SHIELD Analytics is the data platform that helps make better decisions with content on LinkedIn. Their team includes three incredibly talented and inspiring leaders. In this latest episode of the One Away Show, I interviewed the three founders of Shield Analytics:
- Juan Pablo-Quintero
- Andreas Jonsson
- Alex Gregaard Brandi
Each of these founders’ One Away Moments offers captivating insight into the commonalities and distinctions in their perspectives, both respectively and synergistically as a team.
Revolutionizing Data-Driven Insights on LinkedIn
Shield Analytics is a cutting-edge platform that empowers companies to achieve enhanced business outcomes from LinkedIn content by leveraging the power of data-driven decision making.
As a platform, SHIELD offers three distinct functionalities to add value for any business or brand:
- Team Performance: See LinkedIn performance in dynamic dashboards and pull up real-time reports on individuals or teams.
- Content Analytics: Measure the performance of individual posts, hashtags, content types and best time and day to post.
- Audience Demographics: Understand what your audience enjoys and engages with over time, based on companies, regions and occupation.
This platform gives users everything they need to improve key social metrics, increase audience and engagement, and analyze useful insights clearly laid out in effortlessly automated reports.
How SHEILD Harnessed a Diverse Team
A significant portion of our discussion focused on how each person’s path looked distinct, yet ultimately led to the same destination. How the team initially met each other is really fascinating. I think you’ll enjoy learning about their seamless collaboration style, and how merging their talents in a repeatable, systematized way consistently produces unprecedented results for their business, especially when you look at how they’re outpacing the competition in their sector.
Both prior to this interview and based on my new discoveries and learning during our discussion, I was struck by the incredible strength of the partnership between Shield Intelligence’s executive suite. Each of the three founders plays a distinct role in the company:
- The Integrator
- The Visionary
- The Diffuser
This is a truly remarkable team of founders, and each one deserves their own specific highlight in this episode’s overview.
1. The Visionary: Andreas Jonsson
As a visionary, Andreas Jonsson infuses the team of founders with a contagious sense of excitement and wide-eyed enthusiasm about all the potential they can bring to life. A father of two, he also brings the fatherly wisdom of an “elder” to add perspective to the team. At every opportunity, he searches for innovative ways to grow and improve in every aspect of his life:
- Physical health
- Mental wellness
“Back in my early days, I spent a lot of time messing around and didn’t really take things seriously. At some point, I figured out a sense of direction. I credit this realization to meeting Alex at our university. We realized that we could build anything we wanted to. That’s how it all started for me, and what got me into this growth mindset. I realized you could really change your life for the better if you actually wanted to, rather than continuing to just drift along.”
2. The Integrator: Alex Gregaard Brandi
Analytic, measured, and rational, Alex Gregaard Brandi keeps the team grounded in the real while propelling their mission forward with his unmatched technical abilities.
As a fullstack developer with frontend, backend, software, and hardware proficiency, Alex is the founder who brings high-level technical expertise to the table. In addition to his bulletproof hard skills, he also has an eye for creativity as a talented designer with audio and video capabilities.
Ever since he started his first company in elementary school developing websites for family friends, he’s been driven by the entrepreneurial spirit he brings to SHIELD’s executive suite.
“In college, I was studying digital media design with Andreas, and he constantly asked me, “Why are you studying design? That’s too easy. You can always learn design. You need to learn the hardcore mathematics.” After some time, I realized he was actually right. I was fooling myself studying something I didn’t want to. I realized I needed to drop out of that program. Even though I had to say goodbye to Andreas temporarily, this choice later proved to be the efficient and effective one. Today, Andreas has the design skills that my technology background demands. Now we have Juan on the team, it’s amazing what we can do together.”
3. The Diffuser: Juan Pablo-Quintero
Juan’s greatest strength is intuition. He has a knack for assessing, connecting with, and understanding other people and what makes them tick.
Juan is an endlessly curious and energetic soul that thrives on connections with people. He enjoys a pragmatic but flexible view at life and business with a strict ethical and moral compass.
“My pivotal One Away moment emerged from a part of my life I was born with. I come from a family with a very strong character. My dad has been excellent role model my whole life. […His] hard work and ethical values have always inspired me. His influence helped shape me into the person I am today. I inherited positive vibes and generosity, thanks to him. I try to share this energy in my day-to-day values in my livelihood, and I always try to impact others positively.”
