PartnerUp #124: 1st Time in Partnerships Drinking From the Firehose at Hypergrowth AI Company

What is up PartnerUp!

Matt Sobel, Partnerships Manager at Writer, joins Jared and Isaac to discuss how Writer is using partnerships to enhance their AI implementation for enterprise customers. If you’re wondering how AI will affect the future of B2B, this is the episode for you. Matt shares how his passion for AI led him to Writer, the skill-development goals that led him to partnerships, and how Writer is working to understand the AI market.

Matt, Jared, and Isaac dive into various project management frameworks, including ‘stock and flow.’ Jared emphasizes that he thinks effective project management can help partnership teams get ahead based on the conversations he’s been having with prominent partnership leaders.

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  • What did you think of the partnerships role? 8:36
  • How to hire the right partner? 12:24
  • The power of asking the right questions. 14:56
  • Be the most helpful you can be. 19:14
  • Finding the right partner for your strategy. 22:04
  • How do you get wins? 25:09
  • Crawl, walk, run. 27:19,
  • Doing things that don't scale. 33:49
  • What stands in the way of successful project management? 36:00
  • What excites him the most about AI. 40:34
  • Partner enablement. 44:35


Jared Fuller 0:05
All right, what is up, partner up? I'm back. Jared is in the chair. I'm joined by Isaac today. You got to steal my line last week. Isaac, that was a heck of a conversation with Lochhead. Man. I had multiple people send that to me and be like, I see what you guys are doing over there,

Matt Sobel 0:20
Jared. We've had Lochhead scheduled several times, and it's fallen through for various reasons. And one of one of the times we rescheduled specifically because you couldn't be there. And I'm like, Jared has to be there. This time, we're like, we could not reschedule this one. Again, this episode has been like, rescheduled for like four or five months. It's just gonna happen with or without Jared. So we missed you, but always, always wild and crazy to talk to lock. And I love that guy. He's always he holds no, nothing back.

Jared Fuller 0:49
And no, that's for sure his band holds no punches. So that was a heck of a combo. And then excited to jump back in this week. And welcome. Someone kind of sitting at the intersect of kind of, I'd say, to macro big changes. I mean, there's only a handful of macro like big gigantic shifts in the world that can happen at once. And, you know, here was we talked about partnerships and ecosystems, deer bound channel, all that stuff. Someone's sitting at the center of all of this is, is AI, hate generative AI. I just hate that phrase. It irks me for many different reasons. But we got Matt Sobel over from a writer who is currently drinking from the firehose, and we thought you know, what, why don't we go talk to someone that's sitting at the intersection of both of these so shout out to nearby and Gil rally for injuring us to Matt and being like, writer is hot. You have to talk to Matt. So that's, that's what we're gonna talk about today. Matt, welcome to partner up my man.

Matt Sobel 1:42
Yeah. Thanks for having me, guys.

Yeah, Jared. When we started, Matt was like, Yeah, I've been in this role for three months. And I was thinking, Oh, that's perfect. Someone who's been working for an AI company for three months. That's like 30 years of experience.

That's how we think about it. I writer to write a company is like, since doubled since I've joined.

That's absolutely insane. So I don't know. Like, we're so many different places we can start. And Jared always says even though I kind of disagree with him on this, I'm a story guy. He's always like, I don't want to just like tell your career biography. We can start all over the place. But I guess for me, I've, you know, I've looked at writer several times, especially just right up until this call. And I'm like, Okay, this is, this is like, it feels like it violates every rule in terms of its it does everything for everyone. It's like, oh, my gosh, you have so many use cases, you have so many personas, you're you're in so many places. So I have to imagine the sheer scope of what you're trying to do in partnerships. Like, what does that mean? There's got to be like a million different ways that that plays out. So like, how do you? How do you think about prioritizing your focus, when you could literally be embedded into everything and selling into every demographic? And do it like it's just such a general tool? How do you kind of wrangle that into something manageable?

It's a great question. I mean, we have definitely hold in our focus, right. So writer, high level generative AI platform built specifically for enterprises. Right. And we've honed in on our verticals, which is healthcare, retail financial services, right. But that's still still a massive Tam. Right. So I guess from the partnership side, one of the things that I'm particularly focused on is really like the SI component. So like working, knowing that generative AI is not particularly easy to adopt enterprise wide, we really quickly realize that partnerships is going to be essential for this strategy. And once I was pitched that, going from sales, going to partnerships, I realized, wow, this is like a massive opportunity. So I'm in particular focused on like, the GSI element of where writer sits in and I'd love to talk to you guys about what we're up to here.

Jared Fuller 3:56
Amazing. So when you GSI. So there's, I was looking at your partner page, and I saw, like some smaller ones like a, like a proficient, right. So like proficient was a big partner that we did a little bit with and actually recruited a handful of people from proficient shout out to the OG partner. podcast listeners, Justin Martel's is my co host for a little bit, who came from a listener who got acquired by proficient, also had Ryan Bowlby that we stole from over there. So familiar with them, for example, and there's a few 1000 employees in proficient, right? Like, that's not just your mom and pops marketing agency, they have you learned kind of coming into this space and talking to you know, logos like that it SI is around. Because what's the phrase that every si says, for those of you haven't worked with that size, every phrase, the phrase that si se is digital transformation? Oh, yeah. And I could not think of a word that would upset a phrase that would upset Isaac more than digital transformations. Like what does that mean? It you would be surprised how many billions of dollars have been made off that phrase? What are you coming up against whatever you have a conversation with? Do a proficient si etc. How are those going for you, Matt?

