183: Jay Larson Sales Rep to CEO

Thursday 20th June 2019

What exactly is the power of hard work? Why does it always pay to be all about goodness? Jay Larson joins Christopher Lochhead today to share the legendary story of how he went from Sales Representative to CEO slowly but surely.

“It was always better to be the number two guy in an A opportunity than the number one guy in a C opportunity.” – Jay Larson

Three Things We Learned

    It’s important to have the right move at the right time

When Chris first asked Jay some scotches ago if he saw himself becoming a CEO anytime in the future, Jay had been convinced that he wouldn’t. But now that he’s on his second time being one, he finds himself looking back and remembering how he had a great run at sales before eventually becoming the leader that he’s meant to be. He wasn’t the guy that felt the urgency of becoming one, but with how things have unfolded, he’s very fortunate to have made the career move at the most opportune time.

    Conscious decisions for a successful career

Jay took his time priming himself despite the truth that the software business works at a rapid pace. He’s always been confronted with choices of doing deals that didn’t strike him as terrific even as a CEO or running a sales or field operations for a terrific company as an employee. But his conscious effort to grab any learning opportunity and being patient with his growth has paid off.

    You need to go high before you can go wide

Before he can become a full-fledged CEO, he had to develop the skills and learn the functions needed to run an organization. His many experiences in the field made Jay a lot more willing to test out his mettle and take the next logical step in his career. He took on the role of a leader when he was finally convinced that he was great and capable enough at what he did even when he had to do it at almost fifty.

The tech business is a constantly changing world with everyone seemingly caught in a race to reach the top of the ladder. Many tech geniuses start out young, but there are those like Jay who take their time learning the ins and outs of the biz before finally taking the plunge. And for some, it’s the perfect way to go.

Bio / Links:

Jay Larson started in sales in Oracle and Siebel. He became Head of WW Field ops at Mercury Interactive, Head of Sales at SuccessFactors, President of Jive, CEO of Birst. And now, the CEO of red-hot Optimizely.



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