Olson, Pendo’s CEO, was alongside Governor Cooper for that announcement. Two days later, he was at the Raleigh Chamber, sharing his insight at Coffee with Todd Olson.
“At my core, I’m a product person,” said Olson. “I roll up my sleeves and talk with my customers about how we can help them.”
He shared his entrepreneurial story and offered advice to the audience members.
“As an entrepreneur, start with something that you have firsthand experience in,” said Olson.
Olson’s first venture-backed startup closed during the dotcom era. His second startup was sold to Rally Software, where Olson stayed on as vice president of products during its IPO. He then founded Pendo with fellow product leaders and technologists from Cisco, Google, and Red Hat in Oct. 2013.
“As an entrepreneur, never let people tell you what’s possible or impossible,” said Olson.
He reflected on the early days of Pendo.
“A lot of our success is based on the fact that I first got to iterate our pitch, our marketing, and I got to figure out what the customers needed,” said Olson.
He discussed the importance of having an integrated work-life experience for Pendo’s employees. “It’s not just having those values, it’s living those values,” said Olson.
LinkedIn named Pendo a Top 50 U.S. Startup in 2017 and Inc. named it a Best Workplace in 2018.
“Our people are absolutely critical to our success,” he said. “We set goals every single quarter. Every quarter, we go through our goals and set new goals for the next quarter.”
As for the jobs and the interest in employment with his company, Olson said Pendo is receiving about 5,000 job applications each quarter. But, Olson said he always wonders about the people who don’t apply and whether they would be a perfect fit at Pendo.
We want to thank Olson for taking time out of his busy schedule to share his insight with us at Coffee with Leaders. Also, thank you to Duck Donuts and Duke Energy for sponsoring this series!
Our next Coffee with Leaders will be on Jan. 24 where we will host Coffee with Female Small Business Leaders. You will hear from three women whose companies were founded in the Triangle and continue to grow:
- Jenny Bonchak, founder, Slingshot Coffee Co.
- Harriet Mills, founder and CEO, Wine & Design
- Nicole Oxendine, owner and director, Empower Dance Studio
Coffee with Leaders is meant for companies with 50 employees or fewer. Space is limited.
We hope to see you on Jan. 24.