At the Black Tech Fest on Tuesday, panelists discussed the realities of working in an Amazon head-office role. The three-day event is hosted by the UK non-profit Colorintech, which works to get people from underrepresented backgrounds into the industry.
Amazon employees talked about their career journey and were asked to provide their top tips on how to prepare for an interview with Amazon. Here’s some of the best advice from two senior Amazon employees and one apprentice.
“I would recommend really looking at them, seeing the ones that excite you, and crafting career stories and experiences which really address a number of those leadership principles clearly in your preparation,” Campbell said.
Use the ‘STAR’ method
Lettie Ndlovu, a solutions architect apprentice at Amazon Web Services, said that applying the ‘STAR’ method can be a helpful way to craft career stories during your interview.
STAR stands for:
Situation you had to deal with
Task you were given to complete
Action you took to in relation to both
Result that happened, and what you learned from it.
It is a common technique for answering interview questions, and it’s designed as a simple framework for focusing on how your skills match a job description.
Ndlovu recommended preparing three to five examples. “Try to make them different and if you have negative ones, always have a positive twist at the end as to how you got a good outcome,” Ndlovu said.
Provide data to back up your words
Amazon is a data-driven organization, Campbell said, and “quantitative examples are highly valued” when you’re talking about your career experience.
For example, you might say you boosted the attendance of an event by 30%, Campbell said.
If you don’t have experience yet, clubs and societies can set you apart
If you don’t have direct experience yet, think about how to stand out and demonstrate the skills Amazon looks for, Grace Acquah, regional lead EMEA student programs, campus attraction, and engagement, said.
“List any sort of clubs or societies that you’re part of that could really demonstrate good leadership, teamwork and skills that could be applied in the world of work,” Acquah said. That could include volunteering.
Reach out beforehand
Use LinkedIn to connect with someone who is doing that job already at Amazon, and ask them for tips about what it’s like, Ndlovu said.
If this is your first time, Inside B2B Influence is a podcast series that goes behind the scenes of B2B marketing and highlights insights with top business executives on influencer marketing for B2B companies. At TopRank Marketing we’re doing our best to connect readers and listeners with B2B marketing insiders on strategies, trends, tactics and the future to elevate the practice of growing influence within and outside of B2B brands.
In Episode 17 of Inside B2B Influence we have a returning guest who needs little introduction given his accomplishments and yet, we’d all be missing out if I did not mention that Brian Solis is Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce, an 8X best selling author, global keynote speaker, digital pioneer and has been a good friend for over 10 years.
As someone who has been at the forefront of studying, innovating and practicing influence in the B2B business and technology world, I reached out to Brian for his thoughts on what the future holds for influence at B2B organizations inside and out, what to look for with business influencers and thoughts on how to scale influence.
Highlights of episode 17 include:
Advantages influencer marketing creates for B2B brands in 2022
The most important qualities B2B brands should look for in influencers
The importance for B2B brands to grow influence from within
The next evolution of influence for B2B companies
What B2B companies should consider in order to scale influence
Take a listen to The Future of Influence in B2B Marketing with Brian Solis:
Transcript – Inside B2B Influence Episode 17: The Future of Influence for B2B Marketing
In the first ever research report on B2B influencer marketing, you shared that “in a time of darkness, chaos or confusion, B2B brands have an opportunity to be the light for their customers.” As we finish off 2021 and head into another year of the pandemic, what kind of advantage does influencer marketing bring for B2B brands?
I think (B2B influencer marketing) is more important than it’s ever been. @briansolis
Brian: I think it’s more important than it’s ever been and kudos to you for launching that first report. I understand that it was incredibly successful, so thanks for letting me be part of that.
I’ll try to connect the dots this way for those who are listening. At Salesforce, our mission is to help businesses, not just transform, but to be relevant and to thrive in what’s going to be what I call, a novel economy. It’s the word novel, like in novel coronavirus means new and unusual, and that means that we’re heading into new years, a new genre of business without a playbook.
When we take that stance, that means that we have to have a very solid position on how we’re going to help you. What does business look like on the other side? What does every function look like on the other side? Marketing, sales and service? How do they all come together to essentially create the enterprise of the future right now?
And so that’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of thought leadership, a lot of content, a lot of video, a lot of articles, a lot of social media to reach those looking for insights – to connect the dots between valuable information and actions to those who need them.
We have all become marketers now. @briansolis
In that regard, you can’t just have the ideas. You can’t just have the solutions. You also have to have the ability to connect the dots between those ideas and people who need them. So, in a sense, we have all become marketers now. And I think that’s a good thing. I think marketing itself becomes a much more value added, it rises in the ranks of helping to serve, I guess, is the best way to put it, Not just to market or promote or to gain eyeballs, but to serve people.
I think it’s like a call to arms or this enlightenment that gives us a greater sense of purpose, a more noble sense of purpose. So with that said, I have a lot to read, a lot to learn and relearn in these times because there’s certainly a lot of really smart people out there. I’m just hoping to continue to, not just think about ways to help companies, but to also think about ways to reach people their way. And that has me “control alt deleting” a lot of assumptions, that’s for sure.
B2B marketers have learned many lessons from our B2C counterparts including what makes an influencer. B2B influencers are more than experts with industry credentials. They are increasingly creators as well. What are the qualities most important in an influencer that brands should look for?
Brian: Oh, man, let’s start with the question of what makes an influencer. You know, I think back to some of the conversations, how many years have we been having these really these awesome conversations? I really appreciate how long we’ve known each other. We’ve done a lot of really cool things together. I think this is a time where it’s almost as exciting as when we first met. You remember? Social media was just coming together. It was just chaos. It was the wild west. And I think this is that time. I don’t know that people are going to pick up that it’s that time, but it really is. I want to call it out for this reason. What is an influencer?
Because coming into 2022 I think we could all have these visions of some beautiful human being on a beach in Thailand. Somebody walking and seeing their back with their hand extended holding their hand. You know, that’s what I think a lot of traditional marketers think about in terms of influencer marketing. I’m not going to knock it. It has been, for B2C, some of the most innovative, creative stuff that I’ve seen in a long time. There’s nothing to say though, that when it comes to B2B that you can’t be human being either. I think that’s really where we should start thinking about this.
Every single day I get emails, “We need you to be part of this.” Very rarely does someone take the time to read my work and then reach out and talk about ways that we might be able to collaborate. @briansolis
I too, have been the recipient of these types of requests. Every single day I get emails, “we need you to be part of this. We want to give you some content to publish. Can you make a video? Can you do this?” And it’s simply because of the number of people who follow my work. Very rarely does someone take the time to read my work and then reach out and talk about ways that we might be able to collaborate, because there was some idea that they felt could help them connect the dots of markets they’re trying to cultivate.
