By analyzing the issues and collaborating with our clients, we can comprehend their concerns and provide specific remedies that effectively meet their requirements. For today’s episode, LingRaj Patil, VP of Marketing at ArmorCode, reveals the company’s go-to-market approach. He shares how ArmorCode prioritizes customer-centric problem-solving to drive meaningful impact and innovation within the cybersecurity industry. LingRaj emphasizes the significance of starting with problems and working closely with customers to fully understand their pain points. By articulating and offering targeted solutions, ArmorCode effectively addresses the problems faced by its customers. LingRaj also shares his career journey and the trajectory that led him to spearhead the Purple Book initiative. Come join us for an informative episode where we explore go-to-market strategies, solving problems with a focus on the customer, building communities, and the strength of collaborations in the continually changing field of cybersecurity.
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ArmorCode’s Go-To-Market Approach: Serving Customers In The AppSec Space With LingRaj Patil
I have with me the pleasure of hosting LingRaj Patil, who is the VP of Marketing at ArmorCode. I’m super excited with the things that ArmorCode is doing and what LingRaj and his team are doing. Without further ado, let’s get right into the conversation. Welcome, Raj. How are you doing?
I’m doing very well. I’m looking forward to this conversation with you.
Same here. As always, I always start the show with this question with all my guests, so you’re going to be no exception to that. How do you view and define go-to-market?
In its basic sense, go-to-market is a way that you take your product or service to the market. I think there are a couple of distinct steps within that one, the way I look at it. The first one is the problem that you’re trying to solve for the customer needs to be very clear. A very good understanding of what the problem that you’re trying to solve. Especially in a startup, it becomes very important because you’re in a new space and championing a problem and a solution for that one. Sometimes in a startup, when you start out, the problem that you think is the problem customers care about is not the problem that they care about. Understanding the problem is very important.
Marketing the problem is very important. That’s the first step because customers don’t latch onto the problem. They will not latch onto the solution that we’re going to propose later. The second one is then articulating the solution and the unique way in which you solve that particular problem better than anybody else. Those are the two steps that I would say are part of the go-to-market. As time progresses, I’ve also found that it’s very important that you grow with the customers and the problems that they’re facing. That’s where building on being very tight with the customers and understanding the evolution of the problem and the evolution of the solution that needs to happen with that.
This is how I look at go-to-market. Of course then, there are different strategies and tactics like whether you use events to take that engagement with the customers, community, one-on-one engagements with your customers, prospects, or sales contact engagement. That are the tactics that I would say is what’s working in the go-to-market journey.
I like the way you put a lot of emphasis on the problems. You’re always starting with the problems. You also mentioned working with the customers and then articulating or repeating the problems. As you’re doing that, you articulate and push out the solutions of the products and services you’re building and how you’re solving those problems.
Totally. I think this is where a lot of companies go astray by not spending enough time on the problem but jumping straight to the solution, assuming that the problem they are trying to solve is an urgent problem to solve. There are problems to solve and there are urgent problems to solve. Meaning this problem needs to be fixed right now. Understanding that urgent problem to fix right now is very important. Championing that is very important. Also, the problem needs to be a problem that is a problem for enough people that it’s a big opportunity for you as a company.
One of the challenges that I’ve seen in the startup space is that they have maybe 3 to 4 design partners and their top 15 people. They found their opinion about what is the addressing problem by talking to those 10 to 15 different people. The thing is, the problem needs to be a bigger problem. With a startup, you’re always struggling with the lack of resources and time that you have and how do you reach to maybe hundreds and thousands of people. Understand that the problem is affecting those people.
In my mind, one of the things that I look at is, “Is the problem a problem for 3 people, 30 people, 300 people, or 3,000 people?” We want to solve a problem that’s a problem for 30,000 companies. That’s the market space that we want to go after. Not a problem, that’s a problem for just 30 people. The way we have found to do that is by engaging them at scale. We have used Purple Book Community as a way to basically articulate or understand what problems these leaders we seek to serve are facing and champion it for them. Sometimes the problems that they are facing need to be championed for themselves because, in organizations, they are not getting the word out.
