Brian Balfour, Founder and CEO of Reforge on Professional Development for Marketers
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Brian Balfour, Founder and CEO of Reforge on Professional Development for Marketers

Brian Balfour is the Founder and CEO of Reforge, an 8-week professional development program for experienced growth and marketing practitioners to accelerate their careers. With ten years of marketing, product, and growth experience Brian has the skills, insight, and network, to be delivering best-in-class growth practitioners throughout Silicon Valley and beyond

Prior to starting Reforge, Brian was the VP of Growth at Hubspot where he worked to establish new lines of business from 2014 to 2016. He has also worked as an EIR at Trinity Ventures and cofounded multiple VC-backed companies, one which was bootstrapped, and two of which led to successful acquisitions.

In addition to his current work at Reforge, Brian also writes in great detail about growth on Coelevate, his personal site, and has been featured in Forbes, Hacker Monthly, as well as other industry and mainstream media publications.

Here are some of the topics discussed in this episode:

Mastering the Foundational Elements of Marketing

While the marketing landscape features an increasing number of acquisition channels and vehicles for growth, becoming an expert in the field and developing your skill-set requires mastering the fundamental elements of the field.

“Growth marketing is really more about getting really good at the foundational elements…In any profession to get in your top 1% you want to master the basics..”

If we get really, really good at these foundational pieces, then the rest becomes actually much easier because learning how to run a Facebook campaign effectively or how to set up a landing page or an on-boarding campaign or email or any of these types of things, one, is they’re much easier to learn. And two, they change very fast over time.

You’re going to need to learn them over time. But it’s the foundations that actually inform all of those things and what actually makes those things effective.”

Specifically, Brian defines two foundational elements of marketing: the quantitative view, and the qualitative view. The quantitative view is using data proactively and retroactively to make decisions, while the qualitative view is based on understanding the psychology of how people make decisions. Both are essential to mastering the art of marketing.

Marketing is Not About the Tips, Tricks, and “Hactics”

There are thousands of marketing blogs, resources, and other types of educational content available for marketers across all channels and levels of expertise
Unfortunately, a disproportionate amount of this content gets aggregated and repeated to the point where it loses its initial real value.

“The biggest thing is it’s not about tactics or hacks or tricks or tips, what I would characterize as ‘hacktics’ as a whole….What ends up happening is the same stuff is repeated over and over and over again. It’s like a game of telephone where it all gets watered down into un-substance stuff. And, once again, it creates this really bad perception. It makes it harder to get our jobs done and we just need to stop that. We need to continue to focus on doing really unique foundational great work and we should be publishing and writing about that stuff, not just aggregating what ten other people are saying out there.”

Focusing on the qualitative and quantitative views that support the rest of our work as marketers creates a more genuine experience for our audiences.

Understand the Entire Picture

Previously, the standard career path for most professionals was to improve upon your individual contributor skill set until you get promoted to a middle management, and eventually, upper management positions.

However, it is now possible to become an expert individual contributor in a hyper channel-specific skill-set. Moving up the ladder to a management position requires a different approach to professional development.

“The thing that separates individual contributors versus those that reach the next level are the ones that are able to understand the entire picture. And even though they might have a really super deep discipline and knowledge – which I think is actually really important, I see more of the mistake that people don’t go deep enough on anything.”

Understanding and mastering the nuances of the qualitative and quantitative foundational components of marketing will help you grasp the scope of modern marketing and hopefully qualify yourself as a future manager or even executive.

Transcript

Note: this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Ander: It’s always exciting to get out of the Instapage office, outside of Instapage HQ here in San Francisco, and go check out somewhere else to do one of these podcast interviews. And it is a pleasure to be here today with Brian Balfour.

Brian, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Brian: Thanks for having me.

Ander: It is a pleasure to be here with you today. And normally I introduce somebody with a specific job title – you are the founder and CEO of Reforge, and we’ll get to what that is, but you’ve done so many things. You’ve got this fairly vast array of experiences in the growth space and I’m wondering if you can kind of give us the nutshell of what that looks like and how you got to where you are now.

Brian: Yeah. My career has taken some twists and turns. I’ve always been in the tech and startup space. I actually started my first company when I was in college at University of Michigan. I didn’t know what I was doing whatsoever but it was kind of my first shot at basically a tech company and that really got me. caught the entrepreneurial bug and all that kind of stuff.

