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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Podcast Interview: Why Marketing Podcast

A few months ago Rusty Pepper asked if I'd join the Why Marketing Podcast to talk about how I became a marketer, what I'm working on and much more. It was a fun experience. You can listen to the whole thing below on YouTube.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Beyond an Emergency Fund: Making More Money with a Financial Cushion

As I was considering leaving my last job, which had a very generous 401k match, I realized that it was unlikely that my next company would have as generous of a match. As soon as I decided I was serious about finding a new employer, I cranked up my contribution to 50% of my salary until I got the full match in a few short months before I quit. We lived off some extra savings we had set aside to be able to pay the bills. That extra savings we lived off of, essentially made us $1,000's of dollars.

Over the past few months, I've noticed even more places that if you have some extra financial cushion, you can use it to make even more money. This is good motivation for having a cushion beyond an emergency fund. I'm talking about money set aside not for emergencies...but opportunities. This principle reminds me of this quote from the Richest Man in Babylon.

“The man who became of his understanding of the laws of wealth, acquireth a growing surplus, should give thought to those future days. He should plan certain investments or provisions that may endure safely for many years, yet will be available when the time arrives which he has so wisely anticipated.”
George S. Clason, The Richest Man in Babylon 

Here are a few ways I've seen this in action. 

1. ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Plan). If you work at a publicly traded company and they offer this is a perk, if you can do without 20% of your salary for 6 months, you'll get a >15% guaranteed return on that money you set aside. Read this link for the details on how it works.

2. Exercise early options. A very tech example, I know, but if you believe an IPO is eminent at your company you can exercise early and lock in long term capital gains and save a lot of money in taxes. Read more here.

3. Pay in advance discounts. There are many products, like car insurance, where if you pay in advance they give you a discount.

4. Strategic charitable contributions. Consult a tax professional, but especially if you give a regular percentage of your salary, there might be some tax advantages to paying for the next year in December of the previous year depending on how near you are to exceeding the standard deduction. 

5. A great deal. This is a very dangerous one, but if used with constraint and it's legitimately something would have bought eventually, the financial cushion an let you pounce on a great deal.

6. Tax moves. The most common way is making a contribution to a traditional IRA or pre-tax 401k, but you might be surprised at the answer if you have an accountant and ask them the question. "How could I move some money around to lower my tax bill?".

Bottom line, if you can set aside some money apart from your emergency fund for opportunities, I'm confident each year you'll find more ways to have even more cash in your pocket that year. 

Disclaimer...these are just some ideas, consult a professional

Monday, December 31, 2018

Supercharge Your Networking in 2019 With These Tools and Tactics

As 2018 comes to a close, I'm guessing more than a few of you are thinking that working on your networking skills would be a good new years resolution. Networking is something I enjoy and I'm always working on improving, so I thought I'd share with you all a few applications that will help you take your networking to a new level.

Postable. A thank you card is one of the most powerful ways to show appreciation when someone in your network does you a solid, like refer you for a job or give you some advice. Finding an envelope, stamps etc is a huge pain. Postable makes it so you can type it out online and in a few clicks and a few dollars later they mail very unique, seemingly handwritten cards. (even fooled my mother-in-law). Yes of course, doing it the old fashioned way is better, but this is a great alternative. Use my code "MRMKNB7Y" on Postable for some free credit.

Calendly. I'm a big fan of Calendly, it makes it extremely easy to find a time for a chat. It syncs with your calendar to only show people you want to schedule meetings with the times that you're available. Send them a link and people pick a time that works for them. Two pro tips. First, if you have a commute, set up a link dedicated to your commute. There is no excuse for not nurturing your network when you have a >20 minute commute, that's twice a day you can catch up with old colleagues or connect with new folks. Second tip, link Zoom and Calendly together to automatically create a Zoom link in the invite.

Amazon. Do not underestimate the power of a small thoughtful gift to someone in your network as a thank you or just to help someone out. You can't go wrong with one of your favorite books. If you have prime, you get free two day shipping for even low priced items. I often do this with students who reach out to me, I send them the Start up of You.

LinkedIn. Of course, the no brainer, but let me challenge you to think and use LinkedIn in two very specific ways when networking. First, on LinkedIn you get tons of updates from people on promotions, new jobs, being mentioned in the news. These are amazing opportunities to reach out, compliment, congratulate and touch based with someone who you may not have spoken to in awhile. Second, if you encounter a tough problem at work, chances are you're not alone, do deep searches and try to connect with someone in your industry who has faced the same problem. I've made lasting friendships by cold contacting people on LinkedIn and asking them if they are willing to share a few ideas one professional to another.