This is a problem that needs immediate attention in terms of budget reallocation and in terms of conversation with their own peers in the industry. They’re all fighting this battle. How do you bring those forces together so that it becomes a movement? That’s what I feel is needed to solve problems. Of course, the product we come up with helps solve part of the problem, but it doesn’t quite solve the people part of it. The people part of it is very important. That’s why when we are defining problem, there is a whole groundwork that needs to be laid out to make it a success that people buy the problem, want the problem, champion the problem within their companies, and then we help them with that as well.
As you are talking about the problem size and the market size, one of the questions that came to me is, how do you estimate or how do you know that this problem is good for a lot of people? You answered it in your own words, which is one way to do it is through a community. You mentioned Purple Book Community. We’ll definitely deep dive into Purple Book Community during our conversation. Switching gears here, let’s take a step back. Why don’t you walk the audience what is your career journey like? How do you end up doing what you’re doing today? It’s not like you started your day one of your career journey and you start and thought about Purple Book Community. What is your current journey like so far?
In terms of my education, I did my electronics and communications. I was doing computer programming. I used to do networking programming, building switches and routers that powered the internet. If you go back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, that was the hottest thing at that time. The internet was very big and a lot of infrastructure had to be built. I was doing programming for that. I remember an experience that changed my perspective toward technology and marketing. I was part of a project. It had about maybe eighteen people. I’m talking about the mid-2000s. It had about maybe eighteen people, and the technology was so cool that the team was very excited about working on it and how it’s going to change customer’s life.
While I was working on it, I was pulled aside for a customer request that came in for a problem that he was facing. It was a team of four people and maybe we did that work for 3 to 4 people. It actually became a bother for me. Why are they taking me away from the school project? I just want to change the world to work on something so small. I did that. I came back but I didn’t pay much attention to that.
About maybe a year and a half after this was done, I met the product manager. I asked him about how this particular big project did in relation to the small project. He explained that the small project I worked on and didn’t pay much attention to actually had become more revenue and more profitable. I started thinking, “Why is this project, which is not even that cool, ended up becoming that much more popular among the customers?” I learned that was because it was solving a problem that was very urgent and important for the customers.
The big project that we’re talking about. We, as engineers, were excited about it. It was a cool technology that we all wanted to change the world, but this was the one that we were facing. That made me think the technology might be very exciting for the technologist. At the end of the day, it needs to solve a problem for the end-user or customers. That’s what got me thinking. I then did my MBA. I got most fascinated about how you take technology and articulate the business value of that. One thing led to another.Technology might be very exciting for technologists, but at the end of the day, it needs to solve a problem for the end-user, for the customers. Click To Tweet
Within Ericsson, I moved into marketing. For a period of time, I have gone from a bigger company progressively smaller. Ericsson has a global giant. After that, I worked in two mini-funds, maybe 1,500 to 2,000 people. That was very exciting before I ended up at the company that I’m at. I’ve been involved with naming the company to basically being where we are now. We are a Series A-funded company now. We are close to three years old from the time of conception.
Actually, on May 13th, 2023, we are going to celebrate the second anniversary of the launch of the company. Little did we know when we started on May 13th, 2021 that the journey we would have for those two years would be so phenomenal. I feel that journey from working from a bigger company to a smaller one, and on this startup makes me think that I should have started my journey with the smaller company much earlier because of the impact they are having.
This is a great story and journey for sure. Even I can relate to a lot of these things. Even I started my journey in larger companies. That eventually progressed to the early stage and smaller companies. In hindsight, if we were to connect the dots, it’s the experiences in the larger companies that gave us or helped us arrive at the moment where we are now. I completely agree with a lot of things that you mentioned, Raj.
One thing that I want to transition into is what you mentioned about ArmorCode. You’ve been involved with the founder from day zero, our writer inception, and you’re hitting the two-year mark on May 13th, 2023. Congratulations to you and the team on that big milestone. Tell us a bit about ArmorCode. Who do you serve and what is your go-to-market approach for ArmorCode?
