Stripe CRO: Mike Clayville

Summary

Mike Clayville is the Chief Revenue Officer of Stripe, a payment processing company that is building the economic infrastructure of the internet.  Their mission is increasing the GDP of the internet -- and Stripe is valued at almost $100 billion.  In our conversation, we talk about Mike’s career journey leading up to Stripe.  He was born and raised in Idaho, got a degree in geotechnical engineering and then went on to get his MBA after he had a hard time finding a job.  After graduating, he went to work for IBM, the world’s most profitable company at the time, and worked his way up the ranks eventually becoming an IBM executive.  After IBM, Mike made several career moves, eventually landing at Amazon Web Services, as a Vice President, where he helped grow their business from $1.8 billion to $43 billion in sales.  Stick around until the end and hear about how Mike was able to make career moves that positioned himself to win big, what he thinks are important things to consider when making career moves, and why he started the Clayville Foundation to lend a helping hand in curing cancer.

Podcast Transcript

Note:  There may be errors to this transcript (some funny, some confusing - we used an automated transcription software!)

Mike Clayville  00:00

It's in that curiosity that you truly find what's necessary in order for a customer to be successful.

Ash Faraj  00:12

Hey, it's ash and you're listening to the ExecuTalks podcast. It's the top career podcast featuring inspiring career stories from today's top CEOs, executives, and leaders. I can't express to you how thankful I am that you're choosing to listen to our podcasts and of the many other podcasts out there. Now we spend so much time and energy into producing these amazing stories with these amazing people. And all that we ask is that you please please leave us a quick rating and review on Apple podcasts. Thank you again for listening. It means the world to me that you've taken time to listen. In this episode, you'll get to hear from Mike clayville. Today Mike is the chief Revenue Officer of stripe is a payment processing company that is building the economic infrastructure of the internet with a mission of increasing the GDP of the internet, valued at almost $100 billion. In our conversation we talked about Mike's career journey leading up to stripe. He was born and raised in Idaho and got a degree in geotechnical engineering and then went on to get his MBA after he had a hard time finding a job. After graduating he went on to work for IBM, the world's most profitable company at the time, and worked his way up the ranks eventually becoming an IBM executive. After IBM Mike made several career moves, eventually landing at Amazon Web Services, where he helped grow their business from $1.8 billion in sales to $43 billion a year in sales. stick around until the end and hear about how Mike was able to make career moves that positioned himself to win big, what he thinks are important things to consider when making career transitions and career moves. And why he started the Clayville foundation to lend a helping hand in curing cancer. I am joined today by stripe's chief revenue officer and formerly Amazon Web Services Vice President Mike Clayville. Welcome to the show. Thank you for joining us today.

Mike Clayville  02:04

Delighted to be here today Ash. Thanks for inviting me.

Ash Faraj  02:07

The first question we all start off with is I'm going to high school classroom with you Mike, who is Mike in high school,

Mike Clayville  02:12

I was a little bit of an athlete,

Ash Faraj  02:14

you're a runner.

Mike Clayville  02:15

I'm a runner. Later on I ran Semi Pro for a while. I also took all the science classes. So I was always taking, you know, the chemistry is in maths and all that. I guess I was also not trying to take life too seriously. Although I was one of the top students from grades perspective, but you know, life is too short. You're not going to get out of it alive. So, can't take it too seriously.

Ash Faraj  02:19

I love that. Yeah. You grew up in Idaho. Is that right?

Mike Clayville  02:47

I grew up in a place called Idaho. Yeah.

Ash Faraj  02:50

Was it?

Mike Clayville  02:50

Have you heard of it?

Ash Faraj  02:51

Yeah, it was it? Was it on a cattle ranch?

Mike Clayville  02:55

Yeah, so my my I'm a I guess we're 12th generation farmers here in North America. Not never are very particularly successful at it either. We all had small farms. And you know, I guess it represented as kind of a scrappy farmers you know, mostly making money off of, of agriculture and nobody really ever much more than an 80 acre farm 100 acre farm, so small small town farming for generation here in America.

Ash Faraj  03:33

So, you fast forward a little bit, you got your degree in engineering from the U of I. What did you do after that?

