Moving on from Engagio & MarTech

After 9 years of Marketo and 2 years of Engagio, I am moving on to a non-martech product. Engagio has a great future ahead of it and as a shareholder, I fully expect them to go public and be worth billions of dollars.

I think I have built a good product foundation at Engagio that hopefully will serve them well for years to come. I have made great friends there that hopefully will stay in touch with me.

As for Marketing, I have appreciated all of you and how wonderful it is to design products for you. There are so many moments of pride and awe in my relationship with marketing departments around the world and specifically the Bay Area. Some marketing shout-outs: (in order I met them)

  • To Kelly Abner, my first marketing guinea pig. He made Marketo a workable product more than any other human being. His feedback was golden.
  • To Jon Miller who taught me how thought leadership can build a billion dollar brand.
  • To Jen Erale and Jodi Florence, the two first marketers I ever taught Marketo to.
  • To Emily Salus who created the hardest problems to solve, but made the product better.
  • To Maria Pergolino who taught me what inbound marketing was and how to run an event. She is a force of nature.
  • To Jason Miller who invented content marketing before my eyes. Incredibly creativity oozes from him.
  • To Heather Watkins and Liz Courter who were the best customer marketers I have known.
  • To Sandra Freeman who is the best field/event marketing person in the world – She took care of me at every Summit and I thank her for every memory.
  • To Jeff Cowan who will always be the “voice of god” at any event in my mind.
  • To Davis Lee – creative services counts as marketing damnit! (Nathan Brauer, you count too)
  • To Josh Hill who wrote a 800 page book on Marketo and inspired Docs.marketo.com
  • To Joelle Kaufman the best CMO (and general executive) I have ever met.
  • To Jason Seeba who continues to be the model for creativity and excellence in marketing.
  • To Kristen Malkovich who was the inspiration for Engagio Playmaker and Scout.
  • To Jessica Cross who said “Thank you for my career” and made my heart melt. This means more to me than you know and I will carry it with me forever.
  • To Grant Grigorian who trusted me to take his baby and rename it Dash.
  • To everyone I forgot to mention. I know there are tons of you.

It’s a sad moment, but I am excited to build a new thing. I’ll give more detail on that later.

I don’t know what the future will hold and how our paths may cross in the future. All I can hope is that each of us is inspired by the people we work with and continue to move the world forward.

Love, Glen

Counter-Intuitive Thinking

The thing about counter-intuitive thinking is that its often the correct logical thinking and almost everyone believes the opposite. Logic and common intuition are not friends.

For example, you can often ONLY get things done with the opposite person you expect. Some examples:

Only a Jew can make fun of the Holocaust
Just ask Mel Brooks. It’s OK to make fun because it’s our hardship to bear, but others can’t make fun of it. That’s anti-semitic. (I was raised Jewish btw and make fun of almost everything)

Only a Black person can use the N-word
We watch the show Insecure with Issa Rae and she says it constantly. However, it’s empowering to own words that previously hurt you. Just ask Tyrion Lannister about being called the Imp.

Only a General elected to President can cut defense spending
If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency, she would have had to be “tough” on foreign policy or people would have thought she was a “weak woman”. She would never have pushed to cut military spending. However, if we elected a 4-star General, then that person would not be considered weak on defense and could actually cut programs that are incredibly expensive and wasteful. (Like nuclear submarines)

Only a right-wing wacko (Trump) can get single payer/universal health care
It would be a serious coup for Trump. If he pushed for Bernie Sanders health care system, all of the democrats would leap at the chance and he just needs a couple of republicans. He is dominant right now in republican politics. Eric Cantor is a prime lesson (look it up) in how the alt-right can turn on its own. If they pressured the right, Trump would successfully repeal and replace ObamaCare with something better, save tens of trillion of dollars over the coming decades and forever be remembered as a politician who changed healthcare in the US. As a progressive, I would even agree to building a stupid fucking 100 billion dollar wall on the southern border if it meant medicare-for-all.  It’s a matter of priorities. Trump would get everything he wanted/promised AND the actual right policy (not the wall) would be implemented.  A democrat can not get this passed. A normal republican can’t get this passed. Only a right-wing wacko can.

I wish the world wasn’t this way. I wish we would live in a meritocracy where we all lived by logic and fairness. I wish ideas stood on their merit. Unfortunately, that isn’t the life we have.

Many of the answers to our problems are counter-intuitive. Thinking out of the logic box is important and understanding the true dynamics of our psychologies will help us move forward as a civilization and solve important problems.

Teaching Excel in High School

My kids are in middle and high school. They are learning math at different levels. The thing that annoys me is how little they use Excel to do their work. Why do we teach kids how to calculate by hand? Think of the alternative:

  1. Start teaching excel early like kindergarden
  2. Accelerate through simple subjects like addition and subtraction
  3. Start to give harder problems to solve that require multiple cells with advanced math like geometry
  4. Make tests where you need to solve problems in Excel and “show your work” by breaking the problem down into discrete cells
  5. Super advanced levels – use macros to teach programming

Excel, for better or worse, drives a huge amount of work in this world. Startups model their entire business in excel. People project manage in Excel. Excel is one of the killer productivity apps of the last 50 years. Why is it possible to graduate high school and not be fluent in it?

