Max Rudman is no stranger to the entrepreneurial world. His first venture, SteelBrick, was an instant success, leading to a Salesforce acquisition. Now, he’s onto his second company, Prodly, a declarative change management platform, which was ironically created due to a challenge he encountered during his time at SteelBrick.
It’s safe to say that Max’s strategy of turning obstacles into opportunities has served him well. In this article, Max talks about his entrepreneurial journey and how he’s reinventing the admin experience on the Salesforce Platform. This is his story.
Q: Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey
Max Rudman: I’m a two-time Salesforce entrepreneur. My first company was called SteelBrick and we developed a native configure, price, quote (CPQ) solution on the Salesforce Platform. The company was ultimately acquired by Salesforce in 2016. The product line is now called Revenue Cloud.
I spent three years at Salesforce until I left to work on my current venture, Prodly, where we’re improving the admin experience for a new generation of declaratively configured applications on the Salesforce Platform and beyond.
Q: Have you always been an entrepreneur?
Max: I only had one job in my life prior to becoming an entrepreneur. After college, I worked at a Silicon Valley dot-com in the late ’90s. I think that’s where I caught the entrepreneurial bug. I thought, “If this guy can do it, I can do it.” Then I left to start SteelBrick and this was before I even got into Salesforce or CPQ. I just knew I wanted to run my own business and build a startup.
Q: Can you give us a quick elevator pitch of what Prodly does?
Max: We’re building a new category of software that we’re calling AppOps. There’s been a shift to a new generation of business apps that are declaratively configured — with clicks, not code — where the admins and business users are responsible for maintaining these low-code apps, but they lack the tools to manage changes effectively and securely. Prodly AppOps provides easy-to-use release management and regression testing tools to help admins increase release velocity, reduce errors and foster greater collaboration with business stakeholders. So we’re really reinventing the admin experience on the Salesforce Platform and empowering admins to lead meaningful change for their organizations.
Q: What was the “aha” moment that led you to recognize the need to build Prodly?
Max: The gap was that it took us two days for our most experienced solution architects at SteelBrick to deploy a CPQ project from sandbox to production. It was very tedious and error-prone work. Our big idea was to make it very easy to deploy and maintain. We did this by following the Salesforce mantra of “clicks, not code” and building on the Salesforce Platform. I like to joke that with my second company, I’m solving the problem I created with my first.
Q: Why did you build on the Salesforce Platform?
Max: The answer is a little different for SteelBrick than for Prodly. At SteelBrick, the whole vision behind the company wasn’t just CPQ. There were plenty of CPQ solutions out there. The vision was to build a CPQ that was a lot easier to deploy and use. The philosophy of “clicks, not code” and declarative configuration, which Salesforce arguably pioneered, was an underlying principle of SteelBrick and what we tried to do. With Prodly, we built on the Salesforce Platform because we layer on top of products like Revenue Cloud, Field Service Lightning, and B2B Commerce to help improve the overall admin experience. Being integrated with a singular platform creates a seamless, unified experience for the admin.
Q: How does AppExchange and the Salesforce ecosystem help you scale and go faster?
Max: It comes down to the scale of Salesforce and the size of its customer base. Salesforce’s 150,000 customers have access to AppExchange solutions which provides an incredible business opportunity. Salesforce’s partner team also helps us connect to the right account teams and shares marketing opportunities for us to go tell the world about Prodly.
Q: What’s the biggest opportunity you see being part of the Salesforce ecosystem?
Max: Whatever your industry, category, or company size, there’s something for everyone in the Salesforce ecosystem. It’s just a matter of ensuring your product and go-to market strategy are complementary. You can always find a customer for you in the Salesforce ecosystem and the Salesforce Partner team can help you zoom in on that.
Q: What does it mean to be a trailblazer as an entrepreneur?
Max: To me, it’s always been about focusing on customer success. I’m a firm believer that if you drive success for your customers, the rest will fall in place.
To learn more about Max Rudman’s entrepreneurial journey, watch his full story here.