You Need to Read Mike Carden’s New Book

You Need to Read Mike Carden’s New Book

Mike Carden just wrote a book that you should read, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my friend.

The book is called, “On a Teleconference No One Knows You’re a Dog: 45 Marketing Hacks for Startups.” I know you work in human resources, not marketing, but the tips on communicating and selling ideas are applicable to everyone who cares about making work better and democratizing good ideas.

What’s your quick & dirty bio that makes you a credible voice in the HR space?

I’ve spent more than ten years selling stuff to HR people. I realized early that the secret was helping make HR people appear cool, which, like most worthy goals, isn’t easy.

In that time I’ve founded two wonderful HR tech companies (Sonar6, which was acquired by Cornerstone OnDemand, and Joyous) and worked with the smartest people in this industry.

What’s this book about and what can HR professionals learn?

“Being human” is the most powerful tool to cut through the noise in any crowded market. For HR readers, employer brand and the employee experience are nothing without human connection.

Who are some of the best HR thinkers in our industry you admire and why?

The most important thinkers are practitioners because they’re testing their stuff every day. Robin Schooling is fabulous. She’s the embodiment of working in the trenches of HR. So many HR stars only seem to have worked in the office. Robin works with proper corporate professionals, but she’s also on the casino floor. Literally.

I saw Amanda Vining talk about EX (employee experience) at a small conference in Australia. She was a ray of light and the first person I’ve heard express the idea of disaggregation in EX. A company is made up of a collection of individual employee experiences. The parts are greater than the whole.

Wait, what is disaggregation in the employee experience?

I borrowed the term myself after listening to Ray Dalio talk about financial markets. He said that the mistake that people make is that they talk about the market as a whole, when in fact it is made up of groups of different kinds of players that behave in different ways. So, a pension fund behaves differently than a mom and pop investor. Then I thought, well maybe that same thing is possible with EX. An individual’s EX is more related to who they are than what EX the company provides.

If you provide a beer fridge and a pool table, some people will think that’s great EX, and some people will think it’s terrible EX. It’s the people that define EX. Amanda talked about something similar. About the different personalities that make up a business and how to make sure that you design for those different groups than rather design for the whole.

I’m totally going to write a piece on this once I get my thoughts clearer.

What are some lessons of marketing that apply to HR departments?

Good marketing is about human connection, as is good HR. Marketing knows how to use data and be experimental in equal measure, which HR should do.

How can HR people break human resources and create an excellent employee experience?

The tagline for Joyous is “make work good.” It’s not about making work better, or making work less shit, or even making work awesome. It’s about being “good.” Because in 2018 goodness is the baseline. What does good mean? It means fair access to opportunities and recognition for everyone. It means work that is meaningful. It means working with people that make you feel good about yourself every day. The best HR folk shine a light.

What’s one thing about HR that bothers you right now?

A wheelchair ramp to the back entrance of the office is not inclusion.


Check out “On a Teleconference No One Knows You’re a Dog: 45 Marketing Hacks for Startups.” And be sure to connect with Mike on LinkedIn.

One other important thing to note: Joyous partnered with a company called HumanKind to launch one of the first global EX awards. Check it out here, and think about how you can improve and enhance the employee experience for your own workers.

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