Data Driven Leadership
Say Goodbye to Data Silos (and Hello to Data Clarity)
Guest: Armon Petrossian, CEO, Coalesce.io
In this episode, host Jess Carter talks with Coalesce CEO and co-founder Armon Petrossian about how data transformation is evolving in fascinating ways, thanks to cloud data warehousing and automation in the analytics space. Armon shares how his customers leverage these new data capabilities every day to make more thoughtful, data-backed decisions. (Spoiler: It’s data magic.)
Most business leaders want to make data-driven decisions. But preventing silos and navigating complicated, time-intensive data transformations to unlock clear answers? That’s a whole different level.
In this episode, host Jess Carter talks with Coalesce CEO and co-founder Armon Petrossian about how data transformation is evolving in fascinating ways, thanks to cloud data warehousing and automation in the analytics space. Armon shares how his customers leverage these new data capabilities every day to make more thoughtful, data-backed decisions. (Spoiler: It’s data magic.)
In this episode, you will learn:
In this podcast:
Jess Carter: The power of data is undeniable and unharnessed. It's nothing but chaos.
Speaker 2: The amount of data, it was crazy.
Speaker 3: Can I trust it?
Speaker 4: You will waste money.
Speaker 5: Altogether with duct tape.
Speaker 6: Doomed to failure.
Jess Carter: This season, we're solving problems in real-time to reveal the art of the possible. Making data your ally. Using it to lead with confidence and clarity, helping communities and people thrive. This is Data Driven Leadership, a show by Resultant.
Welcome back to Data Driven Leadership. I'm your host, Jess Carter. On today's episode, we're talking to Armon Petrossian, CEO of Coalesce, one of the more modern technology partners that we have here at Resultant with our data crew. Armon, welcome to Data Driven Leadership.
Armon Petrossian: Thanks, Jess. So happy to be here. It's a pleasure.
Jess Carter: Awesome. So we have not had the pleasure before of meeting, so I have to interrogate you. I have people in my life, I had managees who used to warn each other that when they were managed by me, I'm just really curious about what makes people tick and how they work. So we're going to dig all the way in if that's okay. Is that all right?
Armon Petrossian: Well, that makes you and I both. When I was younger, people used to get so annoyed by me because I would ask so many questions. So I also am a very curious person.
Jess Carter: Cool.
Armon Petrossian: And I'm pumped to be here and answer all of your questions, all of your interrogations.
Jess Carter: Good. It'll be a friendly interrogation, so catch me up on your backstory. So kind of what brought you to be in the position of being CEO of Coalesce today? I knew you were in WhereScape for a bit. Walk me through that journey for you.
Armon Petrossian: Yeah. So to be honest, I more so fell into this role instead of really in the data space in general. So to give you an idea, my background, I was responsible for all the North American revenue and sales for a company called WhereScape prior to starting Coalesce. That's where I met my co-founder. And if you would have asked me when I was younger about the data warehousing space and analytics in general and that I was going to go and be a founder for a company in that landscape, I wouldn't even understand what a data warehouse was. But as I got my freeway and spent some significant time in the industry, I fell in love with it. And it's where I met a bunch of the people that now work at Coalesce. Of course, I'm a co-founder. So many other people on our team, but also customers and partners, that really led to, for example, the relationship we have with Resultant. And so one thing led to the next as I went through that and saw an incredibly powerful concept of a product and really wanted to reimagine it in the cloud, which is what Coalesce came to be.
Jess Carter: That's awesome. I don't often hear people describe their love for this space. Like their aptitude, maybe their capabilities, yes, but not like love. Tell me more about that. What do you mean? How'd you fall in love with it?
Armon Petrossian: Yeah, it's been a super interesting experience. Going through the career that I've had in the analytics industry, I feel like we all know there's so many problems in the space, there are endless amounts of issues. It almost feels like analytics is still intrinsically flawed in a way. And so when you find something that really solves a problem that people deal with day to day, and you can clearly see the value you add and the impact you have to certain practitioners' or businesses' lives, it's hard not to fall in love with that experience and the relationships that you build while you go through solving some major issues. And so it felt for me, pursuing Coalesce would be the biggest impact I could have on not just industry, but as a person, as an individual.
