PartnerUp #118 - Insights From Over 100+ Conversations With Partner Pros with Ella Richmond

What is up PartnerUp!

This week on the show, Content Marketer & PartnerHacker OG Ella Richmond discusses everything she’s learned in 1.5 years on the team. She discusses learning out loud, narrowing your focus, and finding the conversations that matter.

Ella emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between trends and truly essential topics. She notes that many conversations she’s seen around internal buy-in involve partner people and executives not being on the same page about ROI timelines. Ella, Isaac, and Jared discuss definitions they’ve come up with regarding partnerships to help partner professionals and executives get on the same page.

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Full Transcript:

Jared Fuller 0:05
All right, what is up partner up? I'm back. I'm back with Isaac. He was just asking me what I had on my shirt. We're recording this on the last day of the month. It says, This is where you know I come from the sales world. So when I'm speaking passionately about helping people figure out the bridge between partnerships and sales that comes from a money making one and the shirt says, Put that coffee down the coffee's for closers, which of course is a call back to you know, the the terrible movie. It's actually objectively I think, a terrible movie Glengarry Glen Ross right as it.

Isaac Morehouse 0:35
But that speech, this is what's so funny, Jared, I like the first time I saw that, I was like, Oh, I love this. Yeah, like hypes me up. And like, you know, I'm the kind of dude where someone's like, you suck. You're nothing like, yeah, that motivates me. Right? My wife's like, I don't understand you're sick. I showed that to my team one time. It was like yours. I hadn't seen it in years. And it was like a teen team of young like, Gen Z, you know? And I like, Oh, you guys got to see this. And they were all just like, why is he so mean? I don't get it. I'm like, you're not you're not motivated by this. You're not hype. They're like, No, not at all. I was like, Alright, keep that one to myself. So I don't know if it translates Jared.

Jared Fuller 1:16
It doesn't translate. But the point is, is that I'm in these conversations with these sales leaders today. And every single one of them relates to the shirt. So it's, you know, I'm just meeting the customer where they are and trying to pull them over to partner line and be like, See, I care about crushing quota just like you.

Isaac Morehouse 1:33
Yes, yes, you got to show that you can close the holes, that you're not just fluffy and all about holding hands with partners that it's actually about driving value for customers, which helps you close deals.

Jared Fuller 1:45
100% Isaac, this is gonna be a fun one today. We're gonna do critical back to the beginning. Back to the very beginning.

Isaac Morehouse 1:55
Yeah. It's funny to say that one of the youngest people on our team is the OG the partner, hacker OG. First person we ever brought on to help us before we were I don't even know if we were fully accompany the website certainly hadn't launched yet. Ella Richmonds has been cranking out amazing content for partner hacker for a year and a half now almost a year plus, and we thought it'd be really fun to pull her in and kind of like, pick her brain see what she's learned from talking with? I don't know how many how many partner friends Have you talked with the last year? Do you have any idea?

Ella Richmond 2:35
Um, I mean, if you count events and stuff 50 100 Something a pretty large number because we've we've done a lot of content.

Jared Fuller 2:44
Yeah, so you've you've seen her name. You've seen her names plastered on the PhDs, you've seen her on partner You've seen her the partner hacker socials, Ella Richmonds, on partner up, the original partner hacker oh, gee,

Isaac Morehouse 2:56
I love perspectives from people at various stages and various points of view, and especially people that have like a fresh outside perspective, the fact that this partner hacker was like your first, I don't know, like professional job, or at certainly your first in the b2b software space. You come in without like baggage or assumptions or buzzwords floating in your head sales, marketing alignment, like all this stuff that the frameworks that people are stuck in, you don't have any of that. So you just kind of come in fresh in the middle of this moment about like, hey, there's something happening in partnerships. And you're talking with dozens and dozens of really smart minds and people in the partnerships world. So with that perspective, I want to know, in the last year, like what are the top things that you've learned?

Ella Richmond 3:40
Yeah, so it out myself in the very beginning, it was really hard. Because, like you said, I did not come in understanding partnerships, or b2b Really, at all. I understood. Basic b2b. So like, I had always liked reading, I understood marketing sales, like I understood the landscape, but I didn't understand how things worked, how it worked together. And partnerships is I, I think in a past partner up, Jared, you mentioned, like partner pros have to be many CEOs. And so you have to understand how every single department works, how they work together, and then you know, different layers. So like, okay, what are we doing, tactically? What are we doing strategically? And I didn't know that. So then, I had to ask a lot of questions. And I think that was, though it was really really difficult. In the beginning, it was it was a gift because, like you said, I did not have any preconceived notions about like, Okay, how is SAS supposed to work? Right, like whenever you came through Connor Jeffers in a past episode was talking about the four epochs HubSpot, right? Like the way that business has shifted over time shifts the need and the way that you have to show up and the things that you have to do and a lot of people get bought into these tactics more than jobs to be done, like, what is the thing that we're doing? As opposed to? Like, why are we doing this? And so, both working with you and Jared and asking the right questions, and also coming in at the right time, I was able to kind of like, see the underlying principles like, okay, what are we actually trying to do here? And what are the right questions to ask and, okay, you know, these are the tactics, they might not always work, and that's okay. So I have a really, really unique perspective coming in. I would say that I'm still learning a lot. But honestly, it was really tough.

