We’re hiring a VP of People Operations at Cybereason, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes someone amazing at that job. It is a very very hard job because to be a truly great people ops executive, you need a broad set of skills spanning product management, marketing, sales, and customer success.

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A great VP of People Ops knows their main goal is to make their company a magnet for game-changing talent. (tweet this you’ll be able to edit first) This means not only do you attract talent from other places, but it also keeps these stars at your company and makes it hard for them to leave. A true VP People Ops (rather than a head of HR or head of recruiting) knows her job is not to hit the hiring goals for the company, and it is not to have benefits on par with other companies. Her job is to attract, hire and retain A++ talent. …

This post originally appeared on my blog.

After spending a few months marketing to enterprises with both a field and inside sales team, I have some thoughts on marketing to Enterprise vs SMB and what it means for a CMO. (Don’t read anything into this. I am very happy at Cybereason and things are going extremely well.)

Do you hunt elephant or squirrel?

CMOs Marketing to Enterprises:

  • Being good at positioning, messaging and storytelling is very important. Product marketers and brand folks have an edge on an enterprise marketing CMO role, especially if they can create a pitch that sales believes in.
  • You live and die by what the VP Sales and the CEO think of you. You can put up great metrics in terms of pipeline and opportunity generation, but if the company misses the revenue number, you can get blamed if you did not do the events / videos / PDFs / PPTs that sales wanted. And because there is little data (small # of deals = no statistical significance) people’s opinion carries more weight. …

After taking a year to explore the Boston tech community and figure out what I want to do next professionally, I learned a lot about myself and the ecosystem as a whole. One big hole in our ecosystem is pillar companies — companies big enough to make large acquisitions, create enough wealth to spur new angel investors and serve as training grounds for people to grow their careers and then spin off and start new companies. We have a couple companies on the verge of being like this, but we need more and I want to help build another one. …

We have completed our first investment as Operator.vc in a company called Privy, where we were the lead investor in a small(ish) new round of financing (Privy official announcement). We are big believers in the company because the grit the team has displayed and their amazing metrics. We never planned on being a lead investor, but when you are operators who write checks (and aren’t VCs who have LPs to answer to) you can do whatever the f*ck you want and we’re happy to be unconventional if we believe in something.

Here is an overview of Privy and what we love about…

One hard part about investing is that you have to pass on good companies and good people — you say “no” a lot. One hard part about being a founder is that people say no when you try to recruit them, customers say no when you try to sell to them, and investors say no when you pitch them — you hear “no” a lot. …

At SaaS and other b2b tech companies, hiring BDRs to send more and more emails seems to be all the rage, and now there are tools that let those BDRs send thousands of “personalized” emails automatically each day.

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The Prospecting Armageddon is Coming

With the rise of all the automated cold email prospecting tools, there will be more and more cold emails sent. This will further reduce email response and engagement rates because inboxes are even more clogged. And then the software robots will send even more emails because companies need more leads, taking us further down the cold email death spiral. …

Article originally published on Mike Volpe’s blog.

If you boil down to the essence, there are really only two business models.

  1. Better Mousetrap — You are entering an existing market with a product that is better than the existing solutions in some way — could be cheaper, faster, stronger, easier to buy, whatever. For example, an HDTV is much better than a standard TV but is essentially the same thing. I love these companies because there is a big proven market with real dollars being spent. …

Adapted from a blog post “Why Quarterly Businesses are Doomed” — read original full version.

Biologists study fruit flies because their 30 day lifespan means you can study multiple generations quickly.

While building HubSpot, we ran the business monthly, not quarterly. Marketing goals were monthly. Sales goals and commissions were monthly. We produced financial and other reports monthly. And most importantly we made changes to marketing, sales and the product roadmap monthly.

If you run your business quarterly, you can make changes 4 times a year. If you run it monthly you can make changes 12 times a year and evolve 3 times faster.

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Photo by André Karwath aka Aka — Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5

After doing marketing for 15+ years and eventually being CMO of a team of 100+ marketers, I think I know something about marketing. In my current role as board member, advisor and investor, I often talk to companies about their marketing. We brainstorm ideas, review metrics, and put plans in place. It is really easy to walk into those meetings, look at the numbers and come up with some ideas for what the strategy should be, and then walk out and say “great, this should be easy — they just have to do the things we talked about.”

We’re in the middle of some big changes in corporate culture and work environment. There is a movement at companies toward more internal transparency of information and autonomy of work. If you do it right, you can unlock some amazing performance from your team or company.

Transparency of information: When employees do not have lots of information, they cannot make good decisions. Your job as a leader is to enable everyone in your company to move quickly and make great decisions. Bad leaders hoard information to try to make themselves most powerful. And even if you are a team of one, you have an obligation to provide updates on what you are doing to the company as a whole. …


Mike Volpe

CEO at Lola.com. Board member at Validity. Investor / advisor at 25+ startups. Former founding team / CMO at HubSpot, CMO at Cybereason.

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