065 - WTF Is An Ecosystem?! - Elevating Partnerships Out of the Shadows with Bryn Jones

What is up PartnerUp?!

Today, Jared and Isaac are joined by Bryn Jones, CEO of PartnerStack following the biggest event of B2B SaaS Partnerships history — Ecosystem Week 2022.

The partnership narrative is changing, and ecosystems, are a huge variable in that change.

If ecosystems can help elevate partnerships from out of the shadows, we need to actually understand them.

Partner professionals from across the world gathered to hear some of the top minds in partnerships answer some of the most looming questions — what is an ecosystem; what does an ecosystem-centric business look like; why are ecosystems advantageous for businesses.

WTF is an Ecosystem?!

Find out now.

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Jared Fuller  00:00
All right, what is up partner up? We're live.

Isaac Morehouse  00:14
I was so worried you weren't gonna say it.

Jared Fuller  00:17
Of course I had to say it. Of course I just had threw my hat on to I would try to act fancy for Bobby. But it didn't really work. My hair looks like I don't know, I was some snake oil salesman. So I'm throwing the hat back on. We're live. We're right here. Isaac Brin ecosystem week. Holy cow. i My heart is full. My head's racing. I don't really know what to feel right now. Maybe we'll start there. Yeah, like you guys feeling?

Isaac Morehouse  00:44
This is absolutely, absolutely crazy. I mean, couldn't be more excited about just the content, but the energy to just kind of feeling it like, it's like, it's almost palpable, really, from the minute we kick this thing off Tuesday is like, Whoa, there is, again, I mean, every every time we you know, we have this theory, Jared, that you have really sold me on but that we're in this moment, right? This this partnerships, moment era of ecosystems. And even though I like to think that every time I put my finger in the wind and get some little confirmation, I take a little sample, I have some way to interact. And to get feedback from the world. It's like, Whoa, there is just a lot here. There's a lot of demand a lot of interest. So yeah, I mean, I think it's been it's been incredible.

Isaac, just building off of that one of the things I've found maybe most interesting about this week, has been the messages through LinkedIn, the emails that I've been getting about the content that people have put out there, because it's one thing to just have it out there. It's another thing to have high engagement, and the engagement of the community. The thing that excites me most is just that, because we are just still in the early days of of ecosystem and what this means to everybody. But people are here for it. And people are highly engaged. So I'm really interested to see where this goes.

Isaac Morehouse  02:10
Yeah. So before we before we get into, I want to dig in a little bit on some of the content and the things that we saw this week and heard, before we do promised Alan Adler, we're gonna give a shout out, he is putting together a really robust, go to ecosystem maturity model. And he's got a survey, oh, shoot, oh, I've got the link right here. I will post it in here at a survey, and you can be some of the first to take it. So I just posted in the chat. For those of you who are listening to this after the fact I'm sure you will be able to find this if you go to Alan's Yeah, we're in the show notes. Go complete this survey, it takes about 10 minutes, there's about 40 questions. And it's specifically for if you're in b2b SaaS, or some qualifiers you'll see right away, but um, and Alan is going to put out some some pretty cool reports on that. So we had to do that for you, Alan.

Jared Fuller  03:04
It's a quick plug. But I also want to say we're kind of hacking like research that would typically only be within the walls of like a Forrester Gartner amongst the b2b SaaS community. So don't worry, this survey stuff is stuff we're going to like democratize and like, share the insights like this is not going to be some like walled garden stuff. So we're happy to partner with Alan on it. He's been a good friend, for all of us here. And stoked for that to democratize some of these insights on because I think that's Isaac, you were going to ask, I know one of the leading questions, but like, I feel like for next year, a quick, you know, WTF is ecosystems. I think I heard a lot of HTF how the, how the heck do we do this, you know, you know, being partner LED or digital transformation. Like those are two very different questions. So there's lots of how questions that and I think research on where people are is certainly a helpful endeavor.

Isaac Morehouse  03:57
Yeah, it's funny in the in the first couple sessions, there were a lot of comments in the chat saying, This is amazing. But we got how do we how do we land the plane? And I think Alan session was one where a lot of people were like, Okay, now I see where the rubber meets the road. And kind of getting some some of those, like you said, Jared, the HTF, like, Okay, how do we do this? I get it, I get your thesis, at least kind of I buy it. I understand what ecosystem is. How do we put that into practice? There still seems to be a pretty big gap there between the the the theoretical acceptance of this ecosystems approach and then putting into practice. I don't know, Brian, what what do you think? Yeah,

I mean, I think that that's where the gap is, and you call it out. I think, I think, like, what's going to happen over the next 12 months is we're gonna learn what works and what doesn't for different companies. And I hope that when we come back, we can actually have a real conversation about the things that don't work, because it's interesting, right? Like when you can look right across to go to Market history. And there's a lot of stuff that doesn't work. But what doesn't work for you doesn't necessarily can work really well for someone else. And so I think, you know, when we do really a retro, of here's what I tried and like, I can talk about all the amazing things and the incredible results, which we should, we should celebrate that. But here's what I found doesn't work. And here are the reasons why I think the more this community can share those findings, the more we can learn faster together. Because we may have found something that doesn't work. But it turns out, if you just have a little bit of a different spin on it, it really drives the needle forward. So that's the stuff that I'm interested in. I would love, I love those conversations, those are the most engaging conversations that I get into.