3 Pieces of Wisdom From the Founders of SHIELD
There are so many memorable words of wisdom to glean from this episode. Below, you’ll find a fascinating insight from each founder that reflects their unique worldview:
- Insight from Andreas: Never lose sight of the practical operational side of your business by keeping your eye on the 1,000-foot view. When you’re running a business, hard skills like design and tech are not enough. You need leaders who have a strong sense of the business perspective as well.
- Insight from Juan: “It’s better to have friends than money.” This saying has proven to be very true no matter where I’ve lived. If you’re generous with who you are, if you’re genuine, if you’re a nice, good person, people will give back to you way more than you expect. Hold onto those genuine connections that extend beyond the transactional frame of mind that’s all too common in the business world.
- Insight from Alex: When you combine the ability to understand and identify needs in the market with technical execution, you’ll be able to:
- Identify gaps in the market
- Identify needs and pain points
- Actually build a solution to solve them
Each of our guests shared several fascinating contributions about what they bring to the table, and how their strengths are amplified and reinforced as a team. Together, they’re proving to be unstoppable.
Founding a Company Based on Unwavering Principles
I really admire each founder’s honest and genuine candor in the interview. Clearly, they’re a team that’s founded upon rock-solid morals and sound ethics. Their partnership is forged on the basis of how diverse ideas can come together to yield a better and stronger end product that exceeds the value of any of its individual components.
Similarly, the team’s contrasting yet compatible skill sets enables them to work together to produce results they can all feel proud to create at SHIELD. If you haven’t already, check out their incredible platform for yourself.
This is a truly unique edition of the One Away Show, and I think you’ll find it just as captivating and engaging as I did. Check it out on YouTube up top, on Spotify, or on Apple Podcasts. A full transcript is provided below for your convenience.
BRYAN WISH: For this episode, we’re featuring the founders of SHIELD Analytics. We’re going to discuss all three of their stories to see how their paths converged together and led to building a company. Juan, Alex, and Andreas, share your One Away moments with us.
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: My pivotal One Away moment emerged from a part of my life I was born with. I come from a family with a very strong character. My dad has been an excellent role model my whole life. He comes from a very interesting background; he’s one of 14 siblings. He worked as a farmer.
My father’s hard work and ethical values have always inspired me. His influence helped shape me into the person I am today. I inherited positive vibes and generosity, thanks to him. I try to share this energy in my day-to-day values. In my livelihood and in my life as a whole, I always try to impact others positively.
ANDREAS JONSSON: Back in my early days, I spent a lot of time messing around and didn’t really take things seriously. At some point, I figured out a sense of direction. I credit this realization to meeting Alex at our university. We realized that we could build anything we wanted to. That’s how it all started for me, and what got me into this growth mindset. I realized you could really change your life for the better if you actually wanted to, rather than continuing to just drift along.
For me, that was one of the pivotal moments. Early on, realizing that we all have some inherent potential that we can outlive if we actually want to do it and put in the hours and grind. That’s probably 10-12 years ago. Since then, it’s just been amplifying that and now together with Juan as well. It’s amazing because he brings in this set of values that very much aligned with what we have here, as well as what we had before he came on board.
ALEX GREGAARD BRANDI: It was not until 5-10 years ago that I realized that I actually had to work with technology and that was my call. It already showed some signs when I was a young kid. It was actually when I had to fix a radio for my dad. I asked him if it was okay if I could fix the radio or play around with it and he told me I could. It’s broken no matter what, so I could just play around with it.
Later that day, I came back home with the same radio and I fixed it. I thought it was really fun to work with that. In my teenage years, I thought it was way more fun to chase girls and all that stuff. Then one day, I was actually working with this guy that was really annoying.
In college, I was studying digital media design with Andreas, and he constantly asked me, “Why are you studying design? That’s too easy. You can always learn design. You need to learn the hardcore mathematics.”
After some time, I realized he was actually right. I was fooling myself into studying something that I didn’t want. I realized I needed to drop out of that program and try something new.
Even though I had to say goodbye to Andreas temporarily, this choice later proved to be efficient and effective for me. Today, Andreas has the design skills that my technology background demands. Now we have Juan on the team, it’s amazing what we can do together.
ANDREAS JONSSON: That’s a wild ride.
BRYAN WISH: Alex, you dropped out of your university to go pursue something you were good at because Andreas said, “I think you’re better suited elsewhere.” Is that what I’m hearing?