Coming out of college, I actually worked for a company called ZoomInfo for a year – it’s still around today – as a product manager and that got me into a major tech hub, which was Boston at the time.

But first, in college I taught myself how to code. The first couple of years of the career I was more on the product side of things. But very quickly into that, I started my first venture-backed company called Viximo. We ended up in the social gaming scene during the whole Facebook platform boom, the Zynga craziness, right?

Ander: Yeah for sure.

Brian: And through that, I focused on product for the first couple of years. But that industry became a very quantitative customer acquisition focus game, a lot around paid marketing, viral loops, and some very quantitative focus customer acquisition. Nobody in the company knew how to do that stuff and so I just kind of went and learned it.

That company we sold to a company called Tapjoy. Coming out of that, I then helped start another company called Boundless Learning in the education space, where I continued to focus on this element of growth, kind of combining the tech and the product and the marketing components all into one.

Then through some twists and turns and working on the venture side for a little bit, I ended up as the VP of Growth at HubSpot and helped them establish a new line of business at the sales product division, CRM, HubSpot Sales, and a bunch of their new product stuff. I did that for a few years and then eventually started Reforge.

Ander: Awesome. And Reforge is very, very cool. I’d love to explain it but I think it’ll be better coming from you.

Brian: So, I think the best way to explain it is actually just the quick story of how it came about.

I’ve always been interested in education and self-improvement and professional development. During my time at HubSpot I had an awesome team. Every single week I would sit in these one-on-ones with my team and every single week somebody would come to me and be like, ‘Brian, I want to continue my professional development. What do we go do?’ HubSpot had this great perk. We had like $5000 towards professional development reimbursements. The budget was there. That wasn’t an issue.

But I was like, ‘Man, why is everybody asking me this? Isn’t it obvious what to go do?’ And as I dug in, I realized none of this audience – the audience that could go get a Master’s degree – they didn’t want to do it. They also didn’t want to take the extension courses at the local universities, even though we had great universities like MIT, Harvard, and all those kinds of things. They didn’t see those brands as the place to learn the types of things they felt like they needed to learn.

Brian: Then they looked. And then there’s tons of great people out there like General Assembly and a bunch of boot camps and other things that are more targeted at helping people, like, get a job.

Ander: Mm-hmm.

Brian: But the funny thing is like these people had a job, they loved their job, they just wanted to continue getting better, right?

So anyways, I basically created this advanced course around growth and customer acquisition. I did it in combination with Andrew Chen who works with growth at Uber. We did it on the side. Super MVP version and super embarrassing.

Ander: Haha.

Brian: But we did the first one and it ended up going really well. We had thousands of applications and selected a little less than 10% for the program. Even with the MVP version, people had great things to say about it. So, as I dug in I was like, ‘Man, maybe something’s a little bit better here.’

Basically what Reforge does is help experienced professionals fulfill their potential and progress in their career and we think that comes down to three things: one, giving them super-relevant knowledge that they can apply to their job today, the second is help them build meaningful relationships with other quality practitioners, and the third is provide actionable inspiration from the world’s top leaders, the VPs at Facebook, LinkedIn, Spotify, and all the places that they want to learn from. Right now we do that in the format of 8-week part-time programs around certain topics but there will be more coming at a later day.

Ander: I love how you have designed it so that people can continue working in the field that they love working in while also getting better in that field.

Brian: I think this is one of the things that’s wrong with our education system right now, the traditional education system I should say. We kind of view education as this binary thing. We’re either spending 100% of our time on education, getting a Master’s degree where we take two years off and that’s all we’re doing, or we’re spending 0% of the time, meaning that we’re spending 100% of our time working. I actually don’t think that’s what the future of education looks like. I think the future of education looks something more where we take a piecemeal throughout our entire career at the right times and the right places with the right people. The ‘lifelong learning’ is kind of a bit of a cliché thing right now but I think that’s something that’s similar and so it’s more of a spectrum. We might go through these periods where it’s like we’re 90% working and only 10% learning and then some other times maybe we’re more like 60% working and 40% learning, right?

But I don’t think the most effective way is a binary thing, like a 1 or a 0.

Ander: Sure. I mean, my first career in technology and marketing after I left radio and internet radio was actually with an Ed Tech company and we did a ton of writing and other types of content about stuff. It totally resonates with what you’re saying.

I’d love to dive in deeper about how we learn as marketers, and how we get better at our craft. But before we do that, let’s hear about your philosophy around growth, around marketing, what you think is really important as a professional who is continuing to improve in that space.

