Building The Future Show - Radio / TV / Podcast

Kenmore® and Brands represents the wholesale and licensing products and services with our Kenmore® and DieHard® brands, as well as product bundling options with industry leaders.

Kenmore® has the spirit, tenacity, and agility of a start-up paired with decades of experience in innovation and trusted product performance only legacy brands can bring. It’s a name customers already know and know they can trust. And its is backed by a robust team of tech-forward, climate-conscious, operationally-excellent everyday Americans ready to change the world.

Our mission is to help our customers live more by providing innovative, inspirational and affordable solutions that enhance daily living and promote longevity. We prioritize reliability and quality craftsmanship in every artfully designed product, empowering our customers to live more with confidence.

What is Building The Future Show - Radio / TV / Podcast?


With millions of listeners a month, Building the Future has quickly become one of the fastest rising nationally syndicated programs. With a focus on interviewing startups, entrepreneurs, investors, CEOs, and more, the show showcases individuals who are realizing their dreams and helping to make our world a better place through technology and innovation.

Kevin Horek: Welcome back to the show.

Today we have SRE Soar.

He's the c e O of Kenmore.


Welcome to the show.

Sri Solur: Thank you,
Kevin, for having me.

Kevin Horek: Yeah, I'm excited
to have you on the show.

Obviously, I think.

Everybody on the planet is basically
heard of Kenmore, but you've done

an incredible amount of things.

You've worked for some of the
biggest brands on the planet.

But maybe before we get into all that,
let's get to know you a little bit better

and start off with, uh, where you grew

Sri Solur: up.


I grew up in India, and I'm gonna
break this down into like two parts.

Part A in the south of India.

Um, I, I've been through my elementary,
middle, and high school, but apart, which

is really interesting, is when I went to
engineering college, uh, it was in the

north of India, the northern tip, and it
suddenly turned out to be a conflict zone.

The year is 1989.

The wall had fallen.

Uh, the place is Kashmir and I.

Got a lot of life lessons there.

Um, basically studying in a content zone.

Kevin Horek: Okay.

I'm curious, what, what did
you learn or what were those

life lessons outta curiosity.

Sri Solur: It's, it's, it's simple, right?

Uh, when I was growing up in the South,
uh, we didn't have much growing up family

values and leaning in on community.

Was a really, really big thing.

So giving back to the community
and leaning in on community.

So just to give you an example,
I would come back from school

that there is no one at home.

You probably could go to like
any of your neighbor's house, get

a bite to eat, you would go out
and play in the local playground.

Uh, and.

In the evening, you would have other
kids and other people who would

actually come in and, you know,
have a meal, uh, in your place.

So it's literally like, you
know, you grow up in a community.

So giving all the time was a part of it.

And learning the ethos of never
take more than You can Give was

something that was imbued into us
because that's how communities work.

So that was in the
initial phase of my life.

And then when I went to.

Study in, in a place that
was absolutely foreign to me.

Uh, 72 hours by train, uh,
and then 24 hours by bus.

Um, you know, that, that's where I
went to my engineering college and it

suddenly turned into a conflict zone.

It gave me a great perspective
about life, you know, just being

thankful that you are alive.

Uh, and, and, and that's,
that's the second piece.

So never take more than you can give.

Being a part of the community.

And the second part is just being thankful
that you know you are alive and making

sure that just being alive was a gift,
was, was a very important piece of lesson.

Kevin Horek: No, I, I think that's
actually really good advice.

So you mentioned university.

What did you take and why?

Sri Solur: Uh.

I studied what is called
electronics and communication.


Uh, this was like a
precursor to, to compsci.

Uh, but, but we did learn a lot of,
you know, computer science subjects.

And, uh, I just wanna add one other thing.

The conflict zone became unbearable to
live, and then we had to go fight with

the government to get the students who
were in that engineering school to get.

Placement in other parts of the country.

So, wow.

There you go.

I mean, there was leadership, they
were writing articles in the newspaper,

you know, talking to politicians and
effectuating a change so that we did

not lose, uh, a lot of time as we got
moved to different parts of the country.

Uh, so ultimately it's about, um, you
know, electronics and, uh, computer

engineering was what I studied so,

Kevin Horek: Interesting.

