Dash Hudson's 2020 Reflections

Thomas Rankin
December 15, 2020

To our valued community,

Whether it was the most difficult year you’ve ever faced, or simply another 12 months on the calendar (with a few extra hurdles), 2020 is coming to an end. And while our December roundup is typically a highlight reel of travels, events, and favorite memories, this year we wanted to take an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and triumphs we’ve experienced as a team—experiences that may look familiar to many of our partners, customers, and friends.

On behalf of the Dash Hudson family, thank you for your continued support.

Bring on 2021.

On the Power of Constraints

Constraints are good.

A friend of mine once said, “Constraints are good.” He was referring to the process of finding elegant solutions when developing mobile software. The constraints of limited space and high user expectations force you to keep things simple. The best solution comes when you make hard decisions.

In 2020, I came back to this quote time and time again as our world changed. Our professional and personal lives were tossed to the wind, and we were forced to emotionally and intellectually adapt to a severely constrained environment.

At Dash Hudson, our market changed. Buyers wanted refined solutions that solved more of their problems. They had smaller budgets, smaller teams, and needed help. We met this constraint by staying true to our ethos of innovation, while building out our product to make day to day decision-making simple for our customers.

We used to say "get on a plane." We would be in the offices of our customers at the drop of a hat. With travel reduced to zero, we had to learn how to continue to serve our customers in a special way. We’ve changed how we do this, and the strategic value we now provide to them is greater than it was in the past.

Constraints are good.

Speaking of planes, I don’t get on them anymore. That constraint has meant that the pressure of being away from my family has been eliminated. No more 20 hours in the air to attend a turn-around meeting in Santa Monica, only to arrive back home exhausted and malnourished by salty snacks.

I’ve also worked at home for the bulk of this year. In addition to learning how to lead a team effectively while remote, I’ve been around my kids more than at any point in their lives. Home to see them off to school. Home for dinner. Home to put them to bed. Rested in the morning as opposed to dragging myself around after a red-eye. Not behind on laundry.

Constraints are good.

There are many things about 2020 we will look back on with sorrow. A disrupted world and lives lost. But constraints make us better, and are driving outcomes that will propel us into the future.

— Thomas Rankin, Co-founder and CEO

On the Value of Listening

One bright spot for me in 2020 was that I really enjoyed getting in the trenches with our brand partners. It was fascinating assisting some of the smartest marketers in the world as they adapted to meet the moment on social media. I learned that listening—on a personal level, but also as a brand communicating with consumers— is the single most valuable skill we have.

— Marie La France, VP of Strategy

On the Words that Matter

Unparalleled. Unprecedented. Uncertain.

The words we have heard over and over again throughout the past nine months are true but, when I think about how our customers and team faced this global pandemic, the words that come to mind for me are: resilience, agility, and compassion.

Our customers have worked so hard to persevere throughout this time, and in some cases shifted their entire strategies (and lives) to adapt to the ever-changing environment—all against the backdrop of so much fear and uncertainty.

Through strength and agility, we’ve also seen an enormous amount of compassion.

The way our team has stepped up to the plate, and been there not just for each other, but for our community, has been nothing short of inspiring. This compassion came in the form of a simple internal slack support channel (#coffee-buddies), or initiatives to help our local community, like a program led by one of our CSRs and her pals called Lean On Halifax which brought together a collective of local businesses donating to help The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.

If I’ve learned anything over the past nine months, it’s what we are capable of achieving, even facing the most difficult, challenging, and I dare say, unprecedented times.

Check out Lean On Halifax to participate in their raffle in support of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.

— Julie Meredith, VP of Marketing

On Overcoming Challenges

2020, what a year. I think it goes without saying that this year presented a number of different challenges for everyone, globally. On the Sales Development side, we took each challenge day by day, and tried to be as agile as possible. That meant re-inventing the way we did things, testing and trying new things, and keeping focused on the things we could control. One thing that was critical to overcoming 2020 challenges was supporting one another. As we look to 2021, we are so excited to bring the Sales Development team closer to the Sales team, and continuing to grow our Sales Development Team.

— Laura Park, Sr. Director of Business Intelligence

On Adjusting to Change

Over the last few years, the Customer Success team has spent most of their time on the road meeting with some incredible brands. We have managed everything from onboarding to reviewing insight decks, running workshops, and hosting community events in person. Needless to say, this came to a screeching halt in March. It seemed like overnight we were coordinating flights home with team members who were in cities that were shutting down.

Throughout the following months, not only were we readjusting our processes, we were also supporting our customers through their own changes. Although it was a challenging year for many brands, it was inspiring to see our customers get creative with limited content options and take on some major initiatives in support of social causes. We spent time learning how to continue supporting our customers virtually and found that a valuable insight we were able to provide brands with was perspective.

The Customer Success team members deserve a standing ovation for their endurance this year. I’m very lucky to work alongside a team of superstars who stepped up to the challenge that was 2020, all while continuing to support and encourage one another. I speak on behalf of the team when I say that we’ve truly missed spending time with our customers in person this year.

Wishing you all a relaxing holiday season and we look forward to seeing you in 2021!

— Jenny Pratt, VP of Customer Success

On Setting Intentions

I had the best intentions for a strong year of growth for 2020—for the team I was leaving in March and for the baby due later that month. The Monday after I began maternity leave, a global pandemic was declared.

I am incredibly proud of our team for how they handled the uncertainty of the times. Upon my return in October I was surrounded by stories of collaboration, perseverance, and camaraderie. While I will never know the full context of what the working world experienced during the first six months of the global pandemic, I am honoured to be back with the team and moving forward together into 2021.

— Danica Calderhead, VP of Brand Strategy

On the Year Ahead

2020 was challenging in many (and different) ways for each of us.

But I hope 2020 was also a year of silver linings for you.

We kicked it off with grand plans and ambitions and are exiting it with a heightened sense of how fragile the things are that really matter: our family, our health, our friends, and our community.

I’m incredibly proud of our team for supporting our customers and each other with compassion through numerous and ongoing difficulties, both personal and professional, and I’m excited to work with such a dedicated, passionate team as we head into 2021.

This year has prepared us for unknown challenges ahead.

Warmest wishes to you and yours. And a happy new year.

— Michelle Belcic, VP International

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