Ascent Podcast Ep. 3 – Udi Ledergor, CMO @ Gong

The Magic of Marketing

When it comes to B2B marketing, content marketing, or branding, it just doesn’t get much better than this special guest. On this week’s episode, Ascent Podcast host/MC Andrew Tarvin interviews Udi Ledergor, a 5-time VP Marketing with 20 years of experience.

Public speaker, author of “The 50 Secrets of Trade Show Success”, and a member of the Forbes Council since 2019, Udi has built quite a reputation for himself. He’s the current Chief Marketing Officer at Gong, the leading revenue intelligence platform (in short its AI that helps make your sales team better, sharper, and unified in their pitch). Udi has made a name for himself by knowing how to build teams, and make marketing magic.

Becoming Unique Through Versatility

You can tell early on that Udi looks at things from a different point of view. He is someone who believes in the importance of understanding the life experience, and that there is something unique about everyone. It’s this thinking that has led to him bringing in people with different backgrounds to his team, to his success!

How important is it to have a team that can provide different perspectives or points of view? Can that help a company? According to Udi, the answer is a total, resounding yes. In that same way the different experiences people have can serve to offer specific value.

Finding the Right Spot

Nothing is better than knowing you’re in the right place. The process that gets you there might be hard to understand when going through it. The more aware and intentional you are about your thoughts and actions, the more you can achieve. Viewers can see just how important that’s been for Udi and finding the right place, the right people to work with.

It’s difficult to know when to take the next step in life, where to go. No matter what point you are in your career to know where to look. It’s important to always keep an open mind and a level head, and tune in to get the perspective from an executive who might provide important insight and clarity.

Time Stamps:

00:01= Intro
02:11= Guest speaker joins in/ Rapid fire Questions
08:14= Magic Money/The first money making experiences for Udi
09:17= Transitioning from Magic to Marketing
10:09= The path towards marketing
11:48= Responsibilities of a mentor/ Understanding the Journey
15:10= Figuring out the next move
18:32= Finding Gong
22:58= Team building
25:10= What doe Udi Bring to the team
27:54= Gaining confidence
31:33= Short Attention Span vs Boring Content
33:45= Morning routine
35:54= Read that review
37:46= Outro


Andrew Tarvin [00:00:00] My name is Andrew Tarvin and I will be your host and emcee for today’s live video conversation, where we get to know the human behind some of the top leaders in tech. Today, we’re going be talking to Udi Ledergor, who is the CMO at GONG. But first, couple of just quick announcements. First, for those joining live in the platform, we are using currently remote platform. So you’ll be able to take advantage of the Q&A functionality of for that over on the right hand side, if you’d like to do that. But we are also recording this for the larger podcast audience coming up a little bit later, in which case you can actually type anything in, but you can definitely listen in and share your feedback in the form of someone subscribing. That’s always a great way to share feedback, but more importantly, are certainly leaving a review as well. And for the most part, you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Now, I’m particularly excited for today’s guest because we’re doing a little bit of the research, a.k.a. Facebook stalking came to find out that UDI is a pretty fascinating human being. Right. The human past behind not only the incredible work that he’s done at a number of different companies, including currently at GONG, but also the life behind it, the one that’s adventuring and exploring out and seeing the museums when they were opened up for a brief period of time in between PennyMac restrictions, the ability to ethically pay to play the piano so well, in fact, that he got a brought down via copyright because of Facebook, assumed it was Beethoven himself playing the music, I think. And of course, then also being a family person as well, which we’ll get into in terms of how you balance all of those things together. So that’s why I’m particularly excited about our guest. Like I said, he is a CMO at a CMO at GONG. Yeah, he is also a member of the Forbes Communications Council. He’s a five time VP of marketing with 20 years of industry experience heading world class marketing teams, both public and private companies in the B2B tech space. He is also the author of The Fifty Secrets of Trade Secrets, and he is a food, wine and whiskey connoisseur. So please welcome to your eyes and ears and to your screen currently leaderboard.

Udi Ledergor [00:02:14] Wow, that’s a hard one to follow.

Andrew Tarvin [00:02:17] I know you’ve got to live up to all the epic that is is the the bio. But before we actually jump into the bio, because we like to get to know the human behind everything, we’re going to switch gears a little bit, jump right into Rapid Fire just to get to know a little bit more about you. So are you ready for that?

Udi Ledergor [00:02:33] I was born ready.

Andrew Tarvin [00:02:35] All right. Perfect. So morning person or night out?

Udi Ledergor [00:02:38] Morning. Hundred percent.

