Podcast - Interview with Mario Ciabarra, Founder and CEO of Quantum Metric
Part of our special series of episodes that we're recording in partnership with the European PR Agency, Tyto, and their own Without Borders podcast, this interview is with Mario Ciabarra, Founder and CEO of Quantum Metric.
Mario Ciabarra, Founder and CEO of Quantum Metric joined Russell Goldsmith and Tyto's Founder, Brendon Craigie online to record an interview for the csuite podcast’s special series on leaders of unicorn companies, produced in partnership with Tyto.
Quantum Metric raised $200 million in Series B financing in January of this year and were the first unicorn of 2021 with a valuation exceeding $1bn. The company helps businesses become truly digitally customer obsessed and they specialise in a category they call ‘continuous product design’ - essentially helping businesses listen to customers' digital touch points.
Mario believes you can’t start a company unless you're in love with the problem and then the solution and what he’s learned on his journey and what's differentiated this business is you’ve got to get the greatest talent and the greatest people on your team.
Continuous Product Design
Mario said that what made Netflix so successful was they became agile, had continuous delivery and integration. If you look at where they moved faster, it was on the tech side of their business, but they figured out that they had to be beyond just tech, they had to understand from the business perspective how to listen to customers and learn about customer experiences.
What differentiates companies today is, you don't have to be the smartest organisation, you have to be the fastest organisation.
Quantum Metric introduced continuous product design to the world in March of 2020, but it was an effort of learning from what do the best digital organisations do. Listen to your customer, obsess around your customer. This is the foundation of continuous product design.
Unique Value Proposition
If we think about marketing analytics, marketers use this, you don't see engineers in the marketing analytics tools and vice versa, Mario said the problem is they miss align teams. What's different about Quantum is they align the entire organisation around serving their customer.
Quantum collect first party, the experience that everyone is having on a website or native app, replay it as if they were standing next to them so they aggregately understand the experience
Common Challenges for Customers
Mario likes to divide the company into two things that they address:
1. Finding and fixing problems
2. How he gets the teams to learn faster about where they delight
A common friction point is behavioural indicators like raise clicking ‘add to cart’ before it works, and they can aggregate around these behavioural indicators.
Mario explained that Covid has had a massive impact on all of our lives but in the world of digital, there was a little bit of angst and anxiety. It's also an exciting time where people in digital are the centre of attention and getting that right, you can have the best products, marketing, pricing, the best distribution, logistics, but if you don't get the experience with the customer online, everything else doesn't matter anymore.
Becoming a Unicorn
Becoming a Unicorn, especially a unique one in the world of Colorado Springs, seeing tech expand outside of the umbrella of Silicon Valley is amazing however, every entrepreneur in the early stages is vying for their voice to be heard amongst a sea of entrepreneurs. When you hit unicorn status and you realise, this is a real company, people understand it.
The biggest highlight is getting the calibre of talent that they get at volume, he said it makes everything a little bit easier.
Colorado Springs vs Silicon Valley
Mario’s actually got a lot of pushback from Silicon Valley and investors saying this isn’t going to work distributed, but of course, the whole world's now distributed, of course it works. They’ve never limited themselves to Colorado Springs, he said wherever you are, there is massive talent out there.
So, the three attributes (passion, persistence & integrity) are a growth hack and a secret to how you make a remote culture successful.
The Future of Quantum Metric
Quantum Metric have six company objectives that they’ve shared with their entire organisation, but the number one item is happy people, healthy culture. In the future he would like to see their geographical space expanding, continue to dominate new industries.
Building the Company Culture Through the Pandemic
Mario was very intentional about every meeting that they had during the early days of the pandemic, they introduced the new people on the team, talked about passion, persistence and integrity and asked someone an example of where they've seen that in their team the last two weeks.
He interviews every employee, gets together in groups of teams from across the organisation to make sure he has his ear to the ground. You have to highlight those core values over and over.
Differentiating the Company in a Noisy Environment
You have to position yourself as a thought leader, connect with executive leaders. Mario explained that what's really exciting about Quantum, because they’re changing culture, executives, senior level executives from Fortune 100 companies are being spokespeople for them. He lets people that have used the product that have changed their organisation share their story.
Coaches do that same thing as executives do in their companies; they squeeze talent out of people. That communication role of a leader is finding how a human being can inspire other humans to over deliver, to overachieve and something that Mario has learned along the way, especially in times of trouble and fear, your true colours shine and for him, it was learning about what does a true leader do for an organisation.
Biggest Communications Challenge
At first, Mario said he knew everyone's name and their wives and husbands, kids, and dogs and now, he doesn't. He said he missed it and wanted to be able to connect and so he found ways to. He’s changed his behaviour and meets with eight to ten people in a group and from that he’s got incredible feedback.
Mario believes adapting as the organisation is changing is important and repetition and practice is how you deliver on that oration.
Advice to Younger Self
The vision of the company is so important and getting everyone behind that shared goal, that shared mission.