New Beginnings: Why I’m Stoked To Join Statice!

Statice is a Berlin based data privacy company, working at the cutting edge of data anonymization. Statice allows companies to unlock the value inherent in their data for internal use cases, to share with external collaborators, or for monetization purposes, while simultaneously protecting the individual consumer’s privacy.

My thesis for joining Statice was relatively simple: privacy is not going to become less of an issue for consumers, and access to data is not going to become less important to innovation at companies, no matter at which stage of their digital journey. In our growing customer-centric economy, innovation begins with understanding people. Companies partly do this by measuring, tracking, and storing personal data on individuals in order to quantify personal preferences and use this knowledge to tailor experiences and products towards each customer individually. Personal data is the core source of modern services and products and serves as the most important resource for the majority of modern technological advances and discoveries. This does not only hold for scientific settings but also for corporate R&D.

Not all anonymization is the same though, as Netflix found out a while back. It’s important to not just remove personal information, as this can be circumvented by matching the “anonymised” data with additional data sets (as in the Netflix case above. Statice solves thi by using generative machine learning algorithms built around differential privacy concepts to create synthetic data sets, which retain the statistical value of the origin data, but none of the personal value. This is relatively new technology, but it’s mathematically proven, and is accepted as being private under Europe’s new (ish) digital privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation. In short, you can think of it as teaching a machine about a data set, having the machine learn that data set really well, and then having it generate a new data set that effectively contains very similar information. Imagine a set of census data, and running it through this process. You won’t find a single person from the training set in the synthetic data set, but you’ll find a very similar number of people living in street A, with and age between X and Y.

What this means in practice, is that companies can take sensitive data and effectively capture the value in that data to share, either internally (for example, allowing an internal product team access to sythetic data based on conversation histories to build better personalized experiences), or externally (for example, enabling medical research by enabling collaboration between hospitals and medical research institution).

Being able to contribute to Statice’s vision of becoming the central privacy-preserving data hub for data-driven collaboration across companies is tremendously exciting, and I can’t wait to get started! If you’re interested in data privacy, collaboration around private data, or want to grab a coffee to chat about Statice, just drop me a line at hi (at)!

2 Sales Training Exercises To Get Your Team Customer Focussed

One of the things that bothers me the most in pitches is reps that are not customer focussed. If I wanted to get a rote explanation of each feature of your tool, I’d read the website! Recently though, I had an excellent pitch and follow up process from an AE at Crunchbase, which reminded me of how a great customer focus can make a vendor process not only significantly more effective, but also much more pleasant! It also reminded me of a couple great customer focus exercises that I learned back in my days of slinging bikes at 99 Bikes, back in Australia.

As someone who gets overexcited about the technical details (and it was even worse with bikes – there is so much to geek about!), I found exercises likes these very helpful. After all, people are usually not coming in to buy a bike with a particular carbon part, they just want a bike that is light, so they can go faster, and impress their mates. In the same way, B2B buyers don’t always care that you use the latest TensorFlow and Keras tech to do NLP  – they want a chatbot that makes their customers happy, saves their employees time, and makes them look great in front of their boss. These exercises will help your team focus on what the benefits to the customer of your product are, and are great for onboarding new hires, but also periodically for reminding your team to focus back to the customer, and away from individual product features/specs.

1. Circle, Square, Triangle 

This is effectively a listening and summary exercise, paired with customer discovery. Have one person role play a client, and have the rep write down the 3 important items for them in deciding on a product or service like yours (more info on some ways of getting this information here).  Examples of these could be specific functionalities, business models, budgets, challenges they’re looking to solve, etc. Have the rep doing the exercise ask relevant discovery questions, and then summarize back to the person role playing what their 3 key factors (their circle, square, triangle) were.

Things to watch for:

  • Is the rep asking relevant questions, and responding to the answers enough that the role-player doesn’t feel interrogated?
  • Is the rep summarizing correctly? Are they using the vocabulary of the “prospective client”? This is key, as generally people recognize subconsciously that they are being listened to in this way (at least, this is what I was taught, and it’s worked well for me).

