Episode No:117

From Startup to Global: How Metric's Fintech Expansion Reached 30 Countries in a Month

Meenah Tariq

Founder & CEO, Metric

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Ep # 117: From Startup
to Global: How Metric’s Fintech Expansion Reached 30 Countries in a Month ft. Meenah Tariq (Founder & CEO)
Ep # 117: From Startup to Global: How Metric’s Fintech Expansion Reached 30 Countries in a Month ft. Meenah Tariq (Founder & CEO)
  • Ep # 117: From Startup to Global: How Metric’s Fintech Expansion Reached 30 Countries in a Month ft. Meenah Tariq (Founder & CEO)

Episode Summary

In this episode of the Hyperengage podcast, host Adil Saleh interviews Meenah Tariq, the CEO and founder of Metric, a financial analytics tool built to help small business owners and entrepreneurs gain actionable insights on the health of their businesses. Meenah discusses the challenges and successes of building a tech company, particularly in a non-tech-savvy environment like Pakistan. She elaborates on the growth of her company, Metric, which unexpectedly expanded to 30 countries in its first month post-launch due to the deeply rooted problem it was solving. This episode talks about hiring for startups, fostering a customer-centered product team, and the unique challenges of innovating in tech in developing countries. Meenah also shares personal insights from her entrepreneurial journey, emphasizing the importance of perseverance, customer-centric development, and the role of passion and company culture in sustaining business growth.
Key Takeaways Time
Metric’s rapid early growth and spread to over 170 countries organically within a year, even though they only focused on Pakistan initially 03:12
Overcoming the lack of existing product management expertise in Pakistan by having teams learn from friends and colleagues at companies like Amazon and Microsoft 06:07
Key considerations for hiring and cultivating passion on startup teams 14:44
Transitioning service-minded technical talent to having a customer-centric product focus 08:10
How integrating with platforms like Quickbooks and targeting insights helps Metric cater to small business owners vs just accountants 19:02
Tips for empowering teams to take ownership over decisions 47:48
The importance of having clarity on your “why” or underlying cause to persevere amid startup challenges 54:50
Meenah’s advice for founders on determining values and finding aligned team members early on 55:38

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[00:00:03] Adil Saleh: Hey. Greetings, everybody. This is Adil from the Hyperengage podcast, your host. And I'm getting hold of this, this this this podcast and speaking to these people and learning from these people. And today, I just I've got this opportunity to meet, Mina. She's, she's, she's a founder out of Pakistan where I need to be, I'm from, and, that makes me so proud to have. I was long awaited. The we we got Meenah today. She's, she's the CEO and founder of, of of of a fintech, company that has made such a huge impact in the next, like, less than 6 months. And we'll need it got that, like, a bomb out in Pakistan and in in in the Middle East. So when we first got her, you know, as a parliament, we first looked at it. It was such a no brainer for for all these businesses, especially in, in in in industries that are not so tech savvy. They're not so tech enabled. And especially when it comes to, it is so untapped. So it it was it was so nice to have someone like me not tapping into this industry with having, this this kind of data driven mindset and, you know, enabling trying to enable these, these businesses, even the start ups and s and b in in in the tech industry, in the B2B SaaS and B2B2C SaaS, companies. [00:01:17] Adil Saleh: Ecommerce, it's the biggest case, but we're gonna be, of course, filling out all those use cases across this industry, especially the start ups, and the B2B, tech companies that are you know, they come up and they say, hey. We we are so afraid to hire for a CFO because we don't have a process. We don't have, all those, you know, infrastructure that's needed to have, like, make sure they they do smart decisions and they have forecasting into their current finances for the lowest periods of time. So thank you very much, Meenah, for taking the time with us and, about getting onto the podcast. [00:01:48] Meenah Tariq: Thank you so much, Adil, for inviting me. I know this has been long in the making. I've been wanting to come for such a long time, but something or the other was always going wrong. So I'm really glad that we get to have this conversation today. [00:01:59] Adil Saleh: Absolutely. Likewise. So, Meena, thinking about, like, a lot of these listeners, that are, not so much familiar about about our ecosystem, right back in Pakistan, and then how big or small of a struggle or transition it is to, you know, form a tech company, especially in fintech, talking about regulations and all, and then going out and making this big of an impact globally. You know, what it takes and just, hear some pitfalls and maybe some of the, some of the learning lessons you had throughout this career. I'm sure your your your background with, with similar, ecosystem for Pakistan and then building a company and, you know, accompanying this big big of impact, what it takes, for a lady, out in Pakistan. Building a Tech Company: Challenges and Successes [00:02:42] Meenah Tariq: I think it's it's been a pretty insane couple of years that we've had. We actually started building Metric in June of 2021 and then, you know, raised our 1st round of funding early 2022, February, March, and then launched the product itself July 2022. And I mean, it's just been I think it's been incredible. I mean, it's been beyond anything we could ever have imagined. The the app metric, it went viral in our 1st 30 days post launch. So at the end of the 1st 30 days, I was writing an investment update, like an investment investor update. And, my data guy, tells me we've been used in 30 countries. And I'm like, what? He said, we've been used in 30 countries. And I I went back and I got the numbers checked 7 times because I couldn't believe it. Right? We had not done up until that time, we had even run any marketing campaigns in Pakistan. And just like anybody else, you know, when you start off, you're like, okay, we're gonna start small. We're gonna focus on one market. We're going to build for this market. We'll expand here. Maybe in the next 2 years, we'll think about what are the next few, countries or markets we want to go into. And in 30 days, we were in 30 countries. Within the first 10 months, we had already crossed a 170 countries. I mean, again, it was just unbelievable. Right? And it wasn't anything that we had done maybe by design, but it was the problem that we were solving was so deep rooted that people just kept finding us and just kept telling each other about us. And so with very little marketing, organically, we were being used in multiple countries. Having said that, the process of building a company, I think has probably been one of the hardest things I have ever done, the process of building a tech company especially. Because I've done businesses before. Challenges and Fulfillment of Starting a Tech Startup in Pakistan [00:04:26] Meenah Tariq: Right? I was I was 14 years old when I started my first official business. I was 6 when I actually started selling things. So I've done I've done business before, but building a tech startup was such an alien thing even though I've been part of the tech ecosystem for such a long time. I was a VC before this. I was investing in tech companies. But when you're on ground yourself, I mean, the view from this side is just completely different. Right? There are just fires everywhere, but it is also the most fulfilling thing that you have ever done. I'll give you an example. Pakistan has I I mean, now it's getting better, but it's especially when we started 2 years ago, barely has any product knowledge. At I mean, literally, if what is the ability of starting to build a product? You know, I learned terms like, Kanban and, like, all of these different methodologies of how you can your team for for for if you're if you're building a team how do you even structure it? Who are the first few people that you hire? What are the kind of skill sets that they should have? Go out to hire a product team in Pakistan. They don't find anybody who's worked in a product team for. 2 years ago, it was even more rare. Right? You know this. Pakistan has always been a services country. Right? We have tons of, software houses, and that's the way if you want to become rich in Pakistan, you should start a software house. The labor arbitrage on, you know, technical rules, it's very, very high, and you can make a lot of money. But if you're hiring the same people and then wanting them to suddenly switch from an agency mindset to a product mindset, even in your tech team, it is an unlearning process and then a learning process. Challenges of Working with the Tech Team [00:06:07] Meenah Tariq: Right? Our tech team in the start would treat us like a client, like just the