Media releasePublished on 21 September 2021

Xero CEO Steve Vamos launches business leader podcast series

Vamos explores the challenges of starting and growing a business with Stripe president and co-founder John Collison

Wellington — 21 September 2021Xero, the global small business platform, today launched the first episode of What Led You Here, a new podcast series by its Chief Executive Officer, Steve Vamos, which aims to inspire small business owners by delving into the experiences and learnings of successful business leaders.

What Led You Here sees Vamos talk to chief executives, founders, and entrepreneurs in a series of eight interviews. Together they explore leadership and entrepreneurship themes including overcoming fear and doubt to start a business; the belief and sacrifice it takes to push through difficult times; and how to bring teams on the journey to success.

“Small business has been heavily impacted by the pandemic over the last 18 months so we’re always looking for ways to connect and share tools and tips that can help business owners and leaders succeed. It is our goal that this podcast will provide advice and inspiration to those who are starting a business or looking to embrace new ways of working through the pandemic and beyond,” Vamos said.

In the first episode, Vamos interviews Stripe president and co-founder John Collison. Together, they explore themes including how to expand your network and hire the right staff; partnering with like-minded businesses; and the constant challenge of evolving company culture as you scale.

Calling the small business economy the ‘engine of economic health’, Collison cited Stripe’s partnerships with companies, including Xero, that remove administrative barriers to make starting a new business more accessible.

“Small business creation is a really important health metric for the economy overall... We’re both trying to make that more approachable,” Collison said.

He shares with Vamos one of the biggest challenges they faced in the early days was finding good talent in a region where they were dwarfed by larger companies, and the importance of fighting hard to get the right people onboard.

“There’s a lot that gets over mythologised or over romanticised about the early stages of a business... one of the things that is really hard about being in the very early stages of growing a business is the recruiting… Here you are, you’ve just set up this ‘lemonade stand’ and you’re trying to hire a few people for it and convincing them to do so is really hard. You have no brand, you don’t have much of a network, and you have to get really creative. When I look at entrepreneurs, I think the ones who end up being really successful are the ones who internalise the importance of not just bringing good people aboard, but pulling, dragging, fishhooking people aboard, and it’s not easy at that stage.”

Collision also shared how he and brother Patrick, his co-founder, sought advice and formed informal relationships with a range of people, crediting the help he received from these people who were more established in the industry.

Small business creation is a really important health metric for the economy overall... We’re both trying to make that more approachable.

John Collison, president and co-founder of Stripe

“People are very generous with their time and very willing to give their time and pay it forward. We were definitely on the receiving end of that. Various entrepreneurs who were way more advanced in their careers were willing to meet with us and pass on tips.”

Guests on future episodes include Twenty Six Entertainment founder Rashida Gayle; Xero founder Rod Drury; Linktree founder Anthony Zaccaria; and many more.

“I have long been a believer that the fate of any business, small or large, is defined by the mindset of its leaders and how they approach change. To be part of a conversation where successful leaders open up and share their journey and importantly, their vulnerabilities, is powerful because it gives all of us a deeper understanding of what it takes to lead in an increasingly complex and changing environment,” said Vamos.

The first episode of What Led You Here, featuring John Collison, is available now on Xero’s website and all major podcasting platforms.

What Led You Here is produced by Darcy Milne, an award-winning audio expert and founder of Pro Podcast Production.


Media Contact

Janna Wilkinson | | +64 (0)22 474 4441

About Xero

Xero is a cloud-based accounting software platform for small businesses with over 2.7 million subscribers globally. Through Xero, small business owners and their advisors have access to real-time financial data any time, anywhere and on any device. Xero offers an ecosystem of over 1,000 third-party apps and 300 plus connections to banks and other financial partners. In 2020 and 2021, Xero was included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index and in 2020, Xero was recognised by IDC MarketScape as a leader in its worldwide SaaS and cloud-enabled small business finance and accounting applications vendor assessment.

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