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Interview with Julian Ivaldy – Discussing “Pirate Marketing” – Episode #61

“There’s no dictionary for marketings strategies…when you work in a marketing team, if you’re going to keep trying what other people are doing—it’s not going to be productive. You have to do is be open to your market and your customers and talk to your customers.”

Julian is the Co-Founder & Head of Growth at 🗝 a crew of serial entrepreneurs, with a pirate mindset, and secret co-founders of over 10 startups. Julian fell into entrepreneurship by selling computer scripts online at the impressive age of 14 years old. Over time he quickly developed a digital side-business studio, called SideFounders. He’s also co-founded an import-export company with a Chinese partner, exported machines to Africa and Europe, and sold thousands of masks during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic last year. His main focus right now is managing growth at The Secret Company.

Questions we covered:

  • What is “Pirate Marketing”?
  • How do you define a “North Star” metric?
  • What are some of the growth secrets he’s learned from starting several businesses?
  • Can you describe Human Market Fit and how it differs from Product market fit?
  • What makes for a good growth marketer?
  • Why he looks for marketing experts who aren’t marketers?
  • And more!


Full Episode Transcript:


Kenny Soto  0:02  

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the people of digital marketing with your host Kenny Soto, and today’s guest, Julian Ivaldi. Hi, Julian, how are you?


Julian Ivaldy  0:16  

Hello, Kenny, nice to meet you. I’m happy to be here. I’m fine. And you?


Kenny Soto  0:20  

Yeah, I’m doing very great. And I mentioned before recording this episode that my audience is pretty much people like me, entry-level digital marketers who are looking for career advice from experts like you. But before diving into the granular details of your professional experience, I want to start off by asking a straightforward question I asked all of my guests, which is what got you into digital marketing?


Julian Ivaldy  0:48  

Okay, Okay, interesting. It’s a pretty interesting question. Because I had a rather technical profile, when I was a student, graduated from engineering or science and continue to the School of Computer Engineering. 


So I could see myself as an engineer or as she gets, but not all that marketer entrepreneur. But when I arrived in Paris at the age of 18, to study, I was lost in this big city. And I decided to create a solution with a mobile app to risk ID 2.0, that generated customized content walks. And it’s in this project that already understood that I was more interested in the ID to market and to make this application know how to build it. 


So I actually found a co founder who built the app for me, and we launched this project, managing this project. And yeah, I to directly this, this marketing place, you know, and looking back, I think, this passion and this, this passion for digital marketing goes back much further because I remember when I was like 12 years old, I had a neighbor who had a garden full of a leader of the valley, you know, it’s two plants that we Unseld friends on the first meet into French tradition. 


And other summers since mine, 12 years old, I tried to convince my neighbor to give me her Lilies of the valley, you know, and I remember asking for friends to help me make them pretty. And we went selling them trying to convince as many people as possible, making my offer more attractive than creating a website, you know, trying to make this digital. 


And it’s actually funny, because it’s what today is the kind I do today on digital marketing, you know, what I call pirate marketing, identify interesting markets, and launching projects with amazing entrepreneurs, validating their projects, and above all, make this product knowledge, and getting a maximum of customers on its soil. Yeah, I think it’s pretty natural. It’s after my studies. And right now I’m very happy with the digital marketing market.


Kenny Soto  2:49  

Can you for the audience, describe what you currently do?


Julian Ivaldy  2:54  

Okay, yeah. So my name is Giovanni McGee. I’m the co founder of rasa, desecrate company, this great company, it’s a kind of startup studio, we are a crew of serial entrepreneurs with a pirate mindset. We are secret co-founders of 10 growing companies in two years, every year, we perform completely different companies, rather digital and remotes. 


Either the companies come for our ID, and we develop them by identifying the idol founders and working with them for one year, or we partner with entrepreneurs who already have launched their project, validating their product market fit, but need us to execute further and further. So yeah, I’m previously co founder of two companies, but right now working on this great company, and we are a team of five business partners. And we have now three employees with us. 


