Category: Writing

Jacob Eats: Couque d’Asses

The visionaries. The mavericks. The dreamers. These are the people who move humanity forward.

And then there’s me. A dude who wants to eat weirdly-named treats and watch the world burn.

For several years I’ve wanted to buy, eat and write about weird snacks like Stik-O and Hot Kid Ball Cake. And then I saw something on a shelf that made me take the leap.

So, today I’ll be tasting a treat called Couque d’Asses and sharing my impressions with you.

Continue reading

How to save LinkedIn posts permanently

Are you trying to copy a Linkedin post and all its comments?

If so, this article will show you how to do that. Linkedin makes it intentionally difficult to save old posts and to search through them. With this method, you can save insightful posts to your personal computer – and search through their text for years to come.

Step 1: set up a “Bookmarklet”

First, create a browser “Bookmarklet” that you can reuse to expand long posts. For any Linkedin post, it will load all comments, expand all threads and click “…see more” on individual comments.

Start off by creating a bookmark of the current page. Name it something like “Linkedin Post Saver”:

Continue reading

Notes on: Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More

These are my personal notes on Alexei Yurchak’s book. This book was written for an academic audience. The interesting ideas were mixed in with a lot of oh-so-specialized terminology and plenty of references to other academic & philosophical works.

[p 50] “The language had become what I term hypernormalized – that is, the process of its normalization did not simply affect all levels of linguistic, textual, and narrative structure but also became an end in itself, resulting in fixed and cumbersome forms of language that were often neither interpreted nor easily interpretable at the level of constative meaning. This shift to the hypernormalized language in which the constative dimension was increasingly being unanchored is key for our understanding of late socialism.”

Basically, hypernormailization means that the soviet government standardized official language, graphic design, ceremonies, broadcasts etc. to such a degree, that there was no “real meaning” there anymore – just standard performance. This is different than my understanding of how Adam Curtis presents the term in his 2016 documentary. Treating things that the authorities/bosses want as purely performative is not a sign of societal stagnationt. It’s just normal life. Or are we being slowly boiled and missing the fact that it isn’t normal at all? 😄

Continue reading

My Marketing Operations Job Search – with Figures

Have you ever wanted to get an unfiltered picture of another person’s job search?

Most “new job” announcements show you the oh-so-proud-to-announce end of the journey, but you know there was so much more happening along the way…

My name is Jacob and this is the story of how I got a new job in 2022. I am a Marketing Operations Manager in Toronto, Canada. If you are a Marketing Technologist who is changing jobs, thinking of changing jobs, or just feel curious… then this post is for you.

Why share this experience publicly?

Let me take you back to 2018.

My colleague and I were talking in a cramped, private meeting room. He was a Marketing Specialist who was determined to find a new job. He complained: “It’s taking me way too long to get an offer. What am I doing wrong?”
2 months into his search, he was getting frustrated.

That’s when I shared a secret with him. Back in 2016, I tracked all the effort it took to get into my current (for 2018) job. These were my stats:

  • 215 applications sent
  • 34 responses received
  • 10 interviews
  • 1 job offer
  • 7 months’ duration

Additional context > This was a significant move from being a Marketing Automation Consultant to an in-house Marketing Ops Manager. I had a newborn at home and became an independent consultant after quitting to “keep cash coming in”. Ultimately, running a business was a distraction from my job search. It prolonged the search and the extra cash didn’t make a significant difference.

This real-world data put things into perspective for my colleague and encouraged him to persevere. He kept applying. And couple of months later he joined another organization at a higher salary

I was glad that my stats could make a difference in my colleague’s life. So I’m sharing publicly because it will be immensely satisfying to me if this story motivates you to keep going; makes you feel less alone in your search; gives you ammunition to negotiate for a higher salary; or even makes you realize that now’s the wrong time to change jobs.

The Search Begins

Let’s fast forward to 2019.

My second child is born and I am on Parental Leave for a year. I spend that time helping out at home. Increasingly, I feel mentally understimulated. I am ready for a new adventure… and realize this also means moving on from my old, familiar job.

