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Interview Series

Interview with Sandi Lin, CEO, Skilljar

"Companies need both great product and great go-to-market in order to succeed — It’s very difficult to keep customers happy in the long-term if the product isn’t meeting expectations." Tell us about your role at Skilljar. What inspired you to establish a customer-training focused company? I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of Skilljar. We started the company in 2013, and have grown now to roughly 75 employees in Seattle and several hundred customers worldwide. My Co-Founder (Jason Stewart) and I were captivated from the start…

Interview with James Norwood, EVP Strategy, Chief of Staff, Episerver

"AI is an important component of any modern CMS as it offers the opportunity to enhance the customer journey with better targeting and more efficient use of customer data." Tell us about your role at Episerver. As EVP Strategy and Corporate Development and Chief of Staff at Episerver — recently bumped up from CMO to help align the business around the CEO and Board’s strategic agenda — I’m focused principally on product and pipeline and ensuring we’re delivering against both across the organization. With 30 years’…

Interview with Mike Austin, Co-Founder and CEO, Fresh Relevance

"AI can offer device-based and local time-based insights to help determine at what time and on which channel marketing messages should be served to each individual shopper for maximum effect." Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What galvanized you to start Fresh Relevance? I’m a serial entrepreneur — I started my first business when I was sixteen and have been building software companies for more than two decades, including one of the first UK-based ESPs in 2000. While working at my previous email…

Interview with Babak Hedayati, CEO and Co-Founder, TapClicks

"As a business leader preparing for an AI-centric world, it’s important that you start by gaining access to relevant data and then implement AI and ML capabilities to work towards automation." Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to be part of the marketing tech landscape? I am the CEO and Co-Founder of TapClicks, the global SaaS leader in marketing analytics, reporting, orders, and workflow. I come from an engineering background and early in my career I took my engineering expertise and…

Interview with Ted Murphy, Founder, Chairman and CEO, IZEA

"There is real money being spent on Influencer Marketing, but there is also real money being wasted at the same time — both in spend and operational inefficiencies at brands and agencies." Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What made you start IZEA? I am currently the Founder, Chairman and CEO of IZEA, which I started in 2006. I have always been in the marketing space and had an interest in technology. I started my first agency when I was 19 years old. After selling that agency I started an…

Interview with Ashley Deibert, Chief Marketing Officer, Videolicious

"In the age of Artificial Intelligence and chatbots, companies bringing the 'human touch' back to business are actually those with a competitive advantage." Tell us about your new role at Videolicious. What are some goals that you’re working towards? Videolicious is on the cusp of explosive growth. Our goal is to establish and own the category of video automation in the Sales and Marketing technology ecosystem — sitting firmly between Marketing Automation and Sales Automation tools. If we’re put on the map for that and can…

Interview with Dawn Colossi, Chief Marketing Officer, FocusVision

"I use data to validate and prove what it is I’m trying to accomplish — people will argue against opinion, but it’s hard to argue against data." Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What made you join FocusVision? My move to technology happened at the very beginning of my career, basically by accident. Right out of college, I was working at McCall’s Magazine as an editorial assistant and, to be honest, was a bit bored. A colleague went on an interview at Ziff Davis, the biggest technology publisher at the…

Interview with Mike Lane, CEO and Founder, Fluency

"If you are going to be in this space, you need to innovate and compete because tomorrow there will be something new and the deck will get reshuffled." Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What galvanized you to start Fluency? My first computer was the Commodore 64. I was hooked instantly. There seemed to be unlimited potential in front of me that I couldn’t even imagine and it sparked my interest in technology. I started college as an Environmental Engineer but finished with a degree in Engineering…

Interview with Marya Dzmitruk, VP Marketing, Zailab

"With the evolution of consumer behavior, we have to be ready to cater not only via multi-channel but via omnichannel for customers to go through their journey completely uninterrupted." Tell us about your role and journey into Contact Center software. My journey into the Contact Center space began on the enterprise sales side, having really interesting conversations with executives from large corporations while pitching a cloud contact center solution. It was eye-opening to see how the vast majority was opposed to a…

Interview with Megan J. Browning Kvamme, CEO, FactGem

"The industry is still exploring how AR and VR can transition from the realm of entertainment into more business-oriented applications." Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to be part of FactGem? I am CEO and Co-Founder of FactGem. My route to the technology field was definitely not typical, but thinking back, I would not have arrived here by any other path. I actually started my career in investment banking. As part of my work, I needed to sift through mountains of data, generally housed in…

