#23: Microsoft’s season of change and transformation, with Eric Loper.

I’ve dubbed this interview and series, Microsoft’s Season of Change and Transformation. This is the first interview in a series to help the partner community best engage with the technology giant as it evolves it’s partner business to better serve partners and customers.

As most of you know, Microsoft announced a major reorganization to it’s customer and partner – facing business in early July which included the formation of a “One Commercial Partner” or OCP organization. This included three key elements – “Build With”, “Go to Market”, and “Sell With”*.

*In an earlier episode, Bill Hawkins helped decode the announcements for our listeners in greater detail and you can listen to this Episode 18 as a primer.

With Microsoft summer and implementation still underway, I thought it would be good to walk our partners down the hallways of Bellevue and Redmond and “peel back” through interviews with partner leaders on how to best align and engage with Microsoft at this critical season.

My guest for this interview episode is Eric Loper. Eric leads a “Build With” organization of partner business development managers focused on growing competencies, capabilities and capacity with Microsoft’s top partners in the United States.

This is a second or ” encore” interview episode with for Eric. If you listened to Episode 2 of the Ultimate Guide to Partnering you will remember Eric as my very first interview guest. At the time Eric and I had a great discussion and he shared with partner listeners the essential elements of partnering, his observations on technology trends and recommendations on how to best engage with the technology giant. You can listen to that episode here.

For this interview episode, Eric updates us on how the changes are positively impacting his organization, the renewed excitement and energy around partners, how both partners and partner sellers now need to think and act, and the increased investments in growing the business with and through partners.

A full transcript of the interview is below in the show notes.

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Vince Menzione

Transcript of our interview.

Eric, welcome back to the podcast. It is so great to have you back for this encore episode and to update our listeners on you and the business. You were my very first interview guest about 25 episodes ago. Boy, have we come a long way since then. At the time, you had a fairly small team, focused strictly on the National Solution Provider Program, and your organization was nested in the US business underneath the S&S&P team. Flash forward six months now, all of that is changed, and I’m super excited to have you here, and hear from you about the changes. The charge in the energy in Bellevue and RedMon right now. So, tell our listeners a little bit about what’s happening.

Eric Loper:                       Awesome. Well, first of all, thanks for having me. It’s always good to have a chance to catch up. By the way, I listened to some of your conversation with Bill Hawkins the other day. I thought that he did a great job. I took away some things from that and excited that you continue to deliver something that’s pretty cool for our partner community.

Vince Menzione:             Thank you. So tell us, how is the charge in energy in Bellevue right now?

Eric Loper:                       I think there’s a ton of excitement. We’re in a place right now where we are seeing great investment. Some of that is really recognizing the opportunity this year in the US. We think about folks in Bellevue, focused on the US. This is a definitive change. This is where the opportunity is for the company, so we’re excited about that. Then, man, there’s just big bets and a lot of focus on partner. So, there’s a ton of enthusiasm. I think we’re looking at all of the resources and trying to figure out, how do we pull all of those pieces together and get organized? But overall, what a great place to be, what a great time to be here.

Vince Menzione:             Well, it was an exciting time at Inspire with Sati’s announcements, Ron Huddelston and Gabrielle, up on stage. I felt the energy from the partners coming out of that, so I’m glad to hear the energy level has continued into this time of the year. I’d like to peel back with you as much as we can today, given the fluid state of change, and I recognize that everything’s probably not completely solid at this point, but as you know, we did a bit of that recap with Bill and that was right after the announcements happened.

So, I’d like to dig a little deeper, if you don’t mind? Dive a little deeper, if you will, on the organization and you sit in the overall Build organization now. You sit underneath Casey McGee, from what I understand. Can you tell our listeners a little bit more about the changes there?

Eric Loper:                       Yeah, so, I think the biggest thing for the listeners is to understand that this is really a commitment around business development. We want to be authentic and purposeful in our engagement with partners. That’s about, what are the investments that we want to make together, and putting the right people in place so that we can have those conversations and do it in an intelligent and thoughtful way.

