Podkast
Spencer Fossen

As Bruce Arians would say… no risk it, no biscuit

Spencer Fossen, our VP of Customer Success, got to join Clare Dobson on The Startup Sidekick podcast.

He has already made a tremendous impact here and if you’re looking to learn about career progression, this is the episode for you.

From sales to customer success, it’s all about relationship building.

But when joining a startup, you need more than just those skills. You need to align with the Founder(s) and early-stage employees to ensure you will be a good fit.

Startups aren’t just a 9-5 job, you have to take responsibility and be able to adjust quickly.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

[00:00:00] Clare Dobson: hello everybody. Welcome to another episode of the startup sidekick podcast. Today’s guest is currently the VP of customer success here at abstract, and he has really done so much in such a short period of time. He is absolutely the person you want is employee number three. So make sure you’re listening everybody.
Please. Welcome Spencer Fossen.

[00:00:24] Spencer Fossen: Hello. It is good to be here. I’m happy to be here. I’m really excited. I’ve been looking forward to watching you build, uh, this podcast series, and I know you’ve got an awesome list of guests lined up, so hopefully I can make a little bit of a scratch and, and provide a little bit of insight here, cuz there’s some heavy hitters on that list, but I’m, I’m happy to be here and.

[00:00:44] Clare Dobson: yeah, let’s do this thing. That’s awesome. Two abstract employees. We’ll see how this goes. Yes. And see what we get out of you. Yes. Okay. all right. So Spencer, you’ve kind of been all over the place, especially in the sales world, from partnerships to enterprise business development manager. Now you’ve shifted to customer success.

[00:01:04] Spencer Fossen: What, what does our, your LinkedIn or your resume not tell us about you? Well, I, uh, Well, I mean, so from a professional standpoint, I think that everyone should have to start in a sales role. I think that that should be like a, uh, like a prerequisite. If you wanna work in the tech world or just have a basic life skill to understand how you’re, you’re constantly being.
Sold and I’m sure many of people have heard this. So understanding the ability to identify when you’re being sold and also identify how to be able to go ahead and get things that you need done and accomplish. Uh, sales is a great place to be able to start that. So, um, yeah. Smile and dial a hundred. Plus calls a day is where we started, uh, moved over into the partnerships world.
Cuz I like to, uh, build relationships with people and get to know people. That’s really some of my core strengths. So, um, that was definitely intuitive for that, for that. And then, you know, got on board with a startup and they needed [00:02:00] somebody who was gonna kind of just do. Whatever, um, to be able to help move the company forward.
And I kind of just had a natural draw and attraction to, to the customer success side of things. So here I am now, uh, you know, a lot. What I’ve learned is reading and listening to podcasts, just like this from people who are in the CS world. Um, and just applying that on my own and, and having conversations exactly like this.

Uh, so what we do is from a, what does my LinkedIn that tell you about me? I don’t know. It’s, uh, I love aviation. I’ve got two dogs, my, uh, my wife, you know, we, we love to go hiking things of that nature. Um, but yeah. Hiking, not in the summer in Arizona though. It’s a little too hot there. Yeah. Right.

[00:02:44] Clare Dobson: well, so from like a sales perspective, what, what made that shift that you wanted to go to the customer success?
Was it that partnership, that relationship building or what kind of triggered that for you?

[00:02:57] Spencer Fossen: Um, I think that the customer, when you’re in an early stage startup definitely needs an advocate, uh, for sure, because one, they’re the most valuable thing that we have, cuz they’re the people who are keeping the lights on.

Um, but two, I think that it’s important to be able to understand not only really what your customer needs. I mean, we all know what the customer needs in a sense when it comes to a SAS, you know, type of tech startup, and, and you’re working within a specific. Very niche area like we do, but at the same time, um, how to be able to deliver on that consistently, uh, and understand that that person knows that they have an advocate that’s on the inside because obviously for a lot of my revenue folks who will watch this, um, you know, we’re trying to bring in customers left and right.

