Advice to Invent Your Career from a Shark Tank Winner
Paul Pedrazzi, Salesforce’s Senior Vice President of Product for Small and Medium Business (SMB), may look familiar to you. As seen on TV, Paul and his wife Cyndi co-founded the personalized and washable lunchbox company yubo which secured a Shark Tank deal in 2013. But wait — there’s more! Paul brings significant product, design, and strategy experience from the tech industry.
Before joining Salesforce, Paul took time off to write a customer relationship management (CRM) application for small business. “It was a space that was ripe for some innovative thinking. I started doing interviews with various small businesses, working on product, and writing code. Then I connected with Salesforce and learned what they were doing with Essentials. I couldn’t pass up the chance to build a product like this with a great team. There’s no better place to build a CRM product for small business than here at Salesforce.”
In chatting with Paul, it’s clear that he finds genuine joy in his role. He shared the following advice to invent a fulfilling career.
Always focus on the customer
Paul wants to build products that make people's lives better. And that requires curiosity, empathy, and deep listening skills — all of which prioritize the customer. “The best products are built by teams who spend the most time with customers,” he reflected. “If you're not spending enough time with users you'll find yourself guessing on what really matters. Product development requires deep customer intuition in order to address the problems they face today, and take them where they want to go in the future.”
“Don’t go into a customer meeting with an agenda,” Paul advised. “When you have an agenda, you’re looking for confirmation of your hypothesis and you may unintentionally lead the witness.” Instead, Paul suggests going into customer meetings with an open mind so you can truly understand what customers are trying to do and help them accomplish it with new technologies.
Follow what interests you
Get in a fast-paced environment
Align with your personal energy
Consume inspiring content
Paul is continuously feeding his brain interesting information. Here are some of his top picks to get your wheels turning:
- Waking Up with Sam Harris App: Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, philosopher, and author. This app focuses on meditation, which Paul shares “is one of the things that I’m continually trying to be better about. This is a great app for those who are trying to build the meditation habit.”
- Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari: This book entertains topics that could shape the future — from overcoming death to creating artificial life.
- Making Sense Podcast: Another resource by Sam Harris, this time exploring important questions about the human mind, society, and current events.
- Peter Attia Drive Podcast: Weekly episodes focus on maximizing health, longevity, and critical thinking.
- The Tim Ferriss Show Podcast: This resource deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas and extracts the tactics, tools, and routines you can use.
- Y Combinator Podcast: “The Essentials team operates a lot like a startup. This podcast has relevant information to help us build a better business,” comments Paul.