Mercato Partners 2019 CEO Summit

September 25, 2019

The transition from venture to growth might possibly be the most challenging stage in a Company’s journey. A primary reason for this challenge is that the greatest transition is embedded in the job of the CEO. To support our CEOs on this path, on August 29 – 30th, Mercato hosted its first annual CEO Summit for its portfolio CEOs at the Snowpine Lodge in Alta, UT. An incredible group of guest speaks across a broad range of topics shared best practices and facilitated dialog among the CEOs.

The speakers included:

Elizabeth Ireland, Chief Marketing Officer at Venafi: Elizabeth shared her best practices related to category creation as well as the critical questions that CEOs should ask their marketing leaders. Elizabeth stressed the importance of metrics and continuous improvement at the core of great marketing programs. She further stressed that CEOs must ensure that the heads of sales, marketing, and product are aligned to energize the company and drive its future.

Karl Sun, CEO and Co-Founder at Lucid: Karl provided insights into how he has crafted Lucid’s culture. Karl attributes a great deal of the company’s success to Lucid’s culture of experimentation: individual empowerment and innovation in everything they do. For instance, every year, Lucid hosts a two and a half-day hackathon. During one such event, a group of seven engineers recoded Lucid’s entire platform from Javascript to Typescript. These engineers rewrote hundreds of thousands of lines of code in 70 hours in what would have taken Lucid a year and a half. Great ideas can come from anyone in your organization if you encourage it.

Jeremy Smith, Global Head of Operations at Qualtrics:  Jeremy walked the CEOs through best practices of customer success and how to build that team and organization.  Jeremy also shared insights into the Qualtrics journey. Jeremy pointed out the importance of maintaining a high hiring bar, sharing all customer feedback with employees, and the strong connection between customer experience and employee experience. As Jeremy indicated, unengaged employees do not create engaged customers.

Mads Johnsen, Head of Product and Tech Strategy at Uber:  Mads shared his product development insights that he’s gained at Uber and LinkedIn with the group. Specifically, Mads led a discussion around whether to build new products or enhance what currently exists.  Mads pointed out:

  1.     Even amazing products rarely get it 100% right the first time.
  2.     Teams almost always have to cut scope until the last moment of a release.
  3.     Learnings peaks right after a product release.

Jared Lucas, Chief People Officer at MobileIron:  Jared discussed how to influence the organization through human capital best practices. Jared shared the lessons learned from the three successful exits that he experienced. Most importantly, Jared told the CEOs that they must define the role of the CEO and specifically how the CEO will operate for the company. Also, Jared instructed the CEOs that they must focus on: excellent internal communication, relentless recruiting, orchestrating graceful exits, and transparent compensation and rewards.

These presentations enabled conversation and sharing of best practices among the Mercato portfolio CEOs. The conversations between CEOs facilitated the sharing of the challenges that each faces and how others have overcome them.

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