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Think Like an Owner

Business & Economics Podcasts

Exploring how the most ambitious CEOs grow great companies. Each week we dive into the strategies and tactics that build transformative businesses with the operators doing it firsthand. Learn more at https://tlaopodcast.com/

Location:

United States

Description:

Exploring how the most ambitious CEOs grow great companies. Each week we dive into the strategies and tactics that build transformative businesses with the operators doing it firsthand. Learn more at https://tlaopodcast.com/

Twitter:

@aebridgeman

Language:

English


Episodes
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Sara Heston - Stanford Search Fund Study 2024 - Ep.232

7/16/2024
Ep. 232: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Sara Heston (@sara-heston). My guest today is Sara Heston. We discuss the latest findings from the 2024 Stanford Search Fund Study, which reviews trends from the past two years. Key topics include rapid growth in the Search Fund industry, changing searcher backgrounds such as 24% of searchers not having an MBA, return trends, drivers of outsized returns, and industry dynamics. Sara also shares her transition to a director role at Anacapa. The episode provides a primer on the Search Fund model, making it an excellent resource for those less familiar with Search Funds. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ Links: 2024 Search Fund Study Sara on LinkedIn Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:03:13) - What are some high-level takeaways from the study? (00:04:26) - Why has the number of investors declined? (00:08:16) - Is there a formula for the ideal Searcher? (00:09:49) - How much more prepared are Searchers today than 10 years ago? (00:12:10) - What stood out to you regarding the number of LOIs and industries Searchers are looking at? (00:16:47) - What are you looking to track regarding long-term holds? (00:20:25) - How do you see entrepreneurs exiting holding companies? (00:26:24) - Discussing the 2017-2020 cohort (00:31:41) - Are there any changes in the questions you’re asked by students interested in Search? (00:33:28) - The increase in women and minorities in Search (00:35:00) - What do you hope to see in future studies?

Duration:00:39:17

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Rick Ruback & Royce Yudkoff - Think Big, Buy Small - Ep.231

7/9/2024
Ep.231: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Rick Ruback and Royce Yudkoff. My guests today are Rick Ruback and Royce Yudkoff, both Harvard professors for entrepreneurship through acquisition and co-authors of the most popular and well-known piece of content in search, the HBR book How to Buy a Small Business which I would consider the bible of the search fund world. It’s one of the first resources I recommend for folks wanting to learn about search, besides this podcast of course. On top of the book, Rick and Royce have now launched their own podcast titled Think Big Buy Small that is a great primer for search funds, especially self-funded models, and I highly recommend giving it a listen. Rick, Royce, and I talk about their careers as professors, case studies on small business they often reference, common threads through case studies and advice for new CEOs, ways search has changed, and the mission of their new podcast. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ Links: HBR Guide to Buying a Small Business Think Big Buy Small Podcast Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:02:18) - What made you decide to write the book? (00:07:17) - How have you become a more effective teacher? (00:12:29) - What cases or scenarios have been most challenging for CEOs to work through? (00:19:03) - What are some reasons searchers buy cyclical businesses? (00:25:06) - What recurring concepts are you trying to teach or questions CEOs ask? (00:28:32) - What are your favorite cases to teach? (00:33:16) - What’s changing or evolving in the Search space? (00:40:56) - What are the missions and goals of the Podcast? (00:46:11) - What would you add if you wrote a new book edition?

Duration:01:02:05

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Anand Sanwal - Developing Insurgent CEO Instincts - Ep.230

