GE 248: How Fred Voccola Grew Kaseya’s Revenue from $85M to $275M in 2.5 Years by Focusing on Customers and Employees (podcast) With Fred Voccola

Hey everyone, in today’s episode I share the mic with Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya, an IT Management and Monitoring Solution software company.

Tune in to hear Fred discuss how he took Kaseya from $85M to $275M in revenue, why managing your network is so critical, and why he considers intellectual curiosity to be such a great skill set.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Fred Voccola Grew Kaseya’s Revenue from $85M to $275M in 2.5 Years by Focusing on Customers and Employees TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • [00:45] Before we jump into today’s interview, please leave a review and rating and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast!
  • [01:26] Fred got into the software industry in college. He loves being part of something that disrupts lives and industries.
  • [02:15] He has worked with Nolea and Yodle, both of which he sold.
  • [02:49] Fred likes to get involved with a business when the owners want to cash out or when it is at the turning point where the company will either grow or fail.
  • [04:05] Fred has been with Kaseya for two and a half years.
  • [04:15] When he came on board, the company was at $75 or $85 Million. He hopes that by 2018, they will have reached $275 Million.
  • [05:20] Kaseya is growing at the rate of 35-50% per year.
  • [05:40] Maintaining the entrepreneurial focus and being able to make pivots is important to keeping a company’s revenue on the rise.
  • [06:40] You need systems to quantify data besides customer feedback.
  • [08:24] When people are looking for a CEO to help them scale a business, you need to know what your company’s needs are.
  • [09:00] If you have to struggle to make payroll, it gives you a special appreciation for the hustle it takes to keep a business afloat.
  • [09:20] Yoki Sloanum was one of Fred’s mentors when he was Fred’s boss at Identify Software.
  • [09:34] Surrounding yourself with the right people is a skill and having a good mentor is a part of that.
  • [10:10] Managing a network is so critical, because it will help you find the people that will make you successful.
  • [11:10] “People are pretty cool” – Fred Voccola
  • [11:27] Being intellectually curious is a great skill set.
  • [12:10] When you are genuinely interested in people, it is easier to keep in contact with them. Build your network this way.
  • [13:15] Find a process to make sure that your network continues to be curated.
  • [13:52] Fred is old fashioned, in that he likes to pick up the phone and call people, regardless of what he needs from them.
  • [15:30] Fred stays top of mind by staying in touch with the people in his network, which he thinks is easy, because he considers a lot of his contacts friends (or at least interesting people).
  • [15:45] The holidays are a great time to reach out to your network.
  • [15:59] He blocks out two hours every week to connect and check in with his contacts.
  • [16:26] Always ask for help, which is something most people are uncomfortable doing.
  • [17:50] Kaseya provides IT infrastructure management solutions to small to midsize businesses.
  • [18:00] This means that Kaseya works with companies that have one employee to thousands.
  • [18:20] A small biz is one that doesn’t have any IT people, whereas midsize companies have a team of IT employees.
  • [18:55] Kaseya customers are managed service providers (companies that provide IT services to other companies).
  • [20:13] Kaseya’s software proactively identifies and remediates any security issues, infrastructure issues, and network backups.
  • [21:05] Kaseya is riding one of the biggest technology waves that exists.
  • [21:56] When Fred goes to the dentist, he gets an appointment reminder with info for service coupons.
  • [22:22] This is notable, because it means that the Dentist has someone doing their IT work.
  • [22:56] For every dollar you pay Kaseya, you should be getting at least $20 back in a managed service.
  • [23:55] Kaseya is generating $4 billion in managed services.
  • [24:24] One of the MSPs working with Kaseya, focuses on providing IT solutions to dental offices. They run IT for 5000 dental offices.
  • [25:30] Everything from their pricing model to their processes is all created with the aim of providing 20x in value of what the customers are paying.
  • [26:42] The tech needs of small to midsize companies are increasing in terms of volume and complexity.
  • [27:09] MSPs are always looking for ways to meet the ever increasing needs of their clients.
  • [29:00] Two key things any business needs to focus one: understanding your customer and building a company culture around the needs of that customer. The other is making sure you assemble a team of people who are capable of achieving this.
  • [29:50] Fred brought a team of people with him when he came to Kaseya (about 20 people).
  • [30:25] Bringing these people with him allowed him to hit the ground running and shaved a year off of the time it would have otherwise taken them to reach their goals.
  • [31:09] Unfortunately, this means that certain people were replaced or displaced when he took over Kaseya.
  • [32:55] The good news is, only four people were let go, while others were moved into positions that were more in line with their skill sets.
  • [33:26] Fred prefers a culture were performance is the most important trait.
  • [33:50] Performance trumps everything else (age, career status, etc.)
  • [35:15] It’s great to create a culture where people are trying to excel and don’t make it hard for people to self-select out of high-pressure positions or challenges.
  • [37:25] Fred doesn’t like to use the word “fair” in terms of giving people chances. The only “fair” thing is what is fair to the company.
  • [37:39] If someone doesn’t have the right skills for a role, you are only screwing them over by keeping them in that position.
  • [39:00] Either find that person a better position or phase them out. This should all be done within three months, otherwise, you are taking too long.
  • [39:20] Fred recommends The Wheel of Time series, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and Leadership and Self-Deception.