way they would give clients deadlines or, you know, treat a client. They would try to treat us like a client. We had to sit with them and tell them, listen, we are on the same team. We are not an external client that you are managing. So I mean Yes. The way we the way we did it, Adil, was that we literally just begged all our friends and everybody possible in our network to give us lessons. Literally, we would call up our friends. Yeah. You know, when when somebody would come to Pakistan in the summer, one of our friends I have a friend who's working who's worked at Amazon and Microsoft in product. Building and Learning to Scale a Tech Company in Pakistan [00:06:42] Meenah Tariq: He came over in the summer, and he was in Islamabad for 2 days. And I said, you know, why don't you come visit my office? I really want you to I want you to see my office and you'll feel proud of me. And he came. He was very happy. And then I'm like, you know, my team really wants to meet you. What about, how about you talk to them for 15 minutes? And he said, okay. And he walks in, and it's a room full of, like, 30 people just waiting for him to tell them how product works in Amazon and how product works in Microsoft. That is how we extracted extracted every bit of value that we could from our networks, from the networks of our investors to learn about how to build product in Pakistan. It has been a steep learning curve. We've made a ton of mistakes. If I if I start to tell you all of the mistakes that we made early on, you would probably be here the whole night. But, yeah, it's been it's been it's been a hard and a very fulfilling journey at the same time. Discussion on Entrepreneurial Journey and Challenges [00:07:38] Adil Saleh: Yes. Yeah. An inspiring journey as well. And and just like the founder of Newberry, just, few weeks like he said. Like, if entrepreneurs get to know how hard it's gonna be in the beginning, they would quit. Challenges of Being Customer-Centered in Product Development [00:07:50] Adil Saleh: So the biggest bet is the biggest bet is they won't know. That's that's the biggest bet they don't. So it's so uncertain and invisible that that it it becomes exciting. So that's why we we chose this, we chose this journey. On the on the product side, like, a lot of things because, I'm I'm my my office in in NUST, it's it's a business school. You know that, like, it's one of the best, you you call it. It's for some good reason, it is. But a lot of times, these, people that are that you have on on your product team, they're competitor centric because maybe that's easy or that's something that makes them comfortable, but they're not customer centered. You know? So why? The Importance of Being Customer-Centric in Product Development [00:08:29] Adil Saleh: Because people come up and they just order something, and they just do it as as as directed. But they don't do the customer side of things. So the only product means that are more customer centric can can really make a big impact just like all the methodologies you're talking about in Microsoft, Amazon. You know, Apple, they they've always been the the the the nicest products. They've they've done it for more f like, more than 3 decades now. So why? Because they are customer centric. So in order to have, customer a longer view on the customer, as as a product team is super important, and and which is whether I'm looking at, at your website and all the experiences that you're sharing. It is it is sometimes hard with with some people, but, you know, you gotta kill it. [00:09:14] Meenah Tariq: Or even being innovative. Right? So so if the only thing we as a country keep doing is looking at other apps and reverse engineering them and then making something like that and pushing it out there. If that's the only thing we do, then where is the there is no innovation that's going to come out from this area or this region of the world. Right? If we want to do something innovative, then it has to be something that's different. Adil, I've had I've had so many team members that I've had or we've had to convince that this is something that's working. And then they would see the numbers, and they'd they'd almost not believe it. And I'm like, yes. You did it. You built something that is achieving these numbers. Like, you did build something that is being used in this many countries, that is being used by this many businesses. But there is still almost this disbelief just because that's not, how we've been trained. That's not how our educational institutions have trained us. Right? Discussion on making top level decisions to impact a tech B2B company [00:10:04] Meenah Tariq: We're still a little afraid of doing something absolutely new or doing something that goes against the grain or against the norm. [00:10:14] Adil Saleh: Yes. And the only way that just like your motion works, like, only way that you can really kill it and make it impact, like, on a in a tech tech B2B company is, by just making the top level decisions right. So in in a B2B SaaS, a lot of times, whether you're small or big, if you make the, you know, right decision on the top line, the bottom line would follow. Just like you had the exposure, you got this all, and then you transform it across the team. And you make those, frameworks, all those processes to ensure that vision or that, the product vision, market vision, commercial side of things gets translated to the bottom line. Discussion on Building Strong Teams and Knowledge Sharing [00:10:47] Adil Saleh: And this is what happened in many. Like, I would say not not long ago, like, 15 years ago. They were just a service industry. Like, Infosys, all these big companies, they grew out of those, that services bubble. Now all the people that went out worked at Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, all these big companies, they shared the knowledge. They made those frameworks and use the team that was service minded in the beginning, and and get those frameworks across, and then they they expanded it. And now every year, you'll see some reports coming on. [00:11:15] Meenah Tariq: Yeah. I absolutely agree. I think now our team at Metric is just so phenomenal. Like, I look around at the people that we've been able to gather in that room, with us, And I am just so immensely proud of them because our product team, our tech team, design, QA, and all of the other functions, you know, marketing, sales, all of them, internal execution, etcetera. Like, I can't like, I can go on and on about how much they truly care about the our cause, about what we're doing in the world because they are all people who believe in it. The Value of Beliefs and Values in Startups [00:11:47] Meenah Tariq: And I think nothing is more important than that. You know, everything else you can learn. I had to learn what was the sprint. When we started off, if you had asked me, Meenah, what is a sprint? I would have no like, I would have literally blanked right there because I had no idea. I didn't like I said, I didn't know what it what I learned about Kanban recently. We were doing sprints and then somebody told me, oh, this is in a different They call. Kanban. Like, this the difference between Sprint and Kanban. Thing is, all of those things you can learn. It is the it is the beliefs. It is the values. It is your moral compass. It is all of those other things that you cannot learn that are actually or you learn more slowly that are actually more valuable, and that will take you longer even in the start up journey. There has to be such absolute belief that everything, all the fires are something that you can get through if you have that belief right. Building a Strong Team with Shared Vision and Passion [00:12:39] Adil Saleh: Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. And just a quick note, and then we go to to go to market side of things and how you'll tap into the market initially. What is the market position of the product? How are you gonna expand? Of course, for the next 2 to 3 years, what are the plans and all? One thing, like, regarding this, you know, team and, culture and shared vision, shared goals, shared beliefs. How hard is it to make people, I mean, convincing on the technology, that is another part. Like, if somebody comes in on the team and you realize, hey, This person is good doing the job. It's not passionate. How many nurture your passion? I mean, that's that's the hard thing. If you're passionate about about about one thing, everybody's passionate about, about something, but not all the same things. Right? So you gotta make sure that if if this this team or leader, let's say VP of sales, we just got it's bought into our vision idea. What is, what is the good methodology that you use? Like, just it can be any, like, natural. It's not hard to be so fancy or buzzword, but how you Yeah. Different Types of Passion in the Workplace [00:13:37] Meenah Tariq: So there are there are 2 different ways that somebody can be passionate. Right? They can either be passionate about your cause, the problem that you're solving and the people that you're impacting. They can be passionate about your product and the quality of that product, or