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What Marketers Can Learn from Afghanistan


This week, I’d like to address a serious subject.

It might not be one you’d expect to see covered here, but it’s important to review nonetheless.

Given the United States of America’s ignominious defeat in Afghanistan, following two decades of foreign policy fiascos, we have to think about the consequences.

I don’t mean consequences for America, and surely not for the Taliban. Nor do I mean consequences for the Afghan people.

No, we need to reflect on the most important consequences… those affecting marketers.

Here we go:

10 Things Marketers Can Learn from the US Defeat in Afghanistan 

1) You can never be too hasty.

This whole column premise is ridiculous. Please tell me you aren’t taking any of this seriously.

2) Sometimes you should act first, think later.

The second point in a list should always contradict the first. That ensures these lists are worthless.

3) Marketers need to be uncomfortable with discomfort.

It is also good to have some list entries directly contradict themselves. There is probably one of these in every list.

4) The world is flat.

This was a Thomas Friedman book title. New York Times-reading marketers eat up stuff like this. They will think they’re so smart for getting it.

5) It takes a village. Team of rivals. The plot against America. Between the world and me.

See the point above. Show inclusiveness, even if you haven’t read any of these.

6) There are no bad ideas in brainstorms.

That’s easy to say, but most marketing decisions don’t wind up potentially displacing millions of people, do they? Can we go easy on the war metaphors?

7) “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

Oh, for Buttigieg’s sake, can we stop quoting The Art of War already? Even sports metaphors are better than this.

8) “If you don’t know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.”

Fine, you win. Quoting Atlas Shrugged is even worse!

9) Just do it. 

This list was written by an eighth-grader, wasn’t it? It may be an eighth-grader in a Brooklyn private school, but there is no way the writer went to high school yet.

10) No one dare disturb the sound of silence.

The eighth-grader must like some of their parents’ music. My bet: the family owns a record player, but they bought the records on Smith Street a few months ago.

The sound of silence is exactly what we should get out of marketers though. We don’t always need to have something to say about everything.

The worst takes aren’t usually bad takes. “Bad takes” are often what you call opinions that you disagree with. But the worst takes are when someone shouldn’t share an opinion at all.

If you served in the military (thank you) or immigrated to the US from Afghanistan (thank you) and then embarked on a marketing career (sorry), maybe you have some great takes about this. The rest of us don’t.

But this isn’t about Afghanistan. This is about all the takes we never should have had, and all the takes we have to read that we should never have been given.

If you’ve read any takes that are worse than this newsletter’s premise though, send them over. I can’t wait to read them.


PS: I was a little too eager to write a take about bad takes, and I forgot to share your best marketing advice as planned. To make it up to you, I’m extending the participation window one more week, and I promise I’ll publish the best submissions then. As a bonus, you’ll get a few $CMO coins to play with for any submission, and you’ll participate in one of the more fun, interactive pilots we’ve attempted here.


  • Check out the latest coin drop on Bonfire: August is for $CMO Coin Lovers!
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    Day 2 will feature a panel discussion, “The Business of Streaming – From the POV of an Esports Organization” moderated by Serial Marketer Zachary Rozga (Thece).
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August 23-24, 10am
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August 25
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“25+ companies (including ArcadiaOhmConnect, and Pachama) with 100+ open software roles across disciplines and seniorities will be there pitching you and ready to answer your questions. For some meta love, Climate People will be there, repping roles from several companies they’re helping recruit for as well.”

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September 1, 6pm MDT
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September 6, 12pm
Via Joshua Caldwell in the community:
Rise Together Foundation (RTF) is going to solve inequity through reparation programs. Join us for our launch event, or reach out to partner and create your own program during our LEVELUP quarterly event.”


Keep checking out the #jobs channel in Serial Marketers for more. Better yet, subscribe to get updates from our job listing board. Here are some great opportunities shared in these places or sent to me directly.

VP of Strategy
Remote US
“Social Studies, Inc is seeking a true cultural polymath to helm our strategy department. The ideal candidate has a strong track record for conceptualizing and commercializing next-generation, data-driven digital marketing campaigns and possesses an in-depth understanding of how the social ecosystem is evolving.”

Industry Marketer, Government
Product Marketing Manager, Insurance
Remote US
Via Lilian Haney in the community
“Nearmap is unique. A global technology company with incredible people; a market-leader with energy and spirit. Nearmap was named as one of the world’s 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2020 by Fast Company magazine – and we’re growing.”

Director of Sales and Marketing
Work from anywhere (US work authorization required)
Via Wadnes Castelly in the community
“Bleeker is a Public Benefit Corporation with a mission to put underrepresented talent in the
driver’s seat of their career. We’re seeking a new addition to our team who can lead our Sales & Marketing
department, including our Sales, Marketing, and Strategic Partnerships teams.”

