Entrepreneurs

When Uber messed up, this CEO swooped in

Getty Images

One of the defining moments for Twilio, the cloud communications platform, was when it secured Uber as a client.

The ride-sharing app had emailed their customers to apologize for a failure in its communication services and that's when Twilio's CEO Jeff Lawson saw an opportunity.

"I forwarded that email to one of their board members and said, 'for the love of god, you should be using Twilio because we've invested all this reliability and resiliency,' " Lawson told CNBC's "Life Hacks Live" series at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. "That's how the relationship started."

Twilio, which also builds messaging services for companies like Airbnb and Netflix, went public last year and it's current market cap is $2.8 billion.

According to Lawson, the secret to winning new business may actually be forgetting your pitch deck.

He says people need to first understand what a customer is trying to do, then position their services as being able to help them.

"The biggest mistake I see folks make is say, 'Hey I have my big pitch and my deck and let me show you how shiny we are,'. But the reality is whatever you have to say is irrelevant if it's not what the customer needs to hear to solve their problem."

He enters situations with potential clients with the mindset of trying to learn something from them first. Over time, he then hopes he can solve their problem.

"It's not a matter of getting pumped up before a pitch," he said. "It's a matter of humility and listening."

Twilio is Lawson's fourth company he's launched and like any CEO he struggles to maintain balance between work and his home life, where he has two small kids.

"I always try to be present wherever I am. If I'm at home having dinner or putting the kids to bed and work texts come in, I just say, 'I'll deal with that later,' " he said.

"Business is a marathon and you need to work with rigor everyday, but you also need to take care of yourself," he added.