The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 7 months ago

183. Building a Customer-Centric Organization w/ Sam Jacobs

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The process from here to there is full of failure. Today’s guest is a founder and CEO whose life changed when he recognized that failure actually means experience that he can use to help others.

In this episode, I speak with Sam Jacobs, Founder & CEO at Pavilion, about realizing his entrepreneurial dreams based on openly sharing best practices, ideas, and strategies with peers.

Sam and I talked about:

  • What actions a company with humility will take
  • How Pavilion grew out of Revenue Collective
  • Why a vision should inform values
  • What the independence of the professional truly looks like
  • How Sam built Pavilion with diversity and customer-centricity  

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Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog.

How do you build a customer centric organization and how do you think about your customers in the right way? And the way that I think about it is I want to be quiet so that they can tell me what they need, and then I want to be responsive to it. The single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in a personal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here's your host, Ethan Butte. So we don't really do how I built this types of episodes here on this podcast, but I want to take that approach a bit in today's episode because of my respect for our guest, what he's built and how he's built it. Over the past five plus years he's been a sales and go to marketing leader and high growth environments, having served in rolls like chief revenue officer, svp of sales and marketing and svp of sales and business development for companies like live stream, a sealed the Muse and behave as he's the host of a podcast I've heard dozens of episodes of the salesacker podcast and he's the founder and CEO of Pavilion, formerly revenue collective in international community of members from the world's fastest growing company, Sam Jacobs, welcome to the customer experience podcast. Thank you, Ethan. It is absolutely my pleasure and my honor. I am delighted to be here. I have so much respect for you so glad to be a guest. It's very kind of you to say it and I of you, as I said in the introduction, and I just really for my own interest and I think it'll be super interesting and valuable for other people, because you do, you in your team do so much right with regard to customer experience and it was obvious to me from the beginning your level of commitment to customer success in particular. So I'm really going to enjoy learning from you about your perspective on the Arc that that your organization is taken over the years. But we're going to start where we always start, which is customer experience. When I say that, what does that mean? Do you say am well, what it means to me is I just the first thing I think about is listening so it's how do you build a customer centric organization and how do you think about your customers in the right way? And the way that I think about it is I want to be quiet so that they can tell me what they need and then I want to be responsive to it. And so that's we have a value within pavilion, for the for the team, for the full time team. It's called listen closely, act quickly, and I attribute a meaningful amount of our success to that value. So when I think about customer experience, I'm thinking about the organization that has the humility to not assume that it has all the answers, but to assume that the answers are there if you can be quiet and still and listen to what your customers are saying, interpret it appropriately and then act decisively. I love it. The you know, one of the reasons I so enjoy asking that question to the hundred and eighty plus people that I've now asked it to, including you, is different variations in perspectives and even ways think these. The spirit of the of the response is operationalize. You just gave me that response, which is fantastic and it does something that is core to what I've learned by hearing the answers of a lot of different people, which is the essence of it, is how we make people feel, and there's no question that you make community members feel hurt and valued for that operationalized value that you just described of listening closely and acting quickly. Any other thoughts on how you have approached it at pavilion? Like I what you've shared, it makes me think that it's an ethos that is everyone's responsibility. It's a cultural component. Do you ever foresee a day of having a title or a role or a team devoted to this, or do you really prefer, conceptually, of course, theoretically, to keep it as this? This is just how we do it around here? Well, it's a good question. I think listen. I think that I can see consolidation of the customer journey under one direct report, for example. You know,...

