Sunday, February 14, 2021

Which CRM & Marketing Automation for your startup?




Marketing automation specialists monitor and measure the efficiency of the system. Executing marketing tasks. 

Our Company had serious Marketing. Automation problems. I had just started as Marketing Operations Manager at a startup that was expanding rapidly towards a hoped-for IPO (being floated on the stock exchange).  But there was no effective, integrated Marketing system to operate.

How could I fix it? Well, first off, I needed to examine the different CRM and Marketing Automation systems available. I needed to decide which one was the best for the company. I also needed to bring key stakeholders - in Sales, Operations, Account Management, and Services- along with me in this decision.

Then I needed to execute the strategy and roll out the system so that we maximised our ROI and that the team was confident that we had a fine-tuned Sales-integrated Demand Generation Marketing engine. I joked that we needed to turn a bicycle into a sports car over Xmas!

First off, we needed to decide whether to keep Pipedrive, our current CRM. Hot or not? We decided not - we needed Hubspot CRM or Salesforce. Second, Mailchimp Marketing Automation. Hot or not? Definitely Not, especially for those highly integrated, professional-looking campaigns we needed for the B-2-B business.

In the end, it all came down to Salesforce with Pardot or Hubspot Sales Hub with the Marketing Hub.

We broke it down like this:

The sales team really liked Hubspot CRM and it was cheaper. I love Pardot and Hubspot for marketing. But I have a soft spot for Hubspot, because I lived right by their HQ in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for seven years, up to 2015. 

My office was next door to theirs, and I met them when I was out for coffee & drinks. Also, they have brilliant explainer articles, videos and templates I’ve been using for many years. I also read Brian Halligan’s book ‘Inbound Marketing’ back in 2010, and immediately I was a convert!

Here were a few of the pricing options once we narrowed it down to Hubspot:

And here’s a few examples of how we weighed up the options in a more Qualitative way.

Negotiating all the different parties and teams within the company and Hubspot was quite a challenge. Luckily, the negotiations workshop I attended whilst an MBA student at Northeastern University Business School, run by Professor Wertheim, kicked in.

The agreement went down the wire, and we signed the last thing at the end of the quarter. We secured an excellent 20% discount. £42,000 for a two-year contract, which Italy followed shortly afterwards. I worked closely assisting with the Italian team's roll-out, too, just a month later. 

The next step was actually rolling it all out and migrating all our data from Pipedrive. I took Six Hubspot certificates over Christmas, so I’d be on top of it, including; Marketing Automation, Reporting, Inbound Marketing, Sales Hub admin and so on. 

I managed to hook it up to our WordPress site, Migrated all our data from Pipedrive, integrate it with all our social media and Digital Ads Campaigns and create subdomains and branded landing pages, a blog site and email templates.

- How long should it have taken, according to Hubspot? 3 months.

- How long did we take? Six weeks - one of my direct reports was out for three of those weeks with COVID-19

It would have been a month had not one of my team contracted Covid.

So how does this Startup Marketing Automation Engine work today? We’ve been ‘Live’ for two weeks. Here's my latest Marketing Operations company-wide report;

  1. We started off promoting our new Retail X Sustainability report (Top 50 retailers on eco-friendly commerce) when our site went live a few weeks ago. 
  2. InPost has yielded 125 leads and counting since going live two weeks ago, through contacts downloading the Report through our promotions. Seventy-seven of those are Marketing Qualified Leads: We have brought the cost per lead down from £25/Lead to £6.25.
  3. We have put together a comprehensive plan to promote, market and generate leads for our new contactless returns, ‘Instant Drop.’ campaign.
  4. I have set up automation flows for our Sales team, which has already created five good Opportunities with decision-makers at our target accounts (Account-based Marketing Campaigns).
Marketing Automation & CRM IT Consulting Project - Key Takeaways
  • Yes, it was stressful and hard work (I only took three days off over the Christmas period & worked many long days and almost every weekend), but we rolled this out in record time.
  • Make sure you are completely on top of the software before you complete the setup - in my case, I took Hubspot Certifications. But you may have other ways to accomplish this and be confident in your mastery of Hubspot.
  • Utilise the Hubspot team. Our Account Executive, Andy Boland, with whom I negotiated our package, and our Senior Customer Onboarding Specialist, Giada Tedesco, were both outstanding.
  • Work with evangelists in your own company. One salesperson helped me every step of the way. Our IT lead and web manager also pitched in nobly. 
  • Don't lose heart. I now have a delighted sales and marketing team and the warm fuzzy feeling of having done a great job. It was well worth all our hard work - nothing beats that feeling!
Find out more about Marketing for startups here. Or CRM and Marketing Automation Solutions for your company here.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

How are you doing working from home?