Andrew Tarvin [00:02:40] All right. How early in the morning?

Udi Ledergor [00:02:43] I’m up at six thirty at the latest every day.

Andrew Tarvin [00:02:45] OK. Ah, that is definitely on the earlier side for me. Apple or Android?

Udi Ledergor [00:02:50] Android. One hundred percent.

Andrew Tarvin [00:02:51] Oh, I like it. A fellow Android users. We’ve gotten so many Apple here. I’m happy to hear another Android.

Udi Ledergor [00:02:58] I don’t know a single Apple product.

[00:03:00] That is that is actually quite impressive because I still got the iPad. I yeah, I still have an iPod for some reason. Introvert or extrovert?

Udi Ledergor [00:03:08] Oh, extrovert for sure.

Andrew Tarvin [00:03:10] Yeah, definitely. OK, I’m more on the introverted side, so I’m going to recharge after this fantastic conversation we’re going to have. When you were a little kid, what did you want to grow up to become?

Udi Ledergor [00:03:21] A magician.

Andrew Tarvin [00:03:23] Ahh, any. did you do any magic tricks or anything like that at all?

Udi Ledergor [00:03:25] You know, I did magic for about ten years.

Andrew Tarvin [00:03:28] Wow. That is that is impressive. You went way further than I did in terms of my attempt at becoming an international soccer superstar, my dream currently. What is your favorite hobby?

Udi Ledergor [00:03:40] Piano playing.

Andrew Tarvin [00:03:42] And has is was this a thing that you did as a kid and now it’s kind of been brought back with more time in the pandemic? Is it something brand new you’ve picked up?

Udi Ledergor [00:03:50] So I did major in music back in high school, which was many, many winters ago. And one of the greatest things that happened to me this year is that cutting out two hours of commuting commute each day gave me a lot more time to sit at the piano every day. And I’ve gotten back to almost the shape. I was back in high school playing the classics, playing jazz, doing lots of my fun stuff there on the piano.

Andrew Tarvin [00:04:13] All right. I love it. And how does the family feel about your piano playing? Are they like, hey, it’s actually great. It sounds good. Or they’re like, oh no, not again.

Udi Ledergor [00:04:21] I think they suffer when they hear me. Like any practicing musician, you have to play the same piece like two hundred times and just to get it in shape. So by then they’re done. By the time I’m happy with it, they’ve they have had it. But but they are they are encouraging.

Andrew Tarvin [00:04:38] OK, I like it. Very good. What is a TV series that you are currently watching your recently finished.

Udi Ledergor [00:04:44] So actually the only TV series I’ve watched in the last decade happens to be very recently and that was Queen’s Gambit, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Andrew Tarvin [00:04:52] It was I thought it was very fantastic and I think so what was what was it without watching it like a. A lot of other TV shows are serious, kind of prior to that. What was it about this thing that brought you back? Was it because it was so much in the zeitgeist? Is it because, hey, because of the pandemic, we actually have time. Was it like super in the chest? What was the prompt for this particular show?

Udi Ledergor [00:05:12] I think my husband randomly chose the first episode to watch. When we finally had a quiet night, the kids were asleep and we weren’t completely exhausted yet, which is a lot of stars that need to align. And so we watched the first episode that got me hooked. And within a week or so I watched the whole mini series.

Andrew Tarvin [00:05:28] Yeah, that was a nice thing, is that it was short enough to be able to like it didn’t feel like like if you if you’re like, I’m going to watch the wire, it’s like, OK, that’s five seasons. If you’re like, I want to watch, you know, it’s always sunny in Philadelphia. It’s like, how many? Like that’s a lot of time commitment. But the mini series is, again.

Udi Ledergor [00:05:43] Seven episodes. It’s a very, very dual.

Andrew Tarvin [00:05:45] Exactly. It’s perfect. And who is a famous person who you admire?

Udi Ledergor [00:05:49] Kermit the Frog, if you wanted to. If you if amphibians are disqualified, then I would say Jim Henson. Kermit.

Andrew Tarvin [00:06:02] Well, and that’s something that you are living up to because you’ve got a Kermit over your shoulder.

Udi Ledergor [00:06:05] I’m not running around the room. You can’t see all. But I’ve got several Kerman’s around here like now.

Andrew Tarvin [00:06:11] This is normally supposed to be rapid fire. But I got to ask, what is it about Kermit that you admire about?

