Today, on the Early-Stage Founder Show, I’m talking with Tony Cappaert, co-founder and COO of Contactually, a SaaS startup that helps their users nurture leads, generate referrals, and unleash passionate advocates in minutes a day.
As Contactually grew, Tony realized that the skills he and his co-founders used to grow the company, in the beginning, were much different than those needed as the headcount started to grow. Instead of just worrying about getting shit done, he and his co-founders needed to become true leaders.
In our chat today, Tony explains why leadership is such an important quality for scaling a startup, what this looks like in practice, and how you can develop these skills even if you don’t see yourself as a natural leader.
If your headcount is growing and you find yourself a bit too stuck in the weeds, then this is the episode for you.
(00:07) – Tony begins with a description of Contactually; the service it provides and who it serves.
- (01:08) – The different rounds of funding they used to build the company.
- (01:21) – The size of the company today.
(02:26) – The discussion turns to the differences between starting a company and scaling one.
- (03:50) – The changing role of a founder as a team is slowly built up.
- (04:52) – Tony explains what he was personally responsible for in the early days of Contactually as a non-technical founder.
(07:18) – The factors that contributed to Tony's progression from doing the 'heavy lifting' and building the company to that of team leader.
- (08:37) – The challenge of letting go and leveraging other people's talent.
- (10:00) – The two types of delegating and their differences.
- (11:36) – How to empower your team members and those to whom you're delegating tasks.
- (13:18) – How to provide feedback to team members without micro-managing.
(15:08) – Discussing the levers and factors behind hiring other team leaders and 'middle managers'.
- (17:07) – What Tony would have done differently with hindsight.
- (17:23) – The differences having experienced team members and leaders would have made in the early stages of Contactually.
- (18:59) – The personal progression and development of Tony's leadership role and how he worked on this particular skill set.
- (20:58) – The next big challenges in Contactually's growth.
- (24:00) – Advice to founders regarding timing the move from a 'getting things done' role to one of leadership of a team.
- (25:49) – What do you currently spend too much time doing?
- (26:13) – What do you not spend enough time doing?
- (26:42) – What are you hoping to accomplish in the next quarter?
- (27:20) – What are the potential obstacles to those goals?
Where to learn more:
For some first-hand knowledge on starting and scaling a company, check out Tony's personal blog at NakedStartup.com.
Andy: 00:00:00 Tony, thanks so much for coming on the show.
Tony: 00:00:04 Hey thanks Andy, my pleasure.
Andy: 00:00:07 So just to start things off, what is Contactually, and how did it all get started?
Tony: 00:00:12 Sure. Well, high-level Contactually is a CRM for folks who want to stay in touch with people that are important to them. A CRM means a contact relationship management. A customer relationship management.
And the idea of our product, in particular, is that there is a lot of people that you meet through your professional and personal life, and if you're like me, you do not do the greatest job of staying in touch with those people. 00:00:33 And so our product basically connects to your phone, your email, your social media accounts, and it consistently reminds you to follow up with people that you've told us are really important to you.
And in doing so, a lot of businesses and customers who use us oftentimes, they're freelancers, or consultants, or realtors, people who get a lot of business from people they know, they leverage our product to stay in touch with their network, such that they get more referral business. 00:01:00 So that's the high-level of what we do.
Andy: 00:01:01 And when was it that you started?
Tony: 00:01:03 We've been around now for over five years, in late 2011.
Andy: 00:01:08 [Edit – Polish up question] Ok. And I know you've raised — how many rounds of funding have you raised at this point?
Tony: 00:01:12 So we've raised 12 million dollars to date. That was a Series A. It was about a year and a half ago, and we did a couple seed rounds prior to that.
Andy: 00:01:21 And what does the company look like today? How many people are there roughly? I don't know if you publicly talk about the number of customers or anything like that. So, if you don't, don't worry about that.
