S5E16 7 Key Stages to Achieve Product-Market Fit With Chris Hood

S5E16 – 7 Key Stages to Achieve Product-Market Fit With Chris Hood

7 Key Stages to Achieve Product-Market Fit With Chris Hood.

Are you having trouble finding product-market fit? look no further. This is one of the best interviews I’ve had on the subject.

My next guest has a marketing background working on movies including Jurassic Park, Wyatt Earp, and Apollo 13. He also spent 7 years at Google. Now he serves as a consultant on the customer experience. In this episode, we talk about the 7 key stages to help you find product market fit. Please welcome Chris Hood.

In the world of business, understanding the needs and expectations of customers is crucial for success. One effective framework that businesses can utilize is the seven-stage strategy for customer alignment and business value. This approach, outlined in the book “Customer Transformation,” provides a roadmap for entrepreneurs to navigate the complexities of customer relationships and drive growth.

Customer-Centric Approach: The Foundation of Success

The first stage in this framework is focusing on the customer. By placing the customer at the center of decision-making processes, businesses can gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and pain points. Understanding the customer on a deeper level allows companies to tailor their products and services to meet specific needs, ultimately leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty.

Enhancing Customer Experience through Interface Optimization

Moving on to the interfaces stage, businesses are encouraged to explore how customers interact with their brand across various touchpoints. This involves considering not only traditional channels like websites and mobile apps but also emerging technologies such as virtual reality and voice assistants. By optimizing these interfaces, companies can enhance the overall customer experience and differentiate themselves in a competitive market.

Mapping the Customer Journey: Creating Seamless Experiences

The journey stage delves into mapping the customer journey, from pre-interaction to post-interaction. By analyzing the entire customer lifecycle, businesses can identify opportunities for improvement and create seamless experiences that foster long-term relationships. Understanding the multi-dimensional nature of customer journeys enables companies to anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized solutions.

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Collaborative EcosyBuilding a Cstem for Growth

Ecosystem plays a crucial role in the fourth stage of the framework. Building a robust ecosystem involves integrating internal and external stakeholders, including customers, partners, and even competitors. By fostering collaborations and partnerships, businesses can unlock new opportunities for growth and innovation, leading to a more interconnected and dynamic business landscape.

Cultivating a Customer-Centric Culture: A Key to Success

Culture is another pivotal stage in the framework, emphasizing the importance of nurturing a customer-centric mindset within the organization. By fostering a culture that values customer feedback, empowers employees to make customer-focused decisions, and prioritizes continuous learning and improvement, companies can build a strong foundation for customer success.

 Leveraging Technology for Customer-Centric Strategies

Technology is introduced in the sixth stage, highlighting the role of technology in enabling customer-centric strategies. While technology is a powerful enabler, it should always be aligned with the overarching goal of meeting customer needs and enhancing the overall customer experience. By leveraging technology strategically, businesses can streamline operations, automate processes, and deliver innovative solutions to customers.

Driving Business Value through Customer Alignment

The final stage, business, focuses on the value generated by aligning all previous stages with a customer-centric approach. By putting the customer first and integrating customer insights into every aspect of the business, companies can drive growth, foster brand loyalty, and ultimately achieve long-term success. The seven-stage strategy for customer transformation offers a comprehensive framework for businesses to navigate the evolving landscape of customer relationships and create sustainable value.

 Key Timecodes

  • (00:49) – Show intro and background history
  • (06:44) – A bit about his book
  • (09:29) – A practical advice about product marketing fit
  • (12:27) – Commercial break (Leadfeeder)
  • (13:15) – What are the 7 stages building a business
  • (20:28) – The importance of the interfaces
  • (23:12) – How to use technology focused on the customer
  • (28:37) – His approach about the customer journey
  • (32:49) – Commercial break (TYKR)
  • (33:27) – A key takeaway from the guest
  • (41:10) – Guest contacts


[00:00:00.000] – show intro

Introducing Payback Time, the podcast for entrepreneurs looking to build and scale their startups, gain access to actionable tips, proven strategies, and valuable data that can help you avoid mistakes, skyrocket sales, and optimize profits. Your business breakthrough may just be an episode away.


[00:00:17.350] – Guest intro

If you’re having trouble finding product market fit, look no further. This is one of the best interviews I’ve had on the subject. My next guest has a marketing background working on movies, including Jurassic Park, Wyatt Earp, and Apollo 13. He also spent seven years at Google. Now, he serves as a consultant focused on customer experience. And in this episode, we talk about the seven key stages to achieve product market fit. Please welcome Chris hood.