Mike Clayville  03:40

So, I went on, I went straight on to get my MBA at Texas a&m,

Ash Faraj  03:45

right after your undergrad

Mike Clayville  03:46

right after my undergrad

Ash Faraj  03:47

what what made you decide to do that was that like, was there an influence?

Mike Clayville  03:51

So when I started in engineering, geotechnical engineering was the most sought after degree of all the engineering and geotechnical engineers had a great time finding jobs in the oil industry. And by the time I graduated in 85, it was the oil bust the whole place there when you couldn't you couldn't pay to get a job in geotechnical engineering. And so I said, You know what? I want I always intended to go get an MBA anyway. And so instead of working for a couple years and going back, I said, let's just plow straight on through.

Ash Faraj  04:31

Yeah, got it. Okay. Yeah, I said, By the way, I studied a chemical engineering from University of Washington for the same reason I was like, I'm gonna I want to go and make a lot of money. I have a same exact reason. That's Yeah.

Mike Clayville  04:40

I think we all ended up in the same spot.

Ash Faraj  04:42

Yeah, exactly. So you, you know after after you get your MBA. You went to go work for IBM after college and this was the late 1980s.

Mike Clayville  04:50

Yeah. 87

Ash Faraj  04:52

What was IBM like?

Mike Clayville  04:52

So at that, when I went to work for them, they were the most profitable company in the world. And when you went in, it was just, I mean, I guess you could see what was about to happen. Because when I was interviewing, they were people were telling me, Look, we're just like the US government, you'll always have a job, we've never laid anybody off. There's always things to do here at IBM. I was I was by a wide margin, the youngest, the average age of people in my office, probably 55. And I'm some, you know, upstart coming in out of grad school, it was, it was a ton of fun in that you could get a lot of people that wanted to sponsor you, and mentor you through, but it was, it was just a really interesting culture at the time. Just a few short years later, about three, it was the most unprofitable company in the world. It was really interesting to see that transition of IBM.

Ash Faraj  05:54

Yeah, I remember watching a video you were you were doing an interview, and you were saying like, you know, obviously, you've been really, you know, you say you've been really lucky in your career. But that was like the only time where you were at a company and then all of a sudden it goes down.

Mike Clayville  06:06

Just as as what was worse is I get I earned my, I've done pretty well at IBM and I moved up through the ranks pretty quickly. And I got my first first line manager job pretty quickly. And in the first thing I was told was, you're going to have to implement the first layoffs in the history of the company, and 80% of your people had to go.

Ash Faraj  06:31

I imagine that, you know, there was a point in your career where you experienced a lot of growth, since you've been there for nine years, you know, you were there for nine years. And then, and it was also, you know, your first experience out of your masters, after you finished your MBA, was there ever a moment during your time at at IBM where you felt like you failed miserably?

Mike Clayville  06:49

Well, look, it was hard yards. I'm helping people transition to their new life. But I gotta tell you the first job, that first role was given a territory that hadn't made its number in seven years. And this was the eighth year. And you know, they were at 20% of plan after a half. And I was like, wow, here we go. We got, you know, it wasn't a big team, 10 people. But again, it was a manufacturing territory in Dallas, and the team was just really struggling. But we did we get we came back. And we ended up growing the revenue by, like, 40%, that year, which was the first year that it ever grown. So we did recover. But you really have to stop and think hard about how do you do something completely different? Right? What we're doing is not working? How do we do something entirely different? To get a completely different result?

Ash Faraj  07:56

Yeah, I imagine that was that was a very, it kind of took you out of your comfort zone a little bit very challenging. Maybe it was must have been a pivotal moment in your career when you had to

Mike Clayville  08:06

Yeah, it was, it was one of those times, that's probably experience I took with me and use the most, because you had to figure out how to get the most out of a team that just really struggled for a long period of time. But you also had to realize that the tools they needed had to be completely different set of tools. And so I really got an opportunity to really re engineer a sales district in a way that I had I not gone into that situation, I wouldn't have learned, I wouldn't have learned a lot about selling as sales organization I've come to know is a lot about a lot like a manufacturing plant. And that's what I learned there, you get to think about how you break the manufacturing down into its core components. And then you get to figure out how to, you know, add the right parts to the basically the right bill of materials to the manufacturing plant to increase the throughput? And that was what I did I really, and I sat down and said, Alright, how do I fundamentally change the bill of materials here to increase the output. And I've taken that notion of, of manufacturing and capacity to all of my leadership positions and sales.