Tony: 00:01:30 Yeah, so we've got about 70 people in the company overall. 55 or so in D.C. and then we've got a few remote people and they're a remote support team. We — from a customer perspective, we've put about 10,000 customers. Anywhere from individuals who have used Contactually for themselves, up to companies of over 2000 people who use Contactually across the whole organization. So, we've got a wide range of people, and increasingly we're selling to those more, those larger customers. And a handful of verticals, but real estate in particular has been a keen focus for us.
Andy: 00:02:04 [Consider To Be Edited][A little unclear in your speech] Right. It's funny, because I had heard — you've done a lot of writing, a lot of talking, and I had come across you a few years back, just in some — that kind of content marketing aspect of it, but then in an entirely different way, through friends that I know in the real estate market, I had heard of the company again, so it was interesting how both worlds kind of collided with that. 00:02:26 But one of the things that has really stood out to me after talking to so many founders, is that the skills that allow you to grow quickly in the early stages of a startup, are not the same skills at all that you need once you've really hitting scale. And I know this is something you've personally dealt with, so I just wanted to ask, what is the difference between starting and scaling a company?
Tony: 00:02:49 Yeah, I think there are tons of differences. And frankly, I don't think a lot of founders, and certainly the startup press, doesn't talk about this enough, but starting a company is all about getting shit done as a founder. 00:03:03 You don't generally have a lot of money, it's all just sweat equity that you're putting in, and so to get things done, you need to just do a lot of the the not-sexy work that no one else is around to do. Right?
So, if it's — you're building a site, obviously you need to build the product, but how do you get customers in the door? More importantly, how do you get people to not just come to the site, but actually pay you? How do you get them to stick around? And the nitty-gritties associated with that. Handling the support emails and that type of work.
00:03:33 That's, I would say, is critical in the early days when we first started, and probably true for most startups when they first start. 00:03:40 Over time, however, as you grow a customer base, and grow revenue, and especially when you raise capital, to fuel growth, you obviously need to expand the team.
00:03:50 And with that team comes a realization, and I think it comes later for some people than for others, but ultimately what I can do as a founder, and the individual execution that I can do is dwarfed by what my team can do, clearly, if they're equipped to be successful.
And so my role, and what I've had to continuously remind myself and shift over time, is not of individual contributor to do my own stuff, but how do I empower the team to be really successful, and give them the clear direction, and provide them with leverage to help achieve a lot more in the company. 00:04:22 And that's high-level, probably the biggest shift, and happy to give you any more details from there.
Andy: 00:04:28 And because it's something where a lot of times you do hear about anyone who has spent any time in an early stage startup knows how much the hustle, the sweat equity, the whatever, the getting shit done, really does matter. But I'm curious in your case, because there are three cofounders at Contactually, right?
Tony: 00:04:47 Right.
Andy: 00:04:47 And the other two are technical, is that also right?
Tony: 00:04:51 Yes.
Andy: 00:04:52 So what was the shit, I guess, that you had to do, that you personally were responsible for in those early days?
Tony: 00:04:58 Yeah, it's funny, I — in the really early days, as the "non-technical" founder — I was a product manager at Microsoft before, so I'm not totally non-technical, but I wasn't a developer. I'm not a developer. A lot of the early days is about customer development and trying to get anyone possibly interested in using your product.
00:05:18 So, a lot of trying to figure out what people really wanted in the product, and what features should we prioritize, and what those should look like. 00:05:28 A lot of those elements were coming from a lot of the conversations that I was spearheading and driving. And quickly, once you sort of figure out what customers want, it quickly comes to, "How do we find more and more of those customers".
And so, you're doing, at least in our case, it was reaching out to tons of relevant bloggers and press to get them to talk about us, writing a bunch of content that we could circulate to other bloggers or other people and they would distribute. It was leveraging our own customers, our own users. Trying to get them to generate referrals to send people our way.
So it was doing all of these nitty-gritty, hacky things, trying to get people to give a shit about us at all. Right? To actually care. 00:06:09 Because as a founder, of course, you think what you're doing is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but the reality is for most people, maybe they're interested, but you're one of many things important to them. It's cutting through that noise, can be really hard. But that's what it looked like short term.
