This episode of the podcast focuses on the role of channel marketing to help many of our listeners accelerate growth and scale their businesses.
In this episode of the podcast, my interview guest is Mike Moore, a seasoned Channel Marketing executive whom I had the opportunity to work with at Microsoft. Mike has spent twenty-three years in the IT channel as a channel partner and as a channel and field marketer for software companies like Microsoft, GE Healthcare, and Progress Software.
Today, Mike serves as the VP of Channel Strategy at Averetek. Averetek offers channel marketing automation software, delivered in the cloud/SaaS, that has been used by more than 70,000 channel partners in 21 languages across 260 countries to generate more than $600M in partner pipeline.
In this episode, Mike joins me to discuss his company, the role of Channel Marketing, his career journey, and his new book “Marketing Multiplied: A real-world guide to Channel Marketing for beginners, practitioners, and executives” which he coauthored with Averetek CEO Peter A. Thomas.
Marketing Multiplied is a comprehensive guide to indirect channel marketing. Building on more than forty years of combined experience, Mike Moore and Peter Thomas explore topics such as how best to engage channel partners, how to create programs that generate outcomes, how to develop the right mix of content, recruiting and hiring talented people, and how to provide meaningful incentives to your channel partners that motivate them to deliver results.
Whether you’re new to the field, or a seasoned executive looking for fresh ideas, Marketing Multiplied uncovers the channel marketing concepts and tactics that will kick your channel into high growth.
- You can get the book here.
- Connect with Mike on LinkedIn or Twitter.
- To learn more about Averetek: https://www.averetek.com/
- You can read the transcript of the interview below.
As with each of my interview and articles, I appreciate your feedback. You can reach out to me on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or on email at email@example.com. You can also review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the rating link. This helps others find the podcast.
Vince M.: Mike, welcome to the podcast.
Mike Moore: Hey, thanks for having me, Vince.
Vince M.: It is great to have you. You and I had the opportunity to work together on Channel Go-To Market at Microsoft, and now you’re the vice president of channel strategy at Averetek. And we’re both passionate around the channel, and so I’m glad you were able to join today.
Mike Moore: Yeah, thanks. It’s a pleasure to be here, and I’m a big fan of the podcast, so it’s nice to be in the guest chair.
Vince M.: It’s nice to have you here, and I was on the other side of that chair on your webinar, so great to have you sitting on the other side and taking the questions from me.
Mike Moore: Great.
Vince M.: So first for our listeners today, could you tell us a little bit about Averetek and the company’s value proposition?
Mike Moore: Yeah, sure. So Averetek’s a company that’s focused on channel marketing, and we have software platform as well as the services that go along with it to support brands who go to market through channel partners. Many companies use marketing automation products to be able to promote their own messages and tell stories to the market, things like HubSpot and Marketo and Eloqua. But the niche that we serve is for companies like Microsoft, SAP, those kinds of companies who go to market through channel partners and need a tool that’s going to help them enable their channel partners to take their marketing messages, personalize those with their own logos and value proposition, and then extend those out to customers and prospects. So that’s the space that we serve.
Vince M.: It’s a pretty unique space. And how did the company end up focused on this space?
Mike Moore: Well, I can take credit for this at least in part. So when I was at Microsoft, gosh, 14 years ago, working in the [SMSNP 00:01:40] organization, and focused on events, on an event team within Microsoft that existed at the time, we were doing hundreds of events across the United States each year, and doing a great job, and great feedback from the business, and great numbers and results. But our vice president at the time challenged us to say, how can you do that through partnering? How can you extend the work that you’re doing?
And so we came up with this idea of creating a program called Microsoft Partner Events, and it was a website and a team of concierge folks who helped partners plan and execute events. And we acted as almost an internal service vendor to other teams at Microsoft. We needed a software platform to manage that, or at least that was the idea. How can we automate this to help channel partners produce their own events?
And so as the business owner of the program at Microsoft, I hired Averetek to custom build a platform for that need. Now, what they were able to do years afterwards is take that need that we had at Microsoft and take it up a level, add more tactics than just events, and turn it into a commercial product that they then went and sold or licensed, I guess I should say, to Cisco, Juniper Networks, Citrix, SAP, and many others.
So that’s the platform that we have at Averetek today, but it all started with the Microsoft Partner Events program 14 years ago.
