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Go To Market Grit

Join Joubin Mirzadegan, Business Development and Go to Market Operating Partner at Kleiner Perkins, as he interviews go-to-market leaders and learns what makes them tick. Hear them discuss tactics, hiring, culture, and everything in between. Discover how successful sales leaders made decisions in times of crisis, growth, and why they made them. Listen in as we uncover the grit it takes to defy the odds and build incredible sales organizations.
Join Joubin Mirzadegan, Business Development and Go to Market Operating Partner at Kleiner Perkins, as he interviews go-to-market leaders and learns what makes them tick. Hear them discuss tactics, hiring, culture, and everything in between. Discover how successful sales leaders made decisions in times of crisis, growth, and why they made them. Listen in as we uncover the grit it takes to defy the odds and build incredible sales organizations. << Show Less
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CEO ZoomInfo, Henry Schuck: This Job Is Not Supposed to Be Fun Every year, ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck writes a memo to his executive team, which is made to look like a letter to the board of directors. Even though he founded DiscoverOrg — the company that bought and became ZoomInfo in 2019 — Henry pretends in the memo to be a new CEO who has just been hired to clean up the old guy’s mess. The reason, he explains, is simple: It gets everyone focused on the problems that have to be fixed.In this episode, Henry and Joubin discuss the difference between wearing a hoodie and a suit; the nuances of Henry’s background that aren’t obvious from LinkedIn; how he has encouraged his employees and shown them (and their families) his appreciation; The CEO’s biggest fear: “Is this it?”; injecting tension in an organization; the gap between monetary and professional validation; ZoomInfo’s COVID IPO; and why the work of a founder-CEO is not supposed to be fun.In this episode, we cover:
Being emotionally vulnerable as a leader, and the limits of Henry’s openness (02:46)
What his single immigrant mother taught him about hard work (08:54)
The competitor to which Henry tried to sell DiscoverOrg — before beating and buying them instead (16:10)
The relief of taking ZoomInfo public after years of making promises to employees (19:42)
Getting passed over by venture capitalists, and why Henry sold half of the business to a private equity firm (27:40)
Learning how to work with a board of directors, and Henry’s overwhelming desire to not lose (32:11)
The “existential threat” to the business that gave Henry a panic attack (41:27)
Going public during the darkest days of COVID (48:34)
Why Henry writes a memo to his executive team every year, pretending to be a new CEO (55:29)
Being happy, present, and maintaining discipline between work and personal life (58:31)
Links:
Connect with Henry
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email: henry.schuck@zoominfo.com



Connect with Joubin
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email: grit@kleinerperkins.com 


Learn more about Kleiner Perkins
Newest Audio
CEO ZoomInfo, Henry Schuck: This Job Is Not Supposed to Be Fun Every year, ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck writes a memo to his executive team, which is made to look like a letter to the board of directors. Even though he founded DiscoverOrg — the company that bought and became ZoomInfo in 2019 — Henry pretends in the memo to be a new CEO who has just been hired to clean up the old guy’s mess. The reason, he explains, is simple: It gets everyone focused on the problems that have to be fixed.In this episode, Henry and Joubin discuss the difference between wearing a hoodie and a suit; the nuances of Henry’s background that aren’t obvious from LinkedIn; how he has encouraged his employees and shown them (and their families) his appreciation; The CEO’s biggest fear: “Is this it?”; injecting tension in an organization; the gap between monetary and professional validation; ZoomInfo’s COVID IPO; and why the work of a founder-CEO is not supposed to be fun.In this episode, we cover:
Being emotionally vulnerable as a leader, and the limits of Henry’s openness (02:46)
What his single immigrant mother taught him about hard work (08:54)
The competitor to which Henry tried to sell DiscoverOrg — before beating and buying them instead (16:10)
The relief of taking ZoomInfo public after years of making promises to employees (19:42)
Getting passed over by venture capitalists, and why Henry sold half of the business to a private equity firm (27:40)
Learning how to work with a board of directors, and Henry’s overwhelming desire to not lose (32:11)
The “existential threat” to the business that gave Henry a panic attack (41:27)
Going public during the darkest days of COVID (48:34)
Why Henry writes a memo to his executive team every year, pretending to be a new CEO (55:29)
Being happy, present, and maintaining discipline between work and personal life (58:31)
Links:
Connect with Henry
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email: henry.schuck@zoominfo.com



Connect with Joubin
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email: grit@kleinerperkins.com 


