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Episode 9

Carilu Dietrich | Fractional CMO, 1Password Advisor

An interview with Carilu Dietrich on the state of B2B in 2021

If predicting the future were as easy as looking into a crystal ball, we’d all be billionaires. So as we round out Season 3 of the Catalyst Podcast, we do the next best thing: invite Carilu Dietrich to the podcast. Carilu is a strategic advisor to high growth tech companies, with experience across the board as a marketing executive at a Fortune 100, a pre-IPO unicorn and a Series C startup. Before her most recent role as CMO of Classy, a startup providing online fundraising software to nonprofits, Carilu was the Head of Corporate Marketing at Atlassian, where she helped reposition the company for its successful IPO.

In this episode, LeadMD CEO Justin Gray chats with Carilu about the questions on all our minds: will things return to normal? How are organizations gaining exposure to buyers? What are the top takeaways from the last year? Carilu also addresses how marketers can make themselves indispensable and shares why she’s optimistic about 2021 and beyond.

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3 Key Points:

1. The business world took a hit, but there are silver linings for B2B. 2020 was a year of incredible hardship, but new opportunities have emerged from such drastic changes. Digital transformation, remote working and moving to cloud technology was greatly accelerated. Carilu says 2021 will be a year of recovery and acclimation to the way technology was kicked forward.

2. Marketers should invest in themselves. After a year of furloughs and layoffs, marketers must think ahead about diversifying their skills and mastering the latest technologies. Whether it’s raising a hand to take on a new project or being curious enough to create entirely new roles, modern marketers need to innovate in order to make themselves indispensable in a post-Covid world.

3. Focus on security and privacy.  Post-GDPR, privacy and security are still front and center. However, it’s because now, with a spike in teams working remotely, there’s an increase in personal and business risk like never before. On top of that, marketers need to secure data on prospects and clients while operating within complicated legislation and compliance. Whether it’s enabling simple things like unsubscribes or more complex things like curating personal data, this is an expansive space the B2B world will need to learn to navigate.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

1:33 – Will you give an overview of your background as a CMO and advisor?

4:00 – After this hectic year, what are you optimistic about?

6:40 – How are organizations increasing exposure to their clients?

12:24 – Will there ever be a “normal” in B2B again?

15:37 – What should marketers do to make themselves invaluable in today’s market?

21:40 – What are your top takeaways over the last 12 months?

25:55 – What’s your advice on forming stronger relationships with buyers?

27:31 – Who was a catalyst in your life?

34:05 – Lightning round

37:15 – Wrap-Up: Find Carilu on LinkedIn 

Looking for more episodes? Check out more of our best practice podcasts!

Full Transcript

Justin Gray:

Hey, hello. You are back on Catalyst. I’m Justin Gray CEO, founder LeadMD. Of course, that’s changing by the minute as I seem to be having a conversation around every single day. LeadMD was recently acquired by Trendline Interactive. I’ll give myself the short round of applause there.

Carilu Dietrich:

Woo.

Justin Gray:

That means, of course, thank you. What that means of course is just more of the great stuff that LeadMD’s already known for. But I’m getting used to that new intro. Speaking of intros, I’m happy to welcome Carilu Dietrich to the podcast here today. I think as I, we did Carilu’s initial interview and read through her story, I think it’s a great exclamation point on this season of Catalyst, just in terms of the change that we’ve all been dealing with as a result of COVID and for all the negative impact that exists out there, COVID opened a lot of possibilities just in terms of, let’s wipe the slate clean and let’s figure out a new way to go to market. I think a lot of what she’ll share with us today is right in line with that. So Carilu, welcome to the podcast.

Carilu Dietrich:

Thanks. I’m so happy to be here.

Justin Gray:

Normally, I would just, let’s do a quick level set. What does a, I was going to say a normal day look like for you, but in the wake of COVID and certainly in the theme of this podcast, there are really few normal days these days, but let’s give the listeners a bit of an overview on what it is that you do, your background, your organization, and a bit of what maybe those untraditional day-to-days look like.