2. Which Means…?

This is a feature-benefit exercise. Too often, reps fixate on the vocab of their own team, and on their own product, and reel off a rote pitch explaining their product features. This can be boring for the prospective client, means that you are using a lot of their time, and can make the client feel unimportant. This is a particularly important exercise

To practice explaining your product in terms of benefits, have your team practice explaining the benefits of the features of everyday objects toward funny goals. We used to do this with “getting a hot boyfriend/girlfriend”, but you can use whatever works for your team.


This teapot has a nice handle, which means you can pour tea more elegantly, which means you will look sophisticated, which means that you have a better chance of getting a date with that guy/girl you like, which means you have a better change of getting a hot boyfriend/girlfriend.

While you can (and should) also do this with your product, what you’re aiming for is that your team become more flexible and creative in fitting features to customer benefits, and benefits to customer goals. Start with random goals and object/feature combinations, and when the team has had some fun, move to customer personas and use case goals. Better yet, play this after playing circle square triangle to get your team discovering and summarizing better!

Things to watch for:

  • Are your team getting to the customer goal? If not, have them try to add more “which means” steps, or repeat the customer discovery process.
  • Are they able to think creatively to solve for the customer goal? Is their summary fluid and does it demonstrate a proper understanding of the use case?
  • Is the rep making enough steps to clearly show their thinking, and make it easy for the customer to understand the benefit?

I found these exercises really valuable while learning to sell consistently. I hope they prove useful to your team, and if you try them out, let me know how you go. If you have other great exercises, send them my way!

Researching, planning, and testing your mobile market – 2 videos from Digital Dragons 2018

Mobile is a bit of a different kettle of fish than most other markets, particularly mobile gaming, in that a lot of developers approach it from a passion perspective first, and a business perspective second. I was invited down to Krakow for Digital Dragons earlier this year, which is a great gaming conference (definitely go if you get the chance, Krakow is a great city and the crowd is super fun), and my presentation centred on how one can do market research on mobile verticals.

I’m still developing this talk, and would love to include more data from other sources (more granular CPIs and ad revenue to start with), but if you’re interested in the process of analysing a mobile market, take a look:

Market research is one part of the process of building a successful mobile business (unless you’re crazy lucky and go viral…), but preparing and testing your product properly is also key. My favourite talk at the conference was by the CMO at Pixel Federation, who did a great talk (with lots of in-house data) on how to plan and conduct soft launch testing. You can check it out here:


MWC2018: Blood in the water, but still some innovation

Last month was the annual mobile (and I use that term in the loosest sense possible..) circus otherwise known as Mobile World Congress, which takes place in Barcelona, and turns a beautiful city into a nightmare of traffic, disillusioned people in expensive shoes, and this year, rainy and horrible weather. After processing for a bit, here are my 2c on the whole shebang.

In case you didn’t get it from the title and intro, I was not particularly engaged by this year’s congress. It seems I was not the only one who felt this way – Mike from Techcrunch wrote a good piece on it here. Aside from all the doom and gloom though, there were a few very cool things at the event (I mean, 85,000 people, there’s gotta be something going on, right?). My top two highlights were:

  • 5G moved from something everyone was talking about, to something you can see and play with. The best example of this that I saw was a robot in the Ericsson booth that was livestreaming audio and video back to CPH and video and control inputs back to BCN, with a round trip time of 6ms. This really demonstrates the potential of 5G well I think – imagine how it will impact rural medicine, for example, or other near-real-time tech it will enable. Exciting stuff.
  •  On the apps side, I was most impressed by the new Blackbox Platform from Redbox Mobile. It’s an app store search ads optimization tool, which seems to work pretty damn well (I took it for a spin for two of my clients, and both were impressed with the results). Time and more testing will tell more about what the quality of the users acquired through the tool is like (nothing to do specifically with Blackbox, but I’ve heard mixed reviews from marketers about Search Ad user quality), but Redbox seem to have put together a really strong contender in the search ads optimization space.

    Even if the show itself wasn’t particularly inspiring this year, one thing about MWC that is undeniably a great value add are the events that happen on the sidelines. MWC is such a big event that most of the industry shows up, and even if you can’t meet them in the halls, being able to have dinner or drinks is pretty great. Whether it’s private dinners, industry players throwing parties, or taking clients out for a drink, for me, the value of MWC is that it provides the opportunity for good face-to-face discussions. And despite the lack of “innovation” in the halls, that’s worth something.