00:06:27 Long term, what's been interesting is, I think a lot of non-technical founders have this feeling that they're like — you kind of question, "Am I really pulling my share? Am I contributing enough to the success of this company as my other two founders, who are actually…" There is no company if there is no product. Right? And it's been interesting over time, really after the first couple months, that it's sort of — I don't know if it was ever the opposite feeling, I don't know if Zvi and Jeff felt differently, but it felt like everything else about success now around revenue growth, it's sales, marketing, customer success, support, there's all these other big teams, and frankly, 85% of our company now is not engineering and product.
00:07:09 So the pendulum has certainly swung the other way, where there are a lot more people trying to drive success that is not product related, but it wasn't that case certainly early on.
Andy: 00:07:18 And it's something where that customer development, that first figuring out who the customers are, finding out what it is they want, and finding out how to get more of them. That's sort of a never-ending cycle of marketing, so at what point did you start to realize that you have a big enough team around you that they can pick up a lot of the heavy lifting, and that your personal day to day role really needs to start to change into more of that of a leader?
Tony: 00:07:43 Yeah, I'm not sure it's any one moment, and frankly I think one of the — to be successful as a company, to get past the initial couple people and to actually scale, you need to be a good executor, and I think all of us as founders, myself included, we are really good executors. That's one of our skills.
00:08:01 So I think I was slow to really step back, and I still have to tell myself like, it's little things — preparing goal setting for June and trying to get a sense of where do we need to invest to hit our revenue growth numbers in June? I'm still getting into the nitty-gritty details of what that model looks like and where do we invest our money and people resources.
And I find myself, like I know I should go and talk to some other folks on the team, and make sure that they feel appreciated, and help get a certain problem unstuck, and brainstorm with folks. 00:08:37 But I consistently find that I'm like, there's this siren song that I need to go back to my desk and get this done in Excel, even though I know empowering these other folks on the team will help marketing and sales and CS a lot more effectively. So, to answer your question 00:08:50 I'm not sure if there was ever a tipping point. I think it was gradual over time, as the team got bigger I needed to get pulled elsewhere, but it's never — even today I struggle with the idea of how do I empower versus do my own thing. If that makes sense.
Andy: 00:09:06 [Edit Out] [Need to rephrase] Did you have any difficulty — obviously learning these skills, developing these skills is going to take time, as you need to be deliberate about it, but the act of delegating more rather than getting dirty and doing it yourself, was that something that you had a hard time doing? Or were you able, when you realized the importance of it, to hand off some of those tasks relatively easily?
Tony: 00:09:27 So can you rephrase that question?
Andy: 00:09:31 Yeah. A lot of times, I talk to a lot of bootstrappers, and I also talk to a lot of people in the agency world, and a lot of times I hear people who they're used to executing, they're used to getting dirty and doing the work, and that even if they know, "I should have someone else do this. I should be delegating so I can focus more on the business rather than in it" they have a hard time letting go. Because maybe they're too much of a perfectionist, maybe they think it's going to take too much time to train, or whatever it is. So did you experience anything like that?
Tony: 00:10:00 Ahh, well I think there's two types of delegating that I experienced on a regular basis. And maybe it's different for the folks. 00:10:11 So there's the one type of delegation, in which is you know exactly what you want to do, what are those activities and there are just too many activities that you have on your plate and so you need to get someone else to do those activities.
00:10:20 And that's where an executive assistant, or any sort of more junior person that is working very closely with you, can be very helpful. And today, I've been fortunate, that both Zvi and I use an executive assistant and her name's Carey, and she's fantastic. She's like an extension of me and allows me to do a lot more things, because she is executing what I would do typically. I'm saying 00:10:44 [Inaudible] would need to get done and she does it.
