Frankenstein or Benevolent Helper – Sorting Out the Future of AI and Marketing – Panel

The Go To Market Dojo was HOPPING as standing room crowd of about 60 NIs (Natural Intelligence-s) gathered over pizza, beer and networking to discuss the future if AI and Marketing Careers.  Panelists Atri Chatterjee , Mehul Shah and Frederic Mathieu brought three very different perspectives to the conversation.

Atri lamented that he’d be well retired before AI obsoleted marketers, while Frederic thought this is so far off that it’s not a worry.  Mehul added the framework, borrowed from Autonomous driving, of 4 levels of AI (five if you include none), from cruise control to fully autonomous driving, or in the marketing case, from analytical insight into your data to fully autonomous management and optimization of the entire customer journey.  Frederic viewed AI as the “helper” not the owner, able to solve for all the hard work and automate pain away!  All the panelist agree that we are a LONG way from level 4.  The audience, including me, felt a palpable sense of relief and job security :).

An interesting discussion started around how data was really the fuel of AI, and that the first task for marketers was to get their data understood, organized and managed.  Big topic onto itself and we barely scratched the surface.   But there was a broad consensus that marketers need to have high levels of Data Literacy to stay and remain relevant.  Learning the basics of AI and Data Literacy are a key knowledge foundation for marketers of the future.  The panelist encouraged us all to get smart on these topics and mentioned many online courses on Udemy, Coursera, the Intel AI Academy as sources for this content.

The second key skill identified by the panel was story-telling.  It’s one thing to see the data, it’s another to tell a compelling story with it.

Will marketer’s become obsolete?  No was the overall consensus.  Intuition, forming the right hypothesis and leveraging AI strategically are best done today, and for the foreseeable future by people and leaders, not AIs.  So, it also became clear that creativity is a third skill marketers need to build.

After some great Q and A, the panel wrapped with this question; What’s the #1 thing you’d recommend that marketers do to be ready and take advantage of AI.  With apologies to the panel, here’s my paraphrases answers –

– Mehul :  Understand and get control of your data

– Frederic: Remember WHY you are doing marketing, if it’s to delight customer’s your job will get better and more interesting but if it’s to do analysis and be a spreadsheet jockey, well might be time to rethink that

– Atri: Training, Training, Training.  Lead your team by giving them the opportunity to get and stay smart on Data, AI and other emerging tech and trends.

This just scratched the surface of our panel discussion, and we all left more informed, a bit relieved and ready to hop onto our Data Literacy online courses…which is where I’ll be heading next!  – Hope to see you all at our RSA Pre-Fresher in San Francisco – Ken

Shoulder to Shoulder with Tim Eades on Leadership…

Tim Eades, CEO of vArmour made for a compelling guest at our Dojo Meetup on December 5th. Though we promised “Vegas Rules” on specific antidotes and people, here’s a few of the nuggets of wisdom I took away from our chat:

  • The future is NOT “4-legged” sales calls, it’s high velocity, value delivery driven, product led, low touch sales – Think AppDynamics, NewRelic, Atlassian NOT Oracle, SAP or Peoplesoft
  • Leadership is about giving – you need to give to get, and what you give will come back many times
  • Leaders don’t put themselves above, they stand “Shoulder to Shoulder” with those they lead
  • Give innovators permission and space, and you’ll be amazed at the transformative things they can deliver
  • There’s never been a better time to be a marketing leader, but you better know your stuff!
  • Put your customer at the center of everything, and marketing can make that happen

These are just a few of the takeaways I had.  What did you learn?

Ken 12/06/17

Why I Started the Go To Market Dojo – 6 Months Later…

It all started with a conversation with my friend, colleague and mentor Donna:

Donna asked, “so you’re going to the RSA Conference, why aren’t you speaking there?”

“All the people would want to hear me, are all busy with speaking to their customers,” I replied, “We really don’t have a great place to gather.”

“Well, then you create the space,” she replied.

I also had quite a few chats with colleagues; CEOs, Investors and CMOs who expressed how challenging it was to identify and grow the next generation of go to market leadership in their organizations.  And the up and comers expressed to me the difficulty of getting either formal or informal mentoring and advice.

That was the really beginning of the Go To Market Dojo.  Now, about 6 months later, we’ve had 4 meet-ups, connected with more than 400 Go To Market professionals, and had some of the brightest minds in the Silicon Valley as panelists and guests.

Our mission is simple yet ambitious; “To Create a Community of Practice Dedicated to Go To Market Excellence”.   A place to network with like minded leaders and learn and share best practices. We are creating both a physical space in Mountain View where we are holding events like meet-ups, workshops and mentoring sessions, and now we have just opened our free virtual community at , so join today if you please.

We even have a set of 6 founding principles –

  • Create a Community Space
  • Share and Learn, Don’t Sell
  • Be Practitioner Focused
  • Recognize Achievement
  • Engage Domain Experts
  • Excellence, Practice, Collaboration

What’s in the future?  We are looking for partners to begin Dojo branches outside of Silicon Valley – email the Dojo Business Manager Maggie if you are interested.  We are planning drop in hours at the Dojo too!  And in the Spring we are expecting to hold our first ever Go To Market Basho, a whole day event dedicated to networking and learning and sharing.  How cool will that be – Details to come in early 2018.

