The Salesforce Career Show

Understanding ISV's and the Salesforce AppExchange, with Peter Ganza

November 21, 2023 Josh Matthews and Vanessa Grant Season 1 Episode 32
The Salesforce Career Show
Understanding ISV's and the Salesforce AppExchange, with Peter Ganza
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Peter Ganza, the 'AppExchange Whisperer', and tech veteran Janeen Marquardt join me, Vanessa Grant, to share their insights on navigating the complex world of ISVs, product management, and the power of the AppExchange. We unravel the challenges and opportunities that Dreamforce presents for ISVs and explore alternative strategies that might be the game-changer for your business. 

Enter the world of product marketing through the experiences of our seasoned guests. From localizing messaging and developing compelling customer stories to transforming marketing strategies in small ISVs, Peter and Janeen lay the stepping stones to success. We dive deep into the effectiveness of Dreamforce and how it compares to smaller, more targeted events. We also shed light on the role of partner ecosystems and their undeniable contribution to Salesforce's success. 

Stay tuned as we shift gears toward career growth and personal resilience. We tackle the daunting reality of toxic work environments, drawing from our experiences and challenging you to prioritize your mental well-being over any job. Peter shares his invaluable advice on successful career pivots and the art of maintaining a positive attitude. Not one to shy away from life's curveballs, he recounts his own journey of unexpected challenges and the resilience that saw him through. From product marketing, and ISV partnerships, to personal growth within the Salesforce ecosystem, this episode will accompany your roadmap to success. 

Announcer:

And now the number one audio program that helps you to hire, get hired and soar higher in the Salesforce ecosystem. It's the Salesforce career show with Josh Matthews and Vanessa Grant.

Vanessa Grant:

Hey everybody, welcome to the Salesforce career show. I am your host flying solo today, vanessa Grant. A little introduction to myself. I'm a product owner and manager of Salesforce at FinTech company Mosaic. Formerly consultant, I've been in the Salesforce ecosystem for 13 years, also part-time coach, and have actually authored a couple blog posts this week on one with Adam Miko who hopefully will get on the show at some point in the near future, and also a new post on the admins blog on how to prepare your Salesforce org for an AI driven future. So that's a little intro from me. We have a couple of wonderful speakers with us today, including our guest for the show today, peter Ganza. Do you want to introduce yourself to the folks in the audience?

Peter Ganza:

Thank you, vanessa. Filling in for Josh, my name is Peter Ganza. I'm an active what would you say, Vanessa? Participant in these podcasts and humbled to be the special guest today. I've been in the tech industry I'm sorry to say, about 25 years in terms of a career. I'm an alumni and have been in the ecosystem, mostly at ISVs, ever since.

Vanessa Grant:

Awesome. And Janine Mark Hart, thank you so much for joining us today. We always love having your point of view on our show. Do you want to give a little intro?

Janeen Marquardt:

Sure thing. Like Peter, I also have been in the tech world for more than 30 years, anyway and I'd like to say that I'm a long time listener, first time speaker, but I probably speak more than I should on these calls, but, as you've said, I have many points of view on many topics. Try to stop me, but that's what happens. When you've been around a while, you're allowed to speak your mind and people start to forgive you the older you get, right, at least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself.

Vanessa Grant:

Absolutely. You are a wealth of knowledge and while I've been in the sales force it's weird, it's like the end of the year, so I can say like 14 years now. I've also been doing tech since for over 20 years at this point, so we're a wise bunch. Let's just say that. So our special guest today is Peter. You know, josh has always said GANZA. I think this is the first time I've heard you say GANZA, is it GANZA?

Peter Ganza:

Honestly, vanessa, it's whatever you want it to be, but, yes, the pronunciation is GANZA.

Vanessa Grant:

Okay, cool, I want to make sure I get it right, but we've been wanting to get you on the show to share your story. You actually have a really interesting sales force journey, so we're going to be spending part of this show discussing your personal story and maybe start talking through some interesting topics. Some of the things that we brought up that we might cover today would be some topics we really haven't covered on this show, including product management, product ownership and also I don't know that we've really dived into the app exchange a whole lot, and so I'm really excited to dig into that. I think a lot of times when folks are interested in moving towards a sales force career, they often overlook the app exchange, and so talking through some of that stuff would be really interesting. But why don't we just start at the beginning, peter, why don't you tell us a bit about your story? How did you come to be here?

Peter Ganza:

How much time do we have?

Vanessa Grant:

By my clock, say an hour and a half. If we could condense that a bit, that would be awesome.

Peter Ganza:

Yeah, that works for me. So real quickly a little bit on the background. I started in tech mid late 90s, circa high school-ish type era. My family was running a VAR, a value added reseller. So basically we were putting together computers for individual consumers and some small businesses and I just liked technology. It came naturally to me and ended up taking over the business. I still have the first invoice for the first computer that I actually sold. It was a whopping 10,000 in change, canadian, I don't even want to say. It's not even a phone, it's like a 486 with a modem, like an old modem Anyway. And then that led me to my first job. I didn't know anything about how tech companies worked and I started in tech support at Symantec. I was familiar with Symantec they make all the Norton products right, norton antivirus and cut to the chase, spent seven years at Symantec three offices so obviously here in Canada I started and then moved down to Virginia. Through an acquisition it was introduced to product management. That's a whole other podcast. We can get a little bit into it. But I'm moving to Boston fast forward. A few other rules, open text, couple startups. And then one day I was looking on LinkedIn and I saw this opening at Salesforce and the first thing that came to mind and I remember telling you the story my initial opinion of Salesforce was I didn't like them because I had this job and I was traveling to California all the time San Francisco once a month and this one trip I made, everything was expensive and booked and then I got down there and I'm like what the heck is going on? Obviously everyone knows it was Dreamforce and that was not so good of an introduction to Salesforce, but it's kind of a funny story Anyway. So it was a product marketing role here in Canada and applied for it, went through a ridiculous amount of interviews I can talk a little bit more about it, but literally eight hours straight one day and started product marketing for Salesforce here in Canada as well as Latin America.

Vanessa Grant:

Wait, hold on. Before we go on to the after that, can you tell us a little bit what product marketing is?

Peter Ganza:

Yes, glad you asked. So in most cases, product marketing is going to localize or regionalize the messaging and how you market the product. You can do it as a service, obviously, but it's called product marketing, obviously. So, perfect example, what I did Canadians like Canadian stories. That's not unique. Germans do Japanese right. Every country, the stories and the things that you market need to resonate with the local market, and I'm not just talking about localization, translation, I'm talking about what actually matters. So, in my case, I took what was coming from HQ and applied it to the local market the unique variables within this market but, moreover, started telling and developing some Canadian customer stories. And when I say customer stories, it's not just a story. It could be another piece of content, a webinar or that type of thing. So it's really the finish off, hopefully answer your question. It's the nexus, in a way similar to product management, but you're pretty much having to talk to everybody and juggle a bunch of different things, does that?

Vanessa Grant:

help, yeah, so I guess what? So when you did product marketing for Salesforce, is that a role that you've seen in the ecosystem a lot, or is it? What kinds of companies are looking for product marketing?

Peter Ganza:

Great question. So generally, yes would be the answer to the former question. Generally, it's going to be in larger organizations. Everybody is going to do product marketing. They're going to do the specifics that you need to do to get the job done. But the larger the company, they're going to get to a point, like in Salesforce's case, right, that they actually dedicate it to breaking out a role. So it is very common in the ecosystem, especially in partners, isvs, and size a little less, but it really comes down to size, right. So you're going to have people that are doing those things and as they grow and scale, they might eventually break out a specific role for that.

Vanessa Grant:

Okay, cool. So you did product marketing for Salesforce. That must have been pretty interesting, kind of deciding how Salesforce was going, the strategy for marketing for Salesforce for a while. So with that, keep going with your story.