Carilu Dietrich:

Sure, so my name is Carilu Dietrich. I’m a B2B SAS software executive marketer. I’ve worked for all sorts of different companies, big, small, and medium. I ran global awareness for Oracle for a number of years and got to do the exciting sports marketing and movie marketing and front page of the Wall Street Journal. Then I was recruited to Atlassian by a former boss and repositioned the company from just dev tools for team collaboration for all. We had an incredibly successful IPO. I grew my team from 15 to a hundred. It was amazing.

Justin Gray:

Wow.

Carilu Dietrich:

Then I did some social impact work for a while. I started a nonprofit called Pledge 1%, which helps tech companies pledge 1% of equity, profit, product or employee time to charity and was CMO of a social impact company that helps nonprofits fundraise. These days, I’m an advisor to CMOs and CEOs for a number of high growth companies, including 1Password, Segment, Miro and others.

Carilu Dietrich:

A day in the life for me, right, so I actually had gone into advising because I needed a little bit more flexibility to spend time with my father and kids and my husband and myself. And so that timing was great with COVID, because my kids were home. I had them in a remote school, so I don’t know. A day in the life, I get up at like six and try to jam in as much before everyone wakes up and and work and homeschool and cook and try to exercise a little bit in the mountains here.

Justin Gray:

That’s awesome. I love consulting and advising simply because you get exposure to so many different environments, cultures, certainly go to market strategies and marketing strategies. I assume that you enjoy the same based on that introduction. But with COVID, you also get a varied level of impact, right, across those different organizations that you’re working with. What do you most, out of that exposure, what are you most optimistic about now that we, I think today was actually, I saw an article, this is the one-year marker of COVID being designated as a global pandemic? We’ve had quite a bit of runway, far more than I certainly ever expected that we’d still be dealing with this virus. I’m curious as to, after that period of time, what are you most optimistic about after being able to see this through all those different lenses?

Carilu Dietrich:

Well, despite the personal struggles and the business struggles of so many on Main Street, I mean, technology has just had a blazing several years. QQQ, one of the main tech index funds that I invest in was up 47% for the year, last year, and a lot of stocks were up more than a 100%, so from a B2B SAS perspective, COVID was fantastic. Of course, that’s not to say that we’re not all concerned about the global, personal impacts that are happening, but I mean, it really kicked forward technology. All these things that we had promised were going, digital transformation, remote working, cloud, everything online and being accessible were massively accelerated because people were forced to be home. I guess I’m really optimistic about the vaccine. My father’s had it. Unfortunately, my kids and husband had COVID, so we are in a post fear space with them. I think that this is going to be a great year of recovery for the economy as a whole. I expect that this leap forward will continue to build our technology sophistication as a country and a globe, I guess.

Justin Gray:

Yeah, to your point, we’ve had to respond to this, right? Our teams were distributed. They’re virtual. Our buying motion is 100% online in most cases. I’m curious, it seems to me to the point of the two ends of the spectrum here, right. You’ve got the devastating impact of this pandemic. And then you’ve also got the positive elements, which are simply disruption, right, like a lot of the motion that marketers have been performing for years and years, it’s become table stakes. Frankly, the results have gone in the same direction, right? We can no longer just send someone an email and count on them to raise their hand. We could no longer just sponsor an event and walk away from that with troves of leads and demand gen. In terms of those historic or traditional channels retiring or being less of a focus, where are people putting their money these days? How are people innovating and getting exposure to that buyer?

Carilu Dietrich:

Well, you know the old adage necessity is the mother of invention. Marketers have really been challenged in so many ways this year. You’re right, right? I mean, in-person events are a huge component of the engagement, especially in my area of expertise, which is B2B SaaS. In B2B sales, they’re longer sales, they require anywhere from like 10 to 35 touch points. Relationships across a number of different people and events gave you a deeper engagement. That’s been really hard for a number of organizations to replicate. That being said, the ability to have your conferences online brings in a massive audience, right? I mean, a number of the CMOs that I’m talking to have seen the attendance of their conferences double or triple or quadruple, because so many people can access them without traveling. I spoke at SaaStr earlier this week. SaaStr and Collision and all these big conferences, they’ve actually said that it’s more competitive than ever to get a speaking slot, because now people don’t have to travel, just one hour to invest in this connection.

