Interviews

Dan Miller of Opus Research: The Customer Engagement Model is Becoming a Conversation

Conversations eat apps’ lunch.  Twilio founder and CEO Jeff Lawson made this statement. It happened at the company’s annual user conference, Signal.  The statement stayed with me for a while. A few other remarks from his talk stuck with me too. And eventually led to an article I wrote . It served as part of …

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Sridhar Vembu of Zoho: The Cloud Should Have a Deeper Purpose, But Surveilling Data Isn’t It

Well I know we’re into a new year now, because my first conference of 2020 just ended.  Zoho’s annual analyst event took place in Austin, Texas this week and as in year’s past I had a chance to sit down with CEO and co-founder Sridhar Vembu for a wide-ranging conversation.  And quite literally we had …

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Watching Amazon: Pricing and Shipping – A Tale of Two Relationships

Last week at a House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing on competition in the digital economy, Amazon pricing issues were again raised. You may have missed it because of that other hearing going on in Washington right now. During his testimony at the hearing, David Barnett, CEO of phone accessory maker PopSockets, accused Amazon of “bullying …

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Michael Machado of Salesforce: Voice is the Future of CRM

I just hit the 5 year anniversary with my first Amazon Echo device, and since then I’ve kinda had a thing for voice assistants and devices I can talk to. So one of the things I was really interested in learning more about at last week’s Dreamforce event was seeing how Salesforce’s voice technology – …

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Vala Afshar of Salesforce: My Job as Chief Digital Evangelist is all about Listening, Learning, Sharing and Storytelling

I spent this week at Dreamforce . Salesforce created this as its huge annual event in San Francisco.  And, as usual, the event featured non-stop activity. Attendees discover so many things to see. They also find so many people to meet. I found it impossible to get to everything and everyone.  But the event offered …

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Dina Apostolou of Microsoft: Mixed Reality Offers A Unique Opportunity to Enhance Sales Experience

I recently asked a number of CRM industry executives how they thought artificial intelligence could help SMBs with some of the big challenges they face using CRM applications.  This was all inspired by a poll question we posed to the Small Business Trends community, which found the following results: Why Small Businesses Need CRM One …

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Watching Amazon: Selling Expired Food and Rogue Selling Coaches Add to a Tough Earnings Week for Amazon

Amazon 2019 Third Quarter Earnings Shock Amazon reported third-quarter profit of $2.1 billion yesterday, or $4.23 a share, on sales of $69.98 billion. Now to me that sounds pretty good compared to sales of $56.58 billion a year ago, but earnings declined from $5.75 a share, the first time Amazon earnings decreased year-over-year since June …

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Clate Mask of Keap: Leadership Harder to Transform Than Products and Platforms in Order to Reach Broader Small Business Market

About a month has passed. And I haven’t gotten on a plane. Or gone to a conference.  But I still got the opportunity to speak with Clate Mask . We discussed the two-year transformation his company InfusionSoft went through to become Keap .  I eagerly anticipated this conversation. After all I have known Clate and followed …

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Sridhar Vembu of Zoho: The Only Durable Capital We Have Comes from Our Corporate Culture, Not on Corporate Valuation

Last week I attended Zoho ’s Developer Conference in their Pleasanton CA office and had a chance to sit down with co-founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu for a wide-ranging conversation. The value of corporate culture was among the topics we discussed.  SBT publisher Anita Campbell and I did an “ask me anything” session with Vembu …

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Craig Charlton of SugarCRM: We’re Adding the Missing Dimension to CRM Systems – Time

Another week brings another conference.  This time around I headed to Boston. (Which is enemy territory for a Rams fan! But I digress.) There I attended Sugar Connection, hosted by SugarCRM.  Sugar launched 15 years ago. But the last two years saw a serious transformation, including private equity firm Accel KKR making a strategic investment …

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