...and I can see that there might be a world in which our member success team and our operations team and our growth team, which is our sales seem maybe all report to one person so that there can be a consistent and coherent and unified customer experience from the moment you apply to pavilion to, you know, two years into your membership, like you, Ethan. So I don't know that there's so I can see, like an org chart that's designed to ensure that we are able to deliver a great experience at scale. I don't know that. But I also think, to your point, that it should be embedded into the organization, you know, and that's why I never believed this. I'm a skeptical person by nature and it was sort of cool for me and my teens and twenty s to sort of think of myself as some hip skeptic, some hits hip cynic. You know, I'm a sort of a gen X or by by trade, and I'm not like that anymore. And so the point that I'm making is that when I read Mark Benioff's biography, you know, behind the cloud, he talks about vto mom right, which is vision, values, mission objectives metrics. And the point is that the way we've designed pavilion is intentionally with let's start with a vision, let's start with the mission, let's start with why we're here, and then from there we will figure out the values with which we are going to make decisions and then we're going to figure out our specific near and medium term plans, and so my point is that I am trying really to start from the very top and say, okay, let's everybody understand why we're here, and why we're here is to serve other people and to help other people and to help our members, which is itself, you know, part of how we think about customer experience. And from there we will figure out the plan. We will have our values in hand so that we know how to make decisions and we have our mission in hand so that we know why we exist, and from there we will figure everything else out. So good in it's I appreciate that sensibility and I feel like so many people undertake those exercises and kind of a superficial way and that concept has been kind of beat to death. But I also recognized the rivilege of a younger organization. Just thinking of someone listening who's working for like a thirty five or sixty five year old organization where, you know, even trying to create the conversation is just feels like a brutal effort. So you're you all are doing so many things right. I just want to highlight a few of them. In my view, of like to just contemporary concepts. I hate using words like modern contemporary, but it really does apply. Like the community basis. I think anyone that is that has a community as part of go to market or part of product or services right in what you all are doing is buying for revenue leaders. It has a very strong human to human component, both virtual and in person, and, as you mentioned, I am a member. I should have set that off the top, and I've enjoyed both virtual and in person events in this connecting with other humans, which I think is going to be increasingly valuable the more digital and virtual we get. And it's global. It's a global organization, but it's also very local. So I'm part of the Denver chapter, being in Colorado Springs, and I've met in person in virtually with a number of people from the Denver Chapter. You'll, are doing so much right. I would love to hear it before we get kind of go backward. I would love to hear in your own words what is pavilion? Who's your ideal customer? What problem do you solve for them? All right, you'll be surprised, as the founder and CEO, that I still not I'm still not able to deliver this as a sinctly as I as I wish that I could. But WHAT IS PAVILION? Pavilion is a paid membership community that is focused on using community to build products and services that help people navigate and manage their careers more effectively. And what that means in practice is that we've we use community, we use this concept of people all over the world with a shared sense of values and a shared commitment to mutual support and reciprocity. We use that foundation to build specific services, products and tools that help you be better at your job, to make sure that you have awareness on how to get...

...to the next job and to really help you achieve your career objectives. And we say that that means that our mission is to help every member unlock and achieve their professional potential, which is the way of saying we believe, and I believe, that there's greatness within all of us and that sometimes the issue is how do you have a mechanism to allow that greatness to come forth? And that is fundamentally and I mean that very sincerely, because that's how I felt for a very long time. I felt like I had something special inside of me and I could not, for the life of me figure out how to get it out into the world. So that's who we are what we do. We started off, as you said, Ethan, serving revenue leaders, primarily at venture capital back companies, primarily at be to B companies, but not exclusively. We are now we serve revenue leaders, finance leaders and CEOS as of today, and I think once we feel like we get really, really good, particular at finance, because it's easy to serve CEOS, because I'm a CEO now. So like we're building a CEO community, but I am doing that by hand, as I did with revenue collective originally. But I think we really want to focus on getting good at serving finance professionals to ensure that we know how to build new functional verticals and then from there will expand to other areas like, you know, HR and people, to product to engineering, to legal, etc. Awesome. I want to get a little bit into that evolution, but I've got a few things I would love to do with you first, and before I do any of that, I would love to follow up on this idea of unlocking the greatness within you. It was something you are cognizant of. You maybe had some I don't know. I'm just projecting now anxiety, your thought or struggle with in it. In I feel like you have done some degree of unlocking and unleashing. What was that process like for you like? What were some of the keys, because I as soon as you said that, I started thinking about myself and then tried to go back to listening to you very intently, and I'm sure other people did similar and it's something that I've bet almost anyone has probably dealt with if they're fortunate enough to ever have the feeling that there's something great within them, and some people don't even get there, unfortunately. But what was that process like for you like? What were a few keys to unlocking it? Well, the process was, first of all, repeated failure. Now I have this you know, I'm writing a book. I'm following in your footsteps, you think, but you know, in the book I talked about how, you know, sometimes characterizing it as failures itself the failure in the first place, because it's not failure, it's experience. But the process was continuing to fail and having to think about why that that led to a moment and really, when I think about when my life, my life changed a number has changed a number of times, as all of our lives have. But for me the inflection point was October of two thousand and seventeen, which was about four plus years ago, just over four years ago, and that's when I was fired from the Muse and that was my third out of forth firing, you know, out of the last four jobs. I mean different circumstances, different degrees of, you know, amicability, but that was a point at which I I was so frustrated with how my career was going. But instead of going deeper into self pity or sorrow, I which I have plenty of, you know. So just to be extremely clear, I just I decided it was it was almost like a point of you know, they call it like in in the rooms and AA or na they call it, you know, the the bottoming out or you know, like the that was that was what it felt like, and it felt like I had hit the bottom and that I was just going to start taking steps forward. And what that meant specifically was just a determination to for me. This is what I meant. For me, it meant for me a determination to stop being so afraid to go out on my own, and there was, you know, my life, many lives, all of our lives, right or characterized by fear. And I was afraid, you know, and I was afraid...