7/2/2024
Ep.230: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Anand Sanwal (@anandsanwal). My guest today is Anand Sanwal, founder and former CEO of CB Insights, which provides data and intelligence on private markets, companies, and investors. Anand recently hired a new CEO for CB Insights and stepped into a chairman role. Anand ran the company for 14 years and developed a unique perspective on leading that I was really excited to learn more about. He’s a deep thinker, and if you liked recent episodes with Henry Schuck and Ayman Al-Abdullah, you’ll love this one too. Anand and I talk about why he stepped out of the CEO role and the type of person he looked for to replace him, how new CEOs should start their first couple months in a new company, how CB Insights has shaped his views on private markets, and the new entrepreneurial school he’s launching to turn young kids into business pros. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ Links: CB Insights Anand on LinkedIn Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:03:47) - Evaluating the effectiveness of a CEO (00:06:21) - Building repeatable processes (00:09:05) - Executive recruiting strategies (00:19:06) - Evaluating the instincts of a candidate (00:21:44) - What are the best ways to effectively spend your time as a new CEO? (00:27:06) - Tactics for influencing culture (00:33:33) - How do you think about moving quickly and effectively? (00:36:52) - Being an insurgent company (00:40:07) - Growth advantages (00:42:38) - What have incumbent companies eliminated in order to move faster? (00:45:07) - Are there any founders or CEOs you study? (00:54:49) - Anand’s entrepreneurship school (01:10:35) - Thoughts on private markets

Duration:01:24:32

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Brett Kelly - Building a Global Accounting Firm with Permanent Capital - Ep.228

6/25/2024
Ep.228: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Brett Kelly (@BrettKPG). My guest on this episode is Brett Kelly, founder and CEO of Kelly Partners, a publicly traded accounting, tax, and advisory firm with global ambitions and a roughly $350m market cap. Since 2006 they have done 80 acquisitions and developed a strong playbook for building best-in-class accounting firms with a focus on high-net-worth clients and growing companies. Brett is a really serious and motivated leader who’s pulled tons of great ideas from others and has a multi-decade vision for Kelly Partners. He’s also the author of 5 books, one of which he wrote before launching Kelly when he was 22 years old. Brett and I talk about the origins of Kelly Partners, companies and leaders he draws inspiration from, elements of his consolidation playbook, the role of technology and software, and what the future holds for Kelly. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ Links: More on Brett Kelly Brett Kelly's books "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie "The Art of Being Unreasonable" by Eli Broad "Rich Dad Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller Founders Podcast Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:04:30) - Founding Kelly Partners and Brett’s early career (00:14:01) - What steps did you take to fast-track the company’s growth? (00:26:24) - Why is the accounting field less competitive than it seems? (00:30:49) - The power of consolidation in business (00:40:07) - How are you running your firm differently than a typical accounting firm? (00:44:24) - What does an average day look like for you as CEO? (00:48:44) - What impact did IPO-ing have on the business? (00:53:30) - Learnings from writing books (01:00:11) - What skills are you working on to become a better CEO? (01:05:42) - How do you view technology as part of your firm? (01:10:32) - What are you excited about over the next 5 years?

Duration:01:16:46

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Dustin Seale - Lead Through Anything - Ep.227

6/18/2024
Ep.227: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Dustin Seal (@dustinseale). My guest today is Dustin Seale, co-author of Lead Through Anything alongside Ed Manfre and managing partner at executive search and leadership firm, Heidrick & Struggles. Dustin has spent his career working with high-performing CEOs from over 70 countries to help transform teams and find the right successors for CEOs and other C-suite executives. We talk about what to look for in CEO successors, including the Microsoft search Dustin’s firm led to replace Steve Ballmer, why internal talent is often discounted, key predictors for success in leaders, and the core characteristics of purpose, vitality, and agility that all the best leaders Dustin has studied have, and how other CEOs can develop those traits. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ Links: Lead Through Anything by Dustin Seale Dustin on Linkedin Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:04:48) - The process of replacing Steve Balmer as CEO of Microsoft (00:09:31) - Pros and cons of internal vs. external candidates in a CEO search (00:10:59) - What qualities are you looking for in a CEO for a company as large as Microsoft? (00:16:46) - Creating flexibility with nonlinear planning (00:26:51) - Pushing messages as a CEO (00:29:39) - Turning a group of individuals into a team united (00:32:47) - How new CEOs can make efficient evaluations? (00:41:06) - Dustin’s process for writing the book (00:47:58) - Measuring purpose, vitality, and agility (00:52:17) - Dealing with burnout and lack of fulfillment (00:56:24) - Dustin’s journey to improve vitality (00:59:54) - Key concepts to take away from the book

