Neha Sampat

Neha is the CEO of Contentstack. An outspoken advocate for women in leadership, she can often be found appearing on keynote stages or expert panels discussing her experiences as an entrepreneur and the future of headless CMS technology.

Posts by Neha Sampat

Nov 17, 2023 | 3 min. read

Make unconventional decisions as your company grows

I've always leaned a little unconventional— a CEO sommelier. I am a first-generation Indian American growing up in a primarily Hispanic community with Filipino best friends— a non-techie leading tech company from a non-Ivy League school (that was a mouthful). It's been a fact of my life and my career. Part of it was because I needed access to the same opportunities early on, so I had to nudge my way through. But another part was more choice. If there's a "book" to live by, I prefer to take what works for me, throw out the rest, and write my version based on values and dreams. That's led to a lifetime of entrepreneurship and the ultimate dream of leading Contentstack from a product-within-a-service company to one of Deloitte's 500 fastest-growing tech companies this year. And guess what? I've made some unconventional choices along the way. Here, I've reflected on some of the biggest ones, with help from a recent "People Changing Enterprises" podcast. Starting where others didn't  From the start, we had a good idea: we built a product the market needed. That's because we created Contentstack due to seeing first-hand the frustration our Raw Engineering services customers were experiencing because of their monolithic CMSs.  The speed of business and culture was increasing, web, mobile, and social media platforms were exploding, and cloud computing was the apparent future. Still, their current systems needed help to keep up. This early customer testing ground led to customer funding when we spun out Contentstack. It's unusual. Many founders would move immediately to VC to scale fast. But we took longer to stay close to the customer, continue iterating based on demand, and prove product-market fit.  By the time we did raise VC money in 2019, it was for a much more significant sum than we could have a few years earlier. We had laid the groundwork for a sustainable, customer-driven business model (vs. the growth-at-all-costs mentality that became popular). Those anchors don't tend to steer you wrong. In the People Changing Enterprises episode, Bjørn Kreijen, director of Digital and e-commerce at equipment rental company Boels, also transitioned from brick-and-mortar to digital-first unconventionally.  While he knew the company would eventually move to a composable architecture, he chose the opposite direction at the outset: a monolithic CMS. This move allowed them to assemble the team and capabilities quickly. "First go for the monolith, make sure that you have the right capabilities on your team, that you have the technological knowledge. And then start decomposing. That's how we did it...But the CMS platform that we chose was built in the cloud, so it made the switch to composable easier." Investing in Customer Care We're just one of many who know that focusing on customers is an innovative business practice. Bjørn explained that another unconventional decision Boels made was to build its entire online presence around five customer journeys – not personas (are you a painter, plumber, or landscaper?).  The persona analysis needed to give them a meaningful distinction to build off of. However, they found the journeys differed based on the organizations' size, so Boels ultimately broke those out on a scale from corporate customers to individuals doing DIY projects. For Contentstack, these are some of the unconventional ways customer care comes to life: When we hire, we look for signs that candidates care about customers and their outcomes. Our interview scorecard asks if the candidate "Gives a damn." We built a proactive customer-level monitoring tool based on API usage that catches technical issues before they become a customer problems. This is a win-win because it ultimately helps customers save on infrastructure and helps Contentstack save on support costs. We created an ecosystem of support from Care Without Compromise™ to Contentstack Academy and the Go Composable website. In the most unconventional way, in 2021, we acquired a team of CMS experts from Raw Engineering, the service company I launched that served as the origin story of Contentstack. The team pioneered headless CMS years ago, coming home in a real full-circle moment. Together, all these efforts help customers with implementation, overcoming roadblocks, and developing their internal expertise.  Looking for Talent in Undiscovered Places I didn't go to an Ivy League school. I had to fight like, hell at a previous company to hire someone who became one of my top performers without a college degree. Why would we revert to old ways of thinking and hiring when we've seen what diversity of thought and backgrounds can mean to an organization? At Contentstack, we focus on unconventional hires, including partnering with organizations that support mothers' re-entry into the workforce and placing underprivileged high school students in paid engineering internships. Our annual Tech Surf competition in India received over 34,000 applications from students across 3,000 colleges. The winners get a chance to apply for several Associate Application Engineer positions. We also focus on transferable skills more than direct experience. That's how we ended up with an accountant student as one of our top engineers and a bodybuilder as Chief of Staff. It's about finding people willing to learn and driven to build something and hustle.  We won't change our unconventional ways anytime soon — and neither should companies like Boels. Instead, we'll continue focusing on building the most beloved product on the market by listening to partners and challenging the status quo. Like Judy Garland said: "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." 

Oct 20, 2023 | 3 min. read

Five rules of leadership rallying

You have a new goal to hit or a new tool or CSR program to launch company-wide. It's critical that you get people – a lot of them – on board. In Narisa Wild's case, she was preparing to launch a new Digital Skills Index across Informa, a massive events enterprise powering conferences worldwide. On our "People Changing Enterprises" podcast, she explained the Index would measure digital maturity to help balance the employee divide.  But how would she get employees to take proficiency tests and leaders to prioritize digital upskilling – two responsibilities that can fall low on a priority list when tackling your "must-dos?" Rallying your people isn't easy. It's also not a moment in time. Successful rallying starts as early as building the right team and includes knowing when it's not your turn to lead, among other things. Here, I'll share the five rallying rules I've developed along my leadership journey.  1. Hire people with the drive to strive for better. As a leader, your time for rallying will inevitably come. Setting yourself up for success starts with hiring the right people. I don't look for people who want a job; I look for people who go after "better" when they see the possibility. I want to hear about a time when they chased improvement. That way, when it's time to rally around a new goal or challenge the status quo, they get excited by the potential. (Hiring this way also builds a culture of innovation.) On the podcast, Narisa advised: "If someone is smart, intelligent, willing, hungry, have the desire, they can pretty much wrap their arms around anything. Just look at our career paths. We probably didn't start anywhere near where we are now." I started in tech PR, moved to product management, and then to founding and running a tech company. So, I agree.  2. Show people how the cause positively impacts them. Would you hop on a bus with no destination? Or one with a destination of "nowhere special?" Leadership rallying involves clearly and repeatedly articulating a vision and how that vision impacts the people you want support from. Use empathy to understand the underlying factor that would most motivate the largest swath of your target group. Here are some considerations: Will the initiative make their jobs and lives easier? Is there a David vs. Goliath story? Will people have the opportunity to do something that's never been done? Will they get a reward or incentive for participation? Will they make important personal connections? Will they positively impact a community or close a societal gap? Will they have the opportunity to satiate curiosity and grow in new ways? Psychology Today published a list of common motivators that could help you think through this even more. But Narisa broke motivation down in the simplest terms of all on our podcast: describe "what this new 'toy' is bringing to them."  3. Make it fun. Nobody is hoping for another email telling them what to do. That can be part of a rallying strategy, but not the only part. Have fun and be creative with your initiative. One of our rallying cries, #LFG (it means what you think it means), was born out of the stressful post-pandemic period where we had lofty goals in what felt like a shaky market. I made #LFG tee shirts, shared pictures, and incorporated #LFG into our efforts. We hit the number, and I think rallying was a big reason why. Similarly, we recently wanted to rally around public voting tied to our South by Southwest Panel Picker submissions. Apart from distributing the voting call across all channels, we hosted a live voting session attended by close to 100 people. Our General Counsel, Jessica Shor, committed to donating a tree for every vote.  We'll find out soon if our ideas are chosen, but the motivation here is clear: help Contenstack get on stage and improve the environment while you're at it. They aren't immediately relatable, but it works!  4. Build followership by letting people lead. In my youth, I went from student body president to part of the Pioneer Leadership Program at the University of Denver. This involved living on the same residency floor with 30 other Type A leaders. I learned quickly that I couldn't always lead.  There were times when my most helpful role for the moment was following. That experience ultimately influenced my leadership mantra of unblocking and getting out of the way. Sometimes, the CEO or department head isn't the best person to rally a group. If you're looking for a Gen Z upswell on social media, for example, maybe it's a Gen Z leader, you must make it relatable. In these instances, listen to what the Gen Z leader requests from you regarding support and make it happen as best as possible. When team members request my participation in an initiative, I ask myself: do I have something unique to bring to the table? Can someone else make a more significant impact than me? I'd be excited about it if it's primarily tech-related but I would probably rely on our CTO or VP of Product, who have more authority.  5. Rallying isn't always enough. I've had moments of superb rallying that still led to failed experiments. I once built a parking app that launched at TechCrunch Disrupt and secured coverage in USA Today and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. We passed out fake parking tickets that served as app credits. All this rallying created a viral sensation in its day, but the app was unsuccessful, likely because we hadn’t yet solved for product-market fit. Rallying is excellent – even essential – to a new initiative's success. But it'll not be easy to go far without other pieces in place, like the right business plan, people, and product-market fit. A rallying leader propels their team and organization forward, transforming setbacks into opportunities. I hope these "rules" will help you go after those opportunities…and have fun.