Kenny Soto  3:44  

That’s an interesting name. Why did you choose the secret company?


Julian Ivaldy  3:51  

Yeah, it’s interesting, because a lot of people ask us this. In this company, we think that everyone has a secret superpower, you know, it’s like an incredibly unfair advantage when it comes to building a successful business. 


So it can be a soft skill Askia it can be access to markets, it can be a passion, you know, but our job, in the end, is to find this secret power of all the co-founders we will work with, and to make a mix to make them find the project company life to make them find the product market fit that human market fit, you know, and create a business with them, you know, so it’s all around the secret power of the people we work with, you know,


Kenny Soto  4:41  

You mentioned the term and briefly described it but I would like for you to go in a little more in-depth. Can you describe what pirate marketing is and its origin of it? How did you come up with that term?


Julian Ivaldy  4:56  

Okay, so yeah, that’s good company. Your serial entrepreneurs. And we like to say that we have pirates. So I like to call on our marketing methods. Pirate marketing is the name I gave to many of my YouTube and medium channel. 


Because we are, we are, I’m not an avid reader, but I tried to reboot the server, you know. And for me, it was a selection of pirate books and novels. So I tried to read about pirates, Pirate nation, Treasure Island, etc. And I was struck by the similarities between the pirate life and the way we do marketing with our company. 


So I have a key example. You know, for example, like pirates, they join forces, and they have like a common goal, you know, one Tresor, not all the team have one treasure, and they will do everything to find this. So the period for a single treasure and the work crew will fight to get distributed. But above all, the workgroup will have an influence on this later. 


It’s similar is similar to the Northstar metric. It’s a metric we use at this company, it’s a measurement that most predicts a company’s long-term success. We’re trying to qualify a Northstar metric, you must understand two things, the Northstar metrics will be the metric of your company that will lead to the revenue reflecting the customer value and admeasuring the progress. 


So for example, if, we take an example of Spotify, you know, everyone knows Spotify, the key metric and the Northstar metric of Spotify will not be like the revenue or the number of customers but will be the number of times which customers take in the platform. And this has a direct influence on the revenue and directly influences the reflected customer value extra. So they all have their treasure. 


And all the team, the designer, the developer, and the copywriter can influence this metric. And this is a way we work. We work like this as a company, we identify one metric, one Northstar metric when treasure and we try to make everything to make this metric involved and grow in a good way. You know, so this is one example of the similarities. But there’s a lot, for example, the pirate, they don’t think too much, you know, they execute. 


And this is also something that is very important because, at school, we are taught that the more efficient days, the more rest days, but it’s actually false, you know, and mostly in marketing, you know, the challenge is to find the right balance between the refraction. 


So the time you’re going to take to make some strategies, you know, all this work that makes people dream strategies, matrix analysis, but at the end, what constitutes the execution, what you’re going to do at the end, you know, what’s better you’re going to, to learn and what better you’re going to use when, you know, so like the idea of execution and execution and reflection, you know, the last point that is very interesting, and we really like at this company, it’s the identity, you know, the brownness, the identity, the brand identity. 


So the purity of very famous by the Black Flag, you know, we call this the god, Roger, but then I don’t know if you know, but all parrots have their own pirate flag. So they mean, they have this, Jeff, the Jolly Roger flag, and they have their own flag of their ship. 


So what and why they have this flag is because with this fact, they can attract the best crew, they can scale their competitors, they can easily find their treasure at the end note, because they understand that creating, recreating, or strong brand identity can add them getting at the end, a long term and exponential growth and capacity do we know? So yeah, we like to say that we have a pirate mindset. 


And we act like pirates. Because I think there are so many similarities between our way of making marketing and doing business with the pirate. That’s we decided to take this as a metaphor. But we decided to take this as a model, you know,


Kenny Soto  9:16  

That’s a lovely metaphor. And I think it’s definitely one of the most unique ways of thinking about marketing, in both like, branding, of course, because pirate marketing stands out. But at the same time, you’ve been able to relate the story and how pirates live to how marketers live in a way that I wouldn’t even expect. 


