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Life on Mars - A podcast from MarsBased
65 minutes | 14 days ago
025 - What to do when you're approached by a buyer (part 1), with Mike Counihan (Transcend Partners)
Company sales: the miracle all entrepreneurs and business owners aspire to, mostly because we're bombarded every day with company exits news, and articles about serial entrepreneurs selling their 14th startup before they turn 40.However, the reality is very different. Selling a company is an overly-complicated process that drags along for many months, taking your focus away from your company, and in a lot of cases, the business owners don't see a nickel as a result. That is, if the process ever makes it to the agreement stage, so in a lot of cases, we're seeing what is called "survivorship bias".But one thing is still true: as business owners, we're all likely to receive offers for our companies. In fact, in 2017, we received an invitation to initiate talks about a potential acquisition, and if you want to learn the rest of the story, you should listen to this podcast.This time around, we talk to Michael Counihan about what happens when you're approached by a buyer. We wanted to cover the whole cycle, but the episode came out so long that we had to split it in two.In this first part, we'll be talking about the initial exchanges of intentions, what protocols to follow, how to behave in the meetings, what things to do and what NOT to do, how to bring more offers to the table, when's the right time to engage with an M&A boutique and more.Michael is the Managing Director of Transcend Partners (www.TranscendPartners.com), a technology focused international M&A boutique. Michael has executed company sales, mergers and acquisitions across a wide variety of technologies. He regularly speaks with acquirers and investors all across Europe, North America, Latam, Middle East, Asia and Australia.But most of all, Michael is a very great guy. Trust us. You'll like Michael.
55 minutes | a month ago
024 - The role of Developer Relations in tech companies, with Ana Cidre (auth0)
In this episode, we hosted Ana Cidre (Senior Developer Advocate at auth0) to talk about the role of Developer Relations in tech companies.Developer advocates, tech evangelists, developer relations and myriad of combinations describe a very versatile role that companies are incorporating to help them have deeper conversations with the communities of developers around them. But unless you have one, you might now fully know what they do and what advantages they bring into the company.What do devrels do inside the companies they work for? When do they do it? How can they combine speaking at conferences, writing blog posts, helping in doing customer success, organising hackathons, developing community around their company, hiring and more? Are they extroverts or introverts? These questions, and a bunch more, are answered in this episode.Ana shares her expertise with us, as well as her background, and we even venture to peek into the future of events, as we're both very invested in that field.Random trivia: In 2009, Scottish scientists searching for the Loch Ness Monster found 100,000 golf balls instead.🎬 You can watch the video of this episode here: https://youtu.be/12Cbnt1-gDE
54 minutes | a month ago
023 - Leadership & communication in difficult times, with Pere Vallés (CEO @ Exoticca)
The last twelve to fifteen months have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. The COVID-19 pandemic brought several industries to a halt and forced many businesses to shut down. Suffice to say, people were gravely affected too on many levels.Among the most affected industries, we find the travel & hospitality sectors. International travel has plummetted to the bare minimum, creating distress and chaos among huge companies like Booking.com, Airbnb or all airline companies, just to name a few. Forloughing workforce, asking for credit, pivoting to other business models, shutting down temporarily, moving efforts to do the minimum to keep the lights on, hibernation mode... were just a few of the measures that a lot of companies were forced to do.To talk about how they navigated last year, traveltech startup Exoticca's CEO, Pere Vallés, joined Life on Mars for an open-hearted episode covering many difficult movements and decisions. If 2020 was a rough year, 2021 isn't looking much better for now, for travel.Exoticca digitises the travel agencies experience for travellers, and they hail from Barcelona. Pere has got an extensive background at the forefront of tech companies, from being the CFO of a NASDAQ traded company, to his latest spell at Scytl for almost two decades.In this episode, Pere and Àlex discuss how they had to communicate difficult decisions to their respective teams in 2020, how they managed the pandemic as business owners, who were in their crisis committees of their companies, when and how to communicate stuff and much more.For the bonus points, check the interview of Pere Vallés at Startup Grind BCN in 2016 to see the contrast and the evolution of his persona in the last five years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtcgARX2fvo
60 minutes | 2 months ago
022 - Stonks, Elon Musk, Gamestop, Doge, tech journalism and... metal! with Alex Wilhelm (TechCrunch)
