November 23, 2022

From Startups to Google with Christopher Mitchell

by Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing

Show Notes

Hosts Gianna Whitver and Maria Velasquez sit down with Christopher Mitchell from Google’s Chronicle Security and discuss how he went from working at a series of startups to working at one of the largest corporations in the world. Christopher shares stories on his work experience through many company acquisitions and shares what it’s like to go from 160 to 160,000 employees. He dives into how he has found success working on marketing teams and what has led to healthy work environments and relationships. Christopher also shares what has made his teams run efficiently and how he has found success in launching unique cybersecurity marketing events. 

 

Timecoded Guide:

[01:46] Adjusting through acquisitions and onboarding at Google

[11:17] Days at Simplify and Soc Stock—cybersecurity marketing Woodstock

[19:26] Goals at Simplify—more than lead generation

[20:32] Key signs of business acquisition and founder aspirations

[28:32] Digital marketing strategy at Google and pros/cons

What it’s like adjusting through acquisitions from 2,000 to 30,000 Employees

Christopher details his journey in cybersecurity marketing, moving from different types of startups, small companies, large companies, and everything in between. During this time, Christopher worked for companies during IPOs and eventually transitioned to Google. He describes what it was like to start at Google’s security business unit and details the breadth and depth of the onboarding process at the company. During this time, his marketing team tripled and Christopher talks about the adjustment period that followed. 

“It's been awesome. I joined when we were 80-ish people. And so through the pandemic, we doubled in size, we 10x our revenue over that span, the marketing team tripled in size—we went from five to 15. So it was awesome to be part of that growth. And it's awesome now seeing all of us thrive at Chronicle and at Google as well. We're still high functioning, we're still kicking butt and taking names.” 

What it’s like working on a marketing dream team

Working at Simplify, Christopher picked up early examples of excellent operation and teamwork within a marketing unit. Christopher discusses the culture of the Simplify marketing team while working there and highlights what made it run smoothly. He emphasizes his team’s goals and how they consisted of much more than just high-level lead generation. Christopher also explains how to make yourself available as a resource to your co-workers and why doing so is important in a team. He emphasizes how team culture is integral to success and then dives into his experience with launching a cybersecurity marketing conference. Christopher also explains to Gianna and Maria what “Soc Stock” is and how it became a major success.  

“That's actually one of the biggest words of advice I can have is always help your co-workers as much as possible—even if they're co-workers you don't like. Just help them.”

How to see tell-tale signs of acquisition and set companies apart

Christopher shares some key things that he has noticed when a company is on the path towards acquisition. He highlights product universality and accessibility while diving into what sets companies apart in the cybersecurity space. Christopher also mentions his aspirations in the SaaS space and some possible business plans that he has for the future. Gianna and Maria stress how not everyone gets to say that they are a part of a smooth process between sales and marketing but Christopher shares his experience with the dynamic. He explains what it’s like to have a healthy dynamic between sales and marketing departments—and what has made him excited to go into work every day. Christopher also talks about being a part of a mature and sophisticated team and what it’s like to be responsible for MQL pipeline and revenue targets. 

“We did have an extremely positive relationship with sales, maybe the only positive relationship with sales I've ever experienced in my life. But it was awesome . . . It is so nice.”

Google Adwords, digital marketing strategy, and the pros/cons of working at a large enterprise

Chris talks on digital marketing strategy at Google and goes into a few pros and cons of working at a large enterprise like Google. He hashes out the big working differences between working on projects at a small company and working at Google. Moving from startups to Google is no small adjustment and Christopher dives more into his adjustment period moving from smaller and mid-size companies to one of the largest in the world. He also relays the importance of marketing teams in building a strong community throughout big changes.

“It's just a completely different world. I think if I was joining this company without my Simplify peers, I think I would have struggled even more than I did.”

----------

Definitions: 

MQL Pipeline: MQL stands for ‘marketing qualified lead.’ This is the term that marketers use for prospects interacting with brand content. ‘MQL Pipeline’ is the process in which marketers mover prospects through the marketing funnel, exposing them to the brand and turning them into possible customers.

CMO: ‘Chief Marketing Officer’—the chief executive responsible for marketing in an organization. 

IPO: ‘Initial Public Offering’—The public launch of a private company onto the stock market.

_________

Links:

Spend some time with Christopher on LinkedIn.

Check out Chronicle Security on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Google’s Chronicle Security on their website.

Follow Gianna on LinkedIn.

Catch up with Maria on LinkedIn.

Join the Cybersecurity Marketing Society on our website, and keep up with us on Twitter.