Obviously, but with the customer success side of things, there’s an opportunity to keep the people who are really helping us go get those new customers. Not only happy, but, but continuing to be our customer because they enjoy the partnership that we’ve built together. So, um, that’s part of the reason why I

I think I’ve gravitated towards this role is because it’s something that I’ve always excelled at is just kind of galvanizing, uh, real relationships with people and understanding people on a much deeper level than just the simple, uh, surfacey uh, we’ll we’ll round up on this, follow up on this next week type of situation you run into most of the time.

[00:04:17] Clare Dobson: So. Makes sense. Makes sense. So why, I mean, you’ve worked at larger companies, smaller companies, like what’s attracted you about startups. And why did you decide to make that transition to, to, I mean, well, it can just give the example of abstract why’d you make that decision?

[00:04:33] Spencer Fossen: Yeah. So, um, I’m I I’m, I’m a bit of a gambler.
I like, I like risk. I enjoy risk. I it’s what keeps you on your toes? Um, mm-hmm and I think if you’re not really doing risky things, life can get pretty boring in a hurry, uh, and risky things. Also help. Grow you, um, they help, uh, build a foundation of not only who you are, but the foundation that others are gonna be able to build on, especially when you find yourself in a leadership position.
Uh, so therefore when I’m focusing on a startup. I Greg reached out to me. I had got a brand new baby girl and obviously for a lot of people, it’d be the exact reason why they would go to an insert large tech name here. Yeah. Uh, but I know I can always have that. I could pick up a phone now and be able to get, uh, you know, a couple of interviews with no sweat whatsoever, but how often am I gonna be able to go help, build something from the ground up and hopefully one.

Back and show, Hey, look, this is what we accomplished together that doesn’t come across, uh, too many people’s plates in the SAS world. Uh, so for me, it was a no brainer, uh, to, to give this a go again.

[00:05:44] Clare Dobson: So, okay. So being a dad, I mean, you have, uh, eight month old, is that how old she is now? 10 months now.

So when you joined abstract, like, I mean, that’s a fairly big risk. Did you have second guess that at all? Or was it because of that impact and what you had the ability to do?

[00:06:03] Spencer Fossen: You’re confident in yourself to be able to make that risk. Um, when I was younger, I had somebody who was teaching me just kind of about complacency and how complacency evolves.
And I think that that’s something that’s always stuck with me. Um, and how, you know, one day you’re doing X and then you’re making X amount of dollars and you’ve got the house and you’ve got the kids and all of a sudden you’re doing X and, you know, you kind of get to a place where you’re really comfortable.

So I’ve always tried to avoid. Getting myself into a position where I’m extremely comfortable, but at the same time, insert a child as someone who just had their first child and as many can attest your outlook and the way that you look at those things that you grew up with and those ideals like, Hey, never be complacent.

You kind of just sit there for a moment and second guess yourself every now and then. Right? Mm-hmm . I definitely had reservations about it and I definitely thought it through and things of that nature, but Hey, you know, I still got energy in me. I’m still relatively young and it was one of those situations.

Like I said, I know that I can go get a, a job elsewhere. So why not? You know, Go do something fun, you know, do something, that’s gonna throw things, curve balls at you, something new and different every day. Uh, not many people get that. And a lot of people, uh, you know, not the, you know, proverbial cubicle anymore, you know, with, uh, you know, remote work and whatnot, but, um, just wasn’t for me.
And I don’t think it will be for me. So. Yeah.

[00:07:29] Clare Dobson: As Bruce S would say no risk, get no biscuit. Right.

[00:07:32] Spencer Fossen: That’s my boy right there. I love BA . BA BA is my guy. He, oh, he’s the best. He brought us a, I I’m a big bucks fan. And for anybody who’s a buckers fan. I know they’re finite, probably not watching this. We went through 18 years of not making the playoffs and we want a super bowl.

[00:07:49] Clare Dobson: So yes, BA’s good in my book. So. He yeah. Loved him here in Arizona. It was a hard, hard goodbye, but you know what it happens. it does. So let’s get back. Let’s talk a little bit about, you know, joining a startup, especially employee number three here at abstract. So it was Greg and I, and there was just, you know, so much that could be on your plate.

What hit you right in the face that maybe you weren’t expecting when you first started?

