E158 – Leadership & Growth W/ Amanda Orson
Analytics

 
 
00:00 / 43:36
 
1X
 

In this 3rd episode of the Leadership Series we are joined by Amanda Orson. She has been involved in affiliate marketing, SEO, growth marketing and much more. Her background is likely quite unique and her insights from it can help all of us be better managers, leaders and people (so says Dave!).

Military, Firefighting & EMT Background

From leadership, following, and training what has she taken away from them? Anything good? Anything bad?

The answer is a bit complicated and best answered by the transcript or listening to the episode. So hit play and listen!

Leadership Series Guests & Episodes

  1. Building and Hiring Digital Teams W/ Sean McGinnis
  2. Managing Marketing Teams W/ Lauren Vaccarello
  3. Leadership & Growth W/ Amanda Orson
  4. Leadership & Teams W/ Mark Barrera

How to Power Through a “No” in the Office

Amanda talks through how she refuses to takes no from a coworker or stakeholder and works to make it a yes. People will say no to projects, feature requests, and just overall any changes in the office for a number of reasons. Listen and hear how she works through objections to win over approval and that Yes in the end for her requests.

Founder vs. Manager

Does that impact your interview and hiring?As in do you approach things differently depending on your role? (in good or bad way) As founder I imagine you have a bigger longer term vision so that could impact hiring where Manager is worried more about that project/quarter and maybe that year.

For Amanda she sees things a bit differently than some others and approaches projects and jobs the same way. Listen and around the 15 minute mark Amanda will dig in and walk your though how she approaches this question.

Full Transcript

Matt Siltala: [00:00:00] Welcome to another exciting episode of the business of digital podcast, featuring your host, Matt  and Dave roar. Hey guys, excited to have everyone join us on another one of these business of digital podcast episodes. Um, I think we got Dave over there, I’m going to catch him off guard. Cause I saw that he put himself on mute and I loved doing that to him, but I was gone, Dave,

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:24] it’s going beeping.

Well,

Matt Siltala: [00:00:26] I wanted to get that out of there because we’re going to hear a beep in today from Dave because neighbors

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:34] pretty much doomed all summer. You are

Matt Siltala: [00:00:37] well, let’s talk about the good stuff that, uh, you know, the, the good news for today. We actually have a special guest. I’m very excited to, um, Talk with Amanda, Amanda Orson, head of North America curve.

And Amanda, I do appreciate you taking the time to join us and, uh, talk, uh, you know, talk with us this morning. So welcome.

Amanda Orson: [00:00:56] Thank you for having me.

Matt Siltala: [00:00:58] And so, um, before we really [00:01:00] jump into anything, um, maybe just take a few minutes and let people know exactly what you want us to know about you and what head of North America curd means.

And we’ll just go from there.

Amanda Orson: [00:01:09] Sure. So, uh, I’ll start with the latter first head of North America. Curved means that my job is to launch and expand curve. Which is a UK based FinTech company in the United States curve is a $250 million company in the UK. We have over a million customers and over 800,000 cards issued.

Um, basically it’s an, all your cards in one proposition and the UK right now, we’re working on what that product construct will look like specifically for the U S our regulations, as you might imagine, are a little bit different. And, uh, yeah, we hope to launch in beta. At the end of this year, the wait list is currently open and a full consumer launch.

We’ll probably be at the top of next year. Awesome. That’s

Matt Siltala: [00:01:50] great. Well, I’m going to hand it over to Dave and let Dave kick this off and what we wanted, you know, we’re doing this little, uh, um, basically this [00:02:00] leadership campaign over the last several weeks and, uh, um, Go for it.

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:06] Yup. So Amanda did something that I thought about doing, um, to an extent.

And then when I realized that my summers for four years would be gone, if I did go to West point, I quickly ran away to achieve a laugh. Cause you know why, but you went to, you have an interest in your background long ago. Um, and even to this day, since you are a thank you, by the way, a, a, um, volunteer firefighter, EMS, which one is it?

Firefighter or EMS or both.

Amanda Orson: [00:02:39] So I’m qualified as both. I actually have been a firefighter since, uh, Oh gosh, I guess for six years now. Um, but I just got my EMT, uh, qualification in 2019.

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:50] Thank you for that, by the way. Um, but you’re also went to Citadel. And so from a leadership and just the training that you get from the [00:03:00] military and from firefighting and stuff, that’s a whole different kind of training and background and mentoring and all sorts of stuff that goes along with it that most of us do not get.

Would you say it’s helped you hurt you? Been interesting along the way? Good, bad.

Amanda Orson: [00:03:17] I, so I’m probably an outlier in that I fit those kinds of environments, like a round peg in a round hole, which is to say they’re almost accelerative to my natural, um, My natural way of being, I tend to be a pretty disciplined person.

Uh, I don’t have a problem making my bed in the morning that that kind of stuff is, is pretty normal for me. Uh, what I will say it was very good, but so let’s talk about the Citadel first. The Citadel is a four year military. School it’s one of two States supported completely military schools, Virginia military Institute in Lexington is the other one, uh, left in the United States.