Ash Faraj  09:27

So after nine years, you decided to you know, after nine years, you decided to move on from IBM, at that particular moment in time, if you can remember, how did you know it was the right time to move on from IBM? And and I guess in general, how do you make How do you when you do make a career move how do you base those decisions?

Mike Clayville  09:45

I had two customers both reach out to me independently and say, Mike, you should go take a look at this company. And that led me to have a meeting with the CEO and you know, the rest was kind of history there.

Ash Faraj  09:59

I guess you know, To ask a quick I have a quick career question. So you obviously, you know, you've built your career around sales and business development. That's, you know, your skill. And I'm a big believer in that skill, by the way, like, you know, I told you when I graduated college, I studied chemical engineering. But then I also went into sales, because I realized how big of how important that is to life in general, right?

Mike Clayville  10:17

Yeah, you're selling every day,

Ash Faraj  10:19

exactly

Mike Clayville  10:20

everyday you day you get up, you're selling almost everything you do is about selling.

Ash Faraj  10:24

Exactly, exactly. So I guess the question I have for you is, what do you feel like makes someone good at sales or business development? Or, you know, what, what is it that makes somebody good at that,

Mike Clayville  10:35

I've come to know or at least appreciate the importance of learning. So one of the most important qualities of a salesperson is curiosity. And curiosity will lead you to ask questions that most other people wouldn't. Curiosity will let you help you understand even deeper what the customers need than the than the rest of the market. And it's in that curiosity that you truly find what's necessary in order for a customer to be successful. So curiosity is disproportionately important, surprisingly. So. The second thing is empathy. You've got to be able to put your self in the shoes of your customer and really understand the pain they're going through. And it's in that empathy that you really appreciate the magnitude of the problem statements and and through the Curiosity you find the solution to those problems statements.

Ash Faraj  11:49

Yeah, by the way, it's it's empathy is such a simple concept, but it's it's actually it's actually harder than it seems like to actually be empathetic because we humans are you know, we're selfish beyond think about ourselves, we think inwards. So it's so hard to just close our eyes and be like okay, if I was an issue How would I feel so it's, it's it's like a practice you got to keep getting better at it over time.

Mike Clayville  12:07

And well, you know, sales is a muscle memory sport. You get good at it by practicing every day. You don't get up in the morning one day and say, you know, they I think I'm gonna go big on Phil Mickelson. Let me let me get a hold of that. Golf Club. What you do as you get up and you you play your craft every day you practice every day. And overtime, you get better and better.

Ash Faraj  12:31

Yeah. By the way, I saw that you worked at a you worked at bea systems. And you know, we had Glenn Kelman Redfin CEO, he was one of our guests A while back. And I think he mentioned that his startup back in the day was acquired by BEA, were you part of that?

Mike Clayville  12:47

Yeah, so it was a fun time, like, BEA, was really the first web based computing platform product called WebLogic. And we, we consolidated a number of interesting solutions together to build the app server platform. And that's what drove most of e commerce, from 96. Through 2000. I've spent the last six years of my career in what we call what I call tornado companies. These are the hyper growth companies, right? That was the third one that I was in was bea where we gone from, I think WebLogic was a $10 million business in 96 97. it grew to about a billion and a half by 2002. By the way, these tornado companies have really similar characteristics. And so it's a ton of fun.

Ash Faraj  13:47

So, you know, like I mentioned, after IBM, you worked for several companies for a few years, think it was almost nine years, you know, bea being one of them. Then you landed in 2005 of VMware. What was VMware like when you joined? And what was your initial role there at VMware?

