170. Go-to-Market Fit, Tidal Waves, Category Leadership & Split-Personalities (Tae Hea Nahm)

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Tae Hea Nahm of Storm Ventures joins Nick to discuss Go-to-Market Fit, Tidal Waves, Category Leadership & Split-Personalities. In this episode, we cover:

  • What was your path to Venture Capital like and why’d you make that career change?
  • You’ve been very successful with exits- is there a framework you apply to identify these?
  • Can you explain further about your tidal investing strategy and how it has changed? 
  • With your expansive experience in Venture, do you believe are changes necessary in the silicon valley mentality?
  • How active of a role do you play with your portfolio founders?
  • You said you love to take the subway and observe what people are doing- what are some things you are spotting now and what are you spotting across the world.
  • Why’d you write “Survival to Thrival”?
  • Through your recent observations, what is the next big thing you are testing in Korea?
  • You talk a lot about split personalities, when did you realize this was a necessary quality and how long did it take you to develop this yourself? How has this also changed over your tenure as a CEO?
  • You’ve stated that founders have to stay both pragmatic and ambitious. In tech it’s often a problem when you build out infrastructure or sales before everything is ready. On the flip side sharing too many problems or issues with your team and investors will make them wary. Have you had any of these occurrences with finding a balance and what would you advise the audience as solutions.
  • How have you developed a positive attitude despite the dichotomy of feelings day in and day out? How would you advise other founders and CEO’s to deal with this?
  • How do you actually identify true passion in founders and what are the criteria you use for this?
  • How have you aligned Storm Ventures proclaimed company culture with the unofficial culture? What is your advice to other CEO’s trying to find a fit?
  • In your book you talk about the 3 go to market elements. How long did it take you to realize these 3 things?
  • You talk about identifying problems versus disastrous in the book. Can you tell us just the first step you founders should take if a problem is disastrous?

Guest Links:

Quick Takeaways:

1. Prior to investing, Tae Hea was a venture attorney. As a lawyer, his Founders would tell him everything, but as he transitioned to VC, communication was heavily filtered.
2. Storm Ventures invests in enterprise, early-stage startups. He believes that every company must figure out how to go from Surviving to thriving. That transition point happens when one figures out how to unlock growth.
3. Companies have “go-to-market fit” when 3 elements are working well. 1) When they pick the go-to-market model that matches how customers decide to buy. 2) They create a repeatable sales and marketing
process. 3) The business addresses a sizable wave/opportunity and customers have urgency to act quickly
4. The tactics of the fundamental models need to be adapted to tech and new markets, everything is constantly shifting.
5. As an investor, the best thing to find is a founder who can solve urgent pains early on. This allows them to become strategic with their customer from the outset.
6. The distinction between being product and service isn’t that important. You want the customer to be successful and the key to that is in how they use the solution. Don’t loose sight of growth margins and renewal numbers early-on.
7. Category leaders take the spoils. The race to become a category leader is difficult, but the winner can often raise unlimited amounts of money to maintain this position.
8. To be good at one category, you need workflow, good culture, and organization.
9. It’s hard to master multiple categories, because of organization and culture. This requires new leadership for these steps. Titles don’t change, but roles do.
10. Soul over skill sets. A successful CEO must have a double personality- externally versus internally.
11. Externally, you must be able to confidently guide people the promised land (ie. Moses), while internally you
have to be paranoid of all the things that can go wrong (Galileo).
12. Being Self Aware allows a CEO to learn how their role changes and how to best to address the change.
13. The difference between founders and investors is like a parent and their child. There are so many things you want your “child” to do but the “child” does whatever they want to do.
14. You have to let founders grow their own way and manage your own frustration as an investor/board member.
15. Tae Hea’s background in Applied Math allows him to use mental models and frameworks to find patterns and see the BIG PICTURE.
16. Tae Hea analyzed technology trends by comparing the NYC and Korean subways. 10 years ago, he noticed that Korea was far more advanced in mobile devices.
17. The biggest trend he observes in the IT space is the movement to leverage the cloud.
18. It’s very natural for startup founders to be superstars at one stage and struggle at the next.
19. At the start of a company, the best VP of Sales is Davey Crocket, an independent explorer who will find their own path through the wilderness. At the growth stage, Braveheart or Joan of Arc is needed– a warrior that will win deals. The scale stage requires a Dwight Eisenhower, politically aligning multiple warriors to move in one direction.

