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Keeping Your Head in the Cloud and Your Feet on the Ground – An Interview with Extreme Champion Trygve Wettestad

Mitch Reyes Program Manager, Channel Published 27 Jan 2021

A career in the networking industry can often make you feel that you’re changing the world for the better; connecting people, building bridges. Today, we’re talking about how to be a successful sales manager, father, world changer, and handball coach with Trygve Wettestad from NetNordic Norway AS.

Hello Trygve. How are you during these strange and unprecedented times? How do you spend your time in lockdown?

I’m glad you asked. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures! Since COVID-19 set us all in a state of uncertainty, the only healthy mindset is to adapt. We’ve officially established an additional NetNordic branch office north of Oslo where I live and fully equipped it with enterprise-grade equipment from Extreme through ExtremeCloud IQ.

On the personal side, my family decided to build a new cabin, which is situated close to the biggest lake in Norway. We also had a litter of English Cocker Spaniel puppies. It resulted in us sharing a roof with seven new doggies through the summer and that has definitely kept us busy during the lockdown.

You’ve had quite a career, playing key roles at industry giants like Orange Business Services and Telia Norge [the second-largest mobile phone operator in Norway] as well as smaller and more agile technology powerhouses such as California-based Riverbed Technology and your current employer, NetNordic. Wherever you went, you were involved in the biggest deals for your companies. Could you tell us the recipe to such a successful track record?

Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all recipe for success. I think it involves being curious, engaged, and making the effort to truly understand your customers’ pain points. Everywhere I go, I make sure to surround myself with brilliant and more knowledgeable colleagues and partners, which by the way has made a few of my farfetched ideas reality. At the end of the day, it’s all about understanding your customers’ “why” before presenting the “what,” “how,” and “when.”

How does working for a large enterprise differ from a relatively smaller business?

I would say all my employers have had a lot of great traits and strengths. Being employed by Orange, one of the greatest multinational services organizations has most likely laid the foundation for the professional traits I carry with me today. Riverbed has developed me within the network security and services sales skills. At NetNordic, I love the fact that I’m as close to the customer as possible, without having a partner in between, and that I can directly address the core needs of the largest enterprise customers in Norway. NetNordic makes life easier for me as an employee as well as for our customers, since the top management is always close by and we can adapt quickly to address customer needs.

Thor Milde, SVP and head of IT Access Management at DNB, joked that supporting your customers seems to be your purpose in life.  Which one of your roles do you like the most – advisor, leader or salesman?

I would prefer not to choose!  I believe my role is to be an advisor to my customers, a leader for my team, and driving sales is essentially the result of these two elements. You never get tired of closing the deal with a customer and the thrill of seeing the real value and gratitude from your customers, knowing you’ve helped them along the way.

What is your favorite Extreme technology?

My personal favorite technology today has to be ExtremeCloud IQ, with all the bells and whistles. Building on the ease of deployment, total control, and insight brings a new era of business intelligence to our customers.

We know that in addition to being a great guy to work with, you also care deeply for your family and the community. What do you do after hours?

When I’m not working, I’m usually traveling and exploring the world with my family. This is really something we miss in these extraordinary times and I can’t wait to book our next trip as soon as possible. Furthermore, I have been coaching my youngest daughter’s handball team for the past nine years. It is extremely satisfying to watch them develop and master the art of being dependent upon their fellow teammates. As a bonus, the practices give me an excuse to do some exercising myself, especially hiking in the mountains, spending time with my loved ones. That is what I treasure the most.

A little bird told us that both you and Fanny Carlson, your partner account manager at Extreme, are seriously into LEGO. What is the finest set of LEGOs in your collection?

Well, I have always been a LEGO enthusiast and enjoy building with LEGOs just as much today as I did in my youth. You can imagine the thrill I got when I landed LEGO as a large account back when I was with Orange Business Services! It was one of my largest deals ever and I had the pleasure of traveling to Billund, Denmark three or four times to the LEGO headquarters every month. I have my LEGO sets stacked in the attic now, but the coolest build I have done has to be the Golden Gate Bridge, by far.

Do you feel like a champion sometimes?

Without being cocky, yes, sometimes I do feel like a superhero without a cape. This feeling is brought on when you sense that you are doing a good job supporting your customers with their everyday challenges, getting your team to contribute to greatness, and landing those strategic sales we strive for every single day.

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