055: Ask Someone to Take a Risk on YOU with Michael Maturo

What makes a career move risky? Does engineering career job security even exist?

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Is that true?

In this episode, meet a leader whose life-long passion is helping people improve themselves with the connective power of technology, Michael Maturo.

Michael is a Solutions Engineer at Experience.com, supporting top-notch Account Executives and working closely with the C-Suites of Series A/B/C technology companies. After hearing this interview, you might call his career path risky.

But not Michael.

In the past six years, he has undergone great personal transformation as well, traveling to meet friends around the world, settling in upstate New York, and feeling like he’s following the quantum flow of life.

So press play and let’s chat… it’s time to create a solution for your engineering career!

 

The Happy Engineer Podcast

WATCH EPISODE 055: ASK SOMEONE TO TAKE A RISK ON YOU WITH MICHAEL MATURO

LISTEN TO EPISODE 055: ASK SOMEONE TO TAKE A RISK ON YOU INTERVIEW WITH ZACH’S DEBRIEF

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TAKING A RISK ON YOURSELF & ENGINEERING CAREER JOB SECURITY

Michael Maduro brought incredible value to this week’s podcast. Let’s dig a little deeper into some of the ideas he shared with us.

There’s a concept he brought to the conversation that comes up a lot in my coaching: 

Risk

Risk is often deeply embedded in our core values. 

Engineering leaders associate this word with words such as:

  • Opportunity’
  • Something new’
  • Do I make a change?’ 
  • ‘That feels risky’ 
  • New opportunities to change career path.’

Now, the opposite of risk is safety, and these are some of the words you hear around the idea of safety: 

  • I wanna stay in something that I’m familiar with…’ 
  • Something I have experience in,’ 
  • Something that is comfortable, where I know and have confidence that I can add a ton of value’

So we’re weighing opportunity, something new, versus familiarity, or comfort.

Risk tends to come in the context of talking about our future, some return in the future because of an action today. 

Safety, on the other hand, is rooted in the past. People say “I always get the same safe, stable, secure paycheck.” 

Safety is often looking backwards rather than looking forwards, but here’s the one that really stands out. And I just mentioned the word. When we talk about safety is this idea of security

Are you a person who values security? I get it. Having job security is important to a lot of people.

Now, what is the opposite of security? What is on the opposite side? Well, to understand that, we need to look a little bit more closely at what security really is and where do we create security? In fact, where do we find maximum security in our culture? Think about that for a second. Where have you heard that word maximum security?

Prison! 

A maximum security prison. That is the place where we call maximum security in our culture. How interesting is that? The very place that we’ve considered maximum security is the place where you have the least opportunity, the least upside, the least vision and hope and dreams for your future. In fact, it’s the place where you have the least freedom. 

The opposite of security is freedom and maximum security is the ultimate, absence of freedom. And at the end of the day, what I find with engineering leaders, who I work with, is that we all desire freedom. 

The freedom to choose, the freedom to act, the freedom to take your career and the direction that you want it to go. The freedom to enjoy life with your family, freedom of your time. Freedom to be flexible. Financial freedom to not feel reliant or dependent on anyone else for your income and for your financial future. 

Freedom is a human quality that we deeply desire, autonomy and freedom. And yet in our careers, we talk about job security. 

So all I want you to do today is consider that if your primary driver and value in your career is job security, that comes at a cost, and the cost is your job freedom.

So which one are you going to put in first place? We all value both. This isn’t a binary situation where you must choose one or the other. It’s a continuous spectrum, but the truth is we’ve all got one at the top and which everyone is leading is gonna be the one that drives you in your career. 

If safety and security is your primary value for your career, it’s going to keep you in familiar places. It’s gonna keep you comfortable. And over time that leads to feelings like being stuck or being without opportunity. 

There’s no return and there’s no freedom. Now, there isn’t a right or wrong here. I just want to tell you that straight up, I’m not making a values judgment about which one you should want. You need to choose, but you need to be aware that whichever you value most is going to shape the decisions and actions and therefore results that you’ll get in your career.

Hey, wanna chat more about this episode? I’d love to. 

We started our Facebook group for that exact reason. Join The Happy Engineer Community Online

Go there and ask your questions, share what you took away from this episode and would love to hear your thoughts about who else we should talk to and what else we should talk about here on The Happy Engineered Podcast.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/thehappyengineer

 

Previous Episode 054: Stop Destroying Your #1 Advantage to Career Success with Susan Birch

Back to ALL EPISODES

 

MEET MICHAEL MATURO

As a Solutions Engineer at Experience.com, Michael expresses a life-long passion: helping people improve themselves with the connective power of technology. He became a Sales Engineer in 2016, after starting as a Business Development Representative, and has been supporting top-notch Account Executives close enterprise deals ever since.