In ArmorCode, we solve an application security problem. To make it very simple to understand, I can explain it to you. There is a lot of new software that is getting written. Software is being written not just by the software companies. Traditionally, non-software companies are writing software in the journey for digital transformation. These companies, when they write software, are under pressure to release software faster, and they release faster to give a sense of perspective software that used to release. When I started out as an engineer, we used to release software once a year and do it twice a year. Now, we’re at a point where companies are releasing software every month, sometimes every week, and sometimes every day. That’s the piece at which innovation is happening.Now we are at a point where companies are releasing software every month, sometimes every week, sometimes every day. That's the pace at which innovation is happening. Click To Tweet
The security team used to get tested the software. They’re not getting it right now. They are under pressure to release it faster. Consequently, a lot of vulnerabilities in the software are getting shipped. Speed is one problem. The other problem that’s happening here is there is rapid adoption of open source. What that means is, earlier, most of the software was created by you. Now, in some cases, 70% to 80% of the software that we’re creating is created by somebody else. That means if they have the vulnerability slip in, or worse if they were a hacker and they injected the vulnerability so that they could exploit it later, you’re ingesting it. That’s the second problem that we are talking about.
The software has gone from becoming monolithic software to more microservices. What we do is we help companies find out vulnerabilities that need to be fixed before the release goes out. Earlier, the customers had to look at 1,000 or 10,000 problems and figure out which ones to fix, not having enough time to fix, and just shipping it like that. We tell them, “Instead of these 10,000 problems, these are the 50 problems you need to look at before you ship it.” We give a prioritized view of what’s important that needs to be fixed so that it’s possible to fix it in the one-week release cycle you’re having.
Clearly, that technology is needed, given all the different security horror stories that we are hearing in the industry. Not just businesses but even common manner individuals and consumers are being affected by it. Who are your customers and the personnel that you serve around these AppSec problems?
The people that we serve are security leaders and security engineers. Within security, these are application security and product security. If you look at security, we can classify them to two broad teams. One team is entrusted with enterprise security, meaning making sure that my enterprise network is secure and it’s not hacked.
The other one is interested with product or application security. What that team does is whatever product and application we are building, we need to make sure that people cannot hack into that so that our customers do not get impacted by using our product. Our product is used by the team, what’s called the application security team or the product security team, now broadly called the software security team. That’s the team that uses it. Within that, application security engineers are the ones that use it. Their managers are the ones who are influencers. Chief Information Security Officers are the ones who ultimately write the check.
Who is your typical customer base? Is it mostly enterprise or mid-market? I’m assuming it’s not small to medium businesses.
It’s mostly mid-market and enterprise, even though the problem that we are solving is relevant. For somebody to use our product, they need to have a certain amount of scale for our platform to be useful for them.
Let’s talk about a GTM success story. One thing that I’ve been following and tracking ArmorCode’s success and the team’s success very well. Something that stands out is the way you went around, went about, and built the Purple Book community. Can you share some more details around what led you to come up with this whole community idea? How are we helping move the awareness of the problem with the personnel that you mentioned?
The community started way back in December 2020. I would say at least the conversation about it started then. It started out because as we were talking to security leaders for whom we were looking to solve this problem, we found out that there were lots of companies that were facing this application security problem. There were some companies that had put millions of dollars into making their application security program very robust. They had a very good understanding of what are the best practices, what are the case studies, and things like that.
There were a lot more companies that didn’t have that kind of a budget. They were not even aware of a problem like this, or they were just beginning out. We thought, “Why don’t we get together with the companies and leaders who are championing crusaders in this area and then co-author a book with them for the benefit of the rest of the community?”
It started out as a project to co-author a book with ten security leaders about the concerns, best practices, and case studies in this. Once we got these ten leaders together to write this book, they came together and said, “The problem is so big that we need to have more experts from other areas to basically chime in to fully characterize the problem.” Those people then started inviting the other industry expert that they respected. Before we knew it, that 10-people team had become 29 people team that came together to write this book. That was such a creative phase of this community that we spent a lot of time articulating the problem, challenges, best practices, case studies, and things like that.
It started out as a book which would’ve 4 chapters and it ended up as a book with 10 chapters. Once the book was done, people who were in the community had so much fun talking to each other and hanging out with each other. They said, “We need to have a community around it. Let this not end and the book writing is done.” That’s how the community continued. Now, we have 250-plus members. For the most part, it’s the only community that we have. That community is very near and dear to us mainly because we understand that the problem that we’re trying to solve is so big that it cannot be solved with technology or product.
