Thursday, July 14, 2016

This Heart Rate Training Thing Worked For Me and I Have the Strava Data To Prove It

Metabolic efficiency training. Heart rate training. Slow down to speed up. The Maffetone Method. Just do whatever Sally Edwards tells you to do. Just drink UCAN all day. Eat nothing but liver and avocados. Whatever you want to call it…it kinda worked for me.

Here is how it happened:

It all started in December 2015.

It actually started in 1999, when I first read one of Sally Edward’s books on heart rate training (I think this is the book I read: Heart Rate Monitor Guide Book). Sally Edwards has a new book which is pretty good: Be a Better Runner.

Long story short, I bought a Polar heart rate monitor and started doing my easy runs at the slow heart rates recommended in the book. It was slow.

Too slow.

I didn’t stick with it.

I couldn’t.

I wouldn’t.

I was impatient.

I was embarrassed.

Running that slow was awful and so unintuitive and a seeming anathema to speeding up that I could not stick with it.

Fast forward to December 2015.

I listened to two Trail Runner Nation podcasts about metabolic efficiency training and one with Phil Maffetone about speeding up by slowing down. Something in these podcasts clicked for me and I decided to go for it. The best part of the Phil Maffetone podcast was when Maffetone talked about Mark Allen (the famed Triathlete he trained. Allen: "I can’t train that slow." (implying it being embarrassing). Maffetone: "Train at night."

I immediately bought Maffetone’s book. You should too: The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing.

When I started off….my heart rate target was 135. I did not get tested in a lab. I didn’t want to spend the money, so I just used the Maffetone formula. That put my heart rate target at 135 beats per minute. So, when I went for a run, I would not allow my heart rate to exceed 135….I wanted to burn fat a fuel and train my aerobic system. 

My pace from a run in December 2015. Avg HR 133.

In other words, just do what these experts said to do. They were my coaches, right?

So, when I ran, I ran slow. And I mean slow. 13 minute mile pace. Sometimes it was 14 minute mile pace. It was not running or even jogging. I was trotting. Frankly, I could have walked at the same pace, at a slightly lower heart rate and saved some energy.

I feel you, Mark Allen. It was embarrassing.

For the most part I stuck with it. Embarrassing as it was. It’s not like I made steady, linear, “up-and-to-the-right” progress, either. It seemed like a long, frustrating plateau of slow misery.

But I stuck with it.

What made it more frustrating was that my heart rate monitor (a Polar FT60) seemed very unreliable. I would be going along at 132 beats per minute……then all of a sudden, it jumped to 155. Nothing changed. I did not hit a hill. I did not speed up. A black bear didn’t just appear out of that bush on the Juniper Mountain Trail between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows like it did in 2013.


The heart rate monitor just spiked. As soon as I started walking, it skipped back down to 132. Cool. I started running again. Boom. Back up to 155. That happened all the time. I changed batteries. I washed the chest strap. That helped a little. This went on for two months. I finally gave up and just ran based on breathing out of my nose as a gauge. I figure I was running at basically the right heart rate if I could run and breath out of my nose. Its not perfect. But I was able to overcome the frustration of technology that seemed to make things worse.

By the way. Is this normal for a heart rate monitor? For a Polar? What’s your experience?

After going along with this “nose breathing” method for a month or so, my pace did not seem to pick up. Looking at my Strava data my pace did increase. But, I thought, maybe because I was running at a faster heart rate. And since I was not using a heart rate monitor, I did not know for sure.

Finally, I sent my heart rate monitor in to Polar to get it serviced. That charged me about $25 and repaired the transmitter.

I guess they did. Who the hell really knows?

It seemed to work, so...since April 2016, I went back to using the heart rate monitor. I noticed my speed did increase. I was running in the 11-12 minute per mile pace on runs now. Hmmmm. That’s cool. Still slow. But better. Is it really working?

Maybe so.

I was inspired.

And with the InsideTrail Rodeo Valley 50K coming up in June, I was gaining confidence.

Anyway, in December, when I started this. I had a secret goal that I would run under 10:00 min/mile pace at that heart rate. I mean…..if this works, and I speed up, why not go for a big goal. 9:59 pace consistently for these “easy” runs. Maybe even on my long runs.

That would be awesome.

April and May were productive months of running for me, with a (mostly) reliable heart rate monitor, I stuck to the plan. Except for one day a week, when I ran the trails at Rancho San Antonio Open Space and just bombed straight up for 4 or 5 miles before turning around and running down. No heart rate monitors on those days. I just ran as heard as I could without bonking to the point when I would have to walk up the hill.

I stuck with it.

I did get faster.

