End of an Era: Moving on from Marketo

Published 1 Comment on End of an Era: Moving on from Marketo

I joined Marketo in December 2006 as the first non-founder and began a wonderful journey that has lasted 3 years. ¬† I learned a tremendous amount from the people here on a cornucopia of topics and I will miss them. ¬†I have accepted a new position at another company (I’ll post that later).

Some UX highlights of my tenure at Marketo:

  • Reinvention of a workflow engine. Most systems used Visio flowchart diagrams to model how workflow was supposed to go. ¬†I turned that procedural model on its head and used a more object oriented approach. ¬†The Smart Campaign model was a vast improvement over the previous model and customers have loved it. ¬†(Except one. ¬†You know who you are!)
  • Reinvention of landing page editors. All landing page editors used templates that hard coded the layout. ¬†They made huge assumptions about how the page was supposed to look. ¬†I turned this on its head as well and used absolute positioning to make the experience alot more like PowerPoint. ¬†Drag and drop and move elements pixel by pixel. ¬†Customers loved this feature and it remains (2 years and going) to be the best way to design a landing page.
  • Reinvention of a¬†segmentation¬†tool. ¬†All systems have the ability to segment people in one form or another. ¬†Usually, it’s drop down boxes. ¬†Using inspiration from Minority Report with Tom Cruise, ¬†I created a new UI for segmentation that is fun and tactile. ¬†It is not just functional. ¬†It’s literally fun to use. ¬†This is my most precious achievement at Marketo. ¬† Customers, when they first see this tool, with its attention to detail and unique interaction design literally say, “Whatever happens next, I just want you to know this just paid for itself for the whole year!” ¬†This is the unexpected WOW factor.
  • Success.Marketo.com. ¬†Schloss did most of the work here, but I will take credit anyway. ¬†The community site is robust with tons of great information. ¬†Man, it’s hard to build a community from scratch, but we did it. ¬†It’s thriving. ¬†The system is built on Helpstream, which was a great platform to build on.
  • ExtJS. ¬†Early in the process, I wanted to have effects and capabilities that would have been very hard to produce such as menus, rounded corners, transparency, drag and drop, trees, etc. I ¬†found this small open source package called YUI-ext 0.33 alpha. ¬†We adopted it and it completely revolutionized our ability to deliver great interactivity at a fraction of the manpower. ¬†We skipped 1.0 and then re-designed the skin using 2.0. ¬†Now it’s Ext (dropped the YUI) with their 3.0 version. ¬†I am so happy we chose ExtJS and the application has benefited from it. ¬†ExtJS was even nice enough to invite me to give a keynote speech during their first conference. ¬†They owe me video of that speech still.
  • 250+ thrilled customers. I can’t believe this one. ¬†No one was expecting this kind of success. ¬†We tapped into a pent up longing for better software and the sales team had something that was in high demand. ¬†It truly was a team effort. ¬†Everyone was pointing in the right direction. ¬†I am ecstatic thinking about my role in helping the company succeed.
  • My first original iconography. I love these icons and worked incredibly hard to make them. ¬†They are pretty small, but they are my first and I will remember them forever. ¬†The little guy with his hair on fire is called the Best Bet Buddy.
  • Munchkin. Our web tracking JavaScript was actually pretty easy to build because we embedded jQuery inside it. ¬†I thought that was especially clever. ¬†However, the real UX win was the name Munchkin. ¬†It stood for “miniature urchin”. (Like Google Analytics) ¬†However, the name implied many frames of reference. ¬†Small, Fun, Friendly, Harmless. ¬†Exactly the feeling we wanted people to feel about it. ¬†UX is about emotions. ¬†How do people feel? ¬†One word, Munchkin, nailed it for this UX. ¬†It was perfect. ¬†I also love using the word Bork. ¬†I said, “It’s sort of a bug, but mainly it’s just work. ¬†It’s a Bork”.
  • Control-Alt-Shift-M. I love easter eggs. ¬†This one is awesome. You need FF3.5 or Chrome/Safari to use it. ¬†I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but it turns the entire Marketing Automation world on its head.

My favorite moment actually came just a few weeks ago at the Marketo User Summit. ¬†A man came up to me and said, “Are you responsible for putting the flowers on the login screen?” ¬†I said that I was. ¬†He replied with a smile, “Only you guys could get away with that”.¬†¬†What I interpreted that was that he thought we were fearless and cool and awesome and that we could wear a ballerina tutu and get away with it. ¬†We were studs. ¬†I took personal pride in helping craft that personality through the application design and my influence in the company.

I’ll miss the people most of all. ¬†People who are brilliant, fun, energetic, hard working, funny, insightful and just so damn good at what they do. ¬†There are at least half a dozen people here who are “the best I have ever seen” at what they do. ¬†(You know who you are!) ¬†There is more that I can mention, but this post is way too long already.

I have loved my time at Marketo.  Feel free to send me notes if you are a Marketo customer (Contact me link on the right).  I am still at work for 2 more weeks from the date of this post.

Tagged ,

1 comment

Whatya think?