We’re hiring a VP of People Operations at Cybereason, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes someone amazing at that job. It is a very very hard job because to be a truly great people ops executive, you need a broad set of skills spanning product management, marketing, sales, and customer success.
After spending a few months marketing to enterprises with both a field and inside sales team, I have some thoughts on marketing to Enterprise vs SMB and what it means for a CMO. (Don't read anything into this. I am very happy at Cybereason and things are going extremely well.)
I just invested in a company that:
After taking a year to explore the Boston tech community and figure out what I want to do next professionally, I learned a lot about myself and the ecosystem as a whole. One big hole in our ecosystem is pillar companies - companies big enough to make large acquisitions, create enough wealth to spur new angel investors and serve as training grounds for people to grow their careers and then spin off and start new companies. We have a couple companies on the verge of being like this, but we need more and I want to help build another one. That is what I plan to do as CMO at Cybereason (official press release).
TL;DR: Operator.VC is an angel fund where Yoav Shapira and I will do our angel investing and others can follow along on our investments by joining our Angel List syndicate. It is not a VC fund and we have no plans to raise outside capital.
Last week was Growth Camp, where 200 people came together to share tips on how to grow faster and more effectively. Each presentation was just 15 minutes, forcing the presenter to boil down their talk to the most essential elements. Here is a list of all the presentations with links the slides on Slideshare for each one.
I am very happy to announce that I have led the first fundraising for Tettra with an investment of $350K* in their pre-seed round (the total round was about $900K). I love the team, the market, and the vision and I am excited to help them in their journey to build a great company. Here is the detail behind my investment thesis.
One hard part about investing is that you have to pass on good companies and good people - you say "no" a lot. One hard part about being a founder is that people say no when you try to recruit them, customers say no when you try to sell to them, and investors say no when you pitch them - you hear "no" a lot. And especially when pitching investors, it is hard to know the real reason why they passed because they still want to be your friend in case the company starts to do amazingly well in the future and then they want to invest, or you start a new company they want to invest in.
If you boil down to the essence, there are really only two business models.
One of the little things we did while building HubSpot that turned out to be a big advantage was to run our business monthly, not quarterly. Marketing goals were monthly. Sales goals and commissions were monthly. We produced financial and other reports monthly. And most importantly we made changes to marketing, sales and the product roadmap monthly.
I'm hearing more and more questions over time from founders, execs and marketers at startups about NPS (net promoter score). If you are not familiar with NPS, check out this overview and my interview with the creator of NPS. We used NPS extensively at HubSpot starting when Jonah Lopin implemented it around 2009 (he's now founder of Crayon, check it out if you do any marketing or design work - I'm an advisor and investor). NPS can be a very valuable tool in measuring customer happiness and the underlying growth potential of your startup, if it is used properly. Unfortunately, from the questions I have been getting, I worry startups are misusing NPS, so here are some of my thoughts.
Today Attend is announcing that I have been elected to their board of directors. There are a lot of reasons I’m very excited about this new role - in many ways it is the perfect company for me to dive into - so I thought I’d share how I think about the opportunity for the company.
While reviewing revenue plans with two different companies I advise, I had some flashbacks to a bad experience years ago where our team learned something important: never put pixie dust in your board plan.
tl;dr: I'm not sure what I am up to, but I am all in on Boston tech and am launching open office hours with a diversity component.
After a pretty crazy summer I have been doing a lot of reflecting on what I want to do with the next decade of my professional life.
So, what's next?
I had the opportunity to give a talk today on what metrics to useto measure marketing ROI and how to use metrics and data to communicate marketing ROI across teams. Here are my slides, let me know what you think.
I'm curious what people have to say about this.
How does a music video in Korean get to the top of the US music charts and generate over 210 million views? I have no idea.
I hit the point where I was really sick of Twitter. I got hundreds of spammy direct messages. My feed was useless. I was spending tons of time managing lists to filter out crap I did not want. Twitter was no longer enjoyable to me, and it meant a lot of my posting was becoming automated and my personal engagement was getting lower and lower.
Here is an internal email that I just sent to all of our "segment marketers" (also called "mini-CMOs") who are the marketing leads for each segment (a teams of sales and marketing folks that target a specific customer profile such as small business, SMB or enterprise). This is a newly created position, and organizationally, we're still figuring it out. Some of the marketing folks in this job are having the typical challenges of a new CMO / Director / VP of marketing where sales is running over them to other folks int he organization if they are not happy with some small thing.
My personal view is that content is an important ingredient to inbound marketing but content is not the whole story. You need to measure and analyze your marketing, you need to convert visitors into leads and customers using landing pages and lead nurturing. You need to promote your content using social media dn other methods.
See this infogrpahic that Capterra created. I found it sort of surprising, because while HubSpot contains features like marketing automation, I would not call HubSpot marketing automation. What do you think about the data / rankings?
My friends over at Pixability had me as a guest on their video marketing show, where we chatted about:
- What exactly is inbound marketing, and how can it drive relevant leads to your company?
- How can you incorporate video into your inbound marketing strategy?
- Can inbound marketing completely replace your outbound marketing strategy?
- Can an inbound marketing strategy work for B2B companies as well as B2C companies?
Earlier this year, my good friend and colleague Tim Ash and I collaborated on a webinar called “Optimizing Your Site for Maximum Lead Flow”. If you’re not familiar with Tim, he’s the author of the book “Landing Page Optimization” and chairs an interesting event focused exclusively on website conversion optimization called Conversion Conference. Tim’s specialty is convincing web visitors to take action on your website, and my niche is attracting people to your website. We made a great team, because together we provided a 360-degree view of website optimization, from getting more people to find your site to getting them to complete your conversion action once they’re there.