Evangelizing software tools to innovate in sales & demand generation

Sudheesh Nair, President – Nutanix

Sudheesh Nair has been in the tech industry for more than 15 years. He is passionate about turning conventional wisdom of enterprise sales upside down by hiring a diverse mix of sales people and technologists who value customer trust over everything else, use social media to nurture and evangelize, and have an unparalleled commitment for software tools to innovate in sales and demand generation.

Sudheesh is building a world-class sales team that understands the challenges customers face with their virtualized datacenter infrastructure at Nutanix. He has a deep conviction that if you listen to the customer and the broader market, and focus your business priorities accordingly, everything else falls into place. Sudheesh holds a diploma in Instrumentation and Control Engineering with Distinction from Government Polytechnic College, Palghat. Professionally he is passionate about learning from people and new experiences.

Prior to joining Nutanix, he built a strong foundation for a sales career, holding a variety of technical and sales leadership positions at IBM-XIV, DDN, ONStor and Zambeel. He shares some more insights from his journey with team ABT in this interview.

Who is your inspiration and Why?
It’s hard to pick out a single person who is my inspiration – I try instead to look for at least one quality in everyone around me to be inspired by. In general, I am inspired by people who take a stand for what they believe in when they know the odds are stacked against them. For example, Billie Jean King, she is an American former World No. 1 professional tennis player. She accepted the challenge to play the tennis masstch against Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes. She knew she couldn’t lose for the sake of human decency and equality. It takes courage and guts to put you out there in front of the world and perform at the highest level when 90 million people are watching. I respect that type of grit.

Tell us about your journey at ‘Nutanix’.
It’s been a journey that’s required tenacity! I’ve been fortunate enough to experience both the highest of my professional highs and the lowest of my professional lows at Nutanix. The most astounding thing about my career here so far is that you can never be complacent. The constant growth and velocity of the company has a way of keeping you guessing about what you thought you knew, and what you still have to learn to improve. I thrive on that uncertainty.

What is your guiding philosophy when it comes to doing business?
I am not a fan of the phrase “its business, not personal”. Business is personal because it’s about people and their families, career aspirations, financial futures and security. When we assemble a group of people with the promise of building a company – a place where they will spend a large portion of their waking hours – we owe it to them to build it with the highest of ethics and integrity in mind. Whether it’s our customers, partners, employees or investors, we want everyone to be proud of what we built; now and for years to come.

Tell us about your leadership style.
I highly value transparent communication. I believe that context is often overlooked when decisions are communicated in an organization and that creates fertile ground for rumours and mistrust. So, when I’m announcing something at Nutanix, I try to communicate the problem, our options, limitations and answers to any potential questions to always give everyone the full picture. At times this is hard to do, but it’s worth the effort.

Please share with us, your most cherished milestone.
Getting the very first purchase order in my hand during the early days of Nutanix is a memory that I will always cherish. Nothing is ever truly built until someone is willing to open up their wallet and pay for it.

What would you like to achieve in coming years?
I am not really big on making forward-looking plans when it comes to personal accomplishments. I do wish that in the future, the world becomes less divided and more unified than it is right now. I am hopeful – millennials are growing up more tolerant, peace-loving, understanding and environmentally conscious than the generation before, so I think the outlook is looking bright for planet earth!