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Mike Gozzo


Growing with Messaging as an Inflection Point


Nate Joens


October 7, 2020


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Growing with Messaging as an Inflection Point


Nate Joens interviews Mike Gozzo, VP of product at Zendesk. Gozzo describes the process of building his company to the point where it could partner up with Zendesk. From branding to remaining firm in business acquisition deals, Gozzo goes in-depth in explaining the dedication and detail work necessary to build a successful company from a small notion about the potential “gold rush” of technological innovations. The main topic, messaging as a successful medium for development, lends itself to a larger conversation about noticing trends, trusting your gut, and anticipating new opportunities for tech companies to expand into intimate user spaces. As a result, there is a developing space for platforms that can thrive with an investment in closer, more consistent interactions and relationships to user and customer bases. 


In this episode, you will learn:

  • How (Now acquired by Zendesk) was founded. 
  • Growing businesses with a focus on messaging is a significant turning point. 
  • Gozzo’s take on the depth of messaging as a medium for development
  • How to focus on your goals as a startup
  • Potential technologies or IT environments at an inflection point. 


Joens – What do you see for the future of messaging? What, you know, how might it impact sales, support, marketing, etc.…?


Gozzo – I mean, there’s no secret that it’s going to be transformational in terms of how businesses and consumers interact with one other… on our personal lives Open up a Hollywood movie, and you’ll see texting is now incorporated into like production dynamics, and part of the dialogue and storytelling. You see it more and more with businesses because that’s how they want to communicate. I think what you’re going to see in general is more businesses getting used to the notion of long-running interactions and not just thinking about their customer engagements as these things that happen at the point of need. Take the structural example of somebody looking out at a realtor’s property list or catching their eye on something and engaging in conversation. They’re doing this as a one-off. They find a property, they engage with it, and that’s the extent of the relationship. I imagine more and more businesses will realize that they’ve opened up dialogues with their customers. Over time, these can be the slow burns- slow, productive relationships that happen over time. I think that’s going to be the biggest shift we will see in terms of our interaction with business.


Joens – What other technologies might be at an inflection point right now that the audience could be thinking about?


Gozzo – It’s really hard to see. One of the problems that I think about a lot is how data and processes are glued together. If you look at the enterprise, which is a space that I’ve spent a good part of my career thinking about, there’s a lot of mess. It’s a difficult market for all sorts of reasons, compliance being one, cost of sales being another. And if you’re new to the enterprise world, it becomes this frustrating, slow process. But as soon as you start doing business in one of these larger companies, you see all of the choices- technology choices, in particular- that they’ve made over time. And you notice that there are people behind those decisions and politics and things that have gone awry. There’s a lot of duct tape in every company, and a lot of vendors in different categories have spent time talking about glue, but they talk about it in a way that benefits themselves and their ecosystems. I think some companies, even out of Silicon Valley, are approaching that problem of disparate and heterogeneous environments and cleaning it up. I think that’s an understated opportunity. I struggle with, though, that while these are all really interesting opportunities, I haven’t yet seen the wave that makes them urgently adopted now. COVID. It might be that wave. These people look to get efficiencies. But I don’t know yet. But a space I’m watching.


Additional topics discussed: 

  • Digging your heels in when negotiating acquisitions
  • The usefulness of multi-app incorporations or coordinations within a platform
  • The “unsexy” fundamentals of selling your ideas.


Resources and links mentioned in the show:


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