Category Archives: Timeless Lessons

My $.02 | Why I am Joining Help Scout

Apologies. I’m out of practice on the blog front, and I’m writing this stream of conscious style because…I start a new job tomorrow. But I digress. Let’s start with a story?

I’ve been married for 5.5 years now. It’s a long time for some. It’s just scratching the surface for others. For me, it’s the only marriage I’ve known personally. So it’s both the longest and shortest one I’ve been a part of. Funny way of thinking about it.

Periodically, people with poor judgement will ask me the secret to a happy marriage. There’s no secret. One of my favorite pieces of advice is actually to know it’s ok to go to bed angry! Better than saying something stupid. But what I think makes for a successful marriage is how you solve problems. I get along with the entire world when we agree on things. But when the “fit hits the shan”, how do we solve problems together?

In that regard, my wife and I are like lego pieces. She is…a royal pain the *ss when it comes to the smallest decision. Trying to figure out what we’re having for dinner tonight, the night I write this, has been a 3hr 20minute discussion — and we still have no dinner options.

But when it comes to something big? Material? Something that matters? I’m the 2×4 plate to her 2×4 brick (because let’s be serious, she’s the substance of this relationship.) Buying a house. Leasing a car. Moving to North Carolina, and back again. And leaving LiveIntent because something didn’t feel right? Those were conversations that took seconds. A look in the eye. A gut check on the “why” I was making this decision. And then nothing but full, unwavering support for my decision. Even with a second kid on the way, all I got from Priya was “We’ll be fine. Find your happy.”

I don’t want to spend a second on why I left LiveIntent. Matt Keiser was the best person I have ever worked for. The Marketing Team was the best Marketing Team I’ve ever worked with. The people across the company were the best people I’ve ever worked with. It’s been a month and I miss them like hell. But it was the right move.

Early in my career I made decisions based on bosses as mentors. Which is why I have had the benefit of having some absolutely amazing ones. Maria Valez and Mark Macaravage at Prudential. Mary O’Malley at Prudential. Jim Burke at Prudential, DnB, and Global Compliance. Robert Schwartz and Prudential Securities. Kristine Tanno at Prudential Securities. Jordan McConnell at DnB. Steve Hagerty at Hagerty Consulting. Tony Haile at Chartbeat. And Matt Keiser at LiveIntent. I’d say that 9 out of 10 would speak positively of me. And I believe I could still call on 8 our of 10 for a reference today. But I digress. My point is that I picked jobs based on bosses as mentors. But at a certain point, it becomes less about bosses as mentors and more about bosses as collaborators. As peers. As people with shared approaches to decision-making.

I’ve had enough experience in my life to have strong opinions (weakly held, as I steal a line from my new boss, perhaps the line that closed me during the interview process). I’m looking less for mentors and more for people who want to make decisions with me. And who want to make those decisions based on a value system that matches mine.

I found those values and that partner in Nick Francis at Help Scout.

Before I joined LiveIntent, I reached back out to my former bosses and peers and asked their advice. What could I do better. What could I evolve. And they brought the thunder. I internalized all of the feedback I received and approached LiveIntent committed to being hard on myself and committing myself to evolving and changing. I leave LiveIntent confident that I’ve done that. The validation for me is a combination of what the company accomplished while I was there, and the relationships I’ve made and sustained with people since I’ve left.

As I enter Help Scout, it’s almost the opposite. It’s no longer about what I need to change. Because I realize now that there will always be an infinite number of things I can change, do better, improve, etc. I enter Help Scout with clarity about the things I value. The things I don’t want to change. The things I will never change.

  • Man in the Mirror. It might be hokey, but I’m fine with it. And it’s a great f*cking song. But problem solving at every level, especially at the Executive Level has to start with the Man in the Mirror. There’s an honesty and a humility that is necessary to be a leader these days. It is anchored in an honest assessment first and foremost of the role you played as a leader in putting those dependent on you in a position to succeed or fail.
  • Start with why. Every decision that was ever made was somebody making a deliberate choice for an explicit reason. I believe it is imperative to start every discussion by trying to understand why decisions were made. It saves time. It build empathy. And it makes everyone in the room smarter. If you start at the decision and the outcomes first, you set a bad habit.
  • Focus on process over outcomes. I don’t want to get to MoneyBall here, but there’s value in focusing on doing the right things. There will always be one-offs and aberrations but I can’t control for those. I can only make sure we did all the right things along the way. I’m committed to efforts and believe if you play the right game, the long game, the results will follow (and be sustainable and repeatable.)
  • Take care of your people. We’ve gotten too excited about the new. Whether its employees or customers. We’re an acquisition economy and a disposable society. Those are terrible practices. For me, there’s value in loyalty. Talk to your longest standing employees. Value your longest standing customers. Focus on what you have and meet their needs. It will take you to amazing places.

There are so many more values. There are so many more things to cover. But the above four bullets encapsulate so much of my decision. Except one.

I was introduced to Help Scout through people who knew me very well. What I value. How I work. How I treat people. And they insisted that I take the conversation with Nick and Help Scout. I was sold immediately.

Nick was focused on the customer first. Help Scout has gotten this far by focusing on being humble and being helpful. I couldn’t think of two greater values to build a brand around. And when push comes to shove, I love that I will be able to make decisions based on whether or not what we’re about to do will be helpful for the customer, and done with humility. Those are aspirational values for me. I love that I’ll get practice at them professionally, every single day I go to work.

Legos. A perfect set of legos.