Matt Sobel 5:03
Yeah, those are those are really exciting, right? So like writer, because we're in the generative AI phrase right now, what what we're seeing is across all of these essays, and by the way, we're talking to the likes of proficient and the likes of essential oil and all the above ledger Giloy. Right. There, they are hearing something from from their clients. Across the board, I think every single conversation their clients are asking them, What are we supposed to be doing with generative AI? Because right now, it's a board level initiative. Right? So I think there's we're sitting at a really unique Crossroads at writer where the SI is, in fact, or in some cases reaching out to us asking, Do you have a tool that that can be implemented across my clients that solves this specific need? And what we end up coming across is, there's one use case that they're thinking about for writer, maybe because they've heard about us through like a marketing channel or something. But we end up realizing, wow, there's like massive partnership potential here. Because right ourselves, a lot of those use cases, like you mentioned, Isaac across the board.

Jared Fuller 6:05
What I'm what I'm trying to figure out whenever I'm thinking about kind of the agencies or per meeting per rotation of a business model in the service space, you know, as sighs just basically have a wider remit is what comes to mind is does this non take potentially, time off the table? Right as size and agencies and service firms, they translate time into dollars, and this generative kind of space, and then specifically with writers to kind of taking more of a platform like approach? In terms of like, how I would think about the platform opportunity for writer? How are they seeing this as a digital transformation project as a more billable hours? Not less billable hours? Is it more consulting and processes? I like to unpack that? Because every single technology that displaces time with better process, so many companies fail to translate that into service hours for these types of partners?

Matt Sobel 7:00
Definitely. And I think this is the the place that we're all at now is everyone's trying to figure out how do we wrap services around a platform like a writer. But you're seeing the headlines, right? Essentially invest 3 billion in AI KPMG invest 2 billion, right? So they're all investing a ton of money into figuring out what does the generative AI practice look like, at insert SI Partner, and we're actually helping them figure that out. So like, part of my job and role has been sitting down with the head partners of the insurance practice and figuring out okay, if we're gonna bring this to, you know, a fortune 100 Insurance customer, how do you make money as the SI, a lot of that's coming down to like scoping use cases, you know, figuring out what is the change management look like when we implement, you know, this kind of technology. And the best part is, you know, as we talked about, like, you know, building, you know, an on premise LLM, which is something that that writer does for customers. The consultants get really excited, because they're like, Wow, this isn't just, you know, hey, we sell this thing as a pass through. It's Oh, my God, we can build a business around writer. At least that's what I'm pitching them.

Matt, is this your first partnerships role?

Oh, yeah. If you couldn't tell, like the way you said, Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It's tricky. It's like drinking from the firehose. I think Jared, you said the best. It's, it's far more challenging than I expected to. Because you Renee,

Jared Fuller 8:31
before this, right,

Matt Sobel 8:33
for the last six years, yeah. And I'm probably right.

What it's, uh, yeah. So what did you think? I guess, like, your only three minutes, and what did you think of partnerships role was like, and what are the been the biggest things where you're like, Oh, I had no idea. Like, it was like, this would have been those biggest sort of differences or aha moments.

Yeah, so so many aha moments. And I'm like, learning so much, which is why I love the role in the first place. The reason I made the jump was because I realized, wow, like, if I want to achieve my goal of being the head of go to market or CEO, someday, I need to, I need to, like, learn all of these other skills. So I actually like wrote down like, Okay, what do I need to what do I need to do to achieve, you know, this goal, and it was like, learn how to fundraise with VCs and partners, like, learn about the goals and objectives of go to market departments beyond just sales, right? How to operate cross functionally. And then what I landed on was effectively, like, okay, maybe there's another role within the go to market function that I can kind of like start to check off some of these boxes. I was really fortunate to I had a mentor that I used to be on a sales team with who ended up running and jumping into the head of partnerships roll that writer and she was like, Matt, I you've shared explicitly with me what your goals are, this is the role for you. So back to your question, like what what have I learned? I had no idea truly how cross functional partnerships would be And like learning how to please the folks in marketing, and sales and NCS like holy cow, like, well, I don't even know where to start sometimes would love your feedback on that?

