I made my way through the crowd of 170,000+ people attending Dreamforce to find a private conference room where I connected in person with FinancialForce.com CEO and President, Jeremy Roche (@Jeremy_Roche). With more than 20 years of experience building and leading both public and private technology companies, Jeremy brings a wealth of executive leadership experience.
He has led businesses through IPO, de-merger and acquisition (both as acquirer and acquiree). And his work with growing FinancialForce offers insight into how to play the game of business at a rapid pace and growing scale. With $110 million in capital raised in 2015, the company’s growth has exploded, and Roche has led the team to disrupt the space of financial software.
Roche also offers a global perspective on building companies. He holds or has held Board positions in technology companies in US, UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, Hungary, Estonia, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. And FinancialForce now has offices in the UK, Canada, Australia, Spain, and multiple offices in the US.
In this episode with Jeremy Roche, you’ll learn:
- How Jeremy Roche got into ‘the emerging world of software’ and SaaS (4:44)
- How to balance enthusiasm from a SaaS leadership perspective (9:16)
- The importance and practice of ‘peoplecasting’ in achieving your goals (11:17)
- How to surround yourself with a strong team of people that are prepared to disagree with you (13.47)
- How Salesforce and FinancialForce came together, and how they have worked together to the benefit of both businesses (22.15)
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Welcome to the Powderkeg Podcast, episode two with Jeremy Roche, CEO and President of financial force. I’m your host, Matt Hunckler, founder and CEO of verge, a community of tech entrepreneurs, investors, and top talent growing high growth businesses outside of Silicon Valley. And my mission during this episode is to share with you the very best parts of this conversation I had with Jeremy Roche. I know you only have a limited amount of time and energy. And I’m so so honored that I get to spend this next 30 to 40 minutes with you and our podcast guest today, you have your own personal powderkeg of raw talent and abilities. And I see it as my job to help introduce you to the guides and strategies to help you sharpen your skills, as well as learn some new tips and tricks as we explore these stories today. This episode is brought to you by developer town, if you’re a business leader, trying to turn a great idea into a product with traction, dt is for you. Developer town works with clients ranging from entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 companies who want to build and launch an app or a digital product, they’re able to take the process they use with early stage companies to help big companies move like a startup. So if you have an idea for a web or mobile app, or you just need help identifying the great ideas within your company, go to developer town.com/powderkeg. Again, that’s developer town.com/powderkeg. And stay tuned at the end of this episode, because we have an awesome interview with one of their clients, Scott Humphries, who’s going to talk a little bit about his own intrapreneurial adventure. And it actually relates perfectly to this conversation today. With Jeremy Roche, Jeremy has made so much progress in his career and has achieved so much I really enjoyed meeting with him face to face at Dreamforce. This year that Salesforce is big user conference. And what’s really cool about the way he built financial force, is that he actually built it on the Salesforce platform, which gave him a huge head start and an amazing partner as he grew and scaled his technology business. Now, we also talked about some other unique things to Jeremy’s leadership style, including some things like goal setting, a process that he calls people casting, and I think you’re really going to enjoy just how genuine and authentic Jeremy is, because he is not your traditional big tech company CEO. It really shows and the way that he has this conversation and the way he leads his team. So let’s get this thing started. Here’s Jeremy Roche. We are here in Dreamforce, 2015. And a lot of exciting announcements happening a lot of excitement. Obviously, financial force is a big part of that ecosystem. I’m particularly interested in to talk to you, because it’s clear that you have a lot of executive skills and a lot of executive experience, you know, having IPO to companies in Europe, having bought sold companies. And now you know, having gone from 2010 with only about 20 employees to now present day over 600 employees. I know you just announced another fundraising round of what was 150 110 110? Only 110. Yeah, that that is amazing the amount of growth that you’ve had. But what I want to do is take it back to the early days, because I know you mentioned that you didn’t get your start necessarily in in the business world in the classical sense of executive training. Can you can you maybe take me all the way back to your first real career or job because you use the word earlier, unemployable? And I would say that you probably highly employable, but you’ve just never tried. Yeah, it just never tried. Exactly. You haven’t really had to do the whole interview thing since back in early 90s. Maybe? Yeah. So talk to me about that. What was your first job where you got a taste of sort of this entrepreneurial world?
