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Consolidating Your Tech Stack

with Ryan Neu, CEO & Co-Founder, Vendr

Consolidating your tech stack is a challenge these days. The SaaS competition is intense, you’re never sure what you’re going to get, and the power dynamic between sellers and buyers isn’t what it used to be.

“There's a very real shift happening. Buyers of software have a lot of leverage—and with a lot of leverage, it’s really up to you to say what you’re willing to pay. It used to be a couple of years where we saw sellers holding firm and buyers [saying], ‘Okay, I’ve got all this cash. I’m going to spend it.’ But now, it’s more like, ‘I don’t have all this cash.’ So, now we’re really seeing buyers tell their suppliers more, ‘Take it or leave it,’ says Ryan Neu, Co-founder & CEO of Vendr.

Optimized-Ryan Neu_1_1 Audiogram

In our first live LEARN episode, Ryan joins Ted at our LEARN Virtual Event to talk all about consolidating your tech stack as a learning professional. They touch on the ins and outs of getting buy-in from your CFO and understanding how to reach a win-win scenario, whether you’re a buyer or a supplier.

In this episode, you'll gain insights into:

  • Speaking the language of the CFO to helps justify expanding your tech stack
  • Finding leverage in today’s market is essential for suppliers to survive
  • Understanding the motivations that drive a salesperson’s actions allows you to negotiate better
  • Tune in on your go-to podcast app to understand how to elevate your company’s compensation programs to retain top talent.

Listen on your favorite podcast app to learn more and achieve greater ROI on the platforms you invest in.

Timestamps

[08:52] Consolidating tech stacks

[12:18] Justifying investing in new tech

[17:48] Hot take on buying services

[22:21] Advising clients on purchasing new tech

[24:49] Making win-win Vendr partnerships

[29:39] LEARN Rapid-fire round

Transcript

Ryan: Right now, I actually think there's a very real shift happening. In that buyer of software has a lot of leverage, and with a lot of leverage, it's really up to you to say what you're willing to pay,

so it used to be a couple of years ago where we saw sellers like they were holding firm and buyers are like, okay, you know, I've got all this cash. I'm going to spend it, but now it's like, I don't have all this cash. And so now we're really seeing buyers, really tell their suppliers more like, take it or leave it.

For existing contracts and for new spend, they're doing competitive evaluations because they know when you have a true competitive evaluation, that's real leverage.

Ted: Hi, I'm Ted Blosser, CEO and co founder of WorkRamp, where we're redefining the corporate learning space with the world's first all in one learning cloud for employee and customer learning. Welcome to the Learn Podcast, where we learn from the biggest leaders in SaaS and hear what makes them successful.

Hope you enjoy the show.

Hey, what's up everybody. Hey, Ryan, how you doing?

Ryan: What's going on, Ted?

Ted: this is our first ever live recorded episode. So you get to do a first here. for those of you who don't know about the LEARN podcast, we started this about six months ago.

We're about 20 episodes in. What we do is we interview top leaders and SaaS. We've had, The CEOs of Degree, Dialpad, CPOs of, Lattice, Airtable on as well. And then, today we're going to have Ryan, a unicorn founder of a company called Vendr, also known as the Vendr Intelligence Platform, VIP. Love that acronym, Ryan, but thanks so much for joining us here.

On this first-ever live recording,

Ryan: no pressure. I'm pumped to be here. I hope the conference is going great. And yeah, I'm excited. Let's riff is deeply on SaaS as you want to go. You know, I

Ted: had to deep in preparation for this, episode to do some digging deep into the archives actually looked at our first email to each other was back in 2018.

The email address was Ryan at purchase. tech. I'm glad you bought Vendr. I don't want to ask how much that was, or maybe it's like nine, nine, yeah. would you buy that for?

Ryan: Oh, nothing is off-limits here, by the way. So the company name was originally purchase. I was really proud. I was like, it's a great name purchase.

And I can tell you more about like what Vendr, like why that really resonates with me. But, it was purchased, but of course I couldn't get purchase. com. And I couldn't get purchase. co or purchase. ai or whatever. I got purchase. And I was like, wow, that'll do, but everyone will just know it's purchase.

