The Operators

The Operators

By Neil Devani
About
Starting your own company? Finally ready to make that big change?

There’s so much to learn but so little time. The Operators brings you insights on success, whether you’re building a company or a career.

Our guests are execs with operational experience at both fast-rising startups, like Brex, Calm, DocSend, and Zeus Living, and more established companies, like AirBnB, Facebook, Google, and Uber.

Listen in as they share strategies and tactics for building your first a company and charting your career in tech.
More places to listen
Starting your own company? Finally ready to make that big change?

There’s so much to learn but so little time. The Operators brings you insights on success, whether you’re building a company or a career.

Our guests are execs with operational experience at both fast-rising startups, like Brex, Calm, DocSend, and Zeus Living, and more established companies, like AirBnB, Facebook, Google, and Uber.

Listen in as they share strategies and tactics for building your first a company and charting your career in tech.
www.operators.co

More places to listen

E9: Growth - What It Is and How To Get It
In this episode, we’re talking about growth. Growth means different things at different companies, but correctly identifying avenues for sustainable and scalable growth is a priority for almost all companies. On this topic, we’ll cover: Defining growth and being good at it Managing growth without losing sight of the big picture How companies should approach growth To learn more, we spoke with two experts in the field of growth: Isaac Silverman began his career as an entrepreneur before joining the team at Zynga to work on growth development. At Zynga, Isaac focused on some of the most cutting-edge approaches to growth and development. He then moved to Postmates where he focused on growth product and is now the head of rider growth at Uber. Matias Honorato is currently a senior manager on the growth team at Tally, a growth-stage tech company, and also brings his own entrepreneurial roots and experience at companies like Earnest and Tradecraft. If you're considering a career in growth or building a company,  you can't afford to miss this episode!
56:04
November 20, 2019
E8: Recruiting Your First Hires
In this episode, we’re talking about hiring and recruiting, including why people take the risk of working at early-stage startups, when and how to work with recruiters, and how to make your first hires.  A company’s first hires are often the hardest. Money is usually too tight to pay competitive salaries. There’s no recognizable brand or reputation yet, and people more often want to work at a company that their friends and family have heard of before. There’s also fair presumption of risk and unviability. Who wants to take a job that might not be around in a year? Startup founders overcome these odds on a regular basis. To figure out how, we spoke with two experts, Farah and Kelly. Farah Sharghi-Dolatabadi began her career as a software developer and a financial advisor before moving into recruiting. She’s been a recruiter at startups in addition to companies like Google and Lyft. She’s currently a senior technical recruiter at Uber and an active career coach at HireClub. Kelly Kinnard is the Vice President of Talent at Battery Ventures, where she’s worked with startups like Wag, Coupa, Fastly, and Gainsight. She also has experience at top recruiting firms and in executive search at Oracle. If you're going to be doing any hiring in the near future, you can't miss this episode!
34:39
November 6, 2019
E7: Getting Press for Your Startup and the True Role of Communications in Tech
In this episode, we’re talking about the vast world of communications. Early on, most founders and investors focus on driving positive coverage in the press. If they’re unfortunate or mess up, mitigating negative coverage may end being a goal too. But communications also includes more broadly considering how and what information to share what inside and outside of the company. It touches on domains like management, recruiting, marketing, and business development. It’s basically everywhere. It’s also a highly optimizable domain in that the difference between using the right words and the wrong words can be the difference between dramatic success and catastrophic failure. We spoke with three communications experts to learn more: Sean Garrett was the first VP of Communications at Twitter. He previously worked for Governor Pete Wilson of California and has also co-founded two separate communications firms, with clients including Slack, Cisco, and Disney. He’s currently the Managing Partner at Pramana Collective. Faryl Ury is a former reporter, with experience at NPR and the Associated Press. Her communications experience also began in government, working for a US Senator, before moving to Square, Uber, and then Dropbox for a marketing role. She’s now the Director of Communications at Aurora, a leading autonomous vehicle company, with investors including Sequoia Capital, Amazon, and Hyundai. Adi Raval served as a journalist at both ABC News and the BBC, covering 9/11, the Iraq War, and the White House before moving into government. He was first a diplomat for the State Department, serving in Afghanistan, and then a spokesperson and Director of Communications at USAID. After leaving government, Adi was the top communications executive for the Bechtel Corporation, and most recently Head of Comms and PR for TaskRabbit. He’s also a term member for the Council on Foreign Relations.
