Eugenio Pace initially launched a startup in Argentina. After this startup failed he moved to the US to work for Microsoft. He learned about The Founder Institute and decided to enroll in the program to explore launching a new venture. This eventually lead him to give his notice at Microsoft and launch Auth0. The rest is history.
In this episode you will learn:
- How to bounce back from failure
- The impact of accelerator programs
- Dividing responsibilities between cofounders early on
- Balance between timing and luck
- Expectations from investors on each financing round from Seed to Series C
- Challenges when building and scaling
For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).
Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
ACCESS THE PITCH DECK TEMPLATE
About Eugenio Pace:
Eugenio Pace is a problem solver. Eugenio‘s background is in electrical engineering and computer science.
He is the co-founder and CEO at Auth0, the company he founded with Matias Woloski. Eugenio loves tinkering and building stuff.
The first product launched was back in 2013, a zero-friction identity management service that allows developers to easily, securely and scalably authenticate & authorize access to their apps. Billions of login requests are processed by their global platform.
Before that, Eugenio worked for many years in the patterns & practices group at Microsoft (p&p). p&p delivers technical content to help developers build great solutions. He managed the PM team there and his areas of work were cloud computing, identity management and mobility.
Eugenio lives in the Pacific Northwest, in the United States.
Connect with Eugenio Pace:
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FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW:
Alejandro: Alrightee. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Dealmakers Show. So today, we have someone that I think we are going to be able to learn a lot from. What I like as well is the fact that he was born and raised out of the U.S. So, without further ado, Eugenio Pace. Welcome here to the Dealmakers Show.
Eugenio Pace: Alejandro, thank you very much for having me.
Alejandro: So right after college in Argentina, you started your first company. What was this business?
Eugenio Pace: Yeah. So, a very good friend of mine, we did school together for many years. We had this idea of building a mobile CRM. At that time, it was like a really unique idea and certainly was very advanced in Argentina. You have to think that there was no internet. There was no connectivity as we know it now. So, we developed this software to help businesses run their contacts, their deals, you know, follow-up opportunities, and we built it on a platform that was the HB-200-X. If you recall that, it’s a very old platform. We also built it on the Siam machines, a British company that builds like essentially very early PDAs. It was amazing. The product was great, but we were not super successful as a business for various reasons. Right? But that was the idea.
Alejandro: Yeah, I remember that in some speaking engagements that you have been in, you said that this was a failure. I think that at the end of the day, I always say that you really never fail as a founder. You either succeed or you learn. So, I guess from a learning experience, what did you really learn from this?
Eugenio Pace: Yeah, I really like how you put it. I think in those same terms, in retrospect, that was one of the things that I learned was like that there’s actually no failures. At that time, it failed like 1) because we didn’t succeed in building a company and achieving what we wanted, which was like growing and continuing to develop the product. So, the first lesson learned was that building a company is so much more than the product.
Eugenio Pace: And that the product is a full experience that customers have with you. As an engineer, my partner at that time—he was at the same school, same background, we were both engineers, and we had this arrogance that nothing but product, you know, the technology was as important. And so, we didn’t really have any notion around sales or marketing or any other aspect of the business that it’s absolutely mandatory to be a successful long-term company. Right? So, we didn’t focus really on that. We didn’t have any mentors. We didn’t surround ourselves with people. It was hard. So, to our defense, Argentina is not particularly, or at that time wasn’t particularly business-friendly or entrepreneurial environments. There are no the same support systems that we have today, or other countries have like programs for entrepreneurs or mentors. We were essentially on our own, and we learned the hard way that yeah, it takes more than just knowing how to code and building good software. You have to complement that with everything else.
Alejandro: I hear you, and I love the fact that you say that because the “build it and then they would come” mentality never works. I think it’s saying you just need to sell it first, and if you sell something, then you figure out how you deliver them.
Eugenio Pace: Yeah.
Alejandro: I love how you mention that. So, going a little bit now into the journey. This chapter now, it comes to an end, and then eventually, you land in Microsoft here in the U.S. How did this happen?