Vince M.: So we have a lot of technology listeners. Some of them are partners of the technology giants, and you mentioned some of the technology giants here. Who is your ideal customer today? Where is your target?
Mike Moore: For us, we work with SAP as a client. We work with RSA and SonicWall and CA and many others. So it’s those brands that go to market through channel partners that we can do a lot to help simplify how they work together with channel partners, make it very easy for partners to come in and take advantage of all the great marketing content that the brands are creating.
And we’ve really built out the product lineup at Averetek over the last couple years, so we have different editions of the software. So for people who are just kind of getting started, more in startup mode or small channel, all the way through the large industry titans. We have a product offering for every one. So for any of them, those are definitely some options for us to be able to support the growth of their channel.
Vince M.: So we have a lot of independent software vendors out there, more in the startup mode. Maybe they’ve taken their application and moved it to Azure or AWS. They too would be targets for your product and services.
Mike Moore: Yeah, in fact, we look at this category of channel marketing automation software and say that providing this tool set to channel partners is table stakes at this point. It’s just a basic requirement and basic expectation that channel partners have. Partners wouldn’t be expected in this day and age to go ahead and download a set of materials that you give them and then figure out how to deploy that on a website or how to plug that into some email platform of their choice. People expect that they’re going to come in and have that Microsoft Office level of sophistication. You just click next, next, finish, and then you’ve launched a campaign.
So that’s what we offer in the product, and we know that startups and others want to provide that to channel partners. Previously, you had to invest six figures or more in a platform like ours to do that, so we’ve been able to scale down the product as well as the pricing to have an edition for those startup environments.
Vince M.: Nice, and we’re going to provide some links to that in our show notes today, Mike. But first off, I want to talk a little bit about your new book. So you co-authored a book with your CEO Peter Thomas, and it’s focused on this unique segment, and it’s called Marketing Multiplied: A Real World Guide to Channel Marketing for Beginners, Practitioners, and Executives. How did that all come about?
Mike Moore: We focus a lot of content at Averetek as a means of marketing. So inbound marketing is this philosophy that HubSpot created and evangelizes, but many in the industry have embraced, where you use rich content that’s helpful, helps people learn things. It’s not product-oriented or self-involved. You’re putting things out there that are going to help people learn and be more successful in their jobs. And then that gets some interest in you and what you do, and then they want to get interested in your products and those kind of things.
So we really embrace the inbound methodology at Averetek for our own marketing, and have created a lot of different ebooks and frameworks and templates and things that we offer. But as Peter and I talked about what was next for our content, one of the things we really discovered is that it’s hard to tell the long story and put all the pieces together when all you’re doing is blog articles or ebooks.
So we came up with the idea for the book as a way to bring a lot of the things that we’ve been working on and saying, as we’ve talked to customers or prospects, and put it all in one book that someone could read either from end to end and really understand our perspective on how channel marketing should be done, or that they could take a chapter at a time when they have a specific need that they want to address.
Vince M.: And you mentioned in the book that there’s over a million people with channel marketing in their job titles, and there’s zero books in this space. Why do you suppose that’s true?
Mike Moore: Well, from our point of view, channel marketing, much like channel in general … And I know this is a favorite topic of yours. If you look at people in their careers, you have accidental professions that we run into all the time. Sales is one of them. No one goes and gets a degree for sales. You end up in sales because you’re good at talking to people and people like working with you, or whatever it happens to be.
Channel marketing is a similar discipline. People are often in channel roles because they are good at working with people outside the company. They show great empathy in how they work with others. And there are quite a few marketing books that address direct marketing topics, but for some reason, no one has written about channel marketing. Specifically, we have this tech industry orientation to what we do, but if you call it alliance marketing or affiliate marketing or all the other names for it, there really wasn’t anything in this space.
So we’re not sure quite why. I think maybe it’s the accidental nature of things. But we’re happy to be able to put this book out and to share our point of view with people who are in this space, and really trying to figure out if they’re doing it well. So when you have a job in a discipline that’s very niche like channel marketing, you may ask yourself, am I really living up to my full potential here? Am I doing it well? How do I compare with the best in the industry? But there’s no place to go for that information until now, and that’s where we think Marketing Multiplied can help people provide that perspective.
Vince M.: So you set for the listener the benchmarks. What are the best doing?
