The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

19. Prioritization: How to cut through entrepreneurial overwhelm and focus on what actually matters with Janet Bannister, Managing Partner of Real Ventures

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Early this year Janet Bannister, HBA ’92, became the first woman to lead one of Canada’s largest early-stage VC firms.

Janet has built her career on quickly figuring out what matters, and then becoming the best in the world at those things. She has had a diverse career, with roles at Procter & Gamble (P&G), McKinsey & Co., and eBay, which led to her founding the online marketplace, Kijiji.

On this episode, Janet talks about her entrepreneurial beginnings, why a career in management consulting is great training for life as an entrepreneur, and how to cut through the noise to focus on what really matters in your start-up or scale-up.

You're listening to the IVIENTRENORpodcast from the Pierre L, Moriset Institute, Forente Preneurship at theIvy Business School in this series, Iventrepreneur an Ivy Faculty member,Eric Janson- will anchor the session well, Jane Banster. Thank you so muchfor coming in and sharing some time with us wellthank you very much it'sgreat to be here. Yeah, it's good to sit down with you. We've been lookingforward to sitting down and having a conversation for a long time. Thanks.Ell I've been looking for to this. So I'm glad we could make you happen, EAgood. So I hat a lot of topics to talk about M. I'm gongto get into one of themain ones I want focus on, which is prioritization and how to prioritizewhat to focus on on an earlier go stage company, but before we get there, Iwant to rewind sort of back to your very, very early entreprenerial career,so I did a little bit of homework and I may have read that you started apotential baking business when you were fifteen years old. Is this? Where t allgot started ad I, where it all guards started? So Um you know it I actuallywell. I suppose it started the summer before that when I was fourteen yearsold- and I was at our cottage and I read lying around, the cottage was thisbokcalled Le Lokcalld IACOCA, which was the story of Le Iacoca who had turnedChrysler Round, and I read that book and I was just I found this storyfascinating, and I decided that I thought business was actually extremelyinteresting and that I wanted to learn more about business. And so I am theyoungest of four kids and my four older siblings were all working in the summer.So I had sort of decided that, probably next summer, when I was fifteen yearsold, I would should get a job and start to make money. And so I thought well, IWAN TA get a job and learn about business, but I also thought well, youknow who's going to hire our fifteen year old girl, with no experience to dosomething real meedy and meaningful. So I thought well, I know what I'll dooffster my own business and that way I'll learn a lot and so that's sort ofhow it started and, as you say, I thought about okay. What do I love todo and I thought well, I love to bake and Um. I was also a competitive gunnerat that time, so I was also focused on eating lots of healthy food, so Ithought I know I'l stir a muff in business and it'll be healthy, yummy,muffins and Um. So that's what I ended up doing so you mentioned Orlie beforewe got going here that also your father was in sales. So did he help you getthis off the ground from a sals perspe yeah? So it was great. So I um, I guesstoo thing. First of all, I ha W had done the junior achievement program,which is a great program that teaches high school students about business andthen, as you say, my father was an IBM, sails, Wep, and so through that youknow my father encouraged me hey if you're going to do it, do it right, andso I you know in those days we didn't look at things on Internet. We went tothe library and got out a book, so I went to the library and got in a bookabout how to write a business plan. We had all about it, bwrote a businessplan. My father taught me how to do projected financial statements and thidbunch of market research during the school year did Unicostanhaasis tofigure at the cost of different types of muffins. Did Research in terms ofwhat flavors would be most popular and so woa ended up reading a verycomprehensive business plan with financial projections by weak etcetea FINANC projections by week for yourbaking business at the age of fifteen? Exactly and of course, my father madesure that I had structured sales call temp like to go by, and so we lived inToronto near Young and Lawrence, and so I decided I was going to sell mymuffins through retail stores. So I went up and down Young Street andAvenue road and found either bakeries or Delis or butcher shops or frudmarkets, or things like that. That...