Vince Menzione:             So, walk us down the hallway, for our listeners who don’t understand how your Build organization is structured. Can you take our listeners through the roles, and the organization underneath Casey?

Eric Loper:                       Yeah, so for the structure perspective, I think the biggest thing is, just, you know, centralized focus around this role of a partner development manager. You know, I said, business development, you know, all of the department development managers really being that connectivity and relationship with a partner in a way that a lot of us have come to expect. We’re trying to be as really, really purposeful and just, appreciative of what it takes to do that well.

So, within Casey’s business, we’ve organized ourselves. We’ve got folks that are working on partners that, you know, may be more focused on repeatable IP, although we’re looking to have conversations across all modernization models. We have folks that have organized themselves around partners that may feel today a little bit more focused on consulting. Some might use the term system integrator, but the overall intent, the overall focus, is, you know, really, it’s a doubling down by Microsoft on wanting to make sure that we’re able to be in a place where we can be really, really purposeful about helping partners to understand the Microsoft opportunity, the Microsoft landscape, and really, take advantage of this overall investment from Microsoft. Make sure that we’re able to take advantage of what’s happening within the market.

Vince Menzione:             So, if you look at what the role looked like last year versus this year, what are they doing more of now, and less of now?

Eric Loper:                       Well, it probably depends on what part of the company that person is coming from. Right, so we had a lot of different people, and a lot of different places that were engaging partner. For my team in particular, some of the changes, sort of, happening around us, and so, for us, a lot of things we’re doing are consistent. Still focused on making sure that we’re really being intentional about the relationship. Still focused on being thoughtful about, you know, what it is that we want to go to market with, and still focused on being in that place where we can be masterful about the execution

Now, there’s some additional tools in the tool bag, some additional relationships that we’re bringing to the table, but I would say that the biggest change is that we’re just trying to empower folks. Take some of the things off that, in a large part, people are engaging in. From my team in particular, a lot of the function is the same, but we’re really just trying to take some of the things off of their plate, that maybe they’ve been doing in the past, that really wasn’t as true to that simplified function of, how do we make sure that we can place a bet with a partner, take that bet and drive it scale together?

Vince Menzione:             So, they’ll focus more on that. Is that repeatable solutions? Is that IP, as well, or is it also just practices?

Eric Loper:                       You know, we’ll work with partners and engage with them across all modernization models. I do believe, if you think about, sort of, as we’re pivoting where we think that there is a lot of opportunity. Being in that place where we have repeated play with a partner is something that you’re going to see. The partners that are in my portfolio, you’re going to see a lot of focus on. We think that that is just being in a place where we’ve clearly defined, and these are business development 101, right, but being in a place where we clearly defined this scenario where we win every time. You know, what a fantastic place to be.

So, that aligns well with Microsoft’s focus on industry, that aligns well with just being able to place a bet, being able to clearly call that out. So, we will focus on that, but the intent, the design point for the business, is to go with the partner wherever the partner goes despite the modernization model that they choose to invest in.

Vince Menzione:             Have you changed the nomenclature? You know, you had a national Solution Provider team at the time, I believe you have a larger organization now. Does your team go by a different name now?

Eric Loper:                       We’re still working through the branding. I think at a super high level, you know, we choose the term Solution Provider, wanting to get away from some of the maybe, the other potential antiquated terms. The net is, yeah, we do have a larger portfolio. We’re continuing to work with partners that we think we can take to scale in a national way. That we feel like we can invest in and have a deeper sense of connection and coverage in, but we’re still working through, how do we brand each of the different investment levels?

We probably will never do that in an external, formal way. It won’t be a program, but the program, we’re in a place we can communicate, you know, “If you do these three things, you get these three things.” Given it’s an engagement model, which is really about how we have a relationship, we probably won’t do that super externally, but people may hear different terms as we go into this next year.

Vince Menzione:             Larger team, larger, or deeper set of responsibility on the build with function. Do you measure success the same way, or differently this year?

