Authenticity Over Perfection With Joergen Aaboe

Life is perfectly imperfect and so is leading a marketing team. Joergen Aaboe, VP of Marketing of Screencloud, shares his experience leading his team through a challenging time with authenticity over perfection.
Authenticity over Perfection


MK: [00:00:00] welcome to another episode of office hours. We’re in this episode. You’ll see, I have more than one guest joining me on today’s episode. Well, we’re going to be talking about teams, creating teams, but also creating a culture of failure, which I know doesn’t sound, right. Like it sounds counterintuitive to me, all the broetry that you see out there where like failure’s not an option.

This is the only way to go forward. But I think on today’s episode, I won’t talk with and- and speak around this concept of. Failure and why failure is actually the key to our success. So on today’s episode, I have two incredible, remarkable human beings. From the Alyce side, we also have Sara Pion joining us, who is our brand content manager slash marketer Xtrordinair slash in her own free time.

She goes out and just generates killer content like slash just amazing human beings. Welcome Sara.

Also very modest, as you can tell too. And we also have Joergen Aobe. Right. I pronounced that. Right. I didn’t mess that up.

Joergen: [00:01:29] Right. That was completely messed up, but that’s all right. I accept any pronounciation. I love that you did not ask about this upfront and instead just went for it. So, so any pronunciation is okay.

The one that I go with as Joergen, A-Bow.

MK: [00:01:48] Okay. Right. But see this, if I wanted to actually create an episode about embracing failure and carrying that around with you as your leadership style, that is why I wanted to mess up your name, live on air, actually, just getting, I didn’t want to mess up her name on there.

I just happened to do that, so, okay. You’re in. But OB wait, say that again, but repeat it a bow,

Joergen: [00:02:13] like tying a bow,

MK: [00:02:15] a bow. Excellent, perfect. Perfect. Because it’s the first time on office hours with us. We here at Alyce Love to learn more about everybody’s five to nine, or in other words, what you do after you hang up your hat and at the end of a long Workday, what is your five to nine?

What do you do from 5:00 PM to 9:00 AM?

Joergen: [00:02:36] Thank you for asking. I love that question. It is a combination of taking care of two little boys, six months and four and a half year old Western and Callan, my two little dudes and listening to an outrageous amount of outrageous rap music.

MK: [00:02:53] With your six month old and your four year old?

Yeah, actually,

Joergen: [00:02:57] yeah, I’m running into a problem with that now that the four and a half year old is kind of picking up stuff, but I’m going to push for that for as long as I can. Yeah. Okay.

MK: [00:03:06] Okay. And if you, if someone out there watching, isn’t going to entertain having their six month old or their four year old listened to rap, or do you have any samplings that you think would be best suited for this demographic?

Joergen: [00:03:19] Oh, wow. That’s that could take a long time. We can come back to that. Yeah, I think, I think we should actually, I hope we will.

MK: [00:03:28] Okay, cool. And Sara, since this is your first time on an episode of office hours, but your five to nine,

Sara: [00:03:35] I’m very hyperactive by nature. Definitely self-diagnosed or undiagnosed ADHD, either one I’ve decided I have ADHD.

So I spend a lot of time moving whether that’s running or boxing when I can, or doing yoga or Trying to do like strength, training, anything like that. I also have two sisters and I spend a lot of time with them. I’m a classic middle child, but the unproblematic kind, the, like, there are two kinds of genres of middle children.

I find like the very problematic. And then the majorly unproblematic I’ve, I’ve found myself in the. And the second one

MK: [00:04:15] in the majorly u problematic problem, I can attest you are very majorly unproblematic

Sara: [00:04:20] Basically I never had a dramatic. I hate you mom phase. And so I think that’s what landed me in that category.

MK: [00:04:27] Okay. Got it. But again, there’s still time. So you never know. Awesome. Okay. So for today’s episode, I actually think it would be really great to start off by orienting folks on honestly, how both of, you know, each other, because that is the Genesis of today’s story. Sara Joergen. How do you both know each other?

Joergen: [00:04:50] I’d be happy to go first. I’m just a fan, right? So I noticed Sara on LinkedIn a way back and thought that what she posted was awesome. And obviously back then as part of the Drift team, I was also a big fan of the Drift marketing work and there was one, one post in particular. And I think I asked you about this, Sara, at some point.