[00:00:43.780] – Sean

Chris, welcome to the show.


[00:00:45.270] – Chris

Hi. Thanks for having me.


[00:00:47.070] – Sean

Thanks for joining me. So before we dive in, can you tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know?


[00:00:53.170] – Chris

I think this will probably end up being a theme throughout the show, but I love baking. So cookies, cupcakes, cheesecake. If it’s sweet, I’m in the kitchen and I’m baking.


[00:01:07.100] – Sean

It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth the work. I’ll put it that way. Give me a pecan pie. When there’s a holiday party going on, whether it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving, there’s usually two pecan pies. There’s one for everybody to share, and then there’s one for Sean. It disappeared pretty quick, but anyway, I get it. All right, let’s Let’s go ahead. Let’s dive in, if you could. Tell us about your career background.


[00:01:33.980] – Chris

Sure. Well, my career is pretty interesting and broad. I have 35 years of experience plus in media and entertainment, along with technology. I’ve spent time in television and movies and music and video games. I even just came back around to the video game space. I’m also the founder and CEO of a video game studio called Muddy Robot Games. Before that, I spent seven years at Google, where I headed up the digital innovation and strategy teams and worked with hundreds of companies around the world on building various types of strategies. Again, A lot of my experience has been around this concept of understanding who your customer is, developing new and unique technologies to help accommodate and meet those customer expectations. And then most recently, I wrote a book called Customer Transformation, which really dives into a framework around how do you build success within a business that is focused on the customer.


[00:02:39.930] – Sean

We’re going to spend a lot of time there product market fit or finding it can be very hard for business owners to Before we get there, when I was reading about you and what brought you on the show was you have a little experience here. I have to go here because I’m a movie nerd. You have experience with Jurassic Park, Wyatt Herp, and Apollo 13. Can you talk about that real briefly?


[00:02:59.550] – Chris

Well, My first job was working at a movie theater. And while I was at the movie theater, I got the privilege of cleaning up the auditoriums with popcorn spills and making the popcorn and taking tickets at the door. And as I was there, one thing led it into another, and I started doing more public relations and marketing types of activities. And then there was a marketing contest for Jurassic Park. So I put together an entire marketing campaign around the movie and won an international award for it, Grand Prize for best marketing campaign for a movie during the summer season. I went on to do that and did it back to back to back. So I did a repeat, which was great. And at the time, the Hollywood reporter who was putting together these promotional tournaments, campaigns, awards, whatever you want to call them, they had never seen anything like what we had been able to produce, and never had they actually awarded somebody in consecutive years. So it was really fascinating to be able to work on some high-level campaigns, marketing. For example, for Dresset Park in Southern California, we actually worked with one of the local animatronics and natural history museums.


[00:04:28.070] – Chris

We had a giant dinosaur on the back of a semi-truck, and we were able to get news coverage. So this dinosaur was going down the freeway, and choppers were coming in to zoom in as they followed the dinosaur to a theater. So really some fun things. And I think that was the catapult for me to really start to think about what are some fun ideas and what does marketing strategy really look like, and how do you wrap this around telling stories and And then how do you tell those stories in unique ways to satisfy customers, to build loyalty? And it just all connected from there.


[00:05:07.810] – Sean

Right on. Wyatt Earp is pretty good. I compare that to Tombstone, which came out around the same time. So people be like, I’m more of a fan of Tombstone, or others will say Wyatt Herb. You got Kurt Russell in Tombstone and Kevin Costner over there in Wyatt Herb. I want to breeze past that, though. I want to get to Apollo 13 is one of my favorites. I love that film. What was the marketing campaign for Apollo 13?


[00:05:32.020] – Chris

Oh, we did everything from engage with Space Camp, obviously. Okay. So Space Camp is in Alabama, and we sent several youth for free off to Space Camp. We had actual astronauts come into various showings of Apollo 13 to do Q&A with the audience. Yeah, so I agree. That’s cool. It’s one of my favorite movies. And so to really figure out unique ways to re-explore space and bring in some of that science stuff. It’s all about, again, we go to the movies for entertainment, but How do you connect that entertainment to other areas, aspects of our lives that do impact what we do and think about? So the science side of space exploration, the kids going to space camp, it’s just extending that beyond just saying, Hey, we’re just going to market a film for entertainment value. What else can we do with that to expand beyond just the entertainment?