Udi Ledergor [00:06:18] I think it’s kind of a generational thing. I think a lot of people of my generation grew up on The Muppet Show and Sesame Street and all those shows, the amazing shows, Fraggle Rock and all the other worlds that Jim Henson created. But to me was absolutely magical how he took this basically sock puppet a just a piece of felt and turned magical life into it. And every time I see a photo of Jim Henson actually holding up the puppet, I still don’t believe that the Kermit isn’t a real living thing. And you could talk for hours about the storytelling qualities and how you you put magic into this inanimate object. Just the creativity is mind blowing.

Andrew Tarvin [00:06:59] Yeah. Which I think is fascinating because there are, I imagine, some kind of marketing lessons that come from that ability to take something that doesn’t exist or people don’t have a connotation to and create a story or a character, a meaning or something to it, which we’ll certainly get to. So I love that is a fantastic answer. And the last question this you don’t have to answer in one word, but we’re always kind of interested in of what’s the story of your name, like in the sense of are you named after someone? Where does it come from, et cetera, any anything that comes to mind with the story of your particular name.

Udi Ledergor [00:07:30] But now that it’s embarrassing. So Rudy is a Hebrew name and it’s usually an acronym for a different name, a longer name like Ohad or Hould, but I’m sure there’s one in English as well. There’s the Hebrew Book of names, which is what to be parents used to to consider names. And my parents made it all the way to page number three. That’s where the appears. Judean Hebrew starts with the letter Aleph, which is the first letter of the alphabet. They made it all the way to page three. So that’s how I got it.

Andrew Tarvin [00:08:01] I love it. Well, I like that. That’s decisiveness from your parents perspective. Like, we don’t need the other. How many of our pages are that? We found one that we liked and we’re going to go with it. That is is fantastic. So I love this. So we’re going to talk a little bit, certainly about your current experience with God. But I want to go back to those days, as you were thinking about eventually maybe deciding what it is that you you wanted to do. Do you remember the first way that you made money, like as either from chores or like where you entrepreneurial from the get go? Was it the first job out of college? What was it?

Udi Ledergor [00:08:37] Definitely doing magic. I was booked for most of my junior high and high school years, doing three birthday parties each weekend, running around with my dad, driving me around. At some point I got my clients to pay for taxis. I was running around doing magic shows for four kids birthday parties. I made a decent living out of it as a teenager.

Andrew Tarvin [00:08:59] Wow. And did you have a magician’s name?

Udi Ledergor [00:09:02] Yes, it is embarrassingly funny. So of course my name is Judy, so my stage name had to be Odene

Andrew Tarvin [00:09:13] I think that’s perfect. Disney at the natural flow end of things. And so when did when did the magic kind of say, OK, that’s been enough and you transition into kind of this more focus into what later become a became a career in marketing.

Udi Ledergor [00:09:29] I guess the biggest transition, like many folks who grew up in Israel, is at age 18, were all drafted into the military. And that’s when I ended my magic career at age 18 after high school, where some countries people go to college in Israel, most people go into the military. And so I spent four years in regular army and then twenty years of reserve duty coming in for a few weeks every year. Yeah. And by the time I was finished with that at around age twenty two, my interests and moved Elsewhere.

Andrew Tarvin [00:09:59] Yeah, and what was it? So certainly we’ve had a experienced career in the marketing side of things, so what drew you to that path ultimately versus going into straight sales, are going into product development or any other areas that you could have gone into?

Udi Ledergor [00:10:17] I think the precursor to my marketing career was my five years as a product manager and product manager was was really the first, I guess, mature role that that I played in the in the workforce. And to this day, I see that role together with product marketing today as sort of being on the fence between the the research geeks that are developing this technology but don’t always know exactly how human beings, a.k.a. our customers, are going to use it. And so it’s that role of translator between what the market wants, describing that to the engineers in a language that they know how to turn that into a requirement document and develop a product, and then once they develop the product, how to communicate that to customers. So it’s a fascinating world being there on that fancy as the product or product marketer. And as I was filling that role for five years, especially towards the second half, I found that while I’m fascinated by all aspects of it, the part of communicating with customers was the part I ended up liking best and wanted to focus more on that.

Andrew Tarvin [00:11:22] And that’s what paved the way from product to marketing for me, which I think is a great example of like a lot of careers become evolutions of things. It’s not always like I’m going to do this and then now I completely shift to something else. And so do you see that? Because right as VP and then also CMO, part of it is having other people’s careers that you’re somewhat responsible for, people reporting to you or asking you for advice as a mentor or things like that. Do you give that kind of same perspective that it can be an evolution or, you know, completely shift gears for people listening and thinking maybe they want to do something else? Like does that something else go into should be something different or take the thing that you like the most and see if there’s a way to to to narrow in on that.