Brian: So, actually the clearest way to describe this is to start off with what’s not important.

Ander: Sure. Haha.

Brian: Haha. Because I actually think the ecosystem – especially the public ecosystem – is focused on a lot of really wrong things.

And, I think it’s actually doing a lot of harm to our profession. The biggest thing is it’s not about tactics or hacks or tricks or tips, what I would characterize as ‘hacktics’ as a whole. It is not about that at all. It’s also not about basically doing a tiny bit and saying, ‘Well, I know how to do Google ads and Facebook and content marketing and copywriting,’ and have this mile-long list of a resume and say, ‘I know a hundred things,’ which is just actually not true.

Those are the two most important things. Those things are sexy because they feel like short-cuts or quick wins and stuff like that and we kind of get this dopamine rush when we think about those things or talk about those things or implement those things. But at the end of the day, that’s actually not how we get better at our profession.

This is a little bit more well-known now but I would say 7-8 years ago when I was in Boundless, I felt like I was hitting my head against the wall. Growth is really a function of the full funnel. I think most people used to think about growth as all about marketing or just acquiring customers. But it’s actually about the whole thing – it’s about acquiring customers, activating them, retaining them, getting them to refer, the revenue piece of it, the whole thing.

You increase any one of those levers, and ‘growth’ will go up, right? That then forms the next stage. In order to actually focus on growth, it ends up being a cross-functional discipline.

To solve growth problems, you typically need a cross-functional set of skillsets from marketing, from product, from engineering, from design, from data, to properly execute on these things. Unfortunately, that’s not the way most of our organizations are set up and it causes a bunch of friction and so a lot of people end up going towards that.

But then the third thing is that growth marketing is really more about getting really good at the foundational elements. And I can’t remember this book, but I read this book on learning and one of the first things that it described was, in any profession to get in your top 1% you want to master the basics. It tells this really interesting story about this world-famous trumpet player. And this trumpet player was teaching a class of other really awesome orchestral-level trumpet players and had them play a really basic piece, basically like a scale. And, they played it one by one and then he played it. And when he played it, just like this really basic thing, it stood out… The unbelievable detail and the tone and how he went through the progression and all these types of really big details. And it told this really compelling story. Because he had mastered those types of basics that’s why he was in the place that he was, as in the top 1%, versus the students. The students would focus more on the complex tricky songs and that type of stuff. I think it’s really interesting.

That begs the question: what’s the basics in our profession? I think the basics kind of come down to two things – there’s the quantitative view and the qualitative view. The quantitative view is the basics are… one is around what I call ‘modelling,’ basically be able to take data and use that data to ‘predict the future’ or make better decisions about the future in terms of prioritization, when things are going to hit a ceiling, saturation, how does that inform the strategy…

And then there’s the more retroactive view of it which is data analysis, looking at historical data to understand what your users are actually doing and their behavior and how that informs the first thing, which is the prediction. The qualitative view of it is understanding more of the core psychological components, like user psychology, and what actually motivates people to take actions.

A lot of the way that I think about any product is that a user is basically going through a bunch of series of decisions… How they get to your landing page, the decision to actually sign up, the decision to actually get through all of your on-boarding steps, and the decision to actually continue using the product or click on that retention email or to upgrade, right? These are all decisions. You really have to understand the psychology of how people make decisions, like why they make decisions. That’s more of the qualitative component. If we get really, really good at these foundational pieces, then the rest becomes actually much easier because learning how to run a Facebook campaign effectively or how to set up a landing page or an on-boarding campaign or email or any of these types of things, one, is they’re much easier to learn. And two, they change very fast over time.

Ander: Yes, they do.

Brian: You’re going to need to learn them over time. But it’s the foundations that actually inform all of those things and what actually makes those things effective.

Ander: And those foundations are going to apply if we are a channel-specific contributor. As an example, if you’re running paid, if you are running content, doing technical SEO, or anything else… those two foundational components are going to be relevant to whatever you’re doing.

Brian: That’s right.

Ander: Some of what you spoke about has to do with the difference of being a generalist versus being a specialist and, depending on the state of the company you’re at or the size of your agency or whatever it is, you might be one, you might be the other.

But if you are a specialist, if you are somebody who spends all day in AdWords, how important is it to also have a greater context of the other growth channels that your individual contributors and your team within the agency are working at or team you are working on?