Learn more about Kleiner Perkins
CRO Articulate, Jaimie Buss: A Problem Solver That Happens to be Good at Sales Jaimie Buss, CRO of the e-learning platform Articulate, had an epiphany several years ago. While trying to simultaneously give her toddler a bath and catch up on work emails, some water splashed on her computer. After initially snapping at her son, she realized the importance of being “unapologetically present” with not only her family at home but her colleagues at work. Since this experience, she has drawn clear boundaries between the two.In this episode, Jaimie and Joubin talk about the leadership lesson she learned from her father; her discipline in all things, including Peloton workouts; her secret weapons of hard work and preparation; what Jaimie learned from some short stints at troubled startups after already having career success; what she learned from three years in venture capital, and everything that changed in her time away; what it means to be “unapologetically present,” at home and at work; and Jaimie’s return to startups, first at Zendesk and now at Articulate.In this episode, we cover:
The difference between a poorly-run coffee shop an a well-run one (03:35)
Why you should acknowledge your team’s day-to-day accomplishments (07:26)
Focusing on single tasks and how Jaimie manages her routine (09:52)
The downshift from rapid growth at VMWare to rocky stints at Coverity and Meraki (20:43)
Why she put her operating career on pause to go work for Andreessen Horowitz (28:10)
There’s no easy, just “different kinds of hard” (38:10)
Why Jaimie went back to startups with Zendesk, where she stayed for more than five years (44:00)
Why she joined Articulate, making incremental improvements rather than extreme changes (51:04)
The most important questions Jaimie and Articulate’s execs asked each other in the interview process (57:30)
Links:
Connect with JaimieLinkedIn

Connect with Joubin
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email: grit@kleinerperkins.com 


Learn more about Kleiner Perkins
CMO Tinder, George Felix: Trusting Your Gut, ‘Smelling Like a Man,’ and Swiping Right George Felix, now the CMO of Tinder, was marketing Old Spice body wash at a time when the brand was circling the drain. His team at Procter & Gamble almost let their big break slip away when initially passing on the “Hello ladies” campaign - an ad that would later go viral on Facebook and YouTube. George recalls how the agency pitching the idea stood their ground and pressed on with conviction, an experience that taught him a lot about trusting your gut and standing up for what you believe in.In this episode, George and Joubin talk about his close relationship with his father, who passed away in 2006; the unusual way he, as an intern at Procter & Gamble, started a lifelong friendship with his then-boss Kevin Hochman; behind-the-scenes stories making ads for Old Spice and KFC; and the unusual truth about Tinder’s brand that attracted George to the company last year.In this episode, we cover:
George’s education-focused Indian-American parents, and how they wound up in Toledo, Ohio (05:52)
If they could talk one more time, what would he ask his late father? (12:17)
What startups can learn about brand-building from older firms like Procter & Gamble (16:28)
How not having a real desk at P&G helped George network with his colleagues (20:30)
Executing the Old Spice “smell like a man” campaign — and the award-winning TV ad that completely revitalized the brand (25:10)
The crippling fear of ambiguity, and the importance of being “a little uncomfortable” (33:35)
Reviving KFC’s brand with another viral ad, starring Darrell Hammond as Colonel Sanders (37:58)
Why George went to Tinder, and the potential he saw to reshape its brand (44:02)
Spontaneity in dating, and overcoming the stigma against meeting people online (47:29)
The “Tinder Swindler” and why Tinder isn’t just one thing (52:55)
Links:
Connect with GeorgeLinkedIn

Connect with Joubin
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email: grit@kleinerperkins.com 


Learn more about Kleiner Perkins
VP at Hopin, Javier Ortega Estrada: Ingredients for High Growth and a Good Paella Global Sales VP at Hopin Javier Ortega Estrada’s father is a counter-terrorism official in the Spanish army — teaching him at a young age that having a bigger purpose can drive you to do great things. And over the course of his entrepreneurial career, Javi has found his own special purposes, helping companies like Dropbox and, now, the buzzy experience platform Hopin grow at a blistering pace and deliver value to their customers.In this episode, Javi and Joubin talk about uprooting his life (after his first startup failed) to work for Dropbox in Ireland; his seven-year stint there, which started with a Facebook ad and ended with a four-hour stakeout in a client’s office; why he decided it was time to move on to a smaller company with a lot left to prove; how he strikes a balance between his natural optimism and the need to grow Hopin as a business; and why the number one priority for him in any business is smart hiring.In this episode, we cover:
Spanish surnames and Javi’s passion for cooking paella (03:55)
What it means to be an “optimist by nature” and rebounding from failure (08:19)
Why Javi prefers to work with companies that haven’t “figured it out yet” (11:40)
The huge deal he closed for Dropbox right after Christmas, by going on a surprise stakeout (19:25)
Working for a bigger purpose, and the challenges of working at Dropbox (22:54)
How Javi knew it was time to move on (27:08)
Working at “Hopin speed” and finding balance when everything feels urgent (34:03)
Self-reflection and what it feels like to be in a skyrocketing startup (42:25)
The importance of focusing on talent during a time of hyper-growth (45:30)
Links:
Connect with JaviLinkedIn

