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Season 01, Episode 06

Gregg Scoresby, Founder And CEO Of CampusLogic

with Sasha and Jake

About the Episode

In this interview with Gregg Scoresby, Founder & CEO at CampusLogic, we’re talking about how to scale your startup! Gregg Scoresby is a serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of CampusLogic, a financial aid SaaS company that simplifies the student financial aid experience and lowers financial aid administration costs. The company won Invest Southwest’s Venture Madness competition in 2015 for their student self-service platform that has been called the TurboTax of Financial Aid.

CampusLogic has raised over $193M in venture capital to date.

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Full Transcript

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Sasha:
Well, thank you everyone for tuning in I’m here with Jake and Gregg Scoresby. Who’s the founder and CEO of CampusLogic, which is a Phoenix-based ed-tech SaaS platform that helps higher ed institutions digitize automate their financial aid and scholarships. I’m sure Gregg could say it much better than I could. I had a chance to work with Greg many moons ago when um when campus logic was very early in their and their development. And I’m really delighted to have Gregg here with us. I’ll let you do a deep dive into your background now that that was a snapshot of all the things that I, I love about you.

Gregg:
All right. Well, how about a shallow dive? Let’s do a shallow

Sasha:
Sounds good. Uh,

Gregg:
As Sasha mentioned, I’m Gregg here and, uh, let me tell, talk about CampusLogic briefly. Um, campus logic is similar to what Sasha said. We’re a student financial success platform. So I think a lot of people don’t realize that 3 million, uh, college students drop out every year for financial reasons. We’re trying to fix that. So we have a suite of software products that make the entire end to end financial aid experience mobile, simple, and personalized. So our customers are colleges, universities. We sell to them and most students don’t know our brand or our name, which is fine, but we work with about 750 colleges and universities in the United States and, uh, trying to transform the experience for students to make it mobile, simple, personalized, and eliminate the financial barriers that get in the way to both, uh, enrollment and completion. That’s awesome

Jake:
Out because of financial aid. I had no idea.

Gregg:
Yes. In fact, we did some surveys. We did a survey also that, uh, with, uh, in partnership with Gallup just earlier this year, and we found that, uh, three out of four students say that financial constraints got in the way of their academic attainment. So there’s this whole big movement in higher education that’s been going on for years called student success. And what people really mean when they say the student success is it’s a euphemism for retention, right? When they say student success, they mean retention, but none of the efforts, almost none of the efforts that happen at, and at colleges, universities center on, on, uh, removing the financial barriers, they’re mostly around academic barriers, but, uh, financial reasons are always the number one or number two reason in my experience at schools, why students drop out and there just hasn’t been enough focus on, on that, so that, you know, making, making the process of scholarships and grants and, uh, and loans and making, helping people make the right financial decisions and not over-borrow, uh, those things need to be, uh, in software and the process just made easier.

Jake:
Nice. So I think I read that you raised a really large round of $120 million fairly recently. So congrats on that. That’s really exciting, but I want to, I want to skip back a little bit and think back to your Series A. Thinking back there, what was the single best decision that you made after raising that series a round of funding?

Gregg:
Oh, it’s a really good question. Uh, you know, you, you tend to learn a lot after the fact, right? When you look back and realize the mistakes you made, one of the things that, uh, I realized is so important there in the earliest stage, that’s really were for us, where, uh, creating the right board dynamic really became critical. So, um, there was a partner at a venture firm in Utah called the venture firm was called, Peak Ventures. It’s now called Album VC. Uh, one of the partners there, his name is Sid Chrominhook. Uh, he wasn’t an investor, but I convinced him to invest personally. And one of the reasons I did that and to join my board was Sid had started and scaled a company, uh, that he, uh, an education technology company that he later sold to Chegg. And so that experience and bringing that operating experience into the company was really, really important into the boardroom.

Gregg:
And then, um, I was fortunate enough to have a, you know, other, other investor relationships that came onto the board then to Clate Mask also was one, my first seed investor. He was, uh, he is the CEO of Keap, which is formerly infusion soft-backed by Goldman Sachs and other investors. And he really had scaled a large software company here in the Phoenix area. And I just found his mentorship and operating mindset, even though he didn’t come from education technology. I just found his point of view to be so valuable in company building, particularly around culture and, uh, making the right decisions around the team and things like that. So, and then learning how to manage a board is, is usually a new skill for a lot of us when we’re building companies. So, and then, and board dynamics are always different, but learning to create the right board that is, uh, both valuable to us as leaders, and then also creates governance for shareholders, uh, is, is, uh, takes, takes, takes some skill and practice, but when the board dynamics work, it becomes an amplifier, or it becomes a lever, uh, for the CEO.