And I don’t remember the details. So you have to correct, correct me. But one thing that caught my attention was. I think you guys were promoting HYPERGROWTH or some kind of event and you took to the streets and put up like some stuff on, like with the little, like tear off piece of paper. And it was so ridiculous, right?

Like here’s this B2B SAS company gonna put this stuff up on like trees or. Random like polls around like Boston, but then videotaping that and then putting that on LinkedIn to then get people like myself who would be interested in going to hypergrowth to see it was really, really fun. I don’t know how well that did, maybe you can share, but that was one of those early things where I’m like, Oh man, I gotta, I gotta pay more attention here.

So I’ve just been a fan ever since.

Sara: [00:05:58] Yeah. I think that was for a sales meetup actually. Yeah, it wasn’t even like a large event. We were just like, It’s a really nice day in Boston. We want to go outside. Like how can we finagle that with like our video guy? But I, I just remember you’re again, being like really enthusiastic, but also not just the kind of person who wanted to.

Like fan boy, but more so like you wanted to, like, you wanted to have a conversation with us instead of just being like, that was great. Like love you, but more so, just like, I’m curious about how you think about marketing, how you think about the ways that you like present your brand. And I want to have like a, an actual conversation so that.

You can give value to me, but I also want to give value back. And I think those kinds of interactions are not very common which is a bummer. But I think that’s kind of why I really appreciate just all the conversations that we’ve had is because you want it to be two-sided, you know, that you have something to offer, but you also want to learn something from the person that you’re reaching out to.

And I just think that that’s, I don’t know. That’s. That’s just a skill that everyone should have. And so that’s why we actually started talking about the event that Screen Cloud was putting on and like you, you gave me a sneak peek into what you were looking into. And then when the day finally came that you launched the, the event, MK had messaged me your post about the event going on and I’m Kay was like, this is awesome.

This is so cool. I like how they, how they throw this all together. Like, let’s get. Let’s talk to you again for office hours. And I was like, we literally talked about this event, like two, three weeks ago. Like we can get him, like we can get them on the office hours, like it’s happening and now we’re here.

And now

MK: [00:07:46] here we are. So that story is like the best story about how brands can build authenticity and relate-ability into the marketing that they put out into the world. So if you’re a company looking to market to marketers about your B2B product, what’s winning today is not this disingenuous. Very self-serving content.

It’s. The interactions that you have marketer to marketer to learn with and grow and develop in the video that Sarah is referencing was a mini documentary that you created about your experience, launching an event, which I believe is your first event as a team, right. You’re in and you, you decided to make a mini.

Documentary out of it, which I just thought was such a cool idea to bring that authenticity and bring that relate-ability so that other marketers could see themselves in the experience that you have. But I got to ask, this is a, where did this idea come from? How did you come up with the idea to make a mini documentary out of your experience planning an event?

Joergen: [00:08:55] Yeah, well, we all know how painful it is, right. To put on any event in any form at any point, right. It is a painful process. It’s kind of like a funny, painful process too, though. So the idea for this came actually As a result of other events, other things that happen. So back in the spring, we came across this video, this documentary actually, what was presented to us as the first B2B docu series, which was by three 60 learning.

And it was onboarding Joey. They hired this content director and they documented her whole first, like several weeks on the job. And it was our head of content at the time at screen cloud Beth, who had found this and our videographer, Tony, who had seen it as well and started talking about it. And we said, wow, this was, this is awesome.

Right? Like this is taking it to the next level. I think we’ve all known that video plays a massive part for awhile, but that execution was different. So we were thinking, Oh man, and we’re so fortunate. You know, I walked into this company screen cloud and we already had invested so much in content.

Full-time videographer. I mean, you guys know about that as well. So. What had happened even before we were deciding to do this a week long virtual event, which was painful in so many ways. We had also decided that we were going to write a book that the founders actually, we had volunteered our founders to write a book and we had started what

MK: [00:10:26] we call that vauluntelling someone voluntold.

That’s right. Yep.

Joergen: [00:10:30] Okay, cool. There you go. Yeah. Well, I will, I will actually not take a, take much credit for the book idea, but it came up in a marketing conversation, kind of a narrative conversation and we decided, okay, well, like Mark and David, the founders, two of the founders of Screen Cloud, they were just like, yeah, well we’ll write a book.

