October 1, 2016 / Strategy / Wise Talk

WiseTalk Summary on Embracing Disruption for a Competitive Advantage

On September  22, 2016, Sue Bethanis hosted Cat Lee, Head of Partner Marketing at Pinterest. Known as one of the most innovative shopping platforms in the world, Pinterest has revolutionized how people discover products and content, and how customers engage with businesses. Cat gave WiseTalk an insider’s view on how Pinterest has become an extremely disruptive social media powerhouse while building a marketplace of 100 million users.

Favorite Quote:

“Authenticity is about not holding back your point of view and saying what needs to be said in a skillful way with warmth and respect.” 


On How Pinterest is a Disruptor in Advertising
At its core, “Pinterest is about exploration and discovery. The big opportunity for businesses on Pinterest is that there is no trade-off between the experience it provides to users and businesses.” Pinterest customers are open-minded to the ideas that come from businesses because they are native to the Pinterest experience. 75 percent of the ideas on Pinterest are from businesses because they are useful, actionable and relevant to users.

What’s unique about the Pinterest platform audience is the intent that can be modeled out based on user actions. The way that people search on Pinterest is based on exploration.  If you look at the consumer journey through a partner’s point of view (business), it closely resembles the marketing funnel. The consumer starts with casual browsing, then moves on to engagement (pinning), and then finally the consumer moves to the mindset of wanting to take action.

The Importance of Talent and Processes to Disruption
Cat believes it is important to focus on organizational health in addition to organizational smarts. Through both, you get efficiency and speed in how the teams can work together and ultimately disrupt the market.  A key component is communication. If all employees have the same information it empowers everyone to do their best and be in alignment of what’s most important to the company. Macro level processes helps teams go faster.

Cat also believes, “you are doing your best work when you are leveraging your strengths and making sure that they are well balanced.  You don’t need to worry about weaknesses as much as helping people to do their best work.”

What We Found Most Interesting:

  • The Four Values of Pinterest Knit: The best products come from “knitting,” where everyone works together— from engineering and design to marketing and community. Innovation happens when disciplines “knit” together.
  • Put Pinners First: If something doesn’t work for Pinners, it doesn’t work for Pinterest.
  • Go: The best way to find out if something works is to try it and learn as you go.
  • Be Authentic: Being honest and open (and sometimes saying the hard thing) is a core value.

To learn more about Cat Lee and her thoughts on disruption, listen to the WiseTalk recording.

July 30, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Customer CEO

CustomerCEOCustomer CEO: How to Profit from the Power of Your Customers
By: Chuck Wall

Companies used to be more able to set the terms for engaging with customers.  They created products and customers chose whether or not to buy them at the price the company set. It was a simple transaction.  But in the age of social media, transactions have become 24/7 relationships, recommendations are stronger than branding and the customer is now in the driver’s seat. They decide which companies they want to engage with, and on what terms. Companies must adapt to this new reality.

The short answer is to get to know your customers.  Know their goals, frustrations and obstacles. Understand how you can help improve their lives. The author, Chuck Wall, outlines nine powers (or core needs) that customers possess:


  • The Power of Me
  • The Power of Value
  • The Power of Performance
  • The Power of Heart
  • The Power of Simple
  • The Power of Yes
  • The Power of the Platform
  • The Power of Rebellion
  • The Power of Purpose

These nine powers are the result of more than 100,000 first-hand customer interviews combined with the knowledge a decade of experience as an entrepreneur brings. Companies that engage these nine powers win the hearts, minds and ultimately, revenue.   He also offers a unique “solution” for engaging these nine powers: the Customer Thinking approach, which balances analytics and empathy to improve the customer experience and take the lead in the market.

Filled with real stories of companies embracing the power of their customers, this practical book offers both large and small companies ideas and tools for building long lasting relationships with customers. Leaders who want to create better products, services and experiences for their customers will want to read this book.   Buy it now.