That's very different from hiring a team member where I'm not spelling out the steps they need to take. We're working collaboratively to say, "What's the end goal?" Like we want to generate a bunch of leads, or we want to close customers. I'm not spelling out the game plan like I am with the EA, but I'm just setting the goal.
00:11:02 That type of delegation, I think for me, has been way harder. Because my natural inclination is to say, "Well, I see the problem and I see the steps to solve the problem, why don't I just lay out the steps and someone can run with it." 00:11:13 But that clearly is not empowering for anyone else. And certainly for more senior experienced people. 00:11:22 I think that to me has been the most challenging. I think if you're a freelancer, and you're just looking for more leverage, hiring an EA that you can use to be an extension of you is probably the first step. And that was a pretty easy transition for me personally.
Andy: 00:11:36 And so on that side of empowering the team on the tasks that are less cut and dry. The ones that you can't really just have someone act as the extension of you. What is important to you? Or I guess a better way of phrasing it is, how do you view empowering them? What does that even mean to empower your team to act? Is it just being able to let them hit the ground running, or more than that?
Tony: 00:12:03 Yeah, there's maybe two sides that I think about. 00:12:07 The one — people say all the time, that I don't think anyone likes to be micro-managed. That words has a dirty connotation with it, and I agree with that point. However, to set a team up for success, to set one of my direct reports up for success, I think we need to be really clear. She and I need to be clear around what are the expectations I have for her, and what do the priorities look like? 00:12:33 And that's where I will work very closely with any of my direct reports to say, "What are the levers that we're trying to move here?"
And what I mean by that, if we're trying to grow revenue in the company we can do that by generating more leads if you're in marketing, you can do that by converting those leads more successfully if you're in sales, or by retaining customers more successfully if you're in CS. 00:12:49 So there are levers and there are sub-levers.
So I'll focus a lot on those when we're working with any of my direct reports 00:12:55 and they ultimately own the plan and the activities to move those levers. And I certainly collaborate on what those plans look like, and provide input, but ultimately, my job isn't to dictate what those activities look like, my job is to make clear what the goals and the levers are and they creatively build a plan to make that happen. 00:13:15 So that's one strategy.
Andy: 00:13:18 And from there, once you have at least given them the goals, and they're working on the plan, they're working on executing towards that plan, what is the check-in process? How are you providing feedback for their working period to make sure that things are on track without getting into the micro-managing point?
Tony: 00:13:34 Yeah, so we're speaking a little bit in the abstract. I can speak at how do I enable the executive team that reports to me versus maybe their sub-teams. At the executive level, I have weekly one-on-ones with all of them.
We've got clear dashboards for those big metrics we're trying to move, like leads, sales conversion, etc. And so in our check-ins, we just pull up the dashboards and say, "How are things tracking?" If they're on track, we don't need to spend a lot of time there. If they're not, we'll dig into why. What are the sub-levers that are off here and what is the hypothesis as to why they're off. And that's where we'll have a little bit of a brainstorm back and forth as to what we can do to address it.
So that's how that typically works, and to be honest, we're still a pretty small company, so things are cropping up that are issues, good or bad. I'm getting pulled in as needed, or I'm noticing something and tapping them on the shoulder and saying, "Can I help here?" 00:14:25 I think at the more junior level, right, we try to get — each of those team leads have their own systems for how they make goals clear and drive accountability.
And I know some teams, I think it's actually, engineering for example uses Jira. They use ClearaSprints ((?)) 00:14:46 [To Be Confirmed] to check all the tickets that are due. That's how they drive prioritization.
Whereas other teams, maybe they use 00:14:50 [To Be Edited] I'm trying to think of the other piece of software that other folks use — but even Excel. So we're kind of agnostic in terms of what systems people use within their own teams.
And high-level, again, I use the one-on-one structure instead of a shared doc as an executive team to keep all our goals and priorities aligned.
