Remarkable Job Application

April 10, 2014 View Comments

We’re beyond the resume being remarkable enough to get the job done.

Now, it’s the very experience of applying for the job.

Thanks to Charlie Ramirez for sending this in. A new standard perhaps?

How to Lead…and Do It Right

April 4, 2014 View Comments

Long time blog readers know that I’m a huge Simon Sinek fan.

And he continues to deliver with this presentation. 45 minutes, but worth every one. I’m going to watch it at least 2 more times.

Leaders Eat Last - Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

HT to Mitch Joel for bringing it to my attention.

The Day I Discovered My Marketing Calling

March 31, 2014 View Comments

I write this on a flight back from London, which provides ample opportunity for reflection.

I’ve been thinking about my career path and chosen field and why I got into it.

Certainly, hearing Todd Newfield speak when I lived in Japan was a seminal moment. One that was further catalyzed when he instructed me to read my first marketing book, Peppers and Rodgers’ The One-to-One Future.

Intellectually, I was hooked.

But, there was a moment a few years later when I was working at Snickelways and we had a client called Quantum Cycles (I’m still in touch with one of the clients from that assignment) and they instructed us to come down to Florida to observe Daytona Bike Week. They wanted us to understand the mentality of the customer to whom they were selling.

At one point, we entered a drugstore. Not a chain, kind of a five-and-dime variety.

As I walked the aisle, I found myself behind a man who fit every stereotype there was about a redneck/biker.

Dirty jeans, long, greasy hair, worn boots and a mesh baseball cap.

He also had a jean jacket where the sleeves had been cut off, showing his arms.

On his left and right triceps were tattooed-in kind of a gothic/old English style, the words “Harley” and “Davidson,” respectively.

I was mesmerized and I felt an emotional jolt that lit up the intellectual wood which had been gathering.

I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “I don’t know what it is that motivates someone to tattoo the name of a company on their body, but that’s what I want to figure out.”

So, while the tangible goal might be to have someone so passionate about Sprinklr or Never Stop Marketing or whatever company, product, service I am marketing at the time, that they will tattoo it on their bodies, the real goal is to understand the human condition on such a deep level as to understand the Why.

It’s a long run and I’m not there yet, but that’s just how I seek to make sense of Life.

Be Remarkable—Thinking Beyond the Gift Recipient

March 23, 2014 View Comments


The principle of being Remarkable is about taking the expected and making it unexpected.

It’s simple in concept, but not easy to execute.

Derek and Melanie Coburn, co-founders of the wonderful DC-based networking group CADRE- have figured this out.

I’ve been a member since the early days and have been the recipient of a few gifts from them over the years, but the most recent one has set a new standard.

They sent me a Cutco kitchen knife that not only had the Sprinklr logo on it, but was engraved to both my wife and me.

That alone was remarkable, but what made it even more so is the fact that Derek and Melanie have never met my wife at all.

When I asked about this, “Derek said, ‘we just realized that the spouses are an important part of the reason why we’re successful because they support our members who do participate, so we wanted to let me know that we appreciate their efforts as well”

Knowing Derek as I know him, this move came from a genuine place.

However, the gift may also have tangible benefits….Perhaps the next time I say to my wife that I am going to a CADRE event, she’ll successfully differentiates it from the other activities I pursue.

Lesson: Include the spouse/significant other in any gift-giving to extend the brand relationship beyond the person, to the person’s network.

A Social Limo, a Birthday Gift, and a Marketing Lesson

March 17, 2014 View Comments

An unexpected text popped up on my phone on my birthday. download_20140310_200910

Jason Solomonson said “My brother Chad says that today is your birthday and that you are in Austin. He thinks we should meet.”

As you know, relationships are important to me.

The way I measure the value of the relationship is how often someone says “there’s someone you should meet.”

Even though Chad and I haven’t seen each other (or even chatted in a while), he did me the favor of making the recommendation to his brother.

I’m ALWAYS open to meeting new people. You NEVER know where good ideas come from.

The challenge in this particular case was: time was limited. I had a slate full of meetings and had to leave earlier than I would have liked for the airport because cabs were in such demand at SXSW that I knew it would be tough.

Then, as if the script had been written, Jason sends a pic of a limousine. (here’s the video)

“FYI… Brightline has @TheSXSWLimo limousine that we are sponsoring in case you have seen it.”

Lightning struck.

“Well, I do have to go to the airport at 4pm. Any chance a birthday present limo ride is in the cards?”

“Sure!!” he wrote.

BINGO. Problem solved.

Now, let me tell you why this is such smart marketing.

You see, at SXSW, cabs are at a premium, so ppl are in need of transportation.

So, the idea of renting a limo available for clients/prospects is a way that Brightline says “we care about you.”

It delivers value without asking anything in return. (Hear him in his own words.)

Naturally, when you are in the limo, you are going engage in conversation with the team and you will hear about the really (and I mean, REALLY) cool stuff that Brightline does.

It creates a talkable moment.

I took a video, pics and am blogging about it. Heck, I got a limo ride that made me feel special.

They relieved a huge concern of mine and made my afternoon stress-free. So, I am going to tell people about that. Why wouldn’t I?

Jason reached out, just wanting to connect because Chad made the recommendation. No agenda.

Then, he shared something that he thought was value.

Then, he delivered value.

