Monthly Archives: August 2016

Spotlight: Bar-B-Clean Franchise Focuses on Cleaning and Maintenance of Barbecue Grills

Spotlight: Bar-B-Clean Barbecue Grill Cleaning Service Keeps Grills Clean and Healthy

Barbecue grills can be great for summer gatherings and everyday meals. But they can also get quite dirty and aren’t exactly easy to clean. A few years back, one enterprising entrepreneur decided that this somewhat messy niche could make for a great business opportunity. And Bar-B-Clean was born. Read more about the business below in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Cleans and maintains barbecues.

Founder Bryan Weinstein told Small Business Trends, “Bar-B-Clean exists to reduce the amount of grills people have to replace. Barbecues are expensive investments that are expected to last many years. Exposure to rain and sun will prematurely age them, discolor them, and make them look old and dirty. Bar-B-Clean offers residential and commercial customers a convenient, low cost grill cleaning solution. In addition, Bar-B-Clean also offers part replacements, stone rejuvenation services and rodent removal.”

Business Niche

Doing the dirty work.

Weinstein says, “Did you know that every year, 7,000 Americans are injured while using backyard barbecue grills? At Bar-B-Clean, we take safety seriously and go the extra mile to offer advice to our customers during appointments. In addition, the very nature of our services helps keep grills clean and people healthier. We remove metal bristles, rodent droppings and more. It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.”

Spotlight: Bar-B-Clean Barbecue Grill Cleaning Service Keeps Grills Clean and Healthy

How this Barbecue Grill Cleaning Service Got Started

Because of a stray rodent.

Weinstein explains, “In 2011, after finding a rodent living in my frequently used grill, I started wondering if my love for outdoor cooking was actually an unhealthy passion. As I probed a bit further, I learned that grillers everywhere are often cleaning up dead, rotted rat carcasses, handfuls of animal poop and cancerous chemicals. Naturally, I looked into the process of properly cleaning a grill, and realized that the task was quite labor intensive that created a problem that most people wouldn’t or simply couldn’t take on themselves. And so I created Bar-B-Clean, a franchise organization that will do your dirty work ranging from rodent removal, bbq cleaning, part replacement and more.”

Biggest Win

Having the first franchisee eclipse $100,000 in 2015

Weinstein says, “This was a win/win as it was a testament to the service and that it’s a profitable business. This has been a milestone in our business and is helping our franchise sales process. This information is listed in the franchise disclosure document (FDD), and is representative of what people can expect.”

Biggest Risk

Jumping into business.

Weinstein says, “Good ideas are a dime a dozen. You have to believe in it and be committed to see your idea succeed, no matter what that takes. Everything I do is for the business. Failure is not an option.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Recruiting and support for the franchise program.

Weinstein explains, “The strength of a franchise system is the franchisees. People are so important, and I aim everyday to foster a sense of community; that we are all a part of something. We share in successes and failures, and we do it together.”

Spotlight: Bar-B-Clean Barbecue Grill Cleaning Service Keeps Grills Clean and Healthy

Recruiting Philosophy

Helping veterans.

Weinstein says, “We also have a hyper focus on recruiting veterans (both as franchisees and employees) and helping them transition from the military to civilian life.”

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: Bar-B-Clean; Top image: Bar-B-Clean Franchisee and military Veteran Matthew Sprague; Bottom image: Bryan Weinstein, Bar-B-CleanFounder

This article, “Spotlight: Bar-B-Clean Franchise Focuses on Cleaning and Maintenance of Barbecue Grills” was first published on Small Business Trends


Lenovo launches Yoga 910 convertible laptop, Yoga Book with keyboard you can draw on

The Lenovo Yoga Book.

In conjunction with the IFA consumer electronics conference in Berlin today, Lenovo is announcing new products: the Yoga Book with a flat keyboard that doubles as a writing surface when used with a compatible tablet, and the Yoga 910, the next device in the Yoga convertible laptop series.

The Yoga Book, available in Android and Windows 10 versions (starting at $499 and $549, respectively), is the more distinctive device of the two. Because the keyboard surface is very pressure-sensitive, it’s able to create a virtual version of what you’re writing even when you’re writing on a sheet of paper sitting on top of the keyboard, or even on the back of the keyboard. As a result, you can have two copies of your handwritten notes. Because of its compact size, it might not be the best choice for full-blown desktop computing, but it could be a good choice for getting important things done when you’re on the go.

The keyboard of the Lenovo Yoga Book.

Above: The keyboard of the Lenovo Yoga Book.

