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Episode 09

Monte Carlo’s Barr Moses on creating a playbook for a product that’s never been built before

A conversation with the Co-Founder and CEO of Monte Carlo

In 2018, Barr Moses was looking to start a company but wasn't sure which idea to pursue. She decided to work on three different startup ideas in parallel to see which one gained the most traction with customers.

One of those ideas was Monte Carlo, a solution to address the challenges around data reliability that Barr had experienced throughout her career— dealing with broken data products, wasted time, lost trust, and firefighting data quality issues. As Barr met with potential customers, it became clear that there was significant demand from technical leaders grappling with the consequences of data downtime across their organizations. 

Today, Monte Carlo has successfully created a new category and firmly established itself as the end-to-end data observability platform for companies like Cisco, Fox, American Airlines, and more. Now, in the era of AI, the role of data quality has never been more critical. 

In this episode of Spotlight On, Barr and Accel’s Steve Loughlin reflect on Monte Carlo’s unique origin story, explain “Hell Yeah Moments” as a company success metric, and dig into why they chose speed, focus, and customer impact as core values. Barr also peels the curtain back on why she decided to launch the company alongside an entirely new category—Data Observability—and the grit and determination it takes to build and sell a product that’s never been built or sold before. There’s no playbook for that, but Monte Carlo created its own.

Conversation Highlights:

  • 00:00: Monte Carlo’s origin story
  • 3:54: How Barr discovered the idea of “data downtime,” which became the foundation for Monte Carlo and validated customer demand
  • 7:19: Successfully raising Monte Carlo’s seed round and acquiring its first customers—despite a lackluster slide deck
  • 10:31: The team’s maniacal focus on making just one customer happy and how that informs PMF
  • 12:00: “Hell yeah” moments as a metric to measure customer success
  • 13:40: What are the signals to move from a freemium to a paid product?
  • 15:58: How Barr’s leadership style has evolved as the company has scaled
  • 18:26: Why competition in a new category is a good thing
  • 22:48: What it’s like building and selling a product that’s never been built before, and how Barr screens for “risk-takers” 
  • 29:46: The future of the Data Observability category and the crucial role that quality data will play in enabling safe and accurate generative AI
  • 33:10: The most rewarding part of Barr’s entrepreneurial journey thus far

Featured: Barr Moses, Co-Founder and CEO at Monte Carlo, and Steve Loughlin, Partner at Accel.

Learn more about Accel’s relationship with Monte Carlo:

Explore more episodes from this season:

Access Spotlight On Season 1 episodes here.

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Barr Moses (00:00):

The trust of that data is fundamental to everything. We're not going to be able to use the data if the data is wrong. It's as simple as that. 

Voiceover (00:07):

Welcome to Spotlight on where we examine the technology shaping our world through conversations with the people building it. 

Steve Loughlin (00:14):

Welcome to Spotlight on, I'm Steve Loughlin, partner at Accel, and so thrilled to have Barr Moses, who's the co-founder and CEO of Monte Carlo here. Barr, thanks for being here. 

Barr Moses (00:23):

Pleasure to be here, Steve. Thanks for having me. 

Steve Loughlin (00:25):

Love it. Well, why don't we get started? Can you tell us a little bit about what Monte Carlo does, just to set the context and then we will dive into kind of your origin story after that. 

Barr Moses (00:35):

Yeah, for sure. A big part of the origin story, so happy to tell that. Yeah, so Monte Carlo is a creator and leader of the data observability category, which basically means there's data teams out there, data analysts, machine learning engineers, data engineers, data scientists, and they're all building data products. Data product can be a dashboard the CMO is looking at in the morning. It could be a pricing algorithm, it could be a generative AI product. In all of those instances , those products run on data and if the data is wrong, you're in big trouble. And so what we do is we actually help data teams make sure that the data that's powering all those data products is accurate and reliable and can be trusted. 

Steve Loughlin (01:16):

Amazing. And it's a good segue into the origin story because you created this category. And so can you talk a little bit about maybe going back to your entrepreneurial journey, because when I first met you, it was in the context of recruiting you to be an executive at one of the portfolio companies I was on the board of and were big fans of yours. And then you kind of made the decision to go the direction of starting a company. Can you talk a little bit about that period for yourself? 

Barr Moses  (01:42):

Yeah, for sure. So prior to Monte Carlo, I was at a company called Gainsight who also created a category category of customer success. 