Gregg:
It’s not just someone I need to report to, but it becomes a tool that we can use, uh, to strengthen our companies.

Jake:
So past that, like, as you continue to grow and scale, how has your role changed as CEO AF over the last few years and how have you personally scaled up to meet the challenges that you’ve faced through each phase of growth? Well, um, even before our series, yeah.

Gregg:
One of the things that I became really, really clear, and I’ve told this story a lot, but, um, I’ve used this expression a lot, but, uh, we successfully built one of the world’s worst pieces of software in 2013. And so, uh, and it was hard. It wasn’t because we didn’t try hard. We, we put everything, we put every financial resource we had into it. We put every, you know, all of our skills and effort, but it wasn’t enough. And one of the things that I reflected back on that, that was missing was I maybe had some success in, uh, in other areas and thought, Hey, I could be successful in this area around building a scalable, you know, multitenant software as a service that is highly secure that you can sell to colleges, universities. I probably, not probably, I definitely assumed that I could, I had the skills to do this or could bring people together to do it.

Gregg:
And so, so one of the things I realized through that was I was really late in finding the right talent to come, someone who would be better at. So I try to think, think about the thing on the team or in the company that I was worst at and, and tried to get, bring someone onto the team that could help me, help me solve that problem. So Chris Chumley came and joined me in that, in that role, he’d built the world’s first cloud-based information system. He moved from Denver to join CampusLogic early. And that was because that was my weakest area around product development, and it was what he was the best at in education technology. And so, and that’s just happened repeatedly, uh, over, over the years, as I’ve tried to peel off different roles as we’ve scaled bigger and getting that team to work together, that’s, that’s probably the one thing that I’ve tried to do or be good at is being self-aware enough to know, Hey, I don’t have the right skill set in this area, and I need to find someone who’s better than I will ever be at this thing and find a way to get them to join the company.

Gregg:
Even in the, in the, in the, in the case where you might have limited resources, how do I get the right person to do this thing that I need to be done here to join me on this, on this journey.

Sasha:
So in hiring those key executives or partners early on and later stage, you mentioned needing to shut off something that you weren’t great at, but how do you know it’s the right time to hire a COO versus a CFO versus a CRO? And at what point in the business life cycle, do you bring them in?

Gregg:
Well, one of the things I’ve done a lot over the years, uh, is I spend a lot of time, on LinkedIn. I spend more time recruiting than any other CEO I know, and I think everybody should spend more time doing that. Um, and I, I mentioned that in answered, I’ll get to the, to the answer. How do you know when the right time to do it is, um, when I hired Chris, I actually, wasn’t looking for these. So he’s our chief operating officer he’s been here for since we launched our first product in 2014, he joined shortly after we launched our first product and then he’s been here. So coming up on, you know, spent over six years now. And, um, he’s always been our chief operating officer, but originally I was looking for just ahead of product.

Gregg:
In fact, I found someone on LinkedIn I was excited about and she listened, she lived in Philadelphia and she said, I’m not going to move to Phoenix. I’m not, and I’m not going to do that, but you should talk to the guy that I used to work for and his name’s Chris Chumney. And so she introduced me to him. And so, uh, I met him. I met him, through that relationship. And I, I think one thing that I’ve tried to do is be open-minded to sometimes people come along that are not exactly the role that you were looking for, but if you are a little bit flexible in how you think about your, your organizational design. So Chris was maybe a little more experienced than I was hoping to get, and I had to reach a little farther financially to get him. But, uh, it just has proven to be a really, uh, great decision. So I’d say if you’re, if you’re out recruiting all the time and you get to know a lot of people, it gives you a lot more flexibility in and trying to put the pieces together on, uh, on the, in the, in the org chart, if that makes sense. Okay.

Sasha:
Interesting. I’m curious about Chris specifically, since he joined so early, how were you able to convince him to move his family from Denver to Phoenix and live in a trailer for months and months? I’ve heard the stories. How did you show the value of CampusLogic and why?