Even though technology or product is a very important part of it, we believe there is a very strong people aspect to this problem that people are the ones who ultimately need to solve this problem. We need to have a movement around it. Mindsets need to change within the company. There needs to be greater awareness of the problem. Since we started, we have done things that we never thought we would be showcased on Nasdaq, where we have done an annual conference. In 2022, we did the first annual conference with 2,200 people from 24 different countries.
That’s the kind of scale that can be achieved only when people who are part of the community are championing the cause. Otherwise, a startup like us cannot think of pulling off a big event like that. That’s what I think is a difference. We are not a startup just focused on building a product. We’re a startup that’s focused on building a movement around the problem that needs to be solved because that’s what’s needed to solve the problem.
Something that caught my attention is you mentioned the community taking shape or taking birth in December 2020. That’s around the same time or maybe right after the startup was conceived and formally established. Walk me through the thought process between you and the Founder and CEO, Nikhil, as to what led you to this thought process of maybe you should explore and start a “community.” What led you to that point in time?
We saw that a lot of security leaders were trying to solve this problem in their own small circles. Also, there was no full characterization of the problem itself on how big the problem is and what are the best practices in solving it. There were lots of efforts that were going on. We felt that the problem that we’re trying to solve cannot be solved using technology because these people are not united in their fight. That’s when we thought we should bring all these leaders together in one place so that there’s an information exchange that can happen immediately. They can start getting solutions to some of those problems, at least the low-hanging truths, immediately by hanging out and talking to each other. That’s how we got them together. That’s how it started up.
This is a good validation for one of the principles of people looking to start a community. It’s always focused on 1 or 2 problems that the industry can rally around. I think that’s a very important point. It’s not about how a “community” can benefit your company or product versus expanding your thinking and view around why someone would care about this problem and why it’s important that people who are working on this problem come together.
The people I’ve seen when there is a problem, which is for any startup to be successful, we need to be attacking the problem that makes the maximum impact for the maximum number of people. The way to find that out is the way our community rallies around that problem. Let’s say for example, I was solving a problem that impacted me with 30 companies. If you try to build a community around a problem that 30 companies are interested in, you can’t build a community around it. Whereas, if there’s a problem that 3,000 or 30,000 companies are facing, then you can build a community around it. You can rally the team to build awareness about that cause.
Many times, what happens is the awareness that we’re talking about in many organizations, the security leaders are very much aware of the problem, but sometimes it doesn’t go up. We believe application security and security need to be a board-level problem. The board needs to be discussing it. Right now, look at security leaders. In almost all of the cases, they’re not reporting directly to the CEO. They are reporting to somebody who reports to the CEO. It could be a CIO or a CTO. Sometimes, they want CFO, Chief Legal Officer. This problem needs to be championed, and it’s very important.
I give an example. I think that not having a Chief Security Officer reporting directly to CEO is like not having the Head of Pentagon not reporting directly to the president of the United States. Imagine the Head of Pentagon being three levels below the president of the United States. How secure will the country be?
That’s a great analogy.
In our world, all companies are getting on a journey to digital transformation, whether they’re a software company or not, technology company or not. Even the companies that you traditionally consider, like manufacturing, didn’t have that much of a technology impact. There is a digital imprint of the manufacturing flow that they’re having. There is so much digitization that’s happening. There is a digital representation of the physical company that you’re running that needs to be secure. The knowledge about how to secure it cannot be three levels down from where the CEO or board of directors are. That’s where the community also helps. Build an awareness of the problem at a high level there is an awareness.
I think what you articulated there is very important around why it matters. You also shared some insights around why the Chief Security Officer should report to a CEO and why the security level problem should be more of a board-level problem, nothing less than that. Something else that you mentioned earlier while building the Purple Book Community is around the book, as it says in the name. Walk us through the process of why it matters around why and what led you to the thoughts of building and co-authoring a book with all these security leaders.