Anyone who's read my blog will know I'm a data nerd. I'm extremely grateful to all the business professionals in my network who answered this survey for me earlier this week and who are continuing to answer the survey. 

If there are any major shifts in insight, I will update this blog based on your new responses. I hope you find the results as fascinating as I do. Please click on the charts, and they will enlarge. This should help you to see them properly, particularly on mobile devices.


Companies seem to be doing a good job of enabling their employees to work from home effectively. You can see some of the challenges that they face, including social isolation. Some of your other responses that stood out for me included:

  • Seeing people live, interacting with them. Feeling the vibe in the team.
  • Not being able to have face to face meetings with clients and in some cases colleagues too.
  • I prefer working from home so no issues
  • People and mental breaks with others.
  • Co-worker engagement. Time and space to separate work from home.
  • Nice to work face to face particularly at the start of new assignments
  • Physical stand up desk, appropriate chair, internet reliability and performance.
  • Direct contact with coworkers- ability to meet in person to go over drawings.
  • Frequent and informal communication.
  • Contact with others, commute, Coffee breaks with friends








Everyone seems pretty happy about their WFH arrangements and not any more pessimistic about the future than they were back in March. 






The top challenges you are struggling with include Social Isolation and Internet connectivity. I get the struggles of wifi, for sure!

As before, under 'other' you've put given us some wonderful insights into how you're coping with working from home during this pandemic. I found some of your responses funny and others, a bit ominous.

  • Efficiency of others - this is a bit scary!
  • Difficulty staying focused because I am at home all the time
  • Missing the face to face communication, which can mean better communication overall.
  • Too much meetings  - Love this one!
  • Informal communication is harder,
  • Creating a good work life balance
  • Sensing other actual demeanour and appetite for the work is more difficult when not face to face.
  • I work more, with less breaks so the burn out is around the corner...
  • Difficulty repairing staff computer when either of us are not in the office.
  • printing - Who doesn't get frustrated with printers? Luckily my home HP printer is working fine right now!

I've also been running this same poll on Twitter. So far 1,285 people have answered. Here are the results:








In the charts above, I was first pleasantly surprised at how open everyone was about talking about their mental health. I was expecting to see this result that your mental health has suffered through the pandemic. There's been a lot of discussion in the media this year. However, poor mental health did not look nearly as much of a problem as you'd imagine by looking at all the media reports on this.

What I thought was great news, was that your physical health and wellbeing seemed to be actually improving whilst working from home. Perhaps you have more time to exercise and you do not have to spend so much time sitting, stuck in cars or trains, commuting to work?



It was interesting how your work patterns have adjusted to a purely work from home situation.  I imagine some of you who are almost entirely not working to a regular 9-5 schedule has the type of work that supports that 

- Perhaps architects or software programmers? - I know from working with them, that they (software programmers) often love to work late at night, for example.

You can take the survey here.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Want to invest in High-tech & Cybersecurity?

                        


Start trading on eToro now. Make thousands of pounds a month on a small investment, just like I have. No long hours. No Boss. I can trade whenever & wherever I want.
 
Check out my Cybersecurity investment webinar below 
 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Dummies Guide to Office 365, Cybersecurity investment guide, Gartner report on cool cybervendors, & more

You will find my June 2020 investment guide below. It outlines my investment philosophy: Investing only in businesses that I have worked in or worked with, that I have researched thoroughly. 

The reason for that is that my analytics skills developed whilst taking an MBA and working as a Financial analyst, together with real-world experience of working with these companies, give me a unique investing edge. 

That's why I have concentrated on the US High-Tech sector, and primarily companies that have recently been listed on the Nasdaq. I was paid handsomely for this work by a US investor. But you can get it for free, here. 

....along with some other guides that I think will help you understand the cybersecurity and cloud-computing sectors. 









Find out how I accomplished 'a four-hour workweek' investing in Cyber Security Stocks. Top Cybersecurity companies. For more information go to my website.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Sir Ronald Cohen, founder of UK's largest Venture Capital Company, at Oxford University.

Apax Venture Capital, $51 Billion in assets.


