I am CEO

CEO Creates Clarity and Builds a Great User Experience

Full Episode from I AM CEO Podcast - IAM2034

In this episode, we have Joaquim Lecher, the chief executive officer at Typeform.

Kim talks about his career journey, his love for learning and making an impact, and why he chose to take roles in startup companies.

He speaks extensively about Typeform's two main pillars: Respondent experience first and easy-to-use interface, relating it to the DNA of the company founders.

Additionally, Kim shares his daily practice of reflection, his thoughts on achieving clarity, his idea of the CEO's role as the ultimate responsible individual, and the importance of a well-structured team in an organization.

Kim revealed plans to transform their product and create more personalized, meaningful journeys for their customers.

Website: www.typeform.com

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Full Interview:


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Joaquim Lecha Teaser 00:00

So here the idea was okay. If people come here and we are going to ask for valuable information for these people, how can we do this in a way that provides a great experience for the response?

One is that interaction will happen, but people are, let's say, providing valuable information. So, let's make that experience a great experience for them. So, the first pillar is respondent experience first, or respondent first.

Intro 00:29

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I Am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 01:03

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Kim Lecha. Kim, excited to have you on the show.

Joaquim Lecha 01:09

Thank you, Gresh. It's really my pleasure.

Gresham Harkless 01:13

Yes, absolutely. The pleasure is definitely all ours. You're doing so many phenomenal things. And of course, before we jumped into talking about some of those phenomenal things, I wanted to read a little bit more about Kim so you can hear about the things that he's doing.

Kim Lecher is the chief executive officer at Typeform. Kim joined Typeform in 2018 as chief operating officer, bringing more than 20 years of experience at high-growth companies to focus on consolidating market leadership and ensuring operational effectiveness.

Prior to Typeform. Kim held roles as COO and chief financial officer at Social Point, and has served in various leadership positions across sectors, including mobile gaming, e-commerce, and SaaS. Online classified ads and other technology-enabled businesses. Kim is a graduate of SI day business school in Barcelona, Spain, and the Stanford University executive program.

And I was listening to the interview with Kim and he was talking about how he's very much so a builder and internal learner and outs and always looking to get outside of his comfort zone. And I thought. The best definition of that was how I was listening that before he started at Typeform, he actually gave him himself that early birthday gift because his birthday was right after he joined and he thought that would be a really good thing to start something new.

So I felt like that's the definition of somebody getting outside of their comfort zone. And one of the quotes that resonated with me is he said, showing people individually how valuable they are and how they can contribute will make them more effective at their work. So Kim. Excited to have you on the show, talk about all the awesome things you're doing. Are you ready to speak to the I Am CEO community?

Joaquim Lecha 02:44

Absolutely. Absolutely. Thank  you.

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Gresham Harkless 02:46

Absolutely. Let's get it started then. So to kick everything off. I know I touched on it a little bit, but I wanted to rewind the clock here a little bit more on how you got started. What I call your CEO story.

Joaquim Lecha 02:55

So I will start from the beginning. You mentioned something that resonates completely. I believe I am a learner. I love to learn and so my career started in a very large company. I was one person in one department in a hundred thousand-plus people company.

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It was great, in many ways, but I found out that I couldn't see the impact of my job, right? So it was so diluted in such a big company. So while I learned a lot and I liked it a lot, one of the things that I learned was that I needed to see that, right? And then I joined a consulting company because our companies, our customers were very big and they had important projects and they were paying a good amount of money to my employer to get those projects done faster, better with a higher probability and so on.

And we were working in small teams. So, what I was doing there, what everybody was doing there was a lot more visible, so I could see the value of my job, right? And how that job was contributing to achieve ambitious goals and ambitious projects for my customers. So again, I learned that I like the very dynamic environment.

I like the changing of context from one customer to the next, from one project to the next. But I also learned that while I was advising, and then, of course, making some things happen, but I was not really making the decisions. So that's what led me then to take positions as executive in, in startup companies, right?