That’s where it starts: who are you trying to reach and why? And then building bridges between those people who have earned the trust of those that you’re trying to reach, whether it’s a macro influencer, certainly in the B2B world, there are people with a lot of followers, more followers than I’ll probably ever have. And at the same time they have reached the micro influence that is so critical right now. The people that you trust because they will tell you something specific that you need to do and you believe that their insights are going to help you succeed in how you’re measured for success.
I’m a big believer in experimenting. So I’ll experiment with the wide swaths and the big audiences. But I also want to experiment with direct outcomes. If we can together, do some work that helps people make better decisions or move markets or launch products that help other companies, then that’s what I’m talking about.
For example, I remember some of my greatest work in the past, aside from what I’m doing right now. So I don’t know that I’ve ever had so much fun while having such an impact, was back in the day with Google when we launched, we introduced the concept of micro-moments. Micro-moments was our way of helping marketers understand that a mobile first customer does not go through the web journey like a traditional customer sitting in front of a big screen or a laptop journey.
You have to think about TikToK or Snapchat versus amazon.com, right, in terms of how you go through that. The work that we did cast a wide net because Google is very good at that. My responsibility was the micro stuff. Can we beat the drum of micro influence by talking about micro-moments in every single aspect of how a customer goes through the journey and what they’re missing and what they need from marketers, from digital marketers, from web marketers to create that ideal journey.
If I didn’t have that audience, I would go build that audience. @briansolis
So, we talked about micro-moments, we talked about mobile first things. We talked about stats, we ran all kinds of research. We did micro-moments for travel, micro-moments for insurance and micro-moments for auto sales. I was a mad man during that first year to 18 months, every single day developing new content, putting it in the places that were going to reach those people. If I didn’t have that audience, I would go build that audience.
That was my life for a year and a half. And I think the result of that is that everybody knows about micro moments and it’s still important after all of these years today. But that was the hard work, dedicated work of cultivating those communities, not just relying on somebody because they had the numbers.
I think that in this post pandemic economy that’s going to start taking shape, as soon as we can get people vaccinated, that the new world, that next normal needs more work like that. Not just intention to promote stuff, but to build stuff, to help those who are looking for insights, understand that we can build that playbook together.
What is your problem? How has the world changed and how can I help you? Go create (content) around that. @briansolis
I think there’s a lot of people asking questions. There’s a lot of people looking for help. For those influencers who are going to take the time to think about it, not just promote or say something, or try to get a lot of views or clicks or what have you. But to think about like honestly think about, what is your problem? How has the world changed and how can I help you? And then go create around that. That’s the answer to your question. That’s what makes an influencer and it’s not even an influencer at that point. That’s a business partner who’s helping you and helping others solve problems and create opportunities.
One of the significant trends we’ve seen with many enterprise B2B brands is growth of investment in building influence from within. This comes in the form of employee advocacy programs as well as building thought leadership and influence for key executives by collaborating on content with industry experts. How important is it for B2B brands to grow influence from within?
Brian: Such a great question. I joined this company because I wanted to be part of this culture. The Ohana, it is a very special culture, They, we, I should say, believe in that employee advocacy and empowerment. Because the frontline for us are those individuals who are having to help our customers solve some pretty big problems and transform overnight like most companies that got hit in March, 2020 with remote work and e-commerce, and chat bots and automation, and all of the things that had accelerated roadmaps, digital transformation roadmaps by 10 years.
So Mark Benioff, at our big corporate kickoff get together, he talked about how we all need to as individuals, as employees of the organization, not just sell technology, which is a really big thing for a CEO of a hyper-growth company to say. He was basically saying, he wants all of us to think about the outcomes that our customers are trying to solve for and the things that they don’t know, that they need to solve for and go be that go be that person, go be that resource so that they can trust you beyond just being a sales person or a service person.
Employee advocacy is the belief in your people that they can provide solutions and help. @briansolis
That’s a big call to all of us, right? Not just me and my colleagues who do this every single day, but for everybody. That’s employee advocacy. It’s the belief in your people that they can provide solutions and help, not just the things that are going to hit the bottom line. To build relationships, as my colleague Henry King, and I have written about it in a serious this last year, we talk about relationship transformation. What do you want the employee to do, or employees do in aggregate and as individuals? Well, essentially it’s to build relationships.
You know this better than anybody. You build relationships by adding value and consistently adding value.
Business outcomes are natural byproducts of investing in relationships. @briansolis
To do that, it means you have to understand what value looks like. Value is in the eye of the beholder. Then you train, you empower, you re-skill or skill to help people get there. And then you measure that because we’re all in the relationship business. You measure the relationships that you want to see come to life. Then business outcomes are natural byproducts of investing in those relationships.
So then it’s not just a conversation. How can we empower employees to create, to share, to answer questions that maybe haven’t been asked and to answer those questions en masse so that a lot of people find those answers. Essentially you build an infrastructure that can help create that type of advocacy.
I think that’s a pretty big deal, going beyond all of the apps to see, hey, what is it like to work there? You really start to invest in the culture where part of that culture is, you have smart people who are sharing smart things. I think that’s part leadership, but also you need a program that isn’t just about ghost writing for executives. It’s really about giving a voice to the executive who actually believes in those things and scaling them.
Thank you Brian!
You can find Brian on Twitter, LinkedIn, his website and you can watch Brian along with his co-host John Kao and special guests on their Intersections show every Thursday morning at 10:30am PT.
Be sure to stay tuned to TopRank Marketing’s B2B Marketing Blog for our next episode of Inside B2B Influence where we’ll be answering the B2B marketing industry’s most pressing questions about the role of influence in business to business marketing. If you missed one of our previous episodes of Season 2, follow the links below:
Have you taken the 2021 B2B Influencer Marketing Survey?
Help elevate the practice of influence in B2B marketing by sharing your experience and opinions about B2B marketing and working with influencers in our latest research project. The survey takes just 10 minutes and you’ll not only get an advanced copy of our research report featuring insights from Brian Solis and an incredible mix of B2B industry experts, but we’re also giving away some sweet incentives. Take the survey today though, because we’ll be closing it down soon.
Finding a job isn’t easy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to help you stand out from the crowd and really impress hiring managers.
A lot of the job application process comes down to avoiding the obvious mistakes that can frustrate recruiters in your résumé and during your interviews.
Business Insider España spoke to some recruitment experts to find out what makes and breaks a job application.
1. Using the same application for every job
If you’re using the same résumé and cover letter for every application, you can wave goodbye to your next job offer.
Companies want to know that you’re excited about working in a specific role with them, not that you just want any job.
