ESG's Mark Peters discusses business challenges during these challenging times with Molly Presley of Qumulo.
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Mark: Alongside me today I have Molly Presley, who's the head of Global Product Marketing for Qumulo. It's good to see you, Molly. We've known each other a long time. How has your life changed in this, I don't know, awful and wonderful strange new world that we all live in?
Molly: Yeah. Wow. We've known each other I think for 15 years, at least. And this has been certainly the most trying couple of months with COVID. For me personally, like you said, it's been wonderful in that I have a little girl at home, a little baby who I've gotten to spend an enormous amount of time with, and of course, challenging as well to make the shift with work to working from home and, you know, engaging with our customers in a remote fashion.
So, lots and lots of changes for sure.
Mark: What about from the work perspective, how has your interaction with your team? We'll talk about customers in a second, but how has worked changed as a result?
Molly: I think it's really more the ability for people to find that balance of not working 18 hours a day, taking time off, vacations have pretty much gone away. And so, they're, you know, stay-at-home vacations. And so, keeping the team motivated, not burned out, not working all the time. I would say productivity has gone up a lot.
And you know, but you have to find the right work-life balance for everyone now.
Mark: Well, I'm interested to drill down into that a little bit. I mean, you know, not looking for any secrets here, but are there any tips you can give? How do you keep people motivated and, you know, at the right level of productivity?
Molly: Yeah. I mean, me as a manager and Qumulo as a company, both have really focused a lot on finding balance, you know, encouraging people to take time off. We had a special day for Qumulo, which was just a random day off on a Friday so that everyone was off and there weren't emails building up and Slacks coming in while you were trying to take time off. So, we've added in some unplanned holidays to help encourage it.
But I think there's a lot of stress for employees right now. They've seen the layoffs. They've seen, you know, the global economy having serious challenges and people want to protect their work, protect their jobs, do a good job. And we have to make sure that they have the security that yes, you can take some personal time and you should. And I think all of us as leaders need to be doing that for our people.
It is a scary time, it is a stressful time and you have to take care of yourself to be productive as well.
Mark: Are there some good things or is it all just harder work? Again, we talked about pros and cons, how does this new world work from that perspective for you?
Molly: It has had us rethink how we engage with people, with our buyers, with our users, with purchasers, decision-makers. And I honestly think the go to a trade show was starting to wear thin for people. There were so many conferences and conventions and they served their purpose. But as vendors, we relied a little too heavily on them and it's more cost-effective to engage with customers digitally than it is to send people on airplanes and ship, big trade show booths to show.
But for users, I think it's better too. And you know, that's really what matters is the consumer of our technology, having the ways to engage with us that they want to. We've accelerated online demos, made more of these short little three to five-minute clips about our technology. And even if they were allowed to travel, and if COVID hadn't happened, that's really how they prefer to consume content.
And we probably won't shift back to this big of an event focus in the future. I'm sure we will shift back, but probably it will be a different kind of blend of the way we engage with customers once we get back.
Mark: This would suggest to me strongly that you think you will keep a lot of these accelerated new ways of doing things looking over the next few months, years, and indeed longer.
Molly: The world changes, technology markets are evolving so quickly. Customers are consuming software, SaaS, cloud. And in a lot of cases, just the way they engage with their technology has changed over the last several years very quickly. There's no reason that marketing shouldn't as well. We're learning a lot of new things.
New tools are popping up every day. I mean, I don't know if you receive them, but I get marketed to constantly on here's this new technology to help you do your job better now that you're working from home or now that people are not traveling. And we've been testing some of them out and there's some really great new technology coming out that probably would not have been developed if it weren't for COVID, but will be super effective post-COVID as well.
Mark: Let me ask you just one thing in closing, is there one thing, I mean, maybe there's time for two, but that you'd really like to get back? I mean, did we all love trade shows? Maybe, maybe not, but is there something that you would really like to add back into the mix when it's possible?
Molly: I think the number one thing would be...I'll tell you the geeky answer, which is being able to do whiteboards again, whether it's with our own engineers or with a customer. And instead of the presentation, the way we do over Zoom, it just is difficult to interact in the same way. So, getting whiteboards back will be great, and the way you can collaborate through that.
And then, you know, kind of on a more personal perspective, I miss people, I miss, you know, giving people a hug, you know, instead of, you know, seeing them over Zoom. It's great to see people, but you know, just that personal connection is part of what I love about the job I do. And the opportunities you know, of traveling and seeing people that I've known like you for 15 years or so. I do look forward to getting back to that.
Mark: I think you're right. We will appreciate those things a little more, but maybe we'll get to do them all in a ratio and at a level that's comfortable rather than Vegas other week, but--
Mark: Thanks very much for the time.