The SaaS Podcast

Flow – How to Turnaround a Struggling SaaS Company – with Daniel Scrivner [275]

Flow – How to Turnaround a Struggling SaaS Company

Daniel Scrivner is the CEO of Flow, a task and project management product that's used by over 300,000 teams.

In early 2019, Daniel was hired to help lead the turnaround at Flow. The company was about 10 years old and in trouble. It was losing customers and revenue at a worrying rate.

The team had been spending about $100,000 a month on paid acquisition advertising but it wasn't moving the needle. In fact, revenue was still declining by about 5% month over month.

When Daniel joined, continuing to spend any money on acquisition wasn't an option. So with a core team of 6 people, he had to figure out how to lead a turnaround – and do it fast.

It was a huge challenge. But Daniel had to deal with one more – this was his first job as a CEO.

In this interview, we talk about why an unlikely candidate like Daniel was hired as CEO and how he and his team went about diagnosing and fixing some major problems.

We dig into why and how he rehauled the Flow product by improving the design, making it more modern and lightweight, and reducing friction for end-users.

And we explore how the team went about fixing their marketing and sales funnel so they were able to improve how they acquired, activated, and retained customers.

Today, Flow is growing again. And Daniel's role has evolved from a turnaround to growth CEO.

Whether you're working on a SaaS business that's not growing fast enough or one where revenue is in decline, there are a lot of great lessons in this interview.

We often look for silver bullets to solve seemingly insurmountable problems. But this story is a reminder about the importance of nailing the fundamentals, constantly improving small things, and eventually seeing them compound into meaningful results for your business.

I hope you enjoy it.

Transcript

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Omer Khan: [00:00:00] Welcome to another episode of the SaaS podcast. I'm your host Omer Khan. And this is the show where I interview proven founders and industry experts who share their stories, strategies, and insights to help you build, launch and grow your SaaS business. In this episode, I talk to Daniel Scrivner, the CEO of Flow, a task and project management product that's used by over 300,000 teams.

[00:00:35] In early 2019, Daniel was hired to help lead the turnaround at Flow. The company was about 10 years old at the time and in trouble, it was losing customers and revenue at a worrying rate. The team had been spending about a hundred thousand dollars a month on paid acquisition advertising.

[00:00:53] But it wasn't moving the needle. In fact, revenue was still declining by about 5% month over month when Daniel joined, continuing to spend any money on acquisition was no longer an option. So with a core team of six people, he had to figure out how to lead a turnaround and do it fast. It was a huge challenge, but Daniel had to deal with one more.

[00:01:17] This was his first job as a CEO in this interview, we talk about why an unlikely candidate like Daniel was hired a CEO and how he and his team went about diagnosing and fixing some major problems. We dig into why and how he rehauled the Flow product by improving the design, making it more modern and lightweight and reducing friction for end users.

[00:01:42] And we explore how the team went about fixing their marketing and sales funnel so they were able to improve how they acquired activated and retained customers. Today, Flow is growing again and Daniel's role has evolved from a turnaround to a growth CEO, whether you were working on a SaaS business, that's not growing fast enough or one where revenue is in decline. There are a lot of great lessons in this interview.

[00:02:12] We often look for silver bullets to solve seemingly insurmountable problems. But this story is a reminder about the importance of nailing the fundamentals, constantly improving small things, and eventually seeing them compound into meaningful results for your business. So I hope you enjoy it. Daniel, welcome to the show.

David Scrivner: [00:02:33] Thank you so much for having me on. I'm excited to be here.

Omer Khan: [00:02:35] So for people who aren't familiar, can you tell us a little bit about Flow? What does the product do? Who's it for? What's the main problem you're helping to solve?

David Scrivner: [00:02:44] Yeah, so Flow's been around, we're actually just celebrating our 10th anniversary this year. So we're turning 10 years old. We have historically focused on building what I call a productivity platform for teams. So our kind of sweet spot is teams between, I would say probably 25 and 150 people in size and on our product, you're able to handle everything from kind of goal-setting and project planning all the way down to super granular tasks and sub tasks.

[00:03:12] So it's pretty standard productivity app in terms of just kind of the general picture, but what we've been working on recently is turning that into more of a, what I call a full spectrum productivity company, where we service, not just teams and kind of small to medium-sized businesses, but also individuals.

[00:03:29] And so part of what we've been focusing on there, and one trend that we hope to see kind of change in the near future. As you know, there's been a massive proliferation of apps. And I think as you know, both myself and most people, I know that work for a company largely feels like spend their day bouncing between five to 10 different tools, kind of never knowing where to quite look for something, never knowing where quite to, to find it.

[00:03:52] And so what we're working on doing is kind of folding in as much kind of technology and other peripheral features that we think are really helpful. So one thing that we recently added to Flow is kind of channels and team messaging and direct messaging. And so the goal there is, you know, to try to have, especially for small to medium businesses, a single app that they can use to run their business and help drive the kind of team and company forward.

Omer Khan: [00:04:15] Now you joined Flow at the start of 2019. So you've been there for almost two years and you were basically hired as like the turnaround CEO and the company was struggling in, in many ways. And that's what we're going to talk about today. What was going on and, and what's happened over the last couple of years with the business.

[00:04:39] Before we do that, you have a really interesting background, you've done a bunch of different things. I don't think we can cover all of them here. That would be the interview. I think we just did that, but you just, you started as a, as a designer and you worked at a number of different companies, including Apple and Square, and you eventually became head of design at Square. Can you just give us a little overview of that background and, and how you arrived at Flow?

David Scrivner: [00:05:09] Yeah, absolutely. I will. I'll try to do my best. So, yeah, as you alluded to, you know, my background previously was really weighted on you know, a heavy focus on design and I fell in love with design. When I was really young, I actually ended up dropping out of college in order to pursue design full time. I actually, at the time didn't know that you could get a design degree and I still don't think that's actually particularly beneficial if you're someone that wants to be successful as a designer and not just have some sort of a technical, you know, kind of a degree or check mark next to your name and credentials.

[00:05:41] And for me, really what design is. And I think this is helpful because. We hear that word so often. And you know, I often get asked, well, what does that actually mean? And I think design is a blanket term. That's lost a lot of that meaning, but for me, what I love about design, what drew me to it what's kept me fascinated in it is this intersection between solving really hard technical problems. You know, sometimes those are business problems. Sometimes those are product experience problems, but you're at the end of the day, if you're doing your job well. And if you're working somewhere interesting and challenging, I think you're given really difficult kind of somewhat intractable problems to solve.

[00:06:16] And you have to try to solve those. And at the same time, you have to try to do that in a way that, you know, you're kind of pulling off a magic trick and you're making something that's powerful. So making something as complex making something that has a lot of underlying technical complexity and trying to create an interface for it that makes it very simple to understand, you know, you can look at it, you understand what it is, you understand how to manipulate it in order to have it, do what you'd like.