...could sell my muffins and so ended upgetting fifteen stores, which agreed to sell my muffins, and so then I wouldget up every morning around one o'clock at one o'clock in the morning, bakeabout thirty or forty dozen muffins and then deliver them to all of the storeswhen they opened on my bicycle wow. This was not your run of the mill sella few cup cakes door, te door. This was you, went commercial customers, RigtAwa Li used to buy bags of flour like twenty five, thirty pounds, bags offlour and sugar and stuff so yeah. I guess I went all in that's awesome so who encu? Was it your father thatencouraged you to do that? Why? Why not do what ninety nine point, nige percentof the other people do, which is, I don't know, apply at them all and get ajob. What who encouraged you to stick your neck out of fifteen? Well, I, Iguess I think, for whatever reason I was definitely the instigator and I wasthe driver who did this and then my father when he saw that I was excited.He was there to support me, but it was definitely me who was the driver, and Idon't know I just. I think I just sort of thought about it logically andthought hey. I don't want Ti work at 'em, all like I'm that's going to getdull after a low while and what is the best way for me to learn, and I thinkthe best way for me to learn is to actually run a business. So you know,let's Gant a business d that was sort of the extent of my thinking. That'sgood! That's awesome good for you what a cool experience to have at such ayoung age. Oh thanks! It was a great experience and then I proceeded thenext two summers. I mean again: You'll learn things when you're young one.Then I realize you know how do I scale this business? Basically and I thoughtwell, you know I don't want to do this anyway, so I realize that you have to have a way to scale thebusiness and I wasn't sure that I could get a whole host of other people.Baking Muffins in their homes e want getting up at one o'clock in themorning and doing that, a t or doing a factory and that wasn't going to sortof work, and so I ended up the next sume, starting like a student paintingcompany with my brother and so sort of like callish pal, except we did itunder our own label so that we wouldn't have to pay the franchise fees, and I Irealized then e. The first summer we had about thirty students working forus. In the second summer we had about thirty students. So at first summer wehad about fifteen second sime and we had about thirty students, and sothat's when I learned o about love Vich and how important it is to scale abusiness and be able to grow it. Well, that's that's neat, so college pro,unfortunately not around anymore, which I know a handful of people that did itas a experience between sort of third and fourth university, but studentworks still going strong, so I actually encourage people to do that if they'reinterested in an entreprarial opportunity. Absolutely it's an amazingexperience, so a lot of young people when they graduate or face with thisdecision of going to work for a company or actually going and starting theirown thing. So you actually had a really entreprnarywhole youth, but then out ofuniversity went to work for a big company. Maybe talk us through thatdecision. Absolutely I mean I think there are two things. First of all, we, my career IAVE, always taken a verylong term perspective, and so I thought long term. I wantted do somethingentreprenoial, but I thought I think in the short term I couldprobably learn a lot by going and working for an outstanding company andso that when I do become an entrepreneur I can know more and bemore successful as an entrepreneur. So that's or of one part of the answer.The second part is, I think, if I was graduating in today's world I probablywould have gone straight out and started a business, but it was verydifferent. Then I mean I don't know. I didn't know anybody from our graduatingclass who went and started a business after graduating for business squol. Imean a couple of people went into a family business that ther their parentshad already were o was already up and...

...running and they went in that way. Butentreprenorship just was not a thing that was considered, and so I think itwas part of that. But, as I said, I thought you know that's what I want todo long term. So letme take advantage of this opportunity right now and workfor somebody else and learn as much as I can. First, and for you reflectingback, you said you'd: Do it differently now, but was that the right call foryou at the time? Absolutely for me it was the right call, I suppose, in life.You know you go down t a road and you never really know hey how it would haveturned turned out if you went down another road, but I can say that I feelvery lucky and I'm very happy with the choices that I have made in my career.Of course, you know some things, N wasn't perfect by any by any stretch,but I joined proctor and gamble. When I graduated I spent four years there, Iwas a brand manager there. It was an amazing learning opportunity and then,following that I spent about three and a half years. I mckinzi and both ofthose experiences were very formative to me. They taught me a lot aboutbusiness jatgy about analytics about managing people and that experience has been absolutely instrumental in helping me through mycareer. I see a lot of Panfel of my guests that have come on, have actuallymade them move from consulting to then either joining high growth start up orgoing on to start their own thing. I have some ideas why that might be,but can you talk to why maybe your opinion on why that is or why it washelpful for you to go from consulting to your first. You Know Higher TechVenture, so I think that the advantage of consulting is that it teaches you to.I think, two major things one. It teaches you how to get into a into asituation and very quickly assess what's going on, and what do you needto focus on? And you know this talk is a lot about priortization andconsulting definitely teaches you prioritization in terms of okay,there's so much information here, there's so many different things. Whatare the key things that I need to focus on as a management consultant? An whateare the key questions that I need to resolve and it very quickly teaches youto focus on those and to think through those things. So I think that's onething and then secondly, you know frankly teaches you to work really hard.You Know Consulting and guess. INBESTMEN banking as well is known forlong hours, and I think that Thatfrangley I mean itteaches you hey. You know what you just sometimes got to put in the long hours,and I think that that has been very hopeful as well, and I see that a lotwith the people that we work with it. Just teaches you hey, you know whatsometimes you just got to get a dune and and work hard and power through. Sothen, after three years at Mkinzi, you went into your first. I I might havebeen a leap of faith at that point, but in two thousand and one you went toEbay, maybe give us a feel for where was zebay AD in two thousand and onewas that a risky move at the time or were they already at a firm footing?Yeah so and it was delatnit was there was a firm forty and they had alreadygone public. But of course, though, in those days companies went public farearlier than they do now. I mean the company had raised just over thirtymillion dollars when they went public so again, very different than today,but where Ebay was when I joined it was a collectibles marketplace. Ninetypercent of the things that were bought and sold on Ebay were collectible, sothings like stamps coins, et Cetera, and so I joined Ebay to as a head, O FW T we caught at that point, the practicoast catagory, so that wasbasically everything on the site, excluding collectibles, so home andgarden jewellry books. Those sorts of things were all my responsibility andit was an amazing opportunity, because...