And so bringing that to life, bringing that to fruition with our business is what I'm most passionate about. It's what makes me wake up every morning super excited to on the day, even with all the madness that comes with starting a company and being at a startup. No, that's what I fell in love with. I fell in love with that experience and I fell in love with relationships and the people that I've met through this.
Jess Carter: That's really cool. It's like kind of a connection to what I hear a lot of people say is like you're purpose-filled. Like, am I doing something every day that I'm great at and that I find a lot of deep purpose in.
Armon Petrossian: They say you have to be crazy to start a company. I totally agree. Because you go through so many ups and downs, it's such a roller coaster and you really need to have a lot of conviction to pursue a new business, new venture, especially in the analytics industry that's so highly competitive.
Jess Carter: Oh, my gosh. Yeah.
Armon Petrossian: You really need to make sure you're going to be willing to take it for the long haul and that you're very passionate about what you're doing.
Jess Carter: I imagine one of my curiosities here is to your point, analytics can feel kind of flawed intrinsically, and I want to know what you mean by that. My observation would be, a lot of people can think they're being data-driven, but they're maybe not. Like the data is delayed or it's not appropriate use for the insights they're trying to generate or they can't get the data that would actually be the most meaningful data for them to have. And so they're doing the best they can with the grant funding they have or with the funds that they have in their budget and they're trying to demonstrate value. But there's a real black and white line for me of like, is it real or is it a really pretty show of effort. So one of my questions for you was do you have a story or two about impact? So it sounds like you've built something meaningful, people are using it to do some really cool stuff. Do you have a story that would help us connect to that impact?
Armon Petrossian: Yeah. So let's start with the analytics landscape in general. We've seen the market evolve a lot over the past few years. I would say that as the cloud data warehouses emerge like Snowflake, it really accelerated access to data infrastructure that wasn't there previously with on-premise platforms.
Jess Carter: Or super expensive and took forever to build.
Armon Petrossian: Yeah, exactly. And it was difficult to manage. You had a lot of DBAs and it almost felt like silos were necessary because there were so many people blocked out from being able to access the hardware. So the cloud platforms like Snowflake, they emerged, they democratized access to infrastructure that wasn't there historically, which is amazing. I think it also led to some misuse potentially too, because you have people who didn't historically have access to analytics machines and workloads and now they're trying to figure it out.
So, that being said, one central theme we've seen with how the market's developed is around the concept of automation. So, you see a platform like Snowflake that has infinite scalability, and it's very simple to use, easy to get up and running, but scales out to the capacity that the large scale hardware and databases on-premise were able to much easier, simple fashion. So, excellent movement, it opened up a lot of doors, opened up a lot of opportunity. We've seen this similar theme now applied to the data ingestion and integration space. So you have companies like Fivetran who are point and click brain numbingly, easy to use, and get data from any source you want, whether it's an on premise database or an API like Salesforce, NetSuite, you name it, really. Where companies spend the vast majority of time and resources now trying to be data-driven in the cloud is getting that raw data that's been landed on the database to the point that it's actually consumable for your business intelligence tool, whatever you may be using.
And it's creating all the dimensions. The fact your star schema, having lineage associated with it, being able to iterate when the requirements change from the business, that's why migrations take years. That's why that new data warehouse builds take months at best. It's really the biggest bottleneck in the analytics workflow today is what we call transformations. Taking that raw data, getting it to the point that it's consumable, that is exactly what Coalesce automates and applies the same philosophy that's been successful with all the other points of the analytics workflow, but now to the most critical, most integral spot of the workflow, which is transformations. So how that actually pans out, we see oftentimes again the central theme around our customers, regardless of industry, regardless of segment is some level of exponential productivity gains for the data practitioners that use our technology.
And it pans out to, hey, this was a project that should have taken us six months. We're a manufacturing company. We've got 10 employees and we're acquiring businesses left and right. We've got a net new data warehouse build we want to create. We're forecasting it takes six months. We were able to accomplish it in three weeks and get into production. Plus had full table-level, column-level, lineage are able to iterate incredibly quickly brought down the learning curve of our team. And so I get for example, we had a slack message just this morning. Another nonprofit, large nonprofit, they went through the process of building out what they said would have taken them four months in the matter of a few days, just through leveraging Coalesce and doing exactly what they would have done otherwise, either manually or with some other technology, whether it's an ETL tool or some other transformation tool. But really just leveraging the tool to help automate and accelerate all the development tasks, that's amazing.