Eugenio Pace: Yeah. So that didn’t work out and joined a couple of banks in South America. I was working in IT and in software, but in a business where software is like a means to an end. It wasn’t like an end in itself. It was a great experience. You know, I learned how to build, you know, solutions with business requirements, but also the criticality of those systems. So, I was working in systems for e-banking, home banking, phone banking where availability and quality were important. You know, Microsoft was never in my list of technologies to use then in those places. It was all UNIX or mainframes or other stacks, but never Microsoft. One day, I got a call from a recruiter, and we were chatting about what I wanted to do with my life. He said, “We’re the dream company for you.” I said, “Well, I’m an engineer. I love solving problems, but I would love to work in a company where the actual end is the technology. So, the core competency is technology.” So, as I said at that time, “I would like to work for a company like Sun Microsystems or Microsoft. It’s another for Microsoft. So, I joined Microsoft Argentina. Actually, at that time, there was Microsoft South Cone, and it was all the countries in the south and most part of the continent. So, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, and Paraguay. And, essentially my job was to convince people like me that Microsoft was ready for building enterprise software. Right? Microsoft had a stack and had a platform to deliver the quality, the availability, the reliability that companies like the banks that I was working on before had. This is a time of development framework was being released. You know, the big push for SQL Server as an enterprise-grade database. It was a great experience because my first two years at Microsoft was in the field. It was like working with customers face-to-face, and helping them implement these large systems. I traveled a lot. I was in Spain. I was in the UK. I was in Central America, and one of the projects took me here to Redmond in Washington state, and people here knew me. And essentially, I got an offer to join what at that time was part of the Visual Studio team. Visual Studio was a big, large team. So, I was part of one team that worked on essentially architecture, you know, guidance for building the type of solutions that I was doing in the field. But my job here was to capture those best practices and the patterns that would lead to, you know, high-quality applications. That’s what I did there.
Alejandro: Got it. And as they say, “A founder is always a founder.” So, at what point did you decide, “I’m going to explore this place called Founder Institute to see what it’s all about”?
Eugenio Pace: Founder Institute. Yeah. So, you know—
Alejandro: Because you did Founder Institute like before you actually gave your notice and went fully at it with your next venture.
Eugenio Pace: Yeah. Let me tell you a little bit of a story there. So, look. I was always an entrepreneur. You know, I didn’t know, but I had it in my soul. It was something that I always wanted to do. Even within Microsoft, with the constraints of being in a big company that its already, things are already defined. I found a place where I could do like experiment and go and think out of the box and try new things that were not tried before in Microsoft. I kind of learned a lot there. I am super grateful to Microsoft for everything that it has given me. But I always wanted to build something. So, around 2012, my wife and I were discussing about next steps and risk. You know, I have two boys, and we have a family, and a mortgage like everybody else, and you know. Yes, it would be great to start something, but she actually encouraged me to get out of Microsoft and learn about what is it to build a company from scratch. Together, we found this, the Founder Institute, which is essentially a program that allows you to do like a school at night. It’s almost like going to school after work. So, every Monday, you go there, and they bring experts in branding, in marketing, in business plans, and you know, go-to-market strategies. So, everything else is not necessarily just product, but it’s where my biggest deficits were. So, I learned quite a bit there. It’s a program like where you essentially, at one point if you don’t achieve certain goals, you have to leave. So, you cannot stay if you don’t get like sufficient points, which was totally fine. I didn’t do great, you know, but I was kicked out, and that’s fine. It was a very good experience, and I am also very grateful because they taught me a lot of the things that then later, I applied here. So, at the end of 2012, I already made the decision. I sat down with my wife again, and say “You know, I’m 42. I can see myself staying at Microsoft forever because it’s a great company. We make good money. We live a good life, but I will always, always regret not doing it.” So, I will always look back at my life one day, and I will be like, “Well, I should have done this. I should have done this.” And I don’t want to be a member of a should-have-done club. I want to be a member of the I shouldn’t have done that more than I should have. In retrospect, one of my reflections was like looking back at my life. I’d made a lot of mistakes, and I made a lot of things that didn’t work out, but I don’t regret any of those. Not even my first company with my friend Rulli. That was, in retrospect, it was painful then, but I am also grateful that I did it. So, I said like, “I’m going to do this, and I’m going to give myself one year.” She actually helped me put like a little framework in place. She’s very analytical. She’s a financial analyst, so she knows numbers and frameworks. She helped me put together a framework for measuring success and measuring like these key milestones in our journey. So, I gave myself one year. After a year, my commitment was to essentially—I did it. I tried and I will go back and find another job, or I will continue on the journey.