Sure. And that’s when we thought, wow, we should document that. Like we should probably, we should do a proper docu-series Allah kind of onboarding Joey for the book. Now it takes a while to write a book. Right. So no disrespect to David and Mark, they have been writing. And it’s just that it is hard to run a business and write a book at the same time.

So we’re just. Realized like, yeah, this is going to take awhile, you know, until this thing is published. And so like that was a lot of lead time. And so when the event then came about and we said, you know, screw it, we’re going to take two months to prepare and do this event. And I knew it was going to be an absolute shit show.

And I felt bad that it was going to be that, but I felt some excitement about that too. Right. Like, yeah, let’s get, let’s get crazy with this. And that’s when we said like, okay, we just gotta do this. Docu-series and it’s, you know, three, three episodes. And we’re actually going to do a fourth one now after the fact just because why not?

MK: [00:11:48] Where are we in the episode rise right now? It’s our camera’s off screen where you’re being interviewed as like the super meta moment that’s happening right

Joergen: [00:11:56] now.

Really hope so.

Sara: [00:12:00] What you said about, like you said, the events are painful process and that it’s kind of like, we all know that. No one talks about that. Like publicly, like everyone’s like put together an event. It’s amazing. You’ve got to check it out. Like it’s so worth it, essentially of let’s focus on the fact that this is, this is going to be so worth it when it happens.

And I think that is a good, just like. Intro into, why can I want to talk to you in the first place is because you’re so open about the fact that these bright and shiny marketing initiatives that bring in a lot of positive attention are painful internally and that’s normal, but should it be, and like, how can we talk about it more of like, The pains that we are experiencing while trying to create brand that people trust and how talking about that pain makes people trust you more because you’re being real about your experiences.

So I just, it’s just ingrained in who you are. So if you’re trying to be someone else, unfortunately, you, you will never be able to, because you’re just very like authentically you, which is great.

Joergen: [00:13:18] Yep. Everywhere. Everywhere you look. There you are. You know, it’s quote by one of my favorite late nineties rappers, sugar-free out of Pomona, California.

Probably by others to some more sophisticated folks has probably said that as well, but it anyway, the last cited source, you’re fine. I think that’s such a good point, Sara, that. There’s this question right. Of how painful should it really be? And everybody who’s done it. Know whether it’s a massive trade show, you know, back in the pre pandemic days or virtual events in a super noisy online world or whatever it is, right.

Like if you’ve been through it, you know, that it is difficult, but, and it’s kind of, there’s this rush to right. And there’s adrenaline, and then there was excitement. So there’s all kinds of feelings, but that question of like, should it really be that painful? And that’s where I had to really look in the mirror.

Right. Because what I realized pretty early in the process was that as the leader of the team I was doing things that actually, you know, made it harder for us whether it was not being as organized or as process-oriented, as I needed to be. Not getting the full vision of this whole thing across as effectively as I should early on.

How I interacted with the different, you know, key team members. There were so many things over those eight weeks that I could have done better, that I really should have done better. And. I think in some of the episodes, like even our CEO commented like on Slack, you know, and like the, I dunno, the second episode dropped or something, he’s like, man, you can feel the tension, you know?

And it was real. It was like there, there was tension in the team. And as much as that is a by-product of stressful situations, It’s on me to, to, to minimize that. Right. And I, and I didn’t, so yeah, there you go.

MK: [00:15:19] I think that’s so important though, right? Because that moment, that authenticity that you let run through and honestly thank you for your vulnerability because putting your team in that situation of just running an event first and foremost is a vulnerable position for yourself to be in, to document people when they are in the thick of it.

And for you to also secondarily put the vulnerability of you saying like, I made it harder on my team. More of that please. Like why, when people are not very open and leaders are open to the fact that like, yeah, I dropped the ball. I is beyond me because that’s how we all grow. That moment of growth that you experienced by, by messing up was actually probably the best learning experience you could have ever had about running an event.

What I, what I think is so interesting about that vulnerability though, is in, in your team and the authenticity is that. We at Alice experienced the same thing, probably almost like at the same time when we ran our event and had to pivot on a dime and spin up an event in three weeks. And that is what I saw like, so clear as day in this situation was just like, Oh my gosh, somebody gets it.

