Good morning, friends. 

Special shoutout to my sister who just realized how to get me out of her spam filter. Thanks, Julie! 

In this week’s edition of the World’s Best Newsletter 

1. CMOs, what do you stand for? 
2. I was an investor, she was a founder
3. Workplace decency blueprints
4. Awesome advice for female founders looking for funding
5. I’m not dead yet! 
6. The difference between a partner and a vendor
7. Femvertising slayer! 
8. Quote of the week

Here we go...


1. CMOs, what do you stand for?


Forbes recently published a list of the top 50 most influential CMOs in partnership with Sprinklr.

Some interesting findings:

  • 7 out of the top 10 were in tech, as were 40% of the overall list.
  • One in three to rank on this list are women.
  • The vast majority have been in their role less than three years

PS: If we’re ever at a cocktail party networking event remind me to tell you of the bizarre Saturday morning I spent in Sprinklr CEO Ragy Thomas’s basement two days after being proposed to, while driving a teeny tiny rental SmartCar around New Jersey. It’s a good story!

For me this story only underscores the importance of a CMO taking a stand for something. Ragy is quoted in Jennifer Rooney’s writeup to say:

“Like great companies, great CMOs have to stand and be unafraid for what they believe in. How public are you and how willing and unafraid are you to stand for it? What you’re finding is that companies and CMOs that are bold are the ones that are winning.” 

CMOs, what is it that you stand for?


2. I was an investor, she was a founder


Oh. My. God. This week featured a crazy number of stories about sexual harassment. The first paragraph of this article summarizes it well, and I want to instead highlight a very simple post in light of this:

"We didn’t flirt. We talked product…and business…and design…because she was there as a founder, not as my potential date." - Jordan Cooper, on meeting his future wife while a partner at Lerer Ventures and REMARKABLY making the decision to “appreciate her platonically, as a peer, without question” until it was appropriate to ask her out well after their professional relationship had ended.


“There is a right way and a wrong way to handle attraction in a professional setting. The right way is to back the fuck off and let people do their work despite any attraction. The wrong way is to blur the line. If the chemistry is real, it can wait…business changes, careers change, no professional context lasts forever…be a decent and respectful person…be context aware….

3. Workplace decency blueprints


I defer to experts at Women 2.0 who put together a blueprint for what they term “Workplace decency.” This post details multiple sets of advice for companies who apparently need policy and procedure for their male employees to not be ridiculously inappropriate. Here's the link if you work in an environment that needs it.


4. Awesome advice for female founders looking for funding


High five to VC Aileen Lee from Cowboy Ventures for this advice:

  1. Be a good storyteller, and don’t fret if storytelling doesn’t come naturally to you. “If you are not a great storyteller, you can become one. It’s just a matter of feedback and practice.”
  2. Each story has basic but important elements. Make sure you include these, beginning with:
    a) what the mission and vision is of your company, to
    b) how big the market is that you are chasing, to
    c) the problem that you are trying to solve, to
    d) who is on your team and why they are relevant, to
    e) the product that you’ve built (“or what the wireframes look like,” Lee said), to
    f) what kind of traction or feedback you’ve received from the market, to
    g) what your economic model looks like, to
    h) what you are going to do with the money you are raising.
  3. Remember that your narrative should also include your personal story and why you’re the best person to be starting your company right now.
  4. Be confident, but don’t stretch. “If you’re a little too arrogant or you puff things up a little too much, [male investors] will ding you for being an exaggerator.”
  5. Don’t be “too shy.” The advice may make you cringe, but women have to walk a fine line here, she noted. “Guys,” noted Lee, “can get away with [being shy]. It’s like, ‘Oh, he’s just an introvert.’ ” Unfairly, women who are too quiet may face a bigger upward battle, she suggested.
  6. Know your numbers. Frustratingly, women have to work twice as hard to convince men that they are quantitative, she noted, adding that “if someone asks you, ‘What’s the CAGR, what’s the LTV, what are the margins, what’s the revenue plan for next year,’ just know it. Practice it.”
  7. Be good at follow-up. As Lee told the audience, “If someone asks you questions [during a pitch meeting], take notes, and send a follow-up the next day saying, ‘These are the things that we discussed; I wanted to follow up on these points.’ Show that you’re super-conscientious, and you’re on it.”
  8. Get networked, especially with other female founders and female investors.

But, my favorite line from the article (in bold, underlined, italics so you don't miss it while you skim this newsletter) is:

The thinking is simple, Lee suggested. “Why should we make money for assholes?” 




5. I’m not dead yet! 


With every growth spurt of an industry arises a slew of publications to capitalize on the attention. There are about a bajillion sites now covering Marketing Technology (new entrants recently include MarTechTodayMarTech Advisor, and most recently MarTechExec.)

PS: is open, if anyone wants to start a parody site with me covering atrocities like this. Hat tip to Jeff Epstein from Allocadia for uncovering that gem. (Sound on!) 

ANYWAY I am quoted in MarTechExec re: how to revive “dead” accounts with ABM, making me think only of Monty Python


6. The difference between a partner and a vendor


With our industry official reaching “MarTech5000 status,” yes 5k tools available for marketers, I like this advice from my friend and client Sam Melnick.

“From my chair, a true partner is one who can walk the walk and provide value to their customer with sheer will and intelligence. They’re committed to your success in terms of product, service and expertise.” 

Another POV I appreciate is this one:

“Most valued martech providers are not the loudest or shiniest object in the industry. Grounded in fundamentals, they’re instead committed to adapting their clients’ business and talent first to maximize the use and ROI of the technology.” - Anand Thaker, CEO and founder at IntelliPhi

I know what you’re thinking - but Katie you are all about the need to toot your own horn, create buzz, be loud! Well, yeah, but companies must be grounded in fundamentals (the steak) before they’re ready to create the kind of sustainable growth that great buzz and air cover can provide (the sizzle.)


7. Femvertising slayer!


Sometimes conferences give you really fantastic nicknames to promote your upcoming session. October’Women in Digital event is no exception… fearless founder Alaina Shearer invited me to come speak about the gag-worthy rise of “femvertising” (something I first wrote about a year ago and has shown no signs of stopping).


October 25-27 join me and 800+ others in Colombus, OH. And if you’re free next Thursday evening in Boston, join me at the Boston Women in Digital kickoff event 5-7pm

PS: you can also find me speaking at


8. Quote of the week, reminding you there is ALWAYS more to the story


The phrase “curiosity killed the cat” is actually “curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back” - go be interested in the world.

“Blood is thicker than water” is actually “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb” meaning relationships formed by choice are stronger than those formed by birth.

“Jack of all trades, master of none” ends with “But better than a master of one.”

Finally, relevant today, “great minds think alike” ends with “but fools rarely differ.”

What was that about conformity?

Get out there, be curious, have your own opinion and POV, and stop making assholes money. 

Have a great weekend,