Woven CEO Tim Campos
Welcome to Techno Vatian weekly conversation with people who are shaping technology landscape. I'm Peter, Hi President of Meta Strategy Advisor Technology Executives Forbes columnist book author, and your host. Each episode of technician features, insights from top executives thought leaders at the intersection of business technology and innovation. If you like what you hear, we'd be grateful you give us a rating on itunes or through whatever other source you use for podcasts please subscribe. So you don't miss a thing. Thank you. My guest today is Tim campus. Tim Is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Woven accompanied takes your existing Microsoft office or Google calendar and enhances them. While, scheduling managing calendars can be a source of frustration people. Bogan provides the most advanced scheduling tools to simplify things. Prior. To founding him was the chief information officer and Vice President of technology at facebook an interview we discussed the Genesis Story of his company, the most successful go to market models for productivity software and why woven decided not to directly compete with apple Microsoft or Google. We also discuss how tim is built his team woven, how the chief information officer role prepared him for his current CEO role and three elements that are needed to start a company successfully. Lastly, we discuss how tim has managed during this time of crisis, his experience on boards and a variety of other topics. Thanks for Tuning in please join me on Monday when my guests will be Pascal Boya, the chief. Information. Officer of Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Before we get to our interview. I wanted to introduce you to our sponsor Zozo and the company's President Timothy Cabbie. Prior to taking on his current role, he was the chief information officer of a number of companies including reliance industries, sears in trek on and the Warehouse Group. He's now at Zozo. A most unusual enterprise software company wanted to share perspectives from it Timothy. Take it away a famous VC points out that lack of clear foresight and failure of imagination resulted in many countries caught unprepared for the pandemic disrespected in lack of basic essentials like PP's mosques slows for medical stuff and that it is time to build ags really stand development or big just doesn't happen anymore in the four walls of it department. That is why We made the Creator in no code local deduction platform for business and it folks like it is enjoyed by over seven million users globally who have built six million APPS and counting both small and large enterprises use it to do rapid development iteration in Integration Amazon uses the creator in their supply chain. Tesla. Runs the entire production on the whole creator another logistic customer. Hours his shipped over fifty two Boeing dreamliner full of PP's globally using the whole creator on one hand CEO's responsibility is to reduce the risk technology poses to the business. But on the other hand cio's responsibility also includes unleashing value through powerful APPS anyone with an idea boating business in it can cloud native mobility APPs using zoll creator and yes, we agree with that. It is time to build. Tim Campeau is welcome nation. It's great to speak with you today. Thanks for having me Peter excited to be here. Yeah. I've been looking forward to this conversation especially, the comported this conversation the last time you and I were on the record together we shared a stage, a Forbes Conference in twenty eighteen still relatively early days of your company woven. Company that you had just bounded I guess a year and a quarter or so December of two thousand, sixteen But now as opposed to then you have more that you can cover in terms of how the company has evolved and even the the areas that focuses on that seemed like a logical place for us to begin to talk a bit about woven. Now thanks for again for having me here. So, woven is a technology that a company that founded to help people spend time more effectively help them spend time on what matters most and the product is Basically, a can think of it as a calendar enhancement it takes your existing Microsoft office or Google Suite calendar and we help do all the things that it can't do very effectively a number of problems that people have invited today's date nature. Is issues are becoming more prevalent. starting with simple things like managing their work and personal lives. oftentimes, those are in different calendars. Many times in different counting systems woven is very good at bringing a single consolidated view of all of your time in into one place. scheduling is a major problem for people when they start working with calendars I, want to meet with you with me, but we don't know when we can meet with each other and woven provides probably the most advanced scheduling tools in the market today to make it simple. To? solve. That problem. And the third thing that we do said it was very important times most I blasted that we have how you spend your time. It defines who you are. It doesn't matter whether you're a philanthropist or she oh or a software engineer or A mom your how you spend your time really dictates who are kind of person you are, and therefore the decisions that we make on how to spend time and and how we have been spending time. Are Really Important Woven makes easier for people to see. How their time has been allocated and help make better decisions on that moving forward. So that's what we do. And we've been really excited that. Some of the things that we've been working on have now gone from being at a you know important to. Incredibly. Which is made us quite busy. So, really really exciting time for us. A very exciting eating -gratulations Before we get to the the last part of your point I'd love to actually understand the the genesis of the idea you explain quite well, the importance of the idea and how you know y y you believe this to be. Irrelevant offering to everything from for MOMS to to see IOS and I wonder you know talk a bit about how the idea occurred to you. What was it about the way in which you were managing your own calendar others were doing so for you or perhaps discussions with others have led to this as an opportunity you wish to pursue. It's it started while I was at