Isaac Morehouse  05:47
That's a great take. Because I think it can be easy, especially like right now, to just sort of presented as if, if you just start partnering, everything will be great if you just look, here's all these ecosystem, things you can do. But a lot of things, a lot of approaches for certain businesses and certain like a lot of them don't work. And so knowing the difference between, you know, the good, good tactics and strategies versus bad and that that actually ties into what and this is a great question. I'm glad somebody kloudio in the chat, reposted it from from earlier during the last session with Bobby. A question is like, Okay, can you break down? What is what is really the difference? What is a? What does an ecosystem business do? And Jared, I'd love to hear your take on this. And what does a non ecosystem business look like? Right? And like, why, in what ways is an ecosystem focused company better? You? Can you can you give some concrete examples? Let me see if I can find the exact wording of the question. Yeah, here. And no, it was not ecosystem, businesses do this ecosystem businesses do this. And this is why the ecosystem way is better. Give me some examples on that, Jared.

Jared Fuller  06:58
I mean, we just had the conversation with Bobby. And you heard of the pivotal moment where Salesforce became an ecosystem company, this was not at 10s of 1000s of employees in market dominance. This was like the launch of the App Exchange. They were about to become a public company. And what people don't realize that Salesforce, you know, this blue, pretty logo, no software, you know, story back then, do you know what the average number of users per account was when Salesforce went public? Seven, seven, the average number of users per account in Salesforce when Salesforce went public was seven. So this was not this juggernaut that people think it is. But what change, Bobby said that everything changed when Benioff the CEO, said at company kickoff, its customer, its partner and its employee. Those are our top three priorities. And if I asked you how you are prioritizing partners, and you don't have an answer, you do not work here. That's the difference. Full stop. It is every person at the company recognizing that you don't build a company in your own walls, and ignore the market that surrounding your customer. It really is that simple. In my opinion, I think it's that simple. That's why go to market. It's like, hey, let's let's get marketing and sales to talk better together. Sure, great, whatever. I've heard it for 10 plus years. How about we start talking to the people that are talking to our customers? That's the difference. So what does one do and one doesn't do? Well, I can tell you right now, if you spend 95% of your time at your company, talking to internal employees about how you fix your own problems. That's not an ecosystem company. If you spend the majority of your time talking to people that talk to your customers, you might work at an ecosystem company.

Isaac Morehouse  08:54
Yeah. There's a way in which there's a way in which you could sort of fall into thinking, Okay, well, this is some attempt to change the world or change the way business is done. But it's really an acknowledgement of how the world already works in how effective businesses are already happening. Like, again, we talked about this a lot during this. This is the way your customers are primarily doing things or interacting with people other than your own salespeople and marketing people in their decision making process or even your own customer success people in their process of effectively using your tools. They're already operating that way. And so it's not like you're you're trying to, you know, make some revolution where companies suddenly forced this change on the world for some ideological purpose. It's like, No, you got to get with it. This is what's already going down, right? So those who kind of acknowledge it and don't resist it. And don't just keep keep trying to squeeze more ROI out of the direct route. Brand. I'm curious if you've seen examples, maybe from partners that customers have companies who have made Did this transition effectively who were not ecosystem first companies and then effectively became ecosystem other other than like the big ones like Jared just talked about Salesforce anything more contemporary that you can think of?

Yeah. So I can give a high level example I wants to talk specifically about about some of the customers because I don't want to overstate anything, or understate things. But what we've seen is, you know, companies that come in with a willingness to engage their partners and do it, I think you said the best way, in the same way that they engage their customers or their employees are the ones that ultimately end up being the most successful. And it's the same, like, you know, customer care that all of the best companies have gone and gone and put forth that first, the companies that lean into that on the partnership side are really good. What what makes it possible, though, is when there's actual alignment and buy in, all the way from the board, to the executive team, to the manager to the you know, contributor that's building it. Because without that alignment, if you just start going and experimenting completely on your own, and you don't have that support internally, it's a really hard slog. And so I think that successful ecosystems have alignment to building off of what Jared said, and those are our customers who we've seen the most successful is there, there is room for experimentation. Because let's face it, we all know, you know, direct sales teams really struggle, really, really struggle. It takes time to ramp reps, people, people walk out the door all the time, there needs to be the that there needs to be an investment into ecosystem. The companies that are not ecosystem companies are companies that are treating ecosystem as though it's ad dollars. And it's not, that is not how it works. This is not a you know, plug and play dollars in dollars out machine. It is a highly scalable channel that will teach you things that other channels just cannot teach you. And so the customers that we see do that are really effective at executing, and a really effective at communicating across their entire organization, up their department all the way to the end, and then explaining to everyone else how how do we actually benefit the sales team? How does this help marketing? what's this gonna do for success? Where I see partnerships, people drop it a little bit, is it's not all about us. It's actually all about the customers. And it's all about our partners. And the way to do it is you have to develop shared language shared reporting, constant communication, right across the organization. And it's knowing that like, it is really up to us to make the most of us because the opportunity is here right now.