A note about Canadian Parental Leave > The government pays one of the parents about 55% of their income for 12 months. Separately, employers are mandated to reserve the person’s job for 62 weeks. Some employers provide a financial top-up in addition to the government’s payments – be sure to check if your employer offers this benefit. Even fathers are eligible.

On October 19, 2019, I send out the first job application.
Not realizing this journey will take 3 years to complete.

(Click here to skip the story and go to the raw figures for my 2019-2022 job search)

My search started from a solid foundation. I was employed on the wonderful team at LexisNexis Canada (an old, dominant player in the Legal-software industry). I was well respected; adept with the marketing systems; and had a pay raise waiting for me once I return. I was very lucky.

For my next career move I wanted to:

  • Have responsibility for a larger team
  • Work with teammates who’d push me to perform at a higher level
  • Remain in the Marketing Operations/RevOps field
  • Join a growing company focused on increasing revenue (instead of cutting costs)
  • Stay in an industry that doesn’t harm society (In my case, I excluded the Financial Sector, Canada’s 3rd top sector)

Time passes as I send applications and go to interviews:

A talented co-worker left LexisNexis and joined a semi-governmental organization. I applied to the same organization and got called in to interview. I really liked the hiring manager, and thought that the conversation went well. Then I was ghosted.

An interview with a 100+ location medical organization comes up. This time with a CMO who’s spent 7 years at Boston Consulting Group. I was curious about the CMO – their long tenure at BCG is unusual, and hints that this is an exceptional person. The conversation is a flop. I do my best to explain why it’s a bad idea to use Mailchimp (a tool built for small newsletters) to drive all customer communications at the clinics. Their team won’t budge on their decision and the conversation goes nowhere.

Time passes like this. I continue applying and interviewing with Toronto companies. I also explore opportunities at my current company, which I discover through word-of-mouth.

An Offer

April 2020.

It’s 6 months into the search and I have a job offer in hand.

The offer is for a “Sr. Marketing Operations Manager” from a company in Waterloo called Desire 2 Learn (D2L). D2L’s main product is software that improves the learning experience at educational institutions. They’re a real fighter of a company, holding their own in a patent fight against dominant business in the industry.

The D2L team and I get to know each other over the 2 months leading up to the offer We have 8 interview calls: with recruiters, the hiring manager, future teammates, HR, the Head of Revenue. An ex-colleague and an ex-manager take the time to vouch for me.

They send over the offer document. After a final “offer review” call, I wait.

The next day at 6:30pm I get an email:
The offer is rescinded.
No explanation.

The Search Continues

Some of my friends and family were shocked by the last-moment retraction. Was this even legal? But honestly, my own feelings were neutral. Plans fall through at the last moment – all the time. I didn’t allow myself to celebrate before the job was really “in the bag” so I wasn’t hurt.

I refocused on applying, and I was getting better at the Resume Game.
These are the tactics that worked for me:

  • Focus on just 1 job site (Linkedin Jobs).
    I had compared’s listings with Linkedin’s. Linkedin had all of Indeed’s listings, and more.
  • Apply every evening to the listings from the last 24 hours.
    Hiring managers focus on the first batch of applicants. By week 2 of a posting, managers are too busy interviewing that first batch of applicants to pay attention to new ones coming in. I had to be in that first batch. The daily application routine was manageable because there were only 2-3 relevant postings each day.
  • Apply directly on the company’s "Careers" portal. Even if you’re finding the job listings on Indeed or LinkedIn, go directly to the company’s own Careers portal and apply there. When you apply on a site like Linkedin, your application still has to make its way to the same central ATS System that the company uses. By applying directly on the ATS, you are eliminating a whole set of errors that could be caused by the Linkedin-to-ATS interconnection.
  • Submit resumes in Word format.
    I stopped using PDFs resumes. ATS systems could more easily extract information from Word files. (How do you get your resume to a state where ATSs absolutely love it? Start a job application on a popular ATS. Make sure it’s one that extracts data from your resume and pre-populates it into a form. Tweak and reupload your resume until the ATS can extract and pre-populate all key data successfully.)
  • Get rid of the cover letter.
    Canadian hiring managers do not read cover letters. Unless you’re explicitly asked for one, leave it out. I only sent out 24 cover letters and it didn’t have a negative impact on my application-to-interview success rate. I could apply to more jobs because I spent less time creating cover letters.
  • Instead of a cover letter, use a custom “intro” section at the top of your resume.
    I customized the intro to highlight the 1 or 2 most relevant ways I could solve each team’s challenges. I also summed up my career as a steady upwards trajectory – a simple, powerful narrative.
  • Make your resume like that of people in your desired role.
    I looked online for resumes of other Director-level MarTech professionals. They were unabashedly long, and didn’t include a personal photo. So, I made my resume like theirs. (A tip for finding resumes: Google for filetype:pdf inurl:resume “marketing director” -sample).

