Mediafly’s CTO Shares His Top 3 Priorities for 2021

By Jason Shah | December 14, 2020

The classic 1993 film Groundhog Day portrays Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a cynical TV weatherman who has to cover Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania’s groundhog day festivities on February 2nd. In the film, Connors somehow gets stuck in a time loop where, no matter how he ends the day (e.g. jumping off a building, freezing, driving off a cliff), he continues to awaken back on February 2nd where every conversation, action, and motion repeats like clockwork. After a period of fear and despair, he decides to take control of his fate and start improving himself. He learns to play the piano, sculpt ice, and speak French. He improves his condition, and…well, I won’t give any more of the plot away. 

Sound familiar? For many of us, 2020 has felt as though we are stuck in a time loop ourselves, awaiting the end of the pandemic.  But, like Phil Connors, we at Mediafly quickly moved past the fear and despair and have continued to take control of the current situation. This past year, we released incredible new capabilities, signed on a lot of wonderful, new customers, grew our teams, and bought a company.

But we’re just getting started. Coming into 2021, we have more great things planned. Whether you’re a Mediafly customer interested in what’s next for the Mediafly product or a fellow CTO looking for inspiration as you map your own 2021 strategy, I wanted to share some of the things our product team will focus on to better serve our customers and employees and drive further sales growth for Mediafly.

CTO Priority #1: More User Feedback

The ability to build great products comes from a deep understanding of your ideal user personas. At Mediafly, this includes a combination of marketers, sales operations managers, content administrators, business development representatives, account executives, hunters, and customer success managers. Mediafly provides value to users in each of these roles across a single organization. But our products are only as successful as their ability to solve real-life problems for them.

Throughout 2020, our users experienced major shifts in their day-to-day professional lives, and for many, those shifts have calcified into the “next normal”. The core problems they experience, the operational processes they follow, and the way they collaborate with their coworkers and customers have rapidly and radically changed. 

In response, we’ve adapted our offerings. We released some incredible remote-ready capabilities, including a Zoom integration and support for animated PowerPoints, but we won’t stop there. 

In 2021, our product team plans to invest even more time and effort interviewing our clients, testing ideas, gathering feedback, and overall, reinvesting in ensuring Mediafly’s products continue to lead the field in the “next normal” post-pandemic world.

CTO Priority #2: Improved Storytelling

Remote work has brought a renewed focus on storytelling. As we work at home, in the same place every day, unable to meet face to face with our buyers and clients and often distracted by family in the background, the ability to present a compelling and engaging story throughout the sales process has become increasingly important. 

Mediafly has made great strides in enabling sales teams to overcome distractions with the introduction of two key capabilities in the last 12 months: Tool Builder, a product that enables value sellers to create their own ROI selling tool, and support for rich, animated PowerPoint presentations, ensuring sellers can bring beautiful design and interactivity into virtual and in-person sales conversations.

2021 offers our product team an opportunity to delve even deeper into both of these features.

On the Tool Builder front, we are past the crawl and walk phases and are starting to run. Our capabilities are rapidly accelerating beyond client expectations. 

From the animations perspective, our recent acquisition of Presentify allows us to bring best of breed PowerPoint designs to our clients. By extension, this has driven us to build even more support for interactive, non-linear selling across our product portfolio for all of our customers. 

We are excited about the impact our continued focus on advanced storytelling will bring to our clients in 2021.

CTO Priority #3: Avoid Remote Work Fatigue

We expect to continue working from home for quite some time longer. Personally, I anticipate that, by summer 2021, Mediafly will be back to 20-40% in-office compared to where we were pre-pandemic. 

While there are many benefits to working remotely, there are also a lot of drawbacks. One of the biggest is “work from home fatigue” or “Zoom fatigue”. This is the result of not having enough spearation between our work day and pre- and post-workday. The transition from “home life” to “work life” is often as little as going into the next room (and frequently, less than that). 

To overcome this, we are trying to enforce better work boundaries even outside of work hours. This includes:

2021 Presents an Exciting Growth Opportunity 

There is a palpable sense of excitement on our product team about how we can help drive growth for Mediafly and for our customers in 2021. We’re experiencing incredible growth, delivering amazing new capabilities to our customers, and helping them survive and even thrive in this Groundhog Day-like environment. And just like Phil Connors, all of us will leave this pandemic time loop stronger, happier, and ready to grow and succeed. 

Want to learn more about Mediafly’s newest capabilities? Contact your Mediafly customer success manager or request a demo

This article is the first in a two-part series highlighting the priorities of various C-level executives in the “next normal.” 2020 has been a wild ride. We hope our learnings and practical tips for 2021 help you advance your own strategy for sales growth. Tune in tomorrow for the next blog in this series.

As Mediafly’s CTO Jason leads the Product and Engineering teams at Mediafly. He oversees the intersection of the Product team’s development of the vision, strategy and roadmap, with the execution of best-in-class Engineering that spans 100 professionals across three continents and five time zones. Jason has amassed over 23 years of product and engineering experience, leading the development and ongoing innovation of Mediafly’s revenue enablement hub. His prior experiences include strategy consulting, product management, client engagement and software development, at Bain & Company, Neuros Technology, and Trilogy Software. He received his MS and BS in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his MBA from The University of Chicago.

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