IVP’s Hypergrowth Podcast: G2 Crowd’s Godard Abel Shares His Sales Secrets for Hypergrowth

In IVP’s Hypergrowth Podcast series, IVP investors talk with CEOs from the fastest growing companies to understand the ins and outs of company building in the hypergrowth environment.

In our fourth episode, IVP’s Alex Lim sits down with Godard Abel, CEO and co-founder of G2 Crowd.

Godard Abel grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. His grandfather and father’s pump manufacturing business started from the rubble of World War II Germany.  During the early 2000s, Godard was inspired to bring businesses – like his family’s – online, ushering them into the Internet era. Through BigMachines and SteelBrick, Godard and his team changed the way enterprises sell in the modern marketplace.

Today, Godard is on a different mission with G2: to change the way enterprises buy the technology and services they need to reach their full potential. In the age of digital transformation, the number of individual applications within the enterprise has exploded, and business users are struggling to keep up. G2 is changing this paradigm by building the most trusted peer advice network for technology buyers, while giving customers a voice in the marketplace.

Now building his third venture-backed company, Godard is giving back in more ways than one. From embedded philanthropy at G2 to mentoring young entrepreneurs to help them thrive, Godard is an inspiration to founders everywhere.

Listen below for Godard’s story and a few lessons he learned along the way.

Authenticity Drives Sales

“When I was in business school, there was no class on sales.”

Godard started his first company, BigMachines, in the tail-end of the dot-com bubble. When venture funding dried up, he hunkered down into organic growth mode. During this period Godard and his business partner, Matt Gorniak, learned to sell to enterprises by authentically listening to their customers, understanding their needs and preparing for scale through standardization. By constantly investing in playbooks, training, and development, Godard learned salespeople can train to know their next moves by heart, freeing them up to listen and contexualize customer engagements.

Alignment is Key for Successful Acquisitions

“A marriage made in heaven.”

Over the course of his career, Godard has made several acquisitions as a CEO, and sees the key to success as aligning with the founding team. Both teams need to believe they are stronger together than alone. For Godard, he has chosen to work with founders that are great technologists, love building product, but haven’t previously scaled companies, so need help reaching customers on a larger scale. When a new company joins Godard’s entrepreneurial family, they get to build their experience, network, and resources so that when they embark on their next start-up, they are in an even better position to succeed.

A Family Based on Performance

“Different from your Thanksgiving family…”

At G2, culture and heart are at the center of everything the company does. Godard believes that G2 can be loving and kind and promote a culture of performance at the same time. He describes it as an “entrepreneurial family,” where everyone trusts and relies on each other for their careers. This trust has been key for generating loyalty amongst the team at G2 and allowed them to recruit top talent into their growing entrepreneurial family.

The full transcript is below.

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Narrator: Welcome to IVP’s Hyper-Growth Podcast. In this series, we talk with CEOs of the fastest-growing companies and discuss the ins-and-outs of company building in the hyper-growth environment. If you like what you hear, consider following us on SoundCloud or subscribing to our podcast on iTunes. Thanks, and enjoy the show.

Alex: Hi. This is Alex Lim. I’m an investor at IVP. Welcome to the Hyper-Growth Podcast, a show dedicated to speaking with entrepreneurs and companies going through their rapid growth phase. Today on the podcast I’m honored to have with me Godard Abel, the CEO and co-founder of G2, the #1 B2B Technology Review Platform, which is disrupting how businesses discover, buy and manage the technology they need to reach their full potential. G2 is the definition of hyper-growth. After only six years in business, G2 has almost 3 million people relying on their insights every month, over 600,000 software reviews on the platform, covering tens-of-thousands of products and services. Based on this momentum, G2 has raised over $100 million in venture funding including a $55 million Series C round in October 2018, led by IVP. Godard is a serial entrepreneur, previously building and leading BigMachines and SteelBrick which were highly successful exits to Oracle and Salesforce respectively. Godard, welcome to the show, thanks for being here!