Way faster.

In June, I did a five mile run. All splits were below 10:00 min/mile. Can you believe it?

When I did this run, I did not go out with any goal to do any split targets. It was not a test run. I just did an easy, normal 5 mile run. On the morning route a take for many of my weekday runs. 

My pace on a run in June 2016. Same route about the run above. Soooooooo fast for a slow run. Avg HR: 134

It was just a normal run.


Now I am hooked.

I love running slow. Because I am speeding up.

Love it.

Because I love running fast.

I ran the Rodeo Valley 50K in Marin on June 11. I ran it pretty slow…..but I was not that sore afterwards and was running by 3 days after the race. Feeling great.

Then I ran the Broken Arrow Skyrace 52K 7 days later. I dropped, but not from being tired. That’s a long story worthy of a blog post.

I am hooked.

Did I say that already?

I am also hooked for another reasons. Running at this pace provides other benefits:
  1. It takes the guess work out of what’s an easy run. That's “easy" now. Run at a pace just under that heart rate. Done.
  2. It takes the guess work out of how hard or fast run run on any given day. My heart rate tells me that.
  3. I don’t get sore anymore. Hardly ever. So I can run more consistently, and I can run more. 
  4. I don’t carry food or water on runs up to 2 1/2 hours, unless its hot.
I left out a lot of details. But that is the story.

What questions do you have? Has anyone else had similar results?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Company Culture Decks Are So 2012: Enter the Culture MOOC

Cushard Confidential MOOC Culture Deck

There has been a lot of recent activity surrounding the importance of company culture and its link to company success. Netflix caused a notable stir with their culture deck called, "Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility," which Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg described as possibly "the most important document ever to come out of the valley." Hubspot made a similar splash with their Culture Code presentation about what makes Hubspot tick. And don't forget about Zappos and its culture focus. The Netflix and Hubspot presentations are slick and may well be the secret to these two very successful companies.

The problem is that these presentations follow a one-to-many distribution model and much can be lost in translation. It turns out there is a potential solution to this problem. The Massive Open On-Line Course (MOOC) Let's look at three principles of MOOCs to guide how an executive team could teach it's culture to all employees.

Massive, Open, and Asynchronous

MOOCs allow for a many-to-many approach to teaching culture, and for executive teams to participation directly with all employees who choose to participate. Because a MOOC is massive and open, companies can open culture discussions to employees all over the world and even to prospective employees who are currently in the recruiting process. What better way to educate prospective employees about your culture than to invite them to participate in the company culture MOOC?

The asynchronous nature of a MOOC allows for executive-level participation because it remove the necessity for busy executives to be available in person at a certain time. Senior leaders can participated in off hours, between meetings, on airplanes, or where ever else they have a few free minutes.

Structured and Facilitated

Following the model of a typical MOOC offered by Coursera executive team members can facilitate discussions on specific culture topics and truly engage people in conversations about the company culture and what it means to live and act on the culture. This is an excellent way to feel the pulse of an organization and to engage in on-going conversations on specific topics related to its culture. This kind of insight does not come out of employee surveys.


During each weekly unit of a MOOC, participants are assigned to take action on culture values and report back to the group on their results. "Last week, I tried to put the customer first, but my manager reprimanded me for giving away the store." Think about how valuable it would be to share that result in a facilitated discussion with peers, managers, and an executive-level facilitator. People will really know how the company wants people to treat customers after that discussion. The silver bullet of culture success is to get a large group of people to guide their actions using the principles laid out in the company culture.

What makes MOOCs compelling for an executive team is two-fold. First, a MOOC provides an executive team a persistent opportunity to get their message across about culture. Second, it allows a many-to-many model of engaging employees on an important topic. I'd venture to say that for any company touting teamwork and collaboration as a part of their culture, they should already be using MOOCs as a means for teaching culture.

This blog originally appeared on the humancapitalist blog.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

This Kindle Sample Made Me NOT Buy the Book 

Cushard Consequential Trendology Building Advantage through Data-driven Real-time MarketingI like getting samples on Kindle. Sometimes I load up a few samples, so that when I have a few minutes to read, I can jump into a sample. Sample books are great ways to test the waters and decide if a book is worth buying. Great move by Amazon.

Samples are also great because it does not take a huge investment of time, and you can read in spurts. I don’t like to read in spurts with full books. I feel like I need to have at least 30 minutes to get into a read reading session. Anything less, doesn’t allow me to get into the book, so I feel like it is a waste of time.

But if I have 10 or 15 minutes, starting a book sample is great.

Often times, after a read a sample, I buy the book (ok, sometimes I get it from the library).

