Serial entrepreneur Sarah McKenna knows a thing or two about running successful data and technology companies. She has founded a couple of global data and technology companies. Apart from being the CEO of Sequentum, Sarah is also a Venture Partner at NextGen Venture Partners.
On this episode of The Shape of Work podcast, Sarah talks about the strategic lessons she has learned over her many years of experience launching hyper-growth products and building highly efficient product teams.
Sarah discusses with us:
The work culture of Sequentum:
Sarah talks about her journey to being the CEO of Sequentum. She started all the operations from scratch. Sarah further explains how she was able to bring some team right away. She began with three key employees in New York and India. She credits her team for being the best startup employees- incredibly sharp, hardworking, and adaptable. They have done a lot of recruiting on their own.
Sarah feels that a startup needs to work very intimately and intensely. Hence a startup environment allows knowing people well and developing a community that complements each other’s skills.
The key trends among people in terms of a startup:
In a startup, Sarah feels that people follow a ‘sink or swim’ theory. Startups bring a lot of challenges with themselves. No one can explain how things can work there. Hence, people that succeed in startups are the ones that thrive in a fast-paced environment. They are highly creative. Hence, either people can find something that fits with their aptitude and interests, or it does not.
“How much of what you do is why as opposed to how?”
In Sarah’s opinion, a startup is a continuous improvement of a particular product. It keeps getting better and better. Hence, there is not much difference between the ‘why’ and ‘how’. They are intricately intertwined.
Advice to the leaders in terms of employee well-being:
Sarah talks about the period where her employees in India were willing to resume the office. Productivity concerns were raised. However, Sarah opposed it by saying that those issues can be resolved. However, the solution cannot be calling people in the offices in the middle of a pandemic.
Hiring tech professionals in India:
Sarah gives her general manager credit for greatly managing things. The company hires freshers mostly. Sarah feels that even though a fresher is not as productive as an experienced individual, it is beneficial anyway. As they are hiring and training freshers, they are incubating tech leads. Sarah appreciates how the team of India focuses on culture and celebrates it.
Follow Sarah on LinkedIn
Produced by: Priya Bhatt
Podcast host: Abhash Kumar
Get highlights of this episode from our blog.
BONUS: Building highly efficient teams is not possible without effective team building activities. Here is A Proven Guide to Team Building Activities  to ensure your teams remain motivated, productive, and together.