The last few weeks have been crazy on the stock market, or should we say "stonks" market? The WallStreetBets movement against hedge funds, making GameStop skyrocket to an unthinkable price per share, made the front pages of all the newspapers and media outlets around the world. That caused a huge uproar and most trading platforms stopped trading on certain stock to avoid these so-called "unregulated" trades from "altering the market", which, in turn, caused WSB people to turn against the trading platforms, too.If that weren't enough, politicians and highly-influential people added fuel to the flames, allowing the battle to rage on even longer.Amidst all of this, Elon Musk is having the time of his life, trolling everyone, adopting the meme culture, proving he's embodying the current zeitgeist and riding the wave of this controversy like no one else is doing. By the end of it, he will have gained thousands, if not millions, of adepts of his cult.In this episode, we talk to the man, the myth, the legend, Alex Wilhelm (Senior Editor at TechCrunch) and our friend Josh Feldberg about what happened a couple of weeks ago, and try to shed some light on it all.We talked about the role of tech journalism in all this nonsense, but we also talk about clickbait, the madness of the crowds, memes, the mixing of politics and economy, stonks and not as much as we wanted, but also talk about metal towards the end of the episode. Join us in an episode with the guest with the best radio voice we've ever had, a lot of profanity and unfiltered and highly blunt opinions on this and that.Disclaimer: This episode constitutes no investment advice of any kind as we're not financial advisors nor serious people by any means. For further proof of the latter, just listen to the episode.🎬 You can watch the video on our YouTube channel.
62 minutes | 2 months ago
021 - From CTO of TaskRabbit to founding a B2B open-source project, with Brian Leonard (CEO @ Grouparoo)
Brian Leonard co-founded the B2C startup TaskRabbit in 2009 and built its initial prototype coding it in Ruby on Rails, one of our preferred development frameworks.TaskRabbit went on to grow until it was acquired by Swedish powerhouse IKEA in 2017, to expand to Europe and beyond, and a couple of years later, Brian quit the company to pursue his new endeavour: Grouparoo.Brian transitioned from being the CTO and product guy at a B2C startup to co-founding a pure B2B startup based on an open-source model to provide data connectivity between marketing products.Brian tells us how to wear different hats: CEO, CTO, product, sales, and more while running a company effectively and keeping the focus on the product. Brian also spoke with our CEO, Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit, to explain why they followed the open-source approach and how the transition to B2B happened, among other topics like choosing the right technology for your company and how to prototype new projects within a bigger company.This is the first episode with a recorded intro by our CEO, Àlex, so don't be too harsh on him. We'll improve soon.
50 minutes | 3 months ago
020 - Choosing the tech stack and taking technological decisions, with Pau Ramon (CTO @ Factorial)
Pau Ramon has been spearheading the technical department of two of the hottest Barcelona-based startups of the last years: Redbooth (previously known as TeamBox) and Factorial.We've invited Pau to talk about how he behaves as CTO of Factorial: how does he take technical decisions, when to delegate them, who takes which decision in the technical department, who chose the tech stack, when is the right time to rewrite an MVP (if ever), tech hygiene & keeping lights on on side projects, how to align expectations between departments - especially with marketers! - and much more.If you're Pablo Villalba and you're reading this, you should listen to this episode because we speak about you, and drop us a line to say hi, pal! 👋PS: Ruby ain't dead in 2021 yet!
61 minutes | 3 months ago
019 - Breakdown of 2020 at MarsBased, month by month, with Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit (CEO)
We have been receiving a lot of feedback about our podcast, and one of the most popular requests has been "why don't you talk about yourselves?".We've actually been hosting other entrepreneurs, investors and business people in our events for well over eight years, even before we created the company. And for the most part of these years, we had the impostor syndrome of not feeling like we've got a lot to share, so we kept interviewing others, barely ever talking about ourselves outside of the realms of our blog.Over time, we've published more content, like our employee handbook, or some open source projects, and we've even spoken at an event here, another one there, but we've never wanted to be in the spotlight.And here we are, almost seven years after creating the company, talking about the wild 2020 we experienced, broken down month by month. Our CEO, Àlex, recorded this in one go after a false start where he recorded himself for well over five minutes in Spanish, when we were supposed to record this in English.Learn about how we dealt with the pandemic from many angles: team cohesion, mental stability, sales, operations and internal organisation, communications, leadership and strategy in just one hour of Martian cocktail.