I think teaching excel would increase mathematics retention and advancement. It would spur more programming careers. It would spur more innovation in business modeling.

I am not saying that it would solve the Korean nuclear threat…but maybe it would!

Who is in charge of this sort of thing? How can our entire mathematics curriculum system in public schools be changed?  is that even possible?

Can anything change? My kids learn math the same way I did 30 years ago.

Even if we know the answers, are we just doomed to repeat the past?

The End of Trust

I listened to a Radiolab podcast recently about some new technologies. One is called Adobe Voco. Voco allows you to easily manipulate audio of another person. You can even make someone say something they never said before. The other technology lets you create a video of someone saying something they have never said before. Sort of like video puppetry. (See example)

Without going into the details, this kind of technology can be used to create fake audio or video. Remember that “Grab em by the pussy” audio of Donald Trump? If that happened today, I bet he would claim that it’s “fake audio”. It’s Voco.

So if I can’t trust audio and I can’t trust video and I can’t trust what I read…what can I trust? Only what I see with my own eyes?

The world is getting more and more skeptical of “facts” and “science” for exactly this reason. Our trust has been misplaced and misused so many times that we can’t believe anything at all. Is the world round? Is Climate Change real? I don’t even know if I exist or am just a virtual being in a SIM game.

And yet, I have hope. Right now, there is a steady stream of fake news and confirmation bias on the web. I think this is making us sick. Like a virus, it is attacking our ability to live and be sane. Also, like a virus, we will build up antibodies. We will build up an immune system. It may take a generation, but we survive this plague of lies and misinformation. A future generation will understand what is real and what is not. They will do more research and understand how to balance out conflicting information. They will become savvy.

I have hope in the future that although blind trust may be completely lost, qualified trust may be restored.

If not, then I am afraid that we will spiral into a chaotic mess. Hopefully, civilization is up to the task.

 

 

Grinding

There are particular kinds of games where you have to spend alot of time doing simple things to get your level up. An example is killing a million squirrels in the forest so you can buy the sword to go after a dragon in a cave. This technique is called grinding.

Some games specialize in this kind of play. The psychology is pretty interesting. It clearly hits a part of my brain that is difficult to shut off. I feel like I can’t stop grinding. Madden NFL Mobile has a serious grinding mentality. I find myself needing to do it at night before I go to sleep. I know that reading a book is better for me, but I think I have some DNA that predisposes to grinding.

I think I grind in real life too. Creating Docs.marketo.com took 3 years of grinding. Designing and building a product is also a grind. You add one feature at a time to build a whole over the course of years.

Another example of this is the Primitive Technology video series. I love watching these videos. They calm the inner part of my soul. This guy is in the woods and builds things with his hands, rocks, water and trees.

To build something great you have to build a series of little things first. Being a great professional in any job means doing the same thing. It means grinding towards that future. Build up your assets one piece at a time.

When people talk about grit, I think of that as the ability to grind. I think they are two sides of the same coin.

What ruins grinding is when you perceive other people succeeding without it. Maybe they “knew the right person” or maybe they were better looking or maybe they just got lucky. I have heard plenty of stories of people making millions without contributing towards that success. One guy joined Marketo a few weeks before all the stock was fast-forwarded and vested and paid out. He made millions and quit a few weeks later. Totally lucky and unfair, but such is life.

I could dwell on this, but it would only make me unhappy. Rather, I should focus on the grind in front of me. Build something great, keep building. I don’t think of grinding as unpleasant. It actually makes me feel focused. I am moving the ball forward each day.

An ABM Adventure

I am Head of Product for Engagio, a SaaS application with lots of features and users who use them. (Is there any other type of SaaS application?)

Warning: This blog post throws data around the web with total abandon and gets confusing. You have been warned.

My Mission: To activate and spur usage in the system.

First Step: Usage Tracking
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. (Thanks, Avinash for that lesson over 10 years ago.) We use Pendo for application usage tracking and other stuff. We spent a few weeks tagging every feature in the app and rolling up those features so we can have usage charts like this:

Users –> Contacts
The next step was to get users from the application into Salesforce. This required some engineering help (Thanks, Shaun and Abhishek!). We had some issues with parsing Full Name into First and Last Name. Plus we ended up with some duplicates before we tweaked the system to get it just right. Finally, all users were automatically created in Salesforce as contacts.

Segmentation
I wanted to focus on the group of people that I would have the most success with. I thought the Sales users with some usage in one part of the product but not the other would perfect. However, I didn’t have everything I needed to do that. We used a series of partners, ClearBit, UpWork, LinkedIn, and their user profile to create a field called Best Title.

By using Marketo, we automatically had those contacts sync down to the marketing automation system. I used a smart campaign to use all of those possible titles to create one field called Best Title. Then I used the Marketo Segmentation tool to group different titles into departments. Sales, Marketing, Ops, Executives, etc. I still have some that defy interpretation. However, I had my department segment.