Transcript

Maria 0:00
Welcome to the Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing Podcast, where we explore the
hottest topics in cyber marketing, interview experts, and help you become a better cybersecurity marketer.
Gianna 0:21
Hello, hello and welcome to another episode of Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing.
I'm one of your co-hosts, Gianna Whitver and with me is Maria. And we are so glad to introduce and to welcome Christopher Mitchell. He is the Digital Marketing Manager for Google Cloud security. Thanks for being on, Chris.
Christopher Mitchell 0:43
Hi, everyone. Thanks for having me, I'm really excited to be here. I was at the original
cybersecurity marketing conference virtual event two years ago. So really excited to be back
now on the podcast.
Gianna 0:56
We're glad to have you. I mean, yeah, that's true. You were on you were one of the premier
speakers.
Christopher Mitchell 1:02
Okay, that's generous.
Maria 1:04
Yeah, Christopher, I think you're one of our early, early members of the society. Right, I think
you, you joined the ride quite early with us and supported us throughout. So we love having you and thanks for joining the podcast.
Christopher Mitchell 1:19
Yeah. And I mean, the society is amazing. What you two have built is seriously insane and
incredible. The amount of people communicating in the Slack channels is crazy. The donut
meetings, the coffee meetings, and everything have been fun—like getting to meet new people, the cyber beers, and tears. They're not paying me to say this, I swear. Genuinely, it's incredible.
Maria 1:42
Well now, we have to pay you so, we're going to have to figure that out.
Gianna 1:46
Christopher, you have a really interesting career in cybersecurity marketing. Can you tell the
story for the listeners—like how you started and where you ended up because it's got a lot of
acquisitions and IPOs in it.
Christopher Mitchell 1:59
Every company I've worked for has actually either been acquired or gone public, I'll be at the
company I interned for—I was not there when they got acquired. I interned for a company called
Evergage that was recently acquired by Salesforce—which is really cool. But again, was not
there for that. Either way, I actually majored in marketing. So I actually get to use my degree in
my everyday life. But the first company I worked for after college was a sales enablement and
video training SaaS solution. And it was a great experience. I learned a lot. But it just wasn't
exciting enough for me. And I felt like there was more out there. So I started interviewing and I
interviewed at Carbon Black, and they were local to Waltham, which is the same town that I
went to college in Bentley. And I knew a bunch of other Bentley grads who also worked there.
And I was like, cybersecurity is super cool. This team is exciting. I really enjoyed the
conversations I had with every single person I interviewed with. So it was very easy for me to
make the decision and join Carbon Black. And it was funny because I joined Carbon Black
literally a week before IPO. And so the week before IPO is like the blackout period. So I was
asking some of my fellow Bentley friends who worked there, a couple of them were in finance, I was like, "Hey, do you like working at carbon black? Would you recommend it? Should I join the company?" And they were like, "Oh, it's the blackout period can't talk to you about anything." And I was like, "I'm not asking if the company is financially stable. I'm literally just asking, 'Are you having fun?'"
Gianna 3:39
The SEC says we can not tell you if it's fun here.
Christopher Mitchell 3:44
They were taking it so seriously. So I was like, "Alright, whatever. Either way, I think this is the
right decision." So I joined the company. A week later, we went public. And just the excitement
was awesome. And again, I had interned for a startup, the company before was a startup. So
going to Carbon Black at like almost 2000 employees—that was huge for me, like a giant
company. The marketing team was like 30 to 40 people. So it was crazy. But it was really
exciting. And I learned more in those two years at Carbon Black—well, I mean, I'm still learning,
but I don't know. I just—it was awesome. I was so excited. My manager was fantastic. My
coworkers—shout out Will and Darius—I would not be nearly as successful as I am today
without them on the team. So that was awesome. And then we ended up getting acquired like
18 months later by VMware. And that was also very interesting because, at that point, we were a public company. So we couldn't really know things in advance because it would be terrible if anything leaked. So we almost found out basically at the same time as the public that we were going to be getting acquired by VMware. There were some rumors that we were maybe getting acquired. VMware was not part of those rumors so that I think it was a little bit of a surprise to some people. That was an interesting experience as well. I think there was a solid period of time where a lot of people didn't know what was going to happening. We didn't know if we were keeping our jobs, we didn't know what their long-term vision for Carbon Black as a product was. So there was a lot up in the air. And we slowly, over several months, found out—and my role and responsibilities changed, right. Like when you join a company, that's 30,000 people from a company that's 2000, people, your role and responsibilities get more specific—the opportunity for upward mobility might become more