Well, I'll let Jared give you some, some good thoughts on where to start there. But it's just funny observation, as I hear you talking. It's so interesting. I just sort of had this realization myself for years, when young people I would talk with were interested in ham, I want to be an entrepreneur, someday, I might want to start a company someday be a CEO, I would always tell them, Go learn to sell, go into sales, you got to learn to sell, because if you don't know how to sell, or if you're scared to sell, you're not gonna be able to raise money, you're not gonna be able to get your customers whatever. And thinking about it, I might actually change that advice, right now, I might say, go learn partnerships. Now you have to be able to sell at some point. But that's part of it, right? Like, you got to convince somebody to partner with, you gotta like, the spread of things that you're doing. And especially as we think about the way the market has changed, as Jared mentioned at the outset, you're at this incredible intersection. AI is this massive transformation of technology, which affects everything, and then go to market is being transformed because the way buyers buy is changing. They don't like the way that our SAS models are trying to cram them through funnels. And that's why we talked about near bound all the time, like surrounding them with influence partnering with people that they already trust. And so the nexus of these two things is like a partnerships role at an AI company, I can't think of a better setup to prepare you for what are what do you need to know, for companies in the future, not the past, in the future, you got to be thinking about collaboration, you got to be thinking about the entire ecosystem, you got to be fit, like just such a such a cool time for you to take this role and to recognize, I got to expand my skill set. So I'm going to put myself in some place where I'm uncomfortable, you know?

Yeah. And I mean, in addition to all of the learnings, right, like, I personally believe there's a massive earnings opportunity here in the partnership space, knowing how hard it is to adopt enterprise generative AI, like partnerships are going to be essential for any AI company's strategy. And I think that vision is something that really excites me.

Jared, you gotta you gotta give like, three months in partnerships role, super hot, fast growing company. I know, you've got some strong opinions, because you do about everything. You're ready, you're ready. What are some thoughts you've got?

Jared Fuller 12:24
Well, I think that there's a really good thread to pull here. Because for the folks of you that are looking at like, hey, how do I get that next, you know, kind of best partner hire? Or how do I put my first partner person into place? I actually think, Matt, you're your persona, and then your interests are a perfect fit for everything that you just identified. Like, right now. SAS is kind of like the laundry detergent aisle at Publix. I have in Florida. Isaac, you just moved here. So welcome to Publix land. You know, it's like laundry detergent, why choose gain versus tide? Versus downy versus any of these other you know, kind of brands? It's it. Everything's just so noisy, meaning whatever space that you go into, for example, like, Okay, I'm gonna go into sales. Why? I'm gonna go into partnerships. Why? It if your answer to that why question, I think is what's going to make you much more genuinely effective at let's say, partnering with the marketing department. Why? Because you want to learn, people want to work with people who are curious. We just had someone on the team Isaac today that reached out to me, and was like, Hey, I saw you've been doing these nearby and plays. I wanted to pull up my account list just like you had in the blueprint. So we pulled up 360. So this is like a PSM and just curious, like, Hey, how are you doing this partner thing? I work on another team? How are you doing the partner team? That person is gonna go twice as far as the next one. Why? Because they're curious. So you being curious about each department versus having that lack of curiosity, for instance. I think what that enables you to do is be more helpful, Matt. So with each department because you're curious, you can actually go like, Hey, how are you doing this, this and this? Oh, wait, okay, that's interesting. Maybe I can help here. versus going in, you know, asking for stuff. You don't figure out stuff you don't learn Isaac, this is really your zone of genius and all the stuff you wrote about it with practice and crash and stuff like that. I think this is what you know where the secrets are, the secrets are, whatever you're like, hey, I want to be an entrepreneur. I want to be a GTM leader. Go be curious and go be helpful, man, like, just align to the thing that pulled you to the role in the first place, and you'll kick nine out of 10 people's butts that have a frickin handbook. So that's, that's my thoughts. I just loved your answer. And I'm like, those are the people you need to hire the AES that want to become entrepreneurs. Because yeah, the best entrepreneurs or former partner people, in my opinion, that have you achieved a goal.

Matt Sobel 14:56
You know, Jared, that that curiosity, man, that's such a great point. Back in the day, I used to, I used to do fundraising. And I would go meet with all these really wealthy people and ask them to to, you know, be contributors or increase their contribution to this nonprofit I worked for. And I would always want to know about their businesses first, because almost all of them are entrepreneur, right? A lot of money. And I would always start asking them questions, I wouldn't talk about our programs. And I was genuinely curious. I just wanted to learn, I was like, I would always ask this one question. I don't know how I stumbled upon it through all these conversations. But I found out this was the question to unlock most interesting stuff, I would always say, what's been what's the biggest constraint to growth with your company? And the answers to that question is actually what led me to found my first company because every one of them would answer people, I can't find and hire enough good people. There's just not enough good people out there. And whenever I you know, all of my growth has been attributed to hiring the right people, all of our limits to growth have been that we can't find enough good people. But that question applies within your organization, if you want to go and talk to every one of those department heads, hey, what's your biggest constraint to growth? What's your biggest constraint to hitting your your number? What's the thing that right? And like? Man? That's a different question. Because what do we get? I mean, so I'm in marketing, what do you get from other departments? Can I get a one pager? Right? Like you don't get Hey, marketing? What's your biggest challenge? Right, right. Like most departments don't say that to each other, in general, most department leaders most. And so you have this great opportunity being new, you almost have to ask those questions. And that's like a superpower. It's like a superpower because you don't know what you're supposed to do and what you're supposed to pretend to know, you have to go ask. And that's gonna make you so much better.