What got you passionate
about that at an early

Sri Solur: age?

The simple, my mother, our
mother is an, uh, engineer.

Uh, she built her panels that were
basically attached to satellites.

So think of this.



And, and, uh, a traditional Indian
woman in Asari, uh, who studied,

Like electronics and, and, and
we put together like vacuum

tube based radios, uh, at home.

And, and, uh, she basically worked, uh,
in a place where they built semiconductor

chips and also stole our panels.

And, and those panels eventually were on
satellites that, you know, India launched.

So being a product builder is
something that, you know, my

mom taught me and imbued in me.


Kevin Horek: That's cool.

That would be awesome.

Just growing up around that just kind of
environment and that kind of inspiration.

Sri Solur: Right?


And, and then one other thing, uh,
she would encourage me to like,

go play, go play with other kids.

And you know, I used to play like
community volleyball and very quickly I

realized that winning is a team sport.

So this combination of.

Leaning in on the community, giving back
to the community because the community

helps you Right when you are hungry.

I could literally walk into like anyone's
home around and, and I would get fed.

It's, it's, it's a phenomenal
symbiotic relationship that was

built when you don't have much.

Community plays a huge, huge role.

And then going to a conflict zone gave
me a perspective in life about surviving.

Getting people out of the conflict
zone into different colleges

taught me aspects of leadership.

Winning is a team sport.

Community volleyball taught me and
building products my mom taught me.

So there, there's a lot of life lessons
that I learned outside of structured

education, which I'm very grateful for.


Kevin Horek: Interesting.


So do you maybe wanna work in some
of those life lessons while you give

us maybe your, your career maybe
highlights because you've done a

ton of stuff and the reality is, is
probably everybody listened, listening

is actually probably touched something
you've worked on or, or has something

that you worked on in your house today.

Sri Solur: Yeah.

So building products, Is, is
a, is a core part of my scale.

And, and when you wanna build a
product, you have to have extraordinary

empathy for the, the consumer or
the customer who uses your product.

You always have to put yourself
in the consumer's shoes.

And, and that really
helped me quite a bit.

Um, so look, um, I felt passionate
about brands very early on, and

that passion basically showed up
much later in my life when I created

products for brands like Hugo Boss,
juicy Keto Ferrari Coach Movado.

Um, and I'll, I'll touch upon
that, but it's, it's about building

products that I initially learned.

Um, if I just give you, uh,
A snapshot of my career.

Uh, I started right out of school,
uh, in, in a, as a research engineer.

Um, I, I, I was pretty good technically,
I, I could literally build products based

both on analog and digital electronics.

So I, I went into San Labs, uh, San is
a Japanese company, and, and I went into

San Labs and very quickly I realized
that I could not be a cube dweller.

I could not sit in one place
and, and basically just design

products for the sake of designing
products I wanted to interact with.

You know, prospects from customers,
consumer insights, I very quickly

learned that that plays, uh, an
equal role or sometimes a much

bigger role in getting a good
understanding of product market match.

So I moved from working in a research
organization to a mainstream product

organization, and I was recruited by.

Digital equipment operation.

You know, early on, some of
the early products that I

worked on is Alta Vista, Kevin.


Yeah, I remember that.

One of the first search engine.

That was awesome.

Yeah, I, I'm like super grateful to
have worked not just on like hardware

products, like network products,
but also firewall, alavita firewall,

uh, Alavita antivirus and, and most
importantly, AltaVista search engine.

So those.

Four products just became
foundational to me.



I had the hardware products with, with the
routers, switches, um, and, and gateways.

But simultaneously I had the software
products from search through firewall,

intrusion detection, antivirus.

So cybersecurity very early on became
like a fabric of my being, if you will.



That's when Deck moved
me from India to the us.

So I, I moved to New England
and, and I'm very, very grateful

that, you know, digital Equipment
Corporation like moved me here.

And then I worked on a bunch of roles
and those were the days when they really

invested in the future of the employees.

By, um, sending them to school.

So, wow.

I got a free mba, amazing from Deck.

They paid one check $215,000 those
days to get me to business school.

So I was eternally grateful.

