Employee Spotlight: Mike Bridges
What qualities do the most hardworking people on our team have? Where do we find them? In this employee spotlight interview, we introduce you to Mike Bridges, VP of Global Sales and Alliances who shares career beginnings and the most rewarding aspects of working for AtScale.
What is your role at AtScale?
A: I was originally hired and responsible for building out the alliances and partnerships at AtScale. As of January 2020, I was moved into the role of being responsible for Global Sales.
How long have you been at the company for?
A: I had my one year anniversary in June, so it’s been about a year and three months.
What does a typical “day in the life” look like for you?
A: Most of my day is spent working with the account team(account executives, the systems engineers, the BDRs) strategizing on specific opportunities. We’ll take time making sure we define a good strategy as to how we approach an opportunity. We’ll prepare for a call with a customer and then I’ll participate in the call with the customers. Customer activity takes up most of my time everyday, but we’re also always looking to build the team of account executives.
As we grow, we need talent. We’re always looking for people who fit culturally, who have a desire to win and who have a strong skill set. We’re also having good success in generating interest with our partners. I’m spending time with my sales peers at Google, Snowflake and companies like Slalom, to generate customer engagement. We have a nice value proposition to everybody in this stack and we’re starting to capitalize on it. There are account teams like Dan Marzinotto, Kieran O’Driscoll and Andy Mott, who have executed a successful formula in working with these partners to generate solid sales engagement.
Finally, the communication throughout the organization is really strong. I spend time with product folks providing input into what we should be prioritizing on the roadmap. We discuss the pricing model, where we are off and where we can make adjustments. There are constant conversations as to how we can improve ourselves as a company, meet customer demands more effectively and what changes are necessary.
Prior to working at AtScale, you’ve held leadership roles at several other companies. Can you speak to those experiences?
A: I feel really fortunate to have stumbled into the technology space. I had a stint as a caddy on the PGA tour for four weeks for Michael Allen and I definitely set him back a few years in his golf game. When I came back, I needed a job and my dad was at EMC in manufacturing; he brought me in in 1991 to meet with HR to put my resume together. The women in HR suggested that I come work for EMC as a telemarketer. I ended up spending 15 years there and it was life changing.
EMC had a model where you spend a year or two in telemarketing and then you get shipped around the country, that’s how we built the sales team. I was fortunate to have had a lot of really good mentors on the sales side, and ended up having various sales and management roles around the country. I lived in Texas, North Carolina, Kansas City and Canada. When I came back and as I was trying to grow professionally, I took an alliance role in a new product that EMC was rolling out called Centera, an object-oriented storage platform that relied upon partners to enable it and make it work. I worked on that partner program and left EMC and started my own reseller based on the knowledge and relationships that I built in that alliance’s role. We sold a ‘full stack’ solution based on EMC infrastructure. We started out focusing on eDiscovery software with EMC infrastructure, and then that evolved into selling ‘big data’ solutions centered around Splunk. I ended up selling the company to RoundTower, and stayed a couple of years there. In 2019, I was looking for something in the data analytics space and activity sought out AtScale based on the unique value prop and the synergies with the cloud data warehouse providers, which were creating a lot of excitement and energy in the market.
What makes AtScale and our solution unique?
A: What originally attracted me to AtScale still holds true to this day. That’s the impact AtScale has on the whole analytics stack. We enable the business users to ask questions in real-time, at the speed of thought, against a more broad set of data that’s more current so they’re able to make more informed, impactful decisions. On the back-end, we free up the data engineers to find new datasets that can help the business users make more informed decisions. Particularly now, where there has been a tectonic shift in many industries because of COVID, we’re able to provide the agility that customers need to rapidly adapt to the changing trends within their industries. We’re providing meaningful, tangible impact to the business users and to the people who are providing these analytics solutions.
Is there anything that customers can expect to see from us as this year comes to a close?
A: They can expect to see us broaden our portfolio. We’re constantly listening to customers and that’s the beauty of being an agile startup company that’s hyper focused on customer requirements. Many of our customers and prospects are interested in our virtualization capabilities, so we’re going to continually enhance that solution. We’re uniquely positioned to address that need based on the platform we’ve built and our unique approach to meeting the customers needs. We are also constantly adding support for additional backend platforms, and working toward SaaS enabling our product for a more seamless consumption model for customers.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
A: Time management. Time is our scarcest and most precious resource. There’s so much to do, so it’s just being mindful of what’s most important. Spending business hours talking to customers, making sure we’re maximizing the time customers are available to take care of their needs, which is a finite Monday-Friday timeframe. Talking to customers during business hours and doing the networking, internal calls, strategizing, outside of business hours.
The most rewarding?
A: Being able to talk to customers so frequently and seeing the excitement that the customer has when they see the product for the first time. We are very fortunate to have an awesome team of systems engineers that typically do the demos for our customers. The customer sees the product, they tell us it’s too good to be true, we prove it in the proof of concept and then they become a new customer. That’s definitely the most rewarding part of the job. The customer is excited to be solving problems that they’ve been wrestling for years that are impactful and meaningful to the business. Another rewarding aspect to my role is working with the sales teams. We have a bunch of talented professionals that want to win and be successful. It keeps me young and refreshed to be engaged with such energetic, enthusiastic and intelligent people that take pride in what they do.
What qualities do the most hardworking sales people on your team or people that you’ve worked with have?
A: We’re limited in time, you want to maximize the selling hours that you have so you spend your time during the week talking to as many customers and prospects as possible. You’re doing all of your planning outside of those business hours; so as you’re watching the Patriots on Sunday, you’re planning on who you’re going to reach out to during the week, whether it’s new prospects or working on a proposal as a follow-up from the previous week.
Be mindful of the C-level executives that you have a hard time getting in touch with that are more accessible from 7:30-8:30 AM or 6:00-8:00 at night, so you’ll strategically plan your time to capture them at the right time with the right message. You’ve already thought it out, you’re audible ready and able to have a meaningful conversation with decision makers and budget holders. That comes from preparation. There’s no substitute for hard work in this business. You have to have the skillset and the territory, but you need to have the desire to want to win. Somebody that’s talented and has all of the skills, and puts in 40 hours a week, is always going to lose to the person who has pretty good skills but puts in that extra time and thinks a little more strategically as to how to attack their territory.
Describe AtScale in three words.
A: Highly, Impactful, Solution.
When you’re not working, where are people most likely to find you?
A: I live on Cape Cod, year round. I love the water. When I’m not working, you’re most likely to find me trying to convince my wife Nancy and my two daughters, Julie and Charlotte, to go out on the boat. It’s my happy place and where I like to spend my free time.
Thank you, Mike! Interested in meeting the rest of our team? Keep an eye out for our next employee spotlight interview, here on our blog!
Check out our past interviews: