MindStream Analytics Chief Revenue Officer
Pace University - Lubin School of Business BBA, Accounting and Information Systems
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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
the primary driver of my career, Uh, came in several ways. The first was when I was in school. Um, you know, they would give you, uh, uh, studies that would tell you what career that you were suited for. And they told me that I would be best suited as a statistician, and so weren't a lot of great careers being a statistician back then. So I decided accounting was the place that I should end up because it was probably the place where you could earn a living and have something that was someone to being a statistician. But I think the big break came, um, when the computers started going into automate accounting and finance. And so when, uh, when first computer started showing up on the scene and people would use back then it was, you know, before even excel existed. Um, but I was three. Only one who kind of understood computers in the department. And so my big break, if you call it that was the head of I t came over and recruited me out of the accounting department and got me, uh, in the i T department using, uh, you think computers specifically for financial systems

What responsibilities and decisions does one handle in a job like yours? Tell us about weekly work hours, including the time spent on work travel and working from home.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
right now, I think everybody is working from home so that when I first, you know, started out e mean, we're talking, you know, 25 years ago, but we were like rock stars. And, you know, I would be on a plane not only every week, but also, it would be like four countries in a week. You know, I'd be, like, going I would go from the U S. To Canada to Europe to, like, you know, Asia in in a week's time, just bouncing from place to place. Um, now with zoom meeting that doesn't really exist anymore. Um, but, you know, for the most part of my work hours are, um, pretty standard, Uh, because I'm here in Utah and a lot of our customers are on the east Coast. I have to get up a little bit earlier. Thio A comedy. Uh, you know, the financial sectors in New York and to some extent, Europe. Um but other than that, you know, other than waking up early, it's pretty standard. Sort of. I would say 7 to 5my responsibility is, uh, more or less talking to customers, too. Uh, sort of established what their needs goals, time frames are and then sort of aligning our company's deliverables with with meeting those expectations and doing it within their budgets, which is always a challenge.

What are the challenges in a job like yours? What approaches are effective in dealing with these challenges? Discussing examples will help students learn better.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
I think one of one of the biggest challenges that, uh, people face right now is uncertainty. And, um, uncertainty in business can lead to paralysis. Um, meaning not not making any decision at all. I'm fine with people making yes or no decisions. But when people are in a situation where they're not making a decision, that that kind of paralysis can really hurt a business, especially in changing times. So one of the challenges is to work with people to make sure that they are, um uh, given a clear set of expectations, given all the information that they need to make a decision and to a certain extent, kind of moving them along to make a decision and not, you know, put things off or, um, e don't know, create create a sense of urgency, right? You know, not not like a sense of urgency that this has to be done yesterday, but create a sense of urgency that you you need this to move forward and let's let's go. So what? What are the what it agrees to get people to make those decisions is, uh, to work not only with one on one situation, but work with other stakeholders within the organization. We, we call it organization American, but when I'm interfacing with just one person, that person has control over the entire dialogue. But by bringing other people in to have influence, you can very often create that sort of engagement that allows you to have um, or collaborative environment to make decisions. Too many people is also a trap, because if you get too many people involved and it becomes group, think and uh, sort of analysis, paralysis and paralysis is the thing we're trying to avoid in the first place. So so what? One of the most effective things is finding the right stakeholders bring to the table to get a collaborative decision so that you could move forward without going through far in any one direction.

What tools (software programs, frameworks, models, algorithms, languages) are typically used in a role like yours?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
Yeah, um, so very often, as chief revenue officer way have to use some sort of CRM. So if you're familiar with your M that, like you might have heard of salesforce dot com or hot spot or there's there's a dozen SoHo. There's a bunch of them out here, But in addition to that, we have to use a marketing engine. Aziz. Well, so very often, a marketing and engine could be just an email service. Um, it could involve outbound calling, like what they call dialing for dollars. Um, but also, uh, it can involve your website development to there's content management systems that let you, um, deploy article, deploy the landing pages. And and for Webinars, whose zoom meeting, which already seems to be on zoom meeting, we say eso we also use zoom is a powerful tool to get out in front of people. A swell a spur, other tools. Let me think, Um, part of our product is, uh, using what's known as predictive analytics. So, um, by bringing in predictive analytics into our process, uh, the algorithm, the algorithms that it produces very often helps us work smarter, not harder, right. By predicting what customers are going to buy and what people are going to respond to, what offering We can augment what we do to make ourselves more effective, right and augment those other sort of baseline tools that I talked about earlier. What?