There was no book on this subject. That’s where the project started. We said, “We need to have a book that leaders can refer to on what’s the problem. How does it look like? You need to characterize the elephant first. What are the possible ways to basically tackle this elephant in the room that nobody’s talking about? That’s where the idea of the book came about, and the book became a community. I’ll tell you how it became a community.
Our original idea was to write a book, print it, and put it on Amazon. We realized the whole software security. Security is such a dynamic area that the moment you write a book and you say, “These are the problems. These are the best practices.” Put it, and you think you’re done. There’s going to be another attack that’s going to happen. You’re going to learn. We are in this constant process of learning and evolving. That’s why we say this book is going to be digital. We are going to put it on a website. That’s what people are going to read.
When it’s constantly evolving, that means there cannot be a date and time when we say the work is done. It needs to be community and it needs to be constant dialogue on it. What we thought we could characterize the problem. Say an elephant. We figured out it’s a shifting elephant, meaning it needs to be constantly recharacterized every attack.
What you highlighted, like community and content in this case, is a unique piece of content that you cannot get anywhere, which is the book are the centerpiece to what I have to do as a winning CMO playbook. By the way, years back, I continued to study, “What sets apart the top tier CMOs versus the rest of the pack? It comes down to three principles. You have content, community, and events or experiences. You can call it either way.
What I’m seeing happening over here with ArmorCode and Purple Book community is you got the community piece, which is the Purple Book Community. You got the book which is articulating or collating and brings all the best practices from all these best and brightest minds in the app security on security world. You’re also doing a series of events. Starting with one event and it looks like now you have chapters of events that are happening. It looks like you’re building all those things. The third piece we didn’t talk about is how are you thinking about our planning and doing all these own branded events around the Purple Book Community.
Can you restate the problem?
It looks like you are hosting and bringing together all these leaders. We are back in December of 2020 or even the early part of 2021. Sometimes you actually hosted the folks in one place. Maybe it was in Silicon Valley. That was the first. Since then, it’s taken its own movement or shape and form. You’ve got chapters and different places where these events are happening. Just explain on that.
The reason why we felt the need to have in-person events is because of the emphasis that we’ve put on building relationships. There are a lot of communities where information exchange happens, people come together and share information, but the focus is on information exchange. What we wanted to do at Purple Book Community is we wanted to build personal relationships with people among people. The kind of collaboration that happens. We have seen the magic of people meeting, discussing, and then coming up with ideas. We experienced it because we are having those meetups in Bay Area and we had a lot of fun just getting to know each other. Many of these Purple Book Community members have become friends with me now.
This is the experience that we wanted to take to different parts of the world. We looked at the concentration of all members. We saw that New York has a very big concentration. Atlanta has a big concentration. Those two cities have chapters now. There are other cities that are able to do this. India also had a concentration of members, so we have chapters in India as well.
To answer your question, why did we evolve from being one place to multiple places is to build that relationship and then enable those leaders to build a community around themselves. We have leaders in different chapters who now have their own local meetups run independently of us. That’s how w scale. You cannot be there in all the places, but these are the people who believe in the cause that this problem needs to be solved. That’s how we are scaling the community.
For me, why I’m excited about what you guys are doing with Purple Book is it reemphasizes the notion that in order to build and have a meaningful community, it’s not about the founder or the originator “broadcasting” to the community members, but facilitating that exchange of information, relationship, and knowledge between the community members themselves. That’s what I see happening now with these chapters.
In a way that the community validates the passion behind a problem, the moment you start doing these things, that’s when the community starts building momentum.
Switching gears over here in the sense of your role at ArmorCode. You are the VP of Marketing at ArmorCode. What are the different functions that you’re responsible for? Who are your team? How is your team set up?
When I look at marketing, I look at three main functions here. One is the brand and thought leadership. You need to find one problem and champion that. How you do that is your brand. Are you trustworthy? Are you a voice that people come to for advice? Are you looked at as a company that can be a confidant for the security leader? One is the brand part of it.
The second one is product marketing, which is essentially having excellence in understanding our customers’ problems, how our product solves them, and communicating that. Also, enabling our customers to tell that story in terms of case studies or maybe podcasts and things like that. Basically, the material that you create to champion that. The third one is the demand gen part. Demand gen is very essential to create demand for the business. Those are three big ways that I look at marketing. I’m responsible for the brand, the content, and the product. For the demand, the way we set it up, part of it is done out of sales and marketing and the inbound. Some of the national events part is handled by in marketing.