...what I got to do was help to transformEbay from a collectible to a mainstream marketplace. I suppose, in terms ofwhere t the risk was, if you call it that is definitely, there was a lot ofskepticism among the senior management and probably amongst everybody, adybaAD. The time in terms of h can ebay ever actually become a mainstreammarketplace because, as I said, it had always been a collectabls marketplaceand he commerce purchasing was commerce, was still very early in those days, andso the concept was H. I understand if I'm a stamp collector, that I'm willingto buy stamps online or trade stamps. You know, buy collctable stamps orcollectible coins or whatever online quote use, because you are the onlythings that are Collectivo, but people were likeo. Well, wait a minute, sopeople are actually going to buy youth clothing from each other online like.How does that work? And you know people were barely buying newclothing online, and so, but I so you know. As I said, there was a lot ofskepticism. I remember initially when I joined after a few weeks, I went andmet with Megwoman and the rest of the executive team, and I laid off thisplan in terms of how we were going to grow these categories, and I could just tell they were sort oflike looking amongst themselves thinking. Okay, this thislike, thisperson is crazy. 'cause. I had forecast Idt, you know, sort of tripling orquadroupling growth yeuer year N, so late, aty ebake her transition, and soit was, I suppose, for some people. It was a leap of faith, but I believed inmy heart that we could change Ebay. Maybe it was a bit of dumb luck orDodosor, dumb faith that I just thought well, of course we could do this, andso so anyways, that's what I went on to do, but it was it was. It was awonderful experience and I'm very feel very fortunate that I got to spend thattime at Ebay and Seuthon Valley, any advice for people who are making that transition to lookingfor maybe a company to join. How did what were your criteria for choosingthe company that you were going to join coming out of Kinzi? Yes, so when I I left Mackenzie,because I decided that I wanted to join a younger tech company and by tack I meant just something likeyou could say, is hereally a TEC company or not. But at that point itwas in those days you kN W. It was technology enabled, and I have changed my career a few times.You know Makandmake decisions in terms of joining, for instance, partor andgamble, joining Ebay, et Cetea, and so the advice that I would give is,first of all, you need to feel a level of passion and excitement for whatyou're going to be doing and then. Secondly, you want to go to a companythink about about the company and the role and make sure that your role issentral to the company. So, for instance, I wanted to go into marketing'cause. I thought that was a good general rounding, and so I went toproctor and gamble, because marketing is a core competency, uproctor andGambl, and it is you know it's sort of. If you looked at the history of theCopany, it was through marketing, slash Baan Management. That is where peoplewent through in order to get to the senior leadership role. Now, if I hadwanted to go into finance, for instance, B and g may not have been the bestplace to go into finance, I would say hey. Maybe if you want to go in afinance, maybe you should go to a back as an example. So I think there needsto be in a line between wh functional area. You want to go into and is thatfunctional area, a core of the company's success in a core driver, soathin. There's that there's also, as I said earlier, there's the sort ofpassion. Do you feel the passion for whatever this company is doing, and Iremember after meeting actually it was...