I was lucky to get an invite to this exclusive webinar from my dad, who attended Exeter College, Oxford University in the same year as Sir Ronald Cohen. 

After leaving Harvard Business School, Cohen worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company in the UK and Italy. 

In 1972, along with two former business school colleagues as partners, he founded Apax Partners, one of Britain's first venture capital firms. 

The company grew slowly at first, but expanded rapidly in the 1990s, becoming Britain's largest venture capital firm, and "one of three truly global venture capital firms". 

Apax provided startup capital for over 500 companies and provided money for many others, including AOL, Virgin, Waterstone's, and PPL Therapeutics, the company that cloned Dolly the sheep. 

My favourite part of the discussion was when Sir Ronald Cohen was talking about his career progression. Ronald said that Oxford was the more intellectually challenging of the two institutions he attended. He said that Harvard Business School was more 'like a trade school'. 

Sir Ronald made the world's most prestigious business school sound like a place you go to learn how to become an electrician or a plumber, not a Titan of industry, like him, Steve Schwartzman (below), founder of The Blackstone Group, or my old friend Bela Hatvany.

To be fair, Ronald said later that he wouldn't have achieved the success he did if he hadn't attended Harvard Business School. If you are eighteen or nineteen at Oxford, studying a subject like PPE, you would have had such a variety of intellectual stimulations. But getting an MBA is a much more focused endeavour. 

Below: Steve Schwartzman, CEO & Founder of The Blackstone Group, who set up scholarships with LSE, and Tsinghua University, in China, creating a Master's degree in Global Affairs in 2018.


This webinar suffered somewhat from the same malaise as the Steve Schwartzman of The Blackstone Group interview that my father and I attended at the LSE a few years ago. Just like the LSE student who interviewed the founder of Blackstone two years ago, Sir Ronald Cohen's interviewer was a little too deferential for my liking.


- Don't you find that these types of talks are more entertaining when the interviewer throws in a few hardball questions along with the softball ones? 

Also, these pieces with Millionaires and Billionaires talking about how awful inequality is, have been done to death. Many would argue that they are part of the problem, not the solution.

I would have loved to hear more about his career and the birth of the VC industry in the UK, which he described in his excellent book 'Second bounce of the ball: Turning risk into Opportunity'

I'm sceptical of how much millionaires and billionaires can do to alleviate inequality. During the Great Depression of the 1930s in the USA, it was government and the leadership of President Roosevelt, not the business community, that created a 'New Deal' and provided the population hope in a time of crisis.

On a macro-level how effective will these initiatives be? But I'm still open-minded, and Sir Ronald did make some excellent points, worth considering, on how social investing can benefit society. 

I don't want to be too critical about such an excellent talk; Sir Ronald Cohen did explain how the importance of responsible investing has grown as an idea.

Investors are increasingly considering all aspects of the businesses they back - not just how much money it makes, but also how much the industry contributes to society. 

Is the company a significant polluter, like BP or Shell? Or does it have a vision for a greener future, like Tesla, which has seen its share price grow 300% this year? 

His points about how millennials and Generation Y and the new generations coming, care more about values. Many of them would not invest in or work for companies that have the values they hold.

Here's Sir Ronald Cohen's new book: Impact: Reshaping Capitalism to drive real change
and his previous one, which I enjoyed reading: The Second Bounce of the Ball: Turning Risk into Opportunity.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Video spikes during sporting events - Velocix can help your network



Video traffic peaks during sports events

Viewing spikes during big sports games like the NFL and The World cup can reduce video quality. Hybrid-cloud architectures provide the solution combining the quality and efficiency of dedicated infrastructure with the flexibility of cloud-based services. Find out more in our newest blog post.


Velocix will be making a major splash at Mobile World Congress this year. Click on the image above to find out more about the event.

Velocix was recently sold by Nokia to Constellation Software, a $30 Billion Canadian company that makes brilliant bets on new technology.

The Video Streaming business is set to increase exponentially in the next ten years. Why not come and meet the team and me there early next year? Let me know if you're interested by clicking here.

Learn how you can strengthen your revenues using highly targeted ads that can command a 50% price premium. Download the report.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

10 Stock Picks in the Covid-19 Crisis



My first experience of investing in the stock market was terrible. Back when I was young and naive, I got a lump sum after my brother decided He wanted to sell a property we owned together. I did not know what to do with my half of the proceeds of that sale.