Director of business and specialized tech and digital recruitment at Michael Page, Daniel Pérez, told Business Insider España that applying for jobs indiscriminately could make you look desperate and affect your credibility.
2. Treating online interviews like ‘face-to-face’ interviews
“Only the format has changed, nothing else,” Pérez said of online interviews. “If we asked interviewees to stand up, how many of them would be wearing pajamas? That tells me this person will only do the bare minimum.”
If you were going to an in-person interview, you’d make sure to look smart and presentable. That’s what an online interviewer is looking for too.
3. Not respecting private messaging etiquette
Private messages should be used as a last resort as they can sometimes give a bad impression.
“It’s as if you’re saying: ‘I need something from you, I’ve applied for this job, and now I’m going to bombard you with messages even though we’ve never been in touch before,'” said Aurora Pulido, a professional development coach.
However, the CEO of the talent institute TEKDI Juan Merodio said it could be an opportunity to show off your creative side.
“If you want to send a message, make it a short one-minute video where you introduce yourself and mention the receiver’s name, so they know it’s just for them,” he said. “It’s a game of attention: that’s what you’re trying to get.”
Pérez warned it was important not to get too enthusiastic.
“If you’re a bit too creative, it can come across as unrealistic,” he said.
4. Giving inconsistent interview answers
There is an endless number of questions an interviewer could ask – and it can be tough to find the right answer.
However, it’s likely the interviewer has already looked you up on social media, so it’s important to be consistent in your personal branding.
The social media manager at InfoJobs, Nilton Navarro, told Business Insider España consistency between your answers in an interview and your social media posts could increase your chances of securing a job by up to 60%.
“The first interview takes place on social media,” he said. “55% of companies look up candidates on social media before interviewing them.”
5. Using inauthentic or insincere references
A good reference can make or break a job application but it must be authentic and original.
If your referee describes you as “promising” or a “hard worker,” it might not be much help as other candidates will have very similar references.
“When I ring up a referee and ask them, ‘What would you change about this person?’ and they tell me, ‘I wouldn’t change anything, they’re an excellent candidate,’ that’s not very reassuring,” said Fernando de Zavala, an associate at recruitment consultant firm NGS Global.
An anecdote about you or a fair character assessment pointing out some of your biggest strengths (and weaknesses) might therefore be much more useful.
6. Using your resume bio to tell your life story
According to TEKDI’s Juan Merodio, you only have 20 seconds to get a recruiter’s attention. So if your résumé bio is too long, chances are it won’t be read.
Sticking to strictly relevant information is very important. You can still use storytelling techniques, drawing all the key points together and ending with a quick note such as “Send me a message on LinkedIn” or “you can write to me at the following email address.”
Lying on your résumé, however, is a recipe for disaster.
“Putting a lie on your résumé is never ever worth it,” said Lazslo Bock, current CEO of Humu who previously spent 15 years going through résumés at Google.
“Anyone who does it, including executive directors, will be fired.”
8. Leaving spelling errors unamended
From “identity” instead of “identify” to “manger” for “manager,” recruiters have seen it all when it comes to spelling mistakes.
In today’s day and age, they are unforgivable, especially as they are easy to rectify.
“A good résumé opens many doors,” Pérez said. “Know how to do it well and avoid spelling mistakes – I still see them these days and it’s inexcusable.”
9. Forgetting keywords on your résumé
Most large companies use tracking systems to go through résumés, scanning them for keywords. Including them in your résumé is, therefore, a vital stepping stone to an interview.
Active words such as “growing,” “driving,” and “leading” are important to include, as are any key skills that are relevant to the job.
“If there are certain keywords related to the job that recruiters are looking for and they don’t appear in the first 30 seconds they’re reading, they’re probably going to put it aside,” said Pérez.
10. Not ensuring you stand out from other candidates
Why are you the best person for the job?
They might not always ask you directly, but that’s what they’re trying to find out, and there are ways you can show them they should hire you.
Professional development coach Aurora Pulido said candidates could conduct a thorough assessment of their role, analyzing its strengths and weaknesses and outlining what they would do to change it in their first 90 days on the job.
“If you want to stand out from the other candidates, the bare minimum should be having a complete profile,” Pulido added. “LinkedIn is also a living document, so you can add things and give it personality.”
11. Not having a long-term goal
Recruiters don’t just want to know whether you’re cut out for the role you’re interviewing for. They’re also keen to learn about your career development goals and long-term vision.
“A willingness to learn, grow, and evolve is vital to assess whether you have a long-term vision and potential for growth within the company,” said Nilton Navarro of InfoJobs. “So it’s something to bear in mind at the recruitment stage.”
Google’s Sundar Pichai. Salesforce’s Marc Benioff. Starbucks’ Kevin Johnson. Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman.
Yahoo correspondent Julia La Roche has interviewed them all. Known for her exclusive one-on-ones with the business world’s top executives and dealmakers, La Roche often gets rare access to the CEOs who rarely agree to do sit-down interviews.
How does she land the initial interview and gain their trust? What has she learned about how they navigate their greatest successes to their most devastating failures?
La Roche participated in an hour-long, live “Ask Me Anything” with readers who are part of The Profile’s members-only Telegram chat.
In this Q&A, La Roche discusses the importance of preparation, persistence, and why she approaches every conversation with genuine curiosity.
Below are the highlights of her Q&A with the readers:
Q: Who is one person you’ve interviewed that really surprised you (ie: how they were in person didn’t match public perception)?
La Roche: One of my all-time favorite interviews has to be Mark Bertolini, who served as CEO of Aetna, the third-largest insurance company.
I knew I wanted to interview him after hearing him speak at a Bloomberg conference in 2017. He showed up to our first interview that summer in a black T-shirt, wearing Vans sneakers, and with his tattoo on his arm exposed – not exactly the image you might have of a health insurance CEO.
He was awesome. What folks might not know is that Bertolini’s views of the health care system were shaped by two life-changing events – first, his son’s cancer diagnosis at age 16 (today, his son is the only known survivor of that rare and deadly form of lymphoma) and a year later Bertolini suffering a spinal cord injury in a horrific skiing accident.
I love the preparation process! For some of my interviews, it’s taken me years to land them. I’m persistent, though. When I decide that I want to talk to someone, I keep a running Google Doc to add notes, whether it’s from a podcast, book, speaking appearance, article, or television hit. Some of these can get to be several pages long.
Ahead of time, I made sure to read every book Howard had written (three at the time), watched past interviews, read memos he had written, watched a speech he had given the night before. I think it’s crucial always to do your homework before you sit in that interviewer’s chair.
Another example was Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, it took me probably three years to land an interview with him. I read all four of his books and continued making that ask.
