GTM 14: Understanding the Looming Recession

GTM 14: Understanding the Looming Recession

Analysts have been saying that another economic downturn could be coming soon, so the fear of a recession in 2023 has been steadily rising.

Joining us on the podcast today to talk about this topic is Erik Kostelnik, the current CEO and founder of Postal. He is an award-winning entrepreneur and sales leader that has founded and scaled multiple tech companies that have led to hyper revenue growth and major capital investments.

Erik gives his take on the possibility of a recession by explaining indicators like the IPO traffic jam, the commercial real estate situation, and rising debt.

What you’ll learn:

The value of strong network (and how to build one)

Reading the current economic downturn

The three most important company metrics and why you prioritize them


(2:40) The value of your network. (How to prune and develop a strong network)

(9:27) Erik’s take on the current down market/looming recession

(10:50) Why it is going to be difficult for unicorns to IPO

(14:00) Why commercial real estate leasing could be a cliff

(21:40) The experience that changed the trajectory of Erik’s career

(35:33) What Erik would do different in his career

(39:39) How to attract great talent in the down market

(42:48) The three most important company metrics 

Average revenue per employee.

Customer Acquisition Cost

Customer Lifetime value

(43:02) Why you can’t sacrifice your average revenue per employee and customer acquisition cost for bad talent

(46:20) Summary of Erik’s career learnings


…we’re as good as our network.

You’ve got to keep your people close, and especially those that you value, keep them even closer. You select your own network.

You need to keep your flock small. Try to make sure they’re not just sheep. Make sure you have some wolves in there, bears, unicorns, and all these different animals that don’t just lead each other.

Find your own group and make sure you’re not following the pack.

I have 100 families that I’m responsible for. I take that very seriously. I want those 100 families to be better off tomorrow than they are today. And so whenever a family joins my company, whoever it might be, the woman or the man, that they can say that, hey, tomorrow we’re going to be better off than we are today, either financially or from an experience standpoint or from a benefit standpoint.

You cannot sacrifice your average revenue per employee or your cost to acquire a customer for bad talent, whether that’s on marketing, on CS, on sales, and engineering. Quality has actually now overtaken the need for quantity because of the lack of capital.

Every single layoff that’s happening right now is because they hired a bunch of people really fast and they said, you know what? We hired a bunch of C players, couldn’t get them up, and they’re gone. That that’s wasted capital; that’s wasted time.

The GTM Podcast

Don’t miss The .GTM Podcast dropping every Tuesday, discussing true stories and experiences including trials and tribulations in the Go-To-Market world.

And…monthly bonus podcast episodes dropping the first Thursday of every month.

Before helping found GTMfund, Scott spent 4 years at Outreach as Director of Strategic Engagement. He was in charge of aligning key relationships with VCs, BoDs, ecosystem partners and community members to drive revenue and strategic initiatives across Outreach. Scott initially ran revenue/partnerships for Sales Hacker (which was acquired by Outreach in 2018). Prior to Sales Hacker, he led and built outbound Business Development teams at Payfirma and MediaValet. Scott also advises for a number of high growth start-ups and is the host/author of The GTM Podcast and The GTM Newsletter. At GTMfund, Scott leads all fundraising efforts and runs the media arm of the firm. He’s also responsible for assessing investments, team management, LP/community relationships and GTM support for founders.

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