Aug 09, 2023 | 3 min. read

There is no growth without support

We hire people because we believe they can do the job and help our organizations grow.  And, yet, often, managers fall into the micromanaging or the no-managing-at-all trap. On the one hand: "I'll tell you how to do it and when." On the other hand: "Welcome and good luck!" I don't like to think about leading as "managing" at all. I think of it as "supporting." As leaders, our number one goal should be to support our team to reach their full potential and, in turn, enable the company to achieve its goals. There is no growth without support. Here are the three areas where I focus my support. Giving clear direction Your team can't row in the same direction without knowing where the company is headed and why. If the company aims to be the most beloved solution in the category, then a strategy might be prioritizing customer service. Every person across sales, engineering, marketing, partner development, and more should have a plan for how they contribute to that goal.  But a step comes before that: ensuring your team is aligned on the values. Your people need to be clear on how they are expected to show up in the communities they serve. Without this, you may find your team achieving goals in a way that creates friction. The behaviors might ultimately work against the North Star, like the high-performing salesperson who is a nightmare collaborator or that leader who rules with fear instead of empathy.  Remember that identifying people who will model the core values happens before you hire them. Review company values with potential candidates upfront and ask candidates which resonate with them and why. Also, consider including interview questions about how candidates get through challenging situations or help people succeed and about their community involvement to go beyond a simple values "gut feeling." Greenlighting the right tools Tools are table stakes when it comes to support. There are inevitably things your team will need to accomplish the goals at their highest potential. It could be an e-commerce solution or a collaboration or analysis tool. Often, it's department-specific. As a Solutions Architect for REI's content and experience management platform, Jason Greely oversees a team of engineers. In a recent episode of our People Changing Enterprises podcast, he said he looks for "established solutions that have robust SDKs and APIs, are well documented, and can tackle our capabilities." That's because he's responsible for a team of engineers and prioritizes tools that allow them to experiment and be "happy." I loved this extra layer of evaluation. Yes, tools should help people get the job done. But the sometimes uncredited benefits that come with them – like user happiness – can be even more potent as they lead to increased effectiveness, productivity, and innovation. Some studies show happy employees are 12% more productive, but that number is downplayed. Jason's colleague Kat Valdre, engineering manager for REI's platform organization, added: "Developers are happiest when they get to explore. Just having the possibility of flexibility is what most developers want – freedom. Also, managers who encourage that exploration." One tip from the REI team: make sure the end users of the tool are involved in evaluating the potential options. In Jason's case, as they considered new content management systems, the engineers "contributed their criteria and assessed based on the proof of concept they built. Without end-user involvement, expect a disappointing tool onboarding and acceptance process down the line. Building trust through autonomy My leadership philosophy is essentially: hire great people and get out of the way. While it may seem counterintuitive, the "getting out of the way" part is one of the most significant ways to show leadership support. Part of that is encouraging that exploration Kat mentioned. Another aspect is showing your support for a project publicly. This executive engagement also involves unblocking as needed. As a leader, you've illuminated the goal, your team paves the path to get there, and you support them by removing the roadblocks. Sometimes, those roadblocks require an executive's touch as they can involve tricky conversations with other executives.  Here's the catch: Leaders don't have to necessarily agree with the path to get out of the way. If my CMO wants to do something, my job is to enable her to do it and only raise a flag if I believe it may conflict with our values. Autonomy is an important show of support because it builds trust. And trust keeps the engines running. If I had to boil the concept of support down to one question, it'd be: How can I help my team be successful? It's about giving clear direction on values and end goals, providing the tools to make the team work smarter and not more complex, and letting people run with their skills and ideas. With these elements in place, growth follows.

May 10, 2023 | 3 min. read

What makes content great?

"You're not just competing with other brands. You're competing with every other piece of content on the internet." That was a mic drop from Juliette Olah, senior manager of editorial at, during a recent “People Changing Enterprises” episode. We get so confined in our worlds that often we're just asking ourselves: How can I do better than what I did last time? But shouldn't we ask ourselves how we can be the best in our niche? For Olah, that niche is travel. That means at any given time she's competing with everyone from Travel and Leisure to Airbnb, the Travel Channel, and Drew Binsky, a YouTuber with over 3.7 million subscribers. Consumers have endless options. That's why we need standards to ground us on what makes content great. These are my suggestions: Elements of great content Overarching, unique angle Listen Notes estimates that over 3 million active podcasts exist today. Of those, about 350,000 list "business" as their genre, which is where Contentstack's “People Changing Enterprises” sits. We could have produced a Composable DXP podcast since we are the category leaders.  Instead, we focused on who we wanted to build relationships with: enterprise technologists and marketers. We made them the heroes as they share their learnings and stories of triumph every day.  Our unique angle? Successful transformation stories from within enterprises.  Drenched in POV Once you have your overarching angle, make sure every individual piece of content has a POV. Google clamped down on SEO-driven content for a reason. Its top 10 ranked articles tied to any search query all sound the same. Raise your hand if you agree! You can avoid that by applying some challenger brand techniques: Lighthouse your beliefs with each piece of content. Or, drench it in POV, as I like to say. This works no matter the channel. On LinkedIn, you'll never not know where CEO of Refine Labs Chris Walker  stands on marketing attribution. Here's an example of when I spoke a hard truth — entrepreneurs come from anywhere, not just Ivy League schools — on the same platform. Be helpful This doesn't mean that it must be a "how to." It does mean that your audience must find it helpful in some way.  Your content could be inspiring, make them think differently or save your audience time. Your content might be helpful simply because it allows them to lose themselves in storytelling after a busy week. (Thank you, New York Times Sunday Read.) Make it visual This can be as simple as making something easy to consume with white space, bullets and pull quotes. But video, infographics, original photography, memes, cartoons and VR storytelling work, too. With tech, the visual sky is the limit!  You'll rarely see a single-spaced, dense article get mainstream play because we simply don't have the attention spans anymore. In an omnichannel content world, play to the strengths of each channel you're active in.  Or do something entirely visually unexpected. Postmark, the email delivery service, created a series of comic books poking fun at common email problems like churn and getting stuck in spam folders. Prioritize speed Admittedly, this one isn't as "creative" as the first four elements. But it's   what unlocks your competitive advantage. You can excel with the first four, and if someone beats you to it or your target audience simply moves on from a trend, you've lost an opportunity. Some retailers were able to move quickly promoting their versions of the Zara pink slip dress that went viral on TikTok. Most didn't. Our research shows that 78% of retailers say it takes them two weeks or more to execute a standard marketing campaign, and 63% struggle with the ability to update content. Speed is non-negotiable, so I'd recommend removing any barriers to achieving it.'s Olah said, "Remain open-minded that there's always going to be changes on a micro or macro level. You have to enable the ability to flex and adapt your approach." When you get the first four principles right — and wrap your entire process with the ability to move quickly — you can compete with the best content out there. You really can.  If you don't believe me, listen to “People Changing Enterprises” for more examples of regular people accomplishing unimaginable things within their organizations.

