Greg Head is the former Chief Marketing Officer for Infusionsoft and a longtime proponent of tech entrepreneurship in Arizona. Currently, Greg is an independent advisor and strategy consultant to CEOs of growing companies. He also speaks to entrepreneur groups and is working on his first book.
What part of Arizona do you call home?
I have lived in north Scottsdale for 20 years in a cozy neighborhood west of Kierland. I’m from the Chicago area originally and I have also lived in Dallas, Texas and San Jose, California.
How did you get started in the tech industry?
I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated from the University of Iowa 30 years ago, so I started working with a friend at a national retail software store called Egghead Software in Chicago. I fell in love with software, selling, and marketing. It was exciting to be there at the moment the software business really started taking off.
In case you didn’t catch that, I really was “Greg Head from Egghead.” I had fun with that.
What was your very first entrepreneurial/tech venture?
While working at Egghead Software, I discovered a new software that salespeople used to manage their contacts: ACT!. I sold a lot of it and eventually joined the tiny 10-person company that made ACT!. I helped that company grow up and ACT! became one of the leading software products of the 1990s. ACT! for Windows was the best-selling contact manager for salespeople.
What inspired you to do what you do now?
I have helped grow three companies from the startup or early stage to become successful companies with global brands. I love the growth game, and I love helping others create new things in the world. It’s an extreme sport to create a new-fangled product and grow a company, but it’s where all the new jobs, new products and new solutions are coming from. The world needs these scrappy entrepreneurs to succeed at creating a better future.
What is your favorite part about what you do?
I love digging in with CEOs and their leaders on their hardest problems. Every business and every entrepreneur is unique, but there are many proven approaches that new entrepreneurs can leverage to grow faster (or not get stuck). I love learning new things from savvy people, too.
What knowledge have you been able to carry from your time at Infusionsoft to what you do now?
I learned so much at Infusionsoft. In particular, I learned the power of explicit culture that becomes part of the product, the strategy and the brand of a company. Not culture as in ping-pong tables and free sodas, but extremely disciplined purpose, values and a mission that is practiced every day at a level normal companies would never consider. Infusionsoft is fanatic about managing and living their culture, as much as Disney, Nike and other great companies.
What have you noticed about the growth of the tech industry in Arizona?
I moved to Arizona in 1996 to help start a CRM software company called SalesLogix. Back then, there were just a few software companies in town. Now there are over 200 Arizona-based software companies in Phoenix with an explosion of startups, incubators and resources for entrepreneurs. It’s still early in our growth, but we have a serious startup and tech community that is growing fast. There is much more tech activity in Phoenix than anyone realizes.
If you could only describe your city with one word, which word would it be?
What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
I love the outdoors here—the desert and the mountains.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona? In what area do you think Arizona still has a long way to go?
I wish more entrepreneurs thought bigger and created more world-class companies here. That’s what is going to create a better future for Arizonans. Why should other big cities have all the fun?
The foodie scene is growing bigger and bigger by the day here in Arizona. What is your favorite place to get breakfast in your city?
The Perk on 64th and Greenway, which is near my house. They have great food and family-style service.
What’s your favorite place to grab lunch?
Pizzeria Bianco at Town & Country on Camelback. You can sit out on the patio and enjoy great incredible food with no lines.
What’s your favorite dinner spot?
My wife and I love Rusconi’s in north Phoenix. The food is always fantastic and they have a great wine selection, too.
What’s your favorite place to work in your city aside from your office?
When I need a change of venue and a quiet space, I find a secluded spot at one of our great hotels. In the last year, I have visited the Four Seasons Scottsdale, Hyatt Regency Doubletree and the Westin Kierland. Why not enjoy the beautiful resort atmosphere here in town?
What is your favorite memory from Arizona?
The Diamondbacks winning the World Series in 2001. That was magical.
What is something about living in Arizona that only a local would know of?
People have no idea that you can get really cold when you get out of the pool in a dry wind, even when it’s 100 degrees. Or that 95 degrees isn’t so hot because it’s dry. We’re not crazy, it’s just a dry desert.
Any tips for new Arizona residents?
I always advise new Arizona residents to assume this is a smaller town than it appears. It’s easy to get connected in any community: professional, industry, or whatever. Jump right in and make connections. People in Phoenix are friendly and helpful.