Team SaaSEAD’s interview with Erinn Collier, CRO and Co-Founder at Just3things
How many entrepreneurs do you know that started off as professional ballet dancers? Well, team SaasSEAD only knows one and that’s Erinn Collier, CRO and co-Founder at just3things, a unique platform that enables organizations to align cross-functionally and to work more efficiently by empowering teams to prioritize their most important goals. The platform addresses some key changes in the workplace: the rise of millennials and Gen Z, distributed/remote working teams, and the need for agile methodologies to drive speed to market.
Shift from Design to Tech
“I want to learn at a quick pace, faster than what most corporates have to offer”
Way before going into the tech and the start-up scene, Erinn was a professional ballet dancer in Texas for 5 years, before heading to Design school at Parsons where she studied design management. Her first real exposure to tech was within BBDO, while working with the mobile marketing team in New York. Erinn later pursued an MBA in Milan and ended up moving back to NY, just after the 2008 market crash. At that time, unfortunately, finding something new was very hard. Upon a friend’s referral she joined a social media tech company, Buddy Media, and in 2010 Erinn moved to the UK to open their European office. When the company was eventually bought by Salesforce, her focus turned to integrating Buddy Media’s clients into the Salesforce portfolio.
Eager for a challenge, Erinn then joined UBER, at that time still a start-up in hyper-growth, heading up the as-yet-unclearly-defined B2B division in the giant B2C machine. Everything was different within UBER: the teams were younger and more dynamic, and the skill sets very technical.
From UBER to Entrepreneur
Thirteen months into UBER, Erinn was head hunted as a co-founder position for Just3things. She never envisioned herself as an entrepreneur, as she was always good at executing others’ strategic plans. However, she was intrigued by the fact that the founder was a woman with a diverse background and the start-up was based in London, so she decided to meet the founder for a chat.
Joining forces with the Co-Founder
Following the skype chat, Erinn found herself liking the start-up idea. The business model was legitimate and stable, and the founder was focused and experienced. As opposed to other candidates interested, Erinn asked the right questions, rather than asking for the exit plan and valuation of Just3things: she asked what the culture is like and what the founder’s vision is.
Agile framework fit for any enterprise
“What should resonate is not the goal setting objective, it’s about strategy, innovation, & transformation in a digital business sense”
The formalized agile framework is not for every company and definitely does not go with every personality. The framework needs a modern management mind-set, one that is flexible and intends to completely empower its employees.
Yet one of the biggest challenges all companies today face is changing how their workforce produces, and how quickly that production is accomplished. Just3things helps companies seeking to break down the traditional, functional hierarchy to achieve this agility and ensures that all the employees are working towards aligned priorities, at scale.
Being a female entrepreneur
Being in a start-up is not unlike expanding your family, where the hours can be long but the satisfaction from work can be extremely high. For Erinn, work-life balance has changed a lot in the past ten years, especially as some of her jobs required a lot of travelling. Knowing that time is precious, she taught herself how to say no and not feel bad about it. “If you have a start-up with the right founder, and you are both open and honest, then you’ll always manage to make time for your family”.
Current media diet
Nothing to do with tech for the most part, currently reading a hard copy version of Manhattan Beach, a fiction novel by Jennifer Egan and Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd (on Kindle while commuting). The all-time basics are the NYTimes, HBR and Techcrunch.