The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 6 months ago

Ep 174: Working at Google and Facebook in Dublin w/ Hakim Aceval

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Ep 174: Working at Google and Facebook in Dublin w/ Hakim Aceval

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

Hello, everyone. And welcome back to the pavilion podcast. I am your host, Brandon Martin you are listening to. Is this a good time? The show where I put Pavilion members on the hot seat for 15 slash 22 minutes today and we hear their incredible stories. We really shows Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hit, Subscribe and do not miss hearing from our experts. Our guest today is hockey. Masada. He's the chief sales officer in mind Spider and we talk about working at Google and Facebook in Dublin. Pretty crazy stories. This one sponsor Sandoz So Sandoz. So the leading sending platform is the most effective way for revenue generating teams to stand out with new ways to engage at strategic points throughout the customer journey. By connecting digital and physical strategies, companies can engage, acquire and retain customers easier than ever before. Programming note. We're gonna put a couple of throwback episodes to end off the year and take a couple weeks off as the holidays are here. Get back to you with new episodes starting in early 2022. So psyched for that. In any case, we're here. All right, let's do this. Episode 87 Is this a good time? All right, everyone. I am here with Hakim. A civil. He's the chief sales officer at mine. Spider to Berlin, Germany based company. But he is actually talking to us from Paris. Where? Where? He's your French citizen. At least a dual citizenship to France. Exactly. And your first time living in France? Exactly. Oh, well, we'll have to hear that. Look, all meat no further. We want to jump right. And before hearing about why you're in Paris, which which we all probably are jealous tell us about tell us about your career, man. Like it's super interesting. The path that you took And, you know, we were talking earlier. You had mentioned, you know, you had studied Japanese in in college and then went on to work at Google a couple times and, like I mean, you know, and obviously then get us to the point where you're at mind spiders and tell us the path, the path, Yeah, So I think the story here is that my path is not, is not is crooked and the straight path. So I think there's a quote also that the path of genius at a crooked path. But that's another story. So I studied actually Japanese history and and religion and and was on my way to become a scholar for Japanese Buddhism. That was back in 2006 when I also decided that having a job would be nice. You know, like in the economy. Something insurance money, uh, realized that I didn't study the right stuff for that. Especially not for Germany, where I lived at that time. I grew up in Germany, where if you want to work in a company, you have to study business. Yeah, well, how did you just go back? How did you choose to study Japanese Buddhism? And I mean, was this, uh were you rebelling against your parents or Yes, partly in Germany you have a peculiar system where you can actually work without going to university. You have what they call an apprenticeship system. And I did an apprenticeship as a salesman. Uh, in my youth, that was when I was 16 years old, and then I went back to school, finish my high school degree, and so okay, you have to...

...say in your pocket you're a salesman. Now. You can do whatever you wanted. and what you dream of, what your passion is. So I really went there for the passion. Uh, was really, really curious. And Japanese culture, language, history, everything. And I felt safe because I had this apprenticeship degree in my pocket, which turned out 10 years, nearly 10 years later because I went a bit left and right, and I lived in Japan for a while that it was out of date and it was not really as as legit to to to unlock a job after after my my studies. So the most the most common question I got was basically, why didn't you study business, right and incomes, incomes, the international aspect. So I I It was the early days when you were using Monster to to find jobs online. I was looking for jobs all over Europe, And, um, at that time, that was before the 2000 and eight crash was 2006, 2007. Um, I got a lot of opportunities in Ireland and the UK and some offers some of them were kind of, you know, call center drops. And then one day it was an Easter Monday. I remember it very clearly. I got an email from a Google headhunter if I wanted to consider an opportunity to work with Google in Dublin. And I'm kind of kidding me. That's probably probably spam. And I remember my wife looking at it and telling me this looks pretty religion. You better get on the phone and call them. three months later, we were living in Dublin, so wow, and, you know, kind of stepping on the lock question here of, uh, you know, lack of the Irish. Yeah, it sounds like it. And And so what did you do at Google? I mean, you know, you were kind of in the sales capacity, right? Yes, they, unlike the German recruiters in the UK and Ireland, recruiters look at the whole CV at your whole path, and and they assessed what capacity you have and what potential. I think 11 principle for hiring principle of Google is also to really check people for leadership skills they don't hire just for the current role. They're they're open. They want to see Candice Person drawing the organization and become a future leader. Does the person have that inner spark and the drive to do and achieve something. Um, this was what also an eye opener for me, and I felt really liberated. So I think this to set my course for for the second leg of my of my life, basically changing from a scholar to a sales person, which is not obvious, but also with working for a company that has a clear mission and vision and and really wants to change something in the world which also became something that I'm always looking for. Even after Google, I was looking for these kind of things when I'm going for jobs. Yeah, very cool. And then, I mean And then, you know, you did a little stint with indeed, but then went back to Google. It seemed like you couldn't get enough of it. Yes, that was That was a classical, um, Offer too good to refuse kind of situation. They made me an offer. I couldn't deny they opened. Indeed, back in 2013, they they started to become an international cooperation, and they had...