...introduced to Ebay through Migwamen,and when I had my first meeting with her, I remember leaving- and I was justso excited about this opportunity to join Ebay and it just sort of likeresonated you, my whole body and I thought like it'. Just it just fellright, and I think that you know you need to have that level of passion whenyou're going to make any coeer decisions, because you're going to beworking hard, there's going to be tough times, and if you don't have that levelof Passun to begin with pastal what the company is doing, passionate Bu, whatthe role is, then I think it's hard to get through and then I think the thirdthing that I would say is think about the people who you're going to beworking with. I don't think that you should necessarily pick a jaw because of your direct manager,because your derk manager could leave the company in two months or therecould be a reorganization and you could get a new direct manager. So I don'tmean, but you know, look at the quality of the people overall and are these thetypes of people who you want to work with? Can you learn a ton from thesepeople, then? I think that would be the third thing that I would encouragepeople to look at interesting that you mentione that gutthe feel Um. The feel component, so I feel least for me, it took me somethingthat you sort of listened to when you're younger, but at least when Istarted my career, I almost ignored it or pushed it out for maybe five to tenyears t then, as you get a little more experience and get confident again, youstart to listen to it, so I had posted recently I posted on Lincon about acomment about doing what feels good and not going to say I got chastized for it,but I got a lot of pushback on you know doing what feels good is and always youknow the right answer, but I think, as part of the whole equation actuallylistening to your gut, that does factor, and especially when you get confidentenough to listen to it again. Absolutely, I think, a hundred percent.I think that- and I have had frankly a few times inmy career. I would say where I did things, because I thought this is whatI should do and it never really worked out. I think that if you're going to do something likeyes, it has to be both. You could say it has to check both boxes. It needs tobe something where you think hey. You know this helps me I'm going to learn,I'm going to build my track record, I'm going to build some skills like that'sgreat. Absolutely, it needs to check that box, but it also needs to checkthe box that you're passionate about it that you're going to enjoy it because it doesn't matter what you're doing ifyou are not passionate about what you're doing. If you do not love whatyou're doing, then that will show and on the reverse, on the fopside, youlove what you are doing. You will bring a level of Enthusias, a level of energy. You willthink about it and you will perform at a much higher level, not to mention thefact that you'll be happier in your life and all that stuff. But I just Ido not think that you can be. You cannot be as successful as you can be.You cannot maximize your personal success, doing something that you do not like todo y so got started at Ebay. I want to getinto sort of the second half of our conversation here, which is maybe thecraziness of Kjiji n. You started at Ebay, grew the component of thebusiness that you were responsible for, but takme back to the early days ofKujiji. How did Kujiji come out of Ebay and how did you come to be responsiblefor the Canadian component of it? Absolutely absolutely so what happenedwas so I've been at Ebay in a valley for about four years. It was great grew.Those categories that I was responsible for sort of tripoter, clu O put themevery year, you over year, wonderful experience. However, I was from Canadaand wanted to move, and my husband is from cand as well and wanted to moveback to Canada, and so I went to Ebay...

...and said: Hey Ebay want to move back toCanda. This is where we want to have our family long term, and they said noproblem will support you. Let's go find out what Rale is available in Canadaand then they came back to me and said: okay. Well, the only open position inCanda is head of products, so basically responsible for the Ebay Dazie website,which for me was like okay, well, wait a minute. I have been running this twohundred million dollar business in the US and really exciting, and now I goand work on Ebay, DCA website, where a lot of thefunctionality is dictated by the? U S team, but I thought oh well, that'sokay! I' want to g move home that'll, be my ticket home I'll figure out whatI do when I get there, and so I moved back to Toonno with Ebay and then whatI did was as soon as I got to Ebay. I thought okay LE ME benchmark how Ebayis doing versus every other country around the world and what becameimmediately obvious was that Ebay and cand? I was doing a great job ofgetting people to the site, so about thirty percent of online Canadiansevery month would go to ebay. As I said, one of that was one of the highestratios anywhere in the world for Ebat. However, once Canadians came to Ebaythe likelihood that they would actually do anything on the site so bid by orlest an item was half that o every other country round the world. So Ithought Oh okay, this is interesting. So then I started doing somethings onthe product side and digging into it to say: Hey what can we do the website tosort of change, ther their shipping policies or something like that that wecan change that we can implement so that we can change their ratio andsimultaneously started reading about the Canadian market? And the conclusionI came to after a few months was HAE. This is a more makwel problem. Canadianspend a ton of time online, the research online, however, they are veryreluctant to purchase online and in fact, ECOMMERCE purchasing in Canadawas about half that levelhalf the level as it was in the? U S, whether youlcked out is, as you know, percentage of commerce that is done online orPERCENGP ohowever. However, you cut the matcrecks, and so I thought Oi'm notsure that I'm going to be able to change that fundamental fundamentodynamic of the Canadian market. So therefore, maybe there's a better modelthat would work, maybe there's a different model that would work betterfor Canadians, and so I actually came up with four or five different mottos,one of which was a classified site. And then I did some more research andthought about them and and came up with the idea and sort of still o find. Mythinking that hey wewill Ebac should be launching a classified sigt in Canda,because that enables people to research online, transact in person, besideswhich those classified sights. You need to be in the same city, and you know,Canada, despite being a large country and a small population, it's actuallyone of the most urbanized countries in the world, so that played into it a fewother factors. And so I went to the senior executives that I knew at Ebayand I said: Hey here's all the Doud, here's all the RATIONA. We should belaunching to classified site in Canda, because the ebay model, I do not thinkwill ever achieve thi same type of growth in Canda that it has seen inother markets. Athey said: okay, that's all very nice, but two things forst ofall cands non a priority for us and secondly, Craig's list is alreadytheyare and you know this is a work. Business andCraig's list is already there. So how are we going to win versus Craig's list?So then went away and I thought yeah, but you know I still think it couldwork and so kdidn't give up on it. And then I found out that Ebey waspreparing to launch a classified site in Europe. So I went back to theexecutives- and I said okay now here hear that this site is being built tolaunt for, like a classifie sight to be launched in Europe, and I'm wonderingif I could basically take that fundamental sit and localize it forCanda, so put it English in French and...

