Cardagraph CEO, Bentley Wilson — How The Internet Saved My Life

Have you ever had problems with execution when managing your software development team? It’s basically my life story.

When I was young I experienced some extremely painful experiences that left my family extremely poor, essentially homeless were it not for the kindness of neighbors, and also left me extremely alone, for years. With my newfound solitude I was left to ponder on what life is and what I wanted from it. Thinking this way at a very young age turned out to be very beneficial for me.

I vowed that I would do what it took to put my future family in a position for that to not happen ever again. And that has driven the majority of my decisions since I was about ten years old. I still made questionable decisions as a teenager as anyone does, but the majority of my thoughts and energy were spent on securing my future.

However, almost no one close to me knew this, likely many just believed I was another punky teenager. After I was thrust into a situation that was painful on a daily basis for years, I was drawn to this new mainstream technology called the internet. I quickly became obsessed. I learned everything I could about it and became one of the earliest self proclaimed graduates of google university (though back then I loved AskJeeves - comment if you remember). I decided that my path to success was through the internet. I taught myself to code and began working as a very junior full stack dev at 16. I got paid $15/hr and thought I had struck gold.

Throughout the rest of high school and the next five+ years I learned probably the most important thing about building software today: the gap between engineers and the business is massive, difficult to traverse, and extremely costly to overcome. I attribute many of the greatest successes in SaaS to individuals that can speak “both languages”. Apple, Microsoft, google, etc. so many great leaders that were relentless about understanding the execution of their technology. From then till now I have been on both sides of the coin, the demanding leader who just wants results as well as a member of the dev team struggling to provide accurate timelines.

It all hinges on one thing: product decisions backed by execution data.

Today, I’m 28. I’m the CEO of a company that has raised capital from some the greatest angel investors and human beings that I have been blessed to meet. I’ve also been blessed to work with some incredibly smart people, who I now call friends. That being said this company has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done and gone through. When we first started the company in 2019 we set out to solve the greatest challenge in SaaS: the gap of understanding between developers and the business.

We built a task management tool with a better interface to break down the walls between management and devs. Despite some early traction we learned it was going to be extremely challenging to build a successful business on this but we also uncovered something that would end up being game changing: when engineering teams perform work, every action creates data that can be used to better understand and optimize those teams. This was the beginning of the most recent chapter of my life and the last year and a half of experimenting.

I have always been a private person, and if you know me or follow me you’ve probably wondered what we really do. Well today is the day Cardagraph comes to light.

We have been working, failing, and once in a while winning small for the last couple years. Trying everything possible to attack this massive problem: the lack of alignment between product development and the business team. We have tried many different solutions and points of entry.

Today, I’m proud to say we have found the solution to the problem. We have spoken to countless leaders in product and revenue at every level of every size organization over the last two years. The consensus is clear: there is a massive need for something that helps leaders understand what to expect from their product org. From sales to finance to marketing, everyone in the revenue org needs to know when product delivery will take place. The open secret is that product drives the business. Nothing can happen without product updates, fixes, new features, or whole new products. And everything and everyone at a software company relies on this happening in a dependable way in order to drive the business forward.

Cardagraph drives these outcomes by giving product leaders more and better access to insight that will help the product org unite around business outcomes offered right inside the tool we have built to learn from, manage, and plan your product development. We call this "Integrated execution intelligence for product teams".

In layman terms, Cardagraph will:

  • Ingest your jira, GitHub, etc data with one click and give you a projected completion date on all your active projects based on how your team is currently working. No mapping or other data work. All Automatic.
  • It will also use this data to give you a detailed view of past and current projects. And allow you to understand what is going well, and what isn’t.
  • You can then model hypothetical changes to active projects inside of Cardagraph to try to improve the outcome or bring your projection up - or just see what a different configuration might look like.
  • And lastly, you can FINALLY plan future product updates based on what is POSSIBLE. Answering questions like “what can we actually get done next quarter?” Instead of just putting your hopes and dreams on a roadmap only to see it not happen again and again. Use insight about who on your team can execute what and when to set realistic timelines based on what your unique teams and processes have produced historically.

Building software is hard. We are doing everything in our power to make it easier, more transparent, and more outcome driven.

This post has gotten long, and it could’ve been much longer. There is so much value being created at Cardagraph right now that I can’t wait to share with you. If this sounds remotely interesting to you I invite you to reach out to us and take a demo. We have thick skin after the last couple years and your honest feedback is welcome. We’d love to learn from you and even better, partner with you if it’s something that makes sense.

Thanks for reading. If you got this far comment  “where work works” (the Cardagraph slogan) on this post and I’ll send you a free Starbucks on me.

Talk soon.


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