So, on the advice of an old family friend, who I trusted at the time and who was well versed in business and finance, I invested the money with a broker at a well-known Bank.

Unfortunately, the fund did poorly, and it lost most of the money. Besides, I had to go through an elaborate ritual (sending faxes, etc.) to extract my own money from this Bank. Not only was my broker charging a significant fee, but he was also arrogant and uncooperative whenever I asked him why he was losing my money. 

Has your fund manager lost most of your money?


I learnt one fact then that has stayed with me and now has been absolutely confirmed by one of my own investment gurus, Nassim Nicholas Taleb (of 'Fooled by randomness' and 'Black swan' fame): Be wary trusting people's advice when they have no 'skin in the game'. 

It's easy giving people advice on other people's money. It's even easier managing someone's money when they don't have a lot. A bigwig might ruin your reputation. But if you lose a small-time investors money, 99 times out of a 100, you'll have zero repercussions. 

In the twenty years since that broker lost my money, I put myself through business school, took an internship at a US investment bank in New York City, graduated with an MBA in Finance and worked for several years as a financial analyst.

I trade stocks myself now with my own account. My portfolio is up 50% since the Pandemic, while the S&P is down 10%. The UK FTSE 100 is in even worse shape, down about 16% over the year. Most fund managers have lost money this last year. The UK property market is also underwater, maybe even by as much as 20%, no one knows the exact figures for that yet.

I have used my experience in Cyber Security to select some reasonably safe, but high returning Cyber stocks. I have invested in Gold as a hedge against currency devaluation due to massive government economic interventions.

Please also sign up for my Cyber Security Investments Webinar on Saturday, July 18th at 4pm UK/ 11am EST/ 8am PST talking specifically about my own investment strategies, mainly in the Cyber Security sector. 

This is not a 'snake oil' pitch. I am not claiming that my strategies are a foolproof way to make money. All I am saying is - here's what I'm investing my own money in and here's why I'm doing that, and up until now, it's been successful. 

This webinar is simply my attempt to stimulate a discussion on investments. Maybe, like me, you'll start making some good money from it. I'm keen to hear your views as well as your questions too. Perhaps I will learn more from you than you will learn from me?

Of course, you need to practice discretion and wisdom when investing your own money. You are the best judge of that decision. But why let some broker who doesn't value your money trade with it, especially when most fund managers can't even beat the S&P or FTSE 100 index? Why give them a fat commission for that? 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Five things to think of when you're moving country for work or study

MBA Class of 2008 dinner
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
(that's me second from left).





The first big move I made for my career was in 2005 when I decided to take two years out, to study for a full-time MBA in the USA. I hoped to work in the USA for a few years afterwards and get some good experience there.

If you gain a Master's degree in the US, you can work there for one year afterwards. Often foreign graduates are then 'sponsored' by their employer company to continue working in the USA with an H1B work visa.

I got a scholarship and a part-time job in the Marketing Department at Northeastern University - Office of Corporate Programs. So that also helped financially.

Returning from Boston to move back to London, 10 years later (2015), was a far bigger and more complicated affair. I was now married, with a 6-year-old son, with disabilities (ADHD and Dyspraxia) and a 9-year-old daughter.

My wife, Catherine, born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, had always wanted to live in the UK. She was running College recruiting at her company, Akamai, in 2015, when she was offered the chance to go to London, to run EMEA recruiting there, managing a team of twenty-five recruiters.

I found a great job too, setting up Lead generation in the UK and Europe, for a little-known Cybersecurity start-up called Zscaler, founded in 2008. It has since had an IPO and is now valued at twenty-three billion US dollars on The NASDAQ

This brings me to my next point:

1Paperwork: Other than the usual challenges of getting an MBA; Taking The GMAT, making the applications, writing the application essays, interviewing for the schools, finding the money to go; I'd say getting the Visa sorted out was the hardest part.

It required me completing a lot of complicated paperwork. Further down the road, when I finally got my US Permanent resident card ('Green Card'), it was even more problematic. There were so many hoops to jump through that I eventually had to hire an Immigration lawyer at considerable expense to expedite it.

Equally important, though not as hard; after two years of living in the country, I had to pass my US driving license - many years after passing my British driving test. Ironically I passed my UK Drivers license the first time. But my US one, I had to take twice!


Help, Where's my car? I need to get to work!