Yeah, that's kind of like baked into the ethos of Reiter to everyone is, is expected to challenge each other, right? And understand why are we why are we doing these things? So, for instance, we had a sales off site last week in New York, we really cool we're, we're remote first, right? So I got to meet a lot of my colleagues for the first time. And one of the things that really stood out to me was the light bulbs going off as we were presenting why partnerships matter in front of the sales team. And people going wait, you can help us accelerate our deals by getting us into C suite conversations out the gate, like, wait a second, we're going up against the open A eyes of the world. And you're telling me we can we could have a seat at the table now, because we have a partner involved. And I think like that messaging, I didn't realize how much internal marketing I was going to have to do that being into this role. So I guess like, that was a huge learning for me, and I'm still on that curve.

Jared Fuller 17:23
It's funny how much content is being produced right now around the the sphere of trust, even though that's like our old tagline, Isaac, you know, trust is the new data. I'm seeing content from people that I trust posted with that is the core thesis. And there's something circling around here that I think is very interesting for people to take away. I'm like, where partner people have the biggest opportunity right now. Which is, you know, we only trust people who've been to the places we want to go, Matt, how many times have you been a CMO, man? How many times have you been a CRO? How many times you've been a CCO? How many times you've been a CPO? None. Right? So like, inherently, we need to recognize as partner people that have not been in the shoes of these other department heads, low trust, right? We're in a low trust situation, we walk in the door. Okay, well, then shoot. How is trust built? Well, trust comes from helping people get where they want to go. So like the answer to what makes in my opinion, the most effective people are these people that are maniacally helpful, right? And you become my naively helpful whenever you lack tacit knowledge of where that person is trying to go. By being curious. Right? And I think that is really a superpower right now. Like, you know, what constraints are happening in marketing. And being the guy that's asking all the questions, Google do the stuff. And in a company like writer, or, you know, anyone that's disrupting so fast, and these big places like, especially with the SI is to write like, Matt, tell me how you get an SI to launch a product high service on a new platform and integrate it into their go to market model. Here's the answer. There isn't one. Right, there is not an answer. Like anyone that says, here's exactly how you get Deloitte, Accenture to do that. I'm like, no, no, that's how you did it one time, every single time is different with these monsters. So I think you're, you're primed for that kind of opportunity.

Matt Sobel 19:14
So I wanted to like I don't know play devil's advocate, Jared. I don't disagree with you, but I want to like put myself in the shoes. So when you said you know, be the most helpful, right? Be like maniacally helpful. So imagine in your partner in person, and you want to be helpful to everybody else. But I've also heard you, Jared, talk about a you got to help increase your you got to, like focus on partner attach, like, in particular, if we're talking about sales running and you're bound sales play, you gotta have more partners involved in your sales process. So is there a tension between like, Okay, I'm gonna partner person, at the end of the day, I gotta be driving more results. And I want to show that we're getting partners involved in more deals and your marketing efforts and more whatever If you take that approach, you it's like hard to not go and try to convince those other departments get partners involved more work with partners, like, how do you say I want to be helpful to you, while also recognizing that what you maybe need is something that you don't necessarily think you need or what like, right, you see what I'm saying? Like, how do you how do you gonna do two things?

Jared Fuller 20:20
So Matt, I'll pull you in by asking you a question and to answer Isaac's Are you explicitly working across si Xu, you're also touching tech partners right now.

Matt Sobel 20:29
Yeah, we're doing we're doing tech partners platforms. So like strategic partners, those with like, the invidious and Googles of the world platforms with zoominfo metadata,

Jared Fuller 20:37
right. And here's where I might provide a framework that's actually from the writing world, and from the marketing world to the partner world. So for example, stock and flow, Isaac, that's a framework and mental model we've used for thinking about our own content strategy, right? Flow is the ephemeral kind of like, day to day social post stock are these big pillar pieces that make dense over time. So let's apply that same framework to partnering. Matt, like the essays that you're talking about, you know, Accenture versus, you know, proficient, or let's say, even a division of WPP. That's another, you know, big agency si type of organization where maybe you're breaking into a 250 person, right, you know, agency, or you're, you know, working the big dog, how are you thinking about that from, let's say, a sales perspective, like, like getting the the singles in place, so that the flow with, you know, a smaller partner that's like, Hey, we got that win on the board. Because what happens over time is like, they're gonna get Accenture, you know, fatigue, like, yeah, we've been hearing about Accenture for a year now. It's like, in every day, every week, every month, it's like, we're closer, we're closer, we're closer, but it's like, that's that big thing where it's like, you land that giant, you know, half million quarter million million dollar deal. Those are the stock pieces. But that doesn't keep the wheels running. How are you kind of utilizing that to? You know, in your first three months was sales or marketing, whatever department you feel like you're closer to?

Matt Sobel 22:04
Yeah, yeah, it's definitely were like hand in hand with sales at this point. And I think like you mentioned, proficient this is one that to me, I wasn't super knowledgeable about them before I jumped into writer. But I had worked with like the McKinsey's and veins of the world for some time before that. But what I realized was, like, if I'm gonna do this, right, I kind of need to take qual like crawl Walk Run approach, where I get some wins quickly. And I needed to find the right partner to do that. And proficient was perfect, because they had, they had the focus and the industry experience, and they love digital transformation, just like you Isaac, but they, they weren't talking to everybody, that that we could potentially be competitive with, they wanted to find one partner where they knew that they could go to market with with someone and do it, right. Because we had that focus and attention, as opposed to like, calling on every senior partner at a center and the 70 150,000 people that are there, proficient was like the perfect size to get those singles, which is what we did. And then we found that repeatable approach to then bring to larger partners, which has been working really, really well.