In part because Michael has worked for Series A/B/C companies, he had the unique opportunity to work closely with their C-Suites. In the past six years, he’s also undergone great personal transformation as well, traveling to meet friends around the world, settling in upstate New York, and feeling like he’s following the quantum flow of life.

 

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

 

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Michael, so glad you’re here. Welcome to The Happy Engineer Podcast, man. And thanks for making time to be with me and all the amazing, Happy Engineers out there. 

[00:00:10] Michael Maturo: It is a pleasure, Zach. Thanks for having me.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:12] Zach White: So I couldn’t resist. Picking on something from your experiences of the distant past that I’m super curious about, it’s from 2005, 2006 timeframe.

[00:00:24] you have this, board of the future that you were a part of? I think this might have been a university thing, sponsored by Microsoft mm-hmm . I was super curious because the little description that you provided of what this was about describes, the future of the information workplace and scenario planning around what that means.

[00:00:46] Zach White: And you went out to Budapest and Bangkok, it sounds like, and did some really cool things. 2005. And now here we are 20, 22 as we’re recording this, I would love to know, what was that about? And do you remember any of the predictions or the scenarios that came up in 2005 and six and like, did they come to pass or were you completely wrong?

[00:01:08] Like, could you just tell us

[00:01:09] Michael Maturo: about that? Yeah. The, so what that was, it was at, uh, the Microsoft board of the future was a group bringing college age student. Recent college graduates from around the world. I think it was 25 of us or so, to participate in this program where we’re, we were ideating around the Microsoft office suite.

[00:01:28] This was a pre-cloud, really, and, uh, when it was still a, a desktop program. And, the scenario planning that really went with it. It was, it was kind of, you gotta remember it was the boom times. So this was before the, the great recession. It was before 2008. So we were still, there was a lot of enthusiasm about what was happening in the tech space.

[00:01:50] I think the big advantage that we had there and the big excitement was, yes, everybody knew we were going toward total cloud immersion. nobody really knew, or at. As young as young people, we were 22 at that time, 23 didn’t know what that was going to mean, but we knew that there were maybe the, big themes that came to pass were this was this idea of collaboration across.

[00:02:12] all dimensions of people. So we were talking about, and this is why the, there were people from all around the world. We were talking about what it means to have cultural interaction, what it means to have software that enables, interaction among different demographics and different generations.

[00:02:30] Michael Maturo: So it was very heady stuff. Dan Rasmus, who’s still a, a futurist, researcher is, is still talking about, that’s what it, it was very big topics for someone who was very new to the workplace. I was working in China at the time. Teaching computer science to some of their honors students at a university.

[00:02:50] So it was a huge opportunity, really exciting way to see the world and to make some, good connections.

[00:02:56] Zach White: Were there any scenarios that you saw come to pass? Like very close to how you talked about it during those years? Or was it a big divergence? Like we weren’t even close to how it’s actually played out over these last 15 years.

[00:03:13] I

[00:03:14] In a way, it feels like we weren’t necessarily making very direct recommendations to the product, even though we were shown different beta versions of, I mean, even, I think the ribbon was a big thing at the time, the ribbon a little bit. So, I remember something around that, the, the, the one that really stuck with me was this idea of, intergenerational and intercultural collaboration and.

[00:03:37] Michael Maturo: At the time we were trying to figure out what does that mean for a software package? the only way that it really, I, I don’t know that it really came to pass, but in a way it was just making it intuitive, making the software intuitive for people across cultures, which is not an easy task.

[00:03:53] No doubt. Really look at the way people use software is very different in, in different places. the mobile, uh, infusion in Africa, they’re all on the mobile phones versus computers. So that, that alone is a different thing to consider.

[00:04:06] I imagine we could spend our entire conversation talking about this concept, but cultural differences in how software in particular, but we’ll say technology in a broader sense is used mm-hmm I would imagine that’s a, a problem that.

[00:04:22] Zach White: Global multinational technology development organization faces today. Yes. And will continue to face. Is there a specific example of that that you’ve encountered since then, or just highlights maybe a win in that space or what it actually looks like to create a cultural, connection that otherwise would not be enabled if the technology didn’t do it?

[00:04:45] the thing that comes to mind is not Microsoft, but Google. and the G suite, which is making it so easy to add participants into a document. To me, that’s a simple, small win that actually, manifests and amplifies to a much bigger win the fact that I can get anyone with a Gmail account onto a shared document instantly, I, I do, I help, educate and support the education of, uh, two Uganda.

[00:05:12] Michael Maturo: Students who come out of an orphanage there who are exceptional students who are really in the right mindset, working very hard. And, I’m able to share documents with them. and they can just, it’s amazing. Open it up and collaborate from, I mean, these are teenage students who are finishing their high school years and who are able to just.