So I really, I’m really glad you shared that. Now. I’m going to deviate just slightly in your biography, if there’s a mention that you have co-founded an import and export company, right, and you’re exporting machines to Africa and Europe. Can you talk about that?


Julian Ivaldy  9:56  

Yeah, so it’s pretty interesting. When I, when I was in, I was in university, I met a guy, he was passionate about supply chain, you know, and it got very interesting access to a Chinese supplier market, you know, so I wasn’t in this great company, we, we didn’t get the secret component this time. 


But at this time, I was very like with the same spirit, you know, try to find the super secret superpower of people and try to make them something with them, you know. So I met this guy, and I was very passionate about his own patients about the supply chain in China, etc. And so explain to me Oh, it’s all working. Because when I meet her, my with them when I meet here, when I meet her, sorry, what I am, when I meet him, I didn’t know what was supply chain, you know, but I knew how to make business. 


I knew how to target customers, I knew how to organize your workflow, etc. So explained to me everything about the supply chain, about the business in China, it was Chinese, and we decided to think about a business we could do together. So I took a secret power or access to supplier choice network, or passion on supply chain, I took my secret power, Sun access on African markets, mainly in Maghreb market, my hog Algeria, etc. 


And on very niche markets. So me, I knew lots of people who’ve made a business around precious metal in this territory in this territories. So I took like, the connection I got in Africa, and is the secret power in this network you got in China. And yeah, we brainstorm about what we could do. And we decided to create a kind of procurement agency, or kind of import-export agency. 


And yeah, we launched this will in two months, thanks to some strategies and marketing strategies, we got around 12 meetings. And in these 12 meetings, we got three clients. So it’s very, like, big project, because at the end, you know, it’s very b2b businesses. 


So it was very interesting to get like three big clients after one, two months of operating this business, you know, so we’ve made this we face too many programs. 


But it’s also this pirate mindset, you know, making a business you don’t know, and selling things, you don’t know if they’re going to be if they’re going to arrive at the end of the customer, you know, because at the beginning, we were like, with the spirit of pirates making kind of fake it until you make it you know, the fake it until you make it, it’s like selling something you don’t have right now you’re not sure you will be able to sell it at the end. But you have to try your market and you have to try yourself.


And when the customer actually wants, what you try to sell, you don’t have a choice, you know, you have to say it. So we decided to make a deal and to finish this order. And we did read this in time. And we faced, unfortunately, the COVID, this nerfs logistic program that started more quickly, more literally, in China was like, on November 19 started here. So all business was pretty like blocked by this. But yeah, it was a very interesting experience, always with this virus mindset. You know,


Kenny Soto  13:38  

You certainly have the ability to tell stories and start new projects. So my next question is in multiple parts. My question overall, is from these experiences and creating different businesses, what are some growth secrets you’ve discovered? And as you tell these secrets, can you give examples of how you discovered them?


Julian Ivaldy  14:08  

Okay, so, first, there are no rules. No, it’s one of the pirate things you can learn. There are no rules. It’s like strategies, markets, and customers expectation always evolve. So the rules and the things that always work, it’s, it’s not working, you know, it’s false not. 


So, depending on the project, you have some strategy, some growth strategy work, but for the other market or for the other project offer in the same market will not work. 


What we found is that in every project we launch, one key success point was the founder’s spirits if the founders have what I like to call the human market fit, so you have like the secret power, you have this passion, you have the is soft or Askia, this going to be a game changer for the project. 


Because if, if, for example, the projector is bad to throw balls, we don’t have money in the rink, for two months, what’s going to make the project success is the ability of the funders to still work on, it in the art time, you know, if you’re, you’re going to search for collaborators, you’re going to try to raise the money you’re going to discuss with experts, it’s also your human market fits the knowledge you have in your project in your market, that going to make a difference. 


So it’s not a growth strategy or growth secret. But this is always true, you know if you match your human market fit if you find your market fit, and you have this is going to be a game changer secret for you. In the end, what is interesting to add is that a lot of people try several things every week for the marketing of their business the company, etc. 