Jared Fuller 5:35
Ya know, I've mentioned before that I think like CEOs, that partnerships, people oftentimes get shiny object syndrome, right? It's like, oh, in the, the challenge was shiny object syndrome is that everything seems like an opportunity, right? And what does that mean? It means that no one's really willing to like, make a choice, right? It's like, I need to keep all of my possibilities open. Because the second that I go from possibility to like, actual, like, I have to do this thing, then it's actually closing off opportunities that may work. And I remember in the beginning, a lot of those conversations, it was like anything that I said, it was like a hot new insight, everything needs to, you know, that's the new thing that we need to talk about. And it's like, no, I mean, that's just a piece of the puzzle. And I think, as an industry, and it's incredible to see you kind of come through this only in such a short period of time. It's like, it's my favorite Emerson quote, in that is that a book both opens and closes the mind. Right? So I think your lack of let's say, overarching b2b alignment knowledge allowed you to kind of come into this with a perspective that's like, Hey, I'm just trying to understand what's actually true. Not the current, you know, Zeitgeist and like, all of the negativity that comes along with having been in b2b for 15 years. And this is the way it's always been done. It's like, well, how's that working for you?

Ella Richmond 7:00
In that beginning portion, I had so much inflow, right, like you mentioned, you were saying all these things, you're, you know, putting out all these insights, and it took me a second, but I've gotten to the point where like, somebody will say something like, an Allen out there will say something and it there are very specific threads that I know, very attuned to I'm like, okay, that that right, there is something I don't know what it is. But that's, that's the thread that I need to pull on. And like, because there was so much info it's not. I had to learn how to distinguish between noise and signal pretty fast, just because otherwise, I would have been, you know, going after everything or doing too much.

Isaac Morehouse 7:40
Oh, I'm curious. I know, I had this experience to a degree. I'm curious if you did, when you first started, you know, immersing yourself in this person's world and hearing people talk about like, Oh, this is like this new approach to go to market, we got to do partner first and partner lat. And now it's, you know, near bound. Where you like, why is this new? Doesn't this? Doesn't this sound old? Like, what's new about this? I definitely had that experience. Like, is it? Yeah, but isn't this just like, because I lacked the context of sort of how deeply embedded the outbound and inbound motions had been, and how siloed partnerships as a department had been? So I'm just curious if you had that experience of feeling like, isn't this just common sense?

Ella Richmond 8:22
Yeah, not only isn't this just common sense, but like, like, why isn't this obvious, right? So like, partner, people always talk about the things that they can do. And, and, you know, whenever you're in this bubble, it's like, okay, well, why isn't this obvious? Why isn't this an obvious thing that people want to lean in on? And so I started asking the question, like, one of the things that I wanted to Chase was, why is there a disconnect between people who are partner froze, and, you know, leadership? Like, why is there a disconnect in the by in space, and a lot of that I found out has to do with definitions. So like, nobody's talking about the same thing. You have partner, people that sync one thing, and then executive syncing an entirely different thing. And then you also have the question of predictability. So like, how can you make something happen over and over and over and over again, and with partnerships, that's really hard, is also the attribution thing. Like there are a few very interesting, almost points that that we still need to define. And whenever I was talking to partner pros, who had actually I was like, Okay, what if, what if I go after, and get the perspective of partner pros who had been let go or like, who had had the worst happened to them? Experience the worst whenever it comes to executive buy in and get their perspectives and then write about it. I didn't end up writing about it because it's a touchy subject, but I learned a lot. And most of it had to do with affinity shins, which was really surprising to me.

