Build vs Buy with Eva Sasson


In this episode, Benji interviews Eva Sasson, Head of Marketing at Argyle

The discussion is all about considering the question: Should we build or buy? This applies internally to our teams and tools, as well as externally and how we market the solutions we offer.

Welcome into be tob growth. I'm your host, Benjie Block. Today we're excited to be joined by EVA SOS own. She is the head of marketing at Argyle. evil. Welcome into BTB growth. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Absolutely so let's give some context, just a quick, maybe thirty two sort of twitter length Bioeva to what your life looks like now and a little bit of your history. Maybe. Yeah. So I'm ahead of marketing at ARGYLE. Argyle is and API for connectivity of Employment Records. So we, in short, connect employment records with the businesses that need to access them financial institutions, with the consent of individuals who owns that data. My background is actually in Apis and developer tools. Previous to Argyle, I ran marketing for a identity of urification API. Was At twill Yoh, which was the first API to ever go public, and a century, which is open source developer platform. So comes deep in the developer land. Yes, yes, and you can have a really interesting perspective to bring from that land, which were grateful to get to tap into today. So here's where I want to take us. Is a tension that many feel as a business grows is there's like this constant sort of consideration and tension between building and what we could buy right like what's out there already. When we were offline we were having this interesting conversation really a case study that you are a part of in your time at century, and I wonder if we just start there and sort of have you walk us through some of your findings and some of that where that conversation originated in that case study. Centuries a very interesting business because it's a sort of grass roots and it's founding. So it started as a pure... source tool. It was just open source code sitting on Github that the two founders were maintaining while working at other jobs, and the platform started growing in their number of contributors. People started using centuries code for air monitoring and debugging sort of across different personal projects, like hackers that are building something for themselves, and that ended up becoming so popular that the founders turned it into a business. So that sort of centuries legacy is that it started as this grassroots initiative among developers turned into a business, both enterprise and self serf business, which is an awesome as a marketer, is awesome thing to come into because you already have some brand recognition, you already have traction in the market and it's about how do you monetize that? But an interesting drawback that we found is that we needed to equip our sales team to compete paid century versus open source century, and that was something that concepted a lot of yeah, I can up in a lot of conversations of like well, why should I pay for this when there is an actively maintained open source library that I can utilize for free? Why should I be paying you for this? And it actually became such a big thing that our biggest competitor was ourselves. So like we lost more deals in the sales pipeline to open source century than to anyone else in the market. HMM. So how are you thinking about that internally, as you guys are watching that happen? Yeah, at first it was like, Oh, this is weird, this you know, this person wants to go open source. Like they've been in our they've learned so much, like about the tool in our in our sales conversation and demos, and like now they're just going open source. And we just started seeing it happen more and more and realize okay, this is just a trend, this isn't a... off and people aren't understanding the value of buying and out of the box solution. And so that was a cool project I got to work on of building sales enablement around why you would want to build versus why you would want to buy. And what are the benefits of buying? What are the costs of building? It's not free. It's a different way of thinking about cost right. So, yeah, these questions emerge. True value of buy, true cost of build? Great questions to be asking from several different vantage points. Talk me through what those questions meant is to you in that in that season and for four century as a company. So at first, when people would be considering open source, they would think, oh, this is free, like if I could save seventyzero a year and still get the same benefit, and like why, what did I not do that? And basically, how we broke it down in terms of a competitive analysis, if you will, of how are you benchmarking the two against each other? Is that there's lots of hidden costs. The biggest hidden cost really it's time. If you're a fast scaling business and you need to build something yourself. That is a lot of time that you need to take into building that and there's a cost of someone's time. There's those an opportunity cost of their time not doing something else, and we demonstrated that in an infographic of number of cups of coffee, like how many cups of coffee does this equate to? Of like how much energy and effort are you really going to be putting into this? On the technical side, there's also cost to maintain. So when you buy something out of the box, like if there's an issue, we fix it. We're constantly optimizing it. There's an updates that you can just download and right we're constantly trying to make the platform better. So it's being actively maintained, updates are being made. If your open source, you have to it's possible... make those same updates because right everything's open source, but you have to do that yourself, and so that's even more cups of coffee, because you're not just building at once. You have to continue to monitor it, you have to continue to maintain it. There are storage costs associated with it. If you're buying a cloud solution, then the product is paying for the cloud storage. In most cases. So there is. There is a lot of hidden costs in there. Yeah, I love this because it's so true in technical world, right with the cost to maintain the hidden cost of time, but it's also true in Bess, in business at large, where you're having to analyze what's going to be like the most efficient use of our time and even though we can maybe cut costs in the immediate what does that look like for us as we scale and continue to grow? I wonder, now that it's been some time that's passed since that season and since that kind of case study, what you took away and like learned from that that you maybe even still think about and apply where you currently are. Very good question. So one of the big tap ways of this case study was that it really comes down to scale. If you're a very fast scaling business, build is very expensive for you because you have to be constantly on it to iterate and constantly re establishing the software for scale. And you're if you're a small team, like build might be the better thing for you if you're really growing that fast, if you can maintain it, if if you're a small team in the sense that you have resources and not a lot of change that has influenced my approach to other decisions I've had to make. If you have a super intense sprint that you're working on that you need a ton of resources immediately with people are or a tool that can just hit the ground running immediately, that might... a situation where it might be better for you to buy if you have the resources and the time to invest in bringing something in house that's like tends to be more sustainable in the long run, depending on what it is that you're working on, but that would be a situation where it would be better to to build it yourself. Hey, everybody, bend you here. As a member of the sweet fish team, I wanted to take a second and cheer something that makes us insanely more efficient. Our team uses lead Iq. For those that are in sales, or