Godard: Nice to be here, Alex.

Alex: I want to get to G2 soon, but your entrepreneurial story is so rich and inspiring that I want to go back to the beginning. What was your first introduction to entrepreneurship and how did you end up founding BigMachines?

Godard: I grew up with entrepreneurship. My father was an entrepreneur, or at least a son of an entrepreneur. My grandfather had started a pump manufacturing company in Germany right after World War II, 1947 and he was inspirational to me, in a sense he did it in the rubble of post-World War II Germany, where he was really starting with nothing. My father had taken over the business in the 1970s, and so grew up around business and entrepreneurship from always talking to my dad about it, and I think ultimately that’s what inspired me to build my own business.

Alex: And BigMachines, the idea for BigMachines came from your father’s pump business, is that right?

Godard: Indeed. The idea was to bring my father’s pump business online because later I wound up here in Silicon Valley. I came out to business school at Stanford in the late 90s, amidst the dot-com-boom and I remember Jerry Yang, the founder of Yahoo coming to our class talking about the Internet. I was inspired, and I went home for Thanksgiving in 1999 to visit my father. He was in Pittsburgh and running his pump company, and I remember I asked him, “Hey Dad, how’s the Internet going to affect your business?” And to my surprise, coming from California and Silicon Valley, he said: “It’s not. “And then I asked him more questions, “Dad, why do you think the Internet isn’t going to do anything?” and he explained to me: “Look my pumps, they’re very engineered, we configure different pump with different couplings, motors, housings for every single customer and I have to have my German pump engineers do that. There’s no way I could sell a pump, like a book on Amazon.”

Alex: I think you’ve likened it in the past to Dell, selling customized computers online.

Godard: And that exactly, Alex, was the idea then for BigMachines, was to bring that Dell model to the industry. Dell was selling millions, and billions of dollars of PCs online with online configuration where you could choose the model of the Dell laptop, you could choose the hard drive, the disk, the memory, etc. and behind the scenes Dell had a configuration engine that made sure all the components fit together, and you could get your pricing in real time and order online. That’s what we set out to do with BigMachines for manufacturers like my father’s.

Alex: I think you raised a little bit of money for BigMachines, was that in the late 90s early 2000s?

Godard: Yeah, it was still at the tail end of that dot-com bubble and right at the beginning 2000, after I convinced my father to you know that could be a good idea and he became my first investor. He had a friend David Sculley in Pittsburgh who was the president of Heinz Ketchup. He’s the brother of John Sculley, the famous former Apple CEO, somewhat infamous for firing Steve Jobs, and he invested in our company. So, I got him to invest, and I was able to raise a bunch of money just based on hype and vision, and so that first year we did raise over $20 million.

Alex: I think the environment changed soon after you raised that money. What was that like going through the technology downturn?

Godard: That was a severe bust and probably today a lot of people don’t remember it. By the end of 2000, all the investors were scared. A year earlier they’d been throwing money at Internet companies, and they all stopped investing, they were just trying to save their existing investments. The bigger problem for us was the customers also stopped buying from the Internet, and these manufacturers became very conservative. Then 9/11 happened at the end of 2001, so it was kind of a perfect storm. We were trying to sell to manufacturers, they kind of thought the Internet was a fad, and it was over, and no one wanted to invest in my business anymore, and we went through some really hard struggles.

Alex: Eventually, it became a great exit. But what were some of the low points in that journey and what did you learn from BigMachines?

Godard: The lowest point for me was having to lay off most of our team. At the end of 2000, based on having raised millions of dollars, we scaled up to 70 people, and John Sculley said: “Hey, think about going public in a year.” And when the environment changed, that was the worst advice. We had to scale it down to 20 people. We did it through three or four rounds of layoffs over two or three years, and in 2003 we hit bottom, and we were down to our last million dollars. My co-founder Chris and I looked at each other, and we weren’t sure whether to quit or keep going.

