20VC: Airtable’s Howie Liu on Potential Consolidation In The Collaboration Tools Market, The Transition From Peacetime To Wartime CEO & How To Make The Move To Remote Work Successful; The Process Beyond The Tools

Posted on 27th April 2020 by Harry

Howie Liu is the Founder & CEO @ Airtable, the all in one collaboration platform that has taken so much of our ecosystem by storm. To date, Howie has raised over $170M from some of the best in the business including Benchmark, Thrive, Coatue, Caffeinated Capital, Founder Collective, CRV and Freestyle to name a few. Prior to founding Airtable, Howie was the Co-Founder @ Etacts, an automated intelligent CRM that was acquired by Salesforce just 9 months after creation. Howie then led the social CRM product at Salesforce. Fun fact, Howie started his career as an intern at Freestyle Ventures.



In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Howie made his way from founding Etacts to changing the way we think about databases and spreadsheets today with Airtable? How did Salesforce acquiring Etacts impact Howie’s operating mentality with Airtable?

2.) With the rise of remote work, what have been Howie’s core observations from the last month of the world going WFH? What does it take to succeed? What mistakes have Airtable made in their process of work from home? Why did it not work? What lessons did Howie take from that?

3.) How does Howie think about Airtable’s transition from an application to a platform? What does he perceive as the core challenges in making the transition? What lessons has he learned from studying others who have done it? Why did Howie choose Peter Fenton @ Benchmark to work with?

4.) How has Howie seen himself evolve and scale as a leader over the last few years? What have been the most challenging elements? How does Howie think about which individuals he would like as mentors? How does he determine which advice to ingest vs to reject?

5.) How does Howie analyse the remote work/collaboration tools environment today? Does Howie believe we will enter a period of consolidation with the proliferation of new tools created? Does Howie believe we will see an unbundling in collaboration tools?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Howie’s Fave BookHard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire, Spying on Whales

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Want the latest 20VC insights?

Get all of the insights from of our latest epsiodes and more in our monthly newsletter. All venture, no spam.