News & Latest Works

Podcast with John Cunningham, CTO of Victory: Dave Albert's CTO & Co-Founder Talk

From clients being taken advantage of, to mass team walkouts, to frantic phone calls in the middle of the night, to AWS accounts being held hostage - hear some of the war stories Victory CTO and Co-Founder John Cunningham has experienced in his 25+ year career.

He also discusses the true role of a CTO and what makes the job great and the next big thing that will drastically change the tech landscape going forward.

Listen here.

Interview with Angela Arnold, CMO of Victory: Going Ahead with Gage

Marketing blog Going.Ahead. with Gage interviews Victory CMO Angela Arnold about her approach to leadership, creative thinking, and her favorite marketers.

Here's an exerpt:

What are some of the biggest challenges you see in Marketing today?

Marketing has become so broad that it’s starting to suffer from its own weight. Most job descriptions for marketing leadership positions ask too much from one person.

The Harvard Business Review article “The Trouble with CMOs” explains it much better than I can, but expecting marketing to do an increasingly varied amount of work can easily set a person or department up for failure.We also assume that the newest and latest also means it’s the greatest. After all, we’re marketers! We love flash! Older marketers have confessed to me that they’re worried about their skills being relevant in today’s age – this is only true on a tactician level.

A marketer’s job is to serve your market, and at the end of the day, people are people, no matter what channels they’re using. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it will really resonate with someone. Behind each impression or site session is a real person.

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Read the full interview here.

Why you need to think about alignment when you set up your business

Often when senior technology executives come to work with Victory, they are burned out in a big way. I’ve heard this feeling referred to as “corporate PTSD,” conveying the seriousness of the impact some top-level executive jobs are having on high-performing individuals and their general wellbeing -- and it’s important to understand why.

Valuable executives are being frustrated and worn down by roles mired in politics and stale models for compensation. It’s so common that we’ve formalized a decompression course for executives we onboard at Victory, the company John Cunningham and I most recently founded in Austin.

The question is: why are smart, high-performing individuals having such a negative experience at the upper echelons of American business? It seems clear to me that traditional business models and traditional organizational structures are simply failing to empower high performers, and in many cases are making their jobs far more frustrating than they have to be.

From the first day, Victory set out to try a new approach to defining true internal organization alignment, and build a more tenable framework for business leadership.

Re-Imagining The Relationship Between Talent and Business

What if we removed obstacles so that top talent could be empowered to do what they do best, and reward them well for doing it? Seems pretty straightforward, right? Here’s another crazy idea: What if alignment could be ensured by hard numbers, instead of by subjective assessments skewed by corporate politics? These are the questions that pressed me to try something new with my latest business.

Ultimately, I found that re-imagining how teams and leaders engage with the businesses was key to addressing these challenges.

At Victory, we break our leaders into four classes, not unlike a university system: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior. As leaders advance toward Senior, their pay rate increases but their billable expectations lessen, so they can focus on business development, closing sales, team management, and mentorship.

Pay is also structured thoughtfully, since it is an important motivating factor for most people. Leaders get a base salary, plus billable hours that are weighted so as to not only incent working on expensive clients, plus a commission. Aligning individual pay to what’s actually best for the broader business and its clients ensures that everyone is truly working toward the same goal.

The Victory model isn’t something that can only work for one company or in one area of the business. For example, we first applied the Victory model in the CTO space, but have since expanded our offerings to include multiple practices, including CMOs, CIOs, etc. Each type of leader may have a completely different focus, but each benefits from the Victory model as they are able to tap the specialized skills from other practices to attract larger, more diverse clients.

Compensation reinforces this cross-functional approach: executives get paid no matter what they’re working on, so they aren’t only incentivized to work within their specific practice or silo.

By the team, for the team

In many ways, I view entrepreneurship similarly to nation building. Forming a healthy, productive group at a large scale is no easy task. The organizational structure, the people chosen to lead, and mechanisms for accountability and prosperity are all critical considerations in either case. So if entrepreneurs are essentially nation-builders, why can’t we take a cue from America’s founding fathers and build something by the people, for the people.

When you do, great things can happen -- I can attest to the benefits of freeing smart people from outdated structures. At Victory, once executives have time to recover from their experiences at traditional enterprises, they thrive in the hypernetics model, where they are no longer encumbered with countless hours of corporate drudgery and can concentrate on their actual work. Really, this shouldn’t be that radical an idea.

It also shouldn’t be too radical to allow people to put in the amount of hours that they feel comfortable with, and pay them accordingly, instead of forcing people to pretend to show up to meet an arbitrary number of working hours per day.

Perhaps what is radical is the mindset required to walk away from how things have been done in the past, and embrace not just new digital tools, but the processes and models they can unlock. Technology is changing the rules for business by helping us reimagine what’s possible for tomorrow.

We can harness the promise of technology to build a better future of work, both for businesses and the people who work there, building reasonable companies by reasonable people. Let’s leave the inefficiencies of corporate politics and bloated organizational structures in the past.