Human Resources

The CMO Files: Ben Geller, Datical

Get inside the minds of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job... and what keeps them awake at night.


Ben Geller

Organisation: Datical

Job title: VP of Marketing

Location:  Austin, TX


  1. Where were you born and raised?
    Philadelphia, PA 
  2. What was your first job?  
    I started working as an apprentice for a neighbor’s construction business when I was 14. I became skilled at swinging a hammer, mixing concrete, operating a rotary saw, and learning the importance of the age old adage “measure twice, cut once”.
  3. What was the first product you got really excited about?   
    I’ve always been fan of technology. The first product that I really got excited about was the original Sony PlayStation. I was blown away by its graphics and the DualShock controllers were pretty cool as well. I must admit I was also an early adopter of the BlackBerry. It was a complete game changer for me. No more having to be tethered to a PC for email.
  4. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
    Sounds like a cliché but my Dad has been my biggest influence. From a very early age I knew what it meant to work smart and work hard. He set a great example. He is great with people (one-on-one and in a group), he’s never afraid of a challenge and he’s always ready to roll up his sleeves to figure things out.
  5. What has been your greatest achievement?
    I’ve been married for a long time. In fact, I’ve known my wife for almost 30 years. We have a daughter in high school and son in middle school and the fact that they all still like to hangout with me is probably my greatest achievement.
  6. What has been your biggest mistake?
    Where do I start? When it comes to making mistakes, my motto is “Go big or go home”. But it’s like I tell my kids – it’s not about the mistake. It’s about having the strength of character to own your mistakes, the fortitude to deal with them, and the wisdom to make sure you learn from them - so you don’t make the same mistake twice.
  7. What is your greatest strength?
    What, just one? Attributes like honesty, loyalty and helping others succeed are all very important to me and are strengths I value in others as well. But, in the end, I think a well-timed sense of humor can break down walls, diffused a tense situation and help build fast friendships.
  8. What is your biggest weakness?
    I can get pretty impatient and have to constantly remind myself that not everyone is able to get things done as fast as I would like. I rue the day I figured out the world does not revolve around me (although it would be a lot better if it did).
  9. What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?   
    Hey, when you make things look easy everyone thinks they can do it, right? In all seriousness, throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with leaders that value my contribution and have always been willing to help when I ask. The further I progress in my career, the less my peers take things for granted.
  10. Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
    Come on people… It’s “Hold the fort” not “Hold DOWN the fort”! The fort is not a balloon. It’s not going to fly away.
  11. What makes you stressed?
    Slimy foods. I used to travel to Japan for business - those that have been there can back me up on this – and there is no shortage of things to eat that are covered by or have the feel or consistency of slime. There’s even a term they use – Neba Neba – that means everything that is slimy is healthy. I’m not a big fan.
  12. What do you do to relax?
    I also fancy myself a bit of a backyard BBQ aficionado. Ever try smoking a brisket or rack of ribs? It’s a contact sport for me. Getting it just right is equal parts art and science – you have to be on top of your game. Not to mention it’s a good excuse to spend all day outside.
  13. What is your favourite song?
    I can do a mean karaoke rendition of “Rawhide”.
  14. Which book taught you most?
    An oldie but a goodie: “Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive” by Harvey B. Mackay
  15. Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
    Sports are just like politics and religion. I’ve learned only to discuss these topics with those closest to me. Otherwise the likelihood of someone (me) getting hurt is simply too high and that’s not a chance I’m willing to take.
  16. Which country would you like to work in?
    I’ve travelled a lot and have the frequent flyer miles to prove it. I’ve had the pleasure of working in some really great cities with really awesome people. Still no place I’d rather work than Texas. Texas is a country, right?
  17. Which company do you think has the best marketing?
    It’s hard to pick just one. Apple certainly comes to mind. They have built a tremendously loyal customer base and their marketing machine does a great job keeping them excited. Also, Hubspot and Marketo (shocking, right?) do a good job of drinking their own champagne – and that is fun for us B2B marketers to observe.
  18. What do you love most about your job?
    No two days are ever the same.
  19. What is your favourite book?
    Anything by Tom Clancy.
  20. What keeps you awake at night?
    You mean besides the neighbor’s dog?
    The marketing profession is changing so fast and doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon. As a marketing leader, it’s almost expected that you will be an instantaneous expert on latest trends or marketing automation technologies. It can get crazy. Just thinking about the new tip, trick or hack I might have missed to make a campaign more successful or simply not knowing what I don’t know is even worse than the neighbor’s dog.


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