Shmulik Fishman, CEO/Co-Founder at Argyle - What it Really Means to be CEO, The Future of your Data, & Why You Should Lead with Laughter
Miguel Armaza sits down with Shmulik Fishman, Co-Founder and CEO at Argyle, a company building a user-consent-based platform for employment data that has raised almost $80 million since 2018.
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In this Fintech Leaders edition, I sit down with Shmulik Fishman, Co-Founder and CEO at Argyle, a company building a user-consent-based platform for employment data, helping people avoid situations where their personal information is sold or used without their consent or knowledge.
Founded in 2018 as a remote-first company, Argyle’s product now covers over half a million US employers, almost 100% of gig workers, and 170+ million US workers. They’ve also raised a total of $80 million from SignalFire, Bain Capital Ventures, Bedrock, Checkr, amongst others.
In this episode, we discuss:
What does it mean to be CEO? Shmulik is a second time founder, but a first-time CEO. What changed and what has he learned in the process?
“Most weeks, the job of the CEO is to figure out just as much of what to say yes to as what to say no to… this job every day is about making difficult choices with imperfect information where you have to say yes or no to something. You can't say to your team, or to your clients, or investors – ‘get back to me next week’ or ‘I'm not quite sure, ask again.’ That's not the option set.”
Importance of user-permissioned services. Why it’s good for business to ask users for data-sharing consent and how the world is moving in this direction across every single vertical.
“Users on the internet want to feel as though they're providing permission to somebody to look at their information. And when they're able to make that affirmative choice of ‘Yes, I consent’, their NPS score actually goes up. Their desire to interact with that application goes up, because they feel like they have a relationship and they have trust with that application.”
Building a remote company. Why they decided to build Argyle remotely since inception in 2018, what they’ve learned in the process, and why they would not be able to replicate their success with an in-office culture.
“I definitely don't envy the people that are having to shift to remote because there's a lot of disjointedness. And at the same time, if somebody asked us to reconstruct the company around core offices, I don't know if we would be successful at it, because we're just not built that way.”
Why it’s crucial to ‘Lead with Laughter’ and the only way to get through challenging jobs is by building a culture where you can smile, laugh, joke, and make fun of each other.
“These jobs are brutal… and yet, there are a class of tech companies that prevail and make it to the mountaintop... And it seems to me that the companies that are doing that, are ones where the internal team is really close knit... And that happens because we can smile and laugh and joke and make fun of each other, make fun of our business, make fun of mistakes that we made… and it’s just the best medicine, to being willing to put up with it for another day.”
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Miguel Armaza is Co-Founder & Managing General Partner of Gilgamesh Ventures, a seed-stage investment fund focused on fintech in the Americas. He also hosts and writes the Fintech Leaders podcast and newsletter.