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Social Media at Xero (and watches)

A couple of weeks ago the guys at Social Media NZ popped into our office in our Auckland office to interview me on how we use social media at Xero.

Here’s the vid…

While I’d like to think that my social media insights are riveting viewing, it seems my wrist adornment was a bit distracting for Kylie:

Actually there is a bit of a story about that…

Back in the mid 90′s, way before we used social media and the internet was just starting to be used for business, I began traveling overseas and selling our products. Arriving from a country with a funny accent, no one knew who you were. Unlike today they couldn’t Google you or check out LinkedIn as most people would do now. So the first 20 minutes of a meeting was a dance trying to subtlety convince people that you were a person of substance – but in a modest way.

At that time Silicon Valley made a big deal out of not wearing suits (the uniform was blue shirts and dockers) so, as a guy, all you had to assist look successful were your shoes and watch. I mean it wouldn’t be convincing talking a big game and having the latest swatch – right?

So I ended up buying a Brietling Navitimer. I didn’t want a Rolex as that seemed a bit obvious. The Brietling was my ‘sales watch’ and lasted for many years.

Fast forward to January 2006. We’d just sold AfterMail to Quest software and I was on a roadie to Columbus Ohio for the first of four sales conferences around the world. The sales teams for each territory came together for a couple of days (so you can imagine how full on that was) and then the presentation team jumped into the plane to head to the next 3 day event. I’m sure I needed a kidney transplant after a few weeks of that – but was a huge fun with some great people.

So in Columbus (and I was very wide eyed at being in the middle of the US) I was excited to hear rap star 50 Cent and his Band G-Unit were in the same hotel. On day two I jumped into the lift and ended up with me and the band. G-Unit are big, very black, men. They were wearing full length colored leather jackets, lots of jewelry, dark glasses and the biggest watches I had ever seen. They were huge. So huge they immediately re-calibrated what I thought was a normal sized watch. As I looked at my Navitimer I suddenly felt worthless and weak.

I guess my mouth was wide open seeing full size rap stars in the flesh because the biggest one said “what you looking at white boy”. To which I replied “gidday” in my thickest kiwi accent which seemed to diffuse the situation. Crocodile dundee was obviously still remembered fondly in these parts.

Later in the trip I was passing through Heathrow which has a great watch shop. The new Navitimer World had just come out. It was like my old Navitimer, just BIGGER!

So I gave my old watch to my dad and have been rocking the big boy as my sales watch for the last 5 years. Probably now with LinkedIn and Google you don’t need a sales watch – but I think it helps.

Have never again been in a lift with world famous rap stars.

 

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6 comments

Adele
2 March 2011 #

Haha – “Gidday” – that bit made me laugh out loud. Interesting points in the video too, about how social media/web fundamentally changes the ecosystem of support, sales

John Lai
3 March 2011 #

Great little history there Rod and I have to admit it really did blinded me while I was interviewing you haha

Great chat again and thats for the opportunity.

John Lai
Social Media NZ

Kylie
3 March 2011 #

Although the wrist clock filled me with envy, I did manage to maintain focus for the whole interview. Thank you for sharing with us all.

Donnell
15 July 2011 #

I enjoyed the interview but the blog post was priceless. I’m married to a watch addict. ;-)

[...] My interview with Xero’s founder Rod Drury [...]

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