Apr 05, 2023 | 3 min. read

Building – or rebuilding – trust through uncertainty

First, it was the pandemic. Then rising interest rates, a VC "winter" and a major bank run still affecting the tech sector. I'm not a Debbie Downer, but I am realistic. In a lot of ways, uncertainty has become the norm. That uncertainty has the potential to disrupt and distract a workforce. But if you've prioritized trust with your team, those disruptions and distractions can be minimized. Keith Mazanec is head of Engineering at Brad's Deals, which curates daily deals across the web. You'd think he'd talk tech on our “People Changing Enterprises” podcast. And, yes, tech was part of it. But he also shared that in 2022 they experienced layoffs and had to pause the tech transformation journey they were on because of it. When the project resumed, it largely became a "people journey" focused on rebuilding trust. There’s a reason why Forrester predicted trust building would take a starring role for organizations across the board this year. It’s the beating heart of all businesses planning for long-term success. Here are some trust lessons I've learned building and running tech companies through the years: Don't wait to build trust   For Contentstack, employee trust-building starts before they are part of the tribe. We lighthouse our values publicly and prominently — and then we're vigilant about protecting and reinforcing them.  "We do the right thing when nobody is watching" is one of our values. That could live on a home page alone, but we put it to action. In one case, someone told us that one of our competitors had a security issue. Instead of exploiting the problem, we alerted the engineering team at that competitor. The decision was made over Slack by the team who discovered the issue and a group of leaders across the company. Moments like that create trust because everyone sees we act like good humans instead of just saying we are.  Know what you stand for and then be that thing. The biggest trust mistake organizations can make is waiting until a crisis or uncertainty to try to build it. Your team and partners would see right through it. What if that period of uncertainty is already here? Transparency and empathy are the rules to live by. Let's take the recent Silicon Valley Bank example. The speed at which everything progressed over five days was unsettling for everyone. We created a sense of security by communicating transparently, consistently and confidently and being open to questions — even when we didn't have all the information yet. The message was: "We're on it and figuring things out." Focus on transparency Mazanek had to build trust with the editorial and marketing teams when Brad's Deals first decided to shift from its decades-old legacy CMS system. He focused on the why, involved them in the planning and got some quick early wins — launching an experience on their new stack — that built confidence.  Unfortunately, some of those people were laid off, and he had to start from scratch on the trust side. That's where reinforcing a culture of transparency came in. He implemented systems that ensured business continuity through documentation. The team took knowledge that lived in people's heads only and made it public, so at any given time, people had access to the same level of information about how things worked.   "It ceased to be a single race and became a relay race where we can hand things off from one person to another," he said. This helps Brad's Deals remain stable in a sea of change. Harness new energy Crises and tough times are opportunities to build trust. They also surface new ideas — whether coming from people who have just joined an organization, others who used to not be in a position to exert opinions or influence or just pure necessity to make something happen. "The silver lining of going through some of these challenges is you wind up on the other side with fresh perspectives,” Mazanek said. “And those fresh perspectives are really invigorating." Uncertainty has helped Contentstack get creative, not just from an employee perspective. Many of our customers are facing their own turbulent circumstances, and the question for us becomes: What can we do to help them still accomplish their goals? This has led to initiatives like creating our Technical Solutions Organization, which helps customers work through challenges as they go composable and share best practices from other customers and partners along the way. Uncertainty is disruptive and disappointing many times; it also has the potential to lead to creative outcomes we wouldn't have thought of otherwise. I tend to face adversity head-on and remind myself that we'll be on the other side one day. In the meantime, I focus on what will make us stronger until we make it there. Creating a high-trust culture with my team, partners and customers is one of those things.

Mar 22, 2023 | 3 min. read

The argument for befriending your IT department

Your IT team builds products; business and marketing teams use them. Business and marketing encounter glitches with the products or new features they’d want; IT fixes them or starts building again. And the wheel turns. But that’s not really a wheel, is it? Something has to happen for something else to trigger. It’s a start-stop instead of a continuous movement (or improvement). As a result, innovation stalls. This is why we built Contentstack — to make space for marketing and IT to work together on vision and have the freedom to innovate within their areas of expertise. You don’t want your marketing team holding a campaign for six weeks while an IT ticket is addressed. And you don’t want your IT team constantly beholden to requests from other departments. In a recent episode of "People Changing Enterprises," Andreas Westendörpf, chief technology officer of Emma Sleep, reminded us that IT used to be metaphorically locked away in a closet. Then, giants like Facebook and Google came around, paving the way for disruptors like Spotify and Airbnb, proving that technology and business are now forever intertwined. We’ve come a long way. And here’s why it’s always in an organization’s best interest to continue getting close to their IT colleagues. IT drives value, with business context Andreas shared that “IT or technology by itself is a function that does not create value unless you put it into a context where it can create value.” An IT expert can’t create value without the right tools and a greater purpose and team. That’s where business and IT alignment comes in. The strongest cultures have a roadmap for the future created by a cross-functional team of leaders, including IT. That roadmap lays out short-term and long-term business goals and how technology can enable those goals. So, how can you achieve that necessary level of day-to-day alignment? Consider a combination of a centralized and decentralized IT department, where IT is part of a central organization and embedded into business units. Andreas described this as technology needing to be “concentrated to create excellence, but also distributed to make an impact.” You can also create tiger teams focused on specific tasks, such as prioritizing and responding to customer requests. (More about that from our CTO here.) IT knows how to get creative Technologists are typically pigeonholed as the analytical kind — great with numbers and tools, but lacking creativity. Let me set the record straight: Analytical minds are, by nature, creative. They look at issues from all angles and think up solutions. It might not be the challenges a creative director may attack, but the role still demands creative approaches. In Andreas’ case, the fact that “software is never finished until it’s decommissioned” is a reason the role is a creative one. It’s not like building a car where there tends to be a conveyor belt process and a beginning, middle and end. To create value, software requires a deep understanding of the context in which it will be used and the potential it holds for the future. Your IT team is not just blindly writing code — they are thinking about how to constantly innovate so the business performs better. Business leaders should tap into that creativity as needed outside of just building software. Bring in IT to reconsider training and development, solve productivity or remote work problems or even inspire employees to build innovation into their everyday work. There’s a reason why computer science-related jobs are expected to grow more than two times faster than the average for all other occupations through 2031 (14.6% versus 5.35). Or why even nontechnologists enter the workforce with deep technology understanding and skills. (Hey, I’m a nontechnologist, three-time tech founder and CEO!) It’s because tech touches everything we do. Many companies want to be technology companies, but the only ones that will get it right are the ones where business and IT are intertwined. That’s when IT can fulfill the roles they should be playing in enterprises — enabling, protecting and unlocking innovation.

