PagerDuty Blog

The Traveling (Tech) Salesman

Imagine being covered from head to toe in powder, colored red, yellow, blue, green, purple. Imagine being in Vatican City during a conclave to witness the reign of the new pope. Imagine slipping and sliding on streets covered in squelched tomatoes while engaged in a massive tomato food fight with tens of thousands of other strangers.

Karl Pinto, Account Manager on PagerDuty’s Commercial Sales Team, has experienced all three during his travels and is planning more trips to check off more experiences off his bucket list—when he’s not hard at work as an Account Manager on PagerDuty’s Commercial Sales Team in Toronto, that is.

From Comp Sci to Sales Guy

Karl wasn’t always interested in the business side of—well, business. He originally started out studying Computer Science at Waterloo, but after taking a couple of business courses and getting a better understanding of how businesses work, the problems they face, and how they can improve, he realized he was more passionate about the business application of technology. “There’s a difference between knowing how to do things and loving what you do,” he said. “I wasn’t creating games or coding projects for fun. What I did enjoy was exploring the ways I could use software to make my life easier and save more time.”

With a business degree under his belt and a competitive spirit (he used to play baseball and was on the swim team in high school), Karl decided to try his hand at tech sales and took a job at Dell, where he learned the most important lesson of his career: how to talk to customers from their point of view.

“At Dell, we were always focused on differentiating ourselves in a market where solutions can look very similar. One analogy a mentor told me was how you could compare two different cars. A Honda Civic has 1.6-liter engine—the same size as an F1 race car,” explained Karl. “But if you talk about the car they’re trying to buy in terms of engine displacement, they likely won’t understand the difference. But if you talk about the technology of the F1 engine, which is what differentiates it (among many other things) from the Civic, then the difference between the two engines are clearer and easier to understand. I learned to always position and differentiate your solution in a way that shows your customer how it can help them achieve their goals.”

Karl took these learnings to his next job at Salesforce, where he spent 10 years in various sales roles spanning small business accounts to the largest healthcare organizations in North America. “I came into Salesforce when there were 3,000 employees and left when there were 23,000,” he said. “I not only learned a lot about discipline and processes, I also got to witness how a platform rapidly evolves.”

He carried this insight with him to PagerDuty. “I wanted to help a small company grow, so I love that I have the opportunity to make a big impact at PagerDuty.” But that wasn’t the only reason he decided to make the switch. “The best thing about PagerDuty is the positive culture and supportive environment,” Karl explained. “Everyone’s willing to grow the company together. If I have something I need for my customer, I can ask anyone—engineers, solutions consultants, back-end experts, the security team—for help. We’re all very connected and have close relationships. It goes to show that you don’t need a ruthless or cutthroat environment in order to succeed.”

The Importance of Downtime

Karl also learned another important lesson over his career: No one should be working all the time—taking a break is necessary to avoid burnout. “There was one year when I only used four PTO days because I thought there was always work to be done,” he shared. “I wound up squandering vacation days because I wasn’t allowed to carry them over. I realized I had to be better to myself, to take more than a day here and there, because it helps my mind reset and I come back to work with new energy and focus.”

And that was when he discovered a penchant for traveling—though his love for travel shouldn’t be much of a surprise, considering where he hails from: Karl was born and raised in Mississauga, a suburb in Toronto best known for its diversity and multiple culture-specific festivals.

Karl has been to France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland. “I would love to go to the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona one day,” he said. “I’d also love to visit Istanbul, Eastern Europe, and the APAC region. I’m currently saving up to go to the Olympics next year in Tokyo—seeing the Olympics live is something I think you just have to go and experience.”

Interested in being part of our incredible team? Check out our current open roles—we’d love to have you!