Steve Loughlin (01:50):

If you're on the internet or on LinkedIn, you've seen Nick Mehta. Yes, 

Barr Moses  (01:53):

That's right. 

Barr Moses  (01:55):

I learned so much from him and from Allison Pickens and lots of other people there who created a category. And Nick Mehta has this ability to be everywhere all the time. I don't know how he does that, but one thing about category creation is you have to be top of mind for people all the time, and so implemented a lot of those lessons. So after Gainsight thinking through what I want to do next, met you. Sorry, the recruiting didn't work. Yeah, that's 

Steve Loughlin (02:23):

Okay. I think it turned out okay. Yeah. 

Barr Moses  (02:26):

But I was really, I took some time off, watched a lot of Netflix before it was cool. Went on a meditation retreat for seven days. 

Steve Loughlin (02:35):

Forgot about that. That's right. Seven days. Where'd you go? 

Barr Moses  (02:39):

It's actually sort of a place in France. This is a former or a monk that actually started sort of a monastery where they hold meditation retreats. So it's seven days of silence. So I really learned to sort of become friends with myself during that and had a lot of time to introspect and figure out what I want to do next. 

Steve Loughlin (03:03):

Very similar to running a startup 

Barr Moses  (03:05):

Actually. Somewhat. 

Steve Loughlin (03:07):

You're friends with yourself, but other than that, the silent part's probably not a big part of it. That's right. 

Barr Moses  (03:11):

Yeah. No, I'm not a very silent person. So that was actually difficult. Actually, the other thing that I did was meet with about 50 or so founders and investors and actually ask them about their founding journey and learned a ton about that. Learned how do you arrive at your first idea? How do you find your first customer? How do you keep going when it's really hard? And through all those conversations, got really excited about starting my own company. I think when you start a company, you're sort of doing something that's not only really hard, but also very likely to fail. And so when you get started, I thought it was really important for me to get a lot of conviction myself. I basically needed to embark on this really hard long journey and get others to do that with me and get customers excited and get a lot of people excited. 

Barr Moses (03:53):

And so I wanted to be sure that I have that conviction. The first couple ideas that I worked on were just a complete disaster. Nobody cared about what I was doing. I would just call people and try to get them engaged in what I was working on and the problem and just nobody gave a shit. They would just hang up the phone and won't talk to me. And so I was like, there's not going to be a company here. I can't build a big company if people don't care about this problem. But when I was working on this problem of what we call data downtime, like data being inaccurate or wrong, people got really excited about that. So I would just cold call someone, be like, Hey, do you ever have data downtime? Does this happened to you? And people would tell the craziest stories. They would wake up sweating at night because they were going to report to the board numbers a day after, and they were worried the numbers were wrong or they were just about to report numbers to the street and they caught a mistake. Those were things that people sort of professional pride was on the line. 

Steve Loughlin (04:51):

And you're talking to these people and you don't even have a company yet. You're just learning and they're responding to you. 

Barr Moses (04:56):

That's exactly right. So when you cold call someone about this problem and they spend time with you and tell you about their problems, that means that there's a there. If that makes sense. 

Steve Loughlin (05:04):

Yeah, yeah. It's a sign. Exactly. So you started getting these signals and then how did you go from thinking that you were excited about it? There might be a possibility. The world's excited about it to actually starting the company. 

Barr Moses (05:18):

When I thought about what matters in the world, I can't think of an industry that matters more than data in today's age. And when I thought about where data would be 5, 10, 20 years from now, data is going to be a lot more important than it is today. There's a lot more people working on data. So many more roles, a lot more investments in data. 

Steve Loughlin (05:37):

A lot more data in and of itself. 

Barr Moses (05:39):

Exactly. And maybe most importantly, a lot more applications of data. Generative AI is sort of an addition to that, what didn't exist back then. I think that's even more of a push, but really what could be more interesting and more exciting these days in data? So that was the first hypothesis that I had. The data is going to continue to be a really important and big market. The second hypothesis was that the trust of that data is fundamental to everything. We're not going to be able to use the data if the data is wrong. It's that simple as that. I just couldn't envision a world where those two things didn't happen. And then the third hypothesis that I reached is that the concept of observability or making sure that something is trusted and reliable has actually been solved in engineering. Software engineers have solved this with a PM solutions, companies like Datadog, New Relic, AppDynamics, and I didn't see a reason why you couldn't take that. We're not reinventing the wheel. We're just taking the principles that work in software engineering and applying them to data engineering. And so in the same way that every single software engineering team in the world has observability, I think every single data or AI team in the world will have observability for their data. 