Carilu Dietrich:

On the tactic side, some of the CMOs that I work with lost a bunch of budget and invested it back in the business when they couldn’t do big events, some of them reinvested it in new ways. A number of companies are trying these small, tequila tasting, cooking class engagement webinars. I’ve actually seen some of those, as a consumer of products, be successful for me. If I can connect with other people in a small engagement, it is moving forward my consideration of their product. And then I think we all had to just really tighten, batten down the hatches in terms of being more effective in our email, more effective in our ideal customer profile and targeting, more effective in outlining the sales journey and trying to shore up steps along it to encourage progression. I’ll say, it’s kind of a distribution. Some of the CMOs and CEOs I work with have seen equal or greater conversion levels as what they saw before, and a couple of them are still really struggling to replace the enterprise events, which was just such a big part of their selling motion.

Justin Gray:

Yeah. I mean, essentially, everyone’s had to step up their game, right? When you’re going digital and you’re reducing a lot of the barrier and frankly, the commitment that would come with getting on a plane, right, like I, if I’m going to that conference, I’m getting on a plane, I’m spending money on airfare and hotel. I’m going to be engaged there, right? I’m taking time out of my life. On digital, it’s easy to sign on, let me check it out, and then disengage really quickly if I’m not getting that payoff. I feel like bringing value forward within that process, to your point, we’ve been running a lot of, both for our clients and internal, highly curated small events to where we can get four or five CMOs together and they can have a real conversation about something they’re struggling with while tasting great wines, right? So you’ve got a dual payoff there.

Carilu Dietrich:

I think it’s accelerating a trend that you and I already knew about, right? Atlassian was one of the leaders in product led growth. One of the advantages of product led growth is that people research online, they try a product themselves, they maybe interact with your customer support online, they buy. And then from Atlassian’s earlier perspective, we sometimes had salespeople to help grow and expand and cross sell. In the early days, there was no sales then until a pretty late stage. Something like 80% of research is taking place before a customer ever talks to you anyway, so I feel like part of it was forcing what was already a happening trend, that people want more effective pre-sale engagement from a digital perspective than they want an SDR calling them and a sales person stopping by their office. I think, again, as in digital transmit information, I think COVID really forced us forward, but these were trends that were already building.

Justin Gray:

Yeah, and with all that research taking place online, we have to respect that by the time someone reaches out and is actually ready to have a conversation, they’re looking for a much deeper level of value and information there, right? Like the old let me fill out my form and see a demo. That just doesn’t engage buyers any longer. They’re looking for real examples. They’re looking for help. They’re looking for enablement, even as part of the sales cycle to better use that product. And to your point, product led growth gives us such a great lens into get something in someone’s hands, and then really bring them forward into those advanced features or other product sets that are going to be complimentary there. But that education cycle is just so critical, certainly within B2B marketing.

Justin Gray:

What other, so everyone’s likening this to the recession that we saw in ’08 as well. I think similarly, you’re seeing this desire for a return to normal, right? We heard about that almost from the beginning. I think, we’re going to be back to normal in Q3 of 2020, and now it’s end of Q2, early Q3 this year. Are we ever going back to a normal? Is there even such a state?

