CMO Files: Joe Hyland, CMO, Taulia

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'...

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'...

Name:  Joe Hyland

Organisation: Taulia

Job title: CMO

Location: San Francisco, California



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(1) Where were you born and raised?
I grew up on a horse farm in Concord, New Hampshire.

(2) What was your first job?

I was a lifeguard – our local pool was brave enough to allow 16 year-olds to be responsible for the safety of the public. 

(3) What was the first product you got really excited about?

When I was 9, my parents bought me and my siblings a Nintendo. After this, I knew I wanted to work in technology.      

(4) Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
This might sound a little corny (sorry), but probably my mother. She was my second grade teacher (as far as I was concerned, I received preferential treatment – she claims otherwise) and later became the school principal. Beyond being a tireless worker, she taught me the importance of working with others and being part of a team. That and she told me my entire life that I was the perfect package of brilliance, charm and good looks—how can you not love a mother’s ability to remain objective?

(5) What has been your greatest achievement?
I am a part of something special at Taulia. We are changing the way in which companies interact and pay one another – small businesses can now choose when they would like to be paid, which has a tremendous impact on the economy. That’s something I am immensely proud of.

(6) What has been your biggest mistake?
It’s hard to pick just one. I’ve made more mistakes than I can remember. In my opinion, life is all about taking well thought-through risks. And I’m fine with that. Making mistakes is how we learn.

(7) What is your greatest strength?
I love meeting and getting to know people. I enjoy learning what drives them, what their story is, what they’re interested in. It’s just who I am. Marketing is really a poor-man’s psychology. You need to understand what people want in order to effectively market to them. So I like to think that this is a strength of mine.

(8) What is your biggest weakness?

Thinking of weaknesses. Kidding. Probably staying organized. While there are some areas of my life where I am well-organized, it’s something I struggle with. Honestly, I have a hard time getting excited about organization, which is probably why it’s not my strength.

(9) What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?

I think too many of my peers don’t quite understand what truly motivates those they are trying to sell to. Many marketers get stuck pushing out the same old content that doesn’t effectively differentiate their product. To end this cycle, I believe you have to take the time to really understand the problems in your market. Once you have that understanding, putting together a marketing plan is the fun part.

(10) Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?

At Taulia, we live by a mantra: Get sh*t done. The phrase “optimizing working capital” immediately puts me to sleep.

(11) What makes you stressed?
I run off of momentum. I love coming up with new ideas and different approaches to accomplish our goals. I get stressed when these initiatives conflict with each other. I’m impatient by nature, so realizing that something has to wait a few months isn’t easy for me to accept.

(12) What do you do to relax?
I ran track in college, so I still enjoy running, though a little slower these days.

(13) What is your favourite song?

Right now, Phoenix’s If I Ever Feel Better

(14) Which book taught you most?

Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. There’s so many lessons in there for marketers.

(15) Do you have a team or sport that you follow?

I love sports. I grew up in New England, so I root for Boston teams: the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins. I played soccer in high school, so I am a big fan of the sport but America’s not the best place to follow soccer.

(16) Which country would you like to work in?
I’d love to live and work in France. It’s beautiful there. Plus, I hear the locals welcome Americans with open arms.

(17) Which company do you think has the best marketing?
Other than Taulia (check out some of our funny videos)– I’d say Geico. What I most admire about Geico’s marketing is that they have the guts to run 4 or 5 different advertising campaigns at the same time (it’s so easy, happier than, 15 minutes could save you 15%). Just brilliant in my mind.

(18) What do you love most about your job?

Too many things to list, but I’ll try. I love crafting our strategy. It probably brings me the most joy. I also love the ability to have a creative outlet – coming up with a different approach of spreading the word on how we help companies. Last, I love working with our team; I feel lucky everyday to work alongside them.

(19) What is your favourite book?

Moneyball, by Michael Lewis. The combination of sports and challenging the status quo was just phenomenal.

(20) What keeps you awake at night?

My mind is filled with thoughts on how best to move Taulia forward – in terms of how we market, yes, absolutely, but also with regard to our offering. I tend to obsess over things, so I lose many hours of sleep thinking of better ways to run our business. But to be honest, it’s actually part of the fun.