Feb 08, 2023

How to ask for better from your team

In many ways, we're a different company than when we started. Part of it is how much we've scaled.  A bigger part is how we must constantly reinvent ourselves to stay ahead of the industry. For example, we started as a services company and transformed into a SaaS product. That transformation created more value for our customers and employees. But constant reinvention requires constant reflection on how we can be better. That's not easy. We all love routine. It's a blanket and a good book during a winter storm. The issue is you could stay under that blanket for a long time and, before you know it, customers are churning and competition is eating your lunch. So, how do you encourage "better?" ASICS Senior Technical Product Manager Mindy Montgomery said in the ”People Changing Enterprises” podcast that it can start with a simple question to the team: "Do we think the way we've been doing things is the best way?" She's found that most of the time, the answer is no and people end up volunteering for change. The question unlocks ideas that lead to "better." That's a great strategy. Here are some others I use in my day-to-day. Leaders: Start with yourself Before you ask for better from your team, turn that question inward.  A trusted advisor once told me leaders have to fire and rehire themselves every six months to determine whether or not they're still the right person for the task at hand. Soon after that, I got an executive coach.  I wanted to question if I was still the right CEO at this stage of scale and, if not, understand what gaps I needed to fill. My coach helped me work on conflict resolution and not letting personal attachments limit my ability to make the best business decisions. Leaders are fortunate in having built-in calendars that force "do better" check-ins — board meetings, end-of-quarters and fiscal years and the like. Be open about what you uncover about yourself during those times of analysis to encourage others to do the same. It helps create a culture of continuous improvement and being open to change. Create a culture that values change I start this form of change-focused culture building by admitting I'm not all-knowing; it's about the collective knowledge and experiences of the team. They're working day in and day out with customers or in concert with partners, digging deep into industry challenges and building the products and features to solve those challenges. This all means that, in many instances, they're closer to what "better" looks like than me. We also build change into our values. For example, we "do the right thing even when no one is watching." In this case, doing the right thing means people across our organization (not just leadership) are empowered to identify and implement new systems or take the idea to someone who can.  Mindy added two points about creating a culture of change I want to highlight here: Promote experimentation more than you fear failure. "Outside of a very few cases, our day-to-day decisions aren't going to close down a company like ASICS," she said. In other words, stop fearing a potential failure that may never happen. Instead, work toward better, mitigate potential issues and squeeze any learnings out of failure as you do. Make sure people have access to change "levers." Mindy spoke of data as a lever; use it to rally others and propose a better way. She also discussed people who have mastered "organizational buy-in" as levers. Not everyone has the influence to make widespread change within an organization, but they probably have access to someone who does.  One final point: culture is created by a group of people interacting regularly. Don't forget that it's also made up of individuals. Everybody is different, so consider how you can incentivize experimentation in personal ways. Be North-Star driven Change without a vision can be aimless — chaotic even. Communicate the vision clearly and repeatedly. It can be a target number you're looking to hit for the quarter or year — 100 new clients, $100 million revenue — or it can be a big, hairy, audacious goal, like using technology to pursue equity and break down barriers. Also, make sure everyone understands their specific role in achieving that goal. It all ladders up, and there are more opportunities to celebrate the wins along the way.  We created Contentstack to challenge the status quo; legacy CMS technology wasn't cutting it for enterprises anymore. However, we can't rest on the laurels of invention. Organizations stay relevant when they get better — in line with customer needs and where the market is going — and embrace change.

Jan 27, 2023

Make internal collaborators your change champions

Controversial opinion: Our product alone won’t solve all our customers’ problems. How many times have you been in an organization where a tech product is purchased and then sits gathering dust? Some reports show that more than one-third of enterprise product purchases go unused. Change involves more than a purchase. It involved internal buy-in and mindset and behavior shifts. And all of that requires empathy for your collaborators.  While you should evaluate a tool based on whether or not it meets the needs of your end consumers, I’d like to offer an equally important perspective. Ask yourself: Does the tool not only meet but supersede the expectations of all the people using it internally?  In a recent episode of “People Changing Enterprises,” Levi Strauss & Co.’s Software Architect Zach Crittendon talked about the company’s transition to composable technology. He currently has over 100 internal collaborators in the Contentstack platform. His job is both to put the tech in place and make sure that marketers never have to call him for help. That last part is an example of true change. Make your internal collaborators your biggest technology — and change — champions with these tips: Focus on how the tool solves their challenges Set aside the deck that shows why you purchased the product from an end-customer perspective. Instead, focus on the benefits to your collaborators. It could be ease of use or time saved vs. what they’re currently using.  Will it automate mundane processes machines can handle better? For example, if you have 10 regional websites, show how marketers won’t have to make the same edits 10 different times. If you’re moving to a headless system, show how quickly you can translate creative to multiple channels. Stick to the top three to five benefits that line up with your collaborator’s biggest pain points and communicate that to your internal stakeholders — at a meeting, through a video or in another creative way. You’ll probably have to communicate the benefits more than once to move toward buy-in, but benefits before training, always. The first time your collaborators hear about the tool shouldn’t be when they receive an invite for the training session. Talent sets organizations apart; tools are there to minimize error, enhance the talent and unlock their potential. As Zach acknowledged, Levi’s outstanding digital customer experiences come from the “creative geniuses that we have within our company, whether that's our copywriters, our creative designers or our marketing teams.”  Examine resistance to change Steve Schlafman writes about conscious change. He says: “When we set out to change anything — ourselves, our families, our communities, our organizations — we often focus on a vision, a goal, and a plan, but we fail to account for the often invisible and internal inhibitor of change: resistance.” Resistance is a natural human reaction when people are asked to shift away from familiar ways of doing things. However, when we examine the reasons for the resistance, we can better address any concerns or issues that may be causing it.  I’ve experienced resistance in hundreds of shapes and sizes, both as an employee and a founder. There was the time early in my career they layered someone above me and I felt diminished. When my new boss showed me how she would catapult my development, that fear turned to trust. Recently, we brought in new HR software to support our next stage of scale. Imagine the pressure and resistance when dealing with employee benefits and payroll. When they were initially examining Levi's internal content management business process, they found that one of the biggest delays was in using full Photoshop PDF mockups during the review process. They built a robust preview capability as a result. Guess what Zach was met with when he said they wouldn’t have to use PDFs anymore? A “look of horror.” The creatives resisted because they saw it as one of the most important things they did — showing their work in its optimal state. So, Zach made the transition optional. The creatives kept doing previews manually for a few months but slowly realized that the change benefited everyone since the work could be experienced in its actual environment. If you, as the driver of change, did a good job of understanding what your internal collaborators are doing and why, then the change will eventually happen — even if it’s at the pace of those most affected by it.  Envision life on the ‘other side’ I don’t mean to get bleak, but I love those thought experiments where you ask people to write their obituaries. It forces the question: What’s the legacy I want to leave or the accomplishments I want to be known for? It also helps you set aside any current pain points and imagine a better state. Here’s the thing: a better state is likely possible if you can imagine it. It takes people on both sides of the equation to achieve that better state — those with the vision and know-how and those willing to take a leap of faith and chip away at the obstacles.  Enterprise change doesn't happen in a vacuum. It needs a groundswell, and activating your internal collaborators is the only way to achieve that groundswell. Show that you empathize with their unique position, paint the picture of that better state, and then embark on that journey together.