Carilu Dietrich:

It’s a great question, because things are always changing. I think my fear when we went into COVID, at the very beginning, was what if COVID happens and we’re all inside and the economy is tanking, right, take us back a year. I was actually in, I had made an offer on my very first house purchase ever the second day that stock market crash 10%. And so the stock market’s down 20%, and you’re thinking, “Could this be the Great Depression? Could this be 2000? How low can we go? What’s this going to be like?” I was afraid of these compounding factors, like what if we have a California earthquake we’ve been waiting for, what if it’s 1908 all over again? And then we did have these challenges, right? The protests in the summer and the wildfires, and all of those things compounded it, so I guess I feel like the world is constantly changing. It’s akido to keep up with it. I hope that everyone gets vaccinated. I hope that we get to have meetings and conferences and travel again. I’m excited about in marketing, incorporating what we’ve learned to do more effectively, digitally in the future that’s normal, but I think that the next year is going to bring these unexpected challenges. The best we can do is be present in the moment and take each of them as they come, because if we could predict, we’d all be billionaires.

Justin Gray:

Let’s switch gears here and talk about the other aspect that was deeply affected by COVID, which is obviously marketing talent and employees. We saw a lot within the SMB space in terms of furlough and in terms of layoffs earlier on. I think, just in the same vein where buyers are looking for real value, right, like companies are looking for the same thing. They’re looking for individuals that are an investment and not a cost center. It’s really interesting when you apply that to marketing, however, because I feel like there is no marketing credential, there is no real agreement on the discipline of marketing and how to go do those items. A lot of people learn on the job. Therefore, we found folks that were maybe handling a specialized area where we needed someone that had a more diverse range of skills, right, and could do one or two different jobs, certainly as we were managing this initial downturn.

Justin Gray:

As the industry continues to evolve and we see these new skillsets arising and we’re forcing marketers to understand more and more about technology, more and more about performance, being held to a data-driven metric as it pertains to marketing and getting away from some of the inherent art that goes into marketing, not getting away from it, but we need to have that performance side of the house. How do marketers make themselves more more valuable, more mission critical and ensure that some of these furloughs and layoffs that they’re somewhat insulated from that impact?

Carilu Dietrich:

Yeah, this was a really tough year for so many folks. I mean, especially folks in the event industry whom I know many, but I don’t think it’s much different than managing your career at any stage. You can get fired by a company that doesn’t have good financial performance.

Justin Gray:

Sure.

Carilu Dietrich:

I mean, that order of magnitude is different, but I think that the solve is the same. As you think about your career, you need to do a good job in your current job, which is the obvious, but I think the second really important part is to really think ahead about learning and diversifying your skills, to your point. I, in my career, I started out in enterprise sales and then I got screwed on a deal and went into marketing, because I was like, “Marketing is making all the decisions. I’m going to go where the decisions are made,” not knowing how much they also, you know, there’s always a boss somewhere, right?

Justin Gray:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Carilu Dietrich:

I went into marketing, and I was doing public relations. When I was doing public relations, we had this huge launch coming up on the biggest paddock launch of the year. The product manager who was supposed to run it, he quit. I raised my hand to run the smoke test, which back then was like the beta. You give the software to customers. We asked them to do a bunch of things. We take the feedback, and then hopefully, they become our friends and they’re involved in our PR quote, right? And so all I needed was a quote, but I ended up in the basement with the engineers trying to do all the release engineering and getting to know it, but that opportunity, and so many others like that, where I raised my hand to learn and help where there was a hole, gave me relationships that helped insulate me, gave me knowledge that made me more effective and gave me skills that I could leverage into my next role.

Carilu Dietrich:

And so I think one, doing a great job in your job, two, looking for places where you can really help in the white space or the gray space, and three, I would say, is really being creative. In my career, I’ve pitched myself into two or three roles that didn’t exist, that I helped make up in my mind and sell to someone who gave them to me.

Carilu Dietrich:

One of them was one of the companies I worked for got acquired. I had struggled with the CMI I was working for, and didn’t really enjoy working in that marketing department. I went to the new marketing leader that had acquired our company and said, “Hey, you really need them to focus on getting the leads and driving the revenue, but someone’s going to have to work on all these places where we have to integrate the two companies, the systems, the people, the teams, the processes. Make me the MNA integration lead for the next six months, and let me make this go smoothly and let the marketing team is that exist in its current form, focus on what they do best, which is why you bought us.” He said, “Fine.” He made up this role. I did it. Then that was a stepping stone to other roles.

