The CMO Files: Thomas Rayas, FutureDial, Inc.

What keeps CMOs awake at night?

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Name:  Thomas Rayas

Organisation: FutureDial, Inc.

Job title: SVP Marketing & Customer Success

Location:  Austin, TX



  1. Where were you born and raised?
    I was born in Seville, Spain, but we moved around quite a bit growing up, spending time in Spain, Florida, Washington, California, and Japan.         
  2. What was your first job?  
    My first job was my own business mowing lawns in our neighborhood in Orange Park, Florida when I was in middle school. That first summer I saved up enough money to buy my own BMX bike for racing.
  3. What was the first product you got really excited about?
    The Apple Macintosh 512K. I can remember seeing it for the first time at work (at a pager company) and was amazed by the intuitiveness (GUI) and ease of use as compared to other personal computers of that era.  The screen was tiny but definitely had potential to disrupt the industry.
  4. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
    Throughout my career, I have had various influences including encouragement from my wife, however the “biggest influence on my career” that comes to mind is my old mentor, Rich. He is man with an Italian temper and a heart to match; educated, successful, and passionate about whatever he put his mind to with a strong work ethic and a leader who always put his people first. Rich is the reason I was courageous enough to give sales a try following a number of years as a product marketing manager and a system engineer.
  5. What has been your greatest achievement?
    My greatest achievement was coming to the realization that I could not do everything on my own and learning how to not only delegate, but also to trust my teams and empower them to make decisions, take ownership, and grow. This level of accountability went both ways as well, which in turn helped me in my own growth and maturity.  
  6. What has been your biggest mistake?
    My biggest mistake was hanging on to stock options too long following an extremely successful IPO to the point where my valuation went from seven figures to almost nothing overnight following the stock market crash of 2002.
  7. What is your greatest strength?
    My greatest strength is the compassion I carry for my team and for the customers I serve when engaging in business. Through this, I have gained close and trusting relationships with both colleagues and partners, which helps me focus on the “good of the whole,” whether that be a team, organization, or company.  
  8. What is your biggest weakness?
    I am trusting and loyal to a fault. I have experienced hardship in the past by employers and bosses taking advantage of this loyalty and trust. However, I also have learned valuable lessons regarding my own value system and when to stand up for others.
  9. What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?
    The most neglected aspect of my role is having empathy for the salesperson, since many marketers have never had a sales job carrying a quota. I can remember many years ago as a young product marketing manager the animosity between the “sales” team and the “marketing” team at the company I worked; I never understood it but realized over time it was because neither side had a true appreciation of what the other side was doing for the company. Some marketers think sales people are overpaid and some sales people think marketers get all the glory without doing any real work. Having held both roles, I know first hand that both of those beliefs are false.
  10. Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
    My mantra is to “work smarter, not harder;” strategy, planning, execution, and evaluation are key steps toward success. A word that can make me squirm is “multitasking” especially during meetings and conference calls. I have yet to meet anyone that can devote 100% of their attention to multiple tasks simultaneously.
  11. What makes you stressed?
    Last-minute project/meeting requests that leave little to no time for proper preparation. Some last-minute projects are unavoidable and a certain amount of stress can be healthy; however, this can be avoided by proper planning rather than creating stress for everyone involved.
  12. What do you do to relax?
    Depending on the level of relaxation I need, I enjoy going on a walk/run, reading, riding my motorcycle through the Texas Hill Country, or just hanging out with my family.
  13. What is your favorite song?
    My favorite song changes over time depending on what is happening in my life. Currently, the song “It is well,” by Bethel Music & Kristene DiMarco as it really speaks to me and brings me up even on the low days.
  14. Which book taught you most?
    This is a difficult question to answer because I have learned much from so many different books. A few books that immediately come to mind are “Blue Ocean Strategy,” by W. Chan Kim & Renee Maugorgne, “A New Brand World,” by Scott Bedbury, and “True North” by Bill George, “The Road Less Traveled,” by M. Scott Peck and “Wild at Heart,” by John Eldredge.
  15. Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
    I have never been one to follow sports too closely, however my 14-year old son has recently started playing high school football [which is a big deal in Texas], so I am now following the Vandegrift Vipers.
  16. Which country would you like to work in?
    Throughout my career, I have traveled for business and personal reasons across much of Europe and Asia. As far as working abroad in a foreign country (to the United States), if I had to chose just one, it’d be Denmark. I have been there before and find the people there extremely honest with a good work ethic. They are a leading country from a technology and creative design perspective, and are regularly ranked the “happiest people on earth.”
  17. Which company do you think has the best marketing?
    I would have to say Google because it has evolved from an internet search engine company to a massive data company now leveraging artificial intelligence to help market targeted products specifically to each of us. Giving away their Android operating system for mobile devices was not only disruptive, but an enabler that gave them reach across the globe in terms of consumer behavior, buying patterns, interest levels, and predictive analysis. Google is a supercharged marketing engine.   
  18. What do you love most about your job?
    I love seeing the creative output and final product from the team and the sense of pride and ownership that stems from each contributor. Building people up is so important for our well-being and leads to greater productivity; and getting to do that is a great part of team leadership.
  19. What is your favorite book? I have to narrow down my favorite book to a list of three as I cannot select just one. “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton is one of my favorites because of the technical detail in which Crichton wrote. “One Second After,” by William R. Forstchen is another favorite as I enjoy the post-apocalyptic genre and this one really gave me pause thinking about that what-if scenario. The third book, “Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus,” by John Eldredge has provided such a fresh perspective on who Jesus Christ was and is.
  20. What keeps you awake at night?
    Too much caffeine keeps me awake at night at times! But so do unresolved problems or issues. I used to keep a pad and pen near my bed because many times at night, I would wake up with an answer or resolution to something I had been working on or struggling with. Now, I just use the voice-to-text technology on my iPhone to make quick notes for review and action in the morning.