Dec 07, 2022

Enabling excellence within an organization

I grew up professionally as a marketer in tech. I experienced the frustration of wanting to do so much creatively but often being hampered by my technical ability.  That’s one of the things that drove us over 10 years ago to create a product that democratized that ability for marketers.  People like me —  marketers inside enterprise companies — no longer had to feel stifled. Those with technical abilities could focus on innovation instead of responding to another ticket from marketing. Everyone could do their best work on the wings of speed, flexibility and scalability. But product excellence alone doesn’t cut it anymore. If you don’t believe me, read this quote from Christopher Lochhead and then get some fresh air. “The easiest competitor to crush is the one who thinks the best product wins.”  An excellent product is table stakes. One of the clearest ways to set your brand apart is through customer experience. According to Gartner, it drives more loyalty than brand and price combined. In a recent People Changing Enterprises episode, Golfbreaks’ Head of Digital Jon Richards reveals that customer experience is their competitive advantage.  When you’re helping golfers’ dreams come true by booking bucket list vacations all around the world, it has to be. One bad experience can be the point of no return. Here are some lessons I’ve learned about excellence from years of building customer-centric companies and helping them surprise and delight their customers every day. People + tech make it happen I run a tech company, but I can’t claim excellence is all about the tech. We’d be nowhere without our tribe. Tech enables people to excel. People have the ideas and build the relationships; tech helps them bring those ideas to life. When the pandemic hit, you can imagine how it wreaked havoc on the Golfbreaks business. But their tech stack allowed them to pivot into customer service mode. They quickly spun off an app focused solely on refunds — which they knew, from listening to their customer service agents, was the only thing top-of-mind for their customers during that time. That sole focus worked; Golfbreaks retained 80% of that business once travel opened up again. John also shared another human-centric example of how tech and people combine to achieve greatness. Travel comes with delays, long lines, crowds, missing drivers and more that can lead to grumpy customers. But tech allows Golfbreaks to stay notified up-to-the-minute and alleviate any grumpiness. So, when they know their customers are arriving much later than expected at their hotels after a long day of travel, they will find a special treat — imagine warm cups of coffee and cookies courtesy of Golfbreaks.  Excellence should be enabled and measured Excellence might seem like a nebulous KPI to track. But here’s how we’ve broken it down at Contentstack when it comes to customer experience: Inspiration: Do we have the right feedback loops to inspire and be inspired by customers and each other? For us, this can look like Customer Advisory Boards where customers and Contentstack come together for moderated discussions, Slack channels where we share wins and customer success stories, or inviting our customers to share their stories in our customer community or at internal company events. Innovation: Do we have enough time and resources to think and build bigger? We build that time into our workflow. For example, we have several special project sprints per year of which 80% are allocated to innovation projects. (The other 20% of sprint time addresses priority customer requests.)Measurement: Customer retention and expansion paint the best picture for us. Even better is when our customers become our champions and choose to share their stories externally — through our podcast, ContentCon customer conference, or even through media.Here’s something I love about excellence: It can be achieved no matter the size of your organization. Levis employs over 15,000 people. Few would deny their greatness. Golfbreaks employs just over 140.Contentstack was just as committed to customer success when we were starting out as we are today as a 400 plus person company. With the right people you can always reach for excellence — and the right tech makes the dream possible.

Nov 10, 2022

Thriving in complexity: organization, process, clarity

I’ve worn out the repeat button on this video. It features Duke women’s basketball coach Kara Lawson being straight with her team: “If you have a meaningful pursuit in life, it will never be easy. What happens is you handle hard better.”  As Lawson explains, waiting for things to get easier means you're never conquering the next challenge. You’re just waiting for a shift outside of yourself to happen. And that may never happen. The shift has to come from within.  In a lot of ways, thriving in complexity is a mindset shift. I've worked hard at that myself by building resilience, learning from rejection and purposefully celebrating big and small wins. But I also know that leaders can help their people and partners thrive in the “hard.” They don’t have to go at it alone.  Complexity is a given for growing companies. We see it every day as we scale, innovate and support partners through change. For example, a recent survey we conducted showed less than half of retailers believe they can effectively manage their digital operations over the next 12 months. That’s proof that complexity can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. I agree with what the Icelandair content team — Hallur Þór Halldórsson (digital product manager), Edvardas Paskevicius (content manager), and Óskar Völundarson (UX copywriter) —  said on our “People Changing Enterprises” podcast. “We love processes, organization and clarity.” Helping people thrive in complexity requires those three things. I’ll detail them below. Organize teams to give people authority At Contentstack, we use the RACI methodology to get clarity on roles and responsibilities. At the onset of big, collaborative projects, the leads outline who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. Everyone signs off on that document so there is no question down the line who has the authority to make decisions.  What I love about the methodology is that job titles don’t come into play — a junior person can have more authority than a senior one depending on the specific initiative. One thing Icelandair did to establish authority was create a Content Center of Excellence. Before that, Hallur described it as “a bit chaotic.” He explained: “There were a lot of good people contributing even though they weren’t brought up within content…. We also relied on a lot of third parties that didn’t always see eye to eye.” In other words, lots of complexity. The Center of Excellence moved Icelandair from chaos to organized by building authority. As a unit, they developed expertise and made changes to easily recognize it across the organization.  One move they made was to update titles from Content Manager to to UX Writer. “It gave us more leeway into actually working on the copy we got, not just receiving content and making it ‘live.’ We had the authority to say this needs to be better and we can improve it,” shared Hallur. Build processes that simplify complexity When you’re swimming in a sea of complexity, the waters can seem rough. Processes can help calm them. If the next step or the point of contact for tasks are clearly defined, people don't have to guess. Guessing leaves room for error. Icelandair largely focused on minimizing the possibility of error. Not in a way that stifled scalability or innovation, but instead in a way that removed doubt.  For example, the content team made certain fields mandatory and limited access to specific areas of the CMS so web management didn’t run wild. Using Contentstack also gave them a level of freedom knowing, as Edvardas explained, that “when things break or hiccups come up — like issues with third-party integrations — we know we can always roll it back easily.” We help build structures and processes outside our organization to help customers take on the challenge of moving from legacy CMS systems to composable ones. This includes our Community, where users interact with each other and our experts to share experiences, answer questions and offer inspiration. It also includes being one of the founding members of the MACH Alliance, an industry-wide organization that helps enterprises shift from tech stack to suites to meet — and even anticipate — consumer demand. Clarify desired outcomes We use #OneTeamOneDream as a rallying cry at Contentstack for a specific reason: It unifies people around a common goal. For us, that goal is to make Contentstack indispensable in helping enterprises tell stories and connect with customers. Explicitly communicating a desired outcome is critical when working with people and teams with different perspectives across the globe. When it works, that difference is a plus; the perspectives help illuminate diverse ideas tied to achieving an outcome. The organization moves from us vs. them mentality to every team for the greater goal. That minimizes complexity. When it doesn’t work and teams keep strictly to their perspectives, they can become blockers to the end goal and complexity spreads. Icelandair’s content team became outcome oriented — shifting to a customer-first content lens — instead of department oriented. As Hallur said, “It became about what the customer needs to hear instead of just what the company wants to stay.” That outcome serves as a lighthouse in the sea of complexity. Coach Lawson said it best: “Hard will not go away.” It’s tough for me to even think back to a day over the last decade as an entrepreneur when I didn’t experience one or several complex challenges. But processes, organization and clarity help. I know Icelandair would say the same.