Mike Clayville  14:03

Yeah. So I'll go back to your first question originally, which is, how did I go to VMware? Why did I leave bea How did I? How did I shift from one of the arguably the most successful companies and the right side of history to go over to VMware, and at the time was it just come off $100 million year, it mostly just had a desktop product for developers. And what it what it offered was developers all wanted to use Linux. But they had a program for Windows. So what they did was they had two hard drives, and VMware, Diane and Mendel grad students invented virtualization that allowed them to put both of those operating systems on the same hard drive. And it made it really easy for developers now to shift back and forth. They didn't have to tear the PCs apart. And they was very popular. And it was downloaded right on the web. And it was 99 bucks and then made $100 million business out of that, I happened to be on the board of advisors of a company that was coming out of the.com era. And during that time, nobody goes getting funding, everybody was still trying to get market traction. So everybody was trying to get the most out of their servers. So they couldn't really afford to buy more servers. And this company invented capacity planning tool that allowed them to keep track of what servers were empty, so they could fill them up. And they decided to sell that product. And the open market, I remember our first customer being AIG. And we went with the capacity planning tool on on AIG. And we found out that they had 3%, utilization of 200, Windows servers that were sitting on the most expensive real estate in the world, a raised floor data center. And I thought, ah, our technology doesn't work. Because there's nobody, there's nobody that would take the most expensive real estate in the world, and put an asset on it with 3% utilization. People just wouldn't do that, you know, 200 customers later, the average utilization was three to 5%. And I had recognized probably the one of the most significant inefficiencies in history in tech. And so I went over to talk to Diane Greene, and I said, Diane, you got a tiger by the tail, this thing is going to be the most successful company in the history of the world, because it's dealing with one of the most challenging inefficiencies in technology. And then she hired me.

Ash Faraj  16:56

So yeah, I guess it is going back to being curious about, you know, where your what your how your customers are feeling. And then kind of like, making sure that you're putting yourself, Mike, not necessarily company about you, Mike, or putting yourself in a position to help those customers.

Mike Clayville  17:14

Yep, that's right.

Ash Faraj  17:15

That makes sense. That's, that's what kind of so where you move is like, you're kind of anticipating where

Mike Clayville  17:20

exactly and you know, when I went to so what so that story with VMware is, I could reduce the cost your cost by 30 40 50 60 70%. By you don't need 100 servers, you only need 10, just buy my software, and you get you buy 10 instead of 100. So it was a real cost play for data centers. And I remember talking to one of my CEO, buddies, and I was telling him like this whole cloud thing, you know, how is that going to save your money? There's not I'm already saving you 90%. So would it be good another 5% of the cloud, like now, what's the big deal? And he's like, Mike, you don't get it. It's not a cost savings. It's a revenue generator. And I said, what it's like, I'm able to build all together new products that I could not build before because of AWS. And that's when the light bulb went on. I'm like, Oh, I was totally missing it. Right? This is 2011. Now, AWS was a billion dollars, it wasn't very big. But it hit me that I completely missed the importance of what cloud was offering. AWS was empowering software to eat the world in a way that wasn't clear to me before that. That's one of the most significant technology transitions in history. And, you know, in any, when you look back, a decade from now, you'll realize that you've been a part of one of the most important technology trends in it in the last 30 years. I have Andy Jassy happened to call me and say, their recruiter called me, like 18 months before that, and I'm like, Oh, come on cloud computing. Oh, come on cloud computing. But when my customers started telling me that I'm like, you know what, I'm gonna answer that call.

Ash Faraj  19:22

Yeah, it all goes back to that one theme. It's so interesting. So you're obviously you're able to have these conversations with your customers, and you know, your CEO, buddies. I guess, for somebody who's new in their career and kind of looking forward, how can they be sure to kind of because, you know, not everybody has access to that not everybody can have those kind of kinds of conversations. How are you able to have those conversations? Like, is it going to networking events, or like what? What do you remember being like, useful tool for you to be able to be in front of those people?

Mike Clayville  19:50

You have to be willing to be curious, you'd be surprised at how many people want to talk to you. If you're curious. And how did I end up in as a as a rookie at IBM building a great relationship with Clyde, the CFO of Linux, because I was always very curious and interested in his business. And I was asking questions, and he was like, Well, you know, I really liked to talk to you. Because you, you really seem interested in my business, and you help me think my business through. And so you start by that curiosity really drives engagement. You know, we got a great tool called LinkedIn these days, and yeah, and LinkedIn, if you've got the right curiosity, you can reach out to people and they'll engage you.

