Using a data-driven approach to sales and marketing in a tech start up

About me

Mathew L.
Computer Science
Computer Systems and Software Engineering
MEng
Langwith
1993
United Kingdom

About this profile

Chief Operating Officer
Weaveworks
United States
Digital and IT services
Small business (0-49 employees)
2015

About the job

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.

Finding and applying for the job

How I looked for work

I worked my network first. Kept in touch with former colleagues, friends. I also received a flood of inbound messages from recruiters via LinkedIn.

How I found out about the job

Personal contacts

The recruitment process

I interviewed with the founders, helped them flesh out their ideas for how to go to market as a sort of "dry run".

My career

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

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.

Other advice

Learn how to present and speak well: hugely important to being able to sell your ideas and yourself.

Contacting me

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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