ALEX GREGAARD BRANDI: My mom, my sister, everyone around me was like, “Man, you’re finally going to the IT University of Copenhagen.” Then I met Andreas, who is such an awesome guy. Everyone was telling me not to pursue this one direction, but it didn’t feel right when I was actually there in the moment. I thought it was more fun to chase those girls, but I realized there’s more than just girls in this world. There’s also technology.
BRYAN WISH: Andreas, the elder figure of the bunch here, you said you saw early that you could build what you wanted and how that was a guiding light to you. What was behind that? When did that realization happen? What led you towards going off the beaten path?
ANDREAS JONSSON: Alex has a lot of influence in my story. For me, it all started out at the IT University as well. That’s where I started taking things seriously. Before that, I had a record of dropping out of college as well and even high school before that. It didn’t look glamorous for me.
When I met Alex, he proved to be a magician with tech. I had the ideas of how to identify needs and pains in the market and how products could look and feel to serve those needs, but I didn’t have the tech execution power to actually build stuff myself. I knew how things could be built.
Back then, Alex solved this side of the equation. He had the ability to understand and identify needs in the market, while also bringing the tech execution with it. Those two things make for an excellent combination in terms of:
1. Identifying gaps in the market
2. Identifying needs and pain points
3. And then actually building solutions.
For me, that was one of my earliest eureka moments: realizing that we could actually do whatever we wanted if we set our minds to it. That was a big deal for me.
BRYAN WISH: Juan, you talked about your dad and how he really showed you so much. What did he teach you? What memorable stories or defining moments do you carry with you?
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: There’s a quote he always uses. He says it’s better to have friends than money. It has proven to be very true no matter where I’ve lived. If you’re generous with who you are, if you’re genuine, if you’re a nice, good person, people will give back to you way more than you expect.
From a day-to-day basis, what you get all the time is people extracting value from you. Everyone wanting something from you. It’s very rare when you encounter someone who is willing to give something and to provide something.
If we translate that to SHIELD, when I met Andreas for the first time, I said, “I have no idea how I’m going to help you, but I think I’m very aware of what a startup needs. I’m here to prove my work first. I’m going to work my butt off and see if any of the skills that I have previously acquired will mesh with your needs and help you grow as well.” The same when I met Alex.
My dad’s values and seeing where he came from, but if you had seen his town back home, the odds were packed against him. Then this close group of friends, they had everything against them. Right now, they’re very successful people. He has led by example and I have been very fortunate. I’m very grateful for that. I try to bring that everywhere I go.
BRYAN WISH: Juan, how did you meet Alex and Andreas?
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: I had been studying in Copenhagen. I ended up here chasing love. Love didn’t work out. I had to look for something else. I started doing a Master’s of Business. Many people asked me, “What are you going to do after the Master’s?” because they knew that back home, I had a solid network and opportunities. I had my family business.
I told them the only way that I was staying in Copenhagen was if I could find a good opportunity for me to bring my set of skills and help something grow. I didn’t want to work somewhere I’d be a small cog within a huge organization. I want to feel like I’m actually making an impact when the effort that I put in has greater value at scale.
I always talked this way to most of the people I met and then a friend of mine, who studied with me, she works for the CSE, which is the Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship. She told me, “There’s these two guys with an amazing idea. They’re very talented. They’re seeking people.”
She said they had software. I asked if they were selling right now because I knew if they were able to sell the idea, they had accomplished already 90% of the entrepreneurial path. I told her to schedule a meeting with the guys and that I saw a huge potential. It was supposed to be a 10-minute coffee meetup, but it was love at first sight. I mean, look at this guy. Who wouldn’t love him?
BRYAN WISH: You left for lust. It didn’t work out, Juan, I’m sorry. You ended up meeting these guys at a coffee shop.
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: We met at ITU for a coffee and I told them I’m interested in hearing about what they’re doing.
BRYAN WISH: Let’s go to this meeting moment.
ANDREAS JONSSON: From my perspective, I know this girl as well, that Juan knows. She told me, “Hey, I know this guy named Juan. You’ve got to meet him because I think he could be interesting since it’s just the two of you.” I was apprehensive at first because there’s a lot of people who want to meet and see what we have to offer them and as Juan said, not what they can offer us.