[00:08:22] Spencer Fossen: I think it’s a good thing. It was just how much autonomy to problem solve. I had, you know, with a lot of people and I’m sure we’ll touch on this a little bit too. Especially when you’re working with a founder. Um, it’s difficult for them to be able to let go and let their baby, uh, kind of be, uh, tinkered in a way with that they may not have thought of, or not comfortable with, um, and may have not been their first decision.
So, uh, yeah, just the amount of autonomy to be able to problem solve was something that was whoa, uh, uh, you know, part one, cause then all of a sudden I’m making decisions that. You know, product and customer-facing and things of that nature. Um, and then two, uh, you know, it’s, it’s not a level that most people are accustomed to, you know, uh, especially even if you are employee number three, you know?

Um, so that was definitely kind of a aha moment for me when I got, when I first started here. Did that. I mean, I know from when I started it, it was very similar, but it was a bigger weight than I expected to, to take. Cuz you know, you, you think you have what it takes. You have the confidence, but you second guess yourself because it’s a lot of weight on your shoulders to be able to say, all right, Spencer, here you go.

Here’s the customer success side. I need you to, I need to get up our daily active users. I need you to do this and this good luck, figure it out. Like, did you feel that as well? Uh, without a doubt, I mean, you know, that’s in any time you need to move a needle, whether you’re carrying a bag as an AE, or you are trying to get adoption up, or you’re trying to change processes that just are inefficient, there’s definitely a weight to it.

Um, and when you’re dealing. The most valuable people that a startup have in a sense, our customers, um, mm-hmm , that is definitely a big, big weight and a big burden. And it’s what for it’s what keeps you pushing to be able to make sure you get things done the right way. So mm-hmm, how I mean, so let’s talk about this a little bit more.

[00:10:28] Clare Dobson: You employee, number three, you have equity, right? But you, yes, don’t have this. It’s you’re not a founder. How, how did you, how does that make you feel? Or did you ever second guess it, in the sense of the work you had to put in to be able to realize like, maybe you don’t have that same level, but you have to take that same responsibility.

[00:10:49] Spencer Fossen: Well, I think this has a lot to do, why I decided to align with Greg, um, and the fact that we are people who, and as you know, and you are one of them and we are hiring we’ve hired on three more, who hopefully will show they’re the same exact way, but people who care about their personal brand, as much as what they’re doing from a, you know, building a company.

Point. Right. What I mean by that is that, uh, being able to look back and say that you have integrity and that you put hard work into something is of extreme and of the most highest importance to you, which is I think a, uh, similarity, uh, that Greg and I share you and I share. And then the people we’ve hired as something we definitely look for when, when interviewing.

Was, uh, okay. Does this person want to just collect a paycheck? Are they trying to like, uh, let me see if I can test the water for sales. Like we’ll kind of go that route or is this somebody who has a track record of a high level of achievement, or even at a high level of failing where they’ve really understood what they’ve tried to attempt and.

They got to the point where they, things didn’t quite work out. I love those scenarios just as much as I love, uh, victories, because it shows that somebody put in the time and the effort to understand what they were trying to do. And that’s what we all share here. And that’s what keeps me going from a personal standpoint is that I don’t want.

To be the person who’s the laggard. And I don’t ever wanna have somebody say, okay, my wor Spencer’s work was the reason why we decided to not continue to work with abstract, or we didn’t have a good experience with abstract still. Okay. So you have that competitive side kind of popped up a little bit.
You don’t wanna be last, do you think that’s a quality that everybody, if you’re looking to join a startup or you have that opportunity, is that a quality that’s needed? It’s interesting. I’ve seen people who would not come off as the most type a competitive person be wildly successful in roles that traditionally require a type a, uh, competitive individual to fill it.

I think it really comes down to like the individual. It comes down to kind of their background and their ethos. If you will, they’re more, you know, where they stand and how they’re principled in their life. Uh, that dictates that type of thing. Okay. Just depends.

[00:13:08] Clare Dobson: So, in, in that sense, when you’re talking about like, being able to put in that hard work, being able to have that same ownership mentality, is that something you grew up with, is that like going back to your childhood, is that what you were taught or where did that come from?

