/

SUCCESS STORY PODCAST

The Success Story podcast is focused on speaking to incredible people who have achieved success through trials, tribulations, wins and losses. In each episode we sit down with leaders and mentors.  We document their life, career and stories to help pass those lessons onto others through insights, experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.

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Machine Generated Transcript

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, companies, market, piper, sales, find, product, salespeople, salesforce, product market fit, entrepreneur, podcast, rep, email, thought, problem, gypsy, prospect, solution, chili

SPEAKERS

Nicolas Vandenberghe, Scott D Clary

 

Scott D Clary  00:05

Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott and I’m very happy to be speaking with Nicholas. Oh, actually, you know what? I should double check. Nicolas van America and numbered okay. Good, good. I always I always check just to make sure I don’t mispronounce. Yeah, that makes sense. Thank you for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast where we speak with incredible leaders and mentors who have achieved success through trials and tribulations wins and losses. I’m your host Scott and today we’re going to be sitting down with Nicholas Vandenberg, who is the CEO and co founder of chili Piper. Now, Nicholas has an outstanding career in business, obviously, coming from selling newspapers in the streets of Paris. To receive his MBA at Stanford, he has started and sold three tech companies with each over 65 employees and 11 million revenue. He’s ran sales teams for $2 billion telecom telecom firms. He’s worked with companies to the extent of Google so obviously the fortune 100 selling into that space. In 2016, he co founded his fourth startup, which we’re going to talk about today, chili Piper, and he is really a pioneer in buyer enablement and sales conversion. The company is fully distributed leveraging global talent with employees in 28 cities in 12, and 12 countries. It’s a scheduling platform, and some brand names that are using it right now. So into it, square Twilio, and over 300 current customers worldwide. Now, Nicolas bootstrapped chili Piper past 2 million annual recurring revenue before attracting any sort of seed funding. So this is something that he’s built entirely from the ground up on his own. So a whole bunch of accolades on your resume. Thanks for Thanks for joining us, and, and maybe, you know, do a better job than me at telling your own story.

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  02:06

Thanks for having me. Know, that sounds about right. Yeah, as I’m sure everybody would be able to tell I’m originally French. I grew up in the South of France. My plan was to travel around the world less than a year here and there. So I decided that I will apply to business school in the US. I landed at Stanford with the plan to go next to Hong Kong. And when I got to Stanford, classmate of mine called Steve Jurvetson. Invited Steve Jobs to come to talk to us. And Steve came sat on the floor at the time it was he was running a company called next. And the joke was, he was going next to nowhere. So he was very humble, not like the last year Steve Jobs at the time, it was struggling, like, we all do entrepreneurs at some stage. And when they heard him, I thought, that’s what I want to be when I grew up. At the time, you know, he wasn’t the superhero. He was just a very determined tech entrepreneur. And I thought this is such a cool life. I like to create products and bring them to market and so I scrapped my Hong Kong plans a state in the Bay Area. And as soon as I graduated, I started a company. And as fate would have it, my partner in my first company, was John Sculley. So Steve Jobs nemesis, completely randomly. It’s just I was introduced to him when he was a CEO of Apple, he some ideas, some technologies, and we decided to go in business together. So that has been a funny twist in in my start. And ever since I’ve been doing tech companies, you mentioned i three successful building exits from the tech world. For a while, I thought it’d become a venture capitalist because you know, this what entrepreneurs become when they grew up. Just sit on the other side and say, Well, why don’t you try harder? Like I say, Yeah, I think entrepreneurs need to cut their salaries, you know, and thinking, oh, yeah, how about you cut your salary? You know? Show me how you do it. sent me a screenshot. But anyway, I that wasn’t for me. So I went back to grid, new company, as you mentioned, the early 2016 focus on sales and technologies for salespeople. What I am, I had experiences that, as you mentioned, on a panel experience, I’d run a sales team for telco companies. I was helping a friend build, build a telco company And I was amazed that when I put everybody on Salesforce, there was a big, big resistance to using Salesforce. And you know, you hear often people say I don’t pay you your commission if the data is not in Salesforce. And that is crazy, because you know, my daughter, I don’t say I don’t give you your allowance, if you don’t use your iPhone, you know, the other way around, I won’t give you urgency to continue using your iPhone so much. So this is going to change, I mean, digital technology is going to happen to sales. And and when you think that in you an entrepreneur thing, well, I’m going to do it right. So that’s how I got started. I love sales, as you mentioned that I did fund my undergrad studies with sales jobs, including saying newspapers, I really enjoyed it, because I did very well at it. Universal outsold everybody four to one in the street. So I thought this is perfect, I’m going to do something that I’m really passionate about at the right time, and hence GDPR started.