Jess Carter: That's so cool. And you kind of started by talking about the market and how much has shifted. I mean, the kinds of tools that we were using five years ago, ten years ago, 15, they're changing so fast. But it is kind of a moment where it's neat to me, it's probably a bad joke, but it's like the back end is finally sexy. It was always about the front end, the UI, the UX, or the dashboards. And it's like, well, hang on, what feeds them? And again, do you have the right data? Do you have it formatted the right way? I think a lot of people who don't live in this space can really underestimate what all of this is and why it's needed. Like, why do you need to cleanse your data or go through an ETL process or make sure that you have governance around your data?
And so I do think the way I've tried to explain that to some people is, have you ever been in a business where they had an update from the executives about the strategy or the structure or the finances, how we're doing? And it just doesn't make sense to you. It doesn't feel the way the business feels. It feels crazy busy, but our numbers are down or something. This is some of the stuff that pulls together the real data story, where if you have we have the privilege of open book management, but if you have the right managers, directors, leadership over an organization who can see the same data the same way. Or, like, another story is I've gone to multiple organizations to consult, and one of their biggest hang ups is an executive who's like, I'm getting three reports from three different directors about the same numbers, and they're all different. And it's like, okay, that's why this matters 1%.
Armon Petrossian: No, I mean, I would say in the earlier days in the analytics industry, especially with the rise of bi tools like Tableau, where it was again giving access to a lot of data practitioners that didn't historically have access. You saw all these dashboards popping up with some level of bias by the person creating them, and some skewed information where you're getting numerous different answers for the same question. And so, as the market developed, we're starting to see that pendulum swing back to the back end, like you said, where it's sexy now to not only build the beautiful dashboard, but also know where the hell that data came from, how it was built. What's the lineage, the traceability of the transformations that were applied to get to that final point.
And that is a huge step forward. We want that to happen. We want people to be focused on the right thing so they're making proper decisions that have been governed and cleansed properly, but we have to fall on our face a few times before we get there. That is the reality of human nature. People need to fall on their face a few times, make a couple of bad decisions, realize that things weren't built properly. And then the focus is now on the transformation layer, making sure that that's built properly in a way that's elegant but also scalable. And so from our end, it feels like the timing is really excellent to be providing an automation solution for the transformation category.
Jess Carter: That's awesome. Well, and again, to your point, other people that have come to me and said, well, do I have to have Tableau or Power BI? It's like, it doesn't matter. Those are flexible. We can use one or the other, it doesn't matter which tool. But I always just land on the summary of everything you just said for me is, hey, is your data trustworthy yet? And I don't mean like, do you have confidence in it? Because that's actually just faith. Is it trustworthy to make data-driven business decisions off of? And usually pretty quickly I can get someone who's like yes or like eh, and the Eh is a no. For me, it's like you don't know that it's trustworthy. You got to make sure it's trustworthy.
Armon Petrossian: Yeah.
Jess Carter: I want to hear the process of how you went from working inside of another firm to being like, I think there's a problem that needs solved here. Walk me through some of that. It's really cool.
Armon Petrossian: Yeah, definitely. Happy to. So it was quite interesting in our past lives, both my co-founder and I, we met at WhereScape and we had quite a unique vantage point into literally the world's largest, most complex data warehouses. So we were dealing with all types of instances, whether they were on Teradata, Exata, Snowflake, you name it, and tons of different Fortune 5, Fortune 1 global businesses and Ally, where that technology was focused. The reason why organizations bought it was because of how it approached transformations. And so the core team there always fantasized about what it would look like if we could start from scratch and reimagine the technology in the cloud that was easy to use, extensible scalable.
And so as we went through that experience, it was always something that unified our now existing team at Coalesce. And a few things happened and it just was clear to us that there was so much potential and it made way more sense to be able to build from the ground up and get after it just the way that the market was evolving. And it almost feels like the Red Sea parted because of how the market developed too. You saw this decoupling of what used to be ETL turn into el as a separate function and then transformations as a separate function. And so it just felt so obvious and so needed for a new company to emerge and technology to emerge with the expertise we had to really solve what is clearly the biggest bottleneck right now in analytics. And so, yeah, one thing led to the next and we launched our business. We spent about a year in stealth just building the product. We were fortunate. We had a really crystal clear vision as to what we needed to build. And then as we started to go and talk to our old customers and relationships and partners, it was really clear that there was a strong demand for something like this in the market.
