At Home with the Armadillo

Thoughts on life, business and everything in between. Live from the city limits of Austin, Texas; home of

Customer Onboarding for Dummies

In this series, we’ll talk about onboarding customers. We’re in the maintenance and facilities line of work, but onboarding is onboarding and an amazing customer experience translates to any type of software. If you are responsible for implementing technology on either the customer or vendor side, this is for you.

An effective onboarding strategy is key to the ongoing success SaaS. If customers aren’t happy, are confuses or even underwhelmed, your long term annuity will start to lose value right out of the gate.

Good news! There’s no point in recreating the wheel. Follow the disrupters where it makes sense but you can’t go wrong soaking up knowledge that people like Ritika Pury from STORYHACKERS, courtesy of one of the best,

So, grab some coffee and start here.


You’ll never get a second chance to make a first onboarding impression. A primary driver of the success of the project is that there is a hand being held and value provided the second they sign the contract to their transition to go-live to happy lifetime.

The suggestions from SFDC are awesome. New customers definitely need the option to self-educate and explore. This is an exciting time for them, but it can also be stressful. They’ve been convinced that this decision was a career changer for them and that it will make their lives easier and better while helping their star shine. So, always remember the golden rule, onboard your new customers like you’d onboard yourselves.


The level of engagement with Sales, PS and CSM will be determined by the size of the customer and scope. For enterprise customers, the first year is key to their long-term growth, but onboarding data also tells us that the number one cause for SMB churn is a lackluster onboarding. A customer should never feel as though they’re being abandoned. The entire process needs to be seamless.

Also, there will likely be a steep learning curve that will appear differently to each user group. You’re a player coach – a player because you are their peers helping them down the field, a coach because you’re tasked with helping them understand best practices and a new way forward.

There will be a lot of pushback from stakeholders who feel like they need to do something the way they’ve always done it. It’s up to you to convince them that there is a more efficient way that will help them be more effective and show their value to the organization.

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” –It depends on who you ask

Doing what you’ve always done…

Welp, SXSW has come and gone, again. Plenty of good times and lessons learned to keep our thinking cap batteries charged for a year. Ti West was back, again, premiering his new film In a Valley of Violence which I thought was pretty good despite having killed off the real star of the film in Act I.

The film aside, Ti said something that demanded my attention. I forget the literal Q&A but the gist is that he was asked about his role in and process with casting his films. He told us that the traditional casting process of bringing in someone cold or quasi warmish into a room full of people, sitting at a small table with a hand held camera, reading from a script with no other actors while being seriously judged on your ability to deliver the scene in the most ridiculous of circumstances will not find you the best actor. However, it will find you the best audition-er. Eureka!

On the way home, it occurred to me that as with art, such is life. If we apply this same approach to the real world, we get the backbone of the book You’re Not the Person I hired!The traditional recruiting and hiring process finds the best interviewee, not necessarily the best fit. I think HR folks are so focussed on weeding out the masses, they lose sight of identifying real talent. It should be no surprise if this outdated approach nets you an awesomely average employee. I admit, I am guilty as charged. If they don’t have a degree, I throw them out. How many great people have I missed out on as a result? This especially seems to matter in the revenue world where talent is so hard to come by.

And you know what? I imagine I’m also experiencing the other side of this as I type. How on earth will I be as good at interviewing as other candidates when I’ve only done it twice in 10 years? Think about it.

“If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got” -who knows (it’s been credited to just about everyone including Mark Twain, Tony Robbins and Albert Einstein). And maybe that’s ok, just don’t be surprised if you end up with a team or cast that isn’t who you thought you hired.

I’ve never taken this advice but it seems pretty solid in retrospect – interview at least once a year regardless of how happy you are, keep your resume and LinkedIn profile updated and despite the fact that you have 5000 better things to do, keep up your social media involvement. You don’t need to post a blog once a week, tweet like wildfire or check Medium every hour to stay on top of things. Just read and stay informed. Learning is a good thing, and like the aforementioned example, you never know where it’s going to come from.


Traits and Values in Leadership

I’m often asked what makes someone in sales or in a leadership position stand out. For a long time, I struggled with the answer. If I knew what was in the secret sauce, I’d hire every last person that had it in their DNA. It wasn’t until I moved into a more customer centric and leadership role that I started to get it. And I would lean on this experience often.