you're in sales offs, let me give you context. What once took us four hours to gather contact data now just takes one. That's seventy five percent more efficient. We are so much quicker withoutbound prospecting and organizing our campaigns is so much easier than before. I highly suggest that you check out lead Iq as well. You can find them at lead iqcom. That's L ADIQCOM. All right, let's jump back into the show. What would be other sort of common pitfalls, you think when people decide we want to build this like internally instead of Houss to maybe the pro or the vendor? Yeah, for a for a developer tool, it also really comes down to resources, right, so you might, depending on how fast you're scaling, if you're trying to scale century, you might even need a full time person to just be maintaining that. Century is a solution that detects errors and bugs and gives you information about errors and bugs. If you're building century yourself and there's a bug in your century, in your century instance, then that is not a place that, as a developer, you really want to be like fixing a bug in the thing that's supposed to help you fix your bugs. It like yes, yeahs a very Meta that your whole infrastructure can weaken. So that is something to kind of you know from... From the Builder Lens. It's like, how much time are you really willing to put into maintaining this thing yourself? Like what are you trying to do? What's the benefit that it offers you and what's worth it for you? From a team perspective, because there's the external in the internal. I know internally you've been in companies that literally had almost nobody on the team right and you were responsible for growing that team. So when you were thinking of cost to build this team right, like are we going to hire someone full time for this versus allocate funds externally and have someone more as like a lancer or part time, you've had to think through this. What is that decisionmaking process looked like for you? Absolutely I've been in this situation several times of being the first marketer to come on and needing to build the department from ground up, and what I've experienced is that when you're in the very early stages of getting the groundwork set up, going the by route is so helpful long term. You want to build right, you want to want to build a team, you want to build a foundation of a department, but that building takes time and it's more expensive to get it wrong and then fix the then to be very mindful about doing it right and getting as solid foundation set up, and so to lean on experts in the beginning. If you if you know what you need to lean on experts and to start getting things moving while you're on boarding yourself. is a really great way of creating leverage. I think build and leverage are really closely tied to each other. Yeah, there's a close correlation between leverage and by when you buy, your basically buying yourself a bunch of leverage. So if you're very resource drapped, then the... route is a savior because all of a sudden you have experts and tooling that is expert that can help you do so much more. It's like giving you superpowers, so much more than what you could do just as a solo person by yourself, while you're continuing to sort of slowly build. Right. It provides structure to write. So it's like leverage in a certain sort of structure that you might not have immediately otherwise. Exactly. HMM. What? So, when you've been in a situation like that, what did you prioritize and sort of hiring first, as you moved out of a stage where it was like, okay, we bought, we got ourselves some leverage and now we're trying to scale and actually grow the team. What did you move to? What did you prioritize? First? I prioritized hiring in the areas where I felt I have the biggest gaps or the like kind of weakest skills. So I hired to supplement for myself, basically, and that was what allowed a team that's super dynamic to come together, because people's skills were very complementary and everyone is bringing something new to the table. And I just not to take the conversation too much of a different direction, but that's the benefit of diversity and hiring and building a really diverse team is that you're getting a bunch of different perspectives and I think a common mistake is hiring another you, because that's what feels really comfortable. It's like, Oh, this person just like me, and if you like yourself, then you're going to like them. But then you end up getting like a group think or getting just like people agreeing with each other and to quickly and people coming with the same skills, and what you really want is like a diverse array of skills and experiences to create a very dynamic team. Okay, let's talk about how. Let's get... just some really practical how would we do this whole diverse building? Maybe even evil like what are are some questions we should be asking when we're considering going down this road. Let's go internal first, so not staying as far as like as our team is growing or we're allocating resources. Let's start. Let's start there. How would we start to really implement this and what are questions we should maybe be asking ourselves? I would think about what is my immediate need, what is my long term need? What is my band with what is my available budget, and what is that available budget on a short term? In a long term, what is my expected return from this tool or agency that I'm looking at from a short term and long term, and what is my dependency on it? So is this something where I'm going to on board this and I won't be able to ever move off of it? If that's the case, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it. It just means you should put a little bit more thought into making a commitment then you would. If it's like this is a contemporary stop gap while things keep moving. HMM, and kind of where is this creating leverage? How is this creating value for the business outside of just for the team, and are there any other benefits that it would bring to unlock for other teams? Does this set us up for growth in a better way? Does it establish our foundation in a stronger way? Those are some great questions. I you can almost take that and then just go those are all like just flip it and go like that's how people are analyzing the company you're in right now from a marketing Perspectivelese, are the questions they're asking, right, we just put yourself... their shoes. But talk to me a little bit about how you think about it externally, like how we should be presenting our resource right to those that are considering either building internally or buying our tool. Yeah, honestly, the more you can lead with the value, the better, and this is why, for be to be marketing and be to be selling, my push, and this is something from Tulio and century and everywhere that I've been, is really to lean on customer case studies and testimonials, because that's where you're able to unlock what was actually the value that you brought to someone. It's it's sort of empty words to be like save time by x number of hours, save productivity, like increase productivity. It right. Those all of these value props of how you can make someone's world better that you can put forward that are very compelling, but unless they're backed up by real information or by a real case study, then they're sort of empty words. And so the more you can lean on real businesses that have had real impact based on your technology, then it's a much more compelling narrative in demonstrating to someone why they should be using do. Yep, that is a really good way to kind of start to wrap up here. I took a bunch of notes. I think there's a lot to be kind of considering in this space when we consider by verse build. Honestly, the two questions true value of by true cost of build is a great way to put it. Is Great things to kind of leave this episode with and consider and to remember that when you're buying you're buying leverage. That's honestly, a key concept that I'll be I love how...

