“Mayhem Makers” is a Q&A series dedicated to our growing company.
For this month’s employee profile, we talked with Patrick Bishop, SVP of Revenue, who joined the Mayhem team in September, 2022 and is based out of Boston, MA.
1. Tell our readers a little bit about what your role as SVP of Revenue entails.
I consider it a go-to-market position that includes sales and customer solutions, as well as partnerships. Our focus is to support the customer from the first interaction to evaluation to implementation. We want our customers to see value and not “be sold on” the product.
In order for customers to see value they really have to use Mayhem! That is why I strongly believe that partnerships are the key to their success. Technology partnerships enable Mayhem to be streamlined in the customers’ current workflows, for example, by integrating into issue tracking and pipeline tools. Implementation partnerships enable us to scale our expertise so that we integrate Mayhem the correct way the first time.
It's all about improving the customer journey, which the go-to-market team can’t do alone, because the customer journey doesn't end when they get implemented. Part of my job is creating a feedback loop from the customer back into the organization, back into product and development. This helps us improve in all areas of the company. The number one goal is that the customer sees value in Mayhem. I see my job as being the voice of the customer.
2. What did your career path look like before you came to work here?
I grew up on the engineering side, as a mainframe developer. I started going more into java and web development and eventually transitioned to the sales engineering and sales side.
I have both a computer science degree and a business degree from St. Francis University, or StFX, which is a top tier university in Nova Scotia, Canada. I actually like the business side just as much as I like the coding side. I moved into sales engineering because I was better at communicating the value than I was at developing code quickly.
And then I kept moving to the dark side, you know, sales, sales management, and sales leadership.
I still like learning about things on the development side. I’m teaching myself Flutter right now, as a way to continue my skills. I do that for fun on the side. So I'm still a geek at heart.
3. What is your typical day like at work?
It’s all centered around, Are we on message? Does the team have everything that they need? Where are the gaps that we have in our current processes so we can improve them? That's where I spend my time.
I like being on the customer calls, because Mayhem solves a very unique problem set for developers. Mayhem provides better code coverage, auto-generates regression tests, and doesn’t create false positives. These are bold statements, and it is fun to see customers have that “aha” moment when we can back up the statements while demoing the product.
I recently took over the customer solutions team. I spend more time on customer calls now, to make sure that I'm understanding what challenges we face in helping customers implement our product. I really want to dig in and understand their problems. Sounds cliche, but it's absolutely true. I can't really help them implement if I don't understand the challenges.
I think that's essentially what I'm trying to solve. I’m trying to find the common themes that come up in those calls, so that we can put in processes to be able to address them, break down those barriers, and get people to install, implement, and work with us inside of their organization. The ultimate goal is to get Mayhem to be so sticky that it's not even a question of if they're going to renew.
4. What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on since joining the Mayhem team?
My first my first few weeks here, I was just trying to understand where we needed to improve our go-to-market outreach. Essentially, it was just taking an overall picture of where we were. I've done this at a number of startups.
I'm gonna geek out a little bit, but I use Trello. I have a process that I go through to really dig in and understand all of the different challenges that we have. I look at the company, from product to sales, from customer success to finance, and try to understand the entire system, and then see what needs to be plugged in.
And I think we were able to spin up a team and build out processes that were feedback-loop driven and execute on those in a very short amount of time. And that was through partnerships with the marketing and product and customer success teams. So I would say that's what I'm proud of. And I actually find that easy to do, because I've done it a number of times, but it's also fun. You see the rewards at the end of the day.
5. When you are at work, how do you motivate yourself or what helps you focus?
I really like talking to customers and potential customers and helping them solve their problems. I just need one of those moments a week to get me jazzed to go to the next week.
I had two calls today that were phenomenal. I don't sell to a customer when I’m on a call. I'm really just trying to understand their challenges. And then I can see where Mayhem could fit, or if we’re a good fit. All I need is one of those calls a week to keep me going.
So, I'll give an example. When I talk to a customer, I ask what problems they face with their security tools. The constant feedback is, “I’ve got a ton of tools. They're all firing up a bunch of issues. Why are you any different?”
So I dig into those problems. And those problems might be false positives that the customer is spending time dealing with, or that every time they pass something over to the developer, they experience friction.
I like it when I’m in a position to offer solutions to those problems. I say, “What if your developers can actually replicate the security or quality problem, so that they can defend it inside the development community? Is that valuable?”
I don't need to sell to them. I just need to find the customers whose existing problems are solved by our product.