Steve Loughlin (06:55): 

Agreed. And it's starting to come true, obviously with the number of customers we're working with and kind of the progress you guys have made. So you start out, you raised a seed round and what was that? What was that process like? 

Barr Moses (07:07):

We had an idea, had conviction about that idea. Had a couple hundred people that we spoke to about that idea and had some people that wanted to start working with us, had a hypothesis about what product we need to build first and what would be our go-to-market motion and decided to raise money. And so created a slides that really what we had at the time, mostly slides, not even pretty slides. I think the number one feedback that we got was that our slides were shit and they were really ugly. 

Steve Loughlin (07:37):

They weren't shit. They were stock. It was the default Google doc. That's right. But I remember them pretty vividly. But it's the content that mattered 

Barr Moses  (07:48):

A hundred percent. And that's actually what sort of guided us. When we met with customers, I'll never forget this, it was a CTO of a public company. He looked at the slides that we shared with him about the product and he was like, the slides are a disaster, but the idea is amazing and I would buy it tomorrow. 

Steve Loughlin

Oh wow. 

Barr Moses

And I was like, that is exactly the kind of signal that we need. So our investor deck was similarly not great. We ended up sort of doing a fundraise. It was pretty quick. We were really fortunate to have some of the best investors in the world on the table and really happy that we went with Accel. 

Steve Loughlin (08:23):

Yeah, we appreciated it. That was good. I still remember driving up to San Francisco and meeting with you and kind of hashing out the final details of that and we're thrilled to be investors, but can you talk a little bit about going from, because we have a lot of entrepreneurs that spend time listening to this and are looking for different frameworks and things to help them build their ideas and their concepts. But you validated there was demand, you got some capital so you could start to hire people. So you're starting to build a team, but you don't yet have a product. You don't yet have customer validation. How did you run your company at that stage? What did a week look like? What did a month look like? How did you focus everyone inside the company? Because it's kind of all hands on deck trying to solve a specific problem, but at the same time, it's very easy for teams of that size to get distracted and work on things that don't kind of move the ball forward. Can you talk a little bit about your leadership style at that point? And then we'll talk about how it's evolved. But at that point, I think you guys did a fantastic job getting focused. 

Barr Moses (09:33):

Yeah, for sure. And I think one of the things that you and I talked about early on is this core, almost like a maniacal obsession on learnings and the rate of learnings was the thing that mattered. So we had to learn every single week. And in order to do that, we are pretty hypothesis driven. We still are, but we basically came up with a set of hypothesis of what we need to believe is true and what are we going to prove this week? And so working backwards from that, what are the things that need to happen this week? So for example, in the very early days, the core thing to focus the entire company on was make one customer happy. That's all that mattered. We need to prove that we could find someone with a real pain and that we could make them happy. We could solve a meaningful problem for them. 

Barr Moses (10:20):

And that's it. Everyone else just drop everything that you're working on. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what team you're on, what function we were a handful of people. Everybody has to race towards that goal. And that helps drive focus because if you're working on something that doesn't advance that sort of goal, then it doesn't matter for the company. Because as a company, if we couldn't prove that we could make one customer happy, then what are we doing here? It makes no sense. And so having this sort of clarity of thought on what is the one thing that could kill the company or what is the one thing that is the most important thing to focus on and then rally everyone around that something we develop very, very early on.

Steve Loughlin (11:01):

Yeah, it, it's almost like thinking about what is the next step in creating value versus, and you can't really skip steps in this exercise because you can't start scaling or adding lots of customers. You actually don't know what a happy customer looks like yet, and you want to make sure that you're getting product market fit effectively. And so who was the first customer that got really excited about this? 

Barr Moses (11:29):

In the very early days, when you have three customers, you have no data to go off. There's not monthly active users or anything like that. You don't know. So how do you measure happiness? So one thing that we developed early on is we called it Hell Yeah. Moments, which is basically moments when we showed something to a customer or customer used the product and you could see them sort of jump out of their seat with excitement.

Steve Loughlin (11:49):

and say?

Barr Moses (11:51):

Hell Yeah. 

Steve Loughlin (11:51):

Yeah, amazing. 

Barr Moses (11:54):

So when you see someone like that, we actually took note of that and you're like, oh, we made someone happy. How do we create more of those moments? 

