080 - Partnerships are About Going to Battle Together, with Jennifer and Kevin Linehan

What is up PartnerUp!?

A PartnerUp first today - a couples interview!

Jennifer and Kevin are both seasoned partner pros - in fact, they met at HubSpot while building their legendary program. We explore what they learned there, how it changed their career trajectory, and what partnering means to the respective roles today, both in SaaS (Kevin) and in VC (Jennifer).

We also get into partnering as a concept that’s bigger than business, and what principles apply to marriage, friendship, investors, teammates, and more. We tried to stir up some trouble, but these two just rolled with it and complimented each other!

3 Key Takeaways

Today's key takeaways were originally outlined by Eric Sangerma.

  1. Play long term games with long term people.
    Partnerships is a unique because when you build and foster partnerships, you create long-term relationships that carry beyond any company or role. Unlike other roles, partnerships aren't transactional which means you have to think long-term with your relationships.
  2. Partnering VS Having Someone in your Partner Program
    A genuine partnership is created overtime. It starts with a shared goal, and is strengthened by shared challenges and successes. A true partner goes beyond the transactional value received by joining forces.
  3. Do you understand what your partner is up against? Do you know what they're facing at the end of a quarter?
    If your answer isn't a resounding "yes," you have some work to do. To be a good partner, you need to know the challenges your partners are facing. True partners work to lessen each others' burdens because the goal is to win together.  

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Full Transcript:

Jared Fuller  0:00
Hey what is up, partner up? We're back for a first of its kind episode. I'm very excited about this one today. Because if you look for those dozens of you that watch on YouTube, I know we actually do have a few 1000 people that listen to the podcast, but for the dozens of you on YouTube, you would be sitting and seeing two people in the same camera, and they happen to be married. This is our first partnerships couple welcome Jen Linehan and Kevin Linehan to partner up.

Jennifer Linnehan  0:38
Thank you, Jared. Happy to be here.

Kevin Linnehan  0:41
Thrilled. Thrilled to be

Jared Fuller  0:42
Kevin looks a little a little bit less happy. I have to say that there was an incident. See that one there. You're like, I don't know what I signed up for it. I agreed to here.

Isaac Morehouse  0:49
I'm excited about this couples edition. This is like a trial run for this new format. Jared, we have a list of other potential couples that we could bring on. So all the pressure is on Jennifer and Kevin to prove that this is a workable format.

Jennifer Linnehan  1:02
Okay. All right. Yeah,

Jared Fuller  1:04
there's there's some shoes to fill. Because like, next up, we're going to have the MC Baines. Right? So got Jay. And Michelle, like, you know, so there's not like, there's gonna be some awesome other people to follow. But Jen and Kevin, I have to call out something real quick. There's this like, wooden map of the US. And like, I feel like I've looked at this wooden map of the US like, for years and years, and like probably hundreds of zoom calls Kevin. And then Jen, I've seen you there, whatever. I've like to talk to high alpha for a little bit. Yep, there it is moving around. It's really crazy to see you both in the same shot. And maybe we can kind of start there. Like, why do we all happen to know each other? I think it all starts with a coat of orange paint. Right? That's how YouTube met was that HubSpot? Is that right?

Jennifer Linnehan  1:50
That's exactly right. First day, first day of work. I was new to Boston, walked in on the first day. And we were part of the same training class. And, you know, I was very focused on work. But Kevin also caught my eye. You know, I mean, so things transpired from there. Yeah. And I don't think he noticed me.

Kevin Linnehan  2:18
very focused, very focused.

Jared Fuller  2:23
I could tell somebody's gonna get trouble on this episode already. He's in trouble on this episode.

Jennifer Linnehan  2:28
One question. Yeah.

Jared Fuller  2:31
Though. So did you both start in partnerships at the same time in the same class, or was it in different roles where you ended up working in partnerships?

Kevin Linnehan  2:38
You know, we were both. We were two of the first three hires, made by Mr. Mr. CUDA onto the partner team. From from the outside to that point, the VAR team, it was, as what's called, was built entirely from internal movement migration of people that wanted to join, join Pete's mission. So So yeah, we we jumped right in as the first three external hires along with Mark Stoddard, who was at HubSpot for years and years, and is now at clickup.

Jared Fuller  3:14
Amazing, amazing. So for those of you who don't know that name is Pete kupuna. He's been a mentor to me at Panda doc and then was at Drift as well. And that's where it's actually how we ended up working together is because of the gentleman Pete. So Kevin, and I worked together at drift through a Kevin, I think beautifully described as the the meat grinder. Like that experience. It was, it was a hard, a hard fought run, drift. But I asked Pete kupuna, I was like, Pete, I need I need, like the best person that I could possibly bring onto the team. And without skipping a beat. He said, It's Kevin Lenahan. So that's where I was, like, started, I was like, give me a cell number. started texting you and then we met up at oh, gosh, I always forget the name that place in Boston, but then hard sell ever since. Yeah,

Kevin Linnehan  4:01
it was taught to you by the way today. There we go. Just went to Dante this morning. Places. Yep. She's she's in trouble now that she found one. But yes, Todd say that the drift coffee shop,