But we found that for every business, you can identify like two or three, Game Changer action strategies, and it’s smarter to work on it and try to improve it than to try every week on new things, you know, because we can think that trying every week new thing, we’re going to increase the number of acquisition channels. 


So in the end, there’s going to be more people extract, but it’s not true. You know, if you have an answer for your two, three, game changer, it is your channel, try to improve and try to be data-driven to improve this acquisition channel, you know, but if you’re going on everywhere, you will not come anywhere, anywhere at the end, you know? So I don’t know if I have answered your question. But


Kenny Soto  16:53  

You certainly have and I have a follow-up. And this is not just for founders, but anyone who’s working on a startup or new business launching what makes for a good startup marketer, and what qualities? Should they have a professional?


Julian Ivaldy  17:10  

First, you have to be, I think, very interested in the market. Like it’s, it’s more than a job, you know, you have to be curious. So curiosity is very important, you know, like I told you, like the markets to consumer exhibition always evolve, you have to read a lot. 


Read, not to book, it’s better, but you have to read news later, you have to be on the forum, you have to, to be very curious about how the walk, or the word how the market evolved, you know, after this, I think you have to be able to work with other people, you have to be able, and you have to be comfortable at the idea to work with other people of your team. 


Because, for example, if I’m going to make a lead magnet campaign, lead magnets is when you’re going to propose, for example, an ebook, in exchange to contact information. So it’s going to be an ebook, about the interesting business in your market, and going to catch the personal information of potential customers or leads. 


If you’re going to make this ebook, these lead magnets, it’s an interesting growth strategy, at least one strategy. But if you’re going to collaborate, if you collaborate with your designer, if you’re collaborating with your copywriter, this strategy going to be better you know, because you’re going to have a better landing page for this ebook, you’re going to collaborate with the designer, you’re going to have a bailer sequence of email that’s maybe going to activate this lead and transform this leads into customers, you know, so you have to be comfortable at the idea to work with other people of your team. 


Because if you work with other people, if your team if you accept that other people of your team can be better in some point of your strategy, you’re going to succeed more you know, after this, I think we can say that good growth marketer are people who can be like that and children that are driving the daughter, Detroit is data-driven is very important.


You know, that a driver is mean like at the end of your week, you’re going to analyze the strategies and action you have made and you’re going to see and to be able to say to yourself, Okay, this strategy is interesting, we can see that following the matric linked to my strategy, we have increased or it’s very we have potential, you know, but you also have to be able to say this strategy, even if I like this strategy, even if it’s fun, etc.


It’s not working, you know, so you have to try another thing. So you have to find this mix between finding the good time not every day, you know, but not take In too long on the same strategy is not working now.


Kenny Soto  20:03  

What are or excuse me, who are some of the marketers you admire and follow us, experts?


Julian Ivaldy  20:12  

So, I what I am what I like in, in My Word is like French marketer. I don’t know if you know any of them, it’s my main friend. So, let me think about someone who can make sense to your audience…


Kenny Soto  20:39  

It can be from any industry as well.


Julian Ivaldy  20:42  

Okay, me, I really like creative creators, okay. It’s like influencers will try to monetize their audience with the project, always creating something extra. So I like the creditor, Julian Aleksandr is a creditor selling a creditor program. 


And what I like is like marketing and doing of things is that use a lot the personal branding, and the way you do marketing is very interesting is always making a story about the offer, etc, you know, so Julian Alexander is very interesting. 


And it is a Mainer of making business turn and thinking about personal branding is very interesting. Let me think about not being a guy.


Kenny Soto  22:03  

In the event that no one else comes to mind, Julian, what we can do is we can put a list of experts in the show notes, that way people can link out and follow the people that you suggest they should learn from.


Julian Ivaldy  22:18  

Okay, yeah, no problem. Because what I tried to do, I don’t have the reference is that it’s something that I’ve done for one article, but its permission gets it that made the article but who I take the expression of. 


