Closing one door and opening another.

When I look back on my career, my time at Yammer will stand out as a special milestone. These last 16 months at Yammer have been nothing short of life-changing. I have been fortunate to work with the most brilliant, inspiring, and wonderful people. 

I joined Yammer when the company was a startup with 200 employees and left as a Microsoft employee (through the acquisition). It’s hard to explain how much I’ve learned through this experience. Here are just a few thoughts:

  • Culture is critical. A cohesive culture will inspire employees, bind them together during difficult transitions, and make even the hardest workdays pleasant. A toxic culture can unravel morale and diminish productivity.
  • Responsibilities change. When I started as an Account Executive, I was selling to small and medium sized businesses. A few months in, my role changed and I was now selling to enterprises — a job that was well beyond my pay grade and 5-10 years above my level of experience. But it was an unbelievable learning experience.
  • There will be growing pains. Life at startups isn’t always smooth. In fact, it’s rarely so. But by witnessing the valleys, challenges, and downturns, I am now more mentally and emotionally prepared for when times get tough.
  • Be prepared to be unprepared. Since Yammer iterated the product so quickly, I learned to run with the (sometimes minimal) information I was given, be creative when necessary, and ask lots of questions. You won’t be given all the answers.
  • Aim, fire, and adjust. Because things don’t always work. 
  • Evaluate and question. I truly believe we are most successful when our talents meet our passion. When you become dispassionate - not just momentarily, but irreversibly - it’s worth revisiting your goals and whether you’re in the right place.  
  • Learn from people who are better than you. One of my smartest moves was to observe others who were in a similar role and learn from them. People are willing to help those who take initiative and listen to advice. Through my professional relationships, I’ve received priceless words of wisdom that I’ll carry with me forever.

As a new college graduate, I was given the opportunity to be part of a visionary organization. Yammer was acquired by a pretty amazing company for $1.2 billion… how cool is that?! I’ve watched a startup grow, gained first-hand sales experience, and developed friendships that I’ll always treasure. I’ve also learned from my failures.

To Yammer: your product and your people are amazing. Keep doing great things. Thanks for allowing me to be part of something special. 

- Alex