Isaac Morehouse  4:11
basically, what was HubSpot for both of you? Because I mean, both of you now are very much on board with, like, you're immersed in partnerships in terms of believing in as a strategy, all this stuff that we talked about, you know, having taken the partner pill seeing the era of ecosystems or the decade of ecosystems and kind of aligning your careers around that. Did you kind of get religion on that at HubSpot? Was it was it through that experience that you sort of saw this approach to go to market as the future I'm really curious from from both of you. Yeah, absolutely. For

Jennifer Linnehan  4:47
me, I mean, I remember. So I was actually prior to joining HubSpot. I was at a company called Compendium which it was blogging software and at the time, we were pitching against HubSpot back when, you know one of HubSpot core features was just the blog tool. And so I remember meeting Brian Halligan at a trade show. And him just coming up to the booths and saying, you know, how is this different than how is Compendium different than HubSpot. It then led to him saying, hey, why don't you come work at HubSpot, and I so I picked up and moved and Indianapolis, Indiana, I moved to Boston. And I just remember Halligan setting me up with just I remember talking to Mike Volpe randomly. I remember talking to Roberto, I remember talking to Pete, and just him not really knowing, like what I would do there. And so just making all of these introductions, and I just remember what Pete said, really resonated around like, this thing that they were doing, and it's sort of being like a nights and weekends project. But they've seen a lot of traction internally and just selling me on like, building this like motion at HubSpot. HubSpot. And so that was what I was really drawn to. And then of course, you know, the early days were, you know, figuring it out. But I think Pete had already figured a lot out. And as long as you sort of bought into Pete's, I think way of doing things like he posted something on LinkedIn the other day where he he posted a picture of this marketing agency grater that we used to use. And I remember my initial reaction to it was I absolutely hated it. It just felt like why would we you're getting on the phone with a brand new marketing agency who's already interested in HubSpot, like why don't you just answer their questions and kind of give them what they want, where it really kind of helped you turn the tables to understand is this a good agency to partner with both for them, and for us, and it you know, qualification you typically think of as being something that is valuable to a seller and less valuable to the buyer. But it was just this tool that I it was both it provided that value to to both parties. And so it was just one of those things that Pete came up with, he said, You guys should use this. And you know, so much of the channel and the partnership program has Pete's name written all over it. And you know, obviously seeing the success and the trajectory of that program, certainly made me a fan and just have a new understanding of that, that motion.

Isaac Morehouse  7:36
I love that you said this was like a nights and weekends thing. It's such a, you know, you've heard before, and a lot of venture capitalists will talk about this, like, hey, I want to know what people are working on and their nights and weekends, because that's where the future lives, right? And like, for your own for your own career for those listening, you know, what are those things that you don't have time to fit in your day, day to day, but you love working on them. And there's kind of your nights and weekend projects, those are often in really good sources of where you might get the most return down the road. So that's just cool. That's exciting to me to just like almost relive that with you, as you're describing to me that he's like, Hey, we got this other thing. And that kind of became the thing.

Kevin Linnehan  8:13
There's a good article, gosh, I can't remember if it's Fast Company or Inc but it's it's an article by Halligan titled Why I fire my best employees. And it's a story about Pete and how Pete was fired. Right? From his his account executive position to start the partner program. It was it was it was good, but it talks about the journey. I think when I realized how special what we were building really was was was a couple years into it when the playbook worked. And we were seeing such morality within the community. And combined with the sort of wave of inbound marketing, and just how much success we were driving for the business through these partners. It made you realize like this, this is really something special. Pete used to joke with Halligan that if the partner program contributed 50% of the company's revenue in a in a quarter that Pete could have his job. They can pick and take Halleck ins job and we got pretty damn close. We got we probably got to like already 640 7% on a pretty consistent basis. We never quite quite crossed that 50% mark, but you know, just just knowing how much your role was was contributing to the rocket ship that was HubSpot back in 2013 2014. Like it made you realize that you were you were really onto something. You were really contributing to the success of

Isaac Morehouse  9:53
it. To what extent do you think what happened at HubSpot chime in there real quick? Yeah,

Jennifer Linnehan  9:58
I just want to comment and something that Kevin said, because I also remember that Halligan had the aha moment around partnerships. I remember when he stood up there, and he was doing some sort of presentation. And it was the first time that we saw him say, Okay, if he talked a lot about like, CAC, and like, if you put $1 into the machine, and you get $3, out or $4 out, and I remember him comparing the direct channel and saying, Please don't like, hold me to these numbers, but it was like, you put $1 in on direct and you get $3 out. And then he contrasted that to the VR program at the time. And he said, if you put $1 in machine, we get $7 out. And it just felt like from that moment forward, you know, there was like, top down buy in, when when Halligan and probably the leadership team could see that very clearly. It felt like there was top down buying, which I think doesn't always happen. But like, if you don't turn that corner at an organization where, you know, everybody from the top sees the value of that channel, sometimes it can be an uphill battle.

Jared Fuller  11:08
Isaac, you were hopping in.