Duration:01:08:11

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A.J. Wasserstein - Living a Happier Life - Ep.226 [Replay]

6/11/2024
Ep.226: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by A.J. Wasserstein. My guest on this episode is A.J. Wasserstein. Early in his career, A.J. founded Archives One, a physical records management business he operated as CEO for 17 years before selling to Iron Mountain. He then acquired One Source Water, which was eventually sold to Water Logic in 2016. He then began teaching at Yale School of Management where he has written ad nauseam about nearly every topic within growing and running small companies and search funds. His writings are my go-to resource for many questions and business concepts I want to learn more about, and I'm quick to recommend them to others. A.J. and I talk about being a professor and how to get involved if you’d like to teach, why students do not pursue entrepreneurship through acquisition and work-life integration as CEO, a topic A.J. has written and thought very deeply about, among other topics. Please enjoy this fantastic conversation with AJ Wasserstein. Links: More on A.J. Wasserstein The Judd Lorson story by A.J. Wasserstein Why MBA Students Do Not Pursue Entrepreneurship through Acquisition by A.J. Wasserstein How CEOs actually spend their time? by A.J. Wasserstein Topics: (3:14) - What made you excited to publish a paper covering an unsuccessful search? (4:26) - Is it a conscious part of your process to present both sides of an issue in your writing? (5:45) - What was your experience like going from a CEO to academia? (8:39) - What were some challenges you faced as a CEO? (13:49) - In your experience, did you find your workload felt reduced as you grew different departments? (15:20) - Is work-life integration as a CEO possible? (18:03) - Are there any CEOs you know who have achieved this balance? (19:39) - What do you think about the ROI of your time spent as an investor, professor, and content creator via research papers? (25:52) - You said it takes 5 years to be a successful CEO, would you say it takes the same amount of time as a professor? (27:04) - What are some best practices for being an effective professor? (30:20) - What moments as a professor bring you the most joy? (32:02) - How do you help students think by asking them questions? (34:25) - For someone selling their business, how would you recommend testing out the waters of academia? (37:59) - What were some interesting observations you saw in students after they went through the Search Fund curriculum? (43:20) - For students wanting to pursue Search, what roles were most effective in helping them feel ready (48:41) - Do you want to turn your papers into a book one day? (49:55) - Do you find any consistent themes in your writing? (52:15) - Do you get the sense more folks are thinking about work-life integration than ever before? (55:18) - What strongly held belief have you changed your mind on? (57:42) - What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?

Duration:01:02:15

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Anthony Bramante - Modernizing Municipal Control Systems at In Control - Ep.225

6/4/2024
Ep.225: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Anthony Bramante (@AnthonyBramante). My guest today is Anthony Bramante who leads In Control, an automation control systems integrator primarily serving water and wastewater facilities at small and medium-sized towns across the Northern Midwest. Control systems aren’t exactly top of mind for me every day, but after chatting with Anthony I’m seeing them everywhere and realizing how integral they are to our daily lives. Anthony and I talk about example control systems, the importance of cybersecurity and how vulnerable our water infrastructure truly is, how add-on acquisitions play into their growth strategy, recruiting from college campuses, and designing effective internship programs. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: In Control Anthony on LinkedIn Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:03:26) - A walkthrough of InControl (00:06:29) - Anthony’s career (00:09:15) - What are your control systems doing at various facilities? (00:12:08) - What are some origin points for new customers? (00:18:02) - How have you built a positive reputation? (00:19:32) - How do you find talent? (00:22:52) - What goes into a great intern program? (00:25:39) - Where should your salespeople be spending time? (00:27:30) - Does everything come down to the lowest bid? (00:30:01) - Is there an M&A process with players in other markets? (00:34:25) - What is your industry's infrastructure and cybersecurity state? (00:41:37) - Could you expand to other municipal facilities? (00:43:33) - Could you work with airports? (00:44:31) - What ideas or challenges are your top of mind? (00:48:37) - How much of your work can you standardize? (00:50:25) - Is there any new technology you’re excited about?

