When I was first presented with the opportunity to work for Apto, I was living in Palo Alto, working for an ad tech startup. I asked my neighbor for advice on whether or not to take the job—he’d been in the the software industry for years, after all. (And if you are at all familiar with Palo Alto, just picture the person you think lives there. Drives a Tesla, hasn't worked in years, lives in a 3,000-square-foot house that cost $6 million. That guy.)
He said that Apto was an intriguing idea in an underserved market, but he said that he thought it was risky. "CRMs never get used." he said. "They aren't made for salespeople. They are a tool for management."
Still, I took the job at Apto because I hate the Bay Area, and I would like to spend less than 3/4 of my income on a studio apartment.
I soon came to realize that Apto is different—both the product and the company culture—but up until a few days ago, I couldn't have articulated why.
It has to do with potential.
CrisisYou see, our new VP of Sales announced that there would be two new account executive positions open to the seven current business development reps, including me—which is a big promotion and the logical next step on that career path. We all had to pitch Apto to our CEO and the VP of Sales, but what scared me the most was the thought of actually getting the position. It brought to mind some lessons my swim coach had taught me.
"Potential is wasted energy," he explained. "I do not care about your potential. All that matters is the amount of potential energy you convert into kinetic energy." In other words, what matters is not what you have the potential to do, but what you can actually put into action.
I realized I am approaching a moment in my life when I am going to have to finally put my potential to use, turn it into kinetic energy—and possibly fail.
There's nothing scarier than facing the realization of your true potential, because it means you might not measure up. You might not be as good as everyone says you should be. So you resign yourself to being above average because it's safe to be above average. No one gets mad at you for being above average, but no one remembers you for being above average either.
Having potential is unremarkable.
At Apto, we take extreme ownership
So I'm thinking about all of that as I'm preparing for this pitch/interview, and this parallel to Apto just kind of clicked in my head, like a Jimmy Neutron Brain Blast.
Apto is NOT in the business of selling potential. When you look out on our competitive landscape, almost every other solution is selling itself based upon the potential value of the product. The onus is ultimately on the customer to get the most out of the tool. Customizing it to a specific workflow, making it work for you, etc… so it's no wonder that I talk to some brokers who just tell me I am wasting my time.
The few brokerages who have really taken to using technology have been burned by the products sold on potential. The only logical results of that approach are: low adoption rates, frustration and a negative ROI.
But at Apto, we take responsibility for our customers' success. The way we see things, if you don't renew after your contract is up, we failed to give you the tools and support you needed to succeed.
It's on us.
It's why more than half of our staff is devoted to making the implementation and use of Apto easy and painless—and I think it's the greatest value we bring to the commercial real estate industry. We convert every ounce of our potential energy, whether it comes through the product or our people, into kinetic energy. We hold nothing back, and we aren't satisfied with being average.
We have a need to be remarkable.
I'll keep you posted on whether or not I got that promotion.
Edit: I got promoted.