Gregg:
So, one thing I would say to every, every CEO, every founder, every senior leader, listening to this, uh, it’s easy to forget this, but the number one thing that you had in the early days of your company to recruit is your mission. And so if, if you find people that fall in love with your mission, well, first of all, you have to be in love with your mission yourself, right? If you’re not in love with what you’re doing, people don’t want to join someone who’s old. Who’s not really committed to the cause here, but when you’re committed to the cause and people can see you’re all in on the cause and people can connect. I believe almost every person in the world wants to connect their personal purpose and their personal passion for doing meaningful work. Nobody wants to go to work every day and come home saying, Hey, it was so great.

Gregg:
I did nothing today. I did nothing impactful, nothing purposeful like nobody wants to do that. Right. Everybody wants to feel purpose and connectedness. So, so part of this is Chris felt a lot of passion around, Hey, I want to build great scalable software that transforms student experiences. It makes a difference in the lives of schools and students. So part of it is you, you, you just meet people along the way where there’s a connection in purpose, um, that, uh, that goes, that’s the best recruiting tool you have. And then with Chris, uh, you know, he, it took me about six months to recruit him. And then there was a window that opened up in his employment that he was willing to do it. And he would even tell you, he wasn’t totally sure this was going to work out, but he was willing to, to make a bet on this.

Gregg:
And we made a bunch of progress over a period of time. And after the school year finished, his wife and his kids moved here, to join him. But, um, he was commuting from Denver to Phoenix every week. And he, and it is true. He lived in an RV for nine months, uh, while, while he was doing that. But a lot of people are willing. A lot of people were willing to do things that you don’t think they’re willing to do. If they can feel a total connection to a purpose or mission or a cause because that’s what we all want. We want, we all want purpose. We all want connection. We all want belonging. Like, and nobody wants to work at a place where they feel like they don’t belong, or they don’t have passion for the purpose. And so you want to make sure you put that front and center in your recruiting efforts to do that, and then, and then find the right people.

Gregg:
And then, and then lastly, what Chris would tell you is he’s had more autonomy in this job than any other place he’s worked. So you don’t get to recruit people and then micromanage the heck out of them. You gotta, you gotta find great talent and then get, get the, get the barriers out of their way and, and partner with them so they can do the best work of their career. So I think those are a couple of things that, you know, that I would just, you know, in summary, uh, the mission is your best recruiting tool. You have lots of people, lots of people will do things you don’t think they’re willing to do or not able to do because they care so much about the mission like you do. And then, uh, and so put that front and center your recruiting efforts, but then after you recruit top talent, make sure you’re creating highly autonomous environments because top talent always values autonomy.

Sasha:
For sure that hits home for me. So that’s really great.

Gregg:
So also, do you have anything that you wanted to follow up there?

Sasha:
I did. You talked about mission and culture, but values are a big part of that too. And as someone at an ex-campus logician, I don’t know what you guys are calling yourselves. Now. I liked that though. Um, I know values played a big part, but how does, how the campus logic values, um, informs your hiring process or your company culture, or even the way that you’ve built products?

Gregg:
Yeah, well, a couple of things. I mean, values, values, um, are, are always something interesting to talk about because if you ask a company what their values are if people don’t know what the values are, that’s probably a signal. If they can’t tell you how they’ve seen the values show up in decision-making, that’s also a signal. So it’s one thing to have values that are named. It’s another thing to have them be pervasive inside the company. So just a real quick on the origin story, um, in, in 2014 or so, it was right after Chris came in and our first product was starting to really work and take off finally. And, uh, we were getting ready to launch our second product. It became clear to me, Hey, we’re going to scale something here and in, and we’re going to be hiring a lot of people in the coming years.

Gregg:
And so we want to make sure we find people that, that want to behave like we want to behave. And so that’s what values are really their behaviors, right? You want, it’s how you do the work. So the purpose is why you do the work mission is where you’re headed and values are, how are we going to behave along the way? Right. And so, um, when you think about values, uh, I ask our employees at the time, there are only about 20 of us. We have about 180 employees. Now we add about 20 at the time. And, uh, I ask everybody, uh, Hey, give me one word to describe the best place you’ve ever worked or the best place you’d ever want to work or be like, it could be one or two words, but keep these in like super short phrases or words. And from those 20 people, I got about 150 responses and group them together in where things made sense.

