1. What's your background that’s led you to your current position at ProdPerfect?
With software, everyone thinks of actual development. Nobody was thinking about: Quality Assurance (QA) is super important. So I started researching and reading about it.
The company I was at before solved a massively important problem in QA. But I saw this problem of regression testing. Nobody could figure it out. It was this pain point when Erik approached me. Then it was like a lightbulb went off, like: "That makes so much sense. Why has nobody done this before?" So I said, “let’s do it.” I was under the 10th employee. I’ve been here from the start and don't plan on going anywhere.
2. Can you paint for me a picture of what life is like in your role?
Every day is different. I'm not sitting behind a desk having these dreary boring 30-minute calls where nobody wants to talk to me. We have this really interesting culture. Everybody has their role, but everyone wants to help out with everybody's else's role. That's why we have such fascinating work. Everybody cares. Everybody wants to solve problems, whether it's their problems or somebody else's.
3. What are some elements of a "typical" interaction with customers considering our product?
Zoom meetings are awesome. But there is no replacing having a conversation in person. You get to know someone, not just like: Hey, the weather outside is rainy today. There's a big problem where salespeople aren’t humanized, they're just this being on the other side of the line. You want to let people know you care about more than what we're selling. It's about relationships.
We start off with a conversation. There's nothing worse than getting to the demo where people still have conceptual questions. I want to the demo to be: "I get it and now I want to dig deep." That's where it gets fun. It's also hard to show what our data analysis looks like in a black box. So we give companies a way to see what their testing suite is and try it without committing to a long-term contract first. Customers should know us front-and-back like if they were interviewing a person to go do that job.
"You want to let people know you care about more than what we're selling. It's about relationships."
4. What intrigues you about sales at ProdPerfect?
I really like selling to engineers. I get excited talking to leaders with these really cool ideas. I get to learn about new companies who are doing fascinating things. And I get to help make that fascinating thing even better. To say: This is awesome. Now we can make it where your development team is more efficient. You can spread your brand out there and people are going to love it even more.
I was never really good at development. So my philosophy was: If I can't make it, why don’t I help sell it? It still gives me the ability to be tight with engineering, understand product and the whole Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). QA touches so many different parts of the business. That gives me a really cool advantage because I like learning. I like being a part of it.
5. How do you explain to people the value of ProdPerfect?
I talk about three pain points: 1) It's really hard to figure out what to test. 2) Building those tests is an art form. 3) Because we're so agile in the way we develop software, the maintenance and evolution of test suites has become this daunting task no one wants to do. So why don't we let machines do that part? I love hitting home: "Hey, let's solve this in a way more unique way that makes it way less painful.”
Regular people? I say: When's the last time you've been on an e-commerce site and you click the check-out and it doesn't work? How angry did that make you? People go: Oh, it's the worst. I go: We help prevent those issues from happening. We let users tell us those workflows so we know exactly what they're doing. And make sure those flows are working at all times. When I explain it like that, even my grandparents get it. And my grandfather got a cell phone for the first time 6 months ago.
6. What are the top few frequently asked questions people have about us? About our product?
The biggest one we get is Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and data privacy. If you’ve seen The Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi has a really good quote: "Best block: not be there." We want to block all of that personal data. Questions also come up around that fact that we are machine-led and human-assisted. The goal is to be fully close-cycled, where machines do everything. Our CEO Dan Widing puts it the right way: we are a self-driving car that still has a driver in the driver's seat. How much human involvement is needed? It's continuing to trend downward. It's much less resource-intensive than it would be to manually build, maintain, and update. We let machines do the heavy-lifting.
Ultimately, as much as our job is teaching about ProdPerfect, even more of our job is evangelizing the QA infrastructure outside of what we do. ProdPerfect can work all day, but if we don't have all the testing components to make the ecosystem complete, one tire works but the rest are flat. The car won't drive.
7. In your own words, how would you differentiate ProdPerfect from competitors?
We're the only company I've seen that's using data in this way to build tests. Traditional tooling has been reactive: companies still need to build their own requirements and test cases. We're one of the first proactive solutions. Not only are we telling you what should be tested, we're continually building it, maintaining it, updating it, without the customer having to tell us what to do. They're not managing us. They can focus elsewhere, which I think is really cool.
Everyone's trying to make QA more agile. There's no company telling you to slow down. Mark Zuckerburg said: "move fast and break stuff." The philosophy now in QA is: "let's move fast and not break stuff." So "let's move faster and let's use data to do the heavy lift" is ProdPerfect’s unique approach.