Episode No:24

Remote-First Reality with Virbela ft.

Craig Kaplan

Chief Customer Officer, Virbela

Listen & Subscribe

hyperengage.io/podcast

Ep#24: Remote-First Reality with Virbela
ft. Craig Kaplan (Chief Customer Officer, Virbela)
Ep#24: Remote-First Reality with Virbela ft. Craig Kaplan (Chief Customer Officer, Virbela)
  • Ep#24: Remote-First Reality with Virbela ft. Craig Kaplan (Chief Customer Officer, Virbela)

Episode Summary

Remote work is supposed to be liberating, not exhausting. Video chat and other tools leave us out of touch and craving social interaction. Virbela is the first virtual world platform built specifically to solve the challenges of remote collaboration. Today on the show, we have Craig Kaplan, Chief Customer Officer at Virbela. In this episode, Craig shared how Virbela brings teams together, unifying communications, video conferencing, file-sharing and cloud applications, all in a secure campus that replicates a real-world experience. He also talked about their new platform, Framevr.io, the most instant and frictionless virtual collaboration experience possible that brings people together in immersive, highly customizable spaces for meetings, events, and learning.
Key Takeaways Time
Craig’s background 1:45
How having a growth mindset helped Craig succeed in his career 4:44
Why organizations should have a start-up mentality 8:51
How is Virbela educating the world to run better organizations 12:17
How is Virbela scaling customer success by being educators for their customers 16:45
How Virbela stands out from its competitors by being the most scalable and immersive platform 18:56
Their second platform: Framevr.io 23:06
How Framevr.io is different from Virbela 23:06
What customers do they serve 23:06
How Virbela helps educational institutes 31:08
How Virbela acts as a co-working space for SMBs 32:41
How transfer of knowledge among co-founders and trusting the roles can be a big factor in an organization’s success 42:46

Empower Your GTM Strategy

Monthly expert advice and top GTM insights in your inbox.

Transcript

Adil Saleh: Hey, good afternoon, everybody. This is Adil from hyperengage podcast joined by Taylor Kenerson and a special guest, Craig Kaplan, he’s leading customer facing team at Virbela, which is a very interesting platform, it serves mostly towards the enterprise segment. And they are helping teams with, you know, remote teams with virtual environments, virtual learning management, and all that stuff. So thank you very much, Craig, for joining in today. And taking the time from your schedule, it was really nice having you. Craig Kaplan: Thanks for having me, excited to be here. Adil Saleh: Wonderful, wonderful. So let’s jump right in, into you know, I’ve seen your prior background as well. And you’ve been a part of some venture firm as well, you’ve been a part of some media agencies as well, and leading teams there. So now you also have two projects at Virbela, Virbela labs well, and you have a web based software named framevr.io, which is pretty interesting, too. So you as an individual starting back in the years, how did you see yourself evolving around the time? And why did you choose this? You know, customer, I would say customer facing leadership role? Craig Kaplan: Well, how far back do you want to go? I’m kind of old, you know, I’m 50 years old. So I could go back like 25 years, I could go back 10 years, you know, Taylor Kenerson: go back, go back to one of the most memorable points in your professional career, rather, and then start from there, go with the journey, you know, give us all the obstacles if you want, like all those times that you were like, wow, I didn’t know I wanted this and ended up this way. And yeah, just walk us through that. Craig Kaplan: Well, that goes, it goes back to college, where I shifted my major, sort of, at UCLA, they didn’t have minors and so, but I added like a business specialization a couple years in, because I was doing a bunch of internships in one field and I was like I didn’t really like that and, so I jumped into business specialization and I graduated and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, and just like most people, college graduates or high school graduates, you’re like oh I need to get a job from a friend, what is basically how the world works, even today right? You are most likely 25 years into your career and you are gonna get your next job from a relationship or a friend, so I think it’s a great lesson. So I jumped into a tech job because a friend of mine was like oh you’ll learn a lot of stuff here, the internet is gonna be pretty important, all that. So that was really exciting. And the second sort of ship for me was, it was a small tech company, it wasn’t really a start up, it was just a privately owned small tech company, and I guess I was always kinda curious about learning and trying to expand my horizon so a friend of mine in that company was like, Hey, why don’t you you know, join sales? Because I was in an operational role when I started I was a QA tester quality assurance software tester then I was a manager for projects as a project manager. Now why do you try sales and I never really thought myself would go into a sort of a sales or customer facing role at least back then. But me was it was just about being curious kind of expanding skills sort of finding yourself and you know, that started my career in you know, customer success as we all call it these