Our first interview was in November 2019. My preparation was evident during that conversation. I think guests appreciate it when you’re prepared. It pays off. I did five interviews with Benioff in 2020.
What is one question you always ask each interviewee?
I don’t think I have a go-to question. I probably should! I’m trying to think about that actually. I do think it’s important to follow up with something that was said in a prior interview.
For example, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson made a commitment in 2020 during the depths of the pandemic to honor the benefits/pay, boost wages for partners working, and commit to no layoffs.
Right now, we’re hearing of companies facing labor challenges. During my interview with Kevin last week, I asked him about the results from that commitment, and the big takeaway he gave is that it built trust with those partners, which drove the company’s record results in Q3.
What are patterns you see in terms of how people respond to being wrong or making mistakes publicly?
I think those that come out and just own it do much better than those that don’t.
Many of these business figures rarely agree to do longform sit-down interviews. You’ve managed to interview some of them multiple times. What do you do to gain their trust, and how exactly do you approach them to get the initial interview?
I think that process has evolved. I’m fortunate enough to have a portfolio of past work now to show to help get that initial interview. I think it goes back to the preparation process and demonstrating that I care by showing that I’m willing to do the work.
I don’t look at “no” as being a rejection. Instead, it might mean, “not right now.” I’ve been told “no” many times! I remain persistent and focused in my efforts. When it comes to making that ask, I get out of my comfort zone, too. I’ll go up to folks and say hello at a conference or event or shoot a quick note when it’s relevant.
You previously recommended “Richer, Wiser, Happier” as a good read. What other business or investing books would you recommend?
Zoya came to the United States for high school and is now a rising senior in college. She’s part of a generation of Afghan women who grew up after the Taliban had been ousted from power in 2001 and were taking advantage of educational opportunities that their mothers had been denied.
But the plan was always to return to Kabul, the place where she was raised and where her family remains.
That changed this month. The US-backed government, which had assured people like her that they would play a key role in building a robust democracy, collapsed with a speed that shocked even the most pessimistic. It fell so rapidly that Zoya’s family, members of a persecuted ethnic and religious minority who had for months been working on an escape plan, is now stuck there – like thousands of others who fear life under their new rulers.
Zoya spoke with Insider about the situation in the capital of Afghanistan and what the future holds for her family and her homeland. Her name has been changed for security reasons.
What is your family’s situation in Kabul right now?
My father worked for human rights and women’s rights. He was working for local NGOs that were building a school for girls, hospitals, and just general training about women’s rights – going around and telling women what their rights were, according to the constitution and international law. And with the Taliban in control, their lives are in danger. The Taliban are going house to house looking for people who have been doing what my father has been doing so far. So far, my family hasn’t really left the neighborhood. They have gone outside of the house once or twice grocery shopping. I don’t know how long they can stay.
President Joe Biden announced that US troops are going to leave on August 31. A lot of people feared that that would mean that the Afghan government would collapse soon after. Obviously, it collapsed a bit faster than anyone expected. Did your family attempt to leave earlier?
Yes, they did. For the past year, we had this conversation: “Should we, or should we not leave Afghanistan?” But for the past five months, it was a serious conversation. “Where should we go? What should we do?” A lot of the countries had closed their borders; a lot of them are not giving visas to Afghans. So we didn’t have a lot of options.
Pakistan is also not a safe place for a lot of people, but especially for the ethnic minority that my family is, Hazara, they’ve been targeted in Pakistan. And the other option is Iran, and they can not do that either because my sisters wouldn’t be able to go to school because they’d be illegal refugees. Education is a very important thing to my family, and they couldn’t do that.
I’m not blaming any administration in particular. I feel like it was not just an American failure or an Afghan failure, it was a failure of every single power in Afghanistan, including the Afghan government. They all assured Afghans that it was going to be safe. If you watch every single interview with President Ghani and his spokespeople, they all say “stay in your country, if you’re a coward leave, but nothing will happen in Afghanistan. We have everything under control.”
You would rather believe people saying, “this is going to be safe, stay.” So a lot of these people did not leave because they were told to stay.
As you can see on television, the Taliban are trying to present a different image, claiming that this is not the Taliban of the year 2000 – that women can still play a role in society and they won’t target minorities. Do you believe them?
Of course not. The whole world is watching them right now and they need the world to recognize them as a government. Even now, in their testing period, it’s been a week and the streets of Kabul are empty of women. I love Kabul. I had so much hope for this city. I wanted to live the rest of my life there, and I could picture the rest of my life there. And now I can’t because there’s not a single woman on the streets of Kabul. This is a different regime.
Personally, I was told that I should delete my social media. And I did because my family’s in Afghanistan. People who are in Afghanistan can’t report about this. We all fear for our lives.
Personally, for me, if I was in Kabul, and if I was on my own, I wouldn’t fear it as much because it would only affect me. But me posting anything would affect my family and kids, my siblings who are so young and who have not chosen this life. People can’t only think about themselves and how this situation is affecting them, but rather the ones they love – their family, their friends also. So I don’t even know at this point how much of what we are hearing about the “Taliban’s changed” is accurate. However, we do know that they have been killing people. They have beaten women.
I’m sure you’re in touch with your family constantly. How are they feeling?
When I call my family, they close the windows, and it’s like, hush-hush talk. I was talking to my brother, he’s 10, and he was telling me, oh, he’s glad the Taliban came because now they have electricity. And I ask him how dare you say that? I was very upset with this 10-year-old. And he’s like, hush, they’re listening to WhatsApp calls, don’t say anything. And that’s the fear that people are living under. This 10-year-old, who does not support the Taliban, thinks he has to talk in a way that the [Taliban’s feelings] aren’t hurt. I just can’t get my head around that. He always feared the Taliban, my brother. We’re super close.
He would always say how he feared that when the Taliban came to Kabul, his life was going to be different. And I told him, jokingly, “Why would you be upset? The Taliban are not going to waste a bullet on you.” And he said, oh, how little do you know, they’re going to take me to the military, and I’m going to become a Talib. And his other concern as a 10-year-old is that he might be killed by the Taliban because he’s Hazara. And my heart cannot accept kids who are 10 to know this, to have this kind of fear.
What are the next steps for your family? I know we were talking about them sheltering in place, but are they trying to get visas and come to the United States?
They cannot leave the country because there are no flights leaving with Afghans at the moment. That’s what I’ve heard. So they can’t do anything right now. But we have been trying to apply for the Canadian resettlement program and the American P-1 P-2 programs. Just basically anywhere that announced that they would accept Afghan refugees, we applied, whether that was India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, anywhere really. We haven’t really heard from any other countries, for sure, that they are going to give visas to my family so far. I am hopeful that we will hear from one of them, and whatever country that is we are going to go for now.
