Jared Simmons shares an episode from his podcast, What is Innovation. In this episode, he interviews William A. Lumpkin, Head of New Products Strategy & Business Development for Alexion, Astra Zeneca Rare Disease Business Unit. Will shares how innovation works within the pharmaceutical industry and how marketing and science differs especially in commercialization.


William A. Lumpkin is Head of New Products Strategy & Business Development for Alexion, Astra Zeneca Rare Disease Business Unit. Will shares how innovation works within the pharmaceutical industry and how marketing and science differs especially in commercialization.

William A. Lumpkin is Head of New Products Strategy & Business Development for Alexion, Astra Zeneca Rare Disease Business Unit. His business acumen, enterprise leadership, and passion for cross-functional collaboration helps bring new medicines to people living with rare diseases across the world. Prior to Alexion, he held a diverse set of U.S. and global commercial leadership roles at Takeda, Baxter, Baxalta, Shire, and Procter & Gamble spanning functional disciplines, product lifecycles and therapeutic areas. William is a proud father of three (Ailey, Sage, and Liam), loving husband (Layla), and resilient Indiana University sports fan. He also maintains interests in urban community development initiatives and was on faculty at the University of North Carolina Kenan Flagler School of Business online MBA program. He earned his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and B.S. Finance from Indiana University.


Key Points include:

  • Stereotyped view of Pharmaceuticals
  • Large companies vs smaller companies: Providing real value to people
  • Intersection and divergence of Marketing and Scientists

Access the podcast, Innovation is finding a way, on


Rob Ristagno shares the latest podcast from the series CEO Campfire Chat. In this episode, the CEO and co-founder of Matillion shares how he moved the company focus from mining exceptional data to how the analytics could be used.

When you ask Matthew Scullion, CEO and co-founder of Matillion, what his company’s vision statement is today, he’ll answer that it is “to make the world’s data useful.” However, when he co-founded the company in 2011, you would not have heard such a lofty answer.

Matthew and his team founded the company to create a solution for businesses to access cloud-based data analytics with a lower failure rate than typical projects. This practical goal generated results. They built solutions using already-existing software and made a dent in the market.

However, things shifted for Matillion when they pinpointed a problem they kept running into time and again: Data analytics only work if data is clean and usable, and most of the time, data is very, very messy.

In 2014, Matillion built its own ETL tool for the cloud. It found immediate product-market fit because the team made a product to solve a real problem they had faced repeatedly. But they could not reach market saturation because their marketing message didn’t quite sync up.

When selling to prospects, Matillioners were focused on the tech and features. But Matthew quickly realized it’s not specs that sell a platform. Instead, people buy outcomes. They make a purchase because the solution will change their life for the better.

This realization drove Matthew to rethink Matillion’s value proposition. It was no longer about offering specific technical prowess; it was about making data useful. That emotional hook resonated with executives who wanted to use data but struggled to get analytics programs off the ground.


Key points include:

  • Bad segmentation
  • Selling to Fortune 500 customers
  • The intersection of data and cloud


Listen to the full episode, Moving from Features and Function To Vision, on


Umbrex is pleased to welcome Robert Tas.  Robert has spent his career as Visionary Chief Growth/Marketing Officer (CMO), change catalyst and digital pioneer with a history of success leading transformations and igniting revenue growth by defining brand marketing strategies, use of data analytics and using digital as a performance weapon. His experience spans D2C e-commerce, financial services, CPG and Telecom industries. He has managed large transformational efforts, worked with leading agencies and managed media budgets in access of $250M.

He lives in the New York area with his family. Robert is excited to work on marketing, digital and analytics projects.

Paul Millerd recently self-published a book, and in this article, he shares the process and the practical details that will be useful for anyone considering self-publishing.

“#1 There is a big gap between publishing blog posts and “writing a book”

I decided to write a book with the mindset of I will throw together some blog posts, edit them, smooth the rough edges and hit publish. I estimated this would take me about three months.

