… And Then There Was One

 Clare Dobson, VP of Marketing at Abstrakt, joins Greg Reffner to discuss the rebrand and the “passing of the torch”.

This is officially the last episode of what is known as The Abstrakt Podkast. Clare will take over and the new podcast will be called The Startup Sidekick.

Keep an eye out for the first episode coming soon.

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Greg Reffner 0:01
Everybody, welcome to the Abstrakt podcast. And today’s gonna be a little bit different, because this is the final episode of the abstract podcast. Joining me today is Clare Dobson, our VP of marketing. And we’re going to be doing a little bit of a passing of the torch. So Clare, please say hi to everybody.

Clare Dobson 0:27
Hello, everybody excited to be here.

Greg Reffner 0:31
So Clare

Greg Reffner 0:35
one of the things that you kind of did when you started that kind of threw you into was like, hey, you know, I want you to take over running our podcast and you learn podcasting. And throughout the past eight months of your time here, we’ve been pushing you to build your personal brand. And we agreed that a podcast was a good way of kind of starting for you to do that. And we struggled a little bit with coming up with what this new podcast can be, how do you kind of put your own spin on it, make it valuable, do something unique and different that no one else is doing? So without further ado, I’m not going to steal your thunder. But I’d love to hear what the new podcast is going to be named. And why you decided to go this route with what is now formally going to be known as the abstract podcast. Yes, formerly known as the abstract podcast, this is so sad, because I would always listen in the background and not have to actually talk. But now I know I actually have to talk and

Clare Dobson 1:46
we’ll see. But I, I mean, I gotta give you props, Greg, because I think even you and Spencer helped come up with the concept of what we were trying to do, because it was a struggle trying to figure out, you know how, like, I’m not in the sales world. I’ve seen it. I’ve been around it from marketing side, but never truly from a sales rep perspective. So how do I interview salespeople, like, that wouldn’t be a direction I wanted to go. And that’s kind of how we evolved and came up with the startup sidekick. So that is the official name of the new podcast, the startup sidekick podcast, we’ll be interviewing people, employees, two through five, maybe 10. You know, we’ll see if you, people are good to talk to you. We’ll add them to the list. So it’ll be it’ll be fun. Yeah, I’m excited. Because as we were kind of bouncing around the idea around it, we kind of I don’t know, just through kind of the natural evolution of the conversation, we kind of came to the conclusion that everybody talks with the founder, everybody talks with a CEO. But no one’s ever talking to employee number two, or the first marketing hire, or the first customer success hire. And oftentimes, those folks have so much more of an impact on the actual day to day operation of a startup than the CEO does, or the founder does. And so I’m really excited because I know I’m a pain in the ass to deal with. And so I’m sure you’re gonna talk with folks who have been like, founders are narcissistic. They’re crazy. They’re OCD, like, you’re gonna hear some amazing stories. So

Greg Reffner 3:36
that all being said, tell us a little bit about your background and why you decided that you thought it’d be a good idea to come be employee number two, at abstract.

Clare Dobson 3:47
Tough question. And you know what people we interview asked that all the time. So it kind of goes hand in hand with the podcasts of people are actually trying to figure out if that’s for them. And I think I, you know, in all honesty, I didn’t.

Clare Dobson 4:03
I didn’t think of the risks that I think most people think about, even though you tried to tell me over and over again, like Claire, employee number two like this, my company might not be here in a year from now. Like, and I was like, oh, yeah, sure. You know, I don’t actually believe it. Because I think it’s it mean, it goes to you and like, I’m not like, you’re not gonna fail. And I don’t ever see you failing. And if we pivot, we pivot, but we won’t fail. And so I think that was kind of the mindset I had behind it. So I was almost naive, I think some people would say, of joining a startup and not being from the startup world, I worked in a marketing agency for four years did consulting for four years, so I’ve kind of been on the outside of companies and never truly in the middle of it and in the fire. So a whole different story. When you’re working at an agency. There’s fires all the time, but it’s your map.

Clare Dobson 5:00
Putting out other people’s fires and like your do a little bit, you’re like, oh, okay, that one’s good for a little bit, then you move to the next one. Whereas here, it’s like, if I don’t figure out how to do this, I don’t have a job. And that just it never felt like that before. And I don’t think anybody can make it feel like that. I think that’s something you have to experience and people can talk about all the time. But if you’re until you’re in it, I don’t think you’ll be able to experience like, what it actually feels like. So I joined because you in, in all good ways, obviously. And I think that’s kind of, you know, this passing of the torch of the podcast, like, while I’m so excited to be a host of a podcast. It’s also like, it’s exciting for the people I’m going to meet, because I’ve seen what you’ve been able to do and how we’ve been able to connect with the people we’ve had on so far. So I’m excited. Yeah, it’s would you say there’s a little bit of

Greg Reffner 5:56
ignorance is bliss when it comes to joining the startup? Like, you don’t know what you don’t know. And yes, I told you many times, like, hey, we may run out of money, we may fail. Yeah. And it’s almost like it’s like, yeah, yeah, yeah. And almost like, is it ignorance is bliss? Or is it, you just have so much confidence in yourself and our small team. And like, again, being employee to, you almost kind of have to embody all of that.