[00:13:25] Spencer Fossen: Yeah. I mean, my family, as many, uh, families are that are down in Arizona, uh, got roots in the Midwest and you know, that I attribute a lot of the hard working, um, you know, grit that I get from. Having examples of individuals who needed to fix things and, you know, tackle problems and did what it took in order to be able to do that.

Um, so that was definitely instilled at me at a young age that, you know, you gotta work for what you have and things of that nature. So yeah, I would say my childhood definitely played a huge role in it and, uh, At a certain point, you need to start taking onus on yourself. Cuz like I said, that complacency beast comes in and says, Hey, you’re doing pretty well.

Why don’t you just hang here for a bit and you gotta find something that can kind of kick you back into gear and move you to the next spot. So that’s a whole nother beast in and of itself, but for sure. Hmm. That’s, it’s interesting thinking about that because, you know, there’s probably a lot of people who grew up differently, right.

Had, you know, maybe didn’t have to do chores or they had different backgrounds or, you know, maybe only a single parent, like, so there’s so many different backgrounds that people can have, but so many, also different ways people can be successful. And, but I. I think ultimately that’s like such a common theme that I’ve seen is the ability to, to put in the work, knowing that you might not get rewarded right at this time, but you will get rewarded later in life or either with the company with another company.

[00:14:57] Clare Dobson: So it’s, it’s an interesting to hear that perspective on it because it it’s something. I think it’s super important, but it’s like, how do you teach that? How do you help people who maybe don’t have that? Who wanna have it? So there’s two sides of that. Yeah. Well, and I also think too, it’s not a game that startups can really play.

[00:15:16] Spencer Fossen: Um, and I think that those types of games are met for folks who are looking to go to the big corporate and they may be able to find it and then find themselves the ability to be able to be interested and kind of inquisitive about what a startup looks like and the kind of, uh, effort and work that takes, uh, you know, place at a, at a place like abstract, just because of the fact that, um, you know, We don’t have the luxury to be able to instill those efforts in those folks.

I trust me if I, I would love to have the ability to instill that in those types of folks, cuz that means we’re doing some seriously good things. And for the, I probably have a hundred other people. Doing it for me. I wouldn’t have to do it. Mm-hmm so, um, yeah, I, I think it’s an interesting, it’s interesting to see how people come from different backgrounds, but I also think it’s extremely important to keep that in mind when, if you’re in a startup and you’re looking to add people that you, you just don’t have the luxury for it.

So don’t waste your time on it. And unfortunately it doesn’t make you a bad person, but it’s just the reality of it. It’s true. So dive diving into that just a little bit more, cuz I just wanna pick your brain on it when, especially as we’ve gone through a lot of hiring, um, What are some of the qualities, if you can name two or three qualities and we’ve talked about one, but is there anything else that, you know, you would say, you know, you are the perfect kind of fit or you have the right mentality to be at a startup, or what, what do you see in that sense when you’ve been interviewing?

Yeah. So I think that what I really look for is foundational pieces. I think that you. Like we talk, like we just talked about, there’s certain things that we don’t have the luxury to teach. The things that I look for are things that are not something that we have the luxury to teach. So if we were to take a look at that, it would be somebody who’s, uh, got humility.

Um, somebody who has the ability to say I am wrong. Or if I, I oftentimes in my interviews will correct people and offer. Other ways of, of maybe thinking of things to just see how they might react to it. Uh, because not so much that I’m interested in their answer, I’m interested in their reaction. Right. I don’t care what the answer is, but if they’re willing to sit there and listen and actually show that they’re listening to what you’re trying to say, that to me, shows somebody who is.

One ready to learn. Two has humility and three, uh, hopefully can apply it. Now that’s where the next of the questions comes is kind of, you look, you wanna say you, everyone says they’re hard working and everyone says that they have all these skills, but I, I especially love the question that I, I love to ask is I tell them, I do not want to talk about their business skills whatsoever and I’ll lay it out like black and white.

Like, I don’t wanna talk about your business skills whatsoever. I don’t wanna talk. Where you’ve worked, what you’ve done. What I want you to do is just tell me something about you that I don’t know. And let’s just talk about what, who you are, and it’s amazing. You’ll see just how fast people will. Kind of come right back towards their business skills.