There are of course, Corps of cadets at Virginia tech, Norwich university, Texas, a and M as well, but it’s not quite the same [00:04:00] experience because you also have people not in uniform in your classroom. The Citadel and BMI don’t have that. Um, Because it’s state supported. It means you pay for your hazing on like West point or the Naval Academy or the air force Academy or the coast guard Academy.

Um, and most people, you know, despite that do end up actually serving in the military, uh, probably something like third during times of war, uh, which we’ve been in now for a protracted period, ended up getting a commission in one of the U S military service branches. But the difference between the state support colleges and, uh, West point or one of these service academies is that those branches vary.

We had people that went to the air force, Marine Corps, obviously, um, army Navy, every service, every service branch is represented. So what the Citadel was fantastic for, uh, which is not something that I understood or appreciated in the moment, but has served me really well in the time since I happened to be there as one of the very earliest classes of women and matriculation was an issue.

Um, it was actually a public issue. We were in the [00:05:00] news a little too often. Um, and the Corps of cadets was really trying to find itself. It was trying to figure out how it was going to change it evolve with the times. It was a very important moment. Um, It was an important moment in the school’s history, but it was also an important moment for me personally, to sort of be a part of, and to watch and to see what works because I learned how to navigate a fairly political system early.

That’s been a huge service. Um, I also learned how to form relationships and alliances with people that didn’t necessarily agree with me or see IDI. Um, and that has served me super well in the time sense. So it’s not exactly the kind of military, uh, discipline leadership. Question answer that I think that you were looking for, but those kinds of ways of working or learning how to be collaborative, despite difference has been extremely valuable lessons.

Dave Rohrer: [00:05:53] No, I think that is because I can’t even imagine being in a battlefield or [00:06:00] being in a firefight. Whether you two got along the other day or last week, or you really don’t like, you know, Joe or Sally or whoever it is, you were all there. And if someone doesn’t do their job, if someone can get hurt or die.

And so to navigate the political and you know, in a business standpoint, we have to get this project done. I really don’t like working with, you know, that person from it. They really don’t like me. But we’re, our butts are on the line if we don’t get this project done. So, um, and how do you take that, that navigating the political and networking with the other people?

What does that look like? You know, in, in Mather it’s Curver in some of your previous roles,

Amanda Orson: [00:06:52] Well, I mean, uh, it definitely makes me much more mission driven. It also, I think is very level-setting right. Nothing that I do today in my [00:07:00] chair, in my home office is going to kill someone, nothing that I make, like no choice that I make today, uh, could seriously harm somebody like, uh, as a volunteer firefighter, I work on a crew that’s called a duty crew, which is to say the volunteers actually sort of shifts alongside what are full time firefighters, both here and elsewhere.

And, you know, on any given shift, a good example from last fall, we went to a smell of gas, a gas leak at a commercial building that does, um, metal sheet manufacturing, like giant, giant metal sheet manufacturing facility in a really serious gas leak on your way. There you realize as a firefighter that if this is bad and this goes bad.

A boom is fatal and there’s really not too much you can do about it. Um, you’re firefighting, protective gear is meant to withstand a lot of things, but explosion is not one of them. And having that sort of a reference point and then going back into [00:08:00] whatever protracted. Negotiation or, you know, internal dispute or company politic thing you might possibly have to deal with.

It just brings it right down to where it really needs to be, which is an issue, a temporary one between two people that may or may not disagree. But at the end of the day, it’s just a disagreement and we can get through it and past it, nothing, there are no serious consequences on the other side of it. 

Dave Rohrer: [00:08:29] I think emotion in meetings often overtakes the logic or any data.

Amanda Orson: [00:08:34] Absolutely. Um,

Dave Rohrer: [00:08:36] Matt, you know, we’ve, we’ve talked about this before. Just the number of decisions that are made by CEO. Um, or some other leadership that after months of planning and, and data and talking to the customers and prospects and everything else, what happens, Matt?

Matt Siltala: [00:08:53] Okay. Gets kicked.

Dave Rohrer: [00:08:54] It gets kicked, or they decide to, you know, we’re going to go with the color Brown because that’s [00:09:00] my favorite color.

Matt Siltala: [00:09:00] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. No, seriously. It’s, it’s amazing. We’ve had to put processes in place to try to eliminate. As much of that as we can. It’s, it’s, it’s seriously amazing how you can work four months on a project and have everyone on board. And it’d be probably what you feel is one of your best the projects yet.

And then to have one person come in and say that, that by the way said that they didn’t want to be involved in this kind of stuff. And then for them to come in and just like shut the whole pro. You know, the whole thing down. I remember that happened one time with, we were working on a project with MTV, um, you know, music, television, and that kind of thing happened.

We were working

Dave Rohrer: [00:09:44] on short videos and even shown videos in like 20 years.