C to Sinc you put it, is what I'll say. It was a good way of giving us something to consider there. So, even if people want to connect with you further and stay connected to the work you're doing right now, what are the best ways to do that? Tell us a little bit about your company and the things you're working on find me on Linkedin, find me on twitter. I'm not super active hunt twitter. Admittedly, since I do also manage the twitter for the companies that I work for, I have a hard time also focusing on my own, but I am responsive both on Linkedin and twitter. It's just my name. Our gyle is unlocking employment records for every American to people better verify their income and employment to get access to the financial services that they need by transmitting information via an API. Great. We will link to our gyle and your linkedin in the show notes, so if people want to connect further and check it out, they can do that for thank you for spending time on be tob growth. For listeners who want to connect with me, they can do that on Linkedin as well, and you can subscribe to the show if you haven't yet. Be To be growth is always releasing content that's helpful for marketers, those in sales, and we want to help continue your business has growth. So thanks for tuning into this episode and we will be back very soon with more content just like this. It's helpful for you. Thank you, Benjie. It's sweetish. We're on a mission to create the most helpful content on the Internet for every job, function and industry on the planet, but The v Tob Marketing Industry. This show is how we're executing on that mission. If you know a marketing leader that would be an awesome guest for this podcast. Shoot me a text message. Don't call me because I don't answer unknown numbers, but text me at four hundred seven for and I know three and thirty two eight. Just shoot me their name, maybe a link to their linked in profile, and I'd love to check them out to see if we can get them on the... Thanks a lot.

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