Meet Nick Van Zandt, Director, Channel Marketing


Meet Nick, Sr. Channel Marketing Manager

1. Where did you grow up? 

I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, which only until recent years had spent most of its existence as a sleepy college town. As an adventurous kid I couldn’t wait to leave town after high school and see what I could find in the world. For about 15 years I bounced around pursuing my studies and serving in the Army in places like Los Angeles, Washington DC, London, UK as well as several stints in middle-of-nowhere Army bases around the world. I’ve now been back in Austin for the past four years, but I’m excitedly planning my relocation to Denver in the coming weeks to make my new home in the mountains.

2. What brought you to CyberGRX? 

Based on my experience in my previous two tech companies—one enterprise and one startup—I knew that working for another startup with really compelling technology was the goal. I knew what I wanted was to work for a smaller company with lots of runway in front of it and had a professional and highly capable management team to get the plane off that runway. Most importantly, I was looking for an innovative technology offering with kickass product, engineering, marketing & sales teams behind it that could deliver the high market reach necessary to propel that plane to Mars.

As I started examining CyberGRX I really started to see how such a simple solution could solve enormously complex and costly problems that enterprises are facing. What I saw was a product offering that would be desirable to any mid-to-large enterprise in the world with a team in place capable of delivering it to market. What I saw was a craft preparing its flight plan to Mars, and I wanted a window seat.

3. What do you do at CyberGRX/what’s your typical day like? 

My job as the Director of Channel Marketing is to ensure that our global partners have everything they need to go out and sell our products around the world to customers, many of whom would have been otherwise unreachable. I am routinely working with partner teams to identify and then execute engagement opportunities where we can either train and equip their sales teams or where we can jointly go out and find customers together. I spend every day looking for ways to educate, motivate and equip our partners with the tools they need to go out and promote our products and source new sales opportunities for CyberGRX.

4. What advice would you give to your teenage self? 

I’d explain that “fake it till you make it” is not just a cliché bumper sticker, but is indeed how every successful person earned their success. Like many young people who were once insecure with their own abilities, I passed on many challenges because I felt I wasn’t qualified, only to see those opportunities filled with equally unqualified people who took a chance on themselves and figured out how to make it work.

What I would say to my younger self is that nobody who perpetually stays in their comfort zone and who only ever does what they believe they were qualified at will ever reach new heights of achievement. That only by throwing yourself in the deep end and spending every waking hour learning how to swim like the other big fish—even as you push past the voice in your head saying you don’t belong—is how you will make it. And when you’ve got swimming down in that pool, you find an even bigger and deeper one to throw yourself in and you keep doing that in every endeavor you do until you draw your last breath on Earth.

5. What has had the greatest impact on your life? 

Nearly 15 years ago, I encountered a fork in the road choice that had a significant impact on my life. I could either accept a job offer I had to go work for a major defense contractor on a program dealing intermediate range ballistic missiles or I could get on a plane and move to London, UK to obtain a graduate degree in Middle Eastern studies followed by a job as an intelligence analyst with the Defense Department. Despite knowing that that the former option would be much more lucrative, I chose the latter option to go become an expat for five years in London. Here I got the chance to study with people from all around the world and work in a specialized field dealing with Middle East security and geopolitics. In doing this I was able to live in another country gaining a different perspective outside the US bubble, travel all throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and pursue a career field in intelligence that would ultimately lead me into cybersecurity field where I am today.

6. What’s your hidden superpower?

While less a superpower and more a cognitive process to problem-solving, I endeavor to find the net advantage in every situation. By rejecting binary thinking and recognizing that everything, when broken down to its smallest granular parts, there is nuance made up of countless variables at play, both positive and negative. In the seemingly infinite universe of plausible outcomes—even in so-called “no win scenarios”—there’s always a best-case scenario, always a deal to be made, and always a solution to a problem. But that can only be found if you know the variables.

A key component of this comes as a reflection of my prior work in intelligence analysis. Here I learned that in virtually every situation one might witness, whatever you think is the full story as told is almost always just the tip of the iceberg and one should never accept certainty in anything. Because, any story you are ever told is but a narrative of known variables, and no storyteller ever possesses the full universe of variables.

This often leaves one on a tiny island of knowledge surrounded by an ocean of the unknown. It is here where I strive to discover as many hidden variables as I can knowing that missing any one of them can dramatically alter the bigger picture. I know that I’ll never reach certainty. What I seek instead is to reach the maximum degree of confidence. I do this by pulling threads, asking questions, not making assumptions to fill knowledge gaps, deploying open collaboration and transparency, and destroying information silos wherever they may be found. Only then can I assess the variables and chart a course leading to the net advantage.

Continue Reading: Get To Know Mark Herrlinger


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