Brian: It’s super important because I think the thing that separates individual contributors versus those that reach the next level are the ones that are able to understand the entire picture. And even though they might have a really super deep discipline and knowledge – which I think is actually really important, I see more of the mistake that people don’t go deep enough on anything. They scratch the surface on a bunch of different things and they never go deep on one thing. That’s actually not how you create value. you tend to create value by getting really, really good at one thing and by positioning yourself in a place where you’re the top X% at something. And then you leverage that depth of expertise into more things.

But, to understand the entire picture, you need to also understand not only some of these other channels or strategies within your discipline or marketing, but you also need to make sure you make an effort to understand the disciplines that you’re going to work alongside – whether that’s design or engineering or product or whatever else it might be. The reason is, to work really effectively in an organization and get stuff done and execute the strategies that you want to execute, you need to understand what their perspective is as well. I actually don’t think most people take enough time to understand these things and they have a really hard time getting things done. And marketing especially has a really hard time getting things done in an organization. I mean, how many marketers have you talked to that say, ‘I’m on my hands and knees begging for one hour of engineering time’?

Ander: Right. That sounds familiar. ‘I’m waiting for Product, I’m waiting for Design…’ whatever it is.

Brian: All these things. And, yes, a lot of that is actually the reverse of engineers or product or design not actually taking the time to understand marketing and the value that marketing or growth or however you want to frame it is.

But, that to me is like take what’s in control of yourself. You should take the effort of understanding those other disciplines and how to communicate, how to frame what you want to do. I actually think it’s really important not just to have somewhat of a context of, if you’re a specialist, a context of other channels but a context of all of the other disciplines. I actually encourage a lot of people: go research the process of design thinking, or customer-driven product development, or go take an Intro to Engineering course.

The point is you’re not going to become an HTML or CSS or some kind of coding expert. The point is you understand the process and the things that they think about and the shoes that they’re in. That’s going to ultimately make you a more effective contributor to any situation that you’re in.

Ander: Yeah. I mean, just as an example… I went through all the Codecademy courses and I would never, ever let somebody pay me to write code for them. Haha.

Brian: Haha. Yeah.

Ander: But having that context is really, really helpful. What about the older mentalities of marketing – you know, back in the Mad Men days I guess you could say, back in the 50s, or whatever. It was all about brand. It was all about copy, and all about the images and everything like that. With advertising as an example, do you think that it’s important while we’re learning more about the channels that we work with where we do have interdependencies with our role? Do you think it’s important to go back to those basics or important to learn about the basics in the context of the world right now and technology right now?

Brian: It’s a combination of both. The things that are not out-dated are the things around like I was mentioning before, the user psychology, really understanding the motivation of how users make decisions and stuff. There’s a lot of things too, like basics around virality, for example. That is not a new concept. The first viral mechanism was back in the early 1900s through a direct mail campaign which was, like, put in this envelope ten cents and list five other people and we’ll send it to five other people and one person will get X amount. And the basics of that virality are the same in terms of branching factor and conversion and K-factor and all those types of things. A lot of this stuff has actually been around for like 100 years.

Ander: Yeah for sure.

Brian: But the things that are sitting above that which are changing are some of the deeper trends. One is, obviously, data has become way more accessible and cheaper and easier to get access to. That’s one big change in the past 7-8 years, right? Rewind even back to 2007 or 2008, and I think the only analytics options you really had were building something in-house, Google Analytics, or Omniture.

Ander: And now there’s thousands of them!

Brian: Oh, yeah. Martech is unbelievable. That’s a big change.

The second big change is that because of digital and the ecosystem and all these platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and all that kind of stuff, is the lines between product, marketing, sales, even customer support… all of these things are blurring. So I go on Pinterest and I pin something and then I share it to Facebook and then one of my friends sees it on Facebook, clicks through, and then becomes a Pinterest user. Is that product or is that marketing?

Ander: It depends on who you ask, I think.

Brian: That’s right. Exactly. The point is though, you can even look at this from a skill-set function where a lot of people talk about how marketing is becoming more data-focused or more technical, which is true… a lot of these channels you do need those skill-sets to properly execute. But all of this stuff is blurring. We kind of need to rethink about how we execute on these things. The Mad Men days of these super long campaign planning doesn’t make sense anymore, right? What actually makes more sense is a more scientific method, experimental approach because we do have access to data, and we can ship these things faster, all of these types of things. In most scenarios, how we execute and how we learn and do this work, that is what is actually changing. But, the more foundational elements of how people make decisions and those mechanics, a lot of those things are still the same and we shouldn’t dismiss them.