Gregg:
And out of that came seven phrases. And some of the words were things like effort, work, hard ambition, you know, initiative and, you know, do our best. And out of that, I pulled those kinds of words together. And out of that came the value. We work hard and give our best, you know, cause we want to work with people that work hard and, and show up and, and just give best. They have no matter how good their best is. I, everybody needs to show up and give their best. We don’t want anybody to mail it in. Right. Just show up and mail it in. And so that was another one example. Another example was, um, you know, uh, people would say kindness, nice, like take care of each other, like, you know, just be kind. And so that’s where the value we’re nice.

Gregg:
And we take care of each other, came out, it came out. So we ended up with these seven values and then that’s one thing to come up with them. And it’s another thing to make them fit into, uh, you know, into the, into the culture. So we’ve done something for years now, every couple of weeks we have a company meeting and in that company meeting, uh, we will do shout outs and I give the same instruction every time you can shout out. In fact, we’re doing it now in, in, in the global pandemic here, we’re doing it across zoom here. And we do the same thing. I’ll say, Hey, here’s the, uh, give someone a shout out if you can tie it to some specific action they did and the impact it had and tie it to the values that you saw.

Gregg:
And I’ll put the values up on the screen and people start to describe the behavior that they saw in their coworkers using the values, or they’ll say, Hey, we need to do we need to make this decision because one of our values is, uh, you know, we keep commitments and do the right thing. We told this school, we were going to do this. And so like we’re people who keep commitments and do the right thing. So we’re going to do it. It’s not convenient. It’s not easy, but as we said, we do it, we’re going to do it. And that is just, uh, it, it sure makes, uh, managing the company a lot easier when you’re the leader, when you’ve got these sort of self-governance that happens with really strong values and you have to make those values, uh, persist and be meaningful, uh, in the company. Yeah.

Jake:
I had a manager describe values to me as these are the rules, the guidelines, like how you make decisions when I’m not around to tell you what to do or what decision to make and tying everything back to values. Like it helps guide that, that thinking, and, oh, I should make this decision this way, because that ties more closely with our values versus like, it’s the easier thing to do. I like that a lot.

Gregg:
Yeah. You know, and it’s always helpful. This is something I wish I would have done even more. We’ve done this a little bit after the fact, but whenever you can connect, uh, all, I call them core texts or like books to support the values. It also, because even, even for short phrases, even though they are better than individual words, people still want to go deeper into what that means. So one of the things – I’ll use one example of the value I mentioned. We’re nice when we take care of each other. I read the book Radical Candor a few years ago. And one of the things I really like about that book is, is the simple principle of care personally, and challenge directly. And I think that what I always worry about with the value, we’re nice and we take care of each other is, Hey Sasha, doesn’t want to tell me that I’ve done something that’s, that needs to be fixed because she’s just being nice and she’s not gonna, she’s not going to give me direct feedback.

Gregg:
So, you know, whenever you have values, you as a leader that is strong in your culture, you’re going to be spending a lot of time, and this is worth the investment. You’re going to be spending a lot of time clarifying what those values mean and a set of core books, uh, clarify that. I mean, part of being nice includes being very direct, you know not to mean, but, uh, kind and direct is what we really want. Um, because directness is efficient and directness is, uh, people can, people can receive directness if it’s done kindly and they can take that feedback and they can improve, and everybody wants to be better at their craft. So I do think you, you always have to think about having values, making sure they have meaning and they persist for the longterm. Yeah. I like the core set of books.

Gregg:
I’m going to, I’m going to think more about that. I think that’s really cool. Yeah. That’s good. Well, part, part of that is like you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There’s been, there’s so much great management thinking out there that there’s so much, there’s so much great content out there. And if you read something it’s been transformative for you as a leader then, and you and you, and it, and it lines up really well to your outlook in life, you need to, uh, you need to make sure everybody on your team reads that book. Right. So that you create more unity around, around some of those principles like that.

Sasha:
I’m curious, how has, have you hired to your values? How do you evaluate if a potential new hire will align with the core beliefs and behaviors that you think are essential for CampusLogic?