Alex: What was the turning point there?

Godard: One, I think we did make the right move, we did shift – we decided to keep going, and we saw our early customers, we had about a dozen early customers – manufacturers that were having a lot of success selling pumps online and other products, just like we had envisioned. And so, we thought, hey if we give the market more time, eventually more manufacturers will want this technology, and so we hunkered down and went to organic growth mode. I think a turning point came about three or four years later we partnered with Salesforce and Marc Benioff, the founder CEO of Salesforce, and to his credit, he really popularized the cloud and he got people to really start seeing the advantages of Internet applications and we became their number one partner for what later we called “Configure-Price-Quote Software”.  And Salesforce started bringing us tons of accounts. So, by 2007 we started growing.

Alex: That’s great. I think in that period as well, there was a period where you learn to sell, and you also partnered with your now co-founder at G2 Crowd, and also at SteelBrick, Matt Gorniak. What was the start of that relationship like? How did you learn to sell to enterprises?

Godard: Yes, meeting Matt Gorniak was crucial. This was in 2004 right after I’d gotten past the bottom of the business and at that time, I only had one other sales rep, and I met Matt. He was a young up and comer at G.E. in their leadership program. Before that though, he’d been involved in a startup and decided G.E. was boring, and luckily, he joined me, and I promised him, “Hey Matt, if you do a great job selling, someday you can be my sales leader.” He did do a tremendous job selling. Anyway, what I learned was going one deal at a time. And that’s one thing I hadn’t learned in business school. When I was in business school, there was no class on sales. We learned about strategy, finance, marketing, operations but nothing about sales. We learned together to build a playbook, and how we could articulate the value best and do our demos. We had this whole sales playbook, ultimately about a hundred pages that we then used to train all of our teams and we’re still refining that sales playbook now, 14 years later.

Alex: That’s something I’d love to talk to you about because in our time at IVP we’ve seen a lot of great sales leaders, but yourself and Matt stand out as two of the best. What is the magic ingredient in the sales playbook or the sales engine that you’ve developed and used at first at BigMachines, then at SteelBrick, and now at G2?

Godard: I do think it all starts with authentically listening to the customer and really understanding what they need but then to make it scaleable. Now at G2, we have almost a hundred salespeople. What gets hard, even when Matt and I figured out how to sell, and our best sales reps can sell, but how do you get a one hundred or later a one thousand- person sales org to all sell the same way? It comes down to standardizing, so having your standard first vision call, your standard demo scripts, so they learn them by heart, and then they can listen, because they know their play, they know the play they’re going to run, they can listen and put in the context of the customer. We’re always working on more training, more teaching, more playbooks so that all our sales reps become as good as our best sales rep.

Alex: What do you look for when you’re hiring salespeople?

Godard: We like up-and-comers that we can teach. But ideally, they’ve spent three or four years selling something and frankly, sometimes it’s great if they sold something door-to-door. Ideally, something hard and then they appreciate selling enterprise software and they’re not afraid, and therefore not afraid of rejection and not afraid to pick up the phone and build a pipeline. Then we can teach them. We do also do aptitude testing because we sell sophisticated enterprise solutions and so we want to make sure they’re smart, and they can learn. But we find if they have that motivation to sell, they’ve done the door-to-door selling and they have the aptitude, then we can teach them, and they can learn our play playbooks, and they can become great enterprise sellers.

Alex: Tell us a little bit about what happened towards the end of the BigMachines story. How you ended up leaving BigMachines and what happened to the business after that?