Duration:00:59:35

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Godard Abel - Riding Enterprise Software Wave at G2 - Ep.224

5/28/2024
Ep. 224: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Godard Abel (@GodardAbel). My guest is Godard Abel, founder and CEO of G2, an enterprise software marketplace that helps software buyers find the right software for their companies and key problems. G2 is the third company he has led as CEO, the first two being BigMachines, founded in 2000, and SteelBrick, founded in 2014. We talk about lessons learned building all three companies, challenges he’s currently facing, picking the right industries to build in, hiring talented people, and what trends in software and AI he’s excited about today. There were also some fantastic books, blogs, and concepts mentioned in the podcast so be sure to catch those in the show notes. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ Links: G2 Godard on X "Who" by Geoff Smart "Behind the Cloud" by Marc Benioff V2MOM Dreamforce Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:04:27) - Sweating the details (00:06:11) - Alternative data points to focus on (00:08:05) - Measuring momentum (00:13:11) - What extra data point do you want today that might be more challenging to get? (00:14:55) - Are there legal issues in obtaining pricing data? (00:17:32) - How do you pick what industry or market you want to build a company in with regard to enterprise software? (00:21:25) - What trends are you paying attention to today? (00:24:54) - How did you improve on your processes when building G2? (00:29:46) - What have you learned from CEO peers of yours about maintaining cultures with large headcounts? (00:32:23) - Are there any ingredients from your time at Salesforce that you apply to G2? (00:34:22) - Are there more systematic ways to screen for culture and values in hiring? (00:38:40) - What challenges do you have as you scale? (00:42:13) - If you weren’t running G2, what business would you be excited to run?

Duration:00:45:40

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Rick Torres - Revolutionizing Digital Pathology at Applikate - Ep.223

5/21/2024
Ep. 223: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Rick Torres (@rick-torres). My guest on this episode is Rick Torres, CEO and co-founder of Applikate Technologies, a digital pathology hardware and software business with a device that can examine tissue many multiples faster than traditional physical slide processes can today. I find this company fascinating given the life science and data element of the business and loved diving into the science behind pathology and how Applikate is making it so much more efficient. Rick and I talk about the digitization of pathology, where efficiencies are gained through their platform, the process for FDA approval, and what Rick’s learned building and leading teams as CEO. I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: Applikate Rick on LinkedIn Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:03:52) - What is Applikate? (00:13:41) - Labor dynamics for histology (00:16:37) - Do you need to be a histotechnologist to use the machine? (00:22:33) - What are the key benefits of this faster process? (00:27:16) - Where are you storing tissue data and what is it used for? (00:33:16) - What are the steps for gaining FDA approval? (00:44:17) - How does this timeline affect recruiting? (00:47:00) - What have you learned about managing and growing teams? (00:50:47) - What advice has stuck with you most? (00:52:11) - What skill are you working on improving? (00:54:14) - What brings you energy? (00:55:56) - Leadership philosophies

Duration:01:00:44

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Dan Cremons - Winning Moves in Private Equity - Ep.222

5/14/2024
Ep. 222: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Dan Cremons (@DanCremons). My guest today is Dan Cremons, author of Winning Moves, 105 Proven Ways to Create Value in Private Equity-Backed Companies, and founder of Accelera Partners where he focuses on helping private equity groups unlock people-powered value creation. Dan started at Alpine Investors for 12 years before leaving in 2021 to found Accelera, and his book is an incredibly thorough documentation of everything he learned about the private equity playbook and how it needs to evolve. Dan and I talk about the five buckets of value creation and what the biggest drivers are, what great value creation looks like at a PE firm and company level, traps for first-time CEOs, and interviewing executives to make sure you have the right team in place. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: → Buy Dan's bestselling book on PE value creation - Link → Resources for private equity professionals – Link → Resources for PE-backed executives – Link → Connect with Dan on LinkedIn – Link Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:04:13) - Dan’s career background and learnings from Alpine (00:13:29) - How the Private Equity playbook has changed over time (00:16:23) - What a 10/10 PE firm looks like (00:25:40) - Categories of winning moves (00:30:21) - What have been your biggest learnings about revenue growth? (00:39:05) - First-time CEO traps (00:46:36) - Identifying priorities (00:53:39) - Alex’s perspective on finding focus (00:58:58) - Dan’s formative experiences (01:07:42) - Evaluating management teams (01:15:36) - Upskilling team members (01:20:02) - Winning the first few weeks in the CEO role