Senior Vice-President of Product Marketing
Indianapolis, IN, Open to remote
“Proven experience leading, coaching and mentoring a talented Product Marketing team, the future Senior Vice President of Product Marketing has:
* Successfully supported a product portfolio expansion and can create a strategy that aligns all of the organization’s products into a seamless story
* Significant overall marketing exposure with the goal of becoming a CMO one day
* Operates both strategically and tactically and thrives in an environment where you roll up your sleeves and are personally responsible for execution
* Ability to push demand generation – pricing, segments, verticals, etc.
* Comfortable being uncomfortable and having difficult conversations and is able to articulate a strong opinion”

Influencer Marketing Specialist
Remote US
Via Danielle Nuzzo in the community:
“Come join my team at Trust & Will! We’re the leading digital estate planning company, with more than $23M in funding. I’m hiring for an Influencer Marketing Specialist to manage and develop strategic partnerships with influencers and content creators.”

Chief Marketing Officer
Chicago, IL, Open to remote
“Experienced leader with proven mentorship and leadership acumen in the marketing space, the future Chief Marketing Officer has:
* 20+ years of experience leading (and building) marketing organizations, overseeing budget and performance for omni-channel marketing initiatives
* Deep B2C expertise (B2B experience is also preferred). Ideally has been trained in a best-in-class environment and has been tested in applying their toolkit in an innovative operation
* Consumer-focused, digitally-native marketer with a strong track record of developing and elevating winning/desirable brands
* Ability to motivate their team to achieve/exceed goals and facilitate paths for advancement and growth”

Client Services Director
Chicago, Atlanta, New York, or Richmond
Via Mat Zucker in the community
“Prophet is enhancing our existing creative capabilities, building a new, complementary creative capability at Prophet which includes a brand and content studio (CoLab) to take storytelling to new places. We’re looking for a team of outstanding talent to help build this new unit which will brilliantly activate our client brand and marketing strategies for fame and impact.”

Senior Director of Operations
Seattle Area
“We empower our community of loving pet sitters and dog walkers to run their pet care businesses on Rover with the tools and security of our global company to back them.”
The ideal candidate must have:
* 8-10 years of scaling and leading a customer service team that exceeds goals.
* Experience owning budgeting, forecasting and cost management.
* Proven record of defining and driving KPIs.

Various roles
Austin, TX or willing to relocate
Via Weston Armstrong Woodward in the community:
“Amazing agency hiring. Link to all the open roles: https://www.uncommonlogic.com/jobs/
In terms of priorities, these 3 positions are the ones they’re in most need of:
Account Manager
Senior Paid Media Specialist
Digital Marketing Strategist

Community Director
Remote anywhere
“The Community Director will be responsible for growing the Effective Altruism Anywhere community through strategy, event planning, supporting members in having an impact, and more. The position is funded through a Community-Building Grant by the Centre for Effective Altruism.”

Head of Revenue Operations
Remote US
RudderStack is a warehouse-first customer data platform (CDP) built for developers. We make it extremely easy to collect/transform customer data and send it to over 150 different marketing, product, analytic applications all with one snippet of code. RudderStacks Head of Revenue Operations will be responsible for building the infrastructure, processes, and tech stack to enable our team to drive predictable revenue growth.

Marketing Director
Remote anywhere
“The Life You Can Save is looking to hire a Marketing Director who will be in charge of leading our charity’s marketing efforts in distributing Peter Singer’s book The Life You Can Save and raising money for our recommended charities.”

Senior Content Marketing Manager
Remote US
“As a Sr. Content Marketing Manager you will help establish Boulevard as the preferred platform-as-a-service solution (beyond software) to the personal care industry through impactful content that attracts, nurtures, and converts relevant audiences throughout the marketing funnel. We are focused on two different yet intersecting worlds: beauty and technology. You should have a passion for and experience with these important parts of our business that is equal to your passion for storytelling and digital content.”

Director of Product Marketing
New York
“Willing to hit the ground running with positive attitude, strong energy, and curiosity, the future Director of Product Marketing has:
* ~5-10 years of experience successfully developing and positioning mar-tech companies, ideally with a brand or product marketing speciality
* Deep B2B expertise in the ZPD or martech space and has been trained in a best-in-class or startup environment and worked closely with agencies
* Has implemented successful enablement programs, created product/brand messaging and GTM strategy, and has a history of working closely with sales and customers.”

Director of Amazon Growth & Marketing
United States
“Driven, data-based professional with the ability to lead, the future Director of Amazon Growth & Marketing has:
* 7+ years experience in growth / performance marketing + 3+ years of Amazon advertising experience
* DTC or e-commerce industry experience
* Develop brand growth strategy, build GTM plans, manage advertising on Amazon marketplaces, budget management
* Ability to lead and build team. Data based decision marketing
* Driven by ownership, values customer experience, eclectic background.”

Director of Customer Success
NYC Area
“The problems you’ll solve:
* Ensuring that our client engagements are successful for our customers, their lawyers, and fund administrators
Learning how to take our existing processes, structure them, and find points of leverage
* Designing and implementing a review process that produces error-free deliverables
* Seeking customer feedback about how we can improve our product for our users
* Developing your team through training, mentoring, and leadership”

Sales Director roles
“Sales Directors will be responsible for generating and growing mobile ad revenue through consultative sales that lead to highly successful campaigns and ongoing programs. The ideal candidate will possess a curiosity to research consumer behaviors and have a passion to develop those data insights into client solutions. You will be a key player, working with an account team to drive our clients’ business growth.”

