The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 7 months ago

Ep 227: The Importance of Grit w/ Shira Abel


Ep 227: The Importance of Grit w/ Shira Abel

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton.

Hello and welcome back to the pavilion podcast. I'm your host, Brandon Barton. You're listening to is this a good time? The show where I put avilion members on the hot seat. This one is certainly longer than fifteen minutes, but for good reason, and shows her out on Thursday, so kids subscribe. Good reason is that our guest was she're able. She is the CEO and of Hunter and Bard, and we talk a lot about why grit early in your career is going to pay dividends later on. This episode was brought to you by reprise, the only complete demo creation platform that go to market. Team's turn to when they need to create live and guided demo experiences. All right, let's do this episode one hundred and eleven. Is this good time? All right, everyone, I am here with none other than she're able. She is the CMO, I sorry, CEO, of Hunter and Bard, with an incredible career as a CMO on a bunch of stops along the way. SAR, I just don't know how we're going to fit everything into this fifteen minutes. So we're not going to. Okay, we're not going to. We're gonna have you back on I love that welcome. Thank you for being here. Thank you for having me. It's an honor and I appreciate it. Cool. Well, look, ill me, no filler. Want to jump right in. Tell it. Tell us about hundred bard start there and then bring us back to kind of you know, this is not the first time you found it a company or you know, or let a company bring us back to some of the stops along the way in I don't use this word often. You're a lustrious career. You have you have quite a number. I was saying earlier. You have worked with startups and big companies and small companies and SASS companies and nonsass and marketing and okay, so you bring us through. Okay. So where to start? It all? STARTED IT UP? Well, we could start at the beginning. It all started because I decided to move to Israel. Yeah, and I moved to Israel during a time where Americans weren't moving to Israel. There was a failure rate of ninety nine percent, meaning that ninety two nine percent of the Americans who are moving to Israel left within three years. It was concerned failure of Aliya. Aliyah is the phrase used for moving toast and the reason for that was, well, okay, there's a lot of reasons for that, but the main reasons for that was there was a lot of suicide bombings and and impotent war. Yes, they are doing many. I was there for a lot of that, right, I lived through that. So and so that's Americans didn't move over, right, and there were also no help for Americans who moved over. But because there were no Americans who moved over, there was a lot of opportunity for the few batshit crazy ones. Can I say that? Of course you can. You can say whatever you want. Yes. So there was a lot of people talking about yourself. If you're talking about somebody else, I my curb it a little bit. But those of us who did and and I fell into tech. My undergraduate degree... in textiles fashion merchandising, with a minor in business from Arizona State University. I redeem myself with my MBA from Kellogg and but before, but before the very beginning, that would be the beginning. And and with that I with you know, and I don't come from money, so I'm like, all right, I mean that my brothers were living there and it was either move or never see them so I'm and tech was just starting to boom. ICQ had just sold AOL. Right, Yo, see, ve aready was a huge investor at the time and I after one year of working in fashion, and the dollar went from from three shekels to hundred and fifty. So I couldn't like my I couldn't pay red, like everything was just that just went hay wire. Right, I went, I'm gonna try this tech thing. I had already taught myself html because I'm a geek. Okay, so you already had you had it, already had a proclivity for tech. I was really wondering how you made the jump from fashion attack, although I mean I see, I see the similarities in terms of, you know, product thinking and so forth. So I I was in front of the computer all day and I had finished my work relatively quickly. I was a merchandiser between Israeli manufacturers in American ACCO. I'm going way back anyway, so I finished my work quickly. So I started to learn things and tech was just getting started. I taught myself h Tamil. I built a website for the company that I worked at and after a year I asked for a raise that like matched inflation. And when they couldn't do it, I went and found my first job in tech as an assistant marketer at a place called web glide, which was a Yo, see vardy funded company, and and so that that was my very first job in tech and I worked, Oh my God, it was insane hours. Right, this is a very beginning of tech, this very big Hornet startups in Israel. We had a launch where we we were seating the player. So Web glade was we're just going to talk about this first. Yeah, it's Web glade. Was a plug in. Back in those days, to have any type of animation online you had to have a plug in, of right, and you had to see the plug in. So so to see the plug in for this we had a gift card site. Oh Wow, all right, we relaunched the gift card site. I wrote every card on the site. I every person who asked a question, I handled it. I I was the, I think it was, the only native English speaker in the office. Oh my God, no,...