Isaac Morehouse  11:11
All right. So my question is, to what to what extent do you look at what happened at HubSpot as a unique right place at the right time? You can't replicate that because that that that plays already been played. Now was a moment in time where things were at a certain point of evolution, where martech was new or this? And to what extent can you say no, these are there are some enduring principles here that can that can apply repeatedly, over and over again?

Kevin Linnehan  11:41
Well, it's obviously both right. Like, I think that the the wave of inbound is likely to not be replicated. I mean, you could say it might be right, but like, probably not. And just the combination of factors that all converge at the same time, I would say it's pretty hard to replicate. I would also say that my my biggest learning was, was actually after I left HubSpot, and join Jared. And I realized how hard the HubSpot partner model would be to replicate in in drifts business, or now since leaving drift and being being a part of other companies. Same thing, right? Like, I don't think that that model works in today's sales organization, or SAS organization. But there are those key principles that I truly believe made the program, and the people within it so successful. And that's the partners that as us as ICs, or sales leaders, right, there are a number of those principles that should should be replicated, we should all strive to, to replicate those things, because I think they were a little bit ahead of their time. In terms of the partnership game,

Jared Fuller  13:08
namely, help your partner build a better business. What's the first one that comes to mind?

Kevin Linnehan  13:12
Oh, geez. Yes. Make your partners famous? Yeah, that's harder to do is is how, you know, how do you solve your partner's problems? And, you know, to your point, or build a better business as much as you're solving their client's problems, right? I think that a lot of programs were start by, hey, this is the value that this solution brings to your clients. This is why you should use it because it drives better outcomes for them. But we we were maniacal to your point about helping these agencies build stronger, better businesses. And that was what really looked back. I think a lot of our partners looked to us as true trusted advisors, folks that can really count on to help their livelihood. And again, this is HubSpot. And, you know, let's rewind the clock to 2011 2012 these are very small businesses, right, our customer base was super SMB and the agencies that serve them were were tiny, you know, I met Bob buffalo of impact branding and design, who's now one of spots biggest partners, when he was a six person shop working out of his his parents basement and then you know, out of his out of his house like it was.

Jared Fuller  14:31
I want to I want to ask you to I want to interrupt you real quick Kevin and ask you a couple of questions to both of you. Or just about Bob specifically. Can you call Bob today and would he pick up your call Kevin

Kevin Linnehan  14:42
100%. Yeah.

Jared Fuller  14:44
Okay. Where did where did either of you have direct sales experience prior to joining HubSpot? You voted Yeah, we both did. Can you can you name someone that you sold to where you could call them and they pick up your call?

Kevin Linnehan  14:56
I cannot know.

Jennifer Linnehan  14:58
I can't either.

Jared Fuller  15:00
I think some, I like to harken back some of these conversations that we talked about to first principles. And like, I like to say the same 10 things, 1000 times versus 1000 things, you know, one time. That's the power of compound interest and action. That's really, really important, I think, for a new world go to market people to understand, you know, if you're coming from sales, you're coming from marketing, you're coming from any other position where it's a transactional relationship, versus a relationship where you're truly there for the long term. Look what that does for your network, your career, I imagine that both of you to some degree took those relationships that you built, during your time building in a math, you know, an amazing partner program that are still with you today. How different is that than other business relationships? You know, one on one, et cetera? I mean, that's, to me, what I find so fascinating is that this partnerships moment, if you actually help people, like, to your point, Kevin, you're a maniacal about helping them build a better business of fixing their problem. That's a relationship that you have in your network you and carry forward, whereas all these AES out there, like, you know, walking down President's Club aisle, the gong show the zoom, oh, my gosh, number one on the quarter board, guess what, in three years, it doesn't mean shit. It means nothing. Whereas if you really help, you know, 1020 30 partners, these are relationships that carry forward with you for quite some time. I mean, Kevin, we went through battle together, and we're still we still we still talk. We still talk,

Kevin Linnehan  16:31
right? But it's an attitude. And it's, it's a mindset, you know, individual contributors, folks that are in leadership, in partnerships have to bring, bring that mindset to work every day for that day, it doesn't just happen because you're in partnerships, like you've got to be really intentional about it. You and I Jarrett saw, you know, definitely a few folks in, you know, adrift, where they really struggled to get out of the transactional sales mindset, and really be focused on building the relationship. So I think it's, it's definitely something to be intentional about. And I think that's what makes a great, a great part of professionals

Jared Fuller  17:15
play long term games with long term people.

Isaac Morehouse  17:17
Yeah, it's the difference between partnering with someone, and having someone who is in your partner program, or who is technically a partner, right? Like, if you've actually partnered with them, you've done something together. That's that that shared struggle, that shared success, that's that person, you can go back and call even in a small way, if you've done a co authored a blog post together, or a webinar together, or if you've worked on a, you know, software, integration together, you've co developed it, you've been through something together and achieve something together. That's where and that's where you're going to be able to tap into that living in market information. Because that person will also give you real candid information about what they value, whereas someone you sold to, if you close the deal or not. And you ask them for feedback, they may give you some but it's not going to be that valuable. But someone you did something together, you're gonna be like, Hey, man, tell me honestly, what what matters most to you. In fact, I just did this. I just messaged Scott from fernea. And he's like, Tell me about that event that we did together. Like, what worked and what didn't? What did you like? And we went through just the scheduling and planning together, right? It's just a little mini challenge. It's a little mini battle. But now we're like, you know, we're bonded. We're a band of brothers. We went through something together, he's gonna give me real feedback. And that's the kind of stuff that just it's such a big difference to just like checking a list or completing a transaction.