In this case, however, a sample made me NOT buy the book. I knew from reading this one story, that I would not like the book.

The book is called Trendology: Building an Advantage Through Data-Driven Real-Time Marketing.

The story early in the book is about how Arby’s tweeted Pharrell Williams because he was wearing a hat that looked like the Arby’s logo hat. Arby’s tweeted….in the moment, during the Grammy’s, while everyone was watching:


The likes and retweets and fun engagement took off. It was one of those tweets that went viral. What a success. So many lessons I could learn and might be able to apply in my own work to increase engagement and create buzz for the products I market.

What a great book this is going to be, right?

Not so fast.

That story of a huge marketing success made me not want to buy the book.

Wait. What?

Why did a successful story, a story that turned out to be great, make me not want to buy the book?

Because the punchline of that story was that it was a success because it generated buzz and lots of retweets.

Don’t get me wrong. I would love to have lots of retweets. I guess. I know I am supposed to say that. So I said it.

But……what I was really thinking while reading that story was:

"Who cares about social engagement?"

I was waiting for the punchline to be, “…AND…traffic to Arby’s restaurants increased by X% and sales increased by X%."

But. Sadly. No.

I was actually sitting there thinking Arby’s was in the business of selling roast beef sandwiches.

This hit me hard because, by coincidence, I had recently finished listening to an episode of PNR This Old Marketing podcast with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose.

PNR told a story about how XEROX generated over 1,000 new sales appointments and increased its sales pipeline by $1 billion with a content initiative, Chief Optimist. At the end of the segment Joe Pulizzi commented, “Yeah, but how many Facebook likes did Xerox get?"

And that’s the point.

Why the hell do I care about social media engagement? In fact, I am in marketing, and I do not run reports on page views, likes, shares, or anything of the sort.

We track three metrics:

  1. Subscribers (to our newsletters, blog, etc)
  2. Number of MQLs and SQLs and the conversion rates
  3. Dollar value of pipeline revenue

That is pretty much it.

Maybe I should do more. But ultimately, if our marketing efforts contribute to increase the revenue pipeline, sales will close many and the business will grow.


Have you read Trendology? Does it get better later in the book? Should I revisit it? Comment below and set me straight.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

My Notes: The Rise of the Revenue Marketer

These are my notes from reading The Rise of the Revenue Marketer by Debbie Qaqish

They want proof that marketing is making a real impact on revenue. - loc 220

In this new model, marketing’s key role will be providing behavioral intelligence to sales. - loc 281
Bill Cushard Blog The Rise of the Revenue Marketer
Chapter 1 - Key Play

Take the initiative to understand more about Revenue Marketing and determine is this is a strategy for your company and your career. Begin by answering these questions:

What am I going to do about revenue?
Is what I’m doing as a marketing leader good enough?
What are my peers in my industry doing?
What is happening in my organization and in my industry?
Do I need to change the status quo?

Chapter 2 - The Revenue Marketing Journey

1. Traditional
2. Lead Generation
3. Demand Generation
4. Revenue Marketing

Demand Generation:
Instead of sending one-off emails to the masses, this stage is characterized by targeted and on-going nurture programs across all phases of the buyer journey.

Revenue Marketing

When the CMO of VP of marketing walks into a senior management team meeting, they come with two different reports. The first is a report showing the revenue contribution from marketing over the past month, quarter, or year. The second and more powerful, is the Marketing Forecast Report that forecasts revenue impact from marketing for the upcoming period.


Chapter 2 - Key Plays:

Assess where you are in the marketing journey.
Where are you, and where do you need to be.
How will you get there?
What will happen if you do nothing?
Involve your team in the assessment
Begin the Revenue Marketing dialogue with your executive team.
Begin the Revenue Marketing dialog with sales.

“Most marketing executives get the concept of revenue marketing. It’s operationalizing revenue marketing that keeps them up at night. But it’s really not that difficult if you break it down into 6 key elements: strategy, people, process, technology, content, and results. We call these elements the RM6.
Jeff Pedowitz

Chapter 3 - Operationalizing the Revenue Marketing Journey

RM6 Model

Revenue Alignment: the alignment of marketing strategies and sales goals.
Center of Excellence: Building a specific organizational structure that fly enables revenue marketing.
Change Management: managing change along the journey

Executive Sponsorship
Sales and marketing alignment
Roles, skills, Competencies
Training and development
Sales empowerment

Prospect/Customer Lifecycle
Nurture Management / Multi-channel
Funnel and Lead Management
Contact and Data Management
Testing, QA, and Measurement

“Successful revenue marketers not only develop and document these with sales, but work with sales to continually refine and optimize these processes over time.” - lloc 776