What are the job titles of people who someone in your role routinely works with, within and outside of the organization? What approaches are effective in working with them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
big answer to question. So most of people who work for me are at the first level, sales people right on bond. Their job is not only to find new customers but work with the existing customers and in account management role to make sure they're happy. And everything's going well, right, because one of the one of the things that people will take away from businesses is it's easier to sell to a customer that you already have versus find somebody new, right? It's easier to get somebody who already loves you to spend more money with you than it is to find somebody who doesn't know you. And you're just knocking on their door for the first time. So account management is a very important part of your role. Um, in addition, we have business development, uh, what's known as a BDR, a business development, and they kind of function as an inside sales person. And they're the ones who are taking people who are enquiring about our product or service and kind of nurturing them to get them along so that they know more about us is the company. They know more about the products that we're offering its's very truly a nurturing role, almost an education process. And then you think about it. It's different than the salesperson. Somebody who's in that role is almost like an educator and not necessarily being pushy with the customer and and trying to sell them something. It's more somebody who's skills that is, to get them to understand something rather than somebody who was trying to get them to buy something. Obviously, I worked with the marketing department. That's very important is t get those people in the door so that the educator can speak to them. Aan den outside of the organization we work with our partner organization to very often have similar, um, people in similar roles that align with ours. So my inside sales person might be working with the inside sales person that say Oracle, um, or one stream stock, which is another one of our partners. So very often the people within my organization will align with their counterparts at our partner organizations who are in the same roles

How would you describe your management style? How has it evolved over the years? Can you tell about experiences or books that influenced your management style?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
I was Mawr aggressive and less patient with people. And I think, um, uh huh, there's there's a certain amount of when you're in a sort of start up environment. There's a mentality that everything has to be done yesterday. And so, uh, that was reflected in a degree of impatience that I had for people who weren't, you know, making things happen as quickly as I wanted them. Over time, I've learned to become more patient and more strategic, and so bye bye, focusing people's efforts on what they need to strategically be doing instead of just yelling at everybody. We're not getting everything done yesterday. I think it's helped me become a better manager. But it's also help for happier people because I'm not yelling at the moment in time, right? So it's important not to be know that while you're not, um, so some of the experience that that have had, um in the past has been, um, to transition our people to a more collaborative work for and how that looks is for for me to not tell people how to do their jobs, but to tell people what their expectations and goals are and have them find their own way there, right? There's no right way to do anything. And so, by telling people that, you know, here's what we're trying to achieve and letting them find their way to that goal is very, very effective in in both innovation for the company. Because sometimes the way I do things might not be the way you want to do some things. And also, um, there's there's a degree of flexibility being afforded to a person. So their job satisfaction is greater in knowing that they have have been able to achieve those goals themselves without a lot of hand holding. And we're here to help, right? That's how I start all my calls with my team. What do you need from me to food? Right. But at the end of the day, there's, um there's a certain beauty of letting people be empowered and self sufficient. Um, as for books, I I have to say I've read a lot of books over the years, but the when the biggest books that have made an influence in my life have been sort of around the lean methodology and I made When I was younger, I made a lot of mistakes with the what you would call if you build it, they would come, um, sort of mentality. You know, I if I needed a data center, I would go out and spend a million dollars building a data center, thinking that there were a whole bunch of customers that we're gonna come and use it one day. And when those customers materialized, I had to spend a million dollars for no reason. Right? So, you know, reading these lean, startup type of books and there's a whole bunch of them out there helps you realize that you can go to market in a very, very tight, lean methodology and and still make your customers happy. Still deliver everything your customers want to need. But you don't have thio boil the ocean in the day, so to speak, but not