 

Scott D Clary  06:11

So you you now let’s let’s bring it to you went through like your career is extensive. So do you have any sort of like the three companies that you had before chili Piper, I want to speak about chili pepper, but I want to speak about the three companies as well. When you went into these, you were successful in all of them did you have some sort of strategy or mindset that allows you to build up companies is just passion that drives you what drives you to build these successful companies.

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  06:40

So there are two simplify two types of serial entrepreneurs. They are co entrepreneurs who have a strong strong expertise in a particular problem. And they typically technical entrepreneurs, and they just come up with new ideas on that problem. So that’s not me. My three companies were very different. The first one was consumer software or John Sculley. So with consumer marketing. My second one was ecommerce, b2b. And the third one was biometrics face recognition. So as you can see, very, very diverse all over the map. Yeah, yes. Out of the mouths, you could say yes. So obviously. You’re right, the main commonalities this drive and passion that I want to bring to market a new product. Every time is a new challenge. The consumer software is all about distribution, how can we get distribution in E commerce, it was an online solution, there was a b2b model, the biometrics was yet another completely different animal dealing with government and security. So, so the, the one thing that they do have in common is a is in in all of them. I had to figure out the right product for the right market, right. So so what everybody knows us product market fit, which is a key thing. And then once you’ve got a sense of buyer market fit, you need to figure out the distribution. So you need to have a way to distribute your product that that’s going to scale. And that product market fit I think is something that relies on a certain talent, disability to somebody was calling de Henry and for the longest time say what visionary sounds like some Yeah, he was on LSD. And so I spoke to his job. But I think if you think of a market vision more in the sense of market intelligence, that is you, you understand what’s motivating people and what problem they have. That’s the key to product market fit. So I would say you answer your questions, what’s what’s coming in success for sure the drive matters, but this other piece is this ability to understand markets and, and the willingness to dig into them and look at the data and interview people and talk to a lot of potential customers that market intelligence is definitely a key success factor in doing startups.

 

Scott D Clary  09:28

I think that it’s something that I don’t know if it’s purposeful that you you found that you have a passion for or it could have been accidental because like you mentioned, you, you know, three startups, yeah, you could be a VC, but you dove into a fourth one. So why why did you decide to continually build new things when you could have taken a break? Taking a step back?

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  09:50

So I did take a break around break. I worked on my tennis. I the chip on my shoulder that hadn’t got to the level where I wanted when I was in College. So in my was in my 40s I think I went back on. I mean I mature stuff, but anyway, I took some time off. But at the end of the day you say, Okay, now it’s time to go back to work. For me, it’s, there’s nothing I’d rather do. I mean, other than family time, there’s nothing I’d rather do than then working on these new companies and products and go to market. It’s just just a superfan stuff so that it’s just as slick, slick musician you say? Well, I have a great quote for that in a music in the film. Frida Kahlo? Yes, you see a Salma Hayek who pays for that guy to go to Diego Rivera and say, Diego, I want you to look at my paintings. And tell me if it’s worth for me to continue. Should I continue? Or should I stop? I am I talented enough as a painter? And the answer is, details are. This is worthless for me to look at your paintings, because if you have it in you, you will do it whatever I say. And if you don’t have it in you, then you should stop already. And that’s how it feels is entrepreneurship, people have it in you. That’s what they’re gonna do. That’s what I’m going to do. And I’m going to do it. So it was just a matter of good opportunity. And as I mentioned, the tool for salespeople was a super exciting opportunity for me that look, this thing is going to change. So it’s happening, right? I mean, somebody is keeping track of how many tools, new tools they are for salespeople. And it was like 204 years ago, I think thing then 300 500 Nights 800 new new companies doing this fantastic. So I’m not the only one who’s seen it.

