Master of Scale: Aneel Bhusri, Co-founder & CEO of Workday

  • What Aneel learned from working at his first job: The importance of a people-first culture. A positive culture focused on the carrot and not the stick. [11:50] 

  • The idea for Workday: Take advantage of distributed computing by managing Human Resources and accounting in the cloud. They were very early. They didn’t have a competition-driven clock. He could set his own timeline. [12:22]

  • Focus on people, not skills: What I found is if someone is a good person with high integrity, you can teach them a lot. You can teach them to be good managers. [14:28]

  • I think one of the most important things to focus in on is getting value to customers quickly: If they see value quickly they will want to become a customer. [18:51]

  • A lot of companies focus on technology: That’s great but you need to focus on customer success. [19:59] 

  • We focus on a simple value set: It starts with employees, not with customers. Why? Great employees take care of your customers. [20:59]

  • How they got the culture right: We (Aneel and his cofounder) interviewed the first 500 people ourselves. [23:51]

  • How Aneel thinks you build a great company: Find people who were in it for the long haul. We have tons of people who have been with the company for 10 years. We avoided people who job hop. [26:06]

  • If you make a hiring mistake you need to correct it quickly: That dilutes the culture if you don’t. [34:55]

  • Great quote: There is nothing more valuable than a happy customer. [43:40]

  • Advice for how to start a business: Always look for painkillers instead of vitamins. Lots of technologies can make your life better. Compare that to finding somebody that is in pain. Then solve their problem. [45:10]

  • Full podcast here.