I spent the first 25 years of my career as a startup executive, running marketing, product, and sales teams. I led teams at seven successful B2B technology startups. Most of those startups were acquired (DataMirror to IBM, Janna Systems to Siebel Systems, then SAP, Watcom to Sybase via Powersoft, to name a few), and I ran big teams at IBM, Siebel, Sybase, and others. The total of those acquisitions is more than two billion dollars. Across that journey, I positioned, re-positioned, and launched 16 products, and created dozens of sales pitches.
I have a deep curiosity about what makes the difference between a winning product and a loser. Developing a systematic way of positioning technology products and companies has become my life's work. As a consultant, I have had the privilege of working with more than 200 companies, allowing me to go even deeper and broaden my positioning expertise. The bulk of my work is with growth-stage startups and larger technology companies. Companies where the stakes are high - and weak positioning can mean the difference between success or failure.
My first book, Obviously Awesome
, captures my ideas about positioning and a methodology for doing it that any startup can follow. It's become a best-seller and popular among entrepreneurs, product, and marketing folk. My second book, Sales Pitch
, was designed to teach a step-by-step way of building a sales pitch that reflects that positioning, and helps make a clear compelling case for why prospects should pick you over the competition.
I studied Engineering at the University of Waterloo. If you had told me back then that someday I would be an author, I would have said you were nuts. It turns out my grade 6 English teacher was wrong about the importance of grammar.
I'm at the stage of my career where I'm trying to give back as much as I can. I am a mentor and advisor to dozens of startups and folks that work in them. I am also an enthusiastic board member at a handful of startups.
I live in Toronto, Canada. I have kids, a small dog, and a cabin in the woods.