Talking with Founder and CEO of Commande, Tom Uebel, on Having a Truly Customer-led Company

Kendall Pennington

Command E is a blazing fast search tool renowned for leading to immediate satisfaction and productivity for its users. As the CEO and Founder, Tom Eubel has learned a lot about creating a product that provides instant value and reaches a wide audience. In this episode, Tom sits down with Joe to talk through how he has been able to lead in the modern workplace. 


Command E Origins

About four years ago, Tom and his Command E cofounder Ben Standefer were working on the engineering team of an early-stage VC fund when they discovered two things:


  1. They noticed that many of their friends and colleagues were frustrated at how much time in their day was spent alternating back and forth between apps like Salesforce and Gmail, and the friction that generally existed between the use of these types of commonly-used tools


  1. On the team of twelve that they were operating, over 23 different cloud systems were being used. Most people had data all over the place.


These two observations got their heads spinning as they began to think of how they could create a tool that limited the friction between app use as much as possible and make finding information within multiple cloud systems easier.


Standing Out in the Productivity Tool Space

Tom feels lucky that the core of what Command E does is very easy to convey to customers. 

Everyone can think of all of the different touchpoints throughout their workdays where it feels like it’s taking too much time or requiring too many clicks to get to the next thing; with this product, the customer simply hits Command E, types what they’re looking for, and they’re there. 

As far as Command E’s success so far, Tom says that has a lot to do with the product being simple but effective and having an obvious use case. The second is that the “out-of-the-box experience” is great. With people having so much going on right now if they cannot quickly figure a product out in under fifteen minutes and see clearly how it could fit into their workflow, it’s going to be a hard sell.

The Role of Video

“The easiest way to explain something to somebody is to show them.” 

As an engineer who doesn’t love to spend his whole day writing emails or designing visuals, he finds tools like CloudApp extremely helpful in conveying ideas to coworkers or giving instruction to potential users.

In a twenty-second clip or GIF, he can explain in entirety how to use his product to customers and what it can do for them. This would take three paragraphs in a text format and may not be near as clear or effective.


Closing the Loop

When it comes to customer feedback, demonstrating to people that the company genuinely cares and is actually interested in the feedback is half the battle. 

Of only three call-to-action buttons located anywhere within the Command E app, one of them is an option to submit feedback. Having an obvious place to request information about someone’s experience with a product can be a really meaningful gesture to the customer. 

After that, Tom says he makes sure to get back to users as quickly as possible in regards to whatever their suggestion or concern was, and that this reinforces trust. After adjustments have been made or the feedback has been addressed, circling back again plays this role of “closing the loop,” an extremely important but often overlooked segment of attempting to create a quality customer experience.

It’s a profound moment for a customer when they give some sort of feedback and six months later notice that a suggestion they gave has been integrated into the product. That builds a deep appreciation for a business and loyalty to the product. More businesses would certainly benefit by putting more effort into this “closing the loop” step.


Leading in Unique Circumstances

When it comes to leading a team in a year like 2020, “a lot of it starts with just making sure you have the right people at the table.” 

Tom feels fortunate to have already known his cofounder preceding this era, and that they were able early on to put together a team that they were confident was passionate about the mission and committed to the product. 

Taking care of the team has also been a priority of Command E during this time.  Whereas although Tom says that people as a whole have been remarkably adaptable and resilient this year, managers and leaders need to be consistently checking in, making sure everyone is taken care of and on the same page. Employees can tell when their wellbeing during tough times is a priority, and it can make a difference in their work.


The Future of Experience Business

Tom thinks one of the main markers of experience business will be in the extremely high levels of personalization that will just become the general expectation.

In terms of the modern workplace, he thinks it’s fairly likely that post-pandemic, many companies will tell their employees that they can continue to work remotely for as long as they’re employed there and that working from home will no longer have any sort of stigma attached to it in workplaces where it might have formerly. He’s interested in seeing how this trend affects consumer behavior and they gain more control of the time in their day. 

Listen to the episode here.

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