The first job with a taste of the entrepreneurial word was probably my first job. After I’ve done some work for IBM. I went into what was the emerging world of software? Yeah. So for anyone that’s kind of my age, the world of system 36 And system 38 In the IBM world,
and was that something that piqued your interest? Or was you when I first got I first really got involved with technology when the PC was launched? Okay. My first claim only when the PC was launched, in the days where it had a green screen on top and one floppy disk drive. Wow, my and I did technical stuff when I started and my first claim to fame was I was one of the UK experts on building batch files to boot PCs up where you had 64k of memory and you had to load everything in the right order in order that you could get a network I didn’t a word processor and stuff like that. And it was at trained to you by IBM had that. Okay. Yeah.
Yeah. Well, it’s partly trained, partly learned, because we were, we were right on the cutting edge. There were manuals for how, you know, how you piece this stuff together, but the word manuals for how you went to a customer, and took what they wanted to do, and then made it work in this whole world where people were going from a green screen to their first device that had processing on the desktop. Right? Yeah. And I got hooked on technology at that point. Okay. You know, what you could see was that technology was going to go through a massive shift, you know, at that time? Yeah, I couldn’t predict how much of a massive shift it would be. But I knew that I was looking at something that was going to be part of the future. And I was what I was doing that was actually a colleague said to me, before you tie yourself into into a career in the big companies, why don’t you take a look at what people are doing in this new world of software? Yeah. For software, you know, I’m only ever done hardware. So it was intriguing to you? Or was it almost a turn off? Like, why would I? Why would I touch software, when I’m what it was intriguing, intriguing, because you could see that hardware had been all important. You know, you know, when I grew up, we had, you know, Commodore 64, or, you know, we could play Pong on a, you could see the hardware started it out. But then what were people going to do with hardware? You know, where was it going to go? And then you can see what people need applications, you know, applications are going to be the future, you can just see because as as processing power was being passed out, from the mainframe to the mini computers, and the PCs, software was just becoming more important. Yeah. So I taught my first job in in software, and I went into marketing and sales. Oh, no kidding. Yeah. So because I can’t program? Well, you know, I’ve had a go. But I’m not a good programmer.
Fair enough? Well, I mean, getting that early, sort of exposure to technology probably gave you a huge leg up, when it came to marketing and selling technology. Did you take to it naturally?
Yeah, I think well, I was, because I was genuinely excited about it. You can build that enthusiasm around what you’re creating, and what people around you are creating, and how you then take that and explain it. Because software at that time was, you know, just the, you know, the app world was just starting to emerge. So there was a whole new community, new market, and you could see that this was going to be the, you know, the start of the future,
where people are really excited about it. Yeah, some people are scared, because you
know, you’re going, you know, and those way back, then you’re talking about the world is driven on mainframes, and now people are talking about distributed processing. And people are used to data centers with water cooled kit in them. And, you know, people are talking about sticking it on the desktop. Yeah, yeah, for some that was a massive change. But what you could see in that it was the start of the change, that leads all the way through to today. It’s that start of the movement of, you know, applications being something that run the world. Yeah. And I think that’s what really made it exciting to me.
Well, you know, it’s, it’s clear, you mentioned the excitement and the enthusiasm, and that being an important part of being a leader, it’s clear that you still have that enthusiasm today, you know, these decades later. It talked to me a little bit about the, the negative side of enthusiasm. You know, sometimes you see leaders who are enthusiastic, almost beyond beyond being to the point where they’re measured and still making decisions based on data. And based on you know, consumer feedback. Yeah. Can you talk to me a little bit about that, and how you manage that yourself?
