060 - From Emergence to Dominance – Why Ecosystem Thinking Will Shatter Old Paradigms

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WHY do we believe in ecosystems? Is it all confirmation bias?

We’re big fans of believing what we preach, but we’re not trying to delude ourselves. After some deep thought, today we explain WHY we believe in ecosystems.

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Jared Fuller  00:00
All right, what is up partner up? The back, I was just telling Isaac that I am amped because if you tuned into last week's episode, you heard me redeliver, my keynote from Supernote. And I happen to have to record these back to back to mash that up. So like Isaac, I'm asked what's up? It's just you and me today, we had to reschedule. And so much to talk about,

Isaac Morehouse  00:31
Jared, it's hard to imagine you're getting amped, you know, you're such a, you're such a non amp sort of guy. I mean, come on.

Jared Fuller  00:40
Man, I just my level of conviction in this moment is like, let's recap, Isaac. Well, yeah, we've had in news coverage on partner hacker we've had Bessemer Venture Partners and their state of cloud report talk about how of their five predictions for this year, the first two are about indirect monetization, and being partnered, led not, not from 100 million plus in revenue, but from day one, they've referred to it as quote unquote, table stakes. We saw Sarah Wang with Andreessen Horowitz up on the main stage and supernode talking about

Isaac Morehouse  01:12
I thought that one by the way, you you, you called me or texted me? Well, you're super good. And you're like, dude, Sarah from Andreessen just said, that if they saw two deals, and one, the company said, Oh, we expect to triple our revenue in the next year. And it's 100% Direct. And another said, we expect to double our revenue in the next year, but it's 50% partner sourced, the latter would be a more attractive investment. When you told me that I was like, Okay, I don't want to publish this unless you can verify this. She actually said, That is that is like that speaks volumes right there. You know, yeah, yeah. But then that, but then we had open view to that.

Jared Fuller  01:54
We're like, hey, partner, product lead, like is not a thing by itself, you actually have to add this other thing in there. And it's like integrations and this other strategy. And then open view kind of had some religion on this as well, which they've always been friendly to the partner persona. In all fairness to you. I think some of the first articles I read from pika puja, were back on the open view blog circle like 2015.

Isaac Morehouse  02:16
Well, you know, it's funny, the product lead growth thing, I expect to see a lot more conversation around that because it's funny this this is actually this is actually from an open view story. But you know, I've been I've been talking about lately in the PhD, ppl T, right? product plus partner led growth or l&l, there's talks about ELD ecosystem like growth, whatever whatever acronyms come up. But this idea that it's more than just, Hey, let users experience your product. And let that be the main way that you're marketing. There's something else going on here. And I actually noticed this OpenView had a story about Optimizely. And we're going to we're going to we're going to dig into this more and publish something about it in coming weeks on partner hacker to just sort of tell the full story because they told the the classic plg story of Optimizely that they created this site where you could go right on the home, right on optimizely.com. And you could plug in and you could a B test websites, like right there as like, experiment with the tool, you know, what would this site look like? Would this different copy and whatever it was like this fun little thing. And it and you know, the the basic story is this drove all their growth, it was incredible. Well, I was talking to Chris Sevilla. And he was like I was at Optimizely at the time. And there's actually a little piece that isn't mentioned and a lot of these stories about plg. And that's that they started looking at who was visiting who was using that tool. And it was all these agency email addresses. Yep, it wasn't the end users. And so he was like, Ha, so they started reaching out to them, and specifically tailoring it towards them. And that's when the real breakthrough came with selling through these agencies and gearing their their, you know, offerings and things towards towards agencies towards partners. And I think that's such a perfect picture of the marriage of the plg approach, which is very adaptive and dynamic. And you're kind of like, let's see what we learned from the market by putting it out early. And what you might learn is your partner strategy, right? What you might learn is, oh, our audience isn't the end user. It's somebody else and I thought that was really cool. So I think there's going to be a lot more on this product plus partner led growth approach

Jared Fuller  04:32
100% I couldn't agree more I mean, I've seen it firsthand. fundamentally transforming businesses not like theoretically I mean panda doc story was dozens of integrations and strategic alliances drift story very similar heck job hives even failed story that I had was all partner base I mean integrations with indeed CareerBuilder monster, you know, LinkedIn, you name it. I mean, everything I've ever touched and seen has been partner, partner lead and product lead. So like I'm Drake And that kool aid for sure is Isaac.

Isaac Morehouse  05:01
So this is something I've been I've been thinking about Jared. To what extent we, to what extent we believe our own bullshit too much, right? So, so here's what

Jared Fuller  05:16
information bias what specifically, since we're on this first principles kick, what do you want to? Do you want to tie this to confirmation bias or a different thing survivor bias, like what bias? Others do?