Isaac Morehouse 10:02
So what do you mean, give me an ID. So a partner department gets downsized, because execs think that it's not creating value, the person that you know got axed or their team, they feel like it was, but they just have different definitions of value, basically,

Ella Richmond 10:18
different definitions of value and also different time horizons. So like, I can create value for you in X amount of time. And then, you know, partner person thinks value is one thing where, like, in six months, I'll have XYZ, they're not like, they're not precisely saying I will have XYZ, and this is why it's valuable to you and like plotting out the whole, almost like, not value continuum, but like this, this timeline of value for the CEO, it's more like, okay, my six months, you'll see the value of this, you'll see the return. And they're promising these things. But it depends on where your leadership is coming from, if they're coming from, you know, an outbound perspective, then, like, they're going to want immediate ROI, they're going to want money, like that's what they want

Isaac Morehouse 11:02
you to be in kind of like, the voice of the voice for the partner world. For with partner hacker over the last year, year plus, the partner pros, our audience, they're who we're talking to, They're who we love. They're the they're the hero of the story that we're telling of this move that's happening. But sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the fact that they're not always doing everything, right. They're not always good at their jobs. And sometimes there's some tough love needed. And that's what were the perspective of like, if you've never been a quota carrier, for example, it's really hard to understand why those salespeople aren't paying attention to you, as a partner, person, or if you've never been a CEO, it's really hard to understand why they don't see eye to eye with you. And sometimes bringing that perspective to be like, Look, partner pros, you're great, you're awesome, here's ways that you can win better. But there's also some tough love needed, which is, I think, I think I've started to see that, especially as the economy has gotten tighter, not only has that better, more unnecessary message, but it's actually resonated, like people are kinda like, okay, things just got real. So I need to know, it's not just rah, rah love, aren't partnerships, great. It's the future. It's like, how do we actually make this work?

Jared Fuller 12:21
Not all effort is correlated to impact. You know, like, it's, it's, there's a fundamental principle around like, you know, not all partners are equal the Pareto Principle 8020 rule. And I think that's, you know, the thing to the sauce out of Ella. And like, kind of the thing that you've learned is like that, that filter versus focus. So knowing when to double down on something, knowing when not to like, what to write about what not to write about. I think Ella, is the perfect example, Isaac, of your philosophy of learning out loud. What do I mean by that? She has to ship every day. She has to ship every single day. Right? So she has to produce some content, you know, for PhD and for socials every single day, meaning she has to make a choice. What am I talking about what's actually resonating with the zeitgeist? So there's a forcing function that allows for both meaning going out and talking to the market and learning what's working, right that that long tail of the feedback loop and focus, and then there's the daily thing here, and to me, that's, that's the key to everything. It's what David canceled, told me, my very first time I talked to him, when he was trying to recruit me adrift was, I was like, DC. Tell me your number one less, like, I want to know, like, what's the one thing if I come here that I'm going to learn? And he said, I'll never forget it? Because it was just such a shocking answer to me. He said, It's about how to reduce the cycles between feedback loops. And I was like, That is not the answer that I expected from a CEO to reduce the cycles between feedback loops. That's what we're talking about here. As an industry before partner hacker before Allah, how many cycles between feedback loops? Could you have on like, what's working in partnerships? Before there was this, you know, community in this content, there was no cycles between feedback loops, you couldn't, you couldn't go read something and like, learn, and then go try to apply and be like, Okay, that's not, that's not the answer. I think that's the key. That really is the key, Ella, you've been sitting in the center of this, you know, seeing all the possibilities and probabilities and partner land and then still having to ship every day. Tell us tell us how you think learning out loud and, you know, reducing cycles between feedback loops has helped you in the past year.

Ella Richmond 14:29
The the biggest thing is that it's helped me learn what are like, trending conversations as opposed to bigger conversations, like what are the bigger conversations that need to be had in the partner space, as opposed to okay, what is something that was important to them one day relevant to them one day, but is not actually going to move the needle whenever it comes to this bigger conversation. And I actually think that that's like that is the question, what are the conversations that we need to have we can talk about As you know, partner people forever about all of the different things and partnerships, but there are specific things that are going to move the conversation forward, move the industry forward. And like if you only focus on Pareto Principle, again, if you focus most of your time on those things, then you'll actually move the industry forward, as opposed to, you know, focusing on those little things that are going to help a very, very small minority of people. Not that it's not important to help those small minority of people. But like, if you're really trying to make change, move things, make something happen, like you really have to be hard with, with the things that matter.