And what happened since was, you
know, accumulative 20 year carrier

with Deck, which was bought by
Compact, which was bought by hp.

And I wanted to make sure,
remember that underlying ethos,

never take more than you can give.

And I was bound by that ethos and
I said, I'm gonna give everything

that I can to the company that
nurtured my early education.

So I worked at Deck Compact and hp and
the beauty of that is multiple roles.

I was in a product developmental
role for quite some time, and then

I was an entrepreneur in residence
in HP Ventures and the beauty

of that, They moved me around.

So I worked in, in the UK for close
to around six and a half years.

I had a stint in south of France.

I had a stint in Sweden.

I had a stint in Singapore.

So I'm very, very grateful
for getting that global view.

And in addition to that, the roles from
product development operations, um,

uh, Being an entrepreneur in residence
in HP Ventures, which meant, you know,

minority equity investments and startups.

And I, I, you know, I
felt really fulfilled.

And finally I started what
is called cloud print.

If you're printing from your mobile
today, you know, there are aspects of HPE

print, uh, and that's actually imbued.

With cloud print that's, that's there and
most of the products that you can see.

Uh, and I was a founder of that.

Um, that's amazing.

And, and then I built wearables
and, and, and the beauty of building

wearables is, so I went from building,
uh, SaaS platform with cloud print

to building iot products for Hugo
Boss, juicy Couture, Movado coach.

Ferrari, uh, and, and those
products were sold around the world.

Uh, and then I spent some time.

In Comcast to be the senior
Vice president of product and

engineering of the IOT product.

So Xfinity Home, I launched what is
called Xfinity X five, which is a

flagship product for Comcast, uh, for
internet access and internet security.

Uh, and then went on to build products.

Um, for Shark and Ninja.

So if, if you, if you have a ninja
blender or a shark vacuum cleaner or

a shark robot, um, you know, those
were products that I was responsible

for as a chief product officer.

And then went on to build
industrial robots for a

company called Berkshire Gray.

Uh, which these are just not individual
robots, but it's a swarm of robots.


Thousands of robots that work
together, you know, that's cool.

And, and then now I'm here in
a transformational role, um,

you know, transforming Kenmore
and brands like diehard, um,

in, in my new role as the ceo.

So it's an array of different products.

You can see that as a
theme across the board.

Very high tech products on one
side to appliances on the other.

And I'm very grateful for the
opportunity, uh, to work with.

A different array of individuals, but most
importantly different parts of the world.

So that's a summary here, Kevin.

Very cool.

Kevin Horek: So you kind of have
an interesting agenda to, to bring

kind of Kenmore a, a global, well,
you tell it like what's your vision

with Kenmore because it's, it's
actually really kind of interesting.

Sri Solur: Look, Kenmore is
a brand was born in 1913.


It's, it's, it's over a hundred years
I've seen products in the Kenmore

archives, which are like sewing machines.


And long story short, every decade
Kenmore as a brand has reinvented itself.

That's awesome.

And that's rare too, right?

It's, it's, uh, super rare
and, and go look at Kenmore

brand Affinity on Yugo America.

Go, go to, if you do a search on
Yugo and say, uh, brands and say

Kenmore, you will see the brand love.

It's at 92%.

It's like about brands like
Bosch and I can give you a

spectacular array of brands.

We're number four.

That kinda brand love
is hard to find unless.

You create products that
are absolutely reliable.

I even now I get comments, uh, very
recently, I, I read a comment by

this person in Kansas who said, my
30 year old Kenmore refrigerator

still keeps my beer the coldest.

It's, it's amazing.

It's amazing.

That kind love.

So I'm just, Trying to take that brand
and basically the mission for the brand

going further is to help Americans
live more, and it's by providing

innovative, inspirational, and affordable
solutions and products to enhance

daily living and promote longevity.

So Kevin, I feel.

Like when you talk about increasing
the quality of life for day-to-day

Americans and enabling them to live
longer lives, it shouldn't be just for the

billionaires, right, who are biohacking.


I want us to be able to take care
of clean air, clean water, energy

conservation, and make it affordable.

So the 48 million low and moderate
income Americans can actually

have a phenomenal shot of having.

Great quality of life
and also live longer.