Like they’ll say like, well, I’ve got a dog and then we’re gonna go back to, I’ve made quota a three months in a row, blah, blah, blah. It’s like, oh, okay, well that’s not, I, I don’t know. I might not asking this question correctly, but you, you get to see like, Hey, is this person willing to kind of be a little bit more vulnerable, right?
Like show that they’re a little bit like, Hey, this is a little bit about me. I just met you because that really goes a long way. Um, when not only working with a team. But also. You know, uh, when you’re trying to execute on a, on a daily basis. Yeah. And pretty much every role. Uh, I think it’s universal. It’s not necessarily just a sales related piece, so that’s true.

[00:18:50] Clare Dobson: That’s good. So I listened to the ed Mylet podcast and he always talks about humility and confidence. Right. And there two things that people need, you don’t want someone who only has humility and no confidence, cuz they’re not very fun to be around, but you don’t want someone who has all confidence and no humility.

[00:19:07] Spencer Fossen: They’re just cocking annoying. So you need to have this combo of both. So just interesting that you said that, cuz I was like, oh it applies, see, that’s a much more succinct route. I need to check out this guy’s podcast cuz I’m saying I’m chronic, I’m chronic of the roundabout answer. I probably get there a little bit longer than some people and then, you know, things get a little lengthy, but we get there, you know, we get there.

[00:19:28] Clare Dobson: Yeah, we get there. It’s all good. Okay. Let’s let’s go back outta this hole that I dove into. Okay. Yeah, sure. Working now let’s talk about working with founders. So let’s kind of transition to that. Greg, hopefully is listening, but I don’t know. We’ll see where 19 minutes in. So we’ll see if he hears this, but, uh, from your standpoint, like coming in, you knew Greg’s right.

[00:19:49] Spencer Fossen: So you kind of had that advantage there. I mean, do you think that’s a requirement knowing that person you’re gonna go work for? Or how do you, how do you have that trust that you’re like, this is the right decision. I’m gonna go make this choice and then take this risk. Well, let’s, let’s say there’s a difference in knowing someone and knowing someone.

Uh, and what I mean by that is that I knew Greg. Sure. But I didn’t did I, would I say that I knew him very well? No. So, okay. We’d been talking for many, many years for me to try and work at a number of different places that never just quite panned out. Right. So yeah, when we go to, you know, kind of the arc path started crossing again, um, We started to have a couple of conversations and we had multiple conversations and then I asked them, let’s go to lunch.

And then we went to lunch together and just, you know, to be able to sit there across from him and be able to get to know him and for him also to get to know me because you know, a lot of founders, you know, you can read about it. And in the past they want, yes, people, you know, they want people who are gonna just nod their head and do exactly what they want them to do because founders created this.
Therefore they know what’s best for their baby. But you could tell by the humility that Greg had and the, uh, the amount of drive that he had mm-hmm and the conviction that he had, that I was gonna be able to be myself. Go ahead. Tell him that. Hey, you know what? I think this idea is shit. And he’s not gonna be offended.

And as long as I have a logical answer, I would say Greg, for the most part, him and I, we disagree on a lot of things. We agree on a lot of things, but you know what, the one thing we always walk away from is by the end of the call, we’re laughing and having a good time because we know we’re just trying to push each other.

And that, yeah, I could see at an early spot, when I sat down with him, I said, okay, this is a founder that I could work for because of the fact that, Hey, his mantra is hire good people get outta the way. People love to say that. , but you don’t really have people who live that all that often. And that’s what you get in Greg.

So that’s why I decided to come on on board too big reason why I decided to come on. Yeah. Interesting. So then not that I need to say anything more glowing about Greg. That’s about the end of that, but all right. Kay. Let’s get into the good stuff. I was just kidding. Yeah. But talking about that, you, you do butt heads.

[00:22:07] Clare Dobson: I mean, it’s just it’s life, right? Anybody. And if you’re married, if you boyfriend, girlfriend, like whatever, you’re gonna butt heads with someone that you’re always around. And even though we work remotely, I think we, we still. Talk all the time. Every day. Yeah. And we’re in and out of this. Right. So when you butt heads, like, and you’re having that struggle and it’s just a tough time, like, how do you get through that?