Mike Moore: Right, and that’s where we, as we talk to different companies in our day to day work at Averetek, everybody wants to know what everyone else is doing. And it’s a natural thing as human beings, right, we’re always curious about what other people are doing, people like us, and am I doing well. There’s certainly a competitive dimension to that where people want to know if they’re better than the competition, are they the most successful? People want that kind of recognition.
So reading the book, you can get a sense, and we use a lot of … This is kind of the real world dimension of the title here, is we use a lot of examples from our own career experiences and the people that we’ve worked with to tell some of those stories and provide some of that, so people can assess and figure out, where am I in the spectrum? Am I really successful, is there more that I should be taking on? If so, what specifically?
Vince M.: You discuss a modern marketing methodology that aligns to how buyers buy today. Can you explain in greater detail what that is to our listeners?
Mike Moore: Unfortunately, one thing we see in channel marketing is that it’s usually a couple years behind the rest of marketing. And I think it’s because channel marketing is so much more complex, and really it’s so much more than just marketing. It’s partner enablement, it’s so many pieces. So when we set out to write the book, one of the things we wanted to try to do is see if there was an opportunity to help channel marketers catch up and get current with where the industry is, and that really starts with this digital buyer’s journey.
If you think about the next vacation that you and your family want to take, where are you going to go to do research? You’re going to go to the web. You’re going to go search for something. You’re going to go to your social network, you’re going to ask people for recommendations. You’re probably not going to go directly to the providers of vacation services, whether that was Disney or airlines or other resorts and those kind of things to ask them for recommendations. You’re going to search, you’re going to go to friends and family in the network.
So similarly in the B2B world, we know that people apply that same approach to buying. And there are three distinct stages in this buyer’s journey that we want channel marketers to understand, think about, and plan for. The first stage is learning. Everyone is always in learning mode. As we read newspaper articles, as we scroll Facebook or LinkedIn, everyone’s in learning mode. You’re always trying to pick up new ideas and looking for something that’s going to catch your eye. But it’s more passive. We’re always in learning mode.
If we see something that catches our eye or strikes a nerve with us, then maybe we’ll actually progress to shopping mode. That might be the vacation idea, or it might be the frustration at work where you see that there’s gotta be a better way to do project management, or to work with my sales team, or to work with my channel partners. That shopping behavior now, once you’ve identified the need, you have this orientation that you’re looking for ways to solve your problem. Among all the thing that exist in the world, what products, services, solutions, can help meet my needs to address this and make my life better, or the lives of my colleagues or my channel partners better?
And then the final stage of this buyer’s journey is the actual buying stage. So I’ve learned about different solutions that are out there, I’ve shopped around and figured out maybe one or two or three that might be right for me. But now it’s time to make the buying decision, and I want to understand which is the right choice, and quite frankly, this is where a lot of people have that potential buyer’s remorse. You’re about to sign on the dotted line, I need to see some proof, which is where customer evidence is really important, if they want to hear case studies and those kind of things from others who have made the leap of faith and had successful implementations or whatever the project happens to be.
But that buying information is really key to provide people with information that helps them affirm their decision, makes them minimize the feelings of regret or remorse, and helps them move forward. So there’s a lot of different content that aligns with this journey, but it’s really important for people to think about that process that the modern digital buyer goes through, both in B2B and B2C, to make sure that we’re positioning our programs and channel partners to support that journey.
Vince M.: And how do you help them connect that?
Mike Moore: Well, we’ve taken … In channel marketing, we have this world where we talk about to partner, through partner, with partner, and for partner. So these different motions around partner marketing, most commonly we’re embracing through partner. How can I deliver my message through partner to reach N customers and prospects? Well, that’s a great way to think of it and orient your programs as a channel marketer, but you need to think more specifically. If I’m going to do through partner marketing, how do I align with through partner that hits learning, shopping, and buying stages of the buyer’s journey, versus just do what most brands do today, which is, they really just hit the buying stage content. Here’s my product, and here’s why it’s so great, and you should buy it. We need to fill in the other two stages of the buyer’s journey.
And that’s just for through partner marketing. Then you think about to partner marketing, which is, what’s the message you deliver to channel partners to help them understand why this is valuable to them? And brands often struggle with that piece as well.
Vince M.: You also lay out a framework, a channel engagement framework, in the book. Can you share some of that or take our listeners through that?