67 minutes | 4 months ago
018 - Facts and figures of a fundraising round, with Cristina Vila (CEO @ Cledara)
Cristina Vila is the fearless CEO and co-founder of Cledara, a company we hosted a few episodes back that happened to be fundraising at the time. Cristina was knee-deep into the jungle of fundraising, so we decided to host her in a different episode to talk about the fundraising process solely.Cristina shares the ins and outs of this fundraising round, led by Nauta Capital, of $3.4MM, including:What VCs to contact and whyHow many VCs they contacted and what percentages jumped to the subsequent stagesWhen to contact them and how to time the responsesHow to manage the entire pipeline and the different timings for each VCHow to negotiate your termsTime allocation as a CEO... and more!Join us in this episode and learn from one of the hottest companies in the market!
54 minutes | 4 months ago
017 - The future of tech events, with Victoria Gago (European Blockchain Convention)
A few episodes back, we discussed the future of the music industry and the role of tech in digitising concert and festival experiences with the lead singer of our favourite Grind Death Metal Band, Benighted. Now, it's time to talk about business events.Meetups, conferences, fair trades, conventions... you name it. All of them have suffered a terrible 2020 because of the pandemic, and most have had to reinvent themselves in order to keep their community alive and their business model afloat.We have seen an enormous transformation sped up by the pandemic, where we've had to adopt the purely online model, via Zoom, YouTube streaming, Twitch and whatnot, while others have morphed into a podcast, or the luckier ones into a hybrid model with speakers in the same venue with no audience, only the online audience via streaming.A new world is unfolding, and we talked to Victoria Gago, from the European Blockchain Convention, about the future of events and how is technology helping to accelerate this transition. They organised a few editions of their conference offline, in Barcelona and Copenhagen, before turning into a purely-online event.In this episode, we learn from Victoria's experience running events (online and offline), what tech stack she uses, what are her fuckups and much more!
61 minutes | 5 months ago
016 - Selling to enterprise, with Gordon Cardiff (ClearPeaks) & Pontus Österberg (Prototyp)
Selling to big corporations is the holy grail of business. We all know that we need to do it, but no one teaches you how to do it. What's more: it seems that when others manage to succeed in it, they're not willing to share their recipe with the rest of us, mortals.We put together this episode to share a few things about selling to corporations from the perspective of a big company (ClearPeaks, a multinational BI consultancy headquartered in Barcelona), a mid-sized company (Prototyp, a development studio from Sweden) and MarsBased, a company of 15 people as of this writing.Gordon Cardiff (CEO @ ClearPeaks), Pontus Österberg (Co-founder of Prototyp) and Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit (CEO @ MarsBased) talk about their experience selling to big corporations and multinationals in their roles as CEOs/Founders of their respective companies, including first contacts, how to build a reputation and a network, how to approach the right person, how to craft a good sales proposal and more.For full transparency, Prototyp and ClearPeaks have been clients of MarsBased.Also for full transparency, that funny phone notification popping up randomly during the interview will bug you because you think it's coming from your phone. But it's not.
63 minutes | 5 months ago
015 - Self-organisation and time management in hyper-growth startups, with Jeff Dunham (CTO @ Wallbox)
With all the hype about Tesla, NIO and electric vehicles slowly creeping into the mainstream, we thought it'd be good to bring one of the hottest startups in the industry right now into our podcast.That's why we invited Jeff Dunham (CTO @ Wallbox) to talk about... meetings! Yeah, that's right. Jeff is an expert on running meetings, self-organisation and maximising the outcomes of any kind of meeting you want to run in a company. He's deeply passionate about this subject, and we discussed with him for over an hour about:How to prepare meetingsHow to structure your weekly agendaRecurring meetings: yes or not?Allowing for serendipity in tight agendasDealing with tech teams at scaleHow to scale yourself as the company scalesDealing with crises and the unexpectedAsync vs sync modelsWe also cover the usual tech fuckups and other matters of extraterrestrial interest, but we promise we will bring him back to talk about electric vehicles soon. First, you all need to learn how to organise your agenda and to run your meetings from Jeff!
