This week I’m rounding out my first month at Coalition as CMO. It’s been a fun and exciting new adventure after spending the last decade leading marketing teams for large public companies at Salesforce and Splunk. Why did I decide to take the leap into the startup world? What type of magical magnetism and growth convinced me to make such a drastic change? Here’s how it went:
Picking the right apple
I recently caught up with a friend and former colleague I met over a decade ago at Salesforce. Together we marveled at the number of world-changing opportunities STILL being created in the technology sector. As digital transformation enters a new phase, spurred on by the pandemic, we see a world that is even more ripe for disruption and innovation today than it was ten years ago. Amazing opportunities are growing on trees all around us.
But where did I want to invest my time and energy? While large tech platforms continue their astounding growth and market consolidation, there is an entire universe of opportunities being created in specialized industries. Soon every problem will be a digital and data problem (if it isn’t already), and building specialized solutions is going to unlock the next wave of growth for our economy. Coalition matched this view perfectly. The Coalition team is applying technology across cybersecurity and data to help solve a really complex risk problem facing all kinds of businesses.
The power of category
Companies that create and own a unique category reap the lion’s share of the profits. That’s what researcher Eddie Yoon found when he examined Fortune’s list of the 100 fastest growing U.S. companies and published his research in the Harvard Business Review. Category Kings and Queens captured an astounding 74% of the incremental market cap growth.
Not every company has the opportunity to become a category creator, but Coalition has assembled many of the special ingredients: A novel approach to solving a very big problem, demonstrated product-market fit, an incredible existing growth rate (check out the news of our latest funding round), and a leadership team with the interest and intent to dream bigger and own the category narrative. Having the right products and the right market conditions is only half the winning formula. Companies also need the will to leap out over the ledge and create a new way of thinking about the market.
Coalition has built an incredible team of experts in cybersecurity and insurance. You could say it’s a coalition of two very different industries, and I can’t wait to help them create and evangelize the category around the company.
Finally, as a leader, I believe that real impact comes from helping and empowering a team to work together to achieve something incredible. There’s nothing more powerful for aligning people than a company with a clear mission that rallies individual contributions around a greater cause. The mission is the north star, and the values are the levels to ensure you can do great work together with the rest of the company.
Coalition CEO Joshua Motta built the company around a mission to solve cyber risk for small and medium businesses who face the same challenges as massive enterprises without the same level of resources. He laid out a simple, long-term vision and strategy describing how Coalition would help protect these businesses from cybersecurity risk and use the proceeds to develop more tools for our digital economy. He also laid out six foundational values for the company that guides the way we work and collaborate. Together the mission and values set the foundation for new leaders at the company to be successful, and we celebrate when we see the values come to life in our daily work.
Do CMO expectations meet reality?
I once heard the difference between large companies and startups described as the difference between finishing homework and prepping for the science fair. One is prescribed and predictable; The other is free-form and limited only by your resources and imagination.
In my first month at Coalition I’ve been able to walk the gymnasium, see the incredible ideas coming to life, and meet the builders with big imaginations. There’s an ambitious product roadmap and all kinds of creative ideas on how we are going to bring ideas to life and get them into the hands of our customers. I’m lucky to join a talented marketing team and help them scale with our ambitions. Best of all, we’re looking for creative builders with big ideas to join us. Check out our careers page for more info.