Oct 12, 2022

Creating a culture of empowerment

Most people would say a CEO's primary responsibilities are things like "maximizing profits" and "building operational efficiencies." I believe my job is about rallying, unblocking and getting out of the way.  It's simple: We focus on hiring people with skills that make us stronger and more diversified. Why wouldn't we want to unleash those skills and see where it takes us? But a culture of empowerment doesn't just happen, despite everyone's best intentions. Leaders have to enable it with systems and structures.  In our latest People Changing Enterprises podcast, Sommsation CEO Danielle Diliberti shared her employee empowerment tips. Here, I also share mine. What I loved most was how she boiled it down to "being a good team member." It really can be that simple. Make the transfer of knowledge a priority You will grow nowhere if one person is the designated collector of knowledge. What happens when that person leaves? Their absence leaves a gaping hole, and everyone else starts at zero. As you grow, there is more work, and you have to move quicker within a more complex environment. Any barriers to speed must be removed. Spreading knowledge is one way to remove those barriers. Transferring knowledge gets your organization to the next level. Danielle shared an awesome framework she's used as she's scaled: the 3-3-3 rule. The first three: As a leader, if you want to train someone, you must have done something 3000 or three times. (In a hypergrowth company, new challenges present themselves every day. I get it!) The second three: At this point, you move on to having that person shadow you in that role three times. The final three: Here, the leader shadows the employee to ensure that the full transfer of knowledge loop is closed. As Danielle said, "Passing, the torch really does help everyone. The whole team gets smarter, the business becomes more valuable, and you can move a lot faster. The investment up front will pay dividends in the long run." Build cross-functional connections  It's easy for everyone to "stay within their lane." In our location-neutral world, it's become even more of the default. But if you want to build a culture of empowerment, leaders must break down that default bit by bit. Within organizations, empowerment comes from what you know and also who you know.  We incentivize cross-functional and cross-geographic connections. We enter anyone at Contentstack who sets up a 30-minute zoom call with somebody in a different department into a gift card raffle. What has made it even more special is that participants started sharing pictures of the conversations on Slack with some fun facts about the other person. It has become an awesome way to build connections.   Those connections come in handy. If you've ever wanted an answer at an organization that nobody around you is equipped to give, you understand. If someone unexpected from across your organization has ever called you for your experience and input, you also get it.  Connections build confidence in your position and contributions at a company. Confidence is required for real empowerment to break through. Danielle hosts "Summits" at Sommsation, bringing together cross-functional groups in person to align on roadmaps for different areas of the business. We do quarterly, in-person meetings with our executive team ("The Dreamguard") and more. These efforts also make our hybrid and remote cultures more tangible. Create an open-door policy Sometimes it's nerve-wracking for leaders to "get out of the way." You can be left wondering if things will get done well. You know the way you would do it. But the truth is "getting things done well" and "the way you would do it" are not the same. There is often more than one way to reach an end goal. Believe me, this is coming from someone who bootstrapped one company for 10 years and exited without a banker. Fight the urge to do. Instead, assess everyone's level of skills and confidence and then create an open door policy as they do. Not everything will go off without a hitch. That's okay. Encourage your team to come to you with questions, concerns and potential solutions. Hear them out, and work with them on those solutions. I always start my open door policy conversations with: “This is a place and space with no judgment.” Part of the open door policy is spotting when you may need to step in. In Danielle's previous experience as the CTO at The St. James, she realized the legacy CMS was hampering their agility. Their marketing team relied on developers to make updates to content, which could take weeks. It wasn't sustainable for a business focused on delivering customers personalized, of-the-moment health and wellness experiences.  She stepped in to usher in a new MACH-technology era at The St. James. Without that transformation, her other people empowerment strategies wouldn't go far. We say it often: Innovation will come from your people. It's probably more accurate to say: Innovation will come from your people only if they are empowered. Focus on transferring knowledge, building connections and creating an open door policy as a leader, and the skills you hired for will be the skills that take your organization into the future.

Sep 14, 2022

How to have difficult conversations with your CFO

I've heard CFOs described as executives who are "exceptional at finding the smartest way to say no." While there may be some truth to that, CFOs are also motivated by the smartest reasons to say yes. When that clicked for me earlier in my career, my approach to CFO conversations shifted. It wasn't about drowning them in data or trying to convince them my idea was the one; it was about painting a picture. That picture should tell a simple story: where the organization is now and where it could be if we make a change. As Chief Digital Officer of Dawn Foods Bob Howland said in a recent episode of the People Changing Enterprises podcast: "Everyone wants to be part of success. Everyone wants to be part of the future." Given the economic environment, many of us are having more conversations with finance than we're used to. So, I thought I'd share some of my strategies for fruitful CFO conversations here. Face Issues Early and Head-On Dawn Foods' Bob Howland calls this: "Be the bringer of bad news." Howland joined Dawn Foods in 2019 to propel the 100-year-old baking ingredients company into its next 100 years. Before Howland, orders were only taken by hand. His "bad news" was that their future wasn't bright if they didn't become an agile organization. Digital transformation hit the baking industry, too. And he told the CFO that within his first few days on the job. Talk about early. But he also came up with a solution: to release a beta ecommerce site in six weeks built on composable architectures and get some results. That eventually became a full-blown solution in 22 weeks. As Bob said, "If something is broken, tell the people that should know right away. Then figure out what's the action and who should take it?" "Broken" to a CFO typically boils down to one of two things: something is costing us (or will cost us) a lot of money with no return in the long run or competition is eating our lunch. Know what the problem is going in and get rid of the noise around it to focus your conversation with the CFO. Noise can be anything from emotion, to office politics, to vanity issues that don't get you closer to the heart of the problem. Find a Common Language There's a reason I'm CEO and David Overmyer is Contentstack's CFO: Finance is not my area of expertise. But, here's the thing. We share a passion, which is scaling high-performing organizations in sustainable and purpose-filled ways. So, when we talk about allocating money, the underlying question isn't how much it will cost, but where will that spend take us? We focus on a few key metrics for business-as-usual meetings. Those include ARR, CAC, gross margins, and customer retention. When new opportunities arise, we agree on the overriding KPIs together and then dig deeper. Come up with a common language upfront. Don't risk derailing a meeting with jargon. Once questions like "what does that mean" start springing up, you've lost your way. Let me challenge you with one additional perspective on common language: It doesn't have to be about words or numbers. Values can take the lead. When March 2020 hit, a lot of companies responded with layoffs. Since David and I agreed when we first started working together that taking care of our people was our highest priority, we came up with creative solutions — executive pay cuts, investing in training and development — to pandemic problems. For us, brains and heart matter. Find (or Make) an Advocate If you're as lucky as I was with David, you may make an ally out of your CFO. I would go so far as calling him a mentor. But for most people, that's out of reach. In the podcast, Howland shared the golden question that opened the door toward marketing/finance partnership and transformation: "Who is the most trusted person on your team?" Howland turned that person into an e-commerce expert and an advocate. It took time and education. Mostly, it took enablement — sharing information and allowing him to come to his conclusions. Author Bernard Desmidt called this mindset "win with" vs. "win over" in CFO Magazine this year. Allowing this slow journey to unfold builds trust, which improves the relationship and, ultimately, the organization in the long run. I was lucky early in my career to participate in Crucial Conversations training. A lot of that training is reflected in this piece. In Crucial Conversations, opinions tend to differ, and the stakes and emotions are high. Conversations with finance are often like this. But if handled properly, these conversations can create breakthroughs that unlock the potential of people and organizations.

Oct 19, 2021

Contentstack Makes “MACH Speed” a Reality with New Acquisition

I am excited to announce a significant addition to Contentstack that not only represents a massive investment into our partner and customer success, but also celebrates a full-circle achievement that truly challenges the status quo. We are adding more than 50 world-class CMS and integration experts from the CMS division of Raw Engineering, a digital solutions company I co-founded in 2007. This acquisition includes experts who were part of the original team that pioneered headless CMS (and who knew they were on to something big).  Fast forward to today, we’re bringing this additional expertise to the Contentstack community in the form of Enablement Services. This allows us to not only instantly scale our Catalyst partner program and Care Without Compromise™, but it also makes a microservices, API-first, cloud-native SaaS, and headless (MACH) approach more achievable for every organization. Expertise and guidance are essential for accelerating the shift from monolithic suites to agile technology stacks. Contentstack’s new Enablement Services will provide access to CMS and MACH subject matter experts who will contribute technical know-how and tooling to make the journey to MACH faster than ever. The team will accelerate product innovation across the Contentstack ecosystem by contributing blueprints, integrations, developer resources, and ecosystem enablement services. Now enterprises can more easily realize their innovation potential and achieve their digital transformation goals.  Together, the Contentstack tribe, our customers, and our catalysts will challenge the industry to never settle for the status quo.

Jun 09, 2021

“B” Stands for “Believe” – and $57.5 Million!

