Matt Cameron Matt is the managing partner at SalesOps Central and founder of SaaSy Sales Management, Silicon Valley’s Sales Management training and leadership community. He is a regular speaker and columnist on the topic of SaaS sales leadership. Cameron is passionate about building sales engines for high growth companies.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I was born in New Zealand and spent two years before heading to: The USA for 2 years, the small Malaysian island of Labuan for 2 years, Adelaide South Australia for 5 years, and then back to Wellington, New Zealand for 9 years. I will say that this constant change of educational/cultural and linguistic context has meant that I do not have an attachment to places or things, which gives me a lot of freedom. I do treasure relationships and leverage technology to stay in touch with kindred spirits on my journey. I haven’t stopped bouncing and in fact, have lived in 27 different homes as an adult.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
That when it comes to my sense of self, the only opinion that matters is mine. Critical to forming that opinion is spending time forming a solid set of values that allow you to become who you should be and act in accordance at all times. When I was young I hadn’t figured out the values and was influenced by those around me.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
“When invited to join a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat, just get on board.” – At one level this makes sense: If you got an opportunity to join Zoom at the start, then intuitively you should join. However, what I have learned is nothing is more valuable than time and you never want to look back at a year where you made a lot of money/gained status, but weren’t working at the intersection of what you are good at, are passionate about AND get paid for. The worst thing I can imagine is grinding out for 2 years at a high growth company, passing up many experiences, and then having a health issue that prevented me from enjoying them in the future. The old Wall Street mentality of being in a boiler room for 5-7 years, make your money, and then get out seems very dated. I think that people in their 20’s now understand that, but the poor advice keeps coming from my generation (Gen-X).
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
My first business was basically ‘Uber Eats’ in 1996 – Before most people had the internet at home, so we posted menu books and people would call us to deliver the food. I lost $80K of my own money (in my 20’s) and closed the business down after 18months. I was working a full tie job at the time, studying a 2-year post-grad in finance and running this business in the evening.
Days were 5 am to 10 pm with no chance for exercise… My sense of self was attached to the success of the business and in the end, I realized that I am not what I am doing professionally and that the only judgment of success that matters, is my own – This took a minute to arrive at. It gave me the confidence to take immense financial and reputational risks in the future which have played out well for me (But not always – And that is ok).
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Building habits that move me in the right direction. I have been doing this for over 30 years, whether it be for sport or in general and I have learned that the only willpower we need is to be consistent with micro-actions and eventually you realize you are miles ahead of where you started. Note I said, “…where YOU started.” With multi-decades of martial arts background I have learned that there is always someone stronger, faster, more skilled on a given day, so the only measure that matters is that which you apply to your former self.
What is your morning routine?
This is the pandemic routine – It used to involve a gym and JiuJitsu, but not right now. The timing has been the same and the format consistent for over 20 years.
4:45 am: Alarm goes off and I do a 5km run and then arrive at an outdoor exercise area for some bodyweight exercise – I have always enjoyed and believed in the value of high-intensity training. When traveling, it is 10 burpees on the minute, every minute for 10 minutes (Sounds easy but try it )?
6:30 am: Shower and dress for Breakfast
6:45 am: Granola, protein powder, vitamins for immunity, coffee, and listen to the podcast (Currently Duolingo Spanish is a favorite)
7:15 am: Headspace guided meditation for 15 mins (Sometimes 20)
7:30 am: Head up to hug my wife, brush teeth, and then at my desk by 7:45 am
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Waking early and exercising first thing followed by meditation – Makes every day better and be more tolerable to be around.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
I use a system called, ‘ClickUp’ to capture all the things I need to get done, and then each day I block out time on my calendar with all the things I need to do. Plain lists don’t work for me because people hijack your time by putting meetings in there.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes: This epic read is a lot to plough through, but by the end of it occurred to me that our reality can be defined by us, which is very empowering. After reading the book it reminded me of when I was an athlete and we would visualize a positive outcome, which never failed to shift my mood to where I wanted to be. All of us have an ‘inner Quixote’ and if you choose to wake up believing you have already achieved a certain goal, attained a certain level, or are on the path that is best for you, then this becomes YOUR reality, regardless of what is going on around you.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Take every opportunity for an enriching experience, as long as you are doing no harm.” I am a nomad by nature and have built flexibility into my life such that when an opportunity for a new experience pops up, I will say, “Yes!” more often than not. As I have matured I have also become mindful of the impact of those choices, so you won’t find me riding dolphins any time soon.