Tomorrow is July 1st. I couldn’t be more excited to join this new team. I feel like a high school line worker at Taco Bell joining Top Chef (I can say that because I was actually a high school line worker at Taco Bell.) All Stars all around me. As a result, I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities in front of us. And, perhaps most of all, I couldn’t be more excited to be myself and be confident in my ability to help all the amazing people who have brought Help Scout to this point, take it even farther.

Thank you, LiveIntent. For everything. Hello, Help Scout. Let’s do this.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under My $.02, Timeless Lessons, Uncategorized

Trial & Error | Random Google Search – Ba’s Obituary

Of Somerdale NJ. Wife of the late Chandrakant C. Bhatt Collector of Bombay on Friday April 12 2002 at Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Stratford NJ.
Born in Chorwad INDIA. She was a US citizen and lived with her son Kitran’s family for over 30 years.
She is survived by her eldest brother Dr. Mahesh Bhatt of Amreli INDIA her younger sister Kaladben of Bhavnagar INDIA her son Kiran Bhatt of Somerdale of Somerdale NJ her daughter Dharshana Bhuta of Pleasanton CA her daughter-in-law Renu Bhatt of Somerdale NJ her granddaughter Anita Bhatt of Somerdale NJ her granddaughters Sapna & Anuja Bhuta of Davis CA and her grandson Suneet Bhatt of Jersey City NJ.
Memorial & Cremation Services will be held at the LeROY P. WOOSTER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY 441 White Horse Pike Atco NJ at 1:00pm on Sunday April 14 2002. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to the American Heart Association .
Happy 1st Great Grandmother’s Day, Ba. Miss you.
Ba

Leave a comment

Filed under Timeless Lessons, Trial & Error

My $.02 | Timeless Lessons | 49’ers, Kyle Williams, and Teamwork

The Backdrop: At this point, I’m not certain of the exact direction I’ll be taking this site. I do believe that no matter the course, I’ll always have an interest in sharing my thoughts when I’ve been moved to a realization that in turn, should make me a better person (husband, son, brother, friend, employee, boss, leader, citizen).

The following article, about how the San Francisco 49’ers rallied around Kyle Williams after he played a high-profile (though certainly not singular) role in their NFC Championship game loss to the NY Giants, led me to one of those realizations.

>> Here is the article for your reference, written by Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com: http://bit.ly/z5gZUv

I say high-profile because Williams fumbled at two key points, once in the 4th Quarter and once in OT, the latter of which led directly to the NY Giants game-winning field goal. This football game was played by men, together, not any single man. And that is easy for me to say since I had no suffering or pleasure to gain from the outcome of the game. (Tim Tebow took care of my highs and my lows this year, and frankly, I’m a better fan for it!)

Members of the 49’ers team assumed their most comfortable and natural demeanors as they came to his defense.

  • HumblyWhatever he was thinking, it ended when he saw the crowd of media gathering around Williams’ locker. Ted Ginn made a face and disappeared. A minute later he came back and asked the media to move along.“Go on now,” Ginn said softly, politely, seriously. “It’s too much for him right now.”
  • RationallyDefensive tackle Ray McDonald didn’t want to talk to me, but when I told him the topic was Kyle Williams, he changed his mind. “He’s our teammate,” McDonald said. “Mistakes happen, and he made one that came at the wrong time, but we’re behind him 100 percent. Don’t doubt that.”
  • Defiantly: “We all lost this game,” tight end Delanie Walker said. “We play as a team — it’s 45 of us out there. It’s not Kyle’s fault, so don’t go over there and act like it is. Cause it’s not.”
  • Boisterously: Injured Josh Morgan — walked over to Williams’ locker and made an announcement. “I’m talking for Kyle,” Morgan said. “You have any questions, ask me. He’s not talking today. I got it.”

My Realization: And all of this made me wonder: how would I have acted? I’d like to think that I have, in such situations, been like Ginn, McDonald, Walker, or Morgan. Haven’t I?

Wouldn’t we all like to believe that about ourselves? And haven’t we all fallen short at some point, yet found a way to forgive ourselves for doing so? Excusing our own behavior for not excusing someone else’s? In this regard, I know that I for one have work to do.

As a Player: What I learned the most from this article is the balance between the four players featured here (and I’m certain there were countless other coaches and players taking similar stances). The different styles each employed to make their point and show their support. There are many ways to put your arm around someone’s shoulder. There is an almost infinite pool of words one can string together to say “I got it.” And every tone is acceptable when showing your sincerest support. The most important thing is that you do not shy away from showing your support as it is your responsibility.

As a Leader: What I learned the most from this article is the importance of a team filled with integrity, not only with its people, but with its inherent structure. If you are going to put a team member in a position to make a mistake on the grandest of stages, then you damned well better have a structure in place to absorb the grandest of failures. Your job as a leader is on one hand, defined by your ability to put your players in a position to succeed. But your greatest work as a leader is when those players have failed. Your greatest work is defined by how you receive them after the fact, and whether you give them the strength to go back out there and take that chance again. And whether your entire team stands behind that individual and your decision when the results are in.

Epilogue: “Everyone in here told me to keep my head up and it’s not on me,” Kyle Williams said. “You hate to be the last guy that had the ball, to give it up that way in that fashion and to lose a game of this magnitude … but I couldn’t be happier with my teammates.”

I’m not sure if they are happy with you, Kyle, but it sounds like your teammates love and support you. And that is a dramatically more powerful sentiment.

1 Comment

Filed under My $.02, Other, Timeless Lessons