Isaac Morehouse  05:25
Okay, well, I want to tie it to something maybe even a little bit more, you know, abstract the idea that the map is not the territory, I'm sure you've probably heard that before. Because I on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, I was meant I was saying something about ecosystems thinking or something like that. And some guy a dev at a software company was like, Oh, please don't get me all that that's just some made up buzzword from some B School hack who's trying to come up with the latest paradigm, you know, ethos, it's, it is not some new paradigm ecosystems, whatever it is just people always just come up with these new phrases for business, blah, blah, blah. And while I disagree with him, there's, there's an important truth there that I think is worth remembering. Yeah, that anytime we have a mental model, a phrase like ecosystems, you know, we often go to what that word comes from ecology. And we talk about this analogy of natural ecosystems, we have to remember that it is just a model, right? It's it's a map, it's not the same as the territory, like the map is different than the actual territory there, you need the map often to navigate the territory. But it's not the same thing. Right? These are tools, these are mental models we've created to help us understand. And it's, it's useful, because what happens is there's a new there's a breakthrough, right, a new paradigm for thinking about business, like the Lean Startup model, or, you know, the, the, whatever the Agile development model are, you know, these these different paradigms, and they get lingo, and they get phrases. And they're big breakthroughs. But then you get sort of the second generation effect, where everyone just kind of memorizes them, and it turns into a dogma that sort of loses, that sort of loses any sort of punch, you're just kind of it's like a rote thing, you're following the steps of the paradigm, and they become stagnant. And then a new one is needed. And someone introduces a new paradigm that says, the old one is dead. Here's the breakthrough. And of course, the reality is somewhere in the middle, like the old one, it's not like business was done exactly that way. And then all of a sudden, it's like, you know, funnels were exactly how every business was run. And now they're totally run differently with ecosystems. But there is truth to the mental model the dominance of those models, they, they get refreshed from time to time, it's it reminds me of Thomas Kuhn, his famous book, the nature of scientific revolution, about how these paradigms get introduced. And they finally allow us to see things that we couldn't understand before because we were stuck in an old model. But then over time, they get stale, and then they become religion. And everybody is forced to speak this language and to give lip service to it. And nobody really knows what it means anymore until a next generation comes along. And they have a new paradigm that shatters the old one. And that's a healthy, unnecessary process. But it's just it's it is helpful to step back sometimes and be like, Look, it's not a perfect analogy. Everything does not perfectly map, people can fall into just using bloodwork buzzwords and saying we have an ecosystem first approach and not knowing what the hell they mean by it. So

Jared Fuller  08:34
what they mean when they say that, what's that 99% of people that may even be saying that there might be 100 people that are saying it out there in the market? There's not that many yet. But I would say they don't actually understand what that means.

Isaac Morehouse  08:45
Well, and here's the thing. I don't entirely understand it. I'm kind of like, okay, cool.

Jared Fuller  08:51
Remember, remember. So I shared a screenshot with you the other day, Isaac, it was from someone that we're working with, we launched like our first ever like partner hacker pro surf stuff, where we're helping some companies out like a select few with them, some of their, you know, ecosystem partner led models, whatever the heck you want to call it. And they shared an episode of their favorite partner up episode, and which one was it? It was the ecology episode, right? And what did we say on there that I think that was so important, you'd be two people walking into the same Bay, and one's there to like, understand everything, and they could study it their entire lives. Why? Because before you even step into the water, you get a glass of water, there's six, there's billions of organisms in that one glass of water, like the complexity of that ecosystem is so diverse. It's insane. And then there can be one person next to you that all she's doing is studying one species of shark, and she'll never know everything there is to know about that one species of shark and yet you're supposed to understand the entirety of the ecosystem. The reality is any person that says they understand 100% of this is full of shit. They are 100% full of shit. So do not believe anyone that's like I get all of this. What we're trying To do what I care about is I think about bringing what you just brought up, right? The map is not the territory, these principles of thinking like the Warren Buffett, you know, models, the Charlie Munger is like old Charlie's Almanac, like, how to think about the world in a way that isn't this financial spreadsheet CFO driven, here's how you invest dollars, and here's how dollars come out. It only works this one way. This is the model, it only works this way. Our model doesn't work, Ah, shoot companies, you know, our valuation got slashed. 75 80% What do we do now? This model doesn't work. Guess what? The map doesn't equal the territory. The model doesn't work when this condition changes.

Isaac Morehouse  10:42
And like, um, when it comes to business stuff, especially, I'm very pragmatic. I see all these mental models as tools in a toolkit. And like when when they're useful, use them, they don't have to. They don't have too bad 1000. Right. So here's, here's a little exercise, I call it as if it's true for forwards that forwards as if it's Yeah, forwards. If you have a contraction, at least it's for that I find really, really useful if I come across and this is this is exactly what happened in this ecosystem is that you kind of introduced me to this like, Hey, here's this new paradigm. And I'm like, I can't prove.

Jared Fuller  11:19
Is this the ICT?

Isaac Morehouse  11:21
Ay, ay. Ay. Ay. Terrible acronym. This is why I'm not writing business books. But if you got to introduce me, like, Hey, there's this change going on, there's this radical thing and the story about all the noise in you know, the getting lost signal getting lost in the noise and all that, and the difficulty of rising CAC, that's all obviously true in some ways. But like, Okay, this ecosystems paradigm is kind of the new thing. I can't prove that this is absolutely true. But here's what I do find, if I pretend as if it's true, I gain a lot of valuable insight. If I say, Okay, I'm going to just put this on as if it's true and go around operating as if it's true, unless and until that starts to cause problems. But as long as that keeps bringing me towards insights that I didn't have previously, it's like a pair of goggles, it's a way of seeing the world differently. And you put those goggles on, and you're like, Hey, I'm seeing different stuff with this, like night vision goggles, doesn't mean I'm seeing everything that's there or seeing perfectly. But I have a different view than I did before. So I'm going to keep operating and using that model. So I think it's just important to remember that like, it doesn't, you don't have to perfectly buy into everything that everybody's saying about ecosystems and partnerships, in order to say let's, let's try on this lens, what if what if the traditional sales and marketing funnel is dead? You know, like Brent Adamson who we were going to have on we had to reschedule with all sorts of crazy stuff. But you know, saying, hey, it's it's dead. Let's let's adopt that worldview for a while. And let's see what the implications of that are, you know?