Connect with Joubin
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email: grit@kleinerperkins.com 


Learn more about Kleiner Perkins
President at Confluent, Erica Schultz: Cashing in on Your Currency When Confluent’s President of Field Ops Erica Schultz was 23, she was working at Oracle and cold-emailed the manager of the Argentina office, asking to work for him. This experience would open the door to opportunities in Beunos Aires and Miami, a time in Erica’s life she does not take for granted. As a leader today, she hopes to pass on this sentiment, constantly looking for individuals worth taking a chance on: “As I look around my organization, I think, OK, who’s the undiscovered not-yet-fully-realized talent that we should think about for this role?”In this episode, Erica and Joubin talk about why Buenos Aires, Argentina is the best city in the world; the lessons she learned from her father and what changed for her after he died of a rare form of cancer at age 54; her stints at Oracle, LivePerson, and New Relic; the importance of earning responsibility as you advance in your career; staying both humble and paranoid; and the importance of what Confluent is doing in the ever-changing digital infrastructure business.In this episode, we cover:
The incredible influence of Erica’s namesake, her father, who passed away as her career was taking off (09:28)
“The impact we leave is the impact we have on people” (15:21)
How Erica became the captain of the Dartmouth rowing team after being cut from the swim team (18:03)
Developing leaders from within a high-growth organization, and earning responsibility (31:36)
Why Erica left a CRO role at LivePerson to work for the CRO of New Relic (37:03)
Why she had her team at New Relic read “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown, and loves the story of runner Roger Bannister (41:34)
Being humbled by a changing competitive landscape, and the transformation of the digital infrastructure world (44:17)
Real-time data and why both businesses and consumers increasingly need companies like Confluent (49:19)
What Erica thought when she first met Confluent’s founder CEO Jay Kreps (56:03)
How to transition from operator to executive to board member (59:14)
Links:
Connect with EricaLinkedIn

Connect with Joubin
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email: grit@kleinerperkins.com 


Learn more about Kleiner Perkins
CRO Zoom, Ryan Azus: It’s Not Zoom Fatigue, It’s Work Fatigue Ryan Azus, CRO of Zoom, has been selling all his life, from baseball cards as a kid to ads in the school newspaper to — crucially — books every summer in college. Every year, he and and thousands of other young people would be dispersed around the country to sell books door-to-door as part of an entrepreneurial program called Southwestern Advantage. That experience taught him valuable lessons about his own strengths and weaknesses as a salesperson, the diversity of people’s needs, and the joys of hard-earned time off.In this episode, Ryan and Joubin talk about the silver lining of growing up with divorced parents; what Ryan learned from his epic first job as a book salesman; how he talked his way into a job at WebEx after being screened by HR; the big thing a lot of people on the outside get wrong about working at a successful fast-growing company; joining Zoom in August 2019, right before COVID changed everything; what it feels like when your job is to keep the world connected; and why success is not created in a “sunny meadow.”In this episode, we cover:
The biggest difference between Ryan’s childhood and that of his own kids (04:18)
Why selling books every summer in college was a lucrative, life-changing adventure (10:45)
Where his competitiveness comes from, and being a “student of business” (22:01)
The early days of teleconferencing at WebEx, and how Ryan started working there (27:17)
Building RingCentral from zero to a billion-dollar run rate, and being a “headquarters person” (33:54)
“Falling forward” and the myth of instant success in business (39:00)
Zoom fatigue and virtual backgrounds (44:37)
Keeping up with the explosive growth in demand for Zoom, and the intense pressure of the job (48:23)
The most important traits Ryan looks for when hiring (55:05)
Zoom’s stock price and the “belief barrier” (01:00:05)
Links:
Connect with RyanLinkedIn

Connect with Joubin
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email: grit@kleinerperkins.com 