Prior to meeting Juan, I had a lot of conversations with people who ask us what we can give them. Fast forward, I meet with Juan at the IT University. At the time, we were just digital nomads. We were just roaming around saving the rent and working from our laptops with a high speed internet connection.
We had customers and we had revenue and we were growing at the time, but we were basically just getting out to university every morning, like all the students, and sitting amongst them and working on this SaaS business.
BRYAN WISH: What year was this?
ANDREAS JONSSON: This is back in July 2019. We’d been in the market for 3-4 months prior to that. It was very early days and still is. Then I met Juan and we chatted on Facebook going into the call. He was very responsive, which is one of the criteria I look for since we chat a lot with people. LinkedIn is all about typing and content and chatting. He fit the mold already and charmed his way in through chat. Today I know that’s just how he is; very open, very polite, and humble. We met and set 20-30 minutes.
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: Then we ended up extending that.
ANDREAS JONSSON: We met and I went outside the IT University and sat on a bench. We chatted for a long time. It went way beyond the 20-30 minute mark we had set aside. We just clicked. I said love at first sight, as a joke, but it really felt just like that. It was the same thing when I met Alex. We clicked right away. From there, Juan was, “When can we start working?”
I was like, I need to win over Alex first because I’m going to go back to Alex all happy and smiley after having met this Colombian and I know Alex well enough that he’s going to tell me to chill, sleep on it, and not be tricked into something. I told him he has to meet Juan and once he meets him he’ll feel the same way and surely, he did.
BRYAN WISH: Juan, you were highly impressionable.
ANDREAS JONSSON: He continues to be that way.
BRYAN WISH: Alex, you level-headed Andreas out and said, “Let’s evaluate.” Alex, when you first heard about Juan, what was your reaction and what happened?
ALEX GREGAARD BRANDI: Andreas was really hyped. He was really, really hyped. It was like he had just drunk 10 Monsters. I was like, “Maybe we should just chill for a minute. Let me meet this Juan.” I said he was likeable, but I had to stay skeptical because I’m the other half of the company. There were way too good vibes for me to hold back that excitement. I think Andreas and I met a week before and a week after, we met up.
ANDREAS JONSSON: It was plug and play. He was so professional and personal. We just started working and we’ve been full-time together, the three of us, ever since. Just like that.
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: It’s very interesting. We’re very hardworking but we also have this very rebellious nature. We have very strong characters, but we both know what’s important. We know how to prioritize when we have to. Our values align and we also allow ourselves to have fun and to be politically incorrect at times, but always with the same sight ahead; always knowing what the main purpose of all of this is.
BRYAN WISH: Andreas and Alex, you knew your skillset. The design and tech build together was going to build a really good product. You had the core ingredients. What was it about Juan that could really help your future vision? What did he have that said, “Let’s get working together?”
ANDREAS JONSSON: At the time, Alex and I were a two-man team. I have a background in product service design. I know how to do those things, but mostly around the processes of identifying needs and gaps in the market, bringing the mission together, and conceptualizing.
When you’re running a business, hard skills like design and tech are not enough. You need to have a teammate who has a sense of the business perspective as well. I was easing into that over the last couple years; learning by doing. I’d been doing that at the time we met Juan as well.
All of a sudden, out of nowhere, he comes in and has managerial experience from his family business. Has a lot of experience in the banking industry as well across various topics of interest and knows the startup scene in Colombia and globally as well. He had good insights to that.
As you also know, as an early stage founder, CEO, you do a lot of stuff, a lot of operations, and you have your hands dirty in all parts of the business. One was bringing another brain and a pair of pants into the equation who could just put out fires.
That’s where we knew that he would fit because anything we put his way got solved and got solved quite well. Not only that, but then he started taking on a lot of responsibility very early on. His first week in, he took the lead on so many things.
I was telling Alex, “How can we keep this guy around?” I think we’re just operational. We cover all aspects of the business. We may be very different profiles, but we overlap a lot as well. It fits nicely doing the business, the sales, the customer success, everything. We just do that together.
BRYAN WISH: My impression of Juan was he was just a utility guy who could do anything and do it really well.
ANDREAS JONSSON: Except code. Leave the coding to Alex here.
BRYAN WISH: Juan, what made you say, “The path with SHIELD is going to be a great one?”
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: It’s a mixture of things. I think that I have really good intuition when it comes to measuring people and understanding people. For some reason, I feel that’s one of my skillsets. When I met both Alex and Andreas, it gave me this very good vibe. I tend to trust my intuition in that sense. Both Alex’s reserved nature and Andreas’ excitement, they complement each other very well.
