Todd Olson: Creating to help Product Managers Build Products their Clients Love & Scaling it to 175 Employees

Todd Olson, founder

Todd Olson is co-founder and CEO of Pendo, a 175 employee business, a product experience platform that helps product teams create software customers love. A three-time entrepreneur, Todd has experienced the highs and lows of running fast-growth technology companies. A proficient coder by age 14, he spent his teen years working as a database designer and software architect.

Today we are going to be talking about finding your idea, how to validate your idea, and not only create a product but a thriving business.



What you will learn from Todd Olson

  • The realizations Todd has made founding three companies
  • How creating Pendo was different than Todd’s previous startups.
  • Creating Pendo, before Lean Startup and Product Market FIt terms existed and Todd’s approach to creating the Pendo product.
  • The importance of truly understanding the process you will take to create your product and a vision for how it will eventually look.
  • The reason why Todd created Pendo was based on Todd’s previous frustration  as Product Manager
  • Why Pendo was the product that Todd decided to create, the research he did before making the final decision.
  • The product ideas that Todd rejected because it was not his area of expertise.
  • The understanding of “Why is it you who is the right person to create your product?”
  • How to deal with people telling you “This has already been done”
  • How Todd met with VC’s as part of his market research, realizing that VC’s would not invest in Pendo, at the time.
  • The massive importance of understanding your market niche, size, competitors, their approach, and story, when deciding what your core offering should be.
  • The desire to start a movement, a culture, and a business, as a team, more so that “just” creating a product.
  • The importance of focusing on the next milestone, staying humble and focus on shipping.
  • What Pendo’s first very basic product version looked like. Keep it simple and ship frequently.
  • How Todd got a clear and loud “No” on his proposal, from the first client Todd approached to negotiate pricing.
  • The challenges of acquiring the first paying clients for
  • Understanding what is expected when accepting Seed funding for your startup as opposed to bootstrapping.
  • Don’t worry too much about what you can and can not control, when looking for investors, rather be careful about personal fit with the investors you bring on.
  • The lessons of pitching to investors and what is important.
  • The importance of knowing your recruitment process, who to look for and why it so important.




Quotes by Todd Olson




Understand and guide your users. Create product experiences they can’t live without.

A fantastic tool to help you build superior software and happy customers.


Product Craft (Product Manager)

Sublime community for you who wants to become the best Product Manager
[YouTube] Todd Olson speaking at Pendo conference on the creation of Pendo and building superior SaaS products


Brad Feld article “The Illusion of Product/Market Fit for SaaS Companies”

Book: “Crossing the Chasm” by Jeffrey Moore



Connect with Todd

Todd’s blog at

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