 

Scott D Clary  11:45

And I know, you’re not the only one who’s seen it, I agree because actually, I’m going to let you keep going. But I want to just bring up a point that I read on on the chili Piper website. And it was it was the change in what a salesperson is from somebody who was yeah, like a wine and dine type, you know, extroverted, like almost like Death of a Salesman type salesman. And now the salesman is, you know, incredibly aggressive revenue targets always on always connected, leveraging tack, leveraging automation, like all these different tool sets. So the life of a salesperson is difficult, it’s very difficult, and the expectations are exceedingly, just just being pushed on to sales individuals. And I don’t want to go too much down the path of like, you know, the the issues that are that I see in today’s sales environment all the way from, like entry level all the way through to management director VP and how we manage and how we motivate and, and the value we give to salespeople. But you’re right, like the sales landscape is changing. So there’s a lot of these tools and and for good reason, too, because I think people need them to to survive really happy, quite honest.

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  13:01

You guys, right? It’s got to be a lot more competitive for salespeople. And and if they don’t endorse and adopt the tools, they’re going to be left behind. That’s for sure. Yeah.

 

Scott D Clary  13:15

So what is so chili Piper, let’s speak a little bit about what problems what problems does it solving?

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  13:22

Yeah, very simple problem. So simple that when we study that that cannot be right, I cannot be the only one we see that problem. But each one of these, it was a case. b2b marketing, b2b companies spend a lot of money in marketing to bring traffic to their website, then they work hard to get them to engage. So fill a form and say, request a meeting with us talk to sales. And when the prospects fill the form and submit the form, he or she gets a thank you page that says thank you, somebody is going to call you and then they’re left wondering where who is going to call me and when. So it happened to me when I wanted to buy LinkedIn navigator for my team and I went to LinkedIn website, I submitted the form, and again, somebody is going to call you. And then a week later, nobody had called me. Eternal somebody did call me it was a FoId number. And they didn’t pick up because I don’t know anybody. Well, for at least I didn’t know this number. And so I missed that call. It turns out companies lose more than half the pipeline to the process of somebody going back but by name is too late. And that didn’t make sense to me. So we built what we call a concierge for your websites. So it’s a little JavaScript. When the prospects come in the form in real time we take the data, we qualify the prospect so we make sure it’s valid prospect. Then we find the right rep that should be in touch with that person. We dial the rep we dial the prospect that connected any the rep is not available. We can retrieve the calendar that way ability of the rep display them to the prospects and say, Hey, pick a time. Either way, the prospect is as instant gratification that they either on the phone with the right person or the time schedule for that for the business person. And the magic happens the conversion rate double, right, which really effect so when people they will no longer lose a pipeline and and they go from typically the industry. But barrier pretty paper is 40% conversion, which means that companies lose more than than 60 out of 100 people want to talk to them, then with TD paper, you get to 80 to 90%. So you doubled from 40% to an 80 to 90%. And we still working on this extra 10% that we don’t want to do is but at least now we we have a reasonable conversion rate. So that’s what chili pepper does. It’s called concierge, we, as you mentioned, we have a lot of very visible companies as customers. And around that, so we do much more than scheduling, we connect by phone we follow up we we send emails for for those who haven’t booked for 10% to catch this text person. We are very well known for scheduling a sale because we do a really good job of presenting these options and doing it in a clever way. So typically companies say hey, I want all my teams to use chili pepper for scheduling because you do such a good job with it. So we have had a net revenue retention of 140%. Because companies just extended us to the other teams and they always find a way to creative ways to, to, to use us, for example, foresters the customer, they use us to book meeting with analysts, which is our core business. And there’s a lot going on around that process, right you have to open a Salesforce case, then you have to assign to the right analyst. And maybe more than one at least you have to combine the availability of the of the the customer success rep to attend the meeting. You have to update Salesforce afterwards. So the whole bunch of things that need to happen, and we do it off the shelf in one in one step. So that’s the business. We’ve been doubling year over year. And you know, it’s relatively easy to sell solution because the ROI is so obvious. Now, it turns out that people don’t actually make decisions based on based on ROI. So I should clarify that statement. If people just decided on ri, sales process would be 30 seconds, eternally forevermore. Other concerns like how much time does it take to deploy? Do I need to change my process? And that’s why our sales team is doing a really good job in handling these concerns. But the solution benefits is very clear.

