How does a proven founder find a second business?

Today’s guest noticed a problem. If you’re a web designer or app creator, you can’t see the look on users faces when they’re using your product. You can’t see if they encountered a button they don’t understand, for example.

He thought companies should be able to create a great product without having to code analytics to find out how people are using it. So he built a company to solve that problem. I want to find out how he did it in today’s interview.

Todd Olson is the founder of which helps product teams understand and guide users to create product experiences that customers love.

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Pendo Finds Success By Scaling A ‘Startup For Adults’ Culture

Until 2014, Pendo, a rapidly-growing SaaS startup recently named both a LinkedIn Top 50 Startup and a Top 10 startup to watch by VentureBeat, had a California address on its website. In a blog post, founder and CEO Todd Olson admits that address was one that he “had never seen or visited.” Since its founding in 2013 and to this day, Pendo has been headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Despite all the accolades they’ve received and seeing 400 percent revenue growth year over year, Olson says his greatest accomplishment this year is how they have managed to maintain and scale their company culture. He calls Pendo a ‘startup for adults’, where values like transparency and honesty are paramount.

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How to use your Net Promoter Score to get actionable insights

Net Promoter Score has been and continues to be, one of the most trusted metrics used by brands to measure the health of customer relationships for 15 years. Traditionally under the purview of customer experience and customer success teams, NPS has become the go-to metric for customer ranking.

However, we’re now seeing NPS expand from customer experience departments to product management. Product managers have begun to expand their KPIs from shipping products to delivering value-added services. NPS is likely to become a key metric in the near future as well.

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How to Find Silicon Valley Success Without a Silicon Valley Address

There is a quote that has stuck with me in the weeks since I sat on a Dreamforce panel moderated by Mark Cuban: “Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not.”

Rachel Carlson of Guild Education made that statement, and she’s building an impressive EdTech startup in Denver on this basis. She’s recruited a rockstar team of engineers, product leaders, salespeople and marketers from the universities and startup ecosystem in her town, but she’s fundraised almost exclusively in Silicon Valley.

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10 startups outside Silicon Valley to watch in 2018

Earlier this week, I wrote that the two questions I get most frequently from people who are interested in learning about Heartland Tech are about what cities they should be watching and what startups should be on their radar.

The startups that made the list are ones that have found success by leveraging the strengths in their respective markets. They’ve been set up for success in 2018 thanks to an influx of venture capital, a slew of promising hires, or an agreement with a large new customer. Here they are, in no particular order.

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4 U.S. tech hubs to watch in 2018

The two questions I get asked most frequently when I tell people that I report on tech startups across Middle America are: Which startups outside of Silicon Valley are getting the most traction? And which cities are home to the most interesting tech activity?

I find that it’s typically easier to answer the first question. There are certain metrics I can point to that make it easy for people ingrained in the startup community to understand what makes a company worth watching: They recently raised a large round of venture capital funding. They doubled their revenue. They doubled their headcount.

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Recode Decode Podcast: Megan Quinn, general partner, Spark Capital

Spark Capital General Partner Megan Quinn talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Casey Newton about the evolving balance between venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. She recounts how she got promoted to become Square’s director of product two weeks after joining the company in a different role and how Kleiner Perkins investor Mary Meeker inspired her to become a venture capitalist. Plus: Why HR is "one of the most critical and difficult roles to hire at any company.

She discusses some of her current investments including Pendo

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Startups: The 50 industry disruptors you need to know now

Some of the most fascinating businesses today are startups. Sensing a chance to transform (or take over) a market, founders are channeling their seemingly endless flow of venture funds into new ideas — and top talent. We wanted to see which startups were winning the talent game. Who are the 50 most in-demand upstarts in the U.S. today?

42 Pendo - Customer service meets business insight: Pendo is making that ubiquitous — and loathed — emailed customer feedback survey obsolete. ts software leverages in-app surveys, polls and analytics to give product developers more detailed user feedback.

