The very first startup I ever worked at, there was a person that I worked with that really encouraged me to stand out in terms of my work ethic. I was young, in my early 20s and didn’t have anything else to do with no family yet.
As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewingJody glidden, of Introhive.
Jody Glidden is the founder and CEO of Introhive. Founded in 2012, Introhive is the fastest growing B2B relationship intelligence service and data management platform. The company was recently recognized by Deloitte’s Fast 50 and Fast 500 Awards programs and was named the MarTech 2020 Breakthrough Award winner for Best CRM Innovation. Introhive is the 4th company he’s been involved in founding and building, with three successful exits including Chalk Media, icGlobal, and Scholars.com.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I started my career teaching in the software department of a technology college. That’s where I figured out I could use my programming skills to build software that improves people’s lives. In my role at the school, I built software that successfully guided students through their curriculum. The project was so well received it was acquired by a tech company, and I realized how I could marry my passions for teaching, technology, and business by diving into the SaaS tech sector. Over the past 9 years, we’ve grown Introhive into the top B2B relationship intelligence service and data management platform–with a global workforce and an entirely remote executive team.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
In the old days people managed their customer relationships in various ways; notes, paper files, rolodexes, mnemonic devices–like Michael Scott’s red, yellow, green system in The Office. Introhive changes all that so that you can provide the best customer experience possible. Introhive leverages technology–automation and artificial intelligence–to enrich human relationships in business. Technology is often viewed as a dehumanizing effort. We’re using it to humanize the sales relationship.
We’re disrupting and reframing the sales experience which is ultimately affecting how professional relationships are managed. With introhive your sales relationships are long-lasting and strong–because that benefits both the company and the customer.
Have you ever gotten a cold sales call and then a few hours or even days later received an email or mailer from the same company that disregards that sales relationship? Like the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, kind of thing. With Introhive you can centralize the customer touchpoint and relationship intelligence and give it to your customer facing employees so that they have a better understanding of that customer relationship–reframing the customer and sales experience.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
This probably doesn’t make me sound too great but–I had to ship my pants once. Or get them shipped rather. It sounds bad, but I flew to an investor meeting and when I got there I realized I had forgotten to pack a pair of pants. I live in Miami, so it’s not crazy that I forgot to bring a pair. I didn’t really have time to go out and shop, it’s not really my thing. So, I shipped my pants. Luckily they made it in time and I didn’t show any leg to get the deal.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I’d say both of my parents were mentors to me. They were both entrepreneurs and so that’s what I wanted to be because it’s just everything that I saw. My mom especially made a big impact in my life. She worked really hard to start her own business and make it successful and seeing that made me know that I wanted to do the same one day.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
This may sound controversial, but it’s hard to disrupt an industry, and doing so benefits the masses. I think by default that’s the definition of disruption and if that attribute doesn’t exist, then disruption doesn’t happen. Even category creators like Facebook for Social Media, Airbnb for home-sharing, and Uber for ridesharing, although they have their critics they’ve been relatively good overall for most people. I love that I don’t have to worry about catching cabs anymore. For the most part disruptions are really good things because they pave the way for the new generation.
I think there’s some debate that social media has been ‘not so positive’ for society because people used to you know, go outside more and interact in-person more and social has really allowed for the virtual world to grow quickly.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
I’ve got a couple that have really stuck with me throughout my journey. The very first startup I ever worked at, there was a person that I worked with that really encouraged me to stand out in terms of my work ethic. I was young, in my early 20s and didn’t have anything else to do with no family yet. That’s always stated with me because I think that point in your life is the most important time to stand out. It’s when you can move up really quickly because of your work ethic and note because of your knowledge, experience or skill–you’re in the process of building that. So that’s what I did. I worked as hard as I could as much as I could. Because if you think of it in terms of money; your knowledge at that age is kind of like money. It earns interest. The earlier you can expand your work, the more interest accumulates. It was really great advice at the time.
The other is something my parents instilled in me about life-long learning. The idea that you are never done filling your learning bank account. If you look around almost every famously successful person, and every successful person I know, reads a lot. A lot of them even release annual book lists detailing every book they read that year and what insights they gained from it. That’s an exercise I find really helpful–giving yourself a book report on every book you read. Most people read because it helps propel you, and in some ways can be more important than any other education you get because it’s self-guided and imposed. Then you can also take those books that reach the Best Sellers lists, those become community artifacts almost that you share with everyone else in your culture. Think Harry Potter or Educated. The number of books you read actually changes who you are–it’s a great way to damage your ignorance.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
We’ve just marked a giant milestone at Introhive with our most recent fundraise of 100M dollars. We’re going to use that cashflow to fulfill our vision of making all revenue generators at all companies as effective as they can be. Teams will be working harder and smarter with our tool.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
My go-to when I get this question is Kim Scott’s Radical Candor, actually. I think that’s because it’s all about building effective professional relationships and balancing being transparent and direct. It taught me that caring on a personal level creates strong teams that outperform. It also taught me hat part of caring on a personal level means not being afraid to hurt people’s feelings with good, frank feedback. People wont always agree with you, that goes without saying but it is necessary. You owe it to your people. It’s a really interesting concept in the Candian work culture actually because we have the tendency to default to nice. Very few of us excel at radical candor. I do recognize that due to cultural, or personal constraints not everyone has the same ability to be radically candid but I do think if you can be as candid as possible and give as much constructive feedback as you can, while also encouraging feedback for yourself–that’s what continuous learning is all about.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Whether you know your in competition or not–you are.
I’m big on self-improvement. I think my biggest life lesson has been about always continuing to improve and work to reach your full potential. I think it’s so important because most people don’t. Your probability of success has to with your intensity–especially in the early days.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’ve been trying to think for quite a few years about how to get kids interested in business, and especially with computers. It’s the only industry that’s guaranteed and it feels so satisfying when you see kids get passionate about it; almost like a cross between Junior Achievement and Kids for Coding. For kids especially, the satisfaction and confidence you get out of creating your own thing is huge. It’s actually how I got into programming and business in the first place. When I was a kid the Premier in the New Brunswick, Frank McKenna, started a ton of computer training programs for kids with entrepreneurial spins. His whole idea was, if you can teach someone programming and business they can either get a job, or create jobs for others. This early exposure for a lot of kids at that time spurred a lot of business creation later on, and I’d love to re-create that.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!