Peter Ganza:

Sorry to interrupt, but no, feel free Interrupt me. So, yes, it was a ton of fun working at Salesforce. I mean, I've been in the industry far too long and tech companies, semantic, open text, everyone has ecosystems and widgets and products and features, and I often get asked by folks what's so special about Salesforce. There's not one thing, right, it's everything put together. In my instance, we were able to operate and I say we because it wasn't just me, I had a great marketing team with me. We were able to operate sort of like a skunk works, if you will, or a startup within this massive company and cut through the red tape. We had an amazing leader who basically broke through any walls that were in our place and actually were able to execute and have success on a number of different things. Part of that role was working with partners, right. So, long story short, we did this analysis. It's called the TAM Total Addressable Market, and in Canada we're a manufacturing country for the most part, right, we dig stuff out of the ground and refine it and sell that to the high speeder. So the bulk of the business in Canada, at least, the white space, the companies that we have not had a presence in, and I say we as a Salesforce we're manufacturers and part of that was working with the partner ecosystem, so bringing partners working on enablement, cheat sheets for AEs, bdrs, specific content, so a lot of emphasis on enabling the partner ecosystem and that got me hooked. So when I left Salesforce, first thing I did was land at a small ISV and they hadn't had marketing leadership before and basically, long story short, transformed them uncomfortably, I'll say, in terms of go to market, and I'll talk a little bit more about this as we go through.

Vanessa Grant:

But Well, actually I'll also pause you here. I don't know that. Everybody knows what an ISV is, so if you wouldn't mind talking about that a bit, that would be awesome 100%.

Peter Ganza:

Thank you, vanessa. So ISV stands for Independent Software Vendor and essentially they make widgets. In the case of our ecosystem, they build things on the Salesforce platform or that, not necessarily on it completely every time, but something that works with Salesforce. So they're companies dedicated to essentially plugging a gap for Salesforce. And the nice thing about this I want to talk a little bit more about it Salesforce's ecosystem is. There's no comparison. I mean, okay, I'm a little jaded, as are you, but they embrace it. They recognize that they cannot do everything, and pretty much every company does, which is why we have channels and alliances and partnerships. But the way Salesforce built out everything around the ecosystem really took advantage of that and is why the ecosystem is the way it is. In fact, I'll just give you one number the ecosystem itself. So ISVs, the Independent Software Vendors, folks that build widgets, as well as SIs, so systems integrators, consultants right, if you broke out the entire ecosystem from Salesforce, it would be more valuable than Salesforce itself. It would have a value over a trillion dollars and yes, that was T for trillion which is larger than the GDP of I forget the bottom 60 or 70 countries on the planet, which is just insane. Yes, so sorry that answers the question.

Vanessa Grant:

Yeah, no, it's good to know. I always kind of think of ISVs. I always kind of do the iPhone example, like if you've got an iPhone and you go to the app store on your iPhone, it's kind of, the ISVs are the apps of Salesforce, and App Exchange would be the equivalent of the app store.

Peter Ganza:

So that's a perfect explanation, although the one caveat there is you don't have to be on the App Exchange to be an ISV, so you can build a widget and not be on the app store. Essentially right.

Vanessa Grant:

Tell me more. I actually don't know that. I know of ISVs that are not in the app store. How does that work?

Peter Ganza:

I mean, the short answer is it doesn't. I can't explain why anybody would not want to be on the App Exchange. You still have to go through all the process, security review, all those types of things. Off the top of my head I can't actually think of an example, but I understand in certain cases there would be companies that are doing things that they don't want to basically tell publicly. So perfect example think military. There's going to be companies out there that focus on building things for Salesforce from a military perspective or some organization that just does not want to, doesn't need to have that public presence. Is a partner, Obviously pays their dues and goes through the process, but they don't necessarily need leads off the app exchange.

Vanessa Grant:

Oh, got it Okay. No, that makes sense, awesome. Okay. So you started doing marketing for ISB.

Peter Ganza:

Yes. So that was the first one. I spent a couple years there and learned the lessons the hard way. One story in particular I love to tell. I have an article on my LinkedIn about this. Dreamforce almost got me fired because when I started, that was the number one question I got from the executive team what are we doing for Dreamforce? What are we doing for Dreamforce? Right, they hired this alumni and just thought the floodgates would open, anyway. So I went back to the executive team and said I'll tell you what we're doing for Dreamforce. We're not doing Dreamforce. And, yes, I almost. There was a second day where I thought, well, shit, I might have sealed my fate, but calculated risks are the name of the game. There was data behind it. It wasn't just an opinion. And I love Dreamforce, as does everyone else. It's amazing, but for most ISVs it simply doesn't produce the results. And when I say results, I mean deals, logos yes, you're going to be on the floor, you're going to be given away swag and scanning. And the sales executive went on and on about that's the main source of our leads and hundreds of scans and this and that. And I said great, show me the data. How many of those hundreds or thousands of scans actually converted? He didn't have the answer for me at that time. He came back a week or two later with a sad look on his face and said the answer was two. And I said to what he said well, from the last three or four Dreamforces I think it was four we closed two deals and one of those was took 34 months. Can you believe that? Oh my God.

Vanessa Grant:

Yeah, so Got a pipeline really.

Peter Ganza:

No, I mean, it's the standard playbook which you know, I've been through so much that doing the same thing over and over again is what? Right, you can't beat the crowd by being in the crowd. Right, you have to do things differently and take calculated risks sometimes. So obviously I had a plan. The plan was, well, fish where the fish are. And in our case we were targeting admins. And, as you all know, I said, well, great, we're going to take that budget, which was a significant portion of my budget, and we did, I think, six dreaming events in, I forget maybe seven months or something sponsor booth, demo, jam, swag, you know, the whole nine yards and generated more pipeline and more deals than the previous three, four Dreamforces combined by a major amount. And it makes sense, right, it's fishing where the fish are, because, you know, vanessa, a dream force, right, what do you do? You run through, okay, you're not a prospect, necessarily, but you're like everybody else, right, you run through the trade show floor and, of course, everybody wants to scan you and pick up your swag. And unless you have a pain or a need, you're probably not going to respond to that email, the 17th email address you gave.

Vanessa Grant:

Now, that's totally the I. You know, I attended my first two Dreamforces as a product owner and not as like a consultant or a BA or anything like that, so I was the person who would end up signing contracts with ISVs. But yeah, it was there. There, when you're going into the Dreamforce, there are just so many sponsor booths everywhere and so, unless you, unless I was actually going specifically to solve a business problem and would start visiting booths because I did want to actually see how other companies were solving these business problems, or I had specific vendors in mind that I wanted to get demos from, I probably wasn't visiting your booth unless you had like cool swag or your sales guy was cute. That was probably it for me, but I will see. It does get a bit overwhelming and I don't love that. They just kind of have that whole expo. I really I don't know. I've been kind of mulling it about these days how, with all the and sorry, I'm going on a bit of a tangent here, but this is something that came up recently I feel like they split stuff up so much between okay, here are ISVs, here's the Tableau area, here's the Slack area, here's the Sales Cloud area, and I feel like they don't focus so much on how do you solve business problems, and maybe it's just the BA in me. I would love if places were just like hey, do you have an issue with your sales team and your opportunities? Like, here are all the related clouds and vendors for that particular thing, and go into this area and find out how to solve these problems. Are you having legal issues or are you having accounting issues? But anyway, my two cents on how they organize it, because I always have so much trouble finding the vendors that I actually want to see.

Peter Ganza:

I appreciate it, not a tirade, and absolutely on point there's always opportunities to. I mean, I'll be politically correct and say there are always opportunities to improve, but that's not the point. The partners are, frankly, I'll just say, the bread and butter for Salesforce. The average Salesforce customer spends one and a half times their ACV. Acv is annual contract value. So you buy Salesforce for whatever business, whatever you pay for the year, that's your ACV. The average customer spends one and a half times their first year ACV within the first 18 months and that's good all around. It's great for Salesforce because it becomes stickier. The more problems are solved for an organization, the stickier it gets. It also, of course, generates them revenue through the partner, potentially additional licenses, and it's, of course, feeding us right folks that are actually in the ecosystem and, moreover, more importantly, we're solving customer problems. So let me just kind of get back to finishing off the story. I learned a lot there. I learned what doesn't work and after that a few other full-time, similar marketing, slash, product marketing roles at other partners, some consulting and then, most recently, I now identify as the App Exchange Whisperer and I'll take a little time here and just talk about that. The reason I did this last Labor Day I woke up, I forget, like Labor Day or something in a panic anyway, and said, oh my gosh, I'm the App Exchange Whisperer. It's not a company, it's just a marketing gimmick. But it works. And the reason I say that is because for ISVs probably the 80, 20, I don't know if it's 80, 20 rule, but anyway more ISVs than SIs ISVs on average are going to get probably about 50% or more of their actual deals through the App Exchange. And when I say through the App Exchange, someone goes, finds whatever widget and literally clicks on a call to action learn more, watch a demo and becomes a lead and then goes through the process. For SIs they're not going to get the leads necessarily directly in the same way as an ISV, but at some point in the process of looking at SIs, looking at consultants, they're going to have looked at the App Exchange listed. So put those things together, all the things that I tried and had success with, frankly, in the previous companies that I'd worked at various partners. What I'm doing is basically providing App Exchange assessments. I call it an App Exchange assessment because that's the pillar of it, but it ends up being far more of a go-to-market assessment if you will Think about how do people actually find your App Exchange listing. So you're talking about Google and Organic and are you on YouTube? Are you on LinkedIn? All the other things, right? Events, app Exchange marketing program team. There's a whole bunch of other stuff there. Anyway, we've been doing that for the last just over a year and having an absolute blast.

Vanessa Grant:

Love it. What makes an ISV successful? What's the secret sauce? Because there are a lot of ISVs out there. It's always hard to throw something out there and you hope that people are going to resonate with it, but I imagine there has to be a lot of strategy involved. You can have a good product, but if nobody knows about it, then it's just a good product that nobody knows about.

Peter Ganza:

So there are two types of ISVs and everyone knows this story, but I'm going to tell it anyway. Think about what happened when the pandemic started. So the first type are and there's no wrong answer, I'm just telling you as it is. The first type are conservative, are gun shy, they'll have a reasonable business for themselves, for their family, and they're okay with that. That's where the first ISV that I worked at was at Conservative, don't want to invest, just grow organically. There's the second type that these are the people that are mortgaging their house to not sell out to the VC's or taking a loan, doing whatever it takes to grow the business, to build a strategy and try things. You don't know until you try. That's one of the things that just drives me nuts. Every partner I've consulted with or worked at, we heard that that doesn't work. Well, have you tried it? To me it just seems so basic logic. If you tried it and it doesn't work, take that, spend and put it into something else. Once a strategy works, great, double down. So those are the two types of partners. The reason why I mentioned the pandemic is because that was clear. With organizations, everybody, unfortunately, has these stories. Everyone knows someone who got laid off. I was in the same boat. Then you look at what Salesforce did. What's the first thing that Mark Benioff said? He said we're not laying anybody off. Number one take care of yourself and your families. I'm far more in that camp as I'm sure you are as well. That's the connection there. I'd love for you to just jump in, or anybody else. I see we have some folks here that are speaking often. I'm just curious if anybody else as far as what?

Vanessa Grant:

specifically, Peter? The two types of companies. Right, I have no entrepreneurial blood in my body, but I'll let Jeanine speak.

Janeen Marquardt:

Peter, do you mean in terms of what happened during the pandemic, or do you mean in terms of the types of start-up companies?

Peter Ganza:

The former right At the beginning of the pandemic. Everyone has those stories, right. Go ahead, Sure.

Janeen Marquardt:

Okay, well, I don't know Vanessa and I were. I don't know if Vanessa was actually at the same company I was when it started. I don't know, oh no.

Vanessa Grant:

Not at all If we're talking about major career pivots and issues. I've got a few of those Pandemic. I was a contractor and my contract was in it immediately. I was working for a company that built high-end medical aesthetic devices for facials. People weren't really interested in getting facials getting too close to people. I think that's a bit true. I found myself immediately unemployed when the pandemic hit. A little bit before the pandemic hit I also I worked for a VC-backed SaaS organization. Actually, my career started there for 17 years. I've told this story before, but I got laid off when I was 10 weeks pregnant. That ended up having to be a major career pivot for me, just dealing with how do you move on? What does the next phase of your career look like, especially if you've been at a place for a really long time and it's a good time to reexamine. Have your passions changed? Are there different things to pursue? I will say, having gone through a few different pivots over the course of my career, now I remember the feeling of like everything is over. I've reached the peak of my career. I was a VP of business ops and I was like that's it. I've peaked. I'm never going to make this much money. I'm never going to be this high up in an organization. I'll just be an executive assistant somewhere. I swear to God I had this conversation with my husband that I'll just be happy being an executive assistant somewhere for the rest of my career. Man, I think I just figured it out along the way and I'm peaking now. I've not had any more peaks. It's been there could be, more. There could be more? Yeah, I'd say never. But careers aren't over in your 20s, they aren't over in your 30s and I don't think they're over in your 40s or 50s. You can just keep going and as long as you have that ambition and continuous learning, the world is your oyster. I think yeah.

Janeen Marquardt:

Well, I think it's interesting, Vanessa. It sounds like it was after that, then, that you came to the company that we worked together at. Is that true?

Vanessa Grant:

Yeah, that was my pandemic company. My contract died and I was like, please, consulting firm, please take me in.

Janeen Marquardt:

I had been actually in Salesforce consulting for years and years at the time of the pandemic hit the company I was at. Much like Salesforce said take care of your own, we're going to take care of you, we're not going to do layoffs. What it did to your question, peter, was basically first the executives all took some amount of pay cut unknown or I don't remember Then ultimately gave everybody a pay cut. We all took a 5% pay cut and that was we weren't happy about that, especially because, in theory, there could have been layoffs because we had just been acquired by a large conglomerate. People were dropping like flies and leaving the company for other places. We probably did lose the equivalent of what we would have had they just done layoffs. Instead of losing the bottom X percent, we were losing the top X percent because they had cut everybody's pay. I don't know if that's necessarily the best strategy. So A they cut all of our pay. We were doing more work because all of our top performers were leaving. I didn't leave because I had only joined the company in October of 2019. So the pandemic hit around the same time. They made the announcement of the acquisition. So I wasn't ready to go anywhere just yet. It was not good. So I actually stuck it out for about two and a half years in total before starting to move on. So I've got kind of a mixed feeling about that approach. It really depends on a lot of things. I get that the heart is in the right place for that, but also it put a real strain on those of us who stayed because, especially with the great resignation, a lot of people left found better jobs for better pay because they had cut our pay. So I don't know I don't know if other people have that- I appreciate the insight.

Peter Ganza:

There is no right answer, Right, I mean it just it was always unique to each business and I obviously I just painted a picture of those two types, but that was fairly apparent. But getting back to Vanessa's question, what makes an ISV successful? The second thing I want to talk about and I talk about this every day because I see it every day Most ISVs and you can't see me, but I'm spreading my arms out they can do anything. They're all want to be horizontal. We make a platform, whatever your widget is, whatever industry we can do anything and everyone says the same thing as I do a similar thing, you know, with the white glove treatment and quick start, but that's not as bad in the size. So but back to ISVs everyone that I've worked at, everyone that I worked at that was the first thing that I addressed. So the first ISV I talked about, where I said we're not doing Dreamforce. They were just too broad and would take any deal with a heartbeat. They were outliers, right that they would build something separate for. And hey, it's a logo and they're using our product. Well, that's fine. But as a recovering product manager, that may catch up with you later. But, more importantly, I can't go to market with horizontal. We can't be everything to all people. The most success that I've had and what I told ISV partners often is I don't care what you think you do, I care what you're selling, all right. So look at the data. The data never lies. Recovering product manager data Trump's opinions any day, right. So in that first ISV sat down with sales, looked at the data what customers are actually doing, what did they pay for and what are they using? And three jumped out very quickly. Not three customers, but three that go to markets. And of course, there's some outliers there, but you don't go to market with an outlier and that's part of the biggest change that we made was convincing them that, yes, you can say you do everything and take a deal from anybody with a heartbeat, but I can't stop you from doing that, but I can't go to market with that. I need to be able to go to market with one, two, no more than three things. And when you focus on what you're good at, what you have customers doing well, that resonate, that they're willing to tell stories, that they can demonstrate ROI, that's how ISVs can be successful. At least in my experience, it's focus. Don't care what you think you do, I care what actually sells.

Vanessa Grant:

Yeah, janine, did you want to say something?

Janeen Marquardt:

Yeah, actually, and I 100% agree with everything you've just said. And what's really interesting about that is that it totally applies to the SI world as well, because so many SIs spread themselves to thin we do all the things and where they're going to really find their successes if they focus themselves. And this is literally what I preach. When I go and I talk to a new SI or even an old SI and I say, how is it, do you want to be successful? How do you define yourself? Like we do all the things to all the people, you can't be successful that way. You've absolutely got to define yourself. You've got to narrow your focus enough that you can deliver successfully. So 100% agree with you. Applies to all the places and all the things. So spot on.

Peter Ganza:

Thank you. I love that you said that, because I was trying to be nice, because Vanessa's here, but SIs have the same problem. I've done assessments for quite a few SIs and, honestly, I think I posted this on LinkedIn the other week. If I hear about the white glove treatment one more time I'm going to go and buy some white gloves, because they all say that and they all talk about everything. Right, we can do anything Every cloud, this, that or the other thing. One of my most recent clients that's been amazing is Wisewolves. So they're an SI came in and did an assessment and that's the first thing that came up. They had on the app exchange, literally the cookie cutter. We can do everything. And I had a great conversation with the founder, michael, and said, well, what are you actually doing? Who are you? And after a little bit of introspective and looking at the data, I said, well, we're a healthcare SI. And I said that's your lead. Right, you're doing this. You're doing amazing work in field service with HLS. Let's flip the script, right, are you taking any deals for all of these ancillary things that you talk about? Maybe? Well, the answer was no. So, well, let's focus and guess what I got them to sponsor. And I actually went down to the first life sciences dreaming and that, literally, jean. That's a perfect example of someone who takes the feedback and actually runs with it, right?

Vanessa Grant:

Yeah, absolutely, and actually do you think that maybe we could talk a little bit about what kind of jobs are in ISVs? Because you know, I guess, with this being the career show, and I do think that ISVs are underrated as far as a way to break into the Salesforce ecosystem. One of the big pieces of advice that I often give to career transitioners is to go on to the app exchange if they're, especially if they have some transferable skills. Let's say that they know a lot about health and life sciences or they've done government work before but maybe don't have work in tech in their career. A lot of these transferable skills are really applicable to these SIs and ISVs, and so going into the app exchange to see what these companies are doing, how they're solving problems that maybe people have dealt with in their careers in other areas where they might be able to apply some of their previous background, I always think is like a nice way to enter the Salesforce ecosystem, as opposed to kind of going through that lowest common denominator of like, okay, I'm going to start as an admin, which is kind of where I feel like everybody thinks they need to start.

Peter Ganza:

Definitely, and it spans the gamut in terms of roles, right. So let me just tell you about, from my experience, right, the first ISV. They had tech support, they had QA, they had development not Salesforce development, but general developers doing web stuff and whatnot and they had a Salesforce admin just one, because they had an Oregon. Maybe once in a while they would need to do something special for a customer, but that's a much smaller one, right? Maybe 25-ish people. That's really common. The larger you get and I'm not going to generalize, but the larger you get, the more roles will be available, obviously, and that doesn't necessarily mean they're going to be Salesforce. Specific roles, yes. Are there ISVs that have lots of admins? Need them to be able to implement and support their customers? Yes, because of what their widget does, it's more common, I would say, on the SI side, and I'd love for you and Janine to jump in because you might be providing managed service or doing more customizations. So, from an ISV perspective, to get back to your question, yes, I think it's a phenomenal place to start because it can be any role, even documentation, right, and it's at a Salesforce partner. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to be an admin or developer or an architect. You can be a tech support. It's a technology company, but it gets you into the ecosystem and where that takes you. As the three of us have talked at Nazium and Will Moore about the PIVOTS career PIVOTS right, You're going to find out, but I totally agree with you.

Vanessa Grant:

Yes, and I've actually even seen, especially for some of the larger ISVs, they'll also have some customer success roles. So when you have an ISV that's connected to your Salesforce org, you usually will have a representative at that ISV that'll check in and make sure that you're leveraging the features and optimizing them. They want to make sure that you're actually using the licenses that you've bought, because they want to keep you on as a customer. So there are those kind of customer success roles and that also will put you in a position to work with companies that are on the Salesforce platform and start building that network. So that's a great work of Salesforce professionals. I've actually also personally interviewed for business analyst roles at ISVs. A lot of these ISVs especially if the integration with Salesforce or let's say, rolling it out to those Salesforce users is a little bit more complex or there's more customization involved, a lot of times they'll need folks that understand the Salesforce platform so that when the licenses are bought it's not like, okay, we just turned the switch on and now we can use this AppExchange product. A lot of times you do need people like BAs that will work on the ISV side to understand what the business problems are that they're trying to solve and work with the developers on the ISV side to make sure that the customization is done properly. There may be professional services on the ISV side to get that stuff rolled out, but I think a lot of the development lifecycle that you'd see in really any Salesforce org can also be applicable to ISVs. There is that strong connection with rolling those kinds of projects out into other company Salesforce orgs that end up buying those ISV licenses a lot of times Agreed.

Peter Ganza:

and it's funny you mentioned customer success because I think maybe six months after I joined that first ISV, we built a customer success team.

Vanessa Grant:

Nice, and so I guess are there any like nuances for working for an ISP.

Peter Ganza:

As opposed to like a regular tech company and an SI.

Vanessa Grant:

I guess, in terms of like, like, when you're a Salesforce admin or BA for, like, any company that's just you know that has Salesforce licenses, I think you're really focused on the industry, for you know, because you're trying to optimize those Salesforce licenses for the industry that you're working in. So right now I'm at a FinTech company and so that's really the industry that I'm paying attention to. Those are the business processes that I'm focused on, because we want to make sure that we can use Salesforce well to you know, maximize the revenue for our particular organization. I feel like with an ISV, especially the more closely linked it is to Salesforce like if it's built on the Salesforce platform that there might be some nuance as far as market impacts, based on how Salesforce is doing, maybe be beholden to Salesforce releases or changes, or how much does that actually impact the ISV market?