And so it’s interesting, but I think its permission of people will not mark it at the end. So it’s more like filozofski Carry rights, you have like some very interesting story about pirates and the way they are going to compare the way they’re going to fight, etc. 


So of course, I have some marketing guy in my network, I follow, etc. But it’s not very interesting. I don’t want to talk about this.


Kenny Soto  22:59  

So well, that works. Because you did bring up something that I think is interesting, and we can learn from, which is, that you don’t necessarily find inspiration from marketers, you find inspiration from people who are not necessarily marketers, why is that?


Julian Ivaldy  23:14  

Yeah. Yeah, I think it’s, it’s because of the notion of curiosity. And the fact that the marketing is not one job, you know, the marketing is just like, being open to your word. 


And like, taking into account your governments, be curious, etc. And I prefer to learn and to listen to people who talk about their vision of the world, you know, so it can be fingers off, it can be musician or so, you know, I’ll talk about the vision of the world, the vision, they see the word evolve. 


And from this, you know, I can take the psychological point of view, to try to improve or have some idea what strategies you know, because there is no like Dictionary of the best strategies, you can find, like a different type of marketing, you can learn the different type of marketing online on Google, etc. 


But in the end, you don’t have like one dictionary of this strategy. We work for this business. No. So I think it’s also like the job of marketing. It’s also the job of the marketer to try to find and to breed from scratch the strategy for his business, because all strategy is different, because all the acquisition channels the way we’re going to sell at the end of the day, it’s a crystal puff, you know.


Kenny Soto  24:49  

There’s the last thing you said was in French, correct?


Julian Ivaldy  24:53  

Yeah, it was always very, very, very difficult.


Kenny Soto  24:56  

What does it mean? What does it mean?


Julian Ivaldy  25:00  

What I want to mean, is that in marketing, there is no like, dictionary for the marketing strategies. So it’s mean.


Kenny Soto  25:13  

It’s uniquefor every situation. 


Julian Ivaldy  25:18  

Yeah, what I want to say is that when you work in the marketing team of a startup of our business, if you’re going to take to see what other people do, you know, it’s like startups who take the time to branch back, it’s going to be not productive at all, you know, what you have to do is to be open to your market. 


First of all your customers wants to you want to use your tool and will be interested to use your tool and talk to your crystal as you know.


Kenny Soto  25:58  

Perfect. My last question is hypothetical because time machines don’t exist, but if they did, Julian, and you can go back 10 years into the past, knowing everything you know, right now, how would you accelerate the speed of your career?


Julian Ivaldy  26:28  

Your question is about a very typical meeting.


Kenny Soto  26:34  

It’s my favorite question to ask all my guests.


Julian Ivaldy  26:40  

Okay, thing because you know that I’m 21 years old. So I’m very, like, EPR achieved by my I’m very productive. Like, it’s, it’s not like a joke. No. So I have the same behavior in business. And I’m always going forward, always going straight without noticing. 


Like, what was in the past? No. So what could change what I will make, I will do to make my business career go faster? I think I’m started to read books too late, you know, this is one thing I’m very sad about. It’s I’m studied, read books at my 1516 You know, and right now, I’m crazy. Like, I’m pretty sad. 


But I’m studying to read a lot. So I think I should read more. I would like to read more. I would like if I was like, Baby, Julianne will say to myself as Julian read more be more curious. And these ideas at the age of 10 at the age of 15, you know, not after you know,


Kenny Soto  27:54  

Perfect. And Julian if anyone wants to say hello, where can they find you online?


Julian Ivaldy  28:00  

So they can find me online on YouTube and the name of pirates marketing. They can find me on Instagram, Twitter, medium, and Indian at my name Jodean Ivaldy.


Kenny Soto  28:15  

Perfect. You heard it here, folks. Another episode of the people of digital marketing and I guess in this case, the people will pirate marketing as well. I’m your host, Penny Soto. And you’ve just listened to Julian Ivaldy. And I hope you all have a great week. 


Thank you.


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