[00:06:44.570] – Sean

Right. That’s so cool. Well, thanks for sharing your backstory. Let’s go ahead and transition to this framework you mentioned within your book, which really is around product-market fit. And just to hammer on that for a second, I’ve talked to a lot of business owners the years that are really striving for it. I’ve also talked to business owners that they know all and they know how to find product market fit without to their customer, which is baffling to me. But I’m sure you’ve heard dozens of stories, and we’re going to dive into a few here today. But start with the book. Tell us about it at a high level and we’ll drill in.


[00:07:21.430] – Chris

Yeah. So the book is called Customer Transformation, and what it recognizes is that it’s really your customer who is the one that’s transforming on a regular basis. Because of today’s digital age and because of how we engage with businesses through technology, our needs, our expectations, how empowered we are to voice our opinions and share our feedback through social media, because all of that is so dynamic and so evolving on a regular basis, you cannot be static as a business owner. You have to be to be able to recognize that your customers are transforming more rapidly than ever before. And as a result, you have to be able to transform your business directly as a result of that. So I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there thinking, Well, a digital transformation. What we were actually witnessing over the course of, say, the last five years is a destruction of what digital transformation really is all about. Everybody was trying to Well, digital transformation was the buzzword, just like AI is today. And so digital transformation will solve everything. The problem with that is that the companies and the business owners, the entrepreneurs were focused more heavily on the technology, the digital piece of this, than on what that technology is going to solve, which is your customer.


[00:08:54.290] – Chris

So I really wanted to shift that narrative and write the book as a framework to say, Let’s look at it from the customer perspective because it’s your customer that is transforming. Then you have to figure out how to keep up with that through your technology, the culture of your organization, how you think about connecting business values back to your consumers. All of that is impacted once you recognize that your customer has to come first. And so the book outlines a seven-stage framework to accomplish that.


[00:09:29.370] – Sean

Before Before we hit record, we’re talking about an example you ran into, which I found very humorous. I’d love to dive into that real quick about finding product-market fit.


[00:09:38.520] – Chris

Yeah, I was on a online social channel, social media for a group of entrepreneurs. And this is a founder’s entrepreneurs. There’s probably 20,000 people in this group. And somebody posted a question that basically said, I’ve finished developing our main product. Now, how do I find customers? And I chuckled. And my response was, Start over.


[00:10:07.210] – Sean

I love that because I see so many entrepreneurs doing that same thing, and you missed the point Which is you need to be, in my opinion, this is how I built Tykr and the product or two in the past, but you want to build it with your customer. You don’t build it and then think they will come. We’ve seen Field of Dreams, and the movie is more of a fantasy than reality, but it’s like you got to build it with your customers. So did that conversation go anywhere from there? Was just really one of those little motivational points to put into the book.


[00:10:41.840] – Chris

Yeah. Look, I think the conversation continued, and Obviously, you had a lot of people who were giving more practical advice like, well, do market research and figure out who your customer is, and then try to figure out how you’re going to sell it, and all the things that we’ve all heard before that you would typically go through to sell a product. But The point of this is that they started, as I’ve outlined with customer transformation, they started with the technology. I think this is something that we are seeing strongly right now, especially with artificial intelligence. They’re starting with the AI. They’re starting with, Oh, I want to go build an AI product, and then trying to figure out if they can find a customer base to sell it to. It doesn’t work that way. We are actually seeing statistics that show that consumers don’t care about AI. They don’t want to engage with AI. We have a lot of businesses that are now creating differentiation that, Hey, you could talk to a real person. You’re not talking to a robot. So because the market is getting pretty much annoyed with AI, and they are seeing it everywhere, there’s no possible way that you are going to be able to build an AI product and then Then go find your customer.


[00:12:01.740] – Chris

You always have to start with, what is the problem I am attempting to solve? And then go build it. It has to be customer first, technology second. And if you are trying to build the technology first and then figure out the customer and how that is going to fit, then you don’t have a product. You don’t have something that is legitimately going to work.


[00:12:27.100] – Sean

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[00:13:03.170] – Sean

All right, back to the show. I was seeing that a lot a year ago, is all the buzz, people stamping AI on a product, like back in the early 2000s, they literally put dot com on the end of the name, and people get excited about it. It’s like, Can you walk me through what problem this solves? Well, it’s got AI. Cute, but what are we doing here? So I’m with you 100 %. Is drill down to what is the pain When you’re removing, what problem are you solving? Let’s dive into this framework a little bit. You got these seven frameworks. Is that how you phrase it?