When that happens, it tells me that we’re relevant in the market. And that's what keeps me excited. Now, I’ve gotta find more people that look like that and go back to marketing, go back to the sales team and say, “Hey, this is what's resonating. And this is why people care about what we do. How do we do more of that?” So that's what gets me jazzed up and excited.
6. What has your experience been with our company culture?
I'm excited because we have a lot of expertise—Dr. Brumley, Dr. Avgerinos. We were the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge champs. We have team members that are on the seven-time DefCon CTF winning team.
When I started here, it was a very highly technical, academic-based culture. And a lot of our focus now is breaking down that expertise and knowledge so that everybody can understand it.
We would talk about all these really complex things that Mayhem can do. But it wasn't easily digestible. When I first looked at the website, I had no idea what we did. What's this symbolic execution stuff? Today when people ask me that, I can confidently say that it's a mathematical model that allows you to explore code paths that you would never look at before. But why does that matter? Because hackers don't live on the happy path. Hackers look for untested code. Hackers don’t look for the windows and doors, they look for the little crack in the back of the foundation.
If you go into the mathematical model, you may lose people. But if you go into the “why people care”, it resonates a lot more.
That's the part that, from a cultural standpoint, I'm excited about—taking all of this academic knowledge and figuring out how to communicate what we do. We have really smart people, Carnegie Mellon and Stanford alum—they came from the best organizations that do this type of research. But why it matters is that Mayhem gets to places and corners of your application that you would never look at otherwise. And that's where your biggest security vulnerabilities are.
7. What advice can you offer to someone looking to get into a role like yours?
I'm not the normal sales leader or go-to-market leader, because I grew up on the technical side. But what I've noticed about successful sales leaders, or revenue leaders, or customer success, is that they're focused on solving customer problems, versus just trying to sell somebody something.
Something that I've learned is to think about it from the customer's point of view, from the company's point of view, and from your point of view. So, customer, company, you, and if you think about it in that order, you will be successful in your career.
For example, when I use this process here, I think about, what's the customer's pain? Can I articulate how we can solve that customer pain? And then the last part is, can we implement it?
If you put in a process that allows that way of thinking to be put in front of customers, I think they appreciate it more than being pitched to every single day. I hate being pitched to. I bet you hate being pitched too, as well. So I'd rather go in and have a conversation. And if you can have a conversation, then you can drive. “Alright, this is where I think Mayhem can fit. This is where the product is going to show you more value.”
If we're only focusing on what we think our success is, then we fail. Our success is understanding what the customer’s success is. What project are they trying to deliver? How are they trying to deliver? Where do we fit into that so that we can make them successful?
8. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I have three kids. They're all very unique. One is an artist. He's a phenomenal photographer, and he's now going into his first year at MassArt. So I’m understanding that that's what drives him, and figuring out how I help enable him.
Then I have another child that understands every geopolitical position in the world and why that matters. And what I'm trying to do is understand how to help him explore that interest. We are already looking into the foreign services and mock UN.
And then I have my daughter who is the nicest person, cares deeply about everybody, but how do I then turn that into something that doesn't create an area where she's vulnerable and makes that into a strength? I partner with my wife (AKA management) to be able to do it. That's my biggest passion.
The second is, my brain doesn't shut off. So I need to figure out something that will satisfy that. I do that by getting my hands dirty and trying to figure stuff out mechanically. So I build cars and planes. I am into old VW Buses and Ghias. The piston airplanes I build are just VWs with wings.
I also fly planes. When I was in my 30s, I hated flying, hated it with a passion. And my wife said, “it's because you don't understand the mechanics”. And that's probably true. My wife gave me a gift certificate for an introductory flight. I started to work on understanding the mechanics and ended up going all in and buying a plane. That was the most expensive birthday gift she has given me.
9. Has anything scary happened to you when flying?
So it happened two months ago. I was flying at night. Taking off, I lost my engine at 450 feet. And the survivability of that scenario is the worst case scenario for any pilot. It’s pretty low. I survived it, but it shook me up pretty good.
When I lost my engine, the only thing that I saw in front of me were massive trees and buildings. So I kept having to turn back. But because I'm a geek, I've studied and I've practiced. I pushed forward, and I kept my airspeed up. I had an instructor with me. And we landed the plane on the runway, and did what's called the impossible turn.
The impossible turn is when you lose your engine on takeoff, and then you turn around and land back at the airport. And they say the fatality rate on that is pretty high because you normally stall and drive yourself straight into the ground, because you don't have enough airspeed to generate lift. We did the impossible turn, landed more than halfway down the runway, and then we almost ran off the runway. I told the controller, it's on record somewhere, that the only thing that was injured was my shorts.