Robert Wahbe: First-Principles Thinking [Built in Seattle Ep. #42]
2 min read

Robert Wahbe: First-Principles Thinking [Built in Seattle Ep. #42]

Highspot CEO & Co-Founder, Robert Wahbe, talks about category definition, listening harder, and thinking from first principles.

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Highspot has reached a $2.3B valuation, 500+ employees, and raised $397M just 9 years since founding.  

Robert Wahbe (Co-Founder & CEO) spent 16 years at Microsoft as a CVP of the Server and Tools division. In that role, he noticed a big problem with how Microsoft was enabling their sales team. Digging into sales enablement, he saw an opportunity to redefine "the oldest new category on the planet" and started Highspot.

Just 9 years later, Highspot is Seattle's newest unicorn.

Robert goes behind the scenes on his story and gives a masterclass on strategic thinking in this episode of The Built in Seattle Podcast.

Episode Highlights

  • How Highspot found the "oldest new category on the planet" with sales enablement.
  • What Robert learned from working under Satya Nadella at Microsoft.
  • The power of "listening hard."
  • How to know when you actually have a new category.
  • Finding the path from a nice to have to a should have to a must have.
  • Why clarity and resonance is the key to category creation.
  • The power of repeating a  strong framework and analogy.
  • The non-obvious benefits of serving both SMB and Enterprise.
  • Product problem vs "How should I do it" problem.
  • How over-investing in services early paid off later.
  • Why Highspot attempts to create a "spark of magic" in everything they do.
  • Learning from others, but recognizing that there is "no one right answer."
  • Why Account Development is a top-level function at Highspot.
  • Why Robert follows all Seattle unicorns, including Outreach, Auth0, Rover, Convoy.
  • Why Pete Carroll is Robert's Seattle leader role model.

Robert Wahbe Bio

Robert is Highspot’s co-founder and CEO, leading their mission to transform the way millions of people work. Prior to founding Highspot in 2012, Robert spent more than 15 years as Corporate Vice President of the Server and Tools Division at Microsoft. A veteran entrepreneur, he also co-founded Colusa, a cross-language virtual machine that was acquired by Microsoft in 1996.