Aligning Vectors – How To Scale A Business

How to position yourself for growth, how to get culture right, how to get decision making right. What I’d like to talk about is how you produce growth. How do we grow better? Now, every now and then in your life, you get this email that causes a range of emotions. This is one of those emails, this came from Sequoia Capital, one of Rulership venture capital investors, and they were inviting Brian Eye to a founder’s event.

How To Build A Business

I’m going to walk you through the thoughts that went through my head as I read this email. No one buried deep in the hills. Now, this was my first hint. That the there might not be optimal Wi-Fi where they were having this. That was a problem for me, because I’m what you would call endorsee. It’s not that I’m anti nature. I’m just pro Netflix and pro pajamas. Right. That’s just. Problem number two, we’re hosting a small and equals one hundred gathering. Now. I like the unequals 100 part. The fact that he said it that way, because that appeals to geeky side of me, in addition to being geeky, I’m also introverted and equals 100 is about N equals 98 more than the number of humans I’m used to being around. That’s just not my thing. Final problem, we’re bringing together our most legendary founders. Now, I can understand why they would want to bring together legendary founders if I were them, I would do the same thing. My issue was then why do they also feel compelled to invite me like, you know, it’s. Because legendary business is not on the list of descriptors I would use for myself, the one that I would use is insecure. And so if you add it all up, I’m endorsee, I’m introverted, I’m insecure, net result, I’m intimidated.

And so I sent a message back, I’m polite about it, honored to be invited. Thank you so much for inviting me. Sorry, I can’t make it. And that was that. Or so I thought. Two weeks later. Two weeks later, I got a follow up. Oh, and by the way, Elon Musk is going to be there. Now, I can characterize my feelings about Elon in one hyphenated word, geek crush. He crushed, but the thought that went through my head as I was reading this email was one word. Crap. Now, I’m going to have to come up with better excuses not to go on this outdoorsy thing. I’m still not going to go back now, I need better reasons, not as big a fan of Ellen as I am, I know someone that’s an even bigger fan. My son, son. Who’s in the audience today, by the way, for the first time, so thank you. He got. So Sonia is six and three quarter years old, I know this because every week she gives me an update and tells me exactly how old he is. So two favorite things in the world are space and cars. So you can imagine why he would be a huge Elon Musk fan, he’s seen every launch video, he’s used a lot of screen time on Elon. And I have a suspicion if there was such a thing as a reverse adoption, he’d trade me in for Elon. So I chat with my wife about my dilemma. She’s outdoorsy and she’s an extrovert. We’ve been together for 20 plus years. Thank you for. Every man. And she gets me and I explain all the reasons why I’m not going, and she says. So I would really love that selfie with Ellen.

Building a Business

And I’m like, good talk, good talk, so here I am at the founder’s event. And this photo was taken with a drone because why wouldn’t you take a photo with a drone if you can? And Ellen did make it. That’s Ellen in The Aviator glasses. It’s hard to tell from this photo. He looks astonishingly like the Terminator. He’s not. Don’t get me wrong. But he looks astonishing. Like the Terminator. He’s more like an Iron Man thing, not anyway. So that’s me, I’m easy to spot in this photo because I’m the one person that’s looking at the ground and the reason I’m looking at the ground is because I’m an introvert and I don’t like making eye contact, not even with a drone. But it’s just not what I do. And so I am a man with a grand master plan here at this event, so we’re going to shift to this big tent while starting a business. We’re going to have dinner. And here’s my plan. It’s like, OK, I’m going to sit myself at dinner on the pick a strategic spot. Then sometime during the course of dinner, I’m going to turn around. I’m going to take a selfie of myself. So all selfies are for yourself and then take a selfie. And Ellen’s going to be somewhere in the background and I’m going to let the magic of Photoshop do the rest. That’s my grand master. It’s like he’s six and three quarters when he figures it out, he’ll understand, like Daddy, I would do the same thing. It’s like, yeah, he’d be understanding about it. That’s my suspicion. So this is the plan. So I’m sitting there waiting for dinner. I’m kind of channeling my inner Jason Bourne, checking out all the angles. Waiting, waiting, waiting, someone sits down kind of right next to me, I’m like, oh, that cuts out some of the angles.

