14: Alex Varel - Radio Hustles, Seven-Figure Deals, and Revolutionizing People Development

Explore Alex Varel's journey from schoolyard entrepreneur to media mogul in Ep. 14 of The Winwire. Discover his unique strategies for seven-figure deals and insights into talent development at Multiverse. A tale of resilience, innovation, and leadership.

Episode Summary

Join us on Episode 14 of The Winwire for an engaging dive into the journey of Alex Varel, where determination and achievement go hand in hand. Alex's path from small beginnings, selling used Nintendo games in school, to securing major deals in Spanish broadcast television, demonstrates a remarkable blend of creativity and business acumen.

In this episode, Alex recounts his journey, marked by innovative strategies that scored him his first major role, through the challenges of high-stakes media sales, to his current role in shaping the future of talent development at Multiverse. He shares the crucial moments and lessons that have shaped his career, offering valuable insights into navigating the complexities of professional growth and business success.

This episode is a deep dive into the themes of perseverance, strategic leadership, and resilience. Listen as Alex Varel provides a candid look at his impressive career, offering both inspiration and pragmatic tips for those aiming to leave their own legacy. Expect a session rich with practical wisdom, entrepreneurial insights, and forward-thinking ideas.

00:00 - Intro

02:50 - Alex's Entrepreneurial Spirit: From School Hallways to Radio Sales

09:00 - Breaking Into Spanish Broadcast Television

11:00 - The Seven-Figure Airline Deal: A Career Milestone

20:00 - Transitioning to Digital and Venture-Backed Companies

22:05 - The Game-Changing MongoDB Deal

32:00 - Leadership Insights: Empathy and Adaptability

35:00 - The Importance of Recruiting, Understanding, and Developing Talent

37:00 - Five Pillars of Focus in Sales Mastery

41:00 - Empathy, Modern Challenges, Adaptability, and Resilience

50:15 - The Move to Multiverse: Addressing Talent Supply Chain Challenges

55:20 - Learning from His Biggest Mentors: Embracing Feedback and Growth

Alex Varel: [00:00:00]So yeah, I start and they put me in a cubicle away from everybody else, and thesame guy that came down that gave me the 50 cents towards my offer that the GMof sales has three phone books, like stacked this high. And he drops 'em on mycubicle desk and he says, hit the phones. I'll fire you as quickly as I hiredyou. Make something happen. And I was like, oh, wow. All right. Game on.

Michael Katz: Thanksfor tuning into The Winwire. Today we have the podcast debut of Alex Varel.Alex and I first met when he was running Americas at Zscaler. And when he leftto take on the chief revenue officer role at Multiverse. I knew it was time tohave him on. We talk about the deals that changed his career, his uniquebackground, breaking into the industry after studying English and theater incollege. And his philosophy is on building high-performing teams in high stakesenvironments. He really brought to life, what it takes to distinguish oneselfand the importance of resilience and adaptability in leadership. Withoutfurther ado, Alex Varel.

Alex, welcome to The Winwire.

Alex Varel: Thank you. Hi Michael. How are you?

Michael Katz: I'mdoing great. I'm doing great. I, uh, I'm excited to talk today.

Alex Varel: I mean, we were connected a bunch of yearsago by Dali over at Zscaler when you were still there. I know. I wanted to pickyour brain back then, and we talked before this podcast even existed, youmentioned you were a black belt in internal win wires. but you know, then forsome reason we started this and it seems like we're the first podcast who'sbeen able to get you on

Well, they, yes. Yeah. No, I don't, I mean, uh, fair point. Italked to Joe [00:01:30] Rogan. I politelydeclined multiple times. I, think I'd mentioned this to you before. I just,I'm, I'm a fan of so many these great people, so many great people that are outthere that I've actually worked with, and then folks that I haven't worked with,but I've heard about. And, um, I, I, you know, appreciate the opportunity tolearn from them and rather than me taking the stage, but, you know, I, uh, Iappreciate the rapport that we've developed, so here we are, and I'm gratefulfor the, for the opportunity.

Michael Katz: Yeah,of course. No, look, you're a trendsetter. You know, you wouldn't just go tothe, the mainstream thing. But, um, but in all seriousness, to your point, I,uh, I do think that's what makes life and, and some of this work reallyfascinating is everyone has something or many things that are interesting toshare based on what they've seen.

And if you don't work with someone directly or you haven't madethem as a friend already, you would never know that. you've obviously had someincredible experiences throughout your career, which there's still plenty ofroom to go.

Um, excited to delve into at least two of them that we talkedabout beforehand. And I know the first one was working in Spanish languagebroadcast television, uh, where you

Alex Varel: we talking about deals?

Michael Katz: closeit. Well, yeah, we'll talk about deals in a second, but I, I think, you know,I, I am curious about that journey.

As far as I know you don't have any Mexican roots personally.Uh, I'd love to hear about, just in general, how you found your career after,you know, childhood, academia, how you kind of got to that place, you know,overall.

Alex Varel: Okay. Okay. All right. Again, I'm gonna,I'll give it to you, but I'm gonna preface this. I, [00:03:00]I, I don't know if it's like, uh, over rotation on humility or impostersyndrome. I'm just fascinated by other people's stories. Um, I certainly haveone, but, um, again, I, there's so much to learn from, from other people, buthere we go.

All right. So, as a kid, um, I was very entrepreneurial. I wasenterprising, I was plotting, I was scheming. It was just in my DNA, it was inmy blood. Um, both grandfathers were, um, uh, business people, entrepreneurs.

And they were really great about including me in theseconversations at dinner tables and just letting me be a fly on the wall. So,um, you know, as a kid I was buying and reselling, used Nintendo games in thehallway, um, of, of my school. I would go, um, to any garage sale and offer towork at a garage sale if I could just be part of the transactions. I mean, I,I, on and on and on and on in high school, I, I worked for a company that didcopies, litigation copies, like physical copies on a Xerox machine to preparetrial lawyers for trials so they can have binders of all the exhibits anddocuments and, and all of that.

It is just in my blood. Um, and so I go to school and I, I havethis phone call with my dad and I let him know that I'm no longer an economicsmajor. Um, are you seated, dad? Yes. I'm seated. I'm gonna be an English majorand he's, yeah. What the hell is going on? What what restaurant are you gonna [00:04:30] work at, when you graduate?

I don't, I don't understand. And, um, and he, you know, I, I, Ithink in so many ways kind of challenged me or put, put a, an additional chipon my shoulder to go out and, um, finish that academic part of my life and thenfigure out how applicable and practical it was in the real world. And when Igot back from college as an English major, um, and a theater minor, um, I was atheater, a Spanish minor for two years, and then I made another phone call andI was like, Hey, Albeit, I'm probably 90% fluent by this point.