Matt Siltala: [00:09:50] But anyway, like that, that’s the same thing that happened, you know, everybody approved and they got to that one final person, and this was like not a [00:10:00] cheap project and they basically just. Eat it. So it’s just, it’s mind blowing that kind of stuff.

But anyway. Yeah. So, yeah.

Dave Rohrer: [00:10:10] And I think I’ll wrap this kind of section up, Amanda, is there a, I know there’s not a silver bullet, but is there one skill trick, um, thing that you’ve learned over the years that. Maybe it doesn’t work a hundred percent of the time, but if you’re in a meeting or you’re working on a project and you feel that there’s this one person, or maybe a small group that is against something, have you figured out anything that you can always at least try that might work.

I

Amanda Orson: [00:10:41] would say, uh, the most important lesson and one that I’ve had to internalize lately, uh, to a high degree is don’t accept. No. Um, so you would be amazed at how often no is actually a gateway to, yes. You just have to keep challenging it and understanding and requiring [00:11:00] that the other party, whether it’s, you know, an internal conversation or external conversation.

Uh, that the other party actually explains why the objection exists, because if you keep digging and you keep challenging, you might find a place to come to an agreement. So don’t just take no as the answer bluntly and certainly don’t take the first. No, there is a lot of room to be made by just continuing the conversation and digging a little deeper.

Dave Rohrer: [00:11:26] Have you found with there not being the ability of being in a meeting with someone now it’s a zoom call usually, um, or whatever service you use, have you found it harder to go after a meeting? Someone goes no, in the past it could be like folding up your computer or whatever, and then you go and talk to that person specifically after a meeting, has it become harder to try to get more additional insight outside of the group from people.

Amanda Orson: [00:11:54] I mean, it probably has, but you’re, again, it’s sort of a weird conversation to ask me because I’m the head of North [00:12:00] America for a company that’s new to the U S and I talk to people via zoom constantly. Normally London, sometimes Edinburgh, sometimes Singapore, but yeah, constantly. So I have to learn to have those conversations, uh, you know, just one to one.

Um, but I would say the one to one conversation is a one to one conversation regardless of the format it takes. And it’s really on you. I mean, not. Going back to the military and firefighting. Uh, one of the things that I think they’re both very good at is, uh, teaching you that you should never be looking for work.

Like there’s always something else that you can be doing. And as long as you’re self motivated and you recognize your responsibility to getting the mission accomplished, whatever it is, you should be taking the initiative to go and have that one on one conversation. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in the same room.

Dave Rohrer: [00:12:50] That’s true. Um, let’s shift gears a little bit. You currently are kind of leading a team manager leader that had leadership, but you’ve also been a [00:13:00] founder of a couple projects companies. Um, has that impacted like how you interview and hire people?

Amanda Orson: [00:13:09] I would probably. I mean, I, I’ve never

Dave Rohrer: [00:13:12] thinking about it.

Amanda Orson: [00:13:15] I think that my interview style will always and forever be informed by, um, assessing whether or not this is somebody that I would hire personally. So whether I’m working within an organization or on my own, it’s still, is this someone that I want, and I can see myself working with, you know, late into the night, trying to hash out some issue, trying to get something shipped.

Um, And you know, whether, again, whether it’s a bootstrapped entity that I happen to own, or a venture backed entity that I happen to be working within, it’s still the same. I still need the same kind of individual. I know that I’m not going to be able to work with someone who just wants to work a nine to five.

I know that somebody that, um, They’re going to get real tired of me. That’s the way I’ll put it. [00:14:00] I definitely have a higher expectation on the performance of others because I have the higher expectation of myself. Uh, and it’s really not about extracting value. It’s about wanting to be surrounded with other people who are mission driven and challenge you

Dave Rohrer: [00:14:15] Do you think part of the difference in how you, um, I know you said you didn’t really, you know, kind of think about it, but as a. As a founder of the company, you probably think about something and you’re kind of doing it right now in a way you’re thinking about not just what you’re working on project wise this month, this quarter, or even Q4.

But you’re thinking about next year when you’re doing hiring and talking to people and even thinking about which, which roles and what the head counts should look like now. And in four months and eight months, you have a much longer term view. Do you think when you talk to people or even think about any of the headcounts and stuff that changes from when you were a manager to the founder and [00:15:00] have you ever noticed that?

Amanda Orson: [00:15:02] So I think that, um, the big difference between for many people, between being a founder or a manager within another organization is buy-in, um, basically you can, you can, uh, accept some forms of. Lack, you know, for, for no other way to put it. Uh, if it’s not your dollars on the line, I personally, don’t, I’m still looking for the same kind of quality people, but sure you absolutely could.

Um, being a founder or in this case, being the head of North America implicitly means that I’m trying to think about things. With a multiyear view. And I don’t have the luxury of spending a lot of money on recruiting dollars to have employees that will churn in 12 months, 18 months, even 24 months. And, you know, especially for venture backed companies, I’m sure in both New York city and San Francisco and probably elsewhere, that’s [00:16:00] an increasing problem.