But turns out the person that sat down right next to me is Elon Musk. What are the odds? Right. Well, actually, I guess one in 100 is an equal anyway, but that doesn’t matter, not important to story. OK, so. First, it’s like awesome, like Elon Musk is right there and then I’m like, not awesome because it is impossible to take a selfie of with somebody that’s sitting right next to you without them noticing. Like it’s just science, right? You can’t you can’t do it right. So I’m stressed out. Now, the good news is. Elena was everything I had hoped you would be crazy, smart and brilliant, super geeky, and it turns out very gracious, very charming. So I got to spend two and a half hours at a small dinner with Elon Musk. Had a great time, didn’t go to bathroom for two and a half hours, different story. So we’re chatting, we’re chatting and having a good time. And during the course of the evening, this question is posed like Ellen, you’re doing like Tesla and SpaceX, like how do you do such big things? Like what’s your advice? Now, you have to realize Elon is a physics guy. Here’s what’s the answer. Let’s say you’re trying to get your company from point A to point B. Every person on the team is a victor. And your progress as a company is determined by the sum of all Vector’s. That’s all he said. So I did what anyone would do, I nodded politely and started talking about artificial intelligence. So it’s. So it’s 2:00, 3:00 in the morning. There’s no Wi-Fi, just so you know. And I was pondering Vector’s and I did the unimaginable, something I hadn’t done in years, which is actually like exercise thought without the aid of Google.

I didn’t even know that was still possible these days to actually think without having Google right there for you. And here’s what I pieced together around what Elon was talking about. First off, a vector is a quantity, having both magnitude and direction. So let’s say you have a hypothetical company and you have a person on this company and let’s say they have an impact score of nine out of 10, they’re super helpful, they’re committed, they’re competent, they’re good nine out of 10 on this arbitrary scale. Now, this in of itself is not a vector because we don’t know what direction this person is moving in. This is what’s known as a scalar, just the magnitude. OK. Now, if we know this person is moving in the right direction now, all of a sudden it’s a vector represented by an arrow. Let’s say you had four people in the company and they were all nine out of ten because you’ve been hiring. Well, you’ve got a good culture. Let’s say you have these four people. And let’s say this. Is how you represent how they’re working, two people are pulling in one direction. Two people are pulling in the opposite direction. The algebraic some of these four vectors is what Elon is talking about, is what’s known as the null vector that has zero magnitude, an unknown direction. Nothing is being accomplished now, this is not common. This would not happen in any company ever, right? This is more common, right? Mostly people are pulling in the correct ish direction except for that one guy. There’s always that one guy. We know that one guy. Right. There’s always one of them. But overall, things are moving in the right direction. But it’s still not optimal, right.

Choosing The Right Business

Because we’re not maximizing the value of those. In fact, if you did this kind of algebraically, you calculate how much actual impact was being had on this area that. Now, this is what Elon suggests we should be trying to do. This is a theoretical maximum for those nine out of 10 people. Add them all up and the magnitude of impact is actually 36. Nothing is being wasted. There’s no inefficiency. There’s no one pulling in the wrong direction. This is what we should be all striving for, which is aligned vectors. So congratulations, you just passed a micro class on linear algebra. I’m not saying it was the best class on linear algebra, but it’s the biggest live class on linear algebra, I think ever. Now, some of you are wondering, Dharmesh, that’s all well and good. Why would you give us a micro class on linear algebra? Two reasons. Reason number one. That’s about 11 years old, I’ve been to 40 company meetings, I’ve written a thousand blog posts. And some things stick when I tell them it’s like, oh, I went, I learned this thing, I read this book, I met this person. This idea of a line vector’s is the thing that has stuck the most with the SWAT team is part of the vocabulary now. It’s that it’s just simple enough to understand, but applicable in a line of cases to to be useful. That’s why he’s number one. Reason number two, in my experience in the hundreds of companies I’ve talked to, including Rulership, the number one issue most companies have is misalignment. And it’s not just the misalignment, oh, the people are not aligned around the company’s goals. That happens. There’s an even larger issue where the company’s goal is not aligned around what the customer wants and needs.