facebook and one of the things that facebook. Does as part of their employee engagement survey either they do twice a year is they ask a question? How much time are you spending on the things that you love? And that number was going down for me in two thousand, fifteen and relate started to accelerate twenty sixteen, which is in part what motivated me to think about doing something different. Spy. Created woven but also really got me thinking about the issue of time. Why was it that? Why why was it that? This was the case how was I spending my time and I was just kind of amazed at how hard it was to answer that question. It's a relatively basic thing and I couldn't go to my calendar and say how much am I spending on one on ones? How much time spending working on strategic things versus tactical things how much time I spending in my at work versus in my personal life? Every time I ask a question like that generated a lot of work for somebody and that wasn't helping he get the information that I needed on top of that part of solution to spending less time on the things that I don't want you to delegate rights delegating to my staff, and I had a very capable executive assistant. But. My EA was spending eighty to ninety percent of their time and scheduling for me just managing that part of the calendar. And so this seem to me to be a an area that was ripe for disruption. Thinking Hey it's twenty sixteen. You know we're in the age of artificial intelligence natural language processing. We already have the beginnings of what would eventually become a self driving car all this stuff, and yet the calendar is such A. BURDEN FOR US IT That there has to be something better and I didn't find it in the marketplace so I decided to go off and create it. So that's ultimately what motivated this. Decision to build woven. In, talk a bit about how you thought about the go to market with this. Who Do you see as you mentioned that potential appeal to anyone anyone who has a calendar and his mandate managing tasks which applies to most of humanity How have you thought about unrolling this? Are there certain industries that have been areas of focus? Have you been focused mostly in your immediate surroundings in Silicon Valley? I talk a bit about that. Peter. You get straight to the point. This is the toughest part of this This business it does the there's some technical challenges that most people don't fully appreciate the MC building. A system that is involved with the counter very very hard but the go to market is challenge Got a couple couple of challenges. One is that you know you've you've got a very large entrenched players. So Microsoft and Google Most people use their counters. There's also quite a bit of apple users people use apple's during solution, and so You don't want to take those guys head on right that's not that's not the goal of the company. Right we're trying to make a counter better. We're not trying to somehow replaced their business but the other hand is counters have very, very strong network affects. So part of why companies use whatever they use is everybody needs to be using the same thing. So how do you overcome? The network effect to bring up a product to market that. Can provide incremental value and so this lettuce to think about a couple of of approaches to market we knew that The way that people meet is an important factor into this that. We can get a certain people using the product that that would get other people using the product. For example, you get a CEO using the product in their staff is more likely to use it. But what we found just looking at the market is there was a an even stronger dynamic for productivity software that we had to pay attention to, and this is really spearheaded by slack and zoom. And also something to be dropbox and you can even throw evernote here. They are the most successful productivity software to come to market that didn't come from Microsoft or Google. And how do they do? It needs none of them were successful by going to my former brethren Of the company said to say, Hey, you should use slack get everybody to to not use it. slack adoption grew from the ground up people would would say, Hey, this is a better way for our team to communicate collaborate, and then eventually more and more people would use it and slack would have a reason to come talk to the CIO to go by enterprise account. Zoom did the exact same thing in fact, zoom hasn't even more striking comparison because there is a version of zoom that was really built for the enterprise I. It's called Blue Jeans and we were very big bluejeans users at facebook. So bluejeans is very much a tops down Selden CIO approach zoom was about still better video conferencing experiencing everybody use it, and then eventually those people will tell the CIO to is it. The latter has been successful model in fact, every single successful productivity. Software, there's come to market in the last five years is followed this bottoms up approach. Let the users pick you. Build a product that they will love, and then that will help lead you to business opportunities. So to cut a long story short, that's the approach that we're taking. We've built woven initially for the individual to solve your productivity problems, how your scheduling issues. Not, in trying to solve the problem for the entire organization yet and. as we scale and expand. Our users are helping us to get more users. They have people that they meet with a lot and scheduling is a problem in the scheduling experience is good with woven. It's even better when everybody's a woven user. So they help attract more people into the platform. The collaboration experience works when everybody is a will user so. Our users are helping to lead the way for us to help us essentially replicate what slacken and Zuma pioneered on this front. That's great talk a bit about the technology behind it. You mentioned you're part of a broader go system, and in many ways, it's it requires the you work with the incumbents and work well across calendars personal professional. Google two apple. As you mentioned before you mentioned them incorporating aspects of ai in an LP into the offering. Also talk a bit about you know at least in Layman's terms and and in brief. How the technology makes it work. So. There were A. Two seemingly contrary insights into what is