Carilu Dietrich:

I actually did the same thing at Oracle in my advertising job. I’d never had an advertising job. I convinced the Global, we got acquired by Oracle, that company, and I convinced the VP of Global Advertising that I could write ads and I could do media and I understood people, and even though I’d never done it, he could make up this special role, which was the writer technology expert on the advertising team, which is mostly media experts. I guess, my recommendation would be to think about what your company needs and what you want to do, and don’t get boxed in by the jobs that are listed, but look for those open spaces, because it’ll give you more staying power or more leverage in your next job.

Justin Gray:

Yeah, that curiosity is so critical there, right? What we find is when we do our own hiring, there’s definitely two schools of thought. Number one, “Hey, did you tell me what you’re doing with,” let’s take intent, because I know you mentioned that in your pre-interview, right, intent is one of those areas that is just becoming a, it’s the evolution of lead scoring where 10 years ago, lead scoring totally innovative, blew the doors off how we were prioritizing marketing and sales time. These days, we’re looking for deeper signals, right, like how do we understand what people are consuming off of assets that we own into visibility into buying funnels that we would have no perspective into previously. I feel like when you ask people, “Hey, what are you doing running 10,” there’s one answer where it’s, “Yeah, I’ve tried to pitch that to my boss before. They really haven’t had an interest. We just haven’t gone down that path yet.”

Justin Gray:

Then you’ve got the other school, which is, “Yeah, I started up a beta around intent, set up a demo with a provider, made the business case for it, and now we’re leveraging a tool, right?” You’ve got to constantly be pushing your own boundaries and challenging the status quo, as you said, in that regard. Those are the folks that the companies are lusting after. They’re looking for the folks that can be that innovator within their marketing department.

Carilu Dietrich:

Well, and it’s so tough, right? I mean, I was just thinking about those examples I gave you. It was easier to do when I was younger and didn’t have kids and commitments or elderly parents that I was nursing, all these other things that come into play. But I do think that picking a job in marketing or picking a job in technology and being successful, requires a lifetime of learning. The technology that I advise on didn’t even exist five or 10 years ago. And to your point, the tech stack that I manage as a CMO is totally different than the tech stack I worked with past simple leads, all the add-ons that we have now are so different. I do think it requires constant learning about your company, about the competitor side of the technologies or products that you sell and about the technology in the marketing landscape. There’s so much to learn.

Justin Gray:

Yeah, totally agree. Speaking of learnings, what’s your top takeaway over the last 12 months? What’s the biggest lesson you’ve walked away and that you’re advising your clients to be aware of?

Carilu Dietrich:

I have become more and more obsessed with security, because I think that there’s increased personal and business risk like never before.

Justin Gray:

From a data privacy standpoint?

Carilu Dietrich:

All of them. I mean, there’s so many different things that need to take place, right? From a marketing perspective we had all the European legislation of GDPR and privacy, which is privacy is the extension of security. Three billion usernames and passwords were leaked and came out on the dark web in the last couple of months. Something like 81% of breaches are associated with weak and reused passwords. 50% of people use their personal and professional passwords. I’m terrified of my father’s entire like retirement being stolen by some sort of super savvy fishing hacker. I got phished this week, because I was looking for a receipt from Amazon, and then there was someone who had sent me a receipt that looks like, oh, so from Apple. It looks like a receipt from Apple. Then it said that we spent like 70 bucks on some game. I was like, “No, we didn’t.” I got so angry at my kids, but I started to get involved in this phishing incident, which could drain my entire net wealth, you know?