Revenue Marketing Architecture
Marketing Automation Technlogies
Data Analytics
Content Tools


Content type assessment
Personas/Buy Cycle Channels
Persona Messaging
Content Development process
Road Map and Measurement


Measurement Assessment
Revenue Attribution
Funnel Performance
Reporting Structures and Processes

Chapter 3 - Key Play

Conduct an RM6 Assessment Exercises
use assessment link from chapter
loc 937

Chapter 4 - Building a Revenue marketing Team

8 Key Competencies

VP Revenue Marketing
Business Analyst
Power User
Nurture specialist (Bill - 2015-2016)
Content Specialist (Bill - 2013-2015)
Creative Specialist
Marketing Operations (Bill - 2015 - 2016)

Chapter 4 - Key Plays

Based on the 8 competencies, assess which skills you have on your team and which ones you do not
Determine how you will get these skills, when, and with what budget (train, hire, outsource)
Determine how the new roles fit into your current marketing structure
Develop a compensation structure
Develop a training and Education plan

Chapter 5 - The Revenue Marketer Center of Excellence

The Revenue Marketing Center of Excellence is comprised of people skilled in creating, building, launching, and reporting on complex multi-channel programs.

The primary goal of this team is to first pass “sales-ready” leads to sales that close at a predictable rate for both new customer acquisition and install-base marketing, and second, to help accelerate opportunity to close velocity. This team is accountable for a revenue number and KPIs that support attainment of that number.

The center of excellence has the following functions:

Program management
Campaign services
Creative services
Content Factory (Planning and Strategy)
Best Practices
Quality assurance
Lead concierge and best practices
field/business unit marketing

"Content is the fuel for the revenue marketing engine"

A key player on the content team is the content “czar.” This person is responsible for a holistic content strategy that optimzes all content in the RMCoE. Since content is the fuel for the revenue marketing engine, this role is critical to revenue marketing success.

They work with product marketing and marketing communications to leverage correct messaging, positioning, and copy for campaigns, programs, and the website as is specifically relates to revenue marketing - not messing in general.

The content team:
Measures content efficacy
Serves channels and sales teams with sales tools

Chapter 6 - Change Management

Chapter 7 - Marketing and Sales Synergy

Revenue Marketing will not happen without Sales alignment.

marketing leadership takes responsibility for this alignment and makes it a top priority.

5 Characteristics in successful revenue marketing organizations

Both marketing and sales use a common revenue language
Both marketing and sales are vested in each other’s success
Both marketing and sales are proactive in their relationship
Both marketing and sale work together as one revenue team towards achieving, shared, revenue-oriented goals.
Both marketing and sales have goals and compensation tied to share revenue metrics.

When we take a look at the most successful revenue marketing machines, we see that marketing marketing has the same kinds of goals as sales.

Marketing needs to have revenue marketing accountability, meaning that, just like sales, they are tied to and invented to a number.

“Our marketing team is actually paid bonus on “Sales Accepted leads (SALs). When a leads coverts from MQL to SQL we’re only have way there. When sales converts an SQL and creates an opportunity, our marketing team is bonuses on that sale. So sales is actually controlling part of the paycheck for marketing."

Chapter 7 - Key Plays

Do a quick run-through of the Marketing and Sales Synergy Model:
How well educated are you and your team on sales?
Have you worked with sales to create one revenue language?
How will you create vision, build a plan and communicate?
How will you establish shared goals?

Chapter 8 - Metrics that Matter

You will mature your measurement competency over time

“My formula for impacting revenue is this: first you have to know the math. Understand the lead volumne, the conversion rates, and the value of those leads. Second, you have to manage your program portfolio. This has three parts: awareness, demand, and acceleration. Third, you need to ignite the catalyst, which is frankly, compelling content. Your catalyst is your unique point of view, which you integrate into your program portfolio to optimze results."

“They describe their contribution to the company (their metrics) in terms of pipeline, opportunities, and revenue. If they do talk about how many campaigns or hits to the website, it is of secondary importance."

Their key metrics are always top of mind, and they can aways tell you where they are in relation to their goals. They don’t have to look or pull out a spreadsheet or “go into their system.” These metrics are a constant driving force for their entire group every single day.


The hallmark of a revenue marketer is establishing a culture of financial measurement that produces RPS - repeatable, predictable, and scalable revenue growth.

Chapter 8 - Key Plays

ID where you are on the revenue marketing journey in regards to metrics. Use the Metrics that Matter chart 8.1
Establish and document your current measurement baseline
Establish what metrics that matter to the executive team
ID your measurement gaps and plan how to address those gaps