Reboot Podcast Episode #103 – What Kind of Company Do You Want to Work For? – with Chris Savage & Brendan Schwartz

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.

Episode 103 // April 26, 2019


Chris Savage

Chris Savage

Co-founder and CEO of Wistia

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Brendan Schwartz

Brendan Schwartz

Co-founder and CTO of Wistia

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Episode Description

For entrepreneurs today, advice on the ‘best practices’ for building a fruitful company abound – prescriptions for raising capital, increasing revenue, and hiring the correct team are often just a click (or the turn of a page) away. In periods of expansion and evolution, founders are tasked with making and implementing pivotal decisions necessary for propelling growth. During these times, it’s not uncommon for leaders to lean heavily on the startup handbook to better understand the ‘right’ way forward; however, as most leaders come to understand, what works in theory doesn’t always play out in practice, and at some point all responsible leaders must consider if the company they’re running is the company they aspired to build.

On this episode of the Reboot Podcast, co-founders Chris Savage and Brendan Schwartz share how listening to their instincts led them to flip the script, throw out the startup handbook, and take back ownership of their video-software company, Wistia. Brendan and Chris remark on how buying out their investors released the pressure they felt to implement quick solutions for the sake of driving short-term growth and increasing revenue, and the way in which this shift opened the doors for a more creative and joyful work experience. In this conversation, Jerry, Brendan, and Chris propose an important question for all leaders, “What type of company do you want to work for?”

How an Offer to Sell Wistia Inspired Us to Take On $17M in Debt | #2 – What if I Don’t Want to Be CEO? – With Duncan Morris | One, Ten, One Hundred | High Growth Handbook | On the Brink of Everything | Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up

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Show Highlights

“Just a secret. No one knows what they’re doing when they get started.” – Jerry Colonna

“It was a different pressure than we had been used to, like, we need to run this company so that it could be sold someday.” – Chris Savage

“What if it’s [the company] actually like a 50 million dollar thing or a 100 million dollar thing that produces joy for everyone it touches?” – Chris Savage

“There’s an implicit conventional wisdom which says to be an entrepreneur means to raise money.” – Jerry Colonna

“It’s weird to end up at the finish line and be like, I don’t wanna be here.” – Brendan Schwartz

“Often times, we launch our businesses unaware of where we want to end up and the result is we end up in that joyless place with dress codes and vacation policies.” – Jerry Colonna

“What kind of company do you want to work for? Because you’re building that every single day.” – Jerry Colonna

“If you can stay focused on something you enjoy but is a hard problem and a big opportunity for a long time, you actually can build something significant.” – Chris Savage

“When you’re long term focused, you don’t sacrifice on the hires. You don’t do the quick things…because we don’t wanna be at the company in 3 years having paying for a stupid mistake we made to try to increase revenue now.” – Chris Savage

“Staying focused on the long term is enabling you to create more creative and more joyful work experiences, products, and services” – Jerry Colonna

“The growth that we’ll get this year is the product of the hard work that we’ve done the past 5 years.” – Brendan Schwartz

“Think it’s really easy to conflate money with happiness. I think the thing that we’re fortunate to figure out is, at least for us, that’s not the driving thing.” – Chris Savage

“How do we keep doing this? We wanna keep doing this. We don’t wanna do this bigger and do this different… [we want to] do it with the same values and hopefully, we can.” – Chris Savage

“Leadership presents an opportunity for us to fully actualize and grow as human beings. And, those folks who choose to do that process end up leading well … and become the kinds of leaders we want to work for.” – Jerry Colonna

“There is no one way to lead.” – Jerry Colonna

“I think we will make Wistia much stronger by making our company more diverse. And it’s not a quick solution. Things take a long time.” – Chris Savage

“What are we doing as leaders, as parents, as managers to prepare those who come behind us for that world?” – Jerry Colonna