...500 people globally back then and they started. They had opened their office in Dublin and in London with only 20 people on the ground, and the hiring manager was a director from the States. We met for a business lunch, and she basically asked me if I wanted to be her. Her what to say when she goes back to the States countries, The guy who takes over? Yes, exactly. So I became a I was a team lead back then at Google, and the offer was to become a director for the whole of Europe, which was, like, you know, the shiny thing that If I would have said that Google it would have taken me probably another 5 to 10 years to get there. So even my manager back then at Google said, well, if you don't take that offer, you will probably regret it for the rest of your life. Um, so it was a good opportunity, but also and fair fairness to indeed, like they gave me the chance. Um, I think the biggest learning for me here is that you can't really burn. The stage is, uh, if you're if you're five for six month old team, lead first time in people management and then you get a chance to manage your whole organization and become a director. You obviously missed some steps, and so So I I had a good time, and indeed I learned a lot. But also, I felt really out of my depth. And I think also I wasn't really I wasn't really in the right place at the right time. So I also missed part of the Google culture, to be honest, So I was I was I was missing that that, you know, we want to change the world. We want to do more than just the marketing aspect. And I think when there was an opportunity to become a manager at Google and another team, at least I basically wrote back. Yeah, like, very open here. Which makes sense. I mean, I think it I think it takes a lot for somebody to recognize when they might be a little bit, you know, over their skis and then take a step. You know, going to Google as a step back is like everyone is like sighing and rolling their eyes. Right. Okay, fine. You know, And then after that, you went to Facebook. I think it's super interesting. You know, what's the comparison and cultures between Google and Facebook to extent that you want to, you know, Opina. And of course, this is in Dublin, right? Like so. This is not to be indicative of what's going on exactly. I think it's so cool that you worked at both of those. You know, Fang face. Yeah, I think it's It's at one time a very typical move that people move off first. In the first years they moved, often from Google to Facebook. Later, when Facebook with more established in Dublin, it was like the Silicon Valley of Europe, right? People also moved from Facebook to from Facebook to Google and also the other players installed themselves linked in Pinterest is now there Airbnb, like all these tech companies are there and kind of It's an ecosystem where people who live in Dublin, you have an international background, basically and indeed, of course, has become really, really big. So I think these are the EU headquarters, so they look for people who have, of course, worked with certain markets and I'm half German. But I grew up in Germany, have an affinity for the German market. So I was always working for German Germany focused teams. Um, I think this is the first thing I have to say. Though. You talk, um, au headquarter Google, you had quite a Facebook. Very similar...

...organizations I worked in in their S and B teams, small medium businesses. And what made I think the offer from Facebook was quite interesting because I was the last time at Google. I was an agency lead. I was working with ad agencies based in Germany, Switzerland and Austria and Google. You can say it was a couple of years ahead and growth and size. I was one of five or six agency managers for the German speaking markets at Facebook that zero at that time, and they were starting to build the team and they were needing somebody who has experience in that field. And so for me, this was like, Oh, cool. I can basically build my own team, build a business up from scratch, and I won't be one of one, among others. It will be, you know, um, I love this is what I learned it in it. Actually, I love building stuff a bit from scratch and hiring people, building teams, going for opportunities. Um, it's very energizing. So this was also a great great opportunity. We grew the team at Facebook from 3 to 16 people in 18 months, uh, and and basically conquered the Germans, Swiss and Austin market. It was a great experience. It's a different culture you asked for. Well, it's It also sounds like that move is very different than the indeed move where you're going to do something that you've done before. And now you get to, you know, obviously circumstances. But Essentially, you know, the playbook you walked in, you knew exactly how to build it 1st 18 months, you know, exactly. You navigate the waters. But you knew exactly what you wanted to do there. Exactly. I think the business development part was new for me, but I knew already how it should look like in the end. And this is a big difference. This is what I was missing when I was when I went a bit too early to indeed. But what I also have to say is you ask the difference in culture when I the biggest mistake people who move between kind of similar but different organizations, so they assume a lot, and I assumed it's basically the same thing in blue literally, and it wasn't. There are. There are differences in culture in the way that the company communicates internally the systems of communication. But also, I mean, Google is a There's a search based company, Facebook to socialist company, So even our custom events are different. So it Google. It was all I was on the stage. I had my presentation. I owned basically my presentation and spoke to the audience at at Facebook. My first, my first meeting with or event with customers. I was asked to to be the moderator in in a in a round table, and this was like I felt like, Okay, I was always I was like a preacher. Now you want me to be Oprah? So So it was a different skill set, a different, different way of handling things and also internally Google Facebook as their own internal version of Facebook called Workplace that they also used as a communication and tool for For that they started companies. So it's kind of a Facebook for for colleagues where everything happens in groups where certain Google everything happened in email, so the way to communicate is different, so it's different and I would also say that Facebook is still a bit fast paced, more fast paced than than we were. So this, um, this impetus...