There’s another brand out there who gets it? Who knows what I’ve come there? No, what kept me up at night? I knew what kept my teammates up at night. And I, I think most important first and foremost, thank you for creating that moment. But also thank you for setting the tone in the example that like winning isn’t the only story all of us should be telling.

It’s the losses that we should be spending more time talking about so that we can all learn and grow and celebrate the innovation that came out of, you know, maybe not winning and not having that triumphant, glorious moment of like, yeah, we crushed it.

Joergen: [00:17:06] Yeah. Well, if you’re, if you’re truly trying to be great, there is no way around growth.

And if you have to work your way through growth, you have to work your way through some pain, right? It’s just, there’s just no way around it. And so for us, we, we really are trying to be truly great as a team. It’s just that, you know, we have to stay true to ourselves in that process and we have to, we have to pay that price.

Right. So for me there was some specifics that came out of it where I was like, Oh, wow. Like it was more than that. We came up a little short. It was more like. I actually really messed that one up one was I I’d kind of, you know, ask. So we have a fairly small team where you know at the time, like seven, seven people in the marketing team full-time right.

And you know, design, video writing, you know Lifecycle paid all this stuff. Right. And, and content, of course. And so there was one person on the team who seemed to be well-suited for really kind of running the event. Right. Like taking myself out of it and just like, why don’t you kind of like, kind of run this.

And I just realized, you know at least halfway through, it was probably longer than that, to that. Man, like I’m not setting this person up for success, you know, and we had this kind of heart to heart moment over zoom, of course. And and I just said, look shit. I’m really sorry. I realized as that I gave you the event, but I didn’t really give you the event.

And, you know, I could kind of see the weight coming off of the shoulders a little bit, because what she said was just like, thank you, you know, thank you for acknowledging that because it wasn’t that I was trying to micromanage the event. I truly believe that I wasn’t doing that. But because the vision for it was sort of developing in real time, because there was so many things that were just happening and still a lot of load on me as far as getting people to speak at the event, et cetera, I had to be in it.

Right. And so we didn’t have this clean, like you do this, it was just. It was just messy. Like it was really messy and really painful. And you could tell throughout that people were struggling with this and when’s the copy coming together. Nothing is being briefed. Like decider just has to like design on a dime.

Like it was all messed up and it really was my fault, you know? But that was also the pressure tests that we needed going into this period of. You know what is supposed to be like hyper-growth for us. Right? And so in order for our team to be as great as we want it to be, I have to be a much better leader.

And I have to realize that, you know, it’s gotta me against me. Right. I have to work on that. And then I just believe that by showing the team that that’s how I truly feel that we can all benefit. So. It’s I don’t think there’s anything to brag about there for me, but it does come natural. And I think it’s just how, yeah, it’s back to like, if you want to be great, you got to go through some of this shit.

Hmm,

MK: [00:20:27] but I think so was Maya Angelou that, and I’m going to butcher this quote, but that said that people don’t remember what you said, but they, do you remember how you made them feel? And in that moment, not only did you make that employee feel like they were seen, like they were heard and like they had the support that they needed from the leader in their organization.

You also now are continuing to do that by showing people how you felt in the moment and giving them a moment of reference for them to see themselves for them to, to say, you know what? I relate to that situation. It’s kind of scary how we were exactly in the same exact position. Like almost to a T when we run, ran our event as well too.

And we’re not alone, like it’s not just us two teams out here just creating events and like. Sweat bullets and like mess and crap up left, right. And center. There are other teams that do that. And again, it goes back to that vulnerability that you just took that next step to put it all out there and just say, you know what?

This is a growth opportunity for us. And it doesn’t have to be such a painful growth opportunity for others. Let’s just share our stories so that people can circumnavigate those roadblocks.

Joergen: [00:21:37] Yeah, well put, you know, it’s, it’s typically for most of us, I think it’s an impact process. Right. And we live with that.

So there are some like degrees that just like, okay, that’s how it’s going to be. But the actual mistakes, you know, the actual fails we do have to call those out and it’s back to what Sarah said. Like, is it really supposed to be that messy? Is this supposed to be that hard? And like, no, it doesn’t have to be for, for others who are trying to do this.