Isaac Morehouse 15:33
This is what I love about content creation, by the way, and especially consistent Constant Content Creation, because to Gerrard's point, you're, you're living in market, you're learning out loud. And what you're doing is because it's like, okay, we only want to focus on what are the big enduring conversations that are actually going to move the needle. But you don't get to those by sitting and thinking about them, you get to them by engaging with all the little ones, most of which turn out to be 15 minutes of fame, they turn out to be trends that come and go, but you don't know it until you engage with them. And so it's that kind of like the stock and flow model of content, where you've got some larger pieces that are there for some staying power, and you got your daily kind of flow of information. The conversations being had in the market you serve are like that as well. They're sort of stock and flow, there's the bigger ones that are like, Hey, this is something that's sticking around, it keeps coming back, it keeps it's growing in momentum, it's getting more important. It's deeper, deepening itself into the layers of mental models, it's getting down and down and more connected to every other conversation. And you can, as long as you can spot those coming a little bit early, you can get on and you can help that process and amplify it and clarify it. But the only way to spot it is by engaging with all the little daily conversations, because one out of 1000 of those turned out to be the big conversation or the big conversation starter. So it's kind of fun to like, have a little bit of a mix of like a gossip rag, it's like, what's the latest thing happened and people are chatting about it. And then a couple of weeks later, no one cares anymore. But then also having the ongoing threads at the same time. It's like, you got to just be like, get messy and play with all of those conversations to get there. Yeah, I want to know specific people, give me like three or four people that you have gotten some specific insights from that you find interesting, because I know you you're a planner, you're a documenter. When I told you like last minute, we wanted to chat on this podcast, I guarantee you made some notes of people you've learned things from and partnerships.

Ella Richmond 17:27
Well, I definitely did, because there are so many, and I didn't want to forget anybody. But the first like, mental shift was Alan Adler, because I started reading his stuff. And I started understanding the level at which partnerships was changing things. So like, it wasn't just a department, right. And like that has to that's the first shift like, Okay, you're seeing partnerships as a department as something that's helping move this thing along, as opposed to something larger, something more strategic and kind of like a layer on top of and then that that's kind of some of the language that we've used. So Alan Adler and his efficient, predictable, scalable kind of model that was really helpful. Recently, I talked to Dan Dan O'Leary from from box, and he's really cool. But he has this cool framework for how you change people's minds, whenever it comes to partnerships. And he breaks it down into three categories. There's the mindset element, the data element, and then the example element. And kind of like what you were saying about content, how, you know, you have to be consistent, you have to be consistently showing up and having these conversations. There is a compounding effect whenever it comes to making change in a market. So like if you think about anything that has ever changed culturally societally, like any of the bigger conversations that have ever happened, it's just because people continue to say them, and then over time, it wears people down, right. So like, literally think of any sort of political move any sort of business move like outbound inbound, like people said, these things over and over and over and over again. And whenever you're changing people's minds, you have to consistently say things so like, if you're a partner person, trying to change people's minds about partnership, it's not just like one conversation, right? It's like this consistent, mindset element, data element, example element consistently over and over and over again, anywhere that you can insert it. So those were two good ones. And then I mean, Jarrods, three C's have been going through my mind on literally everything. Curiosity, conviction, courageous or

Jared Fuller 19:36
generosity, courage, and then conviction. Yeah,

Ella Richmond 19:38
yeah. Yeah, those are amazing. Like, I, anytime I'm in market, and I see people talking about partnerships, I'm now asking myself, okay, what stage are they aren't like, what stage are they and why do I think they're there? Like, what is holding them back? What has gotten them there? And kind of assessing the market in that way has been really helpful. And then the last one I mentioned, whenever I was going through that phase where I was like trying to understand what is the disconnect between partner people and executive buy in? I asked Jason Yarborough, like, what is the problem here. And he said, we have a trust attrition problem and b2b SaaS. And his always basically, like, companies think that people are bought into the company, like, they're loyal to the company, we partner with the company, but people are loyal to people. And so whenever companies don't understand that, they can fire somebody and just think that they can keep the revenue, the things that they can keep the partner. So those were a few. But yeah, I learned a ton.

Isaac Morehouse 20:39
That, that last point, from Jason, it's something it's like, everyone kind of knows, as people talk about it. It's sort of obvious, but all of the motions are still set up. Sales, motions, marketing, like Account Based Marketing, motion, certainly partnerships, company to company, and everything's set up, like you're focused on that company. And even things like, hey, people change jobs all the time, like all the time. And what is the what is the process for connecting to the new person who replaced that person, or going with that person to the new company they went to, besides just hoping that they remember you and they come back to you, you know, the next time, like, thinking from a person first, Mark Gilens is gonna love this people. First, your first go to market mark, one of the My Favorite opening line ever, in a book that I've ever read anywhere is Karl Menger is principle of economics. He says all things are subject to the law of cause and effect. And one of the main, like, that sounds really obvious, everything's cause and effect. But one of the main insights in that book, and then later, human action that builds on that book was like one of my all time favorite books is sounds so stupid, but fundamental principle of economic analysis is that humans act as individuate, the fundamental acting unit in society is an individual companies don't act, right companies are an aggregation that we imagine or a legal thing. But it's only individuals can act, a company can't make a decision, an individual can make a decision, right? A company can't purchase, an individual can purchase a company can't partner, an individual can partner company can't break your trust an individual can. So like, remembering that individuals are the fundamental unit of all action, which all economic activity is based on, is, like so simple, but coming back to that it starts to change some of the ways that you think about these things, like thinking about investing in people, and then you will, the people will connect you to the company, the account, which is you know, this aggregation of people, like that's still real, that's still a useful term and useful framework. But if we only stay at that level of resolution, where we're dealing with company, we I mean, we even what's the word we use logos? Were you logos, it's a symbol that represents what a chain a ever constantly changing mix of people. Well, who was behind the logo, this is the frickin who economy, who am I dealing with? Now, not what symbol who, what people, the layers