Resources From This Interview:

Leave Some Feedback:

Connect with Eric Siu:

Disclaimer: As with any digital marketing campaign, your individual results may vary.

Full Transcript of The Episode

Show transcript
Eric Siu: Got it. When you say scale mode, I mean, what kind of revenues, ballpark, are you looking at? Or does it just depend on the business?

Fred Voccola: It really depends on the business. I'll give you some specifics, so I don't just give you the standard BS, politically correct answer. But take a company like Kaseya. I came on board here ... I've been here for about 2 1/2 years. From 2017, we'll be north of 200 million in revenue. The company was around 75, 85 million in revenue when I got here. Hopefully by the end of 2018, next year, we're looking at around 275 million or so of revenue, so I think scalability can be very different. The company Nolio, I got involved when it was doing around 11 or 12 million of revenue, so it really just depends on what the company is, what the skill sets are, and also what the objectives are of the investors and the owners of the business.

Eric Siu: Got it, okay great. You mentioned ... Actually, just to back up a second again, I mean, you talked about specific skillsets to scaling, because obviously a lot of entrepreneurs/founders, they growing stuff, or getting things going in the very beginning. But when it comes to growing the business, when it comes to process, and scaling, they don't have that. So what kind of skillsets are you alluding to that you built up over the years?

Fred Voccola: Yeah, and I think it's important to recognize that entrepreneurial skillsets are critical to have as you scale a high grow business. Take Kaseya, where I'm at now. We're growing anywhere from, depending on how you want to measure it, 35-50% a year. Whether it's bookings or revenue, or however you want to look at it. When you're doing 200 million a year, if we'll grow 30-35% next year ... We're not a small company, and we have a pretty big growth rate. I think when you look at the executives at a company like Kaseya, maintaining the entrepreneurial focus, being able to constantly make pivots, being able to recognize rapid changes in the market, and be able to capitalize on them very quickly, move fast, fail fast, measure things, recognize things, is important.
I always say there's a difference between being an entrepreneur, and being entrepreneurial. An entrepreneur obviously, is the extreme definition of someone that has entrepreneurial skillsets. However, they might not have skill sets in the area of fiscal discipline, of measuring things. Very often entrepreneurs have incredibly good cognitive capability to take a lot of data, a lot of unstructured data, meaning data they get from their own experiences of talking to the market, process that, and make decisions about it. It's a very good skill set. It's one of the many skillsets that entrepreneurs have. However, there comes a point where that needs to be balanced with quantified data. You have to have systems they give you that data, so you're making decisions, not just based on 25 customer experiences and trusting your gut and your talent, but you're making decisions based on, I'll say in addition to that, hard data, customer experiences. You have to build an organization that allows you to do that.
You have to hire the right kinds of people. You have to be comfortable giving up some levels of decision-making and autonomy, to get really, really capable, smart executives as a part of your team, that can help you get the company to the next level. Those aren't skill sets that are very common in entrepreneurs. So those are some of the things that I've seen that entrepreneurs look for other types of folks to help out with when the business gets to a certain level, and they want to quote unquote scale it.
It involved other people, and powering other people, having very disciplined approaches to measuring the business, while not becoming robots, and while not losing the entrepreneurial elements of the business. That's why most of the companies that I've gone into, ones that I've taken over, the founders of the business, or the entrepreneurs usually have a very important role in the team, because you still need that capability that they bring.

Eric Siu: Great. How does someone find Fred Voccola? What skills should they be searching for literally in Google? What kind of titles should they be looking for? How do you find Fred Voccola to help grow a business from 75 to 250 a year?