Transcribed with AI:

0:03
welcome to the podcast about investing in startups, where existing investors can learn how to get the best deal possible. And those that have never before invested in startups can learn the keys to success from the venture experts. Your host is Nick Moran and this is the full ratchet

0:23
Welcome back to TFR Today we welcome author and MD at storm ventures Tae Hea Nahm to his new book survival to thrival is a popular addition to both the founder and investors bookshelf. many valuable lessons are covered and we discussed quite a few of them today, including to his thoughts on go to market fit his title investing strategy, how to maintain scalable growth, establishing category leadership, the split personality of successful founders, and where to spot New Tech Trends. Here’s the interview with TAHE Nam of storm ventures.

1:07
TAHE na Managing Director of storm ventures joins us today from the valley storm is an early stage venture capital firm with a focus on enterprise SAS after some time in venture law to he transitioned to the investment side. Since that time, he’s enjoyed a great deal of success with notable investments including Marketo, and Mobile Iron, to his most recent books survival to thrival, has received rave reviews for its insights on building the enterprise startup. T. Welcome to the program.

1:36
Thank you appreciate the invite and the opportunity to participate. Yeah, we’re

1:41
happy to have you. So tell us more about the story in this path to venture. Right. So

1:45
as you mentioned, you know, before I was a venture capitalist, I was a startup attorney at Wilson Sonsini, a venture law group where I’ve worked with hundreds of startups on their startup journey, you know, I help them incorporate find venture capital financing, go public to m&a. Right, you know, execute, see transition mediate board issues. So I thought I knew a lot about startups. And then, by becoming a VC, I learned it was a completely different job in the help that, as an attorney, this Founder CEO would tell you everything, you felt like a personal doctor. Whereas as a VC board member, you soon realized that you get very filtered view. And the biggest transition was actually in former clients of mine, you know, good friends of mine, that then I invested in, I realized our relationship was different. And I would just have different ways of interacting with the founders.

2:39
Interesting. So you made that transition, how long ago in 2002,

2:43
that I’ve been a VC now for 18 years. Wow.

2:47
Okay. And can you talk about sort of the thesis at storm and also your focus? Yeah.

2:53
So as you described in the intro, we know we a storm invest in early stage enterprise startups, regardless of geography. And we also invest many times in first time CEOs. So it’s really important and what we aspire to, as well as to help founders become enterprise leaders. And to help them that’s actually what one of the reasons why we wrote this book, the book we call survival to thrival. And we call it that because you know, every startup has to transition from the survival stage to the thrival. Stage. And we discovered that the key to that transition point is one, they discover how to unlock growth. Surprisingly, there was no name for this transition point, you know, the closest that people talk about is product market fit. But Product Market Fit by itself doesn’t unlock growth. So we decided to call this transition point go to market fit. And in the book, we also describe how to find go to market fit. Right?

3:50
Yeah. And tell us more about this go to market fit. What exactly does that mean? And what are the key elements that you break down on the book?

