My guest today is Frank Slootman, Chairman and CEO of cloud platform Snowflake. Frank has become one of the most revered CEOs in business. Over the past twenty years, he has three times taken over emerging enterprise software businesses – first Data Domain, then ServiceNow, and most recently Snowflake - and led them across the chasm into large, billion-dollar businesses. Please enjoy this great discussion with Frank Slootman.
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Past guests include Tobi Lutke, Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger, John Collison, Kat Cole, Marc Andreessen, Matthew Ball, Bill Gurley, Anu Hariharan, Ben Thompson, and many more.
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[00:02:33] - [First question] - How he evaluates the team of a company he’s working with
[00:04:48] - The pace of decisions made around changing team members
[00:06:10] - Understanding the potential quality of outside leaders being brought into the company
[00:08:13] - How he characterizes great and constructive confrontation
[00:09:53] - What he’s found to be most effective in convincing senior talent to join a team
[00:11:36] - Ways he personally generates energy to sustain himself in this pace of business
[00:14:17] - How he fosters and nurtures healthy communication pathways
[00:15:36] - Narrowing the focus when evaluating a new product
[00:17:58] - Is it possible for a focus to be too narrow?
[00:19:31] - An example of a dazzling customer that he’s worked with
[00:21:04] - Working backwards from a problem and building something that solves it
[00:23:03] - Building trust between a company and its customers over time
[00:25:37] - Overview of the base layer ingredients of trust
[00:28:12] - Sequential versus parallel processing and how they affect building trust
[00:30:22] - Lessons in successfully translating between engineers and business people
[00:32:58] - Crossing the chasm and effective sales organizations
[00:35:17] - Working compensation into getting more out of an organization
[00:38:45] - How much a sales organization needs to work backwards to serve their product
[00:41:40] - Great questions for board members to ask their executive team
[00:46:07] - Where the analogy of ‘business as war’ falls down and defining the highlander concept
[00:48:01] - What he feels he could still hone in his skillset
[00:49:16] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for him