days, but you know, as a sales role, then I tried it out and it was, you know, wasn’t necessarily the work that I love in terms of the sales stuff because, you know, junior sales people do a lot of the you know, the really heavy duty grunt work right and not as you’re not actually talking to customers that often you’re usually getting a lot of voicemails or you know, hang ups and things like that. So it’s not exactly the same thing as what you do later in your career but it was something we were re trying and I was just excited about you know, being curious and open minded at the time fortunately you know, really served me to like get to try a bunch of different things Taylor Kenerson: Love that! you go on I just want to I’m really curious like how you chose to get into the your current career then because of like, kind of the unique things that you did along your journey, Like, what what made you end up here? Craig Kaplan: Yeah, that’s a, I love that question. So me personally, and this is a personal thing. So it’s not necessarily gonna apply to everybody. But I kind of have like a three year mindset, particularly in , the last 15 years. I kind of First couple of jobs I had was like, Alright, let me just try to move up in the ranks and, you know, get experience. And then, at a certain point, about 15 years ago, I kind of had a shift, I had enough experience, I guess, where it gave me the liberty to move a little bit more easier into different into different roles. But I kind of think about things in three year mindsets like let me let me dedicate three years of my life to this next role. And in these days, right, things change very quickly in terms of career. And, and also for me, personally, I like to, unless something changes in that role, there’s more opportunities, the growth is fast. And, there’s new challenges. To me, it’s about being challenged, and kind of continuing that growth mindset. And that, you know, gaining more experiences learning. And so I kind of look at that as the thing that I do, but I also get a lot of salespeople or customer success, right, you get a ton of experience in one industry, and especially in technology. It’s so more vast and complex than it was 25 years ago. So you are in cloud services business, it’s so deep, right? and you have to have a wide range, so, but I always like to do new things. To me, if I was in the same technology segment, for my whole career, I would be bored. Even though my relationships and my network, I’ll get built up in that kind of base, I sort of take myself down a peg, and try to look at different opportunities where I can still apply a really good experience, set of experience and a great network, potentially, but try to learn new things. And it’s a thing that doesn’t necessarily help me continue to kind of go continually up. So I oftentimes have to kind of try to go up and then take a dip down into a different role or a different direction it but I think that’s that’s sort of a startup mentality is that, you oftentimes have to just look at the company, the products, if you’re excited about that, then the role, yeah, put your ego aside at my age and try to just look at roles that you’re really excited about. And, and, you know, just jump in. And so I’m still doing that at age 50 Is, is looking for opportunities where I just could contribute, but I’d have to fall in love with the company, I gotta fall in love with the team, I gotta fall in love with the product. And then the other thing that I’d give advice to folks who can’t do this, is fall in love with the timing of the product in the market, because that is going to probably determine more about whether the company is successful than you know what the team can actually do product market fit, timing, those things are really sort of critical on the overall health of the business. Adil Saleh: Absolutely love that. I mean, the way you time to time, you were kind of having a beginner eye and you know, looking and seeing things differently for your own learning, and you want to evolve as a professional, which is, which is how you ended up with Virbela. So looking at the technology, like redefining the Business Learning and, you know, remote environments, and especially COVID, this pandemic coming came in? How do you How did you see a potential of you as a professional to to be able to make an impact and contribute at Virbela when you started? Craig Kaplan: Yeah, I think, you know, there’s so much change going on because of the pandemic. I mean, the key is, I think is from a company standpoint, you have to have, I think leadership that is ready to change very quickly, and not be kind of, you know, stuck or tied to kind of old concepts. And, and I think this is another benefit of having sort of a startup mindset, in any type of business is that really the best leadership I think in any company, big or small or medium sized, startup or not startup, is about that startup mentality that you got to iterate and you got to move quickly, you got to be prepared for a lot of changes in the industry, in the world. I mean, there’s, the last two years have shown more change, right? In the economy and the world and people’s mindset, into psychology, like everything has changed and thrown on its head and the only thing to be prepared for that is to be prepared for change. And so I think that’s what I’ve hopefully brought into the organization is you know, we got to be really focused on