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Introduction To The SaaSiest Community

A few weeks ago, Peter talked to Thomas Sjöberg & Daniel Nackovski, the Co-Founders of SaaSiest. SaaSiest is a community-driven initiative aimed at fostering dialogue and knowledge exchange to empower European B2B SaaS professionals and companies.

In this interview they share:

  • Their experiences as co-founders of SaaSiest and their extensive roles in the SaaS industry.
  • How the SaaS community naturally grew, starting with podcasts and Clubhouse, evolving into SaaSiest, and the community’s impact on shaping events.
  • What to expect from the 2024 conference scheduled for April 16th and 17th in Malmö, Sweden.

Introduction

Peter Loving: Okay, so I’m here today with Thomas and Daniel from SaaSiest. Hi guys. Thanks for joining me for the chat. Hey, let’s start with you Thomas. Would you like to introduce yourself? Tell us a bit about who you are and what you got?

Thomas Sjöberg: Sure, and thank you Peter for inviting us here. I’m excited to meet you all. My name is Thomas sjöberg. I am the co-founder of SaaSiest, been working within SaaS for the last 15 to 20 years and in different roles within sales marketing product actually been working a lot with product and partnerships and similar, but for the last few years, we are running these Community together. Me and Daniel called SaaSiest. And I’m based in southern Sweden. So the tropical parts very close to Copenhagen.

Peter Loving: Okay, and Daniel’s you want to tell us a bit about your background too?

Daniel Nackovski: Yeah, yeah, first of all you thank you so much for inviting us. I’ve had the pleasure to speak in front of big crowds, but never 15,000k people. So it’s a career step for me this one. So thank you so much for having us here today. Long story short. I’m a revenue leader, have always run revenue teams for the past 13 years in SaaS companies had the pleasure to work with fantastic teams both here in Europe about and spend 10 years almost in the US. Thomas and I, we bumped into each other at a Swedish company called inRiver where I was the VP of sales and we had a fantastic journey together with all our colleagues.

Daniel Nackovski: At the end of that there was a nice little exit and so on but like Thomas said at some point we decided that we want to do another thing together, which was the SaaSiest and it’s a little bit like you do Peter bringing SaaS folks together to exchange knowledge with each other so that’s who we are and I’m also in southern Sweden where it’s not very tropical today. It’s snowing.

Overview of SaaSiest

Peter Loving: Great, so tell us a bit about SaaSiest. What is the conference? if you were to describe what you were going for the vision you had when you started it. What is it like compared to some of the other conferences?

Thomas Sjöberg: Yeah, so basically we’re doing the conference that we both wanted to visit right so we want to create an experience that sort of brings people together in a really great way. So we are of course very only focused on B2B SaaS. But we want to give you a full experience, not just great content. We make sure that they’re great content in place that there are options to network. But also that you get the good food you get the drinks you get the party in the evening you get social activities around it where you can meet people and So on so we really want to keep people together and…

Daniel Nackovski: Right

Thomas Sjöberg: We don’t want to be that five to six thousand people conference because in our world we think a twelve hundred people is a good size. It gets intimate, but it’s also big enough to be interesting for a lot of different parties.

SaaSiest community and networks

Daniel Nackovski: Yeah, definitely if I can just add one or two things here is Thomas as we keep these events a little bit smaller, but there’s one significant difference between us and some of the other great players in this space. We are not a conference company. We’re not an event company. The event happens to be something we all should do and I think because we run this community where we have the CEO and the executive Network these 1200 people that show up at the event many of them have interacted with each other throughout the year multiple times three, four, five, six, seven, eight times. So when they come to the event that creates a little bit of a different dynamic it’s hugs.

Thomas Sjöberg: Yeah.

Daniel Nackovski: It’s high fives because we spend so much time on some of these many events and some of these virtual exercises and some of the work workshops together. So it’s a much more familiar type of exercise and speaking in South terms is our ICP. We love everyone but our ICP, it’s functional leaders. ideally VP levels and higher and so on of companies that have two million euros in AR and upwards obviously for the event anybody can buy a ticket and…

Thomas Sjöberg: Yeah.

Daniel Nackovski: It’s useful for anybody but our ICP and how we target and structure our exercise is for that group in mind.