52:21
September 26, 2019
E6: Mo Money Mo Problems: The Role of Finance in Tech Startups
Hear from two finance experts with experience from Calm, AdRoll, Morgan Stanley, Change.org, Zeus Living, and Duda as we unpack how to build a career in finance at a tech startup and how founders should be thinking about hiring and managing this function.  Our guests for this episode are: Stephanie Hsiung is the CFO of Duda, a new and exciting enterprise website builder. Prior to taking the CFO role at Duda, Stephanie served as the VP of Finance at Calm, the leading meditation and mental wellness app and recent unicorn. She was also previously the VP of Finance at Change.org, and was at AdRoll before that. Mark Kang is the Head of Finance at Zeus Living, which is one of the fastest-growing providers of furnished housing for business travelers. He brings experience from venture capital, banking at Morgan Stanley, where he managed IPOs, and also spent time at Barclays.
34:52
August 20, 2019
E5: Be a Chik-Fil-A, not a Comcast: The Keys to Amazing Customer Service
This week’s episode features AirBnB's Global Product Director of Customer and Community Support Platform Products, Andy Yasutake, and Carta's Head of Enterprise Relationship Management, Jared Thomas. AirBnB, one of the most valuable private tech companies in the world, has millions of hosts who trust strangers (guests) to come into their homes and hundreds of millions of guests who trust strangers (hosts) to provide a roof over their head.   Carta, a $1 Billion+ company formerly known as eShares, is the leading provider of cap table management and valuation software, with thousands of customers and almost a million individual shareholders as users. Customers and users entrust Carta to manage their investments, a very serious responsibility requiring trust and security.
35:15
August 8, 2019
E4: Experts from WeWork and Brex Talk Marketing: Getting the Most Bang for your Buck
This week’s edition features Christiana Rattazzi, Head of Technology Marketing at WeWork, the leading coworking company with a valuation of $47 Billion and a rumored impending IPO after almost $8 billion in financing. Also joining the show is Elenitsa Staykova, VP of Marketing at Brex, another fast growing unicorn that is the leading provider of credit cards to startups and tech companies.  In this episode, Christiana and Elinitsa explain how marketing works, how to get into and succeed in a marketing career, and how founders should think about hiring and managing the marketing function. With their experiences at two of tech’s biggest and most innovative marketers, WeWork and Brex, this episode is packed with broad perspectives and deep insights. 
40:10
July 24, 2019
E3: Understanding Your User - The Art and Science of the Design and UI/UX Behind Facebook, Google, Mint, and Edmodo
This week’s edition features Gülay Birand, UX Lead and Product Design Manager at Facebook, and Tim Rechin, Head of Design at Edmodo, the leading education technology company. Gülay and Tim share their experiences and explain design, UI/UX, how to build a career in these fields, and how entrepreneurs should think about them. Gülay and Tim bring experience from other great companies beyond just Facebook and Edmodo, including the likes of Google, Amazon, Mint, and SAP. Having seen and grown in their disciplines from across a variety of companies and customer types, they share both broad and deep insights from the tech industry.
40:04
July 11, 2019
E2: Product Management - What Even Is It? Answers from PMs at Google and Slack
This week’s edition of The Operators features Lorilyn McCue, product manager at the recently publicly listed company Slack, the fastest growing enterprise software company ever, and Jamal Eason, a senior product manager at Google, known as a training ground for great product managers.   Lorilyn and Jamal explain what product management is and isn't, how to get good at it, and how entrepreneurs should think about product management as a discipline.  More at www.operators.co
56:52
June 25, 2019
E1: Enterprise Sales w/ DocSend CEO Russ Heddleston and Acceleprise General Partner Whitney Sales
This week’s edition of The Operators features Whitney Sales, a general partner at Acceleprise, the leading enterprise SaaS accelerator, and Russ Heddleston, founder and CEO of DocSend, a fast rising document management and sharing product.  Whitney brings sales experience from Loopnet, Meltwater, SpringAhead/Tallie, and People Data Labs, before starting her own sales consultancy aptly named “The Sales Method.” Russ brings experience from founding and selling his first company to Facebook, before becoming the first sales person of the second company he founded, DocSend.  If you’ve ever had to convince anyone of anything, or are interested in a career in sales or starting a company where you will have to hire or manage sales people, you can’t miss this episode. More at www.operators.co
59:52
June 17, 2019
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