...for a lot of my career. I was afraid. I was one of those people. I'm a bad employee, right, because I was one of those people that worked for other people. And the reason I worked for other people is because I was too scared to start my own company, to do my own thing. So, but I thought that I was smarter than the people that I worked with and that I was better than them, and that's a really toxic combination. You know. That's not that's not how it should be. You should it's not even about it's the job. Work it. When you work for somebody else, when somebody else is the CEO, you work in service of their vision. That's how that's that's the name of the game. And if you can't, if you can't accept that, that's your problem, not their problem. So that was my problem, right, which was that I was too afraid to do my own thing, but I couldn't just suck it up and and sort of get over my sense of frustration about that, which was really that's probably what it was, a frustration that I didn't have the courage to do what these other people had done. And so in February, I mean in October of two thousand and seventeen, is when I just decided that I'd reached the end of that road and that I was going to start doing thing, you know, building my own taking control of my life. And it's a leap of it's a leap of faith, and that's that's sort of it can only be that, right, it can only be a leap if if there was surety, if it was guaranteed, then there would be no growth that came from it. The leap is the uncertainty. The leap is I'm going to take literally a leap into the unknown. I do not know what will happen. There is no safety not to catch me and I'm going to have to just figure it out and probably figure it out as I fall, you know, if I'm wily coyote running off, you know, the side of the side of the cliff or whatever. And so yeah, that was, you know, to the point of like bringing out something. That was the thing that was inside of me, which is that I wanted to do my own thing and and and create my own revenue streams and serve people and unique in different ways. And I just didn't have the confidence. Or it's not a confidence, I just it. I just was too overcome by fear. And so in that moment I just decided I'm going to figure this out, I'm going to trust that I can. And there's something human beings are, you know, we're likes, like we have this like loss of version bias, you know, like you're making a hundred thousand dollars a year, you're going to quit your job to start something new and kind of all you can focus on is negative. One hundred thousand right. You can't focus on the positive because you don't know what it is. It's too abstract. And what I realized is it's you need and you may perhaps even doubt it's potential, of course, and you and and you never realize, like when you work for somebody else, you're lending them, you're not even lending your selling them for your salary, your very best ideas. And what happens when you stop giving other people your very best ideas and you start giving them to yourself? And you know my experience, my personal experience. I can't speak for everybody, but the upside has been greater than my wildest dreams. That's awesome and it has its one of the reasons. I mean, I talked with you a number of times. Most of them haven't been recorded, but a few of them have, or couple anyway, and it has. What you've done again is just really, really cool. It's impressive. It's help so many people. I see it all the time on Linkedin, you know. I see people talking about what they learned, what they achieved, who they met, how they got their next thing, perhaps even how they were inspired by other people with a story similar to your own to have the courage to take a leap, whatever that leap was, from one thing to another. I want to go back to when you founded revenue collective, now pavilion, more than five and a half years ago, because this moment that you were kind enough to share and walk through was about four years ago. So about two and a half of the years that you after founding revenue collective, you were also simultaneously a revenue leader at several of the companies that I mentioned in the intro and so what were you seeing or experiencing at the time? To the degree that doesn't overlap with what you just shared,...

...or perhaps it does. What led to the founding of revenue collective? Like what was going on in your life at the time that you said I need to bring together other people who are in probably sales and marketing at the time, if I'm as an assumption on my part, but perhaps sales, marketing, customer success. Well, is it was the same, that same sense of a loss of control, a sense of isolation. I work at, I tend to work at venture capital, backtigh growth companies that put tremendous emphasis on hitting their revenue targets, as that's POW, that's okay, you know, that's what companies do. And but what that means is that the people that are in charge of delivering those outcomes, meaning like the head of sales and marketing, primarily, also the head of customer success, those people feel pretty isolated, they feel a lot of anxiety and they always feel on the outside, or at least I did. Let me speak for myself. I felt on the outside right. I felt like the like I said, you know, I didn't have this courage to do this on my own, so I was working for other people. In I for those people. Felt like there was a board and there was a CEO and there was like people that made the decisions, and then I was sort of always on the outside and if I could deliver the numbers, that was great and I got to keep my job and if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to and so I started bringing people together in revenue collective, now pavilion, just to just to have a sense of camaraderie, a sense of commonality, a sense of we're all in this together, so effectively group therapy, to be completely honest, and to do it in such a way that, like you know, I couldn't join a CEO club, I couldn't join a founder club. I wasn't, I remember when I left. So I got fired from axeal and I got fired for trying to get the CEO fired. So I should have been fired. Just to be clear. Someone was going to win that fight. YEA, probably against you by exactly it was gonna get exactly so, but I remember. So this company, axeal, was backed by first round capital. First Round Cop was like the most famous early stage investor in New York City probably and and you know they do a lot of work in the bay area. To the main thing is that they've invested a lot in their first round network. It's like a platform that they built that you can log in and it's kind of like revenue collective, except that when I got fired from actual they they deleted my username and password and I couldn't, know longer lock in, and that was kind of like the point. You know, that's like there's all these clubs, but but you know they're not really for me and the people don't really care about me. And you know, vist equity partners will run their CMO conference as long as you're a CMO of a vist equity portfolio company. The minute that they decide you're not that person, you don't get to go to that conference anymore. And what's the conference and what's the club that we could start? That was always going to be for us and was always going to be for the human being and not was not going to serve somebody else. Was Not going to serve that. You know, you aren't going to get your license provoked because because you know you were on the outs with your CEO or whatever it may be. And so that's that was really the origin of revenue collective was, let me create a group therapy framework. Let's share press practices, let's share ideas, let's share negotiating tactics, you know, let's help each other sleep better at night knowing that we got severance, we got double trigger, full acceleration on our equity, all of those things. It was a sense of and that's why it was called revenue collective, frankly, because it was much more like a union than pavilion is today. Pavilion is sort of inverted. It's the positive interpretation of that negative of the same negative signal of like it's not about being against anybody, it's about being for you as a human being and helping you get where you want to go. But revenue collective started off as group therapy for sales leaders, because we're all getting fired all the time. So good. You actually addressed two questions I really wanted to ask, or two areas I wanted to ask around. One was kind of comparing and contrasting the original founding vision with what pavilion is today, and what I think I heard you say was, you know, it started as a scroup therapy what is for us and by us, so that it is independent of anyone role we have at any...

