Human Resources

The CMO Files: Jeff Aaron, Mist

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.


Jeff Aaron

Organisation: Mist

Job title: Vice President of Marketing

Location: Cupertino, CA



  1. Where were you born and raised?       
    East Brunswick, NJ
  2. What was your first job?  
    Sales associate at a drugstore when I was in high school. I got fired the last week of summer for going to a soccer tournament instead of work. In my defence, I warned them weeks in advance about the tournament.
  3. What was the first product you got really excited about?   
    Atari 2600. Man, the hours I spent on that. I tried playing one recently, though, and it’s safe to say some things are best left in the past.
  4. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
    My older brother. He got me my first job as an IT consultant, then introduced me to tech marketing, then set a great example over the years on how to choose great companies and make good career decisions.
  5. What has been your greatest achievement?
    I learned to play polo recently, despite never having been on a horse. It is definitely the hardest sport I’ve ever played, and I still haven’t 100 percent gotten over the fear of taking a bad spill.
  6. What has been your biggest mistake?
    Staying at one company for too long when I had lost confidence in the strategy/leadership.
  7. What is your greatest strength?
    A freakish ability to pump out quality content in a short period of time. It’s not exactly a superpower you will see in a Marvel comic book, but it comes in handy when doing tech marketing at a startup.
  8. What is your biggest weakness?
    I can be impatient at times. Who’s ready for the next question?
  9. What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?   
    Analytics. Tracking the ROI of marketing spend is always one of the hardest things to do, especially when results are not always quantifiable.
  10. Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
    “Knowing is half the battle.” Hey, GI Joe gives good advice! Actually, now that I’m older, I’d say that mantra has actually evolved to be, “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.”
    I squirm when I hear the phrase “revolutionary new technology”. If it is so revolutionary, you don’t have to actually say it, do you? 
  11. What makes you stressed?
    Product launches, given all the moving parts that need come together. Global politics has been stressing me out too, lately. But we won’t go there.
  12. What do you do to relax?
    Skiing, biking, and horseback riding, depending on the weather. 
  13. What is your favourite song?
    U2 is my favourite band, so I’d say, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” or “Beautiful Day” are at the top of the list.
  14. Which book taught you most?
    Tao Te Ching. It should be required reading in the West
  15. Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
    I watch as many Duke Blue Devil basketball games as possible - especially during March.
  16. Which country would you like to work in?
    I loved working in Europe (Munich) and I’d really enjoy doing it again, but this time I would choose Paris or London. Actually, Tuscany would be my first choice of places to live outside the U.S., but I’m not sure how much work would get done there.
  17. Which company do you think has the best marketing?
    Nike. They have built an amazing brand that has stood the test of time, with advertising that is always awe inspiring and motivational. Of course, huge celebrity athlete endorsements don’t hurt. Lebron – ring me if you want to pitch some amazing wireless networks instead of boring old shoes.
  18. What do you love most about your job?
    It combines creativity with analytical thinking.
  19. What is your favourite book?
    The Alchemist 
  20. What keeps you awake at night?


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