what’s working you know, both inside the company but also with our Clients and be willing to kind of, you know, be very transparent with ourselves about, hey, is this working? How do we change strategies? How do we change our operations, change our approach. And we had to do that over the last two and a half years, multiple times with different teams and in different strategies, because of the way that the pandemic has flip flopped people, you know, in the office out of the office, travel changes, expenses, now, the economy overall be volatile. It’s changes in way, how companies are investing in either their people or their expenses. So even that’s changing the way that we think about the business. Taylor Kenerson: I love that you you touched on you, in today’s time, especially, you have to have that growth mindset, as in anything you do, and be willing and flexible to move with whatever comes at you, and pull from you know, those different lessons you’ve learned, but not be tied to them and kind of see how they apply. So can you tell us a little bit about your team, and like, what your team looks like what they do on a day to day? And what kind of activities and stuff? Craig Kaplan: Yeah, so I, I run, partnerships, sales, customer success. And we actually have an events team, because we are an immersive platform. So it’s sort of a very unique and exciting company to be a part of, because we are kind of converging, right? This type of conversation into an immersive platform. So the shift really means that we’re supporting companies to understand that you don’t shift meetings into immersive, I mean, you can but that’s not the big value proposition, the big value proposition is run your meetings better immersive, don’t just move them over. Because people aren’t going to be excited about having a three person conversation immersive space, for an hour that you can do very easily right on Zoom like we’re doing. So it’s really a full shift in terms of remember how we used to run meetings before the pandemic, and how there was, you know, the some plan, the best meetings were the ones where, you know, the leaders would have a really great agenda, would really have preparation, right. And some of that is tough these days, people just sort of throw meetings together and get people together, and let’s talk. But the best meetings are ones that are planned and have a different sort of process or approach, there’s brainstorming, and then they shift into other modes, or, you know, that sort of mentality is what we’re bringing to our clients. And we talk about that we’re really, always in an educational mode for our clients. We are training the world as we see it, to run better organizations using our platform. It’s really about an end to end employee experiences platform, that a lot of folks in the industry just sort of look at immersive and go, Oh, that’s great for meeting or that’s great for training. And we say no, this is actually great platform for creating work culture, and in really shifting, but nobody’s doing it this way. And so we have to educate our clients on the best practices of, you know, employee experiences overall. And how do you do it a little bit differently in a virtual platform, that is going to get the best value out of this. And the alternative in our view, is that you’re, you’re just going to continue to see the silo-ized silo-ization, I should have a better word than that, but the siloing of your organization because you don’t have the personal relationships anymore, that used to get so like you have really maybe tight relationships with your own team, because you’re always on calls together and you’re always on Zoom calls, you’re always on Slack or on Skype or on teams together. But what you don’t have is like any relationships being developed outside of your core team, personal relationships, like the conversations you would have in the elevator or at the cafeteria, or just by walking through an office floor and walking through to other teams as you get to your cubicle. You like those moments? It’s hard to describe but the serendipitous social engagements that created small relationships like talking smack about your you know, your favorite football team or talking about whatever Netflix movie or show you’re watching. That stuff doesn’t happen now. A lot of remote teams are really great remote teams out there have written a book about like how to be great remote team. And then it’ll be like, Oh, create a Slack channel for all of your media and fun stuff, or create a Slack channel about your pets and create a Slack channel about this. And those are all great ideas. But it doesn’t do exactly the same thing that we miss out when we’re in the office. And the other part of this is that you just saw, you know, once again, Apple saying, hey, everybody’s coming back to our $6 billion headquarters in Cupertino, for three days, you know, on schedule, you got to be there. And I can understand why I mean, he spent $6 billion, and they’re trying to solve this problem of, you know, people do work better, innovate better, no other teams better cross departmental, you know, relationships, they’re trying to solve that problem by saying, hey, come back in and be in the office together, because you’re gonna get a better, not only better work experience, but you’re gonna get better results for the company. But the problem, of course, is, is people are not happy with being forced to