61 minutes | 6 months ago
014 - Present and future of the music industry, with Julien Truchan (Co-founder @ Benighted)
Musicians and bands are also entrepreneurs. Perhaps, one of the oldest forms of entrepreneurship we know, yet they often are overlooked in the business scene, as if music weren't a business or an industry.That's why we brought our good friend Julien Truchan, frontman and co-founder of the brutal death metal band Benighted, straight outta Lyon, France.That's right, we brought a real musician to talk us about the ins & outs of the music scene: how this pandemic is transforming the industry, how Spotify broke out in the previous economic crisis, parallelisms between running a band and a company, how to deal with a co-founder quitting the band, what technologies do bands use and what concepts and formats can the adopt to innovate in such trying times.Julien Truchan is the charismatic and charming leader of this extreme metal band, who balances his musicianship with his job as psychiatric nurse and his love for rugby.Random trivia: in this podcast, Àlex uses the word "cognizant" for the first time ever in his life.Rock on 🤘🏼
56 minutes | 6 months ago
013 - Keeping the fire alive after 10 years, with Pieter Omvlee (CEO @ Sketch)
Pieter created Sketch about 13 years ago as a remote-working company. In fact, he never met his co-founder until the day they launched the first version of the software, almost three years later.Now, Sketch sits at 120 people scattered across the globe, as an example of an all-remote company with a bright future ahead. Entirely self-funded for many years, they raised a Series A round with Benchmark Capital to help them grow and conquer new heights as a company.In this episode, we talk about bootstrapping, decision making when you're two co-founders, the struggles running an all-remote company, changes in the culture as you scale and as you receive investment, relationship with a board you didn't have before, how to keep the love alive for the company and with your co-founder ater 10+ years, and Àlex struggles to pronounce Pieter's full name correctly.
61 minutes | 6 months ago
012 - One SaaS to rule them all - Controlling access, expenses and more with Brad van Leeuwen (Cledara)
SaaS is becoming messy. Companies tend to hoard them involuntarily just because they're cheap and easy to sign up for, so it's easy to subscribe and forget.Have we reached the point of SaaS fatigue? Difficult to say, as there are several actors within companies signing up for SaaS, so we might not know everything we signed up for unless we're in the finance department and audit them thoroughly.In fact, as a company, we also need to control not only what we sign up for, but what our team uses individually. Sometimes SaaS infiltrates companies through individual B2C usage, like it happened with Dropbox many years ago, or Mailtrack in sales teams.Brad van Leeuwen, COO and co-founder of Cledara, a SaaS that helps businesses to manage all of their SaaS subscriptions, explains in this episode how to keep expenses under control, how to control accesses and regulate governance within companies and most importantly, how to pronounce his surname.We also learnt how to build SaaS by asking feedback to your clients and keeping a healthy balance between all clients' requests and your own roadmap in a sensible way.
45 minutes | 7 months ago
011 - No-code: what, why, when and more, with Ben Tossell (Founder @ Makerpad)
No-code, low-code, less-code, zero-code... you name it! There's a trend of building applications - and even companies - without having to actually code anything, thus enabling less-technical people to assemble prototypes and MVPs to test their ideas for free and without technical chops.But... what's all the fuss about it? When should we use no-code, or for whom's it the right approach? Is there a moment when you should stop using it? What profiles know how to deal with these tools?Ben Tossell is CEO and founder of Markerpad, a platform for no-code projects that has built one of the biggest communities around this movement. So big, it's now launched a fund, to invest in no-code tools.Follow us in this conversation with Ben to dispel some myths and talk about the present and future of no-code, what do investors think about this new current of thought and how to scale such projects.