2The Weather; My second shock was rather more prosaic; I was just not prepared for Boston's weather. In the winter, it gets down to -25 C. You also have big snowstorms.

For example, during the last winter, I was in Boston, in 2015, over 14 feet (4 meters) of snow fell in the city. In the summer, you need air conditioning in your apartment. It gets up to 40 degrees centigrade.

3Get help: Make sure you employ all the service you can. For this, we used a corporate relocation company to manage our move. Moreover, we used an army of staff, from childcare professionals to cleaners.

Corporate relocations have experienced a paradigm shift in the last fifty years. In the twentieth century, the husband usually worked, and the wife, who did not, would manage a lot of the move.

Today, more often than not, you are dealing with 2 parents, who both have to manage demanding jobs. Consequently, anything that will save you time is an absolute necessity.

My son, Jack, in our dining room in Boston, Massachusetts, USA 


4.  Make sure you employ technology to your advantage. We live in a digital world for a reason. It's fast and efficient. Everything from using DocuSign to sign all our documents (including the sale of our house in Boston) to Skype or teams for all those international calls, to using video surveying tools to track where all our furniture was.

5. The importance of having flexible work. There is no way We would have managed this move so effectively without remote working.

I had two weeks of training in Austen, Texas, and I travelled back to Europe several times to run conferences there. Just after the move, I had to go from England to a Sales kick-off in Las Vegas.

During this time, I was partially renovating and selling our house. We were unhappy with our real estate agent, so we had to switch agents mid-way.

Throughout this, Zscaler allowed me to work remotely for the UK office, from Boston, USA, for almost four months. Zscaler's and Akamai's flexibility made a big difference to Catherine and me.

Read my original post on buzzmove.com.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Can we be happier?


'Did you know the time in the week that the average British worker is most miserable? When He's meeting with his line manager!' As Professor Lord Layard said this, the entire audience erupted into knowing laughter. This is from his research from his latest book 'Can we be happier?'.

I attended a great lecture last night with Professor Lord Layard, who is the happiness expert at the LSE, where I was an undergraduate Law Student.

Below: Dame Minouche Shafik and Professor Lord Layard

          

Lord Layard started off by talking about the foundation of the LSE, by Beatrice and Sydney Webb, Fabians, who believed in the importance of improving society. William Beveridge, who set up the modern welfare state in the UK, was a Director of the LSE and also deeply concerned about the happiness of society.

Then Lord Layard talked about how society seemed to be getting less happy. This is confirmed by looking at life expectancy, which is now going down for the first time in recorded memory in the USA and to some extent in the UK. I believe that Coronavirus will accelerate this trend.

As Society has become more selfish, individualistic and competitive, according to Lord Layard, unfortunately, we have created a happiness 'Zero-sum game'. Each time I 'go up', someone else must inevitably also 'go down'. 

How can that philosophy of one-upmanship that many of us live with create happiness across society? Perhaps that's why, despite all our improvements in material circumstances, we, as a society, are more miserable than ever before.

Professor Lord Layard mentioned that the best way to determine an old persons life expectancy is not their doctor's 'physical' exam, but simply asking the patient 'are you happy?'. 

We put together a stimulating group for drinks and dinner after the event. This included a school teacher, Polly, and her husband, Ben, a software programmer. My old school-friend Lucas, who studied PPE at Oxford University.

Lucas was the smartest pupil at my school - he got the second-highest first-class degree in his year, studying Politics. Philosophy. Economics at Oxford 
(this was back in the days when very few students attained a first-class degree). Then he took a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. He is now a Professor of Philosophy at Bogazici University, in Istanbul, Turkey.

Lucas brought along a close friend of his from Oxford University, Tara, who is a management consultant. I also invited Steve, who studied at Oxford, is a Doctor and Professor of medicine. We had a wide-ranging discussion about happiness. Some of the topics we covered:

Tara and Clive agreed that people with religious faith seemed happier. That is one area that Lord Layard neglected to cover at all. I did notice that clergymen self-reported as the happiest profession (despite having salaries at the low end of the spectrum) in his latest book. However, we all agreed that it's pretty hard to measure happiness objectively. 

Steve said that he preferred this word eudaimonia —Aristotle's concept of flourishing—rather than happiness, which seemed to be more based on luck (Eutuxes) than living a good life.

Tara said that certain people 'Eeyores' are always going to be miserable, and others are usually going to be happy. Then, Lucas, Polly and Steve got into a discussion about how bad the education system had become in the UK.