Justin Gray:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Carilu Dietrich:

So I guess I feel like security and privacy is going to be more and more important to marketers and to individuals and to the company as a whole, I mean, to companies on the whole. I think that both security and privacy make it more and more difficult to be a marketer. What happens when we can’t track people and target them very accurately? All the gains that we’ve kind of made in this hyper data environment that we love from a marketing perspective could become more and more complicated from a legislation perspective, from a personal perspective. If I do a metaphor to the past, remember when banner ads came out and they were so effective, and then all of a sudden people are like, “You know what? These are annoying.” And they plugged in banner blockers. All of a sudden that channel like, you know, totally changed. So I feel like in the marketing space security and privacy has a big, big impact that we need to figure out how to navigate.

Justin Gray:

Yeah, I do love security and privacy because of the other side of the coin, that it also enables. In order for us to really secure the data of our prospects and clients, we have to bring it into an intentional architecture where we can do simple things like unsubscribe, but more complex things like personal data curation. But then we also get that unified snapshot of the buying journey, right? We’re bringing all these signals in there, whether you are a prospect or a client using our technology and you’re able to consume that usage information and better inform the messaging that we’re providing to them. It’s a huge trend on both sides of that coin, so I agree. I think that’s one of the most, strangely one of the most exciting things happening in marketing today, certainly with the whole CDP trend that’s backing that. 

Carilu Dietrich:

I was just going to say, I do think companies that do it really well, can earn brand trust that will be very significant. As the risks continue to increase, the trust, the buying criteria of trust, I think, will become more and more important.

Justin Gray:

Totally agreed, totally. I think that plays into the second point that you talked about where as marketers, we always have to be on the lookout for those little cheats that are, you see those, “Hey, is anyone running Snapchat ads? Is anyone on Tik TOK?” Right? But those cycles are getting incredibly short, so I feel like we have to keep 10% of our time always looking for like what’s the new, first mover advantage in engaging buyers. But it all ultimately funnels down to fundamentals, right? How do we form a really strong relationship with that buyer so they want to give us more information? Because we’re going to use that information to better inform the knowledge and the education and the value that we can provide to them. That’s what I love about the discipline of market.

Carilu Dietrich:

It’s fun being a marketer and a consumer, right? Because I love some of the ads in my Facebook feed. Every now and then, I’m like, “They know me better than I know me. I didn’t know that these things existed, but I would like them.” I do think that when I was starting out my career in sales, I was recruited out college with 40 salespeople and taken to Ohio for an eight week sales training. Then head of sales training was a long time super successful salesman. He would be like, “People think sales is slimy, but sales is just, your job is to inform the customer of their options. It’s your job to inform them as best as possible.”

Carilu Dietrich:

I’ve always held that close to my heart as a marketer. My job isn’t to pull a one over on someone. It’s to inform them about what’s available, what would be helpful to them and why it would be helpful to them. I feel like that’s a really honest transaction. When you’re targeting really effectively, you’re helping people find things that they are interested in that will help them be more effective in their lives and their businesses. There’s something that’s noble about that instead of just being dirty, tracking, slimy salesperson. I really believe that in my heart.

Justin Gray:

Yeah, that servant mentality is just so critical across the board, quite frankly. We’ve talked about a lot of change as it pertains to clients, the market, employees, and so on. I’d love to take us into your own experience, your own catalytic moment. I find that most folks have a small but mighty set of people that have been catalysts within their own lives. I’m curious as to who your catalyst is.

Carilu Dietrich:

When you first asked me this question, the people who came to my mind were my two favorite bosses of all times, the people who’ve given me so much opportunity and mentoring, Jay Simons, the former president of Atlassian, who’s now a partner at Bond Capital and Scott Clousin, the former SVP of global marketing at Oracle. They really propelled my career. But when I was doing my research on you, I read about how your father made a big career change. The two of you went into organic farming together.

Justin Gray:

Yep.

Carilu Dietrich:

I was thinking about how you, as an entrepreneur, have so much courage to be an entrepreneur and how I can see how that courage …

Justin Gray:

Courage and stupidity. It’s always a debate.