Alex is analytical. He’s paused. He’s very rational. Andreas gets excited about anything all the time. It’s incredible because that’s the level of energy you’re required to make something great. It’s the child-like excitement and curiosity behind building a product and an idea. I felt that was very contagious and I wanted to be a part of the party.
I wanted in on it because it’s cool, fun, and I can bring even more fun to it and provide warmth. I like to say I bring warmth to the product because I like people. It’s very software and technical oriented at times, very A to B, but then I’m just like, “I’ll help you out, client.” It’s a matter of the mixture. It just felt right.
According to my past experiences, as a startup mentor, as managing my family’s company, I saw value; real tangible value.
BRYAN WISH: It’s important to be aware of people you’re getting into bed with, so to speak; business partners or relational partners. If you’re blind to it, it can really hurt you in the long-run. It sounds like you did trust your gut, but you had some good datapoints to go off of to make that decision.
You guys had a fast start and are three full-time. The product is incredible. You guys have picked this path professionally. How has picking this path professionally changed your lives personally for the better or maybe even the hard moments of taking this path?
ANDREAS JONSSON: Alex and I had a consultancy prior to SHIELD where we were able to make a profit from day one from billable hours. Our revenue came from simply having a client with a problem and being able to start selling them some hours as we went along. That was a different game. We always wanted to build hyperscale companies with incredible software products.
Once we got the idea and identified the gap in the market through our consultancy, that’s where change showed up. We made the transition into tech and as with any subscription based company, as with any SaaS, you don’t earn a lot of money from day one. Things come dripping in and they compound over time.
It’s a tough one coming out of university with these fine degrees and being able to take a corporate job and earn a good salary but choosing not to and then starting your own thing and building everything up from scratch.
It’s definitely been a rough ride to get going financially, especially since we chose not to take in funding and a bootstrap still. It’s being able to have a low living standard, push things aside that you don’t need in order to do what you actually want to do.
BRYAN WISH: Andreas, you’re a dad, right?
ANDREAS JONSSON: Absolutely.
BRYAN WISH: How has that been on the homelife?
ANDREAS JONSSON: There’s a lot of work involved in running your own company. Fortunately, most of it can be done from the phone and the computer. In that sense, I can be flexible and work different hours around the clock and still be able to run a family and be there for my kids.
I think actually being an entrepreneur has given me the flexibility to actually do both. Where I see my friends with corporate jobs and working 60 hours, even though they’re paid for 40, they don’t have time for their kids. They’re in daycare from 7-5 thing.
Whereas, we can do it with way more flexibility, primarily because we have lowered our cost of living. That’s what it’s all about during the grind and playing the long-term game instead of short-term games.
BRYAN WISH: What about you Alex?
ALEX GREGAARD BRANDI: I’m not a dad, but I totally support. I’d say normally, for people, it’s a really hard topic talking about work and life balance. We don’t talk about that. We just talk about balance.
This is our life more or less. It has some sacrifices, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice your kids or anything. It’s also about sacrificing maybe a meeting and pushing it to another time. Of course, Andreas needs that flexibility. Otherwise, if he doesn’t have that support from his kids and his family from back home, then he will just be stressed out and feel sorry for himself or his family.
Then my job is to make him work as best as possible. If he’s feeling bad and he’s not having support from back home, then he will do his job maybe worse than he already does today. No, he’s really great. It’s great that he has a family.
BRYAN WISH: That’s neat how you support each other like that. Juan, what about you being away from home?
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: I’m very close to my family. I have two parents that have given everything in order for my sister and I to thrive. I have the best role models at home. As long as they’re healthy and I feel that they’re well mentally, physically, and everything, I’m fine. They’re very happy to see me happy and thriving as well. It’s an easy decision when everything seems to be working in Colombia.
If one day, dark times hit, as they tend to hit, because life is a fricken roller coaster. For now, I can say that I’m having a blast and I’m growing. If I feel I’m growing, I’m happy.
BRYAN WISH: I love the minds behind you three and I see the connective tissue working together and why it makes a good team. You’re building an app called SHIELD Intelligence. I think it’s a really good product from what I’ve been able to experience with it.
What’s happened since August? What’s allowed for the growth that you have experienced? Describe what the product is.
