Level Up: Startup Software with Kevin Weaver, Cedric Savarese, and Mike Trotzke

by Jul 6, 2018

What kind of software helps local startups succeed?

We spoke with Mike Trotzke, CEO of Cheddar; Kevin Weaver, Executive Creative Director and Owner of Blueline; and Cedric Savarese, Founder and CEO of FormAssembly about the software they use in their companies in order to function smoothly on a daily basis. Pat East, Founder & CEO of Hanapin Marketing and Executive Director of the Mill facilitated this Q&A style presentation. They discussed:

  • Working with remote employees
  • Communicating with employees
  • Applicant tracking software
  • Employee management software

How many folks work remotely at your companies?

  • Blueline only has one remote worker, but they want to improve their remote program. It’s relatively hard to do with video work, but it’s doable with design work.
  • FormAssembly has lots of remote workers, and it suits the company well.
  • Cheddar workers are mostly local, but they aren’t in the office a lot. There are a couple of remote workers, but they fit into the company well.

How do you communicate?

  • All three companies use Slack quite a bit for quick communication with employees both remote and in-office.
  • Google Hangouts is used for video conference
  • Cheddar uses Zoom (video conferencing) and their Meeting Owl, which is a speaker/camera/mic combo that works with any video conferencing service. Its output is a 360 degree camera that focuses on whoever is talking at any given time during the meeting.

Do you provide any special hardware for remote workers?

  • Work laptops are provided to employees
  • Cheddar’s Meeting Owl is helpful to make a more immersive meeting experience for remote workers

What kind of applicant tracking software do you use?

  • Mostly Workable, Google Hire, and AngelList applicant tracking system.
  • All agreed that there were very few outside hires before recently.

What software do you use to manage employees?

  • PTO Trackers, Zenefits, ADP accounting software (overpriced and slow, but the service is great)

What is one piece of software that you can’t live without?

  • Harvest + Forecast
  • FormAssembly
  • Github, Tender for customer support, and HubSpot
  • Slack

What do you use if you want to keep record of conversations and interactions with customers/clients?

  • Used a master spreadsheet/Google drive, personal follow-ups, Proposify
  • Excel, Salesforce (can get to be very pricey, but makes you pretty dependent on it once you start)

Do you use any software for drip communication or marketing?

  • Hubspot, Reply (helps craft email messages, guides and gives tips), Salesforce products, Intercom chat services
  • Tender is more user-friendly for Cheddar, Intercom is much more transactional.
  • Generally, it’s hard to move off of software once your company has adopted it, so choose wisely.

Do you use any chat software?

  • Drift
  • Intercom
  • Contact forms for Blueline clients
  • Service Cloud
  • Zopim
  • Olark

What are some apps you use to make your life easier?

  • Freedom for focusing, Boomerang for delayed emails, Evernote
  • Gmail, Slack, paper & pencil
  • Google Keep
  • WeTransfer (quicker and cleaner than dropbox)
  • Glacier

What do you use for wiki procedures?

  • Github
  • Google Drive Docs