Today marks another milestone at Contentstack! We announced our $57.5 million series B financing, bringing our total capital raised to $89 million! Putting The Capital To Work In the 21 months since we raised our series A financing, we have seen unprecedented demand for a better way to manage content. Helping customers realize their visions during the pandemic has brought the Contentstack tribe a great deal of joy in an otherwise tumultuous time. We anticipate a few key areas of added investment, including: International expansion - The EMEA market is the clear leader for international growth for this space, and Contentstack will continue to invest in growing its team and customer base in Europe and the UK. Increased market adoption in LATAM and APAC calls for new investments in these regions to meet this growing demand. Catalyst Ecosystem - Contentstack’s partnership program (the Catalysts) has grown into a thriving ecosystem of technology, digital agencies, and system integration partners worldwide. Continuing to invest in those relationships and related joint go-to-market activity will support mutual growth. Innovation & R&D - With over 200 feature releases and enhancements delivered last year, our innovation engine is already firing on all cylinders. The additional firepower (both capital and technology) Georgian brings to the table allows us to supercharge and accelerate a number of exciting projects that have been incubating in the Contentstack Labs. More on that soon... Who’s On The Boat? I often liken my entrepreneurial journey to a sailboat voyage. Who you have on the boat is extremely important as they are the players that help you weather a storm, navigate rough waters, and have your back along the way. And when it’s smooth sailing, everyone gets to have a little fun together! In addition to the Contentstack tribe, investors play an important role on this journey, and I’m super proud of who’s on the boat with us! Insight Partners - Lead investor Insight Partners has been much more than an investor. They’ve become a true member of the Contentstack tribe with Teddie Wardi serving as an invaluable sounding board and thought partner as we weathered the storm together through 2020. Insight has directly supported our growth by leveraging its network and programs. Additionally, Insight showed how to move beyond lip service and into action to demonstrate our combined commitment to values. As an example, with Insight’s support, select portfolio CEOs united to deliver the “Insight ScaleUp Pledge,” delivering commitments to move the needle on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in our companies. We are thrilled to continue working with Insight into our next phase of growth. Georgian Partners - We are excited to welcome Georgian and Emily Walsh to the Contentstack tribe. Georgian brings unique A.I. product expertise to the table, which will help accelerate A.I. as a superpower for Contentstack’s enterprise customers. Georgian’s social impact commitment was icing on the cake. Their Higher Purpose report includes several examples of how the firm gives back to the community and plays a role in moving the needle in STEM education. Participation from all Existing Investors - Rounding it out, existing investors Cindy Padnos from Illuminate Ventures and Linnea Roberts from GingerBread Capital participated in the series B to recommit to our next stage of growth. Moving the Needle - In a world in which less than 3% of all VC capital goes to female-led startups and less than 5% of all investors are women, I’m proud to have the conviction and support of three female investors in Contentstack. What’s Different from Series A? When we raised our series A, the market for an API-first content management solution was still emerging. Since then, there have been new entrants, a significant growth in market adoption, and an incredible amount of momentum to signify that “headless” or “API-first” content management is the future. As a category, we have turned the corner from less educating to much more order taking. Growth - Since the series A, we saw over 150% growth of our customer base and more than doubled the number of Fortune 1000 companies using Contentstack. The Forrester Wave™ - We have seen the shift of digital content beyond the web for years. In February 2021, Contentstack was named a Strong Performer in the Forrester Wave for Agile CMS as a brand new entrant. Further, Contentstack excelled with the strongest channel support in this evaluation. MACH Alliance - As one of the four founding companies of the MACH Alliance, Contentstack is leading one of the largest technology shifts in decades. This new MACH (Microservices, APIs, Cloud, Headless) architecture provides companies a better alternative to the decades-old software suites. Even our fiercest competitors are joining (or wanting to join) the MACH Alliance because we all believe that the time for monolithic suites has passed. Digital Acceleration and Enterprise Scale What no one could have anticipated in the last 18 months is the impact of a pandemic on the business. COVID-19 was the digital accelerant of the decade, according to a recent study from Twilio, as it expedited companies’ digital communications strategy by an average of six years. We are now amidst a $30B market opportunity over the next four years, which nearly tripled since 2019. Trends in e-commerce growth and the breadth of digital omnichannel use cases are key drivers. 60X Scale - Contentstack is used as the core content hub for most customers. As a result, the amount of digital content powered by Contentstack grew a staggering 60X over the same time period before the series A. Individual customers now serve billions of API calls a day and petabytes of content to their audiences every month. In contrast, other headless CMS players serve SMB sites with much less traffic and platform scale. Contentstack delivers in a single day what most others do in a month. Growth Drivers - Although retail had a tough year in 2020, every national market saw double-digit ecommerce growth. This — coupled with the focus on more personalized digital experiences — is driving brands to consider new MACH-based solutions ranging from A.I. and personalization tools to more modern e-commerce and content management platforms. Project Venus - At Contentstack we believe that when business users and developers work together effectively, they achieve superior results for their organization. That’s why we give both the same attention, and it’s also why we completely reimagined the CMS experience for both – ensuring that Contentstack is appealing and intuitive for technical and non-technical content collaborators alike. We really do believe no one should have to read a manual to bring content experiences to life. We couldn’t have done it without you. Certainly this is a huge milestone for the company and for me as a founder and entrepreneur. I am filled with a sense of joy for how far we’ve come and with a greater sense of responsibility for where we are going next. I’m so excited for the next stage of this journey, and I have so much appreciation for all of the players that helped us get here. The Contentstack Tribe - At Contentstack, we are more than just colleagues; we are a tribe. The dedication across the entire organization is what keeps me going. This tribe encompasses a #OneTeamOneDream spirit like no other. Thank you for your hard work and for inspiring me to do better every day. Customers - Support pours in from customers like Chico’s, HP, Icelandair, Mattel, McDonald’s, Riot Games, and SAP. Customers who are changing the digital game push us to innovate and scale as their strategic partners. Thank you for your trust. Catalysts - Together, this ecosystem of partners is changing the digital game for good. Thank you to our catalyst community for challenging us to deliver the best solution in this space while sharing our Care without Compromise™ approach to supporting customers. Investors - And finally, thank you to our investors at Insight Partners, Georgian Partners, Illuminate Ventures and GingerBread Capital who believe in this team to break through and win this space. With series B fundraising complete, I am excited for what lies ahead. As we like to say at Contentstack…Chalo, let’s go!!