limited. So at that point, I wasn't actively looking for anew opportunity. But if recruiters reached out to me, I was willing to take the call and see. And so a recruiter reached out to me from Simplify at the end of 2019. And I was like, "Hey, I've done co-marketing with Simplify, I know who they are, as a company, this could be cool, I'll happily take the call." And so after the initial call, and learning about the company, I got very excited. Because in the most simplest pitch, they wanted to be the Salesforce or Marketo, or Workday of cybersecurity. And I was like, that's something I can easily get behind. Their two biggest competitors had just been acquired within the past year. So I was like, Simplify is probably next at that rate, right? And when I interviewed with Mike Hardwick Brown, shout out to Mike as well. I instantly was like, I need to work for this company. Because we got along so well, my girlfriend likes to joke that he's just like a 10-year older version of me. We even got super close outside of work, which was nice. Again, can't say enough nice things about MHB, about Nimmi, as the CMO, I genuinely—Simplify was easily the highest functioning team I've ever seen. And that's not because like other teams aren't as good or anything like that. But I think just the size of our team, and the—both quantity and quality—of content, and programs and just things that we put out and shipped was just insane to me. And it felt so good to be part of like a ship where everyone was moving in the same direction and shared the same vision. And everyone equally worked just as hard as the person next to them. I genuinely can't say enough nice things about my experience at Simplify. And then two years later, after joining Simplify, again, went through an acquisition, this time with Google. And this time, it was a very different experience. And I think a lot of it had to do with Simplify being a private startup. Obviously, some of it also has to do with just VMware and Google being completely different companies and operating in completely different ways. But what was really nice is that, like we found out over a month in advance that we were going to be getting acquired by Google. We knew the very next day after we were given this heads up, if we were getting a contract, what that contract would be, we instantly knew what our security would be job wise at Google. So everything was just handled in a really great way. And it made onboarding at Google that much better and much easier.
But even that experience was pretty crazy, too, because everyone was kind of put on their new respective teams, like appropriately at Google, and specifically, we joined the Chronicle team. So Chronicle already had a product marketing function, a demand gen function, a mops
function. So a lot of our team split up appropriately. So I got put on the digital marketing team.
So I had a new manager, new peers. So that was a little tough, and not because my new
manager and new peers weren't welcoming—they're also fantastic. It just was a big change for
me. Similarly, going from like 160 employees to 160,000 employees will have a significant of a
difference. Obviously not 160,000 all work in the security business unit. But it was just a big
difference. And it was funny too, because the onboarding like I had Google onboarding, I had
Google Cloud onboarding, I had Google Cloud Security onboarding, I had Google Marketing
onboarding, I had Google Marketing Digital onboarding. They have the most robust training
system I've ever seen in my life. I made a choking meme with some of my Simplify peers. In the first Avengers movie, when they all look up and they see all the aliens coming out of the sky through the portal, like towards the end of the movie. I made all of the aliens like training
onboarding videos—HR training, legal training, operations, training—as a joke. And it was just
us—the marketing team—we were the Avengers at the bottom with all of this coming our way.
It's been awesome. I joined when we were 80-ish people. And so through the pandemic, we
doubled in size, we 10x, our revenue over that span, the marketing team tripled in size—we
went from like five to 15. So it was awesome to be part of that growth. And it's awesome now
seeing all of us thrive at Chronicle and at Google as well. We're still high functioning, we're still
kicking butt and taking names. I feel sincerely lucky to have the great career and experience
that I've had thus far. And obviously, I know I work hard. But still, I just feel so lucky to have the
peers that I've had, and the managers that I've had, and to be on the path that I'm on to be here now—six years out of school already at Google.
Gianna 10:54
Amazing. Did they give you the hat too?
Christopher Mitchell 10:57
Yes, I got the Noogler hat, how do I look?
Gianna 10:59
We love it, very stylish. For listeners, Christopher has put on a—what is this? A propeller cap,
right?
Christopher Mitchell 11:08
It's the Noogler hat. So when you finish your Noogler onboarding, everyone gets the hat. It's
Google-branded, and it has the spinner on the top of it.
Maria 11:17
So Christopher, let's go back to your days at Simplify, I could hear the passion and the love you have for those days and let's just take our listeners back to that era. You mentioned that it was a solid team high performing. And you were, I guess, operationally and campaign wise, everything was working so well—what actually worked so well? What were some of those key, I guess, success factors and levers that made it such an awesome team?