Steve Loughlin (12:02):

Hell, as are growing 50% week over week. 

Barr Moses (12:05):

Yeah. Reported to that, to the board. It was awesome. No, but I remember two distinct moments from our early customers. That's great. The first is when one of our three customers, her name is Danielle, and she told us, I have only three tabs open. Gmail, BigQuery, which is her data warehouse in Monte Carlo. And those are the three tabs that I use. And when a data team or your user says that that's really when we are as important as, or in her top three, that means a lot. 

Steve Loughlin (12:32):

And as you're progressing from hell yeah to, okay, we need to turn these people into customers, what was that process like? And was it clear to you? Was it like, okay, we're ready to start commercializing this, or was it a little fuzzy? 

Barr Moses (12:48):

In the very early days, we just released our products. So this was very early, just maybe a month or two in. And I wasn't sure we weren't charging at the time. And to your point, it's not totally clear should you charge? Should you not? Is the product there or not? So in the very early days, I actually used time as a proxy, meaning if the customers spend time with us, it's because they cared and because it was an important problem for them. So we used that early on. And then the tipping point for us was actually one of our customers called me and he was like, listen, Barr, this product means a lot to us and it's a very good service. We should be paying. And I was like, man, what are you talking about? We just released the product. It's too early. We're not going to charge you now what are talking? It didn't even cross my mind. I thought we were so early. And he was like, okay. He came back two more times asking to pay. And at the third time I was like, I just look at an idiot at this point. We have to start charging. And I remember that as a really powerful moment because I realized, okay, this is actually a signal from our customers that we're ready to start going commercial. 

Steve Loughlin (13:52):

Was it hard to make the transition internally from, Hey, we're making sure this thing works to okay, we're going to start to drive revenue. We're going to measure ourselves around growth, revenue growth versus kind of that fun period? And we say fun. It's really hard because kind of meandering through the dark, trying to get fidelity on what actually drives customer success, but it's invigorating and it's a little bit different motion than like, Hey, we need to go hit a hundred percent growth quarter over quarter or whatever it is. 

Barr Moses (14:28):

Look, at the end of the day, customer happiness or what we call customer impact is our first value. I would say that's still the north star because if we don't have that, everything else falls apart. And so we would never want to charge a customer for them to not see impact. And so I think first and foremost, it's recognizing that having the customer impact is the most important thing. And we use today revenue or revenue growth as a proxy for that. And so the fact that someone wants to pay means that the impact is so valuable that they see it. 

Steve Loughlin (14:58):

Our observation at Accel is you're an incredible leader and you demand operational excellence from your team and everyone at the company, but the methods for doing that have kind of evolved. Can you talk a little bit about what's stayed the same and what's been different as you've kind of scaled through pre-product market fit to product market fit to having hundreds and thousands of amazing customers on this platform using it? 

Barr Moses (15:23):

Yeah, so I think I talked earlier about being hypothesis driven that to a large degree is still the same, but the format of the hypothesis has changed. So if in the early days the hypothesis was make one customer happy, make 10 customers happy, make 20 customers happy, the hypothesis today is more thought out. So we actually have sort of a company strategy, mission, vision, key factors of success, which is basically two documents, or sorry, two page document which lays out what's our strategy, what's our go-to-market motion, what's our value proposition of the product, what's the product roadmap? And part of that is something that we call key factors of success, which is basically if you put yourself in the shoes of the customer, what would it take to win the hearts and minds of customers? And part of that could be easy to work with. 

Barr Moses (16:19):

So for example, our customers data leaders, they're inundated with options. They have so many vendors and partners and the market is changing all the time. It's really tough to be a data leader today. And so the more that we can take off their plate, be easy to work with, be easy to integrate, see value quickly, that is meaningful for them. And so some of our sort of things that guide our product roadmap guide, our Go-to market motion guide, our operations, how we think about legal, how we think about billing, everything in the company aligns to those principles that we think customers care about. So that's first of all, laying out. Those foundations really early on are helpful because everyone at the company reads them, everyone at the company gets up to speed. It's sort of this sort of mandate that functional leaders can take and make decisions by. 

Steve Loughlin (17:12):

It's your view of the winning strategy. These attributes are going to win in the market in the future. How often do you change those or look at those and how do you think about competitors with respect to those key factors for success? 