Image Credit: Lenovo

It’s a bit like Microsoft’s Surface, but you the emphasis is on writing on the keyboard, and not so much on the display. Seeing your writings appear on the display as you write on the flat writing surface might just be more natural for some people anyway. The outlines of the keys are there when you want to tap on them, and they disappear when you’re done with them, with the push of a button. While I found it a bit awkward to type on at first because there aren’t any real physical keys, I could see how you would get used to it after a while.

The device, which is the result of three years of development inside Lenovo, comes with 15 hours of battery life, an Intel Atom x5 chip, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 10.1-inch FHD display, weighing in at 1.52 pounds and measuring 9.6mm thick. It ships with a “real pen” stylus powered with Wacom technology that doesn’t need charging.

The Lenovo Yoga 910.

Above: The Lenovo Yoga 910.

Image Credit: Lenovo

The Yoga 910 features a redesigned keyboard, a larger trackpad, a 13.9-inch 4K display surrounded by a thinner bezel, a fingerprint scanner, and an aluminum magnesium alloy case with a rubberized inlay. And Lenovo says it has up to 15.5 hours of battery life, using the latest Intel Kaby Lake Core i series chips up to Core i7. A headphone jack is onboard, along with USB-C connectivity. The laptop starts at $1,299 and becomes available in October.

For me, the Yoga 910 has a premium feel, it looks good from a distance, and it’s easy to type on. Judging by the positive reception of the Yoga 900, the 910 should fare well with consumers, too, but we’ll get a better sense once we get a review unit.

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Live Today! AMA with Emily Kramer, Head of Marketing at Asana

Hi, I’m Emily Kramer and I lead the marketing team at Asana.

For the past three-and-a-half years, I’ve helped build and scale Asana’s marketing team and I’m continually inspired by Asana’s approach to building a business. We are driven by a clear mission to improve how teams work together, and Asana’s freemium “land and expand” business model presents many fun challenges and opportunities for driving growth. We take a consumer approach to B2B marketing–we create web-based content with an emphasis on both brand design and performance, instead of creating white papers, PDF case studies, or gated content. Most importantly, we are building a brand and product customers love, with rapid growth in free users at the top of the funnel and in Premium users and revenue down funnel.

Prior to Asana, I led digital and product marketing at Ticketfly, which was acquired by Pandora last year. I began my career at ad agencies-I was a media planner for Microsoft and a founding team member of Cadreon, which is IPG/MediaBrands’ programmatic ad platform. I went to undergrad at Tufts University and went back to Boston for an MBA at Harvard Business School (and more cold winters). I currently live in SF, where I’m basically a local after nearly a decade in the city.

You can find me on Twitter @emilykramer or (I’m also on Snapchat, but admittedly have no idea how that thing works!)

I will be live on August 30 starting 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which I will answer as many questions as possible.

Instagram Stories: How 18 Brands And Influencers Are Using It (And You Can Too!)

10 billion.

That’s the number of videos people watch on Snapchat every day. The same potential consumption (maybe more) exists for Instagram Stories –  quick videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours, just like Snapchat, but with an audience of 500 million users.

Does that sound like a channel worth exploring?

We believe so! Storytelling has always been a key part of marketing, and features like Instagram Stories are empowering us marketers to tell better and deeper stories about our brands. We’d love to provide you with more resources about Instagram Stories so that you can master this platform and see your voice spread.

In this post, I’d love to share 18 Instagram marketers who have been doing rad things with Stories to give you some inspiration on what you could do for your Instagram Stories too.

Instagram Stories

18 Creative Uses of Instagram Stories (and how you can do it too)

From my research, I discovered several creative ways brands and individuals have been using Instagram Stories. And here’s the great news: most of these strategies do not require huge budget or resources to pull off!

Before we dive into each brand and individual, here’s the full list of rockstar Instagram storytellers with links to their Instagram profiles.

(Note: If you end up following some of these great accounts and wish to see their Instagram stories from a desktop browser, there’s a neat Chrome extension here which lets you do just that.)

  1. NASA
  2. LOFT
  3. Huffington Post
  4. Techcrunch
  5. Gary Vaynerchuk
  6. Chris Burkard
  7. New York University
  8. GoPro
  9. When I Work
  10. Shopify
  11. Remote Year
  12. Black Sheep Cycling
  13. Olympics
  14. Brian Fanzo
  15. Minaal
  16. 9gag
  17. Sean Wes
  18. Track Maven

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at how each of the following brands and individuals uses Instagram Stories and see how you might take inspiration to adapt their strategies for our own brand!