Godard: BigMachines ultimately did start to grow well, and we got to the point that by 2011, where our angel investors, including John Sculley, had been in it for eleven years and so we wanted to offer everyone liquidity. We decided to do a growth recapitalization of the company, and we did that successfully. Vista Equity, JMI Equity, I think they invested $80 million in the company and offered all the shareholders liquidity. But there’s something a bit different about a majority sale of a company, and I worked for them for two quarters, and it was fine, but they wanted to set that strategy more. I love being an entrepreneur and being very creative, so I decided to step down. I left after about another year and then that’s when I paused and reflected. I should mention BigMachines went on and about a year later, it was acquired by Oracle because the company had tremendous momentum and so it was a great outcome financially, and it put us in a good place, and we learned a lot. Then took some time off after I stepped down as CEO of BigMachines and I paused to reflect, “Hey, what do I want to do with the rest of my life?” After not being an entrepreneur for a few months I started feeling depressed. I realized I missed it and I missed working with Matt and the rest of our team, so we decided to go and build another company.

Alex: That was G2 at that point.

Godard: That was G2. This was in 2012, and at the time Yelp was taking over the consumer review world, and we wanted to bring that same Yelp model to our industry. Because what we saw at BigMachines was all our customers were confused. They didn’t know what technology to buy, there wasn’t great peer advice out there, and we as consumers, we were buying everything on Amazon, based on reviews and we wanted to bring that same resource to our industry. We thought it would help business technology buyers make better decisions.

Alex: You were on the board of G2 for several years, but in the interim, you took a couple of years hiatus and partnered with Max Rudman at SteelBrick. Can you help us understand how you met Max? How that arrangement came to pass?

Godard: I remember meeting Max Rudman, the founder, and later CTO of SteelBrick at Dreamforce. I met him there for a couple of years, but it was in 2013 right after Oracle had bought BigMachines when he and I started talking. He had the smallest booth in the back of Dreamforce. We both saw an opportunity because BigMachines was being bought by Oracle. They were going to leave the Salesforce ecosystem, and we just thought there could be a need for this kind of CPQ technology. What I liked about what Max had built, was he built it for SMBs. His solution was much more out of the box, easier to deploy, faster CPQ. Where he was struggling, Max was a great technologist, but he did not know how to build a sales team. He didn’t know how to build a business around this technology, and that’s where we decided to partner, where Matt and I could come in, build a business, build a sales engine and Max could focus on the technology and the product. It did end up kind of as a marriage made in heaven.

Alex: That marriage made in heaven is a good analogy for a few situations in your career, whether it was a couple of acquisitions at SteelBrick or G2, one thing that’s admirable, is that you’ve taken some of these younger entrepreneurs under your wing and taught them how to build a business. Can you tell us about a little bit about how you did that at SteelBrick and G2?

Godard: Certainly, I think it’s a great partnership with Max. Then I had two work spouses, although Matt doesn’t like that joke! Matt was running sales and revenue, and Max was running the technology. I think together we were able to, within seven quarters, scale up the business from less than a million revenue to almost a $20 million run rate. Everything, it seemed just to work. I enjoyed that for Max, and it turned out very successfully for him. As you know, the company was acquired by Salesforce, and then I think he spent three very good years there and now he’s just leaving to be an entrepreneur again. What Max is excited about now, obviously he’s got the money, he’s got the experience, he’s got the track record, with this time I think he can build another company of his dreams and enabling that was exciting. We’ve done that more, there’s another entrepreneur Manoj who you might remember, and he had built a company called Invoice IT, and it was a very similar story. We wound up acquiring him at SteelBrick and bringing his billing product into the fold, and he had similar challenges. He hadn’t really built a scale company yet, didn’t know sales, didn’t know how to build a business and yet together, and as part of Salesforce, he learned that. Manoj just spent his three years at Salesforce, and now he’s off building another time and expense software company, and he’s also in a great position now you know with capital, experience, and track record. It has been fun to help other entrepreneurs to get to that level where they can now really build companies on their own.

Alex: How do you think about making acquisitions within a hyper-growth business like SteelBrick? What are some of the dos and don’ts for our listeners when making your first acquisition?