You’ll see churn at points as people vest. And then when they’re fully vested, They’ll go and work for some other hot startup, because they’re essentially creating for themselves, uh, a portfolio, uh, by working, you know, two to four year stints in various companies. And it’s not a bad strategy. Uh, I understand why they do it, but I need people that really buy into it.

Or we’re never going to have the kind of, uh, liquidity events that might ensure their portfolio actually has value. We actually need mission-driven people.

Dave Rohrer: [00:16:34] Yeah, but is it Matt we’ve talked about before the CMOs and CEOs, like it’s gone down to like 18 months or something like that for CMOs in the agency world.

I know Amanda, you worked a little bit in that space, but I think the average is like a year and a half to two.

Amanda Orson: [00:16:51] Yeah. It’s just, it’s hard to imagine being able to ship anything of, of real substantive value in that time. I mean, yeah, you can definitely. [00:17:00] Bring campaigns, uh, you know, to market in 30 days. But when you’re talking about actually creating products that are innovative for a space or for a wide addressable market, whatever it is, 18 months, it’s not going to get it done

Dave Rohrer: [00:17:16] well for this project for curve.

When did you start? And you’re talking about a beta launch and Q one next year, a

Amanda Orson: [00:17:24] beta launch end of this year. What’s that beta launch for the end of this year. Oh the end of this year

Dave Rohrer: [00:17:30] and that’ll be a, what a year or so of just you’re working on it or

Amanda Orson: [00:17:35] so I’ve actually got other people on the team now.

That’s pretty fantastic. Um, I initially started working for curve, uh, because I was an advisor to the venture capital fund that led their be around. Um, so my initial engagement with Kirk was strictly in that capacity and, uh, actually going back to the power of no, um, the CEO of curve asked me to come aboard and to relocate to London, to build out a completely different.

A [00:18:00] product line within the product, uh, back last summer. And I said, no, not once, not twice, but three times. And the last time in person, uh, in New York, when he happened to be there, he didn’t hear it. I think he acknowledged it, but he didn’t hear it. And, uh, as they. Got the needed permissions, uh, or, or whatever they needed to be in place to enter the U S market with, uh, an analogous product.

He asked me if I would like to actually have that effort up. And I jumped at that. It’s, uh, the opportunity with curve is fantastic because it’s a size and scale that I’ve not been able to achieve on my own. And I think that the product is actually the right idea at the right time. Um, so that’s personally why I’m here, why I’m here for the first three months or so of that engagement.

It was literally about city selection. Um, developed an enormous spreadsheet, no different actually, uh, it just a little bit more complex, um, on how I ended up moving to the center of Pennsylvania, I’ve developed a spreadsheet to try and figure out where the best place for curve would be in the United States.

I didn’t just accept [00:19:00] that Manhattan was the right answer or San Francisco. Um, and then we actually set up some in person meetings and Charlotte, Austin, and, uh, Here in New York, um, before making that choice, uh, the first part of this year, just to kind of give you an idea on how long it takes stuff to get done was watching the office, getting the legal ducks in a row for establishing a new company in the U S all that stuff takes time.

And then the initial recruiting push. So we’ve got a fantastic product lead. Um, who was previously the SVP of payments at a FinTech called pedal. And before that worked for JP Morgan chase and American express, and basically shores up a whole lot of information that, uh, that I don’t have on the payments space.

He’s a subject matter expert. Um, now we’re actually starting to do the hard work of things like building a wait list. And I know that all of the marketers that listen to this will totally understand what it’s like to assemble something that has a viral loop component in it that. People want to get excited about they want to share.

Now we’re starting the process of link [00:20:00] building and PR and there’s a lot of marketing involved. Um, that’s the track that I’m sort of paying attention to while product we’re thinking heavily about product construct and just getting all of the constituent parts in place. So we’re talking vendor relationships between issuing Ben sponsors, processors, acquirers, um, fulfillment, like how you actually get a card.

So somebody in the mail. All of those individual parts have to be chosen. The commercials have to be negotiated. Then the integration work has to be done on, on the back end of that. Those all take time. And there’s more time built into it than you might think because there’s it’s financial products. So there’s due diligence involved with several of those partners.

That’s why it doesn’t, it’s not something you can just turn on in 30 days and be ready to go. It actually does take time, especially if you’re going to do it right. We,

Dave Rohrer: [00:20:50] marketers are very. Now now, now in Mt. We just, we just recorded and pushed a couple of weeks ago. Technically when we’re recording this, not, not [00:21:00] so long ago, but we just did an episode that talked about that, that handshake between marketing and sales and how there’s finger pointing sometimes.

Um, but there’s also that between marketing and product, like

Amanda Orson: [00:21:16] absolutely. You

Dave Rohrer: [00:21:17] know, if it’s, if it’s a junk product marketing, go, go sell it.

