The CMO Files: Dan Lowden, Digital Shadows
Human Resources

The CMO Files: Dan Lowden, Digital Shadows

11-04-18-dan-lowden-digital-shadows

 

Name: Dan Lowden

Organization: Digital Shadows

Job title: CMO

Location: Austin, Texas

 

  1. Where were you born and raised?
    I was born in Philadelphia, PA and grew up on the Jersey Shore. Ocean City, N.J. to be exact.
  2. What was your first job?
    Newspaper delivery when I was 12 years old. My first real corporate marketing role was at Sharp Electronics in 1994.
  3. What was the first product you got really excited about?
    It was when I joined IBM ThinkPad in 1996. We launched the first 14” LCD laptop with integrated DVD that weighed about 8 pounds. The retail price was $7,999 and we couldn’t make them fast enough based on market demand. It truly showed me the potential and hunger for mobile computing. 
  4. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
    There are many but a key point for me was when I met Bill Gates at the Windows XP Launch back in October of 2001. I was the VP of Marketing at a young Wi-Fi startup called Wayport and we were invited as a partner to participate in the Windows XP launch in New York City, just five weeks after September 11th. After the launch event (that evening) there was a party and Bill Gates arrived to thank everyone for participating. I got about 4 seconds to personally thank him for having us as a partner in the midst of 50 other people trying to talk to him. I told him my company name and said, ‘thank you’, shook his hand, turned around and took four steps away from him to let others get the chance to talk to him. There was a tap on my shoulder and I turned around and it was Bill Gates. To my surprise he said, “I use your Wi-Fi service at SeaTac, and it works really great, thanks for being a partner with us.” I felt that a guy like Bill Gates to do something like that as a person and to say thank you to me and my small startup company, was a very gracious act that I will never forget.
  5. What has been your greatest achievement?
    There have been a lot of great family achievements that I won’t go in to but from a career perspective, it is to work with great customers to build a strategic relationship with them at a company level but also friendship and trust at a personal level. I actually heard from a top executive from a Fortune 10 company this morning letting me know that he was going to finally retire. I worked with him 15 years ago and we are still friends. These personal relationships in business matter. If they like you, trust you, and your product provides value, you and your company will succeed and good things happen. It is a small world and these personal relationships in business mean a lot.
  6. What has been your biggest mistake?
    Just taking the time to step back to catch my breath and look at the bigger view of things. I would have made some better decisions with better results.
  7. What is your greatest strength?
    Being bold. In the marketing world where there is lots of competition, you have to do things differently and be bold to stand out above the crowd to be heard. I feel that I have made some bold moves that have helped the companies I have worked for become leaders in their respective industries and win.
  8. What is your biggest weakness?
    I do not have a technical background so I have felt at times, that has been a weakness. Then I look and see how many really smart technical people are around me and realize that I need to leverage and tell the stories in their heads and how they help customers solve problems. Through this process, I tried to turn my weakness into a strength.
  9. What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?
    I think so many marketers today focus on digital marketing. Marketing as a whole is so much more. To me, you need to look at all ways to tell your story, influence and build a personal relationship with your customers. Digital is only one approach.
  10. Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
    Mantra – “All-in” as when I do something, I go “all in”. What makes me squirm -  The use of buzzwords like “Artificial Intelligence” with no unique story behind it. Everyone is using it and it turns customers off. 
  11. What makes you stressed?
    Not feeling like I am moving fast enough to innovate and try new ideas. Companies who do not constantly innovate, die.
  12. What do you do to relax?
    I go see live music. I live in Austin.  

  13. What is your favorite song?
    Gary Clark Jr. “Things are Changing”
  14. Which book taught you most?
    “The Tipping Point” by Malcom Gladwell. To understand how something very small can turn into something massive, and disrupt huge industries is incredibly powerful and inspiring.
  15. Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
    Philadelphia Eagles. We have waited a long time to win the Super Bowl and this win was worth every bit of it.
  16. Which country would you like to work in?
    Live/Work in London
  17. Which company do you think has the best marketing?  
    Warby Parker is hot right now. They are trying to be the Apple of eyeglasses (that was my experience walking into their store on S. Congress in Austin). They are a cool company disrupting a giant and boring industry and they are having an impact. I am wearing a pair right now.  
  18. What do you love most about your job?
    What I love most about my job is disrupting a big market of slow moving giants (Companies) by solving a customer problem in a different and better way. I think about how these giants can’t innovate and how they need startups (to partner or acquire) to remain relevant.     
  19. What is your favorite book?
    “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore. You could have the best tech in the world but if you don’t have the right team, right timing, luck, culture and bold marketing, the odds are against any company making it. I’ll take those odds any day.  
  20. What keeps you awake at night?
    I wrote this blog post about how brands are at risk by cyber threats. As marketing leaders, we need to be educated on what is happening out there, right now, impacting our customers and brands. It keeps me awake at night and is why I am All-in on my role as CMO at Digital Shadows. 

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