[00:05:32] come on to the, program and do it keeping in mind, actually that I did, uh, we did have to buy, I did I and my, my woman Newhan we had to buy them laptops and cell phones to be able to do that. but once we did that, they were able to very intuitively and easily connect with, the software.

[00:05:49] Michael Maturo: So that’s something that I think is a, a big win for Google and is something that lots of companies I think are starting to do is just make it easy to. and collaborate on a single internet enabled.

[00:06:01] Zach White: It is brilliant. I remember vividly when Whirlpool corporation adopted the G suite tool kit, which I don’t think it was called G suite at the time.

[00:06:10] Right. Right. But that first time that I took a spreadsheet in Google sheets and clicked share and another person in our organization could edit that sheet at the same time as me, Abby, that was a truly revolutionary thought. And for most engineers was quite. Scary at first, like they’re gonna mess up my data and all these people manipulating.

[00:06:31] And of course, Google has sensed done a lot to help solve those fears and problems. Mm-hmm man talk. That was huge revolutionary. I love that wasn’t that long ago. So amazing. Amazing. Well, Michael, it’s an interesting segue to, you know, your experience and experience as an idea, something that you are truly exceptional in with the work you [email protected]

[00:06:52] Yeah, but maybe before we get there, Could you quickly set the stage with your engineering background? We talked before we were recording today about, you know, once we’ve carried the banner of being an engineer, it’s always with us, but just real quick, tell us about your history and some of the experiences leading up to where you’re at now.

[00:07:11] I’ve always been fascinated with computers and how you use computers to achieve real results in the world. I say that intentionally, because even as. As a youngster in my middle school and high school years, I was publishing a local newsletter using co express on my Macintosh power Macintosh.

[00:07:28] that was a, a big use case of just applying technology into some real world example. And I’ve always been interested in how technology can enable that kind of, behavior was taking an idea into fruition so quickly. And that’s probably more true now than it ever was. So I started with the Macintosh actually, when I was a kid, had Mac se before I even remember actually I had it when I was six or seven.

[00:07:53] it was a natural progression to want to go and study computer engineering and computer science at the university of Southern California, because I, I wasn’t sure whether I was more fascinated by programming or the actual hardware engineer. and luckily they had a, a major that did both, so I didn’t have to choose.

[00:08:14] that gave me a lot to work with in both programming, a rudimentary operating system and designing, at the time using a CAD software, a basic microchip, which was a CPU, which was pretty fascinating to deal with down to the gate level. It was very interesting to do that.

[00:08:30] Michael Maturo: So that was USC. And when I came out of that, I was brought into, a program in China to educate in computer science they were freshmen and seniors, so it was really information systems and Java and C plus programming. but that was an eye opening experience to live and work in China for a.

[00:08:50] At a time when it was 2005, 2006. So wasn’t as locked down as today, but still it was getting there. Yeah. And, huge cultural experience to go from living in Rockland county, where I grew up in New York state to go to school in California, Los Angeles, and then to move to China, in pouty, the Fujian province of China.

[00:09:11] Zach White: That’s amazing. So before we go on, Those three locations. I could not pick, three more different, I guess maybe we put a third country in there, maybe put, to point Africa or something, but at least within the continental, us LA and New York, very different experiences. And then China.

[00:09:27] So what, for you during that time, teaching and bringing computer science into the culture there, what stood out to you as distinct? Was there anything that. Just not expecting around how they approached technology or the learning and adoption of technology or, or was it very similar to the us?

[00:09:47] What did you

[00:09:47] Michael Maturo: notice? I, I was surprised, the first thing that comes to mind is I was surprised at how many of the students, I had several classes, but they were all maybe 20 or 30 students per class. And there was always a subset of students who literally copied each other’s home. and copied each other’s tests in a way, or at least the assignments I would give ’em they just outright copied without thinking.

[00:10:11] I would notice maybe, or thinking that it, didn’t matter. So I was surprised by that in a negative way. because I thought, how can I help you if you’re not really showing me what your, what your own work is? Yes. Um, but on the same, token, I was also pleasantly surprised by my exceptional students.

[00:10:28] Who were truly exceptional. these were students who were applying the, basic principles. I taught them in very creative ways to solve programming problems in C plus plus, and Java, the information systems, students who were really business students, or at least learning business, were very creative in their approaches of, how to use technology to solve supply chain problems or business problems.

[00:10:50] the most exceptional students, I know that one, went to South Korea. Another one worked in for IBM in Canada. I think it was. And another one, uh, went somewhere in, the United States. and there were many of them, but. it was beautiful to see them branching out, kind of like what I did, which was go to college and then go to a different country and get that experience.

[00:11:11] Michael Maturo: So that’s awesome. It was a pleasant surprise

[00:11:15] Zach White: in the spirit of lifelong learning. Is there any, theme or. Approach to learning technology that even, you know, if there’s an engineering leader out there, maybe they are a manager or a director already, but they wanna stay sharp or they’re working to keep up with the adoption of new and advancing technology.

