Ramin Sayar is the CEO of Sumo Logic. For those who are curious, Sumo Logic is a privately-held company that provides data analytics. Some of its specialties include security, operations, and BI use cases.
1. Experienced Executive
There are some executives who hold their positions because they played an important role in the founding of their respective companies. However, there are plenty of executives who hold their positions because they were chosen from the outside because of the expertise and experience that they have accumulated over the course of their careers. Sayar is an excellent example of the latter, as shown by the long list of managerial positions that he has held.
2. Once a Marketing Manager For Netscape Communications
Nowadays, there are a lot of people who will have nothing but a confused expression when asked about Netscape Communications. However, there was a time when its Netscape web browser held the lead position before it was overtaken by Internet Explorer. Having said that, while Netscape Communications has been defunct since the 2000s, one could make the argument that it continues to have an impact on web browser development because it created the Mozilla Foundation. Regardless, Sayar was once a marketing manager responsible for Netscape Communications’s e-commerce products.
3. Once a Marketing Manager For iPlanet
Later, Sayar played a similar role for iPlanet. In short, iPlanet was a team-up between Sun Microsystems and AOL, which had swallowed up Netscape Communications. It wasn’t a particularly long-lived team-up, but it nonetheless managed to put out a fair number of products. Said products included a number of e-commerce solutions, which were what Sayar was responsible for marketing.
4. Once a Director of Products & Solutions
In time, Sayar went to work for TIBCO Software, which provides a number of software products for businesses for use both on-premises and through cloud computing. It is based in Palo Alto, CA, but it has offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and both of the Americas, thus making its international presence very clear. In his role as the Director of Products & Solutions, Sayar was responsible for everything from marketing to management for not one, not two, but three product line, which was a clear step-up in authority compared to his earlier positions.
5. Once a Vice President For HP Software
Sayar’s position as a Director led to a position as a Vice President. However, said position wasn’t at TIBCO Software but rather at HP Software. Based on the number, it should come as no surprise to learn that HP Software belonged to Hewlett Packard Enterprise. However, said segment has since been merged with Micro Focus, which is a British company that specializes in software as well as other IT matters. In any case, Sayar was a Vice President of Products and Strategy, with the result that he oversaw a number of software products that constituted a $1.6 billion business.
6. Once a Senior Vice President For VMware
From Vice President, Sayar rose to the position of Senior Vice President with VMware, which is a software company that specializes in cloud computing as well as virtualization. As such, the fact that Sayar was responsible for developing its cloud management business unit says much about the degree of faith placed in his capabilities. Moreover, considering that he has risen higher still since that time, it seems reasonable to speculate that the relevant individuals regard his performance in said role as one deserving of respect.
7. Believes In Choosing Partners with Care and Consideration
Sayar has commented on the importance of business founders choosing their partners with care and consideration. As he sees it, said individuals should choose their partners with the long run in mind. Furthermore, they should choose their partners with a specific purpose in mind rather than leave them with nebulous responsibilities in the business that is being built up. On top of that, Sayar believes that business founders need to choose partners with capabilities that complement their own, not least because they can help with the talent acquisition that can be so problematic when building bigger organizations.
8. Believes in Choosing Partners Willing to Call Out Business Founders
On a related note, Sayar says that a lot of business founders make the mistake of choosing partners based on niceness. The ability for people to cooperate when working on a joint project is indeed important, but as he sees it, some business founders take it too far. Instead, it is best for business founders to choose partners who are willing to call them out when they see a problem, which is particularly important for new businesses because their shallow foundations mean that they have a much harder time surviving serious mistakes.
9. Inspired By His Mother
It is clear that Sayar has drawn a great deal of inspiration from his mother. In particular, he says that he isn’t afraid of failure because even in the worst case scenario, he can still start over. Something that Sayar saw his mother doing on more than one occasion while remaining unflappable the entire time. For context, his mother was an American woman who raised Sayar and his siblings in Iran during the Iranian Revolution who moved to the United States on her own before being followed by their father a year later because he had to stay back for a time.
10. Pays Attention to the Body Language of Interviewees
Generally speaking, when Sayar meets with an interviewee, their skills as well as other qualifications have already been scrutinized by his team. As a result, he is more interested in how well they can fit in, with a particular area of focus being their tone as well as their body language. This is important because Sumo Logic has a business culture in which people are willing to say what others need to hear rather than what others want to hear, meaning that he needs to know that the interviewees have the capability to do the same when the time comes. In other words, he wants to see if interviewees are willing to be forthcoming in interviews as an indication of whether they will be forthcoming in the future or not.
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