do anything, especially when you’re a knowledge worker, or a digital worker or technology worker. And you’ve already been doing this for two years, like we’re doing. So we’re basically solving the the $6 billion Apple headquarter problem by teaching folks that you can be present in a virtual space, and it won’t have to, you don’t have to, you know, take a shower in the morning and do a 45 minute commute to Cupertino, you don’t have to do any of those things. But you can still be there and have like 1000s of your your colleagues sitting there in offices and have that effect of walking over and meeting them. So to get back to your actual question. We have all these teams that are sort of a little bit tweaked in order to be sort of teachers and trainers and our cultural mentality is to be educators across all our teams. So that means salespeople have to be educators, our customer success, our onboarding team have to be educators in terms of helping or have the mindset of helping companies come onboard, and no, they don’t know how to do this in exactly the right way. So in really our our Cofounding team, our academics, so they came from UC San Diego, and, and phD. Alex are co founders, PhD in organizational psychology, Sheldon, co founder launched the Center for Human Design at UC San Diego, MacArthur grant kind of genius in terms of designing virtual spaces and human interaction. So we have these incredible credentials, and vision. And they are academic. So it’s really about, you know, bringing benefits to the world and having our teams kind of take that same mission and culture to our clients. So super long winded answer for a very, super simple question. But I’m gonna try to explain Adil Saleh: with scenarios and experiences. And this is what we want to learn because giving an answer is something becomes quite mainstreamed. But connecting it with scenarios and experiences actually sits to the core. And that is so important for our conversations to be so concrete, I love that. So now, looking at your projects at Virbela. One is like a platform, you’re putting remote platforms or remote simulations, you can say, to enterprise and the other one is is a web based platform. It’s sort of a dashboard, it’s frame framework.io is the right Craig Kaplan: framevr.io. Adil Saleh: Framevr.io. Okay, how, like how does that work? And could you tell us more about it? Craig Kaplan: Yeah. So you know, Virbela platform is about 10 years in the development. So it is a very robust platform and its benefits is that as a, an application, as a gaming application, it’s based on unity, one of the two big gaming engines in the world. And it is, it has a different type of experience or a different type of, of engagement. And I think probably the best way to describe kind of the Virbela platform, one it is like the probably the most scalable, immersive platform out there in terms of concurrent user capacity, as far as I seen in here from our own customers have been evaluating other other technologies. So the scale of having 1000s of people together in one environment is really impressive because of the last 10 years of work and development. Secondly, it’s designed for enterprise so it is a SOC 2 compliant, you know company, a GDPR compliance in Europe. Just the you know, is the standard for making sure your data safe is there. And so it’s enterprise ready in a way that a lot of stuff that kind of spun up as a result of the pandemic is just not quite there yet. And in the complexity of kind of working with large companies and large universities is something that we’ve been doing for years. And that’s been another advantage is that, you know, I have myself been in a lot of startups, in one startup I was with, we tried to move into the enterprise. And we basically failed because the product wasn’t ready. Because of these things that big companies really care about, you can’t get into an RFP with a client, unless you can check a bunch of boxes. And a lot of those boxes are really about, you know, how well the organization is set up, and how hardened it is around, you know, data compliance and security. So, so we’ve been, you know, we were really ready for that to a certain degree for the the pandemic, but we actually move forward a lot more as well, based on a lot of asking input from our more of the enterprise clients that were coming on, and fortune 1000 companies were like, well, we want this added as a security feature that added as a security feature, because those are things that were important to them. And we just built it into the platform for their specific needs, which has been helpful. Frame is a newer platform, it comes out of the Virbela Labs Groups of skunk works project that’s been under development, and really was to address what is a common challenge with immersive environments and VR environments is that they, you know, they’re typically you have to access them through a headset, right? So you buy a headset, you go to the VR marketplace, you download or access the app through that. And it, it is sort of that’s been the approach for VR applications for a long time. And what we’ve recognized kind of early on is that, hey, it’s not just about VR, it’s about getting immersive experiences to both VR users and non VR users. So there’s, you know, 10, or 15 million headsets being sold every year. And that’s going up significantly, so that the market is going up. Great. But that’s a drop in the bucket