 

Scott D Clary  18:03

You know, it’s funny, because it’s all that like, again, it’s another automating tool, but it’s not it’s like I think a lot of automation tool said all sales automation tools are focused on reaching the customer. So how do you send the most amount of emails to the most people? How do you connect to the most people on LinkedIn or whatnot. But this is just basically removing all the administrative tasks and the manual tasks from from after you bring that lead in? Which I don’t know the stats, but I do know that I’ve seen studies on how many other percentage of time that sales reps don’t actually spend on selling. So this is just another another like, I really actually enjoy I saw that it was a scheduling tool. I didn’t realize it had the phone component but I think the phone component is a very I’ve never heard of that piece before where you have that automatic connection between the sales rep and the prospect so what do you like What results do you see when because you said you don’t sell in ROI but that’s fine. You can sell on you can sell a little bit on ROI. So

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  18:57

I wish I could say all right good all right so strong. It’s more like buyers don’t buy on all right. We it’s surprisingly it’s true. Or at least they buy on a more broadly evaluated our eyes and then then we know so say differently. You go to a buyer say says they are going to get typically they’ll discount what you say they won’t believe you and and won’t make them buy. Yeah, fair enough. So you have to do a bit more work.

 

Scott D Clary  19:28

Now there’s so the product itself makes a ton of sense. But I want to I want to I want to sort of pick your brain because like you’re now your Forex entrepreneur, she’s obviously business lessons that you’ve learned, that are agnostic of of product and industry. So when you bring something like this to market, you know you’ve brought this to market successfully. But there’s also a strategy you’ve employed, where you’re using a fully distributed workforce, which I thought was very interesting too. Why did you why did you choose to do that is with because now it works well with what we’re dealing with right now. But traditionally, that’s not something that a lot of people do.

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  20:09

Because in January 2016, I thought, What if a virus happens? And then we need to work from home? I say, Okay, let’s do it. I’m just kidding. I know there were two reasons why we did that. The first reason and when I say I say we, my wife, Elena is my co founder, she was running. She will, she had very senior positions running product at Bloomberg and Pearson. And eventually she wanted also to gotta teeth in the entrepreneurial world. So we started the company together. And we have this fundamental belief that there are smart and talented people everywhere. Often, I find that people are a bit naive about that aspect of life. They’ll say all the Russians are like these, the Chinese are like that. The Brazilians are like the on the you know, and we all sort of cliche, as you’re sort of funny joke, but these cliches, but where are we finding that there are talented people everywhere, in Russia, in China, in Brazil, in the US in other places. And so our first principle, say let’s find them wherever they are, and they start restrict when Brooklyn right now, our pool of talent to Brooklyn makes no sense when there’s an entire world out there. So that was the number one reason let’s get access to talent everywhere. And the second reason is, now it’s 2020. A lot of work is done in the computer, and it can be done online. As a result, you don’t have to be in a bicycle place in New York, you can be anywhere and Alina and I love traveling, we love being in different places. Every summer, I spend at least a month in Europe, in France, and at least even more like five to six weeks. And I want to be free to do that. And if I want to be free to that I want my employees to be free to do that. I want them to leave when they feel happy. So that’s the second reason say, we hire wherever you are. And then you go wherever you want, and you live the life you want, as long as you are productive. Every tool needed to be productive remotely. So it’s working beautifully.

