Diego is the founder and CEO of Rock Content, and one of the best B2B SaaS founders in the world.
I've known Diego for about 10 years. We share multiple interests, including guitars, high-quality musical instruments, and rock n' roll.
I vividly recall when we went to the SaaStr conference. While everyone was preoccupied with networking, Diego was diligently taking notes and issuing daily journals about what he learned at the conference. That's when I figured he's an inevitable founder.
We talked about spirituality, management, music, and what it takes to take a company global.
In this episode, I asked him:
- You were born in Ouro Branco, a small city in Brazil. Later, you moved to Belo Horizonte, where you graduated in advertising. Did you want to be an entrepreneur since then? Who was Diego at that time?
- When you were in college, blogging was an important hobby for you. That's how you met Peçanha and Edmar, who later would become Rock Content's co-founders. How was blogging for you in the early days of the Brazilian tech industry?
- Back then few people knew David Skok or Jason Lemkin. The Lean Startup wasn't even published yet. So who were your references early on?
- How was the process of deciding to gather your savings, sell your car, quit your job as a product manager at SambaTech, and go all-in your first company?
- How were the two years during which you spent working on Everwrite?
- While working on Everwrite, you and Edmar, Rock's co-founder, alongside the founders of Hotmart created San Pedro Valley, which is still a relevant startup community in Brazil. How did it come to be?
- How was the process of pivoting from Everwrite to Rock Content?
- You and your co-founders set a goal of reaching 100 customers in 1 year. Otherwise, you'd quit and find a job. Yet, you managed to reach that goal in 6 months. How did it feel when you realized you made it and Rock would be big?
- You can't be considered only a sales-focused founder, yet you created Rock's sales machine. You can't be considered only a growth-focused founder, but you were Rock's CMO for a few years. You can't also be considered a product-led founder, yet that's where focused after getting in the CEO role. Most people who've worked closely with you know how you're a learning machine, so you don't limit yourself to being good at only one thing. How is your learning process?
- In 2019, you lead the acquisition of two companies, iClips, and ScribbleLive. How did it feel?
- One of your acquisitions was focused on turning Rock Content into a global company. How was the process of embracing the "mineiros are coming" motto and, finally, recognizing Rock not only as a leader in Brazil or Latin America but as the world's leading content marketing company?
- When the pandemic started you had to make the hard decision of firing 20% of Rock's team. How did COVID-19 change Rock and you as a CEO?
- The mentors who guided you in the past are not necessarily the same ones who help you the most now. Today you look up to Claudio Galeazzi for instance, and he probably wasn't on your radar before. Who are your mentors and references today?
- You're probably a different CEO today than you were in 2018. What did you learn, and how did you change?
- You like music and playing the guitar. How do you find time for your hobbies?
- You like to learn by doing, so you always ran several projects. In the past, you had Shopstream, BounceGo, Terceiro Turno, Dealbook.co, and, obviously, 12Min. Besides, you invested in countless startups, and now you have SaaSholic. Obviously, you'll focus on Rock Content for the next years or decades. However, what do you picture yourself putting energy on besides Rock?