Christopher Mitchell 11:50
We had a culture of trying new things and failing fast. So it was never a problem of trying
something new. It was literally just like, alright, you have an idea, put together a plan to execute it, and let's do it. So we tried random things like we got on the LinkedIn live bandwagon and we had a LinkedIn live session with Anton Tuvok and from Chronicle and Google Cloud, coincidentally, and Carson Zimmerman, from Microsoft—both very well-respected individuals in the cybersecurity space. And we did like a stock debate LinkedIn live, that had over 2000 registrants. Yeah, just trying random things like that was crazy. Going to Simplify was also a big shift for me because Carbon Black and VMware were so big and Simplify was so small. So one of the things that helped me the most in working with my boss is that he said, just try to ship at least one thing every day. So whether that's sending an email to prospects or customers, or hosting a webinar, or launching a new ad campaign, on LinkedIn, or YouTube, or wherever, just try to ship one thing a day. And I think getting into that mindset, and that mentality of doing something every single day, was hugely beneficial. And again, for that to be possible. We also as a team did a great job of not having meaningless meetings, like if it could have been an email, it was an email, even though we were all remote—pandemic aside, we were all remote anyways—we did a fantastic job of communicating over Slack. If anything was going to take more than a few seconds on Slack, we'd jump on a zoom in two seconds and just talk it out real quick. Everyone was super flexible. Like I said, everyone was just moving in the same direction and was so willing to help one another. That's actually one of the biggest words of advice I can have is just like, always help your co-workers as much as possible, even if they're co-workers you don't like, just help them. If they need something and you don't even have the answer. I would even just ask the person you know, has the answer, get it from them, and then relay that answer so everyone still sees you as a resource.
Gianna 14:05
You're like career hacking for us here. This is awesome. Keep going. Sorry. I just have to say
that's like, really good stuff.
Christopher Mitchell 14:13
Yeah, I mean, I know you could obviously save yourself time and just tell them hey, Ask Dan. I
don't know the answer. He does. But instead, I feel like it takes two more seconds to just ask
Dan, get the answer from Dan and then copy and paste it back to whomever in the first place.
Again, that makes you look all the better as a resource. But anyways, I digress.
Maria 14:32
You know wthat, that's such a good testament to the fact that successful marketing strategy
really depends on a strong, solid culture within the marketing team. Because yeah, you can
have people that are experienced in digital and no ABM. You can have a nice budget and a
strong brand. But if the marketing team has zero culture, or they're not helpful—like you
mentioned—that's not going to work.
Christopher Mitchell 14:53
Yep. Another example of something where it's like let's just try it is that we created an event
called old Soc Stock. And I know Nimmi has been on here and has mentioned that before. I'm
sure a lot of people listening who are also cybersecurity marketers were like co-sponsors of the event with us. So you're already familiar. But it was genuinely one of the wildest things I've ever been a part of, literally as a team of—I don't even think we were 15 people yet—as a team of like nine or 10, we hosted an entire virtual event. And not just like, four sessions half a day, it was a full-on, two-day event with over 30 sessions, a couple workshops, all of this content—we made it explicitly an entirely thought leadership event. So there was no Simplify product pitches, all of our sponsors, they couldn't do product pitches either. Like obviously they could be a part of it. But we got CISOs from some of the biggest companies in the world, like Home Depot, or even not-so-big companies, but are still household names like Drizly. We got some very cool CISOs to come and just speak on different topics throughout all of our sessions. It was cool. The branding was fun and different. The promotion was crazy. It was such a fun event that other people—just random people attending or registering—they were promoting it themselves on Twitter without us asking or anything. We made Soc Stock T-shirts. I should have wore that. It's a fun tie-dye t-shirt. The theme is based off of Woodstock. That's what I was going to ask, is it a play on words for Woodstock. Yes, yes, it was a play on Woodstock and the security operation center. And so we had these fun, like tie-dye shirts that all of the speakers wore. And even those were so popular that everyone was asking us like, hey, next year, if you do this again, can you please sell the T-shirts because we would buy them, which was crazy. And even some of the speakers like I know Nimmi, Anton Tuvok, and again, was a speaker at that event. They wore wigs, they went full hippie outfits for their presentation—which was pretty cool to see these executives getting so into the theme of our event. We were like 10 people, we pulled this whole thing off. And we had nearly 4000 registrants and like nearly 2000 attendees, the things we were able to do as such a small team, again, not to toot our own horn or anything but was like I thought it was—