Fred Voccola: Hang out in the New Jersey shore in Monmouth County, and you'll see me at any place playing live music. No, I don't know if I would say someone of my skill set, I don't know if mine are good, bad, average, indifferent, but I think that when people are looking to find some management assistance, or a CEO to help them scale a business, two different things. One is: what are you looking for? Two is: how do you find them?
I think that someone who has been an entrepreneur in their life, they've actually had to make payroll ... I always say to people, if you've never had to figure out a way of making payroll, where you have people that are dependent on you, and it's your money at stake, and you're not sitting on $50 million in the bank, because you've raised all this venture money or whatever it may be, if you have to struggle to make payroll, it gives you a different appreciation for business, and for your customers, and for what's really important in how to conduct business. So I always say, someone who has been there as an entrepreneur or a business owner, and someone who also has had good mentors along the way.
I've been very fortunate. I have had a couple of great mentors. My dad was a great mentor. A gentleman, [Yoakee Sloanum 00:09:24], he founded a company called Mercury Interactive. He was my partner, and he was actually my boss at Identify Software. Those are the kinds of things that are important, because relying on other people, and surrounding yourself with the right people are the skills that need to be found. It's not the most common thing that you find people that have done it.
In terms of, if I'm a private equity firm, or an entrepreneur looking to find a CEO, or someone to help in my business, I always think the best place to go, and I do this when I hire executives all the time is, I went to my network, and I look to the people that I trust, and I try to leverage their network. I think it's kind of a roundabout way of getting to a different topic, but it's so relevant, and that is managing an individual's network is so critical. Not because it will help you find your next job, but it will help you find the people that will make you successful. It will help you make connections to people that will make you successful. People that have had experience as an entrepreneur, and then also had some type of single functional experience, either before or after they've had their entrepreneurial experience is probably where I would go to look for, to find people in that kind of skillset.

Eric Siu: Got it. There's two directions I want to take this, but you just caught my eye, my ear I should say, with the whole managing your network thing, because as we talked about before this, I've done a ton of interviews on this podcast. I do a lot of dinners, things like that. But I just know I have is powerful network, but I haven't been able to wrangle it. So I'm curious, what's the Voccola way of managing his network?

Fred Voccola: Yeah, I think first off, whether we're introverts or extroverts as human beings, if you think about it, people are pretty cool. You know what I mean? If you just think about [inaudible 00:11:15] experience, and what happens in our past, and hopefully in our long, long futures, God willing, is you get to meet a lot of super interesting people that have had just amazing experiences. So being just intellectually curious, and being curious about humanity as a human being is such a great skill set, because you just meet so many cool, kick ass people, that know things, and that have interests that you would never even think about.
I tend to look at it and where, we all have our personal friends, and our families, and people that we're tight with. I like to meet people, and actually hang out with people that are completely different than me. When I say hanging out with, I mean professionally socialize with, or network with, whatever terminology you want to use. For me, it's a lot about forcing, not manufacturing, but ensuring that I maintain contact in a meaningful way with people. I find that can only happen if I'm generally interested in them, and if I'm generally interested in the things that they do and that they say.
Give you a real life story. We have an executive position here at Kaseya. As we're growing, we're hiring lots of people. I need to hire someone who ... It's not the easiest skillset to find. I probably won't go into super detail on it, because I don't want to reveal people's names and everything, but it's not the easiest skillset to find. I have four people that came to me from my network. Two people that are in my direct network, and two people that came from one or two levels removed, inside of a week. It saved ... I mean otherwise, the route of hiring a headhunter or an executive recruiter, and spending three to six months to find someone, and then there's a 50% change that someone probably isn't going to work out. If you play the numbers, it's very disappointing. So I find that just finding a way or a process, and I mean a structured process, it's something that requires work and effort, just to make sure that that network continues to be curated.

Eric Siu: Let's go with these four people. I guess the four people that gave you some candidates. How did you go about reaching out to them? Did you just text them? Was a LinkedIn post or a Facebook post? What happened there?

Fred Voccola: The first two were people that were in my direct network. I just picked up the phone and called them and said, "Hey XYZ, what are you up to? Here's an opportunity I might have, and it might work out." The other two, as I put my feelers out to my network, which I prefer to do things a little fashioned, I like to pick up the phone and call people, I just find it easier, or maybe even send an email just saying, "Hey let's chat. What do you think?" That sort of thing. Gave a description of what are the problems or challenges I had, and people are always willing to help. Whether it's for self-serving reasons or for altruistic reasons, people are always willing to help. So I made two, three dozen phone calls, came up with four candidates, I'm not exaggerating, within a week. One of them has accepted the offer to join. Anybody who has run businesses know, people are everything man. It's the most important part.