 

Scott D Clary  22:28

And and the other thing that I wanted to touch on to that makes a lot of sense. was actually before I go on to the the marketing and intake to market of this of chili Piper, was it difficult to build that out? Or have you had experience like doing this before the previous company

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  22:41

I have experienced working with multiple locations. So I had experience with an office in Paris and an office in San Francisco or you know, this kind of configuration. So I could tell that you can work remotely. I never gone fully distributed actually the we you mentioned I think 20 cities now we 42 People in 36 cities. I think we’ve grown since we last. So 42 people, 36 cities, 16 countries. I joke that we just hired a guy in London and and we said look, can you go somewhere more exotic? Because it looks so good. This, you know, find further. We have a guy in Medellin in Colombia. And so he sends us a screenshot so beautiful that three other people decide to go there. And it did before the virus. Yeah, it was a headquarter because with the largest number of people over there. So it’s completely transparent to us what people are any works the same I don’t even know when I get on a call with somebody with a person is and the work gets done the same way.

 

Scott D Clary  24:01

I just wanted to highlight that because there are companies that do distributed, a lot of them don’t and a lot of them had to modernize for what they’re dealing with with Coronavirus right now. But the fact that you’ve done it so successfully, and that you advertise the fact that you’ve done it successfully, I think it’s something that people can learn from, because I know that like the the landscape of what a professional environment is, is changing. And I think more companies have to understand that they have to enable people to basically do what you’re doing for the reasons you’re saying. I just liked that point a lot. The one thing I wanted to discuss, so again, you’ve taken the four companies to market. They’re all they’ve all been very different. But you obviously have some idea you said product market fit, you find that product market fit. So how do you find that product market fit? Yeah, like a process or whatnot. And then how do you take the product to market agnostic of industry?

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  24:53

Do you have a process that can repeat over the years? EHRs it’s based on an acronym. Another acronym is bags.

 

Scott D Clary  25:05

Bags. I’ve never heard that one. Yeah.

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  25:07

That’s because I haven’t written a book yet. Yeah. Once they do is successful, you will. It’s the idea simple is to say, to have product market fit, your product has to be the best alternative for the goal of the segment, the ad s, so let’s, let’s work it backwards. The first thing is segment to a bi that is a you have to pick your segment of users, right. So you can be super broad, you can say, I’m going to go off the order teenagers and do Snapchat, or it can be super narrow. And you can say, I’m going to have to the enterprise 1000, the financial controller in the enterprise 1000 company and these people have this particular goal. So the one is what goal is is is highly important you segment and either poorly served, or at least you have a hypothesis on how you’re going to serve it better. And you’re going to sell it better, what you’re going to do is a better alternative for that goal. I mentioned it until a better alternative. Often people say what pain are you addressing? What pain are you addressing? And I often make the point that when the iPhone came up, I was on Sony Ericsson and I loved my Sony Ericsson. And I know been wonderful. But when I saw the iPhone, I said, Wow, I want that. Right. Right. The it’s just is no pain. It’s just the thing was so much better. Right? It was just so much a better alternative. So can you use it? That’s so much a better alternative. So very often. Companies shut up and they’re just a better alternative is the case we slack when slack came up with I was on HipChat. I don’t know if you’re familiar with HipChat, but it’s communications system like. Like slack done by Atlassian. It was quite quite well, we were quite happy. And then sexual apathy is better. There’s no question. It’s better. It’s better it’s worse day to switch. Remember Gmail when I was on the Can God no, those words email client, and he will say, we’ll try Gmail and you go to GMs. Oh, my God is better. So you get on with

 

Scott D Clary  27:27

Hotmail, right? There was nothing wrong with Hotmail just people move to Gmail?

