Running Into The Fog
Zena Applebaum

Zena Applebaum

April 13, 2021

After spending 12 years as the Director of Competitive Intelligence at the same law firm, Zena Applebaum had seen it all. She felt more comfortable than ever in the position, but with this comfort came a stagnancy that stifled her ability to learn and grow. Zena’s ever-present curiosity inspired her to venture into the fog and start a new role at Thomson Reuters. Although she admits that it took her over 8 months to fully understand the nuances and tactics necessary to succeed in this position, this change was just the type of challenge that she needed to bring new meaning to her life.

Zena’s journey has had no shortage of twists and turns. An expert in competitive intelligence, Zena has also taught several college-level courses, authored a book, and served on the board of the Special Library Services (SLA) for several years. These diverse experiences have allowed Zena to master her target market, develop her people skills, and learn the tactics necessary to thrive in her various roles – three things that, according to Zena, are critical for success.

On this week’s episode of Running Into the Fog, the Jo Bros speak with Zena about her personal journey to success and the crucial life lessons she learned along the way. From chaotic COVID households to the unique qualities of librarians to the fundamental differences between theory and practice, you won’t want to miss out on this engaging conversation about navigating the challenges life throws our way.

Quotes

  • “I had done it all, I had seen it all, I had spent 12 years at my firm. I was most comfortable, but I was also becoming really stagnant….I felt like I could do more, and I could learn more. And I knew that if I didn’t do it soon, I was going to be pigeonholed forever into that role.” (25:56-26:22)
  • “Market, people, and tactics. If you can master two of them, you can usually learn the third.” (33:33-33:40)
  • “The way you learn the market is by recognizing first and foremost that information for information’s sake doesn’t sell.” (35:34-35:45)
  • “It takes seven years to build trust, it takes seven minutes to erode it. Building relationships is so critical to this business. It’s critical to any business, but I think particularly if you’re doing competitive intelligence, people need to know that they can trust you, people need to know that you are going to have conversations on their behalf where you’re not going to embarrass them, where you’re not going to say something out of turn.” (42:52-43:15)
  • “I think the one thing I would tell my 20-year-old self is to chill the f out. We all get to a place eventually where we should be….I liked to plan everything, I liked to know that there was a path forward. And I still do, but I also recognize that, as much as you plan, you can’t plan for every contingency.” (46:38-47:07)

 

Links

Zena Applebaum Twitter – https://twitter.com/zappleci?lang=en 

 

https://aurorawdc.com/

Arik Johnson LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/arikjohnson/

Derek Johnson LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/derek-johnson-cfa-190893/

 

Gilberto Gandra

Gilberto Gandra

March 30, 2021

Gilberto Gandra, Founding Partner @ RadiusVC has a mantra: “Invest in things that change the world.” Gilberto’s career has always been mission-driven, from work in animal welfare to relationship building to a life-long commitment to diversity and inclusion. In this episode of Running Into the Fog, Gilberto talks with the Jo Bros about the impact of Covid on the pet industry, his view of intentional diversity in the startup world, and why he calls himself a “relationship strategist.”

Everyone ran into the fog during Covid, but for Giberto, the pandemic brought a bit of good luck. Just before Covid, he started working for a startup called Adopet, which provides a SaaS solution for animal shelters to streamline adoption. With Covid, shelters wanted to ditch old paper processes, and every family in America suddenly wanted a puppy. As a result, Adopet took off. 

But Gilberto isn’t just talking about animals in this episode. He always talks about the importance of investing in global, diverse problems - which he does as part of his work with the venture capital fund RadiusVC. Gilberto believes in the power of relationships to impact your life - and venture capital is the ultimate financial relationship with marginalized founders who need financial support. 

Tune in this week to hear Gilberto’s value-driven approach to finding work and people you love - and how that has changed his life. 

 

Quotes

  • “You need something that you want to solve the problem, regardless of whether you’re going to make money or not. That’s the true measure of a business worth pursuing. You can figure out a way to monetize it. If the problem is big enough, you should be able to create some economy around that problem, to solve it. The best way to change the world is to make money doing it. Otherwise, it is not self-sustaining.” (14:05-14:31)
  • “If you invest in things that are going to be changing the world, but you invest always in the same type of people... Then, you don’t get to change the world, you just get to change the world for people in that particular lens.” (22:37-22:54)

 

Links

https://www.linkedin.com/in/gilberto-gandra/

 

https://aurorawdc.com/

Arik JohnsonLinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/arikjohnson/

Derek JohnsonLinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/derek-johnson-cfa-190893/

 

Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

March 16, 2021

Foggy times come for all of us. Times when we aren’t certain where we are headed, when we can’t see what’s next. Globally, we are in the middle of one right now. In this introductory episode, hosts Arik and Derek Johnson talk with their long-time friend and consultant Jeff Meyer, about how to run into the fog -- something they are deeply familiar with as leaders in the competitive intelligence industry, where the goal is to use data to “outfit people for the path ahead.”

