The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 3 months ago

Ep 247: Every Success Story Includes Luck w/ Brandon Gracey

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Every Success Story Includes Luck w/ Brandon Gracey

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the pavilion podcast. I'm your host, Brandon Barton. You are listening to is this a good time? The shore? I put pavilion members on the hot seat for fifteen minutes. We hear their incredible stories. Shows around on Thursday's hit. Subscribe you while not miss hearing from our experts. Today our guest is Brandon Gracie. He's the head of revenue analyst, amongst other things, consulting and so forth, and we talked about how every story of success has luck involved. This episode is brought to you by Clarie. Drip, drip, drip. That is sound of revenue leaking from Your Business, and it's your CEOS worst night man. Why? In tough economic times, every drip of revenue acounts revenue leak, represents money you've earned that is somehow slipping through the cracks. Luckily, our friends and Clari have a purpose built revenue platform designed to help you stop revenue leak and drive revenue precision through the framework of Revenue Collaboration and governance. To learn more, visit CLARY DOT com. Slash thrive. All right, let's do this episode one twenty, but twenty is this a good time? Alright, everyone, so honored to be here with Brandon Grayzie. Brandon has done a ton of stuff. I know him as a consultant that advise. Well, principal gaslight solutions, Brandon. What else do you do in these days, whatever titles you hold in that's a by the way, gaslight is the most unfortunate named business in the history of business names and, like I've been called out multiple times, I have outrageously clever like way to figuring out what I wanted to call my consulting business. Um. And it's like it's outrageously convoluted. It's like from a scene in mad menace, the name of the bar where my favorite episodes line happens. It's like it's so over the top of the way I got there and and then, like I named it, follow all the paperwork, it comes back and then the election happens in gaslight becomes like the Zeitgeist term of the year in the worst possible way. Great,...

...you can always change it, but I love it. Man, look all me. No, we're gonna jump right in. Tell us about you know what do you to get dive into what you're currently up to. I mean I love. How many you know, different projects you work on, Um, and then, like you know, after telling us a little bit about the president, jumped to the past. Give us all the you know, the Spiel on on the early days. I know you've done a ton in sales and sales leadership. So, yeah, I've been over the last year plus primarily doing consulting work. I've been working the last handful of months on on a company called Alice, working as head of commercial, head of revenue. Uh, we we bring tax benefits to hourly workers. Is Sort of like the pie in the sky way of describing it. But people like us, people like people who are listening to this like generally take advantage of tax loopholes and tax advantages just sort of commonplace and hourly workers, people who work in restaurants and hospitality and retail generally don't have the ability to take advantage of those quite as easily, and we make technology that pays attention to their spending habits in real time and give some tax reductions in real time. So that's that's what I've been doing since March, March of this year, April this year, Um, and it's really exciting. It's an exciting time because there's a lot of Um, there's a lot of like a tailwind that we're working with, which is really exciting from a legislative standpoint for the stuff that we put out, and it's also, you mentioned sort of what I've done in the past. I've worked in E commerce, I've worked in insurance tech, I've worked in extended reality, you know, like the sort of the pie in the sky mission of our business is to address increment qualities and it's it's nice to be working in something that truly truly matters. Yeah, that actually helps people. What? What? What was that? Reality? Extension of the reality? What is that? Extended reality is just sort of like all of the fill in the blank ours right, like v R, a R. It's like it's it's catch all four of them. Um, I was...