    I probably missed a lot of great stuff (as you do when focussed on one hall of a 9 hall conference), but I didn’t hear a lot of great things about MWC this year. Regardless, as long as the industry keeps coming, being in Barcelona during MWC is going to be a good investment for mobile companies – whether you need a ticket to the conference is another questions altogether.

M26 Panel: Mobile Advertising in 2018

This is a bit late, but I didn’t get a change to finish it off before jetting off to the annual mobile circus that is MWC in Barcelona. Back in Feb I was asked to moderate the latest edition of the venerable Mobilisten-Talk series at the Telefonica Basecamp, here in Berlin. The series has been running for a long time, always helmed by founder Florian Treiss. Unfortunately, this week Florian was sick, so I got the chance to jump on stage and moderate. The panelists for this edition were Ben Jaeger, MD at Appsflyer EU, Mark Stohlmann, Senior Marketing Manager at Telefonica Next (Telefonica’s corporate start up), Mustapha Mussa, founder of bam! interactive, and Danny von Holt, who runs mobile marketing at, a big furniture search engine.

The plan for the panel was to dig into the key points of mobile advertising in 2017, and then discuss what big-ticket items should be on the radar of practitioners for 2018. My notes from the talk are below.

What should A level marketers have definitely gotten a handle on in 2017: 

  • Install Attribution: understanding where your quality users are coming from and how your paid marketing channels are working became non-optional in 2017. The tools are there, the knowledge is no longer hard to find. Of course, there are still challenges, but the panelists felt that attribution became commoditized in 2017, and that every serious marketer needs to have it locked down for 2018.
  • Ad Fraud: Related to the above, 2017 was the first year that multiple attribution providers started providing credible tools that track down most major advertising fraud types. Companies like Appsflyer and Kochava really pushed this issue, and marketers seem to be picking up on it – though not everyone agrees how much of a big deal it is (obviously, big $$$ problem, but there are obviously some industry players benefiting from it…) .
  • Audiences: Most marketers seem to have at least begun to experiment with audiences. Facebook has done a great job of making audience targeting popular with lookalike campaigns, but there are lots of other ways to do audience targeting. In 2017 Kochava released a very cool tool called The Collective, for example, which allows you to target users based on location, installed apps, etc.

What are the big items practitioners need to watch out for 2018:

  • GDPR: These new data privacy and security laws mean big changes for large parts of the industry, particularly for those companies collecting user data for ad targeting or segmenting purposes. All of the panelists mentioned GDPR, and the audience had questions as well. Most people were loath to give too much comment on it – it seems to be a topic best for lawyers!
  • Data is nice, Context is king: Most marketers are now in a position to reach target audiences pretty accurately. A great point that Danny made was that it’s not just about leveraging data to find the right audience – but also using it to find the right time, location etc. No point targeting your ideal customer in the wrong place, on a platform they can’t take your desired action on, is there?
  • New Channels, Apple Search Ads: This came up as one to watch for 2018, which surprised me a little, as many of our clients at Priori were already getting stuck into search ads last year – it’s obviously on the radar for 2018 again, though we’ve heard mixed things about the quality of the users it drives (probably because store search is heavily brand specific, and Apple is a bit funny about using other brands directly). It was only an example of a new channel though, and everyone seems to expect other new channels to open up this year. If you’re interested in this, check out Black Box, a search ads optimization platform.

Random Learnings for me:

  • Telcos are working on/ already built a competitor to Facebook/Google sign in, working with just a mobile phone number. Seems like a nice alternative, but haven’t heard of it much here in Germany yet.
  • Panels are fun, but hard to dig a lot of lasting value out of for the audience. Even though each of the panelists are at the top of their respective games, they were quite diverse, which made getting deep takeaways difficult. I think if I were to do something like this again, I’d love to see a couple changes:
    • A very specific topic, like “Designing a mobile ad” where panelist can discuss their process and the concrete steps they take, and why (for example, when we do x, we say y change). This would give the audience something to take to work the next day and try out.
    • Less diverse panelists. All the guys were super switched on, but too different.
    • More diverse panelists. It’s a shame in a city as multicultural as Berlin that we can only get 5 white dudes on the stage. Would be cool to see some of the amazing non-male, non-white techies on stage!