1. NASA (@nasa)

Supplement your main Instagram content with bonus info via Stories

This is one of my favorite ways of using Instagram Stories: telling a deep story behind each and every Instagram post.

One of the key differences between Instagram and Snapchat is that Instagram provides a public, viewable profile for your main content. On no other social network can you get this type of supplemental information about the posts themselves.

This makes NASA’s use of Stories quite the native strategy. Here’s a great example: Recently, NASA posted about the annual Perseid meteor shower on their Instagram account and used Stories to share more about the meteor shower and the research on it, talking to the scientists involved in the research and showing the equipment used for the research.

NASA Story

How you could do this for your business: 

After you choose a final photo to share on Instagram, snap a couple of extra ones that go behind-the-scenes. This can be as easy as:

  • Flip your camera around to take a photo of the opposite view (example)
  • Share some of the failed drafts of photos (Instagram Stories are ephemeral, thank goodness!)
  • Snap a photo with the team that helped you create your Instagram photo
  • Zoom out and photograph the setup – works great for product shots to show all that goes into getting the photo just right!

2. LOFT (@loft)

Turn Stories into real-time events (and amplify engagement)

LOFT, a women’s clothing brand, invited two best buddies for a style challenge, which was shared as an Instagram Story. The challenge: Find something (in the LOFT store) the other didn’t think she could wear.

Not only did LOFT allow their followers to follow along the fun challenge, LOFT also gave them an opportunity to engage with a recent Instagram post and help spread their brand by asking them to tag their best friends in the post.

LOFT's Instagram Stories

(Hat tip to Amanda Tessier for this one!)

How you could do this for your business: 

Take a look at your event calendar and see if there are any upcoming events and activities that your online community can follow along. It could be:

  1. Challenges like LOFT’s
  2. Company retreats
  3. Meetups, conferences, or roadshows

Otherwise, consider if you could organize fun games around your product or service which your online community could participate in by leaving a comment on one of your recent Instagram posts or sharing a photo with a particular hashtag.

3. Huffington Post (@huffingtonpost)

Use photos with captions to tell your stories

With the help of the text and drawing functionality of Instagram Stories, Huffington Post has been creating interesting short photo summaries of recent news, allowing their followers to consume their content in a more visual and fun manner.

Huffington Post Story 1

Huffington Post Story 2

Huffington Post Story 3

How you could do this for your business: 

Go through all your recent blog posts and challenge yourself to turn one of them into a photo story. Adding captions will tend to make it easier while drawing with the three different Stories markers will bring more personality to your story.

4. TechCrunch (@techcrunch)

Give your followers a quick and easy way to consume your content

Quite similar to Huffington Post, TechCrunch has been using Instagram Stories to share headlines and short text summary of recent tech news.

Techcrunch Story

How you could do this for your business: 

If you publish lots of content regularly like a news or media agency, summarize your articles with a headline and a tagline or sentence. If the news is shareworthy, adding your brand logo, like how TechCrunch did, could help to spread the awareness of your brand.

5. Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)

Mix high-quality edited content with raw authentic content (and keep in mind the vertical screen size)

Gary Vaynerchuk has been using Instagram Stories for several purposes – promoting his DailyVee videos through high-quality visuals, sharing very authentic glimpses into his daily life, and connecting genuinely with his followers.

Gary Vaynerchuk Story 1

In a recent Story, he mentioned that his followers asked for more wallpapers on his Instagram Stories and so he made more for them.

Gary Vaynerchuk Story 1

How you could do this for your business: 

Gary Vaynerchuk does quite a few things well on Instagram Stories, and here are some of the things you could try:

  • If you produce video content as part of your marketing strategy, consider creating an extra version for the vertical mobile screen or simply add borders at the top and bottom, which Gary Vaynerchuk does sometimes.
  • If you tend to use your Instagram posts to drive traffic to your content on your blog or Medium publication or YouTube channel, create promotional images and mention that the link is in your bio.
  • If you create images for your social media posts, make an additional image for the vertical screen or reuse the one you created for Pinterest.
  • Use Instagram Stories to do research and interact with your community. What types of content do they want from you via Instagram? How can you provide those content to them?

6. Chris Burkard (@chrisburkard)

Show your behind-the-scenes adventures

Chris Burkard is a very talented photographer with almost 2 million followers on Instagram.

He has been using Instagram Stories to take his followers through his adventures where he captures the jaw-dropping photos he shares on his Instagram accounts, including river crossings and camping outdoors with very windy conditions.

