The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 4 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 therevenue collected podcast. I am your host, Brandon martin and you'relistening to Is this a good time? The show where I talked to revenuecollective 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 hohorse. He's the VP Ss at Main Street. We talk about why you went from thecomfort of this little place called google and went to go work in startupsnuts. This episode was brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businessesuse drift to grow revenue and increased customer lifetime value faster drift,helps their customers line sales and marketing on a single platform todeliver a unified customer experience. Where people are free to have aconversation with a business at any time on their terms, learn more atdrift 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 vicepresident of sales at Main Street former google or we're going to getinto that chris. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm thrilled to be here. Ilove revenue Collective, spend a huge part of my journey out of google intothe startup life. Cool, Well, we're going to get into that. But before wedo, 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 littlebit about how you got here. Yeah. So like you said, I lied sales at MainStreet. We're series a startup where we try and help small businesses getaccess to cash from the government, help them thrive, hire new people, hiremore people, you know, by the systems. They need all that. We bought our firstcustomer in july and are thousands less than six months later. So how I gothere. Yeah, I mean You're saying July 20, July 2020 did our first customerand yeah, thousands, less than six months later I spent a wild ride so farand feels like we're just getting...

...started. So you ask how I got here. Youknow, 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 havemade it. You learn a lot. You can learn so much at a place that operates atthat scale, right? How do you operate a business that size? How do you manageteams of that scale? It was a tremendous experience. But you know, Icouldn't see the impact I was having. I think a lot of people go through thatand by the end I was, I was honestly bored out of my mind, it's not google'sfault, but frankly my own fault for maybe not finding the right role by theend, but I kind of looked around Brandon was like everything I've donehere, every team I've been a part of, I helped build it and when I've beenhaving the most fun, when I've been the most energized has been in that momentand I started thinking maybe I could do this elsewhere, maybe I can help builda company and that's that's sort of what got me to make the jump. Yeah, Igot that. You're, I mean, I I was curious about this, Looking at yourlinkedin, you had a number of titles at google that were head of, head of, Headof, 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'sright. 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 sizedteam 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 titleif there ever was one, but It was sounded like one, which is why I'masking, 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 ourcustomers are devaluing mobile traffic and everybody's going to phones, right?This was years ago and they're devaluing their ads because they don'tbelieve that they convert on mobile. It's true because their websites areterrible. So R. S. V. P philipp...

Schindler is like, we need to, we needto go dress this, so we scoped out a team and I got to go out and hire 15 orso people across the globe to go and work with our top customers and helpthem 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 withour 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 aboutthis 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 asyou want in the start up. But so so when you know Main Street startup, isthis somebody who knew starting the company? Is this you know, did you gouh you know, apply on angel list? I mean because it seems like like yousaid, it's your your nine years and at google now you're in a series A startupmust have had a lot of conviction about this business. It took well I did. I'lltell you my process a little bit, the hardest thing for me was believing Icould make the move honestly. But once I did and I got a lot of help frompeople. I trusted mentors, friends who knew me deeply and honestly, probablyknew me a little better than I knew myself and they pushed me and once Imade that mental move, it happened really fast. And the way I looked at itwas okay. Like once I kind of understood this about myself, that Iwant 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 gason and hire people and build a team, How are we going to go do it? Once Irealized that's who I was and what I could bring in the table, theconversation started to happen really fast and I got to talk to maybe, youknow, I talked to maybe 15, 20 different founders started to narrow itdown and I was looking at, Hey, where is there a really compelling businessidea? 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 valueperspective? 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 Italked 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 andmid market segment the most. So to your question though, I did, I actually knowthe Ceo from google life and a lot of us came over from google from the sameteam that I was most recently on. But it's funny because doug he reached outto me immediately and I was like, no, no, I'm not taking the first call. Youknow, 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'slike, it's the old sales rule like lead comes in. Call him right away. RP comesin your straight up on this call. Good job duck. Well look, I think as Ialways say hard work and luck both contribute to getting somebody wherethey are. And uh, I would love to hear. What do you think about that? Eitherfrom a hard work or luck perspective. Yeah, man, I got to be honest. I'm nota 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 lookforward 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 figureit 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 thatrepeatedly. Right? So I'll tell you a story. Let me set the stage a littlebit. So out of college honestly. And I told you we were talking about thisright? Like so everybody listening Brendan, I went to Cornell together butdidn't know each other and I kind of got lost in the middle there. I leftthe hotel school, which is where I should have stayed. And I went to Artsand Sciences, which I loved. But then I was lost right after school. Um and I Idid everything from trying to sell insurance to working at Barnes andNoble A couple of years out of school. And anyway, I had a little chip on myshoulder, I had a decent job going as a...