I was C R O for a company that's not part of autodesk. That was it's virtual reality for construction tech and it's doing something like very basically taking cat files and rendering them in Vr so you can walk the files instead of just looking at got it? Okay, because I'M gonna mark that down as one of the few in my the annals of Brandon Barton. That might be the full name of it, right, like extended reality, the Brandon Barton's one. I've never heard that. Uh. And then, of course you know, Um, you know, you obviously spent a lot of time at handshake. Um, you were a couple of different positions there, but you came in as a VP. Says, what stage were they in when you came in as a VP? Just post seed? Um, uh, we yeah, we had just raised our seed round and the charge there was figure it out, you know, like figure out what our what our repeatable motion is. Um, I saw and missed a bunch of times and made all the mistakes that, for time, heads of sales make, you know, higher a big team, because we've got one person productive. All we have to do is, you know, yeah, let's just take what's working in inbound entire like a bunch of mid market sellers will start selling to the enterprise. We're gonna go upmarket. Everybody will just call down, everything will work out fine. Obviously, that went predictably, and so you know, I was there as we sort of navigated, as we as a business navigated. You know, who's actually our I C P? What problems are we actually solving. How can we quantify and assign our live stories to those, uh, to those problems? Because we figured out all of that Um and who we shouldn't sell to, which for us was really, really important. And this time went on, we found our segment and we were selling in B Two b commerce, so not you and me buying stuff online, but like the shoe store buying their shoes that are gonna go on the shelf from from the suppliers. And we were kind of a bunch of years behind. Uh. You know, B two B tends to be. Any Commerce tends to be a handful of years behind B two C. But it was excited,...

Um, and we ended up going for a while toe to toe with shopify. And then, Um, shopify acquires. That's great, uh. And and and you know, was it a I mean, did you stick a lot around and shopify for a while? I didn't. You did not. So I'm going to ask a little bit about like the transition into a company that you that acquired. You. Obviously shopify was bigger than handshake at the time. So they are swallowing you a little bit bigger. We were tens of people and they were, I think, ten thou yeah, yeah, cool. Well, look, I mean I always talk about hard work and luck being being the recipe for forgetting to where you are. I wonder, you know, in your in your time, if there's any kind of stories of luck that have gotten or propelled you right along the way? Yeah, I think I like tongue in cheek. You know I when I thought about this question I just said, well, I'm just pure luck. I tend to think there's a lot of truth to that. You know, to be Weich. Isn't to take away from from any hard work that I may or may not have done, but you know, I as a consultant, as an advisor, one of the things I'll often say is if you're going to hit your goals, it's going to be because you've executed particularly spent a lot of time early stage. So it's like, if you're going to hit your goals, it's going to because you've come up with the right plan, you've executed it very, very well and you caught some vein of luck that you couldn't have possibly anticipated along the way. And so any any of the stories that I think are success stories in my past are just sort of draped in luck, which isn't to say we weren't doing the right things and don't have the right story and the right execution. It's just like it doesn't matter if you don't also get lucky, particularly early stage, where where I tend to spend a lot of time. So it's kind of hard to pinpoint a single one. I love. I think you've truly articulated why I've asked that question Ad and twenty times, because I want people to hear that. I want people to to be sitting where they are and realized that, UM, everybody...

...who is successful has gotten lucky in some sense. Um and and you know, and that's that. That's not again, like you said, not to take away from anyw and hard work. I've had a couple, very few, like less than two percent of people, come on the show and be like there's no such thing as luck and and I'm I'm nice about it, I don't kick him out, but Um, but I don't believe that. I I believe that there is something that happens. I mean, look at how many companies were successful during the pandemic. Who planned for a global pandemic? Screw your now. You were successful because of Goddamn luck. That's happened, and so I I you articulated. That's so well, it's there's always a piece of luck that makes you hit your numbers, which gets the promotion, which gets you to the next level, which gets you the new new role at a higher VP level. I love that and and yeah, that's great, man. Well, look, on a tactical level, I I kind of want to throw it out to you to say, to say talk about a tactic. I say a marketing tact that you love. But I also kind of want you to spiff on the early stage mistakes. You mentioned some that you made. You probably see a thousand of them through the consulting business. Like there's eventually there's a lot of VPS directors of sales that are listening who are in that seed to series a stage, like what are they getting wrong? So so if you had something else prepared, go with it and then we'll ask that after or just jump with like what are people doing wrong at the seed in series age stage? Yeah, let's go right there. I think. I think the answers like somewhat timely and somewhat time lists, at least in my in my view, which is the thing that oftentimes is going wrong is isn't one specific thing. It's just taking on too much, and particularly seed, series A, even series B stage businesses. Right, it's well, we've gotta HAVE A we've got to have a direct strategy. So we definitely need to have, you know, bdrs and SDRs. Let's get both of them, because some of them are going to do this side of the business and some of them are going to go after this side of the business. Well, we probably need an SMB motion. But we gotta go enterprise because our capital partners are saying if you don't go to enterprise,...