I'm gonna go ahead and drop that and I'm gonna, I'm gonna cutover as a theater minor. Um, I, I think he was probably double alarmed, but soI have that Spanish language background. again, just out of curiosity and beinga native Texan, that was something as a kid that was interesting to me. So Istarted taking Spanish lessons as a kid. Um, I love the culture. Mexico, itspeople, it means a lot to me. Um, la clave de mi corazón like it's the key tomy heart.So I get outta school, I'm an English major, I had some Spanishexposure and um, and the first thing that I do when I get out is I start coldcalling into a radio station, a local radio station. it was an all news AMformat radio station, and I called on that radio station because I figured theaudience that was listening to this all news format in Dallas was going [00:06:00] to be a pretty sophisticated audience. AndI figured if I was in front of businesses, then I could compel them that thattype of audience is somebody they would want to advertise to. So I had thisidea that I could go sell for this radio station based on some of thoseassumptions. and I get the interview and I'm telling you this, and I'll get tothe deal, but I wanna hopefully inspire people, um, and let them know what itwas like back in my day when I was walking uphill in the snow both ways toschool. So I get this interview at this radio station and um, my hair is likedown to here. my collar, I, I wore a suit and tie for the first 10 years of mycareer. I. So I go to the interview in, in, in, in a tie and a suit, but mycollar doesn't button. I don't have a shirt that fits me that well. And thesales manager was like, what?

What are you doing here? You know, like your hair's too, you, you're not dressed properly. You can't even button the top button.And I said, I have your programming memorized. Okay. This ties back to theater.I was pretty good at memorizing scripts. I said, I have your programming, meprogramming memorized.

I'm a big fan of your station. I think the all news formatbodes really well for, um, not only the audience, but for businesses as as anadvertising platform. Um, so I can take you from 6:00 AM to midnight, Mondaythrough Sunday, all of your programming. I'll start right now with the morningteam, if you don't mind. And I rattled off all the hosts of each time segmentfor each day. And the guy was like, Who the hell are you? Okay, [00:07:30] you, you know, you can stay in my office.He calls his manager and he said, Hey Bob, get down here. You gotta meet thiskid. Um, so Bob comes down and he was like, what's going on? He was like, Hey,do that thing that you just did, do the whole programming memorize thing.

And so I look up, I'm in that chair, I look up at the guy and Irattle off Monday through Sunday until he stopped me by like Wednesday, theirfull programming lineup. I wanted the job, right? I called him for two weeksstraight three times a day to get that moment in that seat. And the, the guy,um, pulls out. Bob pulls out two quarters from his pocket. He says, open upyour hand. He puts 50 cents in my pocket. He says, this will go towards yourdraw. You're hired. I'm like, sweet. Okay. So I get into the seat of this jobat this local radio station. They put me away from everybody else,

and the same guy that came down that gave me the 50 centstowards my offer that the GM of sales has three phone books, like stacked thisHigh. And he drops 'em on my cubicle desk and he says, hit the phones. I'llfire you as quickly as I hired you. Make something happen. And I was like, oh,wow. All right. Game on. I did that for like five months, six months. I waslike, I'm just gonna go and prove that I can do this.

I can sell these local radio spots. I can do some sponsorshipsaround Texas Rangers to, we hosted the Texas Rangers on that radio station, andI'm, I'm gonna prove that I can do this. I can beat the [00:09:00] plan, I can cover my draw, and they're not gonna fireme and I'm gonna use it as a springboard. And I did that to get into Spanishlanguage television.

I landed a big job, arguably way too early at Univision. Thatwas my first, I would say, kind of real job, right? few months after college, Iget there, um, after the radio station experience, I. I get into Univision 800pound gorilla in the Spanish language media space, growing like crazy as isthe, the population, um, around the Spanish language segment. And I reallyappreciated that opportunity. I'm a national account executive. I'm in downtownDallas. I've got a TV in my office. I have an assistant and I just think Iinterviewed really well, but out kicked my coverage. And I'm in this job andI'm, I'm, uh, represent the network on a national level and have an opportunityto work with advertising agencies. But we commanded 90% plus of the eyeballsin, in the United States. And, um, and it was more order taking than what Ikind of was accustomed to, which was great, but I didn't find it, you know,despite the great training and all that, I didn't find it to be reallychallenging, right? I found myself to get getting kind of bored. So after 18months, um, I get this opportunity with a network out of Mexico that wanted tocome to the United States, [00:10:30] exporttheir content and compete with Univision, like very low single digit audienceshare at best. And they looked at me and said, Hey, look, you can open ourDallas office and, and prove that out, open other offices and like, let's,let's go. You want to compete with Univision and try to, you know, capture amarket. And I said, a thousand percent. This is more built for me. So I'm inthis seat at like 25 in some change. I'm a vp, um, I'm a player coach and I'min this seat with like two, 3% audience share in the Spanish languagetelevision market, a startup of sorts, conglomerate outta Mexico here in theus. And we got to work. And my first seven figure deal was shortly afterstarting. I would stay, I would stay there for five years. So, but like in thefirst year or two, I do my first seven figure deal. It's one of the largestairlines in the world. Okay. Here we we're getting into the deal.


Yeah, and this is basically like entrepreneurship at this pointtoo, 'cause you're kind of growing this thing the ground up. Yeah, for sure.Yeah, it is, it is. Um, and I'm taking some of the training from Univision.I'm, you know, taking some of that experience and everything else and just thatkind of raw hustle grind that I, I feel like, is fairly natural to me andputting that all together in a blender. And I got an opportunity to get infront of one of the largest airlines in the world.[00:12:00]and I got a seat at the table. And so before I had this kind of ultimate seatat the table, um, I, I did a ton of research. I, I just, it was just kind of inmy nature. I, I think being an English major, but I did a ton of research and,


Michael Katz: them

to interrupt, at this point, are you, you know, are you doingresearch on every Fortune 1000 company in America here? Or, you know, how didyou kind of approach this and, and how did this all begin? I.

Alex Varel: Yeah. So I would, I would take the accountsthat were headquartered in my section of the country, let's call it TOLA at thetime. and I would tier them out. We're definitely targeting Fortune 500, Forbes2000, but I would tier them out and try to prioritize them based on, you know,some indicators of propensity to spend to advertise. Most of these companieshave you, you would assume, kind of national advertising budgets and, um, andso they would be likely targets. But I would also look at other quantitativeand qualitative characteristics of the companies to help, help me kind ofprioritize and tier the accounts. Um, and they're all, for the most part,publicly traded companies. So I printed a ton, uh, on all of them and used thatinformation to help me prioritize who was probably falling into an I C P,right? Um, so that I could manage my time and manage my energy towards, towardsthe most likely targets based on my assumptions and qualification. Does thatmake sense?

