#164 - Growing multiple X in Enterprise Software by switching focus towards creating a pull effect led by users

An interview with Rick Hall, CEO of Aginity

Product InnovationThis podcast interview focuses on the approach to product innovation to grow remarkable momentum in enterprise software by creating a swell that keeps building because of bottom-up user demand. My guest is Rick Hall, CEO of Aginity

Rick Hall is a software entrepreneur focused on the analytics market.  He has led the development of over a dozen software products and taken several companies from the early stage to an eventual sale.

He founded Kairn Corporation in 2018 to help organizations, plan and implement intelligent products and systems. Together with his co-founders he have defined a “Pathway to Intelligent Systems.” to guide companies on their journey.

In support of this journey they begun to invest in companies that will simplify the process of building and implementing analytical programs.  That has led to the purchase of Aginity in March of 2020 where Rick has taken over the CEO role as a result.  

Aginity was an early innovator in Analytics Management. They are on a mission reinventing the Analytics Engine Room and with that do with the challenges of complex architectures which are dependent on highly skilled engineers, frequently cost millions of dollars, and are not flexible to move at the pace of business.

This inspired me, and hence I invited Rick to my podcast. We explore what’s broken in the world of Enterprise Analytics and why the millions and millions of investments underdeliver. We dig into the effects of switching to a product-led growth approach, and how creating a community of fans helps drive multiple X growth with a minimal marketing budget. Last but not least we talk about the secrets to staying resourceful – and resilient for anything that’s next to come. 

Here are some of his quotes:

I think the three key areas of a SaaS company are Sales, Marketing, and Product and Engineering. Product and Engineering is a natural tension. So, I always say that if the two heads of those two groups don’t kind of love each other and hate each other, then there’s something wrong. Because product is about the idea of anything that I could do – big ideas. And engineering is about the world of the possible. And there’s a tension built in there.

And then sales is the third piece of that, because sales and marketing is about the demands of the customer. And so, putting the three things together in a world of what I like to think of as constructive conflict is really, really key. I think that is probably one of the most important elements of success for a company.

During this interview, you will learn four things:

  1. That real value unlocks when you realize it’s not about solving a users’ task in isolation, but about how they effectively collaborate with the business 
  2. How introducing a freemium model is not about giving away your software, but about creating software that users love
  3. How to convince even the most stubborn C-level decision makers about the value of your product even if they’d never use it
  4. Why to succeed in SaaS is about constantly evolving the interplay between a big vision and what people can actually achieve on a stretched goal.

For more information about the guest from this week:


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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.