Duration:01:27:07

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Moises Eilemberg - Building in Life Science Asset Monitoring - Ep.221

4/30/2024
Ep.221: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Moises Eilemberg (@Meilemberg). My guest is Moises Eilemberg, CEO of XiltriX, a 24-7 life science asset monitoring business that started 5 years ago with 36 employees today and growing swiftly. Moises is unique in that this is his second time as a CEO, his first being back in 2006 when he acquired a healthcare revenue cycle management company Avadyne, which he ran for 11 years before exiting, making 4 add-on acquisitions during that time. Moises has a ton of experience to share leading teams, improving unit economics, building sales orgs, and managing the change that comes with integrating add-on acquisitions. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: XiltriX Moises on LinkedIn Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:04:20) - Moises’ career & XiltriX (00:07:02) - Becoming comfortable with the CEO role (00:09:33) - When did you start acquiring companies? (00:12:35) - How did your integration process change as you acquired more companies? (00:22:14) - Is there a reason you chose to be in this industry? (00:25:27) - What is the state of your market today? (00:29:12) - Is the market fragmented to a point where there are M&A opportunities? (00:31:40) - What’s driving the biologics growth over the past few years? (00:33:30) - What did you apply from your experience at Avadyne into XiltriX? (00:36:44) - What was your experience setting Sales comps? (00:42:57) - What levers have you used to improve unit economics?

Duration:00:49:42

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Tom Klein - Pre-Close M&A Value Creation Playbook Ep.220

4/23/2024
My guest today is Tom Klein, former Morningside Co-CEO alongside recent podcast guest Roland Lessard. This episode with Tom acts as a part two pairing with our February episode with Roland where we talked about M&A value creation after close. Tom and I today discuss M&A value creation largely pre-close of add-ons, talking through industry selection, sourcing methodologies, industry knowledge snowballs, building a reputation, and working with lender partners. Tom has been involved in 12 M&A transactions across Morningside and his previous experience in background screening. As an aside to you the listener, I’m really enjoying recent discussions on M&A value creation and consolidation strategies. If this is an expertise of yours or someone you know, I’d love to connect and chat more so please reach out. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: Tom on LinkedIn Greenwich Point Capital Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:04:37) - Deep focused search approaches vs. scattershot approaches (00:11:18) - What numbers and measurements do you use when determining interest in an industry? (00:20:42) - How do you think about proof of success when examining companies within an industry? (00:28:29) - What are some of your favorite ways to research an industry? (00:34:11) - What are the key characteristics of a business you need to see when acquiring? (00:39:47) - What are some industries you were close to investing in but passed on? (00:43:50) - What do you start looking for once you’ve finalized a platform acquisition? (00:54:50) - What are some key questions you ask sellers? (01:01:35) - What do you look for in lenders? (01:18:30) - Advice for folks pursuing consolidation thesis’

Duration:01:23:41

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Craig Fuller - On The Intersection of Media and Data [Replay] Ep.219