That’s a much more insidious problem. And so the idea here is, OK, so what does the customer want? What does the customer need? And Brian talks about this, right. It’s like people want a delightful end to end customer experience the whole way through. That’s what customers want. That’s what a company’s business goal should be. OK, so Brian said this, we believe this if you have a great culture, it makes recruiting easier. Similarly, if you have a great customer experience, it makes scaling easier. So that’s the goal. If you want to grow and you want to scale, you have to solve for a delightful end to end customer experience. Now, usually by this point in the keynote, Brian has dropped an F bomb. He hasn’t yet today, so it’s incumbent on me to do so. You’ve just been Funland. This is a typical final showing, three stages in the customer life. We want to attract people into the business. We want to engage them, hopefully turn them into customers. And we want to delight them and hopefully turn them into advocates. Now, speaking of funnels, approximately 50 percent of the whiteboards that Rulership have a funnel drawn on them at any given point in time. Exactly 100 percent of those funnels were drawn by Bryan. That might explain the fascination with Bugler’s because like Dharmesh, they look like tiny funnels. Yes, Bryan, yes, they do. OK, so we can think about the three stages as being a funnel so useful or linearly if that’s useful, but I think there’s a better way to think about these three stages. It’s not really linear. It’s not this and this and then this. I think the right way to think about it is as a cycle that says we attract people, we engage them, we delight them.

That makes it easier to attract more people and we can keep going and going and going. And that’s the idea. So I call this the virtuous cycle of growth and in the center of the virtuous cycle of growth is the platform technology platform. Now it’s called the hub. By the way, I didn’t make that up. Google it. It’s like if you have a bicycle and there’s a wheel spinning a thing in there, it’s not just networks that have hubs anyways, besides the point. All right. So we can talk about those four things. We’re going to talk about marketing. We’re going to talk sales, are going to talk about customers. We can talk about platform. Let’s start with marketing. Now, an undergrad I was able to squeeze. Into a four year degree, about seven years worth of classes, that’s how long it took me to to get my degree. And in those seven years, I did not have a single marketing course, not one. And the reason is. I majored in computer science, didn’t have to take a marketing course, and just around myself out make myself a little bit more human, I minored in math. And so it’s a little bit odd that years later, Brian, I would go on to write a book about marketing called Cleverly Enough Inbound Marketing, and it wasn’t an amazingly well-written book. Because we wrote it, we should have hired a ghostwriter like normal people do, but although it was an amazingly well written, it was amazingly well timed because this notion of inbound marketing and moving from this kind of outbound, non empathetic approach to an inbound human friendly approach was catching on everywhere. We were not the only ones talking about it and the key message of the book was, you want to add value before you extract it and you can add value by creating content, that’s a summary of the book.

The good news is people listened. The not so good news is sometimes they became obsessed with the create content part instead of focusing on the add value part, so they were creating content and creating content, creating content. And Rulership and I were not blameless in this process. We’ve produced our fair share of content. So now one thing I love about the marketing team at Rulership is they love data and they’re geeking out on experimentation. So this year we decided to take a pause. Reflect. And think. This is Alfredo Prieto. In addition to having an impressive name. And an even more impressive beard way ahead of the hipsters, by the way, way ahead. He had an impressive observation, and his observation is that in many cases, a small percentage of the inputs can lead to a disproportionate percentage of the output called the 80 20 rule. An example would be. 20 percent of the clothing you own accounts for 80 percent of the time that you’re out in the world, essentially this T-shirt is a good example. So it’s like, OK, well, small percentage equals to big. So we decided to look into this. It’s like, OK, well, we’re going to analyze all the posts that Rulership has posted over time period. And it’s like, oh, do our top post, our top 20 percent, do they produce 80 percent of the leads? That’s what the content is supposed to do. And we were a little bit disappointed with the results because our top 20 percent did not, in fact, produce 80 percent of the leads. They produced 93 percent of the leads. Now, the reason this was a little bit disappointing was that it meant in theory. We could have done 80 percent less work and still gotten only seven percent fewer leads.

