20VC: True Ventures' Toni Schneider on How Being CEO @ Automattic (Wordpress) Made Him A Better Investor, The Biggest Lessons from Automattic on Running Successful Remote Teams and The Right Way For Investors To Show Founders They Have Their Support (Note
The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch
Toni Schneider is a Partner @ True Ventures, one of the valley's leading early-stage firms with a portfolio including the likes of Peloton, Hashicorp, Fitbit, Automattic (Wordpress) and Tray.io to name a few. As for Toni, he has spent 14 years as a Partner @ True but during that tenure, he was also the CEO of Automattic for 8 years where he helped WordPress.com become a top 10 global internet destination with close to a billion monthly visitors. Before that, he was a VP @ Yahoo post their acquisition of the company he was CEO of Oddpost, much of their work formed the basis for Yahoo mail. (Note: Recorded Pre-Coronavirus) In Today’s Episode You Will Learn: 1.) How Toni made his way into the world of venture following two turns in the seat of CEO and then joining Yahoo? 2.) Does Toni fundamentally believe it helps when investing to have been both an operator with Automattic and Partner @ True? How did being CEO @ Automattic shape how he thinks about investing today? How did Toni manage the balancing act of a being a CEO and Partner at a venture fund for 7 years? Having been a CEO and having worked with the best, what does Toni believe are the qualities that make the great CEO of today? 3.) Why does Toni believe that startups do not have to be as stressful as they are or are portrayed to be? How does Toni deal with the shit hit the fan moments? What can an investor do in times of high stress when the founder is not performing? What is the right way for them to express that the performance is not where it needs to be? On the flip side, what is the right way for investors to show their support to the founders? 4.) What are Toni's biggest learnings from the Wordpress days on what it takes to run a truly successful remote team? Where does Toni see many people going wrong today? What does Toni advise those considering going remote first? What does Toni believe are the biggest pros and cons of the model? What infrastructure does one need to have in place to make it seamless? Does it still make sense for companies to be in the valley? Items Mentioned In Today’s Show: Toni’s Fave Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions Toni’s Most Recent Investment: Piavita As always you can follow Harry, The Twenty Minute VC and Toni on Twitter here! Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.
EP #4 - Toni Schneider: The Trials and Tribulations of A Startup CEO
Timestamps 15:46 - How to build a company on open source 22:40 - Scaling Automattic with a distributed team 36:20 - Having a long-term view of your startup 44:18 - Loneliness as a startup CEO 51:13 - Creating feedback loops Biography Toni Schneider is a founding Partner of True Ventures. From 2006-2014 he was CEO of Automattic where he led WordPress.com to become a top 10 global internet destination with close to a billion monthly visitors. At Automattic, Toni also helped create a new type of startup with over 300 employees working together in an “office optional”, distributed fashion from homes and co-working spaces in over 40 countries. His career in technology began as a software engineer at Crystal River Engineering where he built 3D audio simulators for NASA and a VP of Technology at Aureal Semiconductor (acquired by Creative Labs). He joined the world of startups as the co-founder of Uplister, a venture-backed music recommendation startup in early 2000. It was his role as CEO of Oddpost, however, that may have impacted his career path most significantly. Yahoo! acquired Oddpost in 2004, which formed the basis of the new Yahoo! Mail used by over 250 million people around the world. Toni joined Yahoo! as a VP and created the Yahoo! Developer Network. While at True and Automattic, he also found time to co-found Sphere (acquired by AOL) with Tony Conrad. Voted startup CEO of the Year at the 2007 Crunchies, Toni’s leadership style is commended by many of those who have worked for or with him. When he is not running a company or advising another, you can find him in his VW van crossing the US with his family, coaching San Francisco Little League baseball, or tinkering with old cars.
Toni Schneider is the CEO of Automattic, the core team behind the WordPress project. Since leaving Switzerland for Silicon Valley, he has been working with and successfully exiting startups. Before leaving Yahoo! to join Automattic, Tony was a WordPress user and part of the community. On today's show we touch on: The huge Windows Live Spaces migration to WordPress.com Who is Toni and why he chose to work with Automattic Progress Automattic is making in terms of growth Steps WordPress is taking as a CMS The mantra and thought process behind Automattic's products Where Automattic is going next and the ways to engage with the communityPlugin Picks of the Week: Shrimp Test – Easy A/B testing to maximize site performance. Ultimate Taxonomy Manager – A solid tool for simplifying custom taxonomy management for non-developers. Yet Another Related Posts – Increase page views / time on site, by suggesting relevant posts to readers.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/press-this-wordpress-community-podcast/donations