4/16/2024
The intersection of media and data has been the top idea on my mind for quite some time now. And my guest today, Craig Fuller, runs one of the best modern examples of this concept in action. FreightWaves, founded in 2016, is a media and data company focused on trucking, freight, supply chains, and all things logistics. To date, they have raised $91 million, will hit $42 million in revenue this year, split 55/45 between data and media, and have a valuation of between $300 and 400 million today. Craig’s work building FreightWaves has been an invaluable model for my work at HW Media as Chief of Staff with CEO Clayton Collins and the rest of our team. Conversations like this one have been instrumental in our discussions on the future of HW Media as an all-things housing media business. But we, and especially myself, also believe this model, this intersection of media and data can be a replicable strategy across industries. The goal of my episode with Craig today was to better understand how media and data can work together to create transformative companies, and I’m grateful for Craig’s willingness to share his experience and expertise. Throughout the episode, we talk about what data sets to focus on first in an industry and how to build around them, developing the product roadmap, the media data flywheel, hiring effective editorial and sales teams, and the investor perception of FreightWaves. Enjoy. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: Craig on LinkedIn FreightWaves The Economics of Data Businesses by Abraham Thomas Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:05:08) - Why do media companies typically misunderstand ‘data’ and data companies? (00:07:51) - How did the Media & Data arms of FreightWaves impact each other as you built this business? (00:13:44) - When you think back about creating high-frequency data, how did you approach building it for FreightWaves? (00:18:32) - Where has the bulk of your capital gone in building the company? (00:28:02) - How do you think about expanding your data sets going forward? (00:32:50 - Who is involved in your product development process? (00:38:44) - How did you two sides of your business interact in the early days, and has that changed over time? (00:50:12) - How do you attract high-quality talent? (00:54:56) - How do you structure your sales teams? How do you think about pricing? (01:02:01) - What’s the investor perception of businesses running on Media & Data?

Duration:01:08:10

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Henry Schuck - Creating Ambitious Teams at ZoomInfo - EP.218

4/9/2024
Ep. 218: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Henry Schuck (@HenryLSchuck). My guest today is Henry Schuck, founder and CEO at ZoomInfo, one of the most successful data businesses in recent times with a market cap today around $12B. I’ve been looking forward to this podcast for a long time because Henry has proven to be an effective founder, acquirer, and public CEO capital allocator, which is a rare combination of skills to find in a single CEO. He’s thought very deeply about building high performing organizations, sales functions, and how his own role needs to evolve as the company grows. We talk through lessons learned building vs acquiring capabilities, M&A and integration lessons learned, fixing problems with a process vs culture approach, and how data businesses will succeed in the future Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: Zoominfo Henry on X Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:03:49) - What would you focus on if you were running Boeing? (00:07:26) - How have you seen other CEOs solve culture vs. process problems? (00:12:47) - How do you approach hiring? (00:20:28) - How can you incentivize employees to buy into company values? (00:23:11) - What have you learned working with investors and other CEOs to be a great founder and M&A executive? (00:26:52) - How do you incorporate new tools or partners into Zoominfo? (00:33:53) - What have you learned about integrating acquired companies? (00:36:24) - How do you get a conviction when doing due diligence on a potential acquisition? (00:38:49) - What skills around M&A are you looking to improve? (00:41:19) - How will data companies in the future succeed?

Duration:00:45:47

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Mike Stone - Growing a $1B+ Painting Company - Ep.217

4/2/2024
Ep.217: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Mike Stone (@michael-stone). My guest today is Mike Stone, CEO of CertaPro Painters, the largest painting company in North America structured as a franchise with 370 owners across 500 territories and over $700m in revenue. Their goal is to become a $1B company shortly and a $2.5B revenue company by 2032. The painting industry is a $60B industry growing modestly and is highly fragmented, making this an interesting industry to explore given the lack of similarly-sized national competitors. Mike and I talk about why the industry is so fragmented, the tailwinds behind the industry, what needs to evolve and grow to hit their growth goals, and how CertaPro builds a differentiated playbook within home services. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: Mike on LinkedIn CertaPro Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:04:26) - Mike’s path to the CEO of CertaPro (00:09:16) - Meeting Herb Kelleher (00:11:25) - Where does your company stand today among competition? (00:13:14) - What is holding back your competition from scaling like you? (00:14:54) - Is it faster growing under a franchise model? (00:19:52) - Are there other consolidators chasing talent? (00:22:37) - What has become harder as you’ve grown? (00:26:59) - Successful meeting structures (00:29:24) - What data do you value for marketing? (00:32:22) - How does seasonality affect business? (00:33:43) - What else do you need to build to scale to your goals?