Those three moments built Brightline from a company I’d never heard of to a brand that I am talking about as an advocate…in the span of 1 day.

If this is how they treat friends of their brother’s, imagine how they treat their clients!

Wouldn’t you want people thinking that about you?

Why You Should Talk to Your Seatmates on a Plane

March 12, 2014 View Comments

Had another inspiring talk on an airplane the other day.

It validated my approach.

I learned a ton about the aircraft leasing business from a guy who sells engines for a major manufacture.

So, why do I do it?

  1. Sure, I like the challenge of getting people to like me. It’s part of my WOO StrengthsFinder profile
  2. I like people…I like understanding what makes them tick
  3. But what I really love?
    When I learn about an entirely new field that I could have guessed existed, but never thought about…I feel enriched. And empowered, it provides the fertilizer for the creative part of my brain.

Sure, sometimes people don’t want to talk, no big deal, but if you ask questions and listen, usually you win.

You’ll get ideas that make your business and your life better. I can almost guarantee it.

It will make you a better marketer…and a better person.

What books and movies have you experienced lately?

February 28, 2014 View Comments

Always interested in knowing what others have enjoyed.

Here are mine.



  • About Time-it was a late night flight back from Denver, but this one had me choked up. I need a lot of reminders about what is truly important in life. It’s an area of weakness, I am afraid.
  • Flight- I’m a big Denzel fan and I found his character to be riveting. A strong movie about what it takes to look hard at ourselves…and what can happen when we don’t.

Working through…

  • Thinking, Fast and Slowby Daniel Kahneman. Deep stuff. Makes you think fast, but reading is slow because there’s so much involved.

How to really understand the impact of mobile

February 10, 2014 View Comments

We’ve heard “mobile, mobile, mobile” for a while now and we all know it’s big, but HOW big?

and what should we do about it as a result?

This is the best video I’ve seen on the topic. By far.

It’s long, so queue it up (about 1 hour), but part 1 is size/impact of mobile (about 20 mins) and part 2 is practical suggestions about what you can do.

Really great.

Clarity of Communication-Lessons on Management from the USS Carl Vinson

January 29, 2014 View Comments
Vinson Embark, Day 2 Pics (14)

One of my objectives while spending 24 hours on the USS Carl Vinson (background here) was to really understand from the commanders about what they think is critical for effective leadership and management.

As VP of Marketing at Sprinklr, responsible for an organization, this is something I think about a lot.

What came back over and over and over again was the same response. All the way from Admiral Steindl to Capt. Whalen to Command Master Chief Pickering and on down was the same story: Clarity of Communication.

Your troops/team must be super clear and have no doubt about what their mission is and what the bounds of their responsibility are.Vinson Embark, Day 2 Pics (13)

It sounds simple, right?

But it’s not.

Sun Tzu pointed this elementary fact out in the Art of War centuries ago, yet how often do leaders-and I have to include myself in this unfortunately, at times-not take the necessary time to spell out exactly what is required and expected of their subordinates?

Hint: Too often.

And the point was made as well that while technology is a valuable tool (and believe me, on an aircraft carrier, there’s a ton of technology), it isn’t the most important thing.

It can be a crutch.

It’s valuable for data, but it doesn’t replace having clarity from the commander about his/her intent.Vinson Embark, Day 2 Pics (23)

As leaders, it is our responsibility to invest the effort in making sure that our directions are clear. Then, we must verify those instructions. Think about why sailors repeat their commands back to their superiors, right?

From a takeaway perspective, I’ve immediately begun doing two things with my team

  1. Is the intent of my instruction clear to you?
  2. What is the intent of my instruction?

If I get satisfactory answers to those questions, then I know I have done my job. If I don’t, then I haven’t.

If you’d like to read more about my visit (from my personal blog), you can go here.

And, just for fun, here’s an F18 taking off…

Details Matter: How do you check for them? Lessons from an aircraft carrier

January 27, 2014 View Comments

Every day, twice a day, both in the hangar bay and on the flight deck, the sailors of the USS Carl Vinson (and every aircraft carrier) do a FOD Walk.

FOD=Foreign Object Debris

They walk about 40-50 across and 8 or 9 deep looking for anything that could get sucked into a jet engine (a screw, a bolt, a paper clip) and kill a pilot or a plane.

These are serious affairs and it involves a large number of sailors. Anyone on the ship can do it-and is encouraged to.

Vinson Embark Shots (24)

We know that in marketing and in business, quality matters. Quality control matters. We often have Quality Assurance processes and, in many cases, I know they work well. For example, at Sprinklr, I’m pretty proud of the degree to which we take quality seriously and the results it delivers.

However, what if you took it to the next level?

What if the organization felt that the consequences of not looking for any little thing that could impact the quality of the product or service had consequences as severe as losing a pilot or a plane?

Now, obviously, if a company or a product fails, it’s not as bad as losing a life of a human…but it does impact the lives of many people.

If your product doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, your clients and customers aren’t successful. They can’t realize their dreams.

If they don’t buy, your employees don’t have income for their families.

And things start to unravel.

So, it actually does affect lives in serious ways.

These QA issues don’t happen all at once, it’s a slow erosion of a commitment to quality.

When you have something that everyone sees and does on a daily basis that is as high profile as a FOD walk, you are sending a powerful message.

We refuse to compromise on quality here.


Background on why I went on the carrier and other posts about the experience.