Michael Katz: Forsure. Yeah. And so [00:13:30] that'd be greatto kind of visualize how that went and how you prepared, and then what, whathappened next.

Alex Varel: Yeah. So I, based on the research, you know,for the airline it's, it's butts in seat, but they also, I had uncovered thismetric that they were looking for individuals who were willing and able to flysix times per year each. That was like the magic number. and so I got into Ithink a lot of things that affected their top line.

A lot of things that affected their bottom line, how theymitigated risk, all of that. And when, you know, I was talking to the agencythat represented them, it was kind of similar to the radio station story. Ijust came with this flood of information that I felt like was a separator forme. You know, it wasn't about me representing this network or this product orthis solution. It was more about I'm maniacally obsessed and focused on thisbrand, this company. And I know how they make money. I know how they losemoney. I know the risk areas that they have in the market and um, and that earnthe right for sure

Interesting. And, and so how did you end up turning thatresearch into insights that they actually hadn't considered? And what was thatlike eureka moment? What did that look like when you actually connected thedots there to butts and seats and what they could do with you?Yeah, so I, I, itwas me just taking a connection between this, this, you know, metric and therewere [00:15:00] other ones, but this, that'sthe one that kind of burnt in in my head. And then when I had, you know,regurgitated that, or presented, you know, that kind of impact, um, of anindividual that would fly six times per year, um, I, you know, I made aconnection that I did have that in my audience and I had that in specific areasof my audience, and here was the data to support that. And therefore, um, youknow, it was, it was gonna be a smart choice to invest And so this company, um,goes and makes a seven figure investment in a network that is just emerging.The United States with like two or 3% audience share, they sponsor every soccergame.

We hosted part of La Liga Mexicana, which is a very popularsoccer league out of Mexico. It's awesome. They sponsored our games of that andsponsored that. We broadcasted every corner kick. So anytime a corner kick andI, you know, had worked with the team to say, can I do this? Can, can we flashtheir logo during every corner kick?

I don't know much about soccer, but that's a pretty fun part ofthe game to watch. And the, the company's like, yeah, we could do that. I waslike, logo and everything. And then the announcer will say that this issponsored by the, yes, we'll do that. I'm like, okay, cool. So I packaged thatin. And then at halftime, during the halftime show, could we revisit the brandand have the logo up there during some portion of the halftime show.

So corner kicks and halftime show and the network is like, yes,we can. What do you think roughly we're gonna get in return. I'm like, it'll beseven figures. [00:16:30] They're like, yes,you can. And I was like, all right, sweet. So went and represented it. Theysigned off on it and it was a great moment.

Michael Katz: Yeah,well look. That theater major came in handy when you were framing up the dramaof what that TV program would look like and what would make an impact . Um,that's how we'll justify it,

Alex Varel: See, yeah, I knew, I knew the whole, I knewthe whole time the combo of all that was gonna work out and I had no idea. Butyeah, it was, it's definitely helpful. I think

Michael Katz: yeah,no, exactly. And obviously closing seven figures, I don't care what it isyou're selling, is a pretty huge moment, has a big impact on your ability, yourunderstanding of what's possible, what you can do. And so how did it feel foryou to kind of close a deal of that size or that importance or in your career?

And are there any lessons that you actually took away from thatexperience that shaped you moving forward?

Alex Varel: yeah, I mean, I, so it was, it was verygratifying. I, I, I felt like I had, you know, done well in the first couple ofyears on commissions and things like that, but this was, this was a biggermoment for sure. And, you know, it's just a bigger payoff that says, Hey, look,if you put in this kind of effort and you really prepare to win, and you becomea student of, you know, um, of, of, of the customers, the prospects, and youtake a diligent, organized approach to your energy, to your time, And separateyourself from everyone else that's in the job. You know, I would say in, in, ina way that is, is powerful and [00:18:00]differentiating, then you can have a big impact. The outputs and the results ofthat can be powerful. Right? so I, I, it just, I, I realized as much, orassumed as much rather here was the realization and, um, it was inspiring andI'm like, okay, I can support my family. And, um, uh, we started a family earlyin my career, and so I had multiple, um, pieces of motivation and I was like,this is, this is something I'm gonna stick with for sure.

Michael Katz: Yeah.And no, I, of course, and I think, you know, to all the folks that you leadtoday, they might be sitting there thinking, Alex is here in his ivory tower.How can he give me feedback? He doesn't know what it's like to be the youngsales rep anymore. And to them I say, look what happened here.

Alex Varel: yeah, there's, there's quite a few, uh,examples of that. And there's also examples of me falling flat on my face. Imean, I got into leadership early in my career, right? I'm a player coach. I'mworking on these bigger deals for sure. Um, but I'm also, at the same time, I'mrecruiting folks. I'm developing folks.

Michael Katz: I'mtrying to execute in the field. I'm making tons of mistakes. So the wins aregreat, but I also have plenty of failures and losses that I just try not torepeat. But once I got into that leadership motion, and, and really that wasjust kind of caused by my natural gravitation towards that opportunity andraising my hand. And I also think that, you know, the companies early in mycareer were like, can you teach what you're doing here? And can you also do themost important job of the leadership role, which is recruit the right people?Absolutely. I [00:19:30] know that probablygave you that taste for the big stage. Of course there was a lot of evolutionand progression to where you are today and a lot of different roles there. Andso just to even fast forward from there, I know that there was another seminaldeal that you kind of thought about later in your career that representedsomething that was really important to you or made a big impact.

would be interested to talk a little bit about what roles youhad seen in between and, and kind of what led you to that next point, um, towhere you were.

Alex Varel: Okay, so if you combine Univision and AztecaAmerica, which is where smaller audience, um, going up against the big, the bigplayers and, and where I did that seven figure deal, the seven years, I'm sevenyears in Spanish language broadcast television. I'm like, that's awesome.That's amazing. But you know, we're rounding the decade hitting 2010 and I'mlike, I've gotta go digital. I really appreciate this experience. Appreciatethe leadership opportunity. I've gotta go digital. So let me find a dot com orsimilar and um, and see if I can cut over. And so at the timewas a top 25 dot com, Superbowl advertiser, LinkedIn and Indeed, or slowly kindof creeping on the scene to disrupt their core product and disrupt the company.