[00:13:41.690] – Chris

Seven stages. So the framework is seven stages, and I’m happy to go through really quickly what those are, and then it all ties together. So the first one is customer because you have to start first with your customer. Makes sense. Stage number two is interfaces because you want to understand how the customer is going to interface with you. Number three is journey. What is that journey that they are going to take with your company? I have argued more recently that the concepts of customer journey mapping is completely outdated and useless to the most extent, but that’s all in journey. Number four is ecosystem, and it’s the recognition of building an ecosystem, not just with your products, but the integration of your community, both inside your company and outside of your company, as well as finding ways to partner with your competition, which I also think is something that is very hard for a lot of entrepreneurs to do. And then we get into number five, which is the culture of your organization and how you build teams and support those teams. And then number six is the technology. Crazy. We go through six stages before we even get to the technology.


[00:14:56.530] – Chris

And then the seventh stage is business, and it’s the value value that you will generate by going through those seven stages. And real quickly, this can work reverse. The customer to the business, those seven stages, we call outside in. You’re starting outside your company, and then you’re working your way inside of your company. But if we go backwards inside out, this is what a lot of entrepreneurs do. What is my business? Oh, well, I’ve got a name of my business. I’ve got a brand and a logo. I build a website. You get all that done. Then you’re like, okay, now I want to build some technology. It’s a SaaS platform. It’s we’re going to use AI. Then you build your technology. Then you’re like, okay, now I got to build a team to help me build that technology and support it. Then I might introduce that out into an ecosystem. Then I tried to figure out what is the journey of my customers. Then I figured out, well, how are they going to actually interface with this journey, and then who are my customers? And yet there are so many people who do it this way, and the simplest way to explain it, it’s as if you were trying to build a house and you’re starting with the roof first before building the foundation.


[00:16:11.510] – Chris

You can’t do it, and yet people try all the time.


[00:16:16.720] – Sean

All the time. The most naive business owners, and they think their experience, and I’ve seen the same, they start with a business, they start with a logo, all that cutesy stuff, and they don’t start with a customer. We’ll worry about that later. It’s unbelievable.


[00:16:32.200] – Chris

Real quickly on that. So I can look at a product and say, Hey, I want to build a product, and I can make some philosophical hypothesis about who that customer is. But you know what’s rooted in that no matter what? It’s what’s the problem I’m solving. So if I can figure out what that problem is, then I assume that there are customers that have that same problem, and then I can start building it. Now, if you’re experienced enough, if you got 35 plus years of experience doing this, you get to a point where you can see the big picture and map that out, but not without identifying what the core problem is. And that’s, I think, the biggest issue that a lot of people have is they just want to skip over that because they just want to build some new technology that solves their problem. And then they start getting some feedback. I’ll go to you, Sean. Hey, I’ve got this great idea. Here’s the product. You’re like, Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. What they typically do is they’re like, Hey, Mom, I got this really great idea. Mom’s like, Yeah, that’s a fabulous idea.


[00:17:41.700] – Chris

Do it. You can’t get biased opinion in that process either. You actually have to go and do the research to determine if there is market fit and then base everything else you do from there.


[00:17:56.670] – Sean

So when people are diving into the book, do you give them a tactical roadmap to dive into each stage? Do you talk about timelines, how long you should theoretically spend at each stage? You do. You’re nodding your head here for those that are not watching YouTube but listening. Chris has given us the cue here that absolutely that’s what you want to do. So you don’t have to go through all the stages here because we want people to pick up the book, but break it down a little bit in that first stage, customer.


[00:18:26.170] – Chris

Yeah, so the book does have action plans. So I’ve provided you with an actual action plan for each stage of the framework. It supplies you with a timeline. It supplies you with questions to ask inside of your organization, reflective questions for you to ask yourself in the Process. The book is also designed for anybody, whether you’re a business of one and you’re just starting entrepreneurs or enterprise-wide businesses. When we think about customer as the first stage, it’s a lot of what we’re talking about. It’s actually communicating with the customer to better understand who they are and what they want. It’s an empathetic view. There’s some other frameworks that are involved in this, such as design thinking, which is really an empathetic view of how you design products, even technology products and SaaS products. It also shifts your mindset. It’s designed to really start to provide you with ways that you should think about this, just like what we are talking about. It is absolutely amazing to me when I go into large enterprise organizations, and we’re talking the largest of the largest companies, name brands you are all familiar with. I sit down with a group of executives and I ask them, How many people in the room believe that you have incredible customer service experience, support, and that you are solely focused on the customer?


[00:19:55.100] – Chris

And most of the time, 95% of the people are going to raise their hand and say, Yes, We are. And then I go through a workshop with them just based on shifting that mindset. And then I ask that question again, no one is raising their hand because they start to recognize that the way I think about a customer first is nowhere close to what they’re actually doing within their business. And so if you want to get a really solid start about how to think about the customer first, then that’s the opening chapter.


[00:20:28.200] – Sean

Love it. All right. And then that leads to Interfaces, Stage 2.


[00:20:34.090] – Chris

Yeah. So Interfaces is all about the recognition that we interface with our favorite brands and products differently. So if I was to ask you this question, think about your business and think about how your customer interfaces with your business. Now, if I said, remove a mobile app and remove a website, Have I eliminated all of the ways that your customers currently interface with your business? You might argue email might be one. You might argue that, Hey, we do have a phone number and people do call us. You might also have some social media, so you might say social media, but even that is going through a website or a mobile app. But when we think about interfaces, we’re also talking about different types of multisensory. We’re getting into the realms of virtual reality and Imagine if I could actually smell your product. In Japan, there’s a scientist who’s inventing Tasty TV, where you could literally go and lick the screen and taste what is on that screen. So that’s a different type of interface. I had to think about the times that you go to the gas station, and whether you have an electric vehicle and you’re plugging it in or whether or not you actually go to a gas station.


[00:21:53.680] – Chris

You are getting out of the car and you are putting your credit card in, and you are pressing a button and filling your tank But imagine if the interface was actually the car itself with the gas pump itself. Imagine your car actually has your wallet and your credit card information. As soon as you pull up, it creates a connection and it communicates with each other. And then it actually knows your preferences and it selects the grade, it selects the payment system, all before you even get out of the car. And then it also has the Diet Pepsi and the Reese’s peanut butter cup waiting for because that’s already been paid for. And all I have to do is walk in and grab that as I go. That’s not out of the realm of possibility. But again, we don’t typically think about how we interface with other businesses in that way. We have to go beyond what’s in our hand. Those touch points that we often call, we’re not touching things anymore. We are talking to our Alexas in our Google Homes. We’re asking them to do things. So we have to get to that That mindset that the interface is also evolving and how people are going to interface with your product or with your business is also going to change, and you got to think about it differently.


[00:23:12.590] – Sean

Right. I love that approach. It gets you thinking about where I’m going is, how do people use a product that’s similar to mine today, and how could they be using it tomorrow? And that gets you thinking about your… I’m already looking at number six, technology. What do we need to build? And this discussion here way up front at number two, gets you thinking about all the different avenues, especially where could people… How could they be interacting with us or our platform tomorrow?


[00:23:44.410] – Chris

Well, it also goes back to the customer. This is why it’s a natural fit, because part of that empathetic perspective is, I always find it funny when I go into the grocery store and I swipe my credit card to pay for my groceries, and I say this all the What if the grocery store said, We don’t take debit cards, we only take cash? Right now, today, a lot of people would probably leave the grocery store and go to a different grocery store because the way we want to engage with that business is already set. We already know how we want to, and we’ve all experienced it. We have actually experienced times when we go and we try to pay our bill, or we go and we try to cancel a subscription, and it goes through all of these loops and ladders and hoops and ladders to try to do whatever it is we want to do. All of that is just creating friction in the process. And so if I was to ask a whole bunch of people, Would you prefer getting out of your car and paying for your gas, or what if your car could actually pay for the gas itself?


[00:24:48.510] – Chris

I’m sure a lot of people would say, Yeah, let the car do it. That’s a great way to think about interfaces because the customer is going to dictate. Uber is a great For example, Uber, it used to be I would stand on the side of the street and I would hail a taxi, and then I would get in the taxi and I would try to figure out how to pay. And now I’m paying for it before the car arrives. We’ve changed the interface. The success of Uber is not the technology. There’s no unique technology in Uber. The innovation was in the interface between the customer and what the product was, what the problem they were solving.


[00:25:28.110] – Sean

I love this. We can’t stop We got to go to number three, journey.