But then everyone called it Purchase Tech. I'm like, no, it's purchase. They're like, oh yeah, but you're the founder of Purchase Tech. I'm like, no. So if there's anyone in the audience that has seen the movie Office Space. This is literally why I changed the company name because like in office space, it's called in attack and it's like the most boring, terrible company.

And like everyone was calling my company purchase tech. I was like, we got to blow this whole thing up. And I switched it to Vendr, but, Vendr.com is taken and we ended up getting Vendr. co. but then on all of our swag t-shirts, I'm a big swag person rocking the Vendr hat. And, we always had to write Vendr.

So people knew the URL. I was like, Oh, that's not it either. And in 2019, we were going through Y Combinator. And,I asked, one of the group partners who will go unnamed. I said, I found out that I could buy Vendr.com. For 15, 000 and they were like, don't do it. you're not going to get any SEO value from it because vendors misspelled it's VENDR, you know, not with the O.

And I was like, I'm still going to do it. So we bought it for 15 grand and I am so happy. I spent that 15, 000 because now we have the. com I just get to rock. The Vendr on the swag. And here we are.

Ted: just a lot of people don't know. WorkRamp was actually bulletin-board.

io was her first name. And no one could, I was sitting in front of a customer and they like be typing in the domain name. Couldn't spell it right. there's a customer who's Googling bulletin board, how to spell it just to get into the domain. So, all right, with that said, I want to just kick off with, give us a background.

On Vendr, what it does, and maybe just a quick elevator pitch on yourself too, before we jump into the core conversation

Ryan: for sure. So, first of all, I'm based out of Boston, born in Michigan. If I go all the way back, raised in Ohio, but I've been in Boston since 2007. And, when I first graduated school, I was a public accountant.

So I worked at KPMG for a. About three years and, I was like a terrible public accountant. I didn't like it. I wasn't good at it. I wasn't energized. in 2010. I ended up hitting a point where I was like, you know what, I'm just going to go find a sales job.

And I'm going to do something totally different than accounting, but no one wanted to hire me as a salesperson because I was an accountant. And so I finally convinced a young startup to take a shot on me. And that startup, is called Level Up, which they ended up getting acquired by Grubhub a few years ago.

That was my first entrance in sales. And I just fell in love with it. The moment I started selling, I just felt I knew how to do it. that moment of like, when I started as an accountant, I had no idea what to do, even though I was like a trained accountant. When I started selling, I was like, I get this.

so I did, sales for awhile, ended up starting at HubSpot when HubSpot as a salesperson when they were. About 200 people, stayed there for six years through IPO and got to see that whole wild ride, which was a ton of fun, got into sales leadership, and then eventually hit this point where, I knew deep down in my heart, I wanted to be a founder.

I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to pursue the dream of entrepreneurship. And in 2018, I started Vendr. so sales background and the whole idea Vendr came about from my experience as a salesperson, where I just remember like selling a great product like HubSpot and I sold other SaaS products to these amazing products, yet I found it so hard to sell the product.

What I mean by that is like, it would take me like 50 days to convince someone to buy HubSpot for like 10, 000. why is that hard to sell this amazing product? And as I was selling it, the people I was selling to, they would like not believe me that the price I was telling them is the real price.

And so there was like this. Inherent lack of trust between buyer and seller that always made me feel strange, even if I was being like authentic. And as I grew in my career, I then became a buyer of software. And as a buyer of software, I started to see it from the other side where I was like, gosh, this stinks.

Like I don't trust the price I'm getting from the salesperson because the price is like changing. it's end of month or end of quarter, all of a sudden the price is lower. And then if I don't buy the price is higher. And like, what is going on here? So that was this concept of Vendr, which is like buying and selling software should not be this hard.

If you have a great, incredible product, it should sell itself. If you have a big need, you should buy something to solve that need. Like that's it. so 2018, I've dedicated now my life, professionally to solving this problem, which is bringing trust and transparency to sales, to become the place where people can transact with confidence and for software specifically.

so we're about five years into our journey and, now on our platform, we've transacted, just north, I believe of three and a half billion dollars of software. So we're now one of the world's largest buyers of software and people come to Vendr because they want to get great products and they want to pay a fair price.

