DevReady PodcastDelivering Value with Technology – Episode 94 – DevReady Podcast

For this episode of the DevReady Podcast, our hosts Andrew Romeo and Anthony Sapountzis welcome Stewart Marshall, Senior IT Executive, SaaS and Commercial Software Advisor, Best Selling Author. Stewart talks about what drives him and how he wants to help purposeful businesses yield better outcomes. He also talks about his upcoming book, Kick Some SaaS: The leader’s guide to purposeful software and global impact.

A third-time guest to the podcast, Mr. SaaS thinks that the industry is seeing interesting changes and a difference in the world can be made with software. He calls software the great leveler and says that everyone has an equal opportunity to make the world a better place.

Saying that there are 1000s of similar software in the marketplace with 90% of overlapping features, he emphasizes the increasing need for businesses to create value. Drawing parallels with the chicken story, he says that there are two ways a chicken can go about the business of laying eggs:

  • The first type of chicken is the outdoor, free-range chicken. This chicken goes out and about, scratches around the yard, eats bugs, and has a great time doing what it does. And then, when all is done, it lays an egg happily. 
  • The second type of chicken sits around in crates inside a coop. It doesn’t have much to do and doesn’t have a great time. Nevertheless, it still lays an egg. 

But chickens don’t have a choice. They have to live the life that is conditioned for them. Things are different when it comes to people. As Stewart says, “If we’re giving our team members a poor environment and poor tools to work with, then they are not going to stick around. They are going to leave. They will go and find somewhere better to apply their trade.” This is as true as it gets. People are not chicken, and good people will move to places with better opportunities. And the ones that are left behind are neither that good, nor happy about their inability to leave. They are stuck using the same crappy tools in an environment that is not fun for them and that eventually drops not just their morale but also productivity and efficiency.

Stewart furthers how the cost of replacement of a team member is substantial and when we start looking at value, the numbers add up, extraordinarily. He adds that there is a need for businesses to understand the value that they provide. Not only does the value need to be understood and calculated by the vendor, but it also needs to be communicated to the customers. Stewart cautions businesses against underselling themselves.  

Stewart looks forward to working with purposeful businesses that can impact. He says it is important to start looking at services that can be wrapped around the technology so that the impact of scale can be achieved through the implementation of services. As a kid who wanted to grow up and become a teacher, Stewart believes in what he does and wants to share what he knows with other people. And his upcoming book, he underlines, is intended towards doing just that. 

Topics Covered
•    Delivering better value
•    The chicken and team member analogy
•    Articulating value as a vendor
•    Calculating and communicating value to customers
•    Undercutting in SaaS
•    Understanding the outcome

Key Quotes (Time Stamps)

  • “Everybody with a CRM is solving the same problem and solving it for the same people, or they are niching on a particular vertical. So, the way we can get a new perspective on what we do is clearly identify the value that we deliver.” (6:07 – 6:27)
  • “Now, what’s notable about chickens is that they don’t have a choice. The chicken…It sucks to be a chicken, right? Team members do. So, if we’re giving our team members a poor environment and poor tools to work with, then they are not going to stick around. They are going to leave. They are going to go and find somewhere better to apply their trade.” (8:14 – 8:37) 
  • “The reality of it is that it is the good people that leave. Because the good people find it easier to get a new job.” (8:39 – 8:45)
  • “If we have to replace a team member, depending on whom you ask, it’s somewhere between a 150 and 250 percent of remuneration to replace someone. So, it’s a very expensive business losing people.” (9:19 – 9:30)
  • “When we start looking at value, the numbers add up, extraordinarily.” (11:56 – 12:00)
  • “And I can’t think of a greater way to lose money than to believe what anybody else is saying.” (13:02 – 13:07) 
  • “We have to be really careful not to undersell ourselves. And it’s a common problem because we do. We don’t value our own value. We don’t estimate it properly” (17:02 – 17:15)
  • “Undercutting is the race to the bottom, and there’s only ever one winner in the race to the bottom, which is the guy who gets your customers for free when you go out of business. So, the race to the bottom is something we should try to avoid.” (18: 25 – 18:39) 
  • “For whatever reason, I am a natural educator. I want to give information. I want to share what I know with people. As a kid, I wanted to be a teacher.” (39:04 – 39:16) 
  • “Software is a great leveler, and we can all be involved. We can all make a difference.” (50:28 – 50:33)

Time Stamps
•    Delivering better value (5:38 – 6:27)
•    The chicken story (6:58 – 8:37)
•    What happens when good people leave? (8:39 – 9:47)
•    Articulating value as a vendor (12:30 – 13:46)
•    Calculating and communicating value to customers (13:47 – 17:15)
•    Understanding the value of your business (28:15 – 30:31)

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