Isaac Morehouse  12:52
You know, it's funny, I've been thinking a lot about partnerships in the marketing space lately, because I don't know, I feel like it's, it's maybe even a little earlier than where we are with sales. And so just thinking about what how that might unfold. And I think, an interesting like, sort of test for yourself a question would be if you if you said to your marketing department, from now on every marketing initiative that we do, has to be a partner marketing initiative. There's no such thing as marketing, that's not partner marketing. Now, just imagine you don't I'm not saying you have to but imagine if that were proposed, what would be your initial gut feeling? As a marketer? Would you be stressed or annoyed by that? Or would you be excited by that? And that kind of is a clue as to how much you are? If you'd be excited by that. It's like when you say, you know, Hey, make make your customers the hero make your partner's a hero. And marketers like, oh, but it's easier to talk about us and our product. That means you're not you're not there yet. Right? You're not seeing it right. And I always think about I think Apple's best ad campaign ever was in that era, where every ad was about one of the apps on their plate wasn't about them. It was about an app, like we have, there's an app for that there was an ad that was all about, you know, Shazam, there's an ad that's all about it. It's all about the apps that are on their platform, not about their platform. And I just I think like, I don't know, using that as a test, what if every sale had to be partner partners this sale? Like, would that tick you off? Or would that make you excited? And that's maybe a good a good barometer of how far your company culture is.

I think just kind of going off of that a little bit that Isaac there is, it's up to us to explain. It's up to us, the partnership, community, ecosystem community to explain why, right, because people were interpreted in different ways, but it's up to us to advocate for the potential of what this enables different departments, the entire organization or customers or partners. It's up to us to explain why people will draw conclusions on their own. And it's important that we can educate people and by doing that will elevate ourselves will elevate elevate the organization will elevate our partners.

Jared Fuller  14:59
That's kind of a scary prospect, Isaac?

Isaac Morehouse  15:02
And I'm not saying that that's like what it ought to be. But I think the how you respond to the question, your initial reaction is kind of interesting.

Jared Fuller  15:10
I don't know, it scared me. And I'm pretty partner because I was just going on a rant about how all these, like mash of every single one. No, I think the reality is it should probably scare you in the beginning. At the same time, it should also be exciting. I mean, what a, what an interesting, like, whenever you invert that, so like, hey, we do no partner marketing, we do No, co selling, we barely do any CO innovation. We have like four or five integrations that like, you know, are perfunctory. What happens if we flip that 100% on its head? And there's this phrase like to, you know, there's the opposite of the straw man argument, which is a steal man argument to like, what if you could actually go to your CMO, your CRO, your whoever right now and say, hey, what if I just want to steal this? Let's prop this up to see what would happen. What if we did 100% That's actually probably a pretty good tactic to like, bring them over to your side, it might scare the living heck out of them for a minute. But it anchors them in such an extreme to where you actually find some pretty amazing common ground, kind of like what Bobby talked about, like look, partner, partner managers jobs, is to go stocked, the top shelf was stuff, and then sellers have to bring that into the field. I think the way that he framed that is so beautiful. It's like, look, you're not bringing good stuff to the field. But the field has to sell what's on the shelves? Like that model of interrupt. It's like the you have to do that. And every deal now. It's a baton pass from the beginning to the end, and people don't get paid if the baton Pat drops at any given point. That's a relay race.

Isaac Morehouse  16:41
Yeah, wow. Yeah. Yeah. It's like, it's like those little exercises, if you ever tried, like, you know, can I go a whole day without ever saying something negative or whatever? Without saying yes to everything? It's it's not the point isn't that you should always live that way. It's that it sometimes takes a hypothetical like that to open up things in your imagination and say, Hmm, and some of those things maybe we shouldn't be doing all the time. We got it, we got a great question in here. Many companies promote their robust integrations. But that doesn't mean they promote an ecosystem. How do you think about moving the mindset from integrations to ecosystem, especially for those companies that are very product heavy, very product focused? How do you how do you go beyond integrations?

Jared Fuller  17:29
I might hop in and just really quickly say, what made you presuming you made those integrations that you don't have a platform? Right. So if you have a platform, the whole concept is that you're trying to get you have you have an outsize advantage for people building on you. There's something they get out of you I think Avinash is presentation from platform to ecosystem is a fantastic breakdown, simplified breakdown of what it means to go on that migration. But the basis of the question, I'm assuming means you've built a handful of integrations, and you want to presumably move towards some sort of platform play. Maybe if you're still there, I'm not sure who asked that. I'd love to hear that clarification. But Brent, did you have anything that popped up?