Alejandro: Got it. But one thing that I thought it was really interesting is that I remember you shared in one of your speeches, you share a video where you’re receiving a little bit of harsh feedback from some of the—and it happens. I think that you always need to really listen to the constructive criticism because the people that tell you that your idea’s fantastic, you don’t really learn much from it. But I guess for you, it was obviously the second time around. You already came from this, kind of like past experience. Probably looking back, you know, it just had like that sour feeling and that level of risk that maybe now with having a family and everything, maybe it was just like a different phase for you. I think that hearing someone tell you that this is a massive market, but that you are not the right person that is going to be able to tap into this.
Eugenio Pace: Yes.
Alejandro: How after hearing that feedback you actually say, “You know what? I’m just going to continue to push. I’m going to give my notice, and I’m going to make it happen”?
Eugenio Pace: Yeah. Well, he said two things. The first thing that he said is like, “This is a real problem, and there’s a business to be made here.” So that was the first part of the feedback. The second part of the feedback was like, “You are not going to do it. I don’t see an opportunity for you, you personally, to tap into this opportunity.” And, I think he was right. He was right meaning that I alone could not have done this—would not be able to do this. And that’s kind of complementary to the same lesson I learned in my first venture. Right? Which is like “I need to surround myself with the right people that complement what I am not good at, I’m not interested in doing and not have a passion for. So, building a team was like my #1 priority earlier. And it’s like, “I am going to focus on the things that I do well, and my partner is going to focus on the things that he does really well.” But I already knew that that was not sufficient. And so, from day one, we’re on this quest that it has never ended really, which is like bring people to the adventure that would make as a team. Right? It’s like an essential component of success. It’s like bringing the right minds. There’s always somebody that’s passionate about things that you’re not, and you don’t have to be passionate about everything that is required for a business. And so, that was it.
Alejandro: So, you actually started. So finally, Auth0 comes to fruition.
Eugenio Pace: Yeah.
Alejandro: You decide to go at it. You give your notice, and the company starts with five team members. So, who are these team members that initially are there with you behind the trenches?
Eugenio Pace: So, it was primarily a group of developers. They were all distributed. So from day one, we were a distributed company because I was hearing in Redmond, in Washington state, and my partner is in Argentina and Buenos Aires. And then the rest of the team was kind of like all spread out in different places. So from day, one we were like all spread out. The way we divided things were like I was the official CEO/VP of Sales, and everything that was customer facing was me. Then everything that was product, and engineering, and operations, and delivering the service that we were building was Matius and the team of engineers that we hired. That’s where we started. Then the first year—you know, as much as I respect all the feedback from mentors and advisors and people who have done it, the other lesson is like everybody’s journey is unique. And sure, the experience of others is super valuable, but there’s nothing that will kind of transfer completely into your own journey. So, there’s nothing like actually do it, and you have to do it. You have to go and sell it, and if anything speaks, the loudest feedback that you can get from somebody buying your stuff. So, even though it’s like very simple, like just sign a check, slide your credit card. It doesn’t matter the amount, whether it’s $20 or $100,000, it’s an act of trust. It’s an act of like value recognition. It’s saying like, “Yes, what you have is something that is helping me.”
Eugenio Pace: That’s what I was 100% focused on. So, I was like 100% focused on selling. Selling my first deal was a big, big achievement because I never sold anything in my life before. I listened in those terms. The first customer I got was like almost a month after launching, which was a tiny deal, a very tiny deal, but it was proof that somebody was like seeing value in what we’re doing. Then a few months later we signed another deal. It was like three orders of magnitude bigger or bigger. It was very large in retrospect. It was like the second proof point. We have here a single developer paying us, you know, $30 per month on our service. It’s a self-service experience for that category. And here, we have another customer paying us, you know, a couple $100,000 for this service itself. Different segment; different service as well. It’s more of an enterprise deal, but we had like the proof that what we had was useful in the broad spectrum like a small setup, a single developer, or a big company with legacy and established systems and whatnot. We were able to deliver them both.