[00:22:35] Spencer Fossen: Like what, what do you suggest for someone who might be going through that right now? Like how do they get past that step and continue to build that relationship that they have with their founder? Yeah, I think it’s something you need to really establish early on. Right? I think you need to establish early on that.

Look, I’m going to be at, at, at the very least I’m gonna play devil’s advocate on everything. I will play devil’s advocate on everything. And that’s just kind of a theme of what I do. It’s like, oh great. Spencer’s gonna start talking. Here we go. Right. So, but that’s a good thing because what I’m trying to do and I, what Greg does for me is also P try and poke holes everywhere.
It’s like, how do we get this the most logically sound option and the best option out of it? Cuz really, I don’t fully believe that when you’re in a startup, that every decision you make is the best decision that you’ve ever made. No matter how much I would agree with that. it’s like I, and, and if you try and do that, you’ll be stuck doing nothing.

So what we have an understanding early on that if you. Respectful. And you’ve got logic behind what you are going to disagree with and butt heads with. Then we’re allowed to butt heads, but the minute you start butting heads with someone and you are not providing those things. Uh, you could lose the ability to do that very quickly.

Um, and, and the, the patience for you to be able to do that very quickly. So if I were to say for someone who is either trying to repair a relationship, um, mm-hmm, , you’re gonna wanna really have a sit down in a heart to heart and try and be vulnerable in front of each other, because that’s the only way that means there’s a lot of surface level stuff going on between the two of you.
I can almost guarantee it. So what you need to do is you need to go. Have a deeper conversation, be real about it. It’s gonna be uncomfortable as all hell. It’s gonna feel like you’re rubbing sandpaper against your bare skin, but you need to do it for someone who’s early in a startup or thinking about joining a startup.

Your, an interview process is the time for you to be as candid as you want. Because as much as it’s weird, we live in a country where. We are as valuable to the employer as the employer is valuable to us most of the time. Yeah. Obviously there’s sometimes existential circumstances that are at play and you may need a role, a job for some X, Y, and Z reason.

But most of the time, if you’re taking a job, just cuz you need, it’s not gonna work out. So your interview process is the time to be able to put that line in the sand. I’m going to be able, I’m going to disagree with you. I’m going there’s it’s going to be uncomfortable. How are we gonna work together through that?

What does that look like in your, in, in, in, you know, in your world? So. That’s true. And the answers you’ll get are they’re really are really deep answers. Like, you know, with the situation with me and Greg, where you’ll get surface level answers and you’ll know that somebody’s bullshitting. Oh yeah, yeah. We disagree with each other all the time.
Oh yeah. No, like literally this is yours. We startup build it, like do what you want. And then all of a sudden you get into this situation and they’re trying to micromanage and tell you every single thing to do you, you know, you know, so it’s important to get that outta the way. Yeah. Well, it helps you find if that’s a fit or not for you, if that’s where you wanna be.

[00:25:38] Clare Dobson: Or maybe if you’re ready to take on that responsibility even too, cuz I think it goes both sides. It’s not always the employer’s fault is you have to look at yourself and say, am I ready to be in this spot? Am I ready to take on this responsibility? And I, so I think it goes both ways off of that or I agree more.

What has ma what has made you success? You think so far at abstract, you’ve been killing it and I know you hate to glow and all that stuff. Yeah. But what are some of the things that you believe that made you successful that maybe we haven’t talked about yet?

[00:26:13] Spencer Fossen: I think a lot of the things that have helped me with achieving things and, and being, uh, you know, uh, relatively good at what I do is. The ability to understand when I’m just a dumb ass. And I say that, cuz I’m very, uh, you get to know me. I’m not very rigid, but just know when I was being dumb, you know, just be like, ah, man, that was a bad decision.

Like what were you thinking there? And being able to understand and like wanna, I, I crave feedback, right? Um, so, you know, anytime you say something to me and I’m like, gosh, what was I even thinking about? Like, Why was he even going down that tangent, right? But those things are learning opportunities. If you look at those as learning opportunities and not ego hits, then all of a sudden doors can open for you very quickly.