Yeah, to me, it goes back to that. Why, right? Like, if the goal for you to build, like deep integrations of a whole bunch of platforms was to benefit you. You know, the the way that you you know, take that next step is you ask yourself, How do I benefit everyone else? That's part of mine. Like that is a true shift. Because I think that if you've just gone down the integrations play, you're just asking yourself, like, how does this help me? But taking, like, as you said before, like not how does this help me? How does this help my partners? whether those be integration partners, or you know, am I missing something? Is there another type of partner that I need to go in and work with, that doesn't want to work with me that way? Like, we make a lot of assumptions, but the best thing and I think that the most successful ecosystem community or companies are the companies that go out and ask the questions, right, that's what makes a really good product. Well, that's what builds a really great partner experience. And I think that we really need to be driving towards partner experience not asking like what is ideal for me, what do I want to get out of it? But what does everybody else need to get out of it? And then through a process of like elimination because you can't make everybody happy? That's the other thing like it's not just about pleasing everyone you have to please a group and you need to go very deep with them before going on to another

Jared Fuller  19:35
you just you just made me realize something Brenda so powerful like what if you're the last line item on that checklist like you as the company us, right, it's it's it's me and then us you start with us. And the last thing is, well, how do we make any money right so like the very last thing as you but how do we make money? I think the whole point is, well, if you can't make any money in the in the rest of the world wants something else. So you have a pretty shitty business. Right? Like, that's the whole point is like we start with how do we make money? And then we'll how does the rest of the world react to that? That's the fundamental difference. It's like, if you start the other way, and you go, Well, how do we make money based on what the rest of the world wants? What a better question, what a better way of thinking about it. That's, that's been my take with like, go to market as being wrong. It's like, how do we get to 100 million from 60 million this year? And it starts with us versus going the other way? And going, what does everyone else want? And then we end with, how are we making money?

I think revenue is the score on the board, in value is the driver. And so what you're talking about is how do I drive more value, and in the value isn't to yourself, but the value is to others. And if we look at why software software has been so successful, is because of our growth rates. And the direct motion is great in the early days, right? We've all seen this play out over and over and over again. But you're investing in partnerships, you're investing in a channel that should be infinitely scalable, that allows you to accelerate revenue growth over time. And if done the right way, it can turn into a pretty special business.

Isaac Morehouse  21:13
So one of the greatest football coaches of all time, is a famous famous phrase, Bill Walsh, who would say the score takes care of itself through a book. And he and he was, you know, he would say, Look, if we do all the things, right, we get the fundamentals, right, we have our team culture, right, we execute, right? You don't have to keep checking the score, the score is going to take care of itself. And I love that metaphor you use that the revenue is the scoreboard. And what drives it forward is getting the value if you're creating value regularly, consistently, that will start to take care of itself. I love that. And Brett, you said something else bring to about the end on the integrations question. Where there's like, the way that a team talks about things internally, and the way that they see things, it can be subtle differences, but they have this again, the score will take care of itself. If you get that, right. It's like a team culture thing. So the difference between, hey, we now have this integration, aren't we great. Versus Hey, we now have this integration. Because this tool we integrated with is so great. Like just that subtle shift in the way that you see it, wow, we're excited because we love this thing that we integrated with instead of because we're great. And we add integrations is like a it's got a powerful, we have a really good summary in here in the chat. By the way. Tanner brain says here's what I'm hearing one, identify the watering holes your target customers already go to, to identify those that are already seen as a trusted voice in those spaces. Three, reach out to them figure out how to strike up a mutually beneficial partnership, for make your relationships with these partners just as important as your relationships with customers and employees. Like that's awesome. That last part is awesome. It's not, you're not going to them like hey, can you just pass through just transactionally? Give me some new leads. It's like, no, they're just as important. In fact, in many ways, they're more important because they represent so much leverage. They're the gateway to many, many customers, right? So like, it'd be like what's what's the difference between one customer and someone who can give you access to 1000s of customers in importance? Really, really cool.

I think another interesting point to along that is, you know, what makes you good, what makes you successful is not what makes you excellent. And so once you've hit some of those, you know, first gates there, you have to know there are second, third, fourth, fifth gates, you can't rest on the things that work inside a partnership. And I've seen that often that you have to continue, you know with sharpening the blade. And the way you do that is you can this is a continuous process. If you look at the best, and I'm a big fan of looking across the organization and seeing what the best organizations gonna do, you know, the best direct sales team, they're continuing to invest in their enablement, in their training for their people. Well, partnerships should take that exact same methodology we should continuously invest in know that, you know, what may have worked in with a certain partner type will work won't work with a different partner type. And that's okay. And it's gonna take a little bit of time to figure out. But, you know, I think that we need to also be able to raise the bar once we've achieved some type of success.

Isaac Morehouse  24:23
Man, Jared, is it just me or is Brynn? Absolutely.

Jared Fuller  24:27
He's on fire right now, by the way, folks, like this is this is like on fire summary. I feel like there's lots of things coming together and you've just been dropping one liners and I'm trying to like throw them in chat. So I don't forget them. Because he's just been on fire.

I can think everybody that's been messaging me this week, honestly, like this is where so much of these conversations have started. And so I think that that's also another really important thing is that, you know, ecosystem we we have now a forum to meet and a community that is engaged, and it was through these learnings and lessons were It's been at the This hasn't been here for years. And so that's the stuff that excites me most like I'm excited to, to learn in in, you know, 12 months from now, all the things that were wrong, and hear from new voices that we've never heard from, who are probably doing excellent work right now. And I just, you know, it's pretty incredible the way that people come together here.