3:57
Yes. So what we found is that companies have go to market fit when three elements are working well, the first thing is, is that you have to line up with an urgent wave that answers the two questions first, why should someone buy your product today, you know, why buy now, and then second is to line it up with something that will become strategic to the customer so that you’re no longer just a point product that they buy as a band aid and throw away. So the first is that you want to line up with that urgent wave. The second is that you need to pick one go to market model, which matches how the customer decides to buy, you know, you hear about all these different go to market models. You know, freemium can be very popular land and expand all that but it is a it has to match how the customer decides to buy. And as a startup, you should only do one because it’s hard to pursue four different models at the same time. And then the third element that we found critical is what we call the go to market playbook. What this is is a simple one to two page document, which explains a repeatable sales and marketing process so that you can hire a new marketing person, a new salesperson, they look at this playbook and they know exactly what to do. And we found that this is critical in order for startups to transition from Hero founder selling to just hiring normal people to build a growth machine. So we found that if you have these three elements, and they’re working, then we see go to market fit, and the company is able to unlock growth. And what we’ve been coming up with videos and others is sort of more of a sequence way of sort of how do you get from Product Market Fit to go to market fit with a different steps along the way?

5:46
Interesting, that third element, the playbook? Is that something that’s portable and applicable, regardless of the type of enterprise SAS startup, whether, you know, it’s inside sales, focus, or maybe marketing? That’s

6:00
a great question. And so depending upon your go to market strategy that you’re using, there are different playbooks, you know, and in the book, we describe three different ones, as you’re alluding to. The first is that if you have like a sales letter approach, then it tends to be a heavier touch, and we share their the Mobile Iron playbook, you know, if it’s more of a marketing letter approach, where marketing drives a lot of the go to market, and maybe you have an inside sales at the end, that we share the Marketo playbook. And then the third is, is that let’s say you have even no salespeople. And so it becomes like a self serve approach. And there we share the SendGrid approach interest so that that’s a great question that you asked. So that’s why we want to share, you know, different playbooks for different type of go to market models.

6:53
Are you seeing new go to market models evolving, as well, as you’re monitoring successes in the marketplace? And seeing the way that tech is shifting and adapting? Or? Or do you think there’s kind of a core set that’s going to be consistent over time.

7:06
So I think that the fundamental models are there, but the tactics and the elements of the model is changed dramatically as new technologies and marketplace. I mean, I’ll give you an example. You know, Cloud is definitely taking off, you know, got AWS, you got Google, you got a juror. And so they’re all building an app store, similar to like Apple and iOS building an app store. And that’s going to become, I think, increasingly more important, go to market model, go to market element as part of a partner go to market model, you know, people have done that, like Marketo did the same thing using App Exchange and Salesforce are invested in EchoSign, that leverage App Exchange as well, that’s auto Salesforce. So the models, I think, are conceptually the same, but they’re all these sort of new elements that people can take advantage of right? Tactics constantly shifting. Exactly. Yeah. You

8:02
mentioned earlier, this wave analogy, and you’ve talked about this title, investing strategy as well, in the past? Are these concepts related? And can you elaborate a bit on them. So

8:14
I find that as an investor, best thing for us is that if we can find and work with an entrepreneur who basically serves a big way, you know, at the beginning is a small way, but as it grows, it gets bigger and bigger, and then it carries it to a becoming a giant company. I mean, Marketo just started off with email nurturing, you could be there as a point solution. Some people call it just drip marketing at the time. But, you know, from that one simple use case, growing that whole up to marketing, automation, demand generation, and then pretty soon, you know, you see, director and VPs are demand generation and companies. And because it solves the question of how to get high quality leads and volume, and that’s why people would have demand generation. So what we found the best is if a startup can solve an urgent pain, because we work with the assumption that companies generally don’t want to buy from a startup and so, they will buy because they have an urgent pain, but you want to use that opportunity to sort of enter and work with a customer and then become strategic with the customer. And so, how do you become strategic is that if it relates to a strategic issue that the customer is dealing with such as you know, how do I get a lot of quality leads? And so, then you can then grow from that simple use case and become strategic and usually for something become strategic is part of a large wave, such as, you know, how do you respond to the digital transformation or how do you become a data company like Amazon or you know, How do you drive employee success? You know, things like that?

10:03
Is it a challenge to maintain a focus on being a product business instead of a consultative service business, as you’re, you know, evolving with the customer and developing better ways to help them address, you know, their challenges?