[00:06:39] And you know, I think in a broader sense how to think about design is, you know, we live in an age where we're in a, we're seeing a massive explosion in complexity of the number of tools, if the amount of information that we're processing and seeing each day. And I think what design really the purpose it serves today, and the purpose it's gonna serve in the future is being an interface layer between us as kind of simplistic humans and all this crazy complex technology that's living under the surface.

[00:07:07] And so, yeah, I've done product design work. I've done branding and marketing work and what, you know, and over the course of my career, I've you know, progressively tried to take on bigger and bigger challenges. And the reason, one of the, one of the things that was that really made me interested in the opportunity at Flow and made Andrew and Chris.

[00:07:25] At Tiny who is our parent company, like, feel like it was a fit was I had, I've always been fascinated by investing up and fascinated by business. You know, I have a portfolio of a hundred plus early stage startup companies that I've invested in. And so I've really tried to use that as an opportunity to learn as much about businesses I can.

[00:07:43] But I also have this background in design and what the challenge was at Flow was we had a product that I think frankly had lost a lot of its relevancy. And we needed to figure out we needed to get back to a place where we had a modern, competitive, you know, very high quality product. And so I could bring that design background and I could bring some of those, you know, just my interest in fascination, in business and investing and try to solve this very difficult problem at Square sorry Flow.

Omer Khan: [00:08:10] So, you're not the typical CEO. We yight see four for this type of company. How'd you. You know, you've been involved in a lot of different companies, both in terms of design and as an advisor and investor, but had you taken on a CEO role before this?

David Scrivner: [00:08:33] Now, so this was a, you know, a mass and that was also what interested me in it is I knew directionally that that was what I wanted to do. I knew that you know, longer term I wanted to be kind of leading and, and you know, building ideally multiple companies. And so this was a chance to get to, you know, see what that was like. And learn firsthand and for context too, I mean, I do think, you know, obviously conventional wisdom would suggest that anyone that wants to take on a challenge should probably have experience with that challenge before, but I've always done the opposite.

[00:09:03] You know, when I started doing Venture Capital investing, I had no experience. And for me, the kind of parallel that I tried to draw there is, you know, I think. Whether we all like to admit it or not, it's actually very difficult for us to learn without having this kind of trial by fire firsthand experience.

[00:09:20] And so for me, I always that's the best way that I learn. I learned by doing, I learned by putting skin in the game I learned by, you know, kind of diving into the deep end and, and figuring out how to swim, you know, as quickly as I can. And so that was exactly the way that I looked at this opportunity.

Omer Khan: [00:09:35] Yeah, I had Andrew Wilkinson on the show. I was just sort of thinking back, oh my, God I think it was like 2015 and we talked about a bunch of stuff, but we also talked about Flow and that kind of shows you how old the company is because it was about five years old back then. Yes. What do you think Andrew and Chris saw in you that, that made them feel that you were the right guy for this role?

David Scrivner: [00:10:02] So I think, I mean to try to rewind the clock a little bit, you know, so when Flow initially came out well, one, I mean, I still remember when the initial version of Flow was released. And actually when I joined the company, you know, the team went back and looked at my email address and I think I was like user 300 or something like that. That's signed up for Flow. So it had a special place in my heart. I remember it at the time. And I remember it being this beautifully designed, you know, task management app. When It started out you know, being more for individuals to be able to share tasks with friends. So it didn't have the focus on kind of teams and businesses that, you know, we primarily have today.

[00:10:37] So it started out with this incredible product. And obviously, you know, if we kind of think back at those last 10 years, little, a lot has changed. You know, one of the biggest things I was, I was just talking about this with Andrew last week. One of the, one of his regrets was not leaning really heavily into advertising and marketing as he should have before Asana entered the marketplace. And you know, when you, I think what's really changed for Flow and for the industry that we're in over the last five years is, you know, at the end of the day, it's a SaaS business. SaaS businesses are super lucrative. This is a core tool that a lot of businesses will use.

[00:11:11] So it's very sticky. It's very sticky revenue and it's very appealing. And so there is a massive amount of interest in the space from venture capitalists, from private equity groups, from growth investors, from people that want to acquire companies just to have for themselves. And and so we've seen hundreds of millions dollars pour into companies like Asana, which is now a public company, as well as monday.com.

[00:11:34] A lot of capitals entered the space. I still think that this is a space. Number one, we're working on a problem. That's never going to go away, which is you have a group of amazing people that you've brought together. You have a clear goal that you're going after now actually starts the hard work of breaking down this task into something that's manageable.

[00:11:52] And then, you know, so you have a super old problem. I think it's a space that you will always have a very long tail of competitors and you can still have these interesting big businesses, but that is what changed. So a massive amount of changed. And then just previously, before I came on, you know, we had a product. That by my assessment just was no longer competitive. So if you think back to square 10 years ago, it was this beautiful product that offered a lot of value to customers, and we had lost that. And so I think what I brought to the business, what I brought to the opportunity was a really deep background in design and product design in particular, in the ability to hopefully come in.

[00:12:27] And in my mind, invert the previous model and know that what we needed to do was stop focusing on all these levers to potentially grow the business and zoom in to what at the end of the day was actually going to help us attract customers and keep customers, which is by focusing on the product.

Omer Khan: [00:12:42] Build a great product.

David Scrivner: [00:12:44] Yes.

Omer Khan: [00:12:45] So let's, let's set the scene here. You've joined Flow. It's it's the start of 2019. What was the state of the business at that point?

David Scrivner: [00:13:00] Yeah, it was, it was rough. It was very rough. I mean, so when I came in for a little bit of context, so I don't, you know, and I don't, I, as I said, kind of before we started recording, I want to be as generous as possible cause I wasn't there, you know, kind of the previous management team. So I have some sense for what they were grappling with and what they were, you know, kind of focused on and struggling with. Yeah. But I don't have as much depth as I probably should have to speak to it super intelligently, but my assessment was that for the last kind of year so this would have been most of 2018.

[00:13:32] They were really focused on growing via paid acquisition. So we're spending large, very large amounts of money and advertising every single month. That was obviously underwritten as it always is in SaaS businesses by kind of a cost of acquisition, lifetime value, all these metrics that help give you confidence that you're acquiring customers that will stay with the business and will ultimately pay off.

[00:13:52] And what ended up happening is kind of month after month, they kept thinking that that was going to move the needle. And it didn't end up happening. And so they finally just got to a point where they said, okay, this curly is not working. We don't know. We don't quite know. We an't say with a hundred percent confidence what's going on here, but this model, this approach is not working at all.