Udi Ledergor [00:12:05] So there’s a lot to unpack there. I’ll try and answer with a few bullet points and you can dove into whatever we want to. But one thing I don’t think anyone has to commit to one career path and and stick to it no matter what. We only get one chance on this on this planet. And it’s it’s pretty short one. You might as well enjoy it as much as you can. And if even if you went to school for five, six, 10 years and studied something you thought would work out. But a few years into that career path, it’s not all you thought it would be. Move on, move up. Just go go to something else. So that’s that’s one thing. The other thing is that I think some of the most interesting careers are created by combining two schools of thought or more, because being the absolute best at one profession or school of thought is extremely difficult. Right. There’s a really razor thin layer of people who make it to the top of that one profession. But I think as soon as you take two or more domains and you start measuring them together, it’s a little bit easier to actually be the best of that because far fewer people are in that market. It’s almost like being the only participant in your weight group in a competition. It’s easier to win if you’re the only one in the category. And so that’s that’s kind of the approach I think I’ve taken of marrying my obvious passion for the performing arts and everything from magic to music. And if anyone who’s been following me on social media or even looking at the gong brand, I think sees some of that difference coming out through that diverse background that I and my other team members have. Three of my team members are dancers. I mean, this is the type of marketing team that we have.

Andrew Tarvin [00:13:48] Yeah, well, and I think that’s a great perspective. Like you said, if you just want to be if you were just in, say, just music, it’s like, wow, you’re now competing against Beyonce. If you were just in straight, pure marketing, then maybe it’s competing with, like PMG or something like that. But to then marry those two together, one, it makes both of them more interesting in some ways. And like you said, it removes it it changes the peer group. And in a sense that I experience that with myself because my background is in computer science and engineering, then started doing improv and standup. And so I’m not I didn’t go the direction of I’m not competing with Dave Chappelle, but I’m also no longer programing because I was never, like, perfect at it. And now I’m at my made up. Job title is Humor Engineer, of which there is one, according to Google, and it’s just me because it’s a made up job title.

Udi Ledergor [00:14:35] But that intersection comedian and you’re the funniest engineer and there are a few people competing for that title.

Andrew Tarvin [00:14:42] Other people that I want to be the funniest engineer, a great articulation.

Udi Ledergor [00:14:47] I make those those combinations make the most interesting jobs and lives as far as I get.

Andrew Tarvin [00:14:53] I think so. I think so. And so I’m curious about that because you’ve had certainly even prior to that, but you’ve had some great. Marketing experience is so you were at you know, you spent time at Sareen, I click up now I’m probably pronouncing these wrong Yabo Agong and then now becomes KMO Agong. What has been your strategy for knowing where you want to go next? Have they been very intentional places that you’ve gone? Is it almost been like, oh, I walked into the wrong building but liked it and so I decided to stay there. Like, what’s been your process in terms of exploring something new?

Udi Ledergor [00:15:27] It’s a great question. I get asked about that a lot, especially from younger folks who are trying to make the next bet on where to take their career. And I learn something new every time I made that move. And I’ve become more and more intentional about it, like definitely played a part like it does in all of our lives. You can call it fate or lack or divine intervention or whatever you want to. I’ve definitely learned lessons every time I picked a new place to work and some of the lessons were or good ones because they were based on success and others were still good ones, but they were best based on things that I would have done differently today. So so here here’s a summary of a few of them. When I when I look for a place to work, I look at the leadership. Is this leadership that has already a track record of building something successful? Because if they do, that gives them at least two great advantages. One, they know what great looks like. And there’s many similarities of how to get to greatness even at different companies. If they’ve done it once, they’re probably more likely to do it again versus someone clueless who’s this is their first attempt at it to. These leaders probably have a following of investors and employees and customers that will follow them, and that gives them a huge advantage. So many companies just don’t manage to get the talent or the funding or that first circle of customers that they need. And if you’ve already been successful, you’ve built that network. It’s going to be so much easier the second time around. So that’s that’s one thing. The other thing is looking at the market and the product that the company is selling today more than ever. I know that. I can only go to a company where I can really become passionate about the product and either use it myself or see myself using it in a realistic scenario. In the past, I’ve marketed products to every person you can imagine, from diamond manufacturers to ERP upgrade managers in I.T. teams. And some of those personas were a little bit too far removed from me for me to get excited about. And today I won’t go to those companies. I would I would choose something like Gong, where I use the product every day. I can get excited about it. I can become an expert on it, and then I can communicate with more authenticity why it’s so exciting and great for the rest of the world. So I’ll pause there. Those are a couple of my criteria.