Jess Carter: Cool. Well, and a few minutes ago, you used the word conviction. You need a lot of conviction to do something like this. I want to unpack that too. Right. Because I imagine that there's a scenario where as you started talking about it, everybody wanted it, but like this way. But can you also do this? And so tell me about what that conviction looked and felt like, because I think that sounds interesting.
Armon Petrossian: Yeah, we're lucky because we had so much exposure and so much experience with the exact problem that we're solving. And a lot of this comes from my co-founder. I can't even take credit for it. He's way smarter than he's a multidecade-long data warehouse veteran. He's built some of the largest data warehouses in the world and successfully got them into production and managed them for numerous different types of companies in various different industries. And so it's super important to understand the feedback from the field and your customers and what's holding them back and what problems need to solve. It also was inherent because we had gone through so many of these large scale implementations and use cases that it feels like the priorities as to what we've built, what we've delivered on a roadmap has been perfectly decided on in sequence. It feels as if we shaved off multiple years of the startup journey because we had so much clarity on what we needed to build.
Jess Carter: So cool.
Armon Petrossian: And It is really unique for a company of our stage to have. We Came Out Of Stealth about 14, 15 months ago, and within the first few months, we were already productionalized in numerous Fortune 5 instances for the most sophisticated use cases on. It was a really cool Experience. I mean, there's so much potential still, right? We're just scratching the surface of what our technology can offer. But even in the early Stages, it was such a Promising and validating sign to see that the technology was adopted by some of the largest businesses in the world or their most sophisticated use Cases. And so that, to me, is exciting. That is what drives us.
Jess Carter: What was scary?
Armon Petrossian: Everything was, Oh, My God, just knowing that I didn't take a paycheck from the company for the first year and a half, so we started the business after the pandemic. Nobody knew what was going to happen. There was all types of crazy thoughts that you have about what if things don't work? Or what if the market moves in a different direction? What if there's issues with personnel? There's so many different things that are scary.
But the reason I say you have to have a lot of conviction is because if you really strongly feel that you have something that can add value to people's lives and has potential to have a large impact on the industry. I felt like if I didn't do this, I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror every day in the morning. Yeah, it really was like that. It felt Like It was a curse of knowledge in a way. Like, hey, we saw this problem. We know everybody struggled with it. We know exactly how to solve it. We just need to put pen to paper. And yes, it's scary. Yes, there's all types of concerns, whether financial ego, personal life balance, all that stuff. And so, despite that, it was still so clear that this needed to be done. And we were the ones who had to do it. So we did it.
Jess Carter: I so appreciate that vulnerability, because I do think it just sounds like such a pretty story. And I'm like, you just know it never felt this pretty until you could look back, right? It was probably scary and hard and difficult in board meetings that might have been alarming or personnel issues. And it's nice to know that that conviction was kind of the anchor for you. That kind of kept you in it.
Armon Petrossian: It totally was. I mean, we're also very fortunate to have an incredible team behind this. It makes my life so much easier. I think about that every day. I'm so grateful for the team that we built. I mean, we've had people leave some of the hottest pre-IPO, post-IPO companies, whether it's Snowflake, Fivetran, ThoughtSpot, you name it, to join Coalesce, because they've all seen the problem and they know that this is the biggest issue in analytics today and they're passionate about solving it once and for all.
Jess Carter: Wow, that's super cool. Okay, well, it sounds like you have a good team. I just out of curiosity, how many of them did you know from the very outset of the business versus you've been able to find them and how'd you do that?
Armon Petrossian: One of the coolest things about our business is we have not had a single recruiter placement. It's all been driven through our network, people we work with. And so I can't say I knew everybody that joined the company before we started it, but certainly a really large portion of it came from past lives and network.
Jess Carter: That's really cool. Well, congratulations on getting this far. This is so exciting. What's next for Coalesce? Like, what are the big problems that you're trying to face? So we tend to do this right. The curiosity is like, okay, I got here, this is good, what's next?