Interview with Rani Hublou, Chief Marketing Officer, 8×8

"To keep up with the speed of customer demands, multi-channel marketing and multi-channel communications are critical." Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to be part of 8x8? 8x8 has the opportunity to deliver more than a world-class business communications product. We have created a new cloud business communications market that fundamentally transforms the customer experience and enables a new speed of business. It’s pretty inspirational to be part of the team that is uniquely positioned to…

Interview with Alexi Venneri, Co-Founder and CEO, Digital Air Strike

"To keep Digital Air Strike on top of technology and innovation, I employ three qualities: confidence, positivity and curiosity." Tell us about your journey into technology. What made you start Digital Air Strike? My journey truly began as a child. I always had a strong interest in business and entrepreneurship. I was the kid that loved the TV show “Kids are People Too” that was touted as the kids' version of the "Tonight Show" featuring interviews with kids that were doing amazing things. I also turned everything into a…

Interview with Cornelius Willis, CMO, Clari

"Marketing leadership, particularly revenue marketing, needs to understand technology — not just what to buy, but how to integrate it into a strategy and use it to power a marketing engine."Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What made you join Clari? I’ve been lucky to have a lot of exposure to AI and predictive technology, most recently running technical marketing for Google Cloud Platform, including its various AI and deep learning tools. Algorithms are well understood and constantly improving. But…

MarTech Interview with Jeff Nolan, CMO, Kahuna

"Email Marketing is primed for major disruption, and we really need to embrace messaging more aggressively within B2B segments." Tell us about your role and journey at Kahuna. I’m the Chief Marketing Officer at Kahuna. The story of how I got here is not uncommon. I was kicking around in between gigs and helped my good friend, Sameer Patel, with some go-to-market issues. I didn’t want a full-time gig, so I’d come in for a few hours a few days a week. As I got to know the team and product, two things happened. First, I…

Interview with Geoff Hoffmann, CEO, North America, Adstream

"Analytics and ROI, which is becoming highly valuable, is the new currency in Content Management." Tell us about your role and journey into AdTech. I have been working with Adstream for more than 4 years, leading the APAC and Americas regions. With Adstream being a global business, it takes you to countries far and wide. I came into Adstream after spending many years in the media advertising space. The theme here is that I have been involved with brands and agencies for many years. Now, I am more so at the end of the…

Interview with Richard Black, CMO, Aki Technologies

"GDPR, while, of course, focused in Europe, was a big wake up call for the entire industry and made many companies take stock of how they handled data." Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What made you join Aki Technologies? The CMO job is really around leading the marketing function to ensure that Aki Technologies is clearly communicating its key benefits to clients and the broader market in a consistent and compelling way. It’s about understanding our customers’ needs and building solutions that make…

Interview with John Cate, CEO, Mediasmith

"We pride ourselves on remaining independent in a time when shops are getting bought by the big conglomerates."Tell us how you came to be at Mediasmith. Before recently becoming CEO, I was the COO for eight years. And, prior to joining Mediasmith, I was was EVP and General Manager for Carat/Aegis and had worked at Leftfield, TBWA\Chiat\Day, and McCann-Erickson. So, I’ve been in similar roles at media agencies for a large part of my career. What really drew me to Mediasmith was what still makes it a compelling agency…

Interview with Eric Lam, Co-Founder and CEO, AspireIQ

"Brands can leverage our analytics dashboards to see the impact of each piece of content on different channels in real time."Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What made you start AspireIQ? I started my career in finance and got into technology after getting my MBA at Harvard. Afterwards, I joined Pocket Gems where I served as VP of Product and managed an organization of more than 60 people that generated $80 million in annual revenue. At Pocket Gems, I realized how difficult it is for products to be…

Interview with Sian Wang, CFO, FastSpring

"FastSpring is an effective solution to localization and cart abandonment because we optimize each business across borders and supply a simple checkout process to be used in any country." Tell us about your journey in SaaS Tech. I started at Siebel Systems at the height of the dot-com era in 2000 and since then have worked in various roles, including business development, sales operations, management consulting, strategy, and M&A. In 2011, I became CFO of the payments division of Intuit in LA, where I realized…

Interview with Lindsay Stewart, CEO and Founder, Stringr

"There are many challenges to being an entrepreneur — you are building something from nothing, and most people, whether it is customers or investors, tell you no at an early stage."Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to start Stringr? I am the Founding CEO of Stringr. Before starting Stringr, I was a broadcast news producer — my last stop was at ABC News where I produced stories for the network. It was there that I realized I wanted more video from harder-to-reach geographies at price points…