Our long-term plan, we are going to think about it at that time. I feel like this is such an emergency time that we don’t really think about what’s next for the next, as long as we know that there’s a school for my siblings to go to. My family can just stay in a place for a year or two, we would be totally fine with that. It’s just a matter of we want to leave Kabul, even though it is hard to leave your home. And for the past, over 20 years, they’ve built a house, my parents, and raised kids in that house. And for us, it’s the only home we know, and suddenly we have to leave it. That is a hard decision to make, and it’s super hard to leave it, but we have no choice. I mean, we didn’t choose that.
Are you hopeful that you will see your family again soon? When is the last time you’ve actually seen each other in person?
It was exactly two years ago. I said goodbye in August. I don’t think I will see them. I don’t think it’s going to be something for years. Even if they were to come to the US, it would take them at the very least, if it goes really fast, it would be two years. But with the number of people who already have their documents on the table, I think it’s gonna be a very lengthy process for all of them to come to the US. Realistically, I don’t think it would be until like five years from today. I don’t think my entire family can reunite anytime soon. I don’t think the whole family can reunite for years to come.
You’re talking about how it could be years until the whole family’s reunited, but when would you expect to see your mother and father again? Like if they went to a third country, let’s say they decide to set up shop in Pakistan for a little bit, would you go fly to see them? What would be your plan?
I was planning to go back to Afghanistan, obviously, after I graduated from college, because I’m one of those people brought up to think that we were going to go build the country, and now they took away my country and I have no other place to go to. The only other place that I am familiar with is the US, so I think I am going to stay and see if I can stay in the US. And I don’t know if that is going to happen, really, but if that happens, I don’t think as a person who seeks asylum in the US, you can leave.
I know friends who have applied for asylum like seven years ago and their asylum hasn’t gone through. So that’s probably seven years that I wouldn’t be able to leave the US and if my family – tens of thousands of Afghans are applying, and the US is only accepting 20,000, of which I’m guessing that so many of them already accepted, so the chances that my family could actually come to the US is very slim. In reality, I don’t want to really think about how long it’s going to be until I see them again. I have a sister I haven’t met yet. I don’t know how old she is going to be when I meet her.
What do you think Americans don’t understand about what’s going on now? And what would you say to Americans who think, in hindsight, that the war was a mistake and are getting out – and it’s sad, but it’s not really our problem anymore? That America made a mistake and now we’re ending that mistake.
There’s so many things that I feel are misinterpreted in the Western media that hurt me. I don’t even want to read any of it. One is people concerned about the rights of women and children, which I’ve been talking about it too, but I don’t think it’s just the women of Afghanistan, just the children of Afghanistan, who are suffering right now. Men are suffering too. The whole nation except the Taliban is panicking. My father is panicking. It’s not a gender thing. My father has to grow a beard now. My father has to dress a certain way to go outside; it’s not just women.
Two, I am super disgusted that it’s become a debate of whether it was Biden or Trump or the Afghans’ fault. It is the life of Afghans that is the question right now. Why can’t the world just put that aside for a second and think about, “What can we do now?”
Pressure the government to secure the airport, so Afghans who need to evacuate can evacuate. That is the question that people should be focusing on.
Three, that Afghanistan is not a problem for the West – honestly, I’ve been hearing that for so long. Letting the Taliban take over Kabul encourages every single terrorist group to just fight the government. A Talib spokesperson said that when they took over Afghanistan, they saved 36 million Muslims, now they want to save over a billion Muslims. And that is threatening – it’s scary to hear that. Basically, Americans left a country to terrorists. What’s coming next we don’t know. But I hope that this time, whatever happens, people don’t blame Afghans just like they did after 9/11.
Another thing is the lives of all of these Afghans that are going to be lost. America knows that they’re going to be killed. The world knows that they’re going to be killed, and they’re leaving them.
Americans are going to see scenes of chaos on their television. We know that the Taliban is bad. But somebody reading this might wonder, “What can or should I do?” What would you ask of people?
Pressure their government to secure the airport of Kabul. Make it possible for everybody who needs or wants to leave Afghanistan to be able to do that. I think nobody deserves – no one – deserves to live under the Taliban. And if somebody thinks that it’s none of their problem, I want them to put themselves in others’ shoes. I want them to put themselves in the shoes of those people who fear for their life, who are waiting for – in the next two weeks – to be killed. I want them to accept more refugees, to help people. At this point, Afghanistan is in the hands of the Taliban, but we can save those who are at risk. Nobody deserves to live under that regime.
Rob Dyrdek is a former pro skateboarder also known for hosting hit TV shows including Rob & Big, Ridiculousness, and Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory. He founded business incubator Dyrdek Machine and hosts the “Build With Rob” podcast. During our conversation, Rob talked about his journey from being a skateboarder to building his businesses.
In your early 20s, you gained fame as a professional skateboarder and were able to travel the world. Despite your success, why wasn’t skateboarding giving you the purpose and fulfillment you were seeking?
It wasn’t as much about the sport itself not giving me fulfillment, but I began to grow out of it because my true passion was creating and bringing ideas to life, and I had maxed out what was possible within skateboarding itself.
I looked at myself as a brand at a really early age, and turned pro when I was 16. I was around when we created the Alien Workshop, and that was the company I turned pro for. T
You’re part skater, part TV personality, and part entrepreneur. How were you able to turn your success as a skateboarder into a series of TV shows and into multiple businesses and partnerships?
At 14, I skated for a local skate shop whose founders started all of these companies. So even as I was turning pro, tracking all my own finances, and considering myself a brand at that early age, I was still watching companies get created.
I built my first company when I moved to California, when I was 18. My skateboarding career led to launching DC Shoes. And then the DC Shoes video led to a skit for a skate video, and that evolved into a television show on MTV.
That whole time I was constantly creating and building different businesses through the MTV platform, while being a pro skateboarder and creating new television shows. For me, this idea of business has always been the through line, and how do I maximize the opportunity that’s presented to me.
You’ve brought your family and friends with you, much like we saw in HBO’s Entourage series. How has involving your best friend and cousins in your projects deepened your relationship with them, and what have you taught them that has helped improve their careers?
For any business and anything that you create, meaningful relationships are at the core of it being fun. I’ve always been really clear on that. During my diligence period, right before I pull the trigger to decide whether I’m going to create a project with someone, it really boils down to: Do I want to be connected to them for life?
I am passionate. I am driven. I am focused. I am clear. But more than anything, I want to enjoy everything that I do. And any time I get through a process with someone where I can see we’re rubbing each other the wrong way or our energies aren’t connecting, then I just won’t do it. With so many businesses and projects happening simultaneously, how do you manage your time and decide what projects to invest or divest in?