...launch it in Canda. So, after a fewmore conversations, they finally said: okay, but you're not going to get anybudget and you're not going to get an head count initially- and I said: okay,that's all right I'll just do this on the side, and so then we launchedKijiji in Canda. Originally we just launched it and COBEC 'cause. They wereso convinced that it would never work in English Canda. So then we justlaunch and' go back and then six months later we launch in the rest of Candaand then overtime luckily got some more people and a bit of money and startedgrowing the business in Canda wow. So such an interesting topic to dig intowhen we talk about prioritization, because high stakes huge opportunity that you had had drawnup for the business plan. Can you talk through maybe before you get to how youprioritize? What to do? Give us a feel for all the things that needed to getdone as part of that launch. There must have been huge list yeah. There was. Imean I soult Ave, just bucketed. There was, I mean the the product was thereand so a lot of it was localization. So, okay, we gotto figure out so whitchcategories. Are we going to launch n? It doesn't Fias, I think about it. I'mlike okay, there's nothing overly excitn, but it was just like block andtackling so okay. Now we need, like our policies like the privacy policy, andwe need the you know the fqs and they need to. There needs to be in English,and then we ne Eah Aer, said get the legal, Reyou and figure it like. Is itjust sort of like you know, yeah basic stuff that was huge, liss yeah ar TAlisted all out? There would be probably hundreds of things to do, and then Ijust sort of plowed through it. I remember yeah, we just sort of ploudthrough it and and got it done, and I don't know it was just sort of likeokay yeah. We did have very long to do it, but you know you just sort of PLOthrough get it done, and then it was just a matter of okay. Now we'regoing to launch it and Y say: Ok What do you? What do you focus on in termsof launching it and I think a couple of things and this comes to priortization,but in my mind I thought: okay, there's three major buckets. There are threemajor steps that we need to go through in order to build this sight. So thefirst thing we need to do when we figure out how to launch OOUR firstthings we need to do after we launch it is we need to make sure that the siteworks like when people come to the site? Do they actually do stuff? You know, does a sitefundamentally work in terms of meeting a buyer and a Cellar d need? Does itjust as fundamentally does it work for consumers and then once we nail thatsort of works, then we need to figure how to get traffic to the site, a makesure the traffic is there and hen thirthing as we need to figure out howto get M E monotize how to make money, and so I very much thought about it.I'm only going to focus on one thing at a time. So, first of all, let's makesure that Y L that we people come to the site, I used to say the team peoplecome say. We want good things to happen, so we started doing a little bit a verylittle bit of Spen to make sure that to get some users to the site and thenthey came and I we noticed hey, you know what this actually works. Whenpeople come there and if you want, I can talk later about the supply anddemand and how we did that. But Hey people are actually like coming in.They are listing items they were spiing to IDAMS. You know, as I said, I wasokay guys is, would say in the team which, by sort of a little bit that wehad one or two other people who had joined the T, myse Oky Gus. Now whenpeople come to say good things happen so now we can send more people to sight.So then, our next, so the next building block was the traffic. And again I cantalk more about that. If you want, but then we get the traffic and make surethat Ha more traffic and that traffic continues to be active on the site andthen once we get that nailout, then, and only then, when we've got a very wlbust sight, then we're going to start. You know working on the Montization sointeresting, so I think the slippery...