Isaac Morehouse  25:23
It's a shout out to new voices. So I know there's tons of people out there who have all sorts of interesting thoughts and ideas, and sometimes they'll go and post them on LinkedIn. But a lot of times people are keeping things to themselves and shout out just this week, we published an article by Chris Murray on partner hacker. And it was great. And I messaged him, and I said, Hey, let me know if you have other articles you want to send. And he was like, because I think I think Jared, if I recall, you saw a LinkedIn post. And you said, Hey, Chris, you should turn this into an article. Yeah,

Jared Fuller  25:52
I was like, Dude, I was like, this is your title, like, you need to write this as a full thing. Because

Isaac Morehouse  25:57
he said to me, I said, send us more. And he said, Well, I just feel like, I don't know, I just feels, I feel like that would be kind of arrogant to assume that I have something that's worthy of an article. And I'm like, he's like, if you see something on my LinkedIn, I said, Look, if you have an idea, just send it to me. I want to know, other people want to know, people loved reading his article. So I know, there's people out there who have these great ideas, send those messages, make those posts, share them this like this. This is where the good stuff bubbles up when people are talking.

Jared Fuller  26:23
It's where the sword gets sharpened. I mean, just look at this last conversation. This last conversation is the emergent property of everything that's transpired this week. This This was not this conversation would not have happened Friday, last week. Right? Brian would not be on the same fire that he was just on. Had it not been for everyone commenting on No, no, that's what I needed to hear. No, no, that's that was what? Okay, no, really, here's my question. There was tons of engagement. And like, I think that's the point of like, why ecosystem is one layer above partner two is that concept of community, right? There is a shared commercial interest that we all have as partners in the field together, but then there is a shared professional interest in the US, you know, raising the bar on our intellectual property, right, our ideas, our ideas need to be sharpened in the field with each other. And, to me, that's why the partnerships communities, the best is that we tend to be pretty selfless with our thoughts, and I can't wait for the next 12 months brand, there's, there's going to be partner led companies, I'm telling you, there's going to be dozens of partner led companies that come out of the woodworks that grow from, you know, super early stage to late stage that follow in the footsteps of the data box, like we had with pink Buddha, I know there's going to be and I'm really excited for that.

And I think it's because, like, you know, kind of summarizing, and building off of what you two have been discussing, like I've seen partnerships kind of work in the shadows. Elevating something to ecosystem is really an opportunity to change the culture of of, of partnerships, because we're adopting a new type of culture. It's saying that, you know, we can, there is more, and there is support. And, and I, I am most excited about like the culture shift and ecosystem that has happened and will will be built on over the next 12 months. Because I do think that we need to have this culture shift. And this is something that everybody in the community can go in, and do even better on. Because I'm not always but all but doing it the first time. But like, how does it get better? Like that's the real question. And what more do we need to go in and do and looking again, across different parts of the organization that have done this before? Because Because Because look at you know, the amazing careers go to market channels, companies value that has been created. And we're just on walking on what's there.

Isaac Morehouse  28:40
So I got I got a couple questions for you, too, about ecosystem week. And I know this first question you're going to be resistant to because you're gonna say you're gonna want to say all of them, but that is not an acceptable answer. I want to know, gut just top of your head, which session was your favorite or stuck out to you as as really memorable from this week? Because first

gen let you go.

Jared Fuller  29:07
Scott breakers because it was by far the most challenging to intellectually like battle with, especially the ramifications of all of these data, data layers and like cross sections of different tech and like what that means for the future. And I was trying to reconcile, like, what that means to me is I believe that the relational data meaning not in the sequel sense, but the trust sense is by far the most important what does that mean? In that context? It was like, he melted my face. I was like, this is a crazy amount of data. So Scott Scott's, I think challenge me probably the most.

Yeah, on my end, I'll give a close second. I really enjoyed jheel session. That was that was pretty special for me. And I'm just calling up my bias here because I I've had so many deep conversations over the last few years with him. So want to flag that one too. But, but But Pete Caponata, someone that's built partnerships up in the way that he talked about, you know, like making people think like, like, this is something that we need to do a better job of. And I'm excited to hear from people, you know, that have this type of experience to over the next 12 months. Because I think that there's some really great basic things that we often forget, that we can go in and point to, but like, that makes total sense to me. And I know that there's a lot more that's there. So, but I think also like to all the speakers that just for doing this, you know, you get the the J The Allen's these are people that have been driving this forward. But yeah, those are those are big for me.

Isaac Morehouse  30:49

Jared Fuller  30:50
you got to turn it back to you, as they called on? You don't get that question?

Isaac Morehouse  30:54
Dang it. I was hoping I could get out of that question. Mmm hmm. Hey, I liked the format of like the Jeopardy or sorry, Jeff Hardy format

Jared Fuller  31:08
was trying to avoid lossless format in us.

Isaac Morehouse  31:11
Yeah. But I think I think Tiffany Bova is might have been my favorite. Because she just seemed like utterly gloves off, just like, I'm just gonna say it. And I wasn't expecting that she just seemed really like kind of just ripping on the sort of thin worn way of doing sales doing go to market in a way that I thought was pretty, pretty amazing coming from somebody with her with her pedigree. So I think that might have been my favorite. I want to know if there's anything okay, what what did not get covered, that you would like to have seen get covered? Or you'd like to see more discussion on in the future?

I'll start with this one. I like I said the beginning, like I think some retros on things that don't work. And why.