Yeah. So So I think there’s, there’s, there’s different levels of managing that. The first thing is, you know, when we were chatting before I said to you, you know, business is all about people. Yeah. Okay. So one of the great measures for me, is customers. So, I’ve spent most of my day to day sitting down with customers and prospects and listening to their stories. We, we ran on Monday, we run what we call our community day, which is like our customer group, okay, but we do it as community so our customers lead it, we listen, we help we talk, and they give you great measure, you know, are you delivering for us? You know, have you delivered what you promised, you deliver? And you do that all qualitatively? We do it qualitatively and quantitatively, okay? Because I think both are important, right? Because you want to take measurements, so every time we answer a helpdesk call, we’ll fire out and say, give us a mark on how we did it. Yeah. Every time we win or lose a deal, we analyze it, but you can’t Don’t just have quantitative data, you need the narrative as well. So I’m a big believer in reading narrative and listening to narrative. Because if you listen, that’s what allows a customer or an employee or a partner to, to interact with you. Yeah. Then the other part of enthusiasm, I think, you know, I think Sandy will attest, I like to set lofty goals for everyone. And I think you need to set lofty goals, because otherwise, you’re not going to reach them. Yeah.
Give me an example of a lofty goal. What’s a recent goal that you’ve had and accomplish that financial? Well, when we we set the target to last year, we set ourselves a mission of doubling our headcount. And that was investment across the whole business? And how many were you when you set that goal, we set the goal that we would 202 120 230 People at the start of 2014? Yeah. And we went out of the year with nearly just under 500.
And my guess is that wasn’t just an arbitrary. No, it wasn’t. We know, we built I needed the people.
Correct. So what we had was a plan, right? Because plans are predicated on people. So in financial force, we do this thing called the people cast. Okay, so you have the forecast, and the people cast, okay, like that. So, in order to set numbers for the business, you set your goals, and then there are two things that allow you to achieve it. There’s mathematical probability and physical probability. Okay. So the physical probability are things like, you know, can I win enough deals? Can I look after my customers? can I implement enough? How do I actually make sure that happens? And you can’t win every deal? Right? So you can’t, you can’t control all of those factors. But you can control your mathematical problem, your probability, yeah. So if I’m going to achieve this number, there’s only so many leads, we can generate so many opportunities, we need so many people to close those deals, so many customers will come in then. So you need partners and financial force people to implement, okay, and then when you’re managing those many customers, you need Customer Success and Support, and everything else that goes beyond that. And to the side, you have to invest to build the product to allow you to achieve that stack. And that’s the mathematical probability. That’s the bit you can control. And then you can take that, and you can go and try and achieve your corporate goals out of that.
Well, that makes a lot of sense. And it might be, you know, a little dense for people who are just starting their first company. But I think it’s important. Yeah, for entrepreneurs to understand that this is how you should be thinking whether you’re at a 600 person company, or you’re at a six person company. Yeah, we
were thinking like, we were thinking like that when we were 20. People. Yeah. Because if you think about 20 people, I’m going into 2010, what are we going to try and achieve this year. So if we’re going to achieve it, you can’t say I’m gonna go on, you know, sell X million dollars of new subscriptions, and then employ to salespeople because physically, the mathematical probability of doing it is zero, because those people can only work so many deals at once. You know, a consultant can only handle so many projects. So even when you’re starting out, the key is setting the goal but being realistic about it. So you set a big goal, but be prepared to turn the knobs underneath to allow for the fact that if you set a big goal, you might not always make it all the way.
