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Conversation
Highlights

 

Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Jonathan Schneider, CEO & Co-Founder of Moderne, a code remediation platform that has raised $20 Million funding. 

Here are the most interesting points from our conversation:

  • Jonathan’s Transition from Military to Tech: Before entering the tech world, Jonathan spent over eleven years in the US military, where he led convoy escort missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. This experience taught him valuable lessons in decentralized leadership and leading from the front, principles he applies to his role at Moderne.
  • Inspirational Leadership from Reed Hastings: Working at Netflix, Jonathan was inspired by Reed Hastings’ visionary leadership and pragmatic approach to achieving long-term goals, including transitioning from DVDs to streaming.
  • The Genesis of Moderne: Moderne was born out of Jonathan’s realization during his tenure at Netflix and VMware of the common pain points in code migration and remediation. This led to leveraging open-source technology developed during his Netflix days to address these industry-wide challenges.
  • Strategic Customer Acquisition: The first paying customer for Moderne came through a reference from VMware, highlighting the importance of network and reputation in the enterprise sector.
  • Unique Marketing and Branding Philosophy: Moderne’s distinctive visual brand, inspired by the modern architectural style and incorporating vibrant colors and geometric designs, reflects Jonathan’s belief in the importance of a strong, lasting brand identity.
  • The Importance of Staying True to Your Vision: Throughout the fundraising process and beyond, Jonathan emphasizes the importance of staying true to your company’s core identity and vision, despite facing contradictory feedback from potential investors.

 

Actionable
Takeaways

Embrace Decentralized Leadership:

Jonathan's military experience taught him the value of decentralized leadership, where trust in subordinate leaders to make the right decisions is paramount. For tech founders, creating a culture where team members are empowered to take initiative can lead to greater innovation and agility within the organization.

Visionary Leadership Can Drive Incremental Innovation:

Inspired by Reed Hastings' approach at Netflix, tech founders should aim to have a clear end-state vision but pursue it through pragmatic, incremental steps. This strategy ensures steady progress towards long-term goals while maintaining adaptability.

Solve Pain Points with Existing Technology:

Jonathan's realization of a common industry pain point in code remediation led to the creation of Moderne by repurposing technology developed during his time at Netflix. Founders should look for opportunities to solve widespread problems by adapting and scaling solutions they've developed or encountered in their past experiences.

Leverage Your Network for Initial Customer Acquisition:

Moderne’s first customer came through a reference, underscoring the importance of networking and reputation in the B2B space. Building and maintaining strong professional relationships can be a crucial pathway to early customer acquisition.

Invest Early in Brand Identity:

Despite the cost and the seeming non-immediacy of ROI, investing in a distinct brand identity from the early stages can set a company apart in a crowded market. Jonathan’s decision to invest in branding before having secured funding highlights the long-term value of a recognizable and relatable brand.

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