Barr Moses (17:26):

So we look at them all the time and we think about them all the time, whether that's on a quarterly basis when we evaluate and we speak to the board or think about it or on a monthly planning sprint that the product team leads or even on sort of a weekly reporting basis on how the go-to-market team is doing. So really throughout our company we think about these. And I think when it comes to competition in a new category, actually having competition is great. You don't want to be the only player in a new category. So the fact that there is competition means that the category matters and is important. On the other hand, you never want to do something just because a competitor did that. You really want to be focused on doing what the customers want. And so whenever there's sort of a question on strategy, something like that, the answer lies with your customers never with our competition. 

Barr Moses (18:19):

I think maybe this was Jeff Bezos who says sort of competitor aware, customer obsessed. So I really, really fundamentally believe in that. That's how it pertains to that. Then maybe the other thing that we also spend time thinking about is something that someone told me very early on is a company can be really good at only one or two things. So be really thoughtful about what those one or two things are. Choose them wisely. And the thing that we chose is speed and focus. And so we obsess about those things. So my weekly meeting is called Speed and Focus, our company all hands last week that we did, it was called Speed and Focus. We talk a lot about how do we use both of those things as a mote, as sort of a competitive advantage. And so we ship features really quickly for customers. We want to be easy to work with, but focus on the right things for the customers. So we take those concepts of speed and focus, not just internally as a company, but also in how we work with our customers and we get that feedback. Customers really appreciate that. 

Steve Loughlin (19:29):

Yeah, it's what makes your culture distinct, right? Yeah. So you can even screen for that in folks that want to join the team. Are you comfortable moving fast or would you prefer a slower pace? And if you prefer a slower pace might be the right thing to do, but probably not the right thing to do at Monte Carlo. So we talked about the key factors for success expressing how you guys interface with the market and your strategy. Can you go a little bit deeper in how you think about values and culture and how you kind do operate internally and how that manifests itself and the decisions that you guys make? 

Barr Moses (20:00):

Yeah, so we thought about our values very early on. I think we even talked about this, the importance of doing that. I think we were maybe four or five people at the company when we did this. The very first one, as I mentioned, is customer impact. And the definition of that is we make an impact on our customers. We try to make them happy with our product, our brand, our team, our services, everything meaning, and we actually screen for this. So it doesn't matter if we talk to an engineer, a legal person, a billing person, a recruiter, a salesperson, we really try to understand what they're motivated by. And if they're motivated by anything other than making customers happy, they're probably not a fit for Monte Carlo. And that takes a certain person and a certain focus, if that makes sense. You need to get excited about shipping value, whatever form of shipping means for you, but actually making an impact on people's lives. And so when a customer tells me, I can't imagine what life was before Monte Carlo, that should be the thing that we get the most excited about. And so our entire company rallies around those kind of feedback from customers. That's what we choose to celebrate, if that makes sense. When the customer says that, 

Steve Loughlin (21:11):

And that's your number one value. 

Barr Moses (21:13):

Exactly. That's the number one value. We'll call it another one value. Another value, which is beat the odds, which is basically means, or the definition of it is if we haven't failed or heard no, then we didn't try hard enough. And it basically speaks to how difficult the category creation, entrepreneurial journey is. And because it is so difficult, that is actually what we take joy and pride in. We are a group of people who get really excited about solving super challenging problems with amazing people. That's what gets us jazzed up. That's what we're here 

Steve Loughlin (21:50):

For in the world. So does that play out when you're thinking about fit? You want people who are more risk seeking or who get excited about climbing the mountain versus like, Hey, this is a sure thing. Or even tackling particular problems for your customers. It's like you have to be comfortable with the fact that this is going to be really hard and kind of enjoy it. 

Barr Moses (22:11):

A hundred percent, yeah. You got to love it. If it was easy, then someone else would've done it. We're here for the hard thing. And specifically, 

Steve Loughlin (22:20):

How do you screen for that? 

Barr Moses (22:21):

It's a good question. First of all, I'm very upfront about it. So I basically tell people we are building a product that's never been built. There's no roadmap for this. We can't go and copy it from someone else. When someone asks what's data observability, we got to define that. There's someone to look to. We're selling a product that's never been sold. You can't go ask someone who's done this. You got to figure it out. And we're getting a product that's never been adopted to be adopted and used. There's no playbook for that. It's not like someone else figured it out. You got to do it. So we don't get anything for free. Everything we have to define, it's exciting. We also get to define that for the rest of the market and for years to come and create a legacy by doing that. But it is hard through and through. 