necessary for a calendar. The first is that part of the reason why calendars have not evolved effectively is because it's not because of the the you is not because somebody hasn't been able to come up with a better looking calendar user interface it's at data they're operating on his incomplete. It's a back problem to be to cut a long story short. So we knew that we needed to build a very capable back. End On the flip side we also know that Microsoft and Google into some degree apple have a stronghold on the market and show it is futile to bring a product to market that is somehow competitive with them. It has to co exist for many different reasons and not the least of which is making it work for users. So the first bit of technology was to build this back end is back in that has the ability to create. A single consolidated view of events that we have and it's Kinda like facebook to be quite FRANKEN uses a lot of the same architectural concepts that facebook cat it's a graph it. It understands that this moment in time shared by you and me, and so it even though you have a counter entry and I have a counter entry there is a connection between the two and so do this by building this. Very Rich, very advanced graph-. And part of how we do it is we do in coexistence with Microsoft Google we we synchronize with their technology so they get to continue to operate as the underlying calendar. We just completed by sticking those calendar events together for everybody else. So to cut a long story short you know the the technology allows us to. Do various dancing like I'm a make it very easy for people to share their availability with others make it very easy for people to collaborate on a calendering bets like to coordinate a time or to have a group of people vote on times for when this this next meeting can occur, but it does it in a way where it doesn't disrupt people's existing data ecosystems that doesn't require them to sort of move away from Microsoft. Google they get to stay where they are and that has been a complex to bill. But now that it's in place and it's functional, it makes it really easy for people to come into the platform because they don't have to leave where they're at. They did have to press a button and now they've taken their existing calendars and they've just woven is them. They've made them much richer and more intelligent, and now they can take advantage of. SMART. Meeting invites in smart titles and March scheduling things at woven does that will automate their workflow. And Save them time but with not without having them have to be where they're at. Talk a bit about the team you build them as you as you've built out the company where of you chosen to add skills and you know how how you crafted team. There's a couple of pieces. In one of things that I learned especially at facebook. I I'm an engineer by trade a started my career this way but. to companies I worked at had phenomenal engineering and maybe even three sybase silicon graphics and facebook. And facebook of the three of them really helps me appreciate that. very strong engineering team very strong. Engineer is literally worth. Waiting Gold. Actually to calculate what the net profit was for software engineer at facebook versus the. You know what? The average weight of a human being would be for that age and I literally was able to calculate what the. That that, that statement was true that the engineers that we're hiring were literally worth their weight in gold. And so we've tried to do thing we've hired the best engineers that we can some of them came from facebook some of them can places. You know like Google. Microsoft. But really, really strong people. That can deal with this very esoteric, very arbitrary thing called time time is complicated to to think about an understand. beyond that. We've. Wanted to invest in design design is critical in today's Day and age. If we're going to build a product that people love, we have to design it well. So we hired one of the earliest designers at Google gentleman had been there for dozen years. We're done everything from Google hangouts to youtube to other things and Now he's been a core asset to a company to help us create excellence, and now what our focus is on marketing, how do we tell our story and again we've gone after the best that we can get and so our marketing team, it's really becoming a real. Asset at the company and As we move forward we're going to have to continue to expand in an other innovative areas customer service is premium product people need to feel like they're being taken care of they want the best support and best service that they can get eventually will have to have you know very good business development and sales that we can turn the value that we provide to people into. Chips with businesses and individuals that will create a successful business here. Those. Things are sort of on their way the other things are things that we've already had to start building but that's been the approach and with time you know woven has evolved from You know products to business and hopefully powerhouse. That's the next thing ecosystem that people can. Really see as GOP place to go when we want to help individuals and eventually companies and businesses optimized time. You Tim you spent. You've alluded to the fact that you spend time as an engineer at companies like sybase in silicon graphics you spent four years as a CIO, of Kelly, ten core before nearly six and a half as the CIO facebook and I'm curious. You're part of a growing group those still a pretty elite one to go from the ranks of chief information officer to founding company and and and being the CEO of that company and I. You've alluded to some of the advantages of your time at facebook that you've incorporated into the lessons of it they the value of a great engineer, the the graphical way of of setting up technology here just as you did a facebook, etc the talk about the of of Cio we says, it was implemented by you. And the advantages of having held that position now as a CEO and founder. Well I, certainly in the business of a technology company and so having to to build a technology company to have some. Understanding or or death in technology, which clearly CIO's do because they're the center of it for their companies. But on the other side of the CIO role, which I think is directly relevant