Eric Loper:                       Well, we’re living in a Cloud world, right? So, lots of focus on consumption and usage. We want to be in that place we can tie together the investments that partners are making, and be able to trace those back to, you know, specific and tangible outcomes. So, there’s a lot of continuity, like, philosophically, with the directions that we maybe, have been heading, but its just about the driving and the rigor, and the connection. Doing that, and being synced.

Vince Menzione:             So, Sati outlined four key business imperatives around modern workplace, business applications, applications and infrastructure, and data BI. Are you organizing your team differently to support these four areas, and if so, how are you thinking about cross support on competencies or partner types?

Eric Loper:                       We’re trying really hard not to bucket partners, not to bucket people. Recognizing that ultimately what we want to try and drive is this transformation for our customers. That’s the conversation we want to have with the customer, right? What is it going to take for you to evolve your business and be supported with that from a technology perspective?

There are some slight shifts. You know, taking on a greater focus around ERP, and a number of those individuals, as a number of those individuals moved into my team this year. Really, I would say, the opportunity is in being able to tell the story correctly, right? As we talk about operations, we need to be talking about data. As we talk about customer engagement, you know, it’s not just what’s happening within the CRM, right, there’s all the opportunity to be talking about the analytics, machine learning, all those pieces that come together to deliver the connected story.

So, you talked with Bill, and you were talking about the Venn-diagram. We’re trying to be really intentional about being in that place where we’re having the holistic discussion. I think we’ve come a long way, from a Microsoft perspective. I mean, you and I could probably, you know, think about, and joke about when we had 30 products and we were trying to be a solution sales company.

Vince Menzione:             Right.

Eric Loper:                       I think we’ve come a long way, but that’s something we just have to be tenacious about every year, and so I see that being just another area where it’s, tighten the focus, make sure that we’re living up to the things that we’re aspiring to.

Vince Menzione:             From a technical resource perspective to support those areas, what do you pull from? What organization are you pulling from to support your partners?

Eric Loper:                       Yeah, so, I think there’s investments that are happening in a couple of different ways. I mean, we’re trying to be really thoughtful about a couple of new role types. We have investments in some technical specialists that were investing with partners. There’s some deeper investments that those partners have the ability to pull from. Obviously, we’re looking at that based on opportunity, right? So, with a broad audience, like this, those partners may, or may not, have access to different levels of investment.

Then, what’s surprising is that in a lot of scenarios, the partner is the customer, right, the partners model as they are going to market, or the customers model as they go into market, is partnership with Microsoft. So, actually seeing a number of scenarios where ultimately we’re talking about that same outcome, we’re talking about making our customer successful. One way of doing that is partnering with Microsoft. So, we’ve been able to make even some additional investments, above and beyond what we might have traditionally thought about from a partner perspective, with that customer, given those scenarios.

Vince Menzione:             Nice. So, does the scope include more of the … When you think about … When I think about when you said, about partners as customers, I think about maybe a customer who created a SaaS based solution, maybe to serve a business need, an IP. Is that something that’s now within your purview?

Eric Loper:                       For some, right, I mean, I wouldn’t say that’s … There’s a lot of folks that are thinking about that, but if you just take a step back and say, “How is the Microsoft ecosystem evolving?” We had a set of partners that hooked up washing machines, like, did technology deployments, if you go back, you know, 10 years. What we are focused on now, right, it’s not about taking this one thing and doing it this one time, and having that new thing come once every 18 months. We’re having conversations with customers about, ultimately, you know, “How is it that we can get you to the place that you’re looking to, and do that through the use of technology?”

So, what we have seen is that, as we look at the landscape, that process has changed. So, in some cases, we found that, gosh, as we’re having the conversation with the customer, the best way that we can help them maybe it is their SaaS solution, you know, maybe it’s helping them extend their consulting business. The best way that we can help them is from a partnership perspective, and so, I think, that’s something that’s not just unique to me, or the partners I’m working with, it’s probably unique to the partner ecosystem. It’s a unique thing that we feel like we can offer to some of those customers, right, who are looking to do things on a global scale, and they’re looking to engage in global sales, with a global sales force.

