#110: Amy Chang - The CEO Who Ran Google Analytics And Is On The Board Of Cisco And Proctor & Gamble
Dave: Yeah, so let me read you a quick line for the Seeking Wisdom listeners out there, and I think the reason we do Seeking Wisdom is to like tap into DC's network. We're lucky, I'm lucky enough to mooch off of it and be part of this podcast, but you know, Amy's on the board of Proctor and Gamble and Cisco, they have a combined market cap of 400 billion that's billion with a b.
DC: Yeah, that's a b.
Dave: And today, she's the CEO and founder of a company. They're a relationship intelligent platform. They've got over$ 40 million in funding. And fun fact, she was an ex- Google exec. She actually ran Google Analytics for seven years. And while she was doing that, she grew it from about 1% market share to over 70%. And I think everybody on this podcast is probably using Google Analytics in one form or another. So, Amy, it's awesome to finally have you on, we've been trying to do this for a while, so thank you so much for doing it.
Amy: It's my pleasure. I'm so excited to get to talk to the two of you today.
Dave: So, I want to jump right into a topic that's that's on both... I know DC thinks and talks a lot about this, and you were just mentioning before, which is like, we're just hiring, like everything is all about, about people. So, what's on your mind with hiring right now?
Amy: Well, we're at that stage where we're 40 people and each person matters a tremendous amount and we're kicking into that kind of hyper- growth stage where we're going to have to do a lot of hiring this year. And one of the things that I'm trying to be super cognizant and deliberate about is the culture and how do we maintain the culture and the tenants that are so important to us, right? And not dilute that while at the same time, bringing on more diverse viewpoints and at the same time, making sure the mix, because you know, when you add a new person to a team that's still 40 people, you can feel their effect. And when it's the right person, it makes everything better, right? But when it's the wrong person, it can do weird things that you don't want it to do to a company this size. So, I'm trying to be deliberate and cognizant about it and trying to pattern match on different aspects that would cause the culture to shift or change in different ways. Do you know what I mean?
DC: Totally, yeah. We feel it every day and what mistakes... I'm curious to learn from your mistakes. What mistakes do you think you've made so far?
Amy: Okay. Well our number one...
DC: One inaudible, obviously not right now.
Amy: Well, so, our number one kind of value is no assholes, right? Apologies for the cursing.
DC: No, I love it.
Amy: But it is no assholes. And there has been a time or two where we have accidentally hired one. And it was early on. The one I'm thinking of was early on and we had to fix the mistake quickly because it became pretty apparent pretty quickly in the collaboration that this person was a kind of a blocker to the natural collaborative spirit that other people bring to the company, right? And within six weeks I had to let them go. And we were just... This person was talented from a kind of a functional perspective. And we just needed that function and that talent on the team. And so we made a compromise and we learned from it for sure. We learned from it because it's tempting, right? There's too much work for the number of people. You really want to move fast. You've got clients or customers or users really wanting something and you want to get it out to market. And so there's this pressure to sometimes think," You know what? It'll be okay Because there's enough people here and we'll work around it and it'll be fine." And then you find out, no, it actually kills. It lowers the productivity of all the people that were already there. So, the net effect is net negative.
DC: Yeah. I think you hit on the jam there, which is the...
Amy: And then you got to fix it fast.
DC: It's hard for people to understand, but the addition is net negative, right? It's never positive even if you talk yourself into it. It's like the person's actually taking down the entire team productivity.
Amy: Yeah. And to admit that you made pretty big mistake, right? Because you got to let them go, you do it in a humane way and you make sure you take care of the person because even though they weren't a good fit, that doesn't mean they're a bad person. And so you try to do it in a humane way, but you got to do it fast.
DC: Yeah. It's crazy. crosstalk.
Dave: Amy, oh one-
DC: Oh, sorry.
Amy: Thanks DC.
Dave: One thing I was thinking about as you guys were talking about that is your company right now, you, you have about 40 people, but you're on the boards of these massive companies. Does hiring ever come up in conversations with those companies and are there...