Jared Fuller  12:56
Yeah, I mean, smart did it. In his Harvard little mini case study on the HBr. Right, then they call it the unified commercial engine. And it was not really anything like GTM is a framework, not really anything about sales and marketing alignment, they rebuilt all of their internal functions from the ground up from the jobs to be done jtbd framework for the customer, which, I mean, is that really that revolutionary? Like, whenever I first read it, I was like, wow. And now I'm like, Duh. You know, like, so operating as if it's true, it's almost like, I don't know. That's why I think podcasts are a fun bit of fun vehicle and like the most popular podcast like even a second tier podcaster, who's wildly popular, like Lex Friedman, who I enjoy immensely, because why Lex purposely will do things like, hey, let's steal man, this argument. Right, so let's prop this, you know, I think was it was that a Peter Thiel thing? It might have been a Peter Thiel thing.

Isaac Morehouse  13:55
Yeah, I don't know where I first heard it. But I've definitely heard it from Thiel and some others. Yeah. So

Jared Fuller  14:01
like, yeah, that's a common thing, though. But like that, what a more interesting way to have a conversation like, hey, let's prop this up, and see what the world is like. You can also call it this suspension of disbelief, like, hey, just suspend disbelief. You know? It's, it's such a helpful framework, because I actually, you know, what is hilarious is I didn't want to admit these things were true operating in a partner function that was like, I was like, maybe the world is changing, but like, I also don't want to seem crazy, like partner people aren't loved, like, well, what if I can't, I guess I didn't ask that question. But like, you know, what if, what if this is right? And then I look back and I'm like, oh, all that stuff I saw happening in marketing automation that like I was aware of, I was totally aware of, I had a marketing fricking agency. Like I saw this story happened and everyone around me get wildly Rich and I did nothing about it. I did absolutely nothing. You know, so like, well, what if this is true? threw in like, it's only it's only gotten more true. Like I've only, you know operating as if it's true. I haven't seen less data

Isaac Morehouse  15:08
supporting. Yeah. Well, and you know, there's some, there's some pretty wild questions you can ask yourself to push and play around with some hypotheticals like, okay. You know, we had a debate the death of portals A while back, what if you just ask yourself the question, what if we weren't allowed to have a portal at all? A partner portal? How would we do things? No, you probably not going to come away from that exercise, getting rid of your partner portal, but you probably aren't going to come away realizing that you're kind of in out, unthinkingly outsourcing stuff to your portal thinking that it's doing work that it's not doing. Because if you ask yourself, What if we couldn't, couldn't rely on it at all whatsoever? How else might we get the job done? Right? Or if you ask yourself, What if we literally were not allowed to ever do marketing or sales through the traditional approach? How would we possibly get our product in front of people if we didn't, if we weren't allowed to? I mean, this brand from partner stack, who we're partnering with on ecosystem week, 2022, we're going to talk about in a second, but, you know, the question he asked in his presentation is like, what if we had no sales team, right? You don't necessarily come away from that eliminating your sales team. But you do come away from that. Just asking those radical questions. What if we moved to a future? Where paid ads are illegal? Let's say? What would you do? Right? So like, I think those can be really useful exercises to put on these lenses of like, take the most radical version of it ecosystems world of decade of partnerships, whatever. And think about how some of those transformations might give you some some useful actions. Today,

Jared Fuller  16:44
I'll go back to Charlie Munger. And that's the mental model of invert, right? Always invert, right? Inversion is a very helpful principle, just look at the problem from the other side, like, what if this thing is true, 100%. Because like that, you know, stepping into the bay example of like, we're going to observe this system and try to learn everything we can. And we're going to just observe this one system, you know, the shark, the species and learn everything that we can. The reality is, is that we're, as you were, like framing this conversation Isaac and talking about operating as if as if it were true, AI as if, as a future AI. What I was thinking about was, there's not as much data, not even close, there's not as much insight, or shared understanding or knowledge or volumes of work, where things are connected together, around this new emergent system of businesses sharing their data. So I think the invention of crossbeam of reveal, right these you know, escrow service platforms, like Crosby would reveal their their groundbreaking for a number of reasons why people don't understand the for the, for the first time ever, ever. Businesses are sharing what we call second party data. It's there's there was a there was a legal debate two years ago as to whether or not second party data actually existed, by the way, and I've been in, in these like, you know, $700 an hour, lawyer sessions of lawyers debating this. It's the first time ever, where there's been a new order a new system that has emerged. And what is that that's where businesses start sharing their data. Before how that happened was like spreadsheets. Right? So it's like he could fly into this place and like you're in a new location, then you fly back out, like if you didn't establish permanent residency there. Right now we've established permanent residency inside of other businesses, our businesses are now intertwined. So using the analogy of an ecosystem, it's just a framework to be lightweight. Nature has worked really well. When we've had sources versus resources. Nature does a good job of being like a resource is something that ree ree circle, like it's reusable. But business does a really it at least in its early stages, early businesses, they have sources, right sources of leads, ads, it's there's no ri there. It's a source. Yes. Notice how like you see, like, first source doesn't say first resource. No, it says source because the only way you get more of it is by going and getting more of it doesn't. There's no recycling of anything. So this is an emergent phenomenon. And all that we have to look at is like what I was writing down is like from emergence to dominance. What we're saying Isaac, is that this is going to be the dominant way, because you think new systems emerge, and sometimes they die off. Yep. But is it become dominant? Well, we have we have some data on a sticky Note that I just came up with but