...slope would be to think I've got to doall of these things. Oh my gosh. How do I run them all at the same time, butyou very much just said: Nope we're going to take the most important thingand focus on that. First, exactly and then, once this site I remember at once,the site was working. Then I said okay, then I was like okay now we need tofocus a hundred percent on traffic and figured out how we were going to gettraffic and experimentet right. I think it's matter of it's not just blondly SAblindly saying hey we're going to focus on these things. It's I think it's morenuance than that, because you need to say hey. I think that these things arethe right things to focus on. So let me do some testing and iterating and letme also test another thing and then figure what works and then hammer downon those. So, for instance, in terms of getting traffic, we tried severalthings. I remember going to a trade Shiroh early early days, which was acomplete waste of time, but we had a fun made popcorn all we can ant our lowchacobooth bik that didn't work. Then we did some other community things thatdidn't really work, but that was okay. You know you just try these thingslearn and then. Finally, I realized that there were three things that wehad to focus on number one was seo or so chudg an optimization. So that was Imake sure that when people go on to Googl and search for you know Sofa forsale or whatever or you know buy, you know O odog or whatever that the Kijijicame up. So that was sort of number one thing because, as I saiwe didn't havemuch money, so sicwe gotta, we got a nail that one andthen, the number twothings that I said was search engine marketing, so basically making sure allof our money was basically spent on Mak on. If people go onder, Google andsearch that they would be the right ads for Kujici and then the third thing waspr 'cause again, I thought: Hey that's basicfree, and I can do that myself. Wewere DU PR, but each of those three things. I said these are the onlythings we're going to do and we are going to be world class particlal inthey. First do the Prrei was running so maybe not o Plas, but I said that firsttoo, we are going to be the best in those and we did I ton of work andthat's really what drove the successive Kujigi, which we simply focused. As Isaid, it was primarily s onsm and outexecuted everybody else on thosethings. How did you? How did you do that? Did you start doing it yourselfand then build people? How did you start Howdid H, so I heard a greatperson, but it was basically done in house by toolds. I think you know Ihired someody, who was amazing, fantastic person who ran the paidsearch, but then we also did it very on a unagranular level. We would optimize-or by word burbatory by city by categoryby you know the most granuor Lovso we would and we would vary it every singleday. So we would say: Oh Wow, there's let's say, there's a lot of sofas onthe site in Helifax and these sofas have been lusted and they're, notgetting many bids. Okay, therefore, we need to turn on the Search EngineMarketing for Sofa in the city of Halifax and we would have tested allthe different itovations of what words we should use. What landy page. Weshould do etcetera, etcetera to optimize it. So he was really a bigmathematical Algoitum, driven continual test, continual optimization process todo the s to do the CERTAIA engine marketing and, as I said it Wasn', itwas just focus and a thoughtful ness in terms of how are we going to do this?How re we going to think it through and every single day? I think the otherthing about prioritization is every...