Jared Fuller 23:15
of abstraction that we've thrown on top of b2b is like, it's, I think that's why it's always good to have I mean, L is pretty special, let's be honest. But it's always good to have an ELA, right, someone where the book hasn't both open and closed hasn't closed the mind, right? Because when we speak in these abstractions, like all of a sudden we're talking about, you know, that that's why I love working with people that you know, kind of take this and can hop into. Alan, you, you managed to get into every single podcast somehow can take Alan's content and like, you know, try to understand it from a first principles basis without all of the, if you're just a CRO, and a year ago, you hopped into Alan Adler's content, you'd be like, This guy is crazy. He's absolutely insane, right? Like what he's saying has no bearing has no bearing whatsoever on how my sales team makes money. So I have no idea what he's talking about, doesn't apply to me at all. And obviously, a lot of what Alan writes about is, I think, very much true from an orchestration perspective. And there's a lot more tactical things that fall out of it one way or the other. But I think the point is, that the first principles that Isaac you and I talk about on this podcast, I think, are much better guiding principles and people in partnerships are much better suited to drive those conversations than who, that operations manager or that finance person or the MBA that you know, can create the world that they imagine that they can design through spreadsheets and stuff into existence. We're getting a bit esoteric and Austrian here for those folks that are economics geeks, but like that's the reality, like there's a reason why a Nobel Prize was won with a fatal conceit. You know, it's like, that's kind of our job as partnerships people is to like our work Word partner has something very important in it. And it's about these relationships that matter the value in the trust that we build and bring. And at the end of the day, convincing the rest of our company that like, hey, we were talking about customer acquisition, cost, and website traffic, and all of these various things that we could talk about the end of the day, it 100% comes down to relationships, all of business comes down to relationships.

Isaac Morehouse 25:27
There's this amazing image, I don't know where it originated, but I've used it many times over the years. It's like a, like a meme, basically. And it shows a, like a little thin branch, like two different branches of different sizes, and they're stacked really neatly. And this all these this row of totally aligned parallel, neatly stacked pine needles all stacked up in a row. And under that it says chaos. And then it has a picture of a branch from a pine tree. That's still all together with the needles are all going in all different directions. And it's just a living branch. And it says order. And I love that flipping around. Like we tend to feel like organic living complex organisms, systems, humans, that's chaos. I want to dice it up and break it into little parts that are legible, they're all uniform, they're all lined up. But that's actually chaos. That's that's death, right? That that those pine needles are going to be brown in seconds, they're detached, there's no system, it's just, it's this arbitrary kind of brutalist structuring of matter in a way that feels more calm to me, because I have more control over it. But it's not living, it can't do anything, it can't create oxygen, it can't create a room for birds to nest in, it can't do any of the benefits that can even be beautiful. It's hideous, actually. But it's orderly, right fits in a spreadsheet. And that idea of order being the one that's actually messy, the order that is emergent, and that is kind of unlike when you approach business that way, you want to create that sense of legibility because you have control over you want to cram it all into your frickin funnel, stages, labels, right? Here's the handoffs, this person owns it, then this person says, Oh, do people like being handed off? Do you like being handed off? Right, like, but we think that way, like, were we digitizing, and I get it, because we're dealing with data and scale and technology. But figuring out how to use those tools to serve us, instead of make us feel like we're getting widgetized and crammed into those tools against our will. That's really what we're trying to crack. And we'll mark here,

Jared Fuller 27:34
what is it called when it's like, I am going to let go of this control mindset. And you know, let's say understand things more at a fundamental level, like I've been on this rant about partner attach, right? Like, look, stop trying to attribute everything and design everything perfectly. Just look at the cohort partner was involved. Did it perform better than baseline? Yes or no? Like? That seems like a more honest approach to like figuring out how things work. What does it call whenever someone you know, makes that leap? And goes, Okay, I'm going to let go of control?

