The Engineering Leadership Podcast · Episode 176

Cold outreach & strategically expanding your business model into services

with Jon Perl & Scott Wilson @ QA Wolf

Apr 23, 2024
This is a special episode from our show “Engineering Founders” - Jon Perl & Scott Wilson share the origin story of QA Wolf & deconstruct their best practices (and what to avoid) for early-stage cold outreach, how to add value to your cold email communications, and why experimenting with your cold outreach is important to early sales! We also dive in to the story behind QA Wolf’s strategic move to incorporate services into their business strategy & tangible ways to add accountability measures that will help drive growth in the early days of your company. Check out Engineering Founders -
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Jon Perl is the co-founder and CEO of QA Wolf, a startup building the QA solution every engineering leader wishes for. Prior to QA Wolf, Perl led engineering teams in the healthcare and home services space, where he learned firsthand how difficult automated regression testing can be — and how critical it is for teams to have. His interest in software engineering comes from an overarching desire to eliminate boring, repetitive tasks and give people their time back. He has a dog named Finn and enjoys hiking.

"Your goal is simply to book a meeting. You're not trying to close a deal through one email. It's like, 'How can I just get on the phone with somebody?' That's the goal.”

- Jon Perl   


As co-founder and head of growth at QA Wolf, Scott Wilson is trying to upend 20+ years of stagnation in the QA industry. Before this he launched the marketing efforts at Wyze and helped acquire 6 million paying customers. If he’s not working, you might find him backpacking with Frank the dog, or learning a new illusion.

"It's not referencing the weather in Seattle or that you got promoted. Personalization is being contextually relevant to the person. This is how your mind should be thinking. It's like, 'I saw you're a hundred person company with nine engineers on your team and no QA engineers. You're probably going through this and here's a solution for it.'”

- Scott Wilson   

We now have 10 local communities of engineering leaders hosting in-person meetups all over the world!

Local communities are led by eng leaders just like you, who wanted to create a place to connect, share insights & tackle critical challenges in the job.

New York City, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, London, Amsterdam, and Toronto in-person events are happening now!

We’re launching local events all the time - get involved at!


  • The origin story of QA Wolf & the desire to build an automated QA system (2:08)
  • What got Scott excited about joining the QA Wolf founding team (7:14)
  • Scott’s experience as the non-technical cofounder on the team (9:13)
  • Learn enough to be dangerous & be willing to persist as a founder (10:38)
  • The approach of paying people you can learn from & its impact on QA Wolf (14:11)
  • Lessons learned about cold emailing & effective strategies to implement (17:12)
  • Cold emailing strategies that don’t work (21:00)
  • How to add value to email communication & incorporate experimentation (22:24)
  • Why they shifted the focus from coding to sales / outreach / identifying solutions (26:23)
  • Make accountability mechanisms a key component of early-stage teams (29:09)
  • The false signal of free users & expanding product into services (30:45)
  • Identifying a gap in the business & being open-minded to new ideas (33:20)
  • What the initial testing for QA Wolf’s services approach looked like (35:22)
  • Jon & Scott’s perspective on dealing w/ investors in the automated services space (38:31)
  • Rapid fire questions (44:01)


This episode wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our incredible production team:

Patrick Gallagher - Producer & Co-Host

Jerry Li - Co-Host

Noah Olberding - Associate Producer, Audio & Video Editor

Dan Overheim - Audio Engineer, Dan’s also an avid 3D printer -

Ellie Coggins Angus - Copywriter, Check out her other work at

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