Sunday, May 20, 2018

5 things you should think about when moving country for work

Having dinner with some of my MBA class, 2008, just after graduation.



The first big move I made for my career was in 2005 when I made a decision to take 2 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. It didn't hurt that it was two dollars to the pound at the time.

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

1. 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 detailed paperwork. Further down the road, when I finally got my US Permanent resident card ('Green Card'), it was even harder. 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 living in the country, I had to pass my US driving license - many years after passing my British driving test.

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


2. My second shock was rather more prosaic; I was just not prepared for the weather in Boston. In the winter, it gets down to -10 C. You also have big snowstorms.

For example, during the last winter, I was in Boston, in 2015, over 14 feet of snow fell in the city. In the summer, you need air conditioning in your apartment. It gets up to 40 degrees C and it's humid.

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

My wife, Catherine, 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.

This was a major promotion for her, from manager to director, from managing a team of 5 in Boston to managing a team of 25 recruiters, throughout the whole of Europe.

I found a great job too, setting up Lead generation in the UK and Europe, for a little-known Cybersecurity start-up called Zscaler (it has since had an IPO and is now valued at $5 Billion on the Nasdaq). This brings me to my next point:

3. 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.

Make sure you employ all the help 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.

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 for all those foreign 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 training in Austen, Texas and I travelled back to Europe a number of times to run conferences there. One time, just after the move, I had to travel 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 had to switch agents mid-way.

Throughout this, Zscaler allowed me to work remotely for the UK office, from Boston, USA, for almost 3 months. Zscaler's and Akamai's flexibility made a big difference to Catherine and me and we really appreciated it. Full article on the buzz survey blog here.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Highlights, Meeting Vlocity, Pardot and Salesforce at the 'Trailblazers' Conference

Bella at Salesforce



I've worked with many Marketing Email Marketing and CRM tools, from Microsoft Dynamics and Click Dimensions to Hubspot, and MailChimp, to Marketo. I've been very impressed with Salesforce, particularly in the quality of their support.





Ronan Twohig, Account executive, Salesforce, Emer Merriman, Marketing Specialist, Salesforce and Isabella Hernandez, Marketing Executive, Buzzmove


My colleague and I, Bella Hernandez, met up with our team at Pardot in the SMB arena at the excel centre in the Docklands. It was great to see Ronan Twohig again and meet Emer Merriman.

Straight away we were deep into a conversation about how I could make some adjustments to better integrate Salesforce with Pardot. Then right away, I was like 'hey Emer, I want to get a better insight into our Marketing ROI. How can I best accomplish that?'

B-2-B Marketing analytics - What we may be missing



Emer asked me about our product suite, and it turned out that we are missing one component that can achieve this, the B-2-B analytics suite. We fixed up a demo next week, so I can best understand this and then, hopefully, remedy the situation.

But also We're going to talk through a couple of those questions I had about the best practices in Salesforce/Pardot integration.

Ronan then asked me 'hey, Rudy, how is that rolling out and implementing Pardot coming along, the one you mentioned a couple of months ago when we were at the Shard?'

Bella asking the Salesforce trailblazer scout for directions 



I was happy to report to Emer and Ronan my first 2 months progress; I wrote my marketing plan, pitched it and had it was agreed by my CMO, in the first week. By the following week, I had implemented Pardot for all our campaigns.

Emer said 'wow, two weeks, that's amazing!'  But it's no big deal - Pardot is easy to use, and there's plenty of content and people to guide you if you get stuck.

In fact, it's worked so well that I've even begun using it for larger B-2-C lists, of over 80,000 contacts, that's despite B-2-C not being in my job description. But in the start-up world, you do what you can to help.

Why do I love these Salesforce headphones so very much? 
1. Is it the cute logo? 2. is it that they light up with a warm glow? 



Yes, all our contact data is now inside of Salesforce, we are fully integrated, and we are running a range of campaigns from LinkedIn inmail, to events, to Email. Not only that, but the data quality is far better and more actionable by the sales team than it was previously.

I have also set up lead scoring and Marketing automation, including nurture campaigns; we can roll this out for all other parts of our business too.

Ronan Twohig kindly suggested that I come and present what I've accomplished in Pardot at a Salesforce conference coming up, which sounded cool. Small businesses actually generate over 1/3 of Salesforce's total revenue.