Jared Fuller  18:42
Jen, I think that's a really good segue to, you know, post HubSpot. Kevin, I've probably add, I've made lots of people throw for how many times I've probably talked about drift on this podcast, I'd love to hear just a little bit about your transition to the VC world. Because what's so interesting is I had a little bit of exposure for about six months to the VC world in terms of them being a customer, which you're aware of, I don't think our listeners are so we won't talk about that. But the period that we shall not be named. What I noticed that was so interesting is that you know, VC world, you don't have go to market teams in VC world. Right? You don't have sales and marketing and a funnel, what do you have? It's it's departments that are called things like platform. Now platform at a VC doesn't mean the same thing as platform at a tech company, of course, but you have partnerships platform, which means that a community everything that you do in venture capital is based on what relationships right partnerships, things that last over time. How did that how did the HubSpot experience and being partner pill if you will, working with pika Pooja and seeing these businesses be transformed these longer term relationships right? Like how loyal are these people to HubSpot? 1011 1213 years later, it's wild to see they still fly the orange flag everywhere. And then why do that make you pivot into Vc.

Jennifer Linnehan  20:01
It didn't make me pivot into Vc. But I have, you know, the relationships I built at HubSpot in the channel. We're not necessarily transferable. I did build relationships. Like I remember one of our like our very first Japanese partner, she one of the women like gifted me like a baby bag, and we still are in touch on like, Facebook and, and so those relationships personally have like gone on and developed. But unlike Kevin, I haven't really been able to take those relationships and then leverage them in a new like, way in business.

Jared Fuller  20:40
Was it a signal to the high Alpha team? So like, I also didn't call that out? So Jen, you lead partnerships with high alpha? Like, thank you party incubator, part accelerator, part VC Fund, which is really cool. Everyone gonna try a high alpha, if you haven't yet. And see Jen speak at pls summit on the so there's our mid roll plug. Was that a signal that you could build these longer term relationships, you think to the Eric or Scott or the high Alpha team?

Jennifer Linnehan  21:06
Well, initially, I was hired not to do partnerships, per se, but what we realize so, so high alpha, as you mentioned, Jared is one part studio. So we actually do have like, go to market marketing and those functions on the studio side, because we're starting businesses, and we are like CO founding businesses with them on what is more traditional,

Jared Fuller  21:28
but not for not for recruitment, though, just to interrupt you. That's not for recruiting new new people or new ideas that's for helping port codes or portfolio companies proper that are incubated and started by the studio company. Right.

Jennifer Linnehan  21:40
That's right. Yeah. And then on the fun side, you're right. We don't I mean, yeah, go to market doesn't, doesn't exist. And so when I started it, high alpha, I was, well, I actually reached out to Scott Dorsey, who's our managing partner. And I just remember thinking, like, how do I sort of leverage what I've learned, but in a new way, and just kind of being open to all possibilities. And so I reached out to Scott Dorsey who was an old connection. And I said, you know, here's what my experience is, uh, you know, mentioned sales and partnerships. And he, there was no, like, open wreck or anything for for what I was reaching out for, but I think that he saw, okay, on the studio side of the businesses, we help these new companies with everything from, you know, back office to marketing to go to market, but we kind of stopped at, like, helping them sell. And so he hired me and just kind of said, like, work with these CEOs and help them with early traction. And so V, one of my role at high alpha was that and then quickly, I got into these companies and realized that, you know, so we don't even have a product at the stage that I'm trying to help them, we definitely don't have any leads. And so you I ended up sort of being a what I like a well paid SDR. And I remember going to my boss and saying, I don't think this is what you want me to be doing. So let's sort of rethink this.

Kevin Linnehan  23:13
There's one thing though, I think that you missed there, which is, you were actually drawing on years of experience at HubSpot, helping to teach these agencies How to Sell how to sell better and how to sell differently. And that translated really well, I think, to those early days of high alpha, trying to help these founders sell something that they had never sold before, right there your approach to okay, and that coincided really well when with the timing was right around the time where HubSpot was helping a number of these agencies go in and sell sales services where they've never sold to all they've ever sold marketing services before, right. And so I remember distinct conversations where we were going back and forth and say, like, this is what you can leverage from, like this type of training material and apply to what you were trying to help like anvil, and companies with.

Jennifer Linnehan  24:12
Yes, that's true. I remember, like helping them create playbooks, and it still felt like not as effective as it could be or what we wanted it to be. And so that's when it took this pivot to building like more of like a partnerships role where I was thinking of like an advisory network and building a network of people we could lean on to offer feedback and be early beta customers. And so it sort of took this different spin that I would say is under the partnerships umbrella. Which Yeah, I mean, I suppose there are transferable things that we've had don't think about as much but yeah, it was just is completely different, different role

Isaac Morehouse  24:57
for a month from a macro perspective. Do you? How do you think your knowledge and immersion into into partnerships and seeing how this this plays out? And what a different what a difference it makes and go to market to have those, you know, indirect routes? Does that change the way that you look for and assess investment opportunities?