Armon Petrossian: Yeah, so for the chief data officer, CIO or analytics director, really, when you think about what holds back companies from being successful when it comes to analytics, is silos. So there is a variance of skill set throughout an enterprise on your data analysts, your data engineers, and everything in between. And what's happened is you've seen technologies that cater to one audience or the other and you've got your easier point and click, drag and drop tools for some analysts. Then you've got some more sophisticated ETL tools for your data engineers.
Really, Coalesce's focus, outside of being a force multiplier for data practitioners and helping them be exponentially more productive, is to provide one technology that can fit the most sophisticated use cases for your most talented and technical principal data engineer. But also make it simple enough that it can be parameterized and passed on to your analyst, your data analyst and everything in between under one hood with one metadata repository that centralizes everything and provides lineage across projects. Whether it's your central IT team that's getting interlinked with your finance department's use case or your marketing department's use case and really enabling collaboration throughout the organization so that silos aren't created and so that answers to questions are not different when you ask three different people to go look for that question.
Jess Carter: That's awesome. That's awesome. Well, I assume you're saying that's tied to some of where you're seeing the market move is that there's this need for a system that is sophisticated enough, but simple enough that it can scale with an organization.
Armon Petrossian: Exactly. Yeah, I mean, think of the same concept of Snowflake, right? It scales up, it's sophisticated enough for insanely large use cases, but also you're seeing adoption from departments and users that historically just weren't there. You didn't see marketing analytics was so hot back in the day when everything was on prem. And one of the coolest things that I've seen with the market develop is the demand for data access and use is growing like crazy. Everybody wants to be data-driven, all the departments want access to data. It's now possible from an infrastructure perspective.
But the issue is being able to actually manipulate that data from its raw format to the point that it's consumable in a cleansed, governed and also efficient way. And so that's what we aim to offer to the data community is something that allows you to do it in an accelerated fashion, develop quickly, iterate quickly, be able to work collaboratively, have appropriate lineage with everything that you build so you can understand it and consume it more efficiently. All of those development tasks in a simple, easy to use interface that scales infinitely and is extensible to any type of use case that platform, the database platform, can support.
Jess Carter: Okay, so this begs the question, I would imagine that there are people that are maybe listening to this that don't know Coalesce or don't know WhereScape or don't know snowflake and haven't had exposure to those firsthand, like, fingers on keyboard because it sounds like it's accessible to everybody who kind of knows the stuff or plays in those roles. If I'm a CIO, a CDO, and I've never really taken the plunge or my stuff's kind of on prem or something, walk me through when does it make sense for me to move to Coalesce or a product like that or start to get to the cloud?
Armon Petrossian: Yeah, so a couple of things there the economics behind moving to the cloud are a no brainer. So if you're on premise and you want to evolve or modernize, moving to the cloud is the first step. And there's so many total cost of ownership impacts you have in a positive way by moving to the cloud, just by not having to manage that infrastructure in house and on premise. And so the biggest reason why I see companies not go to the cloud is because of the effort associated with the migration. And so typically as CIO or CDO that's living on premise on a SQL Server teradata box, whatever it may be, dreads having to go through that migration use case.
Jess Carter: Yeah, not it, right?
Armon Petrossian: Yeah, it feels almost like a sunk cost, like you're going through this process just to simply move over your words. And sure, you typically would want to redesign, rearchitect certain things that you saw potential for improvement, but it's typically a lengthy, time consuming effort. And so in that scenario where Coalesce is uniquely valuable is by being able to accelerate and cut down that migration timeline. So we've had numerous different customers that go from on premise to the cloud, be able to cut down the migration timeline, whether it's two years or three years at an exponential scale down to say four months, six months, eight months.
So there's one really clear use case for any type of business. Any type of business is trying to migrate. If you're on the cloud, if you're on snowflake right now. And you were to ask why Coalesce really is around. And I believe every company struggles with this that doesn't have our technology. It's around. Are you keeping up with the demands from the business? Are you able to deliver data at a rate that consumers are happy with? Do you have appropriate documentation and data lineage with what you're producing? Typically the answer is no. And even if the answers were yes to that, would the business be happier if you could do things more quickly? Are you looking for more people to try to accelerate projects or take on new projects?