Wrapping it up:

All in all, it was a super fun evening, and it’s something I’d like to do again. Moderating is fun, and it’s something I want to get better at (getting over stage fright was on my list of New Year’s resolutions). So bring on round 2, i guess! Big thanks to Florian and the Mobilebranche team for having me, and to Telefonica Basecamp for hosting – it’s really cool that they’re contributing to knowledge sharing in the community like that!

Practical Sales Process Advice #1: Framework, Opening, Gathering Requirements

I’ve seen a couple of really great early stage companies here in Berlin founded by super smart people, but with early teams lacking much/any dedicated sales firepower. That’s fine, if it means you can build an amazing product faster with the same resources, but at some point most teams need to find people to buy that product, and that can be a stumbling block for some – especially when it comes to building a repeatable process that can be handed off to new team members and scaled.

In this series of three blog posts, I want to dig into one way a sales process can be structured in a practical, implementable way. The first post will cover a general overview of the process, and go into detail on building rapport, getting the information you need to find the right solutions for your client, and how to phrase that initial information for the client. The second section will cover product demonstrations, and the third section will go through feedbacking, objection handling, and closing.


The skeleton of the process:

Regardless of what you’re selling, there are some core steps that help to ground your process and help you focus during selling. I structure them as below, but there are probably as many right ways to do this are there are good salespeople – this is only an example and you should feel free to adapt it for your use case.

  1. Meet & Greet / Build Rapport
  2. Understand Requirements
  3. Summarise & Get Them Saying Yes
  4. Wow (Product Demo or Solution Presentation)
  5. Feedback and Objection Handling
  6. Ask For The Sale!


  1. Meet & Greet / Build Rapport

People buy relationships (1). Despite what HBR says (although it’s worth a read), there are not too many more effective predictors of sales success than a good salesperson building a relationship, and crucially, being able to see (and of course communicate to the prospect) the value their tool will create in the prospect’s organization (2). To do this effectively, you need to break down at least some of the barriers in an initial contact (phone, video call, in person, or whatever). Some people do this really naturally, some don’t. If you’re in the latter camp, you can use some of these points/questions to guide you:

  • Where are they based?
  • What experience did you have there/ have in common about that place? (after linkedin scouting)
  • I saw we have X person in common – how do you know them? Funny story about interaction with that person, if you have one/appropriate. If appropriate and authentic, a question around a recent news item about the prospect’s company.
  • How did they come across your service?

The key to success in this stage of the process is being authentic. There is not much more annoying than a salesperson who is overly familiar and chummy, so make sure you spend time preparing for this phase of a sale, and have a couple of good openings ready (Inc has some good advice for this).


2. Understand Requirements / Qualification

In this stage of the process there are a couple of objectives: you want to get 6 or 8 pieces of relevant information from the prospect, so you can provide the right solution, you want to show the client that you have an understanding of their space and can ask relevant questions, and you want the client to understand that you’re gathering information to provide a helpful recommendation, not just selling them something. You should aim for at least 70/30 here – that is, you should be talking less than 30% of the time. There are a lot of questions you can ask here, so I won’t try to list them all, but your goal is to understand the following:

  • What problem are they trying to solve / opportunity are they trying to exploit?
  • Who in the organization has this problem /opportunity?
  • How big is this problem/ opportunity?
  • How urgent is this problem/opportunity for them?
  • What factors play into their decision to make a purchase?
  • Have they used your type of service before?
  • Are they looking at competitors?

What’s key for me here is to listen very carefully, and pull out the 3 biggest motivators for the prospect to do the deal. I call these the “Circle, Square, Triangle” for a client. An example of these might be “we need to simplify reporting” (why), “my boss asked me to look into this (why + who) and “this quarter”(when).  I make sure to link back to these points throughout the rest of the discussion, and always use the prospect’s phrasing!  This is important (i don’t have stats for this, but it makes sense to me and works..) because the client feels that you listened and understood their requirements, and that makes the subsequent stages of the process much easier.

