I’d like to think we can all learn from not only our own mistakes, but also from each other’s. I want to share with you the biggest mistake I made in my career, and it happened to be as a co-founder and Sales VP.
I was a co-founder of a software company called Open Environment. We developed middleware to help large companies connect various back-end systems. As a startup, my role began as the sole salesperson, and as we grew, my role quickly progressed into sales manager. Within four years I was the head of sales, leading a team of 35+ sales reps, sales engineers and a small group of consultants.
Just being around as a company after three years is reason to celebrate for most startups. But we weren’t just surviving, we were thriving. We went from revenue of under $1 million in our first year to nearly $15 million by year four.
As a result of us doing really well, we dreamed of taking our new company public. The founders all got together and we decided to recruit the CEO of one of our Fortune 500 customers to be our CEO.