Isaac Morehouse  32:02
That's what I was gonna say. But you gave me the idea. I was like, Yeah, post mortems. Like specific, what didn't work and why Yeah,

yeah. And what would be even more interesting is like, what didn't work at first, why we put it down? And then areas that we picked it up and learn a couple months later, she's like, this works really well. You know, I think that there's some great examples even at partner stack. You know, we're a company that enables partnerships, and we tried to invest in our own partnership channel, we failed out of the gate. And so I'm happy to talk about those failures. And then to turn around and say like, and here are the changes that we made. Because, you know, I think that there's a lot of lessons that can be learned it through through the successes and failures of everybody in the ecosystem community.

Isaac Morehouse  32:50
It's funny, we're so early with partner hacker so far, but I've already noticed some little trends in terms of when we're when we're partnering with people. If you come like, if you come into it with here's a thing that we want to do, okay, now, let's go shop around for a partner, that tends to be less effective than, hey, there's kind of like a rougher idea of something that we might like to do. And we want to sort of as Alan would say, co innovate, we want to kind of hash the idea out with the partner. So they're involved from the very beginning. And they both the difference in effectiveness is so like, like ecosystem weeks a great example we came together with your team. At with there really wasn't any idea what this was going to be yet it was just a very loose idea, versus going to somebody and saying, I have this thing, it's all ready to go, I'm just looking for a partner to just like slap their name on it that just isn't isn't quite as effective. Like that's one of those things I've seen, like the best partnerships seem to be where the involvement takes starts at the earliest, the earliest phases.

Jared Fuller  33:54
Well, I think I'll summarize that really beautifully by referencing someone much smarter than me, which is Ben Franklin, what did he say? Tell me, and I'll forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me. And I might learn, right? So like that process of actually working together on a solution? A lot, ecosystem week, right? Like, that was a joint process. I think we were much more involved. And we learned a ton and built something much better versus Hey, let's go round peg square hole, this concept, you know, go pitch something out in the market, which is typically how there's a lot of partnerships that are done that way where you're not really you know, involving each other in that process.

Isaac Morehouse  34:37
There's still so So Jared, you're you're I sort of derailed us, but what what would you have liked to see and get covered or something that didn't get covered that you'd like to spend some time exploring.

Jared Fuller  34:50
I want to I mean, I really as much as we were high level on some stuff. There's a handful of people in systems thinking that are They're just mind boggling, like they rock your world, that you see the world differently. And I really have strong conviction that the difference between closed and open systems, I want to bring in someone much smarter than us that can like actually try to try to land that plane a little bit more so that we're to continue to peel back. But open system design is that's actually what we're doing and building businesses, I want to hear someone else tell me otherwise, are we designing machines, while all of our go to market language talks about machines, my revenue engine, you're not building a frickin engine, you're building an ecological system, which takes can tirely different principles than going out and building something in manufacturing

Isaac Morehouse  35:41
metaphors. By man, I've always had to come back and reference.

Jared Fuller  35:46
Like, it's, it's so I want to find those really, really smart people. And there's some some good stuff we've been tapping into. Because I'm so passionate about it. But at the same time, there's some really, really smart people like, I mean, Isaac, you and I had that prep call the other day with one individual where it's like, whatever he's on, is on another level. Like, the guy can design stuff that lands in market for big, big, big companies, like companies, you and I all know. And he goes, Hey, one of these 12 things will change the course of this market. I can't tell you which one of those 12 But I can't promise you it's one of these. And like that probabilistic thinking, There's something to be said about the ecosystems moment having to be powered by that, in my opinion. So I next year, if we do it again, I don't want my voice to be part of it. I want to find those people that have really nailed it. You

Isaac Morehouse  36:34
want to get weirder?

I think it would be I think it would be really cool to have a skeptic turned success story come in. And I think that that's a really great result of us actually being successful as ecosystem leaders and and inside of the community, how great would it be to have like a CFO come in? Or, you know, a CRO come in and say No, I, you know, I pushed this to the side, I ignored it, and look at what it became. And I think that the way that we're going to go in and do that is if we show up with with more data, and a shared language and framework for that to go on and be successful. So that's just a hunch. But I think that

Jared Fuller  37:18
it actually gave me an idea because I have I have a bunch of those right now. Like that we need to do a better job of making famous right so going back to the computer, make him famous. I want to bring us your your CMOS, your see you know VPs of success, your VPs of marketing VPs of sales. Anyone that was a skeptic that you've kind of partner pilled please ping us we want to make them famous, we'll do a big right upon them. We'll put them in bright lights, we'll do a custom graphic, make those people famous. We need to do we absolutely need to do that. Brian, you're 100% Right.

Isaac Morehouse  37:49
So I guess this is sort of a follow up question. Let's say hypothetically, that we do ecosystem week 2023. As of today, what would you title it?

Jared Fuller  38:04
Oh, like the sub tagline? WGA Yeah,

Isaac Morehouse  38:06
like, like this one was WTF is an ecosystem? What would it be next year?

There's a reason I'm in partnerships and not on the marketing same. I'm drawing a blank

Isaac Morehouse  38:22
here to pick the tagline you can just the topic. How's that? I saw some thumbs up when you said that. I bet it's from your marketing team. I don't know. Yeah,

that's definitely from my marketing team. I think something. You know, I think we have to just show up with some proof points. And so talking about you know, like, you know, WTF is, is an ecosystem. And like defining like, and here's what that means and how, like, like a lot of like, tactical actionable things that people can go in and do. Because we're just, you know, this is the this is the, this is the kickoff, we have to go deeper.

