Interview with Ken Babcock, Dan Giovacchini, and Brian Shultz
Describe your product or service:
“Tango is the simplest way to create crystal clear how-to guides, in seconds. Our Chrome Extension ‘shadows’ you (voluntarily!) during your process in-browser. Once you choose to finish your workflow, we automagically create a step-by-step guide complete with step descriptions, URLs, and screenshots — of everything you just did. You can then easily export that Workflow to commonly used LMS/Wiki/Knowledge Base products, saving you hours creating documentation.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Mission: Help people be their best at work.
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“13 full-time team members, three co-founders, and [we are] hiring for nine additional roles.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“An entrepreneurial spirit takes many forms. I grew up in a family that had small businesses and side hustles. [A]s I define it, entrepreneurship is more about betting on yourself and leaving a legacy instead of being limited to the confines of a role at a large company (I spent lots of time at those too). As I progressed through my career, it became more important to take risks and understand the ceiling of what I could do. And I knew that ceiling was largely defined by the people surrounding me. Meeting Brian and Dan through HBS gave me the confidence and gumption to finally go for it.”
How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
“We started with an idea Brian had to build "Twitch for work." After months of customer discovery, we realized the solution wouldn't be exactly that, but we were close. Coming out of [the] early pilot with Drift, we were energized to ramp up our pace. The Drift team had tons of actionable feedback on how we could improve, but they also communicated that this product could be an absolute game-changer. From that point forward, it was all systems go.”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
“Tango is obviously a dance, [and] that dance involves two people (yes, we've heard ‘it takes two to tango’ repeatedly): one person is the leader while the other follows. We loved that analogy as it relates to mentorship in the workplace. Our product is facilitating a dance that many teams have done before: here's how I do it, and here's what you need to know. We loved the symbolism, and it fit a bunch of other criteria: two syllables, emotive, and easy to spell.”
Feeling inspired? Learn how to launch your company with our guide on how to start a startup.
What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
“Culture-building on a remote team is really, really hard. We spent a lot of time defining our values and what we wanted to stand for collectively. We also were very conscious about the tools we brought on to provide visibility and improve our communication. The last piece, which is ever-changing, is our operating cadence: how we meet, our rituals, and what we're learning.”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
“We built our product for operations team members at growing companies. This could mean front-line workers in customer support, product operations, sales, and any other function that requires documentation to scale headcount and the business.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“We're taking a bottoms-up, product-led growth strategy to drive end-user adoption. We'll rely heavily on community-based marketing, referrals, and relevant content.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“Referrals have been the primary driver of early customer growth.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Our Northstar metric today is Weekly Active Users. We define active in a few ways, but it helps us understand the traits of our power users and dissect churn and the behaviors that impact churn.”
What's your favorite entrepreneurial book and podcast?
“‘How I Built This’ is a personal favorite since it's a beautiful blend of history and entrepreneurial stories.
Good to Great pushed my thinking on how to continuously ask, "How can we be better?"
What is the biggest lesson you learned during your journey?
“Be willing to change your mind. The biggest trap an entrepreneur [can] fall into is thinking they know better. That mentality slows you down and prevents you from providing immediate value to customers.”
Who is your support system?
“Investors, founding team, and my wife!”
How do you stay motivated?
“Staying grounded on how fortunate we are to have a shot at redefining how people work. No frustration is worth overlooking what a tremendous opportunity we've been given.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“Always asking, ‘Does this impact Tango's likelihood of success?’ If the answer is no, deprioritize it.”
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
“The team we've built is top-notch. The best way to de-risk an early-stage venture is hiring great people. I am grateful for that every day!”
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More on Tango
Tango's free Chrome extension creates written, step-by-step procedural guides for the office,which can be used by operations, customer support, or any other team.
We were fortunate enough to hear some valuable insights during our interview with the team at Tango that will inspire, motivate, and teach aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike.