Christopher Lochhead’s Legends & Losers

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106: Leadership, Laughs & Authenticity with Doug Merritt, CEO of Multi-Billion Dollar Public Category King, Splunk

December 21, 2017

Most people make the career mistake of going for salary and title instead of working with a category. Why is it so important to work for a category king? Why do many of the biggest companies in the world struggle with innovation? How do you create a culture of innovation in a company? On this episode, we are joined by Splunk CEO, Doug Merritt who shares his journey from inside sales rep to the CEO of a $9 billion publicly traded company.

You have to think of a whole new approach, using stuff people have overlooked if you want to do something interesting. -Doug Merritt

Takeaways + Tactics

  • Great tech companies still exist-- in the enterprise space.  
  • If you’re fortunate enough to be around legendary, brilliant people, build relationships with them and learn from them.
  • We’ve gotten so caught up in the idea of a career path that we often lose sight of the fact that life is a journey. The path to who you want to become can be unpredictable.

At the start of the show, we talked about why some Silicon Valley CEOs don’t want to be coached, and Doug shared why coaches are so necessary. Next, we discussed the importance of learning from failure and Doug’s career trajectory. Towards the end we talked about why so many companies struggle with innovation.

We also discussed:

  • The distinction between enterprise and consumer companies in tech
  • Why you have to work for a category king
  • Why you shouldn’t “over-architect” your career

The greatest companies are created by innovation and doing things a differently. To have innovation in a company, you have to create a culture of openness, open debate, and disruptive orientation. You have to try, iterate, fall on your face, and be able to get back up. If you do that with persistence, you’ll move toward your goal, whether it’s on a personal level or in a company. You will learn so much more from being on a winning team that’s crushing it, than when you have a big title or a huge salary.

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