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How to sell brake pads

When I first started in sales, I struggled to identify what differentiates good salespeople from great salespeople. Most attribute it to hustle and drive. While that’s partially true, I’ve now realized that there are 4 tenets of success within sales and the “hustle and drive” lead great salespeople to execute on these tenets. This is the SIIP Sales Framework.


I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts recently and for those of you in the network/information security industry, there are a lot of podcasts about security out there. If you search for “security podcasts” on Google you’ll get this:

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And honestly, it’s great to see this industry developing a community and being more widely discussed, however, it can be overwhelming. I know that there’s a lot of great content out there, but I just don’t have enough time in the day to listen to all of these podcasts.

Most of the security-related podcasts available have a fairly standard format. There are one or two co-hosts introducing a current event (recent breach, vulnerability, acquisition etc.) and proceed to discuss every angle of it over the course of a one or two-hour segment. I can handle this on occasion, but there are a couple podcasts that I continuously come back to that have become more guilty pleasures than real, in-depth perspectives. …


Many years ago, I made a decision for my website, alvintai.com, to omit the common ‘www’ subdomain when readers visit the site. This is done fairly easily within Wordpress as a simple 301 redirect. You can see this occurring if you curl my site:

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When I was first starting my blog, I wondered why anyone would use the ‘www’ subdomain. It seemed like extra characters at a time when everyone was desperate to have shorter URLs, social media handles, usernames, etc. The most obvious reason was because it was simply easier to remember, just in case I ever needed to shout it out to someone who would be quickly out of earshot. …


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Scene from Halt and Catch Fire — The relationship between engineer and sales rep

After the dust settled on my last failed startup, I took a good hard look at what I wanted to do next. If you’ve ever been in this situation, this isn’t where you want to be and you’re often looking at a few depressing options. If you look at my career, it’s honestly been like a story with no plot: a smorgasbord of random engineering jobs and startups. The most obvious choice was to go back to what I was previously doing: a mix of engineering and regulatory work for medical device companies. …


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I recently read The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win and it was one of the most insightful books I’ve ever read. It’s about a fictitious company called Parts Unlimited that is struggling to keep up with the competition. In an attempt to make up market share and get the company back on track, Parts Unlimited launches codename, Phoenix Project. It follows the newly promoted VP of Information Technology, Bill Palmer, as he unexpectedly inherits a chaotic IT team and must find a way to fix it before his entire department is outsourced.

I speak to IT executives almost everyday and I typically only see a small subset of what they are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. This book is a humbling look into everything an IT team tackles and how they interact with other departments within their organization. The Phoenix Project touches on several themes but instead of analyzing the Three Ways or the Four Types of Work, I wanted to give an outsiders perspective on what resonated with me. …


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Earlier this month, the news broke about a large hack that occurred at Equifax, one of the “big three” credit reporting agencies. 143 million consumers were affected resulting in personal data being stolen including social security numbers, addresses, birth dates and driver’s license numbers.

According to Equifax, the breach was caused by a vulnerability in a piece code in an open source tool called, “Apache Struts”. The vulnerability was identified by the US Department of Homeland Security in March 2017, however the hack occurred from May 17 to July 30th, when the associated web applications were taken offline by Equifax. …


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Embrace the young entrepreneur inside of you

This blog post is for 18–21 year-olds who are just graduating from college and want to start their own company. I’m going to put a disclaimer for this post to absolve me from any detrimental harm that I may impose on your careers. Do what you feel is right, not what others say is right.

I am more than 10 years out of college and have been a part of 2 companies that I’ve helped start. They both failed in non-spectacular fashions. But I’ve learned a lot. There are obviously many ways to start a company and there isn’t a silver bullet or a secret recipe for success. …


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What’s the risk of jumping out of a plane?

You aren’t rewarded for taking risk. You’re only rewarded for taking risk and succeeding.

If you take risk and fail, you get nothing. You don’t get an “A” for effort, you don’t collect $200 for passing Go. You get nothing. The sacrifices you’ve made mean nothing. No one cares what you’ve been through.

Ben Horowitz’s blog post (also ideas expressed in in his book, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”) about The Struggle (http://www.bhorowitz.com/the_struggle) is heartbreaking.

The Struggle has no mercy….The Struggle is the land of broken promises and crushed dreams. The Struggle is a cold sweat. …


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HELP ME, HELP YOU! — Jerry Maguire

If you’re a startup founder or the first sales hire at a startup, you know just how harsh the market is. Customers think your product is too immature, your brand has no reputation, your company is too young and your team is too unprofessional. The leverage you have in any deal is so minuscule, it’s almost laughable.

Ideally, you could build out a solid team of Sales Development Reps, Sales Engineers and Account Executives to get leads into the pipeline, qualify them and move each potential customer through the sales cycle. But since you’re the only sales person in the company, you’re doing everything. …


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Sales Advice from HBO’s Silicon Valley

Sales, sometimes, gets a bad rap. Many of the quintessential sales-oriented movies often showcase a misleading representation of what it’s like to sell something. Movies like Boiler Room and Glengarry Glen Ross show pushy sales reps who will stop at nothing to make the sale. They’ll ignore customer objections and continuously push their own agenda. It’s often accepted that being a smooth talker will land you that sale. But sales is more about being a smooth listener than a smooth talker. …

About

Alvin Tai

Startups are hard. But fun. But also hard.

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