So yeah, if we can, if we can help folks, then that’s great.

Sara: [00:22:11] Or maybe it is supposed to be that messy, but we don’t know that because someone’s talking about it. Like, that’s the other thing that, of why we thought it was so awesome that you made this documentary is because we all, anyone who’s been in the.

Process of putting together an event is like, damn, this is hard. But the fact that you were like, no, no. Yeah, yeah. Like we all agree is something where it’s like, Oh, okay, now we can. Like at least feel relieved about that part and then try and make our lives easier, or like start sharing about how we make our event process easier to start sharing how we make this part of our marketing processes easier.

Now that we’ve all kind of been on the same page, because we were like sharing and having that vulnerability to be like, Hey, we really struggled with this. Here’s how we got through it. Or like, here’s how I wish we got through it because we definitely didn’t do this like story for next time.

Joergen: [00:23:04] You know, one thing that just strikes me about all this, especially this virtual events stuff, right.

Is that you’re seeing now virtual events about virtual events. Right. And you hear these tips like, Oh, you know, like have a raffle, you know, like make sure it’s engaging, you know, all this stuff. That’s like, yeah. Awesome. Sure. The thing that I don’t feel is really being talked about is the full a to Z of this, which really starts with.

Giving the event, an actual identity. It’s not like, Oh, we’re hosting a webinar. It’s, you’re coming up with a brand, a brand that maps to your company’s brand. And you figuring out everything you need to figure out about that. Pretty much on the fly, because who has six months to work on a virtual event.

Right. Like that’s not how it works. So understanding what you’re also signing up for that. I think it was. I kinda got that, but I didn’t really get that, that there was really a need for a vision there. And probably similar with universe too, when you guys were doing that, like, okay, we have this new, like five to nine thing, but how does that really come to life?

And so it’s so much more than the logistics, right? It’s so much more than just like, you know make sure that, you know, like it’s these obvious, like, I love the raffle idea, but it doesn’t really help me.

MK: [00:24:23] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Well, and that’s the difference between an event and an experience is when everything is interwoven and has a thread of connectivity and continuity into it, a standalone, you know, shtick like.

A raffle may not have a place in the type of experience that you’re trying to create. Whereas like in somebody else’s like event, the raffle is actually the central theme. Like we want to galvanize audiences. We want to gain traction and gain momentum around this raffle that we have. It’s just the thread of continuity that you’ve put in there.

And the. Thought that you put into it. What strikes me is when you think about like how you made it harder for yourself, it’s really just like some of the operational things that I think some teams are like, no, we have that on lock. Like we know how to run the operations of event through and through what I think your team actually really did well, was the.

The difference between creating an event versus thinking about an experience. So while you may feel like you may have dropped the ball on this one area of like the logistics, they have coordination, the operations like delegation. I actually think you won over many of these other folks who have those sides down, because you thought about the attendee experience that you were creating.

And he didn’t just create an event that was another dime, a dozen.

Joergen: [00:25:45] Mm. Yeah. Thanks for saying that. I mean, there were definitely some things that went well, some things we did, right. Some things we were right about. And it, we still think of that event as success. And we still think of the docu series as a success, but it could have been more successful.

It could have been less painful to go through it. And, you know, we could have had even more of an impact, but we live with that, right. Because now we take these learnings with us and we get ourselves ready for the next play. When we’re doing this docu series about the founders, writing this book you know, that that’s going to need to be, you know, a little bit better, right?

Like the distribution of that going to have to be a little bit better, like we’re going to have to keep taking these steps. And that’s the other thing here is just. Recognizing that this is a game where you’re just trying to get better, right? Like you’re trying to get everything you’re doing better and not putting so much on one thing.

And, you know, you, you move on to the next next thing and you try to try to do better with, with what you now know.

MK: [00:26:53] I think also progress.

Sara: [00:26:55] Yeah. And, and how you and your team. Dealt with the, the issues that you, that came up in the docu-series and the event and how you are publicly talking about them versus burying those away and never talking about it again and saying that that was a failure is going to help make your company that hyper-growth company, because you’ve already defined, established and like continue to beat the drum of your really strong brands.