Carilu Dietrich:

It’s a fine line, but I can see maybe where you got some of that courage. That’s a big jump for your dad and, and to make big jumps and inspire is really propelling, so I think about my parents. My mom was like a super badass business woman lawyer before women went to law school. She really encouraged me to be a strong woman leader. My father is an economist and an investor. He was a lawyer. He’s taught me so much about looking at the world through an investor’s eyes, which has helped me pick growth companies, which has helped me help the companies I work for grow faster, which has helped me understand the global context of booms and busts and risks and opportunities. I would say my parents are my biggest catalyst, and God willing, my kids someday will think I was helpful.

Justin Gray:

Yeah, it’s funny when you think about the context that you receive as a kid. You don’t realize that it’s even a lesson at that point. But yeah, I mean, ultimately both my parents were entrepreneurs. They own their own business. Therefore, it just seems very natural to start things like that. I think when you talk to folks that maybe haven’t had that exposure and I’m just always surprised how calculated people are. I’m just not a calculated person. I love that about what I got from my parents. Not that you ignore these other signals, but it’s like, “If that doesn’t work, we’ll figure it out.” To your point, when you’re surrounded by folks that just have a business mentality, you’re going to pick that up. It’s just a fundamental part of your personality and how you approach the world. Yeah. Great, great identification of catalyst there.

Carilu Dietrich:

Well, it gives you such a fluidity, right? It’s funny, because I think you’re courageous for starting a business. My dad worked for 30 years as a lawyer for the County of Los Angeles. When I changed jobs, every time I changed jobs, he’d be like, “You’re changing jobs.” And every time I’d be like, “Dad, I got a better job. I make more money. I have new opportunity. It makes me more valuable. It doesn’t feel like risk to me because I have these mentors that I’m following,” or it doesn’t feel like risk for you, but then the context of what gives you courage almost feels implicit instead of courage itself, right?

Justin Gray:

Right.

Carilu Dietrich:

That’s what you seem.

Justin Gray:

Similarly, on your own career path and life path there, is there a specific moment that you point to that’s like, “Hey, that really changed my outlook.” Just those catalytic moments that, I don’t know, we don’t normally always realize them when we’re happening, but certainly when we look back, we think, “Wow, that that changed the course of my life there.”

Carilu Dietrich:

For me, it absolutely is joining Atlassian as the head of marketing, head of the IPO. At the time I was working for Oracle, I had this epic job where I was traveling to LA to read movie scripts to see if we advertising them, because had just done Iron Man. I had this global advertising budget of more than $40 million. I wrote ads for the front page of Wall Street Journal. Then old boss had recruited me Jay Simons to Atlassian, which was a small dev tools company. I felt like it really could be a career limiting move to be at a smaller company that’s focused on this smaller market. But the Atlassian story is one of great growth and opportunity and wonderful people, and so joining that team has really defined what came out there and all the opportunities I have now and the great relationships that I made, so I’m so thankful for that.

Carilu Dietrich:

It’s funny, because I took the job based on the feedback of three people, Jay, and two other mentors that were all from one of the first companies I’d worked for. That the reason I took the job ultimately was are the people at Atlassian going to be the people like these people I was calling from 10 or 15 years earlier, like they’ll be there in the future, people I learned from my grow from. I think it was really about picking the people and the growth and opportunity.

Justin Gray:

Yeah. Awesome, awesome point. It’s funny how being in an environment like that and the relationships that you form, just constantly revisit you throughout your career, your life and so on. That’s something that’s certainly come up for me more and more in the last five or so years. The value of relationships is just insane. Everyone around here will attest that my saying is that relationships are the currency of success. I truly believe that

Carilu Dietrich:

Oh, I couldn’t agree more. It’s funny, because I’m a super go getter, perfectionist, good student. There’s times in my past, especially when I was younger, where I was so focused on the goal, I wasn’t focused on the relationship. Now, 20 years later when the relationships are everything, every job that I’ve had, and every call that I get is from someone who was like, “I really enjoyed working with you. I thought you were smart. These people could use your help.” And so I do, I agree. Yeah, I’m going to put that one on another post-it note here, “Relationships are the currency of success.” Plus one, Justin.

