A view from the top of the corporate technology world!
Kurt Schnieders has had the kind of career that most of us can only dream of. He is best known for having been the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and before that he was the CIO of L Brands, the corporate parent of Victoria’s Secret. This week, Kurt stops into the Epicast Studios to talk to Pitchwerks host Scot MacTaggart about his post-corporate life as a consultant, the trends he sees in the technology space, and the frightening details of the stroke that he suffered in December of 2017. Kurt explains something most of us will never fully understand - the corporate CIO’s work day - and what the product, marketing, and sales landscape looks like from his perspective.
Aaron Watson talks about how LinkedIn and social content REALLY work!
This week our good friend Aaron Watson, the host of Going Deep with Aaron Watson and the CEO of Piper Creative is here to demystify LinkedIn and social content strategy for all of us. Aaron and his partner Hannah Phillips have done a great job in developing their message, and in the short time that Piper has been in operation, they have learned to articulate the value of their services in a way that it seems truly effortless. Aaron is the first one to explain that that effortless appearance is actually the product of - you guessed it - tons of repetitions over long periods of time to get things right. Check out this week’s episode to learn a few of his LinkedIn and social video secrets, and to get a peek at some of the well-established philosophies at work behind these new tactics.
Zak Slayback returns with a new book that delivers!
Our friend and prior guest Zak Slayback has written a new book called How to Get Ahead. Scot devoured it - cover to cover - in a couple of days, and found it to be well written and perfectly framed for those people that are looking for clear steps to follow in careers and business. This week, Zak tells us about how he took personal definitions of success into consideration in writing the book, he gets into how his collaboration with McGraw Hill Education publishing formed, and really explains the power of the personal website and email list that he recommends so strongly. Expect all that and a lot more this week, as these two fast talkers compare notes about the current state of career development!
Could this be our sexiest cover EVER?!
Greg Coticchia has a way of inciting mischief in the Epicast Studios, and this time is no different. This week, the serial-entrepreneur-turned-educator is behind the mic talking about his new program at Carnegie Mellon University, an MS in product management , a very useful discipline for those businesses that have expanded past the startup phase, and now need to organize their efforts. One thing that sparks a number of different conversation points is the fact that product managers typically have no authority or staff, so they have to use data, trust, and negotiation to win people over and get the support that they need to make their product successful.
Lots of new connections and energy at the DeYor Performing Arts Center!
We got an invitation to take a road trip to Youngstown, Ohio to visit our friend Robb Myer from Comeback Capital (comeback.vc) at the Comeback Conference on May 17, and we took it. If you’re not familiar, Comeback Capital tells founders to “be what they are, where they are”, and encourages investors to think of the area from Pittsburgh to Indiana as a potential target for venture capital investment. There were a lot of people there, and a lot of activity, and we tried to strip out as much ambient noise and crosstalk as possible, but just like past conference recordings that we’ve done, this episode doesn’t sound like one of the interviews we do back at home base. We got some great insights from attendees though, including some that we know. Here’s a list of everyone featured this episode:
Lumis is in the business of training - it only makes sense they'd give a solid demo.
No one likes medical errors, and no one likes being bad at their job, but this week’s guest explains that lack of quality practice and insufficient access to hands-on training opportunities have created serious problems in healthcare. Dr. Doug Nelson is not a medical doctor. He’s a bioengineer and mathematician who took an interest in entrepreneurship after discovering a gap in the marketplace. This week, Doug tells Scot how he learned to give a great product demo, how he sells the value of Lumis, and the pair reflects on what makes practice and training more effective for the student.
Courtney tells us how entrepreneurial ecosystems can be built to thrive!
This week’s a two-fer, as we talk about the business of professional consulting and also dig into the concepts and practices behind the economic development policy decisions that cities and states make as they move to foster entrepreneurship and create new jobs. Our guest is Courtney Zaugg, founder of Plaka (plakaassociates.com). Courtney is an economic development consultant based in Indianapolis, Indiana, and knows Scot MacTaggart after partnering with him and KRNLS on a couple of projects.
While visiting Pittsburgh on one such collaboration, Courtney brought her wealth of experience into the Epicast Studios, and shared information on how she became an independent consultant, and the differences between top-down economic development decision making and the “bottom-up” kind that Courtney recommends.
John has a unique perspective on how entrepreneurs are made.
This week, college professor and entrepreneur Dr. John Stakeley comes in to talk to Scot about how our colleges and universities are teaching students about entrepreneurship, and reflecting on his personal experiences to tell that story. Dr. Stakeley teaches at the University of Pittsburgh, Robert Morris University, and Chatham University here in Pittsburgh, and brings experience as an entrepreneur, an investor, an Army officer and much more. Scot uses the interview to learn more about how entrepreneurship curriculum programs are devised, and seeks John’s insights on how to lead the upcoming Pitchwerks Professional Sales Bootcamp (krnls.co/bootcamp) which starts June 10th.
Social proof and credibility are some of the most powerful tools in sales right now.
In 2019, if you’re selling professional services or technology, you’re sharing articles and blog posts with prospective clients. Curated third party articles from reputable sources are the name of the game - and they’re a really effective way to underline your points and prove that your product or business is as good as you say it is. Our guest this week is Scott Rogerson, the CEO of UpContent, and his product helps companies to find these articles, sort the good ones from the bad ones, showing clients that you’re credible, and that they won’t regret choosing you. This episode, Scott comes in to explain the new rules of social proof and content creation.
One thing we haven’t given enough time to on this show? Sales engineers. It’s a lucrative career path, and the people that do that job play a vitally important role. Meanwhile, we’ve barely mentioned them. (Sorry.) We fix that this week by talking to Lisa Conturo of the German American Chamber of Commerce, who are making a conscious effort to bring the German apprenticeship model to cities like Pittsburgh. Lisa and the GACC have actually developed a nicely compensated sales engineering apprenticeship that combines classroom learning with practical on-the-job training (OJT) that gives the learner thousands of hours of experience before they graduate.
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