Customer Success Manager
Located in the Eastern time zone
“As our first CS hire, you’ll have a huge amount of autonomy and responsibility as to how our customers experience OnRamp. Aside from working side-by-side with some of the best Customer Success teams in the industry to provide a world-class experience, you’ll have a huge say in figuring out the early playbook. We’ll ask you to experiment and move quickly and help us determine which investments will have the highest impact for our customers.”

Chief Growth Officer
Chicago, IL
“Transparent, motivated, cross-functional growth leader, the future Chief Growth Officer has:
* 15+ years of experience leading marketing and sales organizations, overseeing budget and performance for omnichannel growth efforts
* High growth, complex / big ticket D2C eCommerce expertise; subscription D2C preferred. Brick and mortar retail nice to have
* Drive and own overall strategy for acquisition growth and performance marketing. Highly analytical with experience forecasting and reporting ROI. Proven experience being accountable for and driving results against KPIs (ideally CAC: LTV or ROAS)”

Director of Digital Acquisition
“A successful candidate for this role will have experience in acquisition marketing – ranging across search marketing, digital display advertising, and social media performance marketing. This role requires the ability to define our paid media growth strategy, deep-dive on cohort analysis, set customer-centric campaign goals, provide excellent project management skills, establish a deep and current knowledge of each platform’s unique offerings, maintain a keen eye for compelling and innovative creative concepts, and possess a passion for continuous improvement.”

Other job resources:

  • Advisable: Get instant access to top marketing freelancers
  • AMA Job Board: Listings from the American Marketing Association (maybe you can also ask them anything)
  • Beeler.Tech: Job listings for ad operations, programmatic account management, sales operations, and more.
  • Braintrust: A new freelance platform where you are the owner and where freelance talent keeps 100% of the bill rate.
  • Built in NYC: Jobs at a range of levels and functions, as long as you’re okay working in this quaint, backwater hamlet.
  • CareerList: Here’s a form for companies hiring and a form for job seekershere’s the public list with tabs for both
  • Content Writing Jobs: Content marketers, enjoy
  • Creative Women of Color: List yourself in the database and find talent, via Women Who Create
  • Demand Curve: Growth and marketing jobs
  • DiscoverTheTalent: An initiative designed to build partnerships with businesses to advocate, train, and hire military spouses
  • ExecThread: Senior roles spanning a range of verticals and cities; membership is free but fully vetted (this uses my referral ID to get you in faster)
  • Ex-Equinox Media Talent: A spreadsheet of available talent (permission given by those listed) who are recent ex-Equinox media folks.
  • Gently Ventures: Helps scale businesses by finding the right talent
  • GLG: Get paid to share your topical expertise; it can lead to some interesting conversations at a potentially decent hourly rate
  • Growth Collective: Apply to join this network of notable freelance marketers
  • Grace Blue Transitions: A portal for hirers and seekers with resources from this exec recruiting firm
  • The Hired Guns: An array of jobs in marketing and related fields at brands, agencies, and media companies
  • Hue: Amplifying voices of people in color working in marketing
  • Hunterz: A way for connectors to get paid to introduce startups to large enterprises
  • Lead5: A paid service for executive roles, plus intel on changes with companies and PE investments; you can try a risk-free weeklong trial to see if it’s any good for your needs
  • Lunch Club: Match 1:1 around predetermined goals with accomplished professionals (free)
  • NYC Ad Jobs & Networking: A popular Facebook group
  • One Club for Creativity: COVID-19 jobs Board
  • #OpenToWork: There’s a channel in Serial Marketers where you can share what you’re looking for
  • Pangea: Where you can hire college freelancers (and college students can get gigs)
  • Pocit: A platform connecting people of color with jobs in the tech industry
  • Questions to Ask for a Marketing Role: What questions should you ask when starting a new marketing role or job?
  • Remotists: Remote startup jobs, chronicled weekly
  • Sales Hustle Stack: Find platform-based gigs and other creative ways to earn some extra cash
  • Serial Marketers Job Board: Post regular and featured listings and subscribe for updates.
  • Startup.Jobs: There’s a section for marketing jobs
  • Teal: One place to organize and manage your job search.
  • TechNY Daily: While more technical, there are also some sales and marketing jobs at NY startups.
  • VC Job Boards: AlephEniac VenturesPearSequoiaUnion Square Ventures
  • VentureLoop: Free startup job listings; their paid option is $15/month and might surface more leads (but it might not).
  • Venwise: Submit your job interests here and get in front of their roster of hiring leads; select “Serial Marketers” under “How did you find us”
  • Wanted: Wanted helps top talent in tech and marketing find a job at your desired pay.

Do you run or enjoy other job listing sites? Let me know, and I’ll share them.


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