Kirby Wadsworth, CMO - marketing advice and risk

February 25, 2020

Kirby Wadsworth, CMO of Illusive Networks on how to get promoted in your marketing career, the best campaigns his team has done, and the future of video.

Video Transcript

Speakers: Kirby Wadsworth, CMO, Illusive Networks

When did taking a risk in your career pay off?

Kirby via Handbrake: Okay, First, let's try to define paying off. If all it is, is about money and that's all you really desire in your career or power or control or a big office. Or all that comes with that. I probably can't help you. I had all those things I worked for a $9, $10 billion company. I had a newly minted MBA. I had four kids, one brand new still in the crib. And I walked away from it all to start, to be a founding member of a startup. With nothing. We had four guys in a basement with a white board and box of Oreo cookies and a bottle of Scotch. That's all we had. We didn't even have a dog. Usually, it's two guys and a dog. That was a long time ago. That start up. failed miserably, As did several others that I was involved in. To be honest with you, that's the nature of the startup business, and anybody who tells you that it's different is lying to you. But every once in a while you get lucky, and, you know, maybe you'll make some money and maybe things will work out. But I left BigCo. Where I honestly was fat, dumb and happy. And many people who stayed are still fat, dumb and happy and make a lot more money probably than I do. And you know, have retirements and pensions, Because I walked into a conference room and there were 40 people in the conference room and every one of them work for the company that I work for. And it took over 30 minutes to go around the conference table for everybody to explain their name, their title, who they worked for, what they were doing in the meeting before we could get to the subject of the meeting. And it was a one hour meeting, and I walked out of that session and, went home, and I told my wife, I can't do that. I don't want to spend my life doing that. Life's too short. I want to go create things and break things and make a mess, and I don't know what's gonna happen, and I don't know if we're gonna starve or we're gonna thrive. But I can't do that. I'd rather chop wood or fish or something than that. So I did what I did. And you know, it's been 30 plus years, and I've done eight start ups now, and the payoff for me has been personal. Some financial, a little bit, I guess, but it's been in the people that I've worked with, people that have helped and the companies that we've created, the jobs that we've started, the industries that we've shaken up, that's been the real payoff for me.

What advice do you have for marketers trying to take their career to the next level?

Kirby via Handbrake: Hoo boy. Okay, a lot of little things and maybe some big ones. The first thing I would say is learned to write. Don't learn how to write. Write every day, write until you write in your sleep, Write. Writing focuses your mind. It forces you to put thoughts together in coherent sentences. It, helps you structure your thought patterns. And it gives you a way to express yourself beyond your thoughts. So learn to write and write every day about anything and everything that you are interested in writing about. The second thing is to build and nurture your network. The network, your network is probably the most important thing that you'll ever have. You need to rely on them for references for jobs, for job offers, success, partnerships, all kinds of things. So collect them, build it, pay forward, help people. Whether when there's no reason other to help them, other than just that they need help. Helping people actually feels good. It's good for your soul, and it's good for your network, and it's good for your career. Conversely, ask your network for things too. People like to help and a as long as you're not begging. Asking people for help and asking people for advice and asking people for favors is good. It actually builds on relationships, and it helps helps you build a tighter network. So help and and ask for help. Three. Learn, learn, learn stuff, learn all the time. But have got to, you also have to go to school. You know, learning and sort of learning on the fly is great and, you know, okay, worked worked out for, you know Bill and a few other people, you know, not getting degrees, but in marketing, having an MBA matters. And you can rail against that, say it doesn't - it matters. It matters in career selection and recruiter attention, in office election. If you want to get ahead in marketing and get to a leadership role in marketing, you pretty much have to have an MBA. I'm sorry, but it's the fact of the matter. Or you have to have an amazing thing happen to you when you're relatively young so everybody thinks you're brilliant. One or the other or both. In my case and I'm not, religious about this, but I don't. There's no barrier to doing that. You can make up all the barriers you want about doing that. I'll just tell you my quick story. I had three children. I had a good job in a great company in Boston, and one day I looked at my wife and I said, I want to apply for executive accelerated MBA program in Chicago. It's gonna be mean I'm gonna be going every other weekend for two years and I'm going to be gone most of the summer for one whole year. And she looked at me and she said "So, about that fourth kid. I really want to have a girl." She's a pretty good negotiator. We ended up having a girl for the 4th and I ended up getting my degree just about the same time, or just a little bit after she was born. So there's really no excuse. If I could do that, and she can do that, put up with all of that and invest that much in my career. You can, too, so get off your butt and get back to school and get your MBA. And if you already have an MBA, get back to school and learn some other skills that you're not an expert on. Learning is really important. Conversely, teaching, mentoring and coaching are really important to because paying back, pays you. You'll learn more from the people that you helped, than you have given them so teach. It causes you, forces you to learn. And it also, gives you a great feeling inside of confidence. And you really believe the knowledge that you have. And then the last thing I'm going to say I'm sorry if Steve and the folks don't like this, but it's true. Don't be an asshole. You know how to tell about assholes right there. There's one on every team. If you don't know who it is on your team, look in the mirror. Don't be that person

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