Ash Faraj  20:39

I mean, it's crazy. Because when you think about, like, how calculus was invented, it was, um, you know, I think it was Isaac Newton who said, Does the moon also fall and literally he was just curious to know. So calculus is just like, damn it. Just curiosity. So important,

Mike Clayville  20:51

exactly. Well, most of most of the really insightful things that have ever happened in the world started because of curiosity.

Ash Faraj  20:59

Exactly. So, you know, one thing I wanted to real quick before we jump into stripe, well, first of all, you started the clayville Foundation. I think it's about 10 years ago. Now. What moved you to do that? Do you have a personal motive to cure cancer? Because I just real quick, I remember, one week ago, I was talking to Steve Harr. I don't know if you've heard of sana biotechnology. But yeah, so he started sana. And when he was I was, what, what motivated you to go into that? Because he was at Morgan Stanley for a long time. And he says, well, a family friend of mine had passed away due to cancer. And I thought to myself, is there something that I could have done to prevent that? And so that literally led me to leaving my job as a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley to join this biotherapeutic startup is there do you have Is there a personal motive for you?

Mike Clayville  21:45

There is so I lost my wife to cancer. Her, our kids were seven, nine and 11 at the time. And it was something that ended up being what they call histologically undifferentiated, which means we have no idea what kind of cancer but but she went through probably one of the roughest types of journeys that you go through with cancer. Since they couldn't tell where it was coming from, they would treat her with one chemo, you'd go through surgery, treat her with chemo, assess it again and go, Oh, my gosh, you have cancer. Let's do surgery, chemo assess, again, Oh, my gosh, you've got cancer. And every time it's like, we don't know what kind of cancer This is. And she put on a heroic fight for 19 months. But I spent every other week sleeping in the Stanford hospital, on the floor for for 19 months. And, and I said, you know, families shouldn't have to go through this. And I'm going to do all that I can to make sure families don't have to do this, I'm going to spend some time every week, so that others don't have to take this journey that my family had to take. And I happen to be in a unique position in Silicon Valley with a bunch of tech smart tech people, surprisingly, so really smart scientists that are trying to cure cancer, really don't have access to technology skills. And so they're installing the software on their own. And they're you re aware, and they're scavenging this and that. So I it occurred to me that I could rally a bunch of my technology buddies who have deep skills to apply them and instead of donating money, they could instead donate their time. There's just such a huge hunger for the technology community to help. And there's such a need for super smart researchers to get help with the technology. So that's where I spend a bunch of my time is connecting those two dots and making sure that the technology infrastructure that these researchers need is available to them.

Ash Faraj  24:14

Sorry, man, that's so tough to go through. I I imagine that was when that happened. When you started the clayville Foundation that was maybe it was that like, right after that happened or was  

Mike Clayville  24:23

That's right. It's like I'm gonna get back to cancer. This is the way

Ash Faraj  24:27

Yeah,

Mike Clayville  24:28

this is the way that we're gonna make a difference here. And so and so. And that's what's also led me by the way to be on the board of the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, and I've been on the board for about five years. We've got a bunch of really cool, important initiatives that we're doing at the Hutch to try to cure cancer and viral diseases as well. It's a it's a, it's a great facility, making a real difference long term for humanity.

Ash Faraj  24:58

So back Back to the AWS story. So you know you from when you joined AWS to when you had left, it had gone from from 1 billion to $9 billion in sales. I guess what was the moment I met of in that moment with the customer, but what was the moment when you kind of realized like, Man, this is, wow, this is something this is going to be something special?

Mike Clayville  25:22

Well, it's a what the year before I came on, AWS did about a billion eight

Ash Faraj  25:28

billion eight. Okay. Okay.

Mike Clayville  25:29

And when I left, we were doing 43 billion

Ash Faraj  25:32

40. Wow, okay. I was off.

Mike Clayville  25:37

When I started, we had about 350 people. And when I left, I had about 22,000 people that work for me.