Jennifer Linnehan  25:22
Yes. And what I, if I understand your question correctly, Isaac, when when we are evaluating a deal, for example, like, is there a strategic partnership on day one or some sort of like unfair advantage that this company has that? Is that where you're going? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I would say it's like one of the most important things that we we think about, and that's transferred to the studio side of the business as well, where, you know, you have all of your standard things like, Do we have the right founder for, you know, a really great idea, is there a very clear wedge and a place that we can start, but I'm in more so recently, I would say, of the last five companies that we started on the studio side, I would say three of those have started with some sort of partnership, either established, or that is, it's clear that like this will transpire into something which is very different, even then, two years ago, three years ago, where that was sort of a nice to have. And now we very much view that as that unfair advantage day one, be able to come out of the gate swinging as like, you know, that will that will heavily influence our decision on whether we're going to start a company or not.

Jared Fuller  26:41
So today, today, Jen, you have, obviously, it's kind of funny. There's a lot of partner language built into venture capital. And actually, ironically, I think you're the first VC proper that we've had them partner up. Now we're gonna have a lot more I think Christina Cordova was still at notion. Now she's at first round. So technically, she doesn't count because he wasn't a VC then. But there's partner language and lexicon built into the very world of venture capital, you have things like what general partners or limited partners, and then you have all these other things around here, like they are committed to your business to some degree. But tell me about like the partners proper that you have today. Like, it's really everyone. It's like, your LPs are a partner type. And then you have some tech companies that you work more closely with. You have, like, how is that the same? Or not the same? You know, today and sitting from today's vantage point?

Jennifer Linnehan  27:31
Yeah, it is, it is fuzzy, isn't it? And it even like, it can vary pretty widely from one venture capital company to another, I know that it's some VCs, like an operating partner is like somebody who oversee just like high level oversees the operations of the portfolio, where in our world, it is a former founder, that's now helping our CEOs like as like a thought partner outside of their board, for example. So there is a lot of like partner language that I think it's a little confusing, and VC because it can vary very widely.

Jared Fuller  28:07
But do you view those like, do you view those all as partners, right, like part of the network that is high alpha, the ecosystem that's, you know, sort of being created like, everyone's a partner? Are there specific kinds where you're like, Well, no, not really, like, I don't really think about LPS or do you think about LPs? I mean, I'd have to imagine that you. Like, if an LP can help a Porco with something like you're, you're probably doing something with them. Right.

Jennifer Linnehan  28:32
Yeah, that's really interesting. Yeah, I mean, it's I, I don't, but I imagine our partners do. A lot of our limited partners are on our board as well, and therefore, like, you can leverage them in in a way that like I wouldn't, because I don't sit in those meetings with the way that I view partnerships, at least in my role, you know, for years now, like you can I actually spent quite a bit of time building our parts perks program for a while and like reaching out to technology companies and you know, trying to part partner with them on like giving our portfolio especially the really early stage companies steep discount sort of upfront to use their technology. That's been a little commoditized. I would say even over the last few years where I tried to get much smarter about okay, like, for example, these new studio companies, the transition from founder selling to Sales Team selling or even the first two salespeople selling, they would benefit from a gong like technology or chorus like technology where they can sort of develop this knowledge base and record all their calls and then they can hand it to their first salesperson, right where that's a technology that usually is quite a bit later stage, at least the way that they position their use case. And so it's worthwhile for me to reach out to Gong and not just say, Hey, can you offer a discount, but also like, let's train our CEOs together on how they might use this. And so through the perks, lens and VC, I think that sort of partnership works very well. When you're just thinking of it through like the discount mindset. I think that's not super value added. You know,

Isaac Morehouse  30:28
it's interesting, Jared, I'm glad you sort of teased out the the parallels here, because so when I, when I was raising for my last company, when you talk to VC firms, what they will pitch you is hey, we're value add, what does that mean? That means that we can do more than just give you money, right? As a founder, that doesn't mean much to you. If it's like, oh, we're going to call you and give you advice. Because most of the time, with very few exceptions, you're like, Yeah, right. Oh, we're all operators ourselves, we're gonna call you and give you advice. You're kind of like, hey, maybe, but what does matter? Is their ecosystem? Who's in that venture capitalist? Who's in their ecosystem? Who are their limited partners? Who are there other portfolio companies, who are they one phone call away from, that's relevant to your business, and they'll and they'll try to offer different things, hey, we have a Slack group where founders can talk with each other. Sometimes that's beneficial, hey, we have perks, we can get discount, sometimes that's beneficial. But the process is a founder of assessing the value of partnering with them by taking their money is very similar to I think, if you're running a partner program, and you're trying to get people to come into it, yeah, they're gonna they're gonna look at all those same things. Who's in your ecosystem? Who do you have influence with? Yeah, maybe a community in a Slack group is good. Maybe an FAQ page is good. Maybe a list of discounts is good, those are nice. But what I really want to know is who's in your ecosystem that I am gonna get to benefit from because now I'm in their ecosystem?