Andy: 00:15:08 What I want to do now, is kind of dig a bit into that, because at the point you're at right now — I know you say you're a bit small compared to some of the behemoths out there, but at 70 people, you do have that layer that still exists between you and the more junior employees. At what point did that layer come into play? When did you say, "I have too many direct reports, we need to add some, I guess you would call them middle managers, or anything like that"?
Tony: 00:15:35 Yeah, I think the driver to hire — what you're describing as middle managers or other leaders — it wasn't so much, in my mind, driven by the headcount of the team as it was driven by the expertise I felt like we needed. So, this was maybe in 2013, we were two years old, the first executive that we hired was our VP of Marketing. And we did that because, you know if I was thinking about the parts of the funnel that were — that I was most concerned about — it was, "Well how do just we bring in enough leads?"
Because if we have enough leads, then we'll convert them and the rest kind of takes care of itself to some degree, but the lead piece was the tip of the spear. So, that was why we hired Keran 00:16:15 [To Be Confirmed]. Over time, we've hired more senior executives as we needed to drive those parts of the business more aggressively and just be more — bring in more expertise.
00:16:26 The one thing, I think the mistake we made — well maybe it's an overstatement to say a mistake, but over time, we've hired — each executive we've hired has been more senior than the last, so we've hired, we're on our second VP of Marketing, our second VP of Sales, second VP of Product, and each time — you hire an executive for what you need at the right time, and in the early days at Contactually, we needed someone who was really nitty-gritty in the details, to be that player coach that could execute and also manage. And now, we're hiring people who have grown and scaled teams and their experience they're bringing to bear is just far greater. 00:17:07 I think if I would have done anything, I think I would have hired those experienced people a little sooner, because I think the growth — it's been night and day in those types of leaders versus some of the more junior leaders we had early on.
Andy: 00:17:23 When you say it's been night and day, other than the expertise that they bring, or I guess because of the expertise that they bring, what has been the real difference? If you want to get down to some of the details, how would hiring some of those more senior people earlier on have benefitted the company?
Tony: 00:17:40 Sure. I think in two ways. One, we've been talking about priorities and goals and whatnot, and one of the things that an experienced leader brings to bear, is they've been there done that. 00:17:51 And so, I think I, frankly as a first-time founder, and junior manager myself, I had — I think my default was to do what I described earlier, to say, "Hey these are the levers we're trying to move, and here are the activities."
I would do way more brainstorming with our early leadership team as to what needed to happen versus today, the leadership team at Contactually doesn't need me to step in. I'm still contributing my thoughts, but they just — again, they've been there done that, and they understand with way more of a degree of expertise than I ever will, how to generate leads from certain channels or how to big product, whatever it is.
00:18:29 So that's one. The other, we've hired people who are just really skilled leaders. Their teams will run through walls for them, and they're great at motivating people to succeed, and that's an area that I think, I and others in the team are continuing to try to develop. I've been a manager for ten years versus the 25 years of others on our team. 00:18:53 So, I think that's the benefit. It's the expertise, the technical expertise, as well as just the leadership skills that more experienced people bring to bear.
Andy: 00:18:59 And it seems like the structure of leadership within the company has clearly evolved over time. Just as different needs have come up. As you have learned and gained more experience.
But what I'm curious about though is, how you personally developed the leadership skills that really enabled all of this. Or at least a significant portion of this to happen. Because that shift from getting shit done to being the leader is one that, even if someone can conceptually understand that they need to make that shift, is one that is still very difficult to make. Because they might not naturally have those skills. 00:19:38 So for you personally, how did you work on developing those leadership skills?
Tony: 00:19:42 Sure. Well, I'll first carry out this 00:19:45 [Inaudible] and I don't think it's ever — it's not a light switch, and I'm still continuing to work, right? And I think, again, my natural inclination and strength is around process and metrics and execution, and the people leadership is a skill set I am developing.
