Q: What do you do at DocuSign?
I recently took the role of VP of Global Partner Solutions. In keeping with our rapid evolution as a business, it’s my fourth job in five years at DocuSign. This team is focused on helping partners integrate and resell DocuSign. My day-to-day work consists of helping partners understand what DocuSign does as a business, how our product works, and how they can make their solutions more compelling by including DocuSign.
Q: What do your friends and family think you do?
They basically think I work for some “hot” Silicon Valley software company. But it’s a bit more than that. DocuSign is a “hot” Valley company but it is very unique because a lot of my friends and family know the brand and have used the product.
Here is a cool story about what makes DocuSign unique. I grew up in a very small town in Western Maryland. A guy I went to school with – and hadn’t talked to in 30 years – ran in my Dad and asked what I was up to. My Dad told him I worked at DocuSign. It turns out my old classmate runs a small painting business with five employees – and uses DocuSign! That blows me away.
Q: What is the best thing about working at DocuSign?
I love the dimensionality of the problem we work on. Digital agreements can help every individual, every business, every department, every industry, every country, every government. And every agreement currently done on paper is slightly different. It’s challenging to set priorities, build features, establish pricing, fend off competition, and train partners when your product can literally be used (differently) by everybody on the planet.
Q: How is your team different than other teams at DocuSign? Is there anything special about your team’s dynamic?
My team is somewhat different because we’re not trying to close the deal today, make a number this month, or release some product next quarter. We’re trying to build strategic partner solutions or revenue streams that might take a year or more to develop.
Q: What is the best advice you can give to somebody starting a new job in your department at DocuSign?
Learn the product. It’s hard to help a partner understand the value of what we do if you don’t understand the fundamentals of our product.
Q: What traits do you most admire in your colleagues at DocuSign?
Optimism. Joining a growth company can be hard. There’s a lot of pressure to grow fast and a lot of competition. I think most people stick it out at DocuSign because they believe in the longevity of the business. I think that electronic signatures, digital agreements, smart contracts – whatever you want to call it – are inevitable. This is how my children will execute their personal and professional agreements. You have to be optimistic to consistently and successfully tackle the problems that come with such a daunting opportunity.
Q: What traits do you think your DocuSign colleagues most admire in you?
Humor might be one. I like to keep things a little bit light and funny. I’d say tenacity is probably another. At this point, I’m basically a guy that just gets thrown in front of nasty, complicated problems. I’ve got the willingness to grind them out, from strategic goals to minute details.
I also have a reputation of being a good presenter and a good storyteller. I really enjoy breaking down complex topics and making them understandable.
Q: What is something most of your colleagues at DocuSign don’t know about you?
I’m a partner at a concert hall in San Francisco called The Independent. It’s a 500-person concert hall and has been open for 12 years. I would humbly submit that it’s one of the best places to see live music in the country. It’s a great way to unplug from the hype machine of Silicon Valley, and to be reminded that software isn’t the only thing powering the culture of modern San Francisco.
Q: What is your favorite snack from the DocuSign kitchen?
Chocolate covered almonds.
Q: Where is your favorite place to work or have a meeting at DocuSign and why?
Any of the international offices. It’s a visceral reminder of how fun it is to work at a “start up”; people are still scrappy, edgy, hungry, enthusiastic, and focused. I always come back from the international offices reminded of how big the digital agreement opportunity is, and how much work it will take to be the industry leader on a global level. I’ve probably been to the London office the most…but I’ve also made many trips to Dublin, Sao Paulo, Paris, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo. I need to get to Sydney and Singapore.
Q: What is the best project you ever worked on at DocuSign and why?
Standards-Based Signatures. It was my focus for nearly two years. It involved three acquisitions and lots of international travel. I had the opportunity to work with people from four different time zones, with four distinct product portfolios, and with four different opinions on how to Sign documents. It was tiring and challenging, but we launched something that allows our business to grow internationally. I’m very proud of that project.
Q: If you were not working at DocuSign and could do anything in the world, what would you be doing/do next?
I should answer altruistically and say “help other people,” but selfishly I wish I was a musician. I love music, especially live music, and I play a smattering of guitar, vox, drums, and piano. However, as a 45-year-old father of three, I’m pretty confident that I missed my rockstar window.
Q: What is the secret for you to happiness?
Perspective. One thing that I try to do across all walks of life is maintain context. If your kids are screaming, you are overwhelmed at work, or you are stuck in Bay Area traffic, it’s easy to get frustrated in the moment. I try hard to maintain context, and look at the history of mankind versus the time period we live in. At the micro level I’ve got a great wife, three amazing kids, food, shelter, and a job. At the macro level, We live in a time where we are safe (compared to history), we can communicate freely, we can traverse the globe, we can improve healthcare, and so much more.
I try to hard to set context and perspective when I’m stressed. It helps me realize that the problem I’m working, or the stress I am feeling, probably isn’t all that bad within the bigger picture.