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Apr 11, 2019

On today’s episode of Just the Tips, Dean and I get started on the right foot when he serenades me about how excited he is to be my co-host. And then, we have an absolutely amazing guest in Patrick McKenna. Patrick is the Founder and CEO of Strike Social, a global, technology-enabled digital advertising company. He has more than 30 years of experience in business development and technology consulting for major corporations. He literally helped build Microsoft into the juggernaut it is today, and with his new company, Strike Social, he’s worked with little mom-and-pop shops like Honda, Mattel and Lionsgate.

How sales influenced Patrick’s approach to entrepreneurship

Patrick told us that when he was in college, he was pre-law. And then junior year came around and he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer anymore. So instead he dipped his toe into business, and got started selling phone service to businesses door to door. And as brutal a job as that was, it taught him a really valuable skill early on: You have to do your research. In order to sell, he had to understand what a business did, what their day-to-day looked like, etc. And that skill of learning about customers and what problems they have that need solving has served Patrick well as he’s advanced through his career.

How to build a business out of an idea

Patrick built an entire, successful division of Microsoft before going on to found Strike Social, one of the fastest growing companies in the country. So I asked him how his work at Microsoft helped him get to where he is today, and he said that what’s really helped him is that he can sell. And that doesn’t just mean selling to a customer, it also means selling something internally as well. And then by taking the feedback from those pitches and really learning to build something, Patrick has done something that not many entrepreneurs can claim as their own.

How did Patrick build a company so quickly?

One of the key tips Patrick picked up at Microsoft is the need to do high-quality market analysis. Before you even enter a market, you need to know who your competitors are, what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are. And you have to be able to build a case for why it would be a good idea to enter that market, and why you will be successful. And so the “homework” that Microsoft required him to do has ensured that when he started Strike Social, he did the homework, too. And that has allowed Strike Social to grow rapidly.

What is Strike Social?

When he was at Microsoft, Patrick was part of a leading-edge technology team, and that’s no different with Strike Social. The company works with huge businesses to grow their digital advertising using artificial intelligence. And Patrick was very candid about the company’s early days, which had the company hitting the ground running because of the sales team they had in place, but also hitting speed bumps because they didn’t have a strong technical team in place. If you’re just starting a business and wondering how the best get it done, you need to listen to this week’s Just the Tips.

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:24] How Patrick got into business
  • [6:00] What Patrick learned from selling door to door
  • [11:09] Patrick’s history with Microsoft
  • [13:15] How to build a business out of an idea
  • [16:53] Strike Social
  • [19:19] How Strike Social hit the ground running
  • [22:27] How to hire a CTO
  • [26:44] Dean’s partnership issues
  • [31:45] Advice for starting a business

Music for “Just The Tips” is titled, “Happy Happy Game Show” by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Resources Mentioned

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