CMO Files: Ryan Kalember, CMO, WatchDox

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:  Ryan Kalember

Organisation: WatchDox

Job title: CMO

Location:  Palo Alto, CA



(1) Where were you born and raised?

Los Angeles

(2) What was your first job?

Programmer at a law firm 

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

The Apple IIc

(4) Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

My wife. If I hadn’t met her, I’d probably still be working in Europe and not Silicon Valley.

(5) What has been your greatest achievement?

I wouldn’t single out any one thing. I’ve been fortunate to continue to have found a succession of interesting opportunities, and they’ve all worked out reasonably well.

(6) What has been your biggest mistake?

Not taking enough holidays, which is a recurring mistake I make.

(7) What is your greatest strength?

I’m fortunate to have a strong technical and product background, which makes my job much easier. 

(8) What is your biggest weakness?

Time management. There is always more I’d like to do.

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

Creativity. It’s difficult to quantify, but so critical to effective marketing.

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

I don’t have a mantra, but non-existent words like “irregardless” have always made me squirm. Honourable mention goes to all the verbs that have been turned into nouns (i.e. “making an ask” rather than “asking”). 

(11) What makes you stressed?

Running late.

(12) What do you do to relax?

Read – and always a physical book, never an iPad or e-reader.

(13) What is your favourite song?

 “It’s All Too Much” by the Beatles 

(14) Which book taught you most?

Journey to the East by Herman Hesse. With apologies to Drucker, it’s better than any non-fiction book on leadership or management I’ve read.

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

Since moving back to Palo Alto, I mostly go to Stanford University (American) football and basketball games. I support Internazionale as well. 

(16) Which country would you like to work in?

I’ve worked in the UK, the US, and Switzerland, but I wouldn’t mind adding Germany or Spain to that list.

(17) Which company do you think has the best marketing?

In the information security industry, Palo Alto Networks does quite effective marketing, from AR to the channel to the field. In tech generally, I’d have to pick Apple.

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

The storytelling aspect.

(19) What is your favourite book?

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole 

(20) What keeps you awake at night?

Nothing. I have young children, though, so I’m occasionally woken up at night.



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