Sure. Sure. But if you’re if you’re planning along the way and hiring the people,
hiring the people that people cast through the Bf, take the people cast, match it to the forecast. Yeah. And that was like, that’s what allows you to do it. I think you mentioned also people getting sort of lofty goals that might not be realistic, right. I, I had a moment relatively early in my career, which taught me a really valuable lesson. And I was I was running at that time I was running products and services for for one of my businesses. And I went to a review meeting to look at some new product we were building. And I said, guys, I didn’t really I couldn’t conceptualize how we got to the solution, we’d got to so so I said to the team, guys, let’s take a step back here. Just walk me back through the discussion process we went through to get to this solution, because I’m figuring we’ve missed something out WHY DID YOU KNOW how do we come up with it? And everyone was really quiet. And so well, come on. There’s no blame here. What’s going on? They said, well, it was your idea. I said, Okay, great was my idea. So when I came up with that idea, did anyone think that it was maybe a bit of a strange idea? And somebody said, Yes, but you’re in charge. So we figured we better go do what you told us, taught me a very, very valuable lesson at that point, which is always making sure that everybody knows that, you know, I am not always right.
How do you do that? How do you empower people to
we have we have we have company rules. Okay. Okay.
Company sounds very big and corporate and scary.
No, it’s not big, corporate and scary at all. Okay, so So the first one is that no one should ever suffer in silence. Okay. In any business I run, it’s never going to be a sign of weakness to ask for help. Right? In my world, that’s a sign of strength. Yeah. So if you’re going to build a team, you need a strong team that’s all supporting each other. Okay, absolutely. We have departments in our business, because we’ve got to that size. Now. However, in financial force, the worst thing anyone can do is say it’s another departments problem. Okay. Our goal, and one of our corporate mantras is we will do great things as one team. So politics and department arguing is the stuff that old fashioned businesses do not not connected.
Businesses. Yeah. Okay. No one wants to work in or lead one of those companies.
Absolutely. But too many companies are like that. Yeah. And if you don’t always focus on making sure it’s not happening, sometimes people naturally fall back into old ways. And you and you don’t want that to happen. Because otherwise it creates negative energy. People are wasting their time arguing with each other instead of going and doing things for a customer.
Have you experienced a corporate culture like that? Personally?
I’ve seen it, but not in any business that I’ve run. That’s good. Because I just believe it’s, it’s just not the right way to run a business. Yeah. Okay. Politics kill businesses. Yes. Absolutely. And arguing kills businesses, people working together, is what makes a great business. So I’d say those are those are simple rules. And the other rules are management will make mistakes. Yeah. Okay. The trick is, when you make a mistake to recognize you’ve made it and fix it, not to try and brush it under the carpet, you can always learn something from from making a mistake. And the other rule is Jeremy’s not always right. So, I believe that anyone should be able to, to ask me, why are we doing this? And I should be able to explain it and discuss it with them. Yeah. Because if I can’t, they might have spotted something where we might be a little bit, you know, off the beaten track.
Can you talk to me about an example of maybe when a decision that you thought was the right decision was checked by someone on your team?
you, but I can give you plenty of examples. Yes, I can. I can tell you that. I thought we I got it into my head that we should go international earlier than we probably should have done. And my management team said, Hey, Jeremy, didn’t we all agree that we were going to stay focused? And it was the right thing to do to stay focused? Otherwise, I would have diverted people’s energies. Yeah. I saw an opportunity that maybe we I thought we should take but the idea of having strong people around you is you know, they remind you to stay true to your goals. Yes. You know, because having goals and sticking to them is really important.
Do you have personal goals that you set within your own role as the CEO of financial force?
So so my goals are really about making everyone that works for financial force successful? Yep. So that’s what I that’s what I see as my job. Yeah. Okay. Making sure customers are successful. And employees are successful. Okay. In my world, if if I build a successful team, of really strong people, that’s what lifts financial force up. Yeah. Okay. And it’s what allows it to succeed. So my goal permanently is to make sure that I’m supporting people is, you know, leading is sometimes an often about supporting the people around you. If you can make everyone on the team successful, that makes me successful. Sure. But it also means that people are bought into the tape. You know, if you’ve, if you probably see this in a lot of businesses, people move every two years, move jobs every two years. And if you’re if, you know, I remember when we were small, can’t afford to have people move every two years because you take a new employee on it’s going to take you what six months to get them fully productive. And then another six months to make up for that for six months, and then they might stay for another six months or 12 months, and then they move on to somewhere new. Yeah. So that’s not great investment for us as a business. It’s also not great investment for the employee, because every time they’re going back to to being on a on a ramp again. Yeah. Whereas if you can build careers with people and make them successful, that’s that’s what keeps people with a business.