That’s the theory, right? Well, we did all this like why did we do this? And so, like any good theory, we decide to test it. Here’s what we did. You said we will take one of our blogs and we will cut the blog posting volume down by 50 percent. We will pick the above average blog posts. We will publish those. Now, this is not above average, like in Lake Wobegon, right. Where every post is above average. It’s not one of those. And what happened was actually not that shocking as the quality went up, even though we took the post volume down, the number of views that we got, the number of leads that we got per post went up. Right. Better content does better. Who would have thought that? Right. And so the lesson here, hard. One lesson for us is that we should all be doubling down on content. We should all be doubling down on content, but we should be focused on the quality of the content, not the quantity of the content. Spend twice as much time, pick only your best articles, because what you’re trying to do is think of each little piece of content is a tiny little vector. You’re trying to align it with marketing goals and the company’s goals overall. And your goal is not to produce a lot of content. Your goal is to produce a content brand where you have a reputation for publishing remarkably useful, brilliant content. That’s what you want. All right, so obviously, content creation is not the only activity that marketing does. There are other things that marketing invest time and money in. Which brings me to everyone’s favorite topic. Budgeting, well, you can with all your applause. I know it’s it’s it’s a little bit OK now some of you’re thinking, well, Dharmesh, you realize that budgets don’t come in like stacks of bills and brown paper bags.

Yes, I realize this. This is marketing. They would be organic, artisanal farm to market designer bags. Right? I get that. I’m going to walk you through how the budgeting process works at many companies, not yours, but many companies do. This starts off with a spreadsheet. The first tell is the fact that it’s got the word budget in it. Easy, easy sign. Here’s how it works. So we’re going to start twenty. Eighteen. We’re going to take the prior cell to 2017 budget, we’re going to multiply by one point one, basically add 10 percent and then the magic of Excel, we’re going to drag that cell all the way down. Boom. Cupcakes and coffee for everyone, right? We’re done with the 2018 budget. Now, if we were talking about. Other departments that don’t change very much, let’s say H.R. or finance, this is a reasonable way to go about making a budget. It’s not perfect, but it’s OK. Marketing is not one of those disciplines. Marketing is changing all the time. So we should be doing, as we should be saying, hey, we want to align our budget with what we understand about human behavior now. So if there’s a shift happening from textual content to visual content, which there is, our budget should reflect that if there’s a movement from email to messaging, our budget should reflect that. So that’s marketing. Let’s say your marketing team is cranking out line content being produced, leads are coming in. Now it’s time to talk about sales. As it turns out, in grad school, I did have a sales course. And sales class in college is a lot like sex ed in high school. It’s a little bit awkward, a little bit weird, half the people are like, this is all that.

I’m not going to learn anything I don’t know here. Right. This is a waste of my time. The other half are like, I’m paying attention, I’m learning stuff, but I’m not sure I’m gonna need this stuff any time soon, right. That’s the other half. Now, I went to high school in India, and so we didn’t have that there. I mean, we had that. I mean, we have a billion people. We just didn’t have a class about it, I guess, by saying clearly we had that. So. The lesson here is that there’s there’s a shift that’s happening in sales now, it’s been happening for a while and we’re seeing it Rulership is that some people are not great at selling, but they’re actually really good at getting sales. Now, this sounds like a paradox. What do you mean, like they’re not going to selling, but they’re getting sales? It’s because we confuse the activity of selling with the outcome of sales. Selling is one of the possible activities one could do to result in a sale. As it turns out, there are more. And as it turns out. One of the best ones, instead of hustling, is actually helping, so we’ve been testing this theory at Rulership. Some of our best performing salespeople at Rulership came from our customer support team that are used to helping customers all the time. So this works. I’m not suggesting that we stop hiring kind of classically trained salespeople. I’m suggesting we have a new pool of talent that are much more effective than we would likely expect them to be. Now. We did a study at Rulership, something I’m little bit bothered by surprise, too, we surveyed a bunch of Cellar’s salespeople and asked them, do you believe that you are adding value to the prospect of adding value to the conversation? 82 percent of the people surveyed, the sellers said, yes, I believe I’m adding value to the prospect.

