Quote and Headshot from Zubin
Jun 21, 2022
5 MIN READ

Building an Exceptional Culture with SoundHound’s CRO, Zubin Irani

“I believe SoundHound is going to be the leading provider of voice AI, bringing voice to every consumer device and consumer experience. I wanted to be a part of that journey with this amazing, wonderful team we have here at SoundHound,” says Zubin Irani, SoundHound’s Chief Revenue Officer. 

Meet our Executive team! We’re back with our Executive Interview Series, this time interviewing SoundHound’s Chief Revenue Officer, Zubin Irani. In the interview, he discusses how to create a great culture, what drew him to SoundHound, career advice, how conversational AI is influencing the future, and more. 

This is the second in a series of executive spotlights. Stay tuned for more great insights from our executive team and C-Suite in the next few months!

Q: What made you decide to join SoundHound?   

Zubin: Voice AI is such a transformational technology. It’s changing the world that we live in every day, and to be a part of that journey with the industry leader in voice technology was something that was very appealing to me. Five years from now, we’re all going to be using voice-connected devices everywhere we go.

I believe SoundHound is going to be the leading provider of voice AI, bringing voice to every consumer device and consumer experience. I wanted to be a part of that journey with this amazing, wonderful team we have here at SoundHound.

Q: After leading your last company to become an award-winning best place to work, what tips do you have for other leadership teams?

Zubin: When it comes to creating a positive culture, I think about wanting to do something valuable, especially when we spend more time or as much time at work as we do at home. I think to understand that work is a pretty big part of our life and associate and attach meaning to that time we spend.

People want to learn, grow, and keep evolving. As individuals, they want to contribute and see the impact of what they do and feel the recognition for the efforts they put in and the sacrifices they make. Having purpose and driving toward a mission is a huge part of it, also conveying that everyone is a part of the team and not just a cog in the wheel.

Q: What are you most passionate about? 

Zubin: I am passionate about the time I spend at work and the people I spend it with, and growing and developing people. For me, doing something meaningful and driving meaningful change is something I wake up thinking about, and I go to bed thinking about seeing people grow. When you think about it as a manager or a leader, you’re responsible for people and their experiences. We can have a big impact with every single person we interact with in our life—including at work. Having a positive impact on people’s lives is by far my number one passion. 

Q: Is there any advice that you’ve gotten about your career that you’d like to pass along?

Zubin: I wouldn’t say this is advice I’ve gotten. I would say this is more just something I’ve learned along the way, which is if you work hard and do what’s right, it will be noticed. 

Q: How do you see voice AI influencing the future? 

Zubin: Voice is so natural to human beings. It’s something that we’ve always had and always used. We’re one of the few, if not the only, animals that really speak. Being able to interface with technology and our surroundings is just fundamentally transformative. I think more and more things will continue to adopt voice because it is just a better way to interact. It’s changing the world that we live in every day. 

When you think about keyboards as an input device, they’re extremely inefficient. I would much rather have a conversation. To be a part of that journey with the industry leader in voice technology is something that is very appealing to me. The fact is, in five years, we’re all going to be using voice-connected devices everywhere we go.

I believe SoundHound is going to be the leading provider of voice AI, bringing voice to every consumer device and consumer experience. I wanted to be a part of that journey with this amazing, wonderful team we have here at SoundHound. 

Q: What is your background, and what led you to sales as a career? 

Zubin: Ever since I was a teenager, I was selling. I was working at car washes. I was helping to bring products to people. It’s something I love to do. As an entrepreneur, I built a business, and a part of that was solving a real problem that benefited companies and benefited the people at those companies.

I’ve always looked at sales as a way to solve problems. Something I’m very passionate about is making the world a better place by solving problems that are out there. So to me, it’s really important to help educate people as to what solutions are out there for them to make their lives better.

Q: What unique perspective do you have that allows you to effect significant change in an organization?

Zubin: There are two ways I would answer that. One is a lot of my career was spent helping companies transform and scale and figure out how to change to accommodate the changing market. The other part is that I grew a company from the first employee to 600. That change and evolution was an amazing experience. I also learned a ton of lessons from that.

Q: What enticed you about the culture at SoundHound, and what do you like about it? 

Zubin: SoundHound is a collection of really smart, passionate people. Culturally, I think everyone wants to help change the world, and they love the people they’re working with to help accomplish that.

I think SoundHound has some of the best and brightest across the world. So being a part of such a wonderful organization with such a caring culture that is driving a fundamental transformational change in our lives is such a wonderful and unique environment to be in.

Q: How does the concept of teamwork and collaboration become a reality with a large team with a variety of skills and talents? 

Zubin: When it comes to collaboration and teamwork, it really is about understanding the power of diversity—diversity and experience of skills and different ways of working.

Finding a way to harness knowledge collectively and think through problems together is a skill and an art. It’s a skill that leaders have to nurture and invest in. I’ve seen outstanding teams produce amazing things because of that level of collaboration.

It isn’t just simply you’ve got a team of people, and there you go. You have to actually work at it. How do you create a safe environment to share feedback and ideas, and how do you make sure that the environment supports all the different learning styles and communication styles of people? For collaboration to truly work, you have to invest in creating moments and times where people can collaborate, and that has to be embedded in the culture and mindset of how you run your organization and your team. 

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to anyone who wants to work in leadership in the high-tech industry?

Zubin: You have to be passionate about people, believe in people, set goals for them, and support them and their goals. It’s something you have to invest in and really nurture. That means believing, pushing, encouraging, and teaching. As a leader, you need to constantly learn and improve yourself so you can become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Leaders have to grow themselves as much as they have to grow their teams.

Want to learn more? Watch Zubin’s interview below.

At SoundHound, we have all the tools and expertise needed to create custom voice assistants and a consistent brand voice. Explore SoundHound’s independent voice AI platform at SoundHound.com and register for a free account here. Want to learn more? Talk to us about how we can help bring your voice strategy to life.

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