Maria 17:19
Absolutely, I love that the executives were so bought into the event, the theme, and attendees
are bound to buy into it too. And they see that there's so much excitement and encouragement from within.
Gianna 17:34
It kind of ties back to what you said earlier, which is like ship every day. And it also points back
to the culture, right of the team. And what Maria was saying. It's like someone has a zany idea,
right. This was this a zany idea at the beginning that someone just pitched?
Christopher Mitchell 17:49
Yeah. Yep. I think Dan was a big proponent of this idea. Dan Kaplan to give him the full shout
out his coworker Josh Greenberg, who was our creative genius and design genius. I mean, they have some of the coolest ideas. I would love to share them, but I don't want anyone to steal them. But they're two of the most creative people I know. And just the things they would
pontificate on were just so fun.
Gianna 18:18
And now we'd like to take a moment to thank our sponsors and producers Hacker Valley Media. Chris Cochran and Ron Eddings run an amazing studio here, which produces not only the Breaking Through In Cybersecurity Marketing podcast but a bunch of other shows that you're going to want to listen to as well. So all these shows plus more and then on top of that, probably even more coming soon are available to look at listen to and sponsor at hackervalley.com Make sure you go over there and say, hey, Gianna and Maria said I should come check out your website, listen to your shows, and sponsor a podcast or two. Amazing, it was like okay, here's the zany idea. Like we have this crazy thing we want to do. We want to do Woodstock, but for SOC professionals, we'll link to the Soc Stock website if it's still up. I don't know if it's still up. I know that hippie-dippie branding and that guy at the bottom with
a guitar. Yeah. Like you guys took it and ran with it, fight? The team took and were like, you
know what, try it, fail fast. And let's try this thing. right?
Christopher Mitchell 19:26
Yeah. I think what was nice too, is we made the effort to tie them back to one of our goals. And another reason why I really wanted to join the Simplify team was that they didn't care about the high-level lead generation, like our goals were MQLs, pipeline, and revenue—we had a revenue number that we had to hit. We were that focused. And again, all of our crazy ideas had to tie back to that. So like Soc Stock—easy to tie back to lead gen, MQLs, pipeline, and those sorts of things. Like Dan also had a really great name and great idea for a podcast. So let's again, if he ever creates it, I don't want to share it. But that was like one of those things where we were like, we'll keep it on the list, but we're not going to make it a priority like we made Soc Stock a priority. We genuinely hurt everyone out but we still made sure to tie all of these ideas back to one of our three primary numbers and goals.
Maria 20:22
I'm on the website—the tagline for the event is "The grooviest event for security operations."
which is awesome.
Gianna 20:32
So you like that Simplify, like the marketing team, basically held the bag, right? You have a
revenue target, right? What were some other indicators, or in general, like when you're looking
at companies, or anyone when someone is looking at companies, and they want to join a
company that is on the path towards acquisition, right? It's a solid company, you think, oh, this is gonna be a hit, it's gonna be acquired, it's going to IPO, it's going to be a unicorn, it's going to be big, or whatever. What are some other things that you look for?
Christopher Mitchell 21:02
At a company level, I looked at their rounds of funding, how many rounds of funding have they
gone through, has each round got significantly bigger, and the amount that was funded—simple things like that. Again, the company vision, I was super bought into being that automation platform that cybersecurity professionals work in and out of every single day. Ideally, we'd maybe be like a 'check the box' solution—so there's more of a necessity (we're not), but that's okay. We're not like EDR or firewall, we're like you, you have to have it. Again, that's okay, because we were in a very hot space. So that's another thing to look out is Shore was a very hot space. Like I said, the competitors, the two biggest competitors had both been acquired by Palo Alto and Splunk, respectively. So then we were the largest remaining independent vendor, which, this might just be unique to our situation—but that actually gave us a competitive advantage as well, which is pretty cool. Because as a source solution, you want to integrate into everyone's existing solutions, and you don't want to play favorites. So the fact that we're not Palo Alto now who acquired a sore, and now we're gonna, like shove our products down your throat, it's, we're still independent, you don't have to augment anything you have existing, we can just come in—so again, kind of unique to our situation. I also, because I was still at Carbon Black at the time, I went to some of my friends in engineering and in sales engineering, sort of those spots, and just asked their opinion on the product and what they thought of the product and space like, is it good? Is it bad? Is it overrated, underrated? So getting their advice was super helpful. And like one of the SEs was like, everyone wants to soar. Not everyone can affordit, but it's like a good place to be. So I was like, alright, so that's good to know. So I think those are some things that like a business level, you could go on the website, see if you can find any sort of recording of the CEO talking and just seeing sort of what their leadership is like. So for at simplify, it was a very young, first-time CEO and founder, and I have aspirations to be that. That got me excited.