Jeff is a master of moving forward through uncertainty -- hence his tagline and the name of his podcast, “Move Forward Anyway.” Jeff shares his experience of working as a consultant with both brothers for their company Aurora WDC, to help them learn how to run into the fog together. 

Tune in to hear Jeff speak about fear, uncertainty, collaboration, curiosity, and the power of moving from “expert to experiment” in the inaugural episode of Running into the Fog. 

Quotes

  • “One of the principles for me is, you glance at the far distant future, because you want to be going in that general direction, but you need to gaze at what’s right in front of you. (6:38-6:52)
  • “In each of our unique spaces, we tend to bring bias. We tend to assume an expert stance. And so I talk all the time with pastors and leaders and all kinds of other different teachers, I say, we’ve got to move from expert to experiment. And get comfortable with the adventure of discovery, and curiosity.” (25:15-25:47) 

 

Links

Facebook: jeffmeyer222 

Twitter: jeffmeyer22

LinkedIn: jeffmeyer22

Instagram: jeffmeyer22 

 

https://aurorawdc.com/

Arik JohnsonLinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/arikjohnson/

Derek JohnsonLinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/derek-johnson-cfa-190893/

August Jackson

August Jackson

March 16, 2021

“I don’t really separate out strategy from tactics from execution,” says August Jackson, Senior Director of Market and Competitive Intelligence at Deltek. As a leader in competitive intelligence (CI), August takes a holistic approach to his work, and believes in the tension between executing day-to-day and taking that big picture look at what CI can do, and where it’s going. 

In this episode of Running into the Fog with the Johnson brothers, August talks about the balance of industry expertise with CI expertise, and how having that deep knowledge of an industry (like SaaS or pharmaceuticals) is necessary to really understand the full capacities of CI. He also talks about another specialized community: small business owners. “I think there’s an opportunity for my profession to go much deeper into the small business market,” August says. As the foundation of our national and global economy, August is passionate about what CI can do for small business, without breaking the bank. 

Tune in this week for a look at where CI is going, and a few stories of entrepreneurship (and friendship), on this episode of Running into the Fog. 

 

Quotes:

  • “I’ve always kind of walked away from the idea of a strategic and tactical divide; for me, I’m an ENTJ, and on that end, the needle falls off. So I am the most holistic person: big hand, small map all the time. Sometimes in our profession people get really wrapped around the axel of what’s strategic versus what is tactical -- Well, everything’s strategic over a long enough time period.” (16:07ish-16:40)
  • “I also don’t separate strategy from execution as much as others might, and my sense is looking at some groups that take a purely strategy view to how they do things, that misses opportunities to really effect change inside the organization.” (16:47-17:04)

 

Links:

August Jackson - Senior Director, Market and Competitive Intelligence

Fellow, Council of Competitive Intelligence Fellows

Social Media handles (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn): @8of12 on Twitter; https://www.linkedin.com/in/augustjackson/

 

https://aurorawdc.com/

Arik JohnsonLinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/arikjohnson/

Derek JohnsonLinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/derek-johnson-cfa-190893/

Marie Mansheim

Marie Mansheim

March 16, 2021

“Clearing out the fog is about using facts,” says Marie Mansheim, truth-teller and manufacturing consultant who works with companies across industries (and the globe) to find the best practices for their business. In this episode of Running into the Fog, the Jo Bros are talking with Marie about the power of data to guide decision-making, and how she has supported her clients during Covid as they navigate the see-saw of loss and sales that is plaguing the manufacturing world right now. 

For Marie, being successful is about looking at competitive intelligence data and laying out all the options in a way that is not only unbiased, but stretches beyond the conventions of the industry. She encourages clients to look at best practices across industries -- because why would we not want to bring in those fresh ideas? She helps manufacturers look at everything from security to automation to company culture, with a focus on smart decision-making that doesn't keep your company stuck in the weeds. 

Tune in this week for a practical guide on how to make smart change, even in an uncertain world. You’ll hear about analysis paralysis, FOMO, and so much more in this episode of Running into the Fog. 

 

Quotes:

32:30 – “People get hemmed into ‘This is where I have to go because I’ve always done it that way.’ You have to say ‘Other options are available to you. You may not choose them, but they’re available.’ So, really helping them figure out …. what they are willing to invest in, what they aren’t willing to invest in, and where they want to go as a business owner, too.” (32:07-32:38)

34:56 – “Clearing out the fog is about using facts.” (34:57-35:00)

 

Links:

Twitter: MMansheim

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/mariemansheim

 

https://aurorawdc.com/

Arik JohnsonLinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/arikjohnson/

Derek JohnsonLinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/derek-johnson-cfa-190893/

Running Into The Fog - Introduction

Running Into The Fog - Introduction

March 9, 2021

Here is a sample episode featuring one of our guests, Jeff Meyer. 

 

Links: 

Facebook: jeffmeyer222 

Twitter: jeffmeyer22

LinkedIn: jeffmeyer22

Instagram: jeffmeyer22

https://aurorawdc.com/

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