Company culture and start-up life is something that we're all invested in here at LinkSquares-- and it all starts at the top. To give you a peek into our world, here’s a round-up of some key insights from Vishal Sunak, CEO at LinkSquares. Keep reading for the top 5 insights he’s shared on various podcasts.
Insight #1: On Company Culture and How We Build
Team Culture and Customer Centricity
“(Our culture) is focused on high performance to begin with, and a high amount of accountability, especially across departments. It starts with the C-level team, we all have a high amount of respect and accountability with each other being able to work together functionally to get the things done in the business.
Then it transcends down. We did architect the company around the ARR line and we still do in a lot of ways. I evangelize to everyone in the company that we're all responsible for this line, no matter what job role you're in. You may think you're working dev ops or QA, but you also work in the business of making this line possible with happy customers and new features and new products that come out that people want to buy. We're all responsible for it.
From there I try to bolt-on doing fun things. I have a great culture committee that just formed naturally, with people across departments. They're mostly earlier employees that have been with us on the journey, which is great to have.
We do weekly all hands meetings, and what we call "customer stories". Someone on the sales side or someone in engineering can talk about a story about a customer, a new logo, an account that they're excited about, or an issue that they worked through.
Anyone in the company can nominate anyone to tell a customer story. I think the coolest thing is that now everyone looks forward to it and it's a reason for everyone to get together for a half hour before the weekend, and evangelize around customers that make all this possible."
-Vishal Sunak on The Uncovered Podcast: The entrepreneur’s journey is a long one — full of unknowns, risks, and opportunities at every turn. At PJC we have your back. With our Uncovered podcast, we aim to expose some of these unknowns so you can better understand what to expect and how to prepare. Each season you’ll hear from first-time founders to repeat founders, to low and high profile companies, taking you behind the scenes to reveal the secrets and stories previously untold.
Insight #2: Vishal’s Advice to Entrepreneurs
“Validate what you’re doing, and take more time. Take another six months more than you think. I think there’s always that moment where you just want to say, “I’m done. I got this idea, I want to jump in.” And that’s cool. But, before you spend time and resources and money, potentially building the wrong product, just get that product right. For us, it was General Counsels. When we started the company, I knew exactly zero of them. So it was like, how are we going to validate? After we got the feeling that we were on to something and got the knowledge that GCs were the best buyer of this product that we’re dreaming up, then how am I going to get access to this buyer?
I’m going to talk to 10 General Counsels, 50 General Counsels, 100 General Counsels and make sure we’re headed in the right direction. I think that that can be lost along the way when people say, “Man, we’ll just figure it out. We’ll just get going.” If you can hold back and show a little restraint, and make sure that you know you’re building the right thing, especially on the software side, you can definitely get out of the gate faster."
-Vishal Sunak on Sales Hacker: The Sales Hacker Podcast is carefully designed to give you tangible, practical insights about B2B sales. Every Tuesday, top VPs of Sales, investors, and founders will gather ‘round the sales roundtable to break down sales strategies, make you think, and help you deliver a gut punch to your sales goals.
Insight #3: On Company Culture Responding to
“We have a nice office-type of company and love that environment. Loved the energy that you'd get coming to the office, getting through Boston traffic, both directions depending on where you live, and getting to the office and making that a part of it. We’ve been at home since mid-March, doing the work from home thing... and we’re highly tuned into our employee base.
We survey a lot, we ask a lot of questions like: "What’s your work from home situation?" Are you living in a big house and you have your own dedicated office? Then yeah, you could probably go for another year and a half if we had to. But, are you in a bad living situation with lots of roommates? Are you having a hard time functioning at home? Thinking about that. We're thinking about where people are at within our employee base with the diversity we have of age, and trying to accommodate them.