And so another different customer we had, had a really cool success story. He related using Coalesce to the moneyball, movie and theme, where before Coalesce he was able to focus on three or four use cases a year with his team. And they had to be really certain as as to what those use cases were, because they just didn't have the bandwidth or resources to support many more. And so they had to make sure that those were home run.
With Coalesce, they took on 30 different use cases and they were able to take on fringe use cases that they didn't historically were able to take on because they were worried they might not actually pan out to being valuable for the business. And out of those 30 use cases, about eight of them were very insightful. And surprisingly, some of the most insightful ones were those fringe use cases that they would have never been able to get to because they didn't have a technology that allowed their data practitioners to be more productive and more effective. And so everybody could benefit from doing analytics and building data transformations faster. There's no question if you are doing things with any other technology or manually on snowflake, Coalesce can help accelerate things and just provide so much more value out of your database and data well.
Jess Carter: And it's like drive efficiencies allow you to use your team differently, more effectively. So I was going to ask you next if you have many public sector accounts yet, because I've spent some time there. I mean, one of the things that I remember just being really meaningful is it's one thing when a state is trying to federate a program that they're supposed to by its unemployment, we have to provide it right? So we do the right things and we want to do it well. But when you have, I call them like highly complex human issues, substance use disorder, COVID, maternal health. You have these topics where it's like I remember being in a situation in one of the states where there were twelve different agencies that had to participate because of how global the human problem was, and each of them would update what their initiative was. It was like, well, here's what I've done this month towards substance use disorder or whatever, and we ended up building a data product for them, where we integrated their data sources so we could look at, like I called it a placemat where we could actually see what was happening, where people were becoming engaged with this human problem when they were exiting engagement with it. What was happening during it was like human transformation.
But we were able to look at the data and listen to it and actually start to understand what were the right questions to ask of the data. So instead of having twelve initiatives, guessing with different funding sources, we were able to pull everything together and ask the most right pertinent questions based on what the data was telling us. I can only imagine how much faster we could have done that with something like Coalesce, right? It was already cool that we pivoted, but it would have been so cool to be like, man, that we could have done that easier.
Armon Petrossian: That is really the whole point, right? So sometimes the hardest part is knowing what questions you should be asking in the first place. And you need to go through a series of questions and answers that lead to more questions, that lead to more answers before you get there. And so being able to do that more quickly and in the easier way is so important and it leads to so many new questions that lead to different insight for the business and for the data teams. And so we see that happen all the time. We see use cases grow, we see insight grow. Everything really. Like once the stakeholders and data consumers are getting value from the data and they're doing it in a way that excites them, it leads to so many new opportunities within a company.
Jess Carter: For sure. Man, that's so cool. Well, okay, so I'm going to make you give some advice here. But before I ask those two questions I have, is there any other topic that I may have missed that I need to ask you about?
Armon Petrossian: There's nothing that comes to mind immediately. I'm enjoying this whole conversation. I think the biggest thing is really for the audience understanding that going through the analytics journey, going through data modernizations, going through data warehouse projects, it's so critical, especially at times like right now, to be able to do more with your existing team. I won't even say less, do more with your existing team. And people are cash strapped, they're time strapped, they're constrained in every way possible. And being able to accelerate operations in an economical way is more and more important by the day. And so that's really what drives us every day at Coalesce, being able to do that when it comes to the biggest bottleneck in analytics and transformations, that's awesome.
Jess Carter: Okay, well, so I'm going to make you be… machine gun these. You got to be short and sweet here. I have a fire one piece of advice you'd give like a CIO or a CDO who's never started this journey they're kind of still wondering, is it the right time or how do I know what's like one piece of advice you'd give somebody in that space, there's.
Armon Petrossian: No better time than now to go into analytics. One of our other customers was talking to me about this, and he was an old Oracle X Data customer, used Informatica, and he was saying, in today's day, the way that the markets develop with the technologies available, Coalesce being one of them, he can have one person do the job of what used to be ten people. And this wasn't too long ago, I mean, this was six or seven years ago that he was living in that world and now is incorporated a modern data stack, and with just one, sometimes two people are able to do the work of ten or 20.