Amanda Orson: [00:21:22] No, it’s so difficult. And I mean, that’s, I’m going to give you part of the pitch deck, but basically, um, the way that I’ve been telling, because it’s an education process, right?

From a us based marketing perspective, backwards to the UK based holding entity, the way that you enter a really make hay of the U S with finite dollars, which every venture capital backed company should believe that they have finite dollars. They don’t all think they do. They should believe and operate on that basis.

Um, but with finite dollars, the way to get maximum value out of it is actually to, uh, and I’m gonna borrow a new cool term, but is [00:22:00] product led marketing, which is to say that the product itself is so compelling that you want to tell someone else about it. And frankly, that the value proposition is simple enough that you can explain it easily.

I think what a ton of people don’t appreciate, whether they’re in the advertising space with marketing space or the product space, frankly, is that all ad dollars. Are like all roads lead to Rome, all ad dollars, fundamentally have to get to a product that’s valuable enough for someone else to tell someone else about it, or you’re going to be constantly pouring money into the top of the funnel.

There’s no two ways about it. They have to lead to word of mouth

Dave Rohrer: [00:22:38] who here has heard about, Hey.

Amanda Orson: [00:22:42] Yeah, I’ve definitely heard about, Hey.

Dave Rohrer: [00:22:43] Yeah. I mean, how much advertising dollars did they put behind that versus just the crazy amount of word of mouth and. The product.

Amanda Orson: [00:22:53] Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I mean, I haven’t followed DHH on Twitter, so I’d know about Hey from the source, but yeah, no, I, [00:23:00] I’ve also heard about, Hey, I can’t tell you how many times in the last year,

Dave Rohrer: [00:23:04] I haven’t been able to turn on Twitter for a couple of days now without seeing that pop up at some point.

Amanda Orson: [00:23:08] Yeah, I agree.

Dave Rohrer: [00:23:09] And I, and how many impressions are they getting? Whether they count them or not from that product led marketing basically from just the talking

Amanda Orson: [00:23:18] about it. Yeah, exactly. And the other part that you know is easily missed is that that is the most important kind of marketing third-party authority is going to outsell your crappy infomercial or direct response campaign or your targeted advertising or your Facebook ad 10 ways til Tuesday.

It just will. If your mom says, Hey, I tried this product and it’s actually pretty good. You’re probably gonna pay attention because your mom doesn’t often give you product recommendations. If, you know, your TV or Facebook tells you about this hot, new whiz bang, whatever it is that somebody somebody’s brokering from wish.com.

Not that compelling, not that

Matt Siltala: [00:23:56] interesting. And I [00:24:00] don’t know why that reminds me of something like that. They think you’ll get a kick out of this, but I don’t know if you remember back in the day when Pinterest was first coming online, I actually have one of my neighbors. He was recruited by Google several times and he actually.

I turned him down and he went to this lesser known startup called Pinterest. He was one of the first engineers there, but, uh, he gave me access to Pinterest, like right away. And I had no idea, like it was going to be what it was. And I had a limited amount of, uh, cause if you remember back in the day, they used to give the invites out and stuff like that.

Yeah. Um, I had an unlimited amount of invites that I could give to people. And I, the only time I think I got close to getting a divorce with my wife was when she found out that I’ve been sitting on these, um, invitations that she, I had no idea. She had been wanting one for six months, like so bad. And when she found out that, like I had them, um, things got a little tense in the [00:25:00] household.

Amanda Orson: [00:25:02] You’re holding out Pinterest from your wife.

Matt Siltala: [00:25:05] Yeah. And I had no idea, but I had no idea like this and this kind of goes to what you’re talking about, just like that, that interest. And you got that family member or whatever, but it was just amazing for me to see that what they had done and this interest that they had built up in India, it was just like, that’s, whenever this kind of stuff kind of dawned on me, like the light went off, but yeah, that was, I, I laugh every time I think about that and how.

She like yelled at me because I had this invite and she’d been waiting forever. But anyway,

Amanda Orson: [00:25:33] I mean, my, my data might be dated, but I love the quote, the stat that the U S is like 4% of the world’s population. And a third of it’s ad spend. Like, if you’re just doing CPA based paid marketing, you’re going to lose, like, it’s going to be a lot of timeline.

You might have some money to pour into at the top of the funnel, but eventually you’re going to lose. You need to get if you’re a brand or a product or represent a brand or product, I mean, affiliates and things like that are accepted. Everyone else though, if you’re a brand or [00:26:00] product, you need to get to word of mouth the faster, the better

Dave Rohrer: [00:26:06] along those lines. Nice transition without even knowing it. So your background is heavily and speaking, just from what I know of your background is very digital. How going from just digital to the leadership to overseeing. Traditional digital and like anything and everything. How did that go from, you know, being the doer, you’re like, Oh, how much time do you have Dave?

