The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 11 months ago

Ep 89: From Google to Startups w/ Chris Hohorst

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 89: From Google to Startups w/ Chris Hohorst

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

Hello everyone and welcome back to the revenue collected podcast. I am your host, Brandon martin and you're listening to Is this a good time? The show where I talked to revenue collective members ask some questions. They answer them. It's about 15 minutes. We have fun. We really shows Tuesdays and Thursdays. Don't miss an episode. Hit subscribe. Do yourself a favor. All right. Our guest today is chris ho horse. He's the VP Ss at Main Street. We talk about why you went from the comfort of this little place called google and went to go work in startups nuts. This episode was brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue and increased customer lifetime value faster drift, helps their customers line sales and marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experience. Where people are free to have a conversation with a business at any time on their terms, learn more at drift dot com. Alright, let's do this episode 36. Is this a good time like? All right, this is great. We are here with chris ho horse. He is the vice president of sales at Main Street former google or we're going to get into that chris. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm thrilled to be here. I love revenue Collective, spend a huge part of my journey out of google into the startup life. Cool, Well, we're going to get into that. But before we do, we get right into it all meat. No filler. Tell me about your current role, right? Tell us about the startup life and then go back and tell us a little bit about how you got here. Yeah. So like you said, I lied sales at Main Street. We're series a startup where we try and help small businesses get access to cash from the government, help them thrive, hire new people, hire more people, you know, by the systems. They need all that. We bought our first customer in july and are thousands less than six months later. So how I got here. Yeah, I mean You're saying July 20, July 2020 did our first customer and yeah, thousands, less than six months later I spent a wild ride so far and feels like we're just getting...

...started. So you ask how I got here. You know, like identity crisis brought on by nine years of google that will do it. I tell you I was on life support another few months. I might not have made it. You learn a lot. You can learn so much at a place that operates at that scale, right? How do you operate a business that size? How do you manage teams of that scale? It was a tremendous experience. But you know, I couldn't see the impact I was having. I think a lot of people go through that and by the end I was, I was honestly bored out of my mind, it's not google's fault, but frankly my own fault for maybe not finding the right role by the end, but I kind of looked around Brandon was like everything I've done here, every team I've been a part of, I helped build it and when I've been having the most fun, when I've been the most energized has been in that moment and I started thinking maybe I could do this elsewhere, maybe I can help build a company and that's that's sort of what got me to make the jump. Yeah, I got that. You're, I mean, I I was curious about this, Looking at your linkedin, you had a number of titles at google that were head of, head of, Head of, what does that mean? I mean, like head of this usa for this thing. Yeah, it depends, you know, it was head of sales and go to market, right? That's right. You know, ahead of means at Google and probably a lot of Facebook, those types of places typically means, you know, you manage a decent sized team somewhere between 10 and 30, maybe have a few managers under you. I had, you know, on one hand, head of mobile transformation, that's a made up title if there ever was one, but It was sounded like one, which is why I'm asking, I made it up. It was incredibly fun. Like this is what I love, right? We said, hey, we've got a strategic problem at Google, which is our customers are devaluing mobile traffic and everybody's going to phones, right? This was years ago and they're devaluing their ads because they don't believe that they convert on mobile. It's true because their websites are terrible. So R. S. V. P philipp...

Schindler is like, we need to, we need to go dress this, so we scoped out a team and I got to go out and hire 15 or so people across the globe to go and work with our top customers and help them optimize their sites and you know, and then feed it back into product, figure out what we could do is funny even now in my role, just on slack with our development agency when like our websites terrible and it's not terrible, it's awesome, but it's not fast enough. So I still got the blood in me about this whole issue, but that was a super fun project that we got to work on. Well, welcome to limited budgets, my friend, it's not going to be as fast as you want in the start up. But so so when you know Main Street startup, is this somebody who knew starting the company? Is this you know, did you go uh you know, apply on angel list? I mean because it seems like like you said, it's your your nine years and at google now you're in a series A startup must have had a lot of conviction about this business. It took well I did. I'll tell you my process a little bit, the hardest thing for me was believing I could make the move honestly. But once I did and I got a lot of help from people. I trusted mentors, friends who knew me deeply and honestly, probably knew me a little better than I knew myself and they pushed me and once I made that mental move, it happened really fast. And the way I looked at it was okay. Like once I kind of understood this about myself, that I want to be in this sweet spot between early, early stage, but where you're, you kind of believe, there's something there and you're starting to pour gas on and hire people and build a team, How are we going to go do it? Once I realized that's who I was and what I could bring in the table, the conversation started to happen really fast and I got to talk to maybe, you know, I talked to maybe 15, 20 different founders started to narrow it down and I was looking at, Hey, where is there a really compelling business idea? Where is there a spot where I can bring something unique and also grow? And then where is there an amazing team that I'm aligned with from a value perspective? And I narrowed it down and it narrowed me down right to a couple. And at the end Main Street is a one has...