Ash Faraj  25:43

Wow, that is incredible. Wow,

Mike Clayville  25:47

it was pretty obvious. As soon as I got here, that we were empowering solutions that simply could not have happened before. If you think about Airbnb, five guys in San Francisco, they started it on AWS. And eight years later, they were selling more room nights, than Hilton. Just five guys, you know the way technology can have us kind of reconfigure our world, based upon the cloud is just stunning, right. And if you look at Lyft, or doordash, or instacart, all of these companies are fundamentally transforming the way we the way we operate in the world. And they're all doing that, because of this image cloud infrastructure in AWS's job in life is that is to build technology infrastructure around the world to allow, it's really a democratization of tech. So no matter where you are around the world, you'll have access to the same tech that anybody else has access to. And that's it. That's a big idea. You know, Andy Jassy invented, you know, that idea, as a big idea, a very meaningful thing. You know, there'll be books written about it in the fullness of time of, of how, how the world became much smaller, and much more democratized Because, you know, technology no longer was a barrier for people to be creative and innovative.

Ash Faraj  27:31

Yeah.

Mike Clayville  27:31

And I saw, you know, I saw new applications being developed every day. That was that were fundamentally changing the world,

Ash Faraj  27:40

would you? Would you agree that cloud computing is as revolutionary as the PC itself, like when it first came?

Mike Clayville  27:48

Yeah, I would argue even more, the PC didn't really democratize technology, it allowed people that could afford $5,000, to buy one. And it accelerated access in a dramatic way, from a really small, isolated group of mainframe programmers to a much broader group of creative developers know. But it's kind of a logarithmic scale to get out AWS just, it is just dramatically different. Because again, because it's not just compute, but it's all of the capabilities you can get from AWS now. tooling for machine learning. You can get data warehouses, you can get data streaming, you can get compute and storage. Now you can, it's just, it's a whole data center access through a simple, PC2 connection.

Ash Faraj  28:52

When you joined stripe, I think was about a year ago, you mentioned that stripe was at its sharpest inflection point, and there couldn't have been a more exciting time for you to join. Like was did the customer say like, I want better payment? Is that why you because maybe that was a different it was a different approach of like, why you move from AWS to stripe because I would imagine like, Man, you're an aws you've grown this team, like it's just like, wow, like, why would you leave AWS?

Mike Clayville  29:15

I it's probably a personality defect. I love to build things.

Ash Faraj  29:21

Oh I see.

Mike Clayville  29:22

And so, you know, why would you leave, arguably one of the most important technology companies in history, you would only do that if you were going to go build one another one of the most important technology companies in history. So look, just like AWS is creating, you know, democratizing infrastructure global technology infrastructure. stripe is reinventing global Money, money. Management infrastructure. And so it's not just a payment solution, but it's fundamentally reengineering the way monies flow globally. And in the fullness of time, what will really drive efficiency, and all together new cool businesses is this notion of creating a global infrastructure platform for money movement. And by the way, that's what's, you know, the same customers that started on AWS, were able to start because of stripe. So doordash, uses stripe instacart uses stripe, lyft use stripe, all of those real innovators were able to do succeed. Because stripe provided a technology platform that allowed them to complete a transaction with the customer. It stripe is just as big as innovation engine, and just another layer of the stack as AWS. It's more complicated world dealing with currencies globally. That just needs transparency and efficiency. And so it's a huge opportunity to fundamentally rewrite commerce globally. We're really democratizing commerce around the world. we're enabling small businesses in India to have global reach, for the first time through a single API. Just since 2020, we brought on 2 million new small and medium size merchants