And they don't want to get ripped off, which shouldn't be that surprising. And then sellers come to our platform because they would also love to earn quality customers with lower friction costs and with more trust and transparency delivered to them as well. And so we're creating a platform where it's a win-win for both buyer and seller.

Ted: Well, I will guarantee you today, we will not test you on your gap accounting principles, probably, you know, my wife's an accountant. And so I hear about them every once a while, but we will not quiz you on that, but that's such a cool journey. And I think what you do is super applicable for our whole audience right now.

We have an audience. We were talking backstage of members that are in L and D, they're in revenue enablement, they're in customer education, and they all have very complex buying needs. Like they're all either refreshing their technology stacks or looking at new investments. And so what I thought we could do in our conversation was to help educate, help Our audience learn about, Hey, what do we need to know in terms of building a great technology stack to essentially amplify what we're doing as learning professionals?

And so what I wanted to do in today's podcast is go through a few key topics that you can maybe shed some light on so that we can all walk away knowing a little bit more on how we should approach. The technology that we're looking at, potentially procuring in the future. So, okay, first big topic.

So we were just talking about this earlier is that this morning we announced our, major new products in our learning cloud suite. So our fourth and fifth product, a CMS product for employee learning cloud communities product for our customer learning cloud. The big reason we, and I pen to post on this.

on LinkedIn just now is the big reason we were thinking about it is because we see this macro level trend in consolidation. Like there's, I think, 30, SAS applications in the world, 15, 000 in North America. So the question I want to throw back at you is what are you seeing and what are you recommending when it comes to consolidating?

Ryan: so we publish a quarterly trends report and it's free. And if you go on Vendr. com,you'll find it. I think it's at the top of our website at the moment. We just did our Q3 trends report and consolidation is like one of the number one things we're not only predicting right now, but we predicted at the beginning of the year, but now we're also seeing it happen.

Think it's happening from a couple of angles. Number one is, the CFO is absolutely getting involved in every buying decision, if you want something, you've got to go justify to the CFO and she gets to say, we're going to do that or we're not going to do it.

So I think there's this added pressure from top down saying, do more with less. And when you're forced to do more or less, I think the first place you look at the providers that you're currently leveraging. so I think there's this top down of like, do you really need to add something to the stack?

something costs 10 grand or 20 grand or 50 grand, whatever, it's not just that. There's other costs associated with it. There's know, the cost to administer someone has to, use this,change management, the chaos, like that product comes up for renewal every year.

If it's 10 grand today, does it become 20 grand three years from now? Well, PLG usually does. So, so CFOs know that's what happens every time something goes into the stack. So we're seeing pushback there, but I think what's also equally interesting is that what's happening from the supplier side. I think what you just said.

Is happening everywhere, which is great products that started as like, great single use case products are becoming platforms. And so rapidly we're just seeing suppliers. we call it buy side and sell side. When I say supplier, the person supplying a SaaS product to the buyer of software, suppliers are basically saying like, it's harder to sell net new right now, but it's easier. To get our customers to use more from us. I think there's like a priority shift happening, where we're looking at other use cases that we can take on.

And so we're finding this movement to, like incumbents focusing on new categories and then the most important things that feature set must offer they're doing.

And they're not doing the bells and whistles. so we think this trend is like here to stay. And the hot take is like, We're all going to become. Competitive with our peers, like that's just what's happening. And you see it like in like what was happening on the sales stack, you know, where you have gone and used to be gone in course, which is now gone in zoom info, but now it's gone in zoom info and sales loft and outreaching Clary.

I mean, they're all combining into this. Where I don't know if it's a winner take all, but I think there's going to be a very real advantage for, the platform play versus the nice to have.

Ted: I think that's spot on. And what I wanted to ask you next is if you think about. the ability to justify purchases.

I think when you look at a tech stack, a modern tech stack today, there's a few products where everyone's says, Hey, these are no brainers, the HRS, the CRM. It's just like, Hey, you don't even need to, to have justification for that. But there's this long tail of software and I'll be the first to admit learning technology is probably in that long tail.