...given time because, to your point, it can be taken away at any given time, which reminds me a little bit of, you know, owned media versus, you know, like owned platforms. Just from a guy came up in marketing, content marketing, you know, this idea of like leveraging, relying on other people's platforms versus developing your own, and so that that model works for me. Is there anything I'm missing there? Is there anything that's really interesting to you or that comes to mind about what's going on with pavilion today relative to the original founding vision of it? You know, holding? You already kind of addressed that. No, I mean I think that there was, but I think your point right. What's the change? What's the difference? Well, the difference is that there was, like two thousand and seventeen was was about me, quote unquote, taking control, you know, and revenue collective was started as a means to provide more control, more stability to people's lives, particularly sales leaders, but almost defined in the negative, you know, defined as in opposition to and one of the things that happened since two thousand and seventeen as I've had, I've had sort of a spiritual awakening, I guess. And so it became. Now that coincided with, you know, a lot of personal success. So, like, you know, let's acknowledge that. That's easy to have a spiritual awakening when you're doing really great. But but nevertheless, that's the evolution, that's the change. You know. The change is that pavilion. I went from personally like there was a there was like take control apart, but then there's like what, what's the where you coming from? And and I began to come from more of a place of love and optimism and abundance than I had been before. And that coincided with the name change, right, because that's sort of where I'm at personally. You know, where I'm at personally is not about US versus them, you know, anymore. And again there's there's like selfserving reasons why that's true, like CEOS are allowed in because I'm a CEO now. So, you know, let's acknowledge that bias. But but that's kind of that's the biggest the biggest shift is a spiritual shift, from my perspective, a religious shift, just to spiritual shift towards a firmer belief that abundance begets abundance, you know, a firmer belief in the idea that kindness and mutual support and reciprocity can be a path to professional success. And so right like some people that were members in two thousand and eighteen or two thousand and seventeen, they say, well, it's not as exclusive as it used to be, you know, and it's not. It's become too big and why would I want to join, you know, such a big club? That's not discriminating. And the point is that's not the point. Actually, that's the inversion of the point. The actual point is that when you join pavilion you agree to a code of conduct. You agree to help other people and to support other people. You agree not to spam them in exchange for the fact that you're going to if you're going to help, then they can't come after you and send you a, you know, an SDR message. It has to be with open hand and open heart and you have to really want to help other people. Okay, if that's what you agree to, and it's not perfect and not everybody probably fought exemplifies that, but many more people do in pavilion than outside of Pavilion. So then what is the benefit of having a million people be in pavilion. Well, it's very clear, right. If there's a million people that have self identified as wanting to do business this way, then now you now have nine hundred ninety nine, you know, thousand nine hundred ninety nine other people that you can do business with more confidently, that you can help and support and know that they are, on the margin, less likely to be takers, less likely to be transactional, less likely to be shady or gimmicky or Scammy, because we are all members of pavilion, and that's really like the exciting project from my perspective is the idea that the more people opt into this code of conduct, the more easily it will be to do business. And that's, frankly, why we're actually rolling out like a certification that will be independent of whether or not you're paying member, so that you can take a course and certify yourself as like wanting, you know, doing pavilion, doing business the Pavilion Way, and it's not contingent that you pay me or US money. You can still just say...