Duration:00:37:38

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Ayman Al-Abdullah - How Companies Scale to $100M and Beyond - Ep.215

3/26/2024
Ep.215: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Ayman Al-Abdullah (@aymanalabdul). My guest today is Ayman Al-Abdullah, former CEO of Appsumo and now executive coach to other ambitious CEOs looking to scale 7 and 8-figure businesses past $100m, Ayman’s specialty. I love learning from CEOs who’ve made that journey and can share key lessons and takeaways, and Ayman fits that to a “T.” He’s also a Durham native, which is where my wife and I will be moving to this summer so we had some fun talking about his move from Austin. Ayman and I talk about chokepoints in a company’s growth, habits that made him successful at Appsumo, why he stepped down as CEO, and how other ambitious CEOs can be more effective in their leadership roles. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: Ayman on X Ayman's website How to Make a Few Billion Dollars by Brad Jacobs The Accountant Trailer Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:04:20) - Leaving AppSumo to pursue coaching (00:12:28) - What was the most informative experience for you in the CEO role? (00:14:27) - What gets companies over the $7m hurdle? (00:18:26) - What culture questions do you enjoy asking? (00:24:03) - Improving the Sales role (00:25:50) - Who was the best salesperson you ever hired? (00:27:38) - Skills you need vs. what can be taught in sales (00:31:34) - Have you reflected on whether you were born to be a CEO? (00:34:44) - What have you found that helps CEOs succeed in the role? (00:37:29) - Weekly journaling and exercise rituals (00:42:30) - Ayman’s 25-year vision (00:50:57) - Do you study other CEOs? (00:53:25) - The hero’s journey (01:02:41) - What’s something you’re passionate about?

Duration:01:08:41

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Dennis Dresser - High Performing SaaS Sales Orgs - Ep.214

3/12/2024
Ep.214: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Dennis Dresser (@DennisDresser). My guest today is Dennis Dresser. Dennis was a sales leader at IBM and Oracle and became CRO at Anaplan and Dialpad before taking on an advisory role with companies looking to develop best-in-class sales organizations. Throughout his career, he’s developed a playbook for creating these high-performing sales teams and has thought deeply about talent management, performance management, and implementing better processes. This episode dives into some of that playbook along with characteristics to look for in hiring great sales leaders, scaling sales orgs, sales qualification methodologies, and so much more. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: JMI Equity Dennis on LinkedIn Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:03:17) - Career lessons learned (00:06:27) - Evolving a Sales Team (00:08:14) - Churn impacts (00:10:10) - The high-performance sales framework (00:14:28) - Characteristics of successful Salespeople (00:15:58) - Hiring in Sales (00:18:29) - Is there one skill or quality you’ve been able to coach up? (00:21:17) - The Sales Qualification Methodology (00:23:50) - What are some effective ways to involve those outside of Sales in the process? (00:25:43) - Where do you see Sales Teams most often get stuck? (00:29:15) - Characteristics of a high-performing prospecting function? (00:32:14) - The future of content marketing (00:35:04) - Advice to CEOs and heads of Sales teams

Duration:00:37:45

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Transforming Data at Coalesce - Armon Petrossian - Ep.213

3/5/2024
Ep.213: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Armon Petrossian (@ArmonPetrossian). My guest today is Armon Petrossian, co-founder and CEO of data transformation company Coalesce, built on Snowflake’s ecosystem. Armon and I kick off talking about his time in China and learning Mandarin in undergrad, and move through topics like building within Snowflake’s, nuances in selling to enterprises, hiring in sales, opportunities in data, and navigating challenging topics with a co-founder. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: Coalesce Armon on X Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:03:54) - Experiences living in China (00:09:59) - Founding Coalesce (0012:14) - How does Data Transformation work? (00:13:46) - Choosing to build around SnowFlake (00:20:01) - What other opportunities arise as data becomes more abundant? (00:22:41) - Where are you investing capital right now? (00:23:49) - What evolution does your sales team need to make right now? (00:27:39) - What’s a typical sales cycle for you? (00:29:54) - What have you learned about selling to enterprises that people often struggle with? (00:31:36) - Navigating political dynamics or relationships (00:33:02) - What do you look for in new sales hires? (00:35:11) - What have you become passionate about within building the company? (00:38:32) - How do you handle disagreements with your co-founder? (00:42:00) - What works for retaining engineers? (0044:54) - What companies do you admire? (00:45:30)- Advice to other data founders