Barr Moses (23:04):

So first of all, I'm just very upfront about it and I tell people it's a dumb thing to create a new category, and so have to really want to do a hard thing and love the journey along the way. I think the other thing that we screen or that we look for is people who have done hard things before. So to ask someone what's the hardest thing that they've done? You learn a lot from that. And you learn a lot from their experience. And you also learn from how they tell a story. They tell a story with excitement and they're like, yeah, I did a really hard thing and I'm so proud of myself. And it was freaking tough. But you know what? We made it. And it was not just me. I pulled my team with me and we did it together. I think that's really what we're looking for. 

Steve Loughlin (23:46):

Yeah, I think it's super helpful. I think it's almost a requirement for early stage teams to get to some sort of scale. You have to have a team of people who in general want to beat the odds. But also I think there's a nuance to it. And even hearing the way you talk about it, which is something about the ability to handle ambiguity, hard things that are very straightforward, like you said, like we're going to go accomplish X and it's very deterministic versus we kind of know we want to end up here, but there's zero visibility into the how. I think that's what makes emerging companies entrepreneurship very distinct is you have to not only have a threshold for hard things, but also ambiguity, which is part of the odds piece. So what other values do you guys operate with inside the company? 

Barr Moses (24:40):

So the other or another one that's actually quite controversial is measuring minutes. 

Steve Loughlin 24:48):

Yes. Well, the key thing to any of these values is they do have to be distinct, right? There has to be some tradeoff you're making or else hundred, it's not a value. 

Barr Moses (24:54):

Totally. That's right. And measuring minutes speaks about, it takes an idea to the extreme, which speaks about our value of successes minutes, not weeks or months or years. And it really pushes you to think through how can I be as fast as possible without compromising quality? This is not about shipping crap or doing things that are not aligned because it's not the first value. The first value is customer impact. That is the most important thing. And so everything that you ship should be of high quality and aligned with customer impact. But how do you do that in a fast way? And often times the way to do that is by reducing scope or being really clear on what matters to the customers but being extreme in that. 

Steve Loughlin (25:39):

Hey, is that because you want feedback faster? Yes, 

Barr Moses (25:42):

Exactly. Because if we are sitting and building and thinking and whatever it may be like building a feature or writing a blog post or whatever it is, if you're sitting for months or years, whatever it is in your head, you're never 

Steve Loughlin  (25:56):

Learning, not taking action. So you want to be action oriented. Exactly. That is measuring minutes. 

Barr Moses (25:59):

One thing that we do is we have a week one ship, which what that means is that it actually started in our engineering organization, which means that everyone who joins ships something to production in the first week. Wow. It could be something super small or medium, whatever you want, but you ship to production 

Steve Loughlin (26:16):

Points on the board like you're making progress.

Barr Moses (26:17):

Exactly. So we took that and we expanded that to the entire company. So it doesn't matter what team you're on first week, you have to release something or ship something that has an impact on a real customer. It can't be an internal process, internal documentation, whatever that's cheating doesn't count. It has to be something that actually has an impact on a customer, and you have to do it in the first week. And that, first of all, pushes people to actually focus on most important at Monte Carlo throughout the rest of your career. Making an impact on customers is the only thing that matters. Wow. 

Steve Loughlin (26:50):

Okay. So those are any other values, you guys? 

Barr Moses (26:54):

Well, the last one is have fun and I'll explain what that means. Have fun. I 

Steve Loughlin (26:59):

Think it's pretty straightforward. You having fun means. Have fun in minutes.

Barr Moses (27:01):

That's right. Every minute should be fun. We define it as we went as a team. That's one core component that's very important to me. I think that's, we live life, we work with people, we spend a lot of time at work, and so let's have fun with those people. And even one of the other components is we stay positive even when things are hard, when you're climbing the journey, when things are going really well, it's very easy to be positive. It's actually the sort of core focus on is being really positive or optimistic or confident when things are really hard. And then the last piece of it is being proud of the journey, which is we want to look back and be really happy and proud of the decisions that we made and say throughout the journey, we were just really proud of this. 

Steve Loughlin (27:58):

I think it's a really important distinction, which is at least most of the folks I've talked to who've gone on entrepreneurial journeys or built these things, when there's some sort of result that happens with the company, whether it goes public or gets acquired or what it keeps growing at some fast rate is that part's good. But the great part is the relationships that get built from solving those really complex problems, which is a different kind of fun. It's not, Hey, we're having great team events. We collaborated as a team and we overcame these obstacles, and I want that feeling again. That's fun for people that self-select into this environment. Is that fair? Is? Yeah, 

Barr Moses (28:40):

A hundred percent. 