[00:11:37] You know, this is a theme that comes up all the time in my coaching at OACO is man, I constantly have to be keeping up or I fall behind. there’s this dance between learning how to lead and manage, and developing those skills, but also keeping up with the technology. What would you say from your own experience and, and being a teacher and helping others through this, is there anything that stands out to you as a, mindset or a behavior or an approach to continuously learning and adapting to new technology?

[00:12:04] Michael Maturo: I mean, maybe this is something that’s come to me more recently. I mean, over the. 10 years or so it’s of my own career. I’ve been selling computer software since, 2008 was when I got the job after the China job to be in sales operations for a collaborative software company.

[00:12:20] And, the one that really comes to mind though, is, knowing th self because you have to know what your own, limitations are and your own interests and your own passions, the advantage of the access to information we have now is that you can follow the passionate rabbit hole as deep as you want to go.

[00:12:39] And so if you follow your passion for what you’re really interested in for me, IBM’s kiss kit and quantum computing. I mean, I’m fascinated by that sort of thing. artificial intelligence is, is a close second. but if you can really find out what you’re interested in, there’s success to be found in those passions, which is, I think very different from even my parents’ generation who, had to grit your teeth and do things that maybe you didn’t have a passion.

[00:13:05] It doesn’t mean you’ll be passionate about everything you do, but you can find something where you’re, finding that, that outlet kind of trusting that there will be people around you who can come into your life to educate you on the things that you don’t necessarily have the passion to be an nth degree expert in.

[00:13:21] there are so many communities out there of people who are really pursuing their knowledge and going down that, that rabbit hole that you can leverage. To learn about the things quickly, that the things that you don’t necessarily want to do on your own

[00:13:36] Zach White: there’s brilliant wisdom in what you just said, how you phrased that, Michael, that we need to trust that those people will show up in the time that we need them.

[00:13:47] Yeah. I had this philosophy for a long time about somehow. I must always plan and prepare for and predict exactly who those people would need to be and get all those connections made of my own, you know, infinite knowledge of how this was all gonna play out in my life and career and the most impactful mentors and teachers and coaches of my life entered my life in a way I could have.

[00:14:16] Expected or predicted. regardless of your belief system around that, if that’s, you know, the hand of God moving or whatever, just that trust, I love how you said trusting that. And, but then an openness to connect. I think a lot of engineering leaders. Tend to stay pretty isolated and they don’t give those people a chance to connect with them, to support them, even if they’re right there and could, and I don’t know if you agree with that or if you’ve experienced that, where it’s like just being willing to allow other people into your world for where they could help you.

[00:14:49] I don’t know. Does that resonate for you? I just, you

[00:14:51] Michael Maturo: just gave me the chills, with the, with that comment. there was a point in my life where I also felt like I needed to be prepared for all outcomes and that I could somehow orchestrate my network. and then there was a switch, when I realized it’s way too complicated, first of all, to try to do that.

[00:15:08] And second of all, we are so interconnected in this modern world that we can be open to that, that we don’t need to do that necessarily. I completely agree with that. And I’ll add that, that level of trust also comes. A lot of self-confidence. and I’m not saying that I’m the pro in that either.

[00:15:25] That’s an area that I’m constantly working on. I feel like with every endeavor I do, I find new areas where if I had a negative mindset, I would be overly critical of myself. And so with every new endeavor or new pathway that I’m [email protected] or in my own life, you have to view it with a positive mindset to say, well, this is another area where I have the opportunity to grow.

[00:15:48] Which, as we were saying earlier, that drive to grow is, is what drives life. we just gotta go with it. I.

[00:15:55] Zach White: Ah, I love that. So you, you let the cat out of the bag, Michael, that you ended up in sales, you left the core hardcore engineering work and went into sales, engineering and solutions engineering.

[00:16:06] And, and since then have found this incredible, passion for it and skill at it, but also how it applies in a bigger context. And I wanna unpack that with you, but. Tell us, like, why did you take that first sales, engineering job? What was it that drew you into that?

[00:16:22] when I was at Relayware, which was since acquired by another company very successfully acquired by another company.

[00:16:29] but Relayware back in 2014 is where I started as a sales development representative. And I took that job because, at the time I was living in Brooklyn and was trying to do my own Sales consulting business, but I was too new to really do that. And I realized that, so I said, I gotta get back into the corporate world and really, cut my teeth on something, where I can really grow with other people.

[00:16:54] so I started as a sales development representative. and by that point I already knew I wanted to be in sales because I worked for a guy named Larry Cherry in my hometown prior to. In 2008 where I got my first sales, operations job. I was in politics at the time. I was an elected official, so I just needed a local job.