Eric Siu: Oh, by far.

Fred Voccola: It helped out ... Oh dude, by far. It was super helpful. That's kind of the way that we run through. Does that answer your question Eric? Is that helpful?

Eric Siu: 100%. I think this is really good, because I talk about hiring people, and great people all the time. Usually reside a lot about marketing actually on this podcast, but I think this is super important. It's the ultimate growth hack, or whatever you want to call it, to grow the business. What actually caught my ear again this time was, you said something about, instead of just networking or whatever, you're actually making sure there you're genuinely interested. You're following up with people. So what I thought was interesting is, I have is one friend from high school, where she's really diligent about continually checking in and following up, even until now, we're way out of high school, and checking in with me.
How do you go about continuing to stay relevant, or stay top of mind with your network? Do you do anything special there? I'm just wondering tactically, what do you do?

Fred Voccola: It's funny, because it's so second nature now, because it's a part of who I am. I consider people that are in my network, and people that I work with, a lot of them are friends. A lot of them are very good acquaintances. It probably is a selfless thing, I just like to be in contact with them, and just see what's happening. By the way, very timely, the holidays are great, I hate to use the word excuse, but a great excuse to reach out to everyone. How was your year? What are you looking at for the next year? Are your holidays? How is your family doing? How is life? That kind of stuff.
I also put at least two hours a week in my calendar, locked away, and it's done to look at my relationship building of my network. More often than not, I like to reach out and say, "How are things going?" People are pretty forthcoming. How can I help? Is there anything that you need help with? What I find is, even though we've all been taught professionally by our executive coaches, or by mentors or whatever, always ask for help. Never be the person who doesn't raise their hand and ask for help. I find that most people are still ... it's just a little uncomfortable asking for help. If someone offers it, it's just such a refreshing thing, or a refreshing [crosstalk 00:16:41]-

Eric Siu: It's a gift-

Fred Voccola: ... let's people's guard down, so I find that a great way. But I lock two hours a week for that, and I wish I could do more. But two hours a week. Then any major social event, whether it's the holiday time, whether it's ... Obviously, I have LinkedIn. I shouldn't say obviously. I assume everyone has LinkedIn. I mean, that was kind of a given. Right? Anytime somebody ... they post something on LinkedIn, a career move, whatever, just a simple, "Congratulations that's great. Can I help you?" It makes the icebreaking part of those conversations just so damn easy, and it's fun.

Eric Siu: I love that. A lot of people look for tactics. I think that's gold right there. If people want to hone in on something and kind of adjust from it, every week I should say, set aside two hours, and then look at your network, or even, if you don't like the word network, look at your relationships, and think about how you can help these people. I think that's gold right that. But I want to talk about the business a little bit too. Let's talk about Kaseya. I mean, how do you guys make money? How does the business model work?

Fred Voccola: Yeah, and this is super cool. I love this ... this is awesome. It's cool, because I think everyone can relate to it. I'll give the high level. We provide IT infrastructure management solutions to small to midsize businesses.

Eric Siu: What does that mean?

