DocuSign exec Loren Alhadeff says this unique trait is key to the company’s success

Some companies point to cutting-edge innovations for their success while others boast their customer-centric strategies. Chief Revenue Officer Loren Alhadeff says that DocuSign has its own special superpower.

“The unique thing about us is we’re an employee company and we have been for a very long time,” said Alhadeff, who has been at the e-signature business for 11 years. That corporate focus, he said, “is rare.”

He credits DocuSign employees for building relationships and trust with customers who “were taking the leap of faith” when the company introduced its digital signature tools. At the time, it wasn’t even certain that an electronic autograph was legally binding.

Alhadeff admits that he himself is a people person, a trait he learned from his parents who always put family and friends first, he said. And as he reflects on his career and professional accomplishments, “it is the people along the way that are most memorable to me.”

That said, he’s pretty bullish on DocuSign’s technology and market potential as well. The company went public in April 2018, and in July bought a Chicago-based cloud document generation and contract management company for $218.9 million. The acquisition is part of DocuSign’s plan to provide services for everything from preparing, signing, executing and managing agreements digitally.

“Tell me a business that doesn’t have paper that needs to be transported,” Alhadeff said. “We can sell to virtually any company in the world.”

While DocuSign’s headquarters are now in San Francisco, the company originated in Seattle and its biggest office is here, employing close to 1,100 people — including Alhadeff. From his office, he has view of the demolition of Seattle’s formerly iconic Alaskan Way Viaduct.

As the region changes and grows, he’s excited by its robust “ecosystem of innovation” and the chance to put the Pacific Northwest on the map. But he’s troubled by the yawning disparity between the haves and have nots.

“It’s this challenge of all of that investment and wealth creation that is creating a socio-economic divide that is changing the fabric of the city,” Alhadeff said. We risk losing the artists, musicians and outdoor enthusiasts. “It’s changed the dynamic of San Francisco. We are starting to see that in Seattle.”

We caught up with Alhadeff for this Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.

Current location: Seattle

Computer types: Mac

Mobile devices: iPhone X

Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: DocuSign, Instagram, LinkedIn, Spotify and Sonos.

Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? I spend a lot of my day when I’m in Seattle meeting with employees, customers and prospects so my office is set up with a conference table. There’s a desk as well, but I never find myself sitting at it. As someone who gets to look out at the Seattle seaport, I am really interested in its history. I’ve always loved my view of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and am well aware every day of it being torn down.

Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? It’s always a challenge. I have a young family, and I really see the impact my work schedule has on them. Work has to have purpose, because every minute away from my family has to count. It comes down to two priorities.

First, I believe you have to prioritize those things in your life that have long-term value — family, friends, career satisfaction and impact — and not get too caught up in the day-to-day.

Second, I think you have to maintain strong confidence and self-awareness so you are OK with where you excel and where you don’t, and are confident in that. When you have that awareness, you know how to help others and also have people around who help you be successful.

Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? LinkedIn. I tend to consume it in spurts to get an idea of what’s going on in my network and in the industry in general. I also pay attention to how other leaders lead, and how they use the platform to their advantage.

Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? There are a lot of emails in my inbox because I’m not great at deleting them. But I’m on top of the ones that require my response and attention, and less likely to assume you require a response if I’m one of many on the “to” line or included on the “cc” line. I don’t tend to reply with “sounds good” or anything like that if it isn’t necessary.

Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? My job is helping people be successful, whether it’s a customer, employee or prospect, so I rarely have any un-booked time on my calendar, unless I block it for personal reasons like my family.

How do you run meetings? Depends on the content, agenda and needed outcomes. I like to guide and make sure we have a clear path forward, as opposed to dominating the conversation.

Everyday work uniform? Casual pants and a dress shirt. Dress or casual shoes, and almost always white trainers on Fridays.

How do you make time for family? Again, this is always a challenge. I’m lucky I don’t live too far from the office, and I try to take my kids to school at least one day a week. I believe in being really present whenever I am with them because life moves so quickly.

Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? I like to spend time outdoors — running regularly to decompress and exercise, fishing and skiing whenever I can. I also love music to unplug, and spending as much time as I can with my three children and my wife.

What are you listening to? Besides a conference call right now, Anderson.Paak is in rotation a lot.

Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? My daily reads are emails and texts. I pay attention to what’s happening out there, but I don’t have a go-to site that I spend a lot of time on.

Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi

Night owl or early riser? Early riser

Where do you get your best ideas? From failure

Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? I respect other leaders for their ability to balance all the aspects of their lives and really integrate them, while still being a great leader. One example that comes to mind is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. He’s taking a traditional software company and undertaking the huge transformation to be a cloud company. He brings his personal perspective, as well as his experience as a parent, to improve the application experience for users — all while seemingly being a great dad, husband and leader. I think that’s pretty cool.

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