Isaac Morehouse 28:06
That's a great question. I don't know if there's a great name, I mean, like intellectual humility, thinking about emergent order, or people will use like, decentralized systems, I think that's gets a little too associated with like, specific forms of data structuring and things like that. But that's a great point. You know, there's a lot of this was kind of a trend like, maybe early, early 2000s. You mentioned FA Hyack, who was famous for a lot of this type of writing, but there was kind of a trend with like, his stuff getting inserted into popular things, or even people that had different ideas like this seem to leafs idea of anti fragile, very much plays on this. There was this great management book called the starfish and the spider back in the early 2000s. See, this

Jared Fuller 28:52
is why I was here, by the way. So for the folks that are watching, Ella just nodded whenever Isaac said that, but kind of like how have you read that book? I read him nobody you're talking about.

Isaac Morehouse 29:00
He knows all the books, all the books, but like, there's, there's mindsets like that. But I don't know that there's a good term for it. Like what does it mean? I mean, what does it mean to to have that moment and say, Okay, I get it. I can't control or know everything. I want to approach things from more of a, I don't know, systems thinking first principles thinking, I'm not sure Ella, what would you call it?

Ella Richmond 29:23
I don't know. Do you? You've said something very specific in mind, right, Jared?

Jared Fuller 29:26
I mean, it's just that mindset of like, there's this probabilistic kind of thinking versus the statistical thinking, right? So there is a model, there is a map, there is an answer that can be plotted. All things else being equal is always the asterisk, right? Given the snapshot of the world that I just painted for you I am right. And then it's like, wow, I've never met someone so smart in my life. Someone they snapshot the world and like, that's incredible. Like that model is just it's, it's irrefutable given the time actly, you took seven data points and abstracted into our business performance across 1000s of customers 1000s of employees over the next six months, I mean, what a fucking genius. You are, you know, so what I'm talking about is the opposite of that the person going, you know, acknowledging the fact that the map is not the territory, your model is inherently flawed. And that I mean, I guess it is kind of the fatal conceit that I'd like to invert that word where you kind of go, you know, what, I'm going to lean into, you know, the possibility of being wrong. Like, you know, what if what if we truck treated our operating model as if it could be wrong? Oh, yeah. Gas? Gas?

Isaac Morehouse 30:41
Yeah, you know, it's interesting. So I spent a lot of years teaching economics seminars like real basic level stuff. And when people think economics, they think of more like the engineering like scientific planning, numbers, number crunching, econometric stuff, I don't mean any of that, like from the very basic level. It's actually the antithesis of that. It's what can you know, and what can't, you know, well, you can know some very basic things you can know, causal chains, like a sequence of events, when something happens, something else follows. And then for each step in that sequence, you can try to do your best to understand the information and incentives facing the individual at that step. So if I raise the prices of my product, then there's a sequence that's going to happen, the purchasers or customers of that product are going to react in a certain way, based on their information and incentives, I can come up with some pretty good predictions. Most of the time, when prices go up, demand goes down, because most people would rather get more for less, right? That's a pretty that's you don't have to come up with any crazy. And like when you think of it causally, like what are the causal steps in the chain? And at each step, asking yourself, Who is this person? What is their incentive? What incentive structure do they face? Because that's where you get the baffling and the mystery. If you're a partner person, you're like, Why won't anybody listen to me? You're asking yourself, what what are they incentivized to do? What information and incentives do they have? And sometimes you can change their incentives, just by changing their information by showing them something they didn't know existed, but to assume that everyone is acting rationally, is actually a really beneficial starting point, instead of saying, well, they're just crazy. I can't reason with them. Assume they are rational, based on their own definition, right of self interest and incentive. And it's like when you start there, it's just like, just strips it down. If you say, that's all I can know, I can't know all this other stuff. And if I just take a snapshot of what 1000s Of people did over months and months, and aggregate it, I can't come up with a model that explains all that I got to kind of go causally step by step. That was getting all the way in the weeds.

Jared Fuller 32:52
I was I was so in the weeds. But it's so fun, though. At the end of the day, it's like that, if that learning out loud in that back and forth, and like not being beholden to any dogma. I mean, if there's anything that's universally true, I mean, I'd love for you to opine on this. It seems like dogma is failing right now. Our political institutions, our academic institutions, the zeitgeist of like, hey, this must be the way that is b2b go to market. And there's this kind of attack vector from the side that's like, contrarian that's going, you know, I don't think your view of the world is the way that it's working anymore.

Ella Richmond 33:29
This makes me think of whenever I first got started with the company, Isaac made me read. I forget what it's called. But it was something that Marc Andreessen put together with a friend of his and it was like this comic book situation that you can find online.

