Evan Goldstein tells us that it was at the end of another long day—after a week of long days—as he was walking to the parking lot adjacent to Genentech’s offices that he received a “gut punch.”
Becoming more self-aware of others is something that many finance leaders have told us that they have needed to lean into during their career, but few have shared with us the pivot to self-reflection as vividly as Goldstein, whose multi-decade finance career boasts an unusual dual-chamber architecture centered on 10 years at Genentech and another 11 at Salesforce.Read More
“I refer to myself as a serial monogamist when it comes to my professional career and the longevity that I’ve experienced at both of these companies,” explains Goldstein, who credits his extended stay at both firms to the power of three: the people, the mission, and the innovation.
Still, Goldberg wants us to know about the long day that ended in Genentech’s parking lot.
For young finance career builders, arriving at the end-of-day parking lot can be somewhat likened to a runner breaking the finish-line tape, not to be awarded a medal, though, but to be met with the refreshingly cool evening air that routinely rewards a long day’s work.
It was in just such environs that Goldstein chose to thank a younger Genentech colleague for their hard work on an important and ultimately successful “deliverable.”
“After having just been promoted to the manager level, I had taken over short-term planning in the corporate organization and had hired this person—whose role I had had in the past,” reports Goldstein, who earlier in the week had presented the “deliverable” to Genentech’s leadership team.
“Here we had had this really successful outcome, and this employee was just doing phenomenally well,” comments Goldstein, who found himself alongside his young report as they made their way to the parking lot together.
“Thank you for all of your hard work,” Goldstein remembers saying—to which the employee then replied: “Yeah, well, I don’t think I want to do this.”
Such a response was like a punch to the gut, Goldstein recalls, and one that not even the fresh evening air could ease.
The employee explained further: “Evan, you’re telling me what to do, and you’re not letting me figure it out.”
Looking back, Goldstein realizes that he was shortchanging the opportunities that he provided to others by failing to allow them to grow and develop along the way as they “added their own flavor to the process.”
Says Goldstein: “This was one of my turning points from a managerial leadership perspective—when I started to realize that it’s not just about what you deliver but also how you deliver it.” –Jack Sweeney
Made Possible By
CFOTL: Tell us about Seismic … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Goldstein: Seismic really started as a technology for handling customer-facing content management in enterprises and financial services firms. This was sort of the origin, but it quickly grew into a platform. It’s now more than just managing content. It’s about analytics and intelligence, buyer engagement, marketing orchestration, and more.Read More
It was enablement before “enablement” was a thing. I think that now you hear a lot about enablement, but when this company was founded, in 2010, there was no such thing. Seismic has been a huge part of creating this, and defining it, and growing it over the past decade to expand its definition.
Right now, it even includes training and coaching and enablement intelligence. What sales enablement has really evolved to be all about is making the seller’s life easier. It’s providing them with the right skills, content, tools, and insights to grow and win.
When I was thinking about my next step and looking at a lot of different companies, two things really stood out for me at Seismic. One was this evolution into a platform. If you look at some of the third parties, like Forrester and G2, you see that we have best-in-class products at multiple points in the enablement workflow. We’re continuing to push forward in other ways to build out the platform. This importance of platform versus sort of a feature or niche product was really important to me as I looked at my next step. I do believe that Seismic is really, really unique in this and that there is a huge TAM opportunity.
The other part that I also think is very unique for a company our size is that our product is enterprise-ready. A lot of our customers are in the enterprise, which in times of economic uncertainty is always helpful. Being an enterprise-ready product and having enterprise customers really helps us to have some best-in-class retention rates. Again: This was one of the things that really attracted me to the company.
I would say that my #1 priority is helping to drive growth through scale. This is the #1 thing. I think that Seismic is incredibly positioned, with a huge TAM opportunity in front of us. We are the dominant player in the market. Being #1 in software matters, and we are in this position now. We are evolving into a fully robust platform for solving enablement needs in many ways. This is a unique time for the company. My role as CFO is to help to scale our growth and figure out just how we do that.
When the time is right, we hope to be a public company, so we need to be public-ready when the markets are right and our investors want us to take that step. Thus, another one of my priorities is to build out that capability. Thankfully, I walked into a situation where a lot of these pieces are already in place. It’s just all about building upon them. I’m really excited for the future of Seismic and where we’re going to go.
“Consider yourself as a thought partner with the business rather than a gatekeeper of financials. The finance organization is one of the few places that has a full, 360-degree view of the company. Leverage this. Engage with the business and understand the opportunities and challenges. Combining business expertise and financial acumen creates a powerful blend for helping an organization succeed.” –Evan Goldstein, CFO, Seismic
Seismic | www.seismic.com | San Diego, CA