EP 20. John Filitz, Product Marketing Manager at Appomni.

In this Key Moments Episode, John Filitz, group product marketing manager at Appomni, shares his career journey and the key moments that shaped his path. He discusses the importance of embracing one's strengths and pursuing a career that aligns with one's passions.

In this conversation, John Filitz offers advice on finding a balance between work and personal life and shares insights on prioritization and decision-making. Overall, John's story highlights the importance of continuous learning and adapting to new opportunities.

Check out the episode below.


Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

In this engaging conversation, John Filitz, Group Product Marketing Manager at Appomni, discusses his professional path and the crucial circumstances that impacted it. John emphasises the significance of accepting one's abilities and choosing a job that matches with personal interests. He emphasises the need of empathy in leadership, pointing out that it promotes good team dynamics and different perspectives. John provides practical advise on managing work and personal life, emphasising the need of prioritisation and good decision-making. His narrative emphasises the importance of lifelong learning and agility in navigating a continually changing work context.

In conclusion, John's experiences demonstrate that recognising one's abilities and hobbies may lead to a rewarding career. He feels that empathy is vital for good leadership since it promotes team cohesion and dynamic performance. John also emphasises the value of work-life balance, encouraging people to make time for personal development and family. His insights on prioritisation and decision-making offer actionable advice for striking this equilibrium. Finally, John's path emphasises the need of remaining open to new chances and constantly learning in order to succeed in today's fast-paced environment.


  • Embrace your strengths and pursue a career that aligns with your passions.
  • Empathy is a crucial trait in leadership and fosters strong team dynamics.
  • Prioritize work-life balance and make time for personal growth and family.
  • Continuous learning and adaptability are key to success in a rapidly evolving world.


It was incredibly difficult.

I really experienced for the first time trying to attempt something.

We're not fully in love with it.

It's just a impossible task.

I wouldn't say even fully in love.

You like you've got to enjoy what you're doing.

It was a life learning experience of you know, don't force something if it doesn't feel good, if it doesn't feel right.


Don't pursue.

Take some time out when you're uncertain.

My best advice is just to take some time out and reflect.

Hey, John, welcome to the show.

Hi, Kerry.

Was there a cartoon character that you wanted to be growing up?

That's a good question.


I'd probably say Mighty Mouse and going back, going back some sometime now.


It's a pretty old cartoon that we used to get back in South Africa, where I'm from.



What was it about Mighty Mouse, some of the more cliche cartoon characters out there?

Yeah, it was just a it was just a like a little mouse that was a superhero, you know, they could just do anything.


And yeah, I remember there was a cartoon booklet series as well.

It came out and I always I was just like, I like, I like mice and I was quite drawn joined to this little Super Mouse.

Nice, nice, nice.

Yeah, it's I think I've told the story before in the on the podcast, but I I really wanted to be a the guy who dresses up as as Mickey Mouse and the and the theme parks and stuff.


But those when I was like 3 or 4 years old like that, this was like my my view of the world.

And then one time I saw him, I saw one of these, like Mickey Mouse people in a in a theme park in Egypt.

And he was like, I think standing behind like a one of the rides or something with holding his, his, his head, like in his in his underneath his arm smoking a cigarette.


And I think that's when I realized that yeah, like I, Mickey Mouse is not real after all.

I still I'm still in denial.

But yeah that that moment definitely definitely made me start to think about different things that I may want to do.

So I guess to to set the stage for people who may not have met you before.


How would you describe yourself?

Yeah, I guess I'm a researcher at heart.

You know that's something that that is something that defines me.

Very inquisitive mind.

I yeah, just like learning.

I'm constantly taking in information, whether it be podcasts.

I've got a stack of books that probably piles up my wife.


So he's telling me always books always arriving at the house and I I don't always get to reading them.

So I'm one of those guys that just kind of, you know, likes collecting books.

But yeah, just just just a really inquisitive mind on on, on varied topics.


And right now you are with App Omni leading their marketing, but it wasn't always like that.


So maybe help us set the stage like what walk us through like how how you got to where you are today.


So just the correction, I'm leading the product marketing function at App Omni.


So my background is, is quite unusual I guess it's quite a varied role journey into product marketing.


I started out, you know, off the high school.

I stint in London, came back, returned to South Africa and then studied political science and economic history and then went into the public sector.