they can be passionate about their work. Right? And those are the people who maybe they don't necessarily care about. Like, for example, it might be somebody for us who doesn't necessarily care about small business owners that much. You know, that's not just something maybe they care more about education or something else. They don't really care as much about small business owners. And the product itself is new to them, so they're still learning about it. But they are exceptional at what they do because they are passionate about putting good work out into the world. These are people who take pride in what they do. So even if you if you ask these people to set up chairs in a room, they will try to do that to the best possible, you know, manner or standard because they hold themselves accountable to that level of quality. And that's the passion that they have for putting out great work out into the world. And all of those kinds of passions are acceptable. Hiring for Startups: Importance of Passion and Motivation [00:14:44] Meenah Tariq: What you cannot do in a start up is hire somebody who doesn't have any passion or who is not motivated at all or who is not showing any evidence of any interest in any of these three areas. Right? Because and and, you know, I'm not saying that those people are are not useful for the world at large, but as a startup, we have very limited and time is your biggest enemy. Right? You have extremely limited time, and moving fast is extremely important. You don't have, as a start up, the capacity to hire someone and then over the next 2 years, develop passion within them and then get them to operate. You have to hire people who already have some level of passion, who are showing some evidence of interest. I call this evidence of interest. Right? Have you done anything that proves to the world that you have what it takes to do x y z? That you are the person that should be given this opportunity. How have you proven this already? And people think that this needs to be proved through, you know, proven through, job experience. No. Maybe it's maybe it's the things you watch. Hiring for Startup Success [00:15:49] Meenah Tariq: Maybe it's the things you read. Maybe it's the podcast you hear, maybe it's the networking you go to. What extra effort have you put out in the for us to know that you are someone that has some fire there there needs to be a spark. Right? So for me, I think as a startup founder, you just have to hire for that spark, and you have to hire for values. I think for us, so at Metric, we don't care about degrees. We never ask, like, if anybody applies, we don't even ask if they've done a degree. We don't care what university you're from. We don't care if you have a degree, if you don't have a degree. We care that you show that evidence of interest. You show that evidence of expertise or passion, and that's what we care about. Plus, if your values are aligned with our values, our company values, that's what we care about. So I think doing these few things, we've been able to generate a culture that really works for us. [00:16:40] Adil Saleh: Yes. Absolutely. And lot of lot of times you made mistakes, and then, you know, it's same from that. You hire fast and hire faster. You know? That's a start. Once you gotta make sure you learn quickly with even with the people and, of course, with the customers. So it's all about shipping fast as you mentioned. So now thinking about, Metric in the 1st 2 years, what has changed when it comes to, tapping into the market, like, at a pace, like, at a scale? Like, let's say, there's this is the your product is serving, like, 4 different segment of customers. Financial Analytics Tool for Small Businesses [00:17:09] Adil Saleh: Four different personas, you can say. What is one thing that you have realized in the past 2 years ever since you started? This is the persona we need to kind of penetrate a little faster. Maybe it's it's more revenue opportunities, more, more expansion opportunities in a longer term view, or maybe you can do, like, make make make more sell serve models. So you, you know, you do more with less as a product. Like most companies, they're trying to go towards PLG the 1st 2 years and try to make sure that they have product led sales in one motion. Of course, not with enterprise, like all these big, banks and, you know, all these, these customers you might have in enterprise. What is it, one thing that you realize that you need to, you know, just penetrate fast? And then what are those segments that these hey. I need to push push my, links. Like, put it on the carpet maybe some, someday and then put push someday later. [00:17:58] Meenah Tariq: Yeah. So first of all, let me just, like, give, like, the metric one liner as to what Metric is. Right? Metric is a financial analytics tool that is built for small business owners or SME founders themselves, to be able to use, which aggregates all of their fragmented financial data in one place and then gives them bite sized, extremely digestible insights in real time that helps them make more money and optimize expenses, save money as a whole. Right? Empowering Small Businesses with Financial Solutions in Emerging Markets [00:18:27] Meenah Tariq: B2B SaaS, that's the that's those are the two things that we're here to do. Any B2B SaaS. Right? Either make you more money or save you money. Right? And for us, for Metric, that is what we are trying to do for small business owners in emerging markets. And we're doing this, like I said, by putting together all of the different pieces of finance that you have might have in different places, pulling it together in one place, and making sure that the language that's being used is something that small business owners are actually comfortable with because this is a big thing. Most of the accounting tools that are in the market are not built for business owners. They're built for accountants. They're built for my cofounder, Umer, who's a chartered accountant. They're not built for me, who's hated accounting who hated accounting when I was doing my BBA or even when I was doing my MBA, who was frightened of numbers, who cannot still use QuickBooks even today. Right? It is not built for me. It is built for Omar, the chartered accountant. So what do I, the small business owner, use so that I can translate or connect to what Omar, my accountant, has been putting together for me? That's the disconnect that Metric is trying to solve. I think for us, again, it was a big learning curve. When we started off Metric, we created it so that you could put inputs in manually very simply, and we we thought we would be focusing on Pakistan. So here in Pakistan, there's QuickBooks, etcetera, sit still have very low penetration. If you talk to small businesses, I trained almost a 1000 small business owners across Pakistan in tier 2, tier 3 cities. [00:19:52] Meenah Tariq: And I learned that they did not have any accounting software. So what was built for them? KataBooks were too, too basic and QuickBooks and other ERPs were too sophisticated. There was nothing in the middle that those small business owners could use, and that's where Metric fit in. Right? What we learned over the last 2 years was even that as soon as a business starts to make money, the founder does not want to put in the numbers themselves. So they need some kinds of integration, some connectivity to other platforms that they can use so that they don't have to be putting it themselves because that's a task that they would rather put off. Right? Because small business owners have very little time. They're doing 5,000 things at the same time. So for us, the name of the game has been integrations. The second thing was our market. So very early on, when we started to see organic growth, the UAE actually became the largest chunk of our transaction volume. And this was completely organically. We were not doing any marketing in this region and we still kept on getting active users from there and it became the largest chunk of our GTV. Learnings and Insights from a Fintech Start-Up Journey [00:20:55] Meenah Tariq: So we realized very early on that our primary market should actually be this country and the region as a whole because this is where monetization is more easy. This is where there are more serious businesses. This is where there is, you know, regulatory tailwind. This is where we can actually move faster because the rails already exist. In Pakistan, if you try to integrate a bank, it will take you 5000 years to try and integrate the bank. In the UAE, we already have 7 banks integrated. Right? So there is a massive difference in the rails that you have to build in Pakistan first to be able to get to a certain point and what already exists in terms of infrastructure here, on top of which you can build more easily. So, yeah, we've I mean, these are just some of the learnings that we've had over the last 2 years that have shaped the direction that the product has taken. Now you can be a business, you know, for example, Adil, you have a business. [00:21:43] Meenah Tariq: If you've been using QuickBooks, you can simply connect Metric on top of your