14 Minutes of SaaS

14 Minutes of SaaS

E28 – Ysiad Ferreiras, ex-COO @ Hustle – Understand & Cultivate your Uniqueness – 3 of 3

Ysiad Ferreiras, Ex-COO of Hustle talks to Stephen Cummins on 14 Minutes of SaaS about the connection between diversity and Hustle’s success. And why being intentional about who one spends one’s time with is crucial. Also touches on a wide variety of topics from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Machine Learning.

E28 – Ysiad Ferreiras, ex-COO @ Hustle – Understand & Cultivate your Uniqueness – 3 of 3

Final part of a 3-part mini-series with Ysiad Ferreiras, ex-COO of Hustle talks about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a framework for motivation and self-actuation and especially understanding the needs of others, the importance if recognising what really differentiates you and doubling down on that, the economic opportunity offered by increasing diversity, being important about who he spends his time with and his daily routine. “I mean there’s less competition for them. And oftentimes [they are] passed over for promotions when they are there. So again, Hustle … I think part of the reason that we grew as quickly as we did … has to do with the fact that we have the level of diversity that we do. So we’re over 51 percent female, we’re 48 percent people of color. I’m pretty positive that our level of success and how we’ve grown our revenue is linked to our hiring practices there.”

 

Transcript of Mini-series, part 3
Ysiad Ferreiras talking with Stephen Cummins
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Ysiad ferreiras

You can’t be a replaceable If you’re just like everybody else, right? So you need to really figure out what it is that makes you unique and really cultivate whatever that skill is right? So for me I think it’s drawing connections and, you know, pattern recognition and then applying that in the space of enterprise SaaS sales and scaling companies. But for other people who I work with, it’s seeing deficiencies in the market and building a product around it …. or it’s seeing an inadequacy in the way that a customer is thinking about doing the implementation of a project, and de-risking it massively.

Stephen Cummins

Welcome to 14 minutes of SaaS, the show where you can listen to the stories and opinions of founders of the world’s most remarkable SaaS ScaleUps.

This is the final episode of a three-part mini-series recorded at Tech Open Air in Berlin with Ysiad Ferreiras, ex-COO of conversational marketing software, Hustle. Ysiad talks about the connection between diversity and Hustle’s success. He advises on how we can become irreplaceable, and how we can get the best out of ourselves. He talks about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, being intentional about who one spends one’s time with … and he also takes us through his daily routine and touches a little bit on machine learning.

1:49  I interviewed the CEO of Treehouse recently and has this thing that we need to stop looking at criminal record, because of the race thing in the US … statisticall it’s just off the charts. And he has experienced a lot of success with going into companies and getting them to go out into the community, and training people to be coders in six to nine months. He’s a really good bloke … he’s done an amazing job. Do you find that there’s a richness of opportunity, the same way there is with women. We know that companies with female founders statistically do better – because of the way we’ve been building boys clubs for so many years. Is there a rich fertile field out there to find amazing people from a wider … I suppose community and racial area in the United States. Is that a massive opportunity at the moment?

Ysiad ferreiras

I believe so! I mean there’s less competition for them. And oftentimes [they are] passed over for promotions when they are there. So again, Hustle … I think part of the reason that we grew as quickly as we did … has to do with the fact that we have the level of diversity that we do. So we’re over 51 percent female, we’re 48 percent people of color. I’m pretty positive that our level of success and how we’ve grown our revenue is linked to our hiring practices there.

Stephen Cummins

We kind of touched on it earlier, but would you in a nutshell, describe the key messaging in your talk today on Maslow’s Hierarchy and how people kind of move up through the levels?

Ysiad ferreiras

Yeah, sure! Like basically a large part of what I was doing there was explaining how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a framework …. how I was able to use it to be very conscious about what the needs and concerns of somebody are at any given time. So until people are getting paid a certain amount of money, it’s very logical to assume that they’re going to be worried about things lower down in the hierarchy. And once they get paid more, they’re no longer thinking about those things. It’s very logical that they’re going to be thinking about the level of connection they feel with their company – and whether they’re getting professional advancement. And after they have confidence in their competency and that’s a given, then the chief concern starts switching to ‘Hey, what’s the impact I’m having on the world?’ And once you get to the point where the impact you’re having on the world is something that you can almost take for granted, you start thinking about well …. ‘How can I do something that’s higher level where I’m leveraging myself and I’m thinking beyond just myself and I own feelings?’

Stephen Cummins

Fantastic. You sleep erratically you mentioned here. Does that mean that you don’t necessarily have a daily routine …. or when you’re not travelling, do you?

YSiad ferreiras

No …. I have a very strict daily, routine when I’m not traveling. Yeah.

Stephen Cummins

Okay. Can you let us know what it is?

YSiad ferreiras

Yeah, sure ….  So I wake up before 6am. I run three Miles to the gym. I work out at the gym for, depending on which day of the week it is, between 45 minutes an hour. Then I’m in a sauna for a certain period of time, I shower, and then I start my Workday. My Workday goes from whenever I start … which is usually going to be somewhere between 8.30 and 9.30 … And then depending on what meetings I have and what I’m doing etc … I’m usually done with my in-office work by 5.30 or 6. And then that’s when I start a lot of my work and social engagements that I think will be fertile for recruiting, and meeting other people that I need to me. And yeah my personal social time, if I’m not doing any kind of recruiting, usually starts around 8pm.

Stephen Cummins

Is there any, personal quality that you’d like to improve, something that you don’t feel you’re great at that you’d like to improve over the next three or four years.