You know, I worked for the Trade and Industry department in South Africa.

My research was the sort of theme that ran throughout and worked for various I moved to the States and then worked for a policy initiative from Obama on good governance.


And then that led me into the Transnational organized crime, a research track for a think tank.

Yeah, in Colorado, where I live in Denver.

And that ultimately opened up the doors for cybersecurity and that's where I kind of, you know, got my I I just found the cybersecurity industry super fascinating, studied further and and then eventually got my break into enterprise IT.


And from there it's been, you know several roles into the current role at App Omni where you know, again research.

I was doing market research and then I started doing technical cybersecurity marketing and then you know now leading product marketing at App Omni, which is a SAS security.


Platform fantastic.

And did you, did you feel like this was like earlier on in your journey?

Like, how did you feel your what did you think you were?

How did you think your career was going to evolve and how far is it from where you are today?


Yeah, it's it is, it is interesting if I look back of even over the last 10 years or so and just and think you know where I started and where I am now, it's definitely taken quite a journey.

But like I say I, I I really like jobs where I get something out of them, you know where I'm learning.


And I I feel like I found my niche in product marketing and in marketing more generally.

I just given how quickly the emerging technology scene is evolving, how you know how quickly marketing as a discipline is evolving especially in the in the sort of cloud native world that we're living in now.


So it's it's really I guess you know finding those jobs that give you fulfillment and satisfaction is is ultimately a bonus and that's been been pretty much several chapters throughout my career.


And I mean I remember when we first talked like I was talking about how like you had you've had a pretty a pretty interesting journey like going through like obviously public sector, private sector cross cross country, cross continent, cross industry cross so many things and.


Rather than me like front loading all the questions now, I think maybe we can look at the the key moments and use that as a timeline, sort of guide us through the questions that I have in mind.

So let's start with one failure.

One failure.


They would have to go back all the way back off the high school.

I, I, I registered for a law degree, actually.

And I started studying law.

And because it's sort of cool, you know, like, hey, you're going to be, you know, I I, I guess I come from that sort of family environment where it's like you're going to be a doctor, you're going to be a lawyer accountant.


That was the sort of the thinking at the time.

And so I thought, yeah, law sounds pretty cool and yeah, just did not enjoy, did not enjoy studying law.

It was a lot too dry for me.


Did you, did you like, how far did you get into it?


I was about it.

I was, I was entering the second year.

Then I decided, hey, I need I need some time out and that's when I left for the UK.

Yeah, that's crazy.

Did you, did you And all through that all throughout that first year, did you feel like you were going to continue?

It was incredibly difficult.


I really, I really experienced for the first time like you know, trying to attempt something when you don't fully, when you're not fully in love with it.

It's just a impossible task.

I wouldn't say even fully in love.

You like you've got to enjoy what you're doing and it's something that can be, you know, it was a it was a life learning experience of you know, don't force something if it doesn't feel good, if it doesn't feel right.


Don't, don't pursue.

Take some time out when you're uncertain.

My best advice is just to take some time out and reflect.


So here's the thing like you're you're from South Africa originally.

I'm from Egypt.

Perhaps we have this, this, this African commonality.


And I can speak for Egypt in the sense that it's there's a lot of social pressure for you.

Like for me it is very similar to South Africa.

It's like you're either a doctor or you're an engineer.

Or you're a failure pretty much.

And so you know what I mean?

Like we don't, we didn't have that many doctors or engineers in the family at all.


Or we can round that down to 0 almost, at least in my sort of, yeah, the my more direct family.

And so there was even more pressure.

It's like, hey, we couldn't do it.

So we're counting on you, you know?

And I I wanted to study music originally.

Maybe you could see in the background like I have this bass guitar and and and a couple of other guitars that I act like I know how to play.


I really wanted to study music initially and you can only imagine like my, you know my the the reaction for my family.

I sort of tried to modify that a bit more into looking into something creative.

But I really couldn't find anything that that worked, that that would have been like that.


We would have had their their blessings on.

And so I almost stumbled into mechanical engineering, and perhaps not too dissimilar to you.

Like, I felt like I barely survived the first year, and I think I made a deal with like one of the professors that like because they had failed me and I can't even switch majors unless I pass at least a super bare minimum.


I told him if you just pass, if you just bump me up the 5% I need to pass, I promise I will not be a danger to the world and I will not become an engineer.