They all agreed that the institutions' constant monitoring of performance was sucking the life out of any innovation. You can read more about this here - Moonshot thinking to unleash innovation.


Go to my website.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Five reasons why long-term productivity growth has flatlined in the UK .





One business issue that keeps resurfacing here in the UK is that of productivity. The big question is 'why has it flatlined here since 2008?' I noticed that, yet again, the Bank of England has predicted 0% productivity growth for this year in the UK.

I have much experience of living and working in other cultures. I am half Dutch and lived there for a time. I have also lived and worked in Colombia, Venezuela, India, Spain and most recently, in the USA from 2005-2015. Therefore, I would argue that I'm uniquely able to give a good explanation as to what's going on here.

Besides, I have worked as a contractor in the UK for the past two years. So I have quite a bit of experience job hunting in the UK. I have also bought and sold houses in both the US and the UK.

1. Business transactions take too long to carry out here in the UK. For example, when we bought and sold our house in Boston, it took less than a month. In the UK, it takes far longer.

2. Business people can't make decisions. When I was job hunting in the USA, generally it was a fast, efficient process. In the UK, often it is not.

I've noticed a troubling hiring trend here; Company A posts a job. Then many people are interviewed over many months and many stages, with the final result; Company A hires no one!  

This happens regularly in the UK. Imagine the damage to UK productivity of just this one issue alone on a country-wide scale?

3. Training and education. A lot of British businesspeople can't write accurate, grammatical English. They can't do basic maths. 

Lack of education has got to be a key reason for our poor productivity. We need better education - more executive coaching and business education, both online and traditional. 

And the general level of primary education needs to improve here. Spelling, grammar, maths, you name it. Some knowledge of foreign affairs, news and even a foreign language might be good too.

4. Investment has got to come a close second. If you want to be a productivity ninja, you do need the tools. I worked at one company as a contractor where I was managing a six-figure marketing budget, but the company gave me a faulty computer that crashed the entire time. 

Talk about an unproductive false Economy! All the evidence points to us not spending enough on equipment, from essential productivity apps to tools like DocuSign or Microsoft teams, to speed up business interactions. 

5. We in the UK have a fatal weakness for conventional wisdom. I'm paraphrasing Dominic Cummings here. But undoubtedly one of the reasons his Brexit campaign was able to defeat the much better funded and institutionally backed remain campaign was because his team was creative and unorthodox and the other side was neither.



Go to my website.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Bela Hatvany, Harvard MBA, inventor of the touch-screen, talks about keeping his investors and employees happy.

 Successful business founder and investor, inventor of the touch screen, Bela Hatvany, talks about founding your own business.




After selling multiple companies for many hundreds of millions of dollars, Bela founded the world's first charitable giving site in 2000, Just giving.  

Bela talks about his start-up business philosophy: He embraces not only looking after his investors but his employees too.

Image result for justgiving


Monday, November 11, 2019

Four reasons you should be allowed to work from home.



A long time ago, I had a boss who insisted that we always meet up in craft beer pubs even though two of the marketing team were non-drinkers and none of the group enjoyed craft beer.

He also insisted we wore jackets at a retail digital marketing event in July in Chicago when it was baking hot and all the other attendees were in t-shirts and button-downs.

He got mad at me because I took a day off after an exhausting three-day event to go skiing at a mountain resort nearby. 

Well, he also didn't allow our team to work from home on Fridays when the ENTIRE rest of the office (including him) was working from home on Fridays. 

Why do companies, even some nimble tech startups insist that all their workers work in the office EVERY. SINGLE. DAY?

Here are my reasons why you should let your employees work from home

1. Productivity. In the UK this is at an all-time low. And I have to assume part of the problem is created my distrusting management who can't believe that their team is conscientious enough to clock in a full days work while they are at home.

The most productive I've ever been is when I've worked from home one day and in the office for four.  I almost always end up getting more done on that one day I'm working from home.

But I'm a big extravert (100% extravert in Briggs Myers). If even someone like me who thrives on working with others, benefits so much from working from home, imagine how much your talented, hard-working introverts will gain from it.

2. Open-plan offices. The preponderance of open-plan offices is proof that, as the writer, Somerset Maugham put it “The fact that a great many people believe something is no guarantee of its truth.” 

Almost every company has them, and virtually every piece of research on them shows that they are ineffective. They do not create open, warm, friendly, convivial environments. Generally, they create the opposite. 