when it comes to like billions of people online who can benefit from you know, the, the immersive experiences. So Frank was taking that same approach, we’ve thought about accessibility of the platform and said, Hey, this really should be just a URL link, and bring people in. And then we also really thought about the content or the creator community. It’s like, how can we really quickly create environments, give that type of control and creative freedom to to the world in terms of starting to build, you know, within the metaverse. And so there’s sort of, you know, there’s a lot of platforms out there. But I think we’re pretty unique in the sense that as one company, we have two different platforms. And if you want high scalability, and in a really a different sort of experience, in terms of a persistent application on the desktop, you go Virbela. Frame is more of that instant meeting, very quick customization work can be done. And you can really brand. right?Like this meeting we’re having today, right now, you could do that in a frame VR and brand it around all of the sort of the old, the previous podcasts you’ve done, it can be a space that we’re walking through a museum like environment and Innovation Center. In framevr, you can build that for this type of meeting on your own for free. Like literally in the next couple of days, you just need to have a little bit of experience with tools like blender, which creates 3D assets, if you want to bring your own stuff or using default template. So different use cases, different sort of levers to pull in terms of the type of experience where you look at scale, versus accessibility versus fidelity, like the how quality of the design of the experience, the quality of the experience. And then how you want to do sort of customization work. So it cross any kind of VR, or immersive app, these sorts of different variables come into play. I think he saw it in a very sort of infamous way. If you saw the sort of the controversy over, you know, Zuckerberg posting about horizons two weeks ago, yes. And all the blowback from that, right? Well, he’s dropped 10 billion a year into horizons and people weren’t very impressed by the way it looks. And the thing is, is that when you’re designing for scale, to resources that are low powered, which things like Oculus is aren’t high powered machines, right? They are, you know, they’re, they’re basically cell phones right on your face. And so there’s all these sorts of factors you have to play, like, do I make it really realistic? And then have 15 people in the scene? Or do I make it more basic and more Minecraft looking, and then I can bring, you know, 150 people into the scene, and the in the world in general, just is not aware of the limitations, right, between these factors. And so, you know, Zuckerberg learned a very hard way. There’s a lot of learning curve on terms of alright, you know, and we get, by the way, Virbela, would get the same kind of comments from whole wide range like, Oh, this looks like the graphics are, you know, five years old? And it’s like, well, yeah, but we can also fit 2000 people into an auditorium. And if you do the graphics to be real realistic, you can’t get 150 People in the auditorium because your machine power will start to slow down trying to render all this. So there’s complexity here that you know, the common user doesn’t know about and doesn’t care about. And again, we have to come into the market as teachers and explaining the differences here. And it’s like, what do you want to accomplish is the key question for our clients, that we have to really continue to kind of dig into and educate them to a degree of like, well, if you want to bring 2000 people in and have a move around to different environments, and engage and run into each other. That’s the Virbela platform. If you want to launch 100 people into a terrific Museum, like fully customized space that you can customize in 30 days, then then, you know, take a look at the frame platform, and a lot of our clients actually use both depending on the use case. Adil Saleh: Yeah, for their smaller teams for their smaller events, they can use frame and then for bigger events, they can use Virbela. Okay, great. So how many customers do you guys have at this point? Like in the enterprise segment, just a rough idea. And then we’ll just quickly talk about what kind of frameworks you have for dealing inside the customer success operations and What does your post sales journey look like? Craig Kaplan: Yep, yep. So in terms of customers, like when we started in the pandemic, we were really an SMB platform, we had a couple of enterprise customers. But what we would do with the enterprise customers is like, build them their own specific world. So it was more of a professional services group, what we what we had done, the team really had shifted to a kind of a work campus template. And was already in the process of doing this when the pandemic started. So it was already a lot of work there. And that way, you could deploy a really highly scalable, secure, work campus. And so we shifted really into selling nose platforms serve as a SaaS model versus a software build model. That was a lot of what the team was doing in the previous years. And but we were really, we really thought and this goes to show kind of the iteration we had to do, we really thought that like high growth, technology companies would really love it. Because they were, you