Jared Fuller 23:15
So that's kind of my way of answering because I kind of read between the lines, or when I was looking at some of those logos, it's like you have to write you have to secure the bag and have proof. And that's that kind of like stock and flow concept where the thing is, I think the the most tactical advice I'd give after that is that keep in mind that those that story, that win might resonate with the head of sales, or a CRO of VP of sales that he you and maybe the people at proficient that were directly on the account, but that story has to be replicated from Ha ha ha, right? Or each division or each whatever. In recognizing the like, okay, that curiosity that got me that first one, like, that's the same thing that's gonna give me the second one, right? Each context, each business division, it's like, hey, we have proof the partners are working. It's like, No, you had that proof over there. Where's mine? You know, like in the sales team, like where it was my prove it, you know? Yeah, that guy closed it. Okay, cool. I'm talking to you now at least take you seriously, but I don't trust it yet. How are you seeing the difference between because I've always find this so fascinating. Like, the pockets of like the people who might be slightly pilled that are coming your direction? Like you have some haters, and you have some people that are like, Yeah, I will delete it. Right?

Matt Sobel 24:26
Yeah, yeah, I'd be like the overwhelming support now that we get from the believers, specifically on the sales and the marketing side now because we've we've thrown some really successful events that meet their KPIs. I think, on the sales side, they just want all of the partner source tweets now. Like it's not even close. There are like some sellers on our team that see the value. And I think after this offside, I mentioned earlier, everyone is like, oh, man, I need to get involved with this. But to your point, there's people that are willing to take calls with partners, even if there isn't a particular customer in their territory, just to have the conversation and build those relationships, which has been awesome,

Matt, so interesting as you as you answered that kind of like, how did you get those wins? Like you just, I don't know, I'm curious to ask you, if this was just instinctive, or if you have experienced something like this before, or if you came across some, you know, read something about, hey, this is a good way to do it. But that crawl, walk run approach, which I'm hearing more and more people kind of talk about, I remember Jared, when we started partner hacker, you were like, We gotta have a crawl, walk run here. And I'd actually not heard that exact phrase, maybe I had, but I was not, not big. But that concept of like, this is how you bridge the worlds of what you have to do out there in the market. And what you have to do internally is exactly with that. It's like start by getting a win at the internal team can say, Okay, you're doing something valuable, it gives you a little more leeway to go back and put your focus in the market for a little bit longer term, come back with a slightly bigger win, and you kind of get to like, take those chunks. I'm just really curious, how, how did you come to that? How did you like come to that recognition? Like I gotta get a cup, I got to stack up some quick wins.

Yeah, it's I mean, it's a good thing, I truthfully don't know where it where it all came from. It just been the approach that I've taken with foreigners. For instance, I was doing some Channel Sales in a few companies back, I've been a serial like startup guy for a while now. And what we realized was like, in order for them to truly want to, like sell the platform, they had to use it first. So we kind of coined that approach. We said, Okay, if you're going to sell writer, you need to, you need to see how powerful this thing could be across a center internally before you want to just start going to market together. So that's the crawl, walk run, I think is like the same approach we take with our customers and clients. We talk about that all the time. And I think on a partner, partner up episode, I heard AMG talking about it too. So I don't know if it's, I don't know if it's something that I can coin. I think you guys have been talking about it.

It's one of those things like, you know, the well known phenomena of simultaneous discovery, like I don't even know where it came from. But wherever it came from, it's in the air right now. Somehow, everywhere I go, people seem to be talking about it. So it's like, you know, just in the zeitgeist,

Jared Fuller 27:19
I've used on four calls today, not getting the talk into heads, VPs of partnerships, people just like this where like, it seems like wow, this person must be crushing it right now. Like, that company is doing really good. They just made this acquisition. This thing's happening right here. Talk to that a partnership. And it's just you know, it's Groundhog Day. It's like, oh, shoot, I know exactly where you're at right now. And it's like, oh, yeah, but we have to, there's this big thing, and we'll be there in a year. And I was like, ah, we started this call with a joke. So like, I'm just gonna say this bullshit. Like, we both know, that's bullshit. Why did you say that? And he was like, well, you it's funny. Yeah, it is bullshit. You know, like, so what are you going to do and I literally buy to buy takeaway for that conversation was like, Look, what you gotta go do is you gotta go get some wins right now, this quarter, right? You have a qual crawl approach. You got to choose the Geo, the product, the territory, the segment, the reps, whoever it is, where you have the best believers and the best partners, and you need to show that you can bring this into their world, right? Definitively like as a crawl phase, and then walk phase, here's where we're, you should probably go and anchor to that milestone. And then here's the kind of the run phase and you generally know where you want to go. And the org has this big thing that's like happening in 12 months. But by the time you get there, you're now integrated as part of the plan, you have some proof, small proof and then bigger proof. And I'm like, align on that plan with, you know, your CRO and your ops team, you go, my objective is in 12 months to be here. Here's how I'm going to get there and get them you know, involved in the plan. And he's like, Man, I really love that crawl, walk run for me. Okay, that's what I'm gonna do. You know, and it's like, it's not rocket science. It's simple. Not easy. By

Matt Sobel 28:58
the way, Jared knew. You also mentioned the stock and flow ID I think is interesting to kind of like, think about almost layer that on as well. And I got a shout out. Sean Blanda was the first person I heard stock and flow from over over a crossbeam. So shout out to Sean, but

Jared Fuller 29:13
Sean's regretting telling us that by the way, that's a joke. That's a joke. I love Shawn. Shout out, Shawn.