10:18
That is another very good question that we talk about a lot in companies is this distinction between being a product and service. And the implication is, is that you know, service is bad, okay. And at the end of the day, you just want your customer to be successful. And so I think what’s most important is think about is how do you make your customer successful. And a lot of times, you know, the product is there, but more importantly, is learning how to use the product. And so that could be part of a service team, or it could be part through thought leadership. Yep. You know, thought leadership is extremely important so that people know how to use it. And my belief is that as long as your gross margins are good, and you have a good renewal number, then what you call service, and what you call product is really not that important. What’s important is making the customer successful with a high gross margin product. And with a large percentage of that, that continues to renew. Got it.

11:23
And as you’re developing new solutions, and working with customers, I would imagine many of these great founders are maintaining some focus on solutions that are somewhat scalable to similar customers, right? Yeah,

11:35
so picking the right ones become critical, right? You know, guess what you’re asking is, is it a one off? Or is it going to be one of many, right? So if you what you’re dealing with is a teaching customer that is an entree to one of many, because there are a teaching customer an early adopter, then you’ve hit a goldmine. Yep. But if it’s just a bunch of one offs, then it’s hard to build an economic model that works. Yeah,

11:58
tail starts wagging the dog. Exactly. You don’t you write a lot in the book about category leadership. And we haven’t addressed that a lot on the show. So I’d like to hear more about your thoughts on this and how companies can become a leader in a category. Sure.

12:13
So this is more toward the later stage of the company, as you know, you’re approaching IPO. And what the public investors have learned is, is that category leaders take all the products. In other words, the first thing is, is this market going to become a category and then second, are you going to be the leader. And if the market doesn’t become big enough, then people don’t call it a category. So the fact that Gartner Forrester, other analysts, you know, the Wall Street research group, all that call it a category, and you have conferences around it, and so forth, is that people view it as a big enough market. And anytime that happens, it needs a name. And so that name, it calls the category. And so being recognized as a category is a critical point, especially as you’re looking at, you know, m&a or going public. So that’s the first thing. And then the second thing is, is that as people have done all this research, you know, most of the prize goes to the winner of the category. And so then how do you get recognized as the leader. And so what happens is that if you’re a later stage company, and people recognize you, as a category leader in what’s emerging to be a multi billion dollar category, then it becomes a huge race. But on the other hand, you’re able to raise almost unlimited amounts of money to become that leader and maintain your leadership position. Got it.

13:41
And sort of the next step then would be, I guess, even transcending the category and achieving some sustainable position as an industry leader.

13:50
Right. So what we found with companies I work with as well is that, you know, to become a category leader of a company invest so much to become great in that category. And it sort of defines who you are, okay? It’s like for storm, we want to be enterprise investors. So we invest so much in becoming great in that category. But to become an industry leader, you have to be successful in multiple categories. And the challenge is, is that to become so good at one category, you create certain metrics, you create, organization, culture, workflow, everything. So what makes an industry leader, you have to transcend your category to be good at multiple categories. And that turns out to be much harder. A good example of that is like, you know, take Intel for longest time, they were very strong in microprocessor. And the question was, can they succeed in anything other than microprocessor? Right? And it turns out, it’s harder than it seems. And it’s mostly because of the culture of the company and the organization everything to learn something that So you’ve trained every one is different than what they should be doing.

15:03
Does it often require different leadership at that stage?

15:07
Sometimes it does. And that’s actually going to be the second book that we are working on right now. That’s the people journey, where we talk about is, is that as the company grows through the stages, people’s jobs change, even though the title does not. So it’s like changes creeping up on you, because everyone says, Hey, you got promoted to this job, new job title, all that new set of responsibilities. And, you know, you sort of figure I’ve got to change to from the new job. But in this case, what happens is that because the company grows, your job has changed, but your title and responsibility have not, right. And so what we say in the second book is that you have What’s critical is to unlearn your old job, because what makes you so good at that is what’s going to kill you at the next phase of the job. And we go through examples for CEO VPS, sales, CFO, you know, VP of Engineering and so forth. And this applies to board members as well. Such a challenge

16:05
to find these dynamic personalities that can continue to learn and adapt and change and capitalize on the opportunities as they present themselves.

