Watergate: What Pathfinders and Woodward & Bernstein Have in Common

Rob BakerPathfinder SalesLeave a Comment

Image of building in Washington DC

Holidays, such as the recent Festive season, provide the perfect circumstances to do that “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” thing, to kick-back and just go with the flow of what rolls by. One such evening I happened to flick through some online movies and ‘All the President’s Men’ caught my eye.  It had been substantially more than a decade since I last watched it and I thought well why not, a chance to reacquaint with all of the story’s enticing nuances and intricacies.

Business is never more than a stone’s throw away from our thought processes, even during a vacation downtime. It was not long before I was finding myself drawn into thinking about comparisons and similarities between what was unfolding in the movie and the challenges faced by startup businesses nurturing nascent tech propositions and aiming to gain traction and ultimately successful achievement of business objectives.

‘Woodstein’, the amalgam of (Bob) Woodward and (Carl) Bernstein were the central journalist characters in the real-life drama that, in a nutshell, had to overcome enormous obstacles, threats and almost insurmountable odds to achieve their eventual results. In short, they were the major players that shaped events and created history to familiarize the world with the name Watergate.  

Watergate, that 1960s commercial and residential complex on the shoreline of the Potomac in a Downtown neighborhood in Washington DC, that now ubiquitously lends its suffix to any form of scandal that is outed. Watergate, that event that led to the denouement of the 37th President of the United States and the collapse of the house of cards around him. Watergate, the watershed.  

Point of fact, the outcomes at the end of this particular journey for ‘Woodstein’ were not ones which had remotely crossed their minds at the outset. Quite remarkable events and achievements, against all odds. This struck me as being analogous to the cycles and challenges faced by Pathfinders to take their business’s budding tech proposition on a journey of discovery to find the right target markets, gain initial traction and convert it all into a repeatable, scalable and profitable business, while concurrently developing the ‘Playbook’ for others to follow in their wake.

Let us take a moment to consider those challenges:

  • Little more than a scintilla of an embryonic idea.
  • Hypotheses and gut instincts only, certainly nothing proven.
  • Limited connection points.
  • Merely a sliver of an opening and opportunity at the outset.
  • Entrenched, powerful and overwhelming forces, known and unknown, in opposition.
  • Skepticism at every turn, externally and crucially, internally.
  • Bet-your-company decisions at each juncture.
  • Fear, uncertainty, and doubt over every move.
  • Ever present danger of the snare for missteps and failure.
  • Blank canvas, completely blank; where to go, whom to speak to, what to ask and why.
  • No blueprint and no precedent for how to proceed.
  • Constantly moving objectives and targets, the nemeses of focus and clarity of purpose.
  • Established conventions, protocols, processes, and expectations on how business should be executed – RULES!

These were just a snapshot of the significant challenges faced by Woodward & Bernstein, but look again, every one of those challenges is typical of the daily trials that Pathfinders face too. Different journeys and different end targets, but similar challenges, requiring people equipped with the right mix of skills, both intrinsic (deep) and acquired (vocational), to stay the course and create sustained and meaningful success. 

Pathfinders, as distinct from other sales types, have some fundamentally differing characteristics and motivations. The hiring of a Pathfinder is a crucial staging post and pivot point for all B2B tech startups, requiring a much deeper insight into and understanding of the composition of potential candidates. Far more than traditional sales hire profiles, these traits go way beyond the track record of sales achievement, the list of sales awards gained, or the size of the contact Rolodex. 

Such intrinsic skills and attributes include:

  • Thriving and prevailing in a landscape of ambiguity.
  • Tenacity and patience to work through and around seemingly relentless headwinds.
  • Maintaining discipline and focus when inevitable distractions and even small wins arise.
  • Excitement and curiosity around building and creating.
  • Maintaining confidence, positivity, and perseverance in adversity.
  • Driven more by the ‘why’ than the ‘what’.

The Right Five was founded by identifying that there is a gap of capability, focus and resource in the B2B tech startup space to seek out true Pathfinders. As a nascent business in our own right, we too are setting out on our own Pathfinder journey and through this blog we have captured and shared the details behind our exciting odyssey.

As can be discerned, our mission is to leverage our IP to power the means to gain this insight and much more besides. This will realize immediate, tangible, first order business benefits to hard pressed B2B tech founders by helping them find and hire their Pathfinders quickly, efficiently, and as painlessly as possible, right first time. Using technology driven screening our automated system can rapidly identify ‘the right five’ pathfinder candidates out of the morass and minefield of resumés that your exciting business prospectus will attract.

Just like Woodward and Bernstein, Pathfinders are people imbued with special talents and intangible qualities to achieve fundamental and, in some cases, historical legacies. We help you find yours.

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