But, that was a really cool experience. I went there as aleader. and it's new for me. It's a new space. The, the folks are from Chicagoor if they know CareerBuilder from the past, like that was an elite salesculture. They were hellbent on training and development [00:21:00] and had had these robust investments in their, theirsales, their sales teams and their talent. And so it was one of those placeswhere, um, you know, I got a ton of like vocabulary against what I waspreviously doing, right? If I was unconsciously competent, or incompetentbefore, now I'm consciously becoming competent to a degree and understandingwhere my strengths and weaknesses are by having, you know, v vocab against themethodology and, and, and all that stuff that, um, was, I guess was effective.

So anyways, I'm there. Um, I do that for three and a halfyears. Great experience. And I'm reflecting on my career and I'm like, I don'thave a problem i, I think in earning and, and, you know, making things happenas a leader, as an IC, I need to go venture backed. Um, I want to, I wanna tryto swing for the fences and go venture backed. So I joined a series A, we wentthrough series C out of New York. Jibe. I've met one of the greatest CEOs,people, uh, still a great friend of mine, Joe Feld, and I'm with him, um, as anearly employee. We're building out Jibe. It would later be acquired. Uh,amazing people. He's awesome. And I, I get a phone call saying, Hey, there'sthis guy named Carlos Delatorre in this company called MongoDB. I don't know ifyou'll get this job, but you should go meet this guy, Carlos. This is arecruiter out of Texas, um, who's awesome. Tony Beshara. Um, he's changed many,many [00:22:30] lives here in Texas and beyond,and he was kind of, he kind of knew how to get at me a little bit. He is like,I don't know if you can get this job, but I think I can broker a meeting. Andso I get to MongoDB. And this story about this deal, is not so much about a biggrandiose seven figure deal. So for the folks that are listening or watching,here's one that, um, I think is, is critical. Not because of its size, but justbecause of, of, um, how impactful it was at for the company and in proving whatit proved. All right, so I'm at MongoDB. I'm a leader at MongoDB. I'm in thefirst line role. Um, I would become second line, but I'm in the first linerole. I came into the team, I had to make some changes nearly immediately, andit's just kind of me in this office and in, in Dallas. Not this one right here,but I'm in an office. And then I've got a brilliant solution architect inAustin who had been with the company, this is early 2015, I think, as acompany. We'll have to check this. It's like 30 or 40 million in revenue. Um,Dev Ittycheria, incredible. Uh, I could go on and on about him. And Carlos. Hecomes in as CEO, you know, in the previous year, within the last 12 months. I'mthere early 2015, right on the heels of Carlos joining. And, um, they've made abunch of changes. It was time to just go to market in an elite, excellent way.And, uh, and I'm just [00:24:00] surrounded bythese amazing people in this world class enablement, first delivery of forcemanagement. All this stuff is kind of happening, but Carlos signs me up forthis number and I've gotta go hit a number. And, um, there's a company outtaSan Antonio, um, mind you, MongoDB for the folks that don't know, that's,that's an open source database. And at this time, in 2015, um, there was verylittle functional difference between the open source version of the databaseand the closed source enterprise version that we were responsible for selling.So you talk about like swinging a weighted bat. Um, it was, it was difficult.It was challenging, but. We didn't care. We felt like for sure this was amassive TAM to go attack. It was ripe for disruption. The legacy incumbentplayers of a tabular SQL type database model. That was old news. Here we arewith a modern approach to, um, to being a data platform and, uh, and we hadrobust enablement, so we were just out to knock down doors in the market.

I get in front of this company in Texas who has a managedservice offering of the open source version of the database. So they're acompetitor, right? Um, the way that it was licensed, they were businesses thatcould form around this open source database and they could wrap services andsecurity and all that good stuff. And there's this mission critical [00:25:30] application, a couple mission criticalapplications that are running. Um, we got a little bit of forensics, um, tounderstand that this, these applications were running on, on, on our database.PG'ed into there, um, and got some meetings. And this is an environment at thatcompany where they certainly could run this application, support thisapplication, and the instances of MongoDB by themselves on their own right.This group could go across the hall and make that happen. Um, but we, uh, wegot him, we we, we got him six figures, right? Not a million, but six figures.And the CEO Dev was like, this is a seminal deal in our history.

Michael Katz: Well, Imean it's fascinating 'cause obviously it's a sensitive deal. It's a sensitivecustomer. They had a team working on it who could lose face if they decide togo with you. Right. So there's, there's politics and I think everyone knowsthere's a lot of politics that go on behind the scenes in anything like this.

Um, you know, there's obviously spending money on something.There's almost kind of a, a sense of admitting defeat a little bit, even thoughit's not the main team doing that. You know? Did you go on site to kind ofbroker that? Were they coming to you? How did you navigate that sensitivityaround those blockers and challenges there?

Alex Varel: Yeah, there, there was, we very much, wewent on site, um, and we needed to do anything and everything that we could tohave like a seat at the table and try to find some sort of advantage. Right. [00:27:00] Um, and, and so I would, you know, Iwould, I would be, I was able to book meetings with the person who wasresponsible for supporting the environment and running, you know, the, theapplication. Um, which again was mission critical to the company. So here I am,kind of Back what's kind of in my DNA, which is, okay, what does this mean tothe business? What is the business trying to solve for? Top line, bottom linerisks, all of that. Okay, cool. Let me find an attachment to, you know, whathappens if, if this application goes down, what happens if there's, you know,some sort of breach or, you know, anything like that? Um, then what does thatdo to the business? And, you know, it's kind of like the fear of loss over theopportunity of gain, right? I'm playing to the amygdala and I've got this greatsolution architect that's with me and, um, there's a bunch of really smartpeople in the room. I have no idea what they're saying as far as the technicaldepth of the features and functions that need to be covered and the criticalcapabilities.

Michael Katz: But I'mI'm learning as we go along and, um, and I'm making sure to continue to attachto the business and that type of positioning, and staying sane, you know, infront of them and hustling and. Yeah, well, I mean, I just have a taste for thedramatic, and I'm thinking in my head, and of course you like to dramatize whatit is that you do. And so I'm out here thinking, you know, you're having secretmeetings inside the facility here that shut off the other team who's actuallyworking on the product.

And, uh, you know, there's like this competitive aspect to itabout the [00:28:30] battlefield out there andvanquishing that foe and talking about it internally. We finally beat them. Webasically just killed them. And so that's what's really funny about picturingthis one, is it really kind of represents a lot of those things, even, eventhough it's a bunch of cubicles.

Alex Varel: right? Yeah, yeah, for sure. I, I felt thatway about it. Um, you know, I was like, this is an incredible proving ground.And, um, and yeah, it mattered to me. It was, it was just, it was massive. Itwas massive. And it wasn't because of the deal size. It was just like provingthat we could, we could win in that type of set of circumstances.

