Effective Team Management at a Busy Software Company

In this episode of Business Systems Explored, we talk to Nathan Kontny the CEO of CRM platform Highrise.


Since becoming CEO of Highrise almost overnight in 2014, Nathan Kontny went from being thrown in the deep end to getting to work in the space of one day. Since then, he’s been getting to grips with the processes in place for shipping software, managing projects, overseeing developers and getting the best out of his new team.

Find out how to adjust to becoming a CEO, and learn team management practices from a true expert.

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Quote to Tweet

“If you can’t empathize with your customers, you’re never going to do your best work.” (click to tweet)

Show notes

  • How Nathan came to be the CEO of Highrise (and started coding the same day he signed the contract)
  • Figuring out exactly what people don’t like about a platform
  • What to do when everyone mistakenly thinks your company is shutting down
  • Adjusting instantly to being a CEO
  • Why you need to build software for yourself and solve your own problems with it
  • How to avoid interruptions when transitioning team leadership
  • Making your first hire when you take over a company
  • Owning customer support at a SaaS company
  • Analyzing customer support tickets for customer feedback
  • Adapting your own tool for internal use
  • Fixing it when there’s a lack of momentum in your product
  • Using a ‘train schedule’ to ship code faster
  • Implementing a train schedule for effective product marketing
  • Why Nathan sends a newsletter every three weeks
  • Why you need to question it when projects take longer than one week
  • The key metrics to pay attention to when you’re sending newsletters
  • One bad day to send newsletters on
  • Delaying your feature announcements in accordance to the news cycle
  • Writing feature announcement subject lines (and the best one Nathan’s tested)
  • An effective call to action to leave at the end of your feature announcement
  • Why you should grow your startup team slowly
  • The systems Nathan uses to manage his workflow and systems
  • Managing deadlines with Trello boards
  • The best video conferencing tools for calls of 10 or more
  • The arguments against daily and weekly standup meetings
  • Using Slack integrations to save time instead of building native software
  • Using Zapier to make a better Slack/Twitter integration
  • The best tool to track mentions and backlinks
  • Managing customer support over Twitter and Slack
  • Using a solid onboarding process to get a new hire up to speed quickly
  • Training all new employees with customer support
  • Chopping bits out of the new feature so you can hit the solid deadline
  • Automating recurring task reminders to get stuff done
  • Adding personality to your feature announcements
  • Experimenting with making credit cards required for free trials
  • Why you should do customer support over the phone (and why it’s scary)
  • Making big changes to established products … and surviving

Show links



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Vinay Patankar

CEO and Co-Founder of Process Street. Sign-up for his free systems masterclass or find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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