20VC: Why The CEO Should Make As Few Decisions As Possible, The Trade-Off Between Freedom and Raising Big From VCs & Why Our Jobs Are Not As Hard As We Think and How To Assess Talent and Potential As a Result with Tristan Handy, Founder & CEO @ dbt Labs
Posted on 14th October 2022 by Harry
Tristan Handy is the Founder and CEO @ dbt Labs, a data transformation tool that enables data analysts and engineers to transform, test and document data in the cloud data warehouse. To date, Tristan has raised over $400M from the likes of Sequoia, Altimeter, Coatue, ICONIQ and GV with the latest funding round valuing the company at $4.2BN. Prior to founding dbt Labs, Tristan was the VP Marketing @ RJ Metrics and got his break in the world of startups through former 20VC guest, Anthony Casalena with a Director of Operations role at Squarespace.
In Today’s Episode with Tristan Handy:
1.) Entry into Startups:
How did Tristan make his way into the world of startups with his first role at Squarespace?
How did Tristan’s time with Squarespace impact how he builds dbt Labs today?
What does Tristan know now that he wishes he had known when he founded dbt Labs?
2.) Our Jobs Are Not That Hard:
Why does Tristan believe that our jobs are not that hard?
If going down this line, how does Tristan hire? What does he look for? How does he test for it?
When does experience matter? When does it not matter?
3.) dbt Labs: The Company
Why does Tristan believe that remote work does not work?
What financial packages have dbt put in place to allow their employees this physical interaction?
What does Tristan believe is the hardest element of building a hybrid company? When does everything start to break?
What are the biggest lessons Tristan and dbt have taken from Gitlab?
4.) Tristan: The Leader
How does Tristan conduct and execute on the best performance reviews?
How does Tristan create an environment of safety where people feel they can be honest and transparent?
What are the elements that you cannot be transparent on? Where does transparency break down?
5.) Trading Freedom for Scale:
dbt Labs could have been a small and super profitable company, why did Tristan decide to trade off the freedom and raise big from VCs?
How did Tristan raise over $414M without ever talking about an efficiency metric?
Is Tristan concerned about living into the $4.2BN valuation in what is a very different time?
With the benefit of hindsight, is Tristan pleased he went big and raised venture?