...for execution better than than perfect. You know, just get it out there and then move on to the next is much more accentuated at Facebook. So it definitely needs more caffeine. Interesting. That's that's an interesting note, because I I think I would feel that from the outside as well, where Google has to continue doing the game plan that they have, where his Facebook has to continue to kind of innovate, if you will. Not sure, if I am exactly nailing that. Well, look, this brings us all to MindSpring. Tell us about mind Spider in its right mind. Spider, Tell us about tell us about your current role. Yeah, my current role. I'm not chief sales officer. He had mind Spider head of sales, Um, in my second month. So also a big step up in responsibility. I've a team of three. We're basically at the start of of of growing, their business of growing, growing with the global focus, actually, And for me, there's a lot of first a lot of new things. So it's it's supply chain based, and it's basically coming from the mineral and mining sector, combining that with their own proprietary Blockchain solutions. So So it's it's It's a very interesting startup that is also very timely because regulations, when it comes to mining and minerals, especially conflict minerals out of Congo and Rwanda and in these areas, I mean just think about batteries for electric cars or cobalt that goes also also not into our smartphones and laptops. And basically, uh, the majority of the cobalt sits in Congo, which is a very conflicted region, and 90% of batteries that are produced for phones and for cars produced. Basically, um, the cobalt comes from Congo and is produced in China, so it's also a geologically, geopolitically and geologically and environmentally and social responsibility. But it's a very, very hot topics because a lot of these miners are basically so called artisanal miners. Their base is basically holding the ground. People are not secured. They're not employed often their Children. Let's try to work. So it's a very very um yeah, let's say conflicted environment. These mines operating and companies get increased scrutiny to be on top of their supply chains and to really know where does the material come from. And so, uh, so so our tool as we we built it. We built our own proprietary Blockchain. It's it's based on the Ethereum protocol, but it's beyond it 100% ourselves. We have our own tech team, or developers kind of marries the ability to have a software interface that is a secure and immutable. That's the benefit of the Blockchain. Nobody can tamper with it. It's not one server that can be hacked. It's basically on different notes. At the same time, the user interface is very, very easy to to run people on. So we usually would need two or three days to to to to train people to use the software. And then you can basically create a whole chain of custody between mine smelter transporters, traders and then on the upside, what we call...

...upstream. And on the other side you would have downstream, which would be mid-tier manufacturers, so these would be people who produce solar bars or out of 10 or the end manufacturers, which are now known brands apple, Google, Samsung, you name it or car battery producers, and we allow all participants on the supply chain to have full transparency of each step, Including where does each material like down to the ton of 10 that comes out of veranda? Where does it come from? Which reminds us, come from? Is this an audited mind? Are we sure there is no nothing involved, like, you know, child labor or stuff like that Down to it, we can even track the CEO to footprint, which of every step and even the transport. That also gives you the opportunity to report on how much. How high was the CO two footprint on on the on the on the production? So it's It's very timely in the age of climate change and and more more corporate responsibility. So we also talked to car manufacturers, so it's quite, Um, it's actually I think the challenge is to focus on on the right thing at the right time because there's so many possibilities. You can use this you can you can basically go to 2020 directions. And I think my main asked, the moment is to find out which customer segments focus on which people to talk to you in two weeks. Uh, Corona permitting. I'll be I'll be in London on a on the electric vehicle show. So we're presenting our battery passport. So we have product passports that that are basically you can even print out a QR code. Um, and and, you know, put it on on a ton of tin, and then everybody else can see QR code gets information necessary to cross borders. Love it. Love it. Look, uh, my use case here. I want you to do this for wine. I'm sure. But you know, your your Frenchman provenance is everything right? Uh, the chain of custody when it comes to, you know, from Yeah, it's the whole That's the whole game. So, um, when you're done solving, you know, all the child labor issues and and and which is the important, then later, we'll get to the wine, you know, and and cheese stuff. Okay, beautiful. I'm with you. I'm with you on that 100%. I mean That's that's my use case. This is my No. one use case for the Blockchain is tell me where my wine was grown and like, make sure that's that's the case. All right. Well, look, we're gonna blast through a couple other questions here. We'll skip a few, but give us a person you're hiring for a role you're hiring for. So at the moment I'm looking really for hunters. So I'm looking to build out to see his team. We have a lot of leads, a lot of prospects, actually, that we didn't even even touched yet that are sitting in our pipeline and that that I would need a salesperson for ideally, somebody who speaks several languages. Of course, French and English is Israel. And for Africa, Spanish is relevant for South America. This is where our main main majority of minds are sitting. And, uh, somebody who's happy to yeah, just hunt closed deals and then also is able...