...single day trying to get better tryingto get smarter in terms of okay. How do we improve this even more, and how dowe get better and how do we get better and never sort of say, ok, great? Wedid that boxes checked. Now we can think about something else and withyour team did you were you that explicit and clear to literally writedown and say? Okay, we now good things are happening now everybody. This isnow the focus and, like literally like how I did you write it on wo, go tak tothe team, all the time they actually thought. This is funny I mean I'm sureif you talked to them today, 'cause I' Fer, good friends with some of them,but m like they would say. Oh Yeah, Jim Remember, you used to say that all thetime, good things are happening, say Soi would like Oky. We had a small team,but oh yeah. I would say it all the time. There was no question what ourpriorities were and it wouldn't just be talked about, but then we would have a corderly plan. Our monkhly plan, ourweekly plan, our daily check, ind, like there was no way anybody was going tobe in that office and not know what our priorities were and how what they weredoing contributed to advancing our priorities. I, if you don't mind, maybespend a couple of minutes on that. How did you, what was the cadence or thesink, to keep all the teams aline? So you know a in the early days. It wasjust a couple of us. It was pretty easy, but I think you know, as the team asthe team grew and then I was promoted 'cause. I had mentioned that you knowwe're talking about a a lot about Kujigi an canda, but what happened wasKujiji and Canda was the fastest growing market and SA that I waspromoted, and I headed the Global Kijiji business, which was Canada andChina, Thailand and a few European countries, and then we expanded intoseveral. When I was heading the global business we expanded into the U S andto several more European countries, and so then it was even, I think, more of achallenge in terms of how do you keep everybody alone like when you're all inone office? It's relatively simple in terms of you know.Every week we have a meeting. Okay, here's wo we're focused on here's, ourmetrax. When you have a gobal team, it's a little bit more difficult, andthere are you know D, sometimes the prioritis, some thereare, someofwriving priorities or for the entire organization in some country specific,but I think metricxs are a great way to always be driving. So I'm a huge believer inlike tracking the metrix and so every week whether it was when I was runing,the Canadian business O wh, whether I was roning, the global business. Youknow it's like what's thet expression like you, do what you measure, and so,if you are measuring, you can be measuring a ton of things. But if youput this spall light on the metrix that Indi against your priorities, then thatcan be very helpful if every single week you are talking about how are themetrics tracking against our priorities and what have we all done to move themetrix that evaluate how well we're doing against these priorities and thenboil that down so that hey everybody has their own individual metrix thattrack to moving their priorities? And so I think that's how you can sort of,as I said, at a high love or keep it high, Lavo make sure you're talkingeverybody in your meetings, make sure everybody knows how heure the metrixfor the whole company, but then, as I said, that's sort of one step in termsof talking about it to everybody. But then that's one step and the secondstep is making sure that every person then understands how their workdirectly impacts the the priorities, a Hiy, may just impact one of thepriorities, but they need to understand. Ok, I understand that I need to do this.I understand why I need Yo know if I'm an engineer, who's writing code. I needto understand how this uot this initiative of this product enhancementthat I'm working on. I need to understand how this is Intega to oroverall priorities, and then what that...

...does is it creates alignement threuhotthe organization and it creates a greater sense of ownership and peoplefeel like hey we're all on this team together, and we all understand thatwe're all working to move the same needles are there any there's a few methodologythat I hank have been around for a long time, but have maybe just beenpopularezed. So I know Andy Grove used to talk a lot about OK, ours and JohnDor. Just wrote a book called measure. What matters that talks about themthink maybe it just sort of hit me at the right time. I was in a businessthat was you o kind of chaotic and growing quickly, and I think thatmethodology hit us at the right time and made a lot of sense to us. So weembraced it was there any methodology that you used or was it there was andby the way, a lot of our companies. Now, Lo of the portfolio a lot of these, Ishould say a lot of the TEX companies that I work with. They use O Krsthey're, definitely very prevalent. We didn't ha like there. Wasn't the OKorlingo around as much it is it today. So I just did what I thought made sense and I often look back at those documentseven now as tempolites, and they really at the heart. They were like okay, theywere just like okay here, I didn't think of it like that. I just thought.Well, this makes logical sense to me. We've got you know here are thepriorities we need to head as a business. heres earr. Our strategicpriorities here is the metrics in in terms of how we're going TA tract them.Here's how work we want to move those mattrecks and then okay, let's tricklethem down, let's figure out how everybody in the organization isworking on that, let's make you transpar what everybody's doing, let'sensure that everybody has a metrix triven goal, and you know I guess partof that. You know it comes back to what we talked about early in theconversation when you talk about H, starting to work at a parkon gamble, anMkenzi that sort of thing it came to me. Naturally, it was likewell, of course, we're going to do this. This hat, we do it. We have the plan,we have Matrek, we we first, you have the strategies and then you've got themetrics, and then you funnel it down and you make sure that hey if everybodymoves their own individual metrics or if everybody delivers on what they'resupposed to do, that, you will get as a team to the end. Go that you want toget to Ou. All of that, I suppose it came sortof naturally to me, because I had had that foundation earlier in my career interms of how to think about businesses how to be very quantitaatively driven Yeh, it's. Ah, it's simple but not easy.I guess you know when you're when you're in it it's a lot more. It'schallenging you get cught up in the day to day Y now, there's a million thingsto do, and your calendar's always full and everybody's debanding your time andit's easy to sort of lose track of those things unless they're writtendown and there's a cadence or a rhythm around keeping track of them. Soabsolutely absolutely, and you know W at I mean it's interesting as we talkabout poortization. I was in the M in San Francisco a month or two ago, and Ihad dinner with a great friend of mine, who is the Seo of? U A very successful,publicly traded Tech Company and he joined a few years ago and has reallyturned the company around and we were having a great conversation and he'sgot a couple of young kids, and so you know he has worklike balance that hetries to maintain, and you know he was telling me aboutwhat he's focused on and how he decides, what to do and the key things that hehad done to turn the company. Around said by the end of it, I looked at him.I said you know. Really all business comes down to is, you know, identifythe right things to focus on and then focusing on tnose like on one level,it's as simple, as that, like you need to make the strategic decisions ofpriortization. Those decisions need to be right, and then you need to makesure that you focus and you execute against those and absolutely it'ssimpler said than done, but in a way that's what it all boils down to. So inyour rule, now as general partner at...