And that is my mission because
Kenmore equals live more.

And under that umbrella, I'm creating
that new array of products associated with

clean air, clean clean water, and energy
conservation and water conservation.

And the energy conservation is a new
program, which is like, you know,

home electrification made easy and,
and we'll talk a wee bit about that.

But that's the mission for the brand
at this point in time is in the,

for the next decade and two decades.

Anything that is built under the brand
of Kenmore should help you live more.

And when I say live more,
it is not exist more.

When you say live, it also
includes the quality of life.

And I wanna underline
affordable innovation.

I don't want to be a brand that.

Is not reachable by a lot of people.

I want this to be a very accessible
brand and I wanna build products and

solutions for day-to-day Americans.

Kevin Horek: Okay, so I guess
two part question to that.

How, what's the plan to
actually execute on that?

And then obviously you have competition
in the space because you guys built

so many arrays or different, so
many verticals of product that.

How do you work with them or do you
not need your competition to actually

bring some of this to, to life?

Because when you talk about maybe,
you know, cleaner energy and such,

obviously, you know, like not everybody's
gonna buy everything from one brand.

It's, it's pretty hard to do.


Sri Solur: Yeah.

Let, let me break that
question down into a few parts.

The first part is, Let's
talk about clean air.

You're gonna see products from us
in the marketplace with, you know,

clean air connected products that's
gonna tell you, uh, affordable.

Connected products, that's just gonna tell
you and, uh, you know, what's happening to

the air that you breathe within the home.

And also make sure that if there
are impurities, we clean that.

Very simple.

Very simple.

That's that's the first step in
terms of energy conservation.

We signed a relationship
with a company called Spam.

If you go, you
will see what that does.

It's basically an electrical panel, a
digitally connected electrical panel

that can help load balance amperage
within your home, which is number one,

but it also is like the whole home hub.

It does not matter if a product
that you're connected to.

For your electricity is a Kenmore
or a non Kenmore appliance.


It's a whole home like electrical panel.

But the beauty is if your compressor is
going on and off, um, we can identify

that and we can say, Hey, you know what?

You may wanna get your
refrigerator repaired.

It's not like, Can more
refrigerator repair it?

It could be a Samsung, it could be
a Whirlpool, it could be anything.



We have decades and decades
of data on home repair.

We know what happens to an
appliance much before the appliance

actually fails, and we have those
electrical signals, and that's the

collaboration between us and span.

So if you take a giant step back,
The appliance doesn't have to be,

the product that we are using is a
spam product, but we are bringing

our knowledge of the appliance repair
and appliance industry to span.

And what we are doing is we have a D to
C model in the scenario, and we are also.

Riding the wave of the
inflation reduction Act.

There's a lot of things
that I've said here.

One, it's a multi-vendor
appliance strategy.

Two, our assets are our knowledge of how
appliances behave over the lifetime of

the appliance, and that's something that,
you know, we work with span on that.


The third piece is directly going
to the consumer, but think about it.

Kenmore when it was a part of Sears.

We have collected customer
data and customers have opted

in to communicate with us.

I have a spectacular array
of data right now that I can

mine and I can exactly tell.

Very similar to Zillow.

You can go into the Kenmore Smart app
in, in, in our dashboard, um, and,

and basically put in your address.

You know, guess what happens?

It goes to.

Public records and it automatically
populates all the appliances in your home.

Now we can estimate for that zip
code what rebates are available

from the inflation reduction Act.

Oh, interesting.

And based on that and, and the beauty
of inflation reduction act for the 48

million lower moderate income families,
depending on where you fall in, in

the income, family income, you could
get maybe $14,000 in free appliances.


And, and, and Kevin, the beauty of that is
we can take those rebates of the till, so.

Oh, wow.

Kevin Horek: Oh,

Sri Solur: interesting.


So, so think, think about this scenario.

We micro target working with span.

Say certain zip codes, um, in in Texas
or California or in Florida, to those

homes and say, look, the government
will let you buy and pay for the

appliance and installation up to $14,000.

Check if you're eligible.

The person goes in, checks the
eligibility, boom, it's available.

We go in, we put a heat pump based.

Water heater.

We put the spam panel.