...that you are and that'll be good enough for us. So good. The other area that you already addressed is this independence piece. Like so much of professional development, career development, I think, traditionally and historically was provided by the company. Typically, I mean certainly for the benefit of the individual, but also, even more so, the reason a company would invest in is it it's good for the company. And so this independence piece, I feel like you have addressed well, and it's this idea that and taking my own responsibility for my professional development by professional network, etc. But I feel like I know why that's important to you and I would, I guess I would acknowledge to that. It was probably absent from the market at the time. Looking back, though, I guess how important you think that dynamic was in the growth that you've experienced, particularly over the past probably two to three years. Like what do you think a couple of the real keys to success are? I have some of my own thoughts a about that, but I'm here to learn from you. Well, I mean in terms of the keys to success, I do think that's important and and I think that when I say that is important, what I mean with the antecedent is the idea that people need to take control of their own careers in their own professional development. I do think that's important and I think even companies recognize that. I don't even think that that's that. You know, our fastest growing kind of segment is our pavilion for teams corporate membership, and that's because sales leaders and marketing leaders and enablement leaders understand that they're going to be really, really good at teaching about their product, but they're they're probably not going to be the best in the world at teaching sales, the discipline of sales, probably because there's, first of all, no one way to teach sales and whatever way they teach is just going to be an art. It's not an arbitrary choice. It'll come from experience and from wisdom. But there are, there will be other possibilities. There are other qualification methodologies than medic you know, as just one tiny example, and so I think they recognize that. Okay, we should probably create some kind of mechanism for the people that work for us to get training in things outside of we're going to know the most about our product, but probably there's going to be other people that know the most about how to train them on how to be great marketers, are great sales people and how to really help them and at the same time. Given, you know, the talent shortage. Companies need to be investing in employee benefits and and really making themselves a destination employer. And to be that, you need to show that you invest in your employees and again, in this beautiful way that is less self serving, because the more self serving, the more transparently opportunistic you are, whereas if you say we really care about people having a career, we recognize that career won't exclusively be at our company. That's okay. We want to be a place where people can come and feel like they leave having changed the slope of their curve. That is that is what we try to exist to help provide. So I think that that message. I mean, again, it's sort of like it's it's about product market fit, in the sense that that's not my idea. All of the things I just said, I'm responding to those ideas being in existence and maybe I just listened and interpreted those ideas a little bit better than some of the other people that were working on similar concepts, at least today. You know, we'll see if it continues on this path. So I mean, I think that's sort of one answer to the question. Awesome the you know that team's product. It makes a lot of the the opportunity, the packaging of it makes so much sense. It makes me think about when I was when I was writing human center communication. One of the books that I reread was the cluetrain manifesto, which, of course, was a website initially, and it reminded me of how ambiguous and complex the world and the working world and our professional environments and the selling environment, all these environments that we operate in professionally, how ambiguous and complex they are, and their call for diversity over homogeneity has stuck with me and what you just said reminded me of it. Obviously I'm talking about it now, and it's this idea that like, yeah, your manager has a way, she or he has learned from their mentors, their past experiences,...

...they've they what, how they're teaching you is probably adapted to this unique environment. But how much more rich would our whole team or organization, how much more rich would my personal experience be? How much more satisfying might the work be if I'm open to a much broader diversity of thoughts, perspectives, opportunities, etc. And the other thing that's kind of implied there that I think the smartest employers are tapping into is allowing people to operate for more of a position of creative freedom. And I don't mean that like super loosely, but that's always at odds with kind of the orderliness of order and how we do it here and here's the script and here's the cadence and do all these things in this order and I want fifty of these a day and eighty of those a day and all these like that. That order you can still provide a degree of freedom and opportunity to be more strategic, to be more personal, to look for what's effective, not just what's efficient. So I love this idea of exposing people to more other people. And it's interesting too, because I know, you know, there are a lot of people who do one on one paid coaching or Mentorship, even in this capacity right like I'm getting my boss to agree to pay somebody outside my company who has a job similar to mine to help me do my job better. But this is that times whatever. And I can't tell you how many one on one experiences I've had as a pavilion member. Some of that is through the you know, the lunch roulette scenario or I get paired up with somebody I haven't met before, and sometimes it's someone just hitting me up on linkedin like Hey, I see you, remember a pavilion. Would love to connect and with that, I can't tell you how many twenty five minute meetings I've taken with people from all over the world and all kinds of roles simply by virtue of having that on my linkedin profile and or taking you in the crew up on lunch roulette with with people paired up in the Denver Chapter. So anyway, that's my own monolog on a some good things. Share with me how you think about the stages of development and perhaps kind of in the you know how I built this style. Talk about strategy versus luck. Maybe you know. Obviously it started as an executive program and then you added the associate program now you've got this team's program. There's a chapter model here. I mentioned I'm in the Denver Chapter and so that's interesting because that's a buy and for dynamic. They're not direct employees of the organization or direct team members, but really the kind of they are. You've launched the university and I've missed out in a number of amazing schools taught by people that I really like and respect, in part because I can under the attend ninety percent of the sessions live, which I think is an important I do think that's an important mandate because that's a last thing you want is a cohort of fifteen people in a school in half of them are missing half the sessions, which would be lame. You know, the expansion from the revenue focus to include some of the some of the team members and functions. You've already mentioned. The rebrand of pavilion, which you already kind of mentioned, was personally driven, but I also would guess that it's tied a little bit to the expansion beyond sales marketing CS. So when you think about the stages of development evolution, maybe talk about how that went, maybe some of the milestones or the insights or the customer feedback that finally built up and said like all right, we got to do this. WHAT COMES TO MIND? What I give you that kind of tea up? Well, there's a lot there. Ethan the Ark, your favorite. Well, I'll say the first thing I'll say is, and and I'm I will be. I can be as specific as you like, but I really do mean what I say. When you start with a vision and everybody understands the vision and you have a set of values and those values are, you know, to the point of this podcast, really centered around trying to listen to your customers and do what's best for your customers. That's the strategy, to be completely honest with you, like I didn't have it wasn't like, Oh, I...