[00:17:15] Michael Maturo: Oh, interesting. so it was kind of, that just came about serendipitously. It was from somebody, I knew a friend of a friend. He wanted me to work with him in some capacity. So he said sales, operations you’ll help me in the sales team. And me being into tech. I said, sure. he was, it was a software company.

[00:17:30] So I figured it was aligned enough to find somewhere to, enjoy that. he was an incredible salesperson. I mean, he was selling to massive pharmaceutical companies, which had some very smart people as his clients, he worked in banking. This was 2008 and selling into banking in 2008 was very difficult to do and he was doing it.

[00:17:50] Yeah. so I saw the excitement of taking technology. Using it to help executives be better at their jobs and be better at their, talents. so I saw the potential for connecting the dots between, technology and people who needed technology, which is sales. and so anyway, that led to Relayware and Relayware led to, they actually had it.

[00:18:15] they had a need for a sales engineer. Because there was one guy who’s brilliant and he’s at Salesforce now, who needed help. And as a sales development representative, I felt really confident in my knowledge of the product. I felt like I was bold enough to do it. I asked them to take a chance on me as a sales engineer and they.

[00:18:38] Michael Maturo: So it was kind of a natural progression because I was already there as an SDR. I just raised my hand. I mean, that’s really what it came down to and they gave me the, they gave me the trust to do that.

[00:18:50] Zach White: So let’s sit on that for just a moment because I sure I believe someone needs to hear, or maybe it I’ll say it this way.

[00:19:00] We often know what we want and even how to do it. It’s like when someone else gives us permission to take the action, suddenly we will, whether that’s a coach or a friend or the person just says, Hey, like just raise your hand. And so Michael for you, what, if anything, was the catalyst to that confidence to just say, I want this opportunity take a risk on me.

[00:19:25] I think a lot of people, that’s a really scary thing to do, or at least they never have done it before. Tell us, what was it for you that took you there? Yeah. What

[00:19:35] Michael Maturo: was, it was because the Relayware was growing, at the time and this was a partner relationship management company. We were selling enterprise software.

[00:19:44] that specifically mediated the relationship among your partners and indirect selling is now even bigger now than it was then. Yes. So this was on the cost and that’s why they got acquired, cuz we were doing well and the brand was good to be acquired by somebody. But actually how it happened was I was in SDR.

[00:20:01] Michael Maturo: I’d been there a year, a little bit more than a year, and we were ready to grow into, we needed actually, not just another se, but we needed an account executive. And I raised my hand to be an account executive first because I said, what an upgrade that would be, I could carry my own bag. They needed somebody in California.

[00:20:21] I was eager to go back to California at that point. Yeah. Or at least test the water. I would’ve been a very junior AE for a position that they take the chance on that. They, we really needed an account executive who was already selling into enterprise accounts.

[00:20:35] I had to accept that and I had to say, all right, well, you know, if I can’t be an AE what’s I knew that I wanted to do something more than an SDR, because I felt like that gave me such a strong foundation in the. That, I wanted to be on the growth upswing. Yes. it came about because I wanted to challenge personally and because I just was excited about the industry I was in.

[00:20:57] so I wanted to move up somehow and if it wasn’t gonna be an AE, then it was actually, I mean, it was only a few months later that the se position came about, or at least they were talking about. And I said, well, take me as an se, if not an AE, take me as, as S as an se. And I was already working with the lead sales engineer at the time.

[00:21:16] I’d already been working with him, so there was familiarity. and it, it worked in that regard.

[00:21:22] Zach White: I hope the engineering leader listening to this will really take to heart the fact that there are times in our life and career where we simply need to raise our. and go ask someone to take a risk on you.

[00:21:36] Yeah. And I can tell you from the leading side mm-hmm I love when someone comes to me and asks that question, Zach, I want you to take a risk on me. I’m ready. I got this, I have the hunger. I have the desire, cuz one of those things that cannot be coached. Manufactured is a deep intrinsic desire to grow and succeed and, and do that.

[00:22:02] And so I, I just love being on the receiving end of that. And sometimes we assume that people are gonna take it in this negative way. And most of the time, it may or may not work out if you’re not in, in the right place, right. Time or not experienced yet, et cetera, but go raise your hand. so important.

[00:22:18] Michael Maturo: Well, and that was the thing, I mean, just keeping on another reminder. I wanted a position that I didn’t get before I got the sales engineering position. And it’s almost like that was a reminder that, what you think you want, maybe isn’t necessarily what you actually want.

[00:22:34] So just be open to these other opportunities, because it can come from unexpected places.

[00:22:40] Zach White: So true. All right. So here you are sales engineering, mm-hmm and really found a, a sweet spot for yourself in terms of career. And I’d love to hear about how did you. Discover both your own, like, Hey, it’s resonating for me.