We basically sell them, um,
let's say an induction cooktop.

And this is where the fund comes.

They basically select a basket
of appliances and they go

through the checkout at the
till we, we apply the rebates.

They might be a small amount of money, but
that they have to pay out of the pocket.

We'll finance that.

It doesn't end there.

They can schedule installation.

And when this new installation, we have
a sister company which has Sears Home

Services, which has technicians close to
around 3000 technicians when, and, and

we have a long term agreement with them.

They will basically collect
the appliances, apply for the

permits, install the appliances
for you, and sign up for warranty.

Kevin, I can tell you
horror stories of people.

Let's talk about, you know, we
are talking about electrification.

People who have gone and
bought an electric vehicle.


And they come home, they have
bought an EV charger from Amazon.

They call an electrician.

The electrician comes home
and guess what happens?

They say, oh, you only
have a hundred amp panel.


So you gotta call your utility company.

You call it a utility company.

They'll say, oh, no problem.

We will increase that to a 200 amp
circuit, but we need to dig up your front,

front yard and we need to pull this wire.

It's gonna cost you $25,000.


You know what we do in that scenario?

Don't worry about it.

We will load balance your
home load with a SPAN panel.

We interesting even, and so
you don't have to increase.

Your a hundred amps.

We will, uh, when you are charging
your car, let's say you turn on your

water heater to take a shower, you
know, we can basically cut down the

ampi into your charger for your EV
and we'll do that look interesting.

That is the beauty.

And you tell me, Kevin, which
appliance company is doing

that today wherein we identify.

Consumer, we identify the inflation
reduction act, rebate rebates.

We will put the basket of appliances
that is relevant to their life and

when they buy, we'll also, you know,
take care of the financing if needed.

And we schedule the appointment.

We basically pull the permits,
we install it's end to end.

That's awesome.

You don't have, we don't
have to worry about anything.

So the job of removing friction
is what Kenmore is doing.

And you know, what that is in itself is
beautiful because if you look in this

whole continuum of electrification made
easy, how many products there are 10 more.

There might be one or two, but the
rest are a multi-vendor product.

And at the end of the day, Energy security
is such a big bipartisan agenda in the

US and whole home electrification is one
step towards the goal because now the

grids are not going to be under pressure.

The every home, you know, can play
in the demand response space and

you know, ultimately we don't have
to worry about depending on energy.

Uh, with any other foreign power, right?

I mean, that's, that's the biggest goal.

At the end of the day, what Kenmore
is doing is helping Americans

live a more independent life
and, and a more secure life, uh,

with energy security on one side.

Um, so that's, Another
part of our brand story.

So living more with
whole or electrification.


Kevin Horek: So is this program that
you just outlined live today and

how much are you hoping to grow this
over the next like 3, 5, 10 years?

Sri Solur: Very simple, Kevin.

In, in terms of where we are,
we are now rolling this out.

In different parts of the country.


Yes, it's live.

Um, and you know, if, if you are in,
in the Sacramento area or you know,

parts of, uh, Southern California,
you can take advantage of this.

And just like any startup,
Kevin, you want it to be iter.

We need to iron out,
uh, any of the thingss.

So we are rolling out this program.

Go to improve.

Dot or
and, and you can actually get the

details on our electrification
program, our phenomenal

relationship with SPAN as a company.

And you will see more and more
announcements here because look,

if you actually look at where
electrification is, they're like islands.

You have companies focusing on.

Weatherizing your home.

You have appliance providers like, you
know, the carriers, the Whirlpools,

the Samsungs, the AO Smiths, the lgs,
and then you have the IRS and you

know, sm and you know the funding.

Uh, and then you have energy appliance
companies like, you know, NASE, the solar

thing, Sunrun, you have Tesla, uh, and,
and then you have utility companies.

But you want someone who
can actually bring that all

together, totally install it.

And, you know, and, and provide
warranties, uh, and that, and

also take the rebates of the till.

And, and when you ask me the question on
who are your competition, I just see a

lot of people doing bits and pieces of it.

But bringing this all together
with a phenomenal workforce of

people who are driving around the
trucks, uh, around the country.