Jennifer Linnehan  31:53
That's right. Yeah. And that's why you've seen the rise of like platform type roles or community type roles in VC. I, it's exactly what you said, Isaac, where money's not enough anymore. So what else can you offer me, and, you know, that's valuable outside of money. And I think that something that we've seen that is very valuable is ecosystem and, you know, relationships that you have, and doorways you can open, which is obviously very tied to partnerships.

Isaac Morehouse  32:22
So we also we all know that if you're in partnerships, you know, to do it, well, you're doing things like giving, you're creating value, you're going out of your way to be helpful. You're you know, you're putting the partner first and their needs. First, you're trying to make sure that it's a win win. Oh, no. Do you? Do you treat your partner at home as well as you treat your partners in business? Oh,

Jennifer Linnehan  32:45
am I supposed to answer for like?

Kevin Linnehan  32:50
Let's get both. Boy. I'd love to say yes, but there's probably no. Right. More recently,

Jennifer Linnehan  33:03
thoughtful, you're thoughtful. I mean, I'm probably less. I probably don't do that as well as you do, actually.

Jared Fuller  33:12
Okay, yeah. That just 180 From where we thought that was gonna go, by the way. And I think we just made the Lenahan household slightly happier. So there we go. It's interesting. The parallels that like, exist around us everywhere, like, you know, we just wanted this great analogy. I love that segment Gen where Isaac and you were, we were kind of like all figured out like, look, this is a partnership whenever you're giving someone money. And like there has to be more value outside of that transaction. Right. So like, in a personal relationship, where I had this quote the other day, from Tony Robbins of all people to you know, like, it's Tony Robbins. So he's rah, rah rah and everything. But he said, I think he could replace relationships, partnership, partnerships are somewhere new, somewhere you go to give, not somewhere you go to take. And like, that really struck me at home and like how I think about like my relationship with my wife. And not that I'm asking, you're trying to put either view this by genuinely not. It's just the moments where it's like, things are great in the household. I'm in like giver mode. In the moments where things are like really hard. I'm in take mode, right? Like, I have lots of demands of my own family or my relationship or whatever. And I'm like, God that exists. That's literally the same thing with my partners. Right? And so when I'm in give mode, everyone loves me, right? And it's like, Hey, I gotta, I gotta call in that favor. Now. Like, I got to do that thing. I need you for this. I actually don't feel as happy. And then my partner doesn't feel isn't that it feels really weird to like, there's something here and I'm certain as a couple without, you know, risking anything, you know, existential here. You probably have experienced that same dynamic to some degree as well. Yeah, absolutely.

Kevin Linnehan  34:59

Jennifer Linnehan  35:01
Isn't there a book written about this too? By the way? I think it's like called the love tank that you're

Kevin Linnehan  35:06
aware. No, you made me read that book. It's called his needs hernia. Oh, got it. Yeah.

Jared Fuller  35:13
See, Kevin's like, I remember that book.

Isaac Morehouse  35:16
I thought he was gonna say you made me read that book. It was the partner has changed our relationship

Jared Fuller  35:21
forever. No, there's there's a book called partnering that just came out to from Simon Synnex Publishing Group. The authors blinking right now that's not bad. It's it's about partnerships, writ large, like, from personal relationships, and like why the next evolution of a relationship is a partnership and what that means. So friends, family, spouses, you know, business like troop co founders, right? Like what a real partnerships mean, it's a phenomenal book. But you're you're making a point, Jen?

Jennifer Linnehan  35:48
No, I Well, were you asking like our relationship? Or were you asking?

Jared Fuller  35:53
I'm just saying, I've observed that whenever I have, like, is it true? That partnerships are a place where you go to give not a place where you go to take, because if it is true, I've noticed when I'm in a giving mode, like I'm giving to my family, my partner, my whatever business or in life, I actually feel better. But then there's some times where I do have to take Yes, right. Like, I got to ask nothing in return. And I actually don't like that. It's not good for me. And it's not good for the other party. So it's like, Well, no wonder the relationships where it's all about take the never lost partnerships and never lost. Have you experienced that? Like, is that phenomenon? Something where I've just, you know, put in my own head? Or do you feel like that's in your own partnership? In those walls or outside?

Jennifer Linnehan  36:35
I mean, you know, yes, that is that is very true. i It's interesting, though, I heard something the other day, something you said just made me think of this, but I heard something the other day, where if you ask somebody, like for an introduction, or you, you ask somebody for something, especially like in the professional sense and say, Hey, will you, you know, do XYZ? There, they actually feel more indebted to you. Like, that's, that's a way of like building the relationship, even if you're asking for something. So I don't know if that's a take, or a form of a take. But I just thought was a really interesting thing to ponder because I think that it just goes into even if you're asking for something, it's still like a form of relationship building.