Of solutions where it's like, Hey, I need to go a business case for this. I need to present to the CFO, like you were mentioning earlier. And so the question I want to ask, and this could help the whole audience is how do we go get that justification for the, let's call it the two or three vendors or just the no brainers.

Everything else. So there's someone here in the crowd who wants to go get justification for that new piece of what's called learning technology that they want to go get justification for. What's your best recommendation on how to go do that?

Ryan: one, I if you really want to buy something, it is the salesperson's job to help you convince your boss to get this approved.

And the number one thing I would ask for is like, how do you attach the thing you want to buy? How do you attach it to a business outcome? And I actually think there's a very real case, like using learning and development as an example. I think there's a very real story here to get this approved.

Companies right now, companies are doing layoffs and a lot of companies are, they're doing hiring freezes, which means we are expecting. More out of each individual employee, like that's the outcome that we're attempting to get from each individual employee. Well, how do we get it?

It means we have to upskill them and make them more efficient.

if you focus on the outcome, right, and L and D,if our platform can make every individual employee 20 percent more effective, what is the business outcome that that would drive?

It would be very, very meaningful. And if you can, when you're speaking to your CFO and you really need to get something improved, if you can speak in their language, What we're seeing in Vendr’s community right now is those purchases are getting and one of the best ways to do it is to come with a true ROI, but there's more to it than just having an ROI.

That sounds basic. Like, if you can prove a return on the investment, that's step 1. In order to actually get the purchase proof, you actually now have to really showcase more of like a five X ROI because every employer right now that's attempting to buy something at their company, they're saying there's a return on the investment.

So the CFO is like, if there's a return on every investment here, I now need to prioritize. The biggest investments. And so if you can actually get the salesperson to prove to you why their platform is like a 5 to 7 X ROI, that usually gets the CFO interested to actually prioritize that purchase.

But if you're stuck in the one to three layer, you're toast because there's other products that other people want to buy. That produce a bigger, a greater ROI. And so anyways, a lot of can and should be done through the salesperson. And then for you, when you're armed with that, taking that to your CFO or whoever that person is of authority for budget and speaking their language.

People are still buying stuff, right? What we keep saying is like, SaaS is still open for business. However, it's down 37 percent year over year, right? So net new volume on Vendr’s platform, like our customers are buying fewer things, which just means it's increasingly competitive in order to get your personal.

Purchase, you know, approved.

Ted: Everyone. We're in the middle of our first-ever live podcast with Ryan Neu, CEO at Vendr. One of the topics we're talking about is tech consolidation. If you're looking to consolidate your learning tech stack, look no further than WorkRamp.

WorkRamp is the learning cloud that allows you to consolidate your employee and your customer learning needs. Check us out at workramp.com to learn more. Now back to the show.

have you seen any really good justification slides, or the way people have structured these presentations to CFOs that you would give recommendations on? So, for example, are you seeing like a very deep analysis to prove ROI?

5 to 6 times ROI? Or are you seeing. different versions of that, in terms of the best justification, presentations you've seen back to CFOs.

Ryan: we're actually building a free tool for that, like a business case generator, because like, we know what leads to getting a purchase approved or not approved.

And so as part of, like, again, trying to eliminate friction from sales means we need to make it so damn easy for software buyers to get the products they need to do their jobs. So we're actually going to like launch something. Within the next week or two. So I'd be happy to like send it around and like get some feedback on it.

But the whole point is like speak the language of the CFO and understand intimately of the business outcome that that product can deliver or is anticipated to deliver and better yet. How you plan to hold the supplier accountable, because if the CFO knows that, like, this is the anticipated ROI, it doesn't actually mean that it's going to happen.

So how are you taking ownership over the success of that application that goes along? You

Ted: know, I love it to getting it neutral source, From a vendor, it's going to be helpful, but obviously it's going to be slanted a little bit towards, making their product look great, but having a neutral, business justification doc that everyone can use could be extremely immense.

So you send that to us. We'll definitely send it around, even, uh, share it with our customers too. So we talked about consolidation. Justification. One topic I want to bring up next is this concept of services, actually, and I think it's really applicable to the audience here today because we're all being asked to do more with less like we are.