If you want to have a great, honest conversation with a colleague, your open-plan office is not the place to do it. 

3. People have lives. When I had that boss who refused to let me work from home on Fridays, I had two small children. My wife was also working a demanding job, full time as a recruiting manager for another tech company. 

I also had some health issues which thankfully I don't have anymore. It would have meant the world to me, my wife and family. It would have multiplied my loyalty to the company more than anything, including money. 

4. Commute. Some of the companies I've worked for have been one and a half hours from my house. If I had had to go into the office every day, that would be fifteen hours travelling a week. Some part-time jobs are fifteen hours a week! Not to mention the toll on the environment of all that travelling. And the cost. 

And two of the ways companies still manage to screw up the work from home experience....... 

1. Out of sight. Out of mind. Yes, I'm working from home. No, I'm not happy to be ignored entirely. I've worked in a few roles that were WFH almost wholly, and this happened way too often. When it did, I found it almost impossible to have those tough but necessary conversations like thrashing out the annual budget.

2. Some people don't adapt to it well. HR directors having conversations over the phone that should be done face to face, at the very least on a video call. 

Bosses that keep shifting conference call times, or being late for them, in a way that they would never do for in-person meetings - they'd be too ashamed... You get the picture!


Saturday, November 02, 2019

Social media has turned the world upside down - How have marketers responded?



The Doors is my favourite rock group. Their lead singer, Jim Morrison, graduated with a degree in Film at the prestigious UCLA Film School, where he studied with acclaimed film director Francis Ford Coppola. Jim Morrison was also a poet*.

One important aspect of Marketing is getting attention. Almost fifty years since he died, Morrison still generates a massive following on social media and The Doors still sell a lot of records.

Back in 2005 when I was at Boston University School of Management, pursuing my full-time MBA, I had the idea of writing a paper about organisations like the Doors that had a devoted fan base that was drawn, above all, to their authenticity.


When I wrote my paper about 'realness' in Marketing back then, I was influenced by a Harvard Business School case study** written by the new Dean of Boston University's business school, Susan Fournier. 

The case study she wrote was about the Harley Davidson Owners group or ‘Hogs'. It was HBS's first-ever 'multi-media' case study.

Harley Davidsons do not compete with other motorcycles in any typical way. They are not particularly fast, reliable or eco-friendly.

They are certainly not cheap. BMW’s, Yamahas, Ducattis or Honda’s will outstrip them here in every way. But what Harley Davidsons do have, which the other brands lack, is a unique bond with their customers.

The Harley Davidson Owners Groups ('Hogs')

The Hog club goes on rides, and the riders catalog all of their adventures. A few years ago a marketer suggested that Harley start using dirt and grease-free chrome. 

But the Harley team shot this idea down instantly. They believed that part of the appeal for a Harley owner of having that bike is cleaning the grease off of it after a hard day's ride.


Lululemon (image below) is another top brand that's established an almost cult-like following. Lululemon isn't just a product, it's a lifestyle.




Since I wrote that paper, a celebrity and property developer, Donald Trump, first put himself forward as a candidate as a publicity stunt to increase TV ratings on his show 'The Apprentice'.

The now, US President, Donald Trump made many outrageous statements during this period. Yet every time the political experts said ‘that’s it, he’s crossed the line. He's finished’, he just got more popular. The pundits couldn't believe it.

Similarly, Nike took a decidedly political stand on Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, kneeling during the National Anthem to protest against racism in the USA.


Most marketers at the time said that Nike made a terrible mistake bringing out this ad. 80% of marketers today still say that you shouldn’t take a strong position at risk of alienating your customers.

But just as in the case of Trump, being controversial worked for Nike. Nike has made six billion US dollars since that ad, that was loved and loathed in equal measure. 


*Extract from ‘The Movie’ a poem by Jim Morrison
The auditorium was vast and silent
as we seated and were darkened, the voice continued.
The program for this evening is not new.
You’ve seen this entertainment through and through.
You’ve seen your birth your life and death
you might recall all of the rest.
Did you have a good world when you died?
Enough to base a movie on?
I'm getting out of here.
Where are you going?
To the other side of morning.


Go to my website.

** Harvard Business SchoolBuilding brand community on the Harley-Davidson Posse Ride
https://store.hbr.org/product/building-brand-community-on-the-harley-davidson-posse-ride/501015