I was wrong.

Quickly, I realized that the level of complexity of a longer piece (let’s say >10k words) was an order of magnitude different than putting out a long essay. I was too optimistic and in the first months, I kept pushing out the publishing date.

From idea to publishing, it took me about 13 months. Knowing what I know now, I think I could do it in 6-9 months. The number one thing I’d do differently is starting working with an editor much sooner. I handed things over to an amazing editor Paula Trucks-Pape, near what I thought was the “end” of the process. Luckily, she had a lot of great ideas and suggested I take a little more time.

#2 The reason it is so complex is also because of personal preference

The reason most people end up attempting to publish something that looks and feels like a book is that as soon as you level up the complexity you can see that producing something pretty close to a book from a publisher is possible.

This is what led me to hire multiple editors to help me, hire a designer for a book cover and proofread and edit it about 100 times throughout the process.

Could I have shipped something a few months ago? Yes. But I knew that I wasn’t done yet and could do better. So I put in that extra 20% to take it to the next level.

Key points include:

  • Paperback and hardcover

  • The costs

  • Changes in self-perception


Read the full article, Finished the Book!… and Ten Quick Reflections On The Process, on

Robyn Bolton explains the nuances of Jobs to be Done.

Before we go any further, I need to be clear that I absolutely, totally, and completely believe in Jobs to be Done.  In fact, more than once, I have uttered the words, “Jobs to be Done is a hill I will die on.”

Which means that I died a little inside when a client recently said to me,

“Jobs to be Done is amazing.  ‘Jobs to be Done’ sucks.”

He’s right (as much as it kills me to admit that).

In an academic setting, the term makes perfect sense.

I understand where the term comes from and applaud the logic and clarity of the analogy at its core.  Just as a company hires a person for a task or set of functions (a job), a person “hires” a product or service because they have a problem to solve or progress they need to make.  They have a Job to be Done.

Managers and executives who work with me to learn Jobs to be Done and how to apply it quickly grasp the concept.  After just one-hour, they can re-tell and explain the Milkshake story, identify functional/emotional/social jobs in role plays, and swear that the approach completely changes how they see and think about their business.

In the real world, the term is profoundly confusing. 

Then the managers and executives, believing so strongly in its ability to transform the business, decide to roll it out to the organization.  They talk about it, send articles about it, and train everyone to apply it in customer interviews.  With great excitement, everyone from employees to senior leaders fan out to talk to customers, take copious notes, discuss insights with their teams, and happily declare that their customers’ Jobs to be Done are to buy the company’s products.


Key points include:

  • Jobs confusion
  • Problem/Need
  • Customer Jobs to be done


Read the full article, “Jobs to be Done” Doesn’t Work. (But one of these options might), on

Guillermo Herbozo shares effective guiding principles when implementing an adult learning program in the workplace.

No one would know that they just attended three weeks of training” a distressed Manager from a Top 3 US Telecommunications company recently told me. The team had just completed onboarding and most of the team members didn’t have a good understanding of the company’s processes or systems; and they lacked many of the skills required for the job.

 “I’ve been working here for 10 years and have tried different approaches. I now know what works for me and my team. New Supervisors definitely need some help with training and coaching”. This was a tenured Supervisor at a leading US financial services company.

Both answers are typical of what we hear in focus groups we conduct prior to the design of a learning program. They are examples of how some training programs are not impactful and of resistance to some skill building programs, especially by tenured teams.

For adults, learning new skills is not easy. It’s easy to learn the capital of Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur). Changing our old habits or the way we do recurring tasks is a much harder feat.

Two things are clear:

A special approach is needed to have adults learn and adopt new skills and processes

Clear rationale and strong emotional appeal are required to change the way people do things, to get them to buy in. If adults don’t want to learn and apply, they won’t.

Long gone should be the days when effective training to improve adults’ skills meant giving people 2-3 days of training, a binder and then wishing them luck. At this point, we know better. Most adults are not thinking about the content a week or two after learning it and even if they do, they rarely apply it.


