|Computer Systems and Software Engineering|
|Chief Operating Officer|
|Digital and IT services|
|Small business (0-49 employees)|
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A day in the life of a Chief Operating Officer in the United States
Using a data-driven approach to sales and marketing in a tech start up
What I do
I run sales and marketing for a venture-funded start-up in San Francisco
Skills I use and how I developed them
Most of the job is about understanding the intersection between buyers and our product set, and then turning that into effective sales and marketing activity. A systems approach to that is now possible -- there has never been a better time to do data-driven sales and marketing..
What I like most
I get to move quickly and build the organization and approach with less interference than at larger companies.
What I like least
The usual start-up challenges
What surprised me most
How a huge sector of the software industry (open source) is really struggling hard to figure out how to make money.
My career goals when I graduated
Become a successful software engineering leader
My career history
Discovered I didn't like writing code in a dark room and much preferred working with customers. Moved into customer-facing engineering, and from there to product management, product marketing and now COO.
What has helped my career to progress
Developing a good network. Staying focused on the right thing to do for customers. Being politically aware. Actively seeking critical feedback and figuring out how to address it. Deciding what strengths to build on and figuring out coping strategies for weaknesses. Fixing fatal flaws.
Courses taken since graduation
London Business School Advanced Development Program
How my studies have helped my career
ADP is basically an MBA in 6 weeks for working executives. Really useful around decision-making, strategy and finance.
What surprised me about my career so far
I was totally convinced I wanted to write code -- had been coding since age 10. Then discovered I totally didn't want to do that.
Where I hope to be in 5 years
CEO or GM of something or other.
My advice to students considering work
Learn what it means to get along and work collaboratively with other people. It's absolutely critical you learn how to do this efficiently in a work environment. That doesn't mean compromising -- that's also very important.
My advice about working in my industry
It's a very faddy, tribal place. You need to speak the language of the tribe and know the fads and trends.
Learn how to present and speak well: hugely important to being able to sell your ideas and yourself.
Happy to answer questions on almost anything regarding the tech industry, silicon valley, venture capital (from the entrepreneur's side), product management/marketing, B2B in general.
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