I look at life as this series of interconnected systems that all need to be aligned, integrated, and expanding in the same direction – and that direction is towards your ideal life. But it’s a balanced life, by design. It’s choosing the right projects, and how you actually live in those projects.
My entire existence, from the way I create companies to the way I shoot television, is fully systematized and automated. I have an 80-page document called The Rhythm of Existence that is the operating system for my life. At the end of the day, your energy is basically everything that you have, and that excitement about life and absolutely enjoying everything you’re doing is really what I’m hoping to achieve.
What’s your best piece of career advice? I think the best piece of career advice is that you’re not building a career, you’re building a life. It’s finding the balance between who you are as a person – your passions, your physical strength, your happiness, what fulfills you – and the way that you earn a living, that feeds that purpose and who you are, and then how you want to live.
I think a lot of times, people don’t look at themselves as multidimensional beings that require all of these different aspects in order to be happy and balanced. They think their career is going to be the answer for the life that they want. But your career will never be the answer. It will be a part of the answer, and if it’s integrated into who you are and how you live, then you will truly be balanced and happy.
El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, said in a recent interview that he hopes introducing bitcoin into its economy will be the catalyst for its shift from a Third World country to becoming an industrialized, advanced nation.
Bukule defended the small Central American nation’s decision to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender in his discussion with the “What Bitcoin Did”podcast host, Peter McCormack, after critics warned the move could collapse the country’s economy.
Here are his 9 best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:
1. “I think bitcoin as legal tender, even though nobody has done it before, it was a no-brainer.” – on being the first country to make the move.
2. “Bitcoin is an open and free system. So, they don’t have to trust us. They have to trust the system, and we trust the system.” – on anyone skeptical about the use of cryptocurrency as legal tender.
3. “My dream would be that El Salvador will transit its way from the Third World to the First World. It’s probably not going to be done in a couple of years but, you know, probably at least we can set up the path.” –on the potential impact of introducing bitcoin to El Salvador’s economy.
4. “I don’t think they want to understand. Because all of their preconceptions, their theses, their work, their books, their prices will be meaningless, because they were wrong. I don’t think they’re against bitcoin. I think they’re more trying to defend their personal stories.” – on classical economists rejecting bitcoin and its prospects.
5. “Having the World Bank advisors or technical support would have been nice, but we really don’t need it. The talent that is here, working, is way more than enough.” – on the World Bank rejecting El Salvador’s request for support in making bitcoin a legal tender.
6. “This is just exercising our sovereign right to adopt legal tenders. Like we adopted the US dollar in the year 2001. What’s the difference? The only difference probably is the reason why we’re doing this. In 2001, it was probably done for the benefit of the banks. And this decision is done for the benefit of the people.” – on why the country isn’t going to get into a fight with the World Bank.
7. “We’re going to prove ourselves that we can work fast. We have a lot of support and a lot of talent from people that just love this project, and they’re working their asses off, just because they love it.” – on whether El Salvador will be ready when its bitcoin law comes into effect in September.
8. “It’s not going to be only good for the monetary system, or for the currency, or for remittances and for economic inclusion, and for banking services like lending. It’s not only going to be good for the bitcoiners in tourism and investing in jobs, but also for energy and income to do social projects like schools or roads and bridges that without this law, they wouldn’t have that.” – on the expected benefits of incorporating bitcoin and its technology into the economy.
9. “The bitcoin system is so perfect that I think it’s gonna be the future. It is the present already in a lot of things, but it’s gonna be way bigger in the future.” – on the potential for a wave of government adoption of bitcoin.
Inside B2B Influence is a show that goes behind the scenes of B2B marketing and showcases conversations with insiders from the world of influencer marketing. We connect with influential practitioners at B2B brands of all kinds and sizes to answer the rising number of questions about working with influencers in a business context.
In this first episode of the second season of Inside B2B Influence, I was able to catch up with the incredibly popular, talented and beloved Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, Ann Handley. I’ve known Ann for well over 10 years and she’s been a great friend, client and source of inspiration to me about more meaningful content marketing.
Ann talks with me about a variety of topics ranging from the nature of influence in B2B, demand for B2B influencers during the pandemic and our mutually favorite “dogfluencer”, August – the most dashing Cavalier King Charles Spaniel you may ever meet.
Highlights of this episode of Inside B2B Influence with Ann Handley include:
Does everybody have influence? Yes and no
How the change to digital first B2B marketing has affected demand for influencers
The importance of a relationship driven approach
Trends in B2B influencer content collaboration
Growing emphasis on executive thought leadership and influence
Worst practices influencer engagement
How to integrate influencers with your newsletter
What B2B marketers should do to improve their influencer marketing
Some of Ann’s favorite B2B industry influencers
Listen to episode 14 (Confluence: The B2B Content and Influence Connection) of the Inside B2B Influence podcast here:
You wrote the best selling book, Everybody Writes. Do you think everybody has influence?
Ann: That’s such an interesting question because at first pass it’s like, well of course. But then on the other hand it’s kind of an existential question, isn’t it? I really had to think about that for a second. I mean, yes, I do think that everybody has influence, but not everybody has credibility, right? Yes, we all have influence, but not in all topics. Like for example, I really like sushi, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a fish influencer. Is that a thing fishfluencer? I think we all have our spheres of expertise and we are influential within those spheres of expertise. But I don’t think that people are influencers across all things.
Everybody has influence, but not everybody has credibility. @annhandley
I also think that, especially in B2B, that the notion of influencers is even more narrowly defined than it is in, in B2C. Because the expertise that I have in marketing is, you know, it’s content, it’s writing. It’s very specific. I don’t think you would come to me if you were looking for somebody to talk about analytics. Like you would go to Chris Penn for that. He’s an influencer in marketing analytics. So I think, especially in B2B, that that it is absolutely true that the credibility I have as an influencer is very specific and narrow. And I think that’s true of any, any B2B influencer.
The pandemic accelerated digital transformation in B2B impacting all aspects of doing business including marketing. What impact has an emphasis on digital first in B2B marketing had on the demand for influencers like yourself?
Ann: I have definitely seen more of those opportunities come my way because I think, just to your point, all of the traditional B2B tactics of field marketing and in person trade shows and other moments to experience the brands face to face, all of that went away in the past 15 months or so since the pandemic. So what takes its place? That’s been what’s fueling a lot of that digital transformation happening at B2B companies.
Influencer marketing is very much part of that because, how do you build that sort of trust with your audience if you don’t have the ability to meet them in person, to sit down, to have a conversation with them? So I think influencers have become a proxy and a conduit for that.