Andrew Tarvin [00:17:54] Yeah well and I think it’s great perspective both for the person listening who is like, OK, maybe I’m looking at something new. What should I be looking for? Like great criteria, but also for I know we have a number of listeners who are like entrepreneurs or leaders of teams to be thinking about what talented people might be looking for in their organization and being able to showcase things. And I think that second point in particular, that that passion I’m hearing more and more with some of the interviews that we’re doing is, yeah, I got to care about the thing. It’s less about just getting a paycheck or who’s going to give me the most money. But is it some type of product or thing that I’m interested in? And so I’m curious, just from your perspective, what was it about Gong that was like, OK, yes, I’m going to spend some time here and I’m going to stay and actually become KMO here at this particular place versus looking at something else.

Udi Ledergor [00:18:42] So so three things brought me to gong. One was the leadership. And following my my own rule, I followed a spend of our CEO. This is the third time I meet and I are working together in the last twenty two years. We work together software. I reported to him directly at a company called Panio for four years and now it’s been four years at Agong. So we’ve had more than 10 years together in the last twenty two years and I’d follow him anywhere he goes to because he has an amazingly sharp sense for business. He understands just the right amount about product and marketing and sales and so many other areas of the business that he will tolerate no bullshit from any department. And as I often say, he’s the biggest pain in the butt I’ve ever worked for, but I prefer working for no one else. So that’s the reason. Number one reason number two is the product. As soon as I saw the product and Amita told me six months earlier about his plans to go build this thing, I’m like, yeah, that sounds amazing. But is the technology even there? And then he calls me six months later, says, remember that crazy idea? We built the product, the product. We rolled it out to twelve beta customers and 11 of them became paying customers within three months because they liked it so much they didn’t want to shut it off. And he said, can you come join and start the marketing department? I’m like, what took you so long? Of course. So I immediately recognize this product. A stall is a huge problem that pains a huge audience, and that audience can pay handsomely to solve that painful problem. And you need all those things because sometimes you’re solving a painful problem, but you’re trying to sell to someone who doesn’t have the authority or budget to pay for it, or it’s a big problem, but only like for people in your country have that problem. So you’ve really got to analyze the market. And this is clearly a problem that every sales team in the world has that we’re solving. And so that was the second reason. And the third reason is what I talked about, which is the buyer persona. I could easily see myself using this product. I think selling and marketing to sales people is a joy because they are so transparent and vocal about what they love and what they hate. And I prefer getting slapped in the face when I launch a bad campaign and knowing about it immediately in my office for weeks, wondering how how we did so. Salespeople will will not give you any grace period. If they love what you’re doing, they’ll share it, they’ll tell you, they’ll tell everyone they know if they hate what they’re doing. They also tell you in the rest of the world. So it allows us to move much faster.

Andrew Tarvin [00:21:12] Yeah which I think, again, just straight knowledge bombs that are dropping in terms of both sides of the equation of being someone looking for a role. But then also entrepreneurs have, like you said, that it has to be a market that is big enough that and it’s a group of people that pay. I know in the world of like when I was going up there, I’m proud there’s a bunch of people like, oh, my God, there would be this great service if you could give this to improvisors, like it’d be perfect for them. And it’s like most improvisers are fresh out of school. They are working at the service jobs and things like that because their main focus is they want to improve. They’re going to have money.

Udi Ledergor [00:21:46] They’re living with three roommates over a Chinese restaurant. Where are you going to sell them?

Andrew Tarvin [00:21:50] Did you were you following me in my twenties or something? That. Absolutely. I feel like you’re calling me out, but you’re exactly right. Right. That’s the the focus. I love that kind of distinction. And you’re you’re right about hearing the no’s. I think there’s this interesting thing of a lot of times, you know, Phoebe. Gives feedback, and so it’s nice to work with people that give you this great feedback, because a lot of groups would just be like not return your calls or not return an email or whatever, versus it’s nice when people are kind of like, I’m going to say no and here’s why. Then you’re like, oh, that’s great that I can learn from as opposed to like, are they going to pick up the phone or they’re going to call that like what’s going on? So like finding the people where you can get that that real in your face. But valuable feedback I think is a particularly valuable. And so now I know you’ve done some pretty interesting things as as a group at GONG. And so one of the things I wanted to ask was a little bit about your approach to team building. Like, what’s the what’s the value in, like, actually building the organizations of people? Is it a you know, as an engineer coming up? It is kind of more like do I need to actually get to know my coworkers all that much? Isn’t it fine if we just all do our best job and like, that’s good enough. But I don’t know what’s your take on kind of team building and how have you all approach that goal?