And that's also something we can touch upon and why startup companies, but I wanted to make those decisions. So I took a number of positions, as you mentioned, in different industries, in different companies, as head of M& A and head of investor relations, as CFO, COO, and then I learned a lot.

about all of those different positions. But what led me to become eventually the CEO of a company as I am today is that at some point what I learned is that I also wanted to be the ultimate responsible, right? And I think that's one of the things that the CEO is, which is the ultimate responsible for, everything in a company, right?

Gresham Harkless 05:17

Love how all that, of course, comes full circle.

So I wanted to drill down a little bit more. Could you take us through a little bit more on what that experience looks like? Somebody is working through and what Typeform, like, how are you making that impact for the clients that you all are serving?

Joaquim Lecha 05:28

Yes, yes, absolutely. So, that goes back maybe to the very early days.

There is something I believe in is that companies are a bit like people. So they are born with a certain DNA and then they develop right in different ways. So, going back to that birth stage of, two people our two cofounders David and Rebecca were asked by a customer that they were already working on for a form.

So basically, the idea was I need you to. Provide me with a form and because I will be applying these in these circumstances, right? It was a showroom a form on a tablet to collect personal information of people visiting the showroom and who might want to follow up with more information about some of the products in the showroom.

So that was like the problem statement. And I think that that was a small problem statement, but I believe that. Companies start with something that they want to solve, right? So, in one way or another, there's an opportunity. There's something that is not working and you want to solve that.

So that, that was one thing and forms existed back in the day. So, but, but something that they need and most successful entrepreneurs also do is, okay, this might not exist. And so how I can do this. Or this might exist, but how can I do it better? How can I do it different? So every startup in a way wants to disrupt and that disruption comes from doing something that does not exist.

And then it will exist from now on or that it exists in some form, but it can be better. So, that was another element. Then the company and that first product idea. Comes also from the DNA of the founders. They were designers, right? They are designers. And so they think through problems through that design and design-driven thought.

So here the idea was okay. If people come here and we are going to ask for valuable information for these people, how can we do this in a way that provides a great experience to the response? And this is one of the 1st pillars, right? So, 1 of the 2 1st pillars of the company. So it's based on 2 pillars.

1 is that interaction will happen, but people are, let's say, providing valuable information. So, let's make that experience a great experience for them. So, the first pillar is respondent experience first, or respondent first.

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And they thought that by creating that better experience, respondents respond adequately to that, would react well to that, which benefits the customer, because then the customer gets more information, more truthful information. Better information right through that increased engagement of the response. The other pillar that they thought well in the very beginning was this is a professional tool.

So there's a professional behind these, but that doesn't mean it has to be very difficult. So why don't we make it in a way? Why don't we design it in a way? It's very, very easy to use. And that's where the creator experience comes into place. And that's maybe one of those first ideas that now is more or less coined as the consumerization of B2B the no code, low code. Or, the self-serve type of professional product.

Gresham Harkless 08:56

Yeah, that makes so much sense. And I almost wonder if that's like part of the secret sauce that could be for you or the organization is really being dialed into that humanistic standpoint and how everything is created.

Joaquim Lecha 09:07

Absolutely. I think that, let's say, speaks to founders and CEOs that, at the very early stage is, is necessarily both in one or at least a founder, right?

That things there is an opportunity here. There is a problem here. There is a different way. So asking why not these? And as I said, humbling learning experience where maybe the first idea is not the perfect idea. Maybe the first idea is the right idea, but the first execution of that idea is not the best execution of that idea.

These are all a lot of, humbling moments where we confront our own fears, right? Fears for failure. But through that greed and maybe through the passion of seeing something that is not for oneself is maybe something for somebody else that you want to really make possible.

Then you go through that right

Gresham Harkless 10:00

Yeah, that makes so much sense. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So there's a little bit more app book or habit that you have, but what's something you feel like makes you more effective and efficient?

Joaquim Lecha 10:12

Yes. One of the things that I do is combine let's say. A lot of reading with deep reflection, right? And that reflection gets me to a point where, what I speak a lot about is clarity, right? And that reflection is also one process where. Where I try to understand, the situation and why the situation and how do I feel about this situation?