Fred Voccola: Exactly, because that doesn't sound too sexy right? If you think about a small to midsize business, we're talking about companies that have one employee, up to I don't know, maybe four or five thousand, or seven thousand employees, some number like that. So the cool part that I think everyone can relate to is, we break the market into two. We have small businesses, and we have mid-size businesses. We define a small business as a business that doesn't have any IT people. Right, like a doctor's office, or a law firm. Our midsize business customers are companies that have IT groups of 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 people or so. Not huge, but that's where we focus on. So the cool part is, the companies that don't have IT departments, they receive their IT support from what are called managed service providers, or IT providers that support local businesses. Those are our customers.
They're called Managed Service Providers, or MSPs. The typical Kaseya customer is a 15 person organization. They're a provider of IT services to small businesses. Typically, we deal with the business owner, or the CEO of the company. They use our products to generate 100% of their revenue. So here's a simple example. A restaurant that you like to go to, XYZ restaurant down the street, they probably have seven point-of-sale computers, maybe a Wi-Fi network, maybe a couple of tablets, and mobile devices, the phone system, which is all VoIP now. When something breaks, they pick up the phone, and they call their Managed Service Provider.
That MSP is using our software, Kaseya's software, to run and manage, and secure, and backup all of the different technology that exists at that restaurant. So because that Managed Service Provider is using our technology, that restaurant pay them several thousand dollars a month to manage their IT. Our software proactively identifies and remediates any security, general infrastructure issues, network, backup, everything. Hopefully, if everything goes as it's supposed to go, that restaurant doesn't even realize someone is managing their technology, because everything just works. It works because the company that they've hired to manage their technology is running it on Kaseya, so that's our business.
We have about 20,000 customers around the world. Our customers, again, are the IT service providers, that are providing this technology for the local businesses. It's a huge market. We're riding what Gartner and other analysts say, if you believe what they all say. Every analyst has an opinion. But we're riding one of the biggest technology waves that exists. You think about in the early '90s, the massive amounts of IT and technology spend that the big enterprise companies did to implement ERP, and implement the internet, internet based solutions and Y2K, and all that kind of stuff.
Well that technology that used to require hundreds of people to do big integration projects, it's now three generations later, and that technology is now consumable by small businesses, so local and small businesses around the world are now using technology to do things that only the most complicated enterprises could do even five, six, eight years ago. That's all possible because of technology like Kaseya making their computing infrastructure stable.
A classic example of that is if you think about, when I go to my dentist, I get an appointment reminder emailed to me saying my appointment is at four o'clock on Tuesday. In that same text that I'll get, it will say, "By the way, here's a coupon for 20% off teeth whitening if you decide to do it." If you think about how ... That's a dental office, that dentist doesn't have an IT guy. If you go back eight years ago, people like Citibank, or giant business to consumer conglomerates, they couldn't even get that right eight years ago. So it's a massive trend and we're rocking and rolling, having a real good time doing it.

Eric Siu: Awesome, so let's say I'm and MSP. I charge restaurant XYZ three or four grand a month. How much am I typically paying Kaseya?

Fred Voccola: The rule of thumb we have at Kaseya is for every dollar, or Euro, or whatever currency you're in, for every dollar you pay Kaseya, you're getting at least $20 back in a managed service. So my math skills are quick enough to do that calculation-

Eric Siu: So 200 bucks?

Fred Voccola: Yeah, exactly right, and we're really proud of that. When we have conversations with our customers ... We have a big customer conference every year. We get a few thousand people that go. I love being able to sit down and the company loves talking to the customer, because it's like, "Listen, we're not making any money unless you're making money, and you're making a hell of a lot more than we are, so let's figure out together how we can conquer the world." It's super fun, and like I said before we have a great time doing it.

Eric Siu: That's incredible, so let's put it this way then. Let's say you guys did 200 this year. Right?

Fred Voccola: Yep. I just bought my calculator, so-

Eric Siu: Oh okay, so does that sound about right, you guys did about 200 this year?

Fred Voccola: Yep.

Eric Siu: So if you do 20X that, then that's $4 billion, so you guys are basically generating $4 billion of value out there in the marketplace. Is that fair to say?

Fred Voccola: Yeah it is. I think another way of looking at it, and that's exactly right, is I think it's fair to say approximately $4 billion of managed services, were powered by Kaseya.

Eric Siu: Wow, incredible, incredible.

Fred Voccola: Yeah, I mean it's huge. There's tens of millions of end points that are being managed by Kaseya, around the world. I would argue one of our MSPs, again, I don't want to give the names of our customers, because I don't have their permission, but one of our MSPs is a very large MSP that focuses on, and I mentioned this before, dental offices. They have about 5,000 dental offices that they're running all the IT four. All that is powered by Kaseya. I know most people don't like going to the dentist, so they might get a little frustrated at Kaseya for that, but ... It's fascinating. It's cool.

Eric Siu: That's awesome. Yeah, I was just thinking about it ... I was always looking at the dentist I go to, they send me all these notes. It's all perfectly timed. Clearly they're not technology people, so how are they doing this? Now I kind of have a good idea.

Fred Voccola: Yeah.

Eric Siu: I just have so many questions I want to ask, but I'm going to try to taper it down. I guess for you guys, I'm sure it's a pretty competitive space. What separate you guys from the others out there? Because you guys are doing some pretty good revenue.

