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The Future of Work Management with Chris Farinacci, COO of Asana

Episode 348
How does a work management company use their own tools and practices internally to scale globally? Chris Farinacci shares insights from Asana.

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Collaboration at work is on the rise and so are work management tools to help team members manage progress. Chris Farinacci is the Chief Operating Officer at Asana where he is responsible for the company’s, now global, go to market strategy. Chris breaks down execution of this strategy into three parts: revenue, customer, and market. With over 70,000 paying customers and another 3 million free companies “that have activated since inception,” Chris has his hands full. 

 “I always get asked, ‘what do you worry about?’ or ‘what keeps you up at night?’ It’s the prioritization because there are so many opportunities for us and the sequencing of how we invest in those and when,” says Chris. “You can’t do it all at the same time. It’s sort of the mapping of our core competencies and momentum to the product to market fit and the market opportunities.”

In order to keep on track with their business goals, Chris explains that the team stays focused on the company’s mission, “Eliminating work about work.” He wants team members to be focused on doing their work as opposed to spending time discussing where the work stands. 

On this episode, Stephanie and Chris discuss how the team at Asana is using their own project management tools and practices internally to scale the company globally, how and why collaboration tools are growing faster than ever, and some of the practices Chris uses to manage day-to-day operations within Asana. 

Quotes from Chris:

[On transitioning from Google to Asana] “There are a lot of things that are similar. At both places, you are just working with amazing, interesting, smart, and high IQ/EQ people. Some of the characteristics both companies hire for are similar like curiosity, being bold, and taking risks. There are also some differences. One big one was when I was at Google a big hiring characteristic was ‘comfort with chaos.’ Asana, on the other hand, is a company that basically sells clarity. And clarity needs to be dynamic, the worlds moving really fast. But clarity of who, what, where, when is doing at any one given point in time. That’s very different from Google.”

[On Asana’s culture…] “Nothing is sacred but the mission. That’s the only thing that really doesn’t change, everything else is evolved. They [the founders] are software guys so we talk about culture bugs and we refresh our values every couple years. To me, culture is not just values, it’s the interaction of every employee every day.”

[On Asana’s future…] “The real mission is to be a GPS for your business. So if you want to launch into a new market, design a new product or process, we have this thing called a work graft. We understand that the more companies and users that use our product, the more we understand and learn about the relationship between those things, the more we can help you templatized and optimize that. In the future, we see ourselves as a tool that can help you basically be the GPS for your business. So you can say this is my goal and Asana can help you understand how to get there.”

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