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  27:31

Yeah, well, there was nothing wrong, except that the search was shitty. And it was so rage, and they look at that source as a bug. That’s amazing. And, and, and they went with it. So. So that’s the key thing, product market fit is the best alternative for the goal of a segment. The hard part there to help out with that. Identify a segment is easy, right, you can decide which segment you’re going after. The first hard part is identify a goal. It sounds really good, it sounds silly, but it’s actually not never too clear whether people really have a goal. There’s a really good book about that called my mom’s test, where, you know, this gets the entrepreneur and he goes his mom, say, Mom, I’m gonna do a recipe book. And mom says, That’s awesome. I’d love a recipe book. And then you look at it say, Well, does she really have a goal of finding recipes? And whatever it is, do I have that? So let’s look at does my mom we currently had recipes somewhere and the other is no. So she doesn’t have that goal. Right? She doesn’t look for recipes, because she just doesn’t have that goal. So often, you ask people this Oh, yeah, but they don’t really have that goal. So that particular goal or these how to identify key, Lee what the goal is, that’s difficulty number one. Difficulty number two is once you’ve identified good go, you build an attorney that you think is better, but the actual evaluation or whether it’s better is super tricky, right? So for example, RCC board right or concierge product. The alternative today people submit the form and SDR sales people follow up. Instead, they submit the form we connect in real time is that a better opportunity for the goal of converting these traffic into an opportunity? In this case? Yes, we do an A B test to see what is important now is a second example with teams Microsoft Teams they grow to Slack they do a new product is Microsoft team a better alternative well that’s super tricky, right? Because they have copied some feature they have some other that they’re adding and sometimes you can just lose because you you’ve done something is good but it’s just not a better alternative and you think is better because you’re it’s your baby and you you love using it but but the rest of the market evaluate differently and as a result Don’t give credit to your product. So that’s a framework. That’s how we’ve gone after the initial products at pepper with this framework. As I mentioned, sometimes it’s easier than others. If you do b2c, it’s typically harder to be set on right? Finding the better charity for personal is very hard. In b2b Typically, it can be done better. For example, when I did my biometrics company, I didn’t mentor and there was a benchmark on how reliable the face recognition was, right? So I didn’t have to convince people this soon I saw my product behave. We did the benchmark, we outscored everybody, I went to the Department of Homeland Security and say, Look, you can have this level of security with or without that much better. And it was a no brainer. So sometimes easier than others. And b2c is typically harder, which is why you see a lot of failure in the b2c space in tech entrepreneurship and also huge successes. Because if you do succeed to do something better than the market is massive, and you will fast like Snapchat did and tick tock and you know, this is apps. So that’s, that’s a framework. And I think it’s the Lifelong Learning to keep improving the one one skills about product market fit.

 

Scott D Clary  31:31

It’s a very simple framework in, you know, if you look at it from a 30,000 foot view, but it’s probably very difficult to actually implement, but the concept is very easy. Just make better things.

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  31:48

A bit more to it. But yeah, exactly. But you’d be amazed the simple framework can help you. Like somebody will say, I have a great idea I’m going to do, I don’t know, a new solution to do this. And so what do you have any evidence that there’s a segment whose goal it is to do this? Right. And we said that already that narrows down? The the possibilities of what you can do and then. So it works. No, I

 

Scott D Clary  32:21

love it. I wanted to I wanted to ask a couple more questions just about, like your insights over the over your years that your companies and whatnot. But before I move off the topic with chili Piper, was there anything else that you wanted to bring up that we didn’t discuss?

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  32:37

Well, the products, I do want to bring up? The fact that it’s an ongoing process. So you know, we did this consumer solution work with selling, but then we keep asking ourselves, what else? What else can we do? Right? So we about to release in private, better? A new solution. But along the same lines of these simple ideas, and why didn’t people think of it earlier? And the idea is to be able to comment in emails. So you work with a team, you get an email from your customers, and you want to ping somebody say, Hey, can you help me with that? It could be are you the head of a team, right? So you you, you’ve injured your reps, and it’s very timely. Right now I get tons of things from my rep saying, hey, they asking for a special favor, right? Because although they affected this way, they want their leaders to do something different for them. So you constantly have to address this exception, but you want the full context. Right? If the rep tells you, they need to delay the start date, do we agree to it, you want the full context. And so what we do that we syndicate email threads, we share the email threads. So for you, you’d say one of your apps pings you, you see all the threads of all the exchange of information and then you’re able to be very valuable advice and make the right decision because the full context. So it’s easy to share email threads on people and let them comment and discuss around them. We are going to bring that to market in three weeks. We call it collaborative inbox. It’s extension in Gmail and soon in Outlook. Two ready for comments in the in the email, we also have own inbox where people can use your more things. And we went with the same bag thing right see which segments salespeople what is their goal is to provide the best answer to their customers in their in their email, the most appropriate answer and purse getting the right decision faster. How to do that with sharing of email threads and commenting on them.