...knew that in your two I would start, or your three of working on a full time I would start Pavilion University and I knew that covid was coming and we'd start doing a bunch more podcast I know, a bunch more digital events. You know, it used to be not on slack. Everybody thinks about like a slack community, but it was an email community for a long time and, frankly, given the way slack is trying to negotiate our renewal and I don't think it's going to be a slack community for all of two thousand and twenty two, it's going to be something else. I'm complete. I don't care about the way that we deliver the experience. I care about the experience. So that's thing number one right, and I mean that very sincerely, like if you have a clear sense of who you are and why you exist and why you're trying to do what you do and you have a sense of values for how we make decisions. And that's a conversation I have with another CEO recently. They said, you know, we have our values on the on the wall, but they's so generic and boring I don't even know what they mean. And I said, well, they should be used to make decisions. So if they're so boring that you can't make a choice referencing of value, than the values not very useful. Like our values aren't like we breathe oxygen and you know need food to survive. That's not a choice that I I can make. So that's that's the first thing I would say. The inflection points. The business model is an inflection point. Most people start communities, they do it for free and then they monetize other aspects of the community and they do it for freest they can get the biggest possible community and then they sell access to those people. That's effectively they model of the Internet. To be honest. That's facebook, instagram and Linkedin and twitter. We intentionally had a different business model arts. Our business model is you will pay us and if you like what we do, you'll keep paying us and if you don't, you'll stop. And a lot of people gave us advice that we should do other things, we should start an executive search firm. That's the most common advice and I intentionally decided we're not going to do that. I don't want to compete with DIVERSA, I don't want to compete with kindred or true or hydrogen struggles or anybody. I want them to be partners. Like the more people, the more ways I charge money, the more competitors I have. So let's keep this very clean and simple. We don't take any cuts. We don't take in a referral fees. I don't, you know, I don't. I'm not going to resell bombomb and get ten percent through a referral link. It's just going to be a flat fee and people can pay it if they think we're delivering value and that that implies a longer progression, because it's like, well, how long is it going to take to get to ten million if your average prices, you know, a thousand bucks, while it's going to take a while. You know but it also keeps it focused on the right things and our incentives were always aligned. So that's one other insight I would share. I would say that the the milestones. You know, covid was a milestone, of course, because it went from being a dinner club and an in person business, where the chapters where the organizing principal, to a truly global community where and we figured out a way to quickly, very quickly, create a supply chain that enabled us to put together, from zero forty to fifty digital events every single week and really to lean in, aggressively, lean into serving people in a time of great uncertainty and fear, and I think that that the execution, plus the Pete, the the reality that people believed us, they believe that we were sincere in our efforts to help. I think that had a lot to do with our growth. Another insight that I would share with people is that we share. So what does that mean? That means that Dallas Hogans in the original chapter head and Denver. He's no longer the chapter had in Denver, but all of these people, they get money from US every month. Like these are not volunteers. We pay people, and that sounds again that doesn't I'm not giving you the the formula for perpetual motion or, you know, the new theory of relativity. I'm just telling you that, hey, when you, all of these other organizations wanted to keep all the money for themselves and everybody needed to be a volunteer. YOU WANT TO BE THE AMSTERDAM CHAPTER head for Pavilion. That's great. Thank you for your volunteering time. It's can be twenty hours a week, but you're going to be a volunteer. And instead what we did was we said we're going to pay you, initially a cut of dues. Now we pay flat monthly retainers based on the total size of the membership. But one way or the other we pay. We Pay Small Council's facilitators, the people that organize our small meet up groups that are not part of Pavilion University. We pay our instructors. The point is I want to share the wealth, I want to share the success with...

