808 Podcast Interview with Bob Clark
I was a guest in the 808 Podcast hosted by Bob Clark, we had a great conversation about product management and engineering. Lastly, I got to talk about my work with Lynda Weinman and how I helped her grow the value of Lynda.com.
Here are the key moments from today's conversation:
0:16 - Introduction
0:32 - Keys for successful interactions between product managers and engineers
2:20 - The success of Lynda.com
Bob Clark: Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the 808 Podcast, a podcast I interview, CEOs, business owners, executives, whoever else I feel like. It's 4 questions, 8 minutes, and 8 seconds because 808 looks like BOB. Here we go. Number one, a couple of senses, who are you? What do you do?
David Subar: I'm David Subar. I run a company called Interna. We help product management engineering groups and technology companies build products better, build products faster, build products more effectively.
Bob: Right. The point is, that's a great segue to question number two, how do project managers work with engineering? Go.
David: Product managers in engineering, they have to realize that they actually have one job. Product manager's job is not to just to write user stories. Engineers' jobs are not just to write software. Their jobs are to build and ship a product that creates value for a customer and doing that create value for their company. If they're looking at, we built this thing, we shipped it, did it create value? What do we do differently? They're doing their job well. If it's like, my job is to write software, that's it, whatever happens, it doesn't matter.
My job is to write user stories, whatever happens, it doesn't matter, they don't understand their job. To make them to work together effectively, it's looking at the customer, not looking down.
Bob: Perfect. Let's get to question number three, what other CEOs, founders, executives that you personally know that you want to give a shout-out to?
David: Lynda Weinman, she was the founder of Lynda.com and was originally CEO and then was one of the executives. They sold at the point then for $1.4 billion. Skarpi Hedinsson, who was CTO of Disney/ABC Television Group, now CTO of the LA Rams. Michael Lin and Ralph Passarella, who are CEO and COO of Reify Health, which is-- They're great guys doing innovative stuff on clinical drug discovery systems. Then LL Cool J, who's got a company called Rock the Bells, who you also might have heard of for other reasons.
Bob: I've heard of LL Cool J. The name sounds familiar. Don't know where I've heard it from though.
Bob: There we go. Okay, so David, question number four. Final fun question, tell me about your most epic sale.
David: It's really not about the sale. It's about the value. It's the same kind of thing I answered for question two. Lynda Weinman, and I talked about Lynda.com online learning system. When I got there, I was interim CTO for her, trying to make a create better value. About two weeks in, Lynda said to me, "This woman unsubscribed from our email list and still getting an email from us, WTF?" Except she didn't abbreviate. I'll try to do as quickly because I know we only have eight minutes and eight seconds.
Bob: Oh, you have 5 minutes and 30 seconds left right now, so you're good on time.
David: Okay, excellent. Excellent. Okay. I said to Lynda, "Look, I just got here. I don't know what's going on. I'll go figure it out." Turned out there were two marketing email lists. You unsubscribe from one, you didn't get unsubscribed from the other. I went back to Lynda and said, "Lynda, here's the problem. We'll integrate the marketing list. We'll get this lady unsubscribed. Everything will be okay. By the way, how do you know that she had this issue?" Lynda.com was doing $75 million in revenue at that time.
They're gone 50% year over year, 80% margin. How do you know? Lynda read every email that came in from every customer. She cared that much throughout the company. It motivated people to do that thing I talked about originally. How do you build a product that focuses on creating value? She cared about creating value for the customers, for the people that created courseware, for the corporations that bought it, and we were able to build systems that she then sold it for $1.4 billion to Willington.
Bob: Nice, 1.4 billion that-- See, I'm only impressed with numbers in the billions. When somebody says like 100 million, I'm like, "Yes, whatever. It's got to be a billion."
David: [laughs] Yes.
Bob: Having a little fun there, David.
David: Yes, I understand. Lynda is a very impressive person, really learned a lot from her. One of the people that I've met-- Got to meet her, got to meet Muhammad Ali, got to meet Woody Hayes, got to meet a bunch of people, but these are motivational people that really are about creating value, and then, therefore, you can create organizations that have value.
Bob: Perfect. Perfect there. David, you've got 3 minutes and 45 seconds left. You can do some promo time. You can ask me a question. You can talk about the weather, whatever you want. We can end early. I am flexible. Go.
David: Let me tell you how to get a hold of me. You can hit me up on LinkedIn, David Subar, last name is like Subaru without the U. You can hit our website, interna.com. There's a bunch of videos that I've done, presentations that I've given on the website. If you want to learn about things, glad to it, glad to help people out. People can just reach out, glad to help out.
Look, it's all about getting people organized into groups, into corporations, into departments that have meaning. In meeting, creating profit, creating revenue, creating cash flow, that's what you need to think about. Always glad to talk to people on how to help them out. That's what I got for you today.
Bob: Perfect. You got 2 minutes and 45 seconds left. Do you want to say anything else or we can end early? And ending early is okay.
David: We can end early.
Bob: We did. There, you pulled it off, David, 4 questions in 8 minutes and 8 seconds. David, why is it eight minutes and eight seconds?
David: In a way, it looks like BOB.
Bob: Gold star for David. Say your website real quick.
Bob: And the description, it's magic. David, thank you so much for being on. Tip of the hat to you.
David: Thank you.
Bob: You're welcome. And for everyone else watching or listening, I'm legally required to tell you, like, share, comment, subscribe, thumbs up, ring the bell, whatever the heck this salesman tells you to do. You all have a wonderful day now. Talk to you later. Bye.