The Opportunity to Create Something New
After some fifteen years in tech at some of Boston’s best companies big and small, including eRoom Technology, EMC and Acquia, I am excited to announce the next step in my own journey, as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at Underscore VC. My objective in my new role is to work with the team and Core community at Underscore to create or join a company focused on doing great things by making their customers incredibly successful.
How did I get here?
Over my career, I have worn many hats. At various times, I have been a product evangelist, a sales leader, a manager, a mentor and a leader. Early in my career, I spent eight years brewing beer professionally. This was in the nascent days of the craft beer movement. Every day as a brewer I put on my evangelist hat, helping spread the word about great, locally brewed beer. A key part of my job was to encourage people to rethink their expectations of what good beer could be, be it on brewery tours, guided tastings, beer festivals and with friends at bars and parties. (Tough gig, I know) Today, many of us take for granted all the beer choices available to us — but it wasn’t that long ago the “high end / fancy” beer was limited to Heineken (in a green bottle, blech).
When I shifted my career journey to the tech industry, I brought my creative product chops and my evangelist’s enthusiasm to product marketing roles. Product marketing proved to be an excellent fit for both.
In doing so, I developed deep empathy for customers trying to address cumbersome, often frustrating business problems. Listening to their challenges, trying to understand where and why the technology failed to meet, or where it exceeded, expectations. I focused my attention on bringing those stories back into my own organization — to influence product roadmaps, to share with other customers at conferences, and to impact company strategy.
Customer first culture
In my experience, the best organizations excel at listening, translating customer feedback into tangible actions which improve the experience for all customers. Most recently, I led the Account Management team at Acquia, responsible for both renewal revenue and expansion revenue for all of our customers worldwide. The account management team proved to be both an inspiration and an epiphany for me — as they manned the customer success front lines day to day for the rest of the organization. They embodied this idea of a customer-first culture right out on the front lines, a culture based on empathy and advocacy, along with relentless problem solving to ensure our customers realized the value they anticipated from the start.
As a result, customer empathy and advocacy became paramount for me on a daily basis. When you’re in an 24×7 operations business, the account management team lives and breathes their customers’ successes,in addition to their problems and frustrations.
Thanks to this experience, I strongly believe this commitment to a customer-first culture, in combination with disruptive technology and a market big enough to matter, is at the core of what it takes to build a great company.
My objectives at Underscore
My plan during my time at Underscore is to more fully develop and challenge my ideas about building winning teams and company culture that embraces this customer-first mindset at the core of recurring revenue businesses. To that end, I’ll be working closely with the team on Underscore’s updated Trusted Cloud Intelligence investment thesis, specifically focusing on blockchain opportunities.
I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to contribute at Underscore — special thanks to Michael, John, and team for giving me the chance to find my next journey and make a difference along the way.