He's like deal.

And I think that's where I started to get a glimpse of, oh, you know, maybe marketing, persuasion, communication, maybe that could be a thing.


And I almost ended up into marketing by, by accident from there.

So I'm curious was did you feel a lot of that pressure like when you've ultimately said guys, I'm not continuing law.

Yeah, totally.

I I I definitely felt that pressure.

And I just kind of, you know, I think that that experience in London just really opened up my eyes to to the world.


You know I kept, I grew up in a pretty small town east of Johannesburg, not much going on there.

It's industrial sort of I always call it the industrial underbelly of of of South Africa, a lot of heavy industry and coal mines and power stations.

So you know having that opportunity to be in London and just to see the the world and and travel as well through Europe really just opened up my mind and then just got me asking questions and I think that's what's kind of really sparked my interest in really just critical thinking and learning and I was consuming a lot of news and information and that ultimately led me into that the political science and economic history track.


And so yeah I I totally agree with you that it's like you feel pressure you feel pressure from that failure.

But that's I say like often just take a break change your change your scenery and and and open your mind.

I agree like in in my environment where I grew up in it was very conventional sort of career pause.


There weren't any discussions on these these alternative career pause.

I think that's that's definitely improved with just how available information is now.

But you know, going back to 20 odd years, it wasn't the wasn't the case.

Yeah, no, I can.


I can only imagine for sure.

And when what what was like, what was like a big moment for you in London after after you've made that transition, what was there a moment that kind of made you realize that you're you're starting to go on totally different path here?

Yeah, it was, it was my decision to return to South Africa to study and that was like the the pretty decisive.


And I've had several of those decisive chapters in my life where I really, I'm a big, big fan of for furthering yourself with education.

And so it's the decision to go back to to study, stop the stop the partying in London, put that on ice and recognizing that you've got to work hard to to, you know, to get somewhere in life.


I think that was the sort of thing of like you've got a sweat you've got a toil to to to make something of yourself.

So that was that was 111 big chapter for me.

The other would be when I when I pivoted into cybersecurity, I was like, yeah this is something I want to pursue.


I don't know anything about enterprise it or it wasn't already thinking of marketing at the time And then you know further got my break again through just furthering furthering myself with education.

I did a second master's in information assurance and that got me, gave me then enough legitimacy to sit at the table and have a relatively informed discussion about cybersecurity.


And so, yeah, so those there were those sort of distinctive periods in my life.

Yeah you know what there's you're you're you bring up a very interesting point.

I'm curious to get your advice and and take on this.

I think for a lot of people like tuning in right now, they would probably sometimes be debating the.


The the value of sort of like traditional education in terms of like pursuing your your your chosen path.

So I can speak for I was gonna say I can speak for marketing obviously we can speak we can both speak for marketing.

But for my small personal experience I didn't learn anything in in in in college starting studying a marketing degree.


I know that this you you did not necessarily go for a marketing degree, but for me that the to put it a bit more.

Positively, I The first day I started learning was the day I graduated from college.

As opposed to before that.

We kind of felt like like, you know, with the a lot of the textbooks, by the time they, at least in marketing, maybe marketing is very, very fast moving and volatile.


As you've mentioned earlier.

By the time there's a textbook on it, by definition, like, it's probably outdated and, you know.


And and like when you combine that with like the the type of like university professors you have, sometimes they have.

And certain tendencies to to focus on certain things like sometimes we would get marked down whenever we would recommend a social media strategy and you know they would say, Oh well, why don't I see radio there, Why is there no newspaper or print in your in your marketing recommendations whenever we do like a class project and stuff like that.


So I'm curious like do you think right now like the landscape has changed in terms of the importance of taking getting traditional education versus like learning things on the job and sort of building that up on your CV.


And I I, I, I would agree with you to to a degree.


I think it really comes down to the to the individual.

You know I think you've got to like decide what works for you.

You know I've taken a very unconventional part the skills that I learned in in in school were were really useful and and got and carried me through in in various roles if you know for the public sector for think tanks etc.


It's really just thinking critically.

So if you've got a way to do that and and and shortcut that without going to to college, good for you like it's it's those sort of skills.

I would agree with that.

Marketing discipline I think is much more you've got to be in the trenches and more say this marketing specifically.