[00:14:09] And so the really tough decision that Andrew and Chris made at a Tiny was to recognize at, which is really difficult for everybody involved you know, kind of communicate that some change was needed. And so at the ended up doing was taking the team, which at that point was some was, I don't know, maybe 35, 40 people cutting it down to, I think I joined and took over a team of maybe 10.

[00:14:30] Something like that. So I inherited, you know, an incredible team of people, but clearly I did not have everybody on that team that I needed. You know, I didn't have an iOS engineer. I didn't have any design team. I didn't have a marketing team or an advertising team. And when they shut off advertising, the other thing, you know, in my mind, the kind of way that I refer to it is when you think about a business and you think about kind of the metrics and a business.

[00:14:52] Without any advertising, you know, it's almost like you're on a planet that has gravity and you're able to see the steady state of the business. But as soon as you turn on advertising, it kind of creates this anti gravity machine and all the metrics can levitate up and kind of move around and they disguise.

[00:15:07] Maybe what's actually happening at the lower levels of the business. If you know, you didn't have that kind of advertising playing out. And so when they shut off advertising, we got to see what that steady state was and it was not pretty. And when I took over the business, we saw a lot of bad changes. We saw we were contracting 5% month over month in terms of kind of revenue growth or revenue churn.

[00:15:28] We saw declining traffic to our website. We just saw all, there was very few positive metrics to look at. And so the approach that I took, there was, one you know, and it's a really difficult position to be in because you kind of see that stuff playing out. You can feel the pressure of this kind of, you know, all these metrics moving in the wrong direction. And you have to figure out where to, where to go from there.

Omer Khan: [00:15:50] So, what was your assessment of that? So we we've sort of painted the scene in terms of where the business was. The, the previous team had, had tried spending quite a fair amount of money on paid advertising to try and move the needle in terms of growth. And it wasn't working. The team got reduced by down to probably a third.

David Scrivner: [00:16:13] Yes.

Omer Khan: [00:16:13] And revenue was declining 5% month over month. When you came in, what was your assessment? Where, where. The problems. Was this an acquisition problem? Was it a retention problem? What were the issues or at least your hypothesis at that point?

David Scrivner: [00:16:35] Yeah, it's interesting thinking back to it. So, I mean the, the couple of vivid thoughts I can remember is when I was talking with Andrew and Chris about coming on and, you know, for context, that was a six month process where we met initially, we continued to talk and kind of feel it out. I actually flew to Canada where most of our team is located in Victoria, British Columbia, met with the team that we had there, you know, to kind of get their you know, approval and kind of buy in on becoming over.

[00:17:01] So it was a very lengthy process. It wasn't something that happened very quickly. And for context too, you know, I had a previous relationship with Andrew, where we had just kind of known each other for the previous 10 years. So we've been able to build up a little bit of trust, but obviously it's a little different if you're going to come in and take over as a CEO of a, of a company that they've invested $10 million and cumulatively.

[00:17:20] So my assessment at the time was that there was very little, that was optimized. You know, I felt like going to the marketing site, I couldn't tell why I should sign up for Flow and how it was different using the product. I found it confusing. I found a lot of how it worked very old as a very specific example of that to give people a sense.

[00:17:40] And this goes back to, I think one overarching thing that I kind of identified is that the product was just no longer felt modern and felt those best in class. And you know, one thing that I saw immediately was, you know, when you go, so there's a product like Flow is inherently very complicated, but something like, for instance posting a comment, you know, there's this kind of tight on texts you hit send.

[00:18:00] There's a lot of stuff that has to happen behind the scenes. You have to send that to a server. We have to do all these checks and you know, 99.9% of the time that all ends up being really successful. But what we were doing is, you know, when you would go to post a comment, we were making you wait to go and do all these background checks and let you know that it was posted.

[00:18:18] And that that same approach was taken everywhere in the product. And so what that meant is, whereas most applications you you'll hit, you know, you'll hit you send or post to post a comment. You'll see it display immediately. Even though it's not all worked out on the backend, there's all this kind of backend work that still needs to happen, but you see this optimistic rendering.

[00:18:36] And so what that allows you to do is you feel like you're in a blazing, fast product, even though things are kind of moving a little bit more slowly behind the scenes. So that was not happening at Flow. So you just using the product, everything felt slow. We were making you wait every single time you took an action in order to know that it happened for sure.

[00:18:52] So I knew that there was a product problem. I knew that there was some sort of a marketing funnel, just kind of general positioning problem. And then I also felt like there were things that pricing that of spelt, like, it felt to me very clearly that we were competing on price. And I think as a small business, you know, we're, we're inherently going to have a smaller customer base over time.

[00:19:11] That's probably not the right approach to take. And so that was some of the stuff I identified, but I also, you know, and so I think coming in, I thought that there was tons of low hanging fruit and easy wins and you know, it, it turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated.

Omer Khan: [00:19:28] Yeah, it surely does, you know, I'm by no means a designer, but I care a lot about design. And the way that often translates in my day-to-day life is I can come across products that when I might do a feature comparison, I might say, this is the perfect product. And yet when I go through the process of signing up and actually start using it. I've literally had the sensation of the energy just sucked out of me because it's like this product, this interface. I just can't use it, you know? And it's, and I've always wondered, is it just me just being completely irrational because it's like, I care so much about the aesthetics and it's like, I got to feel good about this thing, even though rationally, the features are there. It'll do the job. I just don't want to spend my time in that product every day.

David Scrivner: [00:20:37] Yeah. And the way that I just, maybe if I could build on that for a second, the way that I kind of think about that in my mind is, you know, and this goes back to, and I don't even, it wouldn't say that. So that feeling is definitely a symptom of something that's poorly designed and likely poorly built, but it's not that design necessarily solves that problem.

[00:20:57] But I think in my mind, you know, there's, if you can approach what you're building really rigorously, if you can design it so that you are making you're kind of doing as much of the heavy lifting for the user as possible. So that, that have to, you know, kind of give very little energy to be able to accomplish something in the, in the app.

[00:21:14] And a lot of that to be honest is also is heavily weighted towards kind of engineering solutions. But the way that I typically talk about that or think about that is what we're really trying to do is build an application that, that feels like an extension of someone's body and mind, and that makes them feel super here or at least they have to give very little energy to get a lot of output.

Omer Khan: [00:21:32] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that is just as important in terms of, it's not just about the aesthetics, but it's also about how frictionless is that experience. It's beautiful.

David Scrivner: [00:21:44] Wait, another way I think about it as this heaviness, you know, we'll hear that from users, I'll even communicate that to people is, you know, that this experience feels heavy. It's something that we're looking at. And I think what that really means is it's requiring a lot of energy from someone and we haven't really. You know, done as much work, as much rigorous thoughtful work on our end to try to figure out like, how do we make this as simple and fast and easy as possible.