Learn more about Kleiner Perkins
CCO Instabase, Ozge Ozcan: Rising and Falling - Like a Phoenix Instabase’s Ozge Ozcan believes that many women have been fed a false story about motherhood: That it can be seen as a “decelerator” to one’s career. Instead, she’s found that raising two daughters has made her more competent in the chaotic, fast-paced world of early-stage startups. Through this experience, she’s had to learn how to be an “amazing leader” at home and in the office.In this episode, Ozge and Joubin talk about her experience as an immigrant to the US from Turkey; the surprises she encountered taking her first real job at a then-much smaller MongoDB; how she’s learned to prioritize family over work, or vice versa; the challenges of running a customer success team; and how she has been able to hire more than 60 people in only a year at Instabase.In this episode, we cover:
The dualities of Ozge’s home country, Turkey, and how she learned English (05:12)
Wrestling with guilt in all aspects of her life, and raising two daughters with her husband (09:35)
Understanding your triggers before burnout takes hold, and the dark side of grit (14:48)
Working at MongoDB, “there was so much emphasis” on feeling (22:18) 
Spotting and fixing broken processes in enterprise tech, and when to apply old-school problem-solving (26:15)
A common misconception about how pregnancy and motherhood affect women’s ability to thrive at work (35:03)
What Instabase does and why Ozge decided to join another early-stage company (37:18)
The importance of metrics for customer success (41:00)
Recruiting for CS teams and the non-negotiable skill Ozge looks for: A high tolerance for ambiguity (44:18)
What she says when startup founders ask, “How do I set up a CS team?” (50:01)
Links:
Connect with Ozge
LinkedIn
Email: ozge.ozcan@instabase.com



Connect with Joubin
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email: grit@kleinerperkins.com 


Learn more about Kleiner Perkins
CMO Samsara, Sarah Patterson: What You Do vs. Why It Matters Sarah Patterson, CMO of Samsara, doesn’t believe in keeping your armor up around your coworkers: “You’ve got something else on your mind, it’s going to come through,” she says. While working at Salesforce, she worked with a career coach and discovered that opening up about her personal and professional struggles brought her team closer. And that has also held true in her current role at Samsara, a fast-growing fleet management company that went public in December. In this episode, Sarah and Joubin discuss the silver lining of the pandemic for her family’s cohesion; why catching up on work is a form of recharging; the benefits of journaling, even if it’s in an email thread; what Samsara does for a vital but un-digitized sector of the economy; the scary experience of living in the era of “smoke days”; hiring for sustainable rapid growth; Samsara’s IPO and earning the trust of the whole team; and how Sarah prepared to interview star skiier Lindsey Vonn.In this episode, we cover:
Making deliberate choices about how you spend your time (06:36)
Accepting imperfection and being vulnerable with your colleagues (11:18)
The practice that goes into looking polished onstage (17:17)
The year Sarah left Salesforce for BranchOut, and why she went back (23:15)
The rapid growth of Samsara, and what it does (27:35)
How a mandate for truckers in North America laid the groundwork for Samsara’s business (33:39)
How Sarah thinks about the challenge of hiring, and why “what you do” is not the most important thing (39:32)
“Trial by fire” - earning the trust of workers who were at Samsara before her (42:43)
Is it easier to be an interviewer or an interviewee? (52:55)
Links:
Connect with SarahLinkedIn

Connect with Joubin
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email: grit@kleinerperkins.com 


Learn more about Kleiner Perkins
CRO Calendly, Kate Ahlering: Embracing Leadership - On and Off the Basketball Court Kate Ahlering might be the perfect guest for this podcast. She eventually worked her way up to Chief Sales Officer of Glassdoor, but when she joined in 2013, she helped define the company’s leadership framework as GRIT: Growth, Results, Integrity, and Team. Glassdoor has continued using those values since her departure in 2020, and now as the CRO of Calendly, she is applying a similar framework to another fast-growing enterprise.In this episode, Kate and Joubin discuss her first leadership experience, captaining her college basketball team before ever playing a game; the wild ride of working at Glassdoor when it was doubling every year; the perspective and confidence that comes from working experience; brokering consensus when deciding a company’s values; the increasingly complex use cases for Calendly; and a ridiculous Twitter feud over “Calendly etiquette.”In this episode, we cover:
Kate and Joubin’s past interactions, including a disagreement over San Diego cuisine (03:02)
How being raised by two salespeople and playing basketball at the University of Virginia shaped Kate’s worldview (06:01)
Working at Glassdoor “never felt easy,” but she later realized it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience (14:47)
Her big legacy at Glassdoor, defining its values as GRIT: Growth, Results, Integrity, and Team (20:38)
Building trust with a team in a rapidly-changing environment, and working alongside Indeed — a former competitor now owned by Glassdoor’s parent company (26:16)
Calendly’s interview process and the dangers of offering a thorough plan before you’re inside the company (32:08)
The surprising depths of Calendly’s complexity in enterprise, and why founder Tope Awotona (accidentally) made the business model freemium (36:15)
Kate could have gone almost anywhere after Glassdoor — why she chose Calendly, and what motivated her to achieve? (42:36)
When she’s going to bed every night, what does Kate wish she was spending more time on? (48:14)
Links:
Connect with Kate
LinkedIn
The profile of Kate as a UVA basketball captain


Connect with Joubin
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email: grit@kleinerperkins.com 


Learn more about Kleiner Perkins
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