know, they’re technologists. And so like, they’re seeing this pandemic happening, like, oh, this would be great. Every company that’s going from 1000 to 2000. Employees will love this. So we really shaped the the platform to be a medium mid size market. We learned pretty quickly that the technology companies in high growth are really just comfortable with the tools. They had zoom and slack. And they didn’t feel there wasn’t like the need. We’ve really seen that a couple of the enterprise clients we had brought on at the during the pandemic, the early stages of pandemic, we realized that their problems were much bigger at scale than these companies that might be 1000 or 2000 or 3000 employees. So we really pivoted, very focused on the biggest companies in the world, because the problem is that they have the biggest potential to have their culture being impacted by lack of this connection communication. Adil Saleh: Like their teams are so big, so it was sort of a bigger problem for enterprise segment. Yeah. Craig Kaplan: And we realized and we sort of tested the theory in a lot of conversations. And we realize oh, wow, they they are are, you know, this problem of culture being impacted because of the pandemic, the remote work hybrid work challenge. It was what, you know, CEOs of these big companies are, you know, it’s one of their top worries of the business is like, you know, turnover is a massive impact on companies, the great resignation happening from people moving because they want a better work life balance or a different location. So these are like incredibly big strategic challenges for the sea levels of these big companies. And we found that if we can get our conversation up into the organization, senior enough levels that we could we could sell in to these organizations from kind of different paths we can sell into the HR group, but we could also sell into the IT group or being tasked with like, get us better tools. We could even sell into the marketing group, because they are tasked with corporate communications and corporate events. And they didn’t have any events to run during the pandemic. So they were actually open. So we really found that we could go into much different directions until so we started to stack on MRR from annual contracts from these clients. And sometimes they would just be for a specific use case, like recruiting for one department in one country. And then the beauty of an immersive platform is that it’s the social proof gets put up there on on on LinkedIn and Twitter. Because people are so excited, like, Oh, it’s my first experience and immersive platform. And then they post pictures. And so we would get a ton of attention back to that team. And that would allow us to do account expansion more effectively than any other company I’ve been at. So we have we have dozens of enterprise clients out there, we kind of put universities in sort of the enterprise list, even though that’s education market. Yes, we have some universities that are big, we have the largest universities, university system in Mexico on board. Stanford has got a a case study, they actually been on board with us for five years with their GSB group, their graduate school business. And so they’ve been a great case study for us for years in terms of how this has changed the way that online classes right are. Typically when you go to graduate school, you go for the networking plus the education and networking is really hard when you’re just on video classes all the time. So this has really proven out the value of an immersive platform for for that type of relationship. And then we have literally hundreds of clients are still sort of in the SMB mode. And so we’ve had to really manage a lot of smaller clients, that were our early adopters and excited and want to use the space, they come to the Virbela website, they swipe a credit card, and then they use actually sort of our, our own work campus for VIrbelais like a co working space for them. And so you could go to the Virbela website, pay $200 a month, and you get an office environment. And you can have people set up and have that sort of sense of presence, you know, on a second screen, and be at a very low cost to really adopt that sort of connection to different teams. And then our VP of community runs, activities and events within the more public open campus area. And so becomes this this community just like a town square, you know, as I was gonna say, Gary, dally skipped square, but I met Piccadilly square, you know, in, in London. And it really becomes a community in a very interesting way across company cross cultural, cross regional, we get a lot of folks from Japan and Korea, who use our SMB platform, as we have some partners out there selling enterprise campuses. So it’s really exciting because, you know, in the middle of the night, you can jump into our campus and see that there’s a bunch of folks from Japan in there, you know, dropping in, and, you know, talking about diversity and inclusion, just the ability for you know, anybody in the world to come into the same work campus is one of those big benefits is that the access to different people, different cultures, is really incredible in in the platform, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s getting so much success in the market Adil Saleh: so much so much. And I love the fact that you are trying to penetrate into the education sector as well, like the