here is that. Business leaders much more than the these engineering receipts IOS. The CEO's job is to translate a business objective into a technology strategy whether that's making your company more efficient or helping to lead the digital transformation of that organization or minimize risk or some degree of all of the above optimize supply chain. Every company now has at least one, sometimes three or four critical business objectives that they need enabled through technology Ashworth, give to their CIO, and if they hired the right people, the CIO is leading the charge on that for the business. And that understanding of the business is been a key part of my success both as a CIO and now as A. CTO I'm I it's given me a very well rounded perspective having worked at K. La Facebook as a cio I understood the finance strategy of those businesses I understood You know what was the deal fees for every single acquisition that we did and what were the critical objectives that needed to be able to? Achieve those guilty sees what is the hiring strategy or the the service strategy? In the case of Kelly tencor and house at tied to the success of the business? Why is that important how it is automation technology feed into that understanding these different aspects of the business helped me be very, very well rounded as a leader and now then as a cio able to use a lot of these same skills to to run my own company. A fundraising his eerily similar to what it's like to go get funding as a CIO right have to go talk to people who have money and get them to willingly give it to you when they may not necessarily be predisposition when you walk in the door to do it a. so venture capitals are capitalist not that much different from. CFO, they want to see numbers they WANNA see business strategy they WANNA see that risk is mitigated. and. You know these are things that are really really well because we have to do it every year sometimes twice a year sometimes every quarter just keep our budgets flowing and You know another thing is when you get into a recruiting, it's sometimes hard especially at a company like facebook and even A. Company like Kelly Tinker. How do you attract the best talent into your organization? We got to tell a story that's compelling. Kelly tencor is not going to hire the best it people because it's going to pay them the most because that's not its business strategy. So you need to have another reason why you're gonNA work at Kelly in court the IT Department because we're doing some amazing things that nobody else has done before same thing on facebook I had a different problem if we were going after the best technical resources where we had a competitor inside the company who would. Be Willing to steal, which is the engineering department, and so rather than fight that we joined it and we said, let's just be better than many of them in telling a story of why it or engineering united facebook is actually. You know as interesting or more interesting than working on WHATSAPP or instagram. or a messenger, and so we get that, and so we became very good at appealing to things other than just the. You know the the basics of the job, the company name, and the salary. Right. What's splits the mission of this organization? Why's it important and we're doing the exact same thing it will. Be are hiring engineers were asking them to take a risk on the company with take some of their compensation in equity that or private Knows, what it's going to be valued. In in order to do that effectively. Good. At appealing to people's hearts. Not just their their minds and their intellect meant. So we've been good at that working with customers as very similar to what is like working with customers is the Idaho again, you have to influence them you have to understand what the problems are in, translate that into what is my product do you and so all those things are similar and I feel like the cio roles actually done a fantastic job preparing me for. The. Role. I'd say a couple things that. Are Ingredients in addition to that, which are mark character attributes. one is Know willingness to take risks. Some CIO's are in roles where that's kind of hard to do, and it doesn't necessarily reinforce that character attribute. I've always had that as who I am as an individual is led me to do things that have helped to my career but have also been uncomfortable and time Definitely, you gotTa have that in order to be. A. Ceo a startup key you to be willing to big big big scary wrist. you know and I think a second thing is is is courage. You know you takes courage to do that stuff. On tenacity is also really important, you got to be willing to keep trying startups. They don't have linear outcomes. It's not like you know zoom started off and every year just every every quarter at twenty percent to its user base then got bigger bigger. It was very, very flat for them for a long time and then all of a sudden in two, thousand, sixteen, two, thousand, seventeen really starts to accelerate. Thanks to what's happened this year in twenty twenty with. A covert outbreak the. Become a household name but those things look almost literally happened overnight they after a long long slog of doing a lot of work to build your company's that takes tenacity perseverance. Yeah. We will to sort of put up with. Long. Periods of time without necessarily an incremental award. But in in balance I don't know how I would have been If I look back at my career I. I'm very grateful for the opportunities on how they had prepared me for. To be. So, what a great great explanation and a great overview of the of the if if. If. One is aware of the advantages and takes advantage of the strategic perch that the CIO position has within a enterprise structure. The advantages the then translate forwards if the opportunities like the one that you pursued you mentioned. So as we are we doing this interview, we're in the throes of be the coronavirus pandemic in the of the the economic downturn that it created be curious about just leading through these times perspectives that you have you. Mentioned this has been an unusually busy time for you I know you wouldn't wish of this be the reason for the business but as now more people are separated from their teams mandated to be separated from their teams and finding ways to be productive creatively end and