Isaac Morehouse 33:44
Breaking smart by vaca Tez. Rao. Yep,

Ella Richmond 33:47
exactly. Um, and in it, kind of one of the premises is that, you know, in the past, you had two opposing forces you have like, old versus new world, and what technology allows us to do is take a third option, and that's like, the, it's a third alternative, right? So like, instead of, instead of fighting against the old world, you just have a different option. And you see that in the way that people are coming up with new technologies like new money alternatives, new educational alternatives, even even in the way that businesses are coming up with different ideas. And so I think that like in the past, it used to be a lot more I guess, apt to to respond the way that they did where it was like, okay, either this or this there has to be right answer here. But with

Isaac Morehouse 34:35
DC got to fight to like reform things or go on crusades instead of like innovating around them so to speak.

Ella Richmond 34:43
It was much more reasonable that you'd have to understand where you came from. Like you were fighting against something but now you don't even have to do that. Now you can ask okay, well, what is the real what is the real problem here? And then if the if the old solution doesn't fit, okay, well, like that doesn't matter because we can we can pick a new one But one of the questions that I had was around trust. So like, it seems as though what we're doing with near bound is figuring out ways to make trust scalable, right, but like, and I guess this is a question for Jared or Isaac, how do you make trust scalable? And is it measurable? Because you take something that's like intangible like community or culture, right? And people look at those things, and they're like, I have no idea how to measure that, like, how do we how do we stick our business behind something intangible? And it seems like what we're trying to do with Nirvana to say, Okay, well, these these things, these organic things like trust and relationships, they are the most important things. So we need to in we need to prioritize them. How do we how do we measure that like is, am I thinking about this right?

Isaac Morehouse 35:48
Limit? Let me answer the scale question. And then and then you give your take the measurability one, I think is actually harder. Here's my take on can you scale trust? No, not you absolutely can't scale trust, because trust is a one to one thing that happens, here's what you can do. You can uncover all of the trust that already exists in your network that you're not making use of that you didn't know about. So you can't scale it, you can't turn on a trust machine that's like, oh, buyers need to trust me. Therefore, all like, I don't know, find, oh, this is how I want one person's trust. Let me just plug that into a machine and turn it up to 1000. Because trust doesn't work that way. It's like it's more complicated. It's more tricky, right? This is why, you know, people are always changing that, like the type of content that resonates is always changing, because as soon as it gets gamified, and someone figures out the formula to winning over trust, no longer works, because now people feel like you're destroying them a formula, right? So like, you can't scale the the winning of the trust. But what you're sitting on at all times, is all kinds of hard earned, non scalable trust that's already been won. And you're not availing yourself of it. It's like, if I don't go to Jared and say, Hey, I'm trying to buy a new car. Do you know anybody in town, that's a good person to talk to, then I am totally missing out on the opportunity to tap into trust that someone has already built with him to help me to get the job where I hide, like, speed up that process of getting to the result I want. I'm not the car person that's not like they turned on some trust machine and suddenly scaled trust, and I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I saw your ad I trust you. Right, like it's so and that's what, I don't know if I'm explaining this well, but I don't feel like you can, you can scale the building of trust. But you can uncover trust that already exists in your network at a scale that nobody is taking advantage of.

Jared Fuller 37:43
I think that's fundamentally true, what Isaac just said. There's a couple of comments that I would go see, this is why this is why Ellis here always manages to ask the most interesting questions where you're like, Hmm, to me, I think everything changed whenever we got to look at the, let's say, b2b go to market through the lens of not just my own database, and then this amorphous market, but let's say the, what I call the proximity and gravity of other relationships, right? So there's, there's accounts that I'm focused on in b2b to make it tactical. And if if I'm wise partnering, qual partnering doesn't help that account. But there are relationships that proximity to that account, and those contacts those people. And then there's relationships that have gravity, right. So a lot of importance. And I think this is where James courier and like an FX and like his work on this is actually really, really solid. It's understanding that kind of like influence visa vie proximity and gravity. Now, the second that we opened up the database to look at all of that data, we introduced not just a new object, what do I mean, contacts and accounts? In offer opportunities, like there, it's basically contacts and accounts, right? And then everything else is a related object. Right. So it's x and y axis, x and y axis, there's a Z axis now. Right? That is not a contact, that is not an A D account. It's completely separate. And we're trying to measure something that hasn't had a measure before so to speak. So theoretically, could you measure it? Yes. I think it's actually B would be relatively easy. If you wanted to measure

Isaac Morehouse 39:24
what's, what's the Z axis, the Z

Jared Fuller 39:27
axis is, is the sum of that proximity, and that gravity of other relationships, and then let's say the, you know, all of the fields,

Isaac Morehouse 39:35
so it's like, depth of Connect, it's like connectivity or or something.