Amanda Orson: [00:26:37] No, I was like, my background is very varied. So I’m curious to see which, which part of it you want to talk about? Um,

Dave Rohrer: [00:26:44] yes. Ah,

Amanda Orson: [00:26:45] yes. Okay. That’s very inclusive. Um, I know, so honestly that is, uh, not a strength. I have always been an operator and being a non operator is very hard. I would say that for other people [00:27:00] that are control freaks, um, it’s probably gonna be a difficult road and it’s something you’re going to have to be really intentional about.

Uh, but if you know how attribution is supposed to work and you see a broken attribution model, or if you know how Google analytics is supposed to look and you see that a subdomain is not being included, it’s frustrating. And you want to jump in. Um, but yeah, the transition from being the actual operator, uh, and Dewar or whatever, you might call it to being the person that instead Marshall’s forces and directs them towards a common goal has been a difficult one mostly on, on that side.

Um, because when you are a subject matter expert, you have to learn to cede control.

Dave Rohrer: [00:27:41] And how do you see the control? You still kind of go, yeah. Hold on

Amanda Orson: [00:27:45] 99% of the time. Yes. I’m pretty good about it now. Uh, if you had talked to me maybe two, four years ago, not as good about it. Yeah, no, it was a long road. Um, but, uh, here’s, I’m gonna make a, probably a, it’s a questionable [00:28:00] reference, but for reasons that will be obvious.

There’s a John Rockefeller quote, where he said something like I would rather earn. 1% of 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts are 100% of the money on my own efforts, which I appreciate. That’s a super capitalistic statement and there are lots of reasons to not feel warm and fuzzy about that.

But from a UN trying to achieve a big goal standpoint, he is exactly right, because if you’re able to lead and direct a larger group of people. Um, or a larger group of resources, regardless of their people or money or whatever it is into the same direction. You’re just going to have a magnitude of order, uh, impact on scale.

So what it really comes down to is recognizing your own limitations, be they time be they knowledge, um, you know, it became very popular, maybe five, five ish years ago. It talk about the concept of a T-shaped marketer, because there are a lot of people out there that say that [00:29:00] they’re a fantastic. A PPC manager or a fantastic Facebook ads person or a fantastic, fantastic SEO or technical SEO.

Nobody does each of those things exceptionally well. Everybody does one of those things. Well, not everybody, most people who are very competent do one of those categories very well and have an understanding of how the rest of it sort of ties in. You have to have that awareness, uh, self-awareness yourself as a leader, and then be able to seed control all the things that you’re not good at martial the forces of other people that might actually be better than you at several of these things.

And by all means go hire people that are smarter than you. It really helps, um, in the same direction like that. Fundamentally is what being a leader is. It’s sort of compel people into a shared vision and moving by your example, moving everyone in the same direction towards a common goal. I love

Matt Siltala: [00:29:51] that you said that, cause that’s a, that’s something I always joke about with, uh, with our agency at avalanche.

I, you know, I always tell people like, cause [00:30:00] I have one to this partner, you know, we got, one’s got a, uh, a master’s one’s got his doctorate and another one has his MBA. And uh, I have just a two year degree. And uh, I said the thing that I, the smartest thing that I’ve done with, with founding this company was.

Surrounding myself with people smarter than me. And so I love hearing that it’s good validation, but anyway,

Amanda Orson: [00:30:23] it’s true. It is totally true. And I will also say, uh, the point that you weren’t making specifically, but the smartest people that I’ve hired for various roles in the past often didn’t have a degree in whatever that discipline was.

I mean, almost never have a degree in it. I, yeah. So several companies ago, um, I was leading content and marketing at, uh, engineer jobs and. Hired a series of writers to help basically bolster out the content that I had initially started. Like I set the table, I created most of the first parts or the first year’s worth of content and then hired other writers to sort of continue to build out from there.

I [00:31:00] hired somebody that I’ve known since childhood who has no degree in anything. And he was absolutely exceptional. Uh, and I also hired a former CNN journalist who Scott, some very. Fantastic awards behind her that just couldn’t write for the web. Like it’s a skill that, uh, is difficult to quantify in a job description, but you know, writing for a web is a very specific writing for a web based audience, especially if you’re doing long meaty evergreen articles for the purposes of ranking, organically is a very specific skill that not everybody has.

I happen to hire somebody that I’ve known for years that. Has no, I think he’s actually working as a chief content officer somewhere, which is exactly what he should be doing. Oh, that’s

Dave Rohrer: [00:31:45] cool. I had a point, but we’ve moved on far, far,

Amanda Orson: [00:31:50] far from, sorry.

Dave Rohrer: [00:31:54] I know, but actually it goes to probably the last kind of section we’ll talk about [00:32:00] unless we go outside tracked, which is always possible.

Um, Generalist for specialist debate on hiring. You just kind of somewhat answered it, but you really don’t seem to care about someone’s background and almost seemed to prefer maybe a generalist or maybe is that just, you think we all should acknowledge that we aren’t all specialists in every single thing?

