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Get to know Contrast MSSP program mastermind Ben Goodman

Get to know Contrast MSSP program mastermind Ben Goodman

What’s that you say? Log4j is pronounced “Log Forge?!?!” We’ve been pronouncing it wrong since we all started mumbling “Aiiiieeeeeee, Log4Shell! Log4Shell!”????

Consider us learned up, ever since we pulled word pronunciation expert Ben Goodman into our most recent Code Patrol podcast. (Maybe we’re duly educated, that is, but then again, maybe not! Turns out this is a hotly debated issue!)

As we’ve learned from both Ben himself and from his teammates, Contrast Security’s Senior Vice President  of Strategic Alliances and Corporate Development — he behind the mighty managed security services program (MSSP) Contrast unleashed last week, as well as the synergy-sparking Security Innovation Alliance (SIA) program launched in February — is articulate; adores talking; is obsessed with words, meanings and pronunciations; and is hyper focused on the specific needs of the customers and partners he works for, be they pricing needs, contractual needs, support needs or technical needs: He’s all over all the needs. 

We’re going to partner you UP!

“We developed SIA with the mission of helping our partners grow and succeed and the launch of our new MSSP Program will ensure that our managed services and system integrator partners have the support they need to achieve their goals," Ben said in Contrast’s recent announcement about the MSSP program. "In addition to having access to our full Contrast suite of security solutions, MSSP partners will also receive sales enablement and engagement education, professional services to stand up new platforms and help onboard customers, custom pricing models, as well as a new MSSP sales toolkit. I am confident that our new MSSP program will be a game-changer for any businesses looking to expand their service offerings and increase customer engagement."

In our podcast interview, Ben said that post-MSSP program launch, he and his team are working on “all the work that you have to do after you sign the agreement with the partners. So we're building the integrations, looking at go-to-markets, trying to decide where there are opportunities to partner potentially even closer: even beyond what we did with the initial SIA launch, and so that's all underway, and it’s keeping the team very, very busy.”

You’re going to want to hang with this guy

He’s good at this stuff because he’s good at people. Ben knows that if he were to send a text to people he connected with or did partnerships with years ago, “they’d be right there for me, because we connected personally.” 

He makes long-lasting connections because he connects with people in a visceral way. He hears what they need, and he’s dogged about making it happen. 

Ben_Goodman“You meet people, you connect with them personally, and they'll never forget you,” he says. “There's just a tremendous amount of value in that old adage that people buy from people, and people partner with people. So yeah, we represent a company. But in the end, when it's time to get a deal done, it's two people sitting down across that table from each other, writing up a contract or an agreement or whatever.”

Of course, you have to understand the market and the area you play in to be successful when working on alliances. You also have to be highly collaborative. And you’ve got to be creative, because “It's not always obvious as to how one plus one is going to equal three,” Ben says. "Your most important asset in our space is your network.”

Life lessons: Chocolate = disgusting, people = great

Ben’s first job ever, the kind of “first-time-I-earned-money” job that opens a young person’s mind to what life and people are all about, was as a stevedore, working in a warehouse, unloading ships that pulled into New Jersey ports. 

First lesson learned: Chocolate is gross. “If you've ever seen [warehouse] cocoa beans, you would not love chocolate as much as you probably do, because they're not nearly what you would think they are. We used to take these big 150 lbs. sacks, and you take hooks, and you'd stick the hooks into the sacks and swing them,” he says. The broken chunks of what started as ripe yellow pods the size of rugby balls aren’t what you’d describe as redolent of the aroma of mouth-watering chocolate. They’re full of white, pulpy beans that might well be full of potential (dare we say like a partner or customer that hasn’t yet blossomed to their full potential under the careful attention of an alliance builder?). They just don’t smell nice, he says (the cocoa pods, that is, not the MSSPs). 

Second lesson learned: People who work hard “don’t always get paid for as hard as they work,” Ben recalls. “I’ll never forget how kind and hard working the people that worked in those warehouses were, and it was a big kind of shaping. It shaped me a lot, I think, in terms of who I am.”

It’s nice to know somebody you’re going to get quasi-married to in a partnership or alliance is a man of the people, right? Somebody who respects people for who they are and where they’re at? 

Maybe he first learned that in the warehouse, but the lesson really sunk in with his first professional job, as a system engineer: One day he'd be talking to an audience full of techies, and he’d have to meet them where they were in technology fluency. In other words, he’d have to go deep. The next day, he’d get into a meeting with an audience that he’d lose unless he shifted to accommodate them: Otherwise, they’d drown in the deep end. 

Be a goldfish

He’s enthusiastic about technology, and it shows. He’s not going to put somebody off, either with geek speak or oversimplification. That’s not what Ben Goodman is about. He’s about drawing people along with him into this brave new world. Partners, customers, teammates: He wants us all to be goldfish in a Ted Lasso world where we forget things constantly, then, blink-blink, we get to experience everything anew. 

If you want to know more about Ben, the required reading list  includes his 11-year-old answer to a Quora question about what makes Ben Goodman tick

After you read that and listen to the podcast, you’ll probably want to rub elbows with Ben and his team and/or check out the MSSP or SIA programs. If you don’t, maybe try to be more like a goldfish. There are a lot of new adventures to be had out there and a lot of potential to harvest in businesses, and Ben and his team love to delve in with people.

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Lisa Vaas, Senior Content Marketing Manager, Contrast Security

Lisa Vaas, Senior Content Marketing Manager, Contrast Security

Lisa Vaas is a content machine, having spent years churning out reporting and analysis on information security and other flavors of technology. She’s now keeping the content engines revved to help keep secure code flowing at Contrast Security.