Last Tuesday my world changed when I was offered the role of Senior Product Marketing Manager at AppsFlyer. I said a resounding ‘yes’ with zero hesitation. It was a surreal experience and a moment I will remember forever. My life, particularly my professional career has never been planned out. It’s been a series of opportunities, serendipity and, yes, hard work.
In my final interview for the role I was asked a very thought provoking question from a very wise man. “How will it feel to close down your business?”
I told him that it would definitely be an emotional moment. I told him that I was proud of what I’ve achieved and the fact that I’ve been able to provide for my family. What I said next really stuck with me.
I continued by saying that the potential opportunity to work for AppsFlyer wouldn’t have been possible without my business. Sure, my experiences at NCR, DC Thomson, The Sunday Times and Viacom all helped - but it’s unquestionably the work I’ve done off my own back, in my own business that has created this opportunity. That’s something I’m hugely proud of. It’s also the reason I’m not sad about giving up the business. There is no regret. AppsFlyer is the next step on my crazy journey and I’ve never been more excited about what is ahead of me.
I’ve reflected a lot over the last week, particularly about that interview question and of how this amazing opportunity came to be. Having worked with AppsFlyer since March 2020 as an outsourced storyteller, the temptation is to give that single year and experience all the credit. But, since I’m joining a business that has its foundations in ‘attribution’, I think it would be wrong to give 2020 all the credit. It was the final stepping stone of what’s really been a wild ride.
Here’s the set-piece moments of my business story that have led me to AppsFlyer.
I launch Square Tree Marketing, a marketing consultancy. I help SME’s develop better marketing strategies.
In my first year a lot of my advice boils down to - ‘create more content - especially stories.’ I change the name of the business to ‘The Story Edge’.
I take to the stage at a marketing conference after the legend that is Ann Handley. I deliver a short talk about storytelling and mental health. After my talk I secure my first ‘story coaching’ client. (Thanks Steve Ross.)
I help Steve tell his origin story but I feel I’ve sold him short because I haven’t given him the tools to create more stories. So I pause the business and develop The Story Stack, my very own storytelling framework. Shortly after I deliver my first Story Stack workshop with The University of Abertay. (Thanks Lorna and Elley.)
The business becomes a mix of Story Stack Workshops, 1-1 coaching and success story writing. I also become the outsourced marketing director for two fantastic businesses - one in Scotland and one in Australia. (Thanks Tim and Dan.)
9th November 2019
I’m a guest on a LinkedIn live where I make the case for more human focused success stories and case studies. On the same day a mysterious man called Dave from a mysterious business called AppsFlyer tells me he enjoyed the session. He asks if I work on a freelance basis. (Thanks Dave and thanks to James - host of the excellent 414 b2b Marketing Show. You can watch the replay of the episode here.
I agree a deal to write customer success stories for Dave and his amazing team at AppsFlyer. At the end of the month I start the process of writing the first story for them. (Thanks Dave, Yamit, Marina and Elisa.)
April 2020 - February 2021
I complete 20 customer success stories for AppsFlyer. I get a real insight into the culture at AppsFlyer and love everything about our work together. At the start of February, a kind person suggests that I might want to consider applying for a permanent role. I apply, go through four interviews and get offered the job. I gratefully and graciously accept.
March 15th 2021
To be continued…
On reflection, what I take from this trip down memory lane is this - I wouldn’t be in this position if I hadn’t created The Story Stack. If I’m the ‘hero’ of this story, The Story Stack has been my ‘mentor’. It’s what helped give me a sense of identity and purpose. It helped me articulate what I believe which is this - if you create human stories, you’ll make real connections with other humans.
The Story Stack is the catalyst that’s driven my story from fear and self-doubt back in 2015 to excitement and optimism in 2021.
And, it’s fitting that last week I introduced over 200 university students to The Story Stack model. I was a guest speaker at the semi-finals of the University Business Challenge. It’s a UK wide entrepreneurial competition that gives students the opportunity to simulate running their own business. It felt like I was handing over the storytelling baton to the next generation.
My path to AppsFlyer has been unconventional, but the truth is ALL out paths are unconventional. Twists of fate and unexpected opportunities present themselves and it’s up to us to make the best decisions that we can. Those decisions are made with a combination of head and heart. Sometimes it feels like we’re embroiled in an endless battle between cold hard logic and absolute passion. Sometimes though, it’s not a battle, sometimes, in rare moments, they align. They stop competing. They point to a universal truth and guide you to the next stage of your journey.
With AppsFlyer, this has absolutely been the case. It was one of the easiest decisions I’ve had to make. It still feels somewhat surreal that in just two weeks time I will be starting the next chapter of my story at AppsFlyer.
Thanks to everyone who has been part of my story so far. And thanks to the unknown cast of remarkable stars that will play their part in what comes next.