16:13
Exactly. That’s tough. But we thought by helping people anticipate change and understand why things are changing, then at least we’ll make it easier for people. Got

16:25
it? Yeah, if we were to dive deeper into sort of founder makeups, you’ve talked about dichotomy and personality, you’ve talked about, you know, split personalities that may be necessary for founders. And you’ve cited the importance of being both pragmatic as well as ambitious, think you’ve made comparisons to characters like Moses, and how founders should be like, you know, on the outside, but more like Galileo on the inside. I enjoyed these analogies, but I’d love it if you could elaborate a bit on the mental makeup of you know, the successful founders that you’ve worked with. Yes.

16:59
So this is coming out in our second book, where we talk about what we believe is important in what we call the soul of the CEO, you know, the soul of the the founder, CEO, you know, not particular skill sets, or that kind of stuff, but the soul. And what we say is that, there are three things that we think are important in the makeup of the soul of the founder, CEO. The first is what you’re referring to that with Galileo and Moses is this whole idea of being schizophrenic basically, you know, how do you have two personalities and one, but that’s really what’s required. And so externally, you’re like Moses, and so people believe that you’re going to take them to the Promised Land, despite the false temptations, the false gods, you know, everything along the way that you know, externally, you provide that leadership, well, internally, within the person, you have to be paranoid about all the things that can go wrong, and make the appropriate right decisions and almost be like a heretic and looking out for all the different problems and so forth. And so this sort of split personality, internally and externally is a challenge and important for every founder CEO. The second that we say, is self awareness. And this relates to what we were just talking about how as the company evolves, the role changes. And so the best way to understand that is that a person needs to be really self aware. And this is where we believe like CEO, coaches and others can sort of help CEOs sort of gain that self awareness so that they can learn how their role is changing, and how they themselves need to understand that. And then lastly, what we found is also critical is to have this sort of passion for the mission. It’s like, why is this so important, and that passion for the mission is what’s going to then cause people to serve undergo these changes to be that Moses, you know, to provide that engine for the tasks that are required. So that’s what we look at and sort of, say, the soul of the CEO, really, those three elements, you know, schizophrenia, self awareness and passion for the mission?

19:15
Do you look at yourself and look in the mirror and see if you also fit this criteria? Or is that premise incorrect that the investor also needs to kind of have these skills that the startup founder does? It’s definitely

19:26
important to have. But there’s a big difference between being an investor and being a startup founder or a founder or any executive in the company. You know, if we’re driving execution and being part of execution, then we shouldn’t be a board member. We should just be part of the management team. Right? And I learned that because we had incubated the company called airspace and I was the founding CEO for two and a half years. And I found that being in that role and driving execution and being a board Number is quite different being a board member a lot of times, I don’t know, if you have children, I do, I’ve got a 14 month old, okay, well, 14 is bird, well, child gets older, what you’re gonna find is there’s so many things that you want your child to do. But the child does what he or she wants to do, right. And so as a parent, a big part is, you know, unless they’re going to do something catastrophic, you have to let them grow their own way, and learn how to manage your own frustration. And as a board member, we have to do the same thing. You know, obviously, if the company is going to do something catastrophic, you have to intervene. But there are a lot of times, you know, it’s like you see a pothole in the road and do go around it on the left or Google round on the right. You know, one might be slightly better than the other. But the more important thing is to avoid the pothole. And, and if the board is too involved in these kinds of decisions, then it really neuters the management team and the CEO. What

21:01
else have you learned from a board dynamic standpoint? You know, I know that you’ve, you’ve had success, shepherding companies on two exits. So you’ve seen this play out any other sort of key lessons or insights from that