Mike Moore: Sure. So the channel engagement framework was something that I thought of … So after leaving Microsoft, you take for granted so much that you have when you work at a company like Microsoft, both the frameworks and the methodologies and the things, just the common language that people understand by working together in a business like that. And after leaving Microsoft, I went to work at GE Healthcare, and then on to Progress Software, and I found that as I was trying to explain things to people who didn’t have that Microsoft background that I had benefited from, we didn’t have all the frameworks and those kinds of things that we needed.
So I created this channel engagement framework as a way to help my team at Progress, and then I ended up turning it into an ebook when I came to Averetek, just to think about the life cycle or the different needs of a partner. So the different chunks of the wheel here are planning, enablement, demand creation, evangelism, and communication. So if you’re a channel team and you’re trying to build your plan that you’re going to roll out for the year, you need to have some sort of framework to organize your thoughts, ideas, programs, those kinds of things. So the channel engagement framework gives you those different phases, the five pieces that I mentioned around planning, enablement, demand creation, evangelism, and communication, to build out your plan.
And quite frankly, that should be used when you’re reviewing it with your boss to get approval to roll out the plan or get the budget that you need, but also you can use it with your channel partners and say, “We’re rolling out a series of planning initiatives or enablement initiatives,” and it lets them know that you’ve put some thought or some structure into the plans in a way that’s going to optimize their time spent in the relationship with you, versus getting random acts of marketing or random acts of communication that just come their way.
Vince M.: I like that. Random acts of marketing are … It describes how many organizations that don’t have a clear plan go to market.
Mike Moore: Yeah, it’s a good sound bite, but realistically, people don’t like the random nature of things. They like to be able to plan and what we think is, this framework gives you that. So in the book, what we do is pull this together and say, if you think about the modern marketing methodology here, and this new digital buyer’s journey, if you apply the framework to what a channel partner needs from support and enablement and demand creation, these services from you, and then you think about how all that comes together, we lay it out chapter by chapter so you can bring these pieces together, and either apply all of it to what you’re trying to do in your channel marketing programs today, or, quite frankly, you can pick and choose the pieces that are going to be relevant and helpful based on wherever your organization is at in your work with channel partners.
Vince M.: Sounds like a must read for anybody who’s in the channel looking to build out a program.
Mike Moore: Well, thanks. We’ve had fun with it, and the nice part about the feedback we’ve received from people who have read it so far is that we really intended to write it for channel marketers, but we’ve received feedback that other execs or channel sales execs, CMOs, those kind of folks, would all benefit from reading it as well, to better understand the channel marketing function and how to partner with them, or how to manage them, or even from channel partner’s perspective, I heard from a guy the other day who’s a Microsoft partner, and he was saying, “Now I understand more about what the brands are trying to do as they work with me, whether it’s Microsoft or HP, I understand more of their perspective.” So it helps him show empathy to what they’re trying to do, and he feels like he can better take advantage of their programs.
Vince M.: Yeah, and I agree with you too, because sales and marketing in the channel are so closely aligned. You can’t have one without the other, they flow together.
Mike Moore: Absolutely.
Vince M.: So I want to shift gears here a little bit. You and I have spent a lot of time here in the channel, we’ve been watching this amazing business transformation that’s been going on since we both left Microsoft, in fact. And is there anything that you’re seeing now that you didn’t expect to see a year ago?
Mike Moore: I don’t know if I see anything I didn’t expect to see. One of the things that I try to remind myself of all the time, because I see a lot of people struggling with the transformation, and it’s like the never-ending transformation as well. People talk about digital transformation or transformation with the cloud and these kinds of things. And we’ve been talking about it, if you go back and search, for years we’ve been talking about transformation.
So the thing that I try to remind people of and try to think of myself is that there are many things about the industry that haven’t changed, and there are many things about working with channel partners that haven’t changed at all either. And so if we can let the rest of the transformation unfold but take stock of the rest of the things that haven’t changed, like partners are spread super thin. They’re trying to run complex businesses, they’re trying to make this transformation from [on prem 00:18:50] delivery to cloud delivery, or hybrid, in most cases.
They’re looking at changing financial situations, compensation changes, those kinds of things. A lot of complexity there. Customers still require significant handholding when it comes to IT product implementations. The cloud still takes a ton of integration work to make all these different things work, whether you subscribe to Microsoft Office 365 or GSuite or whatever it happens to be, everybody has a ton of cloud subscriptions to different things and getting it all to work together still requires a lot of work.
