I was asked by the People Development team at Sprinklr to share some of my experiences for others in the company. I thought it might be fun/illustrative to share it here.
Perhaps not. Let me know.
What do you currently do at Sprinklr?
I'm currently the VP of Marketing. I'm responsible for global field marketing, marketing operations, analyst relations, partner marketing, events, and marketing for the Advertising business unit.
Where did you start out? How has your career grown?
I started out as the VP of Marketing over 4 years ago, so I suppose you shouldn't really take much advice from me as clearly I haven't been able to get promoted since then.
What's been remarkable in that time, however, is that when I started I was the only person in marketing, Sprinklr had 30 people, and we had no brand awareness or reputation of any consequence.
The amount of skills I have picked up across the entire marketing spectrum is mind-boggling to me.
My career has grown because with every single day, I have had the opportunity to take on new challenges and new opportunities. The single most important element is that I've been surrounded by people who courageously gave me constructive criticism in order to make Sprinklr and me better.
That's actually been a hallmark of my career at every step. I live and die by my professional and personal network. I am always trying to meet new people, ask them questions, and understand their worldview. Then, I try and keep in touch with them in a passionate and genuine way so that I can learn from them over time.
One thing I've done for over 20 years now is to call people on their birthday. I make about 1800 calls a year. It gives me a chance to keep in touch, but also helps me understand how they see the world. By hearing all of these different voices--and reading a ton--I feel like I have a respectable understanding of how the world is changing. That prepares me to do my job better and adapt to change quickly.
What path & opportunities have you taken? How did you get them?
My professional career began in Tokyo. I dropped out of graduate school to join a company doing what we might now call "Digital Marketing." After doing that for a year, I moved to New York to join an e-commerce start-up during Internet 1.0. I worked in sales for 2 years.
After 2 years of that, I left to start my own company with my brother. After the Internet 1.0 bubble crashed, we raised $500,000 and ran our company for two years.
Eventually, I moved to Washington, DC where I live now. I worked at Microsoft for 6 years, doing mostly marketing for the partner community.
One day, I was sitting in a meeting with about 25 people in Redmond, WA. We were going around the table sharing ideas of how we could do marketing better and I suggested that we use something called "Facebook." There was a guy there...we'll call him B*** since that's his name...who said "Facebook? That's the craziest idea I ever heard. We don't control the platform. It's built on a competing technology. We can't do that. It's a stupid idea."
I walked out of the room feeling a bit embarrassed and also recognizing that although Microsoft had been very successful for a long time, their view of the future of marketing and mine were very different. So, soon thereafter, I decided to quit and start my own consulting firm.
I called it "Never Stop Marketing," which I like to say is not just a company, but a mantra and a way of life.
The focus was on helping clients understand not just that social media was here to stay but on HOW the world (and marketing) would change because of its arrival. I started doing that and the best part was 2 years later when Microsoft called me to hire me to teach their marketers how to do it.
How did you get or what led you to your current role?
It was through my work for Microsoft that one of the attendees in a class said to me, "you know, I have a friend named Ragy Thomas. He says a lot of the same things you do. You guys should talk."
I still remember the day that Ragy called me (and where I was) when he called me. I answered the phone and he didn't even introduce himself. He just said, "Hey Jeremy....I read your blog. It's brilliant. You need to come work for me.'
And I was thinking..."this guy is crazy" (and I was right about that). I said, "you don't understand...I have a pretty good gig here. I make great money, get to travel around the world, or I get to stay at home, wear shorts, and walk my kids to school in the morning."
He said..."YOU don't understand. I'm going to build the next big enterprise software company."
The "You don't understand," "No, YOU don't understand" went back and forth for about 4 months until one day I went to New York and met with him in the office on 30th Street.
I saw the platform and fell in love...well, it was profile properties and profile tagging to be exact, and I said, "ok, this guy has figured out how to scale what I've been talking about."
He said, "there are a lot of marketers our there, but none of them who understand Social. I need someone who does. I need you."
I agreed, went home, told my wife that I was taking a 70% pay cut, and shut down my business. Been here ever since.
What's your advice for people who want a role like yours?
There are a few things I would say.
1. Always, always, always grow and cultivate your network of contacts...in a genuine way. No matter what, it is people who make the world go round.
2. Read a ton about anything you can. Never stop learning.
3. Change is the only constant in your life and your career. It's FAR better to force the change upon yourself than to have it forced upon you. Practice adapting to change by seeking it out instead of being afraid of it.
4. Take smart risks. That's the best and fastest way to learn new skills which you can apply.