Here at SimScale, we want to ensure communication and transparency across all departments to help things move as smoothly as possible. A crucial proponent of this is Jon, our VP of Customer Success, who is active in just about all daily scrums, key decision-making discussions, pre-sales, sales, and post-sales activities, as well as team reviews. Nevertheless, he always makes sure to find time to chat personally with the most important part of any company; the customers.
An Interview with Our VP Customer Success
We interviewed Jon to find out how his journey led him to SimScale, and the daily tasks he now performs as VP Customer Success. It’s a position that requires experience, excellent communication, and a strategic mind. Jon masters the role with a calm head and an incredibly British sense of humor. Read on to find out how.
Name: Jon Wilde
Role at SimScale: VP Customer Success
Time at SimScale: 1.5 years
How did you get into mechanical engineering and simulation software?
“Well, I studied mechanical engineering. I did a Masters in fluid mechanics and thermodynamics at Birmingham University which took five years. I got to do a year out at Thales Aerospace, a big French company that had a site near Gatwick Airport. Thales was cool, they had Category D full-flight simulators (FFS) which is the highest level of flight simulators and they were full motion. It was like being in Star Trek! I remember once asking, “But how bad can turbulence actually get?” and regretted it. I never want to experience turbulence like that in real life! I ended up working for Thales as a Mechanical Engineer after leaving university.”
How was your time there? What did you do as a Mechanical Engineer?
“I worked for them for two years in Gatwick, it was close to home as I was living in Brighton. As a Mechanical Engineer, I had lots of interesting projects. I was definitely happy there, but when Blue Ridge Numerics, Inc. approached me with the chance to be an Application Engineer for CFdesign, it was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up on. To be honest, I wasn’t really good at talking to groups of people back then and it was something I wanted to get comfortable with. The position offered me that chance. I spent an awesome four years there, learning crazy amounts from hundreds of people around Europe, and then it was acquired by Autodesk. I worked in post-sales for a while and then my family and I moved over to Munich when Autodesk gave us the opportunity. I managed a team here for a few years before wanting more.”
Autodesk to SimScale, how did that happen?
“I began to get less involved in simulation through Autodesk and it is a field I am really interested in and wanted to continue to work with. I also came to a point where I wanted to go to work in a startup again. I like the fact that you have more freedom of choice and influence on what’s going on in a startup. In some companies, you are a small fish big pond, I wanted it the other way round. In smaller enterprises, everyone’s a big fish. We all have a massive influence on what happens to the company and we all care about it working out.”
How did you start at SimScale, and how did you become VP Customer Success?
“I’d been in the industry a while already, so I was familiar with so many CFD packages and had talked to a huge number of people across a broad range of industries. At SimScale, I started as Director of Application Engineering, for pre- and post-sales. However, within a few months, I became VP of Customer Success, to try to leverage my experience more in the direction of the product. This still included pre- and post sales and added the product team also. Realistically, we are all one team and we’re all really passionate. In such a close working atmosphere, we are all contributing and we care about what we’re doing.”
What does a VP Customer Success actually do?
“Most of the time it involves forming a strategy around what we want to be, what we’re aiming for. Of course, this needs to be realistic, so we take a look at what our capabilities are, what the markets are saying or demanding, and what our competitors are doing. We heavily rely on feedback from our customers (who have have provided us with thousands of data points) and gathering as much knowledge as possible to identify and realize our unique selling points. My role revolves a lot around connecting the voice of the customer to the direction of the product.
We have had more than a million simulations run on SimScale. The success of each, really helps us aim down the right path. And then, it comes down to execution. Identifying our USP, communicating it properly internally and externally, and making sure it happens. We’re looking forwards, but always reflecting on past successes and lessons learned.”
It sounds like you are busy. How do you maintain balance and organization in your average day?
“I get up at 5 am, exercise or meditate, reflect on the previous day and plan for the current one. I then cycle one of our kids to kindergarten which can be either 5 km or 20 km, depending on which kid I’m dropping off! My wife takes the other in the opposite direction – great planning, I know. It’s a great start to the day and gets me going. Once I’m in the SimScale office, I head to a daily scrum every morning. I usually alternate between the sales or AE scrum so I can see what’s going on in all areas; pre-sales, sales activities, or post-sales. Sometimes companies drop the ball a bit when it comes to post-sales, so I like to make sure we’re checking in on customers with a quick chat here and there. In fact, I’m calling customers everyday. My job involves a lot of talking… something I am much better at these days!”
5 am start! You must need a fair amount of coffee. How do you take it?
“I like a cold brew or a flat white. I’d say flat white usually wins!”
What are your favorite things about SimScale?
“I like that I’m often still an AE in certain projects and can continue to work with SimScale as it develops. But I would say that my favorite thing about SimScale, not to be cliche, is the people. It’s true! I am surrounded by a team that really cares and it’s hugely motivating. I am certain I will never work with such a fantastic team again in my life, we have a winning formula!”
Bonus question: Can you tell us a favorite joke?
“Well, being a dad, I think it’s probably best that I don’t tell any jokes!”
Thank you, Jon!
You can see more of what the team has been up to on our @lifeatsimscale Instagram feed. Want to start your own SimScale story? Make sure to keep an eye on our careers page for possible openings!
Check out the below video to see Jon in action!