In the next post I’ll go through how to take the Circle, Square, Triangle of your prospect and translate that into a summary of their requirements, and then we’ll look at how to use that to make a strong case for your solution or product. To summarise for now, in the first two stages of the process:

  1. Prepare well, and have questions/icebreakers ready
  2. Be Authentic
  3. 70/30 Listening/talking (more asking questions than anything else)
  4. Listen hard and get a good handle of the client’s Circle, Square, Triangle



1) The impact of customer relationship strength on sales effectiveness and relationship profitability in services selling.

2) B2B relationship calculus: quantifying resource effects in service-dominant logic

Bunch: Team Culture As A Managed Asset

Most successful leaders would agree that team culture is a key factor in organizational performance. It is surprising then, that team culture is one of the largest unmangaged corporate assets globally.  Research from Deloitte (1) found that:

87 percent of organizations cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges, and 50 percent call the problem “very important.”

A recent McKinsey & Company study (2) identified culture as the most significant barrier to digital effectiveness, stating that:

Risk aversion, weak customer focus, and siloed mind-sets have long bedeviled organizations. In a digital world, solving these cultural problems is no longer optional.

Obviously, this is a significant issue for organizations – and that’s why I’m I’m excited about They’re meshing the organizational psychology models that Standford developed together with Apple with next-generation NLP (natural language processing) and machine-learning based predictive modelling techniques to predict company cultural priorities and alignments based on various inputs. This is important because there is statistically significant evidence showing that teams that are highly aligned on cultural priorities perform better financially and can grow faster (3).

Tools like this will be relevant for more than 1 Bn people in the next few years (4), so this is a significant market opportunity that needs a sophisticated product to meet the growing need. The MVP of Bunch’s tool, a survey based implementation of their technology aimed at hiring managers, was a great start, bringing on customers like N26 Bank and Frauenhofer Society, but it’s what they’re launching today that is really groundbreaking.

The Bunch MVP allowed people to see team priorities and how individuals were aligned to that.

Predictive analytics around social and cultural factors are a tricky beast, so much so that there are only a few projects that have successfully demonstrated results in this field (Cambridge Analytica and Apply Magic Sauce), and until now, none specifically focussed on predicting cultural priorities.

That changes today. Bunch’s new Communication Analytics module is now live, and as of right now, teams can plug in their open Slack channel data (no private message access needed) and track their alignment over time on 6 important cultural factors based on the aforementioned Standford models:

  • Adaptable
  • Collaborative,
  • Customer-orientated,
  • Results-oriented,
  • Principled,
  • Detail-oriented

Bunch allows team members to understand their team’s priorities, and track their own alignment as well, which makes this a huge leap forward for HR management. Bunch empowers teams to anaylze and improve their own performance, rather than being diagnosed from above.

Over time analysis is now possible.

Bunch has also curated a collection of “culture hacks” from successful companies like Apple, Zappos, AirBnB and Slack, and is able to recommend these based on the analysis of team performance. Does it seem that team Adaptability scores are low? Bunch will recommend exercises to help the team become more flexible. Customer-centricity falling by the wayside? How about a persona workshop to get the team back on track?

Of course, this is just the first step. The team will be adding further inputs, such as CultureAmp, GitHub, Trello, and Jira, to combine culture and productivity data, so that teams are able to see what cultural factors are helping them succeed, and which factors need to be managed to mitigate risks. Long term, Bunch and similar companies will be able to help teams self-improve, freeing up management resources for more strategic problems, and improving automony, workplace satisfaction, and overall, company performance. This is the start of a brave new world, and I for one am keen to see where it’s headed!


(1) Culture and Engagement: the naked organization, Deloitte

(2) McKinsey & Company, 2017

(3) Parsing organizational culture: How the norm for adaptability influences the relationship between culture consensus and financial performance in high tech firms

(4) Zion Market Research, 2017

What’s hot in 2018 (and what’s still not…)

Everyone seems to be dropping their 2018 predictions, and with our work customers seeming to go into hibernation (or whatever the summertime equivalent of hibernation is) in mid-December, I had a bit of time on my hands at work, so I decided to join the party. 

For Consumers:

Consumers will spend more money in apps.