But you know what we're also seeing like specifically in a sector like cybersecurity having some sort of technical understanding of the fundamentals and that can be it doesn't have to be via college, it can be via certificate really does help you make you know put out informed and well positioned content.


You know you've got very informed buyers now.

So just as as we're educating ourselves, the buyers are educating themselves and if you've got messaging that just comes across as superficial or shallow or portrays a a a dimension of the individual not really understanding the subject matter, you lose your audience.


So I really think there is a need for depending on what sort of field you're in to take on a a take on the owners and and obviously for if it's a bonus if you can get L&D and learning and development through your through your company to to really just go a little deeper on on the technical aspects of whatever you do that could be industrial engineering, cybersecurity, medical, whatever marketing role you're in.


I think it will already hold you hold you in good steed.


No, I think it makes sense specifically the more technical you get.

So, yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm picking that up for sure.

So I guess you were talking earlier about how you're always getting book deliveries and stuff like that.

So I know this is going to be a tough one, but what is one book for you that you actually wrote that I, that I actually read?


It would have to be essentialism.

I think it's the essentialism, the art of pursuing less.

Like Greg McEwen is a British, British author.

And it's really, there's just things that I often think about that still resonate.

There's a lot of books, but this one stands out.


You know, he's got a he's got a statement in there.

It says if you don't prioritize your life, then other people will prioritize it for you.

And so I I really kind of hold that to, you know, you've got to be.

And he talks about just being really regimented on your weekends, your personal time, your down time.


If you just say yes, yes, yes to everyone, then your life is a mess.

And you're also just unfocused.

You're not focusing on the essential aspects of what's really important.

It's a very it's a very popular book, and for good reason.

What's one way that you've applied some of these principles to?


To your to your weekends perhaps.


It's it's it's it's a good point I think you know I that's where I find such ready in a book for personal and for professional.

I'm really trying to prioritize my family time.

I've got a young little daughter and you know so we I'm just put the smartphone away and and really just focus on these in the moment you know beautiful beautiful times that you have together as a family which I think is something that I'm I'm still working on.


I'm not by no means a St. in that regard, but I'm really trying to prioritize the family and that's also just in the evenings.

Just put the photo in and actually have a good conversation.

I love, I love where you're taking us with this because obviously, like you know structuring your time like you know from, you know in between like you're 9:00 to 5:00 Monday to Friday, that's a very that.


That's not a new sort of concept.

But I think what's really interesting is, hey, like when you actually do have free time, perhaps don't spend it, perhaps don't spend the whole day.

Or I mean each each to their own, but like, perhaps.

Put conscious effort into like, what you want to do as opposed to like, oh, Sunday evening, I guess I better get ready for work.


And I'm curious like did you even try any experiments with yourself or with your family of like, hey, here's how we can like do do more in our in our free time together to have that quality time?

Yeah, absolutely.

So we're just, we're just getting out.


Like that's like we kind of we stopped planning our weekends.

You're already like already having conversations like on a Tuesday or Wednesday, hey, what do we want to do this weekend?

So just consciously planning the weekend I think is one way of, you know, then you know you're committed.

It's not like we wake up on Saturday morning and you're like, what are we going to do then It's you just feel pressure and you often do nothing.


So, so, so we're kind of actively you know planning out what do we want to do this weekend and then and then doing a doing an activity that is kind of out of the out of the ordinary.

So going you know going out up into the mountains and hiking or cycling to a new brewery.


There's always there's there's this you can you can you can do a lot with with with really not a lot of effort.

Yeah, I can.

I can only imagine it.

It's so funny because sometimes like me and my wife, when we when we see that it's sunny, we almost have this like fear of missing out of not going outside and doing something.


And on the flip side of that, when it when it trains, which happens all the time here in Ireland, we almost like, I feel like less pressure because we're like ah, we don't actually have to go out, maybe just do something indoors or something.

But I think, yeah, we definitely are.

At least I speak for myself like I I could definitely do more with structuring my, my, my free time.


I've always had this dream of like, you know, you know, doing a startup and then on the side like working on some music and stuff like that, but.

In reality, sometimes it's just easier said than done to really like, plan all of, like the hobbies or the things that you want to do from an extracurricular perspective.


Yeah, I would agree with that.

I think it's always the challenge of like, how do you, how do you have sufficient downtime that you recharge your batteries or find that thing that recharges your batteries and at the same time push through the various, you know, various initiatives?