Gregg:
Yeah. We don’t always get this. Right. Um, but when we’ve let people go, um, almost entirely, you know, when you think about it, because there’s a value miss, uh, very rarely. In fact, I can’t think of a single time where we let someone go because they weren’t smart enough, you know? And so it’s not usually intellect. And you know, one of our values is about effort, but I would say very rarely have we ever let someone go because of effort it’s because of something else like if you’re a jerk like if there’s if you’re there’s toxic behavior, that doesn’t, that doesn’t happen here, it doesn’t persist here. And so, uh, it is hard. And we, so we, we, you know, when you, whenever you let people go almost entirely, you realize there something in their behavior that just didn’t fit with what we’re doing and behaviors again, are our values.

Gregg:
And so it was a miss in the hiring process. So what we’ve tried to do is we’ve tried to create a set of questions that, uh, that get to the values, but recognizing that values, our behaviors using behavioral interviewing is obviously a core technique and getting to how people work and how people behave. Uh, so questions like, and there’s a lot been written about behavioral interviewing, but tell me about a time when the outcome for a particular project or assignment wasn’t clear and you know, what, what did you do in that situation, and if you’re trying to get to the behavior, that might be a question you might ask if you’re trying to get to the value of resilience or something like that, or, or, or initiative or innovation or something like that. But you need to develop a set of questions that, uh, get to the specific behaviors you’re trying to get to with your, with your values, and then have people describe experiences that they’ve had, or were done historically.

Gregg:
And when you do a reference check, you know, make sure you’re reference, checking against those stories and against those values and behaviors, so that you’re trying to get a holistic picture. And then if you have concerns in the interview process about, um, about a particular set of values, I think it’s really helpful to tell the candidate, Hey, I just don’t know enough about you to feel comfortable on this particular value and if or something you said doesn’t resonate. And if people get defensive in that conversation probably evidence that that might not work out, but usually people want you to, you know, people that have strong values that will align with what you have almost, almost always. They want to lean into that conversation too because if we want to show up where we belong, we want to feel like we belong and fit in where people share our own values as well. So I do think that you, you, you, you get at this through questions and reference checks, but you have to be pretty intentional about the other questions that you asked.

Jake:
So time for some reflection. So through all of those rounds of funding, which you’ve had quite a few key hires, you talked about going from 20 employees to 180 employees, what would you say has been like the biggest mistake you’ve made or biggest regret that you have from that time?

Gregg:
I think of a sort of a semi cop-out answer a little bit, I here. So there’ve been a lot of mistakes and I’ll, I’ll share some, I’ll talk more about probably some of the product mistakes early on and, and where I’ve, you know, where I’ve, maybe over-managed, I very rarely have felt like I’ve, under-managed, it’s usually where I felt like I have over-managed, but I will also say that as a leader, I’m really happy with where we are now as a company. We don’t, I don’t think we’re perfect. We make a lot of mistakes all the time. Um, but if you’re happy where you are at the moment, you do need to embrace a little bit, some of the mistakes you made and that’s true in life as well. I mean, part of, part of being happy with where you are now is recognizing that the mistakes you made and the associated learnings you had have contributed to your current state.

Gregg:
So, you know, I don’t, uh, I guess I don’t have a lot of regrets just because I’m happy with what we’re doing now as a company. I think we’re making a tremendous difference in the lives of students and, and the schools that serve them. Um, I will say where I’ve made mistakes mostly have been around, uh, there’ve been some hiring mistakes, but much less of those and much more of, uh, just getting out of the way of, of people. I will. I’ve said this before, too one thing I’ve thought about that wasn’t obvious to me when we started the company, that most of us are happier in a particular stage in a company. There’s a lot of people that are, I want to create the foundation for the CRM or the foundation. I want to put it in the first sales process.

Gregg:
And I wanna make this thing work. I want to put a structure in this, but once there structure and I have to start managing people, I may like it a little bit less, or when I have to manage managers, that’s another breaking point for a lot of us is as leaders here. So one thing that I don’t know if I’d say it’s a mistake I’ve made, but I’ve probably encouraged people to stay at CampusLogic too long in some cases, or maybe kept people too long. When it, when in fact looking back, it was obvious to them that their superpower was in this like zero to $1 million annual recurring revenue stage where so many things go wrong in that stage. And they are just great, they’re generalists, and they are great at that thing. And they, they can they’re utility players and they can do whatever, or they’re great in that one to $10 million annual recurring revenue, but once it starts getting bigger than that, they lose interest.