As I toyed around with the idea of a new company, I wondered what sort of characteristics I would look for when hiring new employees, and the values I would employ to help guide all of us. In doing so, I realized that there were a few identifiable natural traits excellent leaders in sales and customer experience seemed to have.

  1. The give credit all the time. They do so even if they had a large part in whatever is being acknowledge.
  2. Intellectually honest and accountability, and they are proactive with it.
  3. Optimistic and positive.
  4. Saw themselves as a part of a team and led by example.
  5. Average is the enemy. Always work to improve and drive towards excellence.
  6. Genuinely curious about life, customers and employees.

If your team is recruiting sales and customer experience, I would encourage you to use these as talking points. It will not only tip you off to how they might perform, but help you understand what kind of person they are and the values they’ll bring to the table.

My anti-resumé.

monica byrne


Within an hour of our IndieGogo campaign meeting its goal, I got a call telling me I’d been awarded a North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship. It’s a huge, huge honor. It’s also the fourth time I’ve applied for it, and to me, that’s part of why it’s an honor.

A couple years ago I was having dinner with a playwright, Bekah Brunstetter, and her director David Shmidt Chapman. We talked about how rejection is just part of the landscape for all beginning artists, no matter how talented or hardworking they might be or how successful they might appear. David said he’d love to publish his “anti-résumé” someday—a list of all the things he didn’t get.

Ever since, I’ve wanted to publish my own. So I’ve gone through the last six years’ worth of spreadsheets in both prose and playwriting, to literary journals, workshops, conferences, theaters, graduate schools, play…

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The Halo Effect

Speaking of getting out of your own way. The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig has been recommended… More here. Cognitive bias is pervasive, no question. I don’t necessarily think it’s relevant in today’s world as it’s one of those things that is what it is. Long-term successful/wealthy/powerful) leaders are tall.  For every Ross Perot, there are 50 Warren Buffets. In fact, how many short Presidents have we had here in the US?

I’ll have more on our brains in making us do what we do every day later. The line bolded below made me pull the trigger.

From Amazon – “Much of our business thinking is shaped by delusions — errors of logic and flawed judgments that distort our understanding of the real reasons for a company’s performance. In a brilliant and unconventional book, Phil Rosenzweig unmasks the delusions that are commonly found in the corporate world. These delusions affect the business press and academic research, as well as many bestselling books that promise to reveal the secrets of success or the path to greatness. Such books claim to be based on rigorous thinking, but operate mainly at the level of storytelling. They provide comfort and inspiration, but deceive managers about the true nature of business success.

The most pervasive delusion is the Halo Effect. When a company’s sales and profits are up, people often conclude that it has a brilliant strategy, a visionary leader, capable employees, and a superb corporate culture. When performance falters, they conclude that the strategy was wrong, the leader became arrogant, the people were complacent, and the culture was stagnant. In fact, little may have changed — company performance creates a Halo that shapes the way we perceive strategy, leadership, people, culture, and more.”

I’ll let y’all know how it goes.

The Myth of Writer’s Block

When I first launched KarmaThink, the idea was to create a living, breathing collaborative community that served to unblock writers, specifically for the screen. I ended up going in a completely different direction (like way different), which was awesome because the site ended up doing for me what I had hoped it would do for everyone else.

Writers block or anything block is a state of mind. The same thing that blocks a writer blocks sales people, marketing folks and executives. It’s their brain. Charlie Jane Anders nailed it when she pointed out that we think of it as “the end of invention”, but it’s just your brain not knowing what to do next.

There isn’t an actual “block” at all; it’s you not getting started. So, start! It isn’t likely that you’re first go at it will be the finished product whether it be a first draft or a strategic vision. Get on the keyboard or whiteboard and just go. If you still need a little help, this guy in New Zealand has you covered…

Over 45: Getting a New Job is Harder Than it Should Be – Management & operations

Over 45: Getting a New Job is Harder Than it Should Be – Management & operations.

Great advice. It’s annoying that this is our new reality but these are the employees that actually return ROI.

#USMNT And I do.

Thanks. I’ll be here all week.

Hello. I’ve been in the SaaS and professional services space for what seems like forever. If, for whatever reason, you want to read about that here’s LinkedIn. My experience lies in sales, customer advocacy and executive management so I’ll be writing about my thoughts on business from that perspective. I’ll sometimes be serious but mostly aim to make you smile. Kinda like a golden retriever. I have two of them and strongly believe that if people were more like them, the world would be a much better place. Happiness is contagious you know. Until then…