Episode 129 - Seeing the Value in Everything with Saam Motamedi
Saam Motamedi is a General Partner at Greylock, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Saam has always found joy in finding individuals with the ideas and perspectives needed to become leaders and seeing them grow. As a student, Saam built student led organizations and nurtured the talent in his peers so they could grow as leaders. Saam started his professional journey on the product side of the industry working for a startup company, BladeIQ. The organization was an early adopter of machine learning and made innovations in the Customer Relationship Management solution market. The company was later acquired by Salesforce and their technology was integrated into the Salesforce CRM solutions.
Saam shares that he enjoys helping entrepreneurs go from technical insight to an initial product. His superpower is leveraging his insight into how products and software solutions fit into the larger economic ecosystem. Saam also has success with helping companies continue to develop their products while bring new offerings using planned strategy. Ron asks Saam how he sorts through companies that are focused on artificial intelligence or machine learning in order to find great opportunities and people. Saam elaborates that he is focused less on the theoretical applications of these tools and more on how they are used to solve problems for customers. Saam provides perspective on the value of end user input in improving the quality of machine learning itself.
Chris asks Saam about advice about product market fit and how to ensure the company has the right timing. Saam shares that timing varies across customer segments. It is important to not only understand what customers want but be able to see what customers should want or what they’re going to want. The conversation touches upon how COVID-19 has shifted the venture capital landscape. Saam tells us that the amount of interesting ideas and products has actually increased, and that entrepreneurs need to understand what their own story is and how it is even more relevant today than perhaps two years ago. Ron asks Saam about the most exciting technology to him today. Saam remains enthusiastic about machine learning technology helping better decisions being made as well as automation helping free up time and more of the workforce to focus on higher valued tasks. Saam lets us know that it’s never too early to talk to Greylock and that some of the most impactful investments have been based on an idea and an understanding of the market the entrepreneur was aiming to disrupt.
0:00 — Intro
01:21 — Welcome Back to Hacker Valley today in the Studio, Saam Motamedi.
04:30 — Saam’s superpowers: understanding products, markets and people.
06:30 — Saam’s experience with the product innovation side
08:13 — Network building and finding talent
10:28 — Seeing the entrepreneur in people even before they see it in themselves
12:37 — Investing in solutions to important problems and not the technology they’re using.
14:17 — Creating a learning engine that actually learns over time
15:55 — Advice on having the right team and the right idea at the right time.
18:37 — Timing requires predicting what customers are going to want
20:09 — How the pandemic has shifted the entrepreneurial and VC landscapes
23:05 — Customer interactions and brand ambassadors shifting to digital channels
25:00 — Crawl before you walk before you run: how to grow a company
27:04 — Getting the right attention, standing out in a digital sales landscape
29:00 — Showing off your product and continuing to grow without high touch interactions
31:34 — Saam shares how security is more relevant than ever
33:10 — If you’ve got an idea and imagination it’s never too early to start talking to Greylock.
35:32 — Understanding your own story to build your own company.
If you want to stay up to date with what’s going on with Saam you can follow him on twitter Saam Motamedi (@saammotamedi) or find him on linkedin Saam Motamedi - General Partner - Greylock Partners. Check out Greylock Partners to find out more about this venture capital firm and read their blog to learn more about what they’re doing.
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