...taken the biggest swing of anybody I talked to, we're basically trying to unlock financing for small businesses. It's a huge opportunity in my career. I really, I love the small business and mid market segment the most. So to your question though, I did, I actually know the Ceo from google life and a lot of us came over from google from the same team that I was most recently on. But it's funny because doug he reached out to me immediately and I was like, no, no, I'm not taking the first call. You know, I'm gonna go play the field a little bit. So, but I'm glad I didn't, it was the right call. Hey, I, you know, uh, the first phone call sometimes it's like, it's the old sales rule like lead comes in. Call him right away. RP comes in your straight up on this call. Good job duck. Well look, I think as I always say hard work and luck both contribute to getting somebody where they are. And uh, I would love to hear. What do you think about that? Either from a hard work or luck perspective. Yeah, man, I got to be honest. I'm not a natural hard worker. Okay. I'm probably not the first time on the pod. Somebody is saying this out loud. Like it's just true. It's just look, I am, it's just true. I love we can you and I can talk about what we really look forward to, which is going out to dinner, which we're going to do next. I'm in Brooklyn, we're going to go out. But that's the truth. I had to figure it out for myself. When are the moments what it takes to get me animated, energized and what lights the fire. And they have to figure out how to do that repeatedly. Right? So I'll tell you a story. Let me set the stage a little bit. So out of college honestly. And I told you we were talking about this right? Like so everybody listening Brendan, I went to Cornell together but didn't know each other and I kind of got lost in the middle there. I left the hotel school, which is where I should have stayed. And I went to Arts and Sciences, which I loved. But then I was lost right after school. Um and I I did everything from trying to sell insurance to working at Barnes and Noble A couple of years out of school. And anyway, I had a little chip on my shoulder, I had a decent job going as a...

...project manager and I thought I'm going to take a flyer on this sales job. I see it looks kind of cool. Anyway, day two of interviews, maybe the 12th hour of being in the room with these people and I'm like, I feel in my mind I've crushed this thing like they want me, they need me. And I'm in the room with the Ceo across the table and like five other sales directors. And Ceo looks at me and he says chris has anyone ever told you that you are pompous? I was like, oh my anyway, I mean you can imagine right, but like he saw me, he gave me a gift which is honest feedback. There we go. He saw, yeah, he saw me and how I was showing up in a way that I didn't see and I think, you know, I didn't realize how I should probably do a lot of other people too. And from that moment I was like, I don't want to be that guy. I don't want to come across this way. And the hard work for me at that point was both the self, like I want to be different than that. And then the work was prospecting man prospect, we were our own the wholesale cycle. Like never heard of sales development, never heard of buying lead list. Like I'm going to go out and do research and like make a list of 100 different companies that look like this. Um, and that was the hard work and like those early days of sales just grinding the night, like after hours just getting the leads. Well, I'll tell you there's some, some honesty gems in there. One. I'm sure everybody on that's listening right now has said in the past, so like I hustle hard, I'm the hardest. But you know, sometimes deep down, you know, maybe you do need those snacks and those tricks to figure out what's going to really light you on fire, even when you don't want to, even when you don't want to, you know, and it's okay to keep it to yourself and on slack, you can act like a hustler and whatever. But like that shit is real. And I love the idea that that radical can't, I would call it a radical candor moment, right? Isn't that it now where somebody just tells you the truth? But it's with, with positivity behind it.

With that person obviously wanted to succeed. What you say is day two or interview to, I mean they wanted, but guess what? You're not going to succeed if you're, if you're about and the amount of loyalty that that type of thing creates, right? Because they've seen you, they see it and they're willing to take a chance on you. It's it's huge. That was a gift that that ceo gave to me at that time, but I'll never forget. I love that man, I love that. Well, give us, you know, you've been involved in a lot of different ways of like generating sales and value. Give us a tactic that you think people can like throw into what they're currently doing. Yes right away. Just any any. Now look, I'm going to cheat a little bit because I thought about this, I listen to podcasts, I was like, gosh, I can't compete with this gold that's been thrown out all over the place. But I'm gonna tell you a little, a little nugget that is, how do you manage or how do you operate remotely in this crazy world? So do you ever use MArco Polo? You know the, at marco Polo? Probably not. Nobody knows it. It's like nobody's ever heard of it. The point is how are we? Re creating the environment that we want to be a part of and what I miss about the sales floor, right? I miss the walking in. I missed the chatting, the catching up over deals, the what's working, what's not, I miss the learning about people in casual ways that we lost right now. Main streets, fully distributed. We are by the way, like parentheses, We're dying to get back in real life. We're, we're starting to playing off sites. I am pumped and parentheses so marco Polo too silly at the point is all it does is like a synchronous like voice and video messages. So we've got a threat with the whole team and we just send each other like, hey, what's going on today? I'm drinking this coffee, check it out. Like I'm doing this, Here's my dog, right? Find ways to create the culture and the environment that you want to be a part of. We also use discord as like a sales floor vibe, right? Setting meetings feels inauthentic. Sometimes you just want to walk in and see people. So that's my dad. I like that. I like that. I mean, I hope that by the time people were this is we're taping this in april, I...