Amy: Every board meeting?
Amy: Yes. Because talent is... I mean, it's so critical. It's the lifeblood of any company, right? Any company, but especially a tech company. I mean, Cisco cares massively about talent and recruiting and retention massively.
Dave: So, it's an ongoing... It's not like, oh, we're at this early stage now, we're going to eventually graduate and we're not going to have to think about people. It just has evolved and over time. Like DC, you've seen this being a founder, right? Like there's five or 10 people at the company. Overnight, there's a hundred, there's a thousand. Like it seems to always be... It's a thing that never, that...
DC: It's never ending.
Amy: It's just that...
DC: As Amy says, it's never ending. Yeah.
Amy: Yeah. It's interesting though, because I've seen, and DC, please comment on this, right? But for your first five or 10, they are setting the culture and they matter so immensely just percentages wise, right? They represent a huge portion of the company and whoever you get in that first five or 10 imprints for the rest of the life of the company. I mean, you look at the first 20 employees at Google. A lot of them are still there. So, Susan Wojcicki is still there. Salar Kamangar is still there. A bunch of them are still there. And they really helped determine the whole trajectory of the culture. And then as you grow into something, Cisco or Google sized, the company as a whole is more resilient to any particular new hire, right? But over time, it's so hard to shift it away from something you didn't want to be an outgrowth of hires you made. And when it's early, it's the effect is so much more evident and the need for change is so much more evident.
DC: Yeah. I love that. I think for me-
Amy: It's just interesting.
DC: Culture is always, I'm always, when people talk about culture, I'm always, I don't know, I'm kind of weirded out because I think culture is not something you write down. Culture is like the sum of the people that are there, and right, especially those early people, disproportionate effect. And so they leave their fingerprints as you said, throughout the business.
Amy: Have you guys taken a relook at Reed Hastings old culture deck from Netflix? And it was, I don't know what he wrote at what six years ago, eight years ago, a long time ago, right?
DC: A long time ago, eight to 10 I want to say. A long time ago.
Amy: But so much of it still holds true. And then whenever... There's that one line in there and I'll paraphrase, but it's basically a strong enough culture should have almost enough grit to where it repels the wrong people as much as it attracts the right people for that company or for that environment. Because if it's all motherhood and apple pie and just all good things, then it doesn't actually repel the wrong people.
DC: Yeah. I think the amazing thing about that deck is to me is that, well, two things, I have two reactions when I read it. I love that part that you highlighted. One of them is like," Oh man, how come I'm not as smart as Reed Hastings to be able to write something that lasts this long, right? For nine years!" I just looked it up and it's 2009. I'm like," I'm not that smart." And then, the second thing that's amazing to me is that he and Patty McCord, who worked with him there as Chief People, Officer are able to say things like you highlighted there and still come across with empathy.
DC: And come across in a way that people appreciate what they're saying. And I'm like, I think if I said some of this stuff, people would just think that I'm an ass. I don't know, teach me, Amy. I don't know how to say it properly.
Amy: Well, I'm learning from them too. I'm with you. I don't... Yeah. And they did it in such a yeah.... And it is such a well and very definitive deck, right? He's not wishy- washy about it and he's not... Yeah. And I think he uses the analogy, we're not a family. It's more...
Amy: Kind of...
DC: A team.
Amy: A team. It's almost like a sports team. It's not a family. Yeah.
DC: Mm- hmm( affirmative). Yeah. I love that.
Amy: I liked it too. I liked it too. And yet it didn't crosstalk seem crazy. Sorry, say that again.
DC: Did you write anything like that for a company?
Amy: No, I wish. Well, we've authored kind of our value statement and our mission statement, but have I authored anything that's lasted 10 years that other people want to read? No, I have not.
DC: Me neither. Me neither. That makes two.
Amy: That would be pretty spectacular, but no such luck.
DC: All right. So, we have goals now.