Gianna 23:10
Whoa, Chris, you have aspirations to be a first-time founder or a founder?
Christopher Mitchell 23:19
I do. I have no idea what it would be—ideally in the like SaaS space, because that's just what
I'm comfortable with.
Gianna 23:25
Okay, so you're not going to start a coffee shop with me and Maria, which is what we're going
to—or a food truck.
Christopher Mitchell 23:30
Unfortunately, no. I'd offer to help with the advertising but I think you both know more about
advertising than I do.
Gianna 23:36
Sweet. That's a great way to get out of things, by the way, you know, that was very smooth like, I would love to but you're the expert and you're smart and I don't—I can't help actually because you're too good.
Christopher Mitchell 23:52
I joke. So I went to Bentley, and one of the biggest competing schools was Babson and Babson is more known for entrepreneurship. And my little brother, he's a senior at Babson right now. So I told him, I was like, You're the entrepreneurship major. Like as soon as you graduate, come to me with an idea and we'll do it. You know what I mean? We'll see what he comes up with.
Maria 24:12
Love that. Christopher, you want to be my brother? I have a lot of ideas.
Christopher Mitchell 24:19
Sure, sign me up. Yeah, so that was exciting to see a young, confident, first-time leader, again,
like kicking ass—from a company perspective, that was important. And then from just like a day to day as a marketer perspective, it was important for me to like everyone that I interviewed with, and it was important that I understood and appreciated the answers that they provided for all the questions that I asked them in return. I honestly think during an interview process, it's more important for them to sell you on the company than it is for you to sell yourself on why you should get the job. So I think that's super important and again, I had the best time talking with Mike, I instantly knew we were gonna get along. I really appreciated my conversation with Nimi for the first time—I knew he was a good leader and I knew that there was a good culture on the team. There was that level of maturity and sophistication, despite being such a small team and such a small company, that we had—not lead gen goals—but literal MQL pipeline and revenue targets that we were responsible for, which is awesome. And, again, I don't know how much that played into us having an extremely positive relationship with sales. But we did have an extremely positive relationship with sales, maybe the only positive relationship with sales I've ever experienced in my life. But it was awesome. Can I just tell you how nice it is, it's so nice. It is so nice. Genuinely when SDRs actually follow up on your leads or when sales reps say thank you for an opportunity that you sourced and genuinely give you credit— there's nothing better. And it's so fun too and we would collaborate and like a sales rep. you know, they would come to me and be like, hey, would love to do a webinar on this topic, because I think it would resonate with my prospects and whatever region for whatever reason, like hell yeah, like, I don't even have to think of an idea, now you're bringing me the ideas? Yeah, this is ideal. Same with the bizdev team and partner relationships. I think that was another huge success factor for us is that we did a bunch of partner activities, whether it was at events or partner webinars because that's
giving you access to a database beyond your own, which is huge. That's a force multiplier in
and of itself. So that marketing and sales relationship was nice, making sure you clearly know
what your role and responsibilities are going to be. So you know, you're going to get excited to
go to work every day, because I think that's important. And I was genuinely excited to go to work every day. Again, because we were a tiny team, I was running webinars at 1 am in our APAC region and I didn't even care. I was like all stay up/take a nap and then wake up—I'll do
webinars at 1 am in APAC, because like, I want this to be successful. And again, I believe in this mission. It's just really cool. Again, those are just some things I think are worth looking for.
Maria 27:22
So I don't know if you believe in this, but I believe in the evil eye. So if I were you, I would burn
some sage today, because I think a lot of marketers are going to be jealous of you after they
hear this episode.
Christopher Mitchell 27:34
No, that's fair. That's why I'm saying like, as hard as I work, I know that I'm extremely lucky to be here. I'm not trying to like brag in any way. Just sharing my experience. But no, you're right.
Gianna 27:45
I like to brag, it makes me happy. It makes me happy to know that there are good places. And
besides the fact places of me and Maria work, of course, but there are good places too because we hear a lot right now, right now it's tough. We're recording this in October of 2022. And it's tough for a lot of teams. Budgets are retracting, there's layoffs, there's a lot of stress. If you're highly capitalized as a company, you have a lot of pressure on you from your investors. So it feels like a little bit of a bummer in a lot of places. And it's nice to hear about a startup, that won and then a team that loved each other and worked well together and was able to produce at a velocity that outpaced other teams and that you found this—not like a hidden gem—but this gem of a company to work for.