Best of luck in improving your networking in 2019, don't forget to give more than you receive when it comes to professional networking and you'll find an army of people around you helping you succeed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

How to Get a Job at Zoom

I joined Zoom in April 2017. At that time, Zoom was still flying pretty below the radar as a great place to work. In fact, I only found out about it because of a friend who encouraged me to take a close look at them. Those days are over though, the secret is out. Today Glassdoor released it's top companies to work for and Zoom is #2 for large companies on a list among many other great well known companies. If seeing the Glassdoor report makes you think you'd like to explore working at Zoom, here are a few tips to help you get a job at Zoom.

1. Do your homework on the culture. Zoom has a very strong culture that Eric, our CEO and the whole executive team works to cultivate it. Watch his interviews on YouTube, his keynote from Zoomtopia and read articles he's written to get a sense of our culture. This will help you in the interview process.

2. If you know a Zoomer, ask them to refer you. Zoom has a robust internal referral process, so if you know someone at Zoom who will vouch for you, make sure to ask them to refer you. That will help make sure you get a good look.

3. Use the product. If you're not already super familiar with Zoom, you can download a free full featured version on and experience it yourself.

4. Video interview like a pro. Most interviews will be over Zoom, make sure you use computer audio or VoIP, turn your camera on and for bonus points use a virtual background.

Hope this helps and I get to see you around Zoom HQ soon. :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

My Favorite Productivity Hack for Working Smarter

I'm always look for ways to work smarter. I've got two kids under three, a demanding job and just a lot of other stuff going on outside of work. I really want to excel at work, but reality is I will not be able to out work everyone hours wise.

Image result for working smarter funny
I've recently stumbled across a productivity hack that has helped me be extremely responsive at work to senior executives without constantly checking my email or working 24/7. I recently set up my work email to send me a text every time I get email for a very select group of executives. (article with a how-to) Here is an example of how it works in a real life example.

I'm working out at 8am on a Saturday morning, I get a text that my CEO just emailed me. I jump on chat to discuss it with him quickly, resolve it and he tells me " go and have a great weekend". 

I got him what he needed almost immediately at an odd hour. He seemed grateful and I was happy to get him what he needed fast.

I'm confident that these executives see me as someone who is very responsive and I don't have to be addicted to my phone or work non stop to be able to make that happen.

This has been a good thing for me, but it could go south very easily. A few reasons why I think this works for me.

1. Everyone that I have set up to send me a text does not email me frequently.
2. I only have 4 people whose emails will trigger a text message

If you have a ton of people and you get multiple text messages a day, I don't think this is going to help you. I probably get 1-2 a week.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

How to Make an Awesome Breakout Session at Your User Conference

As our team gears up for Zoomtopia 2018, I've been thinking a lot about what makes a great breakout session. I made a quick video of a condensed version of a training I did for our breakout speakers this year. This short video (7 min) should give you a few ideas to help you make a awesome breakout session from working on breakouts sessions at Salesforce, LinkedIn and now Zoom. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Negotiation Tactics from A Negotiation Master

Every now and then you meet a master of a skill and the urge to breakdown what makes them great and share it with the world, is too strong to resist. I must shout this from the social media mountain tops. After analyzing my many lost negotiations with the master, here are negotiation tips you can apply to your personal or professional life for certain success. 

Drastically increase demands with each offer. Let's say you are selling your car for 10k. If someone makes you an offer for 8k, let them know the car is now for sale for 12k. If they come back with 10k, the car is now 14k. Keep a straight face the whole time and even appear agitated if they push back on your increased price.

Repeat demands. Every chance you get, repeat your demands, especially if they've been shot down. Do not take into consideration things like feasibility or if something actually exists in the modern world. For example, demand someone from another country attend the next meeting, even if it's physically impossible for them to get there in time.

Always immediately pull the nuclear option. Do not show any weakness. If they threaten to not meet your demands do whatever you can to make their life miserable. The more public the better. For example, if you're negotiating your salary and the hiring managers pushes back, go to a social gathering you know the hiring manger will be at and scream, kick and hurl insults at them in front of their friends and family until they concede.

Wear them down. This is probably the most important one. Keep an eagle eye out for the times they are tired, hungry, stressed, or extremely busy and this is when you pounce. Bother them so frequently that they'll give you what you want just to have some peace in their life. Let's say you try to to sign a deal with a customer. Call their cell phone every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day until they sign.

Best of luck in your negotiations and a special thanks to the negotiation master, my son Aiden (2 years old) for teaching me so much about the art of negotiation.