So channel partners have a lot on their plate. So if you think of that and how that hasn’t really changed, as a brand in channel marketing, the space that I really look after, I try to think of, what hasn’t changed about that? How can you simplify your partner experience? How can you be a great partner to them and acknowledge the fact that you need them as much as they need you and build programs that really respect their time, and you try to earn that partnership every day with every program you put in front of them.
Vince M.: You bring up some really good points, and I’ve talked about the transformation from that partner perspective as well, because change is not easy, organizations like Microsoft and others ask partners to pivot on a dime and they can do that because they’re of a certain size and have financial might. But small organizations sometimes have trouble with that. They have trouble with that transformation and they have to change their business models, especially from an on prem to a cloud model.
Mike Moore: And that’s, I think, one of the things that I noticed in my work at Microsoft is … And it got better towards the end of my time there, but we used to come out with the list of priorities for the year that had 15 or 20 or 25 items on it. And you’d go to your channel partners with that list of priorities and I’ll say the old Microsoft would put all of that on the table and ask the partner to embrace all 25 priorities or whatever they were, which is absurd, because even Microsoft with all of its resources and people and everything struggle to really do well on all of those.
It got better, I say, towards the end, because people were coming up with shorter lists and I think also getting more empathetic in the work with partners where you would say, “Here’s our list of six of seven priorities. Which of these is also important to you that we can partner on and create some activity around?” So it was that empathy, I think, to the partners to say, “I know you’re not going to be able to take all of this on, even if you’re a large reseller partner,” which I worked with them in my final role at Microsoft. They wanted to be focused on a couple of key things and really drive some great results, versus trying to be a mile wide and an inch deep. And I think that was the right approach to try to make that change.
Vince M.: I agree, and just recounting in my mind while you were speaking here about that scorecard we talked about, the 25 priorities and making sure the partner was aligned to every single one of them. And I think the cloud has simplified that quite a bit, right? Cloud solutions are a little bit more, I’ll say, I’m going to drop a word here, but let me just think about this a second. I’ll say that the cloud helps to unify the solution set in one bucket, if you will, and the metrics around that bucket are a little bit easier to measure than across multiple sets of solutions within an organization. Would you agree?
Mike Moore: Yeah, I think so, and I think when we can simplify how success is measured, whether it’s for internal teams or for channel partners, we can all be more effective. When it’s really obscure how we measure things or what defines success, or quite frankly, when we’re not transparent with channel partners about that, then it just creates confusion and quite frankly, that starts to create a situation where partners wonder how committed the brand is to the partnership. And so I think transparency, empathy, those are really important attributes to deliver and explore as you’re working with channel partners.
Vince M.: Yeah, good point. You spent a lot of time building channels and teams. What do you believe makes, what characteristics do you believe make a great partner?
Mike Moore: Well, this is something we actually included a chapter on in the book, around hiring and what skills to look for in channel marketers, but I really think it applies to everyone and I’ve already used the word, I think, a few times here in our discussion. But to me … I’ll just take that piece out.
Vince M.: Yeah, I’ll edit it.
Mike Moore: Sorry, the inopportune …
Vince M.: Take a drink of water.
Mike Moore: Yeah, yeah. Okay. So for me, empathy is really key. And I’ve already talked about it a little bit in our discussion, but … I didn’t shake it, sorry. It’s going to be one of those things now, right? Like, I can’t-
Vince M.: Yeah, just take a couple breaths. We’re in no hurry.
Mike Moore: All right. I’ll try and speak a little bit before I dive into the answer, that way I can make sure I’ve got it. So for me, I think empathy is really important, whether you’re looking for channel partners or hiring team members, whether they’re sales people or marketers, the nature of people and working with each other, empathy, to me, is a really important attribute. And it’s worth hiring people for and even … I know I still use the Microsoft education competencies that’s on the Microsoft.com site. They have questions where you can probe around empathy.
To me, those are really important questions to consider to bring the right people together, ’cause as we bridge organizations and teams, having people who can take themselves and put themselves into other people’s shoes, it’s a really important skill set, because then everything else is easier after that. If you’re willing to think about what other people are going through and how to solve for that, then you’re always going to create successful programs.
Vince M.: Now, I agree with you, and I always talk about the … Now I’m having a mental break again. I always talk about the listen first aspects, to seek to understand before being understood. The Covey seven habits approach.
Mike Moore: Yeah, absolutely.