Chris Burkard Story

How you could do this for your business: 

While not every business might have such adventurous experiences on a regular basis, your followers might be interested in what your company does on a day-to-day basis. Think about some of the fun aspects you could show them, such as brainstorming sessions, team lunch, company games and more.

7. New York University (@nyuniversity)

Bring your followers on tours

New York University has a very engaged following on Instagram. Each of its posts has thousands of likes and 10–20 comments. Following the theme for its posts, New York University “takes” its followers on tours around the campus and city, enhancing the experience of following the account.

New York University Story

How you could do this for your business: 

This is great if you are a tourist attraction or school or even a retail store with a great physical space and environment!

When you are taking your afternoon break and going out for a walk, snap a few photos of interesting sights or locations and share them with your followers. These raw authentic snaps will give your followers a better sense of the area and might make them want to visit you more.

8. GoPro (@gopro)

Bring your followers on an adventure

GoPro is one of the brands I think of when I think of adventures. When Instagram Stories was launched, GoPro jumped onto the opportunity to share more footage taken with, yep, GoPro.

Recently, while making its GoPro family member’s dream come true of seeing the aurora australis, GoPro shared the adventure with its Instagram followers through incredible video footages of the trip.

GoPro Stories

How you could do this for your business: 

If you are an outdoor activities company, share all the thrilling and breathtaking videos of the outdoors with your followers.

For those who might not have such opportunities on a daily basis, here’s something else you could try. While GoPro’s Instagram Stories alone looks amazing enough, it is part of their #DreamReal marketing campaign of fulfilling their social media advocates’ dreams. You could perhaps:

  1. Use Instagram Stories to promote your company’s hashtag and encourage more people to use it.
  2. Show how happy the winners of your giveaways are or how awesome your giveaway prizes are to attract more people to participate in them in the future.

9. When I Work (@wheniwork)

Feature your customers and share behind the scenes

When I Work is employee scheduling software with over 15,000 happy customers worldwide. Recently, they visited a few of their customers in Canada and featured them in their Instagram Stories.

When I Work Story 1 When I Work Story 2

How you could do this for your business: 

If it is possible, visit your amazing customers and give them a shoutout on your Instagram Stories. This will let your followers know what types of businesses and individuals use your product and might give them the social proof they need in order to convert. Furthermore, this will help you build a stronger relationship with your customers.

10. Shopify (@shopify)

Promote your blog posts creatively

You might not always be able to visit our customers like When I Work so Shopify worked around that by letting merchants, who use Shopify for their business, take over the Shopify Instagram account and share about their business.

Apart from merchant takeovers, Shopify also promotes their blog posts through Instagram Stories.

Shopify Story

How you could do this for your business: 

This is just one of the many ways you could promote your blog posts through Instagram Stories:

  1. With the blog post you want to promote, find 3-5 key points that will grab your followers’ attention. (An easy way could be to look at your H2 headings.)
  2. Turn them into fun Instagram Stories using relevant photos, captions, and drawings.
  3. Create a simple link to be used for the last photo.
  4. Post them!
  5. Bonus: It will be great to download each Instagram Stories photo onto your phone as you create them and post them all at once when you are ready. This will help to ensure that your followers see the full set of photos at a go.

11. Remote Year (@remoteyear)

Bring your offline and online communities together

Remote Year is a year-long program where 75 digital nomads travel across the world to work and explore 12 cities together.

Through their Instagram Stories, they share what they do on, I believe, a daily basis, allowing their followers who might not be able to join the trip to still be part of the fun.

Remote Year Story

How you could do this for your business: 

It can be a bit of a bummer for your community when they are unable to attend some of your events. It could be meetups or conferences with a limited number of tickets or an exclusive event for certain customers only or a program for a selected few such as the Remote Year. However, that does not mean they have to miss out on all the fun. Here are some of the things you could do:

  • Interview key personnel briefly about the topic of the event
  • Invite attendees to share their experiences at the event
  • Film interesting and fun moments of the event
  • Appoint a host or two for your Instagram Stories while the event is taking place to talk about what is going to happen during the event, narrate as the activities are happening and interview attendees, like what the Remote Year did for some of their events (as seen in the first photo)

12. Black Sheep Cycling (@blacksheepcycling)

Give sneak previews of your upcoming products or launch them through Instagram Stories

Black Sheep Cycling is a cycling brand that provides innovative and unique cycling apparel.

A few days ago, they launched their ambassador kit for their community. Besides announcing the upcoming launch with an Instagram post, the team also used Instagram Stories to showcase the kit from various angles.