I've got something like I'm trying to again continue the studying and I'm just struggling to find time or just energy at night just to, you know, carve out that time.

So like I've put it off for the winter months, I'm like, yeah, I'll do that.

I'll do that when it's snoring, you know.

Yeah, I know.


I I know what you mean for sure.

So shifting gears a little bit, who is one person for you?

Oh, that's a one person I guess would be you know just thinking about a person that's really had a big impact on on my life, on my in the country where I come from would be Nelson Mandela.


You know, Nelson Mandela is just like a absolute visionary leader.

And we, I just think as a country we just didn't realize how lucky we were to have an individual like that.

And you know, just leadership, exemplary leadership.


I think it's something that just comes to mind and just a a real unique individual.

There's there's very few of these sort of individuals that have walked the Earth.

And especially in the last sort of, you know, 100 odd years.

So there will be one individual that you just kind of think of wow, what?


What a leader that that individual was.

Yeah and I mean I'll I'm, I'm curious do you find like even in your in your personal professional circle are there this is this is a big ask now but are there any people that you look back and you look and you say you know what there are they actually do have some of the qualities that I mean that I would have perhaps or.


Something that that you know you find this is not something you see often, but you actually see it in those people and they've they've sort of personally impacted you in that regard.

Yeah, I think I think I see glimpses.

I think like empathy is something that that is a trait that is undervalued or often not given enough sort of attention in leadership.


I think recognizing that we're all, we're all humans, we all, we all have our personal lives.

We come from, you know very, very histories and various challenges.

Everyone has encountered some degree of challenge And so I think like empathetic leadership is something that is, is something that just doesn't get enough attention.


We often just look at you know results in this in this age of just driven by results and outcomes.

So yeah, I've had glimpses of that through through my career where people are just connecting with you as an employee, as a team member on a human level, I think.


Is something.

What person that that had that connection with you, I'd say this there's been several, several I I don't want to go into naming names now but but several several managers have have had that where we just connect and the impact on the teams are just are just phenomenal.


You know that I think that's that's something that is and and again at an organizational level if you have a leader like that I think the outcome the results that you see as an organization is, is, is is pretty profound you know and so I think that's that's something that I don't think anyone you can aspire to to being Mandela like I think you can have you know I think that's it's a very high ball but I think like having just being being cognizant of the the human factor that we're all people we're we will we all show up to do a good job.


I think very rarely do you have people that show up to work that that that don't want to achieve a outcome for for a company.

But I think that is really essential of of having that sort of empathy and strand running through and and really filtering into into values of an organization.


Yeah, 100%.

I mean, I feel like there's there's a lot of people that are sorry not not a lot of.

There's a lot of different personality types.

And sometimes we can make, and I speak for myself, sometimes I have made the mistake or think where I would think that someone that doesn't necessarily have the same, the same best interests in mind or something like that.


And the the onus or the the the fault was on my side for not being able to actually see and recognize that there's obviously so many different ways to to go about achieving a goal and just because.

And I think like one of one of one of my my favorite examples of that is actually me and my my cofounders also my brother he is a very detailoriented person.


I'm a very like sort of big picture person and we we naturally like butt heads a lot, but.

Ultimately he wins with his with his like, Russian rational approach.

And I think it's it's taught me a lot in terms of like how to how to like communicate.


Like for example, if you're communicating with somebody who appreciates details like how do you actually, yeah, like speak, speak their language as it were.

And I imagine he's doing something similar for me, where like if he's trying to convince me of something he would talk to me about like the big picture.


Details first, because he knows that's the language that will resonate with me.

And I know we're past the book chapter now, but there's a book that we talked about previously on the On the show, in case people haven't heard of it before.

It's called Surrounded by Idiots and it's actually a leadership book or management book based on the creator of the the disc profile.


Unfortunately, I'm I'm terrible.

My memory is terrible.

But basically he he created the the disc.

The profile test and he wrote this book based on the based on the the assessment that he's created and it pretty much talks about how there's like four major personality types and sometimes you have like a major personality and like a a minor component.


So like, mainly this, but also a bit of that, pretty much.

And it it's just really eye opening to show you how not everyone in the world thinks like you.

And that's OK.

And here's how to to to to influence them in a positive way and to like.

