January 24, 2024

Chris Savage

Chris Savage, Wistia: learnings from scaling Wistia

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Summary of #TalentBuzz Episode with Chris Savage from Wistia


In this episode of #TalentBuzz, Samuli Salonen, CEO and co-founder of TalentBee, engages in a conversation with Chris Savage, CEO and founder of Wistia, to discuss his four main learnings about talent acquisition.

Chris Savage's Key Learnings in Talent Acquisition

1. Working with Likable People:

  • Chris emphasizes the importance of working with people you genuinely like and can have a meal with, rather than solely focusing on skill sets. He found that having a team whose members enjoy each other's company fosters trust and cohesiveness, which are crucial for a team's success.

2. Leading by Example:

  • Chris advocates for leading by example as a powerful tool in influencing team culture and practices. He shares an instance where recognizing team members' efforts through simple actions like emails and using tools like 15.5 led to a significant boost in team morale and recognition culture, without implementing formal processes.

3. Building a World-Class Team:

  • Chris discusses the difficulty of buying a world-class team, suggesting instead that building such a team is more effective. This involves finding individuals with steep growth trajectories and providing them with challenges and opportunities for development.

4. Experiences with Layoffs:

  • Savage shares his experience with layoffs at Wistia, describing it as a challenging but necessary decision made to preemptively tackle potential market downturns. He emphasizes the importance of acting decisively and transparently while taking care of affected employees.

Samuli's Reflections and Discussion Points

  • Hiring Challenges:
  • Samuli discusses the difficulty of truly knowing a candidate during the interview process and considers implementing more interactive tasks that simulate real work scenarios.
  • Team Building:
  • He reflects on the idea of using team activities like escape rooms as part of the hiring process to gauge team dynamics and fit.
  • Growth Mindset in Hiring:
  • Samuli explores the challenge of maintaining a team with a growth mindset, especially as the company scales and evolves.

Actionable Tips for Listeners

  1. Prioritize Team Chemistry:
  2. Focus on hiring individuals whose company you enjoy, as it enhances team cohesion and trust.
  3. Incorporate Practical Tasks in Interviews:
  4. Introduce real-life tasks in the interview process to better assess candidates' compatibility with the team and their working style.
  5. Emphasize Leadership through Actions:
  6. Utilize the power of leading by example to influence and shape team culture and practices effectively.
  7. Focus on Growth Trajectories:
  8. When building a team, look for individuals who show potential for rapid growth and are passionate about continuous learning.
  9. Handle Layoffs with Care:
  10. In difficult situations like layoffs, act with empathy and transparency, prioritizing the well-being of both departing and remaining team members.

Closing Thoughts

The episode concludes with a reflection on the complexities of talent acquisition and the importance of balancing skill sets with team dynamics and leadership. Chris Savage's insights provide valuable lessons for companies looking to build strong, cohesive teams in the SaaS industry.

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