QuickBooks. Your accountant can continue putting entries into QuickBooks, but Metric would give you the kind of insights that you need to be able to make better business decisions. So Metrics then becomes that yeah. On top of QuickBooks. So you will be using Metrics, but behind it, your QuickBooks would be attached. We're also building integrations with Shopify, with Xero, with Zoho, with a lot of other platforms that small businesses use so that Metric becomes the place where you can connect all of these different platforms and get one single dashboard board in your phone in your pocket that you can most easily use. [00:22:20] Adil Saleh: Okay. So you're trying to make sure that metric works within your workflows And and it's it's like It becomes it becomes If I'm using QuickBooks, I can integrate Metric with it, and I I can still be using QuickBooks while I'll I'll have all those data points coming inside QuickBook or I'm going to go inside Metric. Discussion with Meenah Tariq about their company [00:22:39] Meenah Tariq: You you would be using Metric. So Metric would almost be translating your QuickBooks for you and you could also connect your bank account. So Metric would be the place where you're getting things from your bank account. You're getting things from QuickBooks. You're getting things from multiple places, and it is translating everything and telling you, okay, this is what the health of your business actually looks like. Plus our AIPs our CTO is doctor Habib. I don't know if you've ever met her, but she's amazing. She has 20 years of experience in machine learning. She got her PhD from the University of Illinois many, many years ago. She's worked in Germany. She's worked in Australia, Microsoft, other places. She's phenomenal. So her interest in this was actually the data piece because she's at the heart of it, a data scientist, and the AI piece that she's building out where it is actually micro advisory. So it is not AI for the sake of AI, but it is it is actually something that creates value because business the biz your business journey is actually a very lonely journey for most business owners and entrepreneurs. And to be able to have someone that will answer questions for you that will tell you what do you need to do better or do you what do you need to do differently looking at your data and anonymize sector data? That that's what we're trying to build. It's called Max. We've, the the back end of it is done. It is working. The front end is being designed. All the designers are fighting over what Max should actually look like. So there's a lot of fun stuff happening there, but, you know, hopefully, we'll be able to, you know, put it out there soon. [00:24:03] Adil Saleh: Right. Right. And and thinking of it, like, it's no more about financial analysts. It's it's about you can do it yourself. Like, having all those integration, it becomes a source of truth. You don't need an accountant. You don't need, like, a billing team that devise all the budgets for marketing and all of those. Innovative Accounting Solutions for Small and Medium Businesses [00:24:21] Meenah Tariq: So you can yeah. You can continue to use your accountant. That's you don't this is not replacing your accountant because what we're not doing is we're not we're not traditional accounting. Right? So you can continue to have your accountant because your accountant is actually the person doing your input. But your output is much more sophisticated, is higher value because we are doing all of that piece. So your accountant is actually putting in numbers, maybe generating some reports for you, but the reports that you actually need, for example, for small businesses, a very interesting report that we have is the founder balance report. A big issue for most businesses is the mixing of personal money and business money Where, you know, I get some money from the business, I will pay off my bill with it. I get some money from, you know, whatever my pocket money, my husband, my own money from somewhere else. And I will buy some raw material from my for my business from that or pay off a business bill from it. And there is constant mixing of personal money and business money. So with the founder's balance report, you know at any point in real time how much money has any founder taken out of the business, how much money does a business owe a founder. So things like that which are more intuitive to the journey of a small and medium business owner are what we are building in Vindric. We're not we're not, frankly, we're not interested in traditional accounting for the sake of compliance. Mhmm. What we're building is modern finance, which is finance for the sake of growth. [00:25:43] Adil Saleh: Okay. One thing, on this, from a found founder standpoint. Like, let's say more than 30 companies we spoke, they are funded. They are selling between series as c to series b, I would say, in the 1st 3 years. All of them are funded. All those senior c suite executives have the equity in the platform. All those are, having a base share of salaries that they're drawing, every month. And, of course, all the company expenditures or business expenditures, marketing, sales, operation equipment, be it anything, is being, devised off of those on name that they of course, they do it really fast once they go to get money. But, of course, at the end of the day, there's a biggest concern for the investors of how they are able to smartly devise, the portion of, the the the fund in the bank across businesses and personal needs and how they're gonna be prioritizing there. Is there some use cases that you you're you're also thinking about that are more like B2B SaaS funded companies? Supporting Startups with Financial Management Solutions [00:26:38] Adil Saleh: All of these companies are either even the BlueCheck companies, they would have these problems. [00:26:44] Meenah Tariq: We have a 130,000 yeah. We have a 130,000 businesses that are using us right now. Actually, a lot of our, a big portion of our chunk a a big push a big chunk of our paid businesses is actually, high-tech startups, including B2B SaaS companies. Because again, even for B2B SaaS companies, the challenges are the same. Right? Understanding and and knowing and having in your pocket the health of your business is very important. Being able to pull very quickly, data from your accounts without having to ask an accountant. If you ask an accountant, any accountant to make a report, they'll probably gonna take, you know, a few days. And a lot of these reports that are more specialized for businesses, frankly, maybe they won't even be able to make. With us, Omar and I both both of us cofounders were on the VC side before this. We were both partners in different VC funds. Omar was at a Singapore based VC fund. I was at a Singapore based VC fund? I was at a Dubai based VC fund. I was investing in Pakistan. He was doing Southeast Asia as well as Pakistan. We understand the challenges that come with raising funding as well as the kind of, metrics that startups need to show. So we are able to cater to those needs already. In terms of, projections, we offer that as an add on. We've been it's one of our most popular add ons. A lot of companies that use Metric end up getting their projections made from us because, again, we understand what a VC is going to be looking at or what they're going to be looking for. [00:28:07] Adil Saleh: Yeah. Absolutely. And there there are so many things when it comes to a person level, that the scenes that founders get to make on a person level. Of course, in the 1st year with seed to precede seed funding, investors not so much pressing onto your, your decisions, financial decisions. But, you know, on a longer term, they'll always have the longer term view on it, but you gotta be. So you you can use, like I can use, like, my cofounder, my team. For my team, we can use, in Metric to, you know, make sure we make decisions, for the longer good as well as, you know, thinking of what what we need today in terms of any any any investment that we need to make and then being able to articulate how it's gonna mean in a in a year from [now]. [00:28:47] Meenah Tariq: now. Yeah. So, in our, in our higher priced plans, the $79 per month and the $300 per month plans, both of them have, account managers, account supervisors who are actually human, who are chartered accountants, as well as getting access directly to myself or Omar to get that kind of support from. So right now, again, because, you know, in in the start, you do things that don't scale. That's where we are right now. So we do offer a lot of support to our users, and we're constantly there for them because they become our community. Right? We also have a lot of WhatsApp communities, a lot of different types of communities where we answer questions, where we're available. So for us, everybody who's a metric user, actually not even if even if you're not a metric user, our cause is the cause of entrepreneurship. We genuinely love this. We we want people to grow. We want businesses to grow. We want entrepreneurs to grow. So we constantly make ourselves available to be able to do that kind