Gregg:
And so I do think there are some semi-logical breaking spots where you start getting to, I have to manage more people than I really want to manage. So I want to get back into a smaller company and that’s not unhealthy. It can feel unhealthy when someone’s leaving. I can feel hurtful when someone’s leaving, but it’s actually pretty healthy and pretty natural when you think about it. And so we shouldn’t, uh, we shouldn’t try too hard to make people stay or like fit into something that isn’t comfortable for them or comfortable for the company. It slows their progress and development. Um, and it slows the development of the, of the company. So I think sometimes I probably have not been as thoughtful about, uh, about that. Recognizing that some people just are more drawn to and have more value. Uh, and they’re just, they’re just happier at different sizes of companies in different stages of companies.

Sasha:
No, that’s super true. Speaking of different sizes and stages, I’d be curious about your compensation and benefits philosophy. Do you have one and if so, has it changed as you’ve scaled?

Gregg:
Yes. Good question. So one of the, uh, early from, from day one in the company, one thing that was really important to me was the principle of everybody and owner. And that’s not true. Not everybody, not every business has that philosophy, but for me, I wanted to build a company where I knew we were going to raise, uh, outside money from venture capital firms and private equity firms over a long period of time. And I knew there would be, uh, chances or opportunities in one form or another for wealth creation to be had. And I really wanted all of our employees to, uh, to benefit from that. And you know, it’s been very, very valued, valuable to me, very satisfying to me when we’ve had chances to sell stock. And I’ve had someone come to me and say, I just was able to sell a little bit of stock.

Gregg:
And, um, I was able to sell enough stock to buy a house. And I did never thought I’d be able to buy a house or pay off my student moms, or, you know, something a really material event for them. And that feels really good. And so that we’ve done that from day one. And, and so as, uh, just the general compensation philosophy, I want everybody to be an owner and have ownership in the company. And then, um, and, and that’s been true and continues to be true and always will be true. One thing that’s changed a little bit, a few years ago, and I’ve struggled with the right bonus programs. To me, bonus programs, do a couple of things. The bonus programs can be used to reward, reward people, obviously, but it can also be used to align people. And so to me, it makes sense what we know we’re in, we sell to school colleges, universities, we’re selling an enterprise-level product, and, uh, sales cycles are long.

Gregg:
So we have a sales comp plan. That’s a typical sales enterprise sales comp plan, but everybody else in the company is on the same compensation plan. And I wanted everyone to orient around a single metric. So we don’t have individual bonus plans outside of sales reps. We don’t have individual bonus plans. We have a company level bonus plan. And if we hit our end, you know, we had our quarterly revenue target. Everybody participates in the plan. And there’s a little bit of differentiation on how we, uh, how we allocate that up. I mean, if someone’s not performing well, they wouldn’t get anything, but they’re getting a specific message that says, Hey, you didn’t, this last quarter was rough. And, and you didn’t do these things. And your contribution was, was rough here. So you’re not getting analogy, you know, an allocation or getting a smaller part and that forces a performance conversation.

Gregg:
And at least on a regular, I don’t like doing that on an annual basis, but quarterly or, or more of a, so it forces our leaders to do that. But that’s, that’s an exception really, right? Most of our 70 to 80% of our company is getting, uh, kind of roughly the same percentage of their salary. Uh, every single quarter. In fact, it’s actually 80 to 85%, and then maybe like five to 10% are in this, um, kind of needs improvement area. And then five to 10% are, uh, Hey, you did something off the chart. Outstanding last quarter, it was specific in the quarter and they might get a slightly higher allocation. So, but this is all the same plan. And this plan is funded by revenue attainment. So we all win by the same metrics. So product needs to build a product that enables us, to continue to grow revenue in our customers.

Gregg:
Success needs to retain customers. Otherwise, we won’t get our revenue goal, you know, and, uh, you know, marketing needs to continue to market to customers and, um, and support that, uh, support our overall revenue goals. Otherwise, we won’t be able to participate. So that’s new for us in the last couple of years. And that’s been, it’s also created a quarterly cadence for me, where I’ll do a quarterly review with every one of our leaders of every single employee. We call it calibration where we’re, where we’re recalibrating or calibrating on, on performance every quarter. And so that’s been newer for us and I’d say it works pretty well. It’s not perfect, but it works pretty well enforces performance-related conversations, and also allows us to recognize top talent on a quarterly basis and figure out how are we going to continue to develop and advance this, uh, this top talent.