Michael Katz: What,what kinds of, lessons did you, yourself learn here, you know, that you tookinto the future, whether in Mongo or elsewhere, and, and, and what, why wasthat proving ground so important to you working there? Like what did you kindof take from that?

Alex Varel: I, I mean, I didn't know, I didn't knowabout MongoDB. Again, this is like, this is, this is early, this is two and ahalf years prior to the IPO and I didn't know about Carlos and Dev and this,this lineage and this unbelievable legacy and history across all these peoplethat originated back at PTC. You know, down through BladeLogic, BMC, that, thatwhole crew, I mean, I didn't know them right. And um, and so I was not short onconfidence and I come into this environment thinking, you know, I'm hot stuff.And I mean, was, I was, I was, I was humbled, um, whether I showed it or not, Imean, I was surrounded by really elite, um, folks who, [00:30:00]um, you know, were extremely driven like me and I had an opportunity to learnso much. Um, and so, you know, doing deals like this in that environmentsurrounded by those folks, folks, it's super high stakes. 'cause we were notshy that we wanted to build the company in such an excellent elite way that wecould qualify for, you know, raising money on a, on a public market and, youknow, have, have high growth.

Think we, we were, I. McKinsey grow fast or die slow type ofthinkers, right? We wanted to stay above that 60% growth rate, get to a 60%growth rate once we hit north of a hundred million, do that. We were eighttimes more likely to hit a billion dollar run rate based on that study. And wejust all wrapped our arms around this idea of, um, operating in a, in a really,um, you know, elite way.

I use that word a lot, um, and what would come out of it. So itwas nice to be able to contribute. It was nice to be able to say we could wineven in the face of a competitor. and yeah. So it was, it was validating in a,in a number of ways.

Michael Katz: Yeah,well, you talk about that culture or that lineage. Not everyone had theboldness encouraged to sharpen their chops at places like Univision, AztecaAmerica radio stations. Okay. So you have a more unique, unique path there Forsure. And I don't know, I think one thing that is really interesting, hearing alot of these stories, um, there's a really common theme in a lot of these caseswhere you talk about this company's going public in this [00:31:30] company needed to prove itself.

And a lot of the folks we talked to were not at a place intheir career like you are right now or like they were today, where they werethat highest level leader. And I think a lot of people get stuck and think, whydoes this really matter beyond on a personal level? But of course, most, mostpeople like you look back and are just like, to your point, I had anopportunity to contribute.

And actually every single one of those makes a huge difference.So I think that is an interesting takeaway even for me.

Alex Varel: yeah, yeah. I just look, you know, it's ahigh stakes environments, right? Like high stakes environments, very intense.Um, you know, we've gotta be able to prove that we can grow at a, at a certainrate. We know that if we do that, there's, the manifestations of success areprobably gonna be great. Um, and you know, there's just pressure from all sortsof areas, but I've, I've found that, you know, you hear this like, pain plusreflection is growth learning is in the struggle. It it is, it is true. Youknow, there's times where you want to tap out and, um, and, and perhaps forsome that's the right situation. It's all good. I'm not, I'm not judging that.But, um, for, for me, I'm like, I'm gonna stay in this fight. I didn't knowthese folks. Um, I'm I'm gonna take in as much of this as I can and try to growand evolve, um, and see how that, you know, how that works itself out.

And, and it was, it was great. We, we, you know, we IPO'ed Istayed for a year after that and, um, [00:33:00]I, you know, I've got this, this, um, circle of folks that I experienced thatwith and I, I, I can't hold them in higher regard than I do now. It's fantasticexperience.

Michael Katz:Absolutely. Well, I mean on that topic you're talking about the differentthings you learned at various stages of your career, whether it was throughleading or through being led by others. And you and I have kind of talked aboutthis before, that it's really hard to copy and paste, and I think it's probablywhere a lot of people get into trouble.

And you gotta go take the best of each approach. And you know,you've just made a recent move, of course, where I'm sure you're thinking aboutthis on a day-to-day basis on how do I lead here? So how do you kind of distillthe best components and avoid those pitfalls or, or what are the mistakes thatother folks make when they do make them?

And, and then lastly, kind of what are the non-negotiables thatyou do take with you?

Alex Varel: yeah, I think that there is, um, there areexamples of folks that try to imitate or try to copy and paste playbooks likefor like, and um, and they kind of park the situational Um, uh, stuff that'saround them and think that just like-for-like, they can come into a situationand do what they did from a previous company or they kind of fashion themselvesafter some other leader and that style and that intensity, and they try tobring that.

And, um, and, and I, I don't, I don't, I, I would cautionagainst that, right? Um, the situational awareness really matters, really [00:34:30] coming in and understanding yourenvironment internally, externally. Um, you know, it, it, it, it matters. So I,I'm conscious of that. The next job that I would go to was, um, a step up forme.

Um, And in terms of like, you know, title and scope. And thatwas a proving ground for me to go out and build out a business and take thestuff that I had learned across all the crazy industries that I had been, um,uh, as, as, as a, a seller and a sales leader and just, hey, now I've got anopportunity to, to, um, to build something taking those experiences and beinginformed by those. So, but yeah, like for like transfers, I don't think theywork that well. As you mentioned, there are some things that are transferable.Um, and I can get into that if, if you want me to. You want me to?

Michael Katz: No.Would love for you to get into that. And I, I think that right. Everybody,every leader has a few things that they take with them here and there wherepeople start saying, this is where they sound like a broken record. right. You,you gotta repeat something to be annoying about it if it's worth saying once,it's worth saying many times.

So, yeah, would love to understand a little bit about what youdo take with you and what those things are for you that people would probablycomplain about

Alex Varel: Yeah, sure, sure. Yeah. So I, I, uh, I mean,look there, this is, uh, this man needs no further advertisements, but youknow, this, this book has all the answers to the tests.

Michael Katz:Editor's note, Alex is showing the book, the qualified sales leader by JohnMcMahon.

Alex Varel: Um, I was just fortunate to be [00:36:00] surrounded by him and others and got kindof the real life, uh, in the streets version of those teachings. Um, that wasvery informative.

CareerBuilder was very informative. The time during mytelevision days was very informative, right when I was unconsciously makingthings happen. Um, but look, as a leader, the most important thing that you cando, and you'll hear this a lot, is it's who over what, who over what, who areyou surrounding yourself with? Um, so the ability to, to identify and attracttop talent and have plans to assess the strengths and weaknesses of thattalent. And develop against the areas that you can develop and, and retain thattop talent and go out and execute in the field. that, that's it. Recruit,develop, execute. that was, that was really drilled into my head during thetime at MongoDB and it's a thousand percent true.