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This CEO Built A Leading Product Engagement Platform Powered By In-App Messaging

While catchy marketing campaigns can be an effective strategy for amplifying awareness and building audience, the success of any business comes down to the quality of your product.

The rise of advanced enterprise tools has equipped business leaders with the ability to directly target consumers, collect key insights, and identify best practices for achieving high conversion rates. However, there are minimal tools on the market for enhancing the packaging, presentation and performance of products.

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Pendo acquires Insert to add mobile apps to its user analytics and engagement platform

Pendo helps businesses understand and assist their customers with tools like analytics, polls and walkthroughs. Until now, however, CEO Todd Olson said the company has been focused on the web, with just a single mobile developer on the team.

That’s why the company has made its first acquisition — it’s buying Insert, a mobile marketing startup based in Israel. Olson told me that he connected with Insert through Battery Ventures, which backed both companies, and he saw their product as doing “essentially what we do, but for mobile devices.”

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Raleigh-Based Startup, Pendo, Hires Four Valley Tech Execs

As software companies continue to disrupt traditional service models across industries, thriving tech ecosystems are disrupting cities outside of Silicon Valley.

A recent poll by Indeed found that 38% of tech job seekers in San Francisco and San Jose are looking for positions outside the Bay Area, and this number has grown 41% since 2012. According to the New York Times, tech jobs there grew by 38.5% between 2010 and 2015—the highest growth rate of any city for that period, save San Francisco.

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Pendo closes $25M Series C from Meritech

Just seven months after announcing a $20 million Series B, Pendo, a platform to help businesses better understand their customers, has closed a new $25 million Series C led by Meritech Capital Partners. The North Carolina-based startup has been growing at a rapid clip — ballooning to 106 employees across offices in San Francisco, New York and Raleigh.

Meritech’s Rob Ward will be joining the Pendo board of directors to help guide future acquisitions and an international expansion strategy.

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Pendo Trawls Software Activity for Usability Clues

‘User-friendly’ is a term that has fallen out of favour to the extent that it now seems a relic of the 1980s. But that’s not because all software became easy to use: very often it’s quite the reverse as the rise of new platforms and operating systems has led to a smorgasbord of different user experience approaches.

This is a situation that Pendo, a three-year-old startup headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, is trying to improve by helping software vendors figure out the issues users have with their programs.

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Spark Leads Pendo’s $20 Million Series B

Software for the teams who make software is a booming area for venture capital.

Just ask Pendo Inc., a startup that makes software that product managers use to track usage analytics and gather customer feedback.

Spark Capital led the company’s $20 million Series B, which included participation from returning Battery Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, Core Capital Partners, IDEAFund Partners and Salesforce Ventures.

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Building Data-Driven Product Roadmaps

A product roadmap is, when deployed properly, a “map” that charts the course to how a product will achieve its strategic objectives. Product Managers look to maximize resources, assess time to market, and decide what constitutes a minimum viable product (MVP) that will deliver enough customer value and high-value feedback to guide subsequent enhancements.

Effective product planning should always be tied to strategic goals. At a simple level, it’s not really possible to plot out a “map” if you have no idea of the destination in mind. Yet that’s often how some product teams still work.

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Why Your Customers Are So Important To Your Business’s Success

Think about Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. These leaders are revered, sometimes to the point of worship, for their excellence in knowing what customers want and just building it. It’s as if they know more about what we want than we do.

Learning, not guessing or assuming, is a far better way to build a successful product, and it has a far better chance of building repeatable successes. Heroes, when you dig into their past, generally have done something to prepare for their success. Meticulous research, training, and observation prepares you for the moment.

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Measure for Measure - Assessing Performance

The broad sweep of performance measurement encompasses everything from individual product performance to the success of marketing campaigns and overall corporate achievement. The key is identifying the right measures and knowing what to do with the results.

To gain visibility into how its customers were using the solution, Act-On wanted to find a software product that would track usage to determine what features were most helpful and which ones needed to be improved. After looking at a variety of offerings that track usage, Act-On selected Pendo.

