Today’s guest has one of the most impressive pedigrees of my 189 podcasts guests to date.

At UCSD, James Nielsen was a 4X NCAA All-American Track Athlete, 2X National Champion, 3X Academic All-American, and President of his fraternity. While getting his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Stanford, James made the US Olympic Trials and was a Professional Ironman TriAthlete.

His professional journey started at Qualcomm as an Engineer. After a chance encounter with the VP Sales, he was recruited into Sales Engineering. He spent 5 years in that role before several Director and VP Sales roles over the next decade. He was involved in 3 separate acquisitions during that time.

In 2015, James founded Vendition, a Sales Development Apprenticeship program that gives individuals the training and experience needed to earn entry-level jobs in tech sales. He also runs Sales Bootcamp, Vendition Sales Society, and is an Advisor for

In this conversation, James and I discuss:

  • Why James wakes up at 4:30 to run every day
  • How being an Engineer helps him run a more structured sales process
  • The work Vendition is doing for underrepresented groups in sales
  • James’ world-record beer mile (!?)


First, follow and connect with James on LinkedIn.

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Let’s get after it this week.