Dave: All right. So, let's shift from talking about like the people side of it. I mean, DC, we have Amy on here, we have to dig into her life.
Amy: Oh no!
Dave: It's not often we talk to people at this level. So, what's a day in your life, week in your life like right now? Like building a company, sitting on a bunch of boards, how do you try to prioritize your time? Because obviously you're getting a million requests. You're getting pulled in a million different directions. Do you have any, I guess, like first principles for yourself almost for how you're thinking about your time and your days and your weeks.
Amy: I do. And I continuously want to try to be more deliberate about it. So, one of the things my co- founder Matthias Ruhl said when we started this company was," One of my favorite things about starting something, or being at an early stage company, is you wake up Monday morning and you have no idea what you will have had to learn by Friday. And the thrilling thing is there is something every single week that you did not know how to do or did you just didn't know about, right? You didn't know how to make the decision as of Monday that you have learned by Friday." And that is, that is why I do this. That is a big part of it. I love that part of it. And so alongside that, whatever the learning, the big learning is for that week or whatever it is that I wake up not knowing on Monday, I want to check by Friday that we figured it out and we have a way to do it. One of the things I try to do every morning and I don't actually get to it every morning, but eight or nine mornings out of 10, I will meditate. And that is massively helpful. So, I don't know if you guys kind of look at Myers- Briggs typing at all as a communication method or tool, but I'm ENTJ.
Dave: We're obsessed with it.
DC: You're what? ENTJ?
Amy: Yes. I'm ENTJ, which means-
Dave: Okay. Okay, I was going to say DC's an INTJ and if you were also an INTJ, I was going to have to hang up and be done. You're not allowed the earth-
DC: The earth.
Dave: The earth does not let you...
Amy: The ENTJs are demanding, impatient.
Dave: You're just the extroverted version.
Amy: Yes. I'm the noisier, louder.
DC: No, she's the commander. She's the commander.
Amy: But I'm...
Dave: Wait, DC talk. Tell her about... Talk about like, we do actually use, we're heavy on personality tests.
Dave: And we just started to use something here at Drift. Yeah.
DC: Yeah. We use, so I've been obsessed with them a long time. We use a predictive index, which is a little bit different. So, I've used Meyer- Briggs, I've used a DISC assessment, Strengths Finders, like every single one of them I'm obsessed, but this is fascinating. So, Amy is known as the commander, ENTJ personality.
Amy: AKA the pain in the ass.
DC: I love it. I wish I was the commander.
Amy: Do you know what we do? Which I think is so funny. So, you know the Star Wars Myers- Briggs typing chart?
DC: No, I haven't seen that. I'll have to find that.
Amy: So, there's Chewbacca on there, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, everybody. Okay. So, everybody's on there. So, if you want to when you come in, you can take the MBTI test, right? And then you can mark down which one you are. And so we're trying to have personality and communication style diversity in the company, too, right? Because one of the things that we want to do... So it's kind of like, oh, we don't have an ewok. We need an ewok which is silly, but it's more emblematic of," Hey, there's nobody who brings this point of view", right? There's no one who's ESFP on our team. I wonder what we're missing as a result and what we're missing from our customer communication standpoint, et cetera as a result of not having that person. Let's just be cognizant of the fact that we have a small hole there, but beyond that, we actually use it for stress response purposes. So, one of the things that we do kind of once a year is we sit down as sub- teams and then we sit down in locations and everybody goes around the table and reminds everyone this is my MBTI type. And my stress response looks like this. So, some people say my stress response looks like me withdrawing into myself and I will get up and go for a walk. And if I just stop talking to you and I drop into myself, it means I'm stressed. Other people will say, if I start making really, really stupid jokes, like silly stupid jokes in times of high stress, it's not because I'm disregarding the fact that some system is down, it's because that's how I cope with stress. I have to joke or else, I can't cope, right? And that was a massive learning for a bunch of us because there was a person on the team who whenever systems went down would go into joke mode. And some of us thought that was kind of A insensitive to other people who are trying to handle the problem, but B just like a totally weird response to have to something so serious. And then when this person explained," This is my stress response, so, I too am stressed. It's just this is what it looks like." I think everybody went," Oh!" and a light bulb went off. So, now when the person goes into this mode, we all know," Ah, okay, they're stressed too", right? So, don't get mad that they just made a joke about this. Just understand this is how they deal with it.