...people in the community in addition to the employees, and I think that that's been a big part of it. You know, I've been me and Tom Glasson the London chapter had. I met him in March of two thousand and eighteen I met him in London in two thousand and eighteen and early two thousand and eighteen we have now been working together and neither he nor I are this the easiest people to get along with. I can assure you of that. There have been some you know, there have been some, some debates and some negotiations, but here we are and the average tenure of a vpus sales is eighteen months and we're on three and a half years and going strong and I'm proud of that. But again, that's because he's part of it. You know, key we share. Well, he's part of the success and I and I'm happy to make him part of the success. So good a keyword that you use there, that that I have associated with my experience with you and the team members and members that I've interacted with. You know, you talked about your sincerity and that yours sincerely want to help. I think that comes through and one of the ways that comes through and one of the ways that you've taking your values off the wall is I feel like you personally and the organization in general. You know, part of the pandemic experience was a lot of you know, social upheaval, perhaps overdue you and I have our own opinions about how these things go and I would assume that they're more aligned than different, but I feel like the pavilion community, and even pavilion as an organization, was outspoken. Feels like it's inappropriate, but it's not, in my view, on some of the things that we're going on and that and you are open and it's part of the values to be expressive about D and I and some of these other themes that feel threatening or fresh to maybe an old fashioned organization, but they're so true to what you all are doing and I feel like that is a values in action motion. Do you have any thoughts on what I shared their yeah, but my thoughts are evolving, I guess, on this. You know I don't have a perfect here's what I think. I think one of the things I'm proud of St of is that, you know, the pavilion as a company fifty seven full time employees. I think we're I don't know the specific numbers, but you can look on linked in at the at the company picture that we posted and you can see that. You know, there's more diversity than any company I've ever worked at before and my instinct my style. My style is probably to lead by example and as opposed to always having a public pronouncement on whatever the latest issue of the day is, because I just feel like, you know, the proof is in the pudding and it's better to walk the walk than talk to talk and every other cliche. But I mean that that I would like to leave with my actions versus my words, because words are cheap oftentimes and I don't have an I don't I don't truly have a defined point of view on how active companies should be in social issues of social justice or or global political goal controversy or political discussion. I don't know. You know, we've got a lot of people in pavilion that are that probably didn't vote for who I voted for for president, and we have a lot of people where, if I'm talking about something like vaccines, we might have like a heated we might hate each other, whereas when we talk about just like sitting around and you know what, you passed the mash potatoes and they're happy to pass the mash potatoes. And these are people that would stop if I'm got a flat tire on the side of they would definitely stop and help me change it so by figuring out who's a good person and a bad person, given the given the segmentation and the bifurcation and the polarity of kind of like political discourse in the world right now, is hard. Is is not as obvious to me as saying like, yes, every company has an obligation to speak out loudly on every issue that is that happens to be circulating in the social media sphere at any given time. At the same time, what are our values like? What do I believe? And I believe in diversity makes us better as one of our values, and I believe that you know, and I believe, that diversity doesn't just mean race or gender, although it does mean those...

...things. It means where to grow up and what and did you go to college at all? Where'd you go to college and what's Your Perspective on the world? That's the way that you're going to get actual diversity of thought right and your company. If it was only white men that worked at Pavilion, I would have an idea about something and everybody would nod their head and we go out into the world and realize we're completely wrong because we didn't have the same level of empathy or perspective. I don't know if I'm answering your question, I guess. But but so, you know, like I read the Gut. The guy from band camp up and you know, they talked about how, you know, you know I'm allowed to talk about politics at the workforce, and there's a big uproar about it, what a Jerky was and how he was completely tone deaf and wrong, and I wasn't. My reaction. I was like, I can kind of see what he's saying, at the same time I'm not sure I agree with it. So we didn't make a blog post about it. Yeah, it's perfectly fair and you're right. It is modeling what we want to see, modeling what we want to be, living into our aspiration and you're right. This is super messy and one of the reasons I even wanted to introduce it is that, you know, everyone I've talked to, including people I work with here at Bombomb, have struggled with what's the right thing around these you know, what are different employees asking for and expecting of their leaders versus? What are they taking control of themselves to agree that they the culture is theirs at some level. All leadership can do is perhaps influence it and model where they would like it to go. And so, anyway, I thought that was perfectly fair response and thank you for taking that on. Last things. I could keep going, but for your time and mine and for the listeners only kind of ask around one other thing. I think what you're doing with pavilion obviously gives you personally, Sam Jacobs and all of your team members incredible ass access to what you've defined as critical to your success in building the pavilion community, which is customer feedback, that customer conversations, customer insights, what people really think, what people really feel, what people say they want, versus you know what they're actually doing relative to what they say they want, and you make available, you know, the community aspect of what you're doing through slack, through email, through live events. There's just so much opportunity to interact directly with you. Do you have any thoughts or recommendations or things you've picked up along the way for someone listening who is working for a company WHO's entire go to market doesn't have as many inherent built in opportunities for customer feedback? Anything to like? Because I agree more organization should be more focused on it. But I would also say that the nature of what you're doing, it's just customer feedbacks built in period. I mean the whole thing is about talking to customers and customers talking to customers. Any thoughts are recommendations for someone who's listening, who says Gushia, I need to do more of that, but it's not so inherent to what we're doing. What a question, my listen, a highly tactical answer would be like, at a minimum, like first try to get your company to buy Gong or chorus or some kind of conversational intelligence platform. At a minimum, start recording your calls. My why am I saying that? Because oftentimes when you want to like go to your boss and say this is what the customers are saying, just the fact that you're saying it gets discounted and there's something beautiful about saying I didn't say it. You can just listen, listen to what they said, and that has you can create more objectivity around creating customer centric conversations and dialog that way. So that would be my you have to be careful about how to present new ideas, particularly in large organizations, because sometimes they feel like you're not a team player or you're being self serving. And so my my biggest piece of advice is find a way to present customer feedback without you interpreting it, as a means of establishing a center of gravity around the customer, because if it's you interpreting it, I...