How do you manage conflicts within and across teams? How do you promote trust, openness and a healthy work culture? Sharing stories will greatly help.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
and, um, we, we we kinda have have come Teoh a place where everybody is being worked harder and environments or more stressful than ever. But at the same time, we're also trying toe promote this idea of corporate peace and unity. Um and so I think it's important for everybody to understand that conflict is inherent in everything we dio in life and eso. You have to learn to embrace it in a positive method. You can't let it be toxic. You can't let it, um, take hold of your company. But conflict resolution is a means to an end to overcome problems within your organization. Again, it goes back to that analysis paralysis If you just let problems fester and not be addressed, that's almost as bad as having people yelling, screaming each other and always. So you have to promote a method for people to raise issues and have these things aired in an open and transparent environment and have them feel like a they're being listened thio and be that their input is valued. Um, and you know, we How do we do that? Sometimes it's just, um, informal meetings. I'm having the ability to say um, let's have a meeting about this sometimes when when you try to handle everything from Instant Messenger or through email, it doesn't necessarily get the attention that it needs or that one party in the equation wants it to happen. So, you know, I'm not suggesting you have meetings 24 hours a day, but I am suggesting that if something, if you see somebody getting emotional and and somebody is like digging in their heels about something, that is when it's time to call that meeting and get it resolved. And one really interesting thing is, I know again we're doing everything virtually now. But very often people will say and do things on email or on a chat box that they would never say to a person's faith. And by getting them face to face, it tends to dispel the situation and calm things down. I mean, anybody is not social media these days have seen these, like post get completely out of control, and you would never, ever say these things to a person face. So using face to face conversation as a tool to resolve conflict, it is very, very powerful for you.

How can one get better recognition of work from one's boss and higher management? What mistakes should one avoid? Stories or examples will be quite helpful.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
he is good, right? And there there's, Ah, there is a double edged sword to peer to peer evaluation, right? So, um, sometimes when you do 360 degree reviews top up on down pure reviews, it can end up being a popularity contest. And you don't want the most popular person who's not rubbing anybody the wrong way to get all the five star reviews, but the person with trying to move their agenda forward, getting all the one star reviews because, sir, difficult to work with, right? So you don't want that sort of. They call it off office politics, right? The person who is the most popular gets the political capital and the person who is trying to get the job done, you know, doesn't but to a certain degree, having those 3 60 reviews incorporate a feedback group into the organization, does put things out in the open and doesn't make things transparent. And it does give people, um, the ability to feel like they have a void and that they are being listened to. So I think that works out really well where where this comes back to recognition is if I tell you as your manager that you're doing a great job. That means something to you. You're going to take that and and, you know, smile or feel valued. But if your coworkers dio right and it's not just coming from me, it's coming from the other people in your organization that you've done a great job. That's gonna mean 10 times as much to you at the end of the day. And so there are tracks with peer to peer record peer to peer evaluation. But there's also great bonuses for you, where you're able to reward your place who are actually doing something. Um, I'm trying to think of a good example for you, but I think at the end of the day, um, it really comes down to if you're able to single out somebody for the job well done. It's important that everybody knows about it and not just be the manager to the employees. It should be. It should be company or departmental recognition. The work No

What indicators are used to track performance in a job like yours? Think of the indicators such as key performance indicators (KPIs), objectives & key results (OKRs), or so on.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
there. There's, uh there's lots of different things that I have to track, right? Um, some of them, you know, from from a marketing perspective, it's customer acquisition Cost. Um, from a, uh, delivery standpoint, it's churn right on on. Happy customers will leave you and go elsewhere. Sojourn is very important. Um, long term value, right? Or lifetime values. And people look at it ltv different. They define it differently. But, um, you know, sometimes a customer will come on their door and sort of try before you buy, right? I just want to do a small project with you just to test you out. And but very often, if they're happy with you, that that can increase exponentially. You know, we've had some projects that started in with a very small dollar amount and then grew substantially over time. Um, other Campion's, I think you know, we we track ourselves people by their quota. We look at our inside sales people by what's nos que eso es que eso is qualified sales opportunity. Meaning, you know, they've talked to the customer. The customer knows what they're buying through the education process, and then, you know they're ready to talk to our sales personnel on go down that cycle. Um, And then, uh, you know, on the marketing side, we look a like some rudimentary sort of things, like website visit and, um, clicks on emails and stuff like that. But that's a trap. So I will, um I will caution everybody that vanity metrics are no substitution for performance. So you can say, Look at all the hits on my website this month, you know, way doubled up from last month. But if that doesn't translate to twice as many customers, then you're just getting more hits on your website. Right? So vanity metrics are a trap, and you should focus on the metrics that are changing your business to be either larger in terms of doubts or more profitable. But what? Yeah.

