Using the Internet to Lead

By: Andy Medley

CEO and Co-Founder of PERQ

Isn’t it cool to have so much information available at our fingertips? You can dive as deep as you want into any topic on the internet, especially building and leading a SaaS business. There is so much content out there to help us understand the mistakes made by others in our shoes, that not taking their advice and insights is just simply moronic.


As for me, I love to read and seek out information. So much so, that I use it as a core management and communication tool. Ask anyone who I’ve managed and I promise you that they won’t be able to count how many articles, blog posts, books, white papers, and case studies I’ve sent them.


Besides attaining a boatload of additional knowledge and wisdom, there are other great, highly valuable reasons to seek out new information. Here are a few:


It’s a Great Discussion Starter During a 1-on-1


We are currently scaling our Client Success team and testing upselling as a function of this role rather than a separate Account Management role.  Open View labs (one of my favorite online resources) has a fantastic article on the pros and cons of keeping the role together versus separate.


This article was invaluable in quickly getting the leader and I into a debate about meaty topics rather than talking around topics to find common ground (which is foundational to actually getting aligned).


The Ideas Aren’t Coming from Me


I don’t know all the answers. Hell, I don’t really have any. What I do have is a great network of places that I’ve collected information over time to find the answers.  When I don’t have the right person to connect with, the next best thing is finding the thought leaders who share a generous wealth of information online.


Connecting these individuals and their ideas with my team whenever we start building something new or testing something to improve puts us on equal ground and able to debate from the same foundation of information.


I am not ‘defending’ or mandating anything, but rather sharing what I have found and diving in with the person responsible for executing to understand what they like and what they don’t in the article.  Let the debate begin!


The Info Provided Significantly Increases our Likelihood of Success


I still catch myself having not done enough research when starting something new.  It usually comes to my attention when I am stuck and trying to figure out how to solve it –and soon realizing that I am certainly not solving anything that hasn’t been solved before.


The amount of information on scaling a SaaS businesses is everywhere and if you are following the people whose advice you trust, this information translates to a ‘knowledge roadmap’ as you grow your business.


More importantly, this information lays out the landmines and obstacles to; so that the likelihood for you succeeding drastically increases.  I, for one, certainly don’t mind using pre-established best practices.


It Changes the Culture for the Better


You know what’s really cool? Being the recipient of an insightful article. That happens all the time in our company at this point, and it makes me smile.


My business partner and PERQ co-founder, Scott, is probably the only person I know that enjoys research and reading more than me.


As a result, you have two founders at PERQ who have always done book clubs and shared articles for all the reasons stated above. This has permeated throughout the organization and is standard practice at this point. Not too shabby. And the best part of all? It’s FREE!


While this certainly isn’t rocket-science, leveraging these articles in my management practice has significantly reduced our planning time while increasing our clarity for what success looks like and changed our culture for the better.


Open View Labs, Saastr, @davidcummings, @msuster and @ttunguz or just a few of the blogs and Twitter accounts I follow religiously. Check them out and if you have any that you love, please share them in the comments.