  • Illustrate your work with figures. Use numbers to show your impact at work. What if you don’t have figures to illustrate the outcome of your projects? No worries – use numbers to describe the effort you put in. List the number of meetings in a project to illustrate your stamina. The number of project stakeholders to show how well you built alignment. The count of end-users’ survey responses, to underline your devotion to customers.

It is two months later – June 2020.

The Parental Leave ends and I go back to work.
Working from home during the pandemic makes me feel unmoored. Everything is surreal.

Returning to your old workplace after you’ve decided to leave feels like a failure. But this was the height of COVID. The Ontario government recently declared a state of emergency (March 17, 2020). Everyone was freaking out. Hiring slowed down noticeably.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow: staying put out of necessity. The way I justified this to myself was that I’m not staying still out of laziness or fear. Staying is an action. A safe way to get my family through a once-in-a-century crisis.

…And my employer makes it easy to stay. Social media shows me a catalogue of daft and reckless ways that businesses are treating employees during the Pandemic. And at each inflection point LexisNexis’s leaders make reasonable, mature decisions. Keep employees safe. Treat them like adults. Give them the space they need to deal.

But I am still after that next big challenge. So I keep applying.

The next 2 years pass in a haze of working, applying to jobs daily, and Zoom interviews. It was challenging to adapt to the pandemic work-from-home experience. Now, you could be dealing with a work crisis on a Teams call and – without skipping a beat – smoothly step into a domestic crisis.

In the rhythms of a typical year, January and September are the most active times for hiring. This is something I know from previous job hunts in the digital marketing industry. It’s a time to set aside your other priorities and boost the number of job applications you send.

It was no different in January, 2022. At that time, I started talking with a recruiter from McMillan, a law firm. This experience would turn out to be one of the highlights of my job search.

Their recruiter’s name is Alison Peters. She interviewed me. Then set up a 2-on-1 interview with the firm’s head of Marketing and Chief Financial Officer. It is a good sign when senior executives are involved in hiring a Marketing Operations leader. Their time is valuable and it means that this position is seen as important to the firm.

I follow up about the status of my application. Alison replies that they chose someone else for the position. Then she adds something that no one said during this entire search:

If you have any questions or would like feedback, please let me know. I would be happy to coordinate a call.

Of course I’d like some feedback!

She coordinates a follow up call and spends 30 minutes chatting with me. She tells me what stood out about me as a candidate. And about the key element that I was missing: deep experience with the graphic design, video production, and other non- Marketing Automation aspects of this particular job. It makes sense.

She didn’t need to do this. I’m sure she had other important things to do. Taking time to give me feedback showed me decency and respect. It’s a way of treating others that I’d like to emulate in my life, too.

Slowing Down

February 2022 – I take a break.
I’m emotionally beat.

My company calls everyone back into the office for 2 days a week. Maybe it’ll be a welcome change? Like many others, I’ve gone feral during the pandemic. Hiding away. Forgetting how to carry on a conversation with another adult. Being forced outside my hermitage is probably a good thing. Right?

It’s not. It feels bizarre to be back.

A few months after the Return To Office, my butt is planted on a bus shuttle heading to the office. Going through an inner-suburb cut up by highways. High-rise blue-glass condominiums planted in places that aren’t meant for people.