[00:25:33.680] – Chris

So journey is all… It’s your customer journey. It’s all thinking about your customer experience, your customer journeys. And as I said, typically, we think about customer journey as it is in the framework of my business. I guarantee you 100% of the people who are listening who may have thought about their customer journey and have definitely built a customer journey map, have thought about it as, This is my business. This is the traffic that I’m leading to, and this This is how I want to get people into the flow. But today, we don’t do that as consumers. I’ll give you two examples. Let’s quickly go through, since we’re talking about movies, think about the time you went to see a movie at the theater. For me, it was like, find a babysitter, make some dinner reservations, book my seats, pick the seats that I want in the theater, get those sent to my phone, go to the grocery store get some candy, smuggle candy into the theater, go find my seats. I had a conversation about this actually a few weeks ago. Are you a go to concession first or are you go to your seats first and then back to concession?


[00:26:44.170] – Chris

I’m I go to my seats and then concession. But most people are like, yeah, concession, then my seats, whatever. Anyway, and then when I leave the theater, well, now I’m sharing. It was a good movie. I leave reviews. I make plans to go see it with somebody else, whatever the case might be. There are so many different activities that we are doing before we even reach the theater. And then you’re expecting that your customer journey map is only going to be the moment they walk in the door to the moment they leave. And then when they leave the theater, there’s a whole another slew of things. Do you realize that we use somewhere between eight to nine different applications to go on a trip between air, hotel, restaurants, taxis, Ubers, calendar systems, And yet for us, it’s one journey. We’re going on a trip. And all of a sudden, you’ve got all these different layers of experiences that you have to intermingle with each other to try to figure it out. Imagine going to the grocery store All of a sudden, you’re in the grocery store and you’re shopping and you’re putting stuff in your basket, and you realize, oh, crap, I forgot to pay a bill.


[00:27:51.620] – Chris

And now you’re logging in, you’re stopping in the middle of the grocery store, you’re pulling out your phone, you’re paying the bill. And then all of a sudden, you pay the bill, your balance has decreased and you realize, I got to put that mac and cheese back on the shelf because I can’t afford it anymore. Those are real-life experiences by customers that completely disrupt your basic premise of what a customer journey is, because we are not linear anymore. We are living in a dynamic world where things are constantly evolving around us, and this concept of multi-dimensional and multi-experienced types of journeys that impact other things that we are doing during the course of that journey have to be considered. And that’s what I outline in chapter three.


[00:28:37.810] – Sean

I want to drill in this third one here a little bit further. Customers may be thinking, that makes a lot of sense. But how do I do this in practice? Are you actually talking to potential customers? And do you ask them questions like, okay, so you’re interested in what I’m doing. Can you walk me through the steps you’re taking or the things you do? And then you write everything down and then organize a journey from there. How do you approach this third one?


[00:29:06.150] – Chris

So I just did a workshop on this, and what I asked people to do is to say, Okay, let’s start with thinking about things that your customers do before they even get to your company. That’s before. And then let’s also think about what are the things they do after they leave your company. So don’t think about anything that they… All of the things that they do during your company, you can answer. You already know. You’ve thought about it, right? You’ve thought about your You’ve thought about the pipeline. You’ve thought about the funnel. You’ve thought about your marketing. You’ve thought about the mess, you’ve thought about all of that. But have you given any thought to what that customer is doing when they’re not even in your building or not even in your lintal environment. And if you start to think about it, for example, let’s just say I’m a shoe company. I sell shoes. What are the things that they’re doing before? Have you thought, Well, You might have a persona. We’re not talking about personas. We’re actually talking about the things that happen. Again, the movie theater. I go to the grocery store and I buy candy before I go to the movie theater.


[00:30:10.900] – Chris

What if the movie theater actually could figure out both what candy I am buying at the movie theater or at the grocery store, and how many people are actually doing it, and what are the ways that I could potentially build some partnership or relationship back with the grocery store and share in that data to build a deeper ecosystem and a persona about the consumer. This is not like, Hey, just plug in things. I mean, Zappier as a technology is an integration technology that allows you to connect a whole diverse different types of technologies to do some a process. Why can’t you do that with your journey map?


[00:30:50.930] – Sean

I really like this point here because you hit a keyword there, partnerships. I mean, you work for Google, you get it. You want to work with other businesses that can really accelerate your business fast. And the best way to find those partners, complement something they’re doing, and then flip side of that equation, you can complement what they’re doing.