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How in-app guides can help brand

In-app guides are becoming a new way for brands to engage, offering highly targeted content, in the mobile space. But, what is the best way for brands to begin using in-app guides?

By design, there is no explicit help on mobile devices, yet apps can require unintuitive actions to deliver value. For example, a 3 finger swipe to the right may not be obvious, but once explained is quite easy to repeat. Many in-app guides provide the ability to communicate with users in-app without requiring a push of the app. Waiting for app store approval takes time, so in-app guide platforms become a way to move faster.

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Where’s My Data?

In their seminal article on product management, Good Product Manager, Bad Product Manager, Ben Horowitz and David Weiden argue that product managers should be top-level leaders who set the vision and are ultimately accountable for their product’s success or failure. In essence, they should be CEOs of their products.

While companies have created standardized dashboards and tools for financial, operational and marketing functions, they have lagged in instrumentation for the products themselves. This leaves product managers at a relative disadvantage to the C-suite.

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You Don’t Have To Be Clairvoyant To Build Great Products

It’s fashionable to characterize software product leaders as magically prescient. Steve Jobs famously brushed aside customer feedback; he “just knew” how to build software products people would love. Twitter’s Jack Dorsey is similarly clairvoyant according to popular myth, as is Zuck. And so on.

But even the greatest product managers know the reality of great product design is different – and more intriguingly complex.

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Raleigh Startup Pendo Raises $11 Million

Raleigh software startup Pendo plans to aggressively ramp up its hiring after raising $11 million in new funding.

The influx of new workers at the company, which today has 15 employees, will be focused primarily on product development and sales and marketing, but will also include two recruiters “to keep up with our hiring plans,” said co-founder and CEO Todd Olson.

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Pendo Raises $11 Million in Series A Financing Led by Battery Ventures

Pendo, a data-driven platform to help companies deliver great products, today announced it has raised $11 million in Series A financing led by Battery Ventures, with participation from Salesforce Ventures and existing seed investors Contour Venture Partners, Core Capital Partners and IDEAFund Partners. As part of the financing, Battery General Partner Neeraj Agrawal will join Pendo’s board.

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Top 10 Startups to Watch

The NC Tech Awards is North Carolina’s statewide program recognizing and honoring the best innovators and innovations. NCTA has announced this year’s Top 10 Startups to Watch. In addition to its traditional technology corporate awards, the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA) is recognizing this group of emerging companies who provide a disruptive or innovative technology and are based in North Carolina. Dozens of companies were nominated and an independent selection committee has named the following winners

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Raleigh tech startup raises $1.25M, preps to hire

Serial entrepreneur Todd Olson says he’s got something – and points to his startup’s latest round of funding, $1.25 million in debt from six investors, as validation that he’s right. Pendo, a Raleigh-based software firm founded in late 2013 by Olson and veterans from the likes of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), allows product teams to insert interactive messages into their software products to increase engagement.

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That New Killer Feature…

Ok, so you have a great idea for your product, and you decide to build it. You go through the pain, expense, and huge time suck to build this one killer feature that your product was apparently missing.

Now that you have built this new killer feature, how can you tell whether anyone is using it or not?

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50 Shades of Right in Software Product Development

Every product manager strives to build the right thing. In software, there are always a lot of features to build and constraints upon the team, so the goal of the product manager is to do the work to pick the things that deliver the most value to the organization. Unfortunately, choosing the right thing is harder than it seems because what’s right for the organization is complex and nuanced. Right for some but wrong for others.

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How Pendo Helps Data Drive Product Development

A Raleigh startup run by Rally Software, Red Hat, and Google vets announces $1M in funding and its first product launch. The software platform called Pendo — which is defined ‘to weigh or judge’ — compiles and analyzes the data product managers need to make the right decisions about the development of software. It helps those product managers make sure customers actually use the features developers spend the time to create.

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