Isaac Morehouse  39:03
Ew, 23 Proof is in the pudding. Hey,

Jared Fuller  39:09
Isaac, no,

I will I will say yes to something. Again, my marketing team is gonna just pop off again, because they're gonna say that's why I'm not I'm not allowed to go.

Jared Fuller  39:21
Oh, it said we told you there was bored

Isaac Morehouse  39:28
what would you call it? Your? I mean, come on. You got a marketing bent to you, Jared. Oh,

Jared Fuller  39:32
yeah. Yeah, I got already got the next thing. I'm I'm not saying

Isaac Morehouse  39:37
Oh, come on. Okay. Everyone has to sign an NDA to hear Jarrods

Jared Fuller  39:42
No, I got the next thing. It's, it's, it's so good. That the next one will have five times the amount of people How about that? How about I won't name the title. I'll say that. The next one that we do has 5000 plus people. Jared has never shied away down the gauntlet. It's gonna have five five to 6000 people guaranteed.

Isaac Morehouse  40:03
I love that. I love it. Now we gotta remind we gotta we need to meet one of those. Remind me of this like you can do on Twitter. Remind me of this in one year. Notice,

Jared Fuller  40:13
okay, so I need to tweet that. So then that way people can do the

Isaac Morehouse  40:16
review. Yeah, go ahead and tweet. And then and then we'll have to get somebody. Somebody on partner partner hacker Twitter account going do the remind me in one year. I love it. That's great. Jared won't even tell us what he would title it next year. We'll just have to wait. And we had some good ones in the chat. We had some good. Let's see. Are we there yet? ecosystems. This is the way we told you. There was more. That's why ecosystem farming the harder or why is now? Yeah, we got we got some good ones.

Jared Fuller  40:55
5000 is conservative dude.

Isaac Morehouse  40:57
There we go. Alan is going to take the Jared See, no one can accuse Jared of being the chief hype man now because Alan just just told you you weren't going. You weren't going hardcore enough. What did you guys see? So we did get partnerships are unsinkable ships. I get it partnerships, unsinkable ships. I was like one time somebody said what's the definition of fellowship, it's two fellows in the same ship. So one of those dad dad jokes you guys mentioned and I saw a ton of this too, getting a lot of messages and notes on LinkedIn just throughout ecosystem, we can receive stuff in the chat. What was like the is there a common thread that you saw in kind of what people were talking about are questions people had? Was? Or was there something that sort of what you know, was consistent throughout all their communications you've been getting through this week,

Jared Fuller  41:51
I'll hop into one real quick. Now. Throw it to you, Brian, the thing that I loved the most was what came out of Jill's session around, show me you know me, and then ending with prove you prove you care. Wow. I'm gonna tell you another story. So I've done three in person partner conferences, like partner type things in the past like, three, four months, and the amount of account executives that have come over to become partner people, because they felt that dynamic, like, I felt disingenuous. That's not what I heard, like five years ago, it was like, How can I make more money? I mean, we're talking really successful, like AES, that we're pulling down 300 to 400k ote the chopped into partner roles. I've talked to a lot of AES that have moved into partnerships because of that same dynamic, it's like, there's this underlying shift in the way that it's like, if I can't actually help someone, I can't do this anymore. And that was every partner person that's legitimate. They always lead with like driving value with the other person. And like, how, how successful is Joe rally? I don't know. She's one of the best salespeople of all time. Not like kind of an okay, salesperson, like perhaps one of the best salespeople of all time. And that's her philosophy. Wow. I just love how the community rallied around that message. Because I saw a lot of chatter on that it was beautiful to me absolutely beautiful.

Yeah, and on my end, some of the stuff that seems to come through is a lot of people looking for confirmation or even approval that they're on the right track. And I think that's great that we're reaching out and capable of doing it. But what I would encourage people to do is don't look for that approval, like, it's not for me, or or Jared, or Isaac, or anybody in the community to give you that approval. It's your partners, you should be reaching out to them and talking to them happy to talk strategy all day long on how to go in and make that happen. But But ask your partners built they'll tell you. And you know what, there's something to be said about being wrong, being willing to admit to be wrong with your partners and then going on from it. So I really hope that we start reaching out directly to our partners more and more and not be scared. Because it's okay to be wrong. Everyone's fine. What's what's not okay. It's just not asking not engaging. And so I'm really hopeful that we as a community in the way that the culture changes inside of ecosystem embraces that that direct outreach to our partners asking those hard questions,

