#197 - Volker Smid, CEO of Acrolinx on surviving a global crisis and coming out stronger 

How to embrace uncertainty and fear when adversity hits - and the power of trust in each other to overcome the biggest challenges.

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to build the best content, connect people across the world and create happy customers – but also about what it takes to grow a global SaaS business in periods of severe change. My guest is Volker Smid, CEO of Acrolinx 

Volker Smid

Volker has more than 25 years of management experience in the software, internet, technology, and media industry around the globe. Throughout his career, he served as CEO of Searchmetrics and EVP Digital & Technologies at the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. He was CEO of Hewlett-Packard Germany, Vice Chairman of BITKOM, President EMEA and Asia/PAC at Novell Inc., SVP Sales Midmarket at Parametric Technology Boston, and SVP at POET Inc. in San Mateo, California. 

Today he’s the CEO of Acrolinx, a company that’s built around the vision to create a world connected by amazing content. Its mission is to supercharge the billions of enterprise content touchpoints that power the global customer experience.

And that inspired me, and hence I invited Volker to my podcast. We explore what’s broken when it comes to managing content in the enterprise world. We drill into the negative effects and the cost of content that frustrates people, and this multiplies as the scale, consumption, and complexity grow.

Volker then talks about how he’s steering his organization to be a fully aligned organization – and how having a strong and clear vision and mission that are focused on transformational change are critical to achieving this.

Last but not least he shares his lessons learned in leading his company through the crisis, and what was required to become a stronger company altogether.  

Here are some of his quotes:

My first statement, when I came to realize that this world was being turned upside down, was: This is a global crisis. And there will be winners and losers in the global crisis. And I believe we have a fair chance to come out of this crisis being a stronger company – without knowing what that means

But the first address for the organization was the reminder of. It is a crisis. Every crisis is a mix between challenges and opportunities. Let’s be very, very cautious and careful about the challenges. But let’s focus on the opportunity. 

During this interview, you will learn four things:

  1. How to embrace uncertainty and fear when adversity hits – and the power of trust in each other to overcome the biggest challenges.
  2. Why every company should educate and develop every employee to be able to tell a 30-second story about the company 
  3. Why capturing the transformational stories from customers are critical to creating an aligned and proud organization
  4. Why leaders should encourage every employee to go out of their comfort zone and do things they have never done before

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.