We’re thrilled to welcome Tom Polivka, our new VP of Sales, to Flosum! Tom will be joining our organization to oversee and lead our strategic efforts around our growth directly and indirectly.
As Flosum continues to grow and differentiate ourselves in the market, we couldn’t be more excited to bring on dedicated leadership to move us into our next phase. With Tom’s leadership, Flosum will focus on building the best experience for our customers, building greater alignment with our partners and be the voice of the customers on our management team.
Before joining us, Tom has spent over 18 years in the B2B Tech space, serving various roles of increasing responsibility, ultimately and most recently serving as Vice President at CineMassive, where he was pivotal in growing the organization to its leader position today.
Tom is a proven customer-centric leader that will bring Flosum to where it is today, to where we want to be, while never losing sight of what is best for our customers.
To get to know Tom better, here is an executive Q&A we asked on Day 1:
1. You have had an amazing career, what attracted you to Flosum?
Three things really. For me it always begins with culture and people and I was impressed with the core team that Girish had assembled. Flosum seems to embody the kind of competent, cooperative environment where I feel I can thrive. Next, I was intrigued by the technology – both the overall quality and the differentiators associated with being a truly SFDC-native platform – most notably performance and security. Both quality and performance are underscored by outstanding customer satisfaction scores. In sales, solid references are pure gold. I’ve always said you can take all the materials, demos, and other sales tools away and leave me with references and I’ll still be able to sell effectively. Finally, it’s about innovation. While Flosum currently “hangs its hat” on SFDC DevOps, this application and others (backup/ recovery, migration, etc) validate an underlying product design&development methodology that delivers quality, performant solutions faster than the competition. In today’s world, the ability to adapt quickly will make and keep Flosum a quadrant
2. Why is DevOps so critical to organizations, today?
There are so many technical ways to answer this question while delving into the virtues of the optimal CI/CD cycle but (keeping my sales hat on) I’ll focus on the outcomes – some of which I touched on above. By focusing on a solid DevOps discipline, Flosum is able to bring high-performance, high-quality, secure products to market quickly without sacrificing customer satisfaction. While Flosum provides customers with a platform that streamlines DevOps, I feel that we also have a lot to offer them from a standpoint of insight and experience. By embracing DevOps internally, we’re able to approach customers from a “consultative” – not just vendor – perspective and help suggest best practices. Fun fact from my background is that I have a CS degree and began my career as a developer. When I think back on those days I mostly remember brute force approaches to code reviews, testing, integration, QA, QC, etc. We were sort of making it up as we went along and final testing was always left in the hands of (unsuspecting) early adopters. Today, the rapid growth in complexity, size and sophistication of applications has driven the evolution of DevOps across application paradigms and made the process “table stakes” for even smaller enterprises.
3. Why do you think our partnership with Salesforce is so important to this market?
As the only provider of “native” DevOps for Salesforce, we have so many great advantages – from performance to security – and so many powerful customer success stories but we need help getting the word out. People often use the term “best kept secret” as a compliment but, as a smaller company, it’s hardly a boost to business! Like Microsoft before them, Salesforce has committed to nurturing a massive partner ecosystem that generates 5-6X revenue and serves as a critical force multiplier for companies like Flosum. The Flosum story that resonates with savvy customers will appeal equally to our Salesforce counterparts as we capture more of their attention. After all, why would Salesforce reps endorse non-native solutions that promote less customer satisfaction? Salesforce provides Flosum a bigger billboard, a larger bullhorn and makes our marketing efforts and dollars go a lot farther. Lastly, the rapid market growth by Salesforce as a development platform has provided Flosum with a unique opportunity that juxtaposes a large TAM with a relatively small competitive landscape. Who, better than Salesforce, to help us exploit this condition?
4. Tell us one thing that a person couldn’t find about you on your LinkedIn profile?
I actually need to add this to my LI profile since I’m always proud and excited to let people know I have 5 amazing kids – 2 girls and 3 boys. They keep me young, tell me what I’m doing wrong and give me greater adaptability and spontaneity. They share my love for travel and I save my airline and hotel points so they can get out and see the world!
5. What are you binge watching these days?
Just finished “Mare of Easttown” which haunts me still. My longer term jam for action and excitement is “Queen of the South”. On the lighter, funnier side, I’m shamelessly addicted to “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. Finally, I love geeking out to “Halt and Catch Fire” – an amazingly accurate portrayal of legacy tech players and their schemes.
6. What does it take to be a good leader?
Hardest question to answer without cliches but let’s see… I think it comes down to caring more about the team than yourself. As a sales leader, I’m rewarded, in part, for hitting a team goal. If I hit this goal while many reps miss theirs, I honestly consider it a “hollow” victory. Although the term is overused, I also consider “leading from the front” a key virtue. I would not ask anyone on the team to do something I wouldn’t do. I got into sales to engage with customers and team members and enjoy it the most. Let me complete the answer by relating a family story. My oldest son returned from Afghanistan with the USMC company he was commanding a few years back. Being a large, close-knit family, we were planning a virtual parade to greet him at the airfield as he disembarked. Before taking off, he called me to ask that we postpone the celebration until he was home. When I asked why he explained that many of his returning soldiers would have no one to meet them as they left the plane. It’s hard to explain leadership better than that.
7. If you could go back to when you were 13, what would you tell your younger self?
Your “gut” is as important as your “heart” or “head” when it comes to decision making. Not to get too clinical but neural pathways that support these responses are faster and underpinned by strong survival instincts. As a student of psychology, I’m convinced that we make some of our most critical decisions using our so-called older (or lower) brain. Of course we rationalize these decisions with front brain “logic” and “language” because the lower brain centers producing the “gut feel” have no language capacity (you Simon Sinek fans already know this). Whether you’re selling value as a DevOps vendor, settling a family dispute or dealing with some other personal issue, it’s important to consider possible unspoken feelings and motivations.
Welcome to the Flosum family, Tom! We are excited you are here and can’t wait to elevate Flosum to the next level, for our customers, our employees and our partners.