DC: Wow. You just blew my mind.
DC: As someone who's obsessed about MBTI. crosstalk Oh, totally of MBTI personality tests for a couple reasons. One, I never thought about doing it from the stress response standpoint. That's amazing. Two, I cannot believe I've never heard of the Star Wars MBTI typing.
Amy: Star Wars One, yeah.
DC: And now you've led me down the internet rabbit hole because now I have discovered the Grey's Anatomy MBTI, Disney Princesses, Game of Thrones, Lord of Rings, My Little Pony, et cetera.
Amy: Yes, there's a lot.
DC: Oh, I had no idea. But look at Amy, Dave. Amy is Princess Leia.
Amy: Princess Leia.
DC: And you know who I am?
Dave: I got to-
Dave: Who are you?
Amy: Yeah, and inaudible Palpatine. Sorry, man. You're totally Emperor Palpatine. We have a Darth Vader too.
DC: Goodness. That is so cold.
Dave: My god.
DC: That is so bad.
Dave: Amy, how would you the accuracy? How would you rate the accuracy of this?
Amy: Okay. So, I use it as a... You mean the Star Wars portion or you mean...?
Dave: Yeah. I'm just trying to gauge DC on this.
Amy: It's good for laughs. And then for people who have never used MBTI it makes it more accessible, right? And it just makes it less serious. crosstalk
Dave: I'll do...
DC: Dave, what's your type?
Dave: ESTJ which is Darth Vader.
Amy: You're a darling Darth Vader!
DC: This is awesome. You know what the best part about this is?
Amy: Let's call him Bader.
Dave: What's the best part? Go ahead.
DC: And do you know what, I crosstalk my co- founder. He is, well, he gets to be Han Solo for a second. I thought he was Wicked, an Ewok but I was wrong. He's Han Solo. That's too cool. Don't tell him that, it'll go to his head.
Dave: But if you know him, that is that the...
Amy: My husband is Chewy.
Dave: Elias is Han Solo. That's a perfect fit actually. I can't believe I'm Lord Palpatine. I'm devastated.
Amy: Sorry, man. I know. I know. I know, but it's okay. You can be a Palpatine for good.
Dave: Dang. This is awesome, I'll put a-
DC: That's true. Oh, wow now I've discovered the Star Trek version too.
Dave: Let's do this. I'll put a link to this in the show notes and tweet at DC.
Dave: And Amy, what's your Twitter.
Amy: Oh, @_AmyChang.
Dave: All right. Tweet at the two of them and with your personality type. Elias is actually sitting across from me right now. Well, he'll know later. We'll we'll tell him.
Amy: Nice. Wait on Star Trek, are you Captain Picard? You think?
DC: I was being captain Picard. That's what I was hoping. I'm not. I'm one of these, I forgot her name. She is basically a cyborg. That's not good.
Amy: Oh, so...
DC: I'm INTJ.
Dave: Are we?
Amy: That's not as appealing.
Dave: We have like 10 more minutes of Amy. So, let's do a lightning round. D, I have some stuff up my sleeve, but DC, you got anything?
DC: I'm just blown away. I'm blown away by this. But so now that you're at-
Amy: Wait, can I say one more thing? For the last question because I think this is one that... So, every CEO or every founder and every exec struggles with this, especially, I think, when you're actually like you care about other people, right? There's a layer of guilt for all the stuff you have to say no to. And a layer of," Oh, I feel badly not being able to do that for that person." And someone said something to me last year, which has stuck. And she, she basically said guilt is far better than resentment. So, you saying no to things and just taking it head on and feeling badly for a little bit, while you have to be real with people and say," No, I'm sorry. I can't do that" and just saying," no" is better than feeling this resentment having said yes and then sitting there doing something for an hour that you really feel like you shouldn't be doing.
