What Is Innovation And Why It Matters

Product and Industry


Recently completing my half-year anniversary at Marketo and coming out of an amazing User Summit, I’m definitely feeling a buzz of energy (purple energy of course).  Toning it down this morning on my drive into the office, I found a few moments to reflect on why I joined Marketo and why I love coming to work each day.  The idea that kept bubbling to the top was innovation.  It is the spirit of innovation that I believe guides and pushes Marketo.  It is that spirit that drew me into the Marketo family and it is a prime motivator behind my excitement coming to work each day.

Just about every company, particularly in technology, claims to be innovative.  What press release doesn’t include “the latest great innovation from…”?   However, when you pull back the covers, you often find products, services, or companies that might be good, but certainly are far from being innovative.  Innovation to me is about truly new ideas and paradigms.  Changing the way people think about problems and bringing new solutions and thought-processes to the table.  Take Software-as-a-Service.  The model transformed an industry and the way people like me think about delivering products. However, once a great innovation, now it has become a standard.  Simply using the word “Cloud” ten times on your homepage won’t qualify you as innovative anymore. 

One way to find the true innovators is to look for the followers.  It’s generally pretty easy to see which companies are behind the trend and which are the tempo setters.  The innovator changes the game, and everyone else scrambles to catch-up.  We see it with all the Apple wanna-be’s out there.   At Marketo we even see it in our space where other revenue performance players are announcing copy-cats of what we released in 2008…in the words of Yogi Berra, it’s déjà vu all over again!

Why does this matter? 

Aligning yourself with the innovation is a key to personal and business success.  A product or service is not only about what is can do for you today, but also tomorrow.  While tablet computer competitors are busy trying to get pretty tiles on a background, Apple has already moved on to solving the next big problem.  As a consumer of their products, that spirit gives me great confidence that I’ve chosen the winner.

It’s that same spirit that made it an easy choice to align myself with Marketo.  It’s “how we roll” as they say.  Greatness in any capacity comes from doing things differently, looking forward and inventing new things, and taking risks.  We consistently challenge ourselves to attack problems from new angles and points of view.  Not just in developing applications, but in the way we market, sell, serve, hire…you name it.  Transformation through innovation.  Marketing automation systems had a traditional way of doing things but the founders of Marketo knew there was a better way.  700 customers (and growing) later, I’d say they were right.   I guess that’s why I am still buzzing.