Black Sheep Cycling Story

How you could do this for your business: 

While preparing the marketing materials for your upcoming launch or announcement, create a few more vertical designs for your Instagram Stories. Consider more than one image or design since the ephemeral nature of Instagram Stories allow you to share more photos and videos without cluttering up your Instagram profile. Here are some variations you could think about:

  • Different angles of the product
  • Specific features of the product
  • Different people using your product
  • Various ways of using your product

13. Olympics (@olympics)

Report timely news and wrap-up

When the Rio 2016 Olympics was taking place, the social media team behind the Instagram account took the opportunity to share more about and celebrate the incredible Olympians. Harrison Barnes also took over the account to give a wrap-up for a day and shared his thoughts on the day’s events.

Olympics Story

How you could do this for your business: 

While you might not always be part of huge events like the Olympics, there are likely to be many high-profile events in your respective industry. For example in the tech field, one such event is TechCrunch Disrupt. You could attend such events and provide timely updates to your followers. Here are some possible ways:

  • Create simple images to share cool announcements and important news from the event
  • Share your thoughts about the announcements and news of the event
  • Interview speakers and prominent figures in the industry briefly, if possible
  • Feature partners and customers who happen to be at the same event

14. Brian Fanzo (@isocialfanz)

Give previews of your talks and let others take over your Instagram Stories

Brian Fanzo, popularly known as isocialfanz, is a millennial speaker who is very knowledgeable about community building, social media, livestreaming, influencer marketing, tech and more. In 2016 alone, Brian will keynote at more than 40 events around the world.

He has been using Instagram Stories to give previews for his upcoming talks and events such as the #Cloudtalk. He did the same when he was taking over our Buffer Instagram Stories while Brian, our Social Media Manager, took over his.

Brian Fanzo Story

How you could do this for your business: 

Work with other brands and influencers to take over your Instagram account and ask to take over theirs too. Like Gary Vaynerchuk said, “It’s an easy way to reach new audiences and increase brand awareness.” And it’s great because both parties stand to benefit from the takeovers.

A cool feature of Instagram Stories is that it allows you upload any photos and videos that were added to your phone’s camera roll within the last 24 hours. Simply swipe down while you are in the Instagram Stories camera mode. This allows you to share photos and videos from the brands and influencers without having to share your Instagram account password.

  1. Get them to create Instagram Stories and save them onto their phones without posting them.
  2. Get them to send their draft Stories to you via email, Dropbox or Google Drive.
  3. Download them onto your phone before the time you wish to post them (you will have 24 hours to use them after downloading them onto your phone).
  4. Wait for the right time and voila!

15. Minaal (@minaalofficial)

Share user generated content and showcase your customers

Minaal makes durable, professional travel gear that gets you where you want to be – faster, happier and more productive. (It is a brand many Bufferoos love too!)

In their Stories, they share photos from their community who are traveling all around the world with the amazing travel bags and gear.

Minaal Story

How you could do this for your business: 

Many a time, we love to showcase our users’ photos of them using our products, only to realize that the photo quality might not be on par with those we post on our profile or it might not match the theme of photos we chose for our gallery. Instagram Stories provides a great option to feature your users (and your product) without changing the theme of your Instagram branding or adding too many photos to your gallery.

Invite your users to share photos of themselves using your product and let them know that you will be featuring them on your Instagram Stories. Alternatively,

  1. Look out for photos of your product by your users (if there’s a hashtag that your community uses, that will be very handy)
  2. Reach out to those users and ask if you could feature their photos and them on your Instagram Stories.
  3. Once you have the photos, add their Instagram handle and perhaps add some drawings to the photos to make them more interesting.

16. 9gag (@9gag)

Funny user generated content and stories

I think most of us are quite familiar with 9gag and their hilarious content. With Instagram Stories, they brought their funny storytelling to another level!

9gag Story

How you could do this for your business: 

I believe most businesses aren’t like 9gag in terms of the amount of user generated content they have (thought it’s great if you do!). However, this does not mean we cannot learn anything from 9gag. I think 9gag is a great example of telling the same stories through different formats (on their website, Instagram posts, Instagram Stories and more).

Instagram Stories allow us to quickly click through a series of photos and videos, and that’s a great way to tell stories! It feels a bit like flipping through a photo book. So an idea could be:

  1. When you have a story or message to share with your audience, come up with a storyboard of the photos and videos you need.
  2. Download the materials onto your phone and add captions and drawings to make them more engaging and visually appealing.
  3. When the time is right, publish all of them together according to your storyboard.
  4. Bonus: You could use an Instagram post to briefly talk about the story and direct your audience to check out your Instagram Stories for more information.