Find common ground with them.


So, yeah, in case in case you're you're looking at new books, I think this is definitely one that's helped me personally a lot.

Yeah, I like that.

I think that you know the diversity of thought on a team is is absolutely the secret source of of impactful successful team.

You know, I think if we have like unitary thought, you're not going to achieve good outcomes and I think that's kind of cultivating that environment that is is very open and receptive to divergent views only.


I'm a big proponent of that coming from a sort of writing background, you know where I'm like constructive criticism, bring it like I want a better product.


I mean, yeah, you're right.

I'm not like you know you've got to, you've got to have a little a little thicker skin and and be open on what's the end goal.

We want to put out a good product and so diversity of thought is, is absolutely essential.

Yeah, 100.

Like you don't want to a room of people like furiously nodding and agreeing with each other when.

You know when the end result requires that everyone be objective and and share like the diverse ways to approach something so that you can ultimately and objectively get to that end goal that you're looking for.


So I'm.

I'm picking that up for sure.

All right, well, let's move on.

What is 1?

And I know you've shared a couple of decisions in your journey so far, but perhaps besides those, what is, what is one decision that really stood out for you in your journey so far?



To just embrace marketing, you know like it was something that I didn't think I would I would like venture into and you know it's just been a great fit for me career wise.

I just feel like I found my niche you know after a lot of searching.



So it's just been a a very rewarding journey and I I find like my ability to marry both my interest in cybersecurity with with the marketing field is just fascinating.

So you know I'm it's just a industry that is so, so rapidly moving.

So yeah, that's the the one decision that I just zero regrets you know about moving into into product marketing.


Yeah, I can only.

Imagine like perhaps at the start of your journey you didn't necessarily see it moving in this direction, but it it all kind of came together except for one thing.


I'm wondering if there's any anything from your law studying the years where you're the one or two years where you're studying law.


If any of that has actually transcended to what you're working on today, hey, it's helped me my, like you know, where I'm currently, you know negotiating a lease for first back in the day or you know, so I did I did have a few of those skills that I that I employed.

I guess, you know it kind of was a a precursor to you know just you know working on the skills skill sets that I am, that I that I'm strong in and that's really like just critical reasoning and writing.


And so yeah, I guess going back there the subject matter was just super dry no offense to to to the lawyers out there.

But you know so I've definitely just kind of kept on building on on on that on those skill sets here.

Yeah, I.

Yeah, I have a deep fascination for just for for law in general.


But then again, I have, I've never actually studied it for one day.

Like I the only thing I know about like Law is just.

All the sort of like TV shoot, TV shows and suits and stuff like that that that's as far as my experience goes in that.

But I imagine it's such a I almost related to like sales somehow where where you're almost trying to like persuade someone of like your point of view.


And I think this is definitely something that kind of like transcends into marketing where you're where you're thinking of like positioning and like how you want to like portray certain things and in certain lights and bring focus to certain elements and so on.

So I've always, I've always wondered like whether someone with a law background could actually excel in the marketing, in the marketing role, I think.


I think that's a good point.

I think I didn't think of it that way.

I think definitely.

I think the persuasive aspects, if you're going to, if you're very persuasive as a lawyer, I think you could definitely apply that to, you know, to to marketing and positioning and messaging, arguing your point, you know you've got a better product than the rest.


So yeah, no, it's a it's a good point assuming.

You're a good lawyer, I guess, Yeah, assuming you're a good lawyer.

Otherwise it's just going to be super dry content.

Yeah, 100.

Percent and I guess, yeah.

So shifting gears again, what is 1?


What is 1?

Learning that you've had like all all throughout your journey so far, something that's sort of top of mind for you these days.


I think like you know learning that I've had is if you've got something that you're good at, just pursue it, you know, and it can lead you to into very sort of unconventional pause into your career.


So if you're good at you know, public speaking or you're good at whatever discipline, you know, whether it be math or number crunching, pursue that.

Like I think build up your skills and you can apply that view that as a skill set that you can apply to any use case that you apply your mind to you.


And that's something that I've I've just been a big proponent of.

You know you often get a lot of Flack.

Like you said you you were studying music.

You wanted to study music and it was the same in the the arts degrees.

And they're still viewed as as all these are soft skills.


They're not going to they're not going to help you.