of work and to be able to support whoever we can as much as we can, including actually in our fundraising, investment optimization add on. We even make connections to investors because we are very connected to investors across the world now. Also in the Middle East because now we're based out of Abu Dhabi, but in the US, in Southeast Asia. So we constantly make those introductions [00:30:10] Adil Saleh: fact that you are trying to facilitate your customers going, you know, out of the box and, you know, pushing the extra mile, for your customers for their needs apart from what they they can, you know, foresee in terms of value from from the product. So now thinking about Passion and Purpose in Entrepreneurship [00:30:25] Meenah Tariq: I think it comes again, it comes down to it comes down to the cause. Right? Adil, why are we doing this? Like, these these fires that we are roasting in every day, this, like, these beatings that we are getting every day that I was talking to you about before we started recording. Every day you get up and then you get beaten up some more and then you go to sleep and then you get up and you get beaten up some more. You cannot do this unless it is a cause for you. And so for us, I mean, my the last 10 years of my life have been spent working with businesses in one form or the other. Right? This is what I care most strongly about. Frankly, maybe even more so than my own product. I care more about Mhmm. The growth of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship as a whole than maybe I care about my own product specifically. So it's that problem that we need to solve. There there are different ways to solve the same problem. [00:31:11] Adil Saleh: Yeah. Absolutely. And when when things are driven by passion, like relentless passion, you know, that that and and from that day on, you you don't mark and you don't work anymore. You just, you know, weigh up and, you know, you just make it a part of your life and make it a harmony. You know? It's not a Yeah. Work life benefits. It's work life harmony. [00:31:29] Meenah Tariq: So, you are the you are the second you're the second, startup founder that has said this to me this week. I was speaking to Shareen, who's the who's the founder of a startup called a Fintech called Flash out of Egypt. She's amazing. You should get her on your podcast. She's she's she's awesome. And she said the exact same thing, and that is also something I and Umer believe in. We don't we never we don't believe in the concept of work life balance. It is one thing. It is one whole. Work and life. Yes. Work is a part of life. It is not something that is separate. So you shouldn't be doing it if you can't find joy in it. Importance of Happiness and Work-Life Balance in a Tech Company [00:32:01] Meenah Tariq: You should only do things that you feel happy about. I was, I was listening to the founder of Zoom, recently in Riyadh. We were at the same event and he was speaking, and he said that the one thing that matters the most to me is that I can get up every morning and say I am happy. And if I can't do that any single day, then nothing matters. And he said, I want this for every single person in my company. The one thing that I tell all my employees is that every day in the morning, you have to answer the question, are you happy? And if you're not happy, stay home. Don't come to work. [00:32:31] Meenah Tariq: Yeah. Figure out what is making you unhappy, solve it, and then get back to work. Because if you are not happy, then what is the point? So, you know, for us, work and life are the same thing. We just have to make sure that we are happy in this one life that we have. [00:32:48] Adil Saleh: Absolutely. And you gotta make make sure that you're making it a harmony as well. Like like you mentioned that Yeah. If you're doing good at work, you'll do it, good on the relationship side and everything. If you're doing good at relationship Yeah. And you're happy about it, you'll do good at work too. So when you make it hard and and it's it's it's something that it takes like it's not easy at times, but, you gotta make sure you you peel through that. You feel that it's just about, like, a lot of people, like, probably 7,000,000,000 people need to redefine what success means. You know? It's it's more about waking up every day and feel good about what you're gonna do next. [00:33:21] Meenah Tariq: Yeah. [00:33:22] Adil Saleh: Perfect. So now thinking about your data, like, we're trying to think and peel through, operations when it comes to presales, post sales in a tech company? How much of them, these companies are data driven? Like, how much of these, efforts are going and invested towards data? Like, when you talk about digital CS, you talk about self serve onboarding, product product led sales, you know, product led onboarding, activation, adoption, and then, of course, retention and expansion is the is the is the big avenue too. So how what do you think of Metric as a as a business, tech business? [00:33:59] Meenah Tariq: still I think we're still on the on a learning curve when it comes to all of these things. I think I I just learned about product led growth maybe 6 months or so ago and started to get to know about it more. And product led growth sounds like the magic pill. Right? I again, I spoke to 2 different mentors this week. Discussion on Product Led Growth Strategies in Startups [00:34:15] Meenah Tariq: One said, yes, product led growth. 1 said, no, product led growth. Like, literally, they had completely differing viewpoints on PLG. Right? Because it's become this this, like, almost a fancy buzzword at this point where everything is PLG and nothing is PLG. Right? No. And it sounds like, oh my god. If we can get to PLG, like, all our problems will be solved. I will everything will be, you know, rosy and beautiful all of a sudden, and I'll just be getting, like, millions of customers paying me at the same time. So honestly, like, it all of the all of the words that you said, a lot of them are still things that we are working through and still things we are experimenting with. And I would love to test out your product and to see how it works for us and what are where are the places where maybe you could help us and support us because we are still very much on a learning curve. We just started monetizing very recently. I don't know if I can tell you what ARR we're at. I probably can't. I don't want my my cofounder to shoot me afterwards. But, you know, we're we've grown we've we've 4 x ed in the last 8, 9 months, so we've grown pretty fast. But, of course, it is still not enough when you when you talk about startups. And in the startup world, you still need to be doing more. You need to make sure your product is also sticky. You need to make sure that your growth is also sustainable. You're not throwing money away, but you also have to test out different channels of acquisition. You have to keep the CAC low. Our LTV to CAC is, I think, 4, 4a half right now Which is good, but you always wanted to grow a little bit more. So it's all of those things that are happening. So, you know, I think I need to book a session with you separately to understand what you think about a lot of these things and, for you to maybe help, metric out I have how as we grow in scale. [00:35:53] Adil Saleh: I have one viewpoint on product led, growth because this is something that I've been doing it for a year. I I used to tell people prerecord. Hey. You don't have you're in the first you're sitting at series a or c. Your 1st 2 years, you you don't even have a product market fit. You don't even know what is your right customer. Like, that's why you don't have product market fit. You don't have ideal customer profiles nailed down. You don't have that big of a revenue. So you don't have to stay part of that growth company or for PLG first company, all of these buzzwords, because it's not an event. It is a journey. Yes. I would love to know how much you're investing towards that, achieving that. That's fine. Like, I spoke to, the the C suite exec. Like, CCO Gong was the, one of the biggest brands behind Gong. They that's one of the companies in the past 15 years that have achieved the unicorn setups in in the most digital way along with, an intercom and a lot of, like, Slack was 1, 2. So I asked him this out. Like, he said, I I got hired at Gong several years back when we were as small as 6 people. And if I look back and if you ask the same question to me, that time, I would have said the same thing that we are investing into data. This is how we are investing into data. Right? How we are making our sales operation more intelligent for data driven? How we are making, like, like, presales operation more intelligent on and then bringing it down to onboarding. And this is these are the in between. For these gap, this is what technology will be trying to improve. So always know what you're trying to do in in 3 years from now and then plant the seed today. That is super important. And this is what I've learned. I would say, this is the biggest lesson I've learned in the past 3 years doing in communication with this. I've never had this knowledge to