Isaac Morehouse  20:04
like the back of your the back of your checkbook or something,

Jared Fuller  20:07
right? The sticky note on a sticky note, okay, Airbnb. It went from a business that didn't exist to now the most dominant hospitality company in the world. And it is an ecosystem. Period full stop. It's a it's a marketplace business by definition. Number one hospitality company in the world, Amazon. It is an ecosystem of millions of interdependent and interconnected players. It is literally the definition of a marketplace. Okay, so like, how about b2b HubSpot, the number one marketing technology company, it's the only independent marketing technology company that is public, publicly left standing from Marketo Eloqua, Pardot, HubSpot, number four player, their 100% ecosystem, connect HubSpot agency program, Salesforce, the number one CRM and customer data platform. They're number one, Shopify, the number one e commerce platform, they're number one, Uber, the number one transportation brand. So wait a second. I mean, acting operating as if it were true. Every category that I could think of the dominant player has a more sustainable approach, an ecosystem approach, if you will, over that direct one way, namely category where that's not true that isn't run by some state funded monopoly.

Isaac Morehouse  21:32
I love how you said there's, there's kind of this maturation process, you get a new market. And you know, it's like, okay, just go grab, you know, sources versus resources. This is Go grab everything you can grab until those sources get lighter and lighter. And then you're like, oh, and I think there's some great analogies there. I mean, the think about something like logging industry or something, right? It's like, oh, here's this new territory with all kinds of lumber, all kinds of, you know, materials,

Jared Fuller  21:59
here's how to do, you know, tree felling, and here's how you'd be a lumberjack. Here's how you do all that stuff.

Isaac Morehouse  22:04
Yeah. And then it runs out. And what happens over time, I have a friend who's whose father when I was a kid worked in the lumber industry out in Oregon. And it was incredible as he walked me through the process that they have perfected, it's insane. They have this process where they can they can go from a empty field to full grown trees ready to be harvested for paper in seven years.

Jared Fuller  22:31
And they're right there. Yes, they're using they're in there.

Isaac Morehouse  22:35
They're cycling the same quantity of land and this rotation and generating paper. Because these things have been refined people realize, you know, what do you what do you first do when you get to a territory, you just, you know, you're a pioneer, you're on an on the frontier, you're just cutting down any tree you can and harvesting it to survive, right? But then the trees get thin, it runs out. And then you realize there's all these secondary effects, the trees get thin, and now you're left with grassland, and then there's erosion, and then you got all these, and you realize over time, Oh, this isn't gonna sustain itself, right, and you develop these more advanced and I think in the market we're in that fits like digital age software, eating the world. And then you get cloud computing and these different things and it's like, scramble, just like get leads, fill up your funnel, just go grab them from everywhere. And now, that's kind of running dry, you can only it's like a one trick pony. Now you need a system that can sustain itself that doesn't have to, you know, constantly go out and fight for eyeballs to get this person. It's like this, this, like, you know, one one person's eyeballs you're trying to get in your funnel versus somebody else and the CAC is going up. And it's, you know, it's like, it's like that wooded area, the drains are getting thin, there's not enough trees for everybody. So creating that system. It is interesting, because it's back to the map and the territory thing, right? We're in a phase where there isn't yet a map. For this approach. There are people exploring the territory, there are early navigators. And that's how you make maps, right? The current you, the early people are exploring, they take down notes of what they see, oh, here's some headwinds here. And here's some shoals over here. And here's and thence and then cartographers create a map out of the stories from the explorers on the ground. And so that's why that's what I'm excited about. What kind of the role that we're trying to play in this as partner hacker is kind of be those cartographers say, let's get that let's get the stories from on the ground. And let's help paint a map of what's really going on here in this ecosystems era. So when

Jared Fuller  24:30
biologists or ecologist because I think what we're also pointing out is like, you know, or at least what I'm calling out is I'm calling out behavior that I'm like, That's predatory. It's not sustainable. And oh, look, you were relying on that advertising stream. I can bring up I could bring up dozens of counter examples on why if you're anything related to the advertising business in b2b how that's not a sustainable component of your business in terms of growth. Go out five years from now and paint backwards for me How advertising is going to be the majority of your mix, go for it, I challenge any cmo on the face of the planet to that debate, not a chance, they don't stand a chance, there is nothing sustainable about buying my attention. Just like there's nothing sustainable about me going out and whacking half of Pinellas County and taking all the pine trees and being like, guess what, I have a logging company. And then looking forward in 10 years of being like, I no longer have a logging company. I know how to build this business differently. And now I want to CMOs and CROs everywhere Isaac, is there like the logging company people that you just talked about? And they're going, oh, shoot, there's no more forest. We can just like the forest through the trees analogy. No, the forest is gone. It's gone. So we need there needs to be a new approach.