Alejandro: So, talking about customers and selling, Eugenio, when we’re talking about Auth0, what’s the business model really behind it so that the people that are listening can understand it?
Eugenio Pace: Yeah. So, Auth0. First of all, Auth0 is a service that provides authentication and authorization services for developers. Think about like everything that powers the logging box of an application. So, when you enter your username and password, that goes someplace that tells you, yes, this is a valid user, or it isn’t a valid user. That’s what we do. That’s in a nutshell what we do. Of course, there’s like a lot of nuance and complexity behind it, which makes us valuable. Things like fraud, or breached credentials, or multi-factor authentication, contextual authorization, APIs. All of that is what makes this domain really complicated. So, the business model—we are a developer-oriented company. We are very, very similar to what other companies like Twilio for messaging, or SendGrid for emails, or Stripe for payments. Those are like examples in the market that do what we do in a different domain. We are an API, easy to use. We are a developer-friendly system that takes away all the pain of dealing with authentication and authorization on any platform whether it’s a mobile app, or a website, or an API, or device, or thermostat on your wall. It doesn’t matter. Everything needs authentication. We provide you a service that works along those lines.
Alejandro: Got it.
Eugenio Pace: Our business model is a freemium model, so everything starts with a search. If you open Google today and search for authentication, LWP, IOS as an example of three keywords that developers will normally search. You will find us because we spend a considerable amount of resources on content, on training, on tutorials, on tooling for developers. So, they find us. From there, you create an account with our service. It’s a free account; a free trial. You have a month to test it out with all the features. Then it can progress into three different categories. It could be a free account which we have. So, free forever. That’s maybe a limited version of our service, but it’s good enough for our large state of developers that are working on, let’s say a hobby project, or a small project, or a startup. That’s good for that segment. We have another segment which is like an upgrade into what we call our self-service customer. That’s somebody paying with a credit card on demand. That’s about 10% of our business, so it’s a significant part of our business. Then we have the third category which is like we would call Enterprise [22:07]. These are customers that are the—you know, Atlassian would be one. The Wall Street Journal would be another one. The Economist is another example. Dow Jones is an example. These are like big, big companies that, of course, have made use of everything we have and very sophisticated use cases on our platform, or immense volumes of users. So, you have like millions and millions of users. Then you need like a scaled-up version of our service. But everything that we have—the business that we built, we built it on this model of developer finders, they try us, they like what we offer. Then they bring us into these big companies. Developers are our advocates in bigger organizations where they say, “Look. I can spend three months building this myself,” or “I spent last weekend working on my side project, and I had everything running in 10 minutes, and we should be using this service.” That’s how we get into these businesses.
Alejandro: Got it. We were talking before about you guys starting with five, and this was back then and now in 2018, actually, you guys have multiplied by 70 your team. Then also by 1,950, the number of customers that you had because when you started, you had started with about two. Is that right? You had two customers at the time?
Eugenio Pace: Yeah. We started with two customers the first year. Now we have like more than 4,500 customers.
Eugenio Pace: These are all paying customers. We also have 16,000 free accounts. These are customers that are not paying us, but they are using our service in production, and so maybe at low volume, but it’s still production. You know, if login doesn’t work, nothing works, and so, which is like a significant number, but 4,500 paying customers. We are more than 420 employees at the moment. So, yeah, a big growth in all aspects.
Alejandro: For sure. What were some of the strategies that you used to scale up the team, for example, so quickly?