What skills and qualities do you look for while hiring? What kind of questions do you typically ask from candidates?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
Essentially, we we look for people who are self starters, right, going back to what I said earlier about. We give people goals and we don't tell them how to get there. You have to be a self starter to, uh, performing that sort of role. You have to be self driven. You have to be innovative in your thinking. You have to be able to tackle problems not only on your own, but being able to bring in the right people to help you solve those problems. And that's very, very important to me throughout my career to find people that that are self starters, um, technical expertise is important. Um, obviously, when your software company being technical is very important. But we often find that customers, um, don't understand the underlying technology or they don't care. They just want a solution. So having a good ability to communicate, being sort of an educator, being some use patient and can, um, split the gap between what the technology does with what the technology is gonna offer the customer in terms of results, that's an important skill to it. It really comes down to communications and being able to talk in a very matter of fact, without a lot of acronyms and technology speak. Um, what kind of questions do I typically ask my candidates for? Ah, lot of people. I asked them where they wanna be in five years. I know that's a standard question, and a lot of people asked, but it really translates to weird where people want to see themselves lost you for a second. It translates where people want to see their career goals. You don't You don't necessarily want to hire somebody for what they're going to do for you today. You wanna hire somebody for what they're going to grow into, you know, down the road. And, um, you know very often that those things match up. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes somebody wants to just join us for a couple of years, get the experience and then move on. And we can accept that too, right? That's just, you know, if if we're a place to come for your career or if we're apart that you come for a couple of years, that's okay, too. We're fully understanding of that back. No, that's sure

Can you discuss career accomplishment(s) that you feel good about? Please discuss the problem context, your solution, and the impact you made.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
the last 20 years, and ah, lot of them had our hands on them. You know, it's, um you know, before there was the cloud, Um, there was this concept called on demand, right? And we really pioneered. Um, you know, the concept of taking on premise software and moving it to sort of an on demand format. And now you know, everybody is in the cloud, But, you know, in that sort of transitional period between, the two were really instrumental in driving the ball forward on that. And I mean, I must have done something right, because I was able to retire at 42 right? So, you know, there's there's a pretty good, you know, feeling in in seeing your vision come true fruition and make a difference in your customers lies. Um, the other thing that I think you know is probably I'm a big, uh, driver of of success is, uh, yeah, accolades from third parties, and this is sort of hard to do as an individual, but it comes from the recognition standpoint. So, you know, if your company is receiving awards from outside sources, like in in May, my stream analytic was was made the top 10 list from CEO magazine, right? And you know that outside recognition is huge, right? It validates everything you're doing and trying to dio. But like several weeks later, Enterprise World like came in and gave us an award. We didn't apply for anything. They just enterprise World came in and said, You're one of the top three Oracle providers in the world. You know, we have we there cleanse of thousands of Oracle providers and, like for enterprise world, to comments that you guys are our top three recommended is huge. And so that sort of outside validation, It's not me. It's the entire company that's getting that recognition. But at the end of the day, do I feel good about that? Absolutely. Because it means we're doing something right. And it means outside people are seeing doing up yeah, right. Ah, so from it from a

What is your investment philosophy? What type of founding team, industry domains, business models, and stages do you invest in?

Based on experience at: Principal, Lighthouse Investments LLC
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
deep in the private equity space. I've got about 80 companies in my portfolio right now, so that's that's a lot of companies toe sort of oversee. Um, investment philosophy is really two factors. One is with startups. Very often, the team is Mawr important than the idea. Right? It goes. There's an old adage you back to jockey and not the horse. So, you know, I want to see a really, really well constructed team no matter what they're doing. And they could be selling. You know, they could be selling pens like this, or they could be selling software to the Enterprise. But I want to see the people who were doing it, you know? No, their space. Know what they're talking about? No, no, the pen business, inside and out on. Be passionate about it, right? That's really, really what it comes down to. It's It doesn't matter what industry they're in. If your passion about changing that industry and and being the winner, that's what I love to say when it comes to sort of the other equations around business models and what stage the company's in, um, business models. Obviously, everybody's leaning towards recurring revenue right. You can't. You can't buy a razor blade right now without somebody wanting to get you on a subscription to get the razor blades in the mail, Every single one, right? And it's all about, you know, recurring revenues prescription. So that's where that's where a lot in the investment evaluations are going right now. But as for stage, you know, I very often get involved with early early states like people are in the garage, you know, two guys in a dog and they're they're just kind of iterating, you know, right from scratch. Some of this stuff is on post it notes and just starting out. But, um, I'll invest all the way up to about a Series B. Um, so, So pre c c Siri's a serious be and I'll kind of stopped there. Usually by the time somebody is in a serious be there often running and they don't, they don't need my help anymore. They got it pretty much dialed in right back. What? Like uh huh, I think

What information, statistics, or slide deck do you like to see in a founders' first email?