Jared Fuller 39:40
It's a graph. It's from a table to a graph is my point, right? Yeah, we we've moved in a world where everything was graph and model or sorry, was is a table in moddable model of bool. To a world where it's a graph, and it doesn't really it's hard for our brains to compute. But it's kind of like quantum mechanics to we'd like to You can understand it out a hole. And there can be an action but anything in between is unobservable. Right? You observing it changes the action, it partnering, and these relationships are kind of that way. But we can't talk about a simple story like Ella, let's bring up I'll bring up one right now where it's like, can you measure and replicate trust? Well, I've written about this, I think in b2b as much as anyone recently in the past year like this trust thing. I've said some phrases that I've said again, and again, trust comes from helping people reach their promised land, right? We trust people who've been to the places that we want to go. So then what activities serve those things? Well, I'll give you a perfect example. What are you trying to do as a business? You have some objective? Well, last year, I mean, we can go search our slack for this person's name, I won't drop it on this podcast. But you'll find in the partner hacker, Slack Sella, a certain person's name that's really popular on LinkedIn producing some of the best content. And I post, like, Ella, we have to get this person to speak at our thing we have to do with whatever. And I went again, and again and again, want to try and talk to that person called DM after cold DM. I'm like, I finally get introduced to this person visa via relationship right near bound. And then what do I proceed to do? Help. Right, so I've been helping this person for months on a personal thing. And then what did we just secure yesterday? Allah, this person keynoting. Right, the summit. So there's clearly actions that you can take. So my point is, is that was intentional, right, like, I knew, hey, if trust comes from helping people reach their promised land, then I gotta try to help this guy. And I did. It was cool. And then I made it ask and I got the ask. And it's a big deal. Like, this is a giant naming people are gonna go Holy shit, but that but

Isaac Morehouse 41:51
that's my point to the scalability, you couldn't write? Okay? Now take Jarrett's playbook and go do that 100 times, and you get 100 keynote speakers that are really big, right? Like, it's, it's, you build trust. And because there are things that are unique, and they're inherently hard to scale, they're unique to you. But you also did tap into trust already built in your network. That's the part that is scalable. That's the part that we're all sitting on this network. Like we don't even know I used to tell jobseekers this all the time. You don't know who you know, that knows who you want to work for. So email everyone in your in your network and say I'm on the job hunt, I would like to get a job at this place. I made an application. Do you know anyone and you'd be shocked how many times there's like a friend of a friend of a friend somewhere. That's trust that's already there. And you're not looking for it. So you don't see it, you think you have to go build trust one to one cold with that person, which takes a lot longer. Somebody else already did that. And they might already trust you. So like making those hops in your network, networking, your databases. It's like that's where the scalability comes.

Jared Fuller 42:56
This was to fun. Ella, you're going to be coming down to St. Pete. Right? Yes. So we're gonna have like the whole partner hacker OG crew here, right? Oh, yeah. All right. So there's gonna be more in studio sessions where we'll geek out with Isaac, Ella and me. But I wanted to, maybe this would be a good way to end Isaac. I wanted to give Ella the space to thank all of the people who've helped Ella, become an expert in this space and produce amazing content aggregated and kind of be a filter and a voice for all of us. Because without all of you that listen to partner up and read partner hacker daily, helping, right like we're trying to help you but you're also helping Ella like that's that to me has been the coolest thing is watching some of my friends and people that I have a lot of respect for hop on a call with Ella and Ella does an interview and I'm like, Oh my gosh, you know producing content for the market. That mutually beneficial. So Ella, who do you want to shout out who has been most helpful to you? Let's give him a plug. As we wrap this episode with the OG partner hacker, Ella Irishman,

Ella Richmond 43:54
honestly, thank you so much for allowing me to say thank you because these people have been amazing. I I really appreciate everything that Cory Schneider Justin Zimmerman, Mark Collins, Joe Rowley, Jamie McBain who else? Like so many people have been so instrumental in my

Jared Fuller 44:16
growth? Jesse Shipman Allen add letter? Yeah, Jesse

Ella Richmond 44:20
Shipman, Will Taylor, Rob Rebholz, too many people to count. But thank you so much, everybody who's helped me to grow and to learn about the partnership space.

Isaac Morehouse 44:32
I love it. I love it too many too many. If we didn't say your name, it doesn't mean that you haven't been a part of this thing. There's just so many people out there that have been huge, so huge, huge shout out to everybody helping along the way. Jared, you got to sign us off. Do we have anything we're supposed to throw in?

Jared Fuller 44:49
No, I don't think so. I think I'm really excited to talk about some of the stuff that we're doing with Harvinder over at mine matrix. So with more to come on that. We just did our big Sit down, you know, interview with him and had a phenomenal, phenomenal, like conversation that made me really excited about the future of business kind of a throwback to old capitalists to like new world and so there's going to be some fun stuff there. But otherwise, we got some big announcements coming up as it relates to our events, but we won't drop them on this episode. Tune in for the next one. So partner up, peace out. We will see you all next time.

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