Why did Steve Mayzak return to Elastic? The people (and the tech)


After seven years at Elastic®, Steve Mayzak decided to leave in 2020. Three years later, he returned.

“I saw that Elastic was getting into the AI space,” Steve says. “So, I asked the head of AI to come on my personal podcast to see what Elastic thought of AI. After the podcast, I said I’d love to talk about working with you.” 

After a months-long conversation about what he could help with, Steve rejoined Elastic as an AI & Search Go-to-market Specialist. In his new role, Steve goes out into the field and helps potential customers define requirements and figure out how Elastic can help and what they can achieve together. 

“I’m helping the field go and win AI opportunities,” he says. “I have to learn it myself by talking to our customers, our internal team, and from the market as a whole — AI is still an emerging tech.”

He will also be teaching the field discovery about AI, he says. But, he’s also working with the community team to get Elastic’s name out there in the AI space.

“We want to be known as the best vector database, so we want to talk about what makes our approach so different and why it's the best vector solution for search analytics,” Steve says.

Steve is used to working out in the field. He started his career as a car salesman — and learned a lot about what not to do in sales. He knew car sales wasn't for him, so he taught himself how to code and landed his first job in the late 90's building websites for startups using Java. His early claim to fame was helping on the first implementation of Nike.com ecommerce site on ATG Dynamo.

Sales engineering combines the two things he loves, Steve says, tech and talking to people. He joined Elastic as a sales engineering leader in 2013. In his original 7-year tenure, Steve built the sales engineering team and became Field CTO.

Now he’s excited to be back at a company he loves in an AI-focused role

“The best and brightest people are still here,” he says. “I want to be surrounded by people that are smarter than me. The camaraderie isn’t gone.” 

And his new role allows him to be at the forefront of tech. 

“There are new use cases all the time. The more I learn the more exciting it is,” Steve says. “We’re just scratching the surface.”

Because AI is still emerging, it’s a wide open field. 

“This is the first time where I am learning a tech that the creators of the tech can’t explain,” he says. “Every time I’ve learned a tech, I gain confidence by learning it down to bits and bites.

With AI that’s proving to be tough. I'm trying to learn from them and distill that knowledge for customers in the field.”

When Steve left the company in 2020 to explore other opportunities, he wasn’t sure if he'd come back. 

“You never want to burn bridges — Elastic was the best professional experience I had,” he says. 

“It was a really hard decision to leave and I wanted to leave the door open. Leaving and experiencing other company cultures and other approaches to leadership and go-to-market made me appreciate Elastic even more.”

But it was the people that brought him back.

“People are still engaged and excited. I see it in the field, it’s different. The mindset is: how do we win together?”

Elastic’s As YOU, Are ethos means many things to many people, Steve says. For him, it allows him to be open, honest, and real with people.

“Our culture is more of a team,” Steve says. 

His advice for someone looking to join Elastic? 

“Remember that when you’re interviewing and you’re working at a company, it goes both ways,” he says. “You’re interviewing your future team and mentors.”

He also encourages others to be growth-minded in their job search. “Make sure you’re finding the right manager,” Steve says. “You’re selecting your mentor for the next however many years. Growth-minded people want to work for growth-minded people.”

And finally, self-reflection is always a really good thing, Steve says. 

“When you grow as a human being, you grow in your career. They’re linked together.”

Want to join a company focused on growth? Browse open positions

Elastic, Elasticsearch and associated marks are trademarks, logos or registered trademarks of Elasticsearch N.V. in the United States and other countries. All other company and product names are trademarks, logos or registered trademarks of their respective owners.