Isaac Morehouse  25:49
As I was talking to Cody, Cody SunCal, co founder of partner fleet. And since we might as well just add more analogies onto the heap. Why not? We got maps, territories, biology, forest, whatever. He was like, Look, we're in that phase where yeah, the measurement is is not there yet. It always lags. He said, he said, Think of like the fitness industry, right? You've got fitness trainers, and coaches. And they will realize that something that they're doing with their clients is working. And they'll put it into practice, and they'll learn from anecdotal evidence. And they'll get all these stories and successes and case studies. And it will take like 10 years before like the officially published, peer reviewed science comes out to say, here's why it's working. And here's all the details about what's happening on the cellular level. He's like, but the practitioners they don't need that. They just learn it and they know it's working. He said, we're kinda like that in partnerships, people who are doing it, people, they understand, look, I can't prove it to you through measurement. The science hasn't been developed yet. It's in the early days, but I can tell you from my underground experience, it's working. When we go with a partner first strategy, it's working right? You don't need to convince the people who are in the trenches. They just haven't had the sort of the science to back it up developed yet. And I think that's the era that we're slowly starting to enter into. We're starting to get some of those details, you know, that are kind of helping to explain and helping people to measure what exactly is going on

Jared Fuller  27:16
100%. If you look at using your analogy, like the benefits of like sauna, banya, right, so if you go to Scandinavian countries or Eastern European, banja sauna like everyone's just like, No, of course, it's great for you. And you're like, Well, really worth the science. And then the past like, three, four years, the amount of science has come out about the effects of sauna, heat shock proteins and what it does for your body. I mean, I drink the Kool Aid, I got a sauna. I was all about that. I'm like, yeah, actually, this is pretty amazing. Once the data backed it up, right. And that's like this giant explosion of like, oh, wow, there are benefits to being able to do things like this. Whereas like, Scandinavia, it's like, we've been doing this for hundreds of years, folks, like what are you talking about?

Isaac Morehouse  27:55
So, so So this is a great this is a great segue to I'm really excited about this.

Jared Fuller  28:01
Oh, we all we all have the Sunday story too. So don't forget about that one.

Isaac Morehouse  28:04
Yeah. Oh, yeah. No, trust me. That's my that's my other note. I got I got Sunday stories. Next. Tyler Calder from partners Dec. DM Dustin was like, hey, you know, everybody's talking about ecosystem but a lot of times people are like, Okay, well, what the hell like okay, let's, let's say it's true, what the hell does it actually mean? How do you translate this theory? into my day to day work in my company, what does it mean for strategy for my job? And he's like, what if we just got all the best minds together? And we try to answer this question What's what is an ecosystem and what does it mean and so we kind of CO hatched ecosystem week 2022 Super excited about it you can see right up on partner hacker.com There's a there's a little ad for it and a link to go register but we're doing with partner stack we're co hosting this like four day event. It's like two hours you know, each afternoon for four days virtual event with all kinds of amazing speakers speaker Pooja Gil rally J McBain Allen Adler we got I mean, just, it's gonna be it's gonna be awesome. We got a bunch of really great sessions. But I think it's, I think it's just great to have

Jared Fuller  29:11
and hundreds of people already registered, but especially by the time this live, there's gonna be hundreds and hundreds,

Isaac Morehouse  29:15
literally jarred when the landing page went live. And within about four hours, we didn't even we haven't even marketed it yet. The partner stack was like, Oh, we have over 100 registrants, we literally had been posted to like a Slack group and that was mentioned in the one one PhD. So yeah, I think he's gonna be I think is gonna be awesome. And I just, you know, we're leading with WTF is that ecosystem? And I think that's perfect, because it's like, Okay, you guys got me, I'm intrigued. But how do you go from just buzzword to something real? And I just think it's a I just think it's gonna be a really, really fun thing. So anyway, definitely check that out. We're going to be talking more about it.

Jared Fuller  29:54
partner.com So go to partner hacker.com Big Red Square. We We we may or may not do advert like actual advertising in the future right now, it's only stuff that like, is only us. So we're trying to be a center of, you know, a node of trust, if you will, absolutely only ad is like our stuff that we actually trust in that. So go check it out a partner hacker.com.

Isaac Morehouse  30:15
Yeah, really excited about that event. And I know you've got a I know you've got a fun little working on the schedule. I don't even know if I told you, I just put you on there with a slot Jared called, why I hate the go to market framework. So Oh, there you go.

Jared Fuller  30:31
I was like, I couldn't have come up with a better title myself. Let's go. Like I can go from evangelists to like hate monger real quick. So like, I'm going to be showing up salty. I'm going to I'm going to go for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico that morning. Salt dry around my eyes, like I was fishing this weekend, and I'm gonna come salty. And this is not going to be a session that you want to send your CRO or send it to your CRM and be like, Hey, can you can you refute this antithesis of why go to market is dead? I'm putting

Isaac Morehouse  31:03
Jared, I just need to catch up with you. Because like, Okay, you were at supernode, super busy doing a bunch of stuff there. And then you got sick, and you were offline for a little bit. And then it was your birthday. And then it was Memorial Day. So anyway, you've been you've been like out there in the world talking with all these partnerships, people at supernode. Giving like, besides some of the things we already talked about with Bessemer and a16z, what do you see? And like what's going on? What's top of your mind right now from the last couple of weeks?