Udi Ledergor [00:23:02] Yeah, that’s a that’s one of my favorite topics. I could probably talk a lot about it, so I’ll try and pick a few of the, I guess, most interesting or important points to me. One is I’m a big believer in diversity and. Even within Gone, my team enjoys probably one of the biggest diversity metrics that you could want. I’ve got people on my team from from the Philippines and from India and from Egypt and from Israel and from France. I’ve got to now and this is an amazing combination of people that bring their different points of view. And, you know, if you build a team that’s no matter where you pick them from, but if they’re all almost the same, you just don’t get those different points of view and you end up losing so many valuable perspectives, someone will suggest something. And then someone from who grew up in a different part of the world and different culture will come and make it better and sometimes will stop us from making a stupid mistake, because this is some great idea that sounds great in San Francisco, might be outright rude in Paris. So you need those different perspectives. And it continuously amazes me what this diverse team can do together.

Andrew Tarvin [00:24:14] And just as we speak on that, it reminds me of the old management adage that says that if two people think exactly the same, one of them is unnecessary. You want that that diversity.

Udi Ledergor [00:24:24] Which which brings me to my next point specifically beyond the diversity, every person we hire to the team, I look to them and to the person on my team hiring them and ask, what is the new set of skills that you bring to our team? What can we do on the day after you joined that we can do today? And I want to be able to answer that for every person that I bring on the team. I don’t think this is like a great question for every team and every situation. But at least at this point where my marketing team is, there’s almost zero redundancy and every person has a unique set of skills. And I want to know that every person that joins makes us better. And we now have another tool in this machine that we can apply. So. So that’s a what.

Andrew Tarvin [00:25:08] What’s your what’s your skill? What do you bring to the team that is different? I mean, certainly they are probably building the team, which is probably a valuable skill set. But what would you say is that kind of unique selling proposition if it if it were for yourself with the team?

Udi Ledergor [00:25:23] If I have to sell myself, I would think the one thing that differentiates me from a lot of marketers is that I have an almost perfectly balanced between the analytical side of the brain, which means I look at everything through the revenue and pipeline perspective, which if you want to seat at the management table, you have to bring that. You have to partner with sales. You have to be seen as part of the sales machine in the organization. Years ago, marketers could get by by making a nice website and throwing a nice event. But today, if you don’t know the exact win rate in every segment in the world, you’re not doing your job. And I know those numbers. And I’m sitting at the revenue leadership meeting every week and I’ve got my weekly with the sales leadership and I know exactly what’s challenging them and how they expect us to help them. And that’s where I direct my team to focus on the other side. I take great pleasure and hopefully contribute a little as well in a lot of our creative ideas and led my team into creating what is probably one of the most better known B2B brands today we do things very differently. You can love it or you can hate it. And I’m OK with both. But I won’t agree that anyone being indifferent to our brands and we’ve taken a lot of chances and created things that are sometimes polarizing. And I have gotten into all sorts of trouble, both internally and sometimes externally. And I’m fine with that because I will take anything over indifference. And I think by combining that creative half with analytical half, that creates magic and being able to work both with my marketing operations people, which are some of the most technical people you’ll ever meet, and at the same time talking to our customer marketer and about programs manager who need lots of creative ideas and our events manager on like you can guess who thought of let’s bring a magician to our last virtual event. Right? So we’ve brought musicians and magicians and DJs and we create these unique experiences that you just do not see in B2B events and marketing in general. And I think it’s thanks to that combination of taking the creativity and harnessing in a way that you can measure its impact on revenue. That that, I think, is what I bring to the table.

Andrew Tarvin [00:27:34] Well, and I think it’s a it’s a fascinating intersection between those those two things, like you said, like the the analytical but then also creative brain. And it can be a great skill set has that. So when you are like starting up in the product management kind of phase, was that always there? Like, how did you how did you come to gain the confidence to bring that side to the table where you can say, like, I agree with that, like at the ADA, the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s apathy. Right. You almost want some type of reaction from something, but it’s when people don’t care at all that you’re like, OK, I’m not actually saying anything. And so but that takes a certain amount of either confidence or a growth mindset or some psychological safety. How did you find that for yourself and then I guess from an extension of that, how do you build that into a team?