YSIad ferreiras

Yeah. So something I want to work on is … so the thing that I’ve been working on the most was being very intentional about who I spend my time with. And that was the thing that I was able to start working on – once I got good at …. when I wrote something down, it meant that I would absolutely get done, right? So I have this kind of like progression where for a while I was working on my discipline – so that anything that I would write down on a ‘to do’ list got done.

And then, once I have that level of competence myself, I’m sort of thinking about well …. how can I be more intentional about spending time with people that I really care about helping, and who seem to care about me as well. And now that that’s happening, …. it’s interesting …. I’m just kinda of like letting myself adjust for a while and kind of letting that sink in. Later I’ll probably be working on seeing if I can have more aspects of my life working at the same time. We’ll see. Right now I’m very engaged with just working a lot.

Stephen Cummins

So you really actively manage yourself and seek to improve yourself on an ongoing basis. Tell me a little bit more about Labelbox.

YSIad ferreiras

Sure. Labelbox is an AI machine learning tools company. AI is a very hot thing right now as we all know. And it’s basically … we’ve got all of all these machines doing work that used to be done by humans…  right …and making decisions that used to be made by humans. And it turns out that when something’s very detail oriented, having something that will always pay attention and always be precise is very useful. And that’s what machines are good at. Well for the artificial intelligence to stay intelligent, it needs to constantly be learning. It needs to be constantly analysing data. It’s decisions needs to be constantly reviewed, and made sure that they’re doing the right things. Right? And there’s algorithms around that.

Well for the machines to learn, they need labelled data sets. And those can happen from the machine labelling some of the data. But to kick everything off and to verify things you need humans interfacing with various sources and labelling. What Labelbox does is it sits in between the humans and this data – so that they can apply the labels in a fast and efficient manner. And the reason why that’s so important is because it’s a necessity for machine learning and AI to happen. But then the reason that our company exists is because my co-founders at Labelbox – they were at Planet Labs and Drone Deploy and Boeing – found that they had to keep constantly building this interface as the first thing because it was a blocker every single time they kicked off a new machine learning and AI project.

In, other words somebody, is like ‘Hey let’s… solve this problem of … I don’t know … counting like the tree density from the satellite image …. Well, before you even get to that, you’d have a team of engineers building an interface for people to be able to circle all the trees or count them or something like that. Well the CEO, Manu [Sharma], he was like ‘Well this is ridiculous. Somebody should just make sure make an interface that I could use every single time I go to a new company.’ And after waiting around long enough, he’s like ‘I guess nobody’s going to build this’ and took matters into his own hands.

Stephen Cummins

So, you know, for machine learning, or deep learning .. a subset of that, to be effective you need a lot of data. And it’s better if it’s a lot of good data too – quality structured data …. unless you’ve got a big natural language processing play but … does that mean that Labelbox is an enterprise play?

YSIad ferreiras

Yeah, it’s an enterprise play. like definitely  … we’re an enterprise SaaS solution, like B2B. We’re looking at a very traditional sales model of talking to people who have as a challenge that they need to spin up a machine learning / AI team. You know, typically our buyer will be like an EVP or somebody who’s got, as a strategic initiative to maximise ROI and is thinking ‘How much calendar time can I cut off of getting this initiative stood up?’

Stephen Cummins

So you’re kind of like an API based SaaS play, a microservice type play … where you look after that interface or that piece between the humans and the algorithms.

YSIad ferreiras

Correct!

Stephen Cummins

Fantastic. It’s very exciting to hear about. And I hope I can talk to you little bit more after the interview actually, because it’s fascinating. Last question for you. If you were to give one piece of advice to an entrepreneur who came to you and said you know ‘What are the one or two things I should really look out for what?’ What are the couple of things you might say to that person.

YSIad ferreiras

Probably to avoid generalized advice. I’d say that. And, you know, I say that tongue in cheek, but also very seriously. I mean what works for me isn’t gonna work for anybody else, and what works for them isn’t necessarily gonna work for me. So I think it’s about finding out where it is that they’re spikey … like what exactly is it that is their unique skillset? What is it that makes sense for them from their advantage point that somebody else wouldn’t quite see or understand? And just like really double and triple down on that.

I don’t know who it was, it’s probably like a Marilyn Monroe quote or something. I forget who it was, but like you can’t be irreplaceable if you’re just like everybody else, right? So you need to really figure out what it is that makes you unique. And really cultivate whatever that skill is. So for me, I think it’s drawing connections and pattern recognition. And then applying that in this space of enterprise SaaS sales and scaling companies. But for other people, who I work with, it’s seeing deficiencies in the market and building product around. Or it’s seeing like seeing an inadequacy in the way that a customer is thinking about doing an implementation of a project and de-risking it massively. Like these are all very important things.

So my advice to any entrepreneur or any founder would be …  just think about what exactly is it that makes unique. You see the way that other people make decisions …. and you just don’t understand how they come to them because their decision is typically less effective than yours is and you’re typically right on this specific area … and just focus on that area where you’re always right.

Stephen Cummins

Ysiad Ferreiras, it’s been great speaking with you here on 14 Minutes of SaaS, here in Tech Open Air Berlin. Thanks a million!

YSIad ferreiras

Cool. Thank you! Pleasure’s mine.

Stephen Cummins

In the next episode we’ll talk to Mike Reiner, Co-founder of city AI and venture partner at Open Ocean. He will be talking about his life as founder, investor and an experienced adviser … advising companies like Israeli founded Verbit.ai of AI and London based Scoro. He compares Amsterdam and Berlin as start-up hubs too.

Stephen Cummins

You’ve been listening to 14 minutes of SaaS. Thank you to Ketsu for music provided under a creative commons license. This episode was brought to you by me, Stephen Cummins. If you enjoy the podcast, please don’t forget to share it with your network, subscribe to the series and give the show a rating.

 

 

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