Omer Khan: [00:22:06] The other disconnect I'll often also see is the person who designed the marketing site or the landing pages doesn't seem to be the same person who designed the app. And so

David Scrivner: [00:22:18] Almost never as well

Omer Khan: [00:22:20] Wait a minute, I had this whole thing in terms of the layout and the typography and all of this stuff. But when I get into the app, it's like what happened?

[00:22:30] Yes. So that was like one focus for you. So it was, it was about design, but it was also, it was more than that. It was about basically rehauling the product here. So can we sort of dig into that a little bit and just kind of walk us through what were some of the main things that you got this sort of new bare bones team that you've inherited working on because this is, this is not like, Hey, you know, we just built this product six months ago and you know, we can do whatever we like to it.

[00:23:04] The business was around for 10 years. It is declining in terms of growth, but there's still a lot of people using it. There's still a lot of customers, so it's not like you can just throw out everything. So, how did you approach that?

David Scrivner: [00:23:17] Yeah, just to just to give you some groups, some credit, you did a great job of kind of covering some of the big, the big challenging pieces there, but they, yeah, in my mind, you know, so just a couple of, of things like this has been by far. Like turning rebuilding Flow as a product and turning around the company has been by far the toughest thing that I've ever done. And even just the product problem of figuring out, you know, trying to understand, well, one, what is this? What are the pieces? What are the parts? What are the things that are really compelling?

[00:23:47] What are the things that people really value and love about Flow? And then how do we kind of amplify that or take that dial and crank it up and really double down on all of those things. It was very challenging and a big part of that was, yeah, we have. Customers that have used us extensively and built their whole company, their whole workflow around a version of Flow that it changed very little over a very long period of time.

[00:24:08] And here we were trying to reassess where we go from here, trying to understand what customers love, but, you know, to be super honest, what customers found frustrating, what customers found difficult, what customers found confusing either was much more of that than there was what customers love. But in my mind, I think what I was trying to find is you know, and Ray Dalio who I really like, he's got a great book. He's the founder of Bridgewater, which is the world's largest hedge fund. He's got a an excellent book that I constantly find myself rereading called Principles, but he has this idea called triangulation. And I feel like that's really what I was trying to do, where I was coming in.

[00:24:43] And I was trying to triangulate between, how I felt about the product, what, you know, my initial, like what made it so compelling the first time I used it 10 years ago, what customers liked about it? What customers didn't like about it. And I was trying to almost like peer through the surface of the product to see the underlying parts, because I think for someone that hasn't done.

[00:25:04] You know, product design work. It's very challenging to take an existing product and come up with a new vision for it, because what you really have to do is almost with x-ray vision. See-through the current implementation of how things are pieced together and how things work structurally and how you navigate from one thing to another and where this feature lives and where this other feature lives.

[00:25:24] And you have to figure out, okay, like break those pieces apart. And now how do we put it back together? So it was a very, and it's very difficult. To describe because it happened over 18 months, you know, it was an 18-month process of kind of oppressing in real time. My idea of, Oh, okay, now this should go here and this should go here.

[00:25:41] But the couple of things we did just to make it tangible was so I tried to structurally keep the app as similar as possible to what it was previously, but just make sure that things were kind of brought to the surface. So for instance, we have really great calendar functionality in our app. And when I talk with our customers, I found out that a lot, you know, we have some customers that literally exclusively use the calendar to kind of manage their tasks and manage their workFlow.

[00:26:04] And that was very difficult to find previously. And so part of what we did was structurally say, okay, here's the app. We have a home. Kind of view that for anybody on the team has where they can arrive, what they can see when they open up the app to know exactly what they should be working on every single day, we have this kind of newsfeed in the app where you can follow tasks, you know, So if you are on a team or if you see somebody else on your team kind of create a task for something, if you find something that's interesting, you can follow any task and Flow that your team has created.

[00:26:35] If you delegate a task to somebody, so you create a task and assign it to somebody, you automatically get these updates for that. So you have this newsfeed from everything that's that either you've assigned to others or that you're you're following throughout the app that gets updated in real time, then you have tasks and projects and calendars.

[00:26:50] And so a big piece of it was just structurally making that much clearer. And then another piece was in my mind just, and this is one other thing is, you know, when just to be very clear, I've learned again and again and again, over my career that there is no I'm done with this. You know, when I was at Apple, it was like every time we worked on a project, you knew that what you were really, you were almost the tip of the spear and you were going to have all these things that kind of had happened previously that were the lagging effect or the kind of the lagging versions of your best ideas and your best articulations of it.

[00:27:22] And you were to, you know, you were the tip of the spear and we were. Trying to do that in the product. So the product is by no means done, but I think what we were trying to do is make it clearer, structurally, make everything faster and make things that were hidden much more obvious. And we can talk a little bit about, you know, how that's changing now and kind of where we're heading there. But I think at a high level, that's what it is.

Omer Khan: [00:27:43] Okay, great. You know, when I think about this as there's kind of like three buckets solve. Customers or users, there's obviously the people who are already using Flow and they probably happy with it or they're, you know, maybe just neutral about it. Right. But that they're sticking around.

[00:28:07] And as you said, you know, there's many people who, who had sort of built a whole business around Flow and will continue to use it. Then you've got these other two buckets of people. There's the ones who actually come to check out the website. And for whatever reason don't even get as far as a trial. And that was maybe one group of people that you needed to do a better job at attracting and bringing in.

[00:28:34] And then the other group is obviously the people who come and try the product, but never actually convert to a paying customer. So for those two last groups, How did you go about trying to figure out what the problem was? Because that first group that I mentioned in terms of people not even signing up, that's, that's a pretty difficult problem to figure out.

[00:28:59] And you can kind of come in as, as you know, somebody with a lot of design experience and say, okay, here's what I think is going on here. But beyond that, were you able to have conversations or find people who or collect any data that helped validate your assumptions about what needed to change to get more people coming and trying the product.

David Scrivner: [00:29:25] Yeah. So I would say that we're still very much testing and iterating and trying to find that kind of perfect encapsulation of flow. And from my experience at previous companies, you know, that's, it's kind of like the. A term that's constantly tossed around of product market fit, where, you know, there's this idea that you just need to find it and it's a one-time thing.

[00:29:45] And once you find it, you've got to fit. That's not a, it's not a one-time thing. It's a living, breathing thing that you are always have to try to find. You know, it's constantly moving. It's constantly fluctuating and your job is to try to track that mark and get as close to it over time. And so that is very much how I think about how we position Flow.

[00:30:03] So w there's definitely things we've made much clear. I think the way that I tried to approach it is kind of let's first start with the no-brainers, let's start with the stuff that is clearly not helping us and let's address that. And then once we have that stuff addressed and a lot of it was structural and a lot of it was just, you know, having not implemented really basic, simple best practices, kind of across the board.