...real ventures, how do you help yourportfolio companies? Do that because, as you said, it's one thing to be ableto do it when you're in the room with I n'toten twenty fifty people, another Ti,do it internationally, but a whole other di. Do it across a wholeportfolio of different companies. So how do you do that yeah? You know, so II'm very fortunate in that I have m a toll of seventeen companies that I workwith that are in my portfolio. These are all fast growing young CECHcompanies and I think that, frankly, I can have aunique role, because you talk about the importance of levelling up andForyouknoi what I mean by that is lifting yourself up from the day to dayand thinking about the priorities, and I try to play that role with myfounders to ask the questions and help them make sure that they're working onthe most important things and then being the you know, ev every week, I'mtalking to them and Okay Wa. Let's come back to those priorities that we t. Weknow our priorities and what has happened in the last week topush them forward, and then I think that it often helps them to have anoutside person who's. You know always saying hey well what about thoseprioritie, what Bo those priorities gt so that can be helpful and I also thinkjust bringing an external an external viewpoint. Somebody Ho has seen, as itsaid, I've got seventeen portfolio companies, I've got a bunch of workexperience and, having that perspective that I can wring to a founder ishopefully useful to them. Are there any companies or resources that you'd say?Do It really well or resources that would help people see it or understandit a little bit better. So I think that, in terms of the okrs you mention thatabsolutely I I would say, generally speaking, wemost of our companies use Okrs as a way to both prioritize and ensure thateverybody is allined. So that is one thing, and I also find you know I was talking to Ifound Ir the other day an and- and she was saying she see, of one ofour companies and she was aying. Hey. Is this thright way or is that the rerway T to set this up, and I would say you at the end of the day, don't gettoo worried about hey? Should I have this formatter that fom that you knowif Okars work, for you that's great a sails force as an example uses slightlydifferent thing called Vitumom, which is you know a different way and thenthere's a you know. Maybe you make up your own methodology, so I would say:Do something that works for you and works for your team as long as it issomething that keeps everybody on track keeps everybody on the same page andinsures that everybody knows what they're supposed to be working on andwhy it is important. That's great! This good advice. Lastly, as we rap up here,any advice that you'd give to current could be ivy. Students could bestudents in general that are maybe either working on a Callit, a sidehustle trying to decide if they want to start it, whether they should join acompany or even just general advice that you'd have to some of thesestudents yeah. I guess the one thing that I would say what strikes me when Icome to Ivy is, and I love coming here. I graduated with HBA seveal years ago B.You know love the school love coming back, but what strikes me is thestudents today I sence a level of anxiety that I don'tthink existed when I graduated twenty five years ago. There's a level ofanxiety in terms of what should I do. How do I get the Qote right job? Whatis if I have two offers, which is the qut right offer for me, and my heart goes out frankly to thesestudents, as I see them and talk to them and feel the level of stress andanxiety, and so I think what I would...

...say to those students or anybody. Isthat there's no great answer and there's nowrong answer, and you now think about hey? What do I want to be doing? Whatis going to enable me to learn and to grow and to keep my options open andthen do that and do that to the best of your ability and learn as much as youcan you're going to have some great experiences? You're cant have some badexperiences and that's okay, and if you get a manager that you don't love,that's okay, just like learn from that and then you know your career willchange and you will move on, but you know you will end up in a greatspot if you just keep your mind open and always try to learn and contributeand make the most of every opportunity. That's fantastic advice. Well, thankyou very much. I appreciate you being so geneous with your time and sittingdown with us to this conversation really appreciate it. Okay, thank you.R. I Michi was great to be here ex you've been listening to theIviongminor potcast to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to theshow in your favorite podcast player, or visit Ivy dotca forward, slashentrcrenorship. Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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