I wonder what it was like to be in Oprah’s 3rd grade class.
Did her classmates and teachers always know she’d become an icon?
More likely, they probably had no idea. They probably just thought she was another normal girl who was in their class.
Have you ever stopped to wonder about the people who surround you today? People who are mostly still in the process of “making it”. What about those who won’t “make it” until after they, and we, are all dead.
Are you working beside someone great today?
Maybe so, maybe not.
No one knows when their peer will be noteworthy to others, to the world, until after they already are.
Or do they?
Is it possible there are signs? Hints? Nudges?
What would it be like to know you’re working alongside someone monumental before they reach their peak?
If you could seize that opportunity, would you?
I firmly believe now is that time for those in sales at HackerRank.
Today I find myself working alongside men and women I know others will write about; in fact, they’re already writing about them.
Just by reading this you’re brushing up against an opportunity for greatness. A chance to be a part of something bigger than yourself. A chance to be part of a compelling story that some will tell and others will wish they could tell.
In order to truly understand this opportunity, you first have to understand how I got here.
My Journey to HackerRank Sales
Two years ago, I was 4 months away from graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly (the best school in the world), and I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do.
Except, I was 99% sure I didn’t want to be an engineer. In fact, sometimes I ask myself how I even got through that degree, but that’s another post.
So I started asking my peers, professors, and friends, “What do you think I’m good at?”
Nearly all of them said, “You should be in sales.”
Ramit Sethi says, “When you hear 1 person say something you can ignore it, but when 10 people say it, you should probably listen.”
The evidence was strong so, just like that, I decided I’d be a salesperson. But what did I want to sell?
That’s when I looked down at my phone and saw I had 167 apps installed. Another easy decision, tech sales it would be.
So, just like that, ambitious and bright eyed, I landed a tech sales job at the biggest and most badass tech company I could find, Oracle.
What 22 year old wouldn’t want to work for the real life Tony Stark?
Within a few weeks of graduating I moved into my relatively small apartment in Silicon Valley with another Cal Poly alum. We laid out our suites and set sail for our cubicles.
Now I knew how to map the dynamics of any complex system as a simple differential equation, and I could solve a thermodynamics problem with my eyes closed, but I had never been formally trained in sales.
SaaS was all very new to me.
Thus, being the tech savvy, scrappy lad I am, I scoured the internet for anything I could get my hands on that would give me an edge.
I found blogs, books, articles, webinars – basically anything that could teach me the craft.
Then I dug even deeper.
A mentor introduced me to Sales Hacker and the underground world of hungry tech sales people who were innovating and formalizing the trade.
I began to wonder, who are these people?
They knew so much, they dropped three letter acronyms like ARR, MQL, and ACV, and everyone’s jaws hung open as they spoke.
They mentioned books which I immediately bought and read. Books likePredictable Revenue by Aaron Ross (who was in the audience), Influence by Robert Cialdini, and The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon.
The most compelling part was they all told these incredible sales war stories. They had seen companies go from nothing to extremely lucrative exits. They had all in one shape or form lived the dream that all of us in that hall wanted.
And all of it was based around sales.
Shortly after, my friend Poya reached out who was killing it at this cool place called HackerRank, and he told me there were open spots to join the party. After one look at the product and the money he was making, I signed on.
Why This Matters to You
When you join a startup there isn’t an 8 week, full-time sales training boot camp like there is at Oracle. You’re supposed to know how to do things, and figure it out if you don’t.
I knew, in addition to our amazing sales enablement trainer and onboarding process, I needed some resources of my own to ramp up well.
I dove head first into the Sales Hacker community and excavated all the amazing sales content I could find.
As I read, and read, and read I started piecing together who actually made up this community. I saw the same names I remembered from the SF conference continually popping up.
I began constructing a mental map of the modern day SaaS sales greats. How they related to one another. What were their philosophies? How could I be like them?
I kept seeing the VC guy who wrote SaaStr on Quora. Then I kept seeing his name alongside all the other names, and it formed a pattern. I learned these people were straight up SaaS ballers.
Suddenly it all clicked, and I remembered I had hear the EchoSign story first hand.
In short, Jason Lemkin hired a VP of Sales, and that VP of Sales doubled their revenue in 90 days.
Who was this VP of Sales?
Brendon hired this guy, Sam Blond, and trained him up at EchoSign.
Sam spoke at the same conference about how he was now the VP of Sales at this company you may have heard of, Zenefits. Where he went from 0 to 80 reps in less than a year.
They were speaking there because they all knew Max, whose hand I had shaken.
I realized this was a type of club. This was a cohort of Silicon Valley greats, who were crushing it in sales. And will keep crushing it. I knew they would one day be in books, and documentaries, and other startup stories.
People like me would wish they knew them, and would want to meet them, and pay thousands of dollars to hear them speak.
Then one of them starting sitting next to me as a consultant.
And today he’s our VP of Sales.
For the last two weeks I’ve had full time, nearly exclusive access to the mind and methods of Brendon Cassidy. He sits about 10 feet from me.
The same Brendon Cassidy who I’ve read a ton about. The same guy who doubled EchoSign’s revenue in 90 days, and basically saved them from going bankrupt.
This heralded guy now advises me.
This is more than enough reason to know joining us in sales right now is the opportunity of a lifetime to learn under the exact right people.
But there’s more.
Our new VP of Talent is one of the greats from the early days of Apple as he was right in the middle of their explosion and growth during the first decade of the millennium.
You might wonder, why are the greats joining HackerRank? These people don’t have to work full time, but when they want to they choose to submit their efforts to things they believe in. They’ve seen it and done it before, which means they can easily recognize when there’s an opportunity to do it again.
Our product is the market creator. We’re 30 on the CNBC disruptor list.
Where Preparation Meets Opportunity
It’s been said that greatness exists where preparation meets opportunity.
A prominent modern tech sales thought leader is now leading us at HackerRank, and we’re looking to scale our small team.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone who wants to build a legacy in sales. We have openings on the SDR and AE teams. We need hungry up and comers who want to learn quickly and print cash.
An interesting observation about Brendon. He gets VP of Sales offers for various startups before I’ve even had my morning coffee. Yet he chose to be here at HackerRank. That should say a lot.
Now I know full well these people are mortal men who put their pants on one leg at a time just like me. However, there certainly are great teachers in life, and not everyone gets to learn from them.
Plato was Socrates prized student, and Aristotle was Plato’s.
America was started by a group of men who hung out all the time, and now everything in the U.S. is named after them. You don’t hear about anyone else because that’s how it works.
Look at any industry or any notable field of expertise. All the experts know each other, they all study each other, they all hang out, and to be their student is an incredible honor.
That’s the exact door that’s open for you right now at HackerRank.
So will you join us and have a great story to tell one day (and a pile of money that you may or may not hold on to for one day), or will you stay where you are?
Some people get to go to a party and say they knew Oprah in 3rd grade. Some people get to go to parties with Oprah and tell war stories of what it was like to work and learn together while they grew their empire.
If you want to be more like the latter go to www.HackerRank.com/careers
This post was originally posted on LinkedIn HERE