I'm still a big proponent of hey, but it's it's a personal decision but if you're really passionate about writing you can pursue that and then you can apply that into any, any use case.

There's always a need for writers.

You might not often think of it, but you know, they these people exist.


And how?

How do you?

Balance that like let's say someone's listening to us now thinking about like sort of like weighing the the benefits of doubling down on your strengths versus improving that, whatever your like your weaknesses.

So like working on your weaknesses, so you're more sort of balanced overall versus just ignoring the weaknesses and going all in on your strengths.


What's your take on that?

No, I think, I think it's a, it's a good point of of I think being aware a lot of people might not be aware of their weaknesses.

So, you know, as you kind of become aware of that.

Yeah, for sure.

You know, focus on improving, putting yourself in.


You know, like I was very nervous at public public speaking, you know, doing presentations and that sort of thing.

And the only way it is a cliche is like you got to just get in and and and and try and try and try and put yourself in those uncomfortable positions.


So that is something that you know you just have to work on and and be aware and and often and and often again if you don't work on it, it can hold you back.

So you know I think that's it's important to you know for instance if you're a writer and you're afraid of receiving criticism your life is not going to improve.


You've got to be comfortable with receiving criticism and getting that feedback and incorporating that feedback and working on those areas of weakness.

So I I I definitely think it is a kind of yin and Yang you've got to the the two are kind of related to to each other yeah and I guess.


From zooming more into like from a product marketing perspective, can you perhaps share an example where something that you feel like is a is a strength versus like a weakness for you and and how you would how you would sort of like navigate or how how you are currently navigating that.


Because I mean, and I can, I can start with myself.

Like for me, one of my, one of my, one of my weak points is really.

Like you know doing anything that that's that involves like detail and like attention to detail but the way that I try to to to solve that with my cofounders that anything that's more sort of playing to his strengths he he would take he would take that on.


Anything that would play to my strengths, I would take that on, but not again, not being oblivious to that.

So it's almost like I would, I would take like a one-on-one approach to.

The detail oriented stuff he would take a one-on-one approach to like the big picture stuff.

So we're still we still have an appreciation of what each other do.


So like that's that's a foreign language to me.

I don't even understand what's going on there.

I try and like just have a an appreciation for it but not necessarily specialize in it.

So I'm curious like how you would approach it in case there's a product marketing leaders turning in as well?



There's it's a it's a good, it's a it's a good question and I think that you know the challenge that that I'm having I think that a lot of teams are having is prioritizing all of the various components of product marketing and there's and there's many, there's only a team of two of us at the moment.

So it's it's really about getting in the weeds doing that I see work where you're kind of really just and then pulling out and doing the the bigger so strategic initiatives focusing on you know where do we sit on the competitive landscape as I've got a market message messaging coming and planning coming you know so.


So it's really I think finding that balance of spending enough time doing the the administrative aspects I guess would be would be an area that's I think less enjoyable versus the stuff that's doing the creative content development you know for for your product marketing the videos the solution briefs.


So it's it's I I do have a slanting more to the creative aspects of product marketing.

This is the administrative side.

So it's it's finding that balancing in doing both when you're when you're just a team of two you know I think is is a challenge.

Yeah, yeah.

No, I can, I can only imagine and I think it's it's always about like ruthless prioritization.


I think as you've as you've alluded to.

So that that makes sense for sure.

And I think it's just an ongoing thing like you're always trying to reprioritize and and see like are you still working on like the things that are driving the most impact and so on.

So I follow you on that.


Well, I guess.


In in closing, was there anything that you wanted to, any parting thoughts that you wanted to share with our community or anything that you wanted to give both as yourself or as up on me?

Yeah, Kareem, thanks.

Thanks for the opportunity.

It's been great speaking with you.


If anyone that wants to reach out can reach me on LinkedIn, you know I'm, I'm super available.


Happy to give whatever career advice I can give.

I often do give career advice to to individuals because I I've had such an unusual past.

So happy to to to to to be available for that app Omni.

If you guys are going to blackout, feel free to stop there at the blackout booth.


I don't know when this episode's going to air.

We're coming up in in in in August.

But whenever you see us around you know we at cybersecurity conferences, please feel free to stop by and we'd love to meet fellow product marketers and marketers in the cybersecurity space and and and more generally as well.



Well, and John.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, and we'll see you soon.

Thank you, Kareem.

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