Saying Goodbye to QASymphony

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.

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The QASymphony team at our first user conference

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.

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collaboration

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.

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