The outbound is under sales versus the inbound is under marketing.
I wouldn’t say that’s a full description of it. For example, the national events, marketing still does the national events.
That’s a great story that you shared over here around the Purple Book Community. Clearly, GTM is a success story. Switching gears, it’s not every day that we see success stories like these. A lot of failures before we run into a success story like this. For our audience, can you share a GTM failure story and your learnings from that?
There are plenty of them. In a startup, one thing that we have embraced is the notion of, “Start something new, fail fast, learn from it, and then win to something that works.” There are a lot of experiments that we have done. Some of them have succeeded, and many of them have failed. In terms of the failure itself, we’ll take email marketing as an example. The effectiveness of email marketing is not very high, for reasons that I can relate to myself. I get so many emails from so many other people that I get half of them, I just delete them. I don’t even read because they don’t relate.
I feel a combination of an in-person touch or having some time compelling misconnection with the problem with the customers or the prospects, and then following it up with an email. That is a good combination. If you make email the primary tool without actually touching them, in some way, shape, or form in other formats, maybe on LinkedIn, on the website, or at events. It’s a combination of these three things that makes it effective. If you were to focus solely on email or open rates, the standard open rate is 20%. Sometimes we do better than that. There are CTRs. To progress customers’ interest or prospects’ interest using tiers, email has not worked across.
I think the big takeaway for anyone who’s looking to do or invest in email and outbound using email, is what you articulated there definitely makes sense. Don’t use email as the first cold outreach. Rather, invest in knowing that person, connecting on LinkedIn, building some “relationship” and then use the email as a secondary or tertiary vehicle to reach out.
That’s part of it, but there are limits to how many people you can meet also. You cannot always meet somebody in person and then follow it up with an email. The way you scale that is, for example, LinkedIn. We have a very strong presence on LinkedIn. That’s a lot of people who follow us and know us. That’s how we keep our followers or supporters updated about what we are doing. In some ways, they know us. We are at events. They know us even though we do not have that one-on-one interaction. If you combine that with an email, then you have a more successful strategy.
To the extent that you can share, what budget were you given to start this committee and the book project?
I think that’s probably a privy that helps to be privy to the company. I can share the details. Community is not about big budgets and big spending. The community is about identifying a problem that everybody’s passionate about and then rallying people beyond it. I feel people will do a lot of wonderful things, not for money, but for a cause that they deeply believe in. If you look at some of the biggest heroics, even in our real life, people do it not for money. If you look at the army, they’re not the highest paid, but they are the people who are so motivated by a cost that they’re willing to lay down their life for that.The community is about identifying a problem that everybody's passionate about and then rallying people beyond it. People will do a lot of wonderful things, not for money, but for a cause they deeply believe in. Click To Tweet
When we tap into it, all of us have that innate desire to be part of something big and play a significant role in doing something like that. I feel in the community, we essentially tap that. You tap into people’s ability to champion a problem much bigger than any one of us and then grow from that. If somebody thinks that by putting a lot of money into a community, they can become successful, that definitely is not a way to do that.
All I would say is, in the beginning, find like-minded people who are passionate about the problem that we’re passionate about, and then let that passion build from one to another. If those people are then talking to somebody else about that and that person is talking about somebody else, then you know that you have a problem that is big enough for people to champion it on their own without any big money being spent.
It’s almost similar to how you know when there’s a product-market fit. It’s the same example over here. It’s more like a community problem fit.
Clearly, you’ve got a lot of cool skill sets that people lean on you for. You definitely talked about brand, thought leadership, community, content, and events. What are 1 or 2 skills that your leadership team and other folks in ArmorCode or in the industry lean on you for? What do they reach out to you for?
In terms of what people reach out to me for is, there is a problem that we need to put a spotlight on. If there is a solution to that that we need to put a spotlight on it and create a buzz around it. That’s something that I’ve had some success in creating. It’s either in terms of getting spotlighted by Nasdaq or being invited to speak in Davos during the World Economic Forum, or even building a community around a problem that needs to be created. You create that impact, not just with what we are doing but with the activities that happen around the company and community. That’s something that I have helped the company.