Ander: Right.

Brian: We shouldn’t dismiss them at all.

Ander: So when you are a beginner marketer, for lack of a different word right now… When you’re more at the beginning of your career, maybe it’s easier to find ways to optimize your skill-set, to get more grounded in those basics. But when you get to a higher level, when you’re a Director, VP, or CMO, even the CEO, starting the company on your own, whatever it is…. learning changes. The process of learning changes, especially when you’re managing other people.

Having been a VP yourself, how do you approach learning? How do people in those kinds of positions approach their process of professional development?

Brian: It’s a little bit different. It’s a little bit harder. I mean, I think you’d have to back up and ask what are the problems and challenges that they’re facing.

First, I think we’re actually moving towards a world where more and more companies are creating more and more paths. It used to be you got really good as an individual contributor and then, you know, the next level was a manager. But in engineering especially – but I see this in a bunch of other disciplines – a lot of companies are now creating two parallel paths where you can just basically become a super individual contributor if that’s what you enjoy, or you could split off and also become a manager. And if you become a manager, then a lot of your problems end up being a little bit different. It’s like what we were talking about before around strategy of understanding the full picture and holding all those pieces into play and how that parlays into your actual execution. It’s about hiring the right people. It’s about putting the right people in the right spots at the right times.

It’s configuring the right teams of people. What are the right structures for these teams? What’s the right systematic process for this team to use? It actually ends up coming down to more of those types of questions.

The way that I’ve approached it mostly is that, wherever I’ve been in my career, I’ve always tried to have these small networks that I meet on a regular basis every couple of months who are facing somewhat of a similar challenge as I and we go and we do these dinners. The format was very simple. It was one thing you have tried that has worked, one thing that you tried that has failed, one problem or challenge that you’re facing.

That would be interesting. It would create all of this discussion. That would be the primary learning mechanism at that point. The interesting thing is like all those groups that I’m in now, we do some of these with Reforge, is that 80% of the questions end up being people focused and employee management questions. The other 20% are strategy questions. It has nothing to do with tactics or any of that type of stuff.

Ander: Really interesting. And that does completely make sense.

Brian: Yeah.

Ander: So we’ve talked a little bit about how data’s become much more important, obviously. There are some very foundational things that if you are a marketer looking to improve your existing skill-set, you should really know the basics before you dive into the more formulaic stuff such as setting up a Facebook campaign or whatever it is.

Brian: Yep.

Ander: Where do you think marketing is headed on a high level? And more importantly, how can we as marketers stay ahead of the curve? What can we do to monitor these upcoming changes to make sure that we’re aware of the new opportunities that are coming our way?

Brian: Yeah. So I think… it’s a hard question to answer because there’s no way that I know how to predict the future.
Ander: Of course. Yeah. This is kind of like pulling out the crystal ball.

Brian: There’s been two things that have been top-of-mind lately: one thing that I constantly think about is what do our roles look like in a world where there’s a concentration of platforms and channels? So if you look at especially web and mobile, there’s this massive concentration towards a few major channels and the number of new channels that are popping up seem to be becoming less and less frequent. And even the players that seem to be like they were going to break through like Snapchat, you know, you’ve got like Facebook copying all of their stuff and consolidating there, so there’s a question of does Snapchat survive that or not?

Ander: Well, look what happened to Meerkat.

Brian: Yeah, there’s fewer and fewer channels that feel like they’re popping up. On the same front, there’s these new frontier things in terms of Siri and voice and autonomous cars and all that kind of stuff.

So if those are the new channels, then what does our job look like? Because those environments look crazy different than the browser or your mobile device.

Ander: All the Internet of things and wearable stuff, yeah.

Brian: That’s right. Those two things are things that I think a lot about.

So you could break that down – there’s ‘what should I be doing now?’ And then ‘how would I think about the future? What are the biggest threats and risks if that’s what the world looks like for my product and business?’

Actually, the biggest thing is when a new major channel emerges is that it tends to destroy some companies and create new ones. This is the most obvious in the gaming space. So you look at, early, early web with all browser-based games. You had all these casual gaming companies emerge and then what you had was the social platforms like Facebook and you had the social gaming companies emerge and the casual gaming guys never made the shift. And then you had mobile emerge and the social guys like Zynga, got… kind of not destroyed but a little suppressed. And then you had all these new guys emerge like Supercell. And then now you’ve got VR.