Jared Fuller  37:23
I think there's, there's some, like ordinal scale, where you at any given point, you can't data driven, say, like, Hey, that was a transaction out of this bucket, you know, take or a transaction, this bucket give, like, if you ever tried to measure it, it's like, it's like quantum theory. It's like spooky action at a distance, you try to measure it. And by trying to measure it, by the virtue of you just very much trying to measure it, it doesn't exist. Right? So it's like one of those things where it's like, yeah, you have to have to do those takes, or shouldn't even call them. There, it kind of feels, it's not necessarily a take, it's a again, it's this sliding scale, so to speak, where it's not like hard line, it's a you're acting in a way where there is some expected or anticipated reciprocity, right? So if you're, like, let's say, demanding that someone make an introduction, or they must do this thing that probably doesn't go over so well, in business or at home, whereas if it's part of the relationship, right, so done, right, it doesn't necessarily slide the scale too far that other direction towards what would be a take.

Isaac Morehouse  38:24
I'm gonna play I'm gonna push on this a little bit, because I actually was just putting together today a presentation that I'm giving tomorrow for a career workshop on how to build social capital. I'm going to push on this a little bit and try to stick with the give ask language. Because sometimes a what sounds like an ask is actually another type of a gift. So So if I go to somebody and say, Hey, will you watch this video and give me your feedback on it? That's, that's an ask. That's kind of a burden to them. Somebody I've never met, I get a cold email from someone saying something like that to me, go look at my website and give me feedback, guys. I'm like, Oh, if that same person emails me cold and says, Hey, I've noticed you want a lot of different podcasts. How do you decide which podcast to go on? I'm actually happy to answer that. I'm flattered. Why because they have given me an opportunity to do what every human loves to talk about themselves. They have flattered me by saying you are good at something you have something I wish I had. Right?

Jared Fuller  39:21
Kevin smiled really big in that one. I think I think Kevin does that. Sometimes. Just FYI, I saw that big smile.

Isaac Morehouse  39:27
Like that's a different, like, especially if somebody's younger than you or whatever. And they come to you for advice in a way that's not super demanding of you except for Hey, tell me why you do this. Why are you good at this? What do you think about this? Do you have any advice for someone who's looking for their first job, whatever, that's actually a give. They're giving me an opportunity to do whatever the person wants to do talk about themselves and give advice to younger people. Right. So like, I think sometimes it's like a language game maybe but putting yourself in that spot and thinking what, what would I like to be asked or approached for that's not a hard one for me. That doesn't create a big burden for me, it actually feels good. You know, ya

Jennifer Linnehan  40:01
know, and I run our advisory program. And that's absolutely I am constantly asking people in our network for advice on, you know, hey, is this a good idea to poke holes in it? Is it is it a bad idea? And what I've learned and building our advisory network, one of the things I've learned is this idea that like a lot of these people who we've invited into this network, are climbing their second mountain. And what I mean by that is, I think there's actually a book called Second mountain where the first mountain is climb, climb, climb, and it's all about like, Can I get a big title? And can I, you know, sort of all these external impressive things, where your second Mountain is all about, like giving back. And so when somebody offers you even through an Ask a way of like giving back, that can actually be a give to your point. So we're getting a little philosophical, aren't we?

Jared Fuller  40:56
That's what we do. That's a partner of ways first principles, metaphors, mental models. Kevin, I saw many facial expressions during that exchange, which means there are so many thoughts. I would like to turn the mic over to you, sir.

Kevin Linnehan  41:09
Yeah, no, I don't know that. I have any any real thoughts? I was laughing originally, Isaac, because like, I hate to talk about myself in general. Right. So. So not every person loves to talk about themselves? Yeah, no, I don't know. I think my wife summed it up well.

Jennifer Linnehan  41:31
The personal like, bucket thing is, is real of like, I probably tend to think often about, are you taking from my love tank? Or are you giving, and I think the health of a relationship can very much be tied to that,

Kevin Linnehan  41:48
if we're swinging back to that, specifically, I think that, you know, two working adults with, you know, pretty demanding roles, two kids, two dogs, right? Like, we all, we each have our own stuff going on, right? And so the more that I can recognize what she has going on, and lighten that load, or lessen that burden, or make it easier for her to do what she needs to do, like, obviously, things are going to be better in the household. So going back to partnerships, right, like, if you really understand what your partner is up against, what they're facing at the end of a month, or end of a quarter, like your ability to help them through that, as opposed to asking for that deal signed, or help getting a deal over the finish line when they've got this mountain of other stuff. Like, that's absolutely true, you know, in relationships and partnerships in life, right? Like, how do you think about how do you lessen that other your partner's burden, but you have to understand who they are and what they're going through?

Jared Fuller  42:55
What's what's so interesting about what you said, Kevin is, it's one thing to hear some people speak that language and then like, you never know what their home life's like. We both experience the world, like colliding, like professional and personal at the same time, like working at Drift at the same time and like dealing with like, okay, daycares canceled again, like we got Jen and I gotta figure this out. And I really, actually want to point something out. Like, I wasn't a father. Whenever, you know, you came into work, you came, you came to drift. And then it was like three months later,

Kevin Linnehan  43:31
what's it was about three days that you weren't a father, and then three days into my new role you left me for a month.

Jared Fuller  43:38
Yeah, this was Kevin's onboarding. I'm on maternity

Isaac Morehouse  43:40
leave singer. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. pattern here. Just a second. That sounds familiar.

