John Moon, Account Executive & Playbook Expert, joins us to share his journey through life and sales. How did he transition from law to tech? How do you find time for your passions in a fast-paced career? How do you take advantage of a sales Bootcamp? All that and more! Stay tuned!
John Moon, Account Executive & Playbook Expert On His Journey Through Life, Sales, Transition From Law To Tech And Taking Advantage Of A Sales Boot Camp.
Joseph Fung: Hi everyone, I’m Joseph Fung, and today we are speaking with John Moon. John, we know that you’re an Account Executive at Kiite and we’ve had a chance to get to know each other quite a bit over the many months, but maybe you can help our audience. Where are you calling in from?
John Moon: Yeah hi Joseph I’m calling in from Vancouver British Columbia, halfway across the country from you.
Joseph Fung: Nice and to kind of start at the beginning. Where did you go to school? Where did you grow up?
John Moon: Sure, yeah, so I grew up mostly in Vancouver. I come from an immigrant family, so my mother first moved to Toronto, but we spent most of our time here. And I went to the University of British Columbia and then went to law school in Minnesota.
Joseph Fung: So law school you started off studying the law I’m curious why the University of Minnesota? It’s not exactly next door to UBC.
John Moon: Yup, that’s true. To be honest, I applied to a number of different schools, and I didn’t really I didn’t even know where Minnesota was to be honest when I applied. But they were the best school best rated they gave me some scholarship options. So I made it very palatable for me.
Joseph Fung: That’s awesome, now earlier we were speaking about kind of how careers got kicked off in interesting ways? If you tell us a little bit what sparked your interest in law what got you started there?
John Moon: To be very honest me and my way a little bit through undergrad, so I started as a biology major didn’t really find that really clicked with me went into English literature. And then the law was to be perfectly honest it was something my parents strongly encouraged me to get into. Because my grades were there. You know they felt like I had the analytical skillsets you know which I agreed with and obviously, it was a way to make a healthy living.
Joseph Fung: I can empathize with that the kind of Asian backgrounds often push into it I remember getting into engineering partially for similar reasons. So I could definitely empathize with the pressures and dynamics of those choices.
John Moon: Absolutely
Joseph Fung: Now you studied law, you graduated, and what you end up doing after law school?
John Moon: Yeah I ended up working as a claim attorney at Minnesota Lawyers mutual it’s a legal malpractice insurance company, so a very specialized product is protecting lawyers from malpractice claims.
Joseph Fung: Interesting, and what does a claims attorney do?
John Moon: So it’s a similar position as any kind of claims agent claims rep but because it was a product being sold to lawyers. And there were very complex legal issues involved they were transitioning from hiring non-attorneys into hiring attorneys for that position.
Joseph Fung: Now you were there for quite some time a little over four years or something, right?
John Moon: Exactly!
Joseph Fung: But you didn’t stay there. If you took a bit of a hiatus and travelled help us understand. You know, what inspired that journey, and where did you end up?
John Moon: So it was actually the journey was rather my impetus to start the journey was many years in the making. So even though a law school I was I thought you know this isn’t quite right for me I think but maybe never be better, once I start working it’ll be better once I made a more senior position it’ll be better never really clicked. So it just took me a while to just make that decision I started off by doing a bicycle tour around the world really I bicycle.
Joseph Fung: Wow
John Moon: Yeah, I ended up biking about 10,000 kilometers over three continents.
Joseph Fung: Holy, yeah, there’s no polite way to react to that. Which continents?
John Moon: So I did the I follow the Mississippi River up from New Orleans to Minneapolis, so it’s in the US, Western Europe from Frankfurt to Paris to London and then I did Southeast Asia for a little while as well Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, back to Thailand.
Joseph Fung: Wow! Yeah! Oh or that journey, are there any specific highlights that stick out to you was ten thousand kilometres there’s got to be some high points there?
John Moon: There’s a lot of high points out of low points. What I really remember is being so over-prepared for the first journey. The first bit of the journey and then realizing to let go and just you know do things on the fly. I remember I printed out dozens maybe even hundreds of pages of maps and it was all useless because things changed.
