How we met Tina (our new Co-Founder and CEO)
When you set out to find a key hire for your early-stage tech startup, you compete against headhunters, expensive recruitment consultants, and every other exciting tech company. So, how do you find the right talent, stand out and convince your dream candidate to join a company with an uncertain future?
I’ll give you a hint. You need one fundamental question that will shake the ground beneath you and your future co-founder. If you want to know what our secret question was, keep reading.
When I joined Volument as a co-founder last December, the experience was like entering into a new relationship. The future felt uncertain but filled with passion. We shared a vision, a dream that drove us forward.
We were honest with each other from day one because we knew things would fall apart if any of us had doubts.
I don't feel comfortable giving relationship advice to anyone. But, I will tell you the story of how we met Tina Nayak, our new Co-Founder and CEO, and why we already know this will be an exciting and memorable journey.
Or, as Barney Stinson from the TV show How I Met Your Mother would say:“It's going to be legen - wait for it - dary.“
Before I introduce you to Tina, I want you to understand our past and how our CEO hunt began.
The idea for Volument came to Tero when he counted the number of different report views inside Google Analytics. He felt deeply frustrated by the poor UI, information overflow, and privacy concerns.
Tero set out to build a web analytics tool he didn't hate.
The first version of Volument got traction and won the hearts of companies such as Spotify and DigitalOcean. People loved the idea, but the product backend wasn't ready for large traffic amounts.
So Tero decided to pull the plug and rebuild the product. At this point, Lauri, our backend guru, joined Volument as the second co-founder.
As privacy topics started getting more attention, the time was perfect for reimagining what web analytics is.
At the end of last year, Icebreaker.vc made a pre-seed investment into Volument and allowed us to push the product and vision even further.
Things were great but not perfect.
Tero, a builder by heart and a UX nerd, wanted to focus on the grand vision and product development. He made a bold decision and said it would be best to give the CEO role to someone who can focus on the users and the company.
As we had little experience in startup growth, it became clear our core team was missing an important piece.
To be honest, we didn't know where to begin our CEO hunt. We wanted to find someone who understood what product-led growth meant in practice to help us find our first users and build a sustainable company.
Besides growth experience, we had some miscellaneous traits and characteristics in mind: bold, honest, kind, loves remote work, has a history with web analytics frustration, wants to make an impact.
We looked at some slide decks made by recruitment consultants. We prepared ourselves for a tedious process that might take months.
We opted for a simple strategy. Go to LinkedIn, find experienced people who talk about product-led growth, and reach out for advice and directions to who we should talk.
In our first candidate list, we had 50+ names who, according to LinkedIn, were experts in product-led growth.
If you're on LinkedIn, you know how easy it is to disregard a connection request or a message from a total stranger. The odds of you becoming spam in someone's inbox are pretty high.
Tina was the second person on our list, and on her LinkedIn profile, she wrote:“ I'm always eager to hear from startups and teams around the world and advise and build on how you can enable growth in your team/company.“ That was music to our ears, so I sent her a message and said we'd love to hear her advice on building product-led growth.
Most meetings are boring, but our first one with Tina was the most memorable and fun I've ever had.
A stereotypical Finn is a modest person who doesn't like it when people brag about themselves. But, we can also be brutally honest.
Tero and I had our first meeting with Tina in May. The title was “Get to know in 30 mins”.
After the introductions and some casual small talk, Tero dropped the ultimate icebreaker question:“ So would you like to be our CEO?“
Say what now?
Tina was surprised by the question. We were surprised she didn't say no.
We put all the cards on the table, talked straight, and dove deep into the problem Volument was solving. After several sessions, it became clear Tina was the perfect fit for Volument.
She found the problem delicious and shared the values and purpose behind Volument as a company. We were impressed with her background and expertise as international growth, product marketing, and brand expert for tech startups.
Tina’s side of the story
To tell you the truth, I almost didn't respond to Jussi's message. Well almost!
Two things stood out -
- He personalized his note with a snippet from my intro, which meant he took the time to research and told me what was required from the meeting.
- ‘Insight-led web analytics’ - so read the headline. Doesn't the analytics tools already do that, I wondered.
The conversation that followed was beyond my wildest imagination.
I love the problem, here's why:
- Data overwhelm is real. It's intimidating if you are not used to it.
- For great impact, you need insights to make sound strategic bets. Today's web analytics platforms provide data, not insights.
- Drawing insights from data is time-consuming and tedious. Those who've used the tools know what I mean. They are anything but user-friendly.
The team has an audacious dream. Tero's and Jussi's energy, passion, expertise, and speed were infectious. All of which you need to build a successful startup. They are passionate, fearless, unafraid to challenge what's not working, and most of all, obsessed about their users.
In Tero's words, “Let's not build something boring.“
I'm humbled and excited about Volument's vision to save the internet from data overload by telling data-driven stories that create meaningful impact without invading anyone's privacy.
To build something meant for human good with purpose and the right values is nothing short of a dream.
Join the waitlist and become an early adopter of tommorrow's web analytics.