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Tradecraft Happy Hour: Whitney Bouck


I attended a Tradecraft happy hour last week. It was my first time at Tradecraft since getting accepted, and a preliminary toe in the pool. I met some great people, got some tips from veteran UX-trackers, and thoroughly enjoyed the programming. The event launched with a conversation with Whitney Bouck, former VP of Documentum and present-day GM of Enterprise and SVP of Global Marketing at Box.

First Whitney led us through Documentum's growth, leveraging the model developed in Geoffrey Moore's "Crossing the Chasm" (Moore uses Documentum as an example throughout the text). Then, she offered insights into Box, which deviates from the model.

Documentum targeted a valuable headpin from the get-go: pharmaceutical companies. Then, with the right marketing and early adopters in place, the company brought several other core industries into the fold.

In contrast, Box started out with organic growth. Four college students, the founders of Box created the product for their own use. It wasn't until Box saw moderate success that leadership asked itself, "how can we focus?" By marketing to a few core industries and partnering with big names within those categories, Box developed its vertical depth without changing its product.

When the floor opened up, so did the conversation. Whitney addressed everything from marketing to sales to hiring the right people. Here's what I got:


  • Finding the right early adopters is essential to mainstream success. Have a target market, but be flexible. Then, find forward thinkers in that market.
  • When identifying key markets, consider: "Who will want to adopt our product the most?," "Who will be willing to pay the most?" and "Where are we most likely to leverage new use cases?"
  • Once you've identified and wooed your targets ("headpins"), foster a domino/bowling pin effect with your secondary markets.
  • Make a product that you and your customers will love. "When your customers love your product, they want to talk about it... with their peers, their coworkers, and on their social networks."
  • If your product isn't remarkable, make your customer service remarkable instead.


  • Leverage your partnerships as much as possible. "Take what you can get--but you gotta ask."
  • The growth cycle is a lot shorter today, and creating a minimum viable product takes less time and fewer resources.
  • Time management is a choice. Pick the most strategic things for you to do in a week and then make sure you spend some time on them every day.
  • Good communication is essential, no matter what role you are filling. The flat communication structure of early stage companies requires clarity and speed.

I'm looking forward to the next Tradecraft happy hour!