17. Sean McCabe (@seanwes)

Give previews of your live events or courses

Sean McCabe used to be a hand lettering artist who charged five-figure rates until he launched a course teaching people how to do what he did and made six figures in the first three days. Since then, he has been teaching a variety of courses on building and growing a sustainable business.

He has been using Instagram Stories to share sneak peeks of his live training and why his followers should sign up for his courses.

Sean McCabe Story

How you could do this for your business: 

Personally, I like to find out as much as I can before I pay for a course, a product, or a service. Quite similar to a trial for a product or service, Instagram Stories could be an interesting way to share just enough to entice your followers into signing up for your paid courses or exclusive content.

Also, sharing a short memorable link makes it easier for your followers to act immediately.

18. Track Maven (@trackmaven)

Share top news in your industry

Track Maven is a marketing analytics software tool that helps marketers make smart decisions through understandable and actionable data. In line with their area of expertise, they share top marketing news every week in their Instagram Stories.

Track Maven Story

How you could do this for your business: 

I imagine most of us are already reading up a lot about our own industry so this just takes a tiny bit more effort:

  1. When reading through all the news, bookmark the top 3 to 5 pieces which are most shareworthy or most useful to the people in the industry or your customers.
  2. On Friday each week (or even every morning), share the news.
  3. Adding your thoughts about the news could help to make you a thought leader in your industry too.

Small plug

I would also love to give a shout out to Brian, our amazing social media manager, who has been rocking our Instagram Stories game too. Our Stories range from social media tips to influencer, brand and team member takeovers. If you are interested in learning more about social media, marketing and behind the scenes of a remote team, we are @buffer on Instagram!

Buffer Story

Over to you

There are definitely many more creative brands and folks out there that I did not come across during my research. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you know of any or if you feel that you are creating awesome Instagram Stories, feel free to share your handle below! Thank you!

Workday CEO: 10 Powerful Business Leadership Lessons

If the problem you’re solving is not hard, it’s not worth doing. – Aneel Bhusri, CEO of Workday

In 2005, two longtime friends and software visionaries Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri decided to form a cloud-based finance and human resources startup. Duffield had founded PeopleSoft in 1987, where Bhusri served as senior vice president of product strategy. The result was Workday. Today, Workday’s enterprise applications for finance and HR are disrupting the global software industry, servicing some of the largest companies in the world, including my company Salesforce. Today, more than 1,000 organizations, including Fortune 50 enterprises, are Workday customers.


Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri – Founders of Workday, 2005

Ray Wang, bestselling author and CEO and founder of Constellation Research, and I invited Aneel Bhusri to our weekly show DisrupTV to discuss business, leadership lessons learned during his incredible journey, as well as emerging and highly disruptive technologies in the financial and talent management industry.

Aneel Bhusri is co-founder and chief executive officer at Workday. Aneel has been a leader, product visionary, and innovator in the enterprise software industry for more than 20 years. In addition to his role at Workday, Aneel serves on the boards of Intel, Cloudera, Okta, and Pure Storage. Aneel is also an advisory partner at Greylock, a leading venture capital firm that he has been associated with since 1999.

DisrupTV Episode 0030 Featuring Aneel Bhusri, Steve Boese & Holger Mueller from Constellation Research on Vimeo.

1. You cannot replace luck and timing

From a startup to a highly successful company with a 98% customer satisfaction score, Workday has been a great success story. Bhusri and his team have a consumer internet mindset that drives the management and innovation philosophy at Workday. The same leadership guiding principles that led to Bhusri’s success as a successful venture capitalists at Greylock are employed at Workday.

“You can’t replace luck and timing. With Workday our timing was perfect. We started in 2005 right as cloud computing was beginning to take off. Salesforce had really established this new business model and so we were very lucky that way,” said Bhusri. Hard working entrepreneurs who adopt a beginner’s mindset and intellectually curious tend to be more lucky and at the right time and right place.

2. Find a good mentor

Bhusri advises entrepreneurs to find a great mentor. “I found a great mentor early on in my career, Dave Duffield – a legendary software innovator, great individual and a wonderful leader and human being,” said Bhusri. Bhusri also embraces reverse mentoring, where he purposefully connects with younger employees at Workday, customers and business partners to help better guide Workday’s innovation vision and company strategy.