Fred Voccola: Yeah, and to be fair, we have competitors, and they're all great companies. Of course, I think that we're much better. But everyone has competitors. There's a couple of things that make Kaseya, in my opinion, and of course I'm very biased, but what makes Kaseya, I think by far the best. One of them is we are 100% focused, and everything from our pricing model to how we structure our contracts to our support, everything is about that 20X. You give us one, you get back 20. Or actually, you get 20 first, and then you give us one. Many of our competitors sell products that they charge a fee for them, and whether the customer's business does well or not, they don't adjust their fee. So if a customer, if their business shrinks 30%, they're not making 30% less revenue. We are literally aligned at that level, and it makes customers feel really good about working with us.
The second piece, and this is from ... I don't want to get to gear-heady, but when you think about the technology that Managed Service Providers ... Actually, I'll say it a little differently. The technology that small businesses, small to midsize businesses, they want to consume, and they want to consume it from their Managed Service Provider. There is a lot of things now in the area of compliance, security, backup and disaster recovery. The technology needs of small and midsize business is moving exponentially forward, not just in terms of volume, but in terms of complexity.
Again, we're talking about dental practices, 2018, many dental practices have new HIPAA compliance requirements they must comply with. How the heck is a dentist going to understand how to fill out HIPAA compliance report, more or less who to give it to? So they're looking for Managed Service Providers to offer them that. Managed Service Providers are then looking for their partners, or their software provider saying, "Guys, give me a piece of software that can help me manage my customers' HIPAA compliance." Kaseya has a comprehensive suite of integrated managed service ready products that is by far the simplest, the least expensive, but most importantly, the most comprehensive, the represents literally all of the needs that Managed Service Providers are being asked from their customers. So we tell an MSP, you're getting the best tech from one place, at a lower price, in an integrated stack, then you are getting if you have to buy three or four other providers. That message is resonating really, really well.

Eric Siu: Got it. It sounds like a bunch of things. It sounds like it's very simple to understand. Everything is packaged well, and it's easy to execute on. You guys are providing a complete tool set for people to basically, well I guess for these MSPs to create gold.

Fred Voccola: I like that, yeah.

Eric Siu: Yeah, so I guess for you coming into Kaseya, I mean you came in at 75 million, when you came into it, and this might actually carry over into your experience across other companies that you came into help, what important managerial/structural issues, big issues did you see that you had to change to help gear you guys to 200 million?

Fred Voccola: Sure, so a couple of things. First off, before I came on board, I worked with ... Insight Venture Partners is the private equity owner of Kaseya. So I worked with Insight for about four and a half to five months before joining, so I was very familiar with the market and all that kind of stuff. In my opinion, there are two things that any business, I don't care if it's Technology, or you're building a dam, there's two things that are ... Well, with a dam it's different, because you got to make sure the architecture is right. But same with tech, there's two key things. One of them is people. The other one, are customers. Knowing what your customer or your customers, whatever the proper English is, but understanding what your customer is all about, and building a culture at a company that addresses how that customer wants to interact with you as a vendor.
The second is people. Or at the same time, there's people. Once you understand, making sure that you assemble a team of executives, and senior managers, and line level managers that are capable of being singularly focused on whatever that customer vision is ... When I came to Kaseya, we understood a lot of that in advance, so I brought a team with me. I brought a core group of a handful of executives and senior managers, and line level managers that again, we talked about networking before, from my network, and people that I've either worked with, or socialized with, or knew about, I brought about 20 people with me. 20 key people, so day one, or maybe day seven, 20 people joined me. Those are people that we'd talked about the opportunity, we'd kind of prepared for it if you will. We trained for it, to give an analogy.
It allowed us to hit the ground running, and be completely aligned with what our objectives are, and that is of being a very customer centric, 20X focused business. It probably saved a year off the time, supercharged Kaseya to where we got to.

Eric Siu: That's interesting. Bringing 20 people that you know into a company, I'm assuming they probably had to displace some other people, so what happened there? Did some layoffs have to happen? Did some people have to be demoted, or fired, let go, whatever?

Fred Voccola: Yeah, so we didn't have layoffs, because when I came on board the company, we were growing. It wasn't as if the company was a sinking ship or anything. We were growing. It wasn't as good as it could've been, considering how good the markets we're in, but the company was very healthy. But yes, to your point, there were people that needed to be replaced. But what I found at Kaseya, it's a little different than other places I've been at, was people weren't always in the right roles. It's like square peg in round hole, and we had to find, for the most part, there were some people that didn't fit the vision or the strategy, but very few. Most it was just realigning people. Or people learn positions where they either had too much autonomy, and they needed to be guided more.
Quite frankly, there are a lot of super talented people that were here, that weren't given the ability to flourish, because the executives they were under weren't really good about empowering people. They weren't good about fostering that creative thought, and that energy that makes great organizations great. There were some people that are no longer here. But there's a lot more of people that were put into different roles, because when a new team comes in, there's a new energy. It makes people say, "Here's the box that I'm in. Here's the box that I'm thinking about the company with. Someone new is now in charge. Maybe the box is going to be different. Maybe I'm going to look at my job, the company, my career, a little bit differently." That's something that we try to encourage. I tried to encourage it a lot, and it works out pretty well. We do it every year, but it's a good way of looking at things.

