Mike Gamson - CEO of Relativity, Former VP of Sales at LinkedIn (#53)


Mike first joined the Relativity team in 2017 as a member of the advisory board. He got the unique opportunity to get to know the company’s business and team extremely well before stepping up to the role of CEO in 2019. Mike brings over 20 years of recruitment, sales, and product marketing experience to Relativity.

In his former role at LinkedIn, Mike oversaw LinkedIn’s Global Solutions Organization (GSO) for its more than 30 offices worldwide, focusing on servicing corporate customers in three primary areas—talent solutions, marketing solutions, and sales solutions. Prior to this he was VP of Sales.

Before LinkedIn, Mike was director of product marketing at Advent Software, a provider of enterprise software for investment managers, where he led the trading and order management business. Mike received his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College.

Learn more about the Develomentor story

Episode Summary

“We ran out of money in Costa Rica. It was from that necessity of finding a way to perpetuate our ability to stay in Costa Rica, that we ended up starting a business, and the business was a restaurant at first.”

“I had a lot of insecurity around how my choice of study, religion, and fine arts, would be viewed by the business community. So I did ultimately think that spending some time in a bank would be helpful. And it was helpful both in what it taught me and what it reinforced in me that I did not want to do for a living.”

“I found myself in a sales role without any real sales management experience. I had managed a very small team of salespeople for a year, but now I was VP of sales at a company that we thought we had something special, but we didn’t know exactly how big. We didn’t know that it was going be the killer app at LinkedIn that turned into a multi billion dollar revenue line for the company.”

—Mike Gamson

Mike is a Comparative Religions and Fine Arts major from my Alma Mater, Amherst College. Mike promptly headed to Costa Rica upon graduation and opened up and managed a, wait for it, burrito restaurant slash surf shop slash youth hostel.

After selling that business and moving back to the states, he did some time as a financial analyst before moving into software, first as a sales person and then as a product marketer.  He really found his stride at LinkedIn, rising up to be their SVP of Global Solutions, before leaving to start and run Relativity, a company focused on eDiscovery.

In this episode we’ll cover:

  1. Mike’s backstory in his own words
  2. Many people dream of retiring to the beach, but Mike headed there straight after college and started a business. What was the inspiration?
  3. After Mike did a stint in banking, he landed his first gig selling software. What went into his head during this time?
  4. Likewise to sales, product marketing is another one of those things that is hard to appreciate until you run a business. Why did Mike make this change?
  5. Diving into LinkedIn. Mike spent 11 years there, which is seemingly an eternity in tech, but it is a company that is on the proverbial hockey stick of growth. What it’s like to be the VP of Sales at a hyper growth startup that has reached Escape Velocity, as Geoffrey Moore would call it?
  6. Reflecting back to those early days of getting a degree in Comparative Religions, running a restaurant and doing sales, what things did Mike learn that have carried with him to today?

Additional Resources

Learn more about Relativity, focused on e-discovery https://www.relativity.com/

Escape Velocity - by Geoffrey A. Moore https://amzn.to/2FPwUPi (learn about rapid business growth and scaling)