Feb 23, 2021

Contentstack Named a Strong Performer in Agile CMS

It’s a proud day here at Contentstack. Being named a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Agile Content Management Systems (CMSes), Q1 2021 is the culmination of years of work and dedication from a team that was determined that there is a better way. Our better way is paved with a set of universal truths that I'd like to take you through. We are API-first pioneers Years ago, before we were Contentstack, large organizations would hire our consulting company, Raw Engineering, to implement content management systems like Tridion, Sitecore, and Drupal in order to launch new web experiences. We felt the pain our clients felt trying to use these monolith technology suites to build new experiences for new channels. The world had changed, but the technology options had not. In September 2011, our robotics client was attempting to use a traditional CMS to deliver content to its gaming robots and the cloud. Contentstack’s founder and CTO Nishant Patel had had enough. “It was time to move on from the architecture of the 90s,” said Nishant, “which was still the default when our team built the first version of Contentstack. Long before the industry coined today’s buzzword, it was clear to our team that the move to a cloud-based, API-first architecture was as superior as it was inevitable. What was viewed as a leap of faith a decade ago has since become the mainstream approach for technology leaders.”Nishant sent around a message to his team at Raw Engineering with the mandate “We need to build a simpler CMS.” We had our Contentstack “Hello World” in October 2011, and our first customers in production by January 2012. This was the birth of API-first CMS. Next Your CMS’ is a mindset shift In 2018, Contentstack spun out of Raw Engineering to continue the dedicated journey of delivering a way to “Next Your CMS.” Given we had a proven product, enterprise customers and revenue, we were able to stay laser-focused on growth and execution before raising our $31.5M Series A from Insight Partners in late 2019. We built Contentstack to address the challenges innovative brands were facing nearly a decade ago. And those challenges have amplified into significant problems that every organization faces today. We knew at that time, there needs to be a better way. And as the market evolved, we did, too. The common thread for companies leading in digital is more than a shift to modern technology adoption; it’s a shift in mindset. This starts with understanding the players. It’s no longer acceptable for marketers or IT to make technology decisions in siloes. Instead, all practitioners – from content creators to developers – have a seat at the table. The magic starts to happen when these players come together and realize that technology limits are no longer their barrier. The barrier lies only in their ability to think differently or dream bigger. “We don’t think of ourselves as a sales team as much as we think of ourselves as a partner in shifting this mindset. While getting to know prospects, we take the time to share what we believe is a better way to deliver on digital initiatives. By partnering with our prospects and customers in this mindset transformation, we’re not only a part of their journey, but we have an emotional stake in sharing their goals and seeing them succeed.” - G Vuckovic “EVP, Enterprise Global Sales at ContentstackBest omnichannel support Today, we get the opportunity to work with incredible brands like American Eagle Outfitters, Chase, Chico’s, EXPRESS, Icelandair, The Miami HEAT, Modcloth, Mitsubishi Electric, Morningstar, Promod, RetailmeNot, Shell, 8x8, 1-800-Flowers and many more. Brands turn to Contentstack to build digital experiences when they’ve hit limits on innovation from legacy vendors. Powering websites and mobile apps that drive billions of dollars in revenue is just the tip of the iceberg. Contentstack can enhance every digital experience for tens of millions of online gamers, elevates the in-store experiences for the world’s leading retail brands, and is the foundation for everything from digital conferences to sports events. Contentstack delivers on the true promise of delivering digital experiences to the right audience — at the right time — on any channel. “Contentstack excels with the strongest channel support in this evaluation. It offers superior support in decoupled delivery from its headless roots and experience management capabilities to deliver content to omnichannel endpoints.” - [The Forrester Wave™: Agile Content Management Systems (CMSes), Q1 2021]Stacks, not suites With single-vendor technology platforms, organizations run the risk of locking themselves into a closed set of capabilities, dependent on the vendor for infrequent and bulky releases. Contentstack was born into the notion that the better way to architect solutions is by compiling the best-of-breed solutions. Rising to be at the forefront of this shift requires a different approach to working, backed by a software ecosystem that provides a flexible, truly open and future-proof architecture. That’s why we co-founded the MACH Alliance – to help companies take advantage of the most innovative and flexible enterprise technologies and break the release cycle. The Alliance’s mission is to future-proof enterprise technology and to propel current and future digital experiences with open and connected enterprise tech. Collectively The MACH Alliance represents the next generation of technology and business. “CMS in the enterprises used to mean making all sorts of binary choices – capability vs usability, speed vs stability, more power to marketing vs more power to IT. Contentstack’s founding belief was that there has to be a better way. Amidst the industry’s shift to Agile CMS and the strong momentum behind MACH, it is clear that the better way has become a reality. For enterprise brands this means they can now have it all – a truly best-in-class “content stack” that is superior in every way compared to the single-vendor CMS suite of yesteryear.” - Matthew Baier, Co-Founder and COO at ContentstackContentstack also launched its Catalyst program in 2020 dramatically increasing the ecosystem of technology partners, system integrators and digital agencies to help brands deliver on their most innovative digital initiatives. We also kicked off a comprehensive certification and credentialing program. Our Catalysts quickly embraced the ability to grow their corporate resume with their staff earning multifaceted credentials. “We partner strategically with like-minded companies representing modern and MACH-based architectures via our Contentstack Catalysts program. Over the last year. we have built alliances across complementary technology categories – including commerce, document asset management, marketing automation, personalization, analytics – and now partner with leading digital agencies and integrators all across the globe.” - Peter Fogelsanger, Head of Partnerships at ContentstackCare Without Compromise™ Contentstack understands the challenges of implementing new software. While we partner with prospects in the sales cycle, we stand by our commitment to customers to ensure a successful deployment and continue to partner with customers as their delivery of digital experiences evolves. This approach has resulted in best-in-class customer satisfaction and ratings. “Customer references liked the headless capabilities that allow them to deliver content to multiple channels, with one customer reference saying, “It’s been very easy to work with as a developer and very easy for our business users to use.” Contentstack is a good fit for tech-smart retail and financial services companies looking for a modern, headless-first CMS.” - [The Forrester Wave™: Agile Content Management Systems (CMSes), Q1 2021]Greg Luciano leads customer relations globally for Contentstack and we jokingly call him Mr. 100 because he strives to keep 100% of our customers happy and retained. He recently reported on “How We Achieved 99.999% Customer Retention During the Pandemic.” Greg and his team nurture Contentstack customer relationships by establishing deep-rooted trust through his integrity, dedication, and empathy – and by always putting the customer first. “With our professional services and cloud integration background, we’ve been intimately involved with the challenges customers face when deploying and connecting new digital experiences. Having been developers, content editors and implementers ourselves, we are able to help customers get ahead of their challenges and ensure that they are successful using Contentstack. Further, we proactively monitor customer environments through our unique ‘mission control’ capabilities to predict any roadblocks customers may encounter before they become an issue. This has led to a 97% NPS score setting the bar for customer care without compromise.” - Greg Luciano, Sr. Director of Global Customer SuccessThank you THANK YOU to our customers for trusting us with your mission-critical digital initiatives and channels. THANK YOU to our partners who are moving the industry forward via our Catalysts program and the MACH Alliance THANK YOU to my Contentstack tribe for making our original dream a reality. #OneTeamOneDream is our company’s rallying cry and it’s never felt more appropriate. THANK YOU to Forrester for recognizing and memorializing this extraordinary moment. The CMS industry has a long, rich history, yet really the journey is only just beginning. On a personal level and, on behalf of all of Contentstack, this is an incredible milestone we will certainly never forget. Still, there’s no doubt in my mind that the best is yet to come.

Feb 09, 2021

Driving Continuous Evolution with a Shared Product Mindset

Successful strategic partnerships begin with a shared mindset, which is why Contentstack and 3Pillar Global have joined forces to accelerate digital product development growth for technology and service providers. True digital leaders know products are never done, and a shared product mindset is the key to moving faster in today’s digital economy. Shared Values Shared values lie at the core of any successful digital transformation. Without a unified strategy, most teams won’t get far. 3Pillar and Contentstack share a customer-centric vision focused on solving the tough problems businesses face today. To solve those problems, the entire organization - from the C-suite to the engineering team - must understand the end goal. Who are we building for? What do our customers need? What business outcomes are we working to achieve? Thinking Differently About Software Development In order to move ahead in today’s digital economy, businesses must think differently about the way software products are created. Teams who adopt a product mindset know that great products are never done; they continue to evolve as customer needs change. Successful digital products must be chosen by customers and they continue to provide value for the business. Without these three key components, most digital products will fail. The Future of Digital Product Development Successful product innovation also requires a strategic understanding of customer needs. End users want their data and content to be aggregated, personalized, and dynamic. The days of long-term roadmaps are long gone; products must now be able to launch quickly, with room for improvements and updates along the way. Cutting-edge innovators must take risks and step outside of their current technology comfort zones to provide the quickest solutions to customers’ most challenging problems. This starts with a shared strategic mindset. True digital transformation requires more than a basic understanding of current trends and cutting-edge technology. Organizations must develop a strategic vision with a product mindset that drives every member of the team. Leaders must guide and empower teams to make smart decisions and build with the end-user in mind. Having the right technology is only one step in the transformation process. Is your team building with the right mindset? About 3Pillar: 3Pillar Global builds innovative, revenue-generating software products, enabling businesses to quickly turn ideas into value. 3Pillar balances business-minded thinking with engineering expertise in disruptive technologies such as mobile, cloud, and big data to develop products that meet real business needs. To date, 3Pillar’s products have driven over $1 billion in revenue for industry leaders like CARFAX, PBS, and numerous others.