Joseph Fung: Wow! And you do this across Asia, you said you landed in Thailand and you got into diving in Thailand. Right?
John Moon: I did. I had tried diving before and then as my well towards the end of March forgets the year now, but towards the end of around March, it was a burning season. So the smoke was really unbearable in northern Thailand, so I decided I’ve got to quit, and I decided, I wondered what I could do next and I thought well I like that diving thing. So let me try that out.
Joseph Fung: So you said its burning season in Thailand. Could you explain that a bit more? I’m not familiar with that term.
John Moon: Yeah! So yeah, it’s just more and more every day as I was going the smoke was thick in the air, and I wondered “why is this happening!” What I was told is that just as part of like an agricultural cycle, it’s normal for the farmers to just set their fields ablaze after harvest.
Joseph Fung: Wow!
John Moon: And this was the time of year they would do it because it was the dry season, I guess. So it wouldn’t be interrupted by the rains.
Joseph Fung: Wow! So quite literally burning season not just to give a reason for really hot weather but actually burning.
John Moon: I get actually both, yeah.
Joseph Fung: Ok, so you’ve done law school, your claims attorney for an insurance company, you travel around the world dive instructor, but then you come back to BC and spend some time on a startup. He can tell us a bit around that decision that journey. What that was like?
John Moon: Sure! Yeah! So exactly, so my kind of towards the end of my journey, my trips, I wanted to get back into something resembling real life get back to Canada and I had a colleague, well a friend from high school who was looking to found a startup and that’s we had collaborated a little bit before and so we decided to try this outcome back to Vancouver with this project.
Joseph Fung: That’s fantastic, and you know like a lot of startups there’s a journey of all the lessons, but you maintained that kind of self-employed entrepreneurial angle and got more into events and marketing. Is that am I describing it right?
John Moon: Yeah, that’s fair to say.
Joseph Fung: Ok can you tell me a bit around and what that business is like? What you were working on? What you’re getting?
John Moon: Sure yeah, so it was a lot of, so it was freelance work where I would pick up event marketing projects. And honestly, it was anything from like a field manager, team lead, to even just the staff level. It was fun lots of different kinds of events big and small got to meet a lot of people. Both people I worked with but also people you know it was public-facing. So and I to present myself in different contexts which were fun what I found challenging was that I found it not as I didn’t find any progress in my work, so that’s why I was looking for something different.
Joseph Fung: When you say progress, do you mean her personal development or the longer-term projects? Can help us on package out of it?
John Moon: Sure both really in terms of like a career progression it didn’t seem like I was getting anywhere, to be honest, and either I had to jump into an agency role and become an account manager in that context, which I felt not quite prepared to do because of my background or try something completely different.
John Moon: So, I did like the customer-facing role, I like solving problems for people in a collaborative way that’s really when I get the little hit of joy in my professional life. So I remember that from my Minnesota lawyer’s Mutual days as well where once somewhat once a problem is resolved you know that really brought joy to me. So I had that vague sense of that’s what I wanted to be doing.
Joseph Fung: So we met as yeah, you know, in part of that Uvaro program, but maybe you can cast your mind back when you were out looking at options, and you first came across the Uvaro program know. What were you looking for when you were considering kind of a new career in a new direction? You know, what were you thinking and what was going to your mind?
John Moon: I knew, you know, to be very frank, I did want more money than I was making and I knew I had the potential to, you know, contribute meaningfully to an organization. More than I felt like I was doing in the kind of freelance roles and what I was really looking for was something where I could progress and see growth in my professional development. At the same time, as feeling like at each step, I was making a difference.
Joseph Fung: Now in the program, you speak a lot about the kind of having more to offer in the program, you are incredibly successful, I mean you won the demo master prize used in your classmates that referred to you is the valedictorian of the class, you know, I would love to hear what are the things that you think you did that uniquely set you up for success there? So, if somebody else is embarking on a boot camp like this Uvaro or otherwise what can they keep in mind?
John Moon: I think the biggest secret sauce that I had my unfair advantage was being on West Coast time which for me meant I had three hours extra in my day as long as you know got up in the morning. You know to be putting in the hours is what really made the difference.