And they have in my life is the ability to be able to [00:27:00] course correct. Say once I I’m one of those guys, you really only have to say it once to. And then I learn and I go ahead and apply. I look for others to be able to who are better than what I do, who achieve at a high level to. Set examples and then adopt those skills, you know, and be able to apply those to my every day to be able to find success.

I think what’s helped me ultimately, I guess again, here’s a long Securist route to a short answer to a short, no, I love it. Keep going. But what I think has been best is just building those small building blocks, like the tiniest of things. I want you to, I want people to think of the tiniest of things to go through your day, where you position your pen.
If you position your pen every day in the same exact position, guess what? You’re never looking for a. there’s a win boom. And if you stack those up over time, small wins, they grow into bigger wins. And then all of a sudden you have some structure around what you’re doing. And then when you have structure and you’re winning, you feel confident and then your confidence grows and then you wanna learn more.
You want to go do more, you wanna bring on more responsibility and things like that. And also the ability in being okay with failure. Like I told you, I love failure stories because I think that’s tells more about someone than ever win winning will ever. Ever do. Yeah. So, um, yeah, I would say that’s probably, well, and on couple of the adjective help, interesting with me.
Yeah, for sure. And you, I mean, you say the failures cuz I mean, I just, it literally brought me back to what Greg says all the time of like, you’re gonna go weeks. You’re gonna go months getting kicked in the teeth. Right? Yep. And how do you keep going? How do you, so for you, you kind. Use those little wins to help you every day to keep building on that one.

[00:28:44] Clare Dobson: Maybe you are continuing to get knocked out. Mm-hmm so that’s why I think everyone should have to go into SDR and like high volume sales, if they want to be in the SAS world first, I think you have to do it because you’re gonna get kicked in the face a hundred times a day. And then when you get that first win feels pretty good.

[00:28:59] Spencer Fossen: How do I replicate it? Oh, wait, I failed a hundred times. What did I do wrong? Am I paying attention to what I do wrong? Right? Those are the things that help, help build success. Yeah. All right. You know, I’m in the same boat, but on the marketing side, like I think everybody needs to work at an agency and not those big agencies where you get, like, this is your one responsibility.

Like you go work for a small agency that you’re the SEL person. You do website updates, you do the digital ads. Like you get thrown in the fire. Oh. And you have to create this strategy for this multimillion dollar company. Like it’s the same kind of situation of you get thrown in the fire and you see what you’re made of.

[00:29:35] Clare Dobson: So. Totally. All right. So let’s kind of slowly start wrapping this up, but I, I do wanna hit on like misconceptions. So is there, is there something, and you kind of knew the startup world a little bit, but for those looking to join, like, is there any misconceptions or something that you thought might have been this way, but actually wasn’t when you started?

[00:30:00] Spencer Fossen: I think for a lot of people. They expect things to kind of be prepared for them, like systems and trainings and how we do things and, you know, um, rules of engagement, like things like that. Um, yeah. they expect that at a startup level and that’s just wildly not the case. Um, it is the wild west in its purest form.

Um, I mean, we’re just getting over the Rockies type of situation. Like it’s, mm-hmm, , you know, anything and everything can happen at any moment and you need to be able to react. But the only way you’ll be able to react is if you actually do a lot of self education, and if you don’t see those processes where they need to be, then you need to build.

So you wanna drive value, like you need to build those. Yeah. And like, that’s kind of where I think a lot of people, especially when they’re just thinking, oh, I wanna try out startups. They come,
[00:31:00] I’ve seen a lot of people who come from large, you know, um, companies traded on New York stock exchange, blah, blah, blah.

And they come in and they’ve got our 30 day schedule with every hour regimented, and you’re gonna go to this class and you’re gonna read this PDF document. You’re gonna watch these videos and then we’re gonna do a group exercise and then this, and then we’re gonna go do this, and then we’re gonna have a sandwich break, and then we’re gonna go, you know, you get where I’m going with this.

My point is, is the fact that you’re gonna come into something that largely you’re gonna need to. And I challenge people that when I’m interviewing them and I was like, Hey, you know, when you’re thinking of this role, don’t just think of this as a role for exposition. Think of this as, how would I build, what will I build while I’m here while I’m executing at a high level yeah.