Jared Fuller  31:35
I think the thing that is most interesting to me is I wish there was a way to measure this, like I have a I have a book, which it's up on my top shelf, I don't wanna grab it right now. It's definitely a graveyard of like my startup ideas. Many, many, many, some that are like, wow, yeah, that would have been real smart to many that were like, wow, I'm really glad I didn't start that what a stupid idea. One of them was like, that I have in my head is like how the heck do we measure this trust? Right? Like, how is I had trust is the new data. Is there a way to KPI that to measure that to turn it into a unit? And obviously, there's a massive amount of really smart people in the web three and crypto space that are thinking similarly, like from a different worldview, but like, same baseline, right? So decentralized, fully autonomous distributed networks, right? Like there's some, there's a trust component, like it's really called trustless. Right?

Isaac Morehouse  32:32
There's a ton of overlap with that world sort of web three idea and this second party data ideas? Well, totally, which we're not

Jared Fuller  32:40
going to talk about on this one, because you and I have a lot to talk about that.

Isaac Morehouse  32:42
Okay. We'll put that on pause, because I haven't really percolating that for a while.

Jared Fuller  32:48
Totally, totally. So it unlocks. There's a whole bunch of value there. And what I was thinking about as it relates to that is like, Okay, is there a way to KPI this? Okay, well, clearly, it's what's governing, influence more than design than copy than experience, like what is governing people more than anything right. Now. Then the other factor, let's say we had a matrix of factors. To me trust, like the strength of that relationship to you. That is that is of a higher order, right now than it's ever been. And I'm seeing examples everywhere. One example that I gave in my Supernote keynote, that literally just came to me. And I'm like, because this is this is like a first party thought. I didn't read this anywhere. But immediately, I had hundreds of people clapping their hands and being like, yes, absolutely. So Isaac, whenever you travel? How do you get how do you decide where you're traveling to? Do you go read reviews of the places? Well, maybe, but haven't you noticed? Let me just ask, haven't you noticed how like, every single thing you've gone to purchase of recent, like, everything has a 4.7 star rating. It's not 1.3. It's like, oh, something's wrong. And it's not five, oh, you're lying. Everything has 4.7.

Isaac Morehouse  34:14
Then I in fact, just the other day, I was in South Carolina visiting family and I was looking at which coffee shop I wanted to work out of I was working out of a coffee shop on Friday. And so I just Googled coffee shops and Google Maps comes up. And there was like three within a close distance. And you know what I did? I looked at the ratings and the rate. I just saw the star ratings there and my brain immediately was like, That's meaningless. They were all they were literally all 4.6 or 4.7. Right. And I was like, meaningless. They know how to game it. You know what I do? Two things. One, I texted my niece and nephew who lived there and who are you know, early 20s. And they work out at coffee shops, too. I clicked on the phone Photos, real people on the ground taking photos of the inside of the coffee shop. Because there that will give me an idea of what the experience is going to be like better than this kind of gamed system of these ratings, you know.

Jared Fuller  35:15
So, obviously, you know, I said, you know, this trust, like emergence of that trend. I had conviction of that months ago, like, I was willing to risk my entire career and then risk your entire career and bring you over to be like, as I could do this. That's how much conviction I have. But you know, what's crazy, is how much conviction I'm seeing in the market. That conviction and passion level, I seem less crazy. Every single time I'm in a room full of people, or I have a new conversation with a new CRO, a new CMO, a new CEO. You're not many. I've, I've been spending a lot of time with VCs lately. And not that I'm raising money and other we're raising money if that they're looking for information surrounding this and they have conviction. Yeah, so the most important team members and a lot of venture capital orgs. Like, you know, there's traditional departments in b2b marketing, sales, customer success, guess what, BCS, they don't have any of that there isn't like a head of marketing a head of sales and Head of Customer Success. There's typically like the partners. And then what else? Well, there's typically a head of platform. Why? Because their platform is their portfolio companies in their portfolio companies are the only thing that every VC knows this. So like, I can go talk to any VC in the world, right? Now I can have the same conflict. They'll be like, Yeah, you're right. Why? Because they know for a fact that they can't spend ad dollars on this. They can't send emails, the only thing that's going to bring them deal flow is their ecosystem. It's their platform. It's their portfolio companies and their partners, right? Their LPs, their GPS and their port coasts. So the conviction level on this in the market, not us. I mean, I don't know, either people are drinking our Kool Aid, and we're seeing those effects. But I think we're just riding, we're just riding a wave man. And we have no idea how big this wave is. It's giant. And the conviction in the market to me is what's really, really interesting, like the people, the partner practitioners, here's what I mean by that, like, I just got off a call two hours ago, with a VP, a partner at a billion dollar hyper growth company. And when he said was the amount of conversation happening in the market, part of hacker.com, the PhDs podcast, like all the stuff going on, but then like, what's happening in communities, etc. He's like, I've completely taken control of the executive team debate at this juncture. Whereas I promise five months ago, she was not in a position to do so. The market conditions weren't there. But even if she was like a prophet, like, it really was, like really ahead of it, and was like that badass. I don't think the conviction was there. Now, when I'm talking to people, they're like, come at me, bro. You'll be me outside. Right? Like they're like, they're not scared of these hard conversations. Because it is hard conversations hard times in the market, half of half of the tech world have lost half of its value or more.

