Our guest in this 34th podcast episode with a unicorn start-up leader is the CEO of 6Sense, Jason Zintak.
The B2B sales and marketing platform 6sense was founded in 2013, but Jason joined the company four years later. The company then achieved unicorn status in March 2021 and last year, after a Series E funding of $200 million, reached a valuation of $5.2 billion with over 1300 employees.
Jason shares what it was like joining a company as CEO, having previously been led by the founder, with the challenge of achieving unicorn status. “It’s been quite a journey”, Jason admits. “I joined the company and the founders at roughly $5 million in ARR [Annual Recurring Revenue] and today we’re $200 million plus or minus, and that’s just five and a half years later. So, we have quite a lot of experience together”, he adds.
He goes on to talk about what it takes to build a successful management team, such as getting to know your team and how they work and complement your own skill set. “One of our values at the company is just a growth mindset, balanced with accountability, integrity, having fun, being one team, so to speak. And we’ve practiced that for the last six years.” These values have been a part of the company’s DNA and play a significant role in their success formula.
We then got onto the topic of ChatGPT, and Jason revealed that 6Sense has had this technology within the product for the past two years, but they feel fortunate to be “riding the tailwind”. The whole company is built upon the ability for AI to drive modern applications. “I think AI is embedded in increasingly more and more things and part of our [reason for] founding the company is that there’s just too much data for any human to really process.”
Jason has always loved communicating with people, it’s what got him into sales and marketing in his early career, but will also often sit back and observe, and even feels nervous sometimes. He finds it harder to connect with employees, especially new recruits, due to a remote structure and rapid growth, but will always make a conscious effort to get small groups together on “workerversaries” to reconnect and stay in touch.
In addition, he maintains an “open door policy” to encourage internal communication, inviting anyone who wishes to discuss anything at any time, regardless of location. Jason’s organization operates as a flat structure without any mandatory hierarchy, which he believes fosters this closeness and “helps keep it human.”
Talking about his leadership style and who has had the biggest influence throughout his career, interestingly, Jason believes that we shouldn’t be trying to emulate a leader that inspires us. Instead, he urges people to adopt small parts of what those leaders do well, but to focus primarily on being your own authentic self.
The interview, as usual, was co-hosted with Russell Goldsmith of the csuite podcast. Alongside Holly Justice, Senior Partner at Tyto PR.
We have distilled the most valuable, actionable insights from our first 15 interviews with leaders of unicorn companies and bottled them in our book ‘Growing without borders: The unicorn CEO guide to communication and culture’. You can download it here.
Russ: [00:00:01] Thanks for downloading the 34th in our series of episodes of the c-suite podcast that we’re recording in partnership with the European PR Agency Tyto and their own Without Borders podcast, where we are interviewing leaders of unicorn companies to find out about the key issues, pain points and challenges that startups face and how they can address them with a strategic approach to marketing and communications. My name is Russell Goldsmith and my co-host for this episode is Tyto’s Senior Partner, Holly Justice and today we’re thrilled to be joined online from San Francisco by Jason Zintak, the CEO of B2B sales and marketing platform 6Sense. Founded in 2013, Jason actually joined the company four years later and the company then achieved unicorn status in March 2021 and then last year after a Series E funding of $200 million reached a valuation of $5.2 billion. Welcome to the show, Jason. Can we start by you giving us a bit of background to your company and also just talk us through the area of business that you are seeking to disrupt?
Jason: [00:01:02] Thanks for having me, Russell I appreciate the opportunity. Well, you said that we’re a B2B sales and marketing platform, but namely, we call ourselves a revenue AI platform. What do we mean by that? Sales and marketing make up generally revenue the go-to market motion for most B2B companies and we are disrupting that motion, that business process where modern organizations are trying to change and rethink the way they approach their customers and prospects. We have a basis in big data and AI that helps companies synthesize, understand and see signals of buyer propensity, and upon those signals then execute an action, whether it be sales, marketing, customer success.
Holly: [00:01:43] Hi Jason. It would also be great just to hear a little bit about your professional journey because I think if I understand it correctly, before joining 6Sense in 2017, you were CEO at Platfora a big data company that was acquired by Workday and also CRO at Responsys before that, which was then obviously acquired by Oracle. Talk us through a little bit about how you got to where you are today.