Eric Siu: Great. A couple more questions from my end. I know we're going over here, but I'm just so intrigued by this. We'll probably have to do another one of these some day. You coming in, let's say 20 people come in, maybe you need to let go of 10, 15 people, and then five people need to be demoted, what happens to the culture there? I mean, how do those conversations go I guess, with those people, and how quickly do you make those decisions?

Fred Voccola: Yeah sure, so I think that in the case of Kaseya anyways, I'll answer it practically, and then maybe put some [inaudible 00:32:54]. In the case of Kaseya, it was maybe three or four people that didn't remain, post the hired numbers, but there were a lot of people that we moved into different roles. Some people that moved into different roles, or more roles that were more appropriate and more suited for their skillsets ... Any organization needs to really look at what it wants, what kind of a culture it wants out of its people.
I'm a firm believer in having a culture where performances by far the most important trait. The only trait more important than performance is integrity and honesty. I mean you cannot lie, and cheat, and steal, or else you're gone, period. But then you need to be able to perform. Performers, whether they're a 22-year-old kid out of college, or a 72-year-old man or woman, getting ready to retire, performance trumps everything else. There is no nepotism. There is nothing. It's all about performance. I think that when I came on board to Kaseya, I made that super clear, because we're all in this together.
We're going to win as a group. Now that such a cheesy and overused term. Everyone says it, "Oh, we're all in this together. One for all, all for one." But it's true, and people have to recognize that. I think that when we came on board, when people saw that we weren't just saying this, this is what we were trying to do. We're trying to change a culture, to create a culture of empowerment, and with empowerment comes accountability. With accountability comes measurable, tangible results that, if they're good, that's great. If they're bad, that's not great, and let's all be honest with each other, and have honest conversations about it.
It wasn't as disruptive as you would think, because the people who chose not to be here self selected. If you go into a place, and if you recognize that this is not going to be the pace that I want to be in ... Some people look at their job and their career and they say, "I just want to have a comfortable job." That's great. However, if you're in a place where the organization wants to grow and move very fast, and the culture there is to empower people, and give them opportunities to excel, if someone doesn't necessarily want to be the person given the opportunity to accel, they'd rather be more of a traditional 9 to 5-er if you will, those people, they kind of self select out.
If you make it so it's not embarrassing, if it's not challenging for someone to self select out, if you make it very fair, and you're very honest with people, I find ... I've done this now for four or five times like this, you don't have a lot of challenges. I mean, there's always going to be the one or two that go sideways, buts treating people with respect, and being honest with people, and most people will self select in or out. I don't know that answers your question, but that's kind of how we [crosstalk 00:35:58]-

Eric Siu: Yeah, that helps a lot, because you if you think about it, people always talk about having the right person, right person, right seat. But sometimes, you have the right person, they're in the wrong seat, so you're kind of giving the blueprint on how to deal with those situations. I'm just wondering, let's say you had someone for ... they've been with the company five, six years [inaudible 00:36:15] they've been in the wrong seat the whole time. Then Voccola comes in and says, "Okay, right person, wrong seat," and that person is not able to perform for let's say another quarter, what do you do? Do you decide it's time to let that person go? How quickly do you decide it's time to cut the cord? I'm just wondering, because you've done this so many times.

Fred Voccola: Yeah I mean, it's a hard ... I'm not trying to be evasive, it depends of course. It depends on the role. It depends on what needs to be done. I mean, there's so many variables there, so without giving you a specific timeline, because I don't think that there is one, no BS it's just who knows. You treat product managers different than finance people, than sales people, than marketing people, I mean, it's very, very different.

Eric Siu: Okay, so let's say sales is really fast, but let's say somebody else. Let's say maybe it's like a muddled creative role. I guess what the question maybe better is, what's the longest you've waited to keep giving someone a chance before you're just like, finally it's like, "I just got to let him go."

