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Written by Dan Wilkinson Content Manager
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18 Mar 2019  |  SaaS

Key Takeaways from our First SaaS Stories with Profitwell

2 minute read

For our first SaaS Stories event Paddle CEO Christian Owens talked to Profitwell CEO Patrick Campbell to have a frank talk about what it means to be a CEO in a startup. They touched on running a company for the first time, how to maintain an engaged culture and what they’ve learned from their mistakes. Read on to see the main learnings and a video of the full talk.


We’ve long admired subscription growth platform Profitwell, especially when watching its videos on the latest industry news. Hosted by its CEO Patrick Campbell, his insightful opinion always informs our subscription debates at Paddle HQ.

So when the opportunity to host a talk between Patrick and our CEO Christian Owens for those looking for an honest look about what it's like to run a startup for our first SaaS Stories event we knew it was gonna be something special.  

We’ve uploaded the video of the entire talk below in but here are five (of the many things) you’ll learn from hearing the two talk.

  1.  Avoid part-time co-founders. When talking about his own experience, Patrick related the importance of setting expectations and evaluating when a part-time founder needs to become full-time . It will ultimately allow you to avoid clashing egos or significant conflicts later down the line.  

  2. Patrick believes that every company will eventually have a freemium product in some manner. Going freemium doesn’t mean just having a free version of your product; it could be a tangential free version that helps to get the lead invested and nurtured into your service . Once the potential customer has got to know your brand, you can then interest them in your service.

  3. T he freemium recipe for success is- the product can’t suck, it has to be better than your competitors and has to absorb an amount of effort to be created , it took Patrick two years to have a freemium product offering ready.

  4. Christian shared how the concept of title bias helped him to see things from another perspective. Such as encountering title bias from new employees,  which happens when you don’t know someone, so you attribute the worst qualities of somebody you’ve dealt with before to that person. For Christian to combat any negative preconceived notions people had about him, required deliberate effort to rebrand who he was into the perception he wanted to give off. The practical solution came through meeting people who’d just joined the company early on with a welcoming attitude.

  5. A key question of the night dealt with how a CEO can align everyone with their constantly changing vision for the company. Christian related that it was a gradual process, with the first six people in at Paddle knowing the vision well. As Paddle grew, it got harder because the people in the room to relay that vision to increased. The solution for communicating the vision for him was to be more deliberate and repetitive about what you say. It can get annoying if you’re saying something for the fourteenth time, but your fourteenth might be somebody’s first. So for clear vision alignment, it's all about repetition .

To stay in the loop with Paddle’s SaaS stories events follow us on Twitter @PaddleHQ or subscribe to the newsletter below.

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