We asked the buyers, do you believe in the sales conversations you’ve had? Do you believe that value was added to you, that the salesperson added value? Only 34 percent said yes, I believe the salesperson added value this conversation, this is a big problem, but also a big opportunity for us. And the lesson we have learned at Rulership is we should be doubling down on sales conversations, but in the same way as we thought about marketing, which is not doubling down on quantity, but doubling down on the quality of sales conversations we’re having. When you think about the sales process, that it’s part of a larger end to end customer experience. So you don’t want a brilliantly written blog article that pulls someone in and then have a crappy sales experience. That’s not what has to be delightful the whole way through. Now, Rulership has been working in the sales business. We’ve been obviously we have a sales team. We build sales technology, which I’d like to talk about before I talk about it, a disclaimer and a warning, portions of the remaining content that I’m going to have R rated SP. Self promotional may not be appropriate for all viewers. And just to kind of give you a cue, in case I’m being overly subtle, I will put the small cap on slides that I believe you need a cue on, possibly in terms of being self promotional. So in 2014, on the inbound stage, we announced and released Rulership CRM. And. The idea behind Rulership CRM is we want it to be the CRM of choice for small businesses and we want to get all these companies that weren’t using a CRM at all. They were sitting on the sidelines. We wanted to be the CRM for them.

So we did a couple of things. We made it easier to use important and we made it free. Turns out that works to and so it was very popular, thousands of businesses started using Rulership CRM. But the thing that sort of kept coming back to us, there were thousands more businesses that wanted to use Rulership CRM. Maybe there were dissatisfied with their existing CRM or they had never quite made the leap because they thought it was too intimidating. But the issue was that Rulership offering just didn’t clear the bar. We needed to be like this high in terms of features and we just weren’t there, so we weren’t appropriate for their more sophisticated needs. And so we’ve been working for years on what has been the largest R&D project in the history of Rulership. I know I’ve been here for a while. And I think we clear the barnow. So we’re launching today is a new grown up Rulership sales professional. Here’s what it does. This is interesting, so you asked for, oh, we want better team management, we want better security in control so we can manage our teams better. We want better automation so we can send and we want better like machine learning stuff for particularly scoring. We took all the requests that we had for a grown up CRM and we put it into Rulership sales professional who’s excited. And like Apple iPhone, the price is going up, unlike the Apple iPhone, if you are an owner of Rulership professional, any time between now and October 31st at midnight, you get grandparenthood into the old pricing. So, all right, so. All right. So we’ve talked about marketing, we’ve talked about sales, let’s talk about customers, you know, the whole reason our organizations exist.

Now, one of the things and Brian hinted at this is that not only are the customers like the purpose for existence, they are the biggest driver of growth. So we have more data. We asked people that make purchasing decisions, what information do you look at, what influences you when you make a purchasing decision? Top two things. Word of mouth and referrals now this is of CEOs and other executives, we asked the same question of VPs and directors. I have the slides to come out. Same thing for individual contributors. The top two in all cases. Referrals and word of mouth, essentially. So the customer drives a lot of the purchasing decision, and that’s not super surprising. So then the question is, OK, we get that. So how do we create delighted customers? Like, what do we do? So. Simple, but not easy, which is you deliver help to customers, engage them however they want, whenever they want with whatever they want. So let’s dig through that. Here’s how not to help a customer however they want. If I get this message. Look, Mr. Shore, we are calling regarding the message. You sent us. It’s like, well, first of all, I got this is a voicemail because I don’t answer my phone ever, ever. And they don’t answer my phone because I hate phone calls and I hate phone calls with a fiery burning rage, fiery burning, by the way, ever since I was like, yay, big. I’ve wanted to use that keynote animation like like, look, can we do it one more time? One more time. Let’s I’m going to watch it with you. Let’s see here. Fiery burning rage. Yes. By the way, that’s the closest I’m ever going to get to going to Burning Man.

It’s like. Yeah. Too many extroverts, too many extroverts. So here’s the way it’s supposed to work. So here’s like, OK, if I if I tweet you and ask you a question. You tweet me back. If I Facebook message you. You message me back, if I call, you call emergency services, there is something medically wrong with me, I would never do that. Right. That just don’t. OK, so. It’s not just me, the shift from kind of the classic email and phone calls as modes of engagement is moving. And so there are lots of ways that I’m strange and atypical. The fact that I like messaging is not one of them, actually, I fit into the norm here when a few days I’m actually normal. So Facebook released this data earlier this year in April, that one point two billion with a B. People are using Facebook Messenger. Not WhatsApp, not just Facebook Messenger. That’s interesting. Those people are sending upwards of a billion messages a month to businesses, not to other people, not to friends, to businesses right now that’s what’s happening, by the way, that’s businesses with a B as well, like businesses. And I would posit that any time a billion people do anything, not anything, there are things people do that we don’t know. But anyway, it doesn’t matter. Any time a billion people do anything, it’s time to pay attention. And this is not one of those things where like, oh, build it and they will come. They are already here and they want to chat. So we dug into more data. Now, this is internal Rulership data about Rulership own customers and websites from our CRM, so its internal data, please don’t tweet this or share it widely. I’m kidding. It’s like a 50 foot screen.