Udi Ledergor [00:28:22] So I definitely started on the more analytical side in product management, writing endless requirement documents. And what does this button do when you click on it and what this experience that we’re creating there? And I think everyone or a lot of people, not everyone, a lot of people early in their career try to conform to a path that’s already pretty well beaten and what is expected of them. And once you gain some confidence and you get the right people to hire you, not as a yes person, but as someone who brings their unique perspective, you can start rising above that. And one of the things that I found that consistently worked well for me and my team is to mostly ignore the the examples and that that we see around us. So if we’re, you know, in B2B tech or even more specifically in sales tech, for the most part, we absolutely ignore what everyone in that space is doing. When I need inspiration, I go see what Disney I’ve been up to lately. What is Lego doing these days? That is where I get my inspiration and that’s where some of our best ideas come from. And you need a level of maturity and you need to have the right boss and set up that will accept those crazy ideas because some of them are pretty darn crazy. If you see or someone has seen. A couple of weeks ago, we launched a series of five holiday commercial on social social media, which are completely B2C in their nature and their use of humor and their they don’t try and explain anything about the product, like they go exactly the opposite of everything. Any B2B marketer would try and teach me on on how to do marketing. And they actually did pretty well. They got a lot of attention. A lot of people share them. A lot of people talked about them. A lot of people asked us about them. And more more than anything, I think thousands of marketers engaged with them and were going like, oh, my God, I wish I would work at a company that would allow me to do this sort of stuff. And so that that, I think, is where where the magic is made when you just ignore your usual suspect of reference groups and peers and go elsewhere, like who’s doing the really exciting stuff? I mean, how many B2B companies are really doing exciting stuff in their marketing? Some B2B products are amazing, but most B2B marketing is just OK. But I mean, we all love Disney, right? And many of us love the Muppets. And I think all of us like Lego. And that’s where the magic is happening. Look at what those companies are doing and go take inspiration from there and think, OK, how can I work this and reframe it so that my boss doesn’t fire me and I still don’t get a chance to play with something and do something different. That’s what’s going to get noticed. If you do what everyone else is doing, it’s just going to be OK. And it goes back to what we talked about, managing your own career. Right. If you want to be the best pianist in the world, that’s going to be really, really tough. But if you want to be the best piano player engineer, that’s going to be easier, because just by being different and claiming that category, you start off as leading it. And that’s what I’m trying to do.

Andrew Tarvin [00:31:16] And which I think is fantastic. I mean, it’s it’s we we learn the terminology of, like, innovation by analogy. Right. But it’s like, oh, if if you think about the people who have figured out some of the attention type stuff. Right. There’s a great quote from Jerry Seinfeld that says, there’s no such thing as an attention span, only boring content. Right. People will sit and they’ll watch the Queen’s Gambit, even though they’re busy.

Udi Ledergor [00:31:40] That is so true. Let me give you an example. I couldn’t agree more people I’m seeing a lot of discussions and different marketing groups that I’m a member of of, oh, are people still doing webinars? Isn’t like everyone over with them. And sometimes someone has to give them the the tough love reminder that webinars can work fantastically if yours are not working. They’re just not that good. They’re boring. We analyzed at our last virtual events celebrate. There was just this past October, six and a half thousand people signed up for it. Over two thousand attended live. And the average duration that a participant stayed was north of two and a half hours. People showed up and we got feedback in the comments people were writing like I planned to come in for one like thirty minute session. And four hours later I was still sitting there because I couldn’t step away from my computer because it was a three ring circus. There was something going on all the time. Even when we told people, OK, you get ten minutes for a bio break. The magician came on and the deejay was on the side and everything was happening. You just couldn’t couldn’t look away. And if your content isn’t working, it’s not because people’s attention span, as you said, your content is boring content. We get people to stay for four hours and six hours and seven hours.

Andrew Tarvin [00:32:59] Yeah. And by making it more interesting, by making more compelling, I think it’s also an interesting perspective because at least from the when we’re willing clients on on the speaking side, it’s recognizing that this little box that we’re now all in, people are used to watching YouTube and Netflix on. And so for them to sit into a presentation, it had to have been entertaining it, you have to learn from, you know, those types, you have to learn from the Disney and the other the groups that are keeping that compelling experience. I love that you’re you’re bringing that same thing from a speaking perspective as I’m looking at John Oliver and Seth Meyers and groups like that as a way of like, what are they doing? As opposed to what’s what’s a regular person reading slide to you going to do? So I love that perspective, that innovation that you that you bring. So a couple of kind of questions as we start to wrap up one question that we like to ask everyone is a little bit about their morning routine. So what’s your, like, morning routine in 30 like 60 seconds? Is it something kind of set or is it chaos depending on the day? What are you doing when you first wake up?

