Welcome to this transcribed edition of The Operators. TechCrunch is beginning to publish podcasts from industry experts, with transcriptions available for Extra Crunch members so you can read the conversation wherever you are.
The Operators features insiders from companies like AirBnB, Brex, Docsend, Facebook, Google, Lyft, Carta, Slack, Uber, and WeWork sharing their stories and tips on how to break into fields like marketing and product management. They also share best practices for entrepreneurs on how to hire and manage experts from domains outside their own.
This week’s edition features Christiana Rattazzi, Head of Technology Marketing at WeWork, the leading coworking company that has raised over $8 billion and has a valuation of $47 billion and a rumored IPO impending. Also joining the show is Elenitsa Staykova, VP of Marketing at Brex, another fast-growing unicorn, recently valued at over $2 billion, that is the leading provider of credit cards to startups and tech companies.
In this episode, Christiana and Elenitsa explain how marketing works, how to get into and succeed in the field of marketing, and how founders should think about hiring and managing the marketing function. With their experiences at two of tech’s biggest and most innovative marketers, WeWork and Brex, this episode is packed with broad perspectives and deep insights.
Neil Devani and Tim Hsia created The Operators after seeing and hearing too many heady, philosophical podcasts about the future of tech, and not enough attention on the practical day-to-day work that makes it all happen.
Tim is the CEO & Founder of Media Mobilize, a media company and ad network, and a Venture Partner at Digital Garage. Tim is an early-stage investor in Workflow (acquired by Apple), Lime, FabFitFun, Oh My Green, Morning Brew, Girls Night In, The Hustle, Bright Cellars, and others.
Neil is an early-stage investor based in San Francisco with a focus on companies building stuff people need, solutions to very hard problems. Companies he’s invested in include Andela, Clearbit, Kudi, Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Solugen, and Vicarious Surgical.
If you’re interested in starting or accelerating your marketing career, or how to hire and manage this function, you can’t miss this episode!
The Operators brings experts with experience at companies like AirBnB, Brex, Docsend, Facebook, Google, Lyft, Carta, Slack, Uber, WeWork, etc. to share insider tips on how to break into fields like marketing and product management. They also share best practices for entrepreneurs on how to hire and manage experts from domains outside their own.
In this episode:
Neil Devani: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Operators, where we learn from the people building the companies of tomorrow. We publish every other Monday and you can find us online at www.operators.co. I’m your host, Neil Devani, and we’re coming to you today from Digital Garage here in downtown San Francisco.
Joining me is Eli Staykova, Vice President of Marketing at Brex. Brex is the corporate credit card for start-ups, one of the fastest companies to reach a billion dollar evaluation, having launched barely two years ago, and its customers include Y Combinator, Flexport, SoFi, and many, many other startups.
Also joining us is Christiana Rattazzi, the head of enterprise technology marketing at WeWork. WeWork, with almost 10 billion dollars in financing to date, also counts major corporations and startups among its hundreds of thousands of customers. The firm is reportedly the largest leaseholder in New York, London, and Washington DC and has a footprint in almost a hundred other countries.
Eli and Christiana, thank you for joining us. Just to start, if you can share with our listeners about yourselves, a little bit about where you’re from and how you got into marketing, that’d be great.
Christiana Rattazzi: Happy to lead off. I’m actually from the Bay Area, go Warriors and I was pre-med through college and really thought I was going to go to med school and as I started studying for the MCAT, really discovered that that was what the path was going to be like.
One where you spend a lot of time in the library and maybe you weren’t up for it later and I wasn’t sure I wanted to sign up for that but I wanted to be at a company and being able to speak about a product that I was passionate about. And so that got me into cleantech, as I started my career, actually in cleantech, in marketing because I really loved to write and I love to tell stories.
So that was the beginning of my career and it’s been a great ride since then.
Devani: And what about yourself?
Eli Staykova: I came to the Bay Area in 2006 so I’ve been living here for the past thirteen years, it’s been quite the ride. I came here for the business school at the GSB, Stanford, and I started my career in finance, so I worked for IFC, International Finance Corporation, then for UBS in their LBO group, and I thought that you know after that I would stay in finance.
However, after Stanford I decided to work and live here in San Francisco and it’s so hard to be in the Bay Area not working in tech so I eventually joined the tech world. I work for Apple in their corporate finance team and I recently made the switch back in February at the new company Brex.
Devani: Very cool. These are two very exciting companies, two companies that do a lot of marketing, probably have very sophisticated marketing operations at least that’s what I would assume from the outside.
For the folks who are listening, who maybe don’t know much about marketing, can you help us understand at a very high level, the marking operation in your company. What are the different departments or roles, the different things that are just the nuts and bolts of how it works?