[00:30:25] Once you have that structural piece solved. I think on top of that, it's then really easy to move quickly to test different marketing messages and kind of test different things. And so structurally what I first tried to focus on was let's. You know, utilize the assets that we have. So we had really great product reviews on external third-party sites that we could link to that we could show people.

[00:30:45] None of that was on our marketing site. We were doing a really bad job of showing the breadth of customers that we service today. One thing that I found fascinating when I took over the business and you know, it was really just digging into well, who are our customers? Is. You know, if you were to go and ask that on the team, I think people would probably say like, Oh, these are, you know, maybe largely designed teams or product teams or people that clearly like the design, like really care about the design of the product.

[00:31:10] But then I go and I dig in and it is we have an incredibly diverse customer base. We have people in healthcare. We have people in conglomerates. We have people in construction and heavy mining. We have startup companies. And so you see that. You know, there's a huge breadth of customers that use Flow that could obviously, you know, if you are a large industrial company and you come to our website and all we have are tech logos of current customers, probably not super great.

[00:31:35] So we should probably do a better job of playing up the breadth of customers. And then the third piece was I don't think we're doing a very good job of making it clear why Flow was different in the analogy that I used with that with the team internally was, you know, I think in the productivity space, it might be a little bit of an unfair or a not nice comparison, but in my mind, what shopping for a productivity tool is it's like going to the grocery store and going to the catch-up aisle, the, the you, and you see a wall of it's all tomatoes. They all have largely the same ingredients, but they have to try to compete with each, with one another. And the only way to do that is not by saying, Hey, we're also catch-up. But by saying here's how we're different. We're the keto version of the ketchup or the paleo version of catch up for the vegan version of, you know, catch up or whatever it is.

[00:32:16] And we need to, to figure out what that was. And so, you know, it was kind of those pieces, but the biggest piece was simply in my mind, thinking about the flow. Of someone landing on our marketing site, signing up for a trial, going through the onboarding setup, getting our onboarding emails and just thinking about that structurally and making sure that we have the best practices in place there.

[00:32:37] And that's where we saw the largest, you know, kind of initial move of the dial. And I think from there it's just been kind of constant iteration and experimentation.

Omer Khan: [00:32:46] So I think that leads us in. So we've talked a little bit about the product and why you felt that that was an area to, to focus some energy on and just make it more modern, improved the look and feel take away the friction or make it more lightweight as, as you said, And that is like super important, right?

[00:33:11] I mean, you can do all the marketing in the world, but if your product sucks, it doesn't really help. And I'm not saying that specifically about Flow, but just generally, although there are some parallels because there was a lot of money being spent on marketing and paid acquisition and it, for whatever reason, it just wasn't you know, moving the needle as, as the team had hoped. The next thing that you spent a fair amount of energy on over the last couple of years was optimizing the funnel. And so I want to kind of just go through the different pieces of the funnel with you to just some ideas on what did you do differently?

[00:33:59] And you know, this is, this is kind of, let's sort of take it from the point where. People arrive at the homepage. The good old paid acquisition tap has been turned off. That's just not sending anything anywhere. Right. So one of the things that I noticed with your homepage now, and I don't know if it was something similar,

David Scrivner: [00:34:19] It looks very different than it did previously.

Omer Khan: [00:34:22] Yeah. When you go to a lot of products, websites, There's a lot of information about the product. This is what we do. This is the benefits of using our product. These are all the features that we have. The one thing that struck me about the Flow homepage is I look at it today. Is there isn't that much about the product on the page?

[00:34:49] It talks a little bit about what flow is. There's a screenshot of of a mobile and sort of a web version, but then the rest of the page is just about customers. It's about 300,000 teams in 140 countries. There's like rows and rows of logos and different brands and then links off to Capterra and G2 reviews.

[00:35:14] And then even when you sort of talk about life is better with flow and, and the benefits, it's all tied back to these different case studies of how companies like bench and dribble are using the product. So that for me, was like the one thing that I noticed right away was like, you're not talking about the product that much, you're talking about customers.

David Scrivner: [00:35:35] Yes. So that's informed by a couple kind of remarkable experiences that I had. And just to maybe try to share those stories really briefly. I remember when I was at Apple and this is going to be a little bit of a tangent, but one of the projects I worked on there that was super interesting. So this was right back right after the iPad was initially released.

[00:35:54] And one of the projects was to, you know, at that point in time, they did not have any Apple store that lived on any of their mobile devices. You'd have to go to the website to find that. And so we worked, we were challenged with, can we come up with a great mobile app version of, you know, the kind of Apple store and what we started with was the most challenging.

[00:36:14] And also the, you know, the cash cow of the app store, which is customizing a Mac and cause it's a very complex flow, you know, you're picking a laptop you're then going and choosing the processor and all these different options. And as part of that, one thing that we did was before we even started work, we did a bunch of interviews and we interviewed two types of people.

[00:36:31] We interviewed, one subset of people that have just gone through the customization process to try to learn, you know, they have a very, this kind of fresh experience in their mind. What did they learn? What did they think when they were online? And then another group that was, you know, intending to do that in the future, but had not done it yet.

[00:36:47] And I remember one quote in particular from someone in, remember, this is Apple still highly respected brand at that point in time. And I remember a theme that kept coming up in all of these customer interviews was people just saying stuff like. Well, why would I trust the information on your website?

[00:37:02] I'm immediately, if I'm, you know, if you're saying something I'm going to open up Google and I'm going to type in reviews of this, or is this really worth it or all these other things. And what that really was, was I think it was this really profound recognition that no matter how good and positive and trusted and respected of a brand, you have people want third party objective proof.

[00:37:22] And so that's always stuck with me. And then another experience was one company that I did a lot of work with is a personal finance app called Digit. And one thing that I did there was when we were really starting to dial up our focus on paid advertising. We were obviously working on kind of a conversion focused landing page.

[00:37:38] And you know, this is something I also did a little bit at Square. Right. And honestly, it sounds very simple plastic, maybe a little, I don't know, a little coarse grained but the, the way that I found Apple, Square and Digit to be able to move the needle of customers converting was to remove content from the page.

[00:37:57] Because what I think you need to keep in mind is if someone has made it to your site, They likely have some context or some information about your product. And so what you really need to do is just get them over the hurdle of signing up and trying it out because that's the only way they're going to convert.

[00:38:10] That's the, and so if we've de-risked that and made it a great value proposition to sign up, then we shouldn't feel like we need to do a bunch of work and like someone is arriving at our, you know, it's almost like you, you go to a customer and Costco and you know, should you assume that they know what store they're in and they know a little bit about it, or should you assume that they're super confused and they have no idea where they are.

