From the Behemoth

Leaving Google

Sean Lopp true

When I left RStudio a year ago to join Google Cloud my goal was to get exposure to other ways of being a sales engineer. This post recaps what I have learned and why I’m excited to be leaving Google for a sales engineering role at a new start up, Elementl.

I think it might be helpful to have a brief timeline of the past year:

Outside Work

The biggest part of 2022 was becoming a new father. I am grateful to Google and my managers for allowing me to take 12 weeks of leave. I don’t like to post photos of my daughter publicly, so instead:

The second biggest part of 2022 was re-discovering mountain biking, which led to me selling my old college mountain bike (codename: “Charlie”), and buying a ridiculous Surly Wednesday. So slow. So fun.

Looker Lessons

Looker ran an incredibly tight sales team that was a great example of value oriented selling. They also built ramp, tools, and processes that executed their strategy. The Looker process included:

Looker was licensed as a SaaS offering where pricing was platform and user based. The pricing was typically custom based on the customer.

Google Cloud Lessons

Google Cloud was an entirely different beast. I was a data analytics specialist, an overlay to the GCP account teams who sold the entire GCP portfolio. (Actually I was a Looker specialist so I was an overlay to the DA overlay). If Looker was about value selling, GCP was about solution selling which meant:

This process was sometimes done with greenfield accounts but was often done within existing GCP accounts. There were two goals: to secure a commit and then to turn that commit into revenue by driving workload consumption.

It was not uncommon to have 10-20 people involved in a GCP opportunity in one form or another, and as an overlay overlay I usually spent 2-3 weeks with these teams before moving on.

GCP is massive. Their systems are massive. But I did enjoy a few tools:

Our office had a breakfast and lunch each day (Indian food and bacon were my highlights), a bike shop, a climbing wall, pinball, a barista, and fully stocked kitchens with snacks. Most people didn’t come in daily, and after the January re-org my “teams” were all based throughout CA.

In addition to the sales process I got exposed to GCP’s take on IAM, cloud consoles, and their crown jewel: BigQuery.

I’d like to Thank…

In no particular order


So what’s next? I’ll be joining Elementl as their first SE. I am excited to be back at a small startup where the sales strategy, pitch decks, and demos still need to be built. I’m also really excited about the technology. At Google I enjoyed getting more hands on with SQL running Looker plays. GCP sales, on the other hand, covers so many tools it’s impossible to have more than a shallow understanding of each. I’m looking forward to being back in the trenches selling, but also writing Python and wrangling Kubernetes. Elementl is a good fit for me because it is a technical sale to technical personas, with a small sharp team, built around a bottom’s up sales process.

I am grateful to have “double-dipped” and learned from both Looker and GCP. I am also grateful for a slower year with time off to start learning how to be a father. While it is hard to leave the security and comfort and food of Google, for now I am looking forward to going back to startup “time”. Maybe I’ll return to the behemoth one day, but till then, thanks fellow Googlers!


For attribution, please cite this work as

Lopp (2022, Oct. 7). Loppsided: From the Behemoth. Retrieved from

BibTeX citation

  author = {Lopp, Sean},
  title = {Loppsided: From the Behemoth},
  url = {},
  year = {2022}