Jason: [00:02:09] Yeah, that’s correct. Responsys was, for those who don’t know, an email marketing platform, namely B2C, folded ultimately into the marketing cloud at Oracle. But I started my journey at SAP, the Enterprise Software company, and started out in inside sales at SAP, graduating through sales and sales management and ultimately being a CRO of several software companies. The last one you mentioned Responsys and after that Platfora and so I’d say history is largely enterprise applications across multiple functions. It’s been everything from ecommerce to sales software to supply chain, CRM, marketing, automation, big data visualization, etc.
Holly: [00:02:51] And what might be quite interesting for us to talk about now is, as Russell mentioned in his intro, you joined 6Sense four years after it was founded. What was that like coming in as a CEO of a company that had been led by a founder and you then taking it on board to achieve unicorn status? Are there any interesting learnings or challenges, observations, things you’ve picked up in that journey?
Jason: [00:03:16] Oh, sure. I mean, it’s been quite a journey. Really it was a unifying a great founding team with an operating go-to-market function. And early on, I guess actually I mentioned Responsys and Platfora, 6Sense is really a blend of those two companies, one being marketing automation, the next being big data and visualization. So, my experience with those two companies got me excited about a next generation of a way to do selling and marketing through data, namely big data, and then applying machine learning and AI to that data set to help for a smarter, more surgical approach to the outbound sales and marketing motion. I joined the company and the founders at roughly $5 million in ARR [Annual Recurring Revenue] and today, you know, we’re know $200 million plus or minus, and that’s nearly just five and a half years later. So we have quite a lot of experience together. And again, I’d say it’s a compliment of skill sets. And today I work with the founders and we’re still here together running the company and innovating. It takes getting used to each other. It takes a lot of practice in and around personal skills, management skills. What are your interests, what are your best at? Where can we complement each other? And actually one of our values at the company is just a growth mindset, balanced with accountability, integrity, having fun, being one team, so to speak. And we’ve practiced that for the last six years. That is our DNA and part of our success formula.
Russ: [00:04:45] As we said, reached unicorn status in 2021. The latest funding round, if I’ve got this right, doubled your post-money valuation. So as I mentioned that got to $5.2 billion. What we’re keen to understand is, where has that money been invested to date and also where will it be invested? What’s the focus for the rest of 2023 and maybe the next year or so after that as well?
Jason: [00:05:12] So that the growth rates been pretty quick. I mean doubling or a little more so for five past years. So a lot of the money is towards employees and hiring our team that actually makes 6sense great.
Russ: [00:05:25] How many you at now, employees?
Jason: [00:05:27] Roughly 1,300.
Russ: [00:05:29] Right.
Jason: [00:05:29] So part of it’s been employees. We’ve also acquired four companies in the last two years. And a lot of that money is not necessarily to fund the acquisitions, but to actually integrate and stitch and develop new technology to bring one product to market. And so we acquired a company called Fortella which is a pipeline intelligence company, are now what we call conversational email, which is AI led GPT3 email. That company is called Saleswhale. Granite Media, which was a strategic ad platform to complement our existing ad product. Carrying on for 2023, our newest most acute focus is revenue AI for sales and that’s on the heels of our acquisition of Slintel, the data company where it’s really the marriage and unification of original and core 6Sense and all the intent and go-to market functionality intelligence married to Slintel for the sales user interface for sales intelligence revenue AI and that is bringing the power of 6Sense and our acquisition to the desktop of a seller and bringing real intelligence so they know how to go about their daily market motion and research and accounts people and propensity to buy. So much of the funding is integrating the products continuing to build index releases, hiring people and going after new markets.
Russ: [00:06:48] You just touched there on GPT. I mean the hype around ChatGPT at the moment, What your thoughts on that? Just out of interest.