Matt Sobel 29:18
Anytime you give Jared or I like a useful framework, we'll start talking about it so much. And then we'll forget where we heard it. And then we'll just keep talking about it. And like, I've had to do this be like, I know, somebody else told me this. No, but just the the kind of like, you can layer some of these frameworks in interesting ways. But thinking of, you know, crawl, walk around them and get those easy wins, then I can build up but then I also have kind of these two different workflow types that kind of work on different, right, where one is like, I need continuous delivery of some level of value. And then I've also got these bigger chunks. Go ahead, Jared. Oh, I

Jared Fuller 29:50
didn't mean to interrupt you directly. But here's the thing for So Matt, I actually asked you a question. This was my big insight around crawl, walk, run. It's just a Project Management, you know, method, right? So like taking a big objective and breaking it into like, you know, more tactical, more strategic. How are you thinking about managing projects right now? Like, you're probably not at all you're just like, hey, history from the fires, everything's chaos. Right?

Matt Sobel 30:17
You know, it's so funny you say that that is the most challenging part of my job right now. It's the prioritization of the long term objectives and making our way towards that, while managing like the partner source pipeline. And like figuring out how I, I like prove the value of partners, while at the same time like making these things like massive

Jared Fuller 30:38
Isaac, you'll see like, you know, shout out to Alex Hernandez, my chief of staff like Isaac, would Parker hacker exist if Alex was not here? Like, no, I?

Matt Sobel 30:48
Oh, no, no, I'm not sure. And I'm not sure you wouldn't,

Jared Fuller 30:51
you would have killed me. Yeah, he would have killed me a long time ago. And I probably wouldn't have made it to here. You know, absent that, because this was actually a realization that I had when I was at Drift, because I, I you know, as being an entrepreneur, in like running your own company, you you have direct control of product. And you You understand that like how product gets shipped is through project management. So you have these things like daily stand up, and you have a backlog of stuff that you want to do. And then you have a planning and scoping session, you decide what's going in sprints, and like, there's this rhythm to how shit gets better. Please point to me, in go to market teams, especially whenever you're talking from the partnerships perspective, what is your rhythm of the business for improving your go to market motion? And be crickets like, oh, that's the ops team, really? So how do they run it? Where does your backlog of stuff go? Like? What's that meeting look like? Like, there are really helpful role models that are even inside of our own companies for like, how that works. And it's the reason why I built this partner ecosystem roadmap that kind of has like, Hey, here's how partnerships is not a department, but a strategy for every department, you had the head of partnerships. And then there was a role right above that. There was what I call the programs manager. Because the programs manager is just the project manager. And I think that's something to surface really transparently, like with marketing leaders, with sales leaders, with success leaders, you have all the ideas in the world. But what's the plan? Who does what? By when? So that crawl, walk run framework, why is it helpful? Because you're, you're you're sizing, and you're going okay, there's a time horizon? Who is doing what by when, okay, now we're talking a plan. And I think there's some innovation here for partner teams to help be more of that project management and right size things to get shit done inside of go to market. orgs. Like, if you're exceptionally good at helping manage projects and pulling some resources and, you know, just hacking things together, I think you're probably going to be one of the, you know, the marketing leaders favorite things like you're on task, and you're following through on what you agreed to and helping run that project. So there's something there's something there. I'm curious, have you like, looked into that through the org or like the ops team or anything around that, Matt,

Matt Sobel 33:15
you know, I truthfully have and I think everyone is kind of operating in a silo. But at the same time, we have no middle management at writer. So you're held accountable. And I think, on the program manager piece, you mentioned, I love that, in fact, it's actually how we, we work with our clients, right, we make sure that in order to like, you know, accurately and effectively adopt AI, you need to have a program manager, that's not going to be using it day to day, but actually helping you to spread this across the work. Something that I'm interested in bringing back to my team, though.