...project manager and I thought I'm goingto take a flyer on this sales job. I see it looks kind of cool. Anyway, daytwo of interviews, maybe the 12th hour of being in the room with these peopleand 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 fiveother sales directors. And Ceo looks at me and he says chris has anyone evertold you that you are pompous? I was like, oh my anyway, I mean you canimagine 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 thatI didn't see and I think, you know, I didn't realize how I should probably doa lot of other people too. And from that moment I was like, I don't want tobe that guy. I don't want to come across this way. And the hard work forme 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 wholesalecycle. Like never heard of sales development, never heard of buying leadlist. Like I'm going to go out and do research and like make a list of 100different companies that look like this. Um, and that was the hard work and likethose early days of sales just grinding the night, like after hours justgetting the leads. Well, I'll tell you there's some, some honesty gems inthere. One. I'm sure everybody on that's listening right now has said inthe past, so like I hustle hard, I'm the hardest. But you know, sometimesdeep down, you know, maybe you do need those snacks and those tricks to figureout what's going to really light you on fire, even when you don't want to, evenwhen you don't want to, you know, and it's okay to keep it to yourself and onslack, 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 candormoment, right? Isn't that it now where somebody just tells you the truth? Butit's with, with positivity behind it.

With that person obviously wanted tosucceed. What you say is day two or interview to, I mean they wanted, butguess what? You're not going to succeed if you're, if you're about and theamount of loyalty that that type of thing creates, right? Because they'veseen you, they see it and they're willing to take a chance on you. It'sit's huge. That was a gift that that ceo gave to me at that time, but I'llnever forget. I love that man, I love that. Well, give us, you know, you'vebeen 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'recurrently doing. Yes right away. Just any any. Now look, I'm going to cheat alittle 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. ButI'm gonna tell you a little, a little nugget that is, how do you manage orhow do you operate remotely in this crazy world? So do you ever use MArcoPolo? You know the, at marco Polo? Probably not. Nobody knows it. It'slike nobody's ever heard of it. The point is how are we? Re creating theenvironment that we want to be a part of and what I miss about the salesfloor, right? I miss the walking in. I missed the chatting, the catching upover deals, the what's working, what's not, I miss the learning about peoplein casual ways that we lost right now. Main streets, fully distributed. We areby 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 Polotoo silly at the point is all it does is like a synchronous like voice andvideo messages. So we've got a threat with the whole team and we just sendeach other like, hey, what's going on today? I'm drinking this coffee, checkit out. Like I'm doing this, Here's my dog, right? Find ways to create theculture and the environment that you want to be a part of. We also usediscord as like a sales floor vibe, right? Setting meetings feelsinauthentic. Sometimes you just want to walk in and see people. So that's mydad. I like that. I like that. I mean, I hope that by the time people werethis is we're taping this in april, I...

...hope by the time people listen to thismaybe 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 greattidbits, I love it. And we're in the speed this, you know the lightninground if you will any key positions that you're hiring for. Absolutely, Iwe are hiring across the board, we just brought on nine people this week and SDand HD rules, we're going to do it again the next two months. In additionwe need sales managers, sales development managers. So those are thebig ones, I'll say, wow, awesome. Um we'll definitely try to get that up onlinkedin as well and then shout outs. Who do you, who do you dig reading? Youknow, listen to like what gives you Yeah, let me tell you like coming. SoI'll give you three books that helped me understand how companies like agoogle 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, britishclassics. Read um, if you haven't already. Um, and if you are early inyour career, read them to understand how your leadership is thinking aboutthings and what matters to them and where they're going. Yeah, I just askedmy engine. So a couple of my engineers were asking in terms of their personaldevelopment goals, learning more about sales and uh, I actually, uh, thescaling the revenue engine was exactly the book I pointed to, to hand to anengineer to say this is what we're trying to do on that. I know it lookslike we just shit can stick around and talk to people, but like there'scolleagues 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 channingBrown, 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 allthe time doing the best, but I'm trying to figure out how to welcome people andcreate a culture that is healthy and diverse. Like she helped me see thatthis like we need to invite people with different backgrounds into create andco create the culture, not just be there and take on whatever culture wethink is the right one. So I'm incredibly grateful to her. And thelast one I'll say is is David White, who was a poet who has done a lot ofwork in corporate environments has probably been the single most helpfulresource for me as I've navigated career changes, interesting, yep,interesting. Well I mean that Austin channing Brown book is amazing. Soloving it. Uh shout outs for any of the up and comers. Oh yeah let me give youtwo. Okay so former, I used to work with this guy and I've watched him fromafar say hell Mansouri if you don't know if he's A. And R. C. Member andCeo of bravado and he just provocative, creative out of the box sales leaderwho now is now the Ceo but he was helping people rethink the way that weshould incentivise, motivate, talk about sales, incredibly thoughtfulsmart guy. Also like yeah I like chris walker over refined labs. He's greatvideo content. I think he's he's teaching me new stuff about marketingdemands that all the time. I love chris and thank God he was on the pod. Reallyappreciate my time with him. All right. And uh last and maybe most important, Ialways 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 outto 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. UhBurmese and just like, you know better than be star in burma superstar and allthat stuff. And then if we're in Brooklyn I want to go the four horsemenyou'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 bestwine sponsor in Brooklyn and Justin and the team do an incredible job. It's agreat call and then we'll go there, will also go to my friends at Williamand check out. Love that goodness awesome dude. So great to have you onchris. I think you've got such an interesting path and like, I'm excitedto see what happens with Main Street in the next couple of years. It's a feelslike a rocket ship unicorn in the making them. Thanks Brandon. This hasbeen a blast, take care of. All right, that is our show. Thank you so much forlistening. 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 getthe conversation started at drift dot com. All right. I had fun. Hope you didtoo. Now go crush your numbers. Say something. Mm hmm. Yeah.

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