ESG's Mark Peters discusses business challenges during these challenging times with Craig Nunes of Nebulon.
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Mark: In this edition of "Marketing in Challenging Times," I'm joined by Craig Nunes, Craig from Nebulon, where he is currently COO. We've had some time to get used to this new world that we're in, but thank you for joining me. How's your life and work/life changed?
Craig: For sure, working at home, sheltering in place, you know, the time spent with family is far more perhaps than they would have liked, but I've loved it. You know, I feel like we just had family time we haven't had since, you know, the kids were in school.
So there was this kind of family thing going on. Dinner at the dinner table? Like, that's been a foreign concept for years. The downsides are, whether it's, I mean, marketing, engineering, sales, you name it, the work we do is collaborative, and, you know, relies on social interaction. And not having that in person is just different.
I mean, it's a time-saver, and travel and entertainment expenses are way down, but, you know, in a lot of ways, I think the productivity isn't quite what you'd expect.
Mark: Well, let me jump in. I mean, you're a pretty social creature. How has that been? As you say, you need interaction. Did you use the tool we're on here? Did you use Zoom and things before, or were most things face to face?
Craig: I mean, we've done 50-person happy hours, where we had the beer of the day catered to people's homes. You know, kind of create a little experience outside of, you know, we're shipping a product and we're taking care of customers. So that was a little bit of a relief valve.
You can only take Zoom so far, you know? So it's different than an all-hands. But, you know, I think trying these, you know, different ways to get people to lean in to that style of collaboration is an important training tool, because it's here for a while.
Mark: All right, well, next time, you need to send me the beer, but that's an aside. Let's get to the nitty gritty of what I wanted you to comment on. In the midst of all this, just late last month, in fact, you came out of stealth as an organization. How did it go? What had to change? Was anything better? Was it all just downsides?
Craig: Normally, we would be seeking out places where, you know, large groups of customers are, you know, coming together, so we could, you know, do a bit of show and tell, from the various industry events we used to participate in in person. You know, going virtual, there's, you know, less travel and less cost. The flip side is having those meaningful conversations, and being able to interest folks in what you're doing without a handshake and a cup of coffee at an industry show, it's different, but it's the way we're doing it.
So I feel like we're trying to drive some really deep and meaningful conversation, so we've got to, you know, kind of marry those two, and we're, you know, we're getting there. It's, I think the interactions have been phenomenal because it's so new and different. But, you know, our customers are going through a very different time, and I'll tell you a story about one of our European customers, and we were very eager to show off our technology.
And we got a call from them first week of April, and they said, "You know what? We are sheltering in place. We can't get to the datacenter, but based on what we know about what you guys are doing, we think this would be a fantastic time to try out what you guys are doing," because our approach is a very cloud-centric, you know, approach.
You can literally run a proof of concept from your dinner table at home. You don't need to be in the office, in the datacenter, and frankly, running operations in that way is part of the evolution going on right now, and so, you know, call from Madrid, mid-April, "We're doing a PoC."
If you're bringing a technology that can ease the operational pressures and capex pressures that are coming, if they're not here already, and can address the travel restrictions, the social distancing, the on-site personnel issues, give folks a sanctuary from that stuff, you know, there's going to be interest, and then those conversations are going to come.
Mark: Are you expecting this is how we go for some time?
Craig: If you think about, I mean, we're, again, our technology is very cloud-centric from an operations perspective, and if you think about how organizations leverage cloud-based technologies today, it is remote. It is, call it "virtual," if you want.
It is, you know, served from your laptop, and composable in, you know, kind of a portal-style UI. What's going on now is causing people to stop what they were doing and think about something different. Because without this, you know, there's a lot of people out there, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," right?
You know, now there is a reason to pause, and take a peek at what's going on, what's changed, and maybe how to evolve what you're doing.
Mark: Well, I think that's a good place to stop. I mean, I think it is, as you say, it's causing people to think, and you can evolve. Change doesn't have to be bad, and you are, in a different way, saying what I've heard from many people, which is, we are finding there are not just different ways we can do things, but sometimes actually better. Craig, good to see your smiling face.
Thank you very much.