We’re going to see more companies start to embrace the opportunity to form relationships with influencers versus straight up transactional. @annhandley
What’s interesting and what I see straight up from an influencer standpoint, is that more of those companies seek to have those relationships with me. They’re seeking to build those relationships with me in much less of a transactional way. You and I have talked about this Lee, I remember saying to you that this is like the future of B2B influencer marketing. We’re going to see more companies start to embrace the opportunity to form relationships with influencers versus, you know, straight up transactional – make it less of an advertising / transactional play. Like here, I’ll pay you X amount of dollars if you share my thing, you know? That’s more of a B2C model.
I think in B2B what we’re seeing, and this has been fueled by the pandemic, is that we are seeing those relationships start to happen between brands and influencers like me where they’re reaching out to me proactively and saying, “Hey, we don’t have a thing right now, but we want to work with you. Can we sort of get to know each other?”
And so I think we’re seeing an increasing impetus toward an approach that I feel, has more sustainability long-term and it’s the way that I like to work personally. So yeah, I think we’re seeing a whole lot more of that.
What are some of the content collaboration opportunities between B2B brands and influencers that you’re seeing more of in 2021?
Ann: There are yeah. I want to caveat this by saying that I’m speaking from my personal experience versus, you know, I haven’t necessarily polled B2B marketers. So you probably have a better perspective on this too and whether what I’m talking about is actually reflected in the broader B2B community.
What I see is more brands looking to have a longterm relationship. Not just, come speak at our webinar, but, can we actually think about this over like a fiscal year? What can we do together in Q1 and Q2 and Q3, so that it becomes much more of a, not quite ambassador, but at least more of a brand alignment, right? So that I’m saying, “I believe in what you do” and and you’re saying that you trust me as well.
More long-term engagements and less transactional is honestly the foundation of a successful B2B influencer marketing program. @annhandley
I think longer-term engagement with a trust foundation to it is definitely something that I’m seeing. I’m also seeing these situations where even if it is about providing a quote for this, or for example, I’ll put something in my newsletter that’s sort of sponsored but for me, it’s not anything that you can buy. It’s something where I read the paper and I believe in it. I have a relationship with the company and so therefore I will share it with my audience. So yes, it’s sponsored, but it’s like, it’s sponsored with my whole self. I guess I’m a little bit goofy, but you know what I mean, with integrity, I should say.
That is a situation where it’ll be over several months, so it’s not just like a one and done. But can you help us promote this and here’s what’s in it for you and here’s what we want to give to you and your audience, that kind of thing. I guess to sum up, much more long-term engagements and less transactional, which I think is honestly the foundation of a successful B2B influencer marketing program anyway. But you probably have more perspective on that than I do.
It’s been really interesting what’s happened not just in terms of content creation and the thought leadership through partnerships between executives and external influencers, but also the relationships that are being facilitated.
Ann: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I think it makes total sense, right? Because in the past 15 months of the pandemic, I think that the brands who have really demonstrated that we’re all in this together, have actually had to show up in a real human genuine way and to be there for their audiences. I think that’s in part what’s driving the kind of collaboration that you’re talking about.
Brands realize that to trust somebody, you’ve got to know them. And how can you trust a B2B brand unless you sort of see the faces of the people behind the brand? @annhandley
Because I do think brands realize that to trust somebody, you’ve got to know them. And how can you trust a B2B brand unless you sort of see the faces of the people behind the brand? I think that cascades throughout B2B marketing as well as influencer marketing. I think that’s clearly one area where we are seeing where that comes to life,
Along with best practices there are also bad practices. I’m curious if there are any bad behaviors in terms of how people reach out or engage with you?
Ann: I think there’s been a few situations where I just, I tend not to engage basically. That’s a situation where a big agency will reach out and it’s clear that I’m one of many. Like I’m like part of a stable of influencers that they’re looking to. And they ask me to respond and fill out this Google form about the size of my audience. I’m not going to do any of that. That’s not what I want and that’s not who I am. It’s not what my brand is all about. That’s just not what I’m going to do.
It doesn’t matter to me how much money is on the table, because damage to my brand, reputation and my credibility far outweighs anything else. @annhandley
So it doesn’t matter to me how much money is on the table, because damage to my brand, reputation and my credibility far outweighs anything else. That’s a situation where I just wouldn’t engage. I can’t even say that it’s a bad practice but it’s de-motivating. When those come in we just sort of delete it immediately.
Or they come at it from a tactic standpoint. I get this a lot. For example, my email newsletter. I’ve talked a lot about it the past couple of years, it’s grown pretty significantly and it has really healthy, open rates. The list is just over 50,000 now. So it’s a good, robust list. I get a lot of people who say, will you share this in your newsletter? And I don’t know them. I don’t have a relationship with you. So if the onus is on me to do the legwork and figure out who you are, what your solution is all about or what your piece of content is all about, then I’m not going to do it.
Also, that’s not the role of the newsletter. If you know me, and if you’re on the list, then you know that, right? So, if you want to get something in my newsletter, then that’s not the first step. The first step is engaging me on social, get to know me. All the things that, you know, you do to start a relationship. All the best practices around that. Not. “Will you share this in your newsletter?” That’s all the stuff that just ends up being deleted immediately.
What are some ways you can imagine someone incorporating influencer content in a newsletter?
Ann: If you’re a marketer and you’re publishing your own newsletter and you want to work with influencers, trying to figure out a way to highlight them in that environment could be something simple, like highlighting some of their content or highlighting them as an individual. Or it could be something more like inviting them to be like a guest editor depending on the relationship.
I think there’s lots of opportunity there to influence the influencer as part of your brand and not just thinking that your relationship with the influencer is only in the social space. Because I think an email newsletter is just such a rich opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. The degree to which you can invite influencers into that relationship is going to solidify your relationship with the influencer as well.
Who are some of your favorite influencers, you know, that would, you know, that operate in the B2B world in some way, whether it’s marketing or tech or somewhere else?
Ann:Avinash Kaushik at Google. I don’t even know if he would consider himself an influencer, but he is. I think mostly because his brain functions so differently. I’m on his newsletter list. I love to read his perspective and his point of view, and follow him on social for the same reasons.
Chris Penn is somebody else who you know, again, has a very different approach. But if you took Chris Penn’s brain and took my brain and sort of put them together, you’d get like this whole body marketer, you know? I think I come at it very much from the art and high touch perspective and he comes at it very much from a science and analytics standpoint. I appreciate his message so much because he helps me elevate in what I do just by paying attention to what he’s doing.
I love what April Dunford talks about around positioning. I think she offers some really valuable advice and I always love seeing what she has to say and hearing her point of view on things.
You certainly. I think you, and I know it’s like your show so I probably shouldn’t, but like the work you’ve done around influencer marketing, I think you absolutely are helping to push the industry forward in terms of like how to do it right. And, and how to create programs that actually do sustain themselves long-term and deliver value for your organization.