Community-driven approach

Thomas Sjöberg: Yeah, and then we also do another thing that it’s only 10% of the tickets that are available for non B2B SaaS companies. So the recruiters the consultants they have to it’s 10% that they can get maximum. So it’s not the very VC heavy event. So it’s about how can we grow our companies? How can we develop our professional position and sort of really bring the b2bs as Community together?

Daniel Nackovski: Evan but Thomas are here. It really came from what we wanted when we were operators, a very easy example. I’ve tried to take two SaaS companies to the US. It was equally painful both times and speaking if you’re listening to this, I love my board and all the advisors and so on but in an Excel sheet in a boardroom anything is possible, but for me, I felt like man, I need to speak to other revenue leaders other VP of sales. What am I missing here? Why is it so painful? You want to know from the people that have done it, not just the ones that are great in an Excel sheet.

Thomas Sjöberg: Yeah, and we don’t really care about people have done billions of dollars exits and so on so we are not the headlines, it’s not really interesting. What’s interesting is what three things can I take from this talk and implementing my company when I come home. That’s what’s interesting. And that’s how we look at the content that we present. You can’t buy speakers a lot. When you come to SaaSiest, we choose the topics and the speakers that we see that that community is interested in and that’s sort of what I think maybe distinguishes us a bit from some other players.

Peter Loving: Yeah, are you focusing on the different verticals within businesses? sales marketing, operations product.

Daniel Nackovski: Yep.

Peter Loving: You’re going across everything.

Thomas Sjöberg: Yeah, and…

Daniel Nackovski: Yes, yeah.

Thomas Sjöberg: Maybe what you don’t see I mean behind the event is besides that we have probably Europe’s largest Co Network within B2B SaaS. We have an executive network. So within nine different disciplines both sales and marketing as you mentioned, but also finance operations product engineering customer success partner and people we have executive groups within these…

Peter Loving: One

Thomas Sjöberg: Where we meet in smaller cohorts and help each other out. So that’s an important part and we address all these different roles. So what we don’t do is that we don’t do sort of deep tech if you want to learn how to program you have to go somewhere else, but when it comes to being a leader within these different functions and grow your company you come to the right place.

Peter Loving: That sounds good. Do you have a focus on either bootstrapped or funded SaaS companies or do you really look at both?

Daniel Nackovski: We are equal opportunity organization. Here we don’t mind any type of funding model. What we do care about is because all of these people have something in common is about how do we scale our operations? And if you have a huge war chest, maybe you look at scaling slightly different compared to if you’re bootstrapped but at the end of the day the big questions are the same: how do I grow my business? And how do I make sure that all the different disciplines and functions in this organization or really maxing out what we can hear in a sustainable way.

Peter Loving: Yep, that sounds good. So what came first, the community or the conference? It sounds like the community is your call thing when you tell us more about that.

Daniel Nackovski: Yeah.

Thomas Sjöberg: Yeah, Absolutely. I mean this group very organically right? So it started with me and Daniel wanted to do something together because we like to hang out. We sort of found each other when we worked so we started with the podcast.

Daniel Nackovski: Everybody should start a business that way just find somebody you like hanging out with.

Thomas Sjöberg: Yeah. Yeah. So, all right something happened here. I’m in the dark. So it all started with the podcast and based on our curiosity and it just happened that people were listening. So that’s the first thing, people listening to the podcast and then came Clubhouse. I don’t know if you remember that Clubhouse was a thing a few weeks. Yeah.

Peter Loving: I do. Yeah, that’s a big buzz around for Clubhouse.

Daniel Nackovski: Yeah.

Thomas Sjöberg: Yeah, yeah, so we were big on Clubhouse for those months. Where it was the hottest thing around right? So we did the 17 things SaaS talks in a row each week and we started gathering the following. So that week we can bring these people together in some ways. So we started our slack community open for SaaS companies headquarter in Europe. So we are focusing on Europe to say as well. So we have more than 700 companies represented there now. And this was still during covid and people were asking us couldn’t you make.

Thomas Sjöberg: An event. I mean you have all these good speakers in the podcast. We went to your Clubhouse events sort of what’s the next step. Are you gonna do something so we decided to do a digital event. So that was the first SaaSiest one – two day event 50 speakers were very much interested. I think we came, writing time and no one had done that type of data event here in our region. So that was the start of the events and then when covid sort of where we’re done. We decided to do a big person event. When still we had the covid restrictions here in Sweden. So it was really.