3. If the problem you’ are solving is not hard, then it’s not worth doing

“You don’t see a lot of great companies built on easy problems to solve. In many cases you see a startup and people say, ‘wow, that looks too hard of a problem to solve’ and that’s when I say go do it because that is where real opportunities get created. If you are successful, you are not going to find a whole bunch of competitors chasing you because you are solving a real hard problem,” said Bhusri.

4. Listen to your customers

“Our very simple philosophy is that we really take care of our employees and they take care of our customers. Every employee at Workday thinks about how they are going to customers be successful. It is a simple formula but a lot of companies go out and they don’t listen to their customers, they don’t try to solve hard problems, making it tougher for themselves to create a great business,” said Bhusri. Dave Duffield and Bhusri genuinely love collaborating with customers. Both also are very employee centric. Duffield and Bhusri interviewed the first 500 employees at Workday. They didn’t interview the candidates for their skills, they were looking for good cultural fit, customer focus, and being good team players. Then Duffield and Bhusri let the first 500 Workday employees hire the next 5,000 employees.

5. Your culture is your brand

“There’s a lot that I’ve learned by watching how Marc Benioff and Salesforce build a great company round being tight with customers and have those customers be strong advocates for Salesforce. I think that’s the new way of doing business in enterprise software. The beauty of the cloud model is that it brings you closer to your customers and that customer intimacy is mutually beneficial for both customer and company,” said Bhusri. Workday is a true cloud provider and so customers are using the same version which leads to great amount of transparency and sharing is far greater than legacy, on premise solutions.

6. Business leaders value analytics and reporting

Workday just finished their second quarter and the results share with Wall Street demonstrated the second-biggest quarter of selling financial services – the same phenomenon that Workday saw in HR is now in finances. There are several factors according to Bhusri, namely analytics and reporting. Getting accounting done is a commodity. CFOs are looking for better analytics. Workday is delivering unified planning and transaction capabilities that can only be delivered using a true multi-tenant cloud architecture. Finance is looking for real value and they want better analysis and reporting.

7. All applications must be intelligent applications

“The next wave of cloud adoption is about taking advantage of all the data companies are collecting to make better decisions. Machine learning allows businesses to analyze massive amounts of data and find nuggets of insights to help leaders make better decisions,” said Bhusri. Workday’s first machine learning algorithm is talent insights, an application that predicts which of your top performers would stay or leave your company in the next 12 months with better than 90% accuracy. Machine learning can also assist in areas of career path and succession planning. Today, some of the largest banking clients of Workday are using their machine learning applications to career path their employees. Smart companies are using data to make predictions and to stay ahead of their competition.

8. Strong innovation velocity requires a true cloud

Many of today’s tech companies are ‘cloudish’ and not really cloud, according to Bhusri. To keep up with today’s innovation velocity, companies must adopt true multi-tenancy cloud technologies and architectures. You cannot write new powerful machine learning algorithms against data-sets if the systems are not running the same exact version of the software configured – a true cloud model. The companies that are doing right are Amazon, Google, Salesforce and Workday and that’s why we are able to keep up with the pace of innovation,” said Bhusri.

9. Leadership diversity and succession planning are key to success

Workday is growth and success is all about their company culture and people. Bhusri believes that cultivate a culture that celebrates diversity means having a proactive process that is focused on leadership succession and building the next generation of leaders. Duffield and Bhusri started this very early at Workday with the goal of creating a multi-generational leadership opportunity to build a great company by mapping and executing succession across the entire company. Great companies are always identifying the next set of great leaders.

10. Charity and mentoring is in the DNA of great companies

Bhusri values mentoring his employees and giving back to the community. Bhursi is also very welcoming of accessible, seeking feedback from all stakeholders. Millennials give Bhusri a lot of reverse mentoring. Bhusri believes that the only way to stay on top of technologies is to hang out with younger people, a lesson he learned from Dave Duffield.

“At the end of the day, we are all part of a community. Giving back at the Workday Foundation is just recognizing that and being part of a broader community. We are just a small piece of the community. We have been very fortunate and our growth and success is largely due to our community. The most exciting part about the Workday Foundation is that our employees actually drive where we give and they really drive the giving. Our employees get personally involved. It is fabulous when your hire the right people, with the right value system, and they want to give back and they push us to give back,” said Bhusri.

