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Putting people before the product: ChartMogul CEO, Nick Franklin – Look at that SaaS

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Putting people before the product: ChartMogul CEO, Nick Franklin

When you’re running a SaaS business, it’s easy to keep your focus on the product. So sometimes we forget that we’re collaborating with people to build a product for people.

And the people side of business often brings the biggest challenges: we’re unpredictable, prone to procrastination, and often irrational. But we’re also passionate, driven, and creative.

When it comes to running ChartMogul, founder and CEO Nick Franklin keeps his focus on his team to make sure he gets the best from them, for the business. Here, he talks us through a typical day and shares some insights into leading a team of over 30 people.

Start your day right

I usually wake between 7:30am and 8:15am each day, depending on what time I went to bed the night before. Coffee is probably the most consistent thing about my mornings, and the one thing I rely on to get me going. I’m not a huge morning person, but I’d say I’m looking forward to getting into work at least nine mornings out of 10.

Focus on people first

Now that our team has grown, effective collaboration is a challenge we face every day. In the early days it was easy to work together as a small team — but now that we’re 34 people, we have to be mindful about how each team member works.

People all have different working styles: some like a lot of structure, others prefer the freedom to set their own routines. So with more people, getting everyone working together efficiently towards a common goal is harder than it used to be. Sometimes it’s difficult getting everyone aligned or making sure they’re communicating well.

To tackle this, we try to hire ambitious people with something to prove, and we make sure to give them the things they need to be successful and contribute their best work. I’ve learnt over the years that there’s no way to force anyone to be productive.

Remind yourself why you got into this business in the first place

During the times I don’t feel like going to work, I remind myself of what drives me. I love it when customers find our product useful and enjoy using it. I love taking a software domain like analytics that still hasn’t really been subjected to SaaS-style “consumerization of the enterprise” and trying to make it beautiful, easy to use and available to more businesses.

And I love seeing our team succeed, watching our people grow and become successful because they worked at ChartMogul.

Integrating your work into your life

I get back from the office around 7pm on a typical evening, other times later. But even when I’m home, I work a bit more and go to bed around midnight. I know that the work is never complete, so I can’t switch off straight away.

I never found strong meaning in the term “work-life balance”: work is a part of my life, and usually my job doesn’t feel like work for me. But I do have a daughter, and I try to carve out enough dedicated time to spend with her without distractions.

Take the bad days with the good

Every now and again, something will come along that sets you back: an employee leaving, losing a big customer, or dealing with an unexpected crisis. These are the things that turn a usually good working day into a bad one. But I always try to keep a focus on the things that go well.

A good day might mean finding a great new hire, winning a big sale, releasing a new feature, or hearing some glowing feedback from a customer. Sometimes it’s just the smaller, subtle signs that things are working well and we’re making progress. Whatever it is, I love what I do and I’m lucky to be doing it. If and when things do go wrong, I always make sure we come back stronger.

 

Founded in 2014, ChartMogul helps thousands of companies — from single-person startups to multinational scale-ups — turn their revenue data into a source of insight and growth.

Are you a SaaS founder and want to be featured on our blog? Please contact liyang@emailoctopus.com

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