Eugenio Pace: One of the strategies is like we’ve always been a distributed company, an international company. So, maybe by initially by the conditions, Matius was living in Argentina, and I was living here in Washington. I wasn’t going to move back to Argentina, and he was not going to move to the United States. So, we decided to kind of embrace the reality and make it work for us. One great thing is that talent is everywhere. It’s distributed all over the planet, and so it’s not like all people that can code are only in Seattle or only in San Francisco. Fortunately, there’s amazing talent all of the world. So, we decided to tap into that talent. Today we have all the 420 employees that are mentioned are in 36 different countries. We have employees in 36 countries. Of course, we have centers of gravity in the states, in Washington, in San Francisco, in London, in BA, and Argentina. But we have people working from all places. We have a small team in Spain. Another team in Belgium, in Germany, in Japan. You name it. Our company off-sites look like the United Nations. That was one of the strategies. It was like we don’t need to compete with companies like Microsoft, and Google, and Facebook, and others. In a way, they constrained themselves to having people all in one place. You have to be deliberate about it. You cannot just expect to work. We invest quite a bit in technology and in culture, and in our practices to make it work, and make it work efficiently and effectively. But that was one of the strategies. The second one was like maybe a sub-product of this is an international approach. You know? In our business, a little bit over 50% of our business is Americas, which is like most of it is United States. Right? So, U.S. The other half of our business happens in Europe and Asia Pacific. So, we have like a presence. We have customers in those regions very, very early on, which gives us the ability to scale faster because this is like a problem that is not concentrated just in the U.S. You know, everybody building applications has the need for authentication and guess what? Everybody in the world are building applications, not just people here.
Alejandro: Got it. How much capital have you guys raised today?
Eugenio Pace: We raised, let’s see, the first year, 2013, which was our first year we didn’t raise any money. It was all self-funded and bootstrapped. These two customers helped, of course, but it was mostly us.
Alejandro: The self-funding, you guys have to put a lot of capital up front to really get started?
Eugenio Pace: Not really. It was mostly for ourselves to pay our expenses. But of course, when you do that, you’re very conscious about your costs and expenses. So, we’re very, very frugal. You know. If somebody invited us for lunch and they offered to pay, we would say, “Yes. Thank you for paying less.”
Alejandro: (Laughter) Of course.
Eugenio Pace: I’m not embarrassed about that. It’s like, “Sure.”
Eugenio Pace: We took advantage of many programs like the BizSpark from Microsoft which is very generous. Amazon has another very similar program for startups. That helped us get started. The first year we raised 2.4 million dollars, and that was a seed round. That was like a collection of investors. Most of them were either small investors, or angels, or small accelerators, or like early-stage accelerators. But we were lucky too. One of the investors of this seed round was Bessemer Venture Partners, you know. It is one of a star VCs in the country. So, they invested on us very early on this seed round. And they typically are a Series A investor. They normally invest later, in later stage. But they like the story. They like the developer angle. They were investors in Twilio, so they saw those analogies and similarities in our go-to-market, and they liked it. And so that was great because, you know, Bessemer was a fantastic brand. And having Bessemer as an investor opened a lot of doors. So like, you know, it’s not just me, and we are backed by serious people that have seen the feature.
Alejandro: I actually saw that. Eugenio, I was quite impressed with the people that you guys have onboard that because you have, like you were saying, Bessemer, you also have Trinity Ventures, Meritech. So, can you tell us first of all, what’s the total amount that has been raised to date that you can disclose that? And then if you can tell us like how did you get in front of these guys, that would be also very interesting too.