...to develop into a project manager because the next step would be to become a project manager rather than just an account manager. I would actually call my my team more sales consultants, because it's really important that you can. There's long sales and implementation cycles. You have 36 months of of pilot periods where you test if everything is set up correctly. If you work with bigger companies on on the end of the supply chain you have to onboard their suppliers, so it's getting quite complex very quickly. So it also needs somebody who has fun mapping out whole supply chains and onboarding a lot of companies. So this is basically what I'm looking for at one point hunter at the same time. Also, somebody who can think complex growing role. Alright, any shout outs in terms of like content that you, you know, have appreciated and really kind of inspired you. Yeah, let me just let me just think. I think, of course, mind Spider. Of course, it's inspiring me. It's It's my second month, and I'm already feeling like at one point I'm feeling like I'm already there for a year, really buying into division, I think, Yeah, I think other shout outs like stuff stuff I'm looking at. I always had struggled in the past. Personally, I'm very open here with time management, actually. So, um, what helped me really here is to getting things done. Approach with David Allen, So it's quite a bestseller, but I actually had to luck with Facebook. We once had a trainer invited, who is leading one of the regional chapters and give us personal personal sessions on how setting up your laptop, your phone, your apps, your paper to get this process done and basically focus on the next step to be done. It's really, really a very, very basic, day to day approach. So David Allen is definitely an important person. And then I had a side business for a while where I was working with companies on their Y based on Simon cynics approach, getting to know your wife and also based on what we did at Google and Facebook. Because if you want to motivate your team, it's good to pay them a good salary. I think that's the basis, you know. It has to pay the bills, but then, after a certain while, there's a situation that sets in, and people want more than just having their bills paid. So finding their why, but also, you know, motivating your team by finding out what is the next goal. We set ourselves as a team and then helping organizations to get there, um, at Facebook and Google. We had a big focus on that, basically deciding and agreeing on on on quarterly or annual goal stuff you really want to achieve and go out and then letting your people fly and and enabling them to do this their own style and also to find their own style. And this is something and probably another shot. It would actually be the inside discovery training so so kind of psychometric testing, which we did a lot, which helped me a lot to understand how I function, who I am, insured extroverts and all these things. I've just become aware of this stuff. It's actually it's actually super cool. Alright. And look, uh, you know, as we're running out of, you know, short on time here, you gotta give me your urine. May be the best...

...restaurant city in the world outside of New York. Uh, we can debate this, but give us a spot. Give us a secret spot down a little alley in in Paris that we should go eat. Well, it's It's actually not not a very a secret one, but it's fitting the name pavilion because we didn't receive a pavilion. Right? So it's actually called the Pavilion Lido. Yeah, Alright. It's, uh, it's a three Michelin star chef. Yeah, Nicolino, who runs this one and he knows his stuff. He is very, very good with, um, Michelle, a great cuisine. Having the perfect wine paired to your food. Adapted Adapted to what you like if you're into into meat If you're into fish, he has the perfect stuff. The perfect, the perfect match. So probably only do. Yeah, it's It's basically an address. You should go. Love it. I'm so glad that you're going to be, uh, you know, treating me to dinner there. That's going to be lovely when I'm making these attacks, but you're welcome. Please come visit. Okay. Well, awesome. And it's so cool to hear your story, or we've been out of the big companies. Now you're in a small one. I'm psyched to see how you build out this team. You know, you were there for two months, and, uh, and we'll have you back on in a year and see what? That that first year of running your own team, uh, felt like, perfect Looking forward to that. Yeah. Thank you, Brandon. That's good speaking with you. All right, that's our show. Thank you so much for listening. And if you love the show rate and review to make that my my holiday present rate and review five stars in Apple podcast Spotify app. Send it to some friends. Make sure you hit the subscribe button reminder. This episode was brought to you by Sandoz. So they deliver modern direct mail, personalized gifts and other physical impressions that make your outreach more personal. I had so much fun today. We'll see you in a few weeks. I hope you did, too. Now go out and get those end of year numbers. It's here. Close out strong and we'll see you on the other side.

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