The Weirdness of Something New
On a cold winter morning (at least that is how I remember it) in January, 2009, I arrived at One Atlanta Plaza for my first day of work at a small start-up called Pardot. They just moved from their old offices on the 24th floor to the penthouse on the 33rd floor. Riding the elevator up with two other employees, I was nervous. I was not sure what I was getting myself into.
Three months removed from being laid off from my graphic design job at Harry Norman during the 2009 credit/housing market crash, I was desperate to find a job. The weekend before being laid off, I had become engaged to my now wife, Kristin. We were to get married nine months later and I had no job and no future outlook of a career. I had some interviews, including a promising one from another start-up in the city, MailChimp, but no offers. Now desperate and not wanting to do door-to-door AT&T sales, I kept looking everywhere, including CraigsList. On CraigsList, I found a posting for a software implementation coordinator. Basically, the company was looking for someone to implement the software they were selling. I submitted my resume and was called for an interview.
During the interview, I was scared to death that I was going to call this company the wrong name. Was it Par-Dough? Par-Dot? I never said the name until they said it to me; I had to make sure I did not screw this up. Two interviews (plus a phone interview) later, including one with the CEO (David Cummings) and COO (Adam Blitzer), I was offered the job. I was excited.
Now that you have the backstory, let’s flash back(forward?) to that ride up the elevator. As we arrived to the 33rd floor, we get out and head into the office. I was greeted by the head of HR and that started the best job of my life. The job I did not expect to still be in today. The job that has given me so much.
Pardot has always been a unique company. To steal from Austin, TX, the motto is ‘Keep Pardot Weird’ and that is the truth. You really can’t describe the culture of Pardot and that is a good thing. When I talk about my job, my office, or the perks, people always ask if it is like working for Google. I always say, “no”. There is just a different vibe, and a good one at that. At the same time you really can’t describe it. We have/had some of the best perks in the world:
- Free Breakfast Monday - Thursday
- Free Lunch on Mondays
- In-House Masseuse
- Free House Cleaning (lost after acquisition)
- Free Car Washes (lost after acquisition)
- Unlimited Vacation (lost after acquisition)
- There was rumors of a company car at one point
These are the things that the company wanted have to make the employees enjoy their job. Why do we need to stress about making sure our house is clean when the company can help us with that? Are you stressed from that last client call? Book a massage for 15 minutes to relive it. Pardot was a second home and made you feel it.
Even after Pardot was acquired (twice), the company did not lose their vibe. Sure we lost some of the perks like house cleaning and vacation, but that is OK. The vibe and culture of the employees is what kept everyone going. The fear that we were just acquired and may lose our jobs or have a complete 180 degree change in lifestyle was not there. This is because we all had each other’s back.
Let’s flash forward to today. 7.5 years later of this awesome company and organization. Pardot is now owned and operated by Salesforce, one of the largest software companies in the world. Through acquisition, it has allowed me to grow a lot in my career. I have moved from working in implementation, to managing our partners, to starting the sales engineering team and growing that worldwide. Salesforce is one of the most innovative companies in the world and having them part of the Pardot product allows for so much.
But look at one part of that last paragraph that I just wrote. 7.5. 7.5 years is a long time in any company. No longer are the days you see people working for the same company their entire life. People move around. People get new jobs. That includes me.
Starting on September 6th, I am moving on from Pardot/Salesforce (my actual last day is August 31st) to a company called MapAnything. I will continue to work in the Sales Engineering space but with less reps and a smaller territory. I also am able to go back to the start-up life somewhat. While MapAnything is much larger than Pardot when I joined, they are still young. Just north of 100 employees, one round of venture funding, and looking to grow quick, I was excited for a new challenge. The challenge is not just a new software, but something completely new.
For the last 7.5 years, I have been implementing, partnering, or selling marketing automation. Marketing automation is hot. It a the future of marketing, no matter what way your funnel faces. If you want to know about lead nurturing or gaining more quality leads, I could lead a lengthy conversation on it. Now I am moving on to maps. Yes, maps. I am getting out of the marketing space. I am helping outside reps have a visual view into where their leads/contacts are. Helping service crews map and track their trucks. If you are at Dreamforce, helping you know when exactly your bus will pick you up from the hotel to get you to the convention. All of this, completely new to me.
Another challenge is starting over. It is not just a challenge, but a fear. I would say that I was pretty comfortable in my previous role(s) at Pardot/Salesforce. I am going into a company where I don’t have any seniority. I don’t have any creditability. I have to learn something brand new. At the same time, this is very exciting. I am up for this challenge. I am ready to take it on.
On September 6th it will be weird. I won’t be walking into the office on the now 30th floor of One Atlanta Plaza. I will be walking into a new office about 15 minutes north. I won’t see those familiar faces who greet me and say ‘hi’ every morning. Some people will say ‘hi’, but they will be new faces. I am ready for the challenge, no matter how weird it may feel.
In conclusion, I want to thank everyone at Pardot and Salesforce. These last 7.5 years have been nothing less than spectacular. The friendships that I have created will always be part of my life. As said to me, this is not goodbye, but see you later. I love you all.