Greg Reffner 6:27
And so, again, I’m super pumped for you to go talk with people who have been in your shoes, because I think there’s so many things that

Greg Reffner 6:36
you just kind of have to figure out and you go through the roller coaster of emotions, you know, just right alongside, you know, the person who started the company. So yeah, it’s gonna be awesome. Yeah.

Clare Dobson 6:49
It will be an I think it will, it’ll keep, I don’t know, I think it’ll just you keep learning. Like, there’s never a point where I’m like, Oh, I know what I’m doing. Now. It’s just kind of evolved, in a sense, and it’s so crazy that you eight months ago, like you would think it would evolve this much, but it really has. And I think that’s what is gonna be exciting is everyone’s gonna have a different perspective, especially working with different types of people. But I think it truly and this isn’t to knock on founders in any way. But I think it might even help people of okay, you’re want you were employee number two. Now you want to start your own company, because you have this great idea. But maybe you want to hear what some of the first employees say? And how do you even hire? Like, what type of people are you looking for? And that, so we’ll touch on all of it. And, you know, I think we’re just gonna have some great guests, though, to be a part of it. And I’m excited to hear all about their experiences. So

Greg Reffner 7:43
I love that. I love that well, a year from now. What do you hope your biggest outcome, your biggest takeaway is from the podcast?

Clare Dobson 7:54
Good question. I don’t know if I think it’s more of the people I’m going to meet. And I think that’s going to be the direction I go, I, I should probably put a goal here, you’re gonna tell me put a goal to the podcast. But I, I don’t necessarily have a goal besides one internally, and like my self motivation of learning how to speak better learning how to listen, how do you articulate a conversation and really get people to talk about the things they might not talk about? That’s a challenge for myself. And that’s something I hope to be better at in a year from now. But I think just the people I meet, I hope, and I think my goal is to keep in contact with them, and see how things are going and maybe have him on again, or something like that. So I think it’s a relationship building. That is my biggest priority. And I hope to see where that happened. helps. You know, my career for a year from now.

Greg Reffner 8:49
I love it. All right. Well, here’s I’m passing the metaphorical torch.

Clare Dobson 8:54
I’ll take the metaphorical George, take it.

Greg Reffner 8:57
So it is yours now.

Clare Dobson 9:02
I don’t even it’s crazy. So what are you? I mean, okay, let’s let people who actually host podcast and might be listening, like what are the biggest takeaways? Kind of you’ve learned that maybe what helped me?

Greg Reffner 9:21
I think looking back I had the opportunity to talk with I think we all want at podcast episode some crazy number. Like I learned from 80 people who I look up to, like I had an opportunity to get inside the head of 80 people that had found success. And that’s a selfish answer, because we created the content for our listeners, obviously, but I what I got out of it was I have so much more to learn I talked with AD people for like 30 minutes on average. And every single time I walked away with something that I could do differently. And so that’s a big thing that I took away from the past year is I have a lot to learn, and you should ever stop learning. And that’s advice I would give to you is, maybe let that drive your direction of topics and questions is what things are you interested in genuinely? Because you’ll enjoy the conversation a lot more when you’re inquisitive about things you’re naturally trying to better yourself in. And our listeners will benefit from that.

Clare Dobson 10:40
Why did you start the podcast? I don’t think I’ve ever asked you that. Why do you originally start the podcast, I’m here I got my as well to get everything I can. Now.

Greg Reffner 10:51
I don’t know if I should say this. It’s kind of a cheat code. I started the podcast because I knew that if I got the listeners on board, or I got people on board to come join the podcast, I knew that they would promote the podcast and then drive visibility into abstract. So I started it because I wanted, I needed a free way of getting our name out there. And I knew if I brought on people, had them talk about themselves and learn from them. They would promote our podcast on social media, where I needed our brand to start to be seen. And it cost me nothing to do.

Clare Dobson 11:37
Do you? I mean, do you look back and wish you would have done more or less like does there in terms of because you were doing a lot for and then you know, it would kind of drop out but a year and a half worth? I mean, that’s 80 episodes a year and a half is a lot. It’s like one a week almost.

Greg Reffner 11:53
Yeah. biggest lesson I would say I would do differently next time. We didn’t do a good job of tying the podcast into abstract. You could argue that that’s maybe why it was successful. Because we didn’t talk about our product. We didn’t talk about what we do. It was all about value based stuff for our listeners. But I wish we would have found a way to convert that into interest and abstract more effectively earlier, because it could have helped solve some problems earlier.

Clare Dobson 12:29
So there’s my goal. I see it just came out time and it got it.