So, you know, Jared, Jared, and I have actually debated about this sometimes internally. It's probably where you are right now and where the company is right now. Like, you don't need something more yet. And this is something that I've really had to learn, like, you imagine that startups you know, okay, if they're gonna grow, they're going like this. So everything you do today needs to be something that you build on and do more and bigger of tomorrow, but that's actually false. If you've ever seen that cartoon of it's like, it's for prints about products, but I think this is applies to other things as well. It's like, like a car. And it says, like, there's two versions. One is like, you know, MVP is just like a wheel. And then like, you know, the next stage is like two wheels, and a frame and a steering wheel and then the next stage, and it's useless until it gets to the final full stage. Versus the real way to do it is MVP is like a skateboard. And then the next level, it has a handle, it's a scooter, and then it's a bike and that's a motorcycle and that right? And each of those, you can't turn like a scooter into a car. You have to you have to like start over. You can take the learnings from that but it's a Different thing for that phase. So it's kind of that whole, like, do things that don't scale component that things that you have to do at a certain phase, you are gonna have to do something totally different than next phase. And that's okay. Like you can you can go out and execute something to get that crawl to get that early when. And if someone says, Well, what's that gonna look like in five years, you can say, I don't give a shit, I need it right now, we're not going to be doing this in two years in five years, like, Jared, how many times with partner hacker where you like, Hey, we're never going to do this. Again, we have to do it right now. But we won't do it six months from now. Right? Like, you got to do some of those things that you're going to have to change. So I think that's a that's a good thing to remember as well, you don't, you don't have to build processes that are going to scale infinitely and like project too far into the future in terms of like, you're like chunking it off into discrete I guess, phases, makes a lot more sense where like, for this phase, I'm going to build this, and then I'm going to start and build something totally different at a later phase. What I'm building now doesn't have to serve me, then. You know,

Jared Fuller 36:00
totally Madawaska I'll ask you a question. Why do you think why do you think people are, let's say timid for project management, like go to market teams from you being an AE to you coming in at, you know, writer? Like, obviously, the the product is hot right now, and y'all are doing very well. What do you think stands in the way of, let's say? Building, you know, a unicycle, a bicycle, a tricycle? A motorcycle, right, like going up the value chain and iteration over time?

Matt Sobel 36:27
Yeah, it's a good question. I, I guess, like, help me understand what you're getting at here,

Jared Fuller 36:33
either. Is it a lack of like? I heard you say siloed. Right. So like, often I hear response like that. And then the response that I haven't heard from most people, is that what it does? Is it limits choice, it forces you to make a choice, right? And what you told me your biggest problem and challenge was, was that the, the delineation between, like, the big long term, like holy cow, we nailed this thing with X fortune, you know, 100 company alliances in the tech sector, that could be a 10x, that could be worth, not just millions, but 10s of millions, or hundreds of millions of enterprise value, like those things are there in true. But when it comes to like, Okay, we're gonna do a project plan. Well, you have to make a choice. Right? Like, what am I doing now? Like, what is a priority? Now? What are the rocks now? And I feel like the the biggest trap that we can fall into as entrepreneurs or partner people is what I refer to as shiny object syndrome. Right, because everything the next big opportunity could be the thing, the next big thing could be the thing. Is there a lot of shiny object syndrome, but not That's to say it's indicative of Right? Or let's just maybe, say the space and a new role?

Matt Sobel 37:44
Yet? Definitely, especially when, what, especially when you're not sure? Like, is this what I should be doing right now, in the moment? Should I be on a podcast right now? Or should I be you know, I'll be locked into it?

The answer is always yes.

Most definitely. But But you make a great point, Jared, like the reality is, you really don't, you really don't know, especially when you're new to a role or function, how to how to run the playbook in a way where you know that your actions are actually going to deliver outcomes. Something that I I'm really fortunate, I guess, like are lucky to have right now in my role is a leader who is like not afraid to roll up her sleeves and like, be in the trenches with me. Very important, I think like her understanding of the business objectives or OKRs, and then being able to say like, Okay, now we're gonna build a sequence to send to our partners, and keep them up to speed with like, our new use cases. Like that is, for me, what helps me understand my prioritization matrix. And I just hope as I hope we can scale that as we you know, are hiring for like five new members of our team today. If you're interested in partner partnerships, that writer please do apply. Shameless plug, we we need to keep that that like mentality, like everyone needs to kind of be a dude,

Jared Fuller 39:04
I got I got one, I got a partner hack here. I can throw at you that I imagined in writer to like, full disclosure, like this isn't like a advertisement or anything, but I am actually genuinely curious. I do use GPT for just personal things on a day to day basis. Can you put things like custom instructions for like, let's say yourself in writer, right?

Matt Sobel 39:26
That's exactly. It's just like we do that for every enterprise down to the use case level.

Jared Fuller 39:30
Right? Perfect. Perfect. So here's a hack that I've been doing. And you could do this in Ryder today. Or you could do it with GPT if you're on plus, and Isaac haven't told you about this one. It's pretty cool. I can I'll put them in the let's remind me to do this and get these in the show notes. Isaac is the custom instructions that I've been putting together. Oh my gosh, I kind of put together some stuff from a few entrepreneurs that I respect that like I saw them share some of theirs. In the big one the unlock for me was put again to be to be like, I want you to act as my project manager, meaning whenever I come to you with a task, seek clarity. Like, I really build it all out to elicit the next best thing for me. So for example, there was three things I had to ship in the last day. That was doing stuff for other people. But I'm like, Shit, I don't know what to do. Like, I know, I need to get this done. But like, how do I get it done? It is basically act as as my project manager is like, Okay, you should need to get this. You need to go figure this out. Okay, yep, perfect. Okay, boom, here's the compiled doc. So maybe there's something here with AI and having a project manager to help you out? Who knows?

Matt Sobel 40:34
I love that. I love the AI companion might my I want to build a small CEO that knows what my objectives are, and helps me prioritize that.

Jared Fuller 40:43
Oh, my gosh, partner teams, we need that so much. So so much.