Vince Menzione:             That’s very interesting in terms of the perspective on what a partner is today, so, do you think there are different attributes today, that you need from people looking to be successful in role, in your organization?

Eric Loper:                       Working for me, or working … Or, for a partner in my portfolio?

Vince Menzione:             First for you, let’s talk about you for the first part. Like, does your organization need to think differently, right? It’s no longer about hooking up the washing machine, and you know, let’s use Office 365 as that, right, that connection, like, turning on the switch for O365. It sounds like today, in this rapid age of transformation, this disruptive age, you’re almost looking for, or trying to excite, or ignite, a technology, right? Take it to the next level of development and build with that partner. Sound like that to me.

Eric Loper:                       Yeah, so, if you just think about how fast the industry is moved. We used to be in these 18 month release cycles, and so, I guess I’ll give a similar answer to what I said before. If you think about, you know, being in that place, if you were to put yourself in the shoes of the customer, where we want to go and have the transformational discussion with the customer. A lot of times that conversation is, you know, “This is what technology can do for you now. Let’s talk together about how we help you on your journey.” That’s not a hunter/gatherer conversation, right, that’s not a, “I’m going to come in one time. I’m going to help you understand this thing that we’ve built. I’m going to show it to you, you’re going to deploy it, and then I’m going to leave.” That’s an ongoing, continuous, “We are joined together in success”, type of discussion.

That’s what we hope to bring to our partners, and so as we look at how this evolves, you know, you’re asking like, how do things change? My flippant answer would be, well, we need autonomy. Just given, sort of, the size of the team, but being really, really pointed, I mean, we want to set the standard for business development in the industry. We want to be in a place that we are able to not just come and have a GTM conversation with the partner, and take a PowerPoint, and stamp it three times, and say that we did something. We want to be in that place that we can help that partner through that transformational journey, and really, it’s about this ever evolving opportunity, ever evolving landscape, and figuring out, you know, where is it that we have equity together, and doing that continuously.

So, that’s the journey. I do think things are changing. I think they’re evolving super, super quickly, and, you know, this is an opportunity for us to really set the bar and invest heavily and find the right people who are able to take advantage of the amazing opportunity that’s in front of us.

Vince Menzione:             So, let’s take that from the angle of partner and customer, what’s different for them? How do they need to come to the table differently, and be thinking, and what attributes are you looking for, for them to be successful?

Eric Loper:                       Yeah, well, for one, I think if you’re not fully present then you really just risk the opportunity of being left behind. We’re in a place where business models are changing, business models are evolving. I’m shocked watching the partner profitability journey over the last, let’s say, three years, or the last seven years. Seeing markets open and shut, profitability areas, open and shut. How fast things are changing, and so, the belief of, we’ve always done it this way, or, maybe we have a good thing going here, if you’re not careful, you run the risk of missing out.

So, we think about it as being in that place of being present. Some people might talk about it being focused, like always competing, but I think for a partner, that making sure that you’re constantly being thoughtful about the strategy, and how you’re moving forward, what opportunities you want to invest in, being really, really intentional about those. We’re in an evolving world, and I don’t know that everyone has those muscles to the place that they need to have those muscles today.

Vince Menzione:             Yeah, that’s a really good comment. Now, let’s take this a step further in terms of how your organization aligns with the other organizations in the OCP, or One Commercial Partner organization, you have to build-with function, and then there is a go-to market function, and a sell-with function? So, talk to me a little bit about that hand off, if you don’t mind, from build-with, to go-to market, and then to sell-with.

Eric Loper:                       Yeah, so some of it is simplicity that we’re driving that our partners may not see. We have organized all these functions into one group, and that may not seem … The weight of that may not be completely, immediately evident, but knowing how many different conversations it might have taken to get something done in the past, I just have a ton of optimism about having one leadership team that can make a set of decisions and move forward quickly.