...will never hit escape velocity. You know, all of a sudden it is. It's always been important to have a channel strategy, but all of a sudden it is in vogue. Right, like you, you have to have an answer to that, to that question across the board. And that was, you know, five months ago. Forget about it. Right now it's a requirement. You need to know what you're doing there, right, and so, uh, you know, it's it's we've gotta we've gotta go into all of these different segments, find out who your next customers are. Don't worry about focus. Take a lot of bets try a bunch of different partners, and my view is, you know, there's a lot of different ways to get there. Going back to the luck point, there isn't one success story for any business. But, like you know, discipline and focus are a part of any given success story and so you know early stage, I think the most important thing to do. It's like push your chips out on a few very well validated bets instead of a lot of them, and not because they won't all work, because you cannot possibly cover them if they all start to show positive signals. So you're gonna kind of half asked all these things that feel like they're winning and then you're not gonna know what the real ones are because they're all going to crumble a bit. Yeah, I like the word you used earlier, vein, like you find, you know, if this was mining, you find that vein and all of a sudden you're gonna find gold in a lot of different places. And the challenges how quickly can you find the vein? That's it, like that's it. Yeah, I love it. Man Um well, look, I mean maybe this is more of a question for you know, the companies that you are representing and so forth, but any key positions that you yourself are hiring for or or like folks you're working with or hiring for and looking for. Yeah, look at this is like I hated that. I like thought this answer, Um, but it's the truth. You know, what we need at at Alys is, I'm gonna kick myself later for saying this, but like a generalist for marketing with a focus on like demand and digital and like, I know right, like you should shake your head at me for saying that,...

Um, but but we you know, we do work. We know who are I C P is, you and I talked to a little bit. Is that what you're basically saying about that? Is it like the first the first leadership marketing higher? Yeah, it is, and you know, I'm I personally believe that what most businesses need first is somebody who's got like a very aggressive opinion on what content should look like for this type of business. I just don't think that's exactly what we need right now. We need some content, but what we really need we have an idea on who are I C P is. They're in like very specific geographies. We need to target them incredibly aggressively and we've got a very compelling call to Action Right now relative to legislation that's moving along. You and I kind of batted around as well yesterday. So I just I just need to take a very directive message to a large segment of specific customers right now. And so we need a marketer who can who can unlock that and like. So we're hiring there. If we can't find the right person, agency makes sense because we know what we know what we want the result to be, like very acutely. But I don't know, man, tell me I'm wrong. I won't. I mean I think, Um, you happen to be talking about you know, we had a discussion about the business separately than the pod here. But Um, you're talking about a space that at least at the tip of the the the iceberg here, maybe as a small group, and so you don't need broad based marketing and so, like, you know that that. I'm very familiar with the idea of this slightly Unicorn hire that is going to be able to do both broad based marketing, a little bit of brand marketing, but really focused on generating a specific level of interest from a specific level of people. And so I get it, man, Um, you know, I am perplex sometimes when people come out with like your content is really I don't know, I'm ever seen that and I've never really experienced a board being like,...

...you know, who you should get? Somebody in content. You know totally. It's crucial but, like you know, for us it's not our first we're going to need it, you know, but, like to your point, we know who we need right now. I just need somebody to go dig, helping dig for it. You know exactly exactly. It's like much closer to a b Dr Than it is to a brand market. Yeah, I mean, you know, as we've thought through filling this gap, a lot of the places that we go is, you know, what is the right way to do this? Just to give a list to an outsource like BDR firm and to say, like hard script here, don't come off it, don't ever come off the script. And you know because, like it's that targeted for us right now. But man, it's a long list. I think that there's a there's an opportunity. I've seen consultancies for like seed series, a revenue leaders, kind of like yourself, kind of like advice. Well, right, and and some others that are out there. It's definitely an opportunity for the same thing on the marketing side, where you can have a bunch of people is fractional and I don't I don't know. I don't know the firms. I don't see it in this way. But and it's not just outsourced BDR maybe that's a part of it, but it's really like coming and like teach founders what they should be doing from a marketing perspective. That is going to allow them to, you know, build a foundation for the next three years. Anyway, maybe, maybe next company. Um, we'll see. Um, who, who? Who? Who Do you dig on in terms of their content? Can Be linked, inko whatever? Like, who inspires you? I wonder, like give some shout outs. Yeah, I look at the first two people that come to mind. I don't want to sound like an absolute shill, but like Sam, sure you know, and there's like something very specific about Sam's content. That's I mean Sam Jacobs, of course, like it's very specific, which is like the idea that you just being an asshole doesn't get you anywhere. That is the...