Maria 28:28
Exactly. And I also I don't think it's just luck. I think you're a hard worker, I think that you
deserved the opportunities that you've gone because of hard work, not just you know, your stars aligned. So definitely celebrate that. I have to ask, what's your digital marketing strategy at Google? Does it include Google AdWords?
Christopher Mitchell 28:49
Yes, actually, it does include Google AdWords, you'd think I'd get a little more support from the
Google ads team now that I'm part of the company, but I'm still running that mostly on my own.
Maria 29:01
Do you get friends and family discount on cost per click?
Christopher Mitchell 29:04
No!
Gianna 29:05
What? Tell them? Oh, no, that's hilarious.
Christopher Mitchell 29:10
No, I think they would have some, like antitrust issues or something if they gave us any sort of
whatever treatment so yeah, similarly, like, oh, they can't instantly have us rank like number one in SEO or that would be, it would be a big deal if that happens.
Gianna 29:26
Very good point.
Maria 29:26
I'm retracting my application. I don't want to work at Google anymore.
Gianna 29:30
Maria wants the golden goose.
Christopher Mitchell 29:36
It is funny. There are definitely pros and cons to being at just such a giant company. I mean,
obviously, like I have more security. The compensation and benefits are a little more generous
than a startup. And I actually I definitely have a better work-life balance. I'm not hosting
webinars at what I am anymore. It moves at a significantly slower pace. There's a lot more
process involved. You need a lot more layers of approval for budget and for even just doing
something externally facing from legal. So it's just a completely different world. I think if I was
joining this company without my Simplify peers, I think I would have struggled even more than I did.
Gianna 30:16
It's hard with that change. Even moving from like a small company to a small company is tough, right? If you just move from a 30-person shop to another 30-person shop. So moving up and down at these employee-size companies is really hard to readjust to, especially when you're used to basically running things on your own and like just using the company credit card cha-ching. And here, it's like, hold on guys, Google at one point was the same way. And but those people built the processes that now new people enter into, right? At Simplify, you guys built probably SOPs and processes that were light and lean and it's just a matter of like, when you have more people, you gotta like, make sure everything is more aligned—and you do that through processes because people aren't talking to each other every day. You're not talking to everybody else, you know?
Christopher Mitchell 31:03
Yeah, it's a big mental shift, too, because I think I was struggling too early on, because I again, I just for over two years was trying to ship something every single day. And you can't really ship something externally every single day at Google. So what was really nice is my manager Jody was like, well think about shipping something every day, including things you ship internally. So if you complete a strategy deck, and you get sign-off from a CMO. Not that I'm actually talking to a CMO but if you get sign-off internally on something, that's still something you shipped. If you got a PO through the system, without legal or finance harassing you about it, that's something you internally shipped. So it was just kind of that mental shift and thinking of in addition to the external shipping, as long as I'm shipping something internally as well, I'm still being productive, I'm still producing, I'm still getting my job done.
Gianna 31:57
Exactly.
Maria 31:58
All right, Christopher. Deanna and I, every episode, we try to guess our guests, I guess, wish of a career or, let's say, if you weren't doing what you're doing today, what would you be doing? And so her and I are going to take a stab at guessing. She usually wins. But every now and then, I do. A lot of times she cheats, we let it go. Not a big deal.
Gianna 32:21
You cheat too, you're a cheater just as much as I am.
Maria 32:24
I'll let you go first. So go ahead, Gianna.
Gianna 32:28
Okay, so rule. So I think, obviously, you can't be a marketer, and you can't work in cybersecurity. And you said you wanted to be a founder of a SaaS startup, I think that should be knocked off the list. So what would Christopher do, Christopher, you're like a people person, I think. I think you are a friendly, helpful person. So if you were not doing this, if you could have any job in the world, if you are not doing this, I could see you being a tour guide of like, somewhere, but it's somewhere you love too. Maybe like a tour guide at a really cool historical site. So anyway, that is my guess. Maria, your turn.
Maria 33:08
I definitely get that friendly, helpful vibe for sure. But I see it from like, working with animals
perspective, I don't know if it's from like a healthcare perspective, or biology or being at a zoo
working with animals, something.
Christopher Mitchell 33:23