Key points include:

  • Learning from the team
  • Designing an effective learning program
  • Preparing to launch


Read the full article, Getting adult learning in the workplace right, on LinkedIn.

Anubhav Raina shares a convincing post on the power of influencing others.

Being able to influence someone on a key issue is the single greatest superpower you can have.

From convincing a client or boss to try out your idea, to being able to guide your family into seeing things your way.

Humans are influencing each other ALL the time, and similar tHow it started

I still remember the moment. I was 23 and had just found out what my division head’s year-end bonus was — a sum almost 10x my own bonus.

No one was surprised. It was expected and natural. I was told the discrepancy existed because the boss had “put in the time”, or “had taken more risk”, or “was rewarded for his expertise”, along with a number of other reasons.

But the question never stopped nagging me — what possible value-add could be worth 10x more than my own work?

Many people in my company seemed to have expertise and experience on their side. BUT they weren’t making the same money as my division head.o other activities –influencing is a skillset. In fact, it is one of the most useful skillsets you can learn.

Like many other behaviors, influencing too has a large evolutionary basis. We can use this knowledge to develop a gameplan for many situations that require influencing.

Building upon the work done in evolutionary sciences, psychology and management thinking, this short series sets a repeatable framework for building trust and convincing that will help you face each interaction with a solid plan of action!


Key points include:

  • CIF — Core Influence Framework
  • Building Trust
  • Convincing people


Read the full article, Influencing others: The greatest superpower you’ll ever need, on LinkedIn.

IndeCollective runs cohort-based programs for independent professionals who seek to take their practice to the next level.

Three members of Umbrex whom I respect have gone through the program and recommended it to me.

IndeCollective Founder Sam Lee described the program to me on Episode 460 of Unleashed.

This link provides an overview of the program summarized in the three slides included above.

This link has the calendar for the upcoming cohort, which starts March 24. Applications for that program close January 31.

The standard ten-week program costs $4,000.

The ten-week program plus an annual membership costs $6,000.
That annual membership includes ongoing sessions, learning modules, events, programming.

The program sounds like a valuable, well-designed curriculum and a good investment – if you’re willing to put in the time. (Lots of homework.)

They offer a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied after the first two weeks.

Cheenu Seshadri shares an older post that explains the term zero-rating and why it was adopted.

I have been watching the launch of Airtel Zero and the visceral reaction of a million netizens in India with curiosity. With 240M+ internet users and ubiquitous use of social media, I guess it is not hard to whip up a million citizens into frenzy!

Having led strategy for a zero-rating pioneer and having the unfortunate experience of dealing with the alarming side-effects of an activist regulatory regime, I believe this reaction is misplaced and any supportive actions by the telecom regulators will only serve to keep the digital divide in India up for longer.

The term zero-rating was yet to be coined, when in late 2009, we at MTS launched our high-speed data product in India. As an upstart trying to disrupt the telecom landscape, we introduced numerous innovations to the market – data on prepaid for the 1st time in India, zero-balance recharge, unlimited data and differential charging (launched with an offer of 5 free websites and later allowed customers to customize their choice of 5 sites). The last innovation is in essence zero-rating! We were among the first in the world to work with websites and vendors to figure out the technology to make this happen. Figuring out how to have content on websites not count towards your data allocation was one thing, but we went further to make sure the ads on these sites did not either.

Why did we do this? We believed trialing was an important step towards growing the internet population in India and allowing subscribers to surf their favorite sites for free was our way of making this happen. While we did not strike revenue arrangements with these websites and chose to give away this data for free, we believed this was a way for us to differentiate ourselves in the market.


Key points include:

  • The digital divide in India
  • Net neutrality
  • Global benchmarks


Read the full article, Zero-rating controversy in India – a storm in a teacup, on LinkedIn.

Andrew McKee shares an article on the latest developments in Ulcerative Colitis. 