Uh, you know, on one side, uh, our
sister company, which is Sears Home

Services, basically supporting us in
the center work on the other side, some

of the amazing Silicon Valley startups.

Working with us, and then our ability
to basically take rebates of the till

and also bring a spectacular array
of multi-vendor appliances, uh, from,

from, uh, water heater companies
on one side, uh, to heat pump based

companies on the other, you know, we
work with Carrier and, and integrating

that in the most painless way that.

Is what we're doing.

The world of electrification.

Kevin Horek: No, that's, that's very cool.

And I think the reality is, I think a
lot of people would want to do what you

just outlined, but it, before you guys
were doing this, it was too much effort.

It was just like the, the amount of time
and effort I would have to go to research.

All these things you outlined,
actually go shopping and actually

connect them all together.

People are just like, I
don't have time for that.

I, right.

Is that fair to say?

Sri Solur: Yeah.

And, and then you gotta deal
with the government on rebates

and subsidies, which takes

Kevin Horek: months at best.

Sri Solur: And look, in doing
startups, and you have done

startups, Kevin, you can do.

Startups by bringing a new idea or
take something that is fragmented

and make that a seamless experience.

A five-star experience.


And, and, and that's, that's what we
focused on doing with electrification.

Kevin Horek: That's very cool.

So how does AI play into this?

And is, is there like a
monthly fee to run all this?

Or, or walk us through kind of how those
play together or, or maybe they don't.

Sri Solur: Yeah.

Very simple.

So, There is no monthly, uh,
dollar amount that you have

to pay here in this scenario.


What we are doing is we are becoming
the biggest ware of the inflation

reduction act money in a seamless way
we are putting into people's homes.

That's as simple as that.

Government has this huge tsunami
of inflation reduction act money.

The floodgates are opening.

And we are just helping take that
money and putting into people's

homes with electrified appliances.

Very simple.


That's cool.


So that's number one.

You, you asked a very
loaded question on ai.

Look, there are bits and pieces of
AI that are imbued into the product.

You know, I won't go into what
SPAN and SPAN products basically

do with, uh, you know, with ai.

But even within the company, we are
looking to figure out how we can use

all the new technology associated
with, you know, the LLMs that can

make our own lives better, right?

Everything from.

Writing emails on one side, Kevin,
which can be done in a spectacularly

fast way with LLMs to like helping
with IP discovery with our legal team.

I'll tell you one thing that that
interesting, you know, that we did

within our company, when I took over
the Helms helm of like Kenmore, we put

the whole company on weekly sprints.

It's not just engineering.

Oh, interesting.


We work on weekly sprints.

Every Friday I report to my
board or my boss, and I clearly

articulate what my next week plan
is and what the monthly goals are.

Every member of my team does that
irrespective of whether they,

they're operations, customer success,
product engineering, legal sales.

Everybody works on weekly sprints, and
when you put the whole company to work

on weekly sprints, you know what happens.

You just run faster than anybody else.

Second, the goals get
extraordinarily clear.


And that is a, that's a great hack.

So that's, that's one, that's
one hack that we focused on.

The second hack is we said, We
are gonna focus on the essentials.

Look, the Kenmore brand, love,
we were very clear, right?

You know, we, it was 88% last year.

We have gone up, you know,
five to six points this year.

And we said if we take care of good
quality products, the brand love

will actually go up on its own.

So we put all our effort in
making sure that we work with

suppliers who bring in and deliver
to us amazing quality products.


And we went from a handful of suppliers,
one or two to like a dozen suppliers.

So we had never supply constrained.

That's great progress.


The third thing that we did, Which
I'm phenomenally happy is you can go

today, go to like target locations,
you can find 10 more products on shelf,

like right products like microwaves.

We occupy 40% of shelf space,
so now products are available.

Like literally in multiple,
multiple physical retail locations.

So that was the third piece,
you know, that we did together.

So, long story short, we have kind of like
turned this around in the last one year.

And of course, look, ai, we are
not, we, we, we are not, I wouldn't

say we are a tech company, but
we are a tech forward company.

Uh, and we are gonna use
every available tool.

To accelerate our speed and quality
of execution at this point in time.

Kevin Horek: No, that makes sense.