University of Stanford, it’s a big need there. Like of course they talk they have, you know, teams and you know, all the, you know, meetings and all that stuff but the outside they’re there Network, they are not able to connect personally, just like I mentioned that how you can get like, the looking at your verbal on your web platform, you can integrate small events like 2030 teachers can stay in network using using the technology such as frame VR. So that’s cool. So altogether, you are a team of around 150 people. And now what is what is that you guys are doing investing towards team growth, personal development, training, management and everything? Using your platform? I think, and, you know, what are these, you know, the steps that you, you taking towards your own people? Craig Kaplan: Just to make sure I hear the question crevado Like, what steps were taken in terms of investing in, in training and in learning development? Was that was Adil Saleh: absolutely yes. For your own people Craig Kaplan: Got it, thank you, well, sometimes you’re just moving so fast that, you know, you’ve, you got to really kind of revisit these things on on a regular basis, which is what we try to do on our quarterly KPIs is come back in and remind our leadership that, you know, we have to be really thoughtful about, you know, our own culture and organization. And, and in especially, since we’re 100%, remote team, we don’t have an actual office anywhere in the world, it’s all through the virtual offices of Virbela, which allows us to connect very, very easily there. But we have to be really thoughtful and start planning out our engagements. And so what we do in terms, of course, learning development activities are really about manager specific sort of, sort of things. So like, for instance, on the sales side, we’re emphasizing role playing, you know, something that is hard to implement, and it’s hard to get salespeople to do that. But it’s our best way to kind of make sure that we’re, you know, we’re bringing training back up to a level of consistency across the hard things in sales is that, you know, it could, it conversations could go in any direction. So role playing gives us that opportunity to sort of test out, you know, objections and things coming from clients that, you know, our management team can really put in front and the reps, so sales is focusing on role playing this quarter, because that’s something that, you know, training is a cyclical thing that you focus on one thing and then move to the next and so forth. Customer Success is working on continuously working on best practices for onboarding because again, we’re we’re we’re teaching the world how to work this way and to run programs. And we talked about really focusing this quarter on what we’re calling a launch event. So a lot of folks by the campus, and they’re like, I’m immediately going to start running programs into it. I’m going to run my first recruiting event I’m going to run my first l&d event, is what we’ve learned ourselves is to really sort of shaped that first experience for the for the client is like, Hey, first of that you should run is an open house. It’s like going to school. And my kids just, you know, started the school year. And of course, what does every school do, it’s an open house, like the second week, right? Like this is to orient the parents of what the heck’s going on this year, because we’re not paying attention as we’re scrolling through our social media accounts all the time. And it’s like that practice we started to implement this quarter for our clients is like, hey, what you want to do is teach your company, what the value and the benefits of this platform are using an open house and bring you know, other leaders into the space to say, Hey, let me represent, you know, our newest initiatives, our newest projects, our personal you know, stories from our employees in this immersive campus because it is like launching an innovation center and if you’re doing this, you know, in San Francisco or you’re doing this in Singapore, a company would spend you know $10 million on a lease and millions of dollars on furniture and and millions of dollars on personnel. And this is the same thing we’re basically launching an innovation center to represent your company mission and your values and and then you’re starting to run programs in it for your employees but for your clients for your partners. And so we have to orient them to like the best way to do this is what we call a launch event or an open house have that and say bring your leadership into the understand the value to the understand the purpose but have them participate in building out the the Campus, you know what content goes in that represents their departments, their teams, and the mission value culture. And you can do it at a global scale. But you also have the ability to do your regional culture represent it as well, which is really important on these really big teams. So, so that team customer success, we’re really focused on that initiative this quarter, because that’s, that’s a best practice to that we found is the best way to launch campuses and get the most value to our champions to our buyers. And so that’s been the project there. Partnership teams, of course, have to take these concepts that we do in sales and in customer success, and then kind of roll it out to partners, which is harder to do, because they have different sort of markets, they have