Episode 18: Jon Gelsey: Identity product GTM insight from Auth0’s early days
Kicking off season two of the Future of Identity podcast, we talk with Jon Gelsey, founding CEO of Auth0 Inc, which sold to Okta for $6.5B, as well as the CEO of Xnor.ai which he sold to Apple for $200m.
In this episode, you’ll hear Jon discuss the early days of Auth0, including how they got their first $1m of revenue. Then we spent time diving in to how new technologies get adopted—Jon even went as far as saying that technology adoption is always incremental, not revolutionary.
Then we talk about the role of big tech, and why he doesn’t think reusable identity will be dominated by massive incumbents. That led us to talk about what he would do if he were running a company whose business model could be cannibalized by reusable identity, which is that he would look to disrupt himself in a safe way.
This was a rare look into some great advice from one of our industry’s best operators.
To learn more about Jon, you can visit his LinkedIn profile.
Video timestamps from Jon Gelsey’s interview
Now that we’re publishing the video version of each podcast on YouTube, we’ll share out specific timestamps so you can skip around and go to the most relevant parts of each episode.
2:25 – The initial insight that led Jon to joining Auth0
6:00 – How Auth0 fit into the competitive landscape in the early days
6:44 – How Auth0 brought their product to market and sold into big enterprises
12:23 – How Jon thinks about innovating without being too far ahead of the curve
15:03 – Startups vs. big tech companies when it comes to reusable identity and verifiable credentials
18:55 – The competitor product that Jon was most worried about when he was at Auth0
20:43 – How to think about cannibalizing an existing business line in order to build for the future
22:00 – Overcoming the innovator’s dilemma with visionary leadership
23:35 – What Jon would do if he were leading a company whose business model was under threat
27:55 – Balancing ambition and thoughtfulness when scaling up a company
30:27 – Why being an industry outsider helped Jon see value propositions more clearly
33:19 – What the future of identity looks like to Jon
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