59 minutes | 7 months ago
010 - How to transition from senior developer to CTO, with Rob De Feo (AWS)
A few years back, the industry of developer bootcamps emerged and went boom. Tonnes of new developers were manufactured to be poured into tech ecosystems around the world and help startups and tech companies scale up their development teams.This solved the problem of needing more developers in an ever-growing industry, demanding more and more professionals than there were available, but most of these bootcamps focus solely on getting them started.It's been a while since the first cohorts were started, and now, some of their people are getting senior positions as senior developers, tech leads or even CTOs in smaller startups.In this episode, we discuss with Startups advocate at AWS, Rob de Feo, about how to build a career in the development industry: learning from people above you, seeking counsel, learning constantly, do's and don'ts and much more.Also, for the bonus points, Rob has got one of the best voices in the industry. In fact, he runs the Startup Engineering podcast. Check it out here.
53 minutes | 8 months ago
009 - Manufacturing developers on a global scale and the role of dev bootcamps in society, with Ariel Camús (CEO @ Microverse)
When the first developer bootcamps appeared, no one could foresee the impact they would have in society henceforth. A few years later, we have seen their huge influence in making the software development world more accessible to a broader percentage of population, and their efforts to help underrepresented groups cannot be overlooked. As it happens, there's always both sides of the coin, and whilst most of them are created with good intentions, others have simply been created as a business opportunity to milk the tech market even further, and they're contributing to corrupting the model. To talk about this - and more - we hosted Ariel Camús (CEO @ Microverse), one of our favourite bootcamps. Microverse has been founded on very strong moral values and a solid company culture, which feeds from the likes of Gitlab, Basecamp and Buffer, just to name a few. We discussed with Ariel how to avoid losing value with scale, building a dev bootcamp using no-code tools, their techstack, their role in society, a bit of social mobility and much more!
65 minutes | 8 months ago
008 - Work ethics and the fraud of the gig economy, with James Bloodworth
Let's talk about politics. Politics and tech, or politics in tech, to be more precise.James Bloodworth worked undercover at Amazon, Uber and other companies with shady business ethics for six months to write Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain. He also wrote The Myth of Meritocracy, so we invited him over to speak about both books, the systemic problems the tech industry is perpetuating and how social mobility is just not working and only the sons and daughters of rich folks are getting the top jobs in the industry.Accompanied by our friend Josh Feldberg, we discussed for over an hour how we seem to be going backwards when it comes to workers rights in part "thanks" to the tech giants like Amazon, Facebook or Uber, who are thriving businesses at the expense of their employees' rights, driving costs (and thus salaries) further down every year and revoking worker rights our ancestors fought for not that long ago such as minimum wage or an eight-hour work day. That was a hell of a long sentence, by the way.If you are interested in James' story, how the tech giants profit from these despicable tactics, social mobility, meritocracy and unionising in the tech industry, then this chapter is for you.
63 minutes | 9 months ago
007 - How to keep the house clean: sunsetting legacy systems and tech hygiene, with Dorion Carroll (Amazon)
In this episode, we talk to one of our favourite tech experts, former CTO @ Zynga and current VP of Customer Engagement Technologies at Amazon, Dorion Carroll.Dorion has been working on the development side of things for decades in the US, in companies like Oracle, Electronic Arts, Technorati, Postini, Zynga and more. For all these companies, he's been always advocating for keeping the house clean when it comes to technology.We discussed how to sunset old apps, turning the lights on/off on projects, how to deal with legacy systems, putting budgets against financials for new tech ideas and the concept of tech hygiene. We also talked about how to pitch finance departments and/or CEOs big investments into technology, like a big refactor, a change of technology or a complete rework of the architecture of the platform.Dorion has also got one of the best beards in the industry. Period.
62 minutes | 9 months ago
006 - How to run one of the best tech podcasts in the universe, with Chad Pytel (CEO @ thoughtbot)
As developers, we learn by doing, and this is why we decided to interview one of our favourite podcasters: Chad Pytel, CEO and co-founder of thoughtbot, and host of the Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots podcast.Thoughtbot has over 100 employees and was founded in 2003. Their main business is development consulting, and of course they've been a huge inspiration for us in terms of culture and the way they go about work.They launched a bunch of podcasts in 2012, so they know what they're talking about. We discussed with Chad how to start a podcast, how to keep it running for so many years, his tricks for interviewing people and how they've evolved their podcasts over the years to reinvent themselves and avoid burnout and loss of motivation.Can Martians and Robots get along well? Find out for yourselves by listening to this episode!
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