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7 Questions with Patrick Conte
7 Questions with Patrick Conte

Name: Patrick Conte

Current title: CCO

Current organisation: Opsani

Silicon Valley startup executive with 20+ years building successful Go To Market strategies and teams. Have successfully exited several startup companies and built many others. Technology areas include AI, cyber security, data center, cloud infrastructure.

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?

Making sure the company stays aligned on the fundamental business problem they were founded to solve.

2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?

When I moved from larger, public technology companies to "Startupland" in the late 1990s I moved to building smaller companies into bigger ones.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Flexibility is the key. Meditate for a few minutes on having a positive and productive day. Run through known challenges in your mind, and possible solutions. Make sure you are prepared and caffeinated for your first meeting. Be prepared to change the expected schedule based on what the company and customers may need that is not on your calendar, Work out if possible, before dinner. Spend a few quality hours with family. Look at messages for any emergencies to address in the morning. Assess success in having a productive day. Sleep.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

If you are convinced a certain path is correct, based on data and your experience, move quickly to implement it, even if others might think it will affect "culture" negatively. Success is the foundation for a good culture.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

"Getting Into Your Customer's Head" by Kevin Davis. It completely reoriented my thinking about the sales cycle not being as critical as the customers' buying cycle, and matching activities to that.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?

Make sure you have solid fundamentals - problem to solve, who to solve it for, how do they want to consume your product, how do they want to buy it, build the company to support that chain of knowledge.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?

When I was admonished as a very successful young sales person by a supervisor for assuming people who were not my employees owed me their labor for my projects. I learned to ask for help instead of demand, and to lead by bringing others into the success that results from a successful endeavor.