Duration:00:48:36

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Sieva Kozinsky - Long-Term Thinking is an Advantage - Ep.212 [TLAO Replay]

2/27/2024
Ep.212: Alex Bridgeman (@aebridgeman) is joined by Sieva Kozinsky (@sievakozinsky). My guest on this episode is Sieva Kozinsky, co-founder of Enduring Ventures, a holding company founded in 2019 with 17 acquisitions to date. Sieva and I met at a dinner following the Berkshire Hathaway meeting in Omaha, his first time attending the meeting. A theme from our first conversations in Omaha that continues through this episode is long-term thinking being a huge advantage, and that compounding happens everywhere. Reputation, lessons, and learning - well beyond capital alone. Given that our guest last week, Eric Jorgenson, is the CEO of one of Enduring's companies, I thought this would be a timely episode to bring back to the top of the feed We talk about Sieva’s background as a founder and how it impacts his role at Enduring Ventures, how he discovered he is a better buyer than a builder, great companies and founders he’s studied and taken lessons from, and much more. Enjoy! Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: Sieva on LinkedIn Sieva on Twitter Enduring Ventures Founders Podcast Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller by Ron Chernow The Gambler: How Penniless Kirk Kerkorian Became the Greatest Deal Maker in Capitalist History by William Rempel Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:04:27) Belief Documents (00:09:13) Long-termism trends (00:11:57) Takeaways from the Berkshire Event (00:20:36) Helping employees & executives think and behave like an owner (00:26:17) Being a Buyer vs. Builder (00:33:08) Culture Index (00:35:55) The importance of having experience as a founder/operator to succeed at Enduring (00:44:50) Perretto Prinicples (00:54:17) Habits, tactics, and learnings from biographies on great founders and companies (01:08:46) What strongly held belief have you changed your mind on? (01:10:06) What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?

Duration:01:14:47

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Eric Jorgenson - The Power of Writing Books - Ep.211

2/20/2024
Ep.211: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Eric Jorgenson (@EricJorgenson). My guest on this episode is Eric Jorgenson. Eric became a close friend while my wife and I lived in Omaha. I love the energy and enthusiasm he brings to whatever he’s doing, whether it’s investing in tech startups, writing books like The Almanack of Naval Ravikant and The Anthology of Balaji, hosting his Smart Friends podcast, or telling you about the latest innovations in sandwich making. And as of last summer he is the CEO of Scribe Media, a book publisher where the author retains full creative control and financial upside from their creations, and in my opinion, is the perfect business for Eric to run. In this episode, we talk about the publishing business, the power of books over other creative mediums, his new role as CEO of Scribe, and what he’s learned as an author himself. Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, and TuneIn. Learn more about Alex and Think Like an Owner at https://tlaopodcast.com/ I want to tell you about the audience survey we are currently running. These surveys help us create the best content for listeners and better understand your needs and interests. Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback, we greatly appreciate it. Take the survey here: https://bit.ly/3QLBB1N Links: Eric's books Scribe Smart Friends Podcast Topics: (00:00:00) - Intro (00:04:18) - The power of writing (00:06:27) - The business side of being an author (00:12:44) - Is there a ‘right’ time in someone’s career to write a book? (00:18:46) - The business of Scribe (00:27:06) - Podcasts vs. books (00:31:22) - The story of Enduring Ventures stepping in to buy Scribe and making Eric the CEO (00:38:59) - Learning how to be a CEO (00:44:51) - What are some publisher benchmarks to compare Scribe to? (00:50:22) - Do you see large publishers trying to replicate your model? (00:55:22) - Who would you be excited to write a book about? (00:57:18) - What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your time as CEO?

Duration:01:01:32