Godard: We did also just did another acquisition here at G2, as you know. We acquired Siftery and two very good founders, Vamshi and Ayan, with similar stories, two great technologists, great product but hadn’t yet built sales and scale and that’s probably the model that we do love. Number one, you know we only really want to get involved with a great product, a great technology that we love scaling. Also, we have to have like-minded entrepreneurs that also genuinely want help, that want help bringing their product to market, and so I think when we find that, and we find a good cultural fit then we believe it can work very well. Probably what’s a bit unique, is that we’re not buying revenue, but what we’re buying is technology and a great technical team that we can take to market faster. I think that with Siftery, we’re excited, as you know. We’re going to be turning that into our G2 buying solutions, which will help CFOs and CIOs. Now that is a technology we didn’t have, it was a team we didn’t have, and so I think now we’re much stronger going forward together.

Alex: That’s exciting. One question I have about SteelBrick is when IVP invested in the series C round, the company was growing very quickly. But when you got involved, it was a distant number two player to a larger company in the space. How did you think about that? How did you get comfortable that SteelBrick would eventually win this market?

Godard: Yeah. At the time, the company was called Apttus, and they were a much bigger CPQ player in the Salesforce ecosystem. I think the key for us was to pick a unique segment and Apttus had gone very much after a larger enterprise. They were doing very custom solutions whereas we said, “Hey let’s pick a different segment, and we focused on the high-growth, more tech startups here in the Valley. At the time I remember they were companies like Cloudera, they were an emerging big data software company, and they needed solutions, CPQ solution, coding solutions, that they could deploy in two weeks. Frankly, our competitor Apttus didn’t have that, and we thought “Hey there’d be a segment of thousands of companies we can serve that they can’t.” Ultimately, that proved to be true, and Salesforce wound up acquiring us because they saw the value in that, because Salesforce has almost 200,000 customers and they wanted scalable technology they could take to everyone, not just to a few large enterprise customers. It was scary, but I do think you know as an entrepreneur, if you pick a unique segment where you have a differentiated product then you can win, even when there’s a big incumbent that’s way ahead of you.

Alex: Tell us a little bit about how Salesforce happened, how the acquisition happened. It’s an interesting story.

Godard: I think Alex, to you and I at the time, it was a surprise, because you and Jules and IVP had just invested in SteelBrick in our Series C and we were excited to go and build a big public company together. The way it wound up happening is I had a meeting with Marc Benioff, a partnership discussion, at least that’s what I thought. We knew it was important to us that Marc understood why we were better than Apttus, what advantages we had, and we wanted to be the number one partner. I had a chance to go meet with Marc, and he has a home office in Seacliff, where he holds a lot of his meetings, and it was exciting to meet the man. I’ve admired Mark for many years, and I do very vividly remember, having to wait for him and he showed up a few minutes late. He has this big conference room he built inside his house that was overlooking Lands End, Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Ocean, so just an immaculate view and sitting across from him was kind of daunting.

Alex: I’m sure he made a convincing pitch for you to join Salesforce as well.

Godard: Yeah and I think what happened was I started going down my partner pitch and I got two slides into it, and then Marc said: “Hey, can you show me the demo?” And I was surprised because I had ten more beautiful slides to cover and I was like “Right now? He said, ” Yes, right now.” I walked him through the power of SteelBrick, all on Salesforce, quote-to-cash, and I think that maybe the demo was a little bit too good because at the end of the meeting he turned to John Somorjai and said to John, “Hey John what do you think we should do?” John’s like “I don’t know they’re a great partner” and then Mark said, “Oh, I think we should buy the company.”

Alex: In front of you?

Godard: Yeah, in front of me, and then he did spend- and don’t forget my reaction was “Oh, that’s very flattering you know, but we raised all this money we want to build a big company.” But ultimately, he convinced me, they wanted to be in our space, and we were a close partner, and he ultimately said: “Hey, I’d rather do this with you than against you.” We had a good ride. I mean I did feel like I learned a lot. A lot of it vicariously from Marc Benioff, now he’s built a $15 billion revenue company. Obviously, as an entrepreneur, it’s still an unfulfilled dream of mine to build a big public company as he has. So, we did learn a lot, and hopefully, now we can put all to good use with G2.