be very honest. Like, how important it can be, how powerful it can be. Just imagine right now, you're telling me that you have, like, these many customers, annual recurring customers. You tell me, hey. 25% of those are more likely to churn, and this is what we are trying to do to mitigate the. That would have been like, even that is be it, like, 10 or 15 customers. So if you can do it for 15, you can do it for 15,000 too. So that's what, you know, we we are learning as a product, as a company. Adil, that sounds that sounds magical. Adil Saleh's Journey in Developing a New Product [00:37:57] Meenah Tariq: That sounds magical. I really want that. Yeah. [00:38:01] Adil Saleh: So it's it's it yeah. I mean, I I've been in, like [00:38:03] Meenah Tariq: we're trying to solve. Right? [00:38:05] Adil Saleh: Yeah. My entire family, even my wife, they got tired of, of me. And why you're so id idealizing things, and why you're not writing code? Just like Elon must be back in the day. I said, no. I need to validate my hypothesis. I we didn't write a single line of code until, like, last 6 months, 7 months that we launched a product. Before that, we kept nursing these, these pain points, these use cases that CS leaders, CCOs, CEOs, cofounders, Y Combinator, Techstars, all the biggest successful companies I got them on right here. Did not see for marketing to run-in this. We've got not many downloads. We've got not not not a lot of, traction on on LinkedIn. Organically, we've got, like, 1500 companies, following us, but that was not goal. My goal was to my make sure that whatever I'm thinking, I'm thinking in the right way and how I can solve this problem. That is the biggest Absolutely. Running getting developer developers and getting teams to, do the engineering and projector, that's the easiest thing. Yeah. Yeah. What you're building is is the real thing, but you did it. Like, in your case, in in SaaS, it's either you do it first or you do it different. You know? So in your case, and if you're if you're doing one of these, you get the product market for instance day 1, which you got in the in the beginning. Like, you already know what your customers even if they're not paying, they're consuming your technology. If they consume at some scale at threshold, they'll still pay. So you can monetize it. So which you did, just recently. So Yeah. It was quite an interesting [00:39:29] Meenah Tariq: This is a this is a phenomenal conversation, and I'm learning so much from it. And you're absolutely right. Like, recently, one thing that I learned about product market fit recently is that you can also lose product market fit. So you can find product market fit, and then over time, you can lose it again. And then you have to find it again, and then you have to lose it again. I'm like, oh my god. [00:39:46] Adil Saleh: It's it's a battle. It's it's a battle. You gotta make sure that you're up for that battle. I'm I'm sure I'm not sure if you're talking about the SaaSter blog. Like, 2 days ago, Jason Lemkin, the founder of SaaSter, we're going to assess this December 2. Great event, great networking. They he wrote an article about product led growth and what it takes to be a a partly led company and what how you know you're losing it. You know, so that that was quite amazing, informative, and very much practical concrete. This is what I love about Jason. He's always been he's not gonna lose buzzwords. He's always gonna be practical. He's gonna hit you in the fields. Even if you if you're running for a startup like yours and ours, it will definitely hit you in the field. It's targeting the real thing that you're maybe we both are keeping inside this for to say, hey. This is something that's that's not for me, and I should not get it out. And then it will come out in many ways when you read articles like Jason Linpkins. So it's [00:40:41] Meenah Tariq: it's No. That sounds awesome. I I I don't know about, about him, and I would love to read more. And tell me more about this event also. I would love to [00:40:49] Adil Saleh: hear more about this. Happens every year, in San Francisco. That's the annual event for B2B SaaS companies. Jason Jason Duncan is the founder of, SaaSter, and it happens, like, Europe. There's a Europe, session they have, like, once a year, and then in San Francisco, are in states every September, every year. [00:41:06] Meenah Tariq: So Very interesting. [00:41:07] Adil Saleh: We've been trying to go there too. Okay. Perfect. So now thinking about your team and culture, like, how are you trying to cultivate this, all of the values? I love the beautiful mind that you have in the heart. Building a People-First Company Culture [00:41:16] Adil Saleh: Of course, you know, your mind follows your heart. You know? If people are smart, people are empathetic, people are getting the best work out of people, most of the times, they're good at heart. So how you're trying to [00:41:30] Meenah Tariq: Yeah. Well, I don't think it's I don't think it's just me. I think it's also very much driven by by my 2 cofounders. I don't know if you've ever met, Omar, or I I don't know if you're connected to, Habiba, but, like, honestly, I think Omar was a big driving force in the values also. He's a he's a big proponent of them and of building like, of focusing on people and everything else follows. Like, literally, if there was ever a time when I was trying to solve some of the fire and there was a people issue, he has always been the one that has said, forget everything else, solve the people issue first, because if you don't solve that, nothing else matters. So for us, we're a people first company, and we try to remain so. And we try to focus on people beyond them just being employees, People as people. People as humans who have lives, who have to grow, who have to go places. We are so proud of people that have left Metric and gone on to do phenomenal things, gone on to even bigger organizations, gotten greater opportunities. That's the kind of legacy that we want to leave behind. I think it is the people that you leave leave behind who are your true legacy. Right? Nothing else matters. I mean, even products, they get absolute absolute obsolete at some point or the other. Right? So it is the people that are going to carry forward your stories and your thoughts and your ideologies. Right? So I think that is that is the one thing that we invest most of our time in and, we invest truly most of our heart and also because it it does matter the most to us. Also, again, Adil Absolutely. Kind of coming back to what we were talking about about us being happy. Right? If your if your company becomes the kind of place where you are not happy anymore, where you cannot relate anymore, you cannot connect anymore, you cannot enjoy anymore, We're spending right now, we're spending most of our lives with our coworkers. Like, you spend or I spend less time with my family, with my parents. I spend most time of most of, you know, most of my day or most of my life actually with my coworkers. And if that's not something that's bringing me joy, if the culture there becomes toxic, if it's political, if it's if there's leg pulling, if there if it is not honest, if it is not true to me, then, again, what's the point? Like, this there's only one line that I get. I don't get to waste this one and then go back and, like, start a new one all over again. Right? So you have to build you either build culture or culture gets built for you. But when it gets built for you, then it might be the culture that you want to live in. Right? [00:43:54] Adil Saleh: So you have to make [00:43:56] Meenah Tariq: sure that it is something yeah. You have to make sure it is something you're be you're building. Also, the the one other thing that I've realized that has worked out really well for us is to truly empower our teams in that you know, right now, Omar and I are in Abu Dhabi. Habiba is in Australia. The most of our team is in Pakistan and some in the Philippines, and everybody's just doing what they're supposed to be doing, and they're doing it really well. They're testing things. They're experimenting. They're building things. They're breaking things. They're making mistakes. They're learning. They're just they're doing everything that is supposed to happen. And Omar and I can focus on one piece. Habiba can focus on a different piece, and we can still reconnect and kind of look back at what's been going on, and everything's okay. And that can only have happened if we hadn't spent if we had spent the last 2 years the way we did. Right? Building them out, making sure that that decision making we call it decision making muscle, that everybody's been flexing their decision making muscle, that they can take those decisions and build defensibility within whatever it is that they're doing. And, you know, thankfully thankfully, it's worked for us so far, and I hope that we continue to attract the right kind of people with the right kind of values, and we continue to build this team out the way we want it. And we continue to build a company that we can be, you know, proud of. [00:45:17] Adil Saleh: Mhmm. Amazing. I love the methodologies that you're