That’s like I did the tiny little legal joke for the legal counsel. Yeah. So here’s what we here’s we discovered. Is that if we put a form on a Web page that has content, if the person fills that form out, zero point seven percent of those people that fill the form out will eventually become customers. OK. If instead we put the Rulership meetings app, which allows people to schedule a meeting with a salesperson and if they indeed schedule that meeting, that number jumps to 13 percent, 13 percent of the people that ask for a meeting will eventually turn into customers. If instead we put chat on the website and say, oh, if you just want to chat with a salesperson right now, if they decided to engage and have that conversation, 20 percent of those people turn into customers. This is Rulership data. Now, some of you are thinking, OK, well, Dharmesh, this is a bit of a sample bias or selection bias, because depending on where in the journey they are, different things are going to appeal to them. You are absolutely friggin right. There is the selection bias and that’s why we need these different modes of engagement. We want people to self select into whatever it is that gets them further down the journey they’re trying to do. What if they want to talk to somebody else, let them talk to somebody. If they want to schedule a meeting, let them schedule a meeting. If they just want to fill out a form, let them fill out a form so we can get the broad spectrum of engagement. That’s the idea. So here’s where we are. Forty years ago, you had to have a phone number. Twenty years ago, you had to have a website, you can be a business and not have a website.

What’s happening today, because billion plus people are messaging, they are going to expect to be able to reach businesses over messaging apps, whether it’s Messenger or WhatsApp, Apple just announced a message is going to support business accounts so you can have a business presence on message as well. So all of the major messaging providers are all adding business accounts so you can have a business identity on these messaging apps. OK. Helping customers whenever they want. Now. Your business may not be open 24 hours a day, but as it turns out, the Internet is and what you would consider normal business hours don’t really apply anymore. There are people like me that are up till two o’clock in the morning every night. We’re just strange, right? But it’s but we buy things that it turns out. And so the pushback I get on this is like, well, Dharmesh, I get it. If I could respond to customer issues four seven a day, of course I would do that. But, you know, we’re a small team. We can’t afford to do that. And this is where software comes in. And of course, I’m talking about chat. And I like Chad Bot’s. And I cannot lie. I’ve been obsessed with chat bots for, like approaching well, years now, and so last year at inbound, I launched a growth bot, which is a chat bot for marketing and sales people like yourselves. It’s doing really well. Some one of the top three chat Boston marketing and sales right now. Thousands of people use it. I’m not going go into a deep demo of this right now. We don’t have that kind of time, but I have a neat little Easter egg thing for you. So if you send growth a message that says help me align vectors or something resembling that, it will send you a couple of goodies later this week after I’ve caught up on some sleep.

OK. Including like the blooper slides from this deck, all the ones that I had to cut out because they didn’t make it anyway, so do that. All right. So speaking of bots and platforms, when we had websites. You needed to know HTML originally to kind of put a website up. We got content management systems allowed mere mortals to do it. That we want to send smart, personalized emails out originally, you need engineering, marketing, automation comes along now mere mortals can do it bots before you need an engineer to go off and build a bot. Now we have bot platforms that are like the content management systems of yesteryear, except instead of building a website, you build a bot. Now, Rulership has been excited about this exciting marketing team has been really excite about testing this out. So we looked at all the bot platforms. We tried them out, we actually ran tests and our marketing team fell in love with this platform called Motion A.I. and it’s a visual boatbuilder that lets you kind of drag and drop and build a bot. And last week, we announced that Rulership acquired Motion III. Thank you. It’s like we welcome the team. They’re awesome, you’re gonna love them. Awesome. And the idea here is to take that visual bodybuilder kind of blend that technology into Rulership. Over time. I’ll talk about that in just a little bit. Last piece help people with whatever they want to keep this one quick. We’ve all seen this little customer support on site chat with you, do you think? You click it and here’s an example conversation I’ve had the thing conversation like, hello, how are you having a good day? What is your customer account number? And I’m like, well, I’m not a customer yet.

