The CMO Journal's 2022-in-review
Looking back at my year as a professional, plus the best essays of 2022
In 2017, my then boss and good friend Paras Chopra, founder of Wingify, wrote a great essay about turning 30. Wingify was where I first unlocked professional success and confidence, and on reading what he had written, I felt I should write something similar, looking back at my own journey (Paras and I are almost the same age, he’s a few months older). Except at that time I hadn’t yet thought about my goals and career deeply, so I put it off.
5 years later, as 2022 ends, I think I have some idea of what I have been doing in my career until now, and what I want to do. This clarity is freeing, and I’m thankful I have it now. That it took me a bit longer than others is testament to the fact that people are different, and that we find our feet at different times.
As I left my role at Accel this year, I spoke at my small farewell about how I thought the role was the culmination of the first third of my career. I had started at a startup, learnt a lot, and with some combination of ambition, luck, and hard work, landed in one of the top VC firms in the world. Accel was where I completed my first 10 years as a professional, and I’m thankful for my time there and the friendships and relationships I made.
My first year at Accel was a success by most respects, and I enjoyed being there, at the centre of the ecosystem. However, by the second year, when I should have speeded up, I let the role drift. This was due to a combination of factors, most of which are my own fault. Mind you, I was still doing well at a few parts of the role, for which I was being recognised at the firm, but that success was blinding me to what I was leaving on the table. This has happened before. As I said, 2022 was a year of clarity.
But this was also when some of my old gang from Freshworks were starting up with Vijay Rayapati, who I also knew from the ecosystem. It was an easy decision to make.
I’m always held this opinion that you cannot handle more than one variable at a time in your life. If your personal life is sorted, your professional life can handle some volatility and doubt. If your professional life is holding up well, you can weather a storm in your personal life. But uncertainty on both fronts is a recipe for mental health disaster.
In 2022, I wanted more structure in my life, more role clarity. For the first time, I had adult responsibilities I’ve never had to navigate before. So I made the decision. I know there’s unfinished work, I’m acutely aware of it, and it is an itch I will scratch at some point.
But there are some opportunities you have to take.
2022 was a middling year for me professionally. I wasn’t too happy with it. There were many things happening on the personal front, and I just didn’t have the energy for a lot else. This isn’t an excuse, I simply didn’t have systems in place to do both well. This showed up in the writing too, especially in terms of quantity, though (I think) I didn’t lower the bar on quality.
Here are my top 5 of the year, the ones I most enjoyed writing, and which I think also have a lot to offer.
Self-explanatory title, but I meant this more as an organisational critique than a shot at product managers.
Wrote about how framing marketing as part of a calendar is better than looking at them as campaigns.
Written more for myself, I recapped things I have learnt and believe in from 10 years of working in marketing
Again more as a reminder for myself as I stepped into the new role, this has a list of things I have learnt help in managing up.
Part 1 of a new series on content branding, I will be following this up in the new year with more posts. I feel this is an important topic.
Please read and share. That would make me very happy.
Throughout this dispatch, I kept talking about clarity.
What is the clarity I have for 2023, then, at least from the lens of my career and this newsletter?
With Atomicwork, I have a clear vision on the brand I want to build, the team I want to build, and the direction I want to go in as a marketer and as part of the founding team of a startup. I’m going to work very hard on this.
I think I have a definition of The CMO Journal and what I want it to be. It is, and will continue to be an ongoing register of my attempt to understand marketing.
There will also be a rebrand of some sort during the year, and I’ve started looking for folks to help me do this. If you have feedback, comments, or would like to help, please reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn, or email me at email@example.com.
2022 has been an overwhelming year. In 2023 I hope to do less, but I hope to do better.
And finally, I hope you are taking some well deserved time off, and enjoying the company of your family and friends. There’s a fresh start coming, and being rested and ready is half the job done.