...there was one more, but she worked in a county so she didn't count. And I was definitely the only native English Baker in the Marketing Department. So I wrote everything, Oh my God, everything on the website, I wrote everything on the player. Anyway, we had this launch and there was two weeks to the launch and it absolutely had to get done. I slept on the floor of the Office for two weeks. Oh my Gosh, oh my God, went home, I showered, I came back, I worked. It's incredible. This is this is the type of hustle culture that you know, people have come up in that perhaps you know, is not is frowned upon today, right, but talk about what type of character that builds for you and like, I guess once, once it launched, in the success of it and what that meant to you and kind of when you looked back, did you say, Hey, I was crazy, or or like, do you value that time? Oh, I absolutely everybody was doing it. Yeah, office was doing it, we were all just we were all working as this incredible team and I'm still friends with people that I worked with from back then, you know, and this was a very beginning of my career. So this was a while ago and and it was just it was honestly, it was good times. I don't regret it. I don't feel like, Oh, you know, that's a toxic worked. No, it was great. It was great and we all did it. We all did it together. Yes, ultimately the company was not a success because it was meant to do d shopping online and people don't. I don't want to do three D shopping online. Nobody really wants to do Fred shopping online sold shopping. So the job didn't work out in the end, but that made my name and reputation right right, started it right. I was I it in Israel. They look at not just what you've done but how you think. Okay, so, so I grew my name over time and Israel for be able to problem solve and look at complex situations and figure out ways around it. I also happen to be rather obsessed with human behavior. So all of those books, Dan our Reali, Daniel con then Robert Caldannie, all of those authors, anybody who writes about behavior, the odds are I'm going to be reading about it. So that goes a lot into messaging. So messaging is key, but also how you guide the user experience right. So all of that works together and it all started back then just by being nice and friendly to the people on the WHO wrote into the website and growing it that way and it could have become its own products. It probably should have, I mean, but it didn't because I didn't take it over. We started failed for all sorts of reasons. I like that, because you didn't take... over. It wasn't yours. Yes, I will say you know, I think back, based on base on what you're saying, I think about this period of time that I think is totally undervalued, from the time that you're graduating, you know, university or even high school, if you don't do university, right till about you're thirty years old. Like those people that you work with, you will feel like you've gone through the war with them and and you know, I don't want to belittle obvious people going through actual war, but what I'm saying here is the camaraderie that that you will gain will be unmatched compared to the rest of your career, because you are you. It's a coming of age together in the professional world. And but the other thing is, I think that you know, there's it's grip. Yes, if you put it going working that hard on something is important. I don't I don't know that hard necessarily. That might be a bit much, but it was only two weeks and then I you know, and then they of course gave time off because it right. You got to want cause it's not a month, but it was an insane two weeks anyway. But, you know, maybe not that intense, but doing that, showing that level of Grit, having that level of dedication to something, having that level of passion to succeed, I think that that changes. Well also, look, I was crazy enough to move countries. I was going to say I feel like you had a little bit of that in you prior to you know what, like there is, it was seated there and it just it. You just were presented with the perfect opportunity to be the crazy great person. So yeah, and here's the thing, though. I don't think I would have been given that opportunity. Well, I know I wouldn't have had I stayed in Huntington, which is where I grew up. Yeah, there were no startups. That wasn't some maybe something else would have happened, but that wouldn't have happened right, I wouldn't have landed in tech. So so bring us through the first your first company you started, because I this was such an interesting story to me. It will communications. Yeah, okay. So able communications started a friend of mine from high school, Huntington, Huntington Beach High School back in Huntington, California. We grow up together. He was working as the seat chief information officer for Werener enterprises and they had a whole bunch of silos. Information was siloed all over the place. Now I'm marketing, I don't I'm not a techno writer and I wasn't a tech writer at the time. And he came to me and it goes, Shira, I need a tech writer, and I went, I'm not a tech rate her a marketer. Go hire a tech writer if you want to do Urd. And here's, Oh yes, the other thing, like we weren't on facebook or anything. We were on classmates. Oh My god God. So, anyway,...