Justin Gray:

Thank you. Thank you. Let’s pivot here. We’ll go into what we love to do, which is just a rapid fire round, if you’re cool with that. We’ll get a little bit of just fun insight here. Type irrelevant, where do you go for trusted news and information these days?

Carilu Dietrich:

This one’s embarrassing, but I read The Week Junior.

Justin Gray:

I’ve never heard of it.

Carilu Dietrich:

It’s like The Week. The Week is this briefing sheet. It’s all the news that’s important for a week. They take excerpts from all these other newspapers. It was based on a briefing sheet that President Clinton used to get, and they made this magazine out of it. The Week, it’s an awesome magazine. I bought the one for my kids. I actually get all my news from one for the kids, because it’s positive and happy and affirming. It doesn’t cover all the global kidnappings, rapes, murders, insurrections. I read that for world news and then, I don’t know millions of tech sites for tech beats.

Justin Gray:

Yeah, I think we could all use a little bit of positivity in our lives these days. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Carilu Dietrich:

Cotton candy.

Justin Gray:

Cotton candy, interesting. It’s such a mess.

Carilu Dietrich:

Blue.

Justin Gray:

Every time, it’s everywhere.

Carilu Dietrich:

It is sticky and it is colorful, but it is fantastic.

Justin Gray:

I agree. What’s one thing about yourself that you could change if you could?

Carilu Dietrich:

I would be more chill and enjoy the ride. I think I’m an intense person, and that helped me get where I am, but I’m constantly scanning and worrying and thinking. I really admire people who can just be present and enjoy what they have when they have it and take challenges as they come, so that’s what I’m aspiring to be.

Justin Gray:

That’s awesome, so we talked a lot about great jobs. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Carilu Dietrich:

My very first job in high school was doing data entry for parking tickets at the DMV.

Justin Gray:

Oh wow.

Carilu Dietrich:

I would just sit next to…

Justin Gray:

How did you get that? You applied for this job?

Carilu Dietrich:

Oh, it was highly contested. I have no idea. I think my mom was like, “You need a job. I got you one.” The next summer I became a florist, which I felt was more suited to my artistic interests. Yeah, I sat in front of a huge pile of parking tickets and had to type everything in accurately and every moment had to resist just reducing everyone’s charge by typing in the wrong amount.

Justin Gray:

Yeah, I don’t envy that job. I would agree. It was funny. My father owned a construction company growing up, and so I always had to work for him, but when I turned 15 and a half, he said, “You have to go get a job that’s not working for me, and I got it for you.” It was at a pizza place that a buddy of his owned. Yeah, my first job was not great either.

Carilu Dietrich:

It’s pizza. It’s pretty yummy. I don’t know.

Justin Gray:

It’d be fun. It’s funny how sick you get a pizza after working at a pizza joint.

Carilu Dietrich:

I know how that is. My husband dated someone who worked at a donut shop. At the end of the night, they’d bring home trash bags of donuts to his friends. He said that he’s never eaten another donut in his whole life.

Justin Gray:

Wow. Yeah, that’ll do it. That’ll do it. Carilu, I very much appreciate you coming on the podcast, sharing some of your stories, certainly some insights that are incredibly valuable for the last 12 months that I think will continue to guide us in many months and years to come. If folks want to connect with you directly, what’s the best way to do so?

Carilu Dietrich:

Following me on LinkedIn or reaching out to me on LinkedIn. That’s my primary business use.

Justin Gray:

Awesome, awesome. Well, again, I very much appreciate you coming on and telling your story. A lot of value there, and I think very much in keeping with the catalyst theme. Of course, if you guys are watching and you want to check out other episodes of Catalyst or subscribe, you can do so at leadmd.com/bestpractices, give us a like, gives us subscribed, definitely keeps us going in that regard. Until next time, remember never miss a chance to be inspired.

 

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