...talked to the customers, this is what I say that they need. You're going to be discounted, especially if you're in sales, because sales just has a different, you know, reputation out there on the world than the other functions. Really good practical tip for folks who are listening and have enjoyed this conversation, check out episode one hundred seventy six. That one's with Howard Brown, founder and CEO of a revenue dot Io, formerly ring DNA, and we talk a lot about his founding of the company, why they started and how they evolved in why they completely rebranded as revenue dot ioh which we talked a little bit about revenue collective to pavilion. So really cool story in there on one hundred and seventy six with Howard Brown and then a little bit earlier, one hundred and thirty three, with Leah Cheney. The founder and chief experience officer at better growth. I heard your conversation with her, Sam on the Sales Hacker podcast. I went out to connect with her on Linkedin. I engage with a couple of her post and I just reached outers. Like I want to know you better. I want to host you in this in this conversation on customer experience, which is her whole you know, it's where she spends a lot of her time and energy. Shoes. Also, you're recent. I don't know, do you call them teachers? Yeah, she's an instructor for Chief Customer Office, Cucio School and Customer Success School. Yeah, and she's the lay and she was briefly the Portland Oregon Chapter Head, although we've got a different chapter head there now. Yeah, that's one hundred and thirty three with Leah Cheney, who is an awesome person. That's a great episode and she's a great follow on Linkedin. See Him. Before I let you go, would you please do two things for me? Thank or mentioned someone who's had a positive impact on your life, for your career, and second, give me a company, your brand that you appreciate for the experience they deliver for you as a customer. Well, the person, just because this is fresh on my mind. His name's Jim Sharpe. He is a good friend of mine for over twenty years. We went to the University of Virginia together. He started lux capital with a bunch of other people and was the first investor in my record label. He then brought me to New York to work for Gerson lemmon group. He has been a huge supporter of pavilion. He's an investor in pavilion, he's a member of our CEO Community and he's just somebody that I think you should know. He's the CEO of Eventry, which is an event management software company. So that's one. And then a brand. I don't even know if there's like a parent brand here, but features feet are ees features. They make great running socks there it feels like, you know, running in a soft little comforter and I run a lot and I'm always on the lookout for great feature sucks because I think that they're just fantastic awesome. I need to check out features socks and I have a whole another conversation for you. That will maybe do another time on the record label and for folks listening that yes I believe that is u Sam Jacobs on the Introsong to salescacer podcast. So against separate conversation. Lastly, how can someone connect with you personally or join PAVILION OR CHECK OUT PAVILION? Where wel you send people who enjoyed this conversation, are interested in what you're doing and share your values. Well, if you want to talk to me, you can Sam at joined Pavilioncom and maybe just reference this podcast in the subject of the email. I'm most responsive that way. And then if you want to check out pavilion, it's join Pavilioncom and there's a there's an apply now button and the upper right and you can fill it out. And then next year we're going to be rolling out some new formats, some selfserve check out for analyst and associates. Will still always interview executive members, but but if you want to learn what we're doing, join Pavilioncom or just shoot me an email. Awesome people listening. I offer my email address. It's Ethan at Bombombcom. Sam just offered his. Not Everybody does, and when someone gives you their email address on a session like this, this is one of the best things about podcasting about Linkedin, about the Internet in general, is you have direct access to the people are doing things that are interesting to you, no matter what field it is, whether it's work related kind of like this, or or anything else. And so I just encourage you, if you're excited about something, hit that thirty two back button or the sixty two back right down the email address and reach out to people, whether it's me...

...or Sam or whether it's other people you're seeing her hearing online. People want to know that their work, that they're doing matters. People love to answer questions, people want to help. That's the spirit of the pavilion community. It's been true for me and such just my own little monolog and encouragement for people an see. I'm thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it and I really really enjoyed it. Thanks, Ethan. Thanks for having me and really appreciate your time as well. We have art in box constantly foam. We constantly have messages coming in. Work emails just went up twe hundred and one. Have Ninety nine plus six hundred and seventy nine on readymail. We're to talk about a major problem. My names Kipbodner, and I'm the chief marketing officer at help spot. I probably get ten to fifteen phone calls a day unwanted, and I probably get fifty a hundred emails a day unwanted. When I think about noise and trying to get that out of my life, I think about it through my most scarce resource, was just my time and attention. Is it worth my attention over here versus, like me, spending a moment with my son or cooking a meal with my son? The answers almost always know. We also know that the by product of that noise is feeling overwhelmed, feeling like there's not enough signal and that you feel discombobulated or confused. That's at least how I feel, so I also tried to protect myself from those feelings as well. Watch the trailer now for dear first name a four part, first of its kind documentary series that explores how digital pollution is eroding our ability to communicate with each other and build trust. Coming this winter.

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