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2017 Retrospective: A Very Big Year for Pendo

Todd Olson // January 3, 2018

Phew! 2017 is in the books, and as I reflect on the past year, for Pendo, there is so much to celebrate.

In 2017, we grew by literally every measure. We raised Series C funding, completed our first acquisition and launched some killer new features. We were named a LinkedIn Top 50 Startup, won two awards from the North Carolina Technology Association and were named a best place to work by the Triangle Business Journal. I’m incredibly proud of what Pendo was able to achieve in 2017 and excited to see what 2018 has in store.

In no particular order, here are some summary thoughts on what went well in 2017 and what we see on the horizon for 2018:

Product management comes into its own

As a discipline, product management is hot! There are more blogs, conferences, and purpose-built products for product managers than ever before. When I started Pendo, I recall several seed investors doubting product management as a role. “Do they have budget?” was my favorite question. I suspect over $100M in venture capital went to companies servicing product management in 2017. It appears budget exists.

But we have more work to do here

What’s ahead in 2018? I had a fun conversation with a customer a few weeks ago about the future of product management, specifically in the context of Agile software methodologies. We discussed what’s after or “beyond” Agile—focusing on business outcomes. How do we tie our work building software to business outcomes? How do we create feedback loops from business metrics to software teams to empower them to make better decisions? I love these questions—they were all part of my inspiration for Pendo. As an industry, we all have more work to do to answer these questions. I can’t wait to see our progress in 2018.

2017 was about getting the right people on the bus

I love Jim Collins’ analogy in Good to Great about having the right people in the right seats on the bus. This analogy often informs my decision-making and planning. For Pendo, 2017 was the year of people. We hired a new Chief Financial Officer (Jennifer Kaelin), Chief Product Officer (Brian Crofts), VP Customer Success (Dan Demas), Chief Marketing Officer (Jake Sorofman), VP People (Leslie Neitzel), RVP Sales West (Cory Ayres), RVP Sales East (Blake Guerrero), and VP Sales Engineering (Brian Mes). That’s eight executives in a single year. Oh, and we added about 90 people altogether in 2017.

We also crossed the 150 employee threshold, Dunbar’s number, and have continued to experiment with ways to build relationships at scale. We expanded beyond Raleigh for the first time, adding offices in San Francisco, New York, and Yakum, Israel. Of course, the Israel office is a result of our acquisition of Insert.io. Again, people were a large part of that decision.

Pendozers in ugly sweaters

Adding 90 new employees, many at senior levels, requires flexibility from everyone at the company. Honestly, it’s not easy. I am personally so thankful for every Pendozer. They’ve been patient, understanding, and flexible as their jobs and positions changed.

Even our fundraising was about people. We raised our Series C from Meritech in large part because we wanted the firm and Rob Ward, specifically, involved in Pendo. In addition to Rob, we added Brett Queener to our Board, our first independent Board member.

2018 is about attracting more diverse talent

While I’m proud of our hiring in 2017, we have some areas to improve this year. We need to find ways to attract and hire more diverse candidates. This is an important topic facing every company, but the problem is more acute in technology. We all need to do our part to rectify this—it requires creativity and intentionality. I’ll be writing more on this in 2018.

“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”

I love this quote by Simon Sinek. I think it sums up Pendo’s philosophy. It’s also why I’m so excited for 2018. Since 2017 was all about people at Pendo, I’m expecting great things for customers in 2018. And, I think serving customers give us a sense of purpose—it’s our North Star. Everyone at Pendo is aligned around helping customers deliver amazing product experiences.

We call this Product Love, an idea you’ll hear a lot more about this year.

Happy New Year!


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