Teams are probably half the size that they used to be. And a lot of customers. I thought they're like, look, I'm an army of one or we're now an army of three down from 10. And it's really tempting. To say, Hey, should we buy services alongside the technology purchase and, uh, you and I, as founders, we even know that, Hey, services revenue is actually really helpful.

It has a really good long-term effect for the business. And a lot of people might not know, but Vendr has a very big services arm, for procurement,as a service. give us your hot take on should. people here in the audience look very seriously at services. And again, back to that justification, you have to ask for even more dollars.

If that's the case again, it's one time or maybe a couple of times. should they ask for it?

Ryan: so, so Vendrs started 100 percent as a service. And in 2018, it was just me when I started the company. And,we called it like the category negotiation as a service. We're basically like, we will negotiate SAS contracts on your behalf.

That the simplest form of the idea. Why would you want us to do it for you? Because it's all we do and we buy a lot of software. So we learn the tips and tricks. We play the game and we'll help you save money. That was the idea of Vendr like the starting idea, but the mission of Vendr remembers to fix sales.

And so the mission of Vendr is not to become a service to do negotiations. It's actually a means to an end for us and it's a means to an end. To collect the data. So we understand what is a fair price for a specific software product. What is the right tool for a specific company based on this massive data set?

So that eventually we are just the platform to make your purchasing decisions. how I've always thought about services, uh, it actually goes back to, a Y Combinator lesson of, know, do things that don't scale. And that was services for us where I actually view it as research and development.

And so our services arm is really building up its R and D to enable us to eventually accomplish our mission and be the platform to buy and sell software. it's also incredibly hard to scale services. I mean, scaling services, like I found it. So easy in the early days of Vendr to deliver customer delight when it was just me, and then when it was just a really small team, but as your company gets bigger, your customer needs start to diversify.

That's where the real challenges start to happen. And if I look back in time, I would have said no to a heck of a lot more because if a customer is a bespoke need and you say yes. You wake up and you're doing things a million different ways. And so of course, service quality will come down, if you're rigid for the customer's best interest in mind, services can scale very well.

And so a couple of years ago, we learned that the hard way and then had to come, you know, rebound from it.And, you know, we're stronger for it now, but I really I knew that when I first started the And then in terms of like using services. that's an interesting one. I think in certain circumstances, it works in many.

It doesn't because Vendr cares tremendously about saving money for our customers. And so when we work with the customer, we care so much about that. However, we don't actually work. at that company. So it means we don't have all of the unique advantages like being, friends with the person who approves software contract and finance or legal or security.

So actually, there's friction costs associated with being a service on the outside. And that friction cost I think is very real. if you're looking for services to do things, you don't foresee a lot of friction costs for great, but if it's like critical infrastructure, That's where you really have to make sure that that service organization.is one scalable to you're buying people you're paying for people as you've got to really, you know, gauge the quality and for vendors specifically, that's why we've spent all of this time and energy automating every single thing that can be automated, should be automated and is automated so that we started as a service, but now how our customers look at us as a platform.

And so for us, it was really just like the building blocks to get to platform versus. Starting a service to become the best service in the world. That was never what we set up to be.

Ted: When you think about it from let's say the customer shoes for anybody kind of listening, um, do you have any benchmarks or rules of thumb that you advise your clients on?

For example, like, Hey, you shouldn't spend more than X percent of what you're spending on the technology. Or do you feel like it's all circumstantial? I don't know if you give suggestions out to customers on Hey, should we attach services onto the technology purchases? Thank

Ryan: I don't have a specific benchmark.

I mean, I will say just like from a negotiation perspective, it's kind of funny to me how, like, onboarding fees are always like. tell the supplier, you're not going to pay for an onboarding fee and see what happens. It's going to go away. Most likely services fees are a little bit different because if there's like a true service costs to run your platform, you know, that's real.

We tend to see from a negotiation perspective, SAS companies are unwilling to negotiate on true service costs because they're typically running that. based on the gross margin profile, they're running that from an operating margin perspective at like neutral. So they're not making money off of that.