And why do I feel like that in that situation? And I also incorporate people, right? So I talk to people about these things. So, I read a lot about, for instance, biographies people that have been in living in situations that were historically. Very important. Sometimes very difficult as well.

And then I try to use all of these to think about my problems. Sometimes I think, how would that person? What would that person? How would that person think about these or approach these? So that's one of the things that I do. Reflection for me is very important.

And maybe a more specific hack is I wake up every day. I wake up early. I'm an early bird. And the 1st thing I do always is a long coffee and my journal. And in my journal, what I do as I wake up. And let's say, breathe a bit is reflect on the day before what happened and I have had maybe, I have time to find the essence of that to that resting time.

And then I also think about the day ahead, right? And the present and what is important for that day. So, maybe the hack here is not to jump on an email or. Yeah. Or a short message or, something that will change your priorities is more about being present, reflecting on where you are reflecting on what's most important.

Maybe thinking through these problems as well with all those references that you can have in your head. By reading a lot by maybe having spoken to some people and then start the day right and make the most of this day. And tomorrow it's another day and then they have tomorrow. It's going to be also another day.

I have spoken with a lot of people that immediately jump to emails or open their phones. So. And then I think that they are basically reacting to what's coming to them. So I prefer to be proactive with my priorities,

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Gresham Harkless 12:37

yeah, that makes so much sense. So what about now for a CEO nugget?

This is a little bit more word of wisdom or a piece of advice. I like to say it might be something you would tell your favorite client, or if you happen to a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Joaquim Lecha 12:51

Yeah, I guess that maybe I would then link to the work that I said clarity, right? So we can approach it in different ways.

You, you need to be. Proactive and react and not reactive. You get clarity through that process of reflection. So it resonates with what we've been talking about. If I have to go deeper into clarity, clarity of the goal, clarity of the process to get to the goal, clarity of the communication, right?

So clarity applies to different elements, and there's a bit of a cascading in that, right? So clarity of the goal for me is Understanding the goal truly understanding the goal and also truly understanding that goal is worth, right? So it's a goal worth achieving.

Gresham Harkless 13:42

Yeah, absolutely. And so I want to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We might've already touched on this, but Kim, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Joaquim Lecha 13:51

First of all, it goes back to that responsibility. So the CEO is the person that has to make the toughest calls, right?

And the biggest trade-offs has to maybe there's two opportunities, but every opportunity comes with risks. If we go here, we might not be able to turn back. We might not be able to go there. So there's a cost of opportunity. There's risks involved in going in that direction. You might not be able to come back.

It's one way though. So, and who takes that decision? So, yeah, the CEO, right? You can use a lot of, feedback input. Everybody will be bringing their best thoughts, and you can use that to feed and inform your decision. But in the end, it will be your decision, right? And I think that's one of the big things where the CEO, even with a great group around, great team around, will still be okay.

The ultimate responsibility. And, we might be taking a decision here. That is fatal at some point. There's nothing worth pursuing, no big project or ambitious goal that you can do on your own.

So you need a team, you need to build an organization, right? And in that sense that's the other very big job, right? Of the CEO. We are in talent-based organizations hiring. Convincing people to join you the right people to join you is difficult at every stage, right?

Gresham Harkless 15:28

Nice. Truly appreciate that definition. So, what I wanted to do now is pass you the mic, so to speak, just see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know. And, of course, how best they can get out, view your team, and find out about all the awesome things you all are working on.

Joaquim Lecha 15:40

Thank you. One of the things that we are doing at Typeform is thinking about how we can. Transform our product, bring more value through our product and think of our funnel people that, visit our webs and then subscribe to the product, sign up for the product and how we can create the very best let's say more personalized, more meaningful journeys for them.

Gresham Harkless 16:04

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much again, Kim. We're going to have the links and information as well in the show notes.

So that everybody can get a hold of you and all the awesome things you and your team are working on.

So thank you for bringing that home with us today. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Joaquim Lecha 16:17

Thank you, likewise.

Outro 16:19

Thank you for listening to the I Am CEO podcast, powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I Am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google podcast, and everywhere you listen to podcasts.

Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. This has been the I Am CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr. Thank you for listening.


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