So, that’s some of the benefit of, you know, putting people into some functional groups. Just allowing us to be, you know, thoughtful and efficient, and agile, all the things that you would want from partnering with a group like Microsoft. Some of those groups we have a heritage with, so when I think about like, the GTM function, that’s something that we go a long way back. Especially for my team of being able to sit at the table together, to have a conversation as the owner of the relationship, and be in a place that we have someone who can come and talk about, you know, what are the investments that we want to make in this current year? Some of those things are evolving. I think the definition of, you know, that channel manager role, is something that, you know, we’re really trying to get clear and pointed on.

The net is that we want to be a place that we’re able to help partners across the journey. From being in a place that we’re talking about making investments, whether they’re massive investments, like, which are the companies that we should be partnering with? What are the ways that we should be thinking about growing? What are the investments that we want to make as we think about going to market, or we even think about the right resources that we need. All the way through to, how do we make sure that we’re making connection within a given and specific account?

So, this really gives us the ability to have clear, defined roles and expectations. You might remember a previous life, when a lot of people had the same title. So, we’re being more clear and specific about all of the parts. I think a lot of it is about just being crisp, and just being thoughtful. There are channel managers, we’re doing a set of things. A lot of those things are similar to, maybe, things that they might have done in the past. What we’re really trying to do is, maybe, offload some of the things that they might have been doing, that, maybe didn’t necessarily align to the role, but they might have just been the person who was most likely to receive that task.

So, I think there’s a lot of opportunity as all of the different, sort of, wheels come together on the bus. Some of it are things that are probably similar in shape to how we’ve done things in the past, but if we can be effective in how we work together, and we can be more purposeful, we feel like we’re going to get a lot more efficiency.

Vince Menzione:             Yeah. It sounds like it, and you know, having the accountability, as you mentioned, at the executive level, right? So, one organizations comments that have accountable, up through the leadership chain, that makes a lot of difference.

Eric Loper:                       Absolutely.

Vince Menzione:             Let’s talk about you and the organization that you’re leading now, if you don’t mind. From a communication approach, with a larger partner eco-system and team, how’s Eric thinking about that? How are you preparing to lead this bigger organization?

Eric Loper:                       Well, look, leadership at scale is definitely an interesting challenge. You know, it’s done with, you think about culture and consistency, and thoughtfulness. You know, I feel like I’m continuing to refine my craft there. What I love about it is that just forcing function for new ideas, right, like, you can’t talk about all the myriad … I actually got a couple of ideas of how you may be able to, potentially, help me with some of those. I think about communication.

Vince Menzione:             Let’s talk a little bit about partners that want to engage, that aren’t engaged today. Like, what is the best way to engage? You know, we talked a little bit about attributes, what is the best timing? What is the best method for those partners to engage with your team?

Eric Loper:                       Well, all the partners might not engage with my team, I mean, essentially, you know, I think about my charter as the hundred best partners. So, you know, if there’s a partner, and they feel like they’re in that place, hopefully they have some kind of relationship with Microsoft, from that perspective, and you know, open to having a discussion. It’s probably going to come from somebody that they’re already working well within Microsoft. I think for the broader partner community and, you know, certainly we want to be in a place, I think, that the message for partners is, this is our season. This is our time together.

The partners are super, super important, and we have somebody who’s here to engage. Whether that’s from a MSP perspective, or whether that’s from more of a consulting perspective. Whether that’s from, you know, repeatable IP, we have teams in place that are here to engage and want to invest the time to build a plan together and think about how they can be thoughtful. So, I think for partners, given the opportunity and this season, it’s about, how do I take advantage of that?

I would challenge partners to think about focus, and I will tell you, the partners that I see with the greatest growth, are the ones that are most intentional and most focused. We are just seeing a ton from partners that have decided to invest and bet, and be 100% focused on Microsoft. That may sound a little self serving, but when I look at the growth rates in the marketplace, that is what we see baring out. That given the number of features, and the number of vendors that are out there, and what is possible, and how that’s evolving every day, its pretty difficult to be a master of everything.