Who over what team matters. Talent matters. You can have thirdor fourth place product and have the best folks surrounding you who are eagerto grow, who are eager to, to, to learn and earn and get after it and capturean unfair share. And they will, I promise, run circles around the first place,product guaranteed. Um, and I've, I've experienced that before a couple oftimes and it's just fascinating. So as a leader that matters. But there's fivecategories that I, that I, I think are really critical for sellers and it kindof rolls up to sales leaders as well. these are five [00:37:30]pillars of focus of mastery, Mastery of Pipeline Generation. It's the hardestpart of the job, but, um, you've gotta be able to fill the top of the funnel.Okay. There's a lot that falls underneath each of these five pillars, but I'mgonna go through them quickly. Mastery of messaging, really having command overyour message, understanding what matters to the buyer, how you map that to thesales process, how to definitively, you know, separate yourself from comcompetition.

Understand your differentiation. How to attach to big, thebiggest business problems. Trap setting is an incredible skill that falls undermastery of messaging as well. Influencing decision criteria. Um, there'smastery of qualification. Um, MEDDPICC I think is a great methodology forqualification. There are others, but I think that one is, um, is very, verystrong. And then there's mastery of your accounts. So the actual tiering andprioritization of your accounts based on an ICP, and, and having a very smartapproach to that prioritization of time and tiering out your territory, beingable to manage a territory if you're responsible for the Americas, for example.It's, um, it's really powerful to understand the Forbes 2000 cohort, theFortune 500 cohort, and understand where, um, where you have opportunity basedon ICP and then down through the leaders, down through the ICs, prioritizingwhere you're gonna spend your time and the return on that. And then finally,um, mastery of delivering an accurate forecast. You, you get into those fivepillars and the key [00:39:00] competenciesaround those. they're pretty well transferable, I would say.

Michael Katz: Yeah.Well, I can already envision the slide that you created when you came in and,uh, made everyone read ad nauseum about those things. And to be fair, right,like I said, it's, if it's worth saying once, it's worth saying again. And so,um, I can imagine there's, there's plenty to get into. When it gets to those,that's just the highest level.

Alex Varel: Yeah, for sure. There's, there's a lotunderneath them. And like I said, if I, if there's anything that's wisdomthat's coming across here, um, I'm, I'm, I, my credit is to other folks thatI've, I've learned from for sure. Um, I just, I, I, in all seriousness, when Iwould hear this stuff like, um, you know, some I would take and transform andmake it my own.

But when, when I was surrounded by these people, um, I, I wasvery determined to not just memorize, but put into practice. These, these,these kind of gifts of, of knowledge and skills and all that development that,you know, were being offered across these different opportunities in my career.I, I just, what did you say?

I write it down. Um, I've got, you know, discover the libraryof all these things that I could go and use, and I was fortunate to haveleaders who really challenged me when I didn't know what the hell I was talkingabout, to call me out and make sure that the knowledge was truly validated astransfer. The skill was truly transferred to me, and I'm, I'm grateful for thattoo.

Michael Katz: Wellis, is there anything, as you think back two or three decades now, [00:40:30] and you talked about learning from people,is there anything that you were told throughout that you thought that you would

Alex Varel: not three

Michael Katz: Yeah.Fair enough. Is there anything that, uh, you

Alex Varel: Yeah.

Michael Katz: learnedthroughout that, that you were told or that you once believe was true to besuccessful at your job that you are now allergic to?

Right. So you just talked about the things you adopted, but isthere anything that you basically looked at and said, that is not how I want tobe, or, those are not the things I want to do?

Alex Varel: Yeah, so I, I'll tell you this, like the,the most famous CEOs and CROs in the world, um, I don't, I don't know many ofthem. I've studied them as best I can. I've been exposed to some of them. Thankgoodness. None of them are perfect. They're all, as far as I can understand,human, therefore they're fallible. Like, so you gotta give grace, like, youknow, um, everyone talks about this, the tactical empathy, um, down, you know,through, through the ranks of a company as a leader. You got, you have to, to employtactical empathy, and I agree. But just realize that if you've got leadershipabove you, That empathy should go in that direction too.

'cause that person, um, is probably very, very capable. Butthere's fallibility just by law of averages, right? So one of the things thatI'm conscious of, I've been in these very intense, militaristic environments,um, which I'm okay with, I'm okay with. Um, but there, I think there is [00:42:00] some dials and some knobs to turn, uh,with that intensity. Um, what I found is, you know, folks who have anincredible amount of drive, um, probably are already bearing the weight of theworld on their own shoulders, looking at themselves in the mirror, going homesto their family or friends or partners. And, um, probably have the stuff in theback of their head about, you know, wanting to prove that they can do what theycan do, they can provide in the way that they need to provide. And so, youknow, you gotta, you gotta be able to tailor. To folks and understand whythey're doing what they're doing, why, what's the big personal and professionalset of whys that somebody has tap into that, meet them where they are. Andthere there's, um, there's modulating intensity that, I found, you know, I'm,I'm super conscious of that now more so than ever. and understanding whatresonates with this person versus this person and, um, tho those experiencesinform that perspective.

Michael Katz: Well, Iam interested in that realm. It kind of brings up two thoughts as you weretalking there, which is number one. Is there anything you remember inparticular that spurred on that realization, um, of how you, you change

Alex Varel: tell you.

Michael Katz:perspective. Well, and, and then number two, I think one of the, the, thetopics that people often talk about when they talk about the militaristicenvironments and these really hard, um, places where folks have to grind firstis, you know, they gotta earn the opportunity and they gotta get thoselearnings.[00:43:30]

If you are not militaristic and if you put people in adifferent environment and all we can, you know, teach people is what we know,how do you ensure that they get those same experiences still or they get thosesame learnings, even if it's in a different way.

Alex Varel: Well, I, I, I, I think that there's, there'sa couple things here. Like, you know, leadership, leadership style matters. Itdo, it does matter, you know, and, there is a way to gain commitment ratherthan compliance when you really connect with people on their whys. Right? I hadsomebody who worked for me, Mike Earnest, who was just masterful at this.

Michael Katz: And,and you know, I, I think one of the beautiful things about, we didn't talkabout Zscaler, but one of the beautiful things about Zscaler was I. I come inat a pretty high level and then get promoted. so I go from third line toleading the Americas, which would become over half of the, the, the company'sbusiness. But I come into this group, that's reporting into me. They'reextremely talented, um, and they do these things really well, and I was sofortunate to be able to learn from them, you know? and, and I'm not shy aboutdescribing that or admitting that, but, you know, connecting with people on whythey're doing what they're doing. So the reality is, if you're in this, ifyou're in this game of enterprise sales, for example, it's fiercelycompetitive. It's high stakes. It's a professional arena. There are other jobsthat you can do that don't have. You know, the intensity that comes along withthat. I mean, if [00:45:00] you've looked atthese coaches in professional sports, for example, and I do think the sportsanalogies apply extremely well. Well, and it's something.