The reason for that transition that happens is something that I call ‘product-channel fit,’ which is that products are built to fit and take advantage of specific channels. Channels aren’t bolted on to products, right? They’re deeply intertwined. So, when a new channel emerges like that, the biggest mistake that companies make is they kind of dip their toe in the water rather than making huge changes to actually fully take advantage of that.

You can look at it kind of concerningly from both sides. If it really does concentrate towards five channels and that’s where I’d have to play and those things are incredibly competitive, what do I focus on?

Or you could also look at it as, well, if one of these new major things does emerge, what are the big changes that I need to be ready to make to fully take advantage of those and actually survive?

But at the end of the day, going back to the start of this conversation, these things will constantly change. But, the things that are going to remain the same are the quantitative aspect of being able to think through, quantitatively, both historically understanding my users as well as looking forward, predicting through models, as well as qualitatively understanding what motivates users to make decisions and how that manifests itself within the product and the marketing and stuff. And if you focus on those things and the frameworks and you deeply understand those things, you should be able to learn whatever comes next, whatever that might be. And, I don’t know what that is.

Ander: Awesome. I don’t know what that is either, but I sure am excited to find out!

Brian: Well, I’m excited and nervous at the same time.

Ander: Sure.

Brian: Because a lot of days I look forward and I’m like, ‘Man, am I going to be relevant in three years?’ I hope so!

Ander: You know, there was some silly calculator thing I saw where you put in your profession into a form and it tells you ‘Is AI going to take your job?’

Brian: Haha.

Ander: And it said that, for marketers, it’s about 95% certain that we’re safe.

Brian: Oh, really?

Ander: Yeah. And who knows? I mean, I don’t even remember where I saw this. Who knows what this is based on. But I was like, ‘Ok, that’s at least a good sign there. Whatever that means.’

Brian: Well, you know, it’s interesting. You can take a look at the latest announcements from Facebook about their ad platform and they’re solving a lot of things that paid marketers have been doing manually with technology. And, they just launched their whole new rules-based stuff, things that third-party platforms were providing but is now accessible to anybody spending $100 or more on the Facebook platform. That’s just one small step towards technology automating some of the things that we’ve been doing manually. But I agree. I mean, that’s the whole point of AI. It’s hard to envision a world of what that actually looks like.

Ander: Right.

Brian: But yeah, we’ll definitely find out.

Ander: Yes we will. Brian, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. This has been a really interesting conversation. I personally learned a lot from this myself.

What can marketers do to help you? Obviously check out Reforge. But what can they do to help you? And then what can we do to make marketing and the marketing community better as a whole?

Brian: Hmm. Ok, I love the second part of the question.

So the first thing… If you’re interested in joining the Reforge community – just go to reforge.com. I also write a ton on my blog at coelevate.com. Love if it you could subscribe there.

I think to make the community better as a whole we just need to do a much better job of helping others understand the actual value of marketing and growth and what we’re actually doing. I think unfortunately the ecosystem has been taken over by a bunch of noise around, once again, these tips, tricks, hacks, and all that kind of stuff and that discredits a lot of the deep, hard work that a lot of the incredible marketers and growth professionals do and it’s why I don’t like the term ‘growth hacking.’ It was created with good intentions but it has morphed into a very bad perception.

Ander: I’m on that same page with you. I understand, yeah.

Brian: Man, it’s like a giant game of telephone. And, this has been perpetuated a lot by content marketing where the playbook is like, I go and look at what else has been published out there and I just aggregate the top ten search results and republish. What ends up happening is the same stuff is repeated over and over and over again. It’s like a game of telephone where it all gets watered down into un-substance stuff. And, once again, it creates this really bad perception. It makes it harder to get our jobs done and we just need to stop that. We need to continue to focus on doing really unique foundational great work and we should be publishing and writing about that stuff, not just aggregating what ten other people are saying out there.

Ander: Yep. Completely agree with that.

Once again Brian, thank you so much for coming on the show. It’s been a pleasure coming over here to your neighborhood in Hayes Valley.

Brian: We’re on the edge of Hayes Valley, yeah.

Ander: I should know that! I grew up in the Bay area. Haha.

Thank you so much for having me here. It’s been a pleasure having you on and I’m sure we’ll talk to you soon.

Brian: Thanks for having me.

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