[00:38:32] And should you talk to them like you need to start from scratch and kind of start with the basics of the story. And so that informed, you know, this approach that we took, which was very much weighted towards just third-party proof.

Omer Khan: [00:38:43] Okay. Great. So tell me about the other parts of the funnel. What were some of the fixes or the optimizations that you put into place beyond the homepage?

[00:38:53] So people had got to the homepage and you're persuading more people to sign up for a trial. What was happening next? What did you need to fix? How did you get people from that point to becoming a paying customer?

David Scrivner: [00:39:09] Yeah. So just on that note, just to give people a little bit of data, you know, the things that we did on the marketing site was in my mind really play up third-party proof.

[00:39:17] So we really wanted to take the case. Studies pull out quotes from that, really try to present. I think the takeaway of like what, here's a interesting logo, here's interesting company you might've heard of. Here's a great quote that you don't need to read the whole case study. You can just read these two sentences and kind of get the gist of it.

[00:39:34] And then taking these third-party reviews on sites like G2 crowd at Capterra. As well as the app store and really playing all of that up, that led to something. I forget the numbers now, but it was somewhere between 250 and 300% increase in conversion of just people, you know, moving on to kind of that first step of the funnel.

[00:39:51] The other thing that we did, which sounds super basic, but has also been proven in my experience to work really well is just make it so that anywhere someone is on your website it is very easy for them to find and click on a way to sign up for a free trial. And so what we implemented was on mobile. You know, we have a, and part of that too, in my mind is what I really learned at, at Digital and at Square is because at Square it was challenging.

[00:40:14] Like you're, you know, we wanted to get. We knew that we had something that was really compelling. We knew that we had merchants that were coming to our website that were very interested in it, but it also feels risky because they don't know, am I going to be locked in? Am I going to be paying a subscription?

[00:40:27] And so I think you really need to, in my mind, that kind of exercise you need to go through is how can I make it so that it is a no brainer for someone to click, to kind of sign up for a trial. And so we did it at Square and I'm sure it's probably changed, but had a few just really quick hits, like, you know, cancel any time. You know, free for 30 days and at Square, none of that was applicable, but you know, we had similar value props. And so those were also the things that we'd done on the site was just make sure that there was always some clickable button that was following you. We always were trying to make it so that it was very clear that there was no risk.

[00:40:59] You weren't going to suddenly be billed if you signed up for that. So we did that work and that led to, you know, just a massive kind of top of funnel improvement. The rest of the funnel was honestly just how can we make this faster and simpler? And as an example, there, you know, one thing that we had that we've made a lot of progress on, we're still making, we're still working on improving this. Like we are on everything else, but was the onboarding flow and the onboarding flow previously was. Look, nothing like the product, nothing like the marketing site, it asks you very bizarre questions and kind of a weird order. So, you know, a lot of people in their onboarding flow, I think maybe wait it way too heavily towards like a poll to try to get general information about their customers.

[00:41:42] And I think, you know, as a customer, you don't, I don't want to answer five questions about my business and who I am and my role in my company and my industry. I just want to sign up for your product. And so we tried to just really think about, you know, we want to get some of that information, but we want to have it be beneficial towards the customer.

[00:41:57] So what things can we ask them that can actually improve the product experience for them? Let's do that. Let's reduce the number of steps let's make it so that when someone has gotten through the end of onboarding, And they, they click and we're in the backend generating and putting together this organization previously, someone when they got to the end of the onboarding flow would have to wait for something like 60 to 90 seconds.

[00:42:17] And they would just look at a spinner and before they get dropped into the product. So we took that down to 30 seconds, 15 seconds. So we're still driving that lower. And so again, it was, it was, and I want to emphasize this really heavily, because I think this is something I've, I've learned again and again, and again is the tactical flourishy stuff.

[00:42:35] You know, there are the like flowery stuff on the surface really doesn't move the needle. The needle moves most when you just simplify the number of steps, make it faster, make it clearer and make it so that again, you're getting someone to something valuable for them quicker.

Omer Khan: [00:42:53] Yep. Okay, great. So that sort of takes us the second part of the funnel and then people are sort of getting in and using the product.

[00:43:04] And we've already talked about all the steps that you took to, to improve that experience. And then what about on the backend of that around retention, dealing with churn. What were some of the changes that you've made there that have helped to turn things around?

David Scrivner: [00:43:26] Yeah. Great question. So what we did a lot of experimentation there and in my mind, you know, I think. And, you know, so we're just for context too, we're still very resource constrict. You know, we have taken very little outside capital, we're a bootstrap company. So we still it's a little bit of a different challenge than I've had previously at venture back companies where, you know, you can build up a massive kind of data team in order to do a lot of kind of ABCD experiments on every aspect of your product and experience.

[00:43:55] We don't have that luxury of Flow. So we have to pick and choose. But one thing that we did last year was we spent probably 60, 90 days. Pretty heavily focused on the cancellation flow and what we were really trying to do there is, and again, it is just to stress it, I have not found a single silver bullet in any of the work that we've done at Flow.

[00:44:16] It's just iteration, experimentation, seeing what we learn. And honestly, it's very much trying to look out kind of beyond what we have implemented currently to try to find best practices that we can then kind of beg, borrow and steal. And so I actually had a friend who has a very different business. He sells an ad blocker and he had done a lot of experimentation around their cancellation flow.

[00:44:39] And so talking with him. You know, he gave me just some really basic stuff and what they base it off of was what did they base it off of? I'm trying to think now, Oh, he based it off of the Amazon Prime cancellation flow and it's like a four or five steps. And it's just very simply like, here are the things you're losing, are you sure you want to lose these things?

[00:44:57] You know, here's what this means for your data. You know, here's the things that if you do this, that you can't undo after some period of time. And so it really is like, here's the benefits you're going to lose these benefits. Here's the consequences. Are you sure comfortable with these consequences? Are, you know, are you sure you want to cancel?

[00:45:12] And then if someone gets all the way to that step and says, yes, then you try to win them back with some sort of a, you know, a cancellation offer. And there's all sorts of clever things you can do. We have we, and we generally try to not be overly clever. So for instance, some of the things we could have done there was, you know, he has tried implementing a countdown timer.

[00:45:30] So when someone cancels, it's like you have five minutes to accept this offer and that goes away. And clearly there's some like behavioral things. You can see there that would work. But all that we did was kind of implement. Those best practices and then play with that wind back offer, you know, is it 25% off your next year?

[00:45:45] Is it 50% off? Is it 75% off and the sweet spot we found was about 50% off. And so with all of those things, we ended up improving our conversion. We cut our cancellation, buy something on the order of 50%. And again, it's not like, you know, one thing that's fascinated me. Is, that's not steady, you know, that moves around in time.