ANDREAS JONSSON: I’m going to rewind a bit to when Alex and I started as consultants. That’s the space we were in when we identified this gap in the market. Someone came up to us talking about LinkedIn data. At the time, we weren’t really using LinkedIn much ourselves but we were the tech guys, and so, we looked into it.
We realized, in a short amount of time, that LinkedIn didn’t provide any analytics for personal accounts. That caught our interest.
We thought to ourselves;
“Is there anything we can do here?”
“Can we do something at scale?”
“Is there a business opportunity here?”
Once we started exploring, we realized there is a business opportunity of creating an analytic platform that LinkedIn is missing. That’s the product we deliver today to the market.
I think the reason we’re seeing this early traction is because we’re bringing something to the market that wasn’t there, that is not provided by anyone else, but which a lot of people actually need for various reasons. There’s a good market fit with the product. We thrive by word of mouth and product-lead growth. That’s how it all comes together right now.
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: From my perspective before I met them, the friend who introduced me to Andreas said, “They have some analytic store for LinkedIn users.” I was like, “What the hell is that?”
Even though I study e-business, I didn’t have a full grasp of what they do. I started researching into the users and what was going on and I saw that the content that was being created on LinkedIn actually had very interesting amounts of organic reach.
That was the basic need or the basic premise behind the building of the analytics or the need for analytics for these users. I started digging more into it and I saw the technical challenges of actually getting access to this data. It’s very challenging. I did a couple of projects in my Master’s with big social data and having access to large amounts of data from social media networks is extremely complex.
What you’re seeing here is very special. What these two have built, when I joined them, I was amazed because it’s incredible. That’s why we’re the only ones in the market. Technically, it’s extremely challenging to build. Maybe you want to hear from the wizard, the magician here.
ALEX GREGAARD BRANDI: Your initial question was, what happened since August? We went to the market, the 2ndof April. Everything has happened more or less. We have realized a bunch of stuff.
We had an alpha version last year around December. Through the holidays, we changed the platform dramatically and made it ready to go to market the 2nd of April. It wasn’t the 2nd or April. It was a really stupid date because it was right before the summer break and everyone that was on LinkedIn, they are the ones that are on their job from 9-4 or 5.
Whenever we launched it, the 2nd of April, everyone was going on holidays. We’re like, “Oh no, do we actually have a product market fit?” Later on, in September, we actually realized that, “Wow, we actually have some traction here.”
It was during a summer and everyone was on vacation. It was actually at that point where we actually got some great data points for what the next step is for our product. One quick one was to look at the UI and make it easier for people to digest their data.
It wasn’t the performance that was the issue. We have a great tech stack. Everything is working really great but it was more the user experience, but the user experiences. It’s more of where do I find my numbers? Simple stuff. Making the platform way better to interpret than the numbers you actually get on LinkedIn.
BRYAN WISH: Let’s talk more of a growth perspective. You made early iterations and tweaks that came to market maybe not at the best time, but the market proved otherwise. You’ve continued forging down this path and continue to make it better.
- What have you experienced from a growth perspective?
- What insights have you realized as all three of you put your heads together?
- As a unit, how can you all continue building on what you are?
ANDREAS JONSSON: In terms of growth, I think we’ve realized early on that people talking about our product is going to be our leverage in terms of growth. We’re bringing something to market here that the market hasn’t seen; not for LinkedIn anyway. We all use analytics with Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but not on LinkedIn. Bringing this to LinkedIn was something that was very interesting for a lot of people.
They started talking about it. We look to amplify that. We bring more to market that is relevant, interesting, and actually value-adding to these people and adhere to the principles of product-lead growth.
I think that’s the key for us here:
We don’t have any trained marketeers on the team. We don’t have growth hackers. And we don’t have all of these interesting roles and decisions that could push a product.
We just have the product to push.
We like keeping our focus entirely on pushing the product very much because at all times, we are in sync with the market.
If we deliver something that the market doesn’t want or need, we won’t see the same growth.If we create something that people actually need, we will see growth and we will see people talking about it.
That’s what’s happening today. We’re building upon that foundation. At all times, we’re committed to being a product team first and foremost. We want to make products for people who need it. That’s our strategy at the very basic level.
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: From my perspective, something I always thought about is I was never called by Microsoft to buy Windows. I was never called by Apple to buy an iPhone. How do I get to know these products? It’s all due to word of mouth.