Now, like we all know now, What the screen crowd screen cloud brand is about because you didn’t just stop talking about this event. Once it was over you, you started to talk more about it and you started to be like, and you were honest, and you had your whole team kind of like join in on these sorts of conversations.

I think that’s kind of what separates also those who are telling good stories versus those who are telling stories about only the good.

Joergen: [00:27:55] Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. And the heat with that statement.

MK: [00:27:59] That was good. That was good.

Joergen: [00:28:03] That was solid. And a point I was just going to add to that, as you were saying this, this thing about.

Us as a team, right? Like that’s the other part of this is just continue to invest into us as a team. Like how can we be better as a team, as opposed to like, how can the metrics of those one thing be, you know, like it it’s. For us to really succeed. We have to be a killer team. And that’s what we’re trying to do.

Like my main goal at screen cloud. I don’t know if, if if you know, the founders would love hearing this, but my main goal is actually to build a great team. And then for that to deliver the results, not the other way around. And and in that too, you start to. When you put that kind of pressure and intensity on the team, you also learn a lot of other things that you wouldn’t otherwise know about each individual and about certain dynamics.

And it’s not all just like massive failure and like blood bath, right. It’s it’s also just like figuring out the nuances. There was an interesting thing where one person on the team felt very strongly that they didn’t want to be in the docu series. And, you know, it was just kind of, to me, that’s like, Surprising right.

That a marketing person wouldn’t but it’s also like, wow, that’s a really important thing for me to know that there’s somebody who wants to be more behind the scenes and it isn’t necessarily comfortable with that. So then you respect that and you understand, and you get to know people a little bit more.

You asked a couple extra questions and you, you know, like those types of things really matter.

MK: [00:29:43] Yeah, they do. And I think that’s what you’ve brought to it a little to light for us, like holistically. If we were to summarize exactly what you have brought to us and our team at Alyce it’s that it’s okay to bring every aspect of your team.

Good, bad, ugly, and otherwise into the forefront to develop the team and solve for honestly, The learning experience above all else. When you’re about to enter this phase of hypergrowth into just then cascade that level of vulnerability and authenticity out into your audiences, because who you are marketing yourselves internally are going to come across and how you market yourself externally.

So we just want to thank you for joining us on the episode of ours, but also for delivering that again. Experience where you just shared with all of us, the key learnings that you took in that event and that you just brought to light all of the things that we found super relatable and things that we saw ourselves in as individuals in any given moment during the docu series.

So thank you for that.

Joergen: [00:30:49] Well, thank you guys. That’s awesome to hear. And also, Sara, thank you. Because part of that earlier conversation too, was that I actually reached out to Sara for some help with figuring out how we were going to do our event because you guys had done universe. So yeah, I really appreciate you guys and big fan of what you’re doing.

Thanks for having me.

MK: [00:31:09] Of course, we love that. The gift that keeps on giving, just frown around, around, around. Yeah. Love it. Phenomenal team. Well, thank you again for joining us for an episode of office hours. If people want to watch this docu series where can they go? How can they find it? What do they do?

Joergen: [00:31:27] Yeah, so it’s it’s sort of little, little bit too hidden at the moment. I’m afraid, but it is that screen cloud.com/series. Actually let me double check the less the right.

Oh, that’s funny. Oh, man. Yes, it is. Okay. Perfect. Sweet. See,

MK: [00:31:48] again, even perfectly imperfect in this moment here. We’re not quite sure if that was the URL, but that is just perfect.

Joergen: [00:31:55] I think, I think that’s it. Yeah, I think that’s it. Enjoy it. It’s a fun one and enjoy the next one. Coming out to the final episode.

MK: [00:32:03] Can’t wait, wait with bated breath.

Joergen: [00:32:06] It is funny though, because you can leave this out, but we were planning to do four episodes before the event, and of course we couldn’t get four done. So we were like, gosh, well I guess three. Okay. I will add one later. You know, it’s all imperfect.

MK: [00:32:23] We all love it’s perfectly on brand for you and your team.

Well, thank you again for joining us in episode of office hours. It was such a pleasure to get to learn from you both in this episode, but also just secondhand through watching your docu series.

Joergen: [00:32:39] Thanks again. .

 

January 20, 2021
Stacy O.