Peter Ganza:

A great question and you partly answered it and I'll explain how. So the watch, we'll start with that. You nailed it when you said being specific to whatever industry, whatever you know segment in terms of technology that you're in, the nuance for an ISV is, in most cases, nine out of 10, you're planted in the Salesforce ecosystem. Right, that in itself is a nuance because Salesforce has quite a few, so that's not a bad thing. It's frankly why I'm still in it. Right, the most successful partners ISV partners piggyback on top of Salesforce, and I have an article on my LinkedIn that talks a little bit more about this. But there are so many ways people are terrified. Isv partners, for the most part, are terrified to do anything with Salesforce because Salesforce will find out what they're doing. Right, it makes no sense to me. They look at it like the competition and Salesforce recognizes this In a lot of cases. I talk about the three ways to do things specifically from a Salesforce and from an ISV perspective. Right, the first is okay, out of the box, basic from Salesforce. Yeah, it might get the job done, but you know it's lacking the middle ground. The good is generally an add-on or another product from Salesforce. Maybe you need an SI to customize it. It's a little better. And then the best is an ISV that's dedicated to just that X right? Whatever it is, industry, market segment challenges, you name it right.

Vanessa Grant:

Does that help? Yeah, so are you saying that as part of being an ISV, they almost have to be careful that Salesforce isn't going to like oh wow, this ISV is really successful, so Salesforce themselves are going to try and rebuild it?

Peter Ganza:

So that's an interesting question. So they don't actively do that? Obviously, nothing nefarious. Salesforce acquires partners all the time. I think last year they bought like 70 partners, isv partners. You didn't hear about it because they were small, right, but if a partner does really well and they're driving success and they're making Salesforce more money and getting clients more sticky and expanding and solving a problem that has a market, salesforce may buy you and, to be honest, that's the strategy for quite a few people that start ISVs right, and it's a great strategy. You do something well, salesforce is going to acquire you and obviously they're a very acquisitive company when it comes to building the same type of thing. I can give you a perfect example. So I worked at a PII partner personally identifiable information. So think data privacy, gdpr, sandbox, data, masking, compliance, all those types of things right, and this is before what Salesforce recently did. They built clouds for that. They built solutions for that. It's not because the partner I was at was extremely successful. They were successful. It's not that competitors of ours, I can say at the time, were in the similar boat. They were all getting by and doing quite well. It's because Salesforce recognized that thing. In this case, data privacy was something that their customers, regardless of partners, were asking them about. So it's not like they, it's not the way you describe it, right. They're not going to go and say, oh crap, these guys are very successful, we're just going to build this out. I know they don't look at it in a various way like that. It really all comes down to their customers, right, and if a partner or partners happen to be already doing that, they love that, because competition is good, competition is great and Salesforce this is the one thing about the app exchange and the ISV partners that I absolutely love. Everyone can get along right. There's enough share of the wallet for everyone, because Salesforce does certain things really really well. I don't have an example, but I'm just saying in general let's look at the data privacy example. Then you'll have partners that they'll do something a little bit more that certain customers will need. What I'm trying to get at is there's an answer for everybody, right, and you know this better than anybody even has to. Customers have unique needs, obviously, and Salesforce can't solve all of them, even with an SI, even with customizations. In a lot of cases it just comes down to BBP, my former product manager, a recovering product manager acronym Buy Builder Partner. So that's kind of my tirade on that topic.

Vanessa Grant:

And you know what, having worked with a bunch of different organizations, I feel like that Buy, builder, Partner is always such a challenging question Because I think a lot of companies, if they haven't really put Salesforce at the heart of their business operations, a lot of them are just inclined to build, which surprises me. Do you have any advice for how to evaluate a situation and when to buy, when to build, when to partner?

Peter Ganza:

Oh, I just got goosebumps with that because I saw this and see it all the time and I just do like the face palm right, because why would you build this? Right? In terms of, there's no single answer, there's no broad stroke, right, it always comes down to at least from my experience it comes down to the data, right. The challenge, at least what I've seen, is that in these cases, isvs are driven by opinions. Right, you've got co-founders, former developers you know, built something cool, they love their baby and they just want to build everything. Right, that's very, very common. If you look at I don't have statistics, I might actually try and figure this out one day Most, I would comfortably say most smaller ISVs were founded, started by a developer right, or a development-oriented co-founder, and that is just part and parcel in why they generally tend to lean more towards the build right. It's just, it's in their DNA, they don't know any other way. Right, but in terms of, there's an exercise, obviously you know this quite well, as do quite a few of our listeners. There's so many factors that go into it. Right, there's positives and negatives to buying, building or partnering. No matter which way you slice and dice it, it really comes down to what are the biggest, what are the biggest challenges and, frankly, what are the biggest pains that are going to come out of buying, building or partnering? Right, there's no, there's no one broad stroke that you can just cut. That it's unique to every business. With that being said, you know I always default to, if it's you know, co-founders or former developers. Yeah, you're going to have a challenge, you're going to need to educate them, and the best way to do that is with data. Right, it's not. Opinions are great and valuable, but when it comes to strategic, you know, decisions like this it's about the data, it's about the cost, the time, the impact, all of the different numbers that go into decision, and If they still end up building it, well, they end up building it. I've been through many of those cases. Some I don't want to say, I have one, but some lean my way and some lean their way at the end of the day. They all got whatever done. Maybe it wasn't as elegant as it could have been, or it might start some seeds that would grow later on and have to provide you some challenges that you didn't foresee. But yeah, it's a sticky subject. That's like a whole other podcast.

Vanessa Grant:

Yeah, no, and it's funny, like without those data points, without actually doing the research on what's already out there and the costs, and even just down to the cost of like, what is it going to cost to maintain it if we build the thing? Because you have to maintain it if you build it. It seems silly to move forward with things. I think that touches on the whole product management, product ownership side of things. I've actually like I remember there was an organization that was actually starting to consider building out an e-signature solution. I was like guys like DocuSign exists, conga exists, there's so many companies out there that do e-signature, why are we even considering building this? And that was just an easy one. But these kinds of conversations happen in organizations all the time.

Peter Ganza:

And I remember you mentioning that story a while back. I don't know if it was on a podcast or when we had spoken, but that's common. As you said, it happens all the time. I know people who have done the same. I know partners who have built their own events platform or alternative to FSL field service lightning Not that they were selling it, but they built it for themselves instead of getting it from Salesforce. I don't understand it either, but that's part of the reasons why we're all unique and each company is unique, every partner I've worked at, let's say, if I looked at all the ISVs that I worked at similar sizes, they were all completely different in terms of how they were run, what priorities were important to them, how they were staffed, and it blows me away, right.

Vanessa Grant:

So for folks that might be interested in maybe working for an ISV, a lot of times they will be going on the app exchange and seeing the listing what can you tell about an ISV from their app exchange listing?

Peter Ganza:

Well, that's a great question. I don't want to give away my secret sauce, but there's a couple of things you can gather as someone looking for a career opportunity. The first I already talked about, which is are they focused? That is not a red line. I'm not saying all they say. They can do everything. Stay away from them, no, but it's an important part of the story to recognize the other things to look for. Frankly, I would look at if it's an ISV, spend some time. Well, obviously, review the entire thing and, of course, their website and their LinkedIn and socials, whatnot, as you normally would. But the reviews can be very telling and it's a sticky subject in the ecosystem because, I mean, I've been putting out some data points on the app exchange. You can find them on my website but there are no one-star reviews, there are no two-star reviews, there are no three-star reviews. Literally, it's all five-star, five-star, five-star.

Vanessa Grant:

What do you think that is though?