Isaac Morehouse  38:16
So. So what's been really fun for me, while you've been kind of, you know, out there on the speaking circuit, doing a lot of meeting stuff, the last few weeks, I have been busy digging in, in detail to the specific stories of those pioneers and explorers who have been in the trenches. Living in this future world we're talking about for the last several years, while very few others are and learning their stories. It's exciting because we're launching, I'm really excited about this, we're launching sort of a feature that will be recurring, it won't be every single week, but we'll go you know, we'll have the sort of, we reserve the right on Sundays, the one day a week that the partner hacker daily does not go out. We're launching Sunday stories. And we're starting with stories from our launch sponsors, the companies that we worked with, when we first you know, we did our big, big launch and who are listed in our marketplace and partnered with us on that. And so as I'm diving in, I'm interviewing them, I'm talking to them, I'm kind of learning more about their category, their product, their customers. And I'm putting these stories together, which is what I love, I absolutely love founder stories, category stories, customer stories, I just because to me that like humanizes it, and it's so cool to see the things that we're seeing all this excitement about talking with people who are already doing that and living in that world for the last 2345 sometimes longer. In the case of companies like you know, impact for example, they've been living in this new world, and they're almost like so far in it. They don't realize what a head start they have in the way that they see the world on on the rest of Um, you know, the rest of startup land, you know? So it's really excited. So there's so I'm trying to think when this episode goes live, I think this will be like a couple days after the very first Sunday story and the very first one, which is sooner, right, isn't it? Yes. Which is soon hear from that bind. And I mean, just just such a cool such a great

Jared Fuller  40:19
recap of that story just so like, because I want to, I want to like, unpack that for a second, then we'll,

Isaac Morehouse  40:23
we'll wrap Yeah, yeah. And his is perfect. Because his his like, personal journey is basically a, it's like a perfect allegorical arc. Of all the things we talked about what the realization is of like, Oh, this isn't working in one specific area. So severe, you know, worked for several different Sass companies worked on this sort of partnership side. And marketing, he was head of marketing and partnerships at companies like fresh. Yep, exactly. And so then he went, he left to start his own marketing agency as kind of like, you know, wanted a change of pace wanted something new. So he's running this marketing agency, and he's got a client who's a small business, brick and mortar business owner. And he's setting up his whole, you know, website, marketing, automation flow, all this stuff. And he's sent him like, a half a dozen or more emails saying, Okay, I need you to go and create an account on HubSpot. And you know, what, if it's to pay whatever they're for five or six, for software tools, he needs him to go set up. And he's not getting responses, not getting responses. And this deadline is coming for when this is all supposed to be launched. So he finally gets on a call with the guy and he's doing a screenshare. He's like, look, you've got to go in and create these accounts, so that I can log in and set everything up in your stack. And they're walking through this process. And you know, how this stuff is that trying to get an account, set up, getting out your credit card, validating all this stuff. And in the middle of the call, the client says, He sets up maybe two of the six accounts that they were supposed to get set up and he goes, Look, I don't have time for this, I don't need any of this, he goes, it would be easier he goes, you're making it harder than if I'd never hired you at all. He was the whole point, the whole reason I hired you was so that I wouldn't have to do all this stuff. This is more work than if I didn't hire you in the first place. This isn't gonna work anymore. Like basically, you're fired as my, you know, finish this project. And we're done. And then he said something that I think is so brilliant. And this is kind of what led to the creation of that bind first veneer. Again, it was a metaphor, it was an analogy. This is why they're so powerful. Go read George Lake, off book metaphors, we live by what he's talking about. But he said sooner, when I hire a plumber, the plumber doesn't ask me to go out and buy the pipes. They just buy all the equipment I need. And they give me a bill at the end. Right? So why would you I hire a marketing agency to set everything up? Why are you making me go and buy all these products? Can't you just buy them for me. And so at bind was born to solve that problem, right. And so you get to enable the agencies to go ahead and just do all that to create a shared email account. And in a temporary credit card that is controlled by the client, but that you don't need to get you know, they pre approve however much you're supposed to spend, and you just put it in the normal bill. And so you don't have to wait on them. They don't have to go through all this. And like it's such a simple solution when you describe it. But when you understand what all the implications are, because this is all about software companies, they still have a funnel that's built under the assumption that the end user is going to be the one doing the purchasing and doing the setup, and doing the demo and doing the setting up the bill, the billing and all that stuff. And that's not the case increasingly, and that, you know, in the the agencies there like, there's no, there's no customer journey for them, even though they're increasingly the customer. And so like just realizing that the world has changed. And the SAS companies haven't sort of gotten hip to that yet. And these agencies are trying to figure out how the hell can I resell your tool to my customer, without putting my personal credit card in there and going through all this crazy stuff with data that and all this other stuff. So I just think it's such a great snapshot of the fact that like, the word of the customer has moved on, they've moved on to a world where they don't expect to be going and buying this stuff themselves. They're gonna hire an agency to do that. But the SAS companies don't get it yet. And app bind is this great way to kind of bring that all you know, if solved,