Alex Varel: a lot.

Michael Katz: Yeah,for sure. And I, this is a topic that recently came up in the media and forthose folks who follow any degree of college or professional football, theywould know who Nick Saban is. And, um, you know, as we're recording thispodcast, there was a game recently where, you know, they were having a closegame and he screamed at a player on the sideline.

And after the game, the player in the press conferencebasically said, yeah, look, he kind of knows how to press the right buttons forme, and I know he cares about me. And so it kind of stirred up this big mediadebate around, does Nick Saban yell at players too much? And is is an old manwho's treating people poorly.

And I think really what kind of came out of it from some of theinterviews that, you know, talking to folks was he actually understands me alot more than your average young coach. And he knows how to dial thosedifferent buttons of specific players. He's not going to do that to someone whohe does not think is going to motivate.

Alex Varel: That's right. So, so Nick has a, um, coachSaban, coach Nick, whatever we call, I don't know him that well. He has thatconnection, he has that intimate understanding. He knows how to meet hisplayers, where they're at. He knows how to tailor it. And, um, and that's, and,and more than anything he caress, he cares personally about them.

And those players know that. So does radical candor, Kim MaloneScott or Nick Saban, or watch Greg Popovich, who had an incredible connection,probably one of the greatest coaches of all time with his folks, [00:46:30] and my goodness, were they intense witheach other? Does that mean that you had the license to go and hijack radicalcandor and, you know, get after people or be like Nick Saban or be like GreggPopovich or be like Kim Malone Scott? Not necessarily, no. Like, you know, um,but understand the, um, the, the methods that are available to you, but morethan anything, caring about people and, um, and being in a position tochallenge them directly for their benefit, for their growth. And having thelicense to do that through your rapport is a really powerful thing. If you'reworking for me or you're working in my org, you're not gonna be in a positionwhere I'm gonna dress you down and embarrass you in front of a group of people.That's just, I've seen that, I've seen it many times. I think there is, uh,there's another way to connect with folks. There's another way to set examplesand to allow people to learn through a struggle, through a difficultexperience. and that's just the kind of things that are, you know, you'vegotta, you gotta be aware of, right? There's just certain places that youdon't, you know, you don't behave in certain ways. And, and, and that's, that'sokay. I'm gonna, one last comment. It's, it is, um, it is a professional, I'mgonna reiterate this.

It's a professional arena doing this. It's high rewards to, youknow, a proportionately high stakes environment. And so you gotta sign up forthat. and I think right now, you know, the ability to be resilient [00:48:00] and to tap into your why and have thatdrive, matters. Because I think we've got a crowd of people that are backingaway from the difficulty, the struggle. And that is where the growth is. And Ithink there's a great population of folks that are coming up right now, breakthrough that difficulty, hang in there, put it all into perspective. becausethere's, there's just so much, development that comes from those, those toughexperiences.

Michael Katz:Absolutely. And look, I guess one thing I'd follow up with here, and we cantalk a little bit about Multiverse, if you just wanna spend a minute on thatbig career move you just made, but related to that, as much as I love a, atasty bit of thought leadership, um, it's always great to get into how doesthis actually work in practice.

And so, you know, you just, moved to lead sales, um, at areally exciting company, Multiverse. You talked about tapping into the whys,you talked about learning about your people. Are there specific ways that youactually go find those things out? Do you have a litany of questions that youask people every time you meet them?

How do you actually go about finding that stuff?

Alex Varel: I, I, I would, I would really like tounderstand how people came up. Like formative years to me is, is a goodstarting place. You know, I, I do it when, when I interview, and I like to justunderstand how, where folks are coming from. Um, and so, That, you know,understanding that I, I think it's just great influence, motivation,information as a [00:49:30] leader that I cangather.

If I understand where folks are coming from and why they'redoing what they're doing, like why are you in this job? You know, what mattersto you? Tell me about, tell me about what steers that. Right. understandingpeople's motivations and their whys is really powerful. And I, I think beingable to go back into childhood years starting there, I do it myself.

I'll describe for people just, you know, so that they'recomfortable. Like, this is what it was like for me with, with my mom, with mydad, with my siblings, and, and, um, and, you know, let them be comfortable andunderstanding my story and then they share theirs. That, that to me is a goodstarting point. so yeah.

Michael Katz: Yeah,and it's hard. You don't have time to spend with every single person, buthopefully you get those high quality interactions and everyone's medal getstested in due time. but just related to that, if you just wanna spend a quickminute, I am curious, you've had a lot of very high powered sales leadershiproles.

You just talked about that. Zscaler obviously an incrediblecompany. that's, that's done extremely well. you're joining an earlier stagecompany multiverse. I'd love to understand, just really in brief, what you'reso excited about there. what's motivating you now to, to make that move?

Alex Varel: Yeah, sure. Um, so again, it's, it's, youknow, uh, there's two publicly traded companies in MongoDB and, and thenZscaler. Um, I, I found those markets to be really interesting. I think themarket opportunity that, that I'm in now is, is, is not, I think, I know it'ssimilar to where I was at Udacity. Udacity was in between MongoDB and Zscaler.

[00:51:00] Um, That was anothersituation where I had an opportunity to meet someone like Dali. I'm doing wellat Udacity. The company's doing well and, um, and I, I, I get this message fromDali and you know that, how, how, how cool was that, that that was life changing?For sure. You know, to go to Zscaler, I come outta Zscaler, you know, ran avery large org, very large business surrounded by incredible people. awesomeexperience. And here I am in a space where, you know, the supply chain fortalent in the United States and abroad is completely broken. It is a mathproblem that is just not solvable. The world, um, has a demand for, um, skillsets across different domains, different industries, that we simply are notproducing enough supply for, right? and then you've got, um, this wave ofautomation and artificial intel intelligence that is, uh, rendering some ofthese human skills, obsolete. So you've got a threat of obsolescence. You'vegot massive skills gaps, right? And then you've got the machines, Skynet, um,Terminator Reference. Look, it's all, it's all happening. So, so what, whatneeds to, um, what needs to happen? Well, we have an opportunity to upskill,re-skill folks and provide, even provide folks their segments of the populationthat don't have the, the access to funds to go to a [00:52:30]university and get a degree. That model is incredibly broken.

