I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be moving to a Chairman role here at Heap, and that Ken Fine, formerly our President/COO, will lead the organization as our new CEO! Here’s what Ken and I shared with the company:
Matin’s Letter to Heap
Friends – as discussed in today’s all-hands, I couldn’t be more excited to announce that I’m becoming Chairman of Heap and appointing Ken Fine as our new CEO!
We’ve shattered our 2020 goals after a very challenging year for the world, built out our leadership team, and* accelerated our growth* as we march through 2021. Heap is in the best position it’s ever been, and there is no better time for me to hand over the reins.
I’d like to take a step back and share some context on this decision. As leaders, we must routinely ask ourselves, *“how can I make myself as redundant as possible?” *Leaders are defined not by their presence, but by their absence. In order to deliver on our company mission, I knew I needed to build an organization and a culture that could outlive me.
To that end, I began searching two years ago for a President/COO to complement my leadership. An explicit criterion I highlighted in the spec was that “this person should be an obvious successor to Matin as CEO.” I’m happy to say that not only is Ken my obvious successor, but the best CEO I could imagine for our next stage of growth.
Why is Ken the right CEO for us? I think back to the very first customer wave that Ken ran at Heap. Within just one week of back-to-back customer meetings, I saw a level of customer empathy, internal alignment, conviction, clarity, and intensity that I had never seen before at Heap. Witnessing Ken dial up our team to an 11 left me with a visceral realization: “Wow, Heap could not be a more Ken-shaped company.”
I can’t think of anyone who better exemplifies our values than Ken: removing ego and grounding our decisions in truth, soup-tasting our customer experiences, assuming the best in each other, establishing laser-sharp focus, pushing for nothing short of excellence in everything we do, and finding ways to learn from and listen to each and every human being at Heap.
Ken isn’t just a proponent of our culture. I see him as a proponent of our company vision: grounding product decisions in truth and customer understanding. There’s no silver bullet for getting large teams to achieve great things together. But the closest thing I can think of is establishing a shared sense of customer empathy. I’ve never seen anyone do this better than Ken.
Looking back on my eight years as Heap’s CEO, I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve achieved together:
- Thousands of customers who’ve used Heap to inform their product decisions, from startups with their first 100 users to the Fortune 100, across industries like financial tech, health tech, ed tech, media, B2B SaaS, and e-commerce.
- Winning the honor of the #1 best product analytics tool from multiple sources, including Satchel, G2 reviews, and PTC.
- Disrupting our market with its most important innovations, including Autocapture, the Event Visualizer, the Data Engine, retroactive warehouse connections, Sources across the entire customer journey, and the most powerful behavioral analytics engine on the planet, among many others. Our competitors have tried (and failed) to copy our innovations, and they will continue to do so for years to come.
Winning the honor of the #1 best place to work for small-to-medium-sized businesses on Glassdoor. The most important part of any company is its people. I’m forever grateful that all of you — in one way or another — have inspired me to do my best work, each and every day.
What gives me goosebumps is that our biggest disruptions are yet to come. In our dogged pursuit of automating away the pain of product analytics, 2021 will be a big year as we move beyond automating collecting/organizing data, and we start automating getting value from data. You’ve all seen the roadmap we have in store, and you know how incredibly exciting these updates will be for our customers. I can’t wait.
What does this decision mean for me? As Chairman, I’ll no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations of Heap. Nevertheless, I’m as committed as ever to delivering on our mission of powering decisions with truth. I’ll contribute in 3 main ways: 1) guiding the high-level strategy and plan for Heap, 2) leading and building a world-class board, 3) working with Ken and our leadership team on key initiatives.
It’s been the honor of my lifetime to work with all of you. Heap started with Ravi and I hacking on a janky analytics prototype in a basement (ignoring the advice of a staff-level Google engineer, who insisted our idea was “impossible”!). I’m proud it’s since eclipsed us both and grown into a thriving culture – housing some of the smartest, lowest ego people I’ve ever known – powering product decisions for a giant swath of the Internet. Who would have guessed?
Thank you all for putting your trust in me as your CEO all these years. Onward to Heap’s next chapter!
Ken’s Letter to Heap
Two years ago, I was taking a break after my previous company had been acquired. I got a call from Dermot Duggan, an Executive Coach who had worked with both me and Matin. He suggested that I take a look at Heap.
I reviewed Heap and thought, “Wow, I wish I had technology like this when I was a product manager.”
When I met Matin, he painted his vision of leveraging the unique digital dataset that only Heap can collect into a powerful suite of proactive insights. Matin’s zeal for that future was matched only by his insistence on building a healthy culture based on rigorous decision making, clear prioritization, and assuming positive intent in teammates.
I came to Heap to help Matin achieve that vision and build that team and culture.
Those conversations happened nearly two years ago. Since then, Heap has:
- Established the technical foundation to define the future of digital product analytics, including leveraging AI/ML to surface insights at scale.
- Developed an extraordinary team, including a team of executive leaders who have themselves helped to build multiple great B2B SaaS companies.
I could not be more excited to take on the CEO role and help to lead Heap into its exciting future. We have the foundation, technology, and people to build something truly special.
Here are my main priorities as CEO:
- Grow Heap’s high-performing team: I will ensure that our leadership team is cohesive, we live our values, we hire aggressively, and we maintain a tight connection between our go-to-market and engineering-product-design teams.
- Aggressively execute on Heap’s vision and roadmap: We have a carefully constructed and validated vision for Data → Insights → Action. We will fiercely execute against this strategy and bring never-before-seen capabilities to Heap’s customers.
- Tell the world: Heap is defining a new point-of-view for how modern digital product teams operate. We will share that perspective and enable everyone who owns a digital experience to bring greatness to that experience.
Above all, I thank you, Matin, for your vision, your passion, your leadership, and for just being you. You’re a great person of the highest integrity.
It’s truly a privilege to humbly continue your work and lead Heap onward to its next chapter.