 

Scott D Clary  34:48

Now the problem, the problem like that, how did you how did you come to the conclusion that this was something that you had to solve like, that’s what I really am interested in? But because I understand it, it makes sense. But what what was the thing? What was the the straw that broke the camel’s back? He said, I can’t deal with this anymore. And then that prompted this brainstorming session or whatever. How did that happen?

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  35:16

So let me say in the case of consumer existing products, the week came me that I talked to a lot of people, they told me, I’m covering 40%. And that hit me that there was mistaken that you can possibly lose 60 of you. So I saw the problem. And I think, let’s find the solution. So it was an engineering challenge to find a solution. But the problem was clear, in this case of a collaborative inbox is not the same, because nobody came to me and say, I’m losing 60 of my emails. Right? That is it. So it was not a problem, mostly just by solution. It was more of this concept of a better alternative. And now, the answer to your question, how do you come up with a solution? First, we thought we have to do better inboxes got to be things that salespeople need in an inbox are not well served, there was a theory because it seems odd that my mother was 90, use the same tool as you she used Gmail right? To your to do what you do professionally in what she does as a matter. So some of you think that’s very odd. So that came from a different angle, where, in a sense, we were looking for a problem, which is often very dangerous, right? Yeah, you imagined problems. But that’s how we got started. We see what what things could be helpful. So we started exploring the, for example, integration with CRM, which is quite obvious, give more context to the email, that makes sense. Obviously, taking action on email was serving a task. So say, creating a task on email. So little ideas like that. And then, and then we came up with ideas that were while but the idea to be able to ping somebody on that particular email. But that would be helpful so that we were exploring ways that we could improve. And we can do that. And what we did that we deployed in Germany, so it is true, that is a better term. And we use it nonstop. Right? That is all sheet of comments and questions from Chilean box. We’re currently in the box. And so that proven to be true.

 

Scott D Clary  37:30

You’re in a you’re in a prime market for that, too. Because everybody’s trying to figure out ways to collaborate. Right? Yeah. All these all these collaboration tools are so important now. And I think that as we come out of Coronavirus, and hopefully life gets a little bit back to normal. I think the whole you know, ecos ecosystem of collaboration tools is going to become that much more important because you’re gonna have people that are going to push back on on having to work in office after they’ve been unable to work from home and whatnot. So yeah, it’s very timely, and it makes a ton of sense. Yeah, yeah. Okay, I have a couple, I thank you for bringing that up. So I like that. And I and I do like the that you pointed out, it’s sometimes it’s sometimes dangerous look for a problem. But if you know enough about your market, and you can and you can sort of think through that’s why I also find my the most successful entrepreneurs are people that come from their own industry, I think that most are not all, but I think most are people that come from their own industry, and they’re solving a problem they already understand. Now, you just you just have the ability to find problems in industries that that you may have not grown up in. But still that’s that really is the that’s the way to be successful and pretty sure as an entrepreneur,

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  38:39

yes, of course, it’s more likely succeed if you really know your industry, your problems and real question.

 

Scott D Clary  38:47

Yeah, no, that’s very good. A couple of questions, like I guess life questions is probably the best way to put them. What What would you one lesson that you would tell your younger self, your 20 year old self that would sort of take you to where you were either quicker or help you along the way?

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  39:05

Yeah, I say just go for it earlier, you know, become an entrepreneur. I think I was 28. So it’s reasonably early, but if I don’t, I would have been done earlier. So have more confidence in yourself, but do your homework. So when I look at the things that were some problems of failure is always because I didn’t do my homework or by that I mean, I didn’t research enough the market. I didn’t talk to enough people. I didn’t go and gather enough data is data sounds abstract, but it’s really cool and good. Do your homework and in reality, make sure that you’ve talked to a lot of customers. Don’t Don’t fool yourself. Make sure you you objective. So the combination of the two which is anyone have more confidence, but then don’t don’t earn that confidence in yourself by doing the homework?