Peter Ganza:

Vanessa, it's the bane of my existence. So a couple of points. I've worked at partners and this is common where they literally put into the contracts mandating thou shall give us a five-star app exchange review. I wholeheartedly do not agree with that. I would never do that. If you're going to get a great review, it's because you did a good job, not because it's a subsection line item in a contract. So there's a whole bunch that are on that level. The other reason is, as it can be easy to see and this is why I suggest looking at the reviews, you can tell reviews that are frankly fake. And the reason I say that I don't have an example off the top of my head. I don't have a percentage, but you're going to see and this is the great part about the app exchange reviews you can generally see the name of the person, who their company is, but you can click on that person and it's going to take you to their trailblazer profile and that's where the goal is. If you, let's say, there's 10 reviews on a particular ISV, if you go through the 10 trailblazer profiles and they're all fresh and there's no head shot and they got no badges, well, what does that tell you? Right? On the other hand, you're going to see reviews that have a head shot, that are from a ranger, that are from a Vanessa, that have badges, that have been in the community, that are MVPs that are responding the company's responding right. They're going to comment back and forth. So that's one of the reasons why I suggest looking at the reviews. I'm not I mean frankly, I disagree with it. I would never do that. But I've worked at partners where they contractually obligate reviews. It's a problem, just knows about it, and they are going to be making some changes in the next. I can't put a timeline to it, but there's some review changes coming to try and make that better. But, as I said, those two things, it will become pretty clear. Because I'm pretty sure you're just like me, right, if someone's got 10 clearly fake reviews, that would be a red flag for me not wanting to work there.

Vanessa Grant:

Yeah, janine, do you want to?

Janeen Marquardt:

Yeah, I mean I would say on the topic of reviews, and I believe I have a lot of opinion about reviews in all the ways, but I would agree that the review process is well leaves a lot to be desired for a lot of different reasons. But I would agree you want to sort of triangulate those reviews and really no matter what your purpose is whether it's to work there or whether to determine whether or not the product is worth using you certainly want to check it out on another source, like a G2 or something like that, or a Glassdoor, if you're looking for a place to work. So definitely check other sources, ask around, check LinkedIn who do I know that works there? Who do I know that's been there? Or use the product. Try to figure out some real life examples instead of using the App Exchange from a review perspective because, in all honesty and I've put an idea for this before it's not useful for sorting in any way because, like you said, everything's got a five-star review, everybody has got the same kind of information. You can't really narrow down the results by anything that's actually useful, so it's not really that great. So you definitely need to take a look at other sources of information, and I find LinkedIn to be really, really useful. Who do I know that's used it or worked there or otherwise has seen it, and G2 has really spent a lot of time and effort building it up. Now that's not to say G2 hasn't quote unquote paid for some of those reviews in a certain way by incentivizing people to leave them, but they haven't paid for them in a way that's unbalanced. They've just said if you've used it, we'll pay you just to write a review, not we'll pay you more to write a better review. So take that with a grain of salt. Of course. Hopefully you're getting something from somebody who's actually used the product to give you a better idea, and they don't charge you anything to look at those reviews or those quadrants. The way you might have to pay for a Gartner. Yeah, I think it's a little more accessible.

Vanessa Grant:

I will say I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I have traded a G2 review for swag at their vendor booths at Dreamforce 4.

Janeen Marquardt:

Absolutely. But I mean every one of us who's ever worked at the ISV equivalent right, the brand new product company. You've got to be creative to incentivize people to start using your product. That's the only way to get people to start using your product. For those of us who've ever done product marketing before, love it.

Peter Ganza:

There's less of a problem on the SI side, I find, because obviously you can have the same sort of general review, but you're going to have project reviews and those are.

Janeen Marquardt:

Yes. But here's the thing as an SI partner, you have to have a certain number of reviews to maintain your status, and so you're still having to A get reviews and, b maintain a certain level of review in order to maintain your status as an SI partner. And so you will still find, to a certain degree, the same kinds of conversations taking place with your customers. If you're not maintaining a certain C-stat, you're like, okay, well, what can I do to get that review up? We often would. If I knew I wasn't going to get my five-star review, I wasn't going to send that customer the opportunity to give me a review. So I was only sending those review requests or those, yeah, the review requests to customers that I knew were going to give me a good review. So it's still skewed. If I had a pissed-off customer, I wasn't going to ask them to review me on the App Exchange.

Peter Ganza:

And they wouldn't take time to put in that negative review right.

Janeen Marquardt:

Well, remember, people will write you a review If they want to give you one star, if they want to give you five stars. Most people don't want to write a review.

Peter Ganza:

That's two, three or four stars typically, and the other thing to note is most people don't know this, but anybody can leave a review on any listing. They don't have to have actually purchased the product or use the service. You can actually work at that company and write a review for your own listing. In that case you need to disclose that, but you can say, hey, my product's the shit, but I happen to work here.

Vanessa Grant:

So reviews, kind of, you have to kind of read between the lines to decide if they're good. So mostly focus on are they a focused company, leveraging some other sources. So to Janine's point triangulating the information that you get, see if you know anybody that's worked there or used that app before and see if you can get some more firsthand experiences.

Peter Ganza:

It's, you're painting a picture right. So all of those things matter. And if you put them all together, totally agree, linkedin is fabulous. I absolutely love LinkedIn. I'm on LinkedIn every day. I have to be. It's gotten me the sales force right. I'm pretty sure I can do the math, but most of the roles that I had at partners were on LinkedIn. So LinkedIn is fabulous. Of course, if you have a mutual connection or third level, 100%, that's great. The app exchange is more just for, I would say, looking for red flags. Now I say that I'm 25 years in, I can be picky, right. I can say I actually don't want to reach out to this partner for, let's say, an app exchange assessment because clearly they're all fake reviews. I don't, that's my red line, but I'm not at the start of my career, right? And Vanessa, you and I talked a little bit about this in terms of different styles of work. I'll say it just to be nice Bad managers for run organizations You're going to have those. You can't pick. You can't pick and choose how an organization is run, you have to go through it. It's like I use this analogy I don't have children, but you say to the child don't touch the stove. It's hot. Well, if I told them three times, I would say you know what? Touch the stove because you're going to burn yourself. You're never going to touch the stove again. Maybe that was a bad example.

Vanessa Grant:

No, in the parenting world we like to call that natural consequences.

Peter Ganza:

That's how I learned, because every time my parents said, no, what do you think that did to me? That would make me want to do whatever it was even more so, and stitches and hospital visits and all that kind of fun stuff.

Vanessa Grant:

Later, I've had it where you shouldn't let the baby eat sand. Once he eats the sand and realizes that it's gross, he's going to stop eating the sand. That's going to happen max three times and then we're done.

Janeen Marquardt:

Three times Probably. I like the stove as hot example. I use it a lot because I think when a child is first learning language and learning things, the concept of hot is as foreign as the concept of blue. You don't hot doesn't have any meaning until you experience hot. So you can tell them don't touch it, it's hot, Don't touch it. Hot as many times as you want until they understand. The hot burns their hand and hot is going to make them cry and hot is going to hurt. They're not going to understand why they shouldn't touch hot until they touch hot and burn themselves and cry. Then they won't touch hot again. And so sometimes you have to let it happen. You have to give them a warning. They have to understand that hot means something that they shouldn't do, and then they still have to go through with it at least that one time. If they keep doing it you've got a different problem. But they have to experience hot and put the word hot together with the pain of hot and the results of hot, as, as Vanessa says, consequential learning. I call experiential learning. It's important because otherwise hot has zero meaning until they experience what hot is. That's why I call it a supply to cause again. Yeah, um yeah, until you, until something like somebody might say to you don't go work there, terrible place to work, bad culture, and you may go. Oh yeah, I've worked at a whole bunch of places with bad culture. And then you go to the place with the really, really bad culture like, oh, no places I worked before. We're just kind of like mildly painful. To work at this place was terrible, right, like till you work at a toxic place. You don't, you might not really understand, yeah.

Peter Ganza:

I love, I love that you, that you brought that up, janine, because some people, and it's the minority are successful in those types of environments. I'm not, you know, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be the same with Vanessa, but I know people who just did what they had to do and they didn't have all those issues. But it's easy for us to say, but in terms of you know the audience that are trying to get into the Salesforce ecosystem, work at a partner or some way. It is valid. I would strongly stay away from people that do fake reviews, like I said, but that's just me. You might, you might have to right. Everyone's got to keep the lights on right.

