In this post:
Introducing the Interview, a new regular feature on Building Momentum. First up: Jonathan Gandalf, CEO at The Juice.
👋 Hi, I’m James. Thanks for checking out Building Momentum: a newsletter to help startup founders and marketers accelerate SaaS growth through go-to-market strategy, sales, and product marketing.
Sign up to get two posts in your inbox every Tuesday and Friday:
What’s this – a new experimental format? Yep – that’s right!
Welcome to the Interview.
Once a month, I’ll be interviewing folks in the marketing and SaaS community to discover what ‘momentum’ really looks like.
It’s a simple format. Three questions to extract their experiences and thoughts on building and sustaining traction – and a bonus question on the future to end on a positive note.
I’d love to highlight regular readers! Want to take part, or know someone who should? Just reply to this email and we’ll sort it out.
Without further ado, let’s get into it. Here’s the first Interview on Building Momentum.
Jonathan Gandalf, CEO at The Juice
What does momentum mean to you?
I’m a huge sports fan. I love yelling at the TV about momentum talking about momentum. Or as I often call it, “Uncle Mo.” In sports, the goal is to get Uncle Mo on your side and keep him on your side.
Business is no different. Seems straightforward enough. The challenge: momentum is intangible and invisible. It can’t be seen, only felt.
To me, momentum is about doing more of what is working and less of what isn’t working. It’s piling up your chips on the best bets and moving chips away from failing bets.
I love early-stage startups because you can make these moves and decisions extremely fast. You don’t have to go through approvals or red tape. Every conversation and meeting carries consequences. Every conversation has an impact on momentum.
JDP: as regular readers will know, focus + confidence = momentum. Placing your bets is easier when you’ve been counting the cards.
Tell us about a formative experience where you felt the power of momentum.
When launching The Juice, I made a goal to talk to 100 marketers in 100 days. My only goal was to listen. I realize now that I probably haven’t spent enough time doing just that – listening.
Momentum sounds like something that you have to create and tangibly build but I learned that listening allowed us to create momentum. We heard the same thing over and over again to the point where we just kept leaning into the challenge that marketers (specifically, content marketers) were facing.
We thought we could help them solve it. So we’d try something small. It would work and we would do more of it. That would work and we’d do more. By the end of these 100 conversations, we had a fully built beta program that we would have never even thought of on our own.
We captured the momentum and we used it to our advantage. If you want to learn more about this journey, we actually shared some insights and a template in our blog post here.
JDP: half of the challenge of momentum is overcoming inertia – and I love Jonathan’s point that you can do that by being more open to the opportunities you’re hearing.
How are you maintaining and building momentum in your business today?
This sounds like a cliché answer but it’s the people. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to hit a homerun (there I go with another sports metaphor) on all of our hires. These individuals create momentum because the challenge we are solving gives them energy.
The common thread is that they all have a bias toward action. If they find momentum, they’re going to build more of it…fast. If they don’t have momentum, they’re going to move on to the next experiment…fast. It’s an incredible group that is building momentum for The Juice.
What hopes do you have for the future?
It’s inevitable that we won’t have momentum forever. My hope is that when we don’t have it, we recognize it and we embrace the challenge and mystery of finding something so intangible.
One of our operating principles for our team is to “have fun.” It sounds so simple but this team is having fun capturing momentum. When we don’t have Uncle Mo, I hope we have fun and enjoy the curious experience of finding it.
JDP: I think this is great advice; it’s important to remember that the journey is the reward – so have fun while you’re on the road.
What do you think of this new semi-regular format? Click the ♥ symbol below if you liked it, or reply to this email if it’s not your thing and let me know.
Here’s to building momentum,