Vince Menzione:             You know, one of the things I talk about when I speak to partners is about the cadence of Microsoft, right? We are at a certain point in time now when, kind of, the flood gates are going to open up any moment now. Traditionally it’s the Q2 and Q3 that are really when partners need to step it up. Is there any advice there for the partners that are in that top 100, that they need to do? Or how do they think differently, in terms of focus, these next two quarters?

Eric Loper:                       Well, look, we’re in consumption world now. So, consumption world, I mean, we need wins, like I need wins this week so that they can consume all year long, and continue to land and drive those results for us. So, you know, I think for partners, I do believe that, you know, we’ve put a lot of change into the model, and that will start to feel thoughtful and predictable. They flywheel will start to turn. Partners will start to feel that over the course of the coming months, but that being said, we have to find a way to get things done. If you’re in my group of partners, we have to find to get things done last week, so that we can be successful together over the course of this year, and continue to see the investment that all of us want to see.

Vince Menzione:             So, are there any best lessons or career advice that you’ve been given over the years that you’re bringing forward right now, or you’re being reminded of right now through this time of change, reorganization? It’s an exciting time, obviously, for you and, you know, kind of, building this new muscle for Microsoft. Was there any best lessons, or advice that you could think of, or you’ve been thinking of based on this time?

Eric Loper:                       You know, someone was asking me about this, this morning, just, “How do you drive with a larger team?” I was thinking about, kind of, how similar it is to having kids. At least it’s something you want to be intentional about, that you’re very invested in, that you care a lot about. I was thinking about going from, you know, one kid, to two kids, to three kids. I have some friends that have, you know, four or five.

That first … You have that first one and it’s like, your life changes, it’s, “How can I ever get things done?” You have the second one and you’re now in that, kind of, man-to-man coverage. Then we had our third, and it was not exponentially harder, right? I can see why my friends would say, “If you have four and five, you know, at some point, it’s not that much harder to, you know, shepherd and run the family.”

So, I was just thinking about, sort of, growing in scale across this team and how much it can feel daunting when faced with a new challenge, but really, it’s about being able to take and master your craft. I found that when you have those things anchored in, in the right way. When you’re in that place where, you know, you have those core skills in a really strong way, that it doesn’t always feel as daunting when you have to take those to scale. So, that’s the piece that’s been encouraging for me as I’m thinking about all of the opportunity and the days when I feel challenged. You know, thinking back to, some of the, we’ll call them ‘previous fires’, in life. That really solidified some of the areas of my, if you want to call it, of your craft, or of who I am and how I lead.

So, you know, I don’t know if that’s encouraging or helpful to folks, but, you know, I think recognizing to stay true and focused, and really get good at the things you’re doing and the place that you’re at. Then when it comes time to scale, you know, it doesn’t always have to be an overwhelming or a daunting challenge. You know, sometimes it’s just about taking the same things that you’re doing and then being able to do that on a broader platform.

Vince Menzione:             Yep, that’s really great advice for our listeners, anyone who’s leading a larger organization as well. I was thinking about when you were talking the kids, about that zone defense going from two to three, and three to four, and five, and so on.

Eric Loper:                       There’s … I’m sure there’s some moms out there that are going to like, completely disagree. You know, two to five kids, like, “Heck no, you’re out of your mind and your wife deserves a vacation.”

Vince Menzione:             Yeah, your sitting in the office today, right, and she’s back like …

Eric Loper:                       She does, but that’s just my … That’s my personal experience, and feel free to disagree.

Vince Menzione:             No, I love it. So, you know, we have talked about the rapid pace of change. We talked about that on our first interview, back on episode two. You mentioned it today as well. Where are you seeing the change the most rapidly? I mean, what are the things that are coming, happening so much faster? There’s certain technology segments, is it internet of things, is it AI, is it machine learning? Where are you seeing the real, exponential growth right now?

