Tim Yeaton
July 19, 2019

143: Building a Culture Around an “Open” Purpose

Guest: Tim Yeaton - EVP & CMO, Red Hat

How do you become a $4-billion company by selling free software? It almost sounds like a trick question, but it’s been done. Just ask Tim Yeaton, CMO of Red Hat, a $4-billion, open-source software company. The marketing’s been a major driver of success, and as Tim Yeaton puts it, has been the glue that permeates across the company and enforces everything—from product, to community, to end user.

Though Yeaton starts out by discussing how marketing supports large tech companies, and how it has fostered a community as unique as Red Hat’s, he starts to break down the individual elements that can be applied to any B2B brand looking to get their marketing gears turning: simultaneous brand building and demand gen, developing a collaborative, meritocratic culture, effective agency collaboration, and perhaps most importantly, the benefits of simply telling a great story. Lastly, though it may not be the most critical driver of success, it is probably worth mentioning that Red Hat is likely the first-ever company with an advisory committee built entirely of employees that have had the logo tattooed on them—now that’s dedication.

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Quotes from Tim Yeaton

In marketing, particularly at a tech company, you have to be influential because you're trying get your peers to translate things into a language more humans can understand.
You have to align with your communities. If you get out of step with them, they will call you on it in a heartbeat.

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