I recently had the opportunity to speak at Career Day at the school where my kids go – Heards Ferry Elementary School in Sandy Springs, GA. I spoke to 100+ fourth graders about a career in marketing.
Now, I’ve given presentations in front of some very large audiences in recent years. But this was by far the most nerve wracking public speaking experience I’ve ever had.
When I’m speaking in front of a room of marketers or executives, I know the audience. I know how to talk to them. I know what kinds of jokes they’ll laugh at. I know how to structure a presentation that will provide real value.
This was different. I had to explain my job to 4th graders. And that’s not nearly as easy as it seems. I once asked my kids the question: “What does Daddy do for a living?” You can see their answer in the video below.
Sunday, February 4th, was a day I will never forget. That’s the day the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
I am a lifelong Eagles fan. I was born at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia and grew up outside of Philly, or as some people call it, Southern New Jersey (Exit 4 on the Turnpike in case you were wondering). If you’re not familiar with how it works, let me explain. Southern New Jersey roots for the Eagles and Northern New Jersey roots for the Giants. The only exception is the former Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, who inexplicably roots for the Dallas Cowboys, probably a big reason for his very low approval ratings in the Garden State. Read More
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I’m not originally from Atlanta. I didn’t grow up here. I’m from the Philly area so I have a deep-seeded hatred for the Braves, Falcons and Hawks. But, like many Northeastern transplants, I now call Atlanta home.
And I have to say Atlanta is pretty awesome in many ways. That’s why I was a bit bummed when I read this recent Forbes article – Why You Should Travel to Atlanta This Winter. It was all about the chain hotels and football. It just made Atlanta seems so lame.
I started thinking about the things that make Atlanta great. Why would people want to travel or relocate here? So I put together this list of the ten things that make Atlanta a great city to live in and do business. Here we go…
My friend Mike Steib, former Googler, current CEO of XO Group, and a guy with a ridiculously full head of hair for a 40+ year old, recently published a great book entitled The Career Manifesto, based on a Jerry Maguire-esque mission statement he had written many years ago while working at Google. Writing a book is no small feat so I’m super-happy for Mike and his success. You can learn more about The Career Manifesto on Amazon.
Mike’s book really provides an excellent framework for managing your career. Most of us are so busy every day, that we forget to take the long view on our career. Reading Mike’s book was a good reminder that it’s important to define your goals and think about what it’s going to take to achieve them. I wish I had this book earlier in my career. I’d say it’s a must-read for young professionals starting their career journey.
I thought I’d add a few points of my own to Mike’s book. Here they are.
People who know me know that I listen to a lot of podcasts. That’s usually how I pass the time driving to and from work or on long road trips. It’s amazing to me how many good podcasts are out there and more seem to pop up every day. So, as we approach the end of 2017, I thought I’d list my favorite podcast episodes of the year. Read More
Well, my time at QASymphony has come to an end. This is bittersweet for me. I’ve had an amazing journey over the past three years and I leave some great memories and friends behind. As I’ve been wrapping up, I’ve thought a lot about how it all began. Over three years ago, I was having lunch with my friend Sangram Vajre. At the time, I was working at PGi, and starting to think about my next adventure. Sangram had just accepted the job as CMO of Terminus, after spending several years in marketing at Salesforce/Pardot.
I told Sangram I was interested in doing something more entrepreneurial. He mentioned a company called QASymphony that he had talked to during his job search. He said I should meet with Dave Keil, the CEO. Read More
In your career, you will have highs and lows. My all-time low came in 2003. I had just graduated from Emory’s Goizueta Business School with my MBA, but that didn’t translate into a great job at graduation.
I came out of school into a tough job market that was recovering after the “dotcom” bust. The traditional MBA-type companies were no longer doing “strategic hiring” and a high percentage of my classmates graduated without jobs.
Going to a top b-school in Atlanta, I thought I might be able to score a position at one of the big companies in town – Coke, Home Depot, Delta, Georgia Pacific, etc. No luck. Emory’s business school is actually named after former Coke CEO Roberto Goizueta, but that didn’t seem to help me or my classmates get a job there.
I was planning to attend and was asked by Lauren Patrick, one of Sangram’s team members, to do a “roast” of Sangram at the event.
I really like Sangram a lot. He actually helped me get my current gig at QASymphony. So I’d do anything for him. But, this was a tall order. You don’t just “do a roast”. You can’t just get up there and wing it. A good roast is very hard to write and deliver.
But, of course I’m a pretty agreeable person and I hate like telling people “no”. So I reluctantly agreed to do it. Read More
Today I celebrate my one year anniversary at QASymphony. Time flies when you’re having fun. And it really has been fun. Challenging but fun. Joining a startup was a big move for me.
Since I graduated college in the mid-90s, I had always worked for or with big enterprises. When I was an “adman”, my clients were P&G, GlaxoSmithKline and Volvo. Then when I went client-side, I worked for AutoTrader which was a $1 billion company and PGi which was a $550 million public company.
But, I was always lucky in my career that I didn’t have the traditional “big company-type” jobs. Ad agencies are very entrepreneurial environments even when you’re working with big corporate clients. And both of my client-side jobs often felt like I was working at a startup. Except I had pretty big budgets to play with.
And I was always happiest at work when I was building things. Whether it was a new marketing program or team, that’s what really got me excited about coming to work every day.
So, when this opportunity came up at QASymphony, I jumped at it. I walked away from a stable position at a big company where I managed a 25 person team to an early stage startup where I managed 2 people. But, I haven’t regretted it for one second. In fact, this has probably been one of the most exciting and fulfilling times in my entire career.
In the past, the role of a marketer was much simpler. Marketers would work in the comfortable silo of the marketing department. We didn’t have to spend much time interacting with other “less-important” departments because we were the kings of the castle. The builders of the brand. The generators of leads. Life was good.
Wow, have things changed. Today, the role of a marketer is increasingly complex, requiring more cross-functional collaboration than ever before.
The concept of building a brand has shifted to “managing the customer experience”. And that experience goes way beyond just a single TV ad. It touches departments across the company that marketing may have never had to deal with in the past.
Here’s a nice blog post by ascendixre who talks about my recent presentation at the Dallas Digital Marketing Summit from December 2014. Great to see people taking content from these conferences and applying them to their jobs.