Jason: [00:06:56] I think it’s great to ride the tailwind and we actually had it in the product two years ago. So we feel fortunate. Now it’s coming to light. We’ve got release products where everyone else is announcing a new product soon to come. So I guess fortuitous. Our whole company, I say the revenue AI platform, our core principle is to have AI drive all of these modern applications. This is just another example and we decided this was, I told you some of my background was email, I suppose a rules-based let AI drive it, let the conversation happen as a benefit of the GPT-3 or ChatGPT. And fortunately, we’ve got that product in market live today. I think AI is embedded in increasingly more and more things and part of our founding the company is that there’s just too much data for any human to really process. So we needed to change our modern sales and marketing platforms. And 6Sense is rooted in this big data concept that, hey, let machines help you understand it. Let these insights or information turn into insights and revolutionize how revenue is created. And as a former seller, look, a lot of it was experimentation. Even in the marketing side of the house, we didn’t necessarily understand efficacy of programs. What I like to say today is data doesn’t lie. Data unifies sales, marketing, customer success to have one sheet of music of which to sing, play songs to. And that didn’t exist five, ten years ago. So we feel that gives organizations a more scientific approach to compliment the art of selling, the art of marketing so we can marry science plus art for a better motion in sales marketing.
Holly: [00:08:40] Just coming on to the topic of leadership for a minute. I can imagine leading the 6Sense through such a phenomenal period of growth requires some quite exceptional skills from both you and your wider management team. What would you say are your greatest strengths? And then I guess, what are the main strengths of the rest of the management team at 6Sense that you’ve built are.
Jason: [00:09:03] Big question. I guess with age comes wisdom. I mentioned my resume, I’ve seen the movie quite a few times at various different companies. I’ve been part of big enterprises like SAP and Oracle. I’ve been part of ground-up startups like Blue Martini Software, which is an e-commerce company. We built ground-up IPO’d and then Y2K crashed. So you learn a lot through these various experiences. For one, you start to see pattern recognition. So seeing pattern recognition of what works, how people work, the chemistry of people in product, bringing something to market, testing it. I think I operate, I try to anyway, from an all thing with humility. The fact that it takes one team again, one team is part of our company value. Everyone brings something to the table. Listen, learn, be adaptive, candidly, be real. Just keep it real and low ego. I love working with people. I grew up in sales. I went into sales because I liked to interact with people. Now I just collaborate with people to build things. And that’s fun. I mean, everyone likes to talk about transparency, being authentic. I absolutely believe in that. The difference is I practice it. And I think getting employees rallied around one cause in extreme transparency conversation helps everybody work together, like in great spirit. That’s harder to do in practice. That’s easy to say and by the way, I think you mentioned the team. Our table of teammates and the leadership team recognizes that everyone brings something unique to the table. And so we listen, learn and work together. And we’re a tenured team. So part of the formula has been, I think, my senior management team, everyone’s been there five plus years and we continue to hire new ones and no one’s left. I love that. I love that we can figure out ways to problem solve. Be stressed out, de-stress. Go at it again, reinvent, learn, optimize, adapt. I think that’s our key.
Holly: [00:11:04] That’s impressive to have such great retention there. And you were talking a minute ago, Jason, about your career path and all of the experiences you’ve had at some of these large and small organizations. Of the different people that you will have met on your journey. Which individual or individuals has had the greatest impact on your development as a leader?
Jason: [00:11:25] Wow. So many. As of recently, you mentioned Platfora, Aneel [Bhusri] at WorkDay, very impactful guy. But my longest tenure was probably with Bill McDermott at SAP. I was at the organization nine plus years. He was there for part of it. My latter part. I saw multiple CEOs at SAP, all a very different leadership styles. Bill was definitely unique compared to the aforementioned years, and I’d say I take a little piece of everything. As a leader, what I had to grow up into was not try to emulate a leader. By the way, I made that mistake like, Oh, I need to be like Bill or I need to be like Aneel at Oracle like Mark Hurd. I think the pitfall is trying to be like someone versus being comfortable in your own skin and taking what you’ve learned and then being your authentic self. And so once I realized I was confident that, hey, being you is okay, you don’t need to mirror image another leader, I became way more confident and sort of my wake up, my go to market motion and running a company, working with people. I think that’s just sort of be you, be you because you don’t change much but you can learn.
Russ: [00:12:37] Yeah, that’s good advice. A key focus of these discussions that we’re having with all our unicorn leaders, Jason, is on communications and culture. So first of all, when 6Sense became a unicorn, did that change the perception of the company in any way?