Isaac Morehouse  44:24
man Brynn you are just so on fire today. I love what you said there don't don't look for don't look for validation about whether you're right or you're doing it right. From anyone outside of you. Yeah, it's great when you get or anyone outside of those who who you're working with your partners. It matters. It reminds me this quote, I can't remember where I first heard it, but that it's not possible to be a hero for everyone. So you got to ask your question. Who do I want to be a hero to? And there's there's only a handful, you know, and you think like, okay, my family, my customers, my teammates, right? If you're in partnerships world, my partners and if you're if you're nailing it with them You can't, you can't get distracted or worried about. And this is really hard in our current world because there's this visible validation that happens like on social media, let's say, and I'll tell you, I know people who are just absolutely top of their game and all kinds of things. I know some some venture capitalists, I know some people in really any area of business I can think of who are invisible on social media, they don't have posts with 1000s of likes, and all this stuff. But to the, to the relevant audience, they are absolutely they crush it, right, they have the respect where it matters, because you're creating the value where it matters. So sometimes it can be easy to kind of get caught in his game where it's like, you know, I'm not, you know, things I post on LinkedIn, don't go viral. Oh, no. Or, Hey, I'm not hearing anybody, you know, tell me that I'm doing a good job, even though my partners love it. And I'm doing a great job, right? So just remembering like, where does that validation, obviously, you need feedback from the market, you need to know if you're hitting the mark. But the feedback only matters from those that matters from right. So like a happy customer, a happy partner. That's your goal. And it's easy to forget that sometimes that's a that's a great one. Yeah, the sales sales trend, I see a lot of people validating Jared, what you said over here in the comments about just kind of not not wanting sort of were not wanting to be in that in that sort of traditional idea of sales and being drawn to partnerships.

Jared Fuller  46:31
Yeah, there's a there's a changing tide, like I don't know. I mean, the the mission statement is one that I increasingly believe in because of you all, like a partner hacker, which is to build a world where everyone can win together

Isaac Morehouse  46:47
to get their some warm and fuzzy in here, man. No, I'm not kidding. Like,

Jared Fuller  46:50
it felt like a really great tagline. And I was really proud of myself for that tagline and writing it on the whiteboard when I did. And the more that I see it in the wild. It's like when people come together and do great things, when you see great teams execute. Isaac, you're a giant, Golden State Warriors fan, right? We were just doing this in, we do Friday show until we bring the team together. And we decompress on what was good and bad for the week. And you're describing, you know, Steph and Draymond and the right paths at the right time, that teamwork, you know, like, We are Better Together. We've truly, truly are. And I think that's what defines this moment, more than everyone is the the I mean, I don't know, like look, we have on the podcast, it's dropping. Next we have Brent Adamson of the Challenger sale, right? He's even in the research from 20 years ago, the least successful persona, in all the personas they identified was the lone wolf. Right, that was true 20 years ago. I think it's more true now than ever that like building a world where we can all do this together is it seems inevitable to me now. You all have made that feel inevitable. I'm

Isaac Morehouse  48:05
I love it. I love it. There's been it's been amazing, amazing week to experience and there's so much, so much more ahead. Brynn. Bringing home for us, man, leave us leave us with something.

I think the only thing to be left was just thanking thanking you, Isaac, and Jared, and all the speakers that came out and the entire community that's here. This is like, you know, think thank you. It's so important to have some voices, speak up, organize and drive us forward, and to everyone that contributed their time to build a better community and everyone that participated in the chat. That's, that, to me is the result of success. And so thank thank you both. Thank you to all the speakers. And thank you for everybody who was so active, whether it was in the chat or outside of the chat. This is really awesome. And I'm very excited to build on and see what's next.

Isaac Morehouse  48:57
Yeah, I gotta tell you as somebody who now is not a CRO of some really large company or anything like that, but as someone who as a small early stage company startup founder was always very skeptical of partnerships and doing anything with partners because it takes so long and it's messy and um, you know, I just like to get things done and be in control this during this ecosystem week with your team at partner stag grin, such a great experience for me like our two teams combined. There's a way to do that. That sucks. Let's not let's not pretend that partnering doesn't suck sometimes if it if it's becomes overcomplicated, it doesn't work. But man it works. So well. It was such it was fun, enjoyable. And it was truly one of those times where the the sum is greater the the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. And I was like, Okay, this is what it can be like to partner right like to to have that experience. It was really really good for me personally to do this. You know, this event together. So shout out to everybody involved. It's just all up I mean, everybody involved in attending and during the chat, as you said, and so many people just sharing their thoughts on Twitter on LinkedIn. And I keep seeing, like, Hey, I thought this was a great quote from. And I'm like scrambling to try to collect all this stuff because there's so much good stuff out there. So all the speakers as well, big shout out

every one more thing, everybody that was behind the scenes that made this happen. And there's a lot of people like in front, seeing what happens and driving it forward, but to the team of partner hackers to the to the team at partner stack, like there's a lot of work that goes into this. So thank you, and thank you for everybody else who was behind the scene to go in and make this happen. Not easy. But it's been so successful. So I'm really proud of it and everyone else should really be really proud of what's your tip.

Isaac Morehouse  50:45
Jarrett's call and 5k next year, so

Jared Fuller  50:48
Oh, more than 5k Now, not more than 5k I was trying to get the I was trying to leave with the partner up outro I was trying to get it to play on my phone because I couldn't figure out how to play it through the computer. But um, yeah. Wow. Thank you, everyone. I think what an amazing way to end is on that little bit of thanks because we actually care about each other into the first ever ecosystem. We Jay McBain said it, it was the largest dedicated partnerships and ecosystems event ever in b2b. It's all because of you. We're going to make this moment happen and we're going to take it mainstream. I'm ready. We'll see you all on partner hacker. We'll see you inside of partner stack. And this wraps this week's episode of the partner up podcast live from the first ever ecosystem week. Thank you so much, everyone. We'll see y'all next time.

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