DC: Oh, I love that.
Amy: So, I got to put that in and I liked it. I really liked it. I was like," Yeah, that's true. That is true." Because resentment will eat you up, but guilt is just something you okay, you feel it. And it's like a wave passes over you and then you have to move on, right?
DC: Amy, I'm full of resentment. I need to get rid of it. I'm going to say no to everything.
Dave: I love it. I don't. I don't.
Amy: Gerhardt, don't ask it for anything right now.
DC: Hey, I'm going to come back though. Because of this, I've discovered the Marvel Universe personality profiles.
Amy: Oh, nice. crosstalk.
DC: And I am a Magneto. So, I want to come back.
Dave: I'm going to like this. He's a guy that thinks about cognitive biases all the time. I'm sure, I think there is something for going to find something that confirms what you believe in. So, I don't know if this is really working out. I don't think you'd get to go pick your character.
Amy: Oh, okay, but I interrupted your lightning round. So, I apologize.
DC: No, I guess-
Dave: I mean, we're heavy on books and talking about things that we're learning. What's the last book that you read or something that you would, if you had the opportunity to buy a buy and give anybody a book that's listening to this about their career, whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you're a founder or whatever, what books would you recommend? Like what books have had the biggest impact on your career?
Amy: So, I actually, the Hard Thing About Hard Things, which you guys have listed before I find fantastic, because if something's hitting the fan, I will occasionally go flip back through and read the stuff they went through. And it makes me feel better. It honestly makes me feel like," Oh, this is not that bad. This is really not that bad." And it puts it into perspective because I'm like," Yeah, other 88 things are right. It's just, this one thing is wrong." And in poor Ben Horwitz's case, like 87 of them had hit the fan at the same time. So, it kind of makes me feel better. I like it. And then Creativity, Inc.
Amy: So, the whole book is great, but if you can't read the whole book, there was this phenomenal summary, I think in Fast Company, three or four years ago where they basically just did the article and all of the major principles they highlighted. I love for the team to go reread that article right before we go into a brainstorm session. We call them brain trusts now because that reminds everyone to go into" yes and" mode. That instead of poo- pooing the idea just, okay, yeah, you disagree but suspend your disbelief for a second and roll with it, right?
DC: I love that.
Amy: And ideas that are much further afield have come out of those sessions because people were anchored in the right place to start the discussion. So, I literally will have somebody from the team, our lead for that, make copies like physical copies and put them on people's desks to force them to flip through it right before we come into the meeting because I think it matters immensely what mindset people come in with and to be reminded for all those people who are very strong Myers- Briggs J, don't rush to conclusion yet. Let the idea kind of flow a bit and let it go further afield so that we can have some of the breakthrough ideas. So, I really love that article. I also, First Round Capital has a phenomenal review, right? Where they have articles that are published very periodically, but there's one on interviewing. And it was, I think using some of Adam Grant's work, if I'm right about that.
DC: Mm-hmm(affirmative). Yep. Yep.
Amy: Basically it is explaining how you test for grit, how you test for resilience, how you test for basic optimism and it's not, oh, everybody has to be sunshine and rainbows. It's more do you believe the team can get through this problem? And are you enough of a believer to where you're going to have faith during the hard times, right? And it's kind of testing for that. And so, just being reminded of how to structure the questions to try and introduce as little bias into them as possible is a fantastic reminder before interviews.
DC: I love those tips and Dave, we need to link up that article, The Creativity Inc summary in the show notes. Amy, I was wondering what was something you did early on in the company that now you look back at and say,"it was far too early to introduce that"?