21:14
path? Yes, one experience is something that I remember all the time. And that’s because there was a company where I was part of the board. And we’ve misread the market. And I think, you know, we as a board, unfortunately caused that company to fail. So this was a company that was doing okay, you know, it was cashflow positive, but it was growing slowly. It was a nice stable company with a solid management team and so forth. But we as the investors on the board, really believe that the market should was growing much faster than it really was. And we had a little bit of maybe market envy or envy of other situations. So we cost the company to accelerate growth by significantly increasing its investments. But the market growth didn’t happen, because it just wasn’t there. And ultimately, they ended up in the company failing. So as a result, I learned that just because this is what I want, doesn’t mean that that’s really what is there. And to make sure that I understand the assumptions and be able to look at the company through the management teams eyes, as well as you know, my own from the outside.

22:34
Interesting. Yeah, I want to talk about you a little more I know in in the younger years, you were applied math major. Can you talk about how pattern matching and your experience and maybe your academic training have helped you identify the drivers that help predict future outcomes?

22:52
Sure. So as an applied math major, I really like homing models. And in fact, to be honest, for me, if I don’t have a model or an understanding of a situation, I don’t function as well. So I really tried to build frameworks. So I can see the big picture. That’s very important to me. As a side note, my co author, Bob Tinker is an anti model guy. He thinks models are irrelevant. And he’s really more focused on how do I solve today’s problem.

23:24
It’s a good, good team, then

23:26
it’s a good team. And frankly, that’s why it took us three years to reconcile our two views. But but it’s been worked out very well. So But going back to, you know, this sort of model. And so one of the things I do is I go back and look at my investments that I’ve made as an attorney, I’ve worked with about 300 startups. And as an investor, I invested in about 60 companies today. And sort of look at those companies, and in particular, the first time CEOs and figured out what worked and didn’t work. And one pattern that I’ve noticed is there were several first time CEOs that I invested in, that didn’t succeed. I mean, obviously, I believed in them. And that’s why I invested in them. And I work closely with them, but they did not succeed. And then they went on to form a second company, and they wanted me to to invest, but I turned down, and collectively, they did extremely well. Oh, wow. I feel like I paid a lot of tuition for their success. But through that kind of analysis, you know, we’ve learned and we as a firm have learned to and so there are companies that we lost money, but we go back and look at the CEO and say, Hey, was it an integrity issue or leadership issue? Because if it’s that that’s a more fundamental issue, or was it because they didn’t quite understand the right sequencing necessary to find product market fit or go to market fit in a capital efficient manner? Because if that’s the case, then usually, you know, we paid for the tuition they learned and as a result of that, I can time they’re gonna do very well. So in that situation, we found is much better for us to obviously reinvest. And so that’s what we’ve been doing. And since this isn’t a specific example of how, you know, just applying this sort of Applied Math, trying to constantly analyze what worked, what didn’t work, and looked for patterns,

25:21
it’s really interesting. I was talking about our firm and the way we invest the other day and had this epiphany that we don’t regret any of our investments. We’ve been very lucky with with our outcomes so far, but it’s early days, but it’s nice to be able to say that there was not one investment in the portfolio, we would go back and change. And I think even if some of them do go sideways, the types of founders that we’re fortunate to be partnered with, I would invest in again,

25:47
that’s fantastic. That’s a great market success.

25:51
been lucky so far. We’ll see how it turns out. But, you know, you’ve also talked about kind of going out into the wild and observing trends, and you use this situation on the subway, and in some of your writings, why why the subway? Why do you go to the subway to observe,

26:07
it’s just an area that you can see a lot of people in a short period of time. And so I think what you’re alluding to, I’m surprised you actually read that, that’s great. I’m Korean, so I go to Korea a lot. And so being able to just observe what people do on the subway in Korea versus let’s say, when I go to New York, and ride the subway in New York, and so Korea for many years was significantly ahead of the United States and mobile. And so when you ride the subway in Korea, you would see packed subway, and half the people are on their phones, either watching a movie playing an intense game, just entertaining themselves in a manner that you would think more appropriate if they were like at their home or in their room or something like that. But they’re doing this in a pack subway, right. And then I go to New York, and I find there is no Wi Fi, you know, cell, you can barely get cellular coverage. And so, you know, what people are doing are all offline activities, you know, they may have downloaded a book or something like that, but intensity of mobile activity was so stark and different.