Alex: Right. You’re bringing a lot of those learnings into G2. Are there specific things that you, you admired about Salesforce that you’ve introduced into G2, now that you’ve joined the company?

Godard: I mean there are many things I’ve learned from Marc Benioff and Salesforce. But I think two stand out. One is his vehicle for alignment which he calls a V2MOM, and I think the other one is also the embedded philanthropy. The 1-1-1 model which we’re now putting to use with G2 Gives. Now at G2, we are going through a hyper-growth phase, and I’m just reading the book Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman where he describes many companies that have gone through hyper-growth and many of those challenges. I think one of the key things is keeping alignment with the V2MOM. What we do is we define our vision, our values, what methods we’re going to use to achieve our vision, as well as explicitly talk about obstacles, and finally how we’re going to measure it, and now that’s something we define for G2 at the company level. But also have each leader do it, Matt does it for sales, Tim does it for the product team, so we all make sure we’re very well aligned, and we stay aligned, and that’s especially important as you’re going through growth.

Alex: That’s a fantastic framework to use. What excited you about G2 to come back to the company? What are some of the things that you think are exciting about the opportunity in front of G2?

Godard: I think I’m so excited because it is driving what many people are calling the fourth industrial revolution or digital transformation. A great quote from Marc Andreessen is “Software is Eating the World.” It’s certainly true in the business world; everything is being automated. Which is both a tremendous threat and opportunity for companies and companies need help to transform digitally. They have to pick the right technologies. There’ve been some interesting studies lately by Netscope. The average business is now running 1,250 different applications. And so, it’s daunting as a business person and marketing alone there are 5000 different martech applications. If you’re the CMO, which of those five thousand marketing applications do you pick? That’s where we see G2 playing a huge role by providing unique peer advice in real time. We can give marketers much better guidance frankly than any of the traditional information sources. There are analysts out there like Gardner, Forrester. They’re still out there but they use the Legacy Publishing Model, it takes them two years to update reports, to publish them and that can’t keep up with the pace of technology. We want to be that trusted source at G2 that helps every business professional in the world make better technology decisions in real time.

Alex: One thing that was interesting when we started to talk with you about G2 Crowd is the way that software is purchased today has changed. It’s gone from centralized IT buyer to the business users purchasing and making decisions around what tools they use in their business. What are you doing to capitalize on that trend within G2 from a product roadmap perspective?

Godard: Yeah, I think Alex you’re right. I mean it is now the business buyer and certainly in sales, buying Salesforce it’s a sales team, it’s sales ops and marketing, it’s marketing, it’s marketing ops. And I think that’s why we build it as a consumer purchasing model because the business buyer frankly, they’re not even Gartner clients. That was more the CIO. Then I think our other bet is millennials, your generation. They buy everything online, and so we’re trying to make it like shopping on Amazon or doing research on Yelp, and we’re bringing that paradigm to the business world, and I think it’s starting to work. We’re even seeing more and more business users now researching on mobile, and so we’re just providing a very intuitive mobile interface to discover and then manage and buy the apps right on G2. It’s a very exciting time for us.

Alex: One thing that’s unique about G2 and all the companies that you’ve been involved with is the culture is strong within the company. I remember at our last board meeting you laid out our values as a company which isn’t that common. How do you set, maintain, and develop a culture in a company that’s experiencing hyper-growth like G2?