Ash Faraj  31:40

Wow, 2 million in one year,

Mike Clayville  31:42

2 million since since the beginning of 2020. So it's 18 months, right? That's just what that really is, at its core is it's, it's giving everybody a chance to participate in the global economy, we talk about it as increasing the GDP of the internet, we're just getting started, like only 14% of transactions are online today. That means 86% of transactions are going to be coming online in the coming years. stripe is getting started it early. Now what I saw and talking to my customers, was this common thread that I've got to digitally transform in order to really know my customers. And what I need is a technology platform that allows me to engage deeply and conclude transactions with my customers. And that's what I heard from my CIO friends. And that's what stripe was for them. And so all my customers at AWS, like the door dashes that the instacart to the world, they were all using stripe, and they're all telling me like stripe is in allowing me to, to grow globally, quickly. To me, the big secular trend of digital transformation is really based on two things. First part of the digital transformation is the e commerce hub. Right? That's how do I have my my company web pages, my product pages, etc? Etc, etc. Right? Then the stripe part of that is the transaction engine? How do I actually buy something? And how do I have that money flow from me to the merchant? And, and concluded kind of both ways and, and deal with all of that? All of that heavy lifting. And stripe takes all of that heavy lifting away

Ash Faraj  33:41

By the way Did you? Did you call Patrick or john or did they call you or how did that happen?

Mike Clayville  33:46

stripe is all based on AWS. And so I was working with Patrick from the early days. And he had reached out to me a couple of times to say, Hey, Mike, you know, we're doing some really cool stuff. I'm like, I know, Patrick, I'm doing pretty good good stuff here, too. But then, you know, over time, I kind of think about COVID has really forced us all to rethink everything. And COVID dropped kicked everybody into the next decade when it comes to digital transformation. Right? All of us consumers that fundamentally change the way we do things.

Ash Faraj  34:46

Something I look for when I decide to partner with someone or hire someone is

Mike Clayville  34:50

again, curiosity and empathy.

Ash Faraj  34:54

The most important quality in a leader is

Mike Clayville  34:57

look. You've got to be a true seeker. You have To be able to see the truth,

Ash Faraj  35:01

something that I've personally struggled with as a leader has been

Mike Clayville  35:05

in keeping the balance. Life is about balance. In the world, this is my sixth tornado that I've been in. Every morning, you get up and there's 200 things to do. And you got to do you have time to do 100 of them. And then you get up the next morning with 200 things to do. Making sure you understand that this is a marathon. And you have to keep your life in balance, you have to keep your your physical being in balance, you have to keep your family in balance, you know, you're spiritually you have to be in balance. If you're going to be at this for a long period of time. You got to make sure you maintain balance,

Ash Faraj  35:44

something that has helped me get past my fears and insecurities have been

Mike Clayville  35:49

look I focus on the things that I can control, can't control it, don't worry about it.

Ash Faraj  35:54

Something I do to make sure I feel positive and stay productive is

Mike Clayville  35:58

I get up every day and feel like it's just a joy to start the new day. optimism is one of the most important characteristics to make life happy.

Ash Faraj  36:12

If I were to go back and talk to my younger self in my mid 20s, I would tell the younger Mike.

Mike Clayville  36:20

So in my mid 20s, I was spending, I was running Semi Pro track. I was really intense. I was trying to be a great executive at IBM. And I might say look, you don't have to be great at both of them.

Ash Faraj  36:38

The sweetest moment I've felt in my entire career was when

Mike Clayville  36:41

one of the my favorite experiences was with Bell Helicopter. I earned in a vendor of the year with Bell Helicopter. They've never, they've never given it to an IT company ever before. And I got vendor of the year with Bell Helicopter and you got to go on a flight with a test pilot in their new helicopters. And that was really freaking cool.

Ash Faraj  37:06

Looking forward. If I could be remembered for just one thing it would be

Mike Clayville  37:11

well I hope that we're able to cure cancer. Whatever small part I play in that if if I get to play a part of that it will be very meaningful to me.

Ash Faraj  37:21

If I were stranded on an island and had access to one meal, my final meal would be

Mike Clayville  37:24

Look, I'm from Idaho. I believe that a five course meal made completely of potatoes.

Ash Faraj  37:31

Oh my gosh. So what would it be?

Mike Clayville  37:36

You know, the appetizers would probably be french fries. And you know the first course mashed potatoes second course baked potato more meaty. The third course you gotta go with cheesy for the scallop potatoes and my wife makes some of the most unbelievable truffle potatoes on Earth. It's spectacular. That would be dessert for sure.

Ash Faraj  38:03

Thank you again so so much for listening to today's episode. It means the world to me that you take the time to listen. I hope you choose to listen again next week. Take care