Vince M.: So Mike, as you might know from listening to other episodes, I’m fascinated by how people got to this particular spot in their career. How did you get started in technology and in the channel?
Mike Moore: Well, my story is probably like a lot of people, and I’ve already talked about sales as an accidental profession, and that’s where I got started in the channel, was selling. I was working full-time while going to college full-time, and I was also enrolled in the National Guard, doing a six year stint there as a way to pay for school. And I thought I was going to move on to a career in law enforcement.
And a couple years into that journey, I had an opportunity to go work at a software/hardware reseller that was big on the Boston area at the time, Corporate Software. And a friend started working there and there was a telemarketing job where I would just have to call people on the phone and talk about computers and they were going to pay me $25,000 a year and were going to give me tuition reimbursement, and I thought that was incredible, because it was 24 years ago, for a guy like me.
So that was how I got my start, and then there was no turning back from there. The culture of tech and the change obviously brings in a lot of opportunities for sales, because everybody always needs something new ’cause there’s always a new product and there’s always something new happening, some new innovation happening that made it an exciting industry to work in.
Vince M.: And that was an exciting time in tech. As I count on my pinkies back, that was just before the Windows 95 launch, if I recall, right? So ’94 [crosstalk 00:26:58], maybe?
Mike Moore: Yeah, and I was a channel partner at the time, and that’s how I think I first met Microsoft people, was at the Windows 95 launch. And then through my work with them, started getting to know some people there and went to work for another couple of channel partners, and then eventually built enough connections that when an opportunity opened up here in New England, where I live, I was able to make the move and join the Microsoft team.
So it was an exciting career achievement for me to join Microsoft and come on board, and I was able to do a lot of interesting roles during my time there.
Vince M.: What was one best piece of advice you received along your journey?
Mike Moore: Well, I took the class that I think you referred to a little while ago, the Covey class with a guy named Mahan Khalsa, and to me, the sales training that I took there, the helping clients succeed course, and then Mahan has come to many Microsoft partner conferences and delivered a talk based on that. To me, that was the most important training I think I’ve ever participated in, and I had a lot of great training during my time at Microsoft. But a lot of that showing empathy, seek first to understand, then to be understood, intent counts more than technique. I could go on and on with sound bites from Mahan Khalsa, just because it was so useful for me. So that’s a course and a set of CDs that’s still available that I think you can get off of Amazon.
Vince M.: That’s great, that’s great advice, and I’m a big fan of Covey’s work and some of the work that you described as well, and some of those points. But we’ll put some links there into the show notes for our listeners. What about hurdles? You worked with a big tech giant, then you went off to other companies, then into a new, more startup-y kind of situation. Were there any hurdles you faced, and how did you overcome them?
Mike Moore: I’ll share one that I don’t always share, but I think that it’s something that people need to talk about. I was two years into my Microsoft career, and Microsoft reorganized, and the position that I was in was being eliminated. And it was being recreated under a new role name.
But many people were likely to get those positions, but I was getting the feeling that I wasn’t going to be successful. And that was kind of shocking to me, that I had worked for many years in my career to build connections and to get on board at Microsoft, and for a lot of people, that’s a big career achievement and a big career goal, and it was for me too.
And the thing that I learned in that experience … So you have a certain amount of time. The way that it works is you sit down with your manager and HR and they tell you, your position’s been eliminated, you have a certain amount of time to go find a new role here at Microsoft, or you can basically take a check and leave today. And I said, I’ll take the time, please! And start working.
So the first thing that I learned is when you’re in that situation, when you’re sitting on the edge of the cliff there and about to go out the door, first off, you really learn who your friends are. The people who are saying, how can I help you, who can I introduce you to, what teams have you thought of, and they’re willing to put themselves out there and make recommendations to help you get introduced, versus the people who pass you by in the hallway and don’t even say a thing.
So that was really eye-opening to me, because it was the first time in my career I had been through that. And I’ll never forget the people who helped me, and the thing that I’ve tried to take away from that experience too is that whenever I run into anyone who is looking for a job, either because they don’t have one or because they’re unhappy and they’re looking for a change, I will always take the time to stop and help them, even if it’s just to provide some encouragement. But if I can talk to them and make some recommendations, or make some introductions, or whatever I can do to help them, I’ll do it, because you never know when you’re going to be back in that situation yourself. And it’s a difficult position to be in, and many people found themselves in that over the years at Microsoft with all the organizational changes.