[00:46:06] And there are some months where you're still gonna see churn spike. There are some months where it goes down very low, but what we saw was kind of across the board, a pretty dramatic improvement by just doing some very simple refinements.

Omer Khan: [00:46:17] Yeah. I think you said, you know, there was no magic bullet or silver bullet. And I think that that's a really important point because quite often, when you hear stories about startups or growth, it's often oversimplified and it's like, yeah, we did this and this. And suddenly, you know, we saw these massive things happen and, and the reality, in the vast majority of cases is actually, we tried lots of different things and some of them were very small and, and they didn't, you know, significantly move the needle.

[00:46:57] But we saw a little improvement here and we saw a little improvement there. And then there came a point where suddenly we looked back and said, It feels like all of this stuff that we're doing is starting to work, we're trending in the right direction. And then that's how you sort of keep moving by doubling down on those things.

[00:47:16] And I think that's such an important point that if you're struggling right now, don't look for that magic thing. In fact, don't even try to, if, if you're a 10K MRR, don't try to figure out how you're going to get to your first million dollars, figure out how you're going to get to 15K MRR. What are some of the small things you can do to move towards that?

David Scrivner: [00:47:40] And then, I mean, the way I would maybe just to build on top of that, you know, something I've definitely learned is the vast majority of business advice. Is one, you're always hearing something that's kind of a sample size of one. So someone sharing a data point that worked for them, and most, most things like that are not transferable.

[00:47:56] You're not going to take this idea that somebody else had in their business and move it over. You know? So again, that's where I find that principle in my mind is that doesn't mean ignore everything everyone else is doing, but I never think that you found the thing because you're just going to set yourself up for frustration and failure and recognize that, you know, and I think this is something that.

[00:48:16] I find a little bit baffling, to be honest is, you know, as entrepreneurs, we all kind of know this concept of compounding and that compounding starts off really, really it's almost, you can't even see it happening, but you're seeing this kind of slow and steady growth and at a certain point with a long enough time and enough patience and persistence, that gets to the points where the gains start to be very massive.

[00:48:38] But most people, one, they don't want to do that. They don't want to take the kind of patient long-term approach. They want to try to find that silver bullet just cause that's how we're wired. We always want to try to find ways to short, you know, kind of shortchange the energy and effort we have to invest.

[00:48:51] But entrepreneurship is a game of compounding and it takes it, you know, you're, you're bleeding and you're working hard and you're putting a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into what you're doing to see very little gains. And you just have to keep that up over time in order for that to end up being worth something.

Omer Khan: [00:49:06] So you're almost two years into this, this journey with Flow. Where are you in terms of revenue now with the business?

David Scrivner: [00:49:17] Yeah, so we're right in between two to $3 million in ARR today.

Omer Khan: [00:49:20] And revenue in terms of using the 5% month over month decline. Yep. Has that stopped?

David Scrivner: [00:49:29] Yes. So that stuff, I mean, so, you know, this, this year has been really challenging, you know, when, like, I felt like we were in a great groove February and March, and then obviously just like everybody else, we got hit with it.

[00:49:42] Yeah. We just got hit eventually with all the consequences of the coronavirus and what that's meant for our customers is, you know, what was really interesting is. In March and April, we didn't see much change at all. And then in May and June and July, we started to see that stuff hit. And as an example, you know, the way that we track that was when customers canceled, what were they citing?

[00:50:02] And you know, what we saw. Yeah, come three to four months into the coronavirus. And, you know, a few different waves was a large amounts of customers, you know, kind of pausing or canceling and for context. So a lot of that was totally understand, you know, understandable. Like we have customers like SeatGeek that sells event tickets.

[00:50:20] Obviously their business has been dramatically impacted by, you know venues being closed, not being able to sell any of that. They've had their revenue dry up. They've had to lay off. And so we saw that happen in our business. But once we got through that, which we started, you know, we stopped seeing those effects and maybe August of this year.

[00:50:37] So it's, you know, only a couple of months ago. But we're now at a point where we are growing on average, you know, kind of low single digits, like in the 2 to 5% range, month over month. And I'm really happy with that for now. And so what we're focused on is you know, building on that momentum. So, and I kind of, you know, we, we talked a little bit for this podcasts and in my mind, maybe an analogy to make is, you know, we had a patient that was bleeding out at a significant injury when I took over the business, we first needed to stop the bleeding, stabilize that person, get them to a place where we were no longer playing defense. And we could kind of focus on where we take things from there, where we're we're at that point in the business.

[00:51:13] And so things that we're focused on now is where do we go from here? And what's the business we really want to build in the future.

Omer Khan: [00:51:20] Yeah, I like that analogy because you did come in and there was a very clear downward trajectory of where this business was headed and that it was losing money. And that was one of the main reasons I wanted to talk to you was just to dig into this, this turnaround. Yeah. No, maybe, maybe there was a silver bullet. Maybe I was wrong.

David Scrivner: [00:51:49] No, there wasn't. And it was, you know, it's been an extremely tr it's been much more difficult than I ever imagined. It's also been immensely rewarding and I mean, you know, just to maybe share a little bit of that. For me, I knew taking this role that I was going to be in for a massive challenge that I was gonna be in in for a really steep growth curve and kind of learning curve and all that turned out to be true. And more like for me, I've dealt with, I've had to deal with you know, and, and grow a lot in terms of just compartmentalizing emotion.

[00:52:19] Like I think the most. One of the most difficult things that I did not anticipate is obviously when you step into a role like this, and I've always in my life, tried to put myself into positions. Like I kind of mentioned before where I put myself in a positions where my backs against a wall and I have this monumental challenge I'm facing and I need to figure out how to overcome it.

[00:52:37] And that's always brought out the best in me. What I guess I didn't anticipate is when that challenge is a business, when you're the CEO of that business, when ever literally every single data point is moving in a negative direction, it really is difficult to be able to compartmentalize that emotion so that you can stay objective, have that equanimity to be able to engage positively with everything you need to do.

Omer Khan: [00:52:58] So yeah. I mean, I think it's it's some great lessons here on, on the the turnaround, if you, and I think you've kind of come to the end of this role in terms of being the turnaround CEO, and now it's becoming the growth CEO and, and, and, you know,

David Scrivner: [00:53:14] That's a wonderful change.

Omer Khan: [00:53:16] So you know, maybe we should get you back at some point and then talk about the growth story. Right. That would be a good point.

David Scrivner: [00:53:22] Yeah, I would love that.

Omer Khan: [00:53:23] But let's, let's, let's wrap up and I'm going to move on to the lightning round. So I got seven quick fire questions for you. Are you ready?

David Scrivner: [00:53:31] Ready.

[00:53:32] Okay. What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?