Bhusri is legendary entrepreneur, venture capitalist and CEO. He is also a passionate collaborator, mentor and listener. Duffield and Bhusri are passionate about building a company with happy employees who work hard to ensure their customer’s success. I encourage you to follow Aneel Bhusri on Twitter at @aneelb. Ray and I also spoke with two extraordinary HR experts and thought leaders Steve Boese and Holger Mueller and asked them to share their views on emerging talent management and future of work trend. To learn more about HR innovation and industry trends, please watch the video above for Boese and Mueller’s valuable insights.

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Tales of Groc: Customer Success Caveman – Chapter 8

Geologists from Stanford University recently made an astounding discovery. Drilling core samples in Palo Alto, a thousand feet below Sand Hill Road, they discovered the fossils of an ancient civilization. Their excitement grew as excavation revealed a Neanderthal community with complex tools, written language, and a primitive subscription economy.

A paleo-forensic team pieced together the daily life of one adult Neanderthal that lived there 40,000 years ago. They’ve published his narrative below, and titled their work the Tales of Groc, the Customer Success Caveman. Read Chapter 7 here.

Chapter 8: Professional Etiquette

Groc was passionate about developing the next generation of Customer Success Managers. When he learned that StoneHenjj was considering a rotational program for new grads, he got involved and made sure that Customer Success was part of the circuit.

The Program took recruits from the University of Boulder on a two-year orbit through the Sales, Support, Onboarding and Customer Success departments. Groc loved the enthusiasm of these young cavemen and cavewomen. Sometimes, though, their professional etiquette during customer interactions left something to be desired.

Last fall, Groc was shadowed by a new grad named Bam. These were some of the lessons that Groc imparted into the youngster in the two moons they spent together:

  1. Bam was following Groc to an onsite EBR at Dongleberry, a strategic partner that produced power adapters between livestock and Carts. Their primary product was the Harness.

    Groc and Bam had agreed to meet outside the company’s headquarters at sunrise to do a final run of the presentation. Groc arrived 5 minutes early, but Bam arrived 45 minutes late drinking a cup of fermented pond scum. When asked why he was late, Bam said “I love this stuff. I can’t start my day without it. But it took me a long time to find a ClunkinCobbles around here that sells it.”

    Groc was frustrated and made his point very clear: “Something like this should never jeopardize a customer engagement. I suggest better planning of your morning routine ahead of important meetings.”

  2. Some execs from Mammoth Mart were coming to the StoneHenjj offices to discuss a big expansion Opportunity with Groc and members of the Product team. StoneHenjj had a pretty relaxed dress code, but Groc asked Bam to look sharp for that day to make a good impression. Bam wouldn’t be presenting to Mammoth Mart, but he’d be present for some of the conversations.

    But on the morning of the meeting, Bam arrived with his usual Rolling Stones loincloth, wild bedhead, and a woefully unpolished club. “Appearance and presentation can really move the beetle in these settings,” emphasized Groc. He asked Bam to go home and change before the Mammoth Mart exec team arrived.

  3. Groc and Bam went to a late-afternoon onsite in the southern Valley, an hour away. It was sundown by the time they returned. Bam was eager to get home to see the new episode of his favorite show, Game of Bones. Groc, too, wanted to leave to catch the Perseid meteor shower. He’d heard that Ursa Major and Cassiopeia would be throwing some major fireballs and didn’t want to miss a second of the action.

    But Groc knew there was a potential upsell opportunity at the customer and that a quick follow-up would help clinch the deal. “It’s important we follow up on meetings same day,” insisted Groc. They stayed an extra 20 minutes to compose a note and sent it by Eagle. They got the upsell.

Bam had taken great strides by the end of their time together, and Groc felt confident that he would make a great CSM. Especially now that a ClunkinCobbles had just opened across the street.

The post Tales of Groc: Customer Success Caveman – Chapter 8 appeared first on Customer Success Software | Gainsight.

Cada vez es más fácil saltarse el mejor bloqueo antipiratería de videojuegos que existe

La piratería es un serio problema para los desarrolladores de videojuegos que deciden llevar sus productos al PC. Eso no es ningún secreto. Durante años se han desarrollado sistemas de seguridad que eviten que puedan piratear los juegos

. El más reciente (y efectivo) era Denuvo, pero cada vez es más sencillo saltárselo.

Read more…

Cada vez es más fácil saltarse el mejor bloqueo antipiratería de videojuegos que existe

La piratería es un serio problema para los desarrolladores de videojuegos que deciden llevar sus productos al PC. Eso no es ningún secreto. Durante años se han desarrollado sistemas de seguridad que eviten que puedan piratear los juegos

. El más reciente (y efectivo) era Denuvo, pero cada vez es más sencillo saltárselo.

Read more…