Jason: [00:12:52] I think without a doubt. I think if anyone answers no, I don’t believe that would be an accurate answer. So, yeah, we spent all these years building the company, as I told you, right out of the gate. We weren’t sure if it was going to work. We had an idea. We tested it. We got a lot of rejection. Initially, customers didn’t renew. I mean, not all of them, but some of them didn’t. And it made you constantly rethink and you sort of in this early stage, you’re like, are we going to survive? We raise Series A, go to B, go to C. Can we get to a C? Can we get from a C to a D? The further you mature, I think when we became unicorn in our series D at $2 Billion, then all of a sudden you have a whole new host of sort of challenges. Whoa, this is a big responsibility. I got all this money, now everyone knows we’re a unicorn. I guess the product does work after all. So it helped one with our press and our brand. It definitely credentialised us. But then it came with, Well, shoot, we’ve really got to execute from this point forward. And by the way, any entrepreneur or young company knows that execution becomes like a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly activity, not an annual activity. If you’re thinking about it in year, one year, two year, three year, you just won’t get there. So, yeah, it put pressure on us to deliver. By the way, these are investors that bet on us. They bet on our story, they bet on executive team, they bet on our vision. It comes with great responsibility, that unicorn status and the money, the investor money that we’re chaperoning and being responsible with.
Holly: [00:14:26] And for most tech companies, it can be really difficult to stand out. We all know what a crowded sector it is. What has been at the heart of 6Senses strategy to differentiate itself from competitors?
Jason: [00:14:40] Interestingly enough, when I joined the company, there are all types of Sales tech, MarTech, revenue tech. I mean, we redubbed it and trademarked it RevTech ourselves, but maybe back then it was MarTech and it was littered with feature based companies. Many of them didn’t succeed. A lot of people called me crazy for going into the category. Why would you do that? You’re a veteran in enterprise software. You’re going to this little startup. The reality is I believed in the vision of what the founders had set and wanted to be a part of that next generation of big data meets AI and unifying sales and marketing on one platform. And so that that gave me confidence to proceed and go for it, because I believe in the vision. I believe there’s a better way. So, the differentiation in that difficult market when it was hard to stand out, we believed we had a different product. We believe the AI and data approach was different and not well understood. And so it was really stay the course in a very crowded market and then educate along the way. So be evangelical relative to there is a better way. We should be more grounded in data to help us make decisions, big data that only machines can really process and then inform a seller or a marketer. So I’d say the biggest part was believing in ourselves and staying the course, but then educating the market along the way of what the promise could look like. And eventually it rang true.
Russ: [00:16:16] We’re recording this just at the end of February. So we’re two months into 2023. There’s still quite a lot of uncertainty in the economy. It would just be good to know how you adjust your communications approach in this current climate and also maintaining that confidence in the company.
Jason: [00:16:37] Yeah. I mean, what interesting times, right? We had a huge bull market run and these premium valuations, we take it seriously, obviously, but the market’s adjusted. And with that what comes is it can shake people’s confidence. Hey, what’s going on? Don’t understand it. Is our company healthy, am I going to lose my job? Are we still valued at what we were valued at just a year ago? I think the number one ingredient to that is back to our core values of communication and transparency. We answered all those questions to our employees. We answer those questions to our investor and we answer those questions to our customers, namely, so that needs to be the low, the common denominator every day, it’s message communicate more than you think you need to. This is a management lesson that we’ve all been taught before, but then then it’s more to the stay the path. I mean, we believe at least for 6Sense, our product is truly innovative. And we actually have a little marketing message around our product right now called “Proceed with Confidence”. And the reason you can do that in these uncertain times is because we have a very data driven approach where we can understand that the total addressable market for a company have insights around those accounts and people and through data, be confident in an action plan, a go-to market plan. And so our message is actually relatively apropos to the current market condition is if you trust anything, trust 6Sense and the platform to help you guide through it, proceed with confidence because you have all the data at your fingertips. And if you want to go the old school route of wet finger in the air and do all art and no science, good luck. But I think that is part of the message. The other is we believe in our vision. We’re in it for the long term. Valuations will go up and down. We don’t control that. We don’t obsess about it and stay the course. And so I guess those two key tenets has been part of our program here. And interestingly enough, you know, we had a record quarter this last fourth quarter all in the face of adversity. And so that also helps get our employees and our customers excited and we communicate our results. We’re very transparent with the objective. I mean, growth at all costs and our balanced growth, profitable growth, what does that mean? And so we actually educate our employees and our customers around that dialog with both our investors and the community and what we’re doing for that continued successful path.
