How we will take BigPanda to IPO

BigPanda appoints Rick Underwood new Chief Revenue Officer

In sales, the most important question is, “Does the solution I’m selling solve a real problem?” The answer to that question is the biggest calculus we all make as salespeople before joining a company. Surprisingly, it’s typical for salespeople to be in the dark about whether or not the solution they sell actually solves a real problem. I’ve had my fair share of experiences at technology companies where that’s been true. But BigPanda is different, which is what led me to accept the exciting new position of Chief Revenue Officer at the company.

Many other questions lie beyond that first one such as “How big is the problem?” but the core issue for sales people remains: “Is the power of what I’m selling matching reality?” At BigPanda, the vision matches reality, and it’s clear as day to everyone involved—from salesperson to engineer to customer. The problem is real, and as BigPanda salespeople, we can solve it. That’s something worth betting my career on, and it was just one of many reasons I decided to join this company.

How I knew BigPanda was my next home

The people were the first indicator I had found a unique environment. After my first meeting with Assaf, CEO of BigPanda, I knew that he was a person I could get behind, and I wanted to be a part of his organization. He genuinely cares about his employees and is an incredible leader.

At another meeting with Matt Peloso, VP of Global Sales, I found him to be a consummate professional who also cares about his people and spreads infectious energy. Top that off with Elik Eizenberg, CTO and co-founder with Assaf, who is such an impressive problem solver, and it seemed to me that I had discovered an exceptional leadership staff.

One of the most important components of a company is the leadership, and BigPanda’s leaders are not only on the same page as each other, they are all in the right spots. From Matt Morgan, head of HR, to Fred Koopmans, the new Chief Product Officer, BigPanda has carefully placed the best-fit people into their best-fit roles—making for a special structure that encourages creativity, support, and industry-first achievement.

The second clincher for me with BigPanda was the undeniable problem the company solves for a multitude of businesses today. One of the biggest trends in any industry right now is the explosion of data. Organizations across markets and of all sizes are experiencing an influx of data that overwhelms their IT Operations. Additionally, companies that have been in the IT Ops space—presumably who could address this issue—are having a difficult time stepping up to the challenge. They’ve been around a while, doing what they’re used to, so it’s difficult for them to move into a more advanced space with artificial intelligence and machine learning. That’s where BigPanda fills a vital void.

By being able to relieve IT Ops from its daily burden of data influx—reducing noise and intelligently honing in on real issues—BigPanda taps into an enormous market opportunity. This opportunity thrills me, and as CRO, I’m here to take the company public.

Making our IPO journey successful

The first step to any successful IPO is the teamwork involved in staying close to our customers. How well are we understanding the problems and issues they’re trying to solve? How do we relate those problems back to the product? How can we continue that cycle? These are the questions that drive the flywheel of success.

The teamwork component involves keeping the front and back of the house moving as one organism. From the product team to marketing to finance, we all need to move as one. That’s where the ability to listen to our customers is going to decide our success or not. If we can collectively listen to not only them but each other and actively solve our customers’ problems and deliver on what they need, we will experience growth. We need to keep our abilities to communicate, iterate, and continually improve all priorities.

As a sales leader, I’m also tasked with recruiting and developing individuals to drive demand. If I recruit the right person and take care of their development, they will know how to do exactly that. It’s easy to forget how important people are to the equation of success at any organization—although especially at bigger ones—so this is another concept we need to keep top of mind. The right people will move the business forward because they will truly understand customer problems and go deeper to solve them.

So who are these “right people”? I believe the attributes of a good salesperson are:

  • Attitude – Does this person show up every day and actually care?
  • Aptitude – Does this person have the mental capability to understand the problem, synthesize ideas, and solve on their own?
  • Empathy – More on that below!
  • And high integrity – No jerks.

I look for highly intelligent people who want to be students of what they’re selling. They care deeply about the problem, and they understand it on an intrinsic level. They are able to display empathy back to their customers because they understand what they’re going through. This characteristic is not just crucial for succeeding in sales—it’s how a company navigates hyper growth.

Hyper growth—like what BigPanda is poised to do— creates a monumental shift in the way things are done and how people communicate. When you grow from 300 employees to 1,000, followed by 4,000, everything radically changes and requires employees to be more intentional about having empathy for each other through those changes. Hyper growth requires rethinking the way things are done all the time and bringing an empathetic approach to operations from every angle. Someone without a high degree of emotional intelligence (required for empathy) won’t fare well in a hyper-growth situation. They’ll also hold everyone else back.

The final way I intend to ensure BigPanda drives toward a successful IPO is by helping to keep the organization free of sacred cows and ready to embrace failure. Assaf has already set the stage for the former—he holds no sacred cows here. And the outstanding leadership at BigPanda has also already primed the environment for learning. I merely aim to uphold both. If we can embrace failure, that means we can inspire innovation and curiosity. And if we hold nothing sacred, we can continuously improve and evolve as our customers do.

Solving a big problem with an even bigger panda

I believe this company can reach a $50 billion valuation because the problem we’re solving at scale is such a huge one. With everything always on—with billions of devices generating trillions of data points at every moment of the day—organizations truly need our help. It’s now up to us to keep moving as one organism, bent on bringing humble intelligence, sharp problem-solving, and true empathy to each customer. I’m honored to join the esteemed leadership of BigPanda to make sure that happens.