Joseph Fung: So, to clarify, can you explain for our audience, where your daily routine was like while you’re in the program?
John Moon: Oh, of course, yes so the program was run out of Ontario time, so it was 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 very reasonable classroom time, but for me, that meant it was 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. So I would get up typically around 5:00 a.m. to get ready for class and whatnot.
Joseph Fung: It’s just incredible diligence. I mean I saw you in the program regularly and even just hearing you say it, I find it so impressive.
John Moon: Thanks! Actually, you know, when I was a dive master, I typically woke up at 5 a.m. and I would work 28 to 30 days a month. So I think to me it just if a program spoke to me or you know, if it was something that I enjoy doing then I didn’t mind putting in the hours.
Joseph Fung: Well, there you go! That means yeah, maybe there’s an untapped opportunity for divemasters to get into sales through boot camps!
John Moon: I honestly think so!
Joseph Fung: I regret, oh, so you’re, you were saying you thought one of your key advantages was being on the west coast, but it wasn’t just the time zone. I think there were a lot of activities and you know, a lot of behaviors that yielded success. I’d love to hear what did you focus on you know what did you make a real priority for yourself while you were in the program?
John Moon: My real priority was to such a part of it was putting in the hours, but part of it was really buying in so having that buy-in. Personally, I heard you know not necessarily from my colleagues but in the class, but there were people who doubted. You know what can the program as this does and to me that was, it didn’t make sense even to ask those questions you know I committed myself to do this. It only makes, I only have 12 weeks to take advantage of what you guys were offering and so I wanted to get as much out of it as possible.
Joseph Fung: That’s a fantastic perspective! So thinking back on this, you’ve had incredible journey you know, a ton of success! Now you’re in your new role, if you were speaking to your younger self and let’s think about that time when you were choosing to go into law school, what advice would you be giving your younger self?
John Moon: Oh boy, I believe it’s I know it’s tough, it was a tough time for me in my life whereas it is for anybody when you’re around that age where you’ve been doing, very dependent on your parents. And they’re still giving you a lot of direction, but maybe you don’t feel like. That’s the right way, I would encourage myself, my younger self to take that leap of faith and just do what I want to do.
Joseph Fung: Nice! I love the recommendation so leaps of faith drive casting your eyes forward now and you’re still early on in your journey. What do you aspire to accomplish? You know, what’s on your bucket list? Or what else do you aim to have done if you look in the future?
John Moon: In terms of my professional role?
Joseph Fung: Professional or personal, you know, life flight is a mix.
John Moon: Sure, what I really like about you know, the product I sell in the role, I’m in, I feel like, I’m making a big difference to the organization, I’m in and to my customers. I know having used other tools it can be kind of a grab bag kind of a difficult thing to be in that sales role. So I love being able to make that difference you know, casting my eyes into the future I would love to continue to be involved with products that I really love and believe in, Yeah.
Joseph Fung: Well that’s a fantastic segue let’s go through a couple of rapid-fire questions, and then we can let you go back to things you said you’d love to be involved in you know, tools and software, the products you can believe in, so sales tools. What is your favorite sales tool?
John Moon: I really love linked, to be honest; yeah, it’s a very quick way to find out what the prospects are thinking.
Joseph Fung: Awesome! And outside of profession, personally movies; what is your favorite movie?
John Moon: I really like the John Wick series. I like that, it’s a very honest. It’s just an action movie. The motivation doesn’t really matter, and everyone can just agree on that.
Joseph Fung: I love the series. I can’t wait for the fourth, personally. So, now thinking back to when you’re younger, you shared some of the motivation for getting into law, but as you were growing up, what did you want to grow up to be?
John Moon: An astronaut.
Joseph Fung: Love it, perfect. That’s my choice too. So where I feel like, we’re in good company then. John, this has been great! Thank you so much for your time and for sharing. Your journey is really unique and glad that we got a chance to share it.
John Moon: Thanks so much Joseph! Really had a good time.
Joseph Fung: I’m looking forward to our next chat. I hope you have a wonderful afternoon.
John Moon: All right! Bye now Joseph!
Joseph Fung: Ciao.