I've got a daughter who's 18. It's about to go to college and,um, I, I, I just, I do not understand how these schools think they can commandwhat they're asking for, um, in terms of tuition. And I'm just baffled. I'mlaughing 'cause I went on college tours last week and it's just like, it'sinsanity. Well, my daughter is fortunate because I think I might help fund hergoing to college, right? As long as she can lay out a strong ROI and not majorin underwater basket weaving or English. Like she's good, I'll help her pay forcollege. But that is an extreme luxury. And even then, if you're coming out of,out of four year university right now, how relevant is that experience going tobe? I think it's a powerful experience, but it certainly begs the question. Um,And who qualifies and is able to go and get that type of education and howrelevant is that now to employers? Well, it's not, it's not as relevant as itused to be. And it's not equitable because. There's amazing talent out thereand under underrepresented segments and really difficult environments that theycome up with that don't have access to the university and frankly don't haveaccess and exposure to these corporate opportunities. We solve for, for that,for placing early talent in an apprenticeship model into, um, uh, intocompanies. We upskill and re-skill existing [00:54:00]employees in an apprenticeship model across software engineering tracks, datatracks, business transformation tracks, and, um, we're helping to fix thisbroken supply of, of talent and, and, um, and, you know, skills obsolescence.

That's, that's what we're doing. It's a big market. It's a bigcommercial opportunity. It's the right thing to do. So it's mission-driven, youknow, to go out and affect the world. I care about solving for this problem andmultiverse. Um, has done a phenomenal job and, and I'm excited to contribute tothe next chapter of growth.

Michael Katz: Yeah,it's a worthy mission and you're biting off a pretty big chunk. But, uh, but Ithink those are the most inspiring ones and that inspire people to actuallycome over and, and, and rally around folks like you who, to your point, need togo recruit them. So really, uh, really incredible and super excited to see whathappens there.

I guess just to close out here, we talk a lot about thesecareer defining experiences. You've mentioned some people that have had a bigimpact on you. People are at the core of everything. I know you don't wannaleave anyone out as most people don't, but, um, but who are a few of thoseleaders and mentors that have really impacted your career?

And if you have any stories or, or kind of anecdotes thatreflect one or two of those would be really interesting to hear.

Alex Varel: I will, I'll call out Carlos and, and, um,There. Yeah. It's hard to do this, man, because there's so many men and womenthat, have, have had an impact on me, and I wasn't the most coachable. Thismight be the understatement of the podcast. I wasn't the most [00:55:30] coachable, person as I was coming up. And,uh, you know, my heart goes out to leadership that, um, you know, had me ontheir team, but I cared.

I cared a lot, but, okay. So, uh, I'll just call out Carlos.Carlos, um, uh, absolutely was the right person to come into MongoDB at thattime and that company's, um, uh, uh, stage and, you know, the ambitions for thenext phase of growth go out and capture the market. Um, and, you know, Carlos,um, drove a pace and set an example led from the front around work ethic aroundbeing able to get into the details. About being, you know, up here enough torun programs for the company to scale. So not just build but to scale. If youthink about operational leadership, deal leadership, people leadership, hecould hit all three. And, um, and he called me out. He called me out when Ineeded to be called out. He, right in between the eyes, so to speak whenI needed that. Um, he grabbed me one time, not, not physically he pulls measide and, um, he was like, I'll never forget this. 'cause I was reallypassionate about having SDRs in the field office. I didn't want them in somehub. I wanted SDRs in the field office. I wanted to see the progression, thesuccession be surrounded by AEs. I wanted 'em to see that, [00:57:00] strive towards it, work closely with them.And, um, he, I come outta this meeting, I make my case. And um, and he said,you're like, do you, do you know what locking jaw is? Do you know what lockingjaw is? I said, are you talking about like a, like a dog? He was like, bingo,like a pit bull. When, and he explains to, he's like, when a pit bull goes andbites, they bite and they lock and there's just like, you're gonna need, youknow, um, the jaws of life to be able to separate that. Right? It's like worsethan a vice. He said, you know, you hit a point and you stay on it and, um, andyou're like, you're, you got locking jaw. And I didn't want to hear that, but Ineeded to hear that. Um, and I'll give you one other example of somebody who,who had learned under Carlos. JP Bolen he runs, um, enablement over at Rubrik.He's incredible, incredible leader. And, uh, he was my leader at MongoDB forsome time, and we were going through the intricacies of the databaseterminology, and he could tell that I didn't understand a word that was beingused. This is about, um, Um, provisioning a database and he's going through it.He's on the whiteboard and I'm on the whiteboard and he pauses and he is like,do you know what I mean? Do you know what you mean when you say provision inthe context of a database? And I didn't. [00:58:30]And if he had not done that, it might may seem like a minor thing, but as anexample of a great leader of like staying in that moment confirming that theprinciple, the lesson, the skill was transferred, it landed, and that I couldplay it back. Right. Um, so there's a couple of examples of impactful leaders.

Michael Katz: Yeah,no, and that, to that last point, it's uh, Most people don't want to admit whenthey don't know something and if, it's minor anyways, who really cares. And soI think that lesson is actually really impactful and a really interesting oneto go out on. Um, as we talk about kind of all these different stages oflearning throughout our lives is probably to not be too arrogant to ask thereally dumb questions, um, to ensure we're kind of getting that progressionthroughout.

Alex Varel: Yeah.

Michael Katz: uh, butthank you so much Alex, for your time and this was awesome.

Alex Varel: Michael, thank you. I enjoyed it. A lot offun.

All right, man. Take care.

Michael Katz: Thanksas always for joining us on another episode of The Winwire. We'd appreciate itif you could share it on LinkedIn or Twitter, and rate us, or leave us a reviewon your favorite podcast platform.

Helps others discover the show and join our growing community.

Our contact info is in the show notes, including our showemail. You can see all episodes at, and in your favorite podcastplayer. And don't forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Other Episodes


18: Steve Goldberg - From Salesforce to Salesloft: Lessons from a Career of Closing Transformative Deals

Steve Goldberg is a veteran sales leader who has closed some of the most significant deals in the history of Salesforce and Salesloft - most recently serving as CRO at the latter. Steve takes us behind the scenes of his biggest wins and toughest losses, sharing hard-won lessons on what it takes to succeed in enterprise sales and navigate the Fortune 500. He also opens up about the personal sacrifices he's made along the way and the mentors who have shaped his approach to leadership.


17: Eric Stine, Elemica CEO – Leading Change at Global Giants & Within Oneself

Eric Stine is the CEO of Elemica. Eric shares his transformative journey from aspiring politician to tech industry leader. We talk about a pivotal career moment at SAP reshaped his approach to sales and customer engagement, leading to a groundbreaking deal that redefined industry standards. Eric also reveals his philosophy of "aggressive humility", the power of admitting "I don't know" as a pathway to success, and the routines and tactics that have been key to his growth.