Udi Ledergor [00:33:59] It’s very sad. I wake up at six thirty. There’s going to be nothing inspiring here. The spoiler alert. I don’t self reflect. I don’t meditate. I don’t plan my day. It’s I just go through the workflow. I get up at six thirty, shower, shave, do my business at seven o’clock. I wake my three children because at that point my husband’s already at work from 6:00 am in the hospital. So I get up before the kids. Seven o’clock I wake all of them need to help them get dressed and get their business done, have breakfast and then at by 7:00 at seven thirty, they take a few minutes to calm down before they leave for school and I check some urgent emails and messages. Then seven forty five. I take my kids and drop them off at their different learning paths or schools whenever they’re going that day. Come home with my son and hang out with him till eight thirty until his private tutor comes here at eight thirty. I’m sitting down at my computer to start my day, so it’s it’s a lot to get done by eight thirty in the morning, but it’s what this this year is demanding of us.

Andrew Tarvin [00:34:57] Well, can I just say how refreshing it is to hear that you’re saying that it’s not it’s not like I wake up at three thirty eight every day and spend twenty two minutes in transcendental meditation and then go on a seventeen hour walk or what. I like not to say that there’s anything wrong with those things in life when there’s like, nope, this is the perspective. Here is the very kind of practical things that we have to get done and that we do. So I very much appreciate that. Another segment that we have is sharing people with the feedback’s. I know you wrote a book a little while ago and less about the content of the book, but you wrote the book, The Fifty Secrets of Trade Show Success. And so one of the segments that we like to do is kind of responding to some reviews because there are some great reviews on the book. It’s a problem particularly that it’s valuable. Read that it’s concise, it’s practical, insightful. There’s a single one star review. And so I’m curious if you want to just react, if you agree or disagree or something with the first point was the one star review. Yeah, a one star review is the book is not written in a professional way. That’s the only sentence that it says. What’s your take? Is that kind of bringing in the like?

Udi Ledergor [00:36:02] I never do myself because he’s one hundred percent correct. He’s one hundred percent correct or sheet. I did not write that book in a professional way. I sat down for forty eight hours, getting up only for four bio breaks for forty eight hours and I and I spilled that book onto my computer to be forty eight hours to write the book. It’s, it’s not a long novel, it’s only like seventy five pages or so and it was really just a passion project. I, I fell in love with the idea of self publishing a book on Amazon. It’s the world is changing in that way. It used the years to get published and lots of rejections from publishers and some of the best serious books to go through that process. I took every shortcut in the book and wrote my book in forty eight hours. It’s definitely not professionally written and I would say it’s more of a practical guide to any marketer who’s doing events. If you’re a VP or a events manager, it is more for the field events world once that is back. This was written a couple of years ago, but a lot of the ideas, of course, of how you grab attention and why people want to come your booth and how to do the post event campaigns to get people there, and more importantly, how to do the prevent campaigns and how to do the publicity then campaigns to follow up with people. All of that remains true in the virtual events world. And my my team has also read it and taken a lot of those ideas and make them much better and more sophisticated for this modern world. But but the gentleman or lady who wrote that are one hundred percent correct. And if if they identify themselves, I will return their six dollars. Ninety nine cents.

Andrew Tarvin [00:37:38] I love it. I love that you’re willing to take that feedback that you agree with it, give the additional context. That’s why we like to kind of bring it up. Well, this has been a fantastic conversation. If people are interested in learning a little bit more about gong and what you all are up to or just like want to just kind of give their kudos or thanks, is there a way for them to connect with you or reach out or follow you somewhere?

Udi Ledergor [00:37:58] The best way to find me is on LinkedIn. There’s only one Udi Ledergor on LinkedIn as far as I know. And of course, follow Gong and go to our website, Gong dot io, Andrew.

Andrew Tarvin [00:38:11] Absolutely. Thank you so much for joining us today as he mentioned certainly go to gong dot io, follow him there, find him out on LinkedIn for sure, as a quick wrap up. This has been another episode of the podcast. So thank you so much for joining us, brought to you by the conference, as well as by human networks and myself to learn more about a visit, a dotcom, to learn more about me or some of the work that we do on the human engineering space. You can visit humor that works Dotcom, where we’ve got more great podcast episodes coming up pretty soon. So make sure that if you are listening to this in a podcast app that you hit that subscribe button and go ahead and leave a review. Maybe we’ll share our own reviews kind of in the future, leave some positive ones. So we have some other things that we can listen to. One more shout out again to let her go for joining us today. I’ve been Andrew Tarvin. You all been fantastic. And until next time.

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