Godard: At G2, we are scaling very fast, and we are putting more emphasis than ever on our culture. We did talk about it as a board also how it’s very core to our brand as well. We have defined what we’re calling our PEAK culture at G2. “P” stands for our core value of Performance and that’s where everything has to start. We all have to do our job. The E is the Entrepreneurial Spirit, to ensure as we get bigger that we all keep the innovation of entrepreneurs. We keep looking to make everything in the company better every day. And then the A is Authenticity, and our mantra at G2 is Buyer First. We’re not going to put any fake content; all the reviews are real. We make sure they are one hundred percent trusted and are real users. All our content is authentic but also how we communicate with each other. We have another mantra called Discourse that we expect our team to disagree and ultimately align, but Authenticity is really important to us. Finally, the K is the kindness, and that’s doing everything with heart, and it is challenging when you’re in a hyper-growth, and we are so committed to performance entrepreneurship, to balance that with authenticity and kindness. We think that’s the magic of G2, is that we can do both. We can be loving and kind, and at the same time we can perform, and that really creates the kind of company that I want to be a part of, that the team wants to be a part of, our customers, our investors, and so I think that’s the magic at the core of G2.

Alex: I’ve heard you describe it as an entrepreneurial family before. What does that mean to you?

Godard: We have become a family. We talked earlier about Matt Gorniak, my Head of Sales. We’ve worked together now for 15 years and many of our team members, Tim Handorf another Co-Founder of G2, we’ve worked together since 2000. He was there the first year of BigMachines, and so we do know each other like family. I think a difference to your Thanksgiving family, is it is based on performance. Everyone has to do their job because we trust and rely on each other for our careers. Once we have that trust, there’s tremendous loyalty, and that does allow, I think people to be authentic, to be kind, while they’re performing. I think it all comes together, and it makes recruiting very easy, and you probably remember at SteelBrick we brought over 100 people from BigMachines, and now at G2 we probably have already 50 entrepreneurial family members, but we also like to keep growing the family. Now we’ve hired hundreds of new people and young people with a lot of potential, and then they learn the culture, and ultimately our goal is they become part of the family as well.

Alex: Hiring is an important topic for founders in the Valley, and outside of the Valley. Any sort of pro-tips that you have hiring great people to your company?

Godard: I do think to build your own entrepreneurial family. Even if you haven’t been an entrepreneur, getting to know people wherever you’re working, maybe at Salesforce or Google, but building trusted relationship with your peers and not just professionally, but personally, that’s going to give you the foundation to then build your team. I think to go through recruiters, as you know is a crapshoot. I think to be able to hire through your network by having great relationships, having a great network and a great personal reputation, I think is probably the most important competitive advantage you can have as an entrepreneur today.

Alex: Going back to G2, where do you hope G2 will be in 10 years? If you had to look out that far, what is your goal?

Godard: I want G2 to be a big meaningful public company, and I’ve promised you Alex, Jules, and IVP that this time we really will ring the bell. I’m counting on being there, certainly, in the next few years.

Alex: Some entrepreneurs recently have shied away from becoming public, staying private longer. Why is it a goal for you? Why do you want to do that?

Godard: I do think ultimately, it’s a big milestone, and I do think it’s a great way to offer liquidity to all your employees that do the hard work, to your shareholders and to be able to access new capital to be able to keep growing. I’ve seen Salesforce Marc Benioff do this where now they can invest $7 billion to buy a company like MuleSoft and I think that kind of capital is only available to you if you’re a public company.

Alex: I have one more question, which is more on a personal level. One thing I’ve always really admired about you is you care deeply about your work, but you also maintain a balance between your professional and personal life. Any tips for doing that as a founder, which is an extremely time-consuming and demanding career?

Godard: Yeah and it did take me a few years to learn. My first few years as a founder of BigMachines were filled with anxiety but I’ve started working on my consciousness, and I got a conscious leadership coach, and now at G2 we have a conscious leadership coach that works with the whole team and me. So, I think finding consciousness, presence in the midst of struggle and anxiety for me has been the key to finding peace and joy while doing tremendous work.

Alex: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today Godard. Your story is remarkable and an inspiration to founders on their entrepreneurial journey. Every time we speak, I come away feeling energized. I think our listeners will feel the same.

Godard: Thank you, Alex. Great to be here with you.

Narrator: Thank you for listening to IVP’s Hyper-Growth Podcast. You can learn more about us on IVP.com or join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting @IVP.