using before earlier. You you had, like, to nurture the interest, make sure that, that there was a term that you use. And also this one, I loved it. I'll just definitely listen back and make a note of it and make sure how we can term all of this. Because makes it so easy to understand and communicate. Because communication oftentimes is, can be the biggest problem in a small team. You know, you're not able to communicate. Either you're not able to communicate or not able to communicate in the way that other person is conceiving, information. So you gotta make sure that sometimes you have to over, you know, to pure over information Yeah. Or explain people. So I love I think the fact that you're. Go ahead. Yeah. [00:46:00] Meenah Tariq: No. I think we we realized that and this this I don't know, you know, how what's worked out for you in this, but for most startups because startups are very personality focused or personality driven, and the personality is the founder. Right? And if you take the founder out of the equations, a lot of times things just fall apart because it is because it is the founder. The company is the founder. Right? So I tell my com I tell my teams all the time, we're not here to build a safe company. I'm I I'm I'm not Mina safe. Right? I shouldn't be the final say on everything. And if I don't like it, it doesn't happen. And if I like like it, it happens. Right? I am not the final authority. Because if you make me the final authority, then that means that there is a ceiling on our limit of knowledge, of thought, of creativity, of innovation. Yeah. And the limit is me because there cannot never be anything beyond [00:46:48] Adil Saleh: me. [00:46:49] Meenah Tariq: I am I am the top. I am the ceiling. There can never be anything greater than b because that is not allowed. Right? And if that happens, then then it's a very sad state of affairs. So we had to we had to almost break everything down and let people take those decisions and say say, you know, I'm not going to be the one that is going to take a decision for your team or your department. You take the decision, you come and tell me, and you should have defensibility. You should tell me why you're taking that decision. What have you [00:47:17] Adil Saleh: thought through? Should be, like, factual. Lunch flow. Yeah. [00:47:20] Meenah Tariq: Yeah. What what have you thought to? What have you experimented with which has led you to this conclusion or led you to wanting to do it this way? And, yeah, you go ahead and do it. And if you make a mistake, you make a mistake and you say, okay, this is what I did. I this is what I learned and now we move on from this. Right? But if you come to me for every single thing, that means and this is also a cultural thing, in Pakistan, we are brought up in a way that our our, you know, the adults in our life because we're not adults. Right? We are it doesn't matter how old We're [00:47:48] Adil Saleh: old timers. We are boomers. [00:47:50] Meenah Tariq: Yeah. We're we're all just always we're never adults. We're still living with our parents. We're still listening to them, and they are the ones that will tell us how to live our lives or or other older people in around us will. Right? But this also it strips us of agency. It also strips us of, having to ever defend anything because it wasn't my decision. You did it. This is how we even get married. Right? We're like, I let my mother decide who I'm going to get married to because later on, I can blame her and say, you [00:48:15] Adil Saleh: know, who wants to be. That lets us sleep feeding our ego. That this happens now. I feel it a 100%. [00:48:22] Meenah Tariq: All the time. Right? So it it it almost stops us from ever having to take responsibility for our own decisions because we put those decisions on other people or other people take those decisions for us. Right? So this falls follows us in our work life as well. We were like, okay. I'll do what the boss is asking me to do because then if something goes wrong, it's the boss's fault. So everything from what brand of milk should be used in tea to how many cups of tea people in the office should be drinking to, like, what tech stack we should be building on. Like, everything is the responsibility of the founders, and nobody else will ever take any responsibility, and thereby, they will never be at fault. So we had to sit down with everybody and say, you will take your own decisions and you will take responsibility. Empowering Team Members to Take Responsibility [00:48:39] Meenah Tariq: We were like, okay. I'll do what the boss is asking me to do because then if something goes wrong, it's the boss's fault. So everything from what brand of milk should be used in tea to how many cups of tea people in the office should be drinking to, like, what tech stack we should be building on. Like, everything is the responsibility of the founders, and nobody else will ever take any responsibility, and thereby, they will never be at fault. So we had to sit down with everybody and say, you will take your own decisions and you will take responsibility. If it's good, you will take responsibility, and if it's bad, you'll take responsibility. [00:49:16] Adil Saleh: That's right. [00:49:17] Meenah Tariq: Yeah. It's okay because this is how you learn. So now our teams are so empowered that people ask me. They're like, oh, you're in Abu Dhabi. Who is heading metric in Pakistan? Nobody. Mhmm. Everybody is heading their own team. Everybody is heading their own work. They are all heads, and nobody is ahead. There is no one person Who has the central responsibility of now deciding how many cups of tea somebody will drink. Everybody will decide how many cups of tea they want to drink. [00:49:45] Adil Saleh: That's it. Yes. There is a great book because I I listen to Simon's Sineck a lot, about leadership and all. So there's a book this I just handed over to another team member that recently we never work we use the word employee here. There's just team members. So Yes, please. This guy that that came in in, in the in the 3rd week, like, after the training and product and everything, I handed over this book named Leaders Eat Last. So I I I told him nothing. Just just explore about this book. He went on and learned about Simon's Neck, learned about what his book about, what is he mentioning about Navy Seals and trainings and all. Discussion on Tech Company Processes and Sales Strategy [00:49:58] Adil Saleh: So Yes, please. This guy that that came in in, in the in the 3rd week, like, after the training and product and everything, I handed over this book named Leaders Eat Last. So I I I told him nothing. Just just explore about this book. He went on and learned about Simon's Neck, learned about what his book about, what is he mentioning about Navy Seals and trainings and all. And he's now coming up with different ideas. Like, it's it's all about expanding your curiosity. You know, books this is what books does. Like, they always expand your curiosity and expand your Yeah. Thinking models and second order thinking. You know? Yeah. This is second order thinking. So the I I love this. I would definitely suggest you start your own podcast, and as I see you're pretty big on on culture and people. Definitely, like, 1 hour a week, maybe 40 minutes a week. Maybe only on weekends, 1 hour. I definitely recommend anything that you need. Like, anything that will do. No worries, alongside. But you gotta be on the podcast. You gotta transform what you have, inside you, all of this, and and these 4 units are not gonna blend justice. [00:51:06] Meenah Tariq: No. Thank you so much. And, like, I had such a good time talking to you. This was so it flowed so seamlessly, and I again, like, I'm walking away learning new things and also making a note, you know, connect with Huddl and learn more about, all of these data points that we need to be tracking to make sure our sales are more seamless. Because honestly, there's so much more that we need to be doing that will really help us. So thank you so much for that. You've, you've really made some, you know, bells thing in my head. [00:51:33] Adil Saleh: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that was not the primary purpose, but it eventually happened. But my my point was more about, you know, how you get a tech company and digitalize and do more with less smartly at scale. If you can you're not scaling things. Why? They do first thing they do to the start up, do things that don't scale. If you think about using Apollo to reach out to a 150,000 people, don't do it today. Just reach out 15. Very personalizing news. Right? Talking about that. So that is one point. But thinking about scale is to perform, having planting seed, anything that you can do. Let's say a lot of people, individuals like CEO and myself, they they're not paying you enough, so you don't have to get dedicated. We have account managers for that. So you can have, like, one special guest manager, book a business of 35 CEOs or entrepreneurs using an account and make trying to make that search work and digital. So you can do for not 30, 30,000 in a year. So that was, my whole point, and I