...back to it. So I'm like look, I'm not I'm a marketer, and he was no, now, no, I know you. This goes back to how you think. Right, yeah, I know you. I need you for this. Wow, okay, how how many years after high school is this? I mean just somebody's the impression that you left on them. And so I we were in French class together, which I nearly failed. Languages are not my thing. I lived in Israel and barely spoke Hebrew and nearly twenty years so I it's it's it's just by the grace of God that I speak English and that is helped me throughout my entire life. So, yeah, we're talking about you showing a communications company. Just want to show the irony of that. By the way, I'm right. Well, I write really, really well in one language. I know one language. Well, that's funny. Um. So I, like I said, very squarely today, as I've had very little sleep this week. So to it. So where was I? Yes, he caught. He's like, no, we need you for this, and I'm like, okay, I'll go get a book. And I got a book and I read the book. It was a dummies book on technical writing. Oh my gosh. And then I fly and a warner. I fly into Omaha, Nebraska, which is a amazing by the way. Have you been there? I actually have. What a little gem of a city. Oh my God, I loved it there. Anyway, back to it, I said scorely. So so I've Find Omaha, I meet with him, I meet with the entire team, I interview everybody to find out why they're not doing any type of documentation on anything that they're doing. Everything is Silod yeah, so were you supposed to work as a cohesive team and a hundred and fifty people and make sure people aren't doing double the work if everything is silod like? You can't do that, right. So there was a lot of behavior involved in this. This was this, this was you had to do change. What's it called? Change Management. Thank you. Like I said, world words, losing all the things. So change many. You had to do change management. So I interviewed everyone, got the gist of what was going on and then started to evangelize documentation and technical writing and I did workshops inside of the group on how to do it and we created formats and we created templates and we created all these things. And I explained when everybody's using the same format and everybody's using, you know, a very routine way of documenting everything and you're looking at somebody else's work, you save seventeen seconds per page because you know...

...where everything is, you can see quicker and you can get what you need faster, rather than everybody doing whatever the hell they feel like right and then you waste time. So if you think about a hundred, fifty people and a group over a year. That's a lot of time. We bodies. It's multiple people. Yeah, right, and and that's dollars. So with that we were I you know, change management works in two day two is there's top down, but you need bottom up. Yes, it was evangelizing, but if nobody from the bottom said yes, this is something we want to do, it would never have worked. I found the guy and I gave him every ounce of information I possibly could and he helped me spread it throughout the rest of the group. Wow, you know that video that everybody shows about change management where you see that one person dancing? Yeah, sure, I think it's about the fast follower. Right, that that's what you need to look for. Right. Top down is great. Top down is totally necessary. If the seam sweet doesn't want it, it's not going to happen, but if you don't have bottom up, it's also not going to happen. You have to have both for Change Management, and that's when I understood why he needed me. He needed a marketer to internally market. Right, the idea is that they wanted yeah, I love that. Fast forward to today. What so? So what do you doing today? I mean you're you're working with be TOB SASS companies. It seems we work with B TOB companies, not just SASS. We work with BBB companies that sell to enterprise. We work with organizations that sell to enterprise. Sure, and so we've got scale ups like Super Wise and we've got massive enterprises like Siemens and you. Well, we work with technical and engineering driven organizations, science driven organizations and SASS companies. What is your what I mean, what is the piece of advice that you feel like is a common thread in two thousand and twenty two year about marketing to be tob companies? I mean, how is that? How are things changing? Okay, so marketing to be to be companies is very wide. You also have to realize that I teach at Berkeley. Right when we when we talk about marketing to be, to be, there's so many different levels of it. Stay and sat say it, stay and stay in software, because I think that's the majority of our audience. Okay, so if we're going to focus on Stass, SASS is two different directions. If you're going after something and it's going to grow to be over a milliondollar account, you're looking at the count base marketing. Sure, if it's not going to grow to be a million dollar account. You're looking at most likely product led growth, interesting or or ABM light. We do a lot of ABM light and ABM strategic, which is one to one. Okay, what you just describe that for the audience? Okay, so AC counties marketing is, if you think about demangend man, tends very wide. You looking at numbers, like when you're doing and add, you want millions to...