Usage Fields
We created several different fields in Salesforce/Marketo called Pendo (Feature) Usage 7d.  I chose 7 days as a decent measurement of activity, but I imagine we will need 14 or 30 days in the future. I also created definitions for Alive (Normal Use), Dead (No Use) and Life Support (Minimal Use).

Last Mile for the Data
Finally, we figured out how to pump the usage data from Pendo into Salesforce which would sync down to Marketo. I could then make smart lists of the different segment/usage patterns and craft a report that had roles and usage in a matrix. Also, I could pick the particular segment I wanted. (Sales users with one product use, but not another.)

Taking Action
I didn’t just want to send a mail blast to these users. What would be the point? You can’t spur action with a generic message. It has to be specific. This is where we come full circle back into Engagio. I created a Play to reach out to this segment. It wasn’t super complicated.

  • Step 1: A personalized email
  • Step 2: Wait for a week and check their usage
  • Step 3: LinkedIn connection request

By setting up a trigger, I could have this play automatically kicked off and give me tasks to do. The email looked/felt/was totally hand-written, but the system lets me scale that effort to reach more people easier. Plus, it kept track of who I reached out to so I could follow up without needing to create a bunch of tasks in my calendar.

Results
I just got started with this initiative, but so far I have a 50% reply rate. Not click rate or open rate. This is a REPLY!  Most of the replies have indicated that they were unaware of the feature. I follow up with each person to see how we can get them aware. Plus, I am working with our onboarding team to make sure we focus on awareness in the product rollout.

Account Based Journeys
Everyone knows Top of Funnel. This is going on a journey from never having heard of a product to closing the sale. You can break this down into funnels like Aware, MQA (Marketing Qualified Account), SQA (Sales Qualified Account), Opportunity, Closed-Won. In addition, there are other journeys such as:

  • Onboarding
  • Healthy Usage
  • Advocacy
  • Renewal
  • Up-sell/Cross-sell

Each journey involves coordination/orchestration, communication (phone, email, direct mail), sales and messaging. Each journey does their job in a slightly different way, although they all share common characteristics. The one I was working on was Healthy Usage. I was using Sales, Marketing and Product functionality. I consider these systems to reside in the same “cloud”. Data should move fluidly from one system to the next.

I think this little adventure is hard for people to wrap their heads around, but the results are important. I believe Marketers need to wrap their heads around projects like this if they want to expand their career horizons and become more strategic. Hopefully, you found it useful and entertaining.

Why I eat food

I can think of five reasons I eat food.

  1. Hunger
  2. Boredom
  3. It tastes good
  4. Food is in front of me
  5. Other people are eating in front of me

Hunger
I almost never eat food because I’m hungry. When I was 17 I was hungry all the time. I could eat ALL DAY. However, this has waned for me in recent decades. I don’t think I have been truly hungry all year. I know there are plenty of people in the world who are hungry. I am just not one of them. Let’s call this 0%.

Boredom
I’d say I eat because of boredom about 5% of the time. Not that often, and it usually is on the weekends if I am by myself. It kills time and is something to do.

It tastes good
This is true for probably 20% of all my food. Specifically, if I make a meal and it’s too much food, I will keep eating until it’s gone. Maybe it’s my heritage that I was brought up to not waste food, but I have alot of trouble stopping mid-meal. In most restaurants, the portion size is twice what I truly need. Finishing meals is not a virtue.

Food is in front of me
Let’s say I am at a party and there are hors d’ ordres being served. I will eat it even if it tasted bad. It’s one of those things where the food calls out to you like a Greek siren in Odysseus. This isn’t all that often, maybe another 5%.

Other people are eating in front of me
Let’s call it 70% of the time, I eat because it’s a social setting like a family dinner or team lunch. I can’t just sit at a table while other people eat. Even if the food is terrible, even if I am not hungry, I will at least pick at the food. I went to a family event on the east coast last month and they had all kinds of eating moments. Pre-party, morning brunch, lunch, dinner, etc etc etc. I found myself eating WAY more than normal. Most of the food I eat is in social situations. When I am alone for a day or two, I eat less. My doctor said that “3 square meals a day” a fiction foisted on us by lobbyists of farmers and other food industry companies. They wanted to sell more food. We don’t need three meals a day. We are actually fine with just one.

DISCLAIMER
None of this is meant as a diet or a suggestion of how to lose weight. It’s just an introspective look at myself. I find looking at details of one’s life is an excellent exercise for the designer’s mind.

Update
At the beginning of the year, I had this weird thing where I wasn’t very hungry. I started losing weight because I was eating about half as much food. I have had no other symptoms since then. I think that last year, I ate for the same reasons as above, but I just had no desire to stop. I just kept stuffing food in until I couldn’t eat another bite. Since losing weight, I have tried to make it a habit to avoid eating as much as I did previously. I hope that habit will stick for the long term.