Yeah, it, it's interesting because
just because the things new,

sometimes it makes sense to adopt it.

Sometimes it doesn't
make sense to adopt it.

Sometimes it makes sense to adopt
it in certain areas and, and it's

always interesting, especially when
you're obviously a big company, right.

And getting.

You know, everybody kind of going in
the same direction can be challenging.

And the sprint idea, actually, I've
never really, I've never heard of

a big company actually really doing
that across the board, obviously,

like their dev teams and whatnot.

So I'm curious, how did you make that
decision and how did it actually go?

Because you probably
had some pushback from.

Certain departments, maybe certain
personality types or, or walk us

through that and how did you overcome

Sri Solur: those?

Yeah, great question.

First be the change.

You have to be the change.


You gotta embody the change.

The first thing that I did was with my
boss and my board, I was very clear I

was gonna have, A meeting every Friday.

Every Friday, 9:00 AM I'm, I'm
just telling this in the open.

I meet with, you know, I would say
my boss and I give a status update.


And with that status, I have sprints
defined for legal, operation,

customer success, and sales,
product engineering quality, and.

The first 20 weeks, it
was awfully painful.


It was like pulling teeth.


I had a head full of air when I started
Nate, you know, and all I'm trying to

say is if you do something really well
for like 20 weeks, it becomes a habit.

Yeah, that's fair.

People struggled trying to put a
legal team on a weekly sprint, Kevin.

It's very, very, very hard.

Suddenly contracts, basically that, that
were taking months for no reason, right?

It's not like people were twiddling
their thumbs, but you know, emails

were being used for follow ups.

You know, what's the best thing to do?

Pick up the phone and call right?

Text, right?

So the moment you put everyone on
weekly sprints, They'll find a way

to communicate beyond a disconnected,
loosely coupled communication like email.

Suddenly the teams kept
closer on its own, so yeah.


It, it was extremely hard.

I can, I can write a blog post and
getting companies to operate on weekly

sprints and the results are spectacular.

There are interesting areas of
the business where we have doubled

our revenue year over year double
in this economic condition.

Let me also highlight something, Kevin.

We didn't have to let go of
anyone We are actually hiring.


In this economic, that's huge.

Actually, I'm growing.

Kevin Horek: No, that's.

Yeah, that's impressive actually.

You, and you could probably write
a book more than probably not

just blog posts on how to do that.


Sri Solur: yeah, luck.

I, I, I think also very grateful to have a
phenomenal team getting, you know, having

the right people at the right place.

But most importantly, there is one thing.

Humility and tenacity is very important.

You have to focus on things that
are simple because simplicity

scales and you have to lead the way.

You got to be in the details.

Leaders who are not in the
details basically will struggle,

and the weekly sprints gives
you a phenomenal perspective.

Both on the width and the depth because
you are seeing weak or weak changes.

And that I can say is one, not
so secret sauce of like turning

anything around, in my opinion.


Kevin Horek: So then how do
you have, or what's your advice

around work-life balance?

Because you gotta be a busy person, right?


Just having extra meetings that, you know,
you have to be prepared for every Friday.

It's, it's easier said than done.

Let's be.

Sri Solur: Yeah.

But what you didn't ask me was
what else is going on on Friday?


After that meeting.


Literally the team basically takes a
sigh of relief and our Fridays are, You

know, our, our meetings are spread out.

I'm a big believer in letting
the team take a deep breath.


I'm, I make sure that there is
phenomenal work-life balance for the

team members and on, on weekends.

I came from a culture in, you know, a
couple of companies, I'm not gonna name

'em, where we literally worked 10 hours
on a Saturday and six hours on a Sunday.

In, in, in my two plus years of tenure.

I had, you know, I, I could
not take a weekend off.

That's not what I want outta the team.

I want the team to have a creative space.

I want them to lead a great
life with their family.

I put the hashtag health first and family
first on literally several of my emails

to the team, and when I talk to people,
I don't really care where they are.

I have members of my team who spend
their summers in Wisconsin, um,

and, and winters in California.

I have members of the team who
are calling in from like baseball

games, you know, when they're
with their teams just to say hi.

Um, and I'm a big believer that you
have to be sincere to your time off.