 

Scott D Clary  40:02

I love it. Where do you go to? To learn? Do you have a mentor or a person? Or do you have a book that you’d recommend podcast? What’s your go to resource?

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  40:17

Books go to books and and and then I do a lot of research on on my own. So it’s a podcast is relatively new. So to me to me, because I don’t that’s one of the great thing about working remotely is that we don’t have any commute we don’t want to don’t get in the car 45 minutes in the morning. So a lot of people listen to podcasts in their car. So now got into podcasting. I love it. And I’m glad that you have put together your podcast. It’s awesome.

 

Scott D Clary  40:49

Well, you don’t know. So it is not a this is not a an invitation to promote my podcast I want to

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  40:56

just a great, thank you just finding that. You can learn a lot from podcasts. So my source of information is diverse in that way. Books podcasts online reading,

 

Scott D Clary  41:08

do you have like a like a title that that you would recommend that people that you add

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  41:13

these days we AT T pepper we’re spending a lot of time on the book by Chris boss called never split the difference? Yes, yeah. Because he does a really good analytical job around why people make certain decisions, how to get them on the right tracks. So that strong one, but there are a lot of them. Right? We there’s so much we need to learn all together. Right. So yeah, I

 

Scott D Clary  41:39

think that’s the the overall lesson is to is to just, you know, just keep keep something on going if it’s a podcast, book, whatever, just have that, you know, for me, I’ve actually, I’ve gravitated more towards podcasts just because I find them easier. And they’re bite size and they don’t take as much commitment to consume, you know, and you get access to all these incredible people quite quickly. But I’ve also you know, there’s books that I that I love and I’ve I’ve read never split the difference by Chris Voss and the hostage negotiator turn sales coach, whatever, I love it. How do I how do people connect with you, or chili Piper, if they want to reach out

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  42:21

they can just come to our website to the byproduct calm. It’s a play on word, right? So it’s pepper, it’s Piper. Yeah. And then if they want to connect with me, so I know he’s gonna sound crazy. But I was always on the quest of more productivity, I want to be more productive. And so I try a whole bunch of to do list. And I found that major risk kept increasing instead of decreasing. So it was more and more than so I thought that’s not right. So I decided to start another company and do my own to do list with a twist with a focus on achieving. And so the ad that we went live a couple of weeks ago, is called gypsy time to time. And what it does is that it helps you when you get to a task is that you focus it close down all your tabs, get you focused, and when you finish it will reopen your tabs and take you back where we are. So if you at the other place where you can find me on the internet, if you go to Jupiter in that website is a tool I’m using to be more productive and everybody can try it. GT time is spelled G IPs, why spelling of gypsies award a bunch of possible ways to spell gypsy and that’s the way we chose gypsy time.com.

 

Scott D Clary  43:41

But how did you get the motivation for the name? What? What’s the is it like a? Is there a is there a story behind it? I’m curious

 

Nicolas Vandenberghe  43:49

that there is a story behind my wife Elena is from Romania. Yeah. All right. A lot of the gypsies over there, and we were the little baby and so it looks like a gypsy but of course the gypsies exists upset so it was a joke on her it was a joke on her say I think gypsy is going to help me to start up

 

Scott D Clary  44:21

The premises smart. You know about like flow state and that those concepts just like being able to like to be hyper focused like that. That’s exactly what you’re doing. Like the some of the ideas you bring are very, very smart. And they’re things that like we all try and do. But we’ve never found products for like, I think that like you have an app that closes down my tabs and shuts off all the things I have to do that myself or else I don’t get any work done. So it by the site, does it? Yeah. Yeah.

 

Scott D Clary  44:52

Very good. Very good. So that’s all I got. So thank you very much. I really appreciate the chat for having me. Know My pleasure. So just to close it off, this has been another episode of the success story podcast. If you haven’t already, please like, subscribe, share with all your friends, families, peer co workers. You can always leave us a rating. Any rating is fine as long as it includes five stars. And if you haven’t already, you can catch this podcast wherever you can download or stream podcasts and you can also watch it on YouTube. Thanks again for listening. This is Scott signing off. Have a great week. Have a productive week and we’ll speak again soon. Bye now.

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