People are still getting used to paying for online services directly in-app. Games led the way for in-app monetization for years, and this year we saw apps really beginning to catch up in terms of in-app revenue generation for the first time, at least in T1 markets. I expect this trend to continue, both in terms of revenue reaching parity in new markets between apps and games, and (maybe finally) carrier billing integrations taking off to get new markets used to the idea of paying for online content.

2018 will be the year of mundane paperwork becoming digital.

Even Germany, land of never ending paperwork, is slowly being eaten by software. The last few months of 2017 have seen some great developments in the areas of digital finance managers for freelancers (Kontist, looking at you here) and (my personal bugbear) personal income taxes (Taxfix, you beauty). I see this trend continuing as the stone age bureaucracies slowly loosen their grip on their ballpoints and big rubber stamps and are dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age.

Smarthome will continue hypergrowth

The Smarthome market grew by +95% between Q2 2106 and Q2 2017 to $3.4b, led by US and followed by South Korea and Germany. Although Gateways seems to be the largest market segment, the global Smart Appliances Market grew +349% between Q2/2016 and Q2/2017 led by iRobot, LG and Samsung. With Amazon looking to be in every room of your house (see Echo Spot) in the near future, this is a market that’s growing fast and not looking to stop anytime soon. It remains to be seen if privacy concerns (still taken a little lightly in my book) pour water on the blaze, but as per usual, the masses will follow the hype. Bow down to your all-knowning, toilet-paper ordering overlords. 

>> Read full Smarthome report here.

Subscriptions are going to make more sense for more people

All good things come to those who wait, and developers have been waiting a while for this. Thanks (mostly) to Spotify, Netflix et al, consumers are being given great examples of the value of subscription based services. With Apple also making life easier for devs using subscription models (“Apple tax” halved in year 2 of subscription) and consumers more ready than ever, I feel sure that 2018 is going to see the general public getting on board with more subscription services.

For Developers & Mobile Companies

  1. The ASO hype will die down a bit.

It’s an important part of marketing – but so is building virality into products, building smart paid UA funnels (which are only getting smarter) and working out great partnerships to get your brand and products found. Once the initial optimization is done, ASO is (in most cases) just percentage points – which can make a difference, don’t get me wrong – but not likely to make a 10x difference to your business, the way a powerful targeted paid marketing strategy can.


  1. IP will continue to be strong in games.

The world isn’t getting simpler, and people love to be reminded of simpler times. Old school IP does that well, as well as TV IP, and I think we’ll see more plays from both leading studios and indies who can make a good case to IP owners (as Next Games did last year with Walking Dead, or as we saw with Super Mario Run). Will we see some of the Netflix/Marvel characters cropping up in video games, or will it be another old school 8-bit hero capturing our hearts in 2018? I’m not sure, but I think IP will be strong!


  1. New legislation will make and break companies.

GDPR is coming in the EU, and Net Neutrality seems like it might be on the verge of being in the past. It remains to be seen exactly how this will effect the mobile industry, but GDPR will definitely affect what data developers and service providers can collect (and sell for advertising purposes), and Net Neutrality might make it hard for disruptors to cut in on established players, particularly in the content area (I could see Spotify/Netflix et al making whatever deals they need to, to lock up bandwidth with the telcos and comms networks in their verticals and lock out competitors/emerging players).


  1. Blockchain technology will start to make a mark on advertising, if it can solve throughput problems. Lots of companies are dedicating serious resources to making this happen, and smart people are on it. Here at Priori, we’re proud to be one of the first companies to become a strategic partner to the onXCHNG initiative, but in general I’m excited by all of the projects going on, and believe that the potential for transparency they bring is an excellent step for the advertising industry.


  1. AR/VR – VR will continue to take more baby steps especially in the gaming and adult scene. AR will also continue to trend (helped along by Apple pushing ARkit), and become stronger this year as more apps try to follow the steps of well received first movers (i.e Wayfair recently following Ikea in adding AR to their shopping app). We think this makes real sense, especially in shopping apps where returns are difficult (furniture, real estate, some clothes, etc). However, even with Magic Leap finally getting their ass into gear and showing off an early version of their product (about time…), I don’t see consumer AR/VR making it mainstream in 2018.

This article was originally posted  in a slightly different form on the Priori Data blog and contains some contributions from my smart and exceptionally good looking colleagues.