27:22
Interesting. So you, you go to Korea, because it can be sort of I don’t even know the term for it. But they’re experiencing technology. And they’re a bit ahead of the States, I guess, so to speak. And well,

27:33
this was I would say 15 years ago, their mobile technology was definitely ahead of the United States. By far, right. They had 3g, like five years ahead of the United States. So you know, it’s a difference between like, dial up and broadband. And so there was a huge difference. And as a result, you know, like social networking came up first in Korea, before the United States and all these kinds of Internet services. Where can I find, though, that now, actually, US is ahead of Korea in particular, because the biggest trend that I see that’s going on right now, in the IT space is the movement to the public cloud, the growth of the public cloud with AWS, Azure, Google is by far the the biggest trend and reminds me of I mean, basically, it’s a shift in the whole compute platform and the go to market platform. So it’s like when we went from mainframe to PCs, or the emergence of the Internet, and because the three cloud companies are all US companies, I think non US countries with the exception that China is sort of later to the cloud than the United States. Interesting.

28:49
Can you share any insights or any predictions that you’re thinking about that the emergence of the cloud may create or may impact going forward?

28:59
Yes. So the emergence of the cloud and the growth of Amazon really, in my mind are sort of hand in hand. What I mean by that is, is that, you know, Amazon, forget AWS for a second, Amazon without AWS is becoming a data company where they’re making decisions based on data, data management, all that kind of stuff as built on a platform. Yep. And so they’re doing that because obviously, they’re they have their cloud and leveraging the cloud fully. And I think the rest of the Fortune 500 The rest of all these enterprise companies, you know, forget tech, I’m just saying just in general, in order to compete with Amazon, whether you’re Walmart, whether you’re CVS, Walgreens, all those are going to have to be Amazon like and that means they have to become a data company. And to do that they have to leverage the cloud, right? So I see that happening. And some people call it digital transformation and so forth. But fundamentally, you’re going through this digital transformation and coming out with a data driven management company. Right.

30:12
Right. Do you look at edge computing technologies as well?

30:16
We look at it. Yes, we look at that a little bit as, as a way of complementing the move to the public cloud. Yes. Got it. Interesting. Yes. But the core is the public cloud, to hear any

30:29
other lessons from the book you’d like to share with founders in the audience? Yeah,

30:34
I think the main thing is that it’s very natural as a company grows, for people to really be a superstar at one stage and struggle at the end. And it’s really up to the management team, the CEO and the board to sort of help people through this journey. The people journey just like you know, helping the company through its startup journey. And I want to end with just one example. And that is, take the role of VP of sales. Because you know, a lot of startups who work with all need a VP of sales, in the beginning of a company, from, let’s say, zero to about a million in revenue, the best kind of VP of Sales really is what we call a Davy Crockett, an explorer type fairly independent, if things don’t work out, doesn’t freak out. And and we’ll find that path through the wilderness by himself or herself or with a couple of people. And so what you’re looking for in the beginning is that kind of Davy Crockett to find a pass through the wilderness and not be intimidated by all the unknown. Once you have the path through the wilderness, the best type of VP of sales is someone like Mel Gibson out of Braveheart, or Joan of Arc. What I mean by that is a true warrior leader, you want a person, that s sees the path, but to drive through the path, you know, you’re going to compete against, like Mel Gibson did with the English, you’re out number 10 to 120 to one, but there’s no fear, you hire and you recruit your close friends, your colleagues, and all warriors, and you’re out there to just win deals and compete aggressively. And that turns out to be great. And getting up to let’s say 20 million in revenue. Okay. And as you start getting scale up, like 50 wraps, you’re building out internationally and so forth. The next type of VP of sales at that point turns out is that what you want is someone that’s more like a Dwight Eisenhower, Dwight Eisenhower was doing because he never fought in battle. Yeah, he’s like an army general who never was a warrior. But what he’s very good at is politically working with all the different Warrior Leaders like the patterns that my GM raise, you know, all these different kinds of leaders, and having them go in one direction. And so that’s then at that point, you can build a very large international global sales network with different kinds of goal. So it turns out to go from that Braveheart to Eisenhower, a person has to really give up being that warrior and being recognized as a warrior. And for many VP of sales, that’s sort of like giving up the essence of why you’re such a great salesperson. Sure, is because I’m this great warrior. And so I just want to end with that by saying that, you know, we talk about this applying the same thing for different type of CEOs, board members, and all that. But this is sort of a concrete example of how at each stage, you know, you require a different kind of skill set. And it’s important for us to all recognize that and to help the person if they want to get to the next stage, but also understand exactly what skills are required to succeed at each stage.