[00:53:35] I mean, I think just to go back to that point that we made a little bit ago is that, you know,  Naval Ravakant has a great quote, that there is no such thing as there's no such field of study as business, because business is largely like everybody has an extremely different customer base.

[00:53:49] They, you know, we all work in a different industry. We all have are working in a business that is very different constraints, very different opportunities. And so I think one thing I would learn is just. Just to double down on this point is, you know, focus and read and you know, kind of be a student of business generally, but then understand at the end of the day that you have to solve a very unique challenge.

[00:54:10] And so always, you know, try to triangulate from all the different data points and perspectives that are out there and then root that really deeply in your particular business.

Omer Khan: [00:54:18] Yeah. I don't want to go down a rat hole here, but I think that's, that's really a good point. It goes back to this, this thing you said earlier about getting advice from somebody who's done something once. And that might've been a great thing for them to do given their product, their market, their situation doesn't mean it's going to work for you. I think

David Scrivner: [00:54:39] It's often presented without context.

Omer Khan: [00:54:41] Right? I think you're much better off trying to figure out how can I connect the dots of different things and different experiences, and then reach my own conclusions on what the right thing is for my situation.

[00:54:53] What book would you recommend to our audience and why?

David Scrivner: [00:54:56] My favorite one recently, I'll give you a recent favorite. And it's extremely short, which is one of the reasons I think it's great for entrepreneurs is Turning the Flywheel by Jim Collins. And so it's kind of an extension of Good to Great and that whole series of books, but it's also super compartmentalized and what's wonderful about it is, you know, obviously it's going to be helpful if you have a little bit of familiarity with his other books, like Good to Great, but the book as it, as it exists as standalone, I think it's maybe like a 40 page book. It's extremely short. You know, it's an hour you can on audio book and the whole notion of it, which I think is really wonderful is. You know, as an entrepreneur, I think one of the things that we all struggle with is it's very easy for us to kind of blow things out of proportion or to think about things with a lot more complexity than kind of inherently exists.

[00:55:41] And what's great about that book. Is it forces you to really think through what the value creation engine of your businesses and kind of think through it as a reciprocal loop, Literally like a flywheel on a bike, we're kind of, there's multiple different spokes. And if you can hit those consistently and be, you know, kind of eight out of 10, good at all of them, then you're going to build momentum over time.

[00:56:03] And I think it's just a wonderful way of kind of taking what can feel like a very vague, confusing business and boiling it down into what are the five to six things you need to be really good at.

Omer Khan: [00:56:14] Yeah. Love it. What's one attribute or characteristic in your mind of a successful founder or entrepreneur?

David Scrivner: [00:56:20] Yeah, I think it's so basic, but I think it's just persistence. I think it's somebody who can bang against the same problem and the same constraints day after day after day after day, without getting de-motivated and finding a way eventually to be able to overcome that.

Omer Khan: [00:56:35] What's your favorite personal productivity tool or habit?

David Scrivner: [00:56:38] My favorite tool it's super cheap. I think you can get it for $5 on Amazon and it's just a cube timer. So it's a timer that you can set for five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, all the way up to 60 minutes. And I use that all the time because you know, I have things that I needed to focus on for long periods of time during the day.

[00:56:54] But I also have a lot of stuff that I need to get done. I need to check in, but I need to check email. I need to update this person on my team. And so what I try to do during the day is kind of time box all the tasks that I can. And I do that using that timer. So I'll try to kind of pick what feels like a little bit of a stretch goal, kind of like I'm going to be sprinting to hit it, set that time with the timer and get to work.

Omer Khan: [00:57:14] L ove it. What's a new or crazy business idea you'd have to pursue if you had the extra time?

David Scrivner: [00:57:18] I, I mean, so what I'm focused on right now at the moment is kind of spinning up a hand and this is very different from what I do day to day, but outside of the business that I focus on, I do a lot of investing work and I've traditionally focused on kind of early stage venture capital.

[00:57:31] And now I'm transitioning more to kind of building up public equity portfolios. And so I have two portfolios I've been spending a lot of time on, and one is Future Shape. Which is really simple. It's largely kind of businesses that have just IPO mode that I think still have a huge growth runway in front of them and what that looks like.

[00:57:47] And then a second is what I call Perpetuity Fund. And it's a collection of kind of closely family held businesses. A lot of them are in Europe. They're typically 50 plus years old, but that's something I'm fascinated on. I'd love to spend more time on it.

Omer Khan: [00:57:58] Love it. What's an interesting or fun fact about you that most people don't know

David Scrivner: [00:58:01] I mean, I think, yeah, on the investing side, like, I feel like I've gleaned so many really fascinating insights, not by reading business books, but by reading investment reports, you know? So I'll read annual letters from people like Jeff Bezos, I'll read you know, annual letters from people like Warren Buffet and all of that stuff in my mind is this just a very objective, very different way to think about careers.

Omer Khan: [00:58:21] And finally, what's one of your most important passions outside of your work ?

David Scrivner: [00:58:25] My family. I've got a three-year-old that I just adore and love spending time on if we have another one on the way. And so I think for me, thank you. So I think for me, it's both, you know, how do I, how can I be as good, you know, a kind of father and dad as possible, but it's also just, how can I shower this amazing you know, kind of person, this little being with love. And so, yeah, that's something I'm super passionate about.

Omer Khan: [00:58:47] Love it. Awesome. Thank you so much for, for joining me. It's been great to sit down and, and unpack a lot of what's happened in the last couple of years and, and hopefully people listening to this can take away some, some insights, some inspiration, and you know, weather your, your business is declining. It's flat lined, or it's not growing as fast as you want. I think, you know, there's if, if I had to kind of give it. Kind of have a takeaway, which I don't usually it would probably be, you know, don't look for the silver bullet, keep, keep testing, keep trying different things.

[00:59:26] And, and the analogy of the flywheel is a great way to think about it because you know, often with this kind of the flywheel, you do these things and it feels like nothing is happening. And this thing is so hard to move. But eventually once all these little pieces and the compounding effect we talked about earlier starts to kick in things move and it feels so much easier as you know, sort of the friction sort of goes away. So I think there's some great lessons here. So thank you for that. If people want to check out Flow, they can go to getflow.com and if people want to get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to do that.

David Scrivner: [01:00:03] Yeah. You can find me@danielscrivenerdotcom or send me an email at daniel[at]danielscrivner.com.

Omer Khan: [01:00:09] Awesome. And I thought it was just so cool, like I think one of the first things you, you worked on, one of your businesses was like made by Scrivner. And I thought what a cool name. I love that. Awesome.

[01:00:21] Daniel, thank you so much for joining me. I wish you and the team at Flow are the best of success and say hi Andrew.

David Scrivner: [01:00:26] Will do thank you so much for having me on.

Omer Khan: [01:00:28] Cheers.

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