I decided to join Magisto as CMO Because…
I am fascinated by and have a tremendous passion for bleeding edge technology at the intersection of creativity and media. Identifying market need and building companies that solve for that need also intrigues me. In 2015, consumers took more than 1 Trillion photos – 10% of the photos taken in the history of the world. Magisto solves a real pain point, which is giving people and professionals a way to produce all of the raw media into consumable video stories.
My love for entrepreneurship began when…
I have always been passion driven. If I’m not interested in a topic or a job, I find it very hard to engage and be effective. For me, that started with music. I’m an avid singer and songwriter. For years after college, I toured the country relentlessly and used the money from touring to record albums, create a management and production company, an indie record label and a merchandising company. What I found over time was that I enjoyed building the organization and the business almost as much as I did jumping up and down on stage. I found a spark within the business world that I didn’t know existed – entrepreneurship.
Our number one goal at Magisto is to…
Meet the market needs of what we see as the industrial revolution of video. We make video a language of the masses that anyone and any organization can use to share experiential narratives to convey their story, anytime, anywhere.
3 things I wish I knew when first starting as an entrepreneur…
- Uncertainty is certain
Early in my career, I had the misguided notion that uncertainty was a stop on the train to some more static destination. In any job but particularly as an entrepreneur, your ability to tolerate uncertainty and create sound strategies in the midst of uncertainty is a make it or break it skill.
- Politics are seriously problematic
Politics are a pain in any organization – an unfortunate reality in big companies but has the capacity to kill a start-up. Start-ups spend a large percentage of precious capital on salaries. When you focus on politics, you are not working on things that actually drive the business forward and ensure success. It’s the penultimate example of time is money.
- Data is difficult
People talk about big data and performance based marketing as if it’s as easy as setting up Google Analytics and showing up to work. The reality is that at scale, sophisticated business intelligence and most importantly actionable business insights are extremely resource intensive to generate. Most companies – even the big ones – don’t do it well. Asking the right questions and understanding the “why” and not just “what” is going on is a mountain of work. It’s relatively easy to use data in your decision-making but to develop data-driven decision making as a core competency requires commitment and resources for any company.
Emotion sense technology is…
Patented artificial intelligence that is designed to analyze raw video and photos with the intent of identifying and unlocking the core building blocks of a story trapped in that raw media. More than 85% of the world’s photos and videos never see the light of day. They are trapped on phones, computers and hard drives across the globe. We start with the belief that the every growing mountain of personal imagery and footage has a tremendous amount of value to the individual, to businesses and to culture at large.
How we innovate new ideas and services for our customers…
First and foremost we start by trying to understand what the market, the current and future customer’s needs are through research and to meet those needs through tried and true product-market fit and customer development processes. I highly recommend reading Steve Blank’s books: Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want and Four Steps To The Epiphany.
I recommend entrepreneurs consider these 8 things when innovating ideas and services:
- Create a Clear Vision
- Conduct World Class Research and Development
- Observe Customer Usage
- Conduct Customer Service Surveys, and Interviews
- Do Your Product Research
- Track Business Performance
- Build Cross Functional Teams
- And if you fail, fail fast and often
We gather customer feedback by…
Using a multi-channel approach including:
Detailed tracking and reporting on core KPIs by platform (Web, iOS, Android) including customer acquisition, activation, retention, monetization, gender, age, geography, and more!
We feature an in-app rating system that asks Users to rate their satisfaction with their movies.
Detailed customer service tracking and reporting.
App Store Ratings and Reviews
We obsessively manage our rating by looking at bad ratings and reviews and trying to understand what the Users dissatisfaction was.
Customer Interviews and Surveys
Face to face or phone interviews based on Users’ state (i.e. super Users vs. lapsed users to understand what’s working and what’s not) along with User surveys.
Target Market Research
Interviews and surveys to understand what consumers in our target market who are not users yet think about video in general and our product specifically.
Formal Customer Development
We cooperate with B2B partners to understand product market fit, feature sets, pricing and the sales roadmap for current and potential partners.
We also watch thousands of Magisto movies that are shared publically to see how people are using Magisto, the types of content they produce, and the use cases and quality of movies they are making.
How our marketing strategies have evolved since 2012…
There are two large shifts that we have made strategically. When we started we spent a lot of time on market education, trying to explain to the market why video as an everyday form of expression had arrived. That market is coming to us these days and we spend more time explaining our points of differentiation and the best ways to use video.
