Asha Sharma has served as the Chief Marketing Officer of the Seattle startup Porch.com since its pre-launch days.
Working alongside other team members, Sharma helped build out the online home improvement network’s operations, business teams, and strategic partnerships – including Lowe’s.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Sharma, “Since our September 2013 launch, we’ve grown from 25 to about 150 employees and have rolled out to over 1700 Lowe’s stores across the country.”
As CMO, Sharma is responsible for Porch.com’s marketing, growth product development, sales and customer delight. She also manages the supply and demand side of the market place, covering acquisition, engagement, retention, and revenue for consumers, professionals, and new products.
Sharma began her career at the early age of 17 with a unique educational background working at SC Johnson. She said her early working experiences snowballed into multiple entrepreneurial ventures, and opportunities with larger corporations.
“By the time I left college, I had the chance to live abroad in Hungary, and work for the likes of Cargill, Deloitte, and Microsoft,” said Sharma. Her career experiences so far have taken her around the world, and offered the opportunity to meet the President of the United States in recognition of her work.
CMO @ Porch.com
- Age: 20-something
- HQ: Seattle
- Apple or Android? Apple
- Favorite Band: Girl Talk
- Hobby: Does work count?
- First Car: ’95 Honda Civic
What mobile device can you not live without?
My iPhone is attached to me; I’m an anomaly, not into tablets yet.
Can we take a peek at your phone’s home screen?
Which apps do you use most often for work?
I have to be a strong operator to move fast and and keep the team to a high bar. Todoist is the best app for execution.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
Yammer, Porch.com’s social platform. It allows us to work like a network.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
Analytics and reporting.
Take me through your typical workday.
I wake up at 4:45 AM. (If I’m lucky enough to catch a few extra zzz’s, I make it 5:30 a.m.) First thing I do religiously is check my phone for daily dashboard, catchup on quick industry reads, and tee-up key preps for my meetings and emails.
Coffee is a necessary evil and office arrival ritual.
Once in the office, I do “fly bys” with my team. It’s growing daily, and important I hear what’s going on first-hand and know everyone personally.
Then I start my day – inclusive of design reviews, executive meetings, writing blog posts, launching split tests, building models, finding more office space, doing a PR interview, lunch with a mentee, determining resources for scale, customer meetings and sometimes even cold calling!
Porch has a culture of “dirty hand” – it’s important I make time to be in the trenches with my team so I can push the pace, bring informed learning, and be empathetic to the hard work it takes to do their job. One of the most rewarding things I get to do is recruiting talent. Porch is growing like crazy, so every Friday I’m stacked with interviews from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Depending on the day, I head out of the office between 6:00 p.m. and the wee hours of the morning. While en route to my evening, I text my little sister. She’s 12, and lives in Chicago.
I end my day, every day, being responsive to team members and setting the pace for tomorrow to do it all again.
What does your desk look like?
Deceptively clean, largely because I’m not sitting at it much.
I have lots of tactile knick-knacks to help me focus in an open office environment. You’ll find the Porch.com bell which is dinged for every story or growth release, a flexible wire man which was a gift from the first customer who I ever sold at Microsoft, and my very first business card from SC Johnson.
Of course, my headphones (music energizes me), phone charger, newspapers from the day, and 12-year Jameson reserve (usually for the late night releases).
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
Aside from launching Porch.com, launching the partnership with Lowe’s Home Improvement was our most exciting work development.
In early May, Porch was placed in over 1,700 Lowe’s stores across the country to help homeowners find home professionals. It tips the marketplace giving us supply and demand side distribution at the bottom of the funnel.
Lowe’s has deep expertise to compliment Porch, serving 15 million customers every week.
How many miles have you traveled in the last 12 months?
Great question. Between Mooresville, NYC, San Francisco and Chicago (my family town), I’ve probably traveled 50,000 miles. I haven’t taken a real vacation for awhile with start-up life, so my batting average is down!
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
Execution. Porch has a unique opportunity which very well could be once in a life time. [Humbly] we’re well funded, have distribution, and are solving pain.
It’s in front of us as long as we max out the opportunity with great execution – doing all the right things at the right time, with the right people.
Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.
Most directly is Porch.com CEO Matt Ehrlichman. He’s the first person to ever give me real-time, actionable and brutally honest feedback. He also bet on my potential and has backed me ever since.
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
You have to be obsessed with the customer. They are your center of truth whether it’s for driving organic growth, retention, or customer service. Creating the right type of experiences that truly delight customers will always win.
You have to be data driven. More and more CMO’s are owning the P&L’s, which means budget allocation across channels, technology investments and actual operational execution. Data is the objective truth for how to make decisions, not just for the short term, but decisions that scale whether it’s for marketing, PR or online marketing.
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
I’m a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. No, really, I am!
Why did you go into marketing?
To pervasively bring together wants and needs for economical value and societal impact.
What other career would you like to try and why?
Gosh, I can’t imagine any other career.
In college, I started out with the intent of going into psychiatry. I’m so drawn to potential in people and helping them reach it. Instead, I do it at scale with businesses and the products brought to market that solve real pain.
What’s the last business book you read?
Dynamic Path by James Citrin. It was a recommendation from my CEO and VP of Communications. They are incredible leaders and follow a sports philosophy.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign or video caught your eye recently?
Coca-Cola’s “Hello Happiness” – the power of a household brand doing good. Great storytelling and social coefficient. I love how they used their currency to solve a global pain.