Talking about looking at the different trends or resources that you lean on, what type of resources or what is in the top of your mind when it comes to taking the go-to-market of your team to the next level?
Resources as in materials that I look at like a podcast?
Yeah, it can be a podcast, it can be a book, it can be maybe other communities that you lean on, or maybe it’s even a tool like ChatGPT.
For me, I would say podcasts have been a big influencer. What you’re doing is awesome because there is so much knowledge transfer information that happens. Podcasts have been a great resource for me. Talking to people has been great. Going to events has been fantastic. We are looking into ChatGPT, we are using it in some, but I’m sure there are a lot more possibilities with ChatGPT that we would like to learn more. Sometimes I wonder, maybe I should have one person called the head of ChatGPT just sitting there and thinking about all the possibilities of what ChatGPT can do for all businesses. We’re not there yet, but hopefully, we can get that level of focus on using the full capabilities of ChatGPT.
Same here. I’m super excited about what is possible with ChatGPT. It’s creating or carrying all the time and energy to explore use cases and testing things out. I think that really matters.
There are some things that ChatGPT is great at but ultimately, ChatGPT cannot build a community. Ultimately, it’s the people connecting with the people that build it. Even though there is a lot of human cry about the number of jobs that we lost, there are things that human beings are uniquely suited for that ChatGPT cannot provide.
Bringing the show toward a close of finish. Last two questions that I have for you. Who are the 1, 2, or 3 people that have shaped, inspired, or played a key role in your career growth so far?
I think there are a lot of people. Identifying 2 to 3 people would not be telling the full story of the people that have made an impact on me. What I am is a result of influences that people around are bad either in a personal capacity or in a work capacity. If I had to pick just three people, I would say maybe my parents. They’ve had a very strong influence in the way I was brought up. I remember a teacher in my MBA school. There was something about him. He believed in me in ways that I didn’t believe in myself. He saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. I could see that he had duplicated about me. He made a great impression on me to stretch myself. There are a lot of managers that I’ve had in my career who I don’t want to mention one or the other that has played a huge role in my growth.
Almost always, what it comes down to, which I’ve seen, is it’s not the expertise of the person that has made an impact on me. It’s that person was not an expert but that person cared. That’s very important. That person cared for me as a person, took a personal interest, and I try to do the same thing with the people that I mentor. I don’t try to view my knowledge and walk away. At the end of the day, it’s the amount of cave that I give to that person personally. That’s what makes the difference.
Finally, the CEO that I work with, Nikhil. It’s the third company that we are working together. I would say he’s one of the most phenomenal leaders that I work with. So passionate, so energetic, and still so humble. He has accomplished so much but still has the biggest mindset. He’s very humble in learning. That’s something that I learned from him. He has been one of the great reasons why ArmorCode has the success that it is right now. Even the community, he’s the big cause that it is right now.
The point that you made earlier, Raj, is around when the key role of a mentor or people who have touched you is not about the time or not when they share their expertise. Rather, when they convey or show that it’s you as a person they really care about, they sincerely care about you as a person. The final question I have for you is, if you were to turn back time and if you were to go back to day one of your go-to-market journeys, what advice would you give your younger self?
I would say to care about the problem that you’re solving for the customers. That’s very important. As I told you, in the earlier days, I was enamored by the technology and what it could do that I lost that connection with the end user who uses it. If I go back and I say, “Connect with the people who are ultimately going to use the product that you’re going use, understand their problem, the most pressing problem that they would be willing to spend time and money on and help them solve it.”Care about the problem that you're solving for the customers. Click To Tweet
I say help them solve it, not just with the product that you’re having, but in any other way you can. Community is a way for us to do that. We are not monetizing the community, but the thing is it helps the community come together. That’s what I would say care about the end customers or the people that you’re trying to help so much that they feel that we are sincere about making their life better.
Fantastic. Great conversation, Raj. Good luck to you and the team at ArmorCode. I’m wishing you all the best.
Thank you very much. It’s my pleasure.
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