Other things that you do with, with your own team in a regimented way, that has kind of continued to drive that growth of your team.
So so so if you look at my management team, we all have different views. And we all have different opinions. And that’s, that makes it healthy. That’s good. But we are all we all believe the same fundamental thing. We all have that belief in people, and in the success of the customers. So whatever opinions we have that are different, that we can debate around the way to achieve it. We’re all very firmly on the same road together on the same journey and some of the people that work with us today in financial force I’ve worked with for 1516 more years. So that so they’ve come with us on that journey, not just through the financial force journey, which was back end of 2009. But even before that,
okay, so people are following you along in their careers. Yeah.
And I’m following them, too. It’s not it’s kind of it’s a two way thing. Absolutely. No,
if I love that, you’re you’re framed it that way. Well, yeah,
if I believe people follow me, then it you know, there’s there’s if you become the kind of arrogant leader that just assumes everyone will follow you, then actually they don’t. Yeah. You know, what builds great teams is people working together. Yeah, people supporting each other. I said before, you know, we all go through times where we’ve got too much work, if we’re, you know, we’re overloaded. You want to be able to turn to the people say, hey, I need some help. And you need to help each other to get through that.
Yeah, that’s great. I think that’s so important for first time entrepreneurs and leaders to hear,
because especially if you’ve not got if you if it’s your first management gig as well, and you’re not, not sure where to be, I think, I think the other thing is people are being true to themselves. Yeah, you know, it’s, you know, you can’t come out of character, because people will spot you eventually.
Sure, yeah. How have you managed to stay true to yourself throughout everything? Because I, I imagine, you know, a two IPOs, you know, several acquisitions and sales of companies. And with the growth of financial force, there have been times when you could potentially be not true to yourself, because it looks like the right thing to do for the business or for financial gain. In the short term.
Yeah, I think. But if you do that, then what happens is people see right through it, and it undermines you. Yeah. Now, so you need to make the decisions that are both true to yourself and right to the business. And if you’re a leader, and you build a business, and you build a team in your style, making sure they don’t all think the same way as you otherwise you can kind of, you know, you don’t get the great challenges there. Yeah. But people that are working to the same belief, if everyone’s got a clear goal, everyone’s understanding where they’re going, then it does keep you on the straight and narrow.
Yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. You know, I, I love your approach to leadership, and the way that you’ve built financial force, and I want to make sure I want to want to be respectful of your time,
it’s fine. It’s good.
But but to I want to make sure we talk about financial Sure. How did you come up with that idea? What was it? And I know the answer to this already, what was it all you are like, how did you pull the?
No, it was also me. I’d love to cry claim all the credit. But no, sure. So you started the company in the UK, right?
So so so the history of the company, we actually it was my previous incarnation, but one was a company called coda. Okay. And so we were a public company in the UK, we focused on accounting and financial management systems. Now, with that business, we, because we’re focused on a very clear business area, we’d always tried to emerge the business each time with each refresh of technology. So you know, the worlds of green screen, went to client server, went to web, went to XML. And we started watching, in fact, what Salesforce we’re doing. Okay. Salesforce created originally, if you remember back, it was called on demand. So it was I don’t, right. So so so the So Cloud, if you roll cloud back was it was cloud previously, it was SAS. Yeah. And before that it was on demand. That’s right, right. And even before that, even before the world of Salesforce, then there was the ASP world, the application service providers. So we’d watched Salesforce, and we were a customer of Salesforce, we’d watched Salesforce creating this category called on demand. And we thought, you can see just like back in my system, 38 days, you could see that on demand was going to be the technology that businesses would use in the future. Yeah, okay. It was the next incarnation.