Eric Loper:                       Well, you know, some of it is specific silos, and some of it is the silos coming together. If you just think back over the last 100 years, right, and you think about like, which things happened every 10 years, there is a convergence. So, when I look from a technology perspective, you know, we’ve all known that data is going to be big. That’s the conversation we’ve been having for 10 years, 15 years, and you know, certainly data has been governing decisions. If you look into the space, we called it BI for a long time, but I do believe Microsoft, we’re on this path and this journey of, you know, democratizing AI, right? We want to make it easy for people to use, not just machine learning, but you know, that artificial intelligence.

So, looking down that path of what is possible when you do that, you know, a year from now, 18 months from now, today with what’s available, that gets super, super compelling and exciting. Then if you go and take it one step further and you marry that with experience, and that experience, you know, may come in several forms. It may come to the devices, it may come through augmented reality. There’s just a lot that you can potentially bring to the table, that can land in terms of how you, you know, grow and interact with that data.

So, when I think about, when I make a comment that, you know, things are changing, some of its about how things that we’re doing are used today. Some of its about new things that are coming, and then, honestly, some of its about watching where are partners getting profitability from? Right, and that shift from 15 years ago Microsoft was about reselling a license. Then it was about deploying a server, and everything that we had with SharePoint. Certainly some partners still have profitable businesses around SharePoint. We all took this journey to the cloud, and there was a big focus on, you know, exchange and how do we upgrade that to these SaaS services?

Now, we’re seeing this massive, massive playground, that’s continuing to evolve in terms of the intelligent cloud. So, I think there’s going to be a lot of businesses that evolve there, and when I look and I think about my kids, and I think about their experience. I think about, where will they be when they’re my age, and how will they engage with technology? I think we’ll look back and reflect on these days and we’ll feel like we were only at the beginning.

Vince Menzione:             That’s great, and it’s such an exciting time right now, this disruption that’s happening. I mean, you know, we’re all touched by things like Uber and Airbnb, and you know, now you’re seeing the work with autonomous vehicles and it’s just an amazing and exciting time around every business aspect. So, as you’ve been thinking through these organizational changes, any advice or books specifically, that are coming to mind that you’re applying to the new business challenges?

Eric Loper:                       Yeah, no book today, although I did … I was talking with one of our executives in the industry last week, he was reminding me that the average CEO reads 60 books a year.

Vince Menzione:             Yep.

Eric Loper:                       So, that’s part of my challenge is, figuring out how to consume that much information. I think the thing I’m just reminded of in times of change is just, we need works of authenticity. I think that there’s a lot of room, people will give you a lot of room and a lot of grace, if you’re authentic.

I think from a business development perspective, we talked about, you know, sort of, how do we align and grab that equity together? That just seems to be the sentiment. So, everything that we’re doing, and everything that I’m doing through this season of change, you know, that’s what we’re just trying to bear in mind, as making sure that that’s how we’re living, and represented, and thinking. Trying to be authentic about our values, and trying to be authentic about our passion to really do the right thing, and make sure that as we’re thinking, we’re thinking about our partners first.

Vince Menzione:             So, any closing advice for our partners out there, all our listeners? That some of them fit in your top 100, some of them don’t today, but maybe aspire to. What would you say to them?

Eric Loper:                       You’re important, we care, and as we’re in this season of change, we’ve got to transform how we sell.

Vince Menzione:             Nice, nice, and for our listeners, best way to reach Eric?

Eric Loper:                       Well, look, I think if you’re in the top 100, I’m sure you have a relationship with somebody and I would say have that person reach out, and we can have a conversation about if our partnership, if it makes sense for us to invest together. Outside of that, probably a great way to connect and I think they way that most people are reaching out is through, like, LinkedIn. So, looking forward to, you know, the opportunity to work with all of you. We’re all here together on this journey.

Excited about the work that you’re doing, Vince. Just bringing people together around this opportunity, and you know, over time, it feels like we all find a way to work together. So, looking forward to the continued journey together.

Vince Menzione:             Eric, thank you so much for joining us today. I know how busy a time of year this is for you, and for you to take the time to spend with our listeners, it just, I’m so appreciative of that. Great to have you on. Great to have you on again, for this encore, and thank you for joining.

Eric Loper:                       Awesome, thanks Vince.



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