Until then, hope to see you in person or virtually at the Dojo!




Scary Clowns Aside, Our Dojo Panel Dishes Out Tasty Treats on Sales and Marketing Alignment

About 50 practitioners, panelists and sponsors gathered to chat about Sales and Marketing Alignment at the Silicon Valley Go To Market Dojo on 10/24.  The food and the discussion were excellent, and a special thanks to our night’s sponsor, DWCC Global.

Panelists BJ Bushur, Jim Wilson, Franco Azini and Craig Hooper brought some amazing insights, even if they were haunted by the clown lurking behind them thanks to the Halloween decorations from gracious host UserTesting.  Some of the highlights included:

Our panel discussed sales and marketing alignment, despite the scary clown lurking in the background, who was rumored to be the CEO of one of the attendees!

  • All four panelist agreed that Sales and Marketing Alignment was both something to do, and something to achieve.  Franco, who currently runs sales ops for Xactly, pointed out that this goal is always moving forward, and there is always more to do.
  • Jim, who is an operating partner at Costanoa Ventures,  provided a great framework when he emphasized that alignment really had to be along 3 dimensions, Strategy, Planning and Execution.
  • BJ, founder and Sales Optimization Architect at Foundation6, talked about how critical metrics were and the need for regular, ongoing communication and consensus.  Especially around the “Ideal Customer Profile”
  • Craig, founder and CEO of DWCC added how to move from early market to scale, how important it was to make sure that marketing was defining and communicating, and enabling sales to tell the right story, and how important customer value was.

All of the panelist seemed “aligned” on some other key items, including the importance of “street cred”, domain expertise, and customer intimacy for marketers.

The Dojo crowd had great questions on topics ranging from metrics, to analytics, to organizational challenges, like CMOs and Sales leaders who don’t get along, building trust and commitment, and what to do when the sales leader all of the sudden is running marketing too.

At the end, Frank summed it up nicely, when he said the number 1 skill that marketers need to align with sales is EMPATHY.  This was a great summary comment for a panel that while they believed heavily in analytics, metrics and technology, still seem to place a greater emphasis on communications, team work, and integrity.

Hopefully this summary captures some of the key highlights, but to really get the most out of these meet-ups, you have to be there.  And I hope to see you on December 5th for our next meet up where we will be chatting 1:1 with vArmour CEO Tim Eades, on what it takes to lead.  For more info on meetups, workshops and other cool stuff, visit and join the growing community at


Cybersecurity Go To Market Dojo Meetup #1 Takeaways, Thank Yous and Next Events

About forty Go To Market Professionals in cybersecurity gathered on June 21st for the first ever meet-up of the Silicon Valley Go to Market Dojo.  I must humbly say the event was a great success.

Our guest speaker, Dr. Chenxi Wang discussed”Winning the Analyst Game- An Insider’s View”.  A former lead security analyst at Forrester, Chenxi then worked for several security vendors including McAfee and Twistlock.

Here are three things I took away from Chenxi’s many insights:

  1. Don’t talk about your product, talk about problems you solve and how you help customers.
  2. Don’t expect, ask or treat analysts as an extension of your Go To Market.  You have your job, and they have theirs.
  3. The best thing you can do is to teach the analyst something new.

Chenxi also referenced a great blog she did a few years ago – and here it is, “Be a Good Marketer and Win over Your Analyst with 8 Slides.” I was struck how similar that Chenxi’s advise on influencing analysts mirrors my advise to clients on messaging and positioning to customers.  My belief is that all markets at their core are conversations.  Conversations between vendors and analysts (and other influencers and interlopers) are different than vendor  to customer conversations, but they certainly are related, and I’ll be blogging about this soon.  So thank you Chenxi for being such a compelling speaker , a supporter of the Dojo, and an inspiration to me on new ways of thinking.

I was excited to give out a few of my new favorite books to luck attendees, including The Captain Class and The Undoing Project.  These two books inspired me, and I wanted to share them not only in a recent blog, but with the Dojo community.  Congrats to Doug and Horacio, our lucky winners, enjoy. And thank you to the all of meet-up attendees for being amazing participants in both networking and Q and A.

I have started the Dojo with the idea that we need a place to build a community of practice for Go to Market Professionals focused on collaboration, excellence and practice.  If yesterday’s event and feedback was any indication of validating this idea, the Dojo has a vibrant and bright future.  I couldn’t be more excited.

Our next Dojo Meet-up is for MarTech Go To Market Professionals, and will be on August 15th at 6pm, you can register here.  Our panel is shaping up, and we will be entitled, “Landscapes, Stacks and Platforms, Oh My”.

Our next CyberSecurity Dojo Meet-up is tentatively scheduled for August 23rd, also in Mountain View. Early registration is now open!

Until then, may Leonardo, Yoda and MLK be with you on your Leadership journey! – Ken