Fred Voccola: That's a great question. That's an awesome question actually. I'll answer two ways. The first way is I think that what must be considered in the role is people talk about giving someone a fair chance. The word fare is the worst word to ever use in business, because the only thing that's fair is, is it fair to the value of the company? What's fair to the individual employee is putting them in a position to be successful. If someone doesn't have the skills, or someone doesn't have the right whatever it takes to be successful in a given role, every day they're in that role, all we're doing is kind of screwing them over.
I've been in this role earlier in my career. There are few things more stressful in life than knowing that you're really struggling at your job. It sucks, so I try to be as quick as I can to identify, and I tried to encourage this in my team, identify if someone is struggling. Then make the decision as quickly as you can, is it something that can be rescued? Or is it something where the situation, for whatever reason, whether it's a lack of skill, a mismatch of job, lack of support, maybe the company is letting the person down, but where that person will not ever be successful in that role, or in a reasonable amount of time? Call it three months to a year. I've never seen anything longer than a year. I can't imagine that it would be longer than a year. Quite frankly, if it takes longer than three or six months to make the assessment, not to take action, but to make the assessment, if it's longer than three months, there's a problem.
Now the way you remediate it might be much longer than three months. The remediation might be, "We have to find this person a different role in the company with the next year." But if you can't make that decision within three months, there's something wrong.

Eric Siu: I love it. Great, perfect. So final question for you, we're definitely going to have to do a part two one of these days, because this is really great, Fred, what one must read book you'd recommend to everyone?

Fred Voccola: One must read book? Can I give a couple, because there's a couple of books I love?

Eric Siu: Yeah, do it.

Fred Voccola: I'll give a personal book first. I'm a huge fantasy science fiction fan. There's an author, Robert Jordan. He has a series called The Wheel of Time. I highly recommend everyone reads it. There's 16 books. The characterization is phenomenal. You can see over the 15 years the series went on, the different political landscape that's happening in the United States reflected in this fantasy world. It's like a Lord of the Rings kind of thing, super neat. From a business perspective, there's three books that I just really enjoy. One of them was given to me from my mentor, Yoakee Sloanum, Five Temptations of a CEO. Awesome book.

Eric Siu: Oh, that's so good. I have that, yeah I see it, it's sitting on my bookshelf right there.

Fred Voccola: Dude, totally rocks. Another one, same author, I think it's Lencioni, same author, Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Court Cunningham from Yodle recommended that book to me, phenomenal book, Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Then one that a number of people have recommended to me early in my career, and even later on, it's a book that I think, it helps me anyway just really try to be as honest as I can with myself, which is a hard thing to do as human beings, because sometimes we don't always want to admit our faults to ourselves. It's called Leadership and Self-Deception. Then underneath it's, Getting Out of the Box. That's a great read. Not just professionally, but personally, for relationships with your parents, your significant others, your kids, phenomenal book, but it's a business book.
Those are three books that I would recommend anyone who really enjoys thinking about business, especially in fast-moving, and fast-changing businesses, these are phenomenal, and they're awesome. I strongly recommend them. I'm not getting paid for making recommendation either.

Eric Siu: Yeah, you know what's interesting, I think maybe this is a good point to make to the audience, I have all three of those books. I actually haven't read them yet. But I think when you listen to podcasts like this, this is what I do is, if I hear a book that I haven't heard of and I hear it recommended twice, I just go to Amazon, and I 1-Click order it. Because the thing is, I'll spend all this money on books, but even if I could get one good idea, and I spent two, three, four thousand dollars, even if I don't read 99% of them, it's still a big win if I get that one idea. That's how I think of it. Those three books, I've heard so many times. They're just sitting there right now, because I'm on other books. But I highly recommend, go to the show notes. At those books to your Amazon. Make your life easy. Fred, what's the best way for people to find you online?

Fred Voccola: The best way is to send me an email. It's Fred, F-R-E-D dot Voccola, V as in Victor, O-C-C-O-L-A and that's spelled K-A-S-E-Y-A dot com. You can also check out, I'm LinkedIn, Fred Voccola, obviously. Yeah, those are the best ways to get me. Please, if anyone has any interest in infrastructure technology, check out Kaseya, you're going to love it.

Eric Siu: Great, all right Fred, thanks so much for doing this.

Fred Voccola: Awesome, thank you very much. Take care.

Speaker 2: Thanks for listening to this episode of Growth Everywhere. If you loved what you heard, be sure to head back to for today's show notes, and a ton of additional resources. But before you go, hit the subscribe button to avoid missing out on next week's value packed interview. Enjoy the rest of your week, and remember to take action, and continue growing.