Helping front office teams grow better

Here you’ll find an archive of Nathanael’s weekly email. In it, he features an essay and curated reading on technology + marketing + simplicity.

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CRM Needs Chart

How to Choose a CRM System (and Keep It)

I’ve picked CRM systems a few times. Some flopped immediately, others worked at first but were outgrown, and only rarely did the CRM provide long-term value. But it’s those CRMs that stuck around that were the best: CRMs only add value if you keep them!

worn jeans with dollar bill in the pocket

How to Be Frugal: 10 Years of Savings

After starting my career in the family business (taxes!) and then shifting to non-profit work, I now work in technology. I’ve noticed a thruline: everyone complains about how little they make. The most common reason my friends have had for switching jobs is to increase their salary.

Podcast Microphone

Own Your Platform Podcast: for people launching careers in tech

This is my third try at a podcast. In 2004-6, I hosted a short-lived podcast (MindPlacebo) with my brother Andrew. It was really fun for us to record. I'm not sure why anyone listened. But listen they did: we reached about 60 people per episode and began a regular listener mailbag, where people wrote in and we made jokes about their emails.

Nathanael Yellis's career lessons learned

Career Lessons Learned: My Career in Pivots

The Importance of position and place.

My career has taken me to three cities, working for four companies in at least four distinct positions. It has been a bit of a sojourn, but there are through lines to each place and position and even in the pivots in between. I come back to these pivots and lines when talking to others about their career choices. When it goes well, it's usually because we've learned something, when it goes poorly, it's usually because we've ignored the same lesson. Thus, I thought my story and an exploration of the good and bad reasons behind each pivot may help your career planning. Thus this essay is my attempt to tell the story of a career in pivots.


Failure to Launch: CRM Implementation Best Practices

It was a big launch meeting: here’s the new CRM! My pitch was polished; the screenshots and demos were airtight. We gathered in the conference room, but then the whole thing landed with a thud.

When I’d finished the first part of the presentation and was about to switch into the demo, the first question was, “do we have to use this?” Followed up with a senior partner musing, “yeah, why do we even need a CRM?”

We hadn't even launched, and the CRM implementation was about to fail.

work from home desk

Simplicity: Building a Life that COVID-19 Doesn’t Disrupt

When starting a consulting call these days, the first thing everyone discusses is how COVID-19 and its self-quarantine impacts our lives. But, aside from now working from home, the COVID-19 quarantine doesn’t disrupt my life all that much.

Why? I live a calm lifestyle, constructed from simple, repeating patterns. With work and home, parenting and hobbies, my life alternates work and rest. It’s a life to be lived consistently for decades. The kind from which you don’t need a vacation. It’s a calm life: valuing simplicity over complexity, time over speed, limits over stimuli.

Close up of hand with wrench fixing mechanism

CRM Customization: These Setup Decisions Have a Big Impact

A friend wrote:

I’m neck-deep in planning for a migration to Salesforce, which has exposed some fascinating differences in philosophy. Salesforce is, in principle, infinitely customizable, which leads to this dispute: leaving intact the system’s core data structure (based on B2B), or gutting Salesforce’s data structure to power the simplicity of future usage.

How should you approach structuring a new Salesforce instance? If, for example, your company doesn’t think in terms of leads, opportunities, and accounts, would you use those as the default objects or would you use something custom? On the one hand, a custom CRM architecture feels both simpler and better, but on the other hand you’d end up losing a fair amount of any CRM’s interoperability, extensability, and, likely, outside expertise.


Nathanael's Reading

More than a hundred and fifty  people read the weekly email “Nathanael’s Reading,” which he’s sent every Friday since 2016. Nathanael includes original thoughts and curated reading on technology + marketing + simplicity. Subscribe by entering your email here