At what I’ve been hired to do. So that is deep. That is I the most spot on, I think. Perfect. That was perfect. I don’t even have words. Speechless. there you go. So what, what Avi, like we’ve talked about so much from, you know, being able to work hard, being able to take ownership, right? All of these things. Is there any other advice that you would give either, maybe a founder listening, cuz we don’t really touch on that side or someone joining that, that you think we haven’t touched.

Just have fun. God have fun. Just try and have some fun. It’s not that serious. It is not that serious. I know it feels like it is. But gosh, if I were to, like, I talk to some people who are at startups and I mean, it’s like, they’ve seen a ghost 24, 7 they’re on their ninth. Thread bull of the day. They can’t keep their eyes off of an L C D screen.

It’s absurd. I mean, it’s literally, it’s gonna age you. You’re gonna start looking like hell and you know, you’re not gonna get any sleep and trust me cuz I’ve lived it. And it’s like, the minute you decide, okay, Hey, what I’m gonna do is I’m going to have the mindset of like, Hey. I’m having fun doing this.

Right. And you may not be having fun, but if you can try and remind yourself at one point you were having fun. There was definitely at one point where you were having fun. That’s why you’re here, right? Um, yeah. Try and get back to that. Loosen up, loosen the fuck up. If I says you can beep that out, but yeah, just chill out and just have absolutely fun.

No beeping, no beeping. We just, we just roll that, Spencer. Yeah. Just, just had some. I love that. I love that. Sometimes I need to tell myself that I think you get too serious to bogged down in it, cuz you just, you wanna be perfect. Right. But you obviously no, no one can be perfect, but you, you try to achieve that.

And so I think sometimes the fun gets left out of it and two is like, and then, you know, I, but it’s like, God, you just kind of get exhausted with your. It’s like, you know, like what mm-hmm like, what are you doing? Like, you know, you need to go back to like doing what got you here. Like what what’s going on, you know?

So if you’re in a startup, the whole thing is it’s the wild, wild west. You’re gonna have to work hard as hell, but you can sure shit have fun doing it. So, yeah. All right, Spencer, what’s next for you? What’s either at abstract, the future, you know, just what’s next on the journey of Spencer Fossen. Got two partnership calls after the no, I’m kidding.

[00:34:13] Spencer Fossen: Um, I am going to, uh, I’m just looking forward. Like, honestly right now I love raising my family. I love watching my daughter, like, you know, just grow into this unreal personality. That’s just like, holy moly. I think that’s part of the reason why that have fun piece. Like, gosh, I mean, take, if you ever wanna see that, look at a look at a 10 month old and just everything is awesome.

I have a golden retriever and a flag, everything. Awesome to him. Everything is cool. His treats are literally ice cubes and he thinks they’re like liquid gold. it’s coolest thing. Um, but it’s just one of those things for me is just, uh, what’s next for me is living in the moment. Really? I’m gonna live in the moment.

I’m just gonna have fun. I’m gonna focus on what’s here and now I’m gonna keep kicking ass with you and Greg and the people we brought on here at abstract. Uh, and I’m just gonna focus on that for a while. And then when the ADHD takes over, we’ll see what happens. So love it. Powerful, powerful Spencer.

[00:35:13] Clare Dobson: Well, if anyone wants to connect with you or ask you more questions, what, what’s the best way to reach you? I would say you can email me Spencer abstract.ai. Uh, you can send me a LinkedIn message. Uh, just Spencer Fosen. That’s that’s pretty much it. Uh, you can find me on Twitter. If you wanna see a lot of like Florida state Tottenham, hot spur Tampa bay, Buccaneers retweets.

[00:35:35] Spencer Fossen: That’s I’m a great source for those . Um, Those would probably be where you can get a hold of me or you can just, uh, gimme a call 8 4 5 5 4 2 0 3 5 2. You’re about to get spammer. Sounds good. All good. Well, thank you very much. Appreciate it. And I hope you have a good rest of your day. Thank you.

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Author

Clare Dobson - VP of Marketing

With experience from SaaS to home services to non-profits, Clare has built proven marketing strategies for various customers. She is passionate about the customer’s success as well as empowering those around her each and everyday.