Thomas Sjöberg: What do you say it was a big bet creating the largest event here in this region and we were so lucky, just six weeks before where the event was all the restrictions were lifted and sort of we sold out so Then it was very worried everyone.

Daniel Nackovski: Yeah, but yeah,…

Peter Loving: Great.

Executive networks and hands-on approach

Daniel Nackovski: Absolutely, right? Yeah. I was a little bit concerned there for a moment, but you’re absolutely right. I mean Community is at the heart of everything we do and just to give you some examples here.

Daniel Nackovski: We have all the CEOs and we have all the executives and so on and when it’s time for an event. They dictate what topics we’re going to discuss. We never say should we talk about PLG because that seems cool. No, because we go out and ask hundreds and hundreds of people then what they want and then they create that gender. Somebody says I could speak about this or I know somebody that can speak about this so they populate their agenda and it’s also in a same way some of the products if you made that we have for example, the CEO Network we had so many CEOs that said you should have a network but don’t do it like the existing networks and we’re like what’s wrong with existing ones?

Daniel Nackovski: And then we brought in the CEOs for the very first batch some key CEOs in our region be like if we do a network that’s going to suit B2B SaaS. What’s the frequency and they designed it together with us? So we had initial product Market fit because the community showed us and that has been really helpful. So I think that’s why people have appreciating to hanging out with us.

Thomas Sjöberg: Yeah, and…

Peter Loving: Yeah, that’s not.

Thomas Sjöberg: Then we’re doing some other things. we’re doing an event next week. kind of a special event that we call the SaaSiest jobs day. So we

Daniel Nackovski: So sorry, my kindergarten is calling me you guys continue.

Thomas Sjöberg: So companies that are looking for talent will present themselves for five or ten minutes and then people that are looking for job. They can attend and they can also be in contact with these companies during that half a day. So if you want to check it out, it’s on Thursday next week.

Peter Loving: Okay, that’s next week if you share a link with us. I’ll put it in the comments so that the description of this…

Thomas Sjöberg: Sure.

Peter Loving: But yeah, can you tell us a little bit about the next conference you have in I think it’s on April 18th.

Thomas Sjöberg: Yes. So it’s the 16th and 17th of April in Malmo, Sweden super close to Copenhagen. It’s just 20 minutes with the train from Copenhagen airport. So it’s really easy to get there. We actually started a little bit the day before as I mentioned. We do sushi social activities. So if you want to play racket sports if you just want to maybe go on a canal tour or have some beers and so on there are different arrangements for that that day before and then we have these two full days of really great sessions. We have for instance Nick method the CEO of game site the sort of the founder of the

Peter Loving: Yeah.

Thomas Sjöberg: A success movement almost will open the show and we also have Elena Verna the PLG queen probably seen a lot of content from her online so they will open the show and…

Peter Loving: Okay.

Thomas Sjöberg: We will have a great mix when it comes to speakers from different professions. And also we always make sure that we have this very hands on very practical and takeaways. But they…

Peter Loving: Okay.

Thomas Sjöberg: But then you can expect I mean two full days sessions. I mentioned it before good food and drinks. We make sure that we take care of you in a good way and you will also be able to network with people we have the networking app. but also, we stay late we make sure that there is a good party on site you don’t have to find that special invite to that. What do you say side event? We make sure that there is a place for everyone. So yeah looking forward to it.

Peter Loving: Fine, sounds great. How can people sign up, where do they go to book a ticket for SaaSiest?

Thomas Sjöberg: Yeah, so they go to SaaSiest2024.com. So that’s everything about the event and…

Peter Loving: Okay.

Thomas Sjöberg: If you want to know anything else about what we do it’s just SaaSiest.com, there you find all the content, all the networks or the events and so on but SaaSiest2024.com is the place where you can find the event.

Peter Loving: Okay, Hey, thank you. Both for joining me. It’s been great to hear about what you’re doing the community and SaaSiest. Keep up the great work.

Daniel Nackovski: Thank you so much for having us and let us know if there’s anything we can do for your community.

Peter Loving: Certainly will do. Okay.

Thomas Sjöberg: Okay. Thank you.Daniel Nackovski: All right. Take care now.

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