Episode 28: Lars Nilsson and Mikita Mikado

In our 28th episode, Gil talks category creation with two B2B leaders from the cloud data and document workflow categories.

Panelists for this episode include:

  • Lars Nilsson, VP of Global Sales Development at Snowflake and leader behind the cloud data category
  • Mikita Mikado, CEO of Pandadoc and leader behind the document workflow category

You’ll walk away from this episode with an understanding of team alignment, feature releases, and support networks.

Or watch the video

Takeaway 1. Team alignment is essential to scaling your company

Communication and team alignment are two of the most critical forces when scaling your company. People want effective leadership when change happens quickly. And to make that happen, you need to have a process that keeps everyone working towards the same vision, regardless of their team or function.

One of the most important considerations to make when aligning your company is the number of people that should be in each team. Smaller teams are often the best option for companies that want to maximize agility. And in general, the closer your team reaches ten people, the more difficult it becomes to keep everyone aligned.

Larger teams tend to be more inefficient because most of the time is spent coordinating activities rather than doing actual work. A larger team also means that there will be a more considerable variance in personalities, which could affect how everyone works together. It might take a bit of experimenting until you find the ideal number of team members, but the effort will be worth it.

Takeaway 2. Talk to your customers before launching new product features

Although your internal teams are essential, it’s your customers that should have the final say on every critical decision you make about your product features. In other words, you need to be customer-oriented instead of product-oriented. A customer-oriented approach is all about learning about your customers’ needs and then building features around those needs. On the other hand, a product-oriented strategy involves making features that you think your customers want.

It’s also important to know the difference between features that customers want and features they are willing to pay for when adopting a customer-oriented strategy. These two types of features are not always the same. Sometimes a customer might want a particular feature, but they might not necessarily pay for it. That’s why it’s not enough to ask customers what features they want and then build it. You need to figure out why they want those features and then build around the goals they’re trying to achieve.

By focusing on building features around your customer needs, you reduce the likelihood of becoming a feature factory. As a result, you end up spending fewer resources on features that don’t add value to your company and customers. This leads to improved profitability and differentiation.

Takeaway 3. You need a solid support network when creating a category

We often talk about frameworks and strategies when it comes to category creation. But one thing that often gets overlooked is the importance of having a solid support network when growing your company. Whether you’re the CEO of the company or leading an internal team, you’ll need to make sure your personal life is taken care of if you want to withstand all the stress involved in leading a fast-growing startup.

It’s easy to think that you can separate your personal life from your work life. But that’s usually not how things work. Not taking care of your personal life and support network can have real consequences on your ability to deliver your best work. It can lead to overworking and burnout.

So your goal shouldn’t be to work as much as possible. It should always be to find the right balance between working hard and working smart. Working longer hours won’t make you more productive because there will be a diminishing return to every additional hour you work beyond your limit.

For more insights on building a support network, feature releases, and team alignment, be sure to listen to this episode of B2B Category Creators.


Lars explains why you don’t always need to have the best product to create a category.

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