...see it. When you're doing a countbas marketing, you're thinking about maybe twenty to Eightyzero. Sure, because you're targeting your message right. So let's say, here's an example. You are focused on medical and you know exactly what companies are going to be able to purchase your your medical product or your medical software. Right. So you're going to find and you know who's in your buying committee, and these people don't really change in titles from organization to organization. Like titles are not so crazy, right. So you know generally what your message is to what level. You know in each place. Well, that's limited audience. That's not millions of people. And the more targeted your messaging is, the more likely you are to resonate with them right. General message doesn't really resonate with most people, so you're more likely to catch their attention, get their respect pull them in when you actually target your message which goes along with the behavior. It's also about action triggers. which words work best this type of thing? So we do that. Will work with the companies on building up the entire strategy, the journey. will do the materials, will build the lists, will do everything from a to Z, including working with the sales team on closing the deals, getting on and carels they need at whatever time they need, you know, writing scripts. The whole thing amazing. Well, I'm not going to get you out of here without without hearing it. Giving you an opportunity to boast any open positions in the company, because it sounds incredible. So many people are doing this for individual companies. I'm sure folks out there would also want to have the opportunity to go work with many different companies, big, small, and or work with you. Are you hiring? We are. We are looking for an account manager and we are we're looking for we'll looking for account manager and we're also looking for a junior marketer. Okay, anyway. Can they be based anywhere? Actually, yeah, good, love that. The Account Manager. We want in the states. Okay, in the US. Got It. I love how your International. When I say anywhere, I do kind of mean us, and then of course people correct me. Anywhere can mean anyway. So, and is there any shoutouts of people who you feel insight? You were obviously talking a little bit about the behavior science stuff of the way human deck and any other shoutouts and you'd want to give so and knit and things like this? I always say thank you to AJ Wilcox. Okay, so I saw him. He's a linkedin expert, yes, an advertising expert, okay, and he does incredible content and a couple of years ago, actually, in the very beginning of the pandemic, when I wasn't sure the company was actually going to survive. We ended up doing right well, but in...

...the very beginning I'm like we're going to be dead by December. So I started doing linkedin advertising and trying to figure it out right and playing with something new, because what do you do when you don't know what's going on? You start to hustle and try different things. At least yeah, I do. So I started to try and different that I started to figure out linkedin everytime. So I started watching all these different videos and I came across one of his. It was incredible. So then I write to him on Linkedin and I asked him some questions and he answered. I like, Oh my God, how like he's so nice. So then I donated to his favorite charity as a thank you, because you wouldn't let me do anything else. Oh, I like that. Cool. Well, we'll keep a look out rage. And then, last and not least, but not least, very important to me, got to give us a restaurant recommendation, and I almost want to press you to give us one in Israel. But, but, but, you can give us one anywhere you want. Okay, so I haven't been Israel in three years, so giving you wanted this world would be a little bit of a challenge. Talk to me after I come back. But actually, I told you I wrote one you. We had the list of questions. There's this little new sushi place in downtown Arenda and, I think, and Succhi Island. Yes, thank you. Thank you for actually having that, because God knows my brainds not working the enough to remember right now. But Sushi, Allen, what a little gem, totally not expected. We were going to go to a normal place and it was closed and we were on our way to visit my mom. My mom is at an in a care center, so we're going to go visitor. We were going to bring your Sushi and and our normal place was closed and they were open and they were so good. Love it, but you've heard it here first, the new the new spot in Arenda. Yes, because everybody's coming through the towels, all seven of you listening from Ruinda, California. Sure I am. I'm so excited to have met you and and and to chat with you. I think we're going to get you get back on here because there's so much more to go into. I know you're very excited about an Israel trip next week, so let's get you out of here. But thank you so much for joining us and I hope you'll you'll accept an invite back. Absolutely. Thank you so much. All right, that's our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, rate and review apple podcast or spotify. I have sent it to friends. This episode was brought to by Reprise, reprises and no code. Enterprise Ready Demo creation platform that gets go to market. Teams of power to control the narrative of their demos and deliver customer, Oh sorry, custom product experiences without developer involvement. I've fun today. I hope you did too. Now get out and crushing numbers.

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