But the high-level, I've tried to surround myself with people external to Contactually. Either mentors or advisors and internal, hiring really good leaders that I learn from. 00:20:12 I ask them to provide me feedback and keep me accountable to the areas that I'm trying to improve on. I've also been fortunate to have a chance to hire a really good executive coach, as Zvi has as well, and working with Patrick, he works with some of the biggest companies in the Valley and their leadership teams doing this kind of coaching and talking through some of the people and leadership challenges.
00:20:41 It's just nice to have an experienced sounding board in that regard. So, and then lastly, just trial and error. You kind of learn by fire. Trial by fire. When you have to do it, you're going to break a few eggs, and I've broken a lot of eggs I'm sure, but you get better with reps, for sure.
Andy: 00:20:58 And then, as Contactually continues to grow, what do you see as the next big challenge that you're going to face, on sort of that skills level? Or maybe if you have to make another shift going forward from originally it was from the getting things done to the leadership role, there's still going to be that leadership role, but do you see another kind of paradigm shift coming in the future, just something in general that you're going to have to really adapt to be able to handle?
Tony: 00:21:26 Yeah, I think — well I could tell you right now — it's funny to even talk about this, but you're talking — I'm so — people who know me well know that I'm just the ultimate pragmatist and so tactical in the weeds, so talking about things like leadership and alignment, that kind of stuff, it feels fluffy, but it is the most important thing, and I can't stress that enough to anyone who is listening and is maybe like me, who is just so the metrics, numbers, process guy. 00:21:54 It feels like it's fluff, but it's the stuff that matters most.
To answer your question directly, the thing that I realize more and more that will be my focus, where I need to be present as a leader in the company, is on aligning the various senior leaders that we have, to make sure we're all rowing in the same direction, that the goals are crystal clear, and we're all cross-functionally working together and not working in silos. That's probably the biggest.
00:22:21 And the second is all about motivation. If I've hired really, really good executives, and they've hired really, really great teams that they are managing, how do we make sure that everyone is motivated to work, to give 100%? Right? And to do what's best for the company all the time. And that is easy for me to say both of those things. They're both very hard, and they're kind of abstract concepts, but that's the shift and will be the focus for the foreseeable future.
Andy: 00:22:49 And do you think it's going to be those same general learning skills that helped you get to where you are right now that will help you get to the next stage of having those internal and external sounding boards and the tried and true trial and error?
Tony: 00:23:02 Yeah, I think so. Like I said, the nice thing about having hired now more senior executives is, and having developed good relationships with folks I work, is I'm brutally candid with them. We're, and it's good timing, we're going on an exec off-site, and as prep for that exec off-site we each filled out some anonymous feedback on each other. What are things we do really well, and areas that we should be improving.
And that's a starting block. I'm getting feedback from my peers who work with me everyday, that know, that are highlighting for me the areas that they think where I need to improve. So that's one place, and I'm taking that feedback, and just what I know about myself, where I want to improve, or I think I need to improve, in channeling that with some of those advisors, mentors, and the coach I mentioned. To put together a specific game plan around what I'm going to do differently. 00:23:52 And I'm meeting with people regularly, and there's elements, there's my to-do list of things I'm trying to improve, and people are keeping me accountable to actually make those changes.
Andy: 00:24:00 And then to tie it all together a bit, I know there's not one single moment or some rule of thumb that you can apply, "This is when you need to switch from the focus of getting shit done to becoming a real leader". When generally, are there any signs, or anything that you can recommend to early-stage startup founders out there, about when they should be — start thinking more about this and be more deliberate about getting ready for this slow shift of responsibilities?
Tony: 00:24:25 Yeah, I think so First Round Capital 00:24:30 [Resources Mentioned] has a blog called, First Round Review, FirstRound.com and there's an article called, "Give Away Your Legos and Other Commandments for Scaling Startups".
I just pulled this article back up again when you were speaking just a second ago. And in that article, they talk about how things shift in team sizes and they make the argument, which I totally agree with, around the 20 to 25 person mark. 00:24:51 Or whenever basically you can't fit everyone around a big dinner table, so maybe even smaller, maybe like 15 people, that's when I think the shift needs to start to happen.