But for me, that was probably one of the more significant hurdles I faced in my career. So great learning, now I can look back on it, but at the time, I was, as I said, two years into my career. We had one daughter and actually I think the other, our second daughter, had just been born. So from a timing standpoint family wise, pretty stressful time period in life. But again, it was the people who took the time, reached out, were helpful to me that really meant a lot, and really taught me a lot, to help me get through that.
Vince M.: That one really resonated with me. I’ve been through similar circumstances and feel the same way about helping others out, so that’s really great. That’s really great nuggets for our listeners. Mike, what about advice that you would give to your 25 year old self?
Mike Moore: Well, it’s funny. I think I have a … So the kids that I just mentioned, we have three kids now. I mentioned the two daughters, but we have a son as well, and my oldest daughter is graduating high school and she’s headed off to college in the fall.
Vince M.: Nice.
Mike Moore: And so I think about that in the context of this question and think, this is some of the advice that I’m talking with her about now. And we put so much pressure on ourselves when we’re young in life to have a plan and stick to the plan, and we always picture a linear path to our goals. We’re going to go from A to B to C. Now, old timers like you and I, we know that it’s oftentimes, we’re going to go from A to B, and then there’s going to be a new A that pops up and we start over again, or we’re going on this very indirect path, this winding road.
So I think the advice that I’m giving to my daughter as well as to my younger self in the context of this question would be, just trusting that things are going to work themselves out. Stay focused on the goal, but don’t worry about how many points are between the beginning and the end of whatever that goal is that you’re pursuing. As long as you’re taking even small steps forward, things are likely going to be okay. So keep your focus, keep the drive, but don’t worry about things that pop up. Those are just opportunities for more learning and more adjustment and it’s going to make for a richer life down the road.
Vince M.: That’s great advice, thank you for sharing that, Mike. And is there a book that you’ve read recently or gifted often that you’d recommend to our listeners?
Mike Moore: Yeah, it’s another one, I think, that I’m talking to my daughter about and encouraging her to read. There’s a guy name Po Bronson, and I guess we can put the link in the notes here. And he wrote a book called What Should I Do With My Life.
Vince M.: What Should I Do With My Life, wow.
Mike Moore: What Should I Do With My Life. So Po wrote this book when he was a bestselling author, he had written one book. And this was kind of in the dot com era, so going back 15 or 20 years probably at this point, but he had written one book, and it was successful, but he was trying to figure out if he could make the pivot to be a full-time author. Could he make a living, support his family, and write books for a living?
And so he turned that question for himself into a research project where he asked over 50 people how they decided what they should do with their lives. And so by telling their stories, he also answers the question for himself and turned it into a very successful book. The title is What Should I Do With My Life, not What Will I Do With My Life. And so sometimes what you should do and what you’ll actually do is different. And he explores that through some of the stories as well.
So kind of in my mindset, as I’ve talked about trusting that things are going to work out and not worrying about a linear path from A to B and your life goals, it gives people a way to explore and find out, answering for themselves what they’re really passionate about, what they can really work on and feel pleasure and success and results from achieving, and try to figure out who they’re really trying to please as they do that. Are they worried about trying to please their parents, or trying to meet someone else’s expectations, or are they really trying to satisfy their own needs?
So it’s a good book. I think it holds up well even 20 years after or whatever it’s been since it was written. And I think that whether you’re young or whether you’re mid-career stage, or you’re later-career stage and you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to do for the rest of your life, I think it’s a great book to explore.
Vince M.: Sounds like it, and we will provide a link. Po Bronson, and we’ll have that in our show notes. Well, thank you.
So I want to thank you. I know how precious your time is and how compressed your schedule is. You’ve been an amazing guest. If our listeners want to reach out to you, what’s the best way to do so, Mike?
Mike Moore: Yeah, I think I’m on just about every social network that you can find, but LinkedIn is probably the easiest for the folks here, so just look for Mike Moore from Averetek, and I would love to connect with people. And if there’s anything I can do to help or if you’re interested the book, we’d love to hear from anybody’s who’s read it or has some thoughts or suggestions. We’ll probably do a second edition, so I’d just love to connect with people. So yeah, LinkedIn, you can find me there.
Vince M.: Mike, thanks so much.
Mike Moore: Thanks, Vince. I appreciate being on, and thanks so much.