Holly: [00:18:59] And you’ve talked a bit, Jason, about the values at 6Sense. Could you describe the culture at the company and also explain to us a bit about how you guys have sought to nurture it?
Jason: [00:19:09] So the values are accountability, growth mindset, integrity, fun and one team, work as one team. So look, I like to have fun. I want everyone to have fun, responsible fun. You know, we like to build things. We have a vision, but have fun along the way and be a good person is really just, you know, that’s what you hear accountability, integrity. But you got to practice it. And people, vision statements, value statements that are posted on the wall mean absolutely nothing unless you practice it. We constantly try to do that. I do that I mentioned before humility. I have great humility. I figured I was more comfortable in my own skin when I can just be myself. I communicate with the company. I laugh, I cry, I get embarrassed, I stumble. Hey, guys, it’s okay. We’re human. And I think people feel that and they feel it. So they feel it and live it. And if they feel it and live it, then they believe it. And that culture continues to permeate through the company. People like it and we’ve won a lot of awards. And the challenge now is to continue to scale with that type of culture. But I just remind the team, this is our culture. It’s up to you. It’s up to us to continue to grow. It’s not me. I can say this is what I hope for. But if we all like this mindset and let’s hire to it, let’s practice it and we’ll scale together.
Holly: [00:20:33] And if I’m right in thinking that you’ve got a remote workforce at 6Sense. How have you of managed bringing that culture and that element of fun and humility when you’ve got a remote team?
Jason: [00:20:47] You know, fortunately, we started the remote concept before COVID, and then we’re probably a year into that. I mean, it was largely out of necessity. I mean, hiring and building a company out of the Bay Area is expensive. It’s hard to find talent, it’s competitive. And I said, look, we measure ourselves on KPIs. Let’s hire wherever we can, wherever we find the best talent globally, and we’ll go from there. We all have our metrics that we’ll watch, and I generally believe people are good and want to do the right thing and want to aspire to greatness. And so let’s see if we can manage it that way. So that carried over well into COVID. We were sort of COVID ready because of that. Today it’s back to some of the things where we talked about extensive communication connectivity and we’ve done all this other fun things that people do where you have the craft kit ideas, the swag kits that go to the homes, I don’t know, food making, cocktail making. I think people are a little tired of that right now. And so we’re having to reinvent new ways to communicate, we’re not doing a force back to office. When you hire a team that’s so distributed, what office would they go to? So that’s the real interesting thing. So we provide offices for those that want to go to them if they live locally. But otherwise I guess I charge all the managers say it’s up to you to build community. We build it through different events that bring people together on the zooms. We do have physical annual on sites where we bring groups together. In fact, the whole company together. And it’s that littered throughout. But then, you know, week to week, month to month, it’s the manager’s job to build community and the respective function.
Holly: [00:22:18] You talked a little bit there, Jason, about some of your approaches to internal communications. Which ones would you say have worked particularly well for you guys?
Jason: [00:22:27] I think it’s up to the personality of that individual manager or leader. I much prefer format like this where I’m talking live. I have written communication to the company, but I think people can sort of see, feel touch in a way, not physically over video, but this is where I’m most comfortable and I’m very comfortable in the ad hoc and I like to get the ad hoc questions from our customers, from our employees. So that’s how I do it. But it is complemented by communication. It’s written and then we have every other week town hall meetings where we communicate our strategy, our vision. We actually communicate our results to the company all the time so everyone knows where we stand exactly and what our objectives are, whether it’s good or bad. Beyond that, I’m looking for ideas myself. So I think this is a new world for all of us.
Russ: [00:23:15] Just on that because like switching from internal comms to external and you just touched on it a little bit there. How do you view your role as the external spokesperson of the business and I guess what have you learned along the way as well?
Jason: [00:23:31] Well, we are a sales and marketing platform, and my marketing team is really the external. We’ve got quite a good marketing team. And you know, from my CMO on down, I think we leverage our own platform. We use our own platform to communicate.
Russ: [00:23:47] I was going to say there’s a mix, because obviously you’ve gone through the funding rounds, so you’re presenting the company to your investors and then you’ve got the media after that and so there’s lots of other things, isn’t there? And I also don’t know, I mean, do you present at conferences, for example?