...hope by the time people listen to this maybe in, in, in May or june whenever it is that we're all out in the country. So let's go, This is this is a relic of the past, but if not those are great tidbits, I love it. And we're in the speed this, you know the lightning round if you will any key positions that you're hiring for. Absolutely, I we are hiring across the board, we just brought on nine people this week and SD and HD rules, we're going to do it again the next two months. In addition we need sales managers, sales development managers. So those are the big ones, I'll say, wow, awesome. Um we'll definitely try to get that up on linkedin as well and then shout outs. Who do you, who do you dig reading? You know, listen to like what gives you Yeah, let me tell you like coming. So I'll give you three books that helped me understand how companies like a google get built right? Because when you're there you're sort of like, okay, you assume it's just like magic, it happened, I don't know. So three books, one scaling the revenue engine tom more. Just, I mean, these are classics, they're not going to surprises, but they're huge, predictable revenue mary, lou, Tyler, Aaron, ross, amazing sales, acceleration, formula marker, british classics. Read um, if you haven't already. Um, and if you are early in your career, read them to understand how your leadership is thinking about things and what matters to them and where they're going. Yeah, I just asked my engine. So a couple of my engineers were asking in terms of their personal development goals, learning more about sales and uh, I actually, uh, the scaling the revenue engine was exactly the book I pointed to, to hand to an engineer to say this is what we're trying to do on that. I know it looks like we just shit can stick around and talk to people, but like there's colleagues in this machine. That's right. Brandy, can I give you two more? Yeah, we have time for that. I want to give a shout out to Austin channing Brown, not a sales leader, but she wrote a book called, I'm still Here. That is really incredibly helpful. I heard her speak if you are like me, white male trying to figure out and...

...doing your best. Maybe maybe not all the time doing the best, but I'm trying to figure out how to welcome people and create a culture that is healthy and diverse. Like she helped me see that this like we need to invite people with different backgrounds into create and co create the culture, not just be there and take on whatever culture we think is the right one. So I'm incredibly grateful to her. And the last one I'll say is is David White, who was a poet who has done a lot of work in corporate environments has probably been the single most helpful resource for me as I've navigated career changes, interesting, yep, interesting. Well I mean that Austin channing Brown book is amazing. So loving it. Uh shout outs for any of the up and comers. Oh yeah let me give you two. Okay so former, I used to work with this guy and I've watched him from afar say hell Mansouri if you don't know if he's A. And R. C. Member and Ceo of bravado and he just provocative, creative out of the box sales leader who now is now the Ceo but he was helping people rethink the way that we should incentivise, motivate, talk about sales, incredibly thoughtful smart guy. Also like yeah I like chris walker over refined labs. He's great video content. I think he's he's teaching me new stuff about marketing demands that all the time. I love chris and thank God he was on the pod. Really appreciate my time with him. All right. And uh last and maybe most important, I always gets the shit we talked about is not important to me. This is all tennis, is it? Everything else we do is to get us to this point where we got to go out to dinner, right? Where are we eating? You said if you're if you're an S. F. If you're an S. F. We're gonna go to Mandalay, Love it, love Mandalay. Uh Burmese and just like, you know better than be star in burma superstar and all that stuff. And then if we're in Brooklyn I want to go the four horsemen you've been there. Of course, of course, every, every Tuesday, I'm so jealous. Not anymore, but but four horsemen is I...

...mean it's got to be one of the best wine sponsor in Brooklyn and Justin and the team do an incredible job. It's a great call and then we'll go there, will also go to my friends at William and check out. Love that goodness awesome dude. So great to have you on chris. I think you've got such an interesting path and like, I'm excited to see what happens with Main Street in the next couple of years. It's a feels like a rocket ship unicorn in the making them. Thanks Brandon. This has been a blast, take care of. All right, that is our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, please write a review, send it to some friends, do all the good stuff. A reminder this episode was brought to you by drift. The new way businesses by from businesses. You can learn more and get the conversation started at drift dot com. All right. I had fun. Hope you did too. Now go crush your numbers. Say something. Mm hmm. Yeah.

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