Based on experience at: Principal, Lighthouse Investments LLC
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
for entrepreneurs cell huge databases about investors and groups that you can pitch to venture capital firms, angel groups so on and so forth. A mistake that a lot of people make early, early, early on is to spray and pray. If I send this to 10,000 people, then you know one person is going to respond and make all my dreams come true. And the reality is that you're much, much more likely to be successful if you approach it strategically and pick out the people that you would consider your wish list, Who do I, which would invest in my company not like here's 10,000 people, One of them, you know, anybody will do. Pick the person that you really think would be ideally suited to not only investing in you but helping you as well. And so what would I like to see in the first female I'd like to see Hi. My name is whatever. And I'm working on this project with my you know, with my team to do this, whatever this is. And I think that you would be a good resource for me. I'd like to talk to you more about it. And so if you think about it, it's an invitation to just sit down and talk. There's no pitch that there's no ask. There's no anything. Let me tell you about what I'm doing. Because to me that a shows that passion that I was talking about before you know, that willingness to involve you in the process. You know, somebody who is looking at me and mawr than just a check? Uh huh. Right. If I'm just the check, then you could get money from anywhere. Uh, so the I think the biggest, um

How can founders reduce the risk of product-market fit? What are the common mistakes that founders make and how can they avoid those?

Based on experience at: Principal, Lighthouse Investments LLC
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
founders of visionaries, and they're very passionate about what they're doing. But the reality is very often things iterate, you know, So they talk about the dreaded pivot. Um, but at the end of the day, you end up with a situation where, um you have to look at the feedback loop that you're getting from your customers and be able to generate on that Sometimes product market fit can be an issue of price, right. You could have the right product. You can have the right market, but you have the wrong price or you have the wrong business model. And so you have a whole number of different levers available to you to twist and turn in order to figure out how your product is going to to be accepted. And you have to. If your dogmatic and idealistic you're not going to be willing to open your eyes are two different ways of kind of flipping that Cuba runner. And so you're able to adapt your things and very important, the scientific method. A B testing, right? I tried this. It doesn't work. Let's move on to this. I tried this. It works. Let's double down on that so being able to integrate, move quickly and find not only product and market but also priced and business model are huge. And the people who get the common mistake is the people who get bogged down in This is the way I originally envisioned it working. And so I'm going to stick to that well, very often. That road is not Ah, the road has got some speed bumps and potholes, and there's probably some twists and turns in there as well, but ah, okay.

What responsibilities and decisions does one handle in a job like yours? What are the challenges? What strategies are effective in dealing with these challenges?

Based on experience at: Chief Executive Officer, Cantilever.AI
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Sep 10 2020
so as as a CEO Now, Now I'm dealing with more than just sales. Now I'm combining sales with the operations of the company. So I have responsibility not only to bring customers in the door, but I'm responsible that they they're going to be delivered everything that they were promised from a software development standpoint. And lastly, um, from a customer success standpoint, whether it be product support or implementation or or on boarding or if you want to call it, you know, when you're the CEO, you're responsible for the entire package. Not just, you know, C Roo is bringing customers in the door, but a CEO, you're responsible for getting those customers and making sure they're successful. In addition, you get to kind of do the stuff I don't like to dio, which is all the legal stuff. I don't really like doing the legal stuff and all the accounting stuff because, as I mentioned earlier, I used to be an accountant. Now I'm just going to hate it. So So you're in charge of of legal finance. Human resource is, and then all the other stuff that was on board is well, so challenges instead of being a master of one trade, the CEO really has to be the jack of all trades and be ableto deal with all these moving parts at the same time. Ah. Okay. Well, this kind of goes to what I said before, right. So, uh