[00:22:57] This is working. I wanna continue in this and building your own career in this space to where, you know, truly have mastery in that domain. I’m super curious about that for you, but also, you know, you have found now that sales engineering it’s bigger than just sales engineering, and I wanna unpack those points along the way.

[00:23:14] So just kind of tell us about how this blossomed for you and where did some of these. Highlights begin to click that. Wow. There’s more here than meets the eye.

[00:23:24] people used to think, or maybe they still think that sales is this. They have this negative taste about sales, cuz nobody wants to be sold.

[00:23:31] and that’s true, but everybody wants to be helped. In whatever vision you have for your life or vision for you have for your company, and enterprise selling at least. And I think really all selling as Ian cognac says, I listen to his podcast a lot. selling is helping. Yes. And you’re helping someone do something with your product.

[00:23:52] regardless of whatever that product is, it’s helping someone do something. And so if you come at it from that mindset, which I. Then it’s a lot easier to be in sales because you’re really connecting people with a transformative experience. And it’s not for everyone in the sense that, there are very few products that every single person on the planet can be a customer of.

[00:24:11] finding the people that really need your service or product, and really helping that contingent of group of people. Is part of the fun and part of the excitement and helps me deal with, sometimes not clicking or a rejection, even an outright rejection. it’s selling is helping.

[00:24:28] Michael Maturo: So, uh, with that mindset, it just, that really made it easy to be in sales. and at the same time you’re working with, as a sales engineer, you’re still an engineer at. I studied with some really smart engineers. when I applied for that, when I went to the information session for the China job at USC, I saw my peers who were, I thought much more talented at computer science and computer engineering than I was.

[00:24:54] And I had doubts about whether I should even apply actually, but through the encouragement of a mentor at the time there, she said just apply and see what happened. so. That’s another, I, I got a lot of nudges in my, in my ears and that’s been a big help. So those nudges come, come when they need to.

[00:25:11] I think

[00:25:12] Zach White: selling is helping such a foundational shift from the, forcing people to spend their money on things they don’t want or need or whatever kind of slimy sleazy salesman picture might enter people’s minds. So. you experience this mindset shift and you fall in love with helping people through technology, which I think at the end of the day, every person I’ve ever met in my business coaching has that same passion.

[00:25:39] Like I do engineering because I love to see people helped through the work that we do. Right. What are the other things about sales engineering that you’ve discovered along the way that. these unique life lessons or maybe they’re just purely how to be great at sales engineering type of lessons that have helped you be successful.

[00:25:59] Uh,

[00:26:00] Michael Maturo: read all of John care’s books so John care is an amazing, really thoughtful person about sales engineering, and he’s written several books about I’ve gotten, uh, gotten them.

[00:26:10] Zach White: is there any particular title you would recommend if somebody heard that and wants to go pick their first one?

[00:26:16] Michael Maturo: Yeah, I think it’s mastering. I have it right here. The sales engineer. So the sales engineer manager’s handbook, the sales engineer manager’s handbook. I just started. Because I’m looking actually to hire sales [email protected] but also I think it was just mastering technical sales was the first book of the things that I read.

[00:26:32] So it’s just awesome. So there’s that on a very,very basic tangible level. Yeah.

[00:26:38] Zach White: Some tactical advice go, right? Yeah. Tactical

[00:26:39] Michael Maturo: advice. That’s right. But, As fodder for enthusiasm, for sales engineering, and, and now it’s called solutions engineering because the focus being it has always been on, solutions.

[00:26:50] you’re not engineering sales, you’re engineering solutions. So I think it’s a more appropriate term, but it’s not as common yet. but solutions engineering is, I think it’s a huge opportunity for people who are interested in working. Product engineering and executives, in addition to sales people, in addition to the sales leadership, because you’re in a position where you both understand the technology innately and intimately, but you’re interacting with and expected to interact with.

[00:27:22] Michael Maturo: People who are maybe not technical, but they’re influencing the product or they are technical and they’re influencing the actual engineering, or they’re in leadership. And they’re accounting on you to share some of your, uh, insights of being on customer calls. If you’re an individual contributor or what your team is seeing, if you’re a manager in sales engineering.

[00:27:42] So. inspiration. I mean, it’s, it’s the opportunity to work with a lot of different people and keep things. Yes, for me, keep things interesting. and keep your perspective, broad and get out of maybe. Verticalized thinking that maybe you get stuck in. Some people have gotten stuck

[00:27:58] Zach White: in Michael.

[00:28:00] I know we’re not gonna have time today to even scratch the surface of all the incredible experiences you’ve had in this work. But one of the things that we talked about before we recorded today and stood out to me is how you’ve been a part of. Meeting with C-suites and executive teams, really at all levels, but including venture backed startups, which is a really unique animal all its own, in some capacity.

[00:28:26] And I’m really curious if there’s any insights you’ve gleaned about how to interact with somebody who has. Growth, you know, hyper growth type of vision for the organization whether you’re in solutions engineering or not, could help someone to understand the mindset of an executive in that, venture back startup world.