That's fun. I think real quick before I share, Gianna tour guide of Boston, hypothetically, because I live in Boston, I have kept a very detailed record of like all of the bars and restaurants that I've gone to—so I'm not saying that would be my dream job but I have genuinely taken very serious notes about all the bars and restaurants that I've gone to—what I liked, didn't like and so like all of my friends when they want to take someone out on a date, they asked me like, what do you recommend? And I'll be like, well, what's her vibe? What's your vibe? What's you know what I mean? And I have my roster of recommendations, so I can, you know, pick out the right one for them.
Gianna 34:04
It's the Mitchell guide.
Christopher Mitchell 34:06
Yes. So I do joke that I would like maybe one day when I retire, I could publish that as a book
for, you know, future 21 year old in Boston. So something I'm super passionate about in my
personal life is fitness and going to the gym. And so I think it would be a ton of fun to own a gym or just even be a personal trainer for fun. So you guys are on the right track—I'd be interacting with people a ton, I'd be helping. I actually—so in college before internships in corporate America, I just worked at a GNC for most of college and that was a ton of fun. It was also good getting that sales experience at the time and it definitely fueled some of my competitive nature because I always wanted to be the number one sales associate—not just in my GNC location but in the entire North America GNC region. So that was fun. I was very competitive. So health and fitness is something I'm passionate about. And I think any opportunity in that realm would be fun.
Gianna 35:05
That's awesome. So you, and you're saying I won, right?
Christopher Mitchell 35:08
I think it was a great tie between the two.
Maria 35:14
Yes, Gianna, you got this one.
Gianna 35:17
Thank you. Thank you. Because we're keeping track. I'm actually keeping track now. So, yeah.
Maria 35:22
I'm going to go into that Excel sheet you're keeping track on I'm gonna change everything—don't lock it. I know you have an Excel sheet somewhere, Gianna.
Gianna 35:32
I actually do. Okay, so Chris, how can people contact you if they have questions about anything that you talked about today if you're open to being contacted.
Christopher Mitchell 35:40
Oh, I'm super open. If you go to my LinkedIn, and you just friend request me or message me or
whatever, I'm super responsive. So happy to talk to anyone about anything on LinkedIn. Heads
up though, I am not open for new opportunities, I get a million people asking me on LinkedIn. So no, I'm extremely happy on my team at Google. I'm extremely excited to see what the future holds at Google. I mean, we just literally like last week, we acquired Mandiant, who knows what's going to happen there? There's just so much change and excitement for the
cybersecurity business unit at Google. So I'm very happy again, very lucky. So that's where I'm
at. I'm happy to, like I said, talk about anything, if anyone has any questions, happy to answer
them. I even, Gianna, I mean, you had questions about nurture. And Gianna you mentioned
today on LinkedIn, actually, about not everything that works for everyone else will work for you. And hearing thought leaders make recommendations is great. But you still need to find what's best for your programs, your market, and everything. And I think in a similar vein is your goals should also be—I mean, I've always based my goals off of my own program success and not just industry benchmarks or overall benchmarks. So there may be there's some like ideal open rate out there but if if my open rate last month was 12%, I want to beat that this month. So I don't need to get to 30% open rate now. I mean, someday, hopefully. But like, as long as you're beating your existing success, that's good.
Gianna 37:18
I can see you'd be a great personal trainer. It'd be about you know, it's you against yourself.
Well, that sounds very combative, but you know, you're the baseline your stuff is the baseline,
you don't have to deadlift 500 pounds right off the bat if you could do the bar to start, or
dumbbells like that is the start and then you increase from there. Thank you so much for being
on Christopher. We had such a good time today.
Maria 37:41
Yeah, this was so good.
Christopher Mitchell 37:51
This was so much fun. I'm happy to come back and talk more, maybe we'll see if people like
that. This was so much fun. Like I said, I genuinely appreciate being a part of this community. I
had a great time speaking at the virtual event. Years ago, I had a great time finally, finally
meeting people in person at the meetup at RSA, which was so nice—first event back in the wild, but even that event was fun putting faces to names. It was good. That's right.
Gianna 38:12
Amazing. All right. Well, we'll see you on a future episode of Breaking Through In Cybersecurity Marketing. So everyone, if you want to be on Breaking Through In Cybersecurity Marketing, send a note to podcasts—with an s, which hopefully doesn't sound too bad in this mic—at hackervalley.com. We want to hear your stories. We want to hear your successes and failures and data and we want to learn from you. Give us a five-star review.
Maria 38:36
Yeah, and don't forget to share this episode. And as usual, tune in every Wednesday for a
brand new episode. See you next time.
Christopher Mitchell 38:44
Like, Like, subscribe!
Like, subscribe, do all of that.
Gianna 38:47
Like and subscribe!
Maria 38:48
Tell your family, friends, and enemies.

Recycling and Marketing Brand Content with BlueVoyant’s Brittany Geronimo

November 30, 2022 Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing

00:00:00