Amanda Orson: [00:32:21] Oh, definitely. We’re not all specialists in everything. So yeah. Be self aware. Be self-aware first before you start critiquing others, but there’s no achievable way, especially with, you know, the internet moving in. Dog years, everything changes, you know, multiple times a year. There’s no way that you can be an expert in all of it.

Um, with respect to hiring, do I prefer a specialist or generalists? I would say it really depends upon the role, but the thing that I look for most specially for anything that has to deal with the web or apps, um, because they change so frequently is someone who’s an autodidact. I’m very, very, very large, uh, advocate for audit activism, um, or mentoring, but either way.

[00:33:00] Acquiring the knowledge in real time, because it’s going to change underfoot. You can’t hire somebody for the site that they built 10 years ago. You need to hire somebody for the site they built this month or the content they created this month, or the Facebook ads campaign that they launched this month, or have the potential to come up to speed on the potential is more difficult to see.

Usually you can evaluate potential based on the rate of acceleration in their previous roles, whatever they might’ve been. Um, Especially if they have repeated the demonstrations in their background or in the interview, it comes up of coming up to speed on something very quickly that person is going to do well.

Um, if you give them something new to learn, generally speaking history is the best particular group. Excuse me. History is the best predictor of the future. Um, so that’s something that I definitely look for. But yeah, no big, big fan of people that can educate themselves and come up to speed quickly. I think that that’s the exact kind of person you’re going to need on your team.

And it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve got degrees in their background.

[00:34:00] Dave Rohrer: [00:34:00] The number of times when I’ve interviewed people? Um, I think it was like one example was when I was interviewing for junior entry level developer, you just had to know some ASP, maybe some PHP have some basic skills because my graphic designer was spending half of his time coding and I was supposed to be doing everything else, digital that I was spending half of my time coding.

And we just needed someone to come in and take. The grunt coding work off our hands. That’s it really basic, no senior coder is going to want to come in and babysit code. That is every developer’s nightmare. So we were talking, or I was talking to a lot of people that were entry-level or in straight out of school.

And the one question I asked, all of them was what do you do to, you know, continue learning. And I’ve asked us, he has the same question and if you’re a developer or an app developer or designer, and you’re not doing whether it’s freelance or if you’re not building sites and breaking them, [00:35:00] if you’re not trying to, you know, right.

If you’re a writer, if you’re not writing just to write something in a different state and your answer to those kinds of questions is, well, I took a class on this or in my old job, we only worked on this CMS. So I don’t know any others. Um, or I’ve only ever written for B2B or I’ve only ever written this w I’ve never written a white paper.

Well, why don’t you go and find something or at least try the people that don’t go out and actively continue, try to teach themselves whether it’s content, social media, uh, really any engineering or marketing or anything always scared me because I was always scared that they. They were relying on just what they were doing nine to five and just what they’d learned in those maybe four to six hours of the day.

And when PHP is no longer the hot one, and we now need someone that can do react and JS, or now we need someone that understands [00:36:00] API APIs, or at least has done something like that. If you’ve never expanded on your own time, I was like, how are you? I’m not going to pay you all day to learn. You need to do a little bit on your own.

Yes,

Amanda Orson: [00:36:13] I completely agree it. Also, the person that stays up to date is genuinely interested in what they do. Like there there’s something to be said for that. I am not a subscriber to the notion that you need to do what you love, but you need to be interested in it enough to continue to stay up to date on it.

I think the do what you love. Thing gets a lot of people caught. Um, it keeps them from starting something that’s profitable.

Dave Rohrer: [00:36:38] Yeah, I don’t love video, but I keep playing around with video stuff because I know that’s where, like we have a podcast, but we now have it’s on YouTube, but there was more and more video with Instagram and LinkedIn’s going video.

Facebook has got the live Twitch, YouTube, like everyone’s doing more and more video. So for me, I need, I don’t need to be an expert in it, but [00:37:00] speaking to the T-shaped, I do need to understand some basics. Of when someone goes, no, you can’t do that. Or yes, we can. I can at least understand that. Oh, from a scoping standpoint or from the content, or how long are we going to need or what is the impact to our SEO?

I have an idea. I don’t need to be an expert, but I need to at least know from my head from my, but

Amanda Orson: [00:37:22] yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Dave Rohrer: [00:37:26] Um, I don’t know if I had any other questions. Off the top of my head. I think we covered a lot. If you were to give yourself, you’re going to laugh at this one, um, I don’t know, 10 years ago, what would one thing, what would you tell yourself as far as the leadership or, you know, maybe not do go on that day or whatever, but, um, what was one thing you would tell yourself?

Amanda Orson: [00:37:53] Um, I

Dave Rohrer: [00:37:54] give yourself

Amanda Orson: [00:37:55] the first piece of advice I would have given myself is to put more money into the stock market.

[00:38:00] Dave Rohrer: [00:38:01] I Amazon darn it,

Amanda Orson: [00:38:03] but buy all the stocks you can possibly

Matt Siltala: [00:38:06] desolate $38 a share.