The keynote was terrifically entertaining and informative; the CMO, Simon Mulcahy, is a natural presenter and he brought on some real powerhouses of digital and b-2-b marketing, from Ulster Bank (part of RBS) and Adidas, to run some live demos. The marketing feats they had accomplished using Salesforce were quite mind-blowing.


Simon Mulcahy, CMO, of Salesforce, hitting it out of the park with his keynote.



I was particularly taken with Simon's concept of 'trailblazers' - how it's people like 'us' - intrepid pioneers, innovators, game changers, who are doggedly trying to improve the organisations we work at; we are the ones who are driving growth in our companies. That was a powerful message.

Which CRM provider dominates now?





There are a plethora of platforms right now. Who knows which will dominate in 2023?


Along the way, I ran into a few old colleagues and friends. Bella and I had a good chat with Pedro Jose, a rockstar Sales engineer at Vlocity, a Salesforce company. I worked with him at Sigma. Pedro was pivotal in signing our biggest deal last year with Telstra, for $15 Million.

Pedro Jose, Senior Solution Consultant at Vlocity, a Salesforce Company



He worked like a maniac on Telstra, flying back and forth from his home in Portugal to Sydney, Australia, many times. He was 'all over it'! That deal was also important from a marketing perspective; since it was our first big account in the APAC region.

I'm glad to report that Pedro was thrilled at Vlocity, performing exceptionally well and being treated even better by Salesforce.



We rounded off the day with Bella rocking the floor of over 5000 salesforce event attendees with her killer tunes, breaks and massive bass.




What I got out of the event

1. I learnt valuable information that will make me a more productive marketer and will enable me to carry out more effective marketing at my company

2. I connected with those who can help me in my journey; not least of all some of the salesforce team. This was sadly lacking when I ran global demand generation at my last company (with another CRM provider).




Saturday, May 05, 2018

Financial Management for start-ups




Most founders of start-ups want to end up in one of two places; Becoming a public company (by having it’s IPO) or being acquired by another company. Each of these scenarios has played out at 2 of the last three companies at which I’ve worked. If, as an entrepreneur, you want to reach either of these goals, someone in your organisation must have a good grasp of finance.





It's been about ten years since I completed my MBA. But all the lessons remain fresh in my memory. I majored in Finance, so I was fortunate to have studied with a lot of, primarily US (my business school was in the USA.), finance professionals from organisations like Blackrock, State Street, Fidelity and Bain Capital. I was even more fortunate to have completed an internship at a New York Investment Bank, Bryant Park Capital

During my internship and studies, I learnt a lot about - valuing companies, presenting financial data to investors, powerpoint (doh! I'm an MBA, of course!). Most importantly, I started to understand the special language that Finance professionals use; Market Cap, Fifo/Lifo, beta, default risk premium, arbitrage, hedging and so on..

Back at business school, I hit it off with one of my professors, Don Margotta, who is an expert on corporate governance and shareholder activism. I want to share a few of the ideas here, that ignited my passion for Finance.

Here are some of the books, that did the same; Liar's Poker, Barbarians at the Gate, and Black Swan (where Nassim Taleb proceeded to pull apart all the concepts I'd devoted hundreds of hours learning in my Statistics classes).
First off, Time value of Money. This one is crucial. A pound today is worth more than a pound you get tomorrow, which is worth more than a pound you make the next day and so on, like this. The interest rate drives this value.

If I said all Finance calculations stem from this one idea, I wouldn't be far wrong. For example, you could get a good read on the value of a company by using this method to calculate the present value of all it's future cash flows.



Or if you thought the company had legs, you could use the perpetuity equation here:
PV of a Perpetuity = PMT/I
PMT = $1,000,000
Interest rate = 2.5%
Company Value = $40 Million

When they start negotiations, a lot of Investment Bankers will use earnings multiples to value a company; these vary for industries and countries, one may be x 4, some may be x 20. You will use the EBITDA figure for a company - Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, which is a standard measure of a company's operating performance. Here's a good example of one such valuation, using two parameters - High & Low:


At Bryant Park Capital, I began using Capital IQ, to find comparable public company data to estimate a Private Company's value. I also used Bloomberg, when I was at MFS Investments, for the same.
I hope I've given you some ideas about valuing your start-up.

I have concentrated on the Financial value in this article. However, it's important to remember that sometimes a large company will buy a startup because it has strategic value rather than financial.







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