Sasha:
I love that. Uh, Jake, before you dive into your last question, I have an impromptu crazy question, but diversity inclusion and belonging have been on my mind quite a bit. And I know Gregg, this is something that you care about a lot, but how have you personally, or how has the business try to advance DEI goals? Um, over the last, I guess the duration, the company, I know you’ve cared about this since starting campus logic

Gregg:
When we had 20 employees or so early on, I thought, you know, it was like, uh, 18 guys and Sasha and one other person, or like something like that, I guess it was, we didn’t, we didn’t, we didn’t have a bro like a typical bro culture, but it was a lot of dudes. And so, and in fact, a lot of white guys, I, to be honest, um, and, and part of that is probably a little bit geographically where, where we live, but, um, but I, I would say that it occurred to me then that, Hey, we need to do a way better job, uh, to just create a more interesting place. Uh, I do believe, I do believe if you pursue diversity equity inclusion, I’ll say diversity in particular because you think it’s the right thing to do. It’s hard to sustain something that you think is the right thing to do because not everybody thinks it’s the right thing to do.

Gregg:
If it’s the right business thing to do, and it’s going to drive the right business metric and people really believe that that’s sustainable. And so it is the right thing to do, but one of the reasons it’s the right thing to do, and I’m talking about diversity here is the more, the more different, the different perspectives you can bring to problem-solving. Uh, you’ll just solve problems faster. I mean, this has been replicated in study after study. And so if you want to create more shareholder value for your investors, for you, for your employees, uh, you want to create more value for your customers and build products that reflect, uh, you know, the solve problems for them and their, their customers. You need to have really diverse perspectives to do that. So it’s a, it’s a business strategy tool to drive diversity. So I was really focused on gender equity several years ago, and gender, uh, I’ll say gender diversity, uh, followed by gender equity to constantly make look at comp and opportunities.

Gregg:
So, um, and I’m was really proud of the fact that half of our executive team is female. About half of – 60% of our overall leadership team is female. And about 45% of the overall company is female, which for a software company is really, really remarkable. However, uh, you know, there are a lot of events where it happened in your life that make you wonder, maybe make you rethink things. So, I don’t think that I’ve been very thoughtful about this in the last couple of years. Uh, George Floyd’s killing, um, has been, had a particular impact on, on everybody. I don’t think I’m not unique there, but it’s made me rethink, Hey, how are we, how are we showing up for, um, our black employees versus white employees? And how are we doing that? We’re pretty underrepresented on, uh, Hispanic employees. And so we’ve tried to be more intentional and that’s been, some of that’s been pre George Floyd, but probably accelerated since George Floyd’s killing, but try to be more intentional about our employer branding.

Gregg:
I think we still have some more work to do there. Um, so, uh, but, but that’s been a little bit of the evolution on about how I’ve been thinking about this and by the way, um, me too movement was a big part of our conversation a few years ago. Right. And, and so, and so some of the gender equity conversations were influenced by that. So some of these societal events, I want to change, I want these things to change my own heart and my own mind and by extension the company. And so, um, I’m thankful for, you know, the positive impact, some of these negative societal things have had, on me and the, and the company. Um, I, I do think it’s helpful to think about diversity, equity, and inclusion as distinct things. It’s easy to blend those together as one word, but diversity is sort of like, uh, you can think of diversity, I think as to how diverse are we, that’s sort of a quantitative measure.

Gregg:
Like you could have high diversity and crappy inclusion really, right? So we’ve got a diverse team. We’ve got a diverse employee set, but nobody feels included. They don’t have a sense of belonging. They don’t feel like they, I belong here. So you, you need to think about looking at diversity as a, am I bringing in diverse thought and opinion and experience into the company and equity, am I providing, uh, you know, equal opportunity and equal access to, uh, to all of that, all of my diverse population and then inclusion is how people feel. And so measuring each of those things, how diverse am I? How equitable am I and how inclusive am I, I think can really be. And then, and then, and then creating a conversation internally around those three things. It really has provided a better framework for me than just blending all these things together because they are discrete concepts and you can be good at one and not good at another. And your work in this area is never done. I mean, that’s the thing as a leader, you have to recognize is that it’s never, nobody ever says, you know, we’re just too diverse. No, we’re just, we’re just too, we’re just too inclusive. We’ve got too much equity going on. Nobody ever says that. And so you just have to recognize that it’s a, it’s going to it. If it’s not part of the conversation on a regular basis, something’s probably not right. And you’re never going to feel like you’re too successful in that area. Nice.