Many of our clients are pursuing groundbreaking therapies in disease areas with high unmet medical needs, giving our firm the chance to become intimately familiar with some of the most exciting areas in drug development.  One disease area that is receiving a lot of attention is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), where the disease burden and the need for novel, efficacious therapeutics remain high.  Below, we’ll share our thoughts on the current landscape in Ulcerative Colitis (UC), one of the main diseases associated with IBD, and what we’re looking forward to.

Ulcerative Colitis is characterized by recurring episodes of inflammation limited to the mucosal layer of the colon.  It commonly involves the rectum and may extend to involve other parts of the colon.  The onset of symptoms is usually gradual, with symptoms progressing over several weeks, and can range from mild disease (<4 stools per day) to severe disease (>10 stools per day with severe cramps and continuous bleeding).

Most patients with UC are treated with pharmacological therapy, with the goals of inducing and maintaining endoscopic and clinical remission.   The cornerstone treatment for severe UC is anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy, including infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira), and golimumab (Simponi).  Unfortunately, these therapies leave much to be desired, with ~10-30% of patients not responding to initial treatment, and ~23-46% of treated patients losing response over time.


Key points include:

  • The treatment landscape
  • The FDA response
  • Results from clinical trials


Read the full article, Developments in Ulcerative Colitis, on

Amanda Setili explains why the structure of a video game can be applied to business to attract and leverage top talent. 

There’s a reason that the video game industry is larger ($179.7 billion according to IDC data) than the movie and music industries combined: playing video games makes players feel good, and for reasons that are easy to document.

Todd Harris, founder and CEO of Skillshot Media, was the one who first made me realize this. For years, he has been involved first in video games and more recently in the esports space. 

Here are four key elements that define the video game experience:

The player has control/agency.

There are clear goals, with incremental levels of difficulty. Players can see themselves improving.

Players get instant feedback on the success or failure of their strategies. Games promote a growth mindset, in that players learn by failing.

Players are interconnected to a wider community.

When you step back from this list, it’s obvious that this isn’t just a list of what makes players happy; it’s a list of what makes most human beings happy.

So if you want to build a workplace that is truly motivating and productive, design these elements into your organization. Embed them deeply!

To put this another way, TV is to video games as a demoralizing company is to a highly engaging one. Watching television, most of us zone out; there’s no way to “win” or to add value. Whether you’re watching a rom-com or an action movie, there’s no path to self-improvement and no means of building a stronger community. But all those things are possible for video game players.


Read the full article, What Video Games Teach Us About Running a Great Company, on LinkedIn.

Tineke Keesmaat shares a podcast that explains how leaders can gain better insight into their team.

In this episode of LeaderLab, we are joined by Dave MacLeod, CEO and co-founder of ThoughtExchange, to explore the importance of conversations in organizations. Based on his research and insights shared in his new book, Scaling conversations: How leaders access the full potential of people, he offers strategies leaders can use to engage in more meaningful, inclusive and productive conversations across teams.

Dave shares the following insights:

There’s never been a more important time to include as many voices in the conversation: “There are a lot of problems to solve [in our organizations] and a lot of pressure to do it. There’s a lot of change to our life and a lot of recognition of systemic racism and the recognition of power to drive our business, and there’s never been a more important time to hear from everybody who’s impacted by these things.”

We’re at an exciting moment where leaders feel they can admit they have bias and enter the right conversations that will move things in the right direction. “That’s maybe a really exciting moment right now… that people can say, ‘Yeah, I agree. I admit I have bias. So now what?’”

When dealing with polarizing topics, search for the common ground. “There’s ways to solve problems for two people who think very differently about how to make their business run faster and the same mechanism actually works when you have people who disagree strong – you have to find the common ground between them.”

Use technology and tools to eliminate our bias from conversations. “The idea of getting people to share ideas and listen to each other without knowing exactly who said them will get us to really think deeply about and empathize with each other’s points of view.

Access the full podcast, How to Really Hear What’s on Your Team’s MInd, on