Eugenio Pace: We raised 110 million dollars over the course of our history. So, the last round was this year, 2018, and it was in early 2018 we raised 60 million dollars. So, 60 million was the last round, and 50 million was everything before that. So, between seed round, Series A, B, and C, we raised 50, and we have Bessemer. The big lead investors are Bessemer, Trinity Ventures, Meritech, and Sapphire Ventures. Now, we have other smaller investors that have followed their lead. Among them: K9 Ventures which is amazing. Manu Kumar is a partner there, and curate early-stage investor. We have [Wall Labs 31:31, the wall-innovation labs. That’s a Japanese oriented investor and because we wanted to expand in Japan. We wanted to partner with somebody that knew the market, so also great. And a few other small—but those others the leading investors. As we said, we are extremely fortunate to partner with them. Now, I should say also, like for every investor that we signed a deal with and we partner with, there’s like 100 others that we pitched Auth0, and we didn’t get the deal. And that happens too. That’s another lesson, perhaps, is that an investor saying, “No,” it’s not necessarily something bad. It’s not that you have something wrong. It’s just the nature of the business. People end up not investing in you for a variety of reasons. And many of those have nothing to do with you, your business, or the product, or whatever, you know. It’s just that it doesn’t align with their strategy, or I don’t know. There are so many reasons. So, it’s like you need to just try and try again. You know, my personal approach is I go and pitch in front of an investor as a—my mental model, it’s practice. I’m going to go there. I’m going to present, and it’s going to be practice for my pitch. And I’m going to learn something new where there are some people that will give me, that will help me become better at selling the idea, and selling the team, and selling the company because that’s what we do. That’s what you do when you raise money from investors. You’re selling part of your company at a price.
Eugenio Pace: And so, even if you go with that mindset, the mindset of “I’m going to get a no for sure, but I’m going to get essentially free advice.” Then eventually, you’ll be like gladly surprised that somebody says “Yes.” You’re going to get better every time. Even the last round, which was a big round, and it was with great investors with a business that was doing well, with all the numbers that are growing, you would say like, “Well, who would not give you money?” Well, there’s like a lot of people that didn’t give us the money. They didn’t want to invest in us. And so, that happens. It’s try, try, try, try, try.
Alejandro: Yeah. Makes complete sense. And on the case of Bessemer, I think that one of the good things about let’s say your cap table is that when you have someone like Bessemer, it’s not like you have to, let’s say you do your seed, then you have to find investors for the Series A. Then you do the Series A. Then you have to find the investors for the Series B because they have like different investment theses and different sizes of funds. I think that having somebody like Bessemer, it’s very helpful so that they can continue to help you push forward on the financing cycles without distracting yourself too much. Did you find this experience yourself with your company?
Eugenio Pace: Yeah. So, all the investors invested in all the further rounds. So, Bessemer was Series A, but they also invested in B, C, and D. Then when we brought in Trinity for B, they invested in C and D, and so on and so forth. So, I think it’s great to bring like—because, you know, difference as you said, different investors have different expertise and their strengths change over time, so they’re like great early investors. There are great growth investors. There are great mezzanine investors and later-stage investors. They will have like different expectations and different networks, different expertise that you can tap into. So, I think it’s good to—keeping everybody in the journey, it’s a great—I see it as a great testament to what you’re building. But bringing new blood at different stages of the company, it’s also important because they will give you the things that you need at that stage. That’s another lesson. It’s like a common mistake is that its attachment to things that worked well at any particular stage of your company in further stages. So, the things that we did in 2013 would definitely not work today because we are at a different scale, and we have like thousands of customers. We have like hundreds of employees, so we cannot use the same approach, tools, processes that we had then because it will fail terribly. So, as an entrepreneur, you need to be ready to kind of reinvent the company every year. Not the core of the company, not the values, not the mission, not the vision, not your brand, promises. You know, what are doing in the market, but how you do it. Every year you throw everything away kind of and rebuild it because everything will change dramatically.
Alejandro: Yeah, and in the capital raising at first, Eugenio, what was, for example, the difference that you say from, let’s say raising your 2.4 million back then, to now raising your latest Series D 60-million-dollar round?
Eugenio Pace: Oh, well, sure. It’s a different effort, but I would say it was, of course, much harder. So, series for seed round, we had like, I don’t know, like 20 investors of which Bessemer was one of them, but they came later, and they were like the largest. But everybody else was like $50,000, $75,000, $100,000. It was like—even $25,000. So, you had to do a lot of work, a lot of pitches, a lot of coffees, and a lot of presentations, and papers, and due diligence, and etc., just to raise a million dollars. This time, we raised 60 million dollars. We did it in less than a month, and we just spoke with—yeah, we spoke with a few, but obviously, the ratio of effort over the dollars raised.