They're making a bunch of money on SAS because the gross margins are so much healthier. That's really what's tends to be highly negotiable. And, right now, I actually think there's a very real shift happening. In that buyer of software has a lot of leverage and with a lot of leverage, it's really up to you to say what you're willing to pay,

so it used to be a couple of years ago where we saw sellers, like they were holding firm and buyers are like, okay, you know, I've got all this cash. I'm going to spend it, but now it's like, I don't have all this cash. And so now we're really seeing buyers, really tell their suppliers more like, take it or leave it.

For existing contracts and for new spend, they're doing competitive evaluations because they know when you have a true competitive evaluation, that's real leverage. And so let's actually identify the best providers in revenue enablement. Let's identify the top 3 and let's ask those suppliers to earn our business.

That's the shift that's happening now. So truly less about a game or a negotiation and much more about genuine leverage, which I think for, you know, as a time to, as a buyer of software, it's a good time from a leverage perspective and a really bad time from a budget perspective. And that's actually, I think that the 2 are very tightly aligned.

I think this will.

Ted: Well into our last question. Then we'll go into the learn rapid-fire round. Something we do on all of our podcasts around, some rapid fire questions. But the last question I want to ask you is actually related to power dynamic. I remember when we first met back in the day, I think we were working on a uh, purchases.

And you said something that always resonated with me. You go, Ted. This business is to make it a win-win for both customers and vendors or what you call suppliers. And it just hit me. I was like, actually, I think you can make this a win win. like the negotiation maximum of, Hey, let's make the pie bigger for everybody, right?

It's not a win lose situation. So give us your tips, even with this power dynamic change on how do you build the. Best Vendr partnerships. If you were a buyer of software, which a lot of the people here today are.

Ryan: the first thing when you're buying software, like if you put yourself in the shoes of the salesperson, like truly that person, you know, the majority of their compensation, at least 50 percent of it is typically variable.

And so if you don't buy, or if you don't renew that person just doesn't make money. that's just the reality. If you do buy, if you do renew, they make money. And so just understanding what motivates them is really important and being willing to talk about it. what they care about are things like, say you want to buy, but then number two is you actually do buy.

And if you don't buy, you tell them that you're not going to buy. If you do buy, do it when you say you're able to do it. Like those things are hugely. Important to sellers of software. And so it goes back to this, like power dynamic, like buyers have so much leverage when they actually ask the salesperson what they care about.

And very few people do that, but it's amazing. It's like, you know, Ted, when we were probably doing our first negotiations, I hope at least I said, Hey, Ted, we have a customer that's looking at work. They're super excited. I think they want to buy what's important to you. Do you care about timing or is there no rush here?

Do you care about getting a case study from them? They're open to Like what, what do you actually care about? And if you invite the seller to participate in that dialogue, what you're actually doing is you're helping them. they're earning your business and you're earning their partnership. And that's where we really start to get to like.

You don't need a negotiation to get to a fair price. You just need the right mentality that you care about one another as human beings, and typically the seller will give you a fair price and then you should follow through. And sign when you said you were going to sign, or if you get bad news, tell them, because in sales, like the second best thing to a yes is a no.

And yet we don't like giving people bad news. And so, so many times buyers of software, they don't tell the supplier, I'm just not able to get it done. I'm so sorry. And here's why. But if you do that, the seller is actually grateful because now they get to spend their time with someone else. That again, that's how they make money.

One other thing on this topic is like Vendr’s business, by the way, like negotiation as a service, I created this category in order to eventually kill it. it's, it doesn't need to exist. The fact that Vendr exists is because there's this game between buyer and seller. And that's not cool. we're here to create a fair playing field between the two.

So when we are successful, we will have eliminated. This haggling and these tricks and this end of month end of year charade that buyers and sellers play, we're trying to end that whole thing. And when we do, we're going to offer buyers the best price for the best products. And we're going to sellers access to great customers at a fraction of the cost.

And like the only loser in this is like Google, right? It's like how does sellers grow today? They do a bunch of Google ads, they do billboards, they spend all this investment to create noise to earn the attention of the buyer. You don't need to just come to Vendr. We already have that attention, right?

That's what we're really trying to pull off. And, you know, I genuinely believe that the future of sales is one without negotiations.