Steve Loughlin (28:41):

That's what you guys are aspiring towards. Okay. Well, tell me a little bit about data observability and where you think this is going. Future of the category. What are the most important things happening at Monte Carlo? How are you guys thinking about the next five years? 

Barr Moses (28:56):

First of all, just to talk about where we've come from. Five years ago when we started the company, the category didn't exist. We didn't even know how to call it. We didn't know what terminology to use. I think the term sort of data observability was really born from our customers. And one of the most remarkable things that have happened is that in the last year, the category for the first time has been recognized by third party analysts and has been recognized in the industry. And that is, I think, such a win for the data industry because it speaks to the importance of data. And I think it speaks to how important the data industry is becoming because five, 10 years ago, if the data was wrong, honestly nobody cared. You would just move on with your life. And today, if the data's wrong, a lot of people are upset. 

Barr Moses (29:43):

Organizations lose a lot of money. As a result, their brand and their reputation in the market gets significantly hurt. And we work with Fortune 500 companies and financial services in media and retail and e-commerce in every single industry. If your data is wrong, there's significant damage to your business. And so actually recognizing that you need to sort of apply the same diligence in the same way that your applications have monitoring and observability your infrastructure, you observe that in the same way. You also need to observe and monitor your data. And so I'm really excited about how the industry has come. And then if looking forward, I think especially as we look at generative ai, a lot of companies are looking to figure out what is their moat when it comes to generative ai. And I strongly believe that the best data teams and the best companies, their mote is going to be their first party data, actually their enterprise data, that they're bringing it to generative AI products. And so making sure that that data is highly trusted and highly reliable is going to be core and will essentially be their mote. In order to deliver the best generative AI products, anyone can sort of connect an API and build some sort of q and a or chat bot like today. Lots of people are doing that, but if you want to gain the advantage and actually beat your competition or provide services that are materially better, the only way to do that is with the data that you actually have and leveraging that. 

Steve Loughlin (31:16):

And where do you think we are on that journey in these products being released and the maturity curve? 

Barr Moses (31:22):

Very early, right? Very early. I think data leaders are under a ton of pressure to deliver right now. There's a lot of talk about generative AI in the boardroom and the C-level, but there's a lot of questions to figure out. I'm actually really optimistic from some of the use cases that I've seen the last few months. So let's call an example like Intuit and Credit Karma actually have sort of a financial assistant that makes recommendations for you based on your financial history and your financial data. That's an example of a use case where you're really leveraging your internal data in a very smart, sophisticated way. And so I'm excited to see more and more of those use cases very early days, but I think the potential is quite meaningful. 

Steve Loughlin (32:07):

What's been the most rewarding part of your entrepreneurial journey so far? 

Barr Moses (32:15):

I think I had really high expectations and it actually beat my expectations, so that's good. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, it's actually the most fun I've had in my career by far. And I think the most rewarding part is, well, there's three parts. The first, the most rewarding part is making an impact on real people's lives. Actually. The fact that we at this point have hundreds of customers and their life is different as a result of something that we've built that is magical. That's really, really special. It makes me really excited to think about that. I think the second part that's really rewarding is just the team members that I work with most of my day, even when things are so hard, I'll call one of my team members and we'll laugh about something or just going through this journey with them. And then I think the third part that's most rewarding is actually my journey with myself. So there's something about the entrepreneurial path that forces you to be very authentic. You can't fake it. The thing with being sort of a founder or CEO is that no matter what you do, someone is going to be upset. And so the only thing you can do is just really be real with yourself and show up every day and be present. And there's something about that that's really, really powerful for me. 

Steve Loughlin (33:35):

Well, BARR, thank you so much for being here, sharing your insights. It's an inspiration to all of us, and we at Accel are so thrilled to be supporting you and the Monte Carlo team. 

Barr Moses (33:44):

Thanks so much, Steve. This was awesome. I really enjoyed the chat.

Meet your host

Cloud/SaaS, Enterprise IT, AI

Steve Loughlin

Steve Loughlin is a Partner at Accel. He was formerly CEO and co-founder of RelateIQ, now SalesforceIQ.
Season 1 of the Spotlight On podcast, by Accel


Early Stage

Early Stage