We’re going to continue to monitor what’s going on. But, trying to offer flexibility. Whether it’s like, “Hey, you know what, I’m just going to work from home pretty much indefinitely.” “Hey, that’s cool.” Or, “I got four roommates and I live in a small apartment and if I spend any more time here, I’m going to go insane.” And so, “What can we do to help?” is what we've been focusing on.
Trying to be accommodating... I think it’s a positive thought that we're still able to connect and keep the culture going, which is really important to us, and continue to do our regular Friday hangout over Zoom.”
Insight #4: What Was the Story Behind
"My co-founder, Chris, and I were working at a tech company in Boston, and the tech company went through an acquisition. The other bigger company came in, and they were interested in purchasing this company. Chris and I were supporting the integration of the two companies.
One of the things that the acquirer wanted to know what was inside all of these customer agreements that we had. We had like 6,000 or 7,000 customer agreements. This was beyond $20 million run rate type of revenue company. We had lots and lots of customers.
Through the years of me being in an operations role, I had seen a lot of red lining going on our subscription agreements, and us taking third-party paper when we worked with big brands. Knowing intimately that if the acquirer asked us right now like, which contracts have unlimited liability for data breach, or a blocker on change of control, or assignment only with permission-- some of these really important business terms that we've already agreed to-- we didn't track any of it.
As a Series B company growing like a rocket ship, it's super hard to think about tracking this data. When these requests were being asked of us by the acquirer, so that they could get a better basis of understanding of this business that they were purchasing where I worked, we quickly began to figure out that the types of questions that they were asking were impossible to answer without a really, long, manual review, where we would try to collect all the files and try to read them all to try to document and record this information that they were looking for.
Having purchased maybe a $1 million worth of software products for the startup I worked at and help to implement them, I went out and took a look at what tools existed in the market, in the contract space. Contract management is not a new category.
A lot of the software that you can find is primarily driven by the needs that exist for a company pre-signature, before a document gets executed. This type of problem that we were trying to solve is completely different, which is like, these documents are already executed. This is not a better way to get them to signature.
What we needed was a tool to help us understand what we've already agreed to and we didn't feel like there was anything substantial in the market. We saw it as a big opportunity. We thought to ourselves, we can't be that different, we're a venture-backed software company, growing like a rocket. We went out with that idea, and that's how the company started."
-Vishal Sunak on The Tech Talks Daily Podcast : Keep informed of the latest business and tech trends by listening to stories of other people in your field and how they are overcoming challenges with emerging technologies. Learn from the guest's actionable tips, and lessons learned to obtain greater clarity and how you can leverage technology. We discuss how tech trends such as AI, machine learning, 5G, IoT, AR, VR blockchain, crypto, and digital transformation strategies are already reshaping our world.
Insight #5: What's next for LinkSquares?
"Maybe one day, going back into our office in Boston, which we all really like. Continue to evolve our product offering, and continue to help these companies.
I'm excited about focusing on controlling the things we can control. There's a lot of things that we can control in terms of how efficiently our company can operate. One of the things we can control is product development.
Continue to push harder on the product development. Continue loading up on the features that our customer wants and have been begging us for. And then we can continue to have lots of happy customers, and go find a whole bunch more."
To hear more from Vishal, check out his podcast appearances listed below. And, if our culture sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, check out our careers page. We'd love to hear from you!
Vishal Sunak on Law Next: LawNext is a weekly podcast hosted by Bob Ambrogi, who is internationally known for his writing and speaking on legal technology and innovation. Each week, Bob interviews the innovators and entrepreneurs who are driving what's next in the legal industry.
Vishal Sunak on The Journey: It only takes one idea or one story to change the whole trajectory of your life, career, and work. In each episode of The Journey, we talk to entrepreneurs of all stripes, so you can prime yourself with the knowledge and mindset you need for your own journey.
Vishal Sunak on B2B Growth: A daily podcast for B2B marketers. 3.5 million downloads and over 1,600 episodes. Co-hosted by a braintrust of people that would never use a word like braintrust.
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