As I stare out the window, I suddenly realize what’s wrong: three years have passed between going on Parental Leave and returning to the office. It feels like a lifetime ago. All but one member of our in-office marketing team joined after I did – most of the original crew is gone. I’ve mentally moved on but had to return to this old location. I can’t imagine anything new happening here – I’m stuck in nostalgia for what was.

The Marketing Operations field is a young one. It was born as a response to an out-of-control proliferation of marketing systems and CRMs. In the period between 2019 and 2022, Canadian companies were just realizing that they needed dedicated Marketing Technologists. They were making their first Marketing Operations hire. A kind of jack-of-all-trades that can do the work of 2 or 3 people (unsustainable, but don’t tell them just yet).

The typical hiring process involved a phone screen with an internal recruiter; an interview with a hiring manager; an interview with a future team member and an interview with a senior marketing leader (like a VP). Salaries for a senior Marketing Operations Manager / Junior Marketing Ops Director ranged from $110,000 to $140,000 Canadian. You can see US salaries at MarTech salary information for 2022 from ChiefMartech (no form fill necessary). And there are also Sara McNamara’s Marketing Operations salary survey results.

By the summer of 2022, I still didn’t have an offer in hand. But I was consistently getting Director-level interviews. I had honed a successful interview approach:

  1. Tell a short intro story that highlights the 1 thing that makes you stand out from other candidates, and shows how this thing is a theme throughout your career. (For example: “I have hands-on experience in both Marketing and Sales, and can bridge those two worlds”)
  2. Assume that each interviewer is starting out with zero notes from the previous interviewer. Repeat your short story from above.
  3. Ahead of the interview, determine the company’s biggest pain point from its industry and the job description. Then, review your work experience and accomplishments. Pick out those accomplishments that are relevant to the pain points you spotted. Write them down and highlight them during your interview.

But even a strong interview presence can’t overcome some hurdles. For example: when you are a Manager interviewing for a Director position, you represent a double risk. You’re new to the company and you’re also new to being a Director. Who knows if you can handle it? To reduce risk, a company would prefer to promote a known Manager from within or hire someone external who’s been a Director before. (This is why you should try rising up within your current organization as far as possible, before moving to a new company.)

A New Beginning

Summer of 2022 is ending.

I am talking to four organizations at once. 2 of these, I’ve been trying to join for years. The third is a mature pharmaceutical technology company. The last one was a software-as-a-service startup with a product that seemed almost magical.

In situations like these, you’ll usually hear a sanitized version of the story. It sounds like: “I knew they were the perfect team for me from the very first chat!”. But the reality is that you have to keep interviewing with everyone, all at once. All 4 teams are good and it’ll come down to who makes a compelling offer.

That last one – Auvik Networks – was the company that I finally joined.

Auvik’s hiring process was fast and to the point. 3 interviews: one with the internal recruiter (who got me hyped up to join); then the hiring manager; finally, a split interview with the consultant covering the role & the head of Marketing. After that, they made me an offer and explained all the details.

On September 12, 2022 I started my new position as Marketing Operations Manager at Auvik Networks. The search was over.

The search in figures:

Applications 1st interviews Hiring manager interviews
231 59 30
⋱ 25.5% ⋰ ⋱ 50.8% ⋰
  • Every 4 applications resulted in an interview.
  • Every 2 of those interviews led to a talk with the hiring manager.
  • Counting multiple rounds of interviews, that’s over 100 interviews in total.

This was a new beginning, with new teammates, new challenges and different tools. I got to join a fast-growing company. A tech company that is young enough to be exciting but old enough to have a mature decision-making process. Auvik creates value without hurting others or the environment. The role came with a 30% raise, bringing my salary in line with current market rates for senior Marketing Operations Managers. The compromise: there was no pre-existing Marketing Operations team to manage in this role. (Update – as of Feb. 2023, my team now includes 2 talented Marketing Operations Specialists)

If going through 100+ interviews sounds absurd to you, that’s because it is absurd. With so many interviews – I was obviously doing something wrong.

