C-suite career advice: Eyal Feldman, Stampli

What, if anything, would you change about the route your career path has taken? “Nothing. All my experiences have shaped me into the person I am today.”


Name: Eyal Feldman

Company: Stampli

Job Title: CEO & Founder

Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Eyal Feldman is the founder and CEO of Stampli, an AI-based automation platform that streamlines the accounts payable process. Prior to Stampli, he was the VP of Business Solutions at Ness, a leading IT solutions provider. Among his accomplishments, Feldman gained a government-wide agreement for the now paperless administration, in addition to building the Documentum business in Israel from its beginning to market leadership.

What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received? Probably the best advice I received wasn’t even intended as advice but was a great learning experience that has stuck with me. My first boss would simply walk away from a conversation if I took too long to get to my point. I don’t even think she was being intentional about it but she was managing so many things that if she couldn’t remain focused, she needed to move on. This taught me to be clear and concise in my communication with her and shaped the direct approach I use to communicate with people today. The sooner you can get to your point, the sooner a decision can be made.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?  “Don’t rock the boat.” Maintaining the status quo should not be the goal of any person or any organisation.  If you’re ever told to just do it the way a company has always done it, you are working for the wrong company.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in IT/tech? Stay curious. When you’re starting your career, there’s a lot that you don’t know but don’t let that hold you back from taking on new projects or responsibilities. Demonstrating that you can learn something new and figure things out is the best way to be successful in your career.

Did you always want to work in IT/tech? No, it wasn’t necessarily what I had planned. I studied economics and I always knew I wanted to start my own business, but I didn’t always know what that business would be or that it would be related to technology.

What was your first job in IT/tech? My first exposure to tech was when SAP came to Israel. They were looking for people to translate to Hebrew. They specifically wanted people from a variety of business backgrounds that had some contextual understanding of what was being translated and my background in economics was a great fit. For me, it was great exposure to the world of ERPs and technology.

What are some common misconceptions about working in IT/tech? Working in tech doesn’t mean you have to be technical or know how to code. There are a lot of roles in the tech industry that don’t require deep technical knowledge. And, even if you are in a technical role, it isn’t just about your technical skills but you also need to have your softer skills mastered as well. There’s a lot of teamwork and collaboration that needs to happen to keep a product or company moving forward. Things can’t happen in a silo, so good communication and collaboration are vital, no matter what your role is.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position? There’s an old business saying, “What got us here, won’t get us there.” that can also be applied to your career. If you’re aiming for a c-level position, it’s more than being “great” at your job or the skills that got you to your current level - it goes beyond that. At the c-level, everyone is thinking beyond their own role and playing a strategic part in shaping the future of the company. Communication and collaboration are necessities. C-levels need to be able to clearly articulate ideas to their own teams and bring their peers along on the journey as well. 

What are your career ambitions and have you reached them yet? I’m constantly setting new goals for myself. For the longest time, it was about starting my own company. Now that I’m here, I’ve set new goals around what I see for the future of the company. It’s really not about my own career, but more about the impact I can make.

Do you have a good work-life balance in your current role? Yes, for the most part, but you have to be committed to making it happen. When you’re an entrepreneur, you have a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders, so it is hard (if not impossible) to turn things off. I work hard to carve out those life moments. For example, I make it a point to have breakfast with my children, make their lunch, and take them to school in the mornings. It’s our special time together and we all look forward to it. If you don’t make these things a priority, work can consume you and that’s not a good thing for anybody.

What, if anything, would you change about the route your career path has taken? Nothing. All my experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. I’d take every good decision along with every bad decision I ever made - all of them were learning decisions.

Which would you recommend: A coding bootcamp or a computer science degree? That’s so dependent on individual situations, long-term goals, and career aspirations. I would also challenge the question of whether it has to be one or the other.  In some situations, doing both might be the right decision.

How important are specific certifications? I look at certifications as another way to screen candidates. If the school or program has a great reputation and sets a high bar on who they accept into the program, that’s a validation point for me. If the program is unknown, I don’t put much stock in it. I value experience and critical/analytical thinking skills above anything else.

What are the three skills or abilities you look for in prospective candidates? The three E’s: Enthusiasm, Experience, and Effective Communication.

Enthusiasm/Energy: I want to understand why you want to work with us, what gets you excited about what you do, and the potential of doing it at Stampli. 

Smart/Curious: We live in a dynamic environment, things change constantly. So, I look for people who can adapt to the situation and think through obstacles in a logical way. If you’re not curious, you’re stagnant. I look for the people that want to understand how or why things work the way they do and then improve upon them.

Effective Communication: Being able to clearly communicate their own story, being able to clearly express ideas, describe problems, or propose solutions is one of the most important attributes I look for in candidates.

What would put you off a candidate? Entitlement/Arrogance. Don’t get me wrong, I think people should be proud of their accomplishments and share them during an interview. When someone is arrogant they believe they are superior or more deserving than others.

What are the most common mistakes made by candidates in an interview? How can those mistakes be avoided? When interviewing, I am really trying to understand who the person really is. How they react to stress or criticism in an interview gives me an idea of how they’ll handle similar situations in a work environment. How well they articulate their ideas in the interview is a good indicator of how well they will propose things down the road, if I can’t follow their thought process in an interview I won’t magically be able to follow it if they are working for me. The best advice on this front is to be yourself. Interviews are two-way opportunities to discover compatibility, both sides need to be diligent in figuring out if there is a match.

On a professional level, I like to go deep to validate how much they really know. The best advice here is don’t lie or oversell your professional experience, because the truth always comes to light.

Do you think it is better to have technical or business skills – or a mix of both? Ideally, a mix of both. It doesn’t matter how great your technical skills are if you are impossible to work with.