Janeen Marquardt:

Sometimes there are situations where you have to take, as we used to say in the olden days, a J-O-B right, so in which you just have to have any job will do. It doesn't really matter how bad the reviews are, how toxic the environment is, if they're going to write your paycheck. Sometimes that's not even the case. But sometimes, if you're going to get a paycheck and all you need is a paycheck, you'll put up with basically anything for a couple of months because you got to eat. And if you recognize that that's the situation, then that's fine too. Just also recognize it might be for the short term and just be willing to move on and erase it from your resume someday.

Peter Ganza:

Love it, and I'm just the back of my mind thinking about, yeah, those couple of places that are not on my list. Right, me too Go ahead.

Vanessa Grant:

Nessie, I don't know that I've ever talked about it, but, like when I, after I got laid off and I was determined, I thought that my future was as an executive assistant, I did take a non-sales force job for about five months and at this point it's long enough. I actually got I won't say fired because they officially laid me off, but it was pretty much fired after five months where I was in this like small SaaS organization that the one of the founders was like a screamer and I should have picked it up. Like I did pick it up. Actually I could understand like this guy was just like a grumpy guy, just based on my interview with him and I saw the red flags and again, I just needed a J-O-B because I haven't had a newborn at home. I didn't actually know where my career was going. It was like this little tiny organization and I was like you know what I'm? Just I'm going to ignore the red flags and just go for this. And I mean this man like through a temper tantrum at me, like had like a very much of like a Napoleon complex and I think at one point, the, the, when, when I guess the shit hit, the fan was he looked at the other co-founder and he's like, because they were arguing about me literally in front of me, because I was pushing back Cause I was like nobody speaks to me this way, like you're not allowed to speak to me this way, and I started setting boundaries at work and he didn't like that, even though I had been the best at that role that they had seen before. Like this place, like literally didn't have a paper shredder, didn't have box cutters, like one of my jobs when I first got there. They're like well, when, just to give you a sense, like you can actually have SaaS organizations that that do this stuff Just a side funny story. Like when I first walked in and they were giving me the orientation, another red flag I got was the. The person I was replacing was like yes, here's our, here's our bathroom and we have all of these washcloths here to dry our hands. When all the washcloths get dirty, you're going to have to take them home and put them through the wash and then bring them back clean. And I was like, why don't you have a paper towel dispenser? Like the fact that I actually had to have this conversation at this like technology company blew my mind, but I ended up getting laid off quote unquote from that company when I started setting some boundaries after I'd been there for a while and the the screaming Napoleon complex guy looked at the other co-founder, was just like fine, you can, you can stay, but I'm never speaking to you again. And then he looks at the other co-founder. He's like fine, if you want to deal with that, you talk to her. And like that was it. I was gone two days later, but I should have known from the, from like the, the washcloths, like maybe this is not a well run organization. So yes, if you need a JOB, sometimes after a year and a half of me not working, like that's just kind of what I needed at the time and I needed to get burnt a little bit. But it was a weird experience and like okay one building up my confidence, like apparently there are places that that I can still add value to. I think I needed that lesson, but also don't ignore the red flags, and I'll. I definitely keep those things in mind a little bit more now too. Yeah, also known as a Mick JOB.

Janeen Marquardt:

Mick JOB, there we go.

Peter Ganza:

And we've all, we've all been there. The other thing I wanted to to bring up is that the universe doesn't care about your plans, Right, and I know this. I don't I don't want to say unfortunately, because it's actually unfortunately, but you know, one day I found out there was an orange size brain tumor in my head and I was like what, the where the fuck did this? What, what are you talking about, Right? So then I can sort of keep that in mind, Right? That's another little variable to the whole pivoting career conversation here.

Vanessa Grant:

Well, I mean, that's a that's a huge thing, peter, and and you know that's that's something that I mean obviously you know. You know, obviously yours is is quite exceptional. But like, how do you, how do you deal with with these kinds of life curves when it comes to your career?

Peter Ganza:

That is a great question. I get asked about it and I, I, I talk about my story all the time. I I'm able to share my my story where quite a few people that have been through similar situations I cannot. It's a lot more common than you think, I believe. The statistic in Canada is 12 people each day are told that they have something to brain tumor, or maybe 20. Anyway, it's an alarming number. Honestly, I don't really have a good answer, and let me let me explain why. When, when, when the doctor told me you have a benign meningioma the size of a lemon and I was like okay, great, can I go out for a cigarette, cause I, I like I've been in here for hours and I'm smiling I'm always smiling, right and she said, well, I just told you you got a lemon in your head, you're 34 and you're, you're smiling. You're asking me what's next and I said, yeah, I, I just want to get out of here, I want to, I want to go home. I drove here. She's like well, you're not driving. We got to transfer you in ambulance to, you know, the other hospital. I said, no, no, no, no, don't waste an ambulance for me. She's like no, no, no, no, no. She pushed some button and you know, some security guard showed up and literally put me out of gardening to be in an ambulance, anyway, I just like, in that moment even she was baffled because she said do you see all the holes in the wall? There was this one office, like scantily call it an office, anyway, it was a dry walled room and there was all these holes in the wall, anyway. So she said you see all the holes in the wall? And I said you know what, doc? Yeah, I kind of did, I didn't want to say anything, but it's, it's kind of ghetto. And she said that's from grown men, screaming, crying, freaking out, punching holes in the wall. And I tell them they got a grape or a dime size brain tumor and we just stopped patching them. I just told you you got a lemon in your head and you're smiling and saying you want to drive and what's next? That's just who I am. It's, I don't know any other way. And the other thing I wanted to talk about I spent six days in hospital, six nights, sorry and I was in an ICU room right by myself for I forget the first two days or something right and then they put me in a semi room. Anyway, I ended up in a ward room so there was, I don't know, maybe eight or nine other people who had, you know, neurosurgery right, Mostly brain tumors. Anyway, you could tell the difference in that room because there were people couldn't stop crying. There were. There was a guy that literally was freaking out, screaming, had to be tied down to to the chair or he was gonna, he was gonna leave. He drove me crazy. I couldn't sleep because he was just going on and on and on and then they were… no People like me. I suppose I'm the minority, but it happened. What good is being angry or being negative going to help? If it's my time, it's my time. I went into the surgery without a care in the world. I had a barbecue at my house the week before and I felt terrible because all my friends showed up. I was looking around and realized, oh shit, it's literally like the last supper. I can tell where the looks on their faces. The last thing I'll say. I'm happy to talk more about this, but when I woke up from surgery, I opened my eyes and the first thing I thought was oh geez, I probably should have written some stuff down, maybe passwords or a will Nothing, literally. I had done nothing. I just went in clueless, even when I have to add this, sorry, before the neurosurgeon came, he has to do some legalities. He had these pieces of paper and he said okay, I got to take you through this and you need to sign it. He started going through the list of potential problems that might arise after or side effects and he literally started going through the list of everything blind, deaf, dumb, quadra, para. I literally stopped him and I said you don't need this negative energy. I get it If I come out. I come out If I don't just tell me where to sign. I want you focused on taking this faulty hardware out of my head and sticking in that hard drive in its place. Yeah, it was supposed to be about a seven-hour operation and ended up being more like 12. I had a badass scar 38 staples ear to ear. I just leave an S and I love it. It's part of me. It's something that happened. I could never understand any other way than to embrace it. That's just who I am. I know it's not. Most people don't like that explanation, but it literally comes down to that.