Secondly, as mass adoption of video grows we are able to address more specific use cases as segments. One category that we have spent a lot of time learning from and speaking to are small and mid-sized businesses and how they currently use video or want to use video as part of their digital marketing plans.
Video is important for marketing your business or product because…
Humans are programmed to receive and process information in narrative form. Our brains are hard coded that way – it’s caveman biology! Video storytelling is the most effective way to convey your marketing message and deliver your narrative at scale. The industrial revolution of everyday video is here. It means any individual and any business can tell their story via video. If you’re not using mobile video as part of your marketing mix you are at a massive disadvantage.
The steps to creating a strong brand video are…
- Remain Authentic
Social media platforms are designed first and foremost for interpersonal socializing versus traditional channels like television that are built for distribution and consumption of mass media. Your content has to be channel appropriate. Social media has its own culture and disregarding it is the equivalent of showing up to a pool party in a tuxedo.
- Be Episodic
Consumers of social media expect episodic content. If as an individual, you posted the same video of your kid blowing out his birthday candles every week, no one would engage with it after the second post. That behavior transfers to the expectation consumers have of businesses. You have to create content and advertising that is episodic and that builds on itself over time.
- Push vs Pray
Once you have created authentic and episodic content, it is not enough to post those videos and pray that your audience finds it. You need to actively manage the distribution of that content so that it reaches your audience.
Social media has it’s own culture and disregarding it is the equivalent of showing up to a pool party in a tuxedo.
Best advice for structuring a dynamite marketing team…
First, it is important to identify what roles are mission critical to your marketing team. Make your hiring decisions based on this – not what your blue sky dream team is. Then ensure you hire people, not resumes. It is better to have a team of bright and hungry self-starters than a team of “been there done that”. And lastly, hire complimentary and diverse minds.
My creative inspiration comes from…
There are a zillion ways to find inspiration! I find it from obvious sources like other successful businesses or business management books and less obvious sources like a junior member of the team who brings a fresh perspective or a movie that touches me.
As an aside there is a ton of inspiration just floating in the air in Silicon Valley – you can almost taste it. But you have to develop and nurture personal inspiration in similar ways that one finds happiness. It’s likely not going to punch you in the eye but rather needs to be harnessed and coaxed out of hiding. I find my most consistent creative inspiration comes from a desire to translate my own unspoken emotions, thoughts, and personal drive into workflow and concrete ideas. Self-expression as a form of inspiration. As a songwriter, those emotions come out as songs. As a business leader, one’s unspoken emotionality can be expressed by the energy with which you lead a weekly meeting, the ability to look at challenges as from an adjacent angle or the capacity to have healthy, emotionally charged and passionate conversations.
How being a musician impacts my approach as CMO…
Being a musician impacts my worldview from my stem to my stern. When people are bi-lingual it’s often asked of them what language they dream in. I dream in musician! What this affords me is a kind of alternate reality, where I can look at my life with a sort of third person objectivity and I find that gaining perspective is most valuable as my role as an executive. By definition one goes to work with the same people day in and day out, reads the same professional publications as their peers and goes to the same conferences. Maintaining an active life as a musician has afforded me the opportunity to know a diverse set of people, let my brain run at different speeds and disparate directions. If nothing else, as I get older it provides me a way to feel the pulse of grassroots culture and trends as opposed to just reading about it in TechCrunch or Business Insider.
3 tech trends I am excited about…
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
It also scares me a tad! As as a culture, we collect more data these days than we know what to do with and AI is giving us a way to use that data to solve problems from fields are varied as video editing to biotech.
- Sustainable Energy
The world’s population has doubled in my lifetime from 3.5 billion to 7 billion. We need vast amounts of renewable energy for that size population to thrive and I am optimistic that we will find it!
- Mass Adoption of Video
That’s a no-brainer given what I do! But besides the commercial opportunity, I believe that personal storytelling video and the technology that is immerging to make it an everyday “language” can make us more empathetic, more connected and more human on a global scale. I’m inspired by that.
The apps I can’t live without…
Other than Magisto…
Waze – I have an awful sense of direction!
LinkedIn – I use LinkedIn for exploring partnerships, hiring, thought leadership, and keeping up to date with my network.
Amazon – I hate shopping and tend to buy a ton from Amazon. Most recently I bought a spin bike while on my phone, sitting in bed!