[00:28:51] and the reason I ask is I get a lot of questions from engineering leaders, all around the world. different career paths and one that always gets special attention is like, do I want to go to a startup that’s in this series, ABC kind of phase? Or is that too risky or whatever. I’m just curious if you’d share some of your experiences with those leaders, how to communicate with them, if somebody’s considering going into this space is there something different about how they approach business and engineering and the world versus others?

[00:29:20] Zach White: What do you.

[00:29:21] I’ve only worked for series ABC companies in my career, and venture backed or private back firms. at first it was only because that was the, the, in that I could get, with that guy, Larry Cherry and my first job after.

[00:29:34] but it became more intentional because you have, when you talk to people who are at the ABC companies, if you’re looking to get into one of those companies, ask the basic and important questions, which is what, what is the, and now Simon Sinek talks about this all the time, but what is your why?

[00:29:52] you either get to help define the why, or maybe it’s already well defined if it’s already well, you wanna make sure you’re on board with it and if it’s not well defined, you gotta know that going in. Because then as a new employee, you have the opportunity to shape that.

[00:30:05] Michael Maturo: Yes. And if you see a vision that maybe other people don’t see, that could bring some great value to the company, which I think, series ABC, especially as they’re growing, at least I know this from my perspective is when you’re bringing on new people, you’re really relying on. outside perspective for that first one or two years of working with you, because that’s when it’s really important to get that perspective, because the systems aren’t necessarily solidified yet.

[00:30:33] You have to be comfortable with, a lack of systems or maybe yeah. disorganization that you have to come into organize. it’s an exciting world, but you have to, this is why I go back to know. because you have to be a person who is, willing to, participate in that.

[00:30:52] I don’t think it’s necessarily risky. I don’t see it as risky because one, there are so many companies that are looking in that the froth of series, ABC companies, there’s so many people out there. So many companies out there, around the world.

[00:31:07] Michael Maturo: That if it doesn’t work out at one, you’ll have learned something amazing that you could bring to another. I guess the only risk would be, I don’t know if my skillset and only because I haven’t tried it, but I don’t know that my skillset would be applicable at a Whirlpool or an apple. I mean, I don’t know that I don’t know enough to know whether it translates at this point in my career.

[00:31:29] So maybe if you’re looking to be at one of those companies, I mean, unless you go into IPO, which I haven’t done yet, but we’re working on it. maybe they’re, they’re not interested in somebody who’s only worked at ABC, but I don’t even know if that’s really true because I know people who have done that leap.

[00:31:45] Zach White: Yep. So as do I we’ll save that conversation for one of those people, let them speak directly to their experience. But, no, I appreciate that. I, I love to hear you say it’s not that risk. . so if someone believes today that leaving their safe, secure nine to five W2 job, which nine to five’s a joke, you know, they’re eight to eight, whatever it is.

[00:32:06] Right, right. You know, role at some fortune 200 organization to go do that. And they do perceive it as really risky what would you encourage them to consider or look at to reshape that mindset?

[00:32:18] well, in sales engineering, look at the upside because the compensation for sales engineers, especially now where it’s very difficult to find even sales engineers there’s certainly more enthusiasm behind it now than I think when I started in 2014 or 2015. but it’s changed a lot and the compensation is good in sales engineering compared to starting. In other places, because it does require a challenging skill set and it does require a level of discipline and persistence and, perspective that not everybody is willing to do.

[00:32:53] Michael Maturo: So for the people who are curious about it, certainly they can reach out to me on LinkedIn. I mean, that’s easy to do. I think sales engineers Are really willing to talk to people because that’s what we like to do. In addition to learning the technology. It’s, let’s talk to people. there are things like the pre-sales collective yes.

[00:33:10] And se nation, which are fantastic communities. They have slack channels too. I mean, For the compensation. It’s not, I guess it’s not risky. but also when you look at the, the stability of the company, you’re gonna, you’re gonna judge any company that you go into.

[00:33:25] big companies have layoffs too, so yep. that happens. and the economy does things to companies that aren’t always planned. So, that’s kind of how I view it is that the comp is really, can be really rewarding and very exciting cuz some of. compensation will be based off of your performance.

[00:33:44] Michael Maturo: Right. to me, it’s, that’s exciting. Cuz then you get paid directly for your contribution to the company. you know, look at the fundamentals of the companies that, you would do for any, judgment who you wanna work for.

[00:33:55] I hope this helps shine a light for people who are considering that decision.

[00:33:59] you know, the coach in me will come out for just a moment here, Michael. It’s like, please, there’s the bias in. psychology of what is known is safe and secure and what is unknown is scary and risky. Right? And so I hope it puts a light on that unknown, there’s a very thin veneer of security on our current reality that whole idea of, Hey, I work at apple, so I’m, good to go.

