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Q&A with the SaaStr Annual 2022 Ground Team

by | Sep 1, 2022

The Capacity team is attending SaaStr Annual 2022 September 13-15, and is looking forward to sharing the ins and outs of the Capacity platform with hundreds of different SaaS businesses.

Get to know the ground team at SaaStr! Capacity CEO and Founder David Karandish, CRO Tim Yeadon, and CFO Marcus Alexander are excited to connect with everyone in California. We caught up with each and asked them a few questions:

Q: How did you become interested in software and technology?

David Karandish explains how he got started in software.

David Karandish: I first became interested in software when I was a kid. My dad was an electrical engineer, and so we had computers around the house from a pretty earlier age. I remember using my Doss games and learning some basic commands when I was a kid. It was really during high school when I fell in love with building software. It was about that time when you could build in digital studio, immersive experiences for windows that were not just command line type communications, but were apps you could interact with, do things with etc. 

So I started a little web development company in high school where we did web development for various websites, and then windows application development for teachers, friends, and folks around the neighborhood.

Tim Yeadon: I really became fascinated with software when I actually went to work at an enterprise software company about 15 years ago. What was really interesting about that to me was this is a multi-billion dollar 20-year old software company that was trying to navigate from a legacy mainframe on-prem software and product stack to cloud. SaaS models were just becoming “the thing” and so it was really interesting to see both sides of that. 

And from that point forward, you could see that software was the future of business, and I wanted to be involved with it.

Marcus Alexander: I got interested in software at almost an embarrassingly young age. There’s a spreadsheet program called Lotus 1-2-3, and it was incredible at allowing me to organize and track, and do all sorts of things with my hobbies at the time, which were baseball and video games. It just made everything easier, which is exactly what we’re trying to do here at Capacity.

My father was a CFO, so also embarrassingly, we had accounting ledger paper around the house, and I would do the same thing. Write down things in categories, track them, and have statistics and that sort of thing. Then the spreadsheet came along, and it was obvious even to my young brain that it would change the way people work.

Q: What trends and challenges are you seeing in the SaaS industry?

Tim Yeadon explains some of the trends he sees in the SaaS industry.

David Karandish: Supporting your customers has never been more challenging. You’ve got a couple reasons for that. First, you have to talk about the consumerization of IT. I expect when I turn on Netflix, it’s not sitting there waiting for me, it’s going to come in and give me personalized recommendations right away. So I’ve got this mindset now for my consumer life that I’m going to find exactly what I need, it’s personalized, the search is great, it’s going to deliver quickly on whatever my use case is. And then we go to work, and we find that that doesn’t happen. Or we find we’re using third party software and oftentimes we find it’s not getting any better than it was a year ago in terms of knowing me and my preferences, desires, and goals. The first backdrop that happened here is you’ve got consumer expectations that have gone from Blockbuster level expectations to Netflix level expectations. 

The second big trend that you see is as companies move all their software to the cloud, people thought that would solve all their problems. “Hey I used to have an on-premises CRM, now I have a cloud based CRM.” “I used to have an on-premise HR system, now I’ve got a cloud base HR system.” But it turns out those systems of records are really great big data bases in the sky, they’re terrible systems of engagement. So you end up with this issue where people want to be able to ask their question in natural language and not have to know if that document is stored on Sharepoint or Onedrive or your intranet or some other app. They just want to ask the question and get an answer back. 

The third thing you see happening is that people are craving to not only have a system of record on the bottom, and a system of engagement at the top, but really a system of intelligence in between. This is something that can connect between the different systems. So think about onboarding a new customer. You might need to write a record into your customer database, you might need to update something in Salesforce, or you might need to go kick-off a marketing automation email. That should not be something you try to do in a silo because it is going to work across all of your apps. 

So you’ve got these three big trends that are all happening at the same time, which is why companies are turning to software like us.

Tim Yeadon: I think what’s most exciting about AI and automation is the productivity gains that software is delivering to us across a variety of roles and a variety of teams. In my own role, I have a bunch of personal productivity tools that I like to use. A simple example, shoutout to Calendly. Everyone loves Calendly, and that’s a huge productivity tool for me personally. 

As I look more broadly, I think that across every department and every team, there are low value, repetitive tasks that fill our day. And I think there’s a lot of SaaS companies out there, ourselves included, who are working to tackle that, to make work frankly a rewarding experience because we’re able to focus on more strategic tasks, more fulfilling tasks, and more human-to-human interaction. We spend so much time on systems and on screens, especially in a remote work environment. Sometimes it’s good just to spend more time with people instead of staring at just a CRM, just your ticketing system, your email, your Slack, whatever it might be. 

And more specifically I mentioned that I started here {at Capacity} by getting the Customer Success team off the ground. When I started, there were two of us, and we were growing pretty quickly. And there was only so much we could do to keep up day-to-day with everything it takes to keep customers moving forward. As we continue to scale, and as I see other companies continue to scale, it always feels like the more customers you have, the bigger the support team, the more customer success managers, more product managers, even more folks in marketing. I really like the challenge of what are the right problems to solve with people, and what are the right problems and tasks we can turn over to automation tools and software to take that load off our plates. 

That’s a really intriguing problem, and what gets me really excited to go to SaaStr. Not only seeing the companies and products we use today on the productivity side, but discovering new products and new tools that we can add to our productivity stack.

Marcus Alexander: There’s a lot of economic headwinds out there, you see reports of hiring freezes and layoffs, and there’s even some companies who are able to grow through these headwinds. With all that institutional knowledge walking out the door, and all of the turnover of people coming in, it’s really hard to transfer that knowledge, and I think Capacity is a wonderful way to do that. 

It captures that knowledge that you have and helps you but in place processes and procedures that it doesn’t matter if Bob was doing it on Monday and Cindy was doing it on Tuesday, it’s all still there. It’s a way to recession proof your business bny putting these things in place. 

Q: Tell us a fun/little known fact about yourself.

Marcus discusses his not-so secret fun fact.

David Karandish: I am a firm believer that a picture is worth a thousand words. One of my favorite emojis to use on Slack is the Patrick Stewart face pull, “What is going on?” emoji. It’s my favorite to use because you know exactly what it means when you send it.

Tim Yeadon: If you’re looking for secret hidden talent, I personally take a lot of pride in this talent: I load a dishwasher better than anyone on planet Earth. And that has been proven over years and years of practice and experience. In fact, I had a colleague just say to me, when she heard the dishwasher rattling, she knew it was me reorganizing the dishwasher for everyone here in the office. There are other talents, but that is the one I am most proud of. I’ll go head to head with anyone to see if they can do it better!

Marcus Alexander: Not something I hide, but I am English. This is almost a pretend accent, I started pretending when I was in elementary school. My normal accent would be more like this. (Starts to change into an English accent)

I was born in England, and moved all over the world like Africa and all throughout the states. I was on a green card for a while, and I became a citizen in 2004.