Ted: Sorry, Sundar, maybe you gotta spend some more time on AI, know, we're going to give you less dollars so that we can just have better relationships between our vendors and customers.

But geez, you gave us such good context. I think for everyone here today, it's like. I think the best piece of wisdom I got from you was this piece of wisdom is if I go buy a car, I'm not thinking about like, how do I make the salesperson feel good?

You just gave a great example. Have you turned the tables to understand their motivations? You can make this a win when you get better, uh, R Y justification, you get partnerships, you probably a better implementation, you have better, R. Y. Check ins when it's a win and you're looking out for each other again, making the pie bigger and helping us do our jobs better from a learning perspective, but then also making sure we have great partnerships with our vendors and preferred partners.

So such good knowledge, Ryan. All right. Let's go into the rapid fire round. So this is a round where I'll just give you three rapid-fire questions. I'll toss out a question. You can give me a one or two line answer for each and then we'll wrap. All right. First learning. These are all learning related questions.

What's the podcast book blog that you have learned the most from?

Ryan: I'll go book and I will go never split the difference. Um, which is a book by Chris Voss, a famous hostage negotiator for the FBI. Um, and actually that reading that book made me think it's time to start Vendr. And for anyone that is ever negotiating anything in life, outside of software, your wedding venue, you, your salary, reading that book is hugely valuable.

You'll get a massive return.

Ted: He actually, he did a training session on my last company box, but I never went to attend it. So I'll have to put on my list. All right. Next question. Biggest leadership lesson you've learned, uh, either from running Vendr or even your HubSpot days or even accounting days,

Ryan: for me, it's, Trust your gut and my gut told me that accounting wasn't right for me and I went into sales. My gut told me my real passion is starting a business. So I started Vendr and every time I trust my I never regret it, even if I'm wrong because I trusted my instinct.

And I feel like when you're now five years into Vendr. When your company gets big, you raise money, you do all these customers, I've found it's harder to trust your gut because you have all of these other perspectives coming in and they're incredibly valuable perspectives and you absolutely should listen to them, but don't forget about your instinct because As CEO and founder, like you started the company for a reason.

And so I've always found when I listen to my gut, I'm very happy I did.

Ted: That's great piece of advice. It is hard. to, differentiate gut and data that you're saying to him. I've always found that as a very hard thing. All right. Last question. You've had a great career. I'm sure you got a lot more stuff in the works, but what's one career tip we can all learn from you?

As of today.

Ryan: I got, I borrowed this from someone else. One of my mentors from Y Combinator, uh, Ali Rogani, he his best career advice um, opportunity is abundant and I asked him what he meant by that, what he meant by that is if you, if you find yourself at a company that is growing, there is always more opportunity that will be around the corner and all you have to do.

Is the excellent in your current role and patient trusting that that opportunity will open up around the corner and it really resonated with me because we are all including me. I'm always, I've always yearning for the next promotion, the next title shift, but if you trust that it'll come, if you are absolutely excellent, it'll show up I think back, I spent 6 years at HubSpot and I did 5 different jobs.

There was so much opportunity there because the company was growing and by being really good, those doors opened up. And so that really resonated with me. I found it like cathartic to know like, Oh, actually, it's not just chasing it. It's actually just focusing on being excellent and doors will open.

Ted: Love that rapid-fire round. Great opportunities. Abundant. I need to write that on the wall here. But, uh, Ryan, this was amazing session for our first ever. Live session. It was so cool. We'll have uh, published on our actual podcast channel. If you haven't yet, uh, like, and subscribe it or leave a review.

It's just called the learn, uh, podcast. You can find your favorite podcast player but thank you, Ryan, so much for jumping on and educating us all and helping us learn about how we should manage our purchasing and tech stacks, especially from a learning perspective, moving forward.

Thank you, Ryan.

Ryan: Thanks a lot, Ted.

Ted: Thanks for listening to the Learn Podcast. If you're a fan of the podcast, Do us two favors. One is to subscribe to it so you can get the latest updates of our most recent episodes.

And two, write a short review of the podcast. This helps us get discovered in the broader podcast community. Yhanks again.