So We thought hey, would well, I couldn’t see. But you could see well, yeah, cuz he’s because I said, Yeah. Because that’s what I have to say. I mean, it’s like, you know, even even today, the next year with the Internet of Things is coming and the nature, technology’s always going to change. And that’s what, that’s what keeps me energized. Right? Yeah. So so we decided that the future was going to be on demand. And we were working, trying to work out how to get there. And as a small team of us working together on it, and goal was leaving it from the marketing. And Liz said, Look, I’m fed up of talking about this, I’m gonna go into Salesforce. What they think we should do so. Okay, so. So Liz went out the meeting picked up the phone rang Salesforce and said, Hey, any chance that you’ll you give us some pointers as to how to do this on demand stuff? Yeah. Because at that time, you couldn’t go out and buy those skills in the market? Sure. Yeah. We were trying to work out how we were going to build a multi tenant engine. And we’d never done it before. Yeah, there were no courses on no courses you couldn’t. So Salesforce, surprisingly said, Yeah, sure. You know, send a team to San Francisco, and we’ll give you what they called on demand. 101. Wow. Yeah, they were smaller in those days. What years? 2000? It was early 2007. Okay. Back in 2006, early 2007. Yeah. So we sent a team. And Salesforce, white boarded it all up for us. And after they done that, we’ve written it all down. After they’re done that they said, but do you really want to build this platform? And we said, Well, no, we don’t want to build a platform. But how are we going to build this product otherwise? And they showed us then what was to become the basis of the Salesforce platform? And said, Hey, could you build on this? And so we tried, we did a prototype, we tried to build what is at the heart of the financial force accounting system. So if you’re not an accountant, this isn’t going to mean much. But the heart of heart of it is a double entry bookkeeping system, okay, which is very transactional. So debits always equal credits. Yep. Salesforce, his platform was built for CRM, and it wouldn’t do it. So Salesforce said to us, hey, well, if you tell us what it’ll take, so you can build if we commit to do that, will you commit to build on the platform? And that’s how we started our relationship with Salesforce. Okay. Financial force came?
What? Sure, sure. Because I want to hear as a CEO at that, yeah, leading that company, you you had a decision to make? Do we want to, you know, basically build something for Salesforce?
Yep, we’ll do something else, which probably would have been easier, right? Because then you’re not relying on an entire other team. In some ways. It could have been easily Yeah. Talk to me how you like, thought through that decision. We looked Salesforce in the eye, and we looked at what they were doing, and we looked at the people who were doing it. So we talked to Parker Harris and Steve Fisher. And these people were clearly they understood exactly what they were doing. Now, they understood it from their world, which was about building customer facing apps. And traditionally, where we’d come from it was about building back office apps. Yeah. Okay. So they the difference there was what style of application you’re building. But they were prepared to listen to what we wanted, because they wanted to build a platform that would support any sort of applications. So they were prepared to listen to us. And we could see something in this platform. And there’s a couple of things we could say. The first was that it had the potential to be a world beating platform. Okay. Potential potential. Okay. And so what we were wrestling in our minds was, and me from, you know, leading the company at that point, yeah. Am I prepared to, you know, to take that risk. And we evaluated it as a team. And, you know, I looked at it very hard. And I actually worked out that, although it looked risky, we were actually minimizing our risk by going down this route, providing salesforce dot with its commitments. So we sat down with Salesforce and gotten them to commit hard that they will deliver for us. And what that did effect essentially is it allowed us to start building application a lot faster. We, you know, we look at what we use from Salesforce, we use Salesforce platform, database, the workflow engine chatter, you saw a bit of the keynote, you know, lightning wave, all those Salesforce technologies that they’re building We get to consume. Yeah. And we just saw that earlier, and then a lot of other companies. And we’re prepared to take a ride with Salesforce. And look at it now it’s gone pretty well. Yeah. Well,
I think you have to, you know, sometimes you need to, you need to actually judge something on its merits. There were people, and some of the industry analysts thought I’d gone Stark crazy. When we announced this thing early. Yeah. They said, you know, what you’re doing, you’re giving up control of your underlying platform? And did you secondly, is it well might might might, my view was always whatever technology you build, if you build if you’re a tech company, you are committing to a technology? Yeah. You can’t just pick up all your applications and put them somewhere else, right? Because you’ve committed in some way to using that technology. Sure. So in the case of Salesforce, we were committing to the the underlying technology, we just got a bit more we got a business logic layer. Yeah. So what’s the difference really. And it allowed us then the thing that’s made financial force, financial force and allowed us to really emerge with the applications we wanted to build, is we took our back office, and we built it on a front office. So if you think about Salesforce front office, our apps are embedded right in the middle of it, which means that we don’t have a back office anymore. It’s all front office. Everything we do can be focused around a customer. So you know, that true view of a customer right from, I’ve sold them something, I’ve delivered it, I’ve done a project, I’ve done an invoice. I’ve collected the cash, all of that revolves around the customer. And that makes the Salesforce platform even more unique than the technology that underpins it. In my mind.