Jake:
I liked that. That was really thoughtful. Thank you. All right. So the last question, let’s close with this. So this is more for like founder advice. What’s the most common mistake you see founders make, and what’s one piece of advice that you find yourself giving startup founders over and over.

Gregg:
Well, I made a presentation last week that, uh, actually Sasha saw I’ll, but I’ll use the same. I’ll use the same thing from this. Um, a friend of mine, Heidi Jenga, who was one of the co-founders of Web PT, a remarkable success story in Phoenix on it, you know, um, I don’t know their revenue, but they’ve got 300 plus employees. I’m going to guess they’re over a hundred million in annual recurring revenue. And, um, but it just a remarkable success story, uh, backed by that battery ventures and now Warby Parker, I mean, both remarkable investors, uh, that, that they’ve been part of. She and I were on a panel, um, earlier this year. And, uh, this was, this question was posed to, to us. And I went first and Gabe gave this answer of, Hey, I think that, uh, you know, everybody, you know, founders need to go big because a lot of times founders are just focused on, I just need to build this thing and then just sell it because it’s really hard work.

Gregg:
I just need to build this thing and sell it, or it’s gonna be better when I get to here. And, and, and so founders sometimes have a short point of view. So my message was go big, go long, go big, build something to scale, like lean into leadership, lean into scale and go big. And Heidi went next on the panel and she said, I’m actually going to say the exact opposite. And she said, go more or less. She said, go small. And, but what she meant by that, and she clarified showed it’s really an interview really, uh, a lot better than I will now, or, or, or could say she said, uh, you know, I remember when then I got some advice, someone early in my account, early in my company, and it was just, Hey, solve the problem right in front of me, like fix it and get it right.

Gregg:
And fix it and nail it. And, you know, my message was scale it and her message was nail it, right. That was her message and both are true. And, but one thing that’s really hard as a, as a founder, very, very hard as a founder is to recognize the shift that you’re constantly going through. There is always something to fix. So fix this thing, but don’t lose sight of the fact that if you can build a big meaningful company, you can create better lives for your employees. And that is, I just think the promise of company building is super powerful. I think when you create a healthy culture in your company, then you make people’s family lives better. You create a better, you create more economic opportunity for them and their kids. You create a better sense of purpose when people, when your employees can connect their personal purpose to your, to the company’s purpose and the mission.

Gregg:
And so I, I think, uh, and if you, it creates something that’s big and meaningful and purposeful, you can really transform the lives of your employees and the customers that you serve. So I’m a big believer in trying to build something that’s mission-driven, big, and impactful. And, uh, but at the same time, you’re as early in the early days, you’re constantly just like I got, I just, I got this bug in my software. I got to fix this right now, who cares about going big? I got to just fix this thing. And so I would say like, do both, like fix the problem, get very focused on the immediate priority. And don’t lose sight of that, like fix this thing right now. And, uh, and, and stay and be very, very focused, like the focus is key, but don’t lose sight of the fact that the opportunity to do something transformative and scale.

Gregg:
So I would say, and there’s a book that has this same title, but, you know, nail it and scale it. You gotta do. You gotta do both. Nice. That was great. Thank you so much. Um, I, this was fantastic again, you know, like, you know, the answers to your questions, very thoughtful, super insightful. Um, thank you for spending time with us. Oh, thank you. Thanks. I always love, uh, I always love, uh, talking about company building it’s. I think it’s an important thing to do. I think it’s a noble thing to do. And I, I w one of the things that makes me a little, a little sad right now, that’s happening. Some of this is because of student debt. Some of this is because of the pandemic, but, you know, company creation and formation are really low right now. And we need more people, to be able to build meaningful, sustainable businesses. And so I think to the extent that your podcast and other podcasts and tools can help give people the confidence to keep going and build something meaningful. I think it’s a critically important time to do that. I couldn’t have said that better myself.

Gregg:
I love you, Greg. Thank you so much for coming on our show. Thank you. Thank you.

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