Jared Fuller  43:50
No, no, it's we've worked together for longer than that, Isaac. But yes, that's true. Hey, and I also like this time was way crazy. Those two are not the same. But I Yes. Kudos for that, Isaac. What I actually wanted to say was, like, I got to see you go through that transition. And it actually taught me Kevin a lot about like how he was you would bring that part of you to work, meaning like, you weren't scared to talk about like, Hey, I gotta help with this, or this, or, Hey, I want to proactively do this or this. And I think a lot of people that transition into that kind of like next phase of their partnership, where they have, they're having children, and they have a child. And actually, I've read a lot from Isaac about this too. Like, I've consumed a lot of his content on parenting. But then just seeing you go through that, and how you partner at your home actually was really inspirational to me on how I need to be empathetic and understand like, oh, I have to proactively plan and plan around these things. I need to be thinking like a partner. I've seen you do it firsthand. And I just want to commend you on that because for you to say it it's actually genuine. Kevin doesn't want to take a compliment. He'll just sit there in silence but okay, sure.

Kevin Linnehan  44:59
We are Right. I appreciate it. It's It's hard work.

Jared Fuller  45:03
But it's a labor of love.

Kevin Linnehan  45:05
Yeah, yeah.

Jennifer Linnehan  45:06
Yeah, he's thoughtful. And that is you can see it in the way that he does business and partners and also at home. That wasn't my wedding vows. I think something about you being so.

Jared Fuller  45:18
There you go. I mean, and then look at that. Look at that. What

Isaac Morehouse  45:21
a wonderful, sweet way to end the conversation there, huh?

Jared Fuller  45:26
This beautiful, beautiful way to the first couples edition of the partner up podcast. Kevin, I have one final question for you. This isn't more just fun and off the cuff. What the hell? Did you think whatever I started this podcast at Drift. I want your honest thing because I guarantee it hadn't been like what the fuck are you doing? No,

Kevin Linnehan  45:45
not at all. No, I I didn't think that I mean, drift at the time already had some really successful podcasts, right? Like, DC, Digi Shawn lane, right? They were already a velocity, right? They were all running, running their podcasts. I was probably more surprised that you did it on your own, as opposed to under the under the umbrella of the drift podcast. I was probably surprised at the time that you were adding one more thing to your plate was probably the most like well, what the hell dude? And that you wanted me to host with you? And I was like, God, that's just No, good. You had a great host and cartels and and so you know you

Jared Fuller  46:38
I had the co host curse. So like it would it wouldn't have worked out anyways. Because I think I've gone through like three co hosts now Isaac's number four. So we'll see how long that last. But it's so cool to have you both on here. It's been great getting to know you both over the years. And I think you just you are role models in your field of work. And I think your role models at home. And I think in this world where the lines are blurring between personal and professional, increasingly the people that who are their real selves, who are their real selves. Like you're just not getting the shady person with shady business dealings and then like a bad family life like those things come back and haunt you like that's why I was happy to like platform this conversation like we got to have a lot of hands on there like to that most awesome people I know. They set a fantastic example taught me a lot about how to be a parent taught me a lot about partnering. So yeah, we're gonna end on a sappy unknown.

Jennifer Linnehan  47:34
Yeah, that is thank you for creating a space for us to talk about this. Absolutely.

Jared Fuller  47:38
Isaac, could we what do we what are we going to end with? PLXP LX Oh, should we should talk about what we're going to do like we should do real quick for the people that actually made it 15 minutes in the podcast. The pls house?

Isaac Morehouse  47:50
Yeah, this is this is perfect. The PL X house. This is this is the greatest idea since the last idea that we enjoy. That's how good at us so so for for PL x, we have the whole partner hacker team and the emcee for the event. We're all we rented a big house and 6000 square foot house, we're gonna be in there, we're gonna have like a drop school. Yeah, it's huge. It's like, it's like a party house. It's got a zipline, we're gonna have multiple studios, where we're on doing these sessions during PL X, all in the same place. And I think what we want to do is like, this is my idea. Anyway, we're gonna do it like real world style, or we're gonna like film it. And then after PL x, we're gonna release like an episode of a reality TV show. We have like the confession booth and everything. That's what I want to do.

Jared Fuller  48:38
We totally are, by the way, if that's what's actually happening, but it's gonna be cool. So if you go to PLS, you actually have a continuity of experience. We have a mainstage we have a podcast room. And we have an emcee booth where you're not just seeing you know, like four different people zoom camps. Y'all are gonna love it. It's gonna be a blast. So if you're not registered, go to pol x summit.com. You can see Jen speak there. On day one on startup day. Just announced some other awesome people like Nathan laka, probably one of the most controversial people in SAS. He's opening up the day we have Andrew Chen closing the day. It's going to be awesome. The pls house you'll get to see us in all in the same spot for the first time ever the entire partner hacker team producing it. And yeah, we will see you all next time when and family. Thank you so much. Thank you. You're

Jennifer Linnehan  49:21
welcome. Thank you so much.

Jared Fuller  49:22
He's our partner up soon.

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