And so if you're a CIO or CDO and you're nervous about getting started, you have to understand that access to this is so simple and easy. Now you can get an entire analytics stack spun up in minutes. And so if you're not doing it, somebody else is going to do it, one of your competitors is going to do it, and you're going to be on your heels for the rest of your life. So you don't really have a choice. You've got to get rolling.
Jess Carter: Do it. The advice is, “Take the medicine.” Which pill is it in? The matrix, the blue pill or the red pill? Just take the pill.
Armon Petrossian: You take her pill or switch jobs because somebody else is going to eat your lunch.
Jess Carter: All right, that's good advice. That's good advice. So then what about for somebody who's maybe in the middle of 15 months ago for you, they're in the middle of following their conviction with another month of no pay. Give that guy or gal some advice.
Armon Petrossian: Oh, jeez, there's so many variables when you're in that situation. Let me think about at that moment what I would have loved to hear.
Jess Carter: You just needed a hug. Is that what you needed?
Armon Petrossian: Yeah, go ahead. I needed a hug and a nap. I would say that one thing that has been really amazing, going through the process of being a founder and being a CEO at Coalesce is meeting other founders and hearing their stories. It is incredibly common for founders to go through the find product market fit phase for years. We were fortunate to not have to. But some of the most amazing stories I hear is about a group of founders or a founder who spent years and years with their business. And then after five years, it just took off. They maintained the focus, they continued to work at it, they never gave up. And then boom, like that, some big market shift hits and everything takes off.
And so if you're going to pursue something like this and you're 15 months in, it's incredibly uncommon to see success early. And the only people who are successful are the ones that stick with it. And so I had somebody tell me this when I was going through the process, which was, I've never seen somebody win big who was afraid to make the bet in the first place. So sometimes you gotta make the bet.
Jess Carter: Are you naturally pretty open to risk, or was that really, really hard for you?
Armon Petrossian: I think if you ask people who know me, they think that I'm a big risk taker or that I'm not risk averse, but I personally feel like I am really risk averse, and I need massive driving and forcing functions to pursue different things in general or business ideas. So I guess if you've balanced those out, I'm probably somewhere in between. I need to make sure I feel really, really strongly about something before I do it again.
Jess Carter: I think it's a nod to the team. You've already shown gratitude for that. The people around you were pretty influential both in encouragement for this, but also helping you make sense of, yeah, this is a thing a lot of people believe in, a problem everyone seems to agree with, and it's solvable. And so that data, I think, can help inform even the least risky person to be like, let's just do it. I'm annoyed. Let me just solve the problem.
Armon Petrossian: Exactly. I only needed a million and one examples of how clear it was that we were able to solve a problem in a unique way that nobody else could before I was able to feel confident. And still to this day, I'm so astonished by the different use cases we solve and that nobody else is doing what we're doing. It's like it feels amazing.
Jess Carter: That's super cool. It's fun to hear that story and see somebody who's kind of figured out through, I'm sure, a lot of turmoil and difficulty. But they stayed true to their conviction and chased something until they had a solution to a problem that was driving them crazy and see it work out so far. So that's exciting to me to see. I'm sure the future is just filled with possibilities at this point. Right.
Armon Petrossian: Thank you. I feel blessed to be able to do this.
Jess Carter: I think I'm really excited about this episode because Armon did such a good job helping understand and unpack what the back-end market is looking like these days and how quickly it's evolved and what the benefits for businesses could be. He also explains a little bit about what Coalesce is and how it works. So it's a good little introduction to that product.
But my favorite piece wasn't about either of those things. It was about how his conviction clearly drove his behavior the last few years, that he identified a problem that he just wanted to scratch. That itch. He wanted to solve this really big, complex problem with the simplest solution he possibly could. And he had the people around him and the encouragement and it was scary and hard. But the perseverance I think that he has and had came through the conviction that the problem needed solved. So I am actively thinking through what are some of the biggest problems or even just one problem that I am passionate about solving and making sure I still have that conviction that on my hardest days I remember the why that this is the problem I'm after and I want to see it through. I hope you guys will too.
If you have specific topics that you want to hear about more, please rate and review the podcast and let us know how we can work to incorporate those into future episodes. Thank you for listening. I'm your host, Jess Carter, and don't forget to follow the Data Driven Leadership wherever you get your podcast and rate and review, letting us know how these data topics are transforming your business. We can't wait for you to join us on our next episode.
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