Amy: Okay. I have one. So, at the places I have come from previously, we have not necessarily been known to be strong marketing companies, right? Where like take Google. For example, the brand itself is strong that I wouldn't necessarily say if you compare Google to a Salesforce, the capabilities there or the emphasis there, let's put it that way, it's just different. And so I felt like marketing was somewhat a mystery to me when I started this company because there's so many flavors, it's fairly complex, right? Different stages necessitate different things. And there was just so much learning that I needed to do. And other founders all kind of... There was some common wisdom. Let's put it that way that you need a PR team to help with your launch. And you want to get the word out. You want to make a big splashy launch. You know, you want to do all these things. And so I went and I kind of did a me too. And I hired a PR firm to do our launch and they're lovely people, but it was way too early to spend that money. And it didn't end up hurting anything because we figured it out and kind of deferred the relationship from a formal contractual standpoint and stuff. But it was just too early. And we didn't need to do that if you have, if you have a few relationships at key places like Tech Crunch or a Business Insider, it only takes one or two. And as long as somebody teaches you how to tell the narrative, and by the way, that's asking an advisor to spend half a day with you, right? Or two hours with you even they can teach you kind of how to craft that narrative. That's kind of all you needed. You didn't need to pay the$15,$ 20K for the first few months let's say there after launch. So, I would say I just didn't know at the time.
DC: That totally makes sense.
Amy: And you're kind of afraid of what you don't know.
Dave: All right DC, we got to let Amy go. So, why don't you wrap up if we can and try to send us out of here.
DC: Oh, I'm bummed. Two things, one-
Amy: We can go... We can go one more question because it's only 12:42, if you want DC.
DC: Okay. One more question for you. Let's do it. So, I have a question for you. So, one mistake I made early on at Drift was we actually spent too much time thinking about culture when we were two to three people and writing mission statements and values and this and that and all this kind of craziness. And only to realize the thing that I knew before that, which was like, really, the culture is a summary of the people in the company. Did you spend time doing stuff like that? Or is culture, is something you actively think about at the 40 person stage? Or did you think about it at the 10 person stage? Like when was it right at a company?
Amy: We were like you where when we were five people, we sat down, the five people kind of sat down together and we talked about what's important to us and we figure it out of all those things that are important to each of us, which ones are common and then which ones would we want to strive for. And which ones are a little controversial or a little edgy enough to where we were repelling as well as attracting. So, we actually wrote them down. So, we kind of went the same way you went, I think.
DC: And did it work for you?
Amy: Yes. I feel like it did work for us, but it's, it's an ever- evolving thing. And I never... I don't know, I never feel like we kind of spend enough deliberate, cognizant time around it, but over the new year, for example, when you have that week between Christmas and New Year's where everything's quiet. It's a good time to sit down for two hours and think about it and try and figure out what may or may not have gone astray or may need more work for the following year, right?
Dave: I mean, there's usually lots, but what do you-
DC: So, Dave, we have a problem. Do you know what the problem is?
Dave: Oh, no. No. Don't tell me. Don't tell me.
DC: If you go to Amy's company's website, Accompany, accompany. com, it is 10 times better than our website.
Amy: No, it's not.
Dave: I have your personality type up don't worry.
Amy: Although Julian did do a very good job designing it.
DC: DG, you got to get to work, man.
Dave: It's pretty like... This isn't good, inaudible. Over here telling us that she didn't know that much about marketing.
DC: Look at this clear copy. Largest database and crosstalk decision makers in the world. Look at this. Look at these quotes. Look at this.
Dave: I think she knows a little something about a little something. This was awesome.
Amy: Well, okay, but it's-
Dave: crosstalk. To be able to be in the middle of this was...
DC: crosstalk has something to teach you about marketing.
Amy: No. Oh my gosh.
DC: That's awesome. Thank you so much, Amy. Check out her company, download the extension, leave a six star rating. Shout out to Amy. Tell her how cool she is. Tell her that we need to go hang out, race go- karts together, eat donuts, and do all the cool stuff they do at her company.
Dave: All right, Amy. Thanks again.
Amy: Yeah, we do love our doughnuts. Alright you too, have the best weekend.
DC: Thank you.