Jared Fuller  44:18
like, literally Isaac, like literally, I just signed up for app bind. Because I'm like, Oh my God, this these first Proserv deals that we're doing, I gotta buy some partner tech. And I gotta put this stuff together. And I was just thinking like, oh my gosh, we have to do this the same way. And No way. I'm going to let these Sass companies stand in the frickin way of like, the client is getting what they want. It's like you I know you think you deserve to own that customer relationship, but I promise you it's only going to piss them off more than just going to help you. Yep, they trust me. They trust will. They have no idea who you are. Yep. And like I that's why I love this unique buying story. That whole like, you know, it's like it's like the plumber asking Need to go buy the parts? Yes. What were you talking about? No, you're the agency do it. I love the outline story and the origin story. And I think this is, what's cool is it seeing the vision kind of come together, like actually trying to do some journalism on these freaking companies and stories? Like, I have not been a friendly person to media in the past couple of years, at all, like at mainstream media, and then here we are Isaac starting a media company. And why? Because I think media serves a very important purpose of like actually telling stories, yes, you know, like, human real side of like, this is a legit business. I'm a big fan of what IBM is doing. And it's actually solving a problem for me as an agency for these organizations trying to build partner ecosystems. So like, I'm happy to cover that story,

Isaac Morehouse  45:47
telling stories. This is what I love, and I think excites me about the world we're in because the idea of media as this just sort of, like objective feed of factual information. Everybody has lost trust in that for good reason, right? But instead of what is winning, though, our trust based community content media platforms that don't pretend to not have a point of view, right, so think about this stuff. Like,

Jared Fuller  46:15
that's what that's what people hate when people see the CNN segment or the fox segment. And it's like, it's presented as fact and truth and justice. That's just don't lie to me. Yeah. And something as simple as like Humans of New York, for example, amazing media coverage started.

Isaac Morehouse  46:31
It's, it's literally but it there's a clear point of view, right? What is their whole thing, they're gonna find an interesting person, and they're gonna tell a story, and it always has a positive spin. And they're not hiding that they're like, Yeah, we want to make make things interesting one, even if it's tragic, we want it to have hope and be uplifting, right? Or like, any, anything geared towards a particular community look like, you know, if you if you go find content on Product Hunt, you know, that Product Hunt is coming with a point of view, right? Because it's about, it's about people, independent builders, and people discovering new products, they're not pretending to not. And so this is what I love about the stories that partner hacker, their journalistic, and we're trying to tell these stories, but we're bringing very obviously, we have a bite trust as a new data, we have a point of view about the world about where it's going, and the community that we work with. And we're not hiding that we're not pretending to be the source of, you know, objective, objective daily, you know, this happened and this happened sequence of events type stuff, this is not historiography, or whatever. This is storytelling, that, hey, look, look at all these stories that fit into this worldview, that that's unique to us. If you want to get news about other stuff, go somewhere else. But if you want to understand what's happening in this era of ecosystems, we want to tell those stories. So it's been it's been really, really fun digging into these and I'm excited to have these. These stories start coming out starting with sooner and at by it's going to be awesome.

Jared Fuller  47:53
So yeah, by the time this is live, so Tuesday, the first week of June here. You'll have seen in the Sunday stories edition, the first one on App buying, so check it out. Isaac, this was a blast. We didn't have we'd have a guest today and ended up being a lot more fun.

Isaac Morehouse  48:10
Well, I definitely talked more than my fair share. I had caffeinated coffee this afternoon.

Jared Fuller  48:15
No, that was that was like good talk time. That was good back and forth. We'll see. We'll see our I was checking the data. And one of our most popular episodes I think the J McBain Round two is still king. So that's that's top. But the second most popular episode is our ecology and stability of systems episode. So it's just you and me. So maybe we got another one for the books here. As we

Isaac Morehouse  48:39
ate here. Here's a theory about that, that relates to everything we're talking about. My guess as to why that would be popular. It has nothing, nothing to do with your I our individual popularity or even or even the content of what we're saying as much as because we know each other so well. And we're so comfortable with each other. There's an honesty to the conversation that people can trust. Right? There's right there's just something that happens there and like and this is what you get with repeat guests, for example, the more comfortable you get with a guest that sort of the higher quality, it's like it. Yeah, it allows these conversations to get a more natural feel to them, where you don't feel like people are just like, nervously making sure they get through the bullet points. Not that any of our guests do that. But you know what I mean, you get time to kind of develop a rapport and, and even just the even just the sloppiness in the mistakes almost lets people sort of trust that you're, you know, you're a real person, you're learning through it out loud like they are so Hey, trust is the new data. You know, don't don't say you heard anywhere else.

Jared Fuller  49:46
Totally my man. I completely agree. We'll partner up that we got our plugs in another fun episode recapping what happened after supernode and kind of like the conviction of the moment out there so Thank you all for being a part of the journey so far like we just wrapped kind of like the first official month of the site be in life partner hacker daily we're well over 1000 peeps now which like didn't exist a couple of months ago so clearly there must be something right so she just to feedback or respond to those emails. We're real people we do respond. Love to hear what's working and what's not folks and until next time, Isaac, peace out partner up

Isaac Morehouse  50:24
what's working for me is that purple hue in the background I like your I like your lighting effects today during the

Jared Fuller  50:29
well that was because I decided to do the ecosystem week promo so that's I changed the hue based on you know what? mood or the partner that I'm partnering with. Alright, y'all

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