Yeah, that’s I mean, that’s, that’s powerful. And I can see how that aligns with your belief that it’s, it’s about the people.
Yeah, yeah, you take all that, Peter, and you do that for customers, you basically unlock for them, their ability to have all of their employees focused on their customers. Yeah, you know, because you don’t have to email the accountant and say, Hey, is Fred paid his bill? You can see on the screen, whether Fred’s paid his bill or not. Yeah, yeah. So the person answering the support call can see what opportunities were selling and what invoices we’ve sent, and why not unlock that information to it to a business?
That’s a good question. It is a good question why?
Why would why wouldn’t you want to do it? Yeah. And what you see here, and you know, the growth around this community and look at the size of Dreamforce. Now, these are all businesses that have worked out that they want to unlock those things that have often been siloed in their companies, to empower their employees to make better decisions to better serve their customers, and better work with each other and collaborate. Yeah. And that’s what’s firing this growth.
It’s something to consider. We were talking about this before we hit record. It’s just amazing that Dreamforce has really started almost its own economy, where, you know, people who are playing in that economy are you know, currently it’s an up market. Yeah. In the in the Salesforce economy. And this annual conferences is an example for people to see, we will
remembering back to our first Dreamforce Oh, yeah. When we when we launched, and there were five of us on the stand. You know, doing the demonstrations annually, because that was that was we were a small business at the time. Yeah. Yeah. And now I think, just Manning stand manning the buildings that we’ve got here. So excluding all our sales team out here, we’ve got over 200 Financial force people actively working Dreamforce in one way or another. That’s great, you know, and then you look back at that and say, We were sharings. Those five people are all still here. We were sharing photos. Yeah, that’s great.
Yeah, that’s great. Well, if you still have photos, we still have them up or something in the show notes. Well, I could I could probably dive in for an hour or two just on how you guys do dream for us how you do conferences and, and make all of that work. But I also want to make sure that we save something for later. Okay, no problem at all. And I really appreciate your time. If people want to find out more about you about financial force, where should they go?
Alright, so well, they can financial force website financial force.com. Yeah. I’m at Jeremy underscore Roche on Twitter. I could do with some more followers.
Sure. Sure. Well, we will definitely be tweeting tweeting you out and I noticed that in your Twitter bio, he says you have a healthy taste for maybe a little too expensive British cars. Yeah, that’s my only weakness. What are you driving around these days? What’s your favorite?
So all my favorite I have a Landrover a defender. So the long wheelbase one, I don’t think they ever really I’ve never seen one in it. In North America, yeah. Oh, see the short wheelbase ones occasionally. Yep. Land Rover Defender. That’s my favorite. It’s certainly it’s like driving a truck. Okay. And I have an Aston Martin. Nice and James Bond you’ve got when you got a holster without British heritage somewhere close
Of course. Well, it’s great. I’m so glad that we were able to catch you while you were here. It was great to meet you. It’s great to talk. Yeah. Likewise, likewise. And I do hope we get a chance to talk again.