To be truly sincere to your time
on, and, and it's, it's really

important to make sure that there
is massive work-life balance.

And let me tell you, Kevin, this
passionate team of individuals,

I have not lost one person.

There's a reason for that, right?


Because there is great work-life balance
and most importantly, you've got to

treat the team as one among equals.

And you have to be able to
take criticism to your face

and take that as a valid input.

And I've made sure that on my team,
anybody can walk in and say, Cherie,

I, I don't agree with you, mate.

This part doesn't, it doesn't work.

And I really encourage that.

I want people to tell me why things
won't work because I can listen.

And, uh, I, I really think having that
kind of a relationship, With your team

where challenge and be challenged is
a core tenet, and having the mindset,

having the great attitude, the
energy, the integrity, the openness

and empathy is really important.

If you're a great product leader, you
have empathy towards your consumer,

but most importantly, you have to have
empathy towards your team, and if you

have empathy towards your team, You'll
not only build great products, but you

will also grow the business exponentially.

Kevin Horek: No, that makes sense.

But how did you nurture that
culture and allow people to actually

believe you when you say you're
willing to take that feedback?

Because some people, just because of
your CEO title, they feel like they

can't actually give you proper feedback.

So how did you actually.

Practice that and get people to give
you that feedback, because you're

right, you need that feedback.

But some personality types are just like,
they just, it's, they're uncomfortable.


Sri Solur: Great.

Great question, Kevin.

I would say two things.

One, emphasize that feedback is not
just appreciated, but encouraged

in every form of communication.

That's, that's an easy thing to do.

I think many people do that, but
secondly, Making sure that when

someone gives you feedback, you show
by example that you're accepting

feedback and not resisting it, right?


It's a little bit harder for some people.

Three is you can see the team with people
who have worked with you in the past

who are comfortable giving you feedback
and give you that feedback openly.

My chief operating Officer,
his name is Eric Barnard.

He and I worked together in
our past life to my face.

He tells me, sre, you take this feedback
or not, but I'm telling you this.

And people have seen that there
are no repercussions, right?

There is no idea to here
at the end of the day.

So I would say a three-pronged approach.

Emphasize in all communication that.

Challenge and be challenged
is a good part of the culture.

Just because someone challenges
you doesn't mean they hate you.

They'll, they load you.

It's not, they, they're not
gonna ding you in your, uh, uh,

in, in your annual feedback.

The second one is during your all hands
session, and there's another thing I

have monthly all hands where I bring the
whole team, I tell them what's going on.

We don't hide stuff because you
never know where the brightest ideas

can come from and in the all hands.

People challenge you and how
you react to that matters.


To me is see the theme with people who
have worked with you in the past who

are one among equals and to your face,
they can tell you, dude, you are wrong.

And you know what?

When you think about it and
say, Hey, you know what, Eric,

you are actually right pro.

You're actually right.

And when you admit that
to the team, That's huge.

Still come across as absolutely human.

You have to do that, Kevin.

And, and at the end of the day, remember
it's a community that brought me up.

Never take more than you can give.

And you know, just being alive
gives you that perspective in life.

And winning is a team sport.


Those life lessons have
basically taught me.

And, and, and it'll serve
me really, really well.

Kevin Horek: No, that's actually really
good advice, but sadly we're out of time.

So how about we close with mentioning
where people can get more information

about yourself, Kenmore, and any
other links you wanna mention?

Sri Solur: Yeah.

For Kenmore, go to. or

Learn about the new electrification
program for all the Kenmore products.

You can just go to

Uh, if you wanna connect with
me, connect with me on LinkedIn.

Um, last name is Solu, s o l u r.

First name is Sri, s r i.

Um, and I usually take the time to
respond to, uh, all my messages.

Uh, but the point here is look, You know,
go build amazing products, uh, but most

importantly, build amazing teams that
is empowered to build amazing products.

And, uh, that's, that's the ethos.

That's carried me a very long way.

And thank you, Kevin.

Uh, this has been a phenomenal
conversation with you, mate.

Kevin Horek: Yeah, perfect.

Thanks very much.

Have a good rest of your
day, and we'll talk soon.

Thank you, Kevin.

Thank you.

Okay, bye.