Vanessa Grant:

Yeah, just you know, it's. I love that, peter, and I love that about you, and even just you coming on and sharing your story, I think brings hope to people, you know, brings inspiration to people and it's, you know, I guess sometimes if you have to be the person who's screaming and tied to the gurney, you know sometimes that you do what you have to do, let the feelings pass through you. I'm sure there's multiple stages of dealing with those kinds of big feelings, but at the end of the day you just kind of have to make the best of it and try to do it with a smile on your face and move on with your life.

Peter Ganza:

It wasn't easy, I. I mean, there's different personalities and, like you were starting to describe, right, people go through. There's no wrong emotion, right? It's not like I'm saying those people are bad, that's just how they deal with it. Right, but I just don't know any other way. That's how I was raised, not purposely, that's just the way that I look at all things in life. And in that last podcast, remember when there was the back and forth, I was just terrified of that. Remember we spoke after about it, right, because and that's part of I'll say I'm too positive, right, like that's one of the shortcomings of you know, that kind of mindset. It impacts my career in having those discussions. It's the same thing as what I went through with the brain tumor, right?

Vanessa Grant:

Yeah, I actually had a co-worker my first job who had a brain tumor malignant, unfortunately but you know, I think for them it was. They just wanted to come back to work and feel normal. It's so Sorry, it's like it's rough and I think it all comes down to you know, at the end of the day, while we're professionals, we're also whole people when we come to work and I've always been a big advocate, you know, as a manager and as a team member, to make sure that we're keeping in mind that you know life happens even when you're at work, and to treat people like whole, people that treat them like parents, treat them like, you know, folks that have lives outside. You know they're husbands, they're wives, they have family emergencies, they have joys outside of work, but they still bring that into work and it's always important to keep in mind, I think 100%, 1,000%, agree.

Peter Ganza:

I learned that. You know I was naive and I learned the hard way that the most important thing in life is your health right. And you're no good to yourself, you're no good to your family, to anything, unless you're you know reasonably, you know healthy and happy. I was naive up until that point. Right, invincible, didn't go to the doctor, didn't like taking pills, I mean. But it's by far and away the most important thing. Nothing matters. You're no good to anybody else if you're not healthy. And when I say healthy, part of that is being happy at some level. Right, being content, being able to reach out and have positive conversations and work through whatever challenges. That has nothing to do with where you went to school or what jobs you had, or it wasn't just your parents, it wasn't your upbringing, it's everything all of that put together and how you deal with those things. Right, it's not born bread, it's like a muscle, right? You gotta develop that over time and just stay healthy.

Vanessa Grant:

And you know, if you don't mind, I'll detour just a little bit to some pretty major Salesforce community news that's happened in the last 24 hours. I think it came out, peter, did you hear about Gemma Blizzard?

Peter Ganza:

I did not but, honestly, the last couple of days I was swamped and, of course, something happened.

Vanessa Grant:

Please, so you know, to what we were discussing. I mean Gemma Blizzard gosh, I might get a little choked up here. She was a pillar of the Salesforce community. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and just a bit over a year ago found out that it was terminal and Mark Benioff actually tweeted announcing that she had passed last night. And you know, I think she really was a big testament to maintaining that positive attitude and despite everything that she went through was such an inspiration to this community. She founded Ladies Be Architects because she saw a need for more women's CTAs and that's a legacy of hers that'll live on. So you know, for anybody interested in an architect path, whether you're male or female, ladiesbearchitectscom, she wrote an entire book called Hurricane Gemma my Life and Fast Forward, describing her trailblazer journey and her cancer journey. You know, and that book I mean I tore through that in one night. It was again inspirational, even before I became friends with her. I remember going to Midwest Dreaming and Melissa Hildes was passing out necklaces that Gemma had given to her and there were these gold necklaces that were of sunflowers and if you opened up the sunflower inside it said keep fucking going. And that was really her motto, you know, just, despite it all, just keep going and keep doing good things. And she loved this community in a way that's rare. You know, it was such an inspiration. I was so fortunate to be friends with her over the last year and even just that she, you know, opened up her life to let me in for the time that I got, was it really mattered to me as a human being and as a Salesforce professional and as a woman in tech. So just wanted to spend a little bit of time on the show before we close things off, just celebrating her journey, which was wonderful, and, you know, pointing people to all the resources that she's leaving behind for this great community, from her book, from her YouTube channel so it's a Gemsy Beth G-E-M-Z-I-E-B-E-T-H is her Twitter handle and her YouTube handle. There's a shirtforceorg shirt that, where the proceeds will go to cancer that she helped design, that was designed with ladies B architects. And even, just like her LinkedIn, her Twitter, her website, jemablazarcom G-E-M-M-A-B-L-E-Z-A-R-Dcom there's just so much great information. And on consulting, on business analysis, on diagramming, she even put together a whole course during the pandemic and she had cancer during the pandemic, you know. She still had it, you know, but she put together a course on Learn Salesforce with Gemma for folks that were transitioning during that period. So we're talking about career pivots again. Like she really did so much for this community and she was a great friend and will greatly be missed. And I'm glad that Benioff got the announcement out because I feel like she would have liked that. But she was in this community for a really long time and it really shows like having that fierce attitude and just I don't know it's kind of hard to put in the words, but actually I just wanted to kind of close with something that she had written to me in the book that she signed for me, which was you know, keep being you, keep growing and lifting others and just love. Love what and who you want, but make sure it's yourself too. And I think those are really important things to keep in mind and just keep fucking going, guys.

Peter Ganza:

Thank you for that, Vanessa. Can you maybe share the links on the chat?

Vanessa Grant:

Yep and I posted on LinkedIn and on my Twitter feed it's been now all of the links to Gemma's resources, as well as her Spotify playlist with podcasts that she's been on discussing her cancer journey and her Salesforce journey and consulting and all the things that she was amazing speaking on. But yeah, it's definitely rocked the Salesforce world this week and I thought you know not to steal your thunder, peter I just you know it just again. It's all a testament to just keep that attitude and keep inspiring others and thank you so much, peter, for sharing your story and your journey and all the things that you've done and talking about career pivots and ISPs. It's important that we you know we bring people along on the journey with us and keep inspiring. Thank you.

Peter Ganza:

And by all means not stealing thunder would be the last thing that I would ever say. That was beautiful, eloquent, needed to be said and it's right, in line with what we all say. You know outside of, you know admin path or this server or that server or specific partners, or that, at the end of the day, it's all about being positive, being respectful and getting back on the bull. Whenever shit happens and unfortunately, you know, in general shit happens and you gotta just love and get back on the bull and get going. I often tell people, people often tell me this is my last comment, but you know, weren't you depressed, kind of what keeps you going? And wasn't it difficult? And of course I'm like fuck, yeah, it was literally the worst thing in my life. I wouldn't wish it's on my worst end, I wish it's on my worst enemy, but what pushed me through other than you and the amazing community, of course is I wanna see how the ride ends. I'm not giving up. I wanna see what is in store. Where does the story actually end? Right?

Vanessa Grant:

Yep, well, thanks again. So much, peter, I appreciate you being on. Janine, thank you so much for joining us and you know for-. Thanks, janine. Yeah, and to everybody else in the Salesforce community, you know, sending lots of love. It's rough when one of our own, you know, dies tragically, but I think that's where the wonders of the community were there for each other and please, you know, reach out to each other, be there for each other and just keep fucking going, guys. Thanks everyone, thanks Vanessa, thanks everyone.

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Effectiveness of Dreamforce for ISVs
App Exchange Whisperer
Success and Focus in ISVs
Salesforce ISV Partners and Competition
Evaluate Buying, Building, or Partnering
Evaluating ISVs and App Exchange Reviews
Lessons From Bad Job Experience
Life's Unexpected Challenges and Embracing Resilience
Gemma Beth's Journey in Salesforce Community
Positive Support in the Salesforce Community