I hope so, too.
Thanks so much. All right.
So I loved talking to Jeremy Roche, what he’s doing with financial force is so inspiring. And to see the way he hitched his wagon, to a big enterprise software company, to help him grow his own big enterprise software company, is just so inspiring. And one of the things I love is just the way he’s built his culture. So Nick, what did you think of this interview with Jeremy,
I loved his focus on being transparent, and especially as a leader, just, you know, looking to the people around you to be transparent to be brutal at times like about, you know, being super honest about what’s going well, what’s not going well. And that, you know, that reminds me of when we’re talking with Scott, just the when we’ve worked with him, Scott Humphries, he’s a project lead at an internal startup inside of Johnson Controls. So really, really, really big company. And he’s he’s helping lead efforts for an internal startup. And we met him on the last episode. That’s right. Yeah. So Scott is just the same way. It’s, what am I doing? Well, what’s going poorly? How can we improve like, he’s, he’s great, which is what you really need when you’re trying to do something as ambitious as really run a startup inside of a large company.
And so continuing on his entrepreneurial story, this is him talking about how to remain entrepreneurial, even when you’re in a big company, being in a larger company and being entrepreneurial. Sounds like it could be fun from the standpoint of you actually have resources, you don’t necessarily have investors that you’re beholden to, with metrics, you have to hit there. But I imagine it also comes with a lot of baggage and challenges of being entrepreneurial within a larger organization. What are some of the bigger hurdles that you’ve run into, as you’ve been growing your intrapreneurial projects?
So I would say one of the biggest hurdles that we’ve run into is how does a company align around innovation?
How does developer town come up alongside these large organizations to help them innovate and generate new revenue streams?
So we we’ve been fortunate to work with a ton of startups over the years, we’ve worked with over 200 leaders on on a start project of some sort. And so we apply a very similar process called Sprint to market that we work with our startups on to the larger the larger companies. And so we come alongside and really look for how can we help them move like a startup? And so that often means early on identifying what is the actual opportunity here, testing that opportunity, with different validation techniques? And really understanding what is the first few steps that we need to take in order to get internal buy in, in the organization? And as well, that process is really focused on what are the assumptions that are exposing this opportunity to the most risk? And how can we address them. And so we start there, and then evolve into a more and more creative, innovative approach as we are actually developing the product.
It was great hearing from Scott Humphries at Johnson Controls a client of developer town, it’s really cool to hear how developer town is working with big companies like Johnson control to help them move, like a startup, it relates perfectly to this conversation we had with Jeremy Roche. So if you’re an entrepreneur inside a big company, or at a startup and have an idea for a web or a mobile app, go to developer town.com/powderkeg. Check it out, drop me a note on Twitter, Instagram, let me know that you checked out the link there developer town. We love those guys there, of course, at developer town on all the social channels, I am at Hunckler at on all of the social channels. So you can find me there. That’s Hu NCKLE R. And of course you can find us at verge HQ. So verge, the company that produces Powder Keg is what I spend 24/7 365 working on building this movement, with all of you amazing listeners out there, the people that are coming to our events that are getting exposure through all of our different channels, and that are learning together with us as we build tech companies outside of Silicon Valley. It’s really exciting what we’re building here and I love that you were able to spend some time with us today to learn a little bit more about Jeremy Roche and the way he’s leading his company. You of course can find him on social media at Jeremy underscore Roche on Twitter seems to be pretty active there. So make sure you drop them a note. Let them know that you listen to the podcast. And then please drop us a review or drop us a note. Let us know what interviews you want to hear more of What you’d like to explore in the next episodes or the next wave of episodes, and of course, go check out the verge VIP newsletter, you’ll get exclusive event invites global exposure opportunities and curated education. So sign up for free at verge hq.com/powderkeg and join the movement. I’ll see you in the next episode.