taking friction out of the system wherever they can. It would seem to play well to an offering like yours talk a bit about Managing Review Times in how you. Doing So, because we're on audio users won't be able to see this but you will. But this is a picture that I have next to my desk. And I'll just describe it briefly a picture with Jim. Collins. That's exactly right. Jim Collins is one of my heroes I an opportunity to meet with him a couple of times. WE'LL CIO of facebook. And one of his books. I think it's great by choice He studied this idea of does luck matter ads in classical Jim. Collins fashion united does does this incorrectly? So he comes what's the definition of lock and how do we measure it and how do we look at companies that were good had good. Luck companies had bad luck. and to cut a long story short or at least to get to the core idea that I believe from this book it said Luck doesn't matter doesn't matter the good luck or bad luck. What matters is when a big things happen whether they're big bounce good luck or big amounts of bad like how you respond to them. This code outbreak is bad luck in for the most part right units, economic downturn, it is Certainly changing our lives as individuals as a society it is been Physically. Horrible for for many affected people. And but we can't just dwell on that. Did you really think about what's the silver lining here? What's the opportunity and let's grasp onto that. So for woven as a business, that's what we're looking at we're looking at okay. Things have just gotten hard certain aspects of our business. Experimenting. On a paywall experimenting with the economic side of things probably going to be a lot harder right now. But that doesn't matter because there's some other things that are going to be really important people need to work from home people need better tools to coordinate their time they need. They're doing all these zoom meetings they need better systems to set up zoom meetings and make sure that they don't stomp on. You know have multiple overlap of from one zoom room to the next So there's all these different solutions for us to provide. In this F, we just think about it and An adapter product strategy in our business strategy to the times of hand. That's what we've been You know we're trying to do actually created a channel in. Internal Slack Group called the lemonade. And the purpose of lemonade is to brainstorm new ideas that are coming from the the societal changes that will be thrust into. Coalition nineteen is a bunch of Lemons. Make lemonade out of it. So that's that's how I've been thinking about this I like that. Thank you for that that the analogy and the way in which you avoided you are also a on the board of a couple of companies. Since two thousand, fourteen you you've been on the board of the AVI of of billion dollar network tests, measurements, and assurance. Technology Company instance twenty seventeen on the board of Rack Space and I know you can't get into the specifics of what you're covering your board meetings. But these must be really active times as a board member and I wonder if you can at least in general terms, talk a bit about. Being on a board during these times in some of the vicissitudes of you know in the complications related to doing. So at the time of covid nineteen. I think that one of the big challenges that this is a shock it's an economic shock. And that changes business conditions. Exchanges Business Strategy, and you have to adapt to it. the number one ingredient mrs kind of going back to Jim Collins says Jim Collins's. As leadership leadership matters, and this is the also the number job of the board is to make sure that you have the right CEO and leadership team behind him or her. To a drive, your company fortunately for both. Of the Avi and rack space Have, we made those investments we made them early when it was painful and difficult. Went through leadership transition of the Avi that led us to the currency. Oh, he's phenomenal and similar things. Iraq's face leadership transition. Currency Oh. So we've had the right leadership in place Then he got to do what we talked about earlier. You gotta look for what's The business opportunity? For a business likely Avi you know they're going to have a short term. Challenges on on things that are more tied to consumer electronics, but maybe A. Could accelerate the transition to five. G and it can accelerate the. Changes in networks because so many people are working from home. So The has choices and options in ways that they can invest more in the things that are more relevant for the markets today. At they're willing to take the adjustment in other places whatever that means for them. Same thing with REX base. The cloud service providers have seen actually quite an uptick on thanks to a lot of online digital technology technologies getting. You know the increased adoption. So this is actually been a great opportunity for rack space to capture that growth. They just need to make sure that they adapt their go to market or marketing message how they engage with customers because they can't necessarily go to their site and meet with them in some cases and if they're able to do that quickly. They can turn this. you know this this challenge into an opportunity and they can do it in a way which really is better for everybody. You know it's better for society when businesses are efficient and healthy, and that's part of what both rack space beyond. Do. So this isn't just about. Taking advantage for selfish purposes actually really better for all of us and. So it really comes down to leadership and not mindset of let's find the silver lining which. Is An interesting I should give your listeners credit. You actually mentioned that Jimmy and under the beginning of our calls we were prepping for this. I really appreciate people who have that mindset. It's critical today's Day names. Yeah we'll Tim. Thanks so much. I appreciate you taking time of me today sharing a bit about your experience now as a as a founder and CEO of your own business I, wish you all the best. In its continued growth. Thank you so much for telling of more about your stories than a great conversation. Thank you for having me again I really enjoyed it. Thanks for Tuning in please join me on Monday when my guests will be archie desks chief information officer of Intel.