Amanda Orson: [00:38:09] Oh, by Bitcoin. That would have been another piece of advice now.

Dave Rohrer: [00:38:14] So,

Amanda Orson: [00:38:15] Oh, that poor guy, I would beat myself up every day.

Um, So I would have said, uh, trust your instincts more and swing bigger sooner. I think that there’s a false notion and maybe it’s just something that women feel that you really have to be a subject matter expert on something in order to get started completely crap. Um, you can definitely, and this kind of runs contrary to what you were just talking about with, on the job training, but.

People are hired for potential all of the time. Uh, people do things that are absolutely insane that they’re not supposed to do, like start companies from a dorm room that rival Silicon Valley backed companies like Friendster, um, on day [00:39:00] one and succeed. You really should take some big swings, uh, earlier, because.

We’re all here for a finite amount of time. You have a finite amount of working hours. You’ll have a finite amount of working years in your career. And the people that usually win are the ones that were willing to take and stomach the biggest risks. Soonest. Very good.

Dave Rohrer: [00:39:23] Well, think about baseball cause we’re not going to have baseball this year.

I don’t think if you hit three 20 in baseball you’re you can be an all star.

Amanda Orson: [00:39:32] Yeah. And can we, by the way, talk about what an enormous missed opportunity that is for baseball. I was thinking about it for NASCAR, NASCAR and baseball had both seen huge declines in viewership and fandom for our lifetimes, especially versus what they were on our parents and our grandparents lifetimes.

Well, not NASCAR, but majorly baseball for sure. This would have been a moment for them. If they had been able to put together a league with a [00:40:00] wrapped audience, sports starved. I’m in lockdown, watching loads of TV for the last 10 weeks. This could have been their moment to really shore up fandom and win new fans on an unprecedented level.

And the fact that they were not able to come to terms because they couldn’t come to agreement is just a huge missed opportunity.

And

Matt Siltala: [00:40:24] I think you’re right. There’s there there’s an opportunity for new fans or people that were like, I’ve never liked sports because you’re getting to the point now. And this is a lot of the people that I’ve talked to, they’ve reached the point that they’ve watched all the shows that they can watch on Netflix and all the ones that they’re interested in or Hulu or whatever.

And so I think that you’re absolutely right. You have that opportunity to win new fans and that’s something I’m glad that you said it because.

There are the people that were actually in the stands were, [00:41:00] were on decline anyway, so

Amanda Orson: [00:41:01] yeah, exactly. I mean, to, to quote Cardi B, uh, they’re making money moves. There are definitely, uh, I mean, just the moves that they’ve made in the last. Two weeks have been very significant bending, a Confederate flag, being more inclusive, uh, and certainly being the first sport back to airing something live is going to end up paying dividends for them for years.

Uh, it just, it was such a bonehead move on the MLBs part. I don’t understand why they didn’t capitalize on this obvious opportunity. Yup.

Matt Siltala: [00:41:33] I agree. Well, Dave, do you have any final thoughts or questions?

Dave Rohrer: [00:41:37] I look forward to the PLL coming soon, professional lacrosse league. They, unlike the far, they actually switched their schedule instead of multiple weeks, they’re going to do a two D tournament all in the same spot.

So all the guys will be in the same spot and during the tournament. So they’re still gonna have a season. So yeah. So to your [00:42:00] initial thing, man, it’s like, no, well, no, no, no.

Amanda Orson: [00:42:04] Well that might work. Yeah, exactly. Just keep asking.

Dave Rohrer: [00:42:08] And NBC is troubling, just throwing tons of money at it because they need sports.

Yeah. So they’ve got NBC gonna air it live on NBC, not just, you know, some sub NBC, one of their cable brands, but they’re going to be airing it live on the weekends because there was no sports.

Amanda Orson: [00:42:27] Think about all of the advertising dollars that are currently sitting on the sidelines that would have otherwise been allocated to sports right now.

And that would happily advertise against literally any sport golf. I’m not a golf fan, so I can bet I can bash on it, but really like golf would have a wrapped audience right now. And people will spend lots of money because they just don’t have the opportunity to throw money, you know, those dollars and any other lives.

Yeah, exactly.

All [00:43:00] right,

Matt Siltala: [00:43:03] Amanda, I really appreciate you taking the time and chatting all this. There’s there’s so many, I hope that our listeners appreciate cause there’s so many amazing things that were talked about. And so I do appreciate you taking the time to come and, and the, and share your information and your knowledge with us.

Amanda Orson: [00:43:19] Absolutely. Anytime I’m happy to chat and super active entrepreneur.

Matt Siltala: [00:43:24] All right, well, for a metal or some of the curve and Dave Warren nearside metrics I met salsa was as much media. And thank you guys for listening and we’ll catch you on another one of these other splits. Bye guys.

Amanda Orson: [00:43:34] Thanks,

bye.

E158 – Leadership & Growth W/ Amanda Orson Hosts:




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