Thanks Ann! You are a great source of inspiration to B2B marketers all over the world and a wonderful human being!
You can also watch the full video interview with Ann Handley here:
Be sure to stay tuned to TopRank Marketing’s B2B Marketing Blog for our next episode of Inside B2B Influence where we’ll be answering the B2B marketing industry’s most pressing questions about the role of influence in business marketing.
You can also download The State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report featuring insights from a survey of hundreds of B2B marketers plus case studies and contributions from marketing executives at brands including Adobe, LinkedIn, IBM, Dell, SAP and many more.
Logitech’s tools and accessories played a major role in the global shift to remote work last year.
Bracken Darrell, president and CEO of Logitech, told Insider about the process of moving and supporting employees during the transition.
Darrell also shared why he feels it’s important to address racism and bias, and climate change moving forward.
This article is part of a series about CEOs and their vision for the future called “What’s Next.”
Logitech is one of the largest consumer electronics companies and saw huge success in 2020 with the increased demand for computer tools and accessories to help with the global shift to remote work.
Before joining Logitech in 2012 as president of the company, Darrell led Whirlpool, Procter & Gamble, and General Electric. He added CEO of Logitech to his title in January 2013.
Darrell spoke to Insider about how he ushered Logitech into remote work in 2020 and the company’s return-to-the-office plans for the coming months as the number of administered COVID-19 vaccinations increases. He also spoke on his initiatives around sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
This interview is lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
Insider: How did you and your teams handle office closures at the beginning of the pandemic? And what types of support were offered to employees to help the transition to working from home? Darrell: I’d say in the first stage, like everybody else, we tried to give people enough space where we pulled back a lot on the workload because we just didn’t know what was going to happen. We really tried to reduce the workload, and we thought ‘There’s going to be a big learning curve.’
The second thing we started to do was, and this was more informal and probably happened over time, we tried to make fun and laugh about the surprises that happened on video. I have a 19-year-old cat and he began to appear regularly on video. And people’s kids were on video-we just tried to make light of that.
Then we realized, as time went on, people didn’t really have the equipment they needed. So we created a program where… you could go out and buy or order whatever you needed. I think it was $500 and we raised it [over time].
And then we started to see the mental health thing really kick in and people were just stressed. They were stressed and feeling overworked because they were working longer hours. So, we started doing no meetings on Fridays. And then we added one day a month where we gave everybody the day off and we’ve done that ever since. We call them “Logi-Mondays.”
We just keep adding stuff that we think makes sense.
We have one big advantage which is it’s been really rewarding for people that work here because our products played such an important role during the pandemic for students and educators, patients and doctors.
Insider: Are you planning on going back to the office anytime soon? Darrell: I think we’ll reopen. If I go around the world, we have offices that are already open and have never closed even. But in terms of most of our offices in the US and Europe, we will start to open up in July and then slowly, I’ll be in there too.
We’ll open up like everybody else will, I think we’ll probably have two or three days a week in the office and two or three days a week working remotely, and then we’ll see.
Insider: Is this something Logitech is planning on doing permanently? Allowing employees to build their own schedules of in-office work and at-home work? Darrell: I was reading Sundar Pichai’s note at Google and thinking that’s pretty much what I think everybody’s doing. Most companies are basically saying, ‘Okay, here’s the framework.’ You know we got some people who are going to work remotely all the time and we’ve always had people who did that-salespeople, some coders, other people. We have another group that is going to be that ‘have to be in the office to do their jobs’-some hardware engineers just don’t have a choice. And then the vast majority are going to be two or three days in and two or three days out.
I think we’ll try to kind of herd everybody into the same two or three days so it feels like a normal office when you’re in. You can bump into people or ideate with people.
But we’re going to wait and see how it goes. I think we’re going to be very flexible.
Insider: Educating the next generation is important, but how does Logitech plan on educating its current employees? Darrell: I think if you talk to the average employee at Logitech, you get a slightly orthogonal answer to that which is we do have training programs and we try to help people grow. We try to give people freedom-the freedom to do new things and do things a different way.
And it shows up in our internal surveys, we really stand out in that regard, so we’re less about trying to teach people new skills and more about letting people learn new things on their own by giving them new responsibilities or letting them take on responsibilities that are around them. It might sound a little nebulous, but it’s one of the things I’m most proud of in our culture.
Insider: Switching gears a bit. In the weeks after the summer protests broke out, you did a post on LinkedIn sharing how Logitech would address racism and bias. Why was it important for you as the leader of the company to say something? Darrell: This story is a little longer than you signed up for but I feel like I need to tell it to answer your question.
I grew up in the south with very progressive parents. My mom was as anti-racist as you could be in the time when I was growing up. She was amazing. So we really grew up feeling like we were some of the good guys-my brothers and sister, and I, we were really on the right side of all this and not only this but just generally with LGBTQ [as well].
When George Floyd was killed, it took me a couple of days… I found myself at my kitchen table where I worked every day, just thinking about South Africa and what people were doing then and I don’t know why I started thinking about South Africa. You know, they were sitting there in the middle of apartheid and why didn’t those people speak up? And then I really realized that we’re sitting in American apartheid and I haven’t spoken out. That was incredibly powerful, more for me because I have a platform. I write on LinkedIn and people read it, I have lots of followers.
It was like getting hit in the head with a frying pan, but the pain never went away and it shouldn’t so I immediately started calling friends and apologizing. I just didn’t realize what I’d done, and then it actually changed the direction of my life. I was like ‘Wow.’ I know who I thought I was, but if I’m not doing something… That was the beginning of my very aggressive path to where we are now as an individual and as a company.
Insider: In that same letter, you talked about supporting communities and minoritized groups. What do those actions look like now? Darrell: We’ve really recentered our whole purpose against these two things which is one we’re already doing and this one we thought we were doing, but we weren’t.
One of them is the environment and the other one is diversity, equity, and inclusion. DEI became a central part of our purpose which was to enable all people to pursue their passions. So that’s been our purpose, but [now,] all people.
Part of the Juneteenth letter is really an explanation of how we’re taking an end-to-end approach from our suppliers’ suppliers, through our suppliers. We have as part of our diversity program through our own company-up and down the company-pay, promotion, everything, all the way through to customer experience and who we target and how we enable it.
That’s where we’ve been and it’s obviously a long-term thing. I want to be held accountable personally and as a company. And I want people to track exactly what we’ve committed and we’ll come back on a regular basis.
And if I’m not doing it and we’re not getting it done [rapidly], I should be fired.
We’re the same on the environment. We’re way ahead on the environment compared to where we are in the US, and we’re making up a lot of ground right now.