Matt Sobel 40:47
Yeah, maybe that's maybe that's a good paint paint us the future mat that you see. Like, when you start thinking about when you start getting a little while I've been speculating a little bit about the stuff you're seeing that you're doing with the writer and where the markets going. What what you see being the biggest differences, maybe we talked a little bit about AI is transforming things in a go to market changing, but like, I don't know, I'm curious if you just have any, any thoughts or any like, you know, chat over a beer, here's where I see, here's where I see business going,

Oh, my gosh, so much we could this will be another hour segment. So buckle up, I I'm just gonna say this I, the reason I'm at right are really is because of my, like desire to learn and grow. But my infatuation with AI, like, I've been a huge obsessor and nerd about it for quite some time. So like, asked me last week, and it'll be like, oh, like my ability to create images and be creative. I think the thing that excites me the most about AI, is the fact that I can be a creator now, without like, knowing how to code or, you know, having like, a really impressive Photoshop background, like I can build things that I was never able to do before. That, by far to me is like the unlock. And then like, productivity asks, like everything I do now, I think like, How can I spend less time doing the nitty gritty, and like, summarize these notes from my call. So like, every call that I have at writer, I synthesize it through writers recaps feature, and I just get the download. And like that, this is like the early early stages here, Isaac, so there's nothing that excites me more about this up.

Yeah, I love that you said the like, everyone can be a creator. And I think it's easy to hear that so often that we kind of like forget just how radical that is and how intense and amazing that is. I hear people a lot lament this. I don't even know if that's true. But I've heard people like tweeting this over the last several years that like, oh, the average like American kid, the number one thing they want to do is be a YouTuber. And like kids in China, the number one thing they want to do is be an astronaut. Isn't this terrible, America's horrible, whatever, like, maybe there's got, I've got kids. So like, I understand the fear of like, Oh, my kid just wants to be a YouTuber, they have no ambition. But if I zoom out, and I asked myself, you know, kids, kids pick things as a proxy, and you're little, you're like, I want to be a fireman. Because you don't have you know, you want adventure, you want to help people you want. You don't know, you've only seen a handful of options that represent that. So you pick something because it kind of is like a standard because you don't have enough. Now, when I think about that, what kids are recognizing is they're the Creator there, they have that autonomy, they have that freedom, they have that. Versus like, astronaut, it's like, I'm on somebody else's budget, somebody else's plan. I'm like a I'm like a cog, right. I don't get to just go take a spaceship wherever I want to. Right. I'm like, in a program. It's all pre planned. It's all preset. Like, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. What kids are scratching out there is what you're talking about. Like and it gets so fundamental. You empower every single person. And what does that change in terms of companies the way that they're set up? Like what is it company? Can you have like a loose collection of people who come together and work on projects and shorter term contractual basis? Can you have like, what is her nurse or

something? Yeah, right,

right. Like this. This is this is so so cool, the more you let it sink in. And we've already seen how much empowering people to create just with the lower barriers to entry of the internet and tools like you know, cameras and everything like that being ubiquitous. You had AI into the mix, and like, oh, man, I think it's just incredible.

Jared Fuller 44:35
Yeah, partner enablement man, like that could be coming next, like, oh, yeah, here's my partner program. Like let's summarize some content for like enablement just in time go to market content. So like Matt, we're gonna have to have you and the partner TV writer back from like, how you're using AI to like help build the partner program to because I'm sure there's lots of champagne drinking and when it's not as pretty dog food, you know, eating their rider right now. Man appreciate Coming on partner up and sharing, you know, the lessons from drinking from the firehose, it's a great conversation to kind of have to balance like, hey, what's happening out there? What's happening at the front line of these companies. Lots of little nuggets to pull out of here into Isaac. That was, that was a hell of a way to end it, man. Like I was just sitting. I was sitting there staring off into space nodding my head like so. Thank you for wrapping up the pod that way. That was an inspirational take. Because I'm like thinking about my own kids. Now, you're thinking about my kids on a partner podcast.

Matt Sobel 45:29
Look, to be clear, I want to go to space, but I want to do it as a creator in my own DIY spaceship while thing I mean, come on,

Jared Fuller 45:38
you know, it's just such such a helpful framework. Matt, thank you so much, Isaac. If we got anything to plug before we bounce,

Matt Sobel 45:45
we will be at catalysts. So this will be dropping, I think about a week before catalyst start. So and we're gonna have a live podcast up there. We're gonna have a live broadcast.

Jared Fuller 45:55
Oh, in the surprise announcement, Isaac during my session, Joe Okay.

Matt Sobel 45:59
Jared has a session Wednesday morning at catalyst a workshop, a nearby workshop. I am not exaggerating. Now. You know, we might hide things once or twice on this show. We kind of like a little high but I am not exaggerate right tell you. This will be the best workshop you have ever attended at a b2b conference. And we're going to drop something pretty big. So come to the workshop, come see us. Cast booth will be all over the place.

Jared Fuller 46:25
If you're in Catalyst at Denver, there is not a another room that you want to be in than that room. I promise. History is going to drop there. I'll put it that way history. So I'm excited. So we'll see y'all there, Matt, appreciate you. Partner up. Peace out. We'll see you all next time.

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