Obviously we’re biased but each episode of the Cash & Burn podcast is filled with tons of insights. Sometimes though, the stars align and we get not just one esteemed guest but two!

On our latest episode, A 2023 CEO Roundtable, AJ Bruno & Jeff Cotten joined our own Brandon Metcalf and we had the pleasure of gathering three Austin connected tech CEOs in a (virtual) room. 

Each of these leaders have quite the CV. Jeff is fresh from his successful stint at Tenfold, a VC-backed startup in the contact center technology space and is now the CEO of Alvaria. AJ Bruno, co-founder of QuotaPath, is focused on helping revenue teams shed complexity and fuel growth through effective compensation strategy. 

Read on as we cover the highlights of the discussion between Jeff, AJ, and Brandon including navigating the tumultuous tech terrain, wrestling with pipeline puzzles, leveraging partnerships, maintaining company culture, and more.

A Year of Resilience and Recalibration

Nobody has escaped the first few quarters of this year unscathed. As AJ noted “Its been a lot easier being a CEO in the 2nd half of the year compared to the 1st.” Facing a year marked by economic uncertainty and shifting business landscapes, our guests delve into their experiences. 

They discuss the challenges of revenue retention, the unpredictability of the job market, and the dynamic VC environment. 

“It’s still a weird climate, post-pandemic,” noted Jeff, “The job creation still blows me away but I still think it’s tied to having so much unemployment from that period and people in different phases have gone back to work.”

Navigating the Tech Terrain

From grappling with security challenges to building on Salesforce, our guests share their strategies and the lessons learned. 

Every company is facing different challenges these days. Some companies are dealing with more pipeline than they can handle while others are struggling to get pipeline. 

Founders are forced to make the tough call of doing layoffs but structuring their companies to have smaller teams focused on more important tasks.

“[Layoffs] force you to be more focused, make better decisions, be more efficient,” said Jeff “As a result, we’re more focused on the right deals, the ones we need to be focused on.”

They also discussed the dichotomy in pipeline management, with some companies inundated with leads and others struggling to generate them. 

The Power of Partnerships

In a recent revelation, QuotaPath recently teamed up with Hubspot, proving that two heads (or companies) are better than one. 

AJ shares how QuotaPath's partnership with Hubspot has already yielded significant gains.

“You wouldn’t think Hubspot would care much to work with a company of our size, but they do,” said AJ, “We have higher fidelity around the data coming in and can actually give them intent well before they see it.”

This collaboration serves as a testament to the potential of strategic alliances, regardless of company size.

Preserving Culture Amid Change

As businesses shift to hybrid work models, maintaining company culture poses new challenges. 

Jeff noted that they often bring customers into the office to give in person statements. This shows his team hard at work and it really has resonated with customers. Likewise, Jeff has small focus groups to talk about the company’s struggles and ways of solving problems. 

AJ, leader of a smaller organization, has a larger remote team structure. He noted that it certainly presents its own challenges as even though he’s in person, culture is difficult with others who are remote. 

Collectively, the group all agreed that they don’t see RTO ever really coming back because employees get so much back to their life. Still, productivity remains a concern.

Looking Forward: Cautious Optimism for the Year Ahead

As we step into the future, our guests shared a sentiment of cautious optimism. With the lessons of the past year in tow, they are ready to face the hurdles and opportunities that await in the coming year.

Join us on this enlightening journey as we delve into these topics and more, drawing on the wisdom and experiences of our esteemed guests. 

Whether you're a fellow tech enthusiast or an entrepreneur navigating the business landscape, there's something in this episode of Cash & Burn for everyone. 

Tune in now, and let's ignite the conversation!

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