[00:31:15.170] – Chris

Another real example of this, on Google Home devices, I have one behind me back here for anybody who’s watching, you can connect Microsoft Zoom on Google Home. Now, the first thing you would think is, well, Microsoft and Google are competitors. They have basically the exact same products that are competing against each other. Why would Google put Zoom on it? And why would Microsoft want to put Zoom on Google Home? To sell more?


[00:31:45.190] – Sean

There you go.


[00:31:46.310] – Chris

Because they realize that if you’ve got Zoom customers, they’ll go and buy the Google Home devices. And Google Home sells more devices. And then Zoom sells more subscriptions because it’s now available regularly for other people. Too often we’re like, that’s the competition. I cannot partner with my competition. I did a podcast last year sometime. This podcast was all about mattresses. It was basically in the mattress industry. I basically did a lot of ripping into the mattress industry, as anybody who’s gone shopping for mattresses would know. I brought this up. I said, When’s the last time you actually partnered with one of the competitors in the mattress industry down the street from you? They’re like, Never. We would never do that. Why not? Create an event, have both of your companies participate in this event. You’re both going to sell more mattresses in the long run.


[00:32:44.670] – Sean

Yeah, Good call. Good call. Yeah. That’s brilliant.


[00:32:50.100] – Sean

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[00:33:25.520] – Sean

Com. All right, back to the show. Really got me thinking here. I know we could spend probably another two hours going through all seven, but this is a great time to say, Hey, audience, you got to check out the book. I do have the book already added to Amazon, but let’s not stop here. Let’s keep going. Before we jump to the rapid fire round, is there one more key takeaway you can give my audience?


[00:33:46.930] – Chris

The only thing that I continuously say as part of this scenario is you are also a customer. Now, whether or not you’re the customer of your own product, that’s a whole nother conversation. But We are all customers. We go to the grocery store, we go shopping, we do things all the time, and we all sit there and say, I wish it was this way, or I wish I… We think about that stuff. We see it and we think about it. We get an We map out, we play with it. We’re like, it doesn’t. Why don’t you ever think about yourself from that perspective? If you can get your mind around that you are a customer and how would you do it? Then I think you’re going to be able to get more ideas ideas and perspective when you start thinking about the customer first.


[00:34:33.590] – Sean

Yeah, great call. All right, let’s transition to the rapid fire round. This is the part of the episode where we get to find out who Chris really is. If you can, try to answer each question in about 15 seconds or less. You ready?


[00:34:46.680] – Chris



[00:34:47.420] – Sean

All right. What is your favorite podcast?


[00:34:49.960] – Chris

My own? Does my own count? Oh, come on.


[00:34:53.160] – Sean

You got to be listening to something else.


[00:34:55.270] – Chris

Believe it or not, I don’t listen to many podcasts. I I spend a lot of time on people’s podcast, and then I listen to their podcast because I love hearing and collaborating with you and hearing. Sure. I do spend a lot of time listening to various podcasts, but I wouldn’t say I necessarily have a favorite one that I always tune into.


[00:35:17.720] – Sean

Diehard. That’s all right. The second question is, what is a recent book you read and would recommend?


[00:35:23.810] – Chris

Yeah, see, I really can’t find the book because we were talking about this beforehand, and I was I have this book, and it’s pretty good. Anyway, the other book that I have been recently reading, I’ll show it here real quick, is a Bobby Flay cookbook. This is Sunday’s with Sophie, which is Bobby Flay’s daughter, and they have a whole series of brunch recipes. Who can pass up brunch, I tell you. So, yeah, I would recommend this if you like to cook.


[00:35:56.420] – Sean

Coming from a baker, I could see that one top of your list. Good Yeah, there you go. All right. Movie question. What is your favorite movie?


[00:36:05.250] – Chris

Back to the Future.


[00:36:06.370] – Sean

Good choice. Love it. All right. More serious question here. What is the worst advice you ever received?


[00:36:13.630] – Chris

Hundreds of worst advice. Devices I’ve ever seen. I mean, a lot of times it’s just people’s perspectives. I once had somebody say, the sign of a successful leader is one who is focused on the PnL. And again, I laughed and I said, if you don’t have customers, you don’t have a PnL. So maybe you should be focused on the customer. I also recently just had somebody say, I’ve got a great framework about how do you manage your teams. It’s the 10, 80, 10 rule. 10% is with your executives, 80% is with your core team, and then 10% is with your lower from the ground up, top down, ground up, and in the middle, 10, 80, 10. And I’m like, Where’s the customer in that? Yes, Thank you. Again, it’s these questions that people wrap their mind around like, this is great advice. But again, you have a customer, and if you can’t recognize that the customer is a part of your 108010, then you don’t have a business. When is the last time you think that United Airlines CEO, Lou Coach, and sat next to a customer and sat there and talked to them like an undercover boss and said, Hey, I just said, how do you like the flight today?


