I missed MicroConf last year and was kicking myself after hearing rave reviews about the talks, especially the one Chris gave about taking on $17mm in debt to buy back the shares of Wistia and build the company on his own terms.
Luckily, the talk is now on YouTube, I’ll link to it in the show notes, and after watching it I knew I had to get him on the show.
We don’t rehash all of those details, because he covers it much better in that talk than we could here, but these are the Cliff’s Notes:
They were on the venture track that valued revenue growth above profitability. While their company was scaling quickly, going from 25 people to 50 in one year and then to 80 the next, they didn’t like what they saw…
- They were losing money (at the peak they were losing $300k/mo)
- They weren’t confident they were growing faster than they would with a smaller team
- They weren’t taking the creative risks they enjoyed
- They were stressed beyond belief.
After getting serious offers to sell the company, they rethought everything and decided to instead fix what was broken and get profitable.
Since executing the stock buyback in 2017, they’ve been able to do just that.
I strongly recommend checking out that talk, because that journey is something every founder can learn a lot from.
In our chat today, we’re going to continue that story by digging into what it means to build a business on your own terms and what that looks like for Wistia in practice.
- Company background
- What exactly is Wistia and what does the business look like now?
- Founder’s lessons
- Being your true self
- How did Wistia’s priorities change after the buyback?
- How do you decide when to hire?
- How would you describe your role today?
- What has been the hardest part of building the business for you personally?
- What does success ultimately look like for you?
- Where can listeners go to learn more?