Alejandro: It was in less than a month, Eugenio, you said, the Series D, and that’s—
Eugenio Pace: Series D was between the day we started raising until the day we had a term sheet that we signed was a month. And then, maybe another month just the closing details. Actually, the process of closing, right until the money was in the bank. But it was a relatively—
Alejandro: That’s quick. That’s quick. Compared to let’s say your seed round, what was the timeline of the seed round?
Eugenio Pace: Well, seed round we were fundraising pretty much all the time. That was like a full-time job for some of us. Yeah, it was extensive.
Alejandro: Yeah, got it. So, I want to ask you this question. Why don’t you like the word exit?
Eugenio Pace: I’m sorry. Say that again.
Alejandro: Why don’t you like the word exit? I’ve heard you don’t like the word—
Eugenio Pace: I don’t know like the word exit. Yeah. I don’t like it because it implies, to me, there’s an implication that there’s like an end. Right? To me, the connotation of exit is like finishing, and I’m done. I’m out of here. For me, building a business like Auth0, it’s like a never-ending project. It’s like a work in progress, and it’s a permanent work in progress. And so, I do understand the concept for investors for finality, the practicalities of the exit. But I see Auth0 as my life project. And so, for now, I don’t think about an exit. I don’t think about—of course, I’m not thinking about selling the company at all. I don’t spend any time entertaining any ideas on should the company be bought by somebody else? We’re not doing anything to optimize that specific outcome. We are building a company that will outlast me and will outlast many of us around here. So, that’s my mental model. It’s like I want to build a company that’s a great company. It’s a great place for people to work for and learn and grow. We want to offer services for in the market that help people achieve what they want.
Alejandro: Yeah. I love it. That goes to the saying, Eugenio, that companies are—that the best transactions are not from companies that are being sold. They’re actually being bought.
Eugenio Pace: Yeah.
Alejandro: That’s when a really good transaction happens. So, I completely agree with you there. So, I have here something that just came to mind. If you had the chance to go back in time, you know, let’s say you’re able to have a chat with your younger self before you launch the first painful experience or rodeo as an entrepreneur. If you were able to tell yourself like one piece of advice before you launch that business, what would that have been?
Eugenio Pace: So, one thing I wish I knew before and more of, it’s actually selling. I had all these preconceived ideas, all negative, of course, of what selling was. And then over time, at Microsoft, I learned that, and then here, even more so, you’re always selling; always selling. You’re selling an idea. You’re selling your product. You’re selling yourself. You know, in the early days, you’re selling a vision, a conviction of what you believe can be done. Selling is a story-telling, and it’s telling a story that is credible and that people will buy, and that will be excited about it. I had this preconceived idea that selling was like, you know, the economical cartoon of selling, like the used car sales-guy type. I mean, it’s so wrong. In school, we didn’t have any training or any advice or any correction of that missed and completely wrong perspective. Selling, I would say is one of the first things that I would encourage myself, an early version of myself to go into sooner, even if it wasn’t the profession that I wanted to have, I would have liked to be exposed to the discipline, and the techniques, and the professional selling. That was one. The second one, I think I would get out into the world earlier. You know, I was fortunate when I joined Microsoft, I started traveling a lot. I got out of Argentina, and I started knowing the world, and meeting other people, and getting out of the ecosystem that was very limited. And so, I wish I had done that before because, you know, the first time I flew for business reasons, I was like 25 or so. It was later, so I wish I had had that experience beforehand.
Alejandro: Got it. Got it. Well, that makes complete sense. What is the best way for folks that are listening to reach out and say, “Hi, Eugenio”?
Eugenio Pace: Well, you can follow me on Twitter, and I’m pretty active on Twitter. It’s Eugenio_Pace, or you can find me through the Auth0 account as well. A-U-T-H-and the number zero. I have a blog as well. So, if you go to https://eugeniop.com, that’s my personal blog. I would say I’m pretty active on those forums. You can reach me out there.
Alejandro: Wonderful. Well, this has been a pleasure, Eugenio. Thank you, so much, for being part of the show today.
Eugenio Pace: Excellent. It’s been a real pleasure talking with you, Alejandro, and I look forward to an opportunity in the future.