Jason: [00:24:07] We do customer conferences where I and the executive team and the whole company presents to our customers. We do that physically in person. We do once a year, we do other regional events in person, we participate in tradeshows in person. As a late stage company, I’m in a lot of investor public sort of crossover potential IPO investor meetings. So that’s a regular roadshow and cadence of the bank conferences, if you will. And those are largely they become back in person and I guess it’s an always on I mean I sort of go everywhere when needed and more of my job becomes advertising, communicating the message of 6Sense and why it’s important and what we do. And the audiences are quite different. We either have practitioners that fully understand or we have maybe investors that are trying to understand the story, potential investors for the first time. And so, we have to bring them along the journey.
Russ: [00:25:04] Do you think just going back to what Holly was saying right at the start about the fact that you weren’t the founder, you came on board as the CEO, but have that background in sales and marketing, compared to, because the reason why we asked this question is a lot of obviously the majority of the people that we’ve interviewed on this series were the original kind of founder, had the idea they might have started as a coder and then suddenly came up with this great piece of software that suddenly expanded and application and now they’re fronting a huge business, but they weren’t necessarily comfortable being the front person of the business. They were quite happy sitting away at their keyboard. So do you think that puts you at an advantage as having that background to then lead a business like this?
Jason: [00:25:47] Specific to 6Sense, yes, because I grew up in sales and marketing. And this is a sales marketing platform. I mentioned some of my other enterprise app experience, like let’s just say supply chain. I wasn’t a supply chain professional. I learned the product, I learned the attributes, values of it and to message it. But candidly, I’m way more comfortable being the spokesperson and articulating our vision because this is just automating what I do as a career all my life. And so I can get really enthusiastic about and passionate about what we’re solving for based on my background, which was sales and marketing, and for that matter, we do a lot of complex stuff. I mean, I’m not an engineer, I’m not a data scientist. I don’t know AI, that’s the complement of our executive team and our founders, and that’s what their strength is and so the marriage of those two things, I think has made us who we are today. And I love it. It’s truly a marriage of skills and one that’s working.
Russ: [00:26:48] And would you say you’ve always been a natural communicator or is it something that you’ve had to work at?
Jason: [00:26:53] I’m part introvert, part extrovert. So a lot of times I like to sit back and observe, and I’m not dying to be the person talking at a cocktail party. I’d say I just sort of go back and forth. With time I’m definitely more comfortable. I’m enjoying this time with you. It’s just a conversation. I’m a communicator. I got into sales because I want to talk to people, but it’s when someone says you’re a salesman. I mean, it’s a very strange thing to hear. Back in my SAP days, I learned that a good salesman means bringing value to a customer, being able to articulate and demonstrate that. That’s selling. Selling, I don’t see magic tricks as part of selling, its value. Then I can get comfortable because there’s something, there’s a value there. It’s evolved over time. I enjoy it, but there’s plenty of times where I don’t feel like being on stage. I still get nervous going on stage. I get nervous coming to this interview. I want to do the right thing and I want to represent the company.
Russ: [00:27:48] It’s a good thing, though, isn’t it? Otherwise it sort of almost becomes self-confidence breeds arrogance, doesn’t it. I think it’s good to still have those butterflies if you’re standing up in front of a huge conference.
Jason: [00:28:05] Yeah, well, psychology says most people do always. So, it’s good to know safety in numbers.
Holly: [00:28:11] And what’s been your biggest communications challenge that you faced in your personal journey and anything that you have done or did to overcome that, that you could just walk us through?