different sort of cultural approaches. And so they have to sort of take our initiatives and package it up differently for Korea and our Japan partners. And so they end up sort of being usually like one quarter behind, because it just, that’s how much work it takes to kind of translate these things. But that’s what they’ll be working on in terms of training partners on the same concepts to do, you know, to do launch events and open houses for their clients and to train their own teams to do that for, you know, for their client bases. Adil Saleh: Absolutely. That makes a lot of sense. I really appreciate that. You’ve been so explanatory. And, you know, the way you think all the journey, I love that. So since we are pretty much on the time. Just one last question. For the early states as startups, of course, not as, as in the niches as you guys are, but you know, looking at your background, you can definitely have a piece of advice for people starting off with an idea in the stealth mode and how they should, what kind of decisions that that that didn’t make, you know, that will be more critical than the most people talk about in your opinion. Craig Kaplan: as far as early stage startups and how they think about customer success? Adil Saleh: Absolutely. I’m talking about customer success Craig Kaplan: You want to as a founder, you want to obviously see what’s working, and then replicate and scale it. And, and oftentimes the hard part about that is that founders sometimes may tribute their early success too much to without the awareness that the early success is because their relationships are creating successful customers, or their knowledge as a CEO, or a CEO or co founder is creating winning deals and onboarding. And the transfer of knowledge from the co founders, to other teams and leaders is the probably the riskiest, most challenging factor in terms of scaling, early sales and early customer success. And the co founders are very obviously gonna be very deeply involved in kind of all steps of bringing on new customers. But the challenge is, is like defining where you need co founder skills in that process versus where you can transfer skills to an experienced or knowledgeable, you know, CS leader or sales leader. And so that’s a summarized way of saying Adil Saleh: let me tell you how it resonated with me we are three partners, one is more of the technical side is good, but building technologies, understanding use cases customer side of it, one is good at talking to people understanding people building relationship. The third is good at with people like development of the people like how you you should understand the needs of your employees, your customers, and you know, you work towards that as a team as family. So alone, the early stage journey was so critical. It is still the way you spoke it kind of resonated with me that number one, we need to know our skills, everybody we need to know our skills and based on those skill set based on our strongest suits, we need to define the roles. It can be anything it’s not just like CEO or CTO or CEO or anything. We have one role name Chief vision officer, you know, it is not so often used in the tech space. But you know, based on the skill set, we need to define the roles and then we need to give them an entire ownership on their decisions. And then, of course, they learn they’ll, they’ll make mistakes, they, you know, they’ll make mistakes by making decisions, that’s okay. But we need to learn any trade. And it is so important to do that, to do the right people do that, you know, with the right skill set, and then you share those experiences and share that journey because you know, that you own it, it’s good or bad, it’s yours. And then you get your other partners along and learning from their skill set as well and PP a payable team. So I love that thank you very much. One more time, Craig for sharing this concrete knowledge in a very extended way, which is what we also loved and up next would be our team reaching out to you with with a high resolution picture of samsara so we can put it on the webpage and then you know, I would I would also suggest that you find time maybe today or whenever you just follow the hyper engaged LinkedIn page so you can get to know when is your when your story is up. And our team is so good at collecting high level stories, collecting unique experiences collecting unique technologies to be to put it out to the audience to learn so our goal is pretty much the same to learn from from our guests, just the way we have today and put it out to the audience, you know, to help them in any digital victory. Craig Kaplan: Thanks so much for for taking the time. It was a very fun conversation. Thanks for bringing me on. And yeah, I look forward to helping y’all promote the whole series and looking forward to seeing the final cut here and and how funny I sound when when you’re hearing yourself third party but I’ll get there yeah, let me know if there’s any other way I can I can support you anytime. You know if you need a warm introductions to folks within my network, I’m always happy to do that it when you see folks on LinkedIn that are connected in so feel free to reach out for me with me in the future on that and yeah, appreciate appreciate the conversation. Very fun. Adil Saleh: Thank you very much. Thank you said that. Have a great day guys. Cheers. Take good care. Take care.

Keep Listening VIEW ALL EPISODES >>>