When you thrive on electronic word of mouth, it’s just insane. It’s the virality behind, as Andreas, was mentioning, product-lead growth. If you do something correctly, people are going to talk about it and share their experiences. If you treat them well, they’re even going to talk about it even more.
We’re trying to generate not only a good product but a good experience in general. We want to work only with people who find the value in what we’re offering. We’re not here shackling anyone into just remaining here to make a quick buck. We’re very aware of how hard we work for it and we want to work with people who understand what we’re doing.
For example, December was crazy because everyone was downloading it and they wanted to share their yearly stats and they couldn’t believe that they could actually access their yearly stats. They were sharing screenshots and we have our log full of users and we love the fact that they love us. We love them. We love you guys. Word of mouth has been amazing.
BRYAN WISH: I was in a coaching session today with our executive coach. I get a text message from Carson Morellwho is working much more closely with the product that I’m seeing all the reports come through.
He goes, “I’m going to cry.” I wrote three question marks. He goes, “Tears of joy.” Then he sends me a screenshot of the reporting system that you guys have built that’s literally going to save him probably 25 hours a month of his manual labor. I’ll never forget that.
Carson is like Alex. I’m the Andreas. He’s the rational guy, but he’s never been emotional like that. I was like, “Woah.” To your point, word of mouth. You have a huge evangelist. Someone who is going to tell all of his data analytics friends about you guys. It’s very tangible to what you’re saying. Alex, take the final plunge at the question.
ALEX GREGAARD BRANDI: That’s a really great example. I’m really glad to hear that. That is what is getting me high. We always say I’m not talking with humans; I’m talking with machines because 90% of my time is talking with machines.
Once in a while, I hear these guys laugh and be very happy and then it’s because we have customers that simply love our product. It’s really great. That’s what keeps us going. We really want to listen to our customers and do this product-lead growth.
If we create enough products that people will like so much that they talk about it on LinkedIn itself, then we’re on the right path.
BRYAN WISH: What do you see the life ahead looking like for you personally or professionally?
ANDREAS JONSSON: We’re just going to build awesome stuff. I think we found the core team here that can build whatever we want. Nothing happens overnight, but we can do it if we put in the dedication and if we keep each other motivated and if we stick together as a team. I think that’s what is going to happen the next couple of decades or so. We’re going to put nice things together and bring value to people and the world as a whole.
Decades is the long-term. I think we’re going to do the same as we do today. Put in the hours, make something valuable, and enjoy ourselves at the same time. I don’t think that’s going to change.
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: I agree. I think we share a certain set of values that guide us in general. Having fun, working hard, but being honest, being transparent in the way we work. There’s these guidelines that we try to abide by. Life is full of curveballs and I think if we’re aligning that way, anything that is thrown at us, we can easily manage. As long as the excitement is there, I know that we can build whatever.
I always say, I can work with these two guys underneath a bridge. It doesn’t matter. Right now, we have this cool, new office and we’re having fun and we have beer in the fridge, but we can work no matter where because there’s talent and there’s love between us.
We have this strong bond of brotherhood. It’s really cool to have that, especially for me being so far away from my loved ones. It’s really cool being here. I love it. Whatever comes our way, we can do some interesting stuff.
ALEX GREGAARD BRANDI: Andreas and I are from a really small country. We are very local. We’re building business for a small country in general, but we always shared this mindset and now we’re sharing with our new Colombian friend, Juan, that Denmark is not the only target that we have. Mainly because our main user base is in the U.S., but we heard so many great things about Colombia, so why not try to maybe visit his country and work from there. We’re working in a SaaS. We should be able to relocate at any minute.
BRYAN WISH: Where can we find you if people want to connect?
ANDREAS JONSSON: Connect with me on LinkedIn. The best way to find us would be to search by our names. Otherwise, shieldapp.ai is probably the go-to place. From there, everything should be possible.
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: You’ll see the little chat symbol inside the landing page for our company. If you write any of us, we’re going to reply as quickly as possible. That’s our valued promise or proposition. We reply really quickly.
ANDREAS JONSSON: Juan is winning this one. He’s the first responder of the team. He has a response rate of less than a couple of minutes. It’s crazy. He’s good.
JUAN PABLO QUINTERO: I have no life. No, just kidding, I love it. If anyone wants to reach out, whether it’s LinkedIn, the company page, or the landing page, we’ll try to help out in any way we can.