Every Monday we fire five questions at the leader of a B2B technology company that has piqued our interest.
In the spotlight today, Alex Kvamme, the CEO of performance management startup Pathlight — which last month landed a $7 million investment from legendary Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins.
Alex – What’s the Biggest Challenge for your Clients?
They really fit into two buckets. The first is limited accessibility to the data their employees need to be successful — whether it’s because they lack the right devices, applications or, in some extreme cases, basic broadband internet. As you can imagine, people who either don’t have a computer or have outdated equipment likely can’t log into Salesforce or any other cloud application.
The second challenge is making sure their employees are productive and happy working from home.
Early on, our clients focused on the accessibility aspect of the solution, but there needs to be business continuity, too. We’re two months in since the onset of the virus and now we’re seeing a major focus on the productivity issue. This includes everything from ensuring that people clearly understand what they should be working on to how senior leadership is communicating with people on the front lines. Our clients are looking for smart ways to track and measure productivity and the effectiveness of that communication from leadership — and they turn to us to help them achieve this.
Technology that Excites You Most?
I’m most excited about technology that creates flexibility at work. I don’t have strong preferences or opinions regarding remote vs in-office work – some people prefer the latter; others are learning they prefer the former.
But what has become crystal clear is that work needs to be able to happen anywhere – and technology should enable that to happen. A large workforce should, for example, be able to work half the week remotely, and in the office the other half. Businesses could halve their facilities costs, and employees would have much more flexibility.
Watching people use and embrace our product has really been my biggest success. Whenever I walk into companies I feel immense pride seeing Pathlight helping people with their daily jobs. I just love walking into companies and watching people bring our product up on their phone. It’s why I got into this business in the first place.
On the personal side, I’d say not taking more advantage of my college years to learn new things. I was a typical 18-year old that did things 18-year olds do. I didn’t appreciate back then how amazing it was to be responsibility free. Now I feel lucky whenever I have 30 minutes or an hour a day to read. I wish I had treated my time as a student as a job.
On the professional side, I’d say hiring the wrong people. Any manager can relate to this. You need to hire people in order to get things built. Every time I’ve lowered my bar and made an exception to my standards, I’ve regretted it. Bad hiring decisions have made a huge negative impact on our business. Holding people to high standards is a big part of the process of helping them to be successful.
In Another Life, I’d Be…
….playing music. Maybe even as a professional musician, even though it’d be a hard job. I could see myself doing it. But, in the end, I like to build stuff. It could be another area of software, or I could even imagine building something physical like machines, infrastructure or bridges. In the end, I love solving problems with technology, so I guess I chose the right field.