I would love to connect anytime you, you wish. And, it's it's it was with my true pleasure to have you here, listen to you, and all your, methodologies and all your ideas and opinions on top of one more thing I would suggest and, the not not the book. The guy is a founder of Nvidia. So it's, it's it's the 2nd largest company, on the face of Earth. They're probably, like, 2 point $3,000,000,000,000, right now value valued around. He had this last speech, that he did, launching their their their new cards and new technologies, on the CPOs. Just listen to that speech. Advice for Startups from a Seasoned Founder [00:53:01] Adil Saleh: That will echo with you a lot. Right? It's all about, like, somebody asked me, like like, any any task beneath you? He said I I probably have cleaned more toilets than all of you guys sitting right here. There's no task beneath me. Anybody that says me anything, if if it's it's me and it's important to do, I'll do it. So Yeah. There was one plan. So 100%. Conversation. So yeah. [00:53:23] Meenah Tariq: Absolutely. And, no, not only will I do it, I will do the best possible job that anybody's ever done in this world. I will clean toilets like the best clean toilets you've ever seen because you have to take pride in your work. [00:53:34] Adil Saleh: Right? [00:53:35] Meenah Tariq: Yeah. So anything that has my name attached should be very, very good because I will put in that effort. So, yeah, I would love to listen to the speech. Sounds amazing. I will definitely give it a listen. [00:53:44] Adil Saleh: Perfect. Perfect. Meenah, it was really nice talking to you. One last thing. One advice to, all the founders starting their company, not specifically on the industry, like, as a tech company. What is that one thing that you gotta do on day 1 to a day day million as, until the day they, of course, they depart and or the company departs. What is that one thing that you do do you want them to do at all times? [00:54:07] Meenah Tariq: 2 pieces. Yeah. Two pieces to this. Number 1, be very, very clear about what your why is because that's the one thing that will hold you steady when things are going wrong because there will be times when you will just be lying in bed crying because something, like, has really majorly blown up. And you will ask yourself, why am I doing this to myself? I'm earning less than I was earning before. I have way more stress. I'm literally like losing hair like crazy. I have stomach issues. My health is going down the drain. The doctor tells me to take less stress, but that's not possible as a startup founder. Why am I doing this to myself? And it is your why. It is your cause that will bring you back. You have to you you will be able to remind yourself self of why you started in the 1st place. I see some founders who start things because because because it seems like the right thing to do at that time, because it seems like a good business idea. You know, Adil, when you talk about, sales and assisting businesses and making better sales, I can tell how passionate you are about this. I can tell how in your head it all comes together and it there are pieces that connect and you are you are moved and motivated. You really want them to be able to work this out. Right? There has to it has to be connected to your cause. It has to be connected to your why, and that is the only that is the only way that to persevere. The second is values. On day 1 of your business or day 0 of your business, sit down and make a list of what are the things that are important to you that you want reflected in your business. There are no values that are right or wrong. There are different types of people in the world. Right? And no one type is right and no one type is wrong. You just have to make sure you know the type you are, and then you hire the kind of people who have the same values. I like to explain it as, you know, there are some people who are [00:55:53] Adil Saleh: Operating principle. [00:55:54] Meenah Tariq: Stand in line. Yeah. No. There's some people who like to stand in lines. If there's a line, they will stand in line and wait for their turn, and they believe that everybody else should also be standing in line. And there are some people who will try to break the queue, who will try to go from this side or this side, and they truly believe that they are doing the right thing and that people who are standing in line are maybe stupid and they are not looking out for themselves. They're not not trying to you know, they're trying to save time. They're they need to be somewhere else. They are trying to create value for themselves by breaking that line. Both these people think they are right, and both of them are right in their own world. Right? But if you try to put these 2 together as cofounders, as coworkers, as colleagues, as life partners, you will have a disaster on your hand because they just have very, very different world views and very different values. Right? So you have to understand yourself and do that introspection on day 1 of your business. Write down those values and then make sure you are able to communicate them clearly and hire people who fit into those values. Don't try to hire people and then change them into your way of thinking because that doesn't work in relationships or in the workplace. So those those are my pieces of advice. Building Strong Co-Founder Relationships and Company Alignment [00:57:08] Adil Saleh: Love it. I mean, I I I get told about this multiple times that the relationship between your cofounder is similar to relationship between your wife, like, life partner. So many things are, they they they relate. Like, you need, of course, commitment. You need, like, loyalty, all of this. So Yeah. Like you mentioned, trust all of this. So this is one note for me as well because, my my myself and my co founder, we debate a lot. Like, yesterday, my wife, she's also working at a tech company. She's an RPA developer, like, you can say, like, process automation for enterprise companies. He He was sitting right here, and before that, we never had this because I had reached in. So I and my my cohort, they were we're just we're waiting for just, like, regular past 4, 5 years. We've been doing all this loan Yeah. All this time. Every time, the same way. Pointlessly, a lot a lot of times. So just, like, one and a half, 2 hours on one thing, like, how we can clear this content marketing for, for our personas. And, you know, we were building content pillars and all. And she was silently sitting right there, and, I just went home on the bed bedside when we had a little talk. I found out and he said, this is something that's, number 1, that's not healthy. Number 2, it seems like you are maybe you're you're you're a good friend, you're a good partner. You're you're aligned on the on the technology side of things. He's a CTO. You're a CEO. But there's some way that you need to you you're missing the focal point, which I realized. So and and the next day, I have Meenah. You know? She's talking about the same thing. So a lot of dots that I gotta make sure that we have, you know, we use Notion for documentation for the last 3 years, I would say, ever since we started as a product company. So we had, like, opening principles, DNAs, visions. There's so many other people here out in, out out in New York City. So she she's young, energetic, and she came in and said, this is first thing that we need. We gotta do. Like, Iran, that, CCO of Gong, he told about the same thing. Like, you gotta make sure you have vision, open the principles. Every person, even the person that is doing not, like, too much, like, heavy lifting or, like, smaller roles. Even the these people are aligned to those, those principles, operating principles, or. Yeah. Across the board. Yeah. Yeah. So I I see it for myself, and, thank you very much for another reminder. So it was really nice meeting you today and sharing all this again. I recommend you you start sharing more and, finding time more to, you know, share all of these, these these experience and the quality methodologies and and your beliefs, that can that can really make an impact. So, impact is all about, like, how you can change people the way they think, And this is what you you have that inside you. [00:59:46] Meenah Tariq: No. Thank you so much. We're just, we're trying to close our seed round nowadays. So I guess as soon as that is done and I have some time back on my plate, you know, maybe I'll I'll start to do this. It's just, it just takes a lot out of you, I think, putting things together and putting you know, stitching together a seed round in this economic climate has been a lot of fun. But, you know, it's coming together thankfully. So we're just, waiting for it to close so that we can get back to a lot of the other fun things that we can do. [01:00:14] Adil Saleh: Congratulations on that, and I wish you good luck with, with this. And keep shining. Keep inspiring. And, [01:00:19] Meenah Tariq: thank you very much. [01:00:20] Adil Saleh: Have a good rest of your day. [01:00:21] Meenah Tariq: Adil. Take care. Thank you. Bye. Okay. Bye.

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