[00:37:29.930] – Chris

That has never happened. Never. And yet if it was my world, it’d be like, ’50, ’20, ‘2010, ‘ or something. And 50 % of my time would be talking with customers because ultimately, at the end of the day, as a CEO, your only, only responsibility is your customers.


[00:37:50.850] – Sean

Yeah. There’s a few people I love to send this to. All right. And I’m going to. But to make a comment on that, I I love those stories, those undercover stories, and you get the CEO asking those questions, and it’s like, you got to maintain that. I don’t know how people lose track of that. This is probably why corporate world never was going to be my thing for life, because I would raise those questions. I’d hear ideas and like you said, frameworks, and then I say, What are the customers’ thoughts on this? Did you get their input? And be crickets. I’m like, Okay, this is not going over well.


[00:38:28.780] – Chris

Yeah. I even undercover boss I find interesting because it’s still an internal perspective. You’re dealing with your teams, you’re dealing with your operations. You usually pinpoint a manager or an employee, and you talk to them, and maybe you get rid of somebody, maybe you promote somebody. But in not a single episode of Undercover Boss, are they actually talking with the customers? It’s almost like I would love to produce a new Undercover Boss that is just customer perspective. Yes.


[00:38:57.940] – Sean

Love it. All right. Flip that equation. What is the best advice you ever received?


[00:39:04.790] – Chris

Best advice I’ve ever received is fail. It’s one that I talk about a lot. It is okay to fail. It is a learning experience. That’s how we innovate. So don’t put too much pressure on you. Continuously learn, continuously evolve, continuously try to stay hungry, but accept that failure as part of the equation.


[00:39:28.940] – Sean

We use the phrase fail forward and fail fast. All right, the last question here, time machine question. You’ll get this one, back to the future. All right, if you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age were you visit and what would you say?


[00:39:43.440] – Chris

17, and I was working at a software, et cetera, in the mall. It’s a hilarious story because one of our employees, every break, every day he had a break, he would go over to the bookshelf and he would pull off a big yellow book. Basically, for those of you who are familiar with the yellow pages, it was basically like the yellow pages. But in this yellow pages were IP addresses. It was all of these IP addresses for where to find information. So it was a yellow pages of IP. This was before the internet really took boom and before dot coms. And we would give this employee the hardest time every day. Why are you reading that stupid book? You’re back to reading that book. Get over it. That’s never going to be a thing. And I always say, if I could go back in time and tell myself one thing, it’d be like, buy the book, buy dot coms. I think I would have been in a completely different perspective. But yeah, it all stemmed from that yellow pages of IP addresses.


[00:40:46.640] – Sean

That is such a cool story. The way you started, it’s like it could be start of a screenplay. It’s like you find, well, it all started back when I found this book and it led me to this IP and that led me. Okay. You have my attention.


[00:41:00.870] – Chris

The crazy thing is, is he knew. He was actively interested in this, and I was like, I should have just listened.


[00:41:09.510] – Sean

Love it. All right. The book is Customer Transformation. A seven-stage strategy for customer alignment and business value. I’m on Amazon right now. I’m about to throw it on my cart. You guys should check it out, but where else can the audience reach you?


[00:41:27.480] – Chris

Yeah, you can reach me on my website, chrishood. Com. Com, C-H-R-I-S-H-O-O-D. Com. And on there, you will find my podcast, my book. If you want to buy it off of the website, you’ll find my social media profiles, my blog, how to get in touch with me. Basically, everything you need to know is right there, chrisood. Com. Awesome.


[00:41:48.980] – Sean

Chris, thank you so much for your time. This was awesome.


[00:41:51.750] – Chris

Absolutely. Appreciate it. See you.


[00:41:54.620] – Sean

Hey, I’d like to say thanks for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for spending some time with me. And if you have a moment, could you please head over to Apple Podcasts and leave a five-star review? The more reviews we get, the higher this podcast will rank. All right, stay tuned for the next episode.


[00:42:12.660] – Sean

We’ll see you.