...specific piece of I think the Sam Jacob's message, message that resonates with me and that I love that he's so forward about like kindness is actually a superpower, not just a virtue. It will help you become successful and sleep better and, like, I just love how much he's shouting that. I've been eating up what you've you've been publishing, particularly because I find myself in your world now, though, but seriously, you know, like it's it's incredibly instructive for me and that's very kind. I have a bet in the background with some friends, including Sam Jacobs, as to like last person standing on posting three to five times a week on Linkedin. So I have to post because I have money involved in it. It's Herculean, but I love it. It's actually been fun. You know, I love Doug Landis out of M cap. You know, the stuff that he puts out, I think is if if you are if you're selling, if you're leading teams, if you're an account management, if you're running teams, you should be paying attention to what Doug has to say. You know, to sort of like a similar vein, Amy Volus from avenues alent partners, and you know she's like she's also very similar to Sam and like being a good person. It should be part of your brand. Like just put it out there like and I absolutely love what she puts out there. A good friend of mine, Scott McGregor, who's also in the talent space, who, like you know, sort of pioneered talent from a different perspective, you know, like it doesn't have to be done the same way as it's been done. Like I think he and amy like really approached talent and very like very refreshing ways. Um, I love, you know, people from people I don't know. I love pressor Galloway. I like to drink up everything he puts out. He's like direct and cynical and angers. It's it's it's not never, but it's like it's rarer than not that I read something of his and I don't go that's that's that's a hard hip. But like, I guess I can't push back to hard like on this, you know. So Um, yeah, those are some people that come to mind. I love it, love it. Man and and, as you know, him a restaurant guy. I'm...

I'm curious your answer here, man. Give us a spot, you know, under the radar, something you love that maybe you know, maybe every maybe everyone knows it. Who knows? But what's a spot for us to go, go, check out. I'm like the least under the radar guy, imaginable, but I'm the guy who gets to a place it's like have you tried this? And everybody's been there four times. I ate at louring place the other night, which is like a they never miss right like that. It's fantastic. I'm just my my wife and I actually walked into Resdora not that long ago and got like an eight o'clock Saturday night table, which blew my mind, and like the food was just astonishing. Wow, that is it must have a cancelation or something like. It was a bunch of them and like yeah, yeah, it was, it was. It was lights out. We've got a reservation with with my sales team. We're eating at Veronica Um, which had like opened and then closed and has reopened in photograph VISCA. I think it was Steven Starr, and maybe now isn't. Now isn't? I think. I think. I mean there was a little thing called the pandemic that that screwed up everything, right, but that's cool, man, all right, good, you look, you, this is not these are these are places, all these in New York. If, if, if that was not obvious. Brandon, so great to have you on, man, I love chatting with you. I'm so I'm so excited to see kind of what your next thing is and, uh, you know, looking forward to following along and just continuing watching you succeed. Man, thanks for having me. This has been awesome. Alright, that's our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, if you liked the show, if you liked Brandon Gracie, just go ahead and hit the five stars in the apple podcast spotify APP. Sent it to friends pit subscribe. This episode was brought to by Clary, the only enterprise system that's purpose built to run revenue. CLARY's revenue platform helps identify and stop revenue leak so you can achieve revenue precision predictably and repeatedly. To learn more, visit CLARY CEL Air I dot Com. This is the last episode for a minute. We're gonna have a little bit of break here in late August.

Come back to you after Labor Day. Thank you so much for listening. Get Out and crushing numbers. Thanks. Thanks, M.

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