00:25:02 Because at that point, you know, I don't intimately know what everyone's doing at any given moment, we're probably not all as close. Certainly at 70 people, I'm not as close to everyone as we were at five and ten people. And so, again that dinner table rule, I think is the point at which it's, "How do I empower this team to be really effective?" How do we think about the processes and systems you put in place so people feel like they know the priorities, and they know and they feel and they're motivated to achieve them, versus just, you know, we're all hanging out getting stuff done. I don't know.
Andy: 00:25:38 No, I think that's a valuable way to think about that, so I appreciate you sharing that. And before we do wrap up, I like to just ask all of my guests a few rapid fire questions and so I'm going to go through them quickly, but your answers don't need to be short.
00:25:49 And the first one is just, what do you currently find yourself spending too much time doing?
Tony: 00:25:55 Too much time doing? I think I spend too much time on Facebook, though I've tried to minimize it quite a bit. I tried to delete the app from my phone, but you sign in to so many sites through Facebook now, it's very smart on Facebook's part, so I buried it in a folder on the back page. But yeah, Facebook is like my crack.
Andy: 00:26:13 Then what do you not spend enough time doing?
Tony: 00:26:16 I don't think I spend enough time with the people I care most about. Frankly. My family lives in Michigan, my friends — you know, I went to school in Boston, grew up in Michigan, went to school in Boston, lived in Seattle and now D.C., so I have friends scattered everywhere, and I've realized that I most like spending time with people in person. And when I'm not in person, I let those relationships suffer. So I really would, and I'm trying hard to invest more heavily in the people I care most about.
Andy: 00:26:42 I think that's something everyone should always be working towards. And then, what are you hoping to accomplish in Contactually in the next quarter going forward?
Tony: 00:26:50 Yeah, so as a company, we are — growth is like the one word that we talk all about, and the 00:27:00 [Inaudible] high-revenue growth. In this quarter, I would say, as a company we're trying to shift for aggressively, and how do we, not just as individuals, but sell to more and more of those large organizations, particularly real estate brokerages, and so I think going into Q3 now, it's all about how do we scale that effort a lot more quickly and aggressively. And hopefully sell to a lot more brokerages.
Andy: 00:27:20 What do you see as being the biggest obstacle to achieving that?
Tony: 00:27:24 That's a good question. I think we've got the game plan in place. I think we — the steps are ahead of us. Frankly, talent. Hiring people that can execute against the high level plans and strategies that we're putting together. We've got a really small team today, we just hired a new VP of Sales, we've got really awesome outbound sales rep, Aaron, who's just been driving a lot of those big deals. How do we close Aaron into three or four other people.
Andy: 00:27:51 But Tony, honestly, you gave us so much today, so I want to say thank you so much for your time, but before I finally say goodbye, I want to just ask: If listeners want to hear more from you, or see what you and your team are up to over at Contactually, where are the best places for them to go?
Tony: 00:28:08 Yeah, so certainly you can check us out on our website. So Contactually.com and you can learn about us, our product, if you also go to our YouTube channel, we've put a lot of random videos of what we've done over the years. There was a guy who sent his millionth — the person who sent the millionth email or follow up to Contactually, we gave him Contactually for life, gave him a giant cheque, and balloons and showed up at his office. We do fun stuff like that, so you get to know us a little bit better there.
And me, I'll say this now only because maybe it will inspire me to actually do a little more, I do write occasionally on my blog NakedStartup.com, so if you check that out, it'll speak a little bit more about starting and scaling a company and some of the other work we've done in the past.
Andy: 00:28:51 Yeah, and that blog, honestly, that's where I started reading a bit of what you'd put out there, because one of the articles on starting companies, scaling companies are two entirely different jobs, that really motivated me to reach out and do this interview. So I'll link up all that stuff in the show notes and Tony, I just want to say thanks again so much for your time, it was a lot of fun chatting to you.
Tony: Yeah thanks Andy, I appreciate the time.