34:05
Yeah, I haven’t seen it throughout the full scale of startups, evolution, but certainly on the enterprise, just the business side in general, lots of missteps. I’ve seen in promoting sales folks to different levels of the organization and they may not be set up to succeed as a manager or a district leader or moving from the strategic account side to geographic or product side. There are certainly different types of sales folks and very few that you know can be the Davy Crockett, the William Wallace and the Dwight Eisenhower all in one. Yes.

34:44
And and if you can find a person like that and their goal

34:50
to hear if we could cover any topic here on the program. What topic do you think should be addressed and who would you like to hear speak about it?

34:58
I frankly feel like we’ve covered The wide range of things, I guess the one thing I just want to end up with is, you know, just going back to our first book, and the second book coming out is that, you know, we’re really hoping that they’re helpful. And if people have any comments or questions, we encourage people to reach out to us. And we’ve spoken at business schools, accelerators, other places, and then you know, trying to make the content also available on YouTube as a way of just helping people, you know, in their own startup journeys, oh, great,

35:32
we’ll make sure to get all those links linked up in TV, what investor has influenced you most.

35:37
It’s a person named Ken oschmann. He unfortunately passed away. But he was the oh and Rome, and then was the founder, CEO of Ashkelon, and I got to watch him when he was on the board as try to calm. Later on, he was on the board of sun and many others. What impressed me the most about Ken is that he was fundamentally counter cyclical to the rest of the mood. So in other words, if everyone was feeling great, after a phenomenal quarter, he would sort of talk about the issues. If we missed and everyone was really down, you know, he would emphasize the positives. And so his ability to be the sort of counter cyclical mass valus just provided a lot more stability for the company. I’d say he played a key role in stratacomm, you know, not selling for 80 million, becoming successful and ultimately exiting for close to 5 billion.

36:38
Wow, amazing. And finally, what’s the best way for listeners to connect with you? The

36:42
best way would just be through LinkedIn. Now I accept every LinkedIn invitation and and read my LinkedIn emails.

36:50
Wow. Well, very good. Well been a huge pleasure having you on the show to talk to you the book. It’s all the buzz right now in the valley. I hear a lot of investors speaking about it. So been a real pleasure having you on the show. And thanks for walking us through.

37:02
Well, thank you very much for the opportunity and really enjoyed the questions and look forward to also meeting in person.

37:09
Awesome. Me too. Thanks, Jay. He appreciate it. Thank you.

37:17
All right, that’ll wrap up today’s interview. If you enjoyed the episode or a previous one, let the guests know about it. Share your thoughts on social or shoot them an email, let them know what particularly resonated with you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that some of the smartest folks in venture are willing to take the time and share their insights with us. If you feel the same, a compliment goes a long way. Okay, that’s a wrap for today. Until next time, remember to over prepare, choose carefully and invest competently. Thanks so much for listening