[00:34:20] Zach White: And to your point, anything can happen in the next 12, 24 months. And apple could do a huge. Layoff, right. I mean, any, these things are all unknown. I could, end up in an accident later today. This might be my last conversation, right? There’s always that sense of what’s unknown. My favorite example of this is, we all just take for granted that we sit in our cars, push the button and it starts, and I have this wonderful, reliable automobile until the morning that I sit down in my car and push the button and it doesn’t start It’s not until that moment when the systems of our lives fail us, that suddenly we believe that they’re unreliable, every day it’s always working. And I just assume that it’s gonna continue to always work that way, And it’s the same thing in our career. We just have this. Belief that what I’ve got is so safe until the moment that it’s not, and then our whole paradigm shifts.

[00:35:09] And so I really appreciate your perspective on that. If

[00:35:12] Michael Maturo: I can add one, one more thought to, to that, the safety issue is one thing to think of, but also, so you can think of. Whether you’re really safe in, in any company and, and safety is relative for different people and everybody has obligations that maybe change your risk profile.

[00:35:29] and I do encourage people to think about what does safety really mean and how much safety do you really want because there’s opportunity on the side of taking risks. Yes. There’s different opportunities on the side of getting out of what you think of as your comfort zone or what is safe and those opportunities, at least in my experience, Have been things that I could never have predicted if I just stayed thinking in my comfort or safety minded way, I couldn’t have predicted where I am today in any real way.

[00:36:00] that’s how my life has gone. So just being open to the opportunity side of that equation, I think is important is also thinking about the safety side of the equation. I love.

[00:36:11] Zach White: Michael. There’s a hundred more questions I’d love to ask, but I wanna be respectful of your time. And also our listener who doesn’t have all day to listen to you and I Jabber on and on.

[00:36:21] I end in the same place every time. I’m super excited to see where you go with this from your experience, both, the sales mindset, the engineering mindset, and how you’ve begun to establish. Connections into your life and how it shapes your sense of wellbeing and, and fulfillment and happiness.

[00:36:40] Zach White: So I believe great engineering, great solutions, engineering, great coaching. They all share in common that questions lead and the answers follow. And if we want better answers, we need to make sure we’re asking better questions. Mm-hmm . So for the engineering leader, who’s been listening to this chat. And wants to create something more in their own life.

[00:37:07] They wanna experience that opportunity, that happiness, that fulfillment. What would be a question that you would lead them with today?

[00:37:19] what is the impact or impacts that I want to have in my. Because we live in a time when anything is possible, especially in the tech industry, but really anywhere.

[00:37:32] we live in a very unique time. and the question then comes down to what impact do you want to have? Whether it’s in my personal life, my civic life, my faith Faith’s life or my professional. because when you answer that, which is not easy to do necessarily, sometimes it comes up immediately, you know, exactly what project you wanna work on, you know exactly what impact you wanna have, but sometimes you have to do some soul searching to figure it out.

[00:37:56] Michael Maturo: But when you do that, that opens up pathways of actually getting there. And that’s, that can be very exciting. Hmm.

[00:38:04] Zach White: I love that you mentioned goosebumps earlier, that gives me goosebumps, Michael, so, right. What is the impact or plural, the impacts that matter to you in life? What do you wanna create in the world and go figure that out.

[00:38:18] And I agree, it’s not an easy question to answer for everyone. So don’t be, ashamed if you take that and it’s not clear to you today, Spend time with that question, Michael, if someone wants to connect with you, maybe they’re excited about the work you’re [email protected]

[00:38:32] We barely even touched on that. There’s so many things about your experience and your background. just the passion you have and the skills that you bring, where can someone get connected with you?

[00:38:41] Michael Maturo: The best place is, uh, is LinkedIn. I’m under Michael Anthony Maduro because there are other Michael Maduros and there’s one who even lives in New York, who I always get alerts on my Google point pointing me to him.

[00:38:53] so it’s Michael Anthony Maduro on LinkedIn, or just slash Michael mat on LinkedIn. And that’s the best way I’m very responsive there. Perfect. And I’m happy to talk with people about series ABC. SaaS companies, enterprise software and, and really anything that we touched on

[00:39:10] Zach White: today. Brilliant. We’ll make sure there’s a link to that in the show notes as well.

[00:39:14] And you all know where to find [email protected] and I can’t speak highly enough about. You know, Michael’s experience and how he’s turning that into in incredible opportunities and value for people who work for him and with him, but also starting to really impact just the world of technology and engineers who want to get into this space, outside of his own circle.

[00:39:34] And Michael, your generosity in that way is tremendous. And your generosity today to be here on this show. I really appreciate, so thanks again for being here, man. What a great

[00:39:43] Michael Maturo: conversation, Zach. Thank you. ,

 

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