I just have a question on pricing and your terms. And they’re like, well, you have reached the customer support chat line, I need your customer account number. I’m like, I am not a customer. I would like to be a customer. It’s misguided of me, I know, but but they’re like noble, but you don’t understand, this is the customer support chat line, so we should not expect customers to know or our org chart. It’s like, oh, yeah. Well, you know, the customer support people spent money on the software that supports live chat, those marketing schmucks, they didn’t do that. And so therefore, you can’t ask marketing. What? No, that is not the customer’s problem. We have to help them with whatever it is they need help with. OK. So here’s what we need to do as organizations need to help customers with this kind of overall N10 experience however they want, whenever they want with whatever they want. So Rulership is now in the middle of. What is already one of the biggest projects in the company’s history to capitalize on this particular movement and what the team is building is a unified inbox that the entire team marketing, sales, customer support, customer success, everyone, the company has access to this one unified inbox messages come into that inbox across multiple channels. Email Slack, Facebook Messenger. It all comes into one place and you can collaborate so you can deliver this things like whenever it’s going to support bots. So you can have auto responses like, oh, this will look this up in the knowledge base. You’re asking about our hours, that kind of thing. Biggest project we’ve ever undertaken. I am personally super excited about it. I’d like to introduce you to have conversations. So I think that’s pretty good news for you.

Pretty good news for your customers. What’s great news is that we think this technology is so foundational to the customer experience, so foundational and core, that every company should be doing it. We are going to include that baseline version of Rulership conversations in Rulership CRM free. So if you are not a Rulership CRM user yet, you should be. Sign up, this is a good a time as any. All right. So we’re talking about tech, we’ve got one segment left we have to talk about platform, and the reason we have to talk about platform is I’m the chief technology officer at Rulership. I am bound by my employment agreement to Rulership to talk about platform. This is my job. Now, granted, I wrote that agreement as a founder, but still we’re going to talk platform. All right, one of the big decisions lots of organizations face is to try and choose between do I go with a platform that gives up and gives me most of what I need? Or do I assemble kind of self, assemble a group of discrete products and get what’s known as the best of breed? So it’s like the most of what I need versus best of breed. That’s the decision. All right. When companies choose not to pick a platform, here is the reason that is the most common. None of the platforms gives me everything I need. This is a fantastically good answer. It happens to be true. There is no platform anywhere that gives every customer everything they need. It doesn’t exist, not at Rulership, not anywhere. But there’s good news. Open platforms have won out over closed platforms, all the platforms that are out there are open, so you can add third party products and integrate them in.

And this is like there’s no software company on the planet that said, oh, our platform is so close, you’re going to love it. It’s awesome. It’s like it’s by the way, this is like the impossible to open packaging thing. And just a little protip on customer experience, if you’re going to make something that you use to open and possible packaging, don’t put it in impossible to open packaging, just a prototype. That’s what I would consider non delightful experience. OK, so the good news is open platforms have won. The better news is you have 5,000 plus options in terms of things you can add to that platform. Now, you’ve seen I know you’ve seen this diagram because you’ve seen it twice today. Right. What you might not know is this is the guy that does the noble work of maintaining that beast, keeping to the community’s advantage. He’s been doing it for years.

Scott Brinker’s an awesome guy. Fun fact. He and I were classmates in grad school. Fun fact as of last week, by the way, Scott knows more about like technology in our industry than you can shake a stick at. Like you’re just looking, by the way, like, I don’t know why people use, like, shaking a stick as the benchmark for things that are formidable. I never got that, but it looks fine. Scott knows a lot about technology in our industry. So as of last week, I’m thrilled to announce that Scott is now the VP of Platform Ecosystem at Rulership. Yeah, this is huge, great guy, great guy. And his charter is going to be to help 5000 flowers, bloom flowers, he’s been studying for a long time. What we want to do is get all these companies to kind of align their vectors with what the marketing, what the industry needs, essentially upstarts looking to help them kind of do that.