Jason: [00:28:22] The recent one that comes to mind is just communication about face in the market dynamics for technology from this growth at all costs. At any cost, I should say, bull market to low path to profitability essential and this market adjustment, that communication to the broader employee base. I can’t say it was difficult. It was just challenging. Like, how do you explain all this to everybody? How does it make sense? Everyone wants to know what’s it going to mean for me personally and that’s okay like, everyone should be out for themselves because it’s your job. It’s what you care about. It’s how you wake and breathe. As long as it’s not at the cost of a team, I support that. So, I think that was a big challenge going through this adjustment, you know, making sure everybody became settled and understood what we’re what the vision and long term look like. You know, I think as you start talking communication, I think transition is always tough for people. So, whether it’s transitioning from one job to the next. One thing at the company, it’s always interesting to bring new people into the company and they try to figure out largely that you can figure us out. We have a brand now, we’ve got plenty of press around our culture and awards. But you go through an interview process to feel out, so to speak, a company. And that’s what I hear. And the good news is the most people will come to the company afterwards say, wow, you know, the interview process came true and it doesn’t happen very often. I’m most proud of that and my little mantra inside the company is, I want to make this your best career stop ever. I want it to be most memorable. I mean, SAP was one of my most memorable experiences still to this day. And it’s like I want people to have a good time and remember that. And by the way, I say stop because I’m a realist. I mean, people transition jobs quicker than they do, ten years or shorter, than they did ten, twenty years ago. So, I just want them to remember 6Sense as the best ever. If I can sort of orient that way every day and try to bring that, you know, it’s not going to be absolute, but sort of fun thing to try to execute on.
Russ: [00:30:25] You said you’ve got 1,300 people now, but do you get to at least introduce yourself to the new recruits on a regular basis?
Jason: [00:30:32] I think it’s harder. Hiring at the pace we did to meet everybody so no, particularly in the world of remote it’s been very difficult. But I do a thing called workerverseries, so I get smaller groups together beyond the town hall to people that have an anniversary, and I reconnect with them on an anniversary in a group. And that’s my way of staying in touch with people. Also getting harder at scale so that the larger we scale making one on one connections becomes that much more difficult. I have a culture of open door. Email me. Anyone that wants to talk on anything, anytime, anywhere I communicate that, we run a flat organization. There are no hierarchies that are supposed to be followed as part of protocol zero. Talk to whoever you want to at the company. So I think that helps keep it human. And then I prioritize the fun. I prioritize engagements where we get to interact. But yeah, I don’t interview everybody. It’s impossible.
Russ: [00:31:29] Jason, we’ve got one final question that we’ve asked all our unicorn leaders. It’s focused on communications because that’s a big part of what we’re doing with this. You may have covered it, but I’m going to ask it to you. If you were to go back in time and speak to your old self, what guidance would you give yourself about communications?
Jason: [00:31:47] Trust your gut and stay true to yourself.
Russ: [00:31:50] Jason Zintak. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today.
Jason: [00:31:55] Yeah, thank you. Appreciate it Holly and Russell.
Russ: [00:31:57] Holly, thoughts on what Jason had to say.
Holly: [00:31:59] Yeah, there was such a great mix of discussion there, wasn’t there? But I think for me, the key takeaway I took was the point he was making around, when you look at other leaders not trying to emulate anybody in particular, but being comfortable in your own skin and that being a real turning point for him as a leader in growing himself and just knowing his instinct and his way of doing things was what was going to see most success. And obviously, he’s done a fantastic job at 6Sense. So it’s proving right I thought there’s a lot to learn from that.
Russ: [00:32:32] I love how you always spot the nuggets in these conversations. That was a really good one. Very good. Excellent, thank you as ever, Holly. That is actually it for this latest episode in our special series with Tyto. If you want to find out more about 6Sense, their website is very simply 6Sense.com using the number six in that URL. We’d love to hear your comments on today’s chat. You can do that by sharing them on our Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter feeds, or you can do it in the comments of the YouTube version of this podcast. Those are all linked from the top of our website at csuitepodcast.com, where you’ll also find all our previous shows and supporting show notes plus links to where you can follow us for automatic downloads of each episode via the likes of Spotify and Apple. And if you’ve liked what you heard, please do give us a positive rating and review. We’re of course available on all podcast apps. Just search for the c-suite podcast and hit, follow or subscribe. You can also subscribe to the Without Borders podcast from our partners at Tyto. All the details for that or on their website, just head to TytoPR.com and click on the podcast link in the top nav bar. You can also download a copy of ‘Growing Without Borders, the Unicorn CEO Guide to Communication and Culture’ from Tyto’s website. It’s an overview of the first 15 of our unicorn interviews. If you are a unicorn leader yourself and you like to be part of the series, please do get in touch via the contact form on the website at csuitepodcast.com. And of course anyone can get in touch with any feedback you may have. And finally, you can also reach me via Twitter using @RussGoldsmith, or you can find me on LinkedIn. But for now, thanks for listening and goodbye.
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