Greg Reffner 12:33
Well, we’re past that

Clare Dobson 12:34
point, writing it down writing it down.

Greg Reffner 12:38
We’ve We’ve passed that point of where that’s kind of the goal of the podcast. I mean, obviously, we want brand recognition. But I think this is, you know, when we, when you decided on this, there’s no one else out there really doing a podcast that talks to these types of people. And so I think, in the saturated world of b2b sales and thought leadership, like we were kind of one of many. The startup sidekick podcast is gonna be one of one.

Clare Dobson 13:08
Yeah, well, no, it’s two, we’re not even. Yes, we’re, I mean, there’s probably VP of sales, or CMOS will talk to things like that who’ve been on podcast, but they’re not talking about that same thing. And I think that’s what’s so exciting about it is what we’re going to be able to, I think talk about and really get down to the details of, you know, was it worth it? Was it worth it? At the end of the day, and some of these, some of the people that I’ve talked to already, they, you know, they’ve gone on to start their own businesses after this. And that helped them learn a lot. So I think there’s going to be quite a few different roads people take, and I think hopefully, every will are awesome, are awesome audience will be able to find a way that kind of relates to them.

Greg Reffner 13:55
represented to me, awesome, can be amazing.

Clare Dobson 13:58
Okay, so let’s talk about your time now, Greg, cuz you have so much time as the CEO and founder of a startup. What are you going to do with all this extra time that you have to record podcasts?

Greg Reffner 14:13
You know, we’re going to be at six employees. You know, by the time this podcast episode goes live, so we’ll be you know, growing our company landing customers. You know, at some point, I should probably spend a couple minutes with my wife and my, my two boys. So I might take that podcast time and give it back to my family. But yeah, I mean, we’re we’re, as I forgot, he told me one time but like, the only way to grow in your career is to find people that can take your job. And so, you know, we abstract needs to grow, we need to reach that next level, and you’ve stepped up. You’ve done an amazing job you’re taking over the podcast, like Now it’s time for me to go focus on things to make your job easier. And continue to, for you to grow. So you can hire more people. So you can be cmo one day. Go start your own marketing agency, maybe. So I’ll just probably work that work more.

Clare Dobson 15:19
I don’t think I’ll ever start my own agency. That’s a whole nother ballgame.

Greg Reffner 15:23
Maybe start your marketing automation.

Clare Dobson 15:27
Yes, perfect. That’s where that well, what are you I mean, for our listeners, and for, you know, anyone trying to figure out how to start a podcast? Do you have any advice for people? You might take away the last time hearing Greg Ratner on the podcast? Maybe we’ll do a feature episode with you at some

Greg Reffner 15:45
point. It doesn’t have to be complicated. We talked with Cynthia Barnes. She was on our podcast. And she we got the podcasts. And she’s like, so I’m curious how how do you guys go about putting this together? Like, how much does it cost? And I’ll tell you right now, it’s free. Zoom, you can use a free zoom license and record for 40 minutes, just download the file to your computer. reaching out and finding people’s free on LinkedIn. We use Google Slides or Google Sheets come up with our kind of agendas and talking points. Just reach out to somebody and be like, Hey, I have a topic I want to talk to you about. You want to come talk to me about it thinking about starting a podcast and I want to kind of try this out. You’ll find that people love to talk about themselves. And it’s generally pretty easy to do it. So just Just try it. Just go out and record an episode and see what happens.

Clare Dobson 16:47
solid advice, see what happens. So I need to get people who like to talk on the podcast is what’s your title? Yes, got it. Deal. Okay. Well, I mean, I’m excited to take this I’m excited to see what’s next for the podcast and our listeners and everybody I talked to I think there’s going to be a lot of a lot of good conversations that maybe I think people might be more excited to talk about than the same thing that they talked about all the time at work. And, you know, I hope that no one’s looking at it as like a like Trump or trying to bash founders or anything like that. Like we’re just trying to get to know what, you know what it’s like and can can you go in the weeds all the time? Can you think big picture? Can you survive those few months where nothing happens? And you’re feel like you’re working your artists like, can you survive that? So I think there’s there’s all good things to come for sure.

Greg Reffner 17:46
I never said it’s gonna be awesome. Can be amazing. I’m excited for it.

Clare Dobson 17:50
Cool. Well, that is all I have Greg. Go kick ass. Yes. Go kick ass. You’re gonna do great, but it’s a hint because it’s the startup side. Good podcast, if you’ve ever seen with a kick ass, yes, way to end it, Greg. Well, thank you, everybody. Thank you, Greg. I’m excited to get started and I look forward to where we’ll be in a year from now. Cool. Thanks, Greg.

Podkast Transcripted using Our Real Time Transcription Software

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Greg Reffner - CEO

As one of the very first power users of Conversational Intelligence as an Account Executive, Greg fell in love with how technology enabled his success. As Abstrakt's leader, his vision and "why" is to help every sales rep and leader avoid the pain of missing their number.