So our advice, I’ll say my advice is start with a core, I know I’m biased. Start with a core backbone platform and then plug in the gaps. Scott would say the same thing. I shouldn’t be putting words in his mouth since he’s only been here a week. But whatever you would say the same thing I’ve asked him. And the result here. Is not best of breed. The result is the best of both worlds. That’s what you get as a result of this approach. I think it’s a smart way to go about it. So this. Is Rulership platform, we have the marketing hub, which you know about the sales hub, which you know about the Connect Hub, which is our integration partners, by the way, we went from about 48 partners in our Connect program to over 100 this week. So we’ve doubled over the course of last year in terms of people integrating in with Rulership. But there’s always been something missing. There’s been one thing, one product, because we’ve talked about what marketing teams get with sales teams, get the thing that’s been missing. Is is a customer hub, right? Look, it seems a little bit obvious. And so we’ve been working internally on tools for ourselves to help us with customer support in creating customer success and getting feedback from customers and building out a knowledge base. We’ve been building this for years for our own use. And I’m thrilled to announce we’re going to take all of that work and we’re going to deliver to you customer hub, the next big product in the Rulership platform. Thank you. So I think. Thank you. I think this is good news for you and your customers. The great news is that we think this is so foundational to delivering a good customer experience that we’re going to take the core functionality of customer hub and put it in Rulership CRM free.

Yupp. That’s the plan. All right. So that completes the cycle if you want to learn more about Rulership products, Rulership platform, juicy details, other announcements I didn’t have a chance to cover. I encourage you to go to the product spotlight, which will be after this session in this very room so you can keep your seats after I wrap up. Not right now. Just a little bit. And Christopher O’Donnell, who is our VP of product, runs our session and he’s funny and he knows a bunch of stuff, so I encourage you to go. OK, wrapping up. So this note is more for me. The other, although I’ve heard it’s a good idea to do generally in terms of breathing, it’s not bad. And I’d like to wrap up with a lesson from you. I’ve talked about it. One of my favorite philosophers, Brian, talks about his favorite philosophers. I want to share a lesson from my favorite philosopher of all time. And this is near Indonesia. It’s my mom and she passed away earlier this year. Hence, the breathing part had to kind of collect myself, I’ve practices like twenty three times, I’ve broken into tears, only twenty one, so I’ve got a pretty good chance of making it through here. OK, so. The thing about my mom, the thing I remember most is that she was fiercely principled, if she knew what she was on the side of truth and justice, she would not take crap for anybody. She would not back down. That was a thing that defined her. And it’s funny, as I said, she was married when she was 16. This is in rural India on the West Coast. Actually, yeah, she was married when she was 16. She had me when she was 18.

Now, it’s been a long time since that time, I am now forty nine and three quarter years old, so entourage’s that as well. November will be the first birthday I have without my mom and one things my mom kind of told me is like what was I like? It’s like, well, you were kind of a quirky, contemplative, a little bit socially awkward little boy. And now I’m about to be 50. And I’m a quirky, contemplative, socially awkward, slightly older boy. But I’m also a father. And you might recall the story I told you in terms of dinner and the selfie for so long and the fact that it’s like it didn’t quite happen, my mother was proud as she could be. That actually did come back. With the selfie with Ellen, you got to see that awesome. No Photoshop involved. There’s only minimally awkward my and so on was obviously delighted with the selfie with Elon Musk that he could show all his friends, of course, the delay lasted about two weeks. That’s how things go with kids. So I’m going to answer the question that we opened with. How do you grow better? Here’s what I think, here’s what we’ve learned. And this is the heart of the inbound movement, this is the heart of why we get up in the morning, this, I think, why you all are here, that the key to growing better is first to kind of believe in people and understand that everybody wants love and respect. That is a universal truth. No one. Number twos, you need to kind of say what you believe, not what you think will drive the numbers in a certain direction, have the belief that people matter and say what you believe. And finally and most importantly.

Like, do the thing you say, like walk the walk as best as you can, walk the walk. So I think if you can align those three vectors, that’s how as an individual, as an organization, that’s how I think you grow. It’s always an honor and a privilege to share time with you folks.

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