One alternative approach would be to spend less time applying to public job postings. At the Director level, resume applications are less effective than they are for junior positions. Networking and working with recruiters/headhunting agencies is probably a better tactic.

Personally, I am more comfortable with systems and optimizations than I am with networking and cold-calls (aaaaand now you know why I’m in Marketing Ops!). For better or worse, I stayed in my comfort zone when I focused on resume applications. I was able to keep motivated through an extremely long search, but it is also the reason why my search took so long.

There are several reasons why your search could be shorter than mine:

  • I was very picky about the kind of team I’d join.
  • I ruled out one of Canada’s top industries (Finance).
  • A stable job gave me the luxury to keep looking for that perfect fit (vs. making a quicker move)
  • A once-in-a-century pandemic hit during this search and caused many organizations to halt hiring.
  • And, finally – the unique qualities of Canadian Business played a role (a bias towards inaction, slow to implement decisions, lower compensation than in the USA)

Last words

I’d like to thank Monica Zunick, Courtney McAra and Nate Hall for their fantastic feedback on an early version of this writeup.

For more stats from other people’s job searches, I recommend:

This post took about 5 months to write from start to finish. I started on the first outline on Sept. 25, 2022 and posted it publicly on the week of Feb. 13, 2023 (In the spirit of Steph Smith, who’s shared writing stats have motivated me to keep writing). With 2 young kids and getting acclimated at a new job, this is how long it takes… If you’re kinda sorta thinking of writing something online, then Alexey Guzey gives some good reasons why you should. Go for it! I wrote this post with Derek Sivers’ 1 sentence per line method – it ended up being a little too sentence fragment-y.

Share your experiences!

Are you a Marketing Operations or Sales Operations professional? What was similar/different about your own job search experiences?

I’d love to hear from you.

Share your experiences in the comments – feel free to enter a fake email address if you’d like.

Immigrants arriving in Toronto – my tips for newcomers

Are you immigrating to Canada?
If so, then you’re welcome here! I’m happy to have you as my neighbour. Here are some tips from me for people who are coming over to live in Toronto. This is a basic list that I’ll keep updating in the future.


You might live near “convenience stores” that have some food, but very few people use them for regular groceries. The food products at Convenience Stores tend to be unhealthy and stale. You’ll want to look for a large grocery store (No Frills, Metro, Loblaws etc.). If you want groceries delivered directly to your home, is the best in my family’s experience. Depending on what part of town you’re in, the best supermarkets are the independent Asian/Southeast Asian supermarkets (Galleria, C&C, Sunnymart).  

Continue reading

Email bot click filtering list – Jacob’s list

Email bot clicks are a problem for all marketing automation platforms. People complain on the /Pardot subreddit, the Marketo forums. Eloqua only recently (2022) started dealing with “Auto Opens”… . These clicks come from corporate email security systems (like Microsoft Defender for Office). Security systems follow every link in an email and check whether the destination page has malicious code running on it.

Many marketing automation systems let you define your own set of “bot” IP ranges so they can filter them out. You will get more accurate clickthrough reporting by adding more bot IP/domain ranges to your system.

Below is a list of known email click bots. It includes the default list from Pardot, and also extra ranges from my own personal investigations into this. Feel free to use these ranges & domains in your system. Do you have your own IP ranges? Know of extra ranges that are not here? If so, please write me a note in the comments!

The list is below:

Continue reading

Email Marketing in Canada: the Real Story of CASL Compliance

I’m a Canadian Marketing Operations Manager and I’m drowning in compliance work!

Risk reduction work. Privacy data cleanses. Meeting CASL anti-spam rules.

Every minute I spend on compliance is a minute I’m not generating revenue. And generating revenue is the whole reason I’m a Marketer in the first place!

If you work in digital marketing, then you know this feeling.

But being buried by compliance is just that – a feeling.

Join me on this journey where we explore the real number of hours spent on compliance work. You will learn what it takes to comply with CASL – Canada’s email regulations. The surprising consequences of breaking the law, and the likelihood that you will be targeted for an investigation.

Continue reading

Copyright © 2023 Jacob Filipp

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