Guest Speaker Series – Des Martin – VP Marketing at Brave

Jun 25, 2021

Des’ Top Career Tip:

“Early in your career, betting on high growth companies has a better return than traditional platforms and companies.”


Motivational. Knowledgeable. Personable. These are all words that can be used to describe our guest speaker, Vice President of Brave, Des Martin.
We all knew we were in for a treat with last week’s speaker. We sat with pens in hand, ready to absorb Des’ invaluable 20 years experience in marketing and sales – needless to say we were not disappointed.


A Journey of Persistence and Growth

Des has hired over one hundred people, interviewed thousands and reviewed many times that number of CVs, so he knows a thing or two about what employers are looking for. However, everyone starts somewhere and Des’ journey takes us back to his homeland, Ireland. While in college Des co-founded a ringtone and logo company. This was the first automated service of its kind in Ireland, but it blew up spectacularly. This dovetailed with the main theme of Des’s talk, which was learning and growth. However, this didn’t slow him down as he went on to work for Qualtrics and Perkbox and now upcoming browser giant, Brave.   


“The World doesn’t reward people that don’t learn”  

We’ve all heard how important it is to never stop learning, but Des spoke about how your ability to learn faster than others will put you a step ahead professionally. He explained that as important as hard skills are, having soft skills has the potential to define you at your company. If you’re able to show your ability to learn and grow quickly you become invaluable to the company. A good starting point is how fast you can learn a new micro skill, like CRM reporting.

However, if you’re finding it difficult to learn, Des recommends looking at the learning models. Some people learn by listening, some by watching or some by creating with their hands. He also spoke of studies that show knowledge is interconnected, so once you figure out your connection to the topic it will be easier to remember and understand. 

Oppositely, ditch and unlearn what is no longer relevant to create space in your mind for important information. Try to avoid rigid thinking and develop the ability to step back from emotion. 

Des highlighted research that showed that everyone is copying everyone and while it is good to learn from others, it’s also important not to lose yourself. Know who you are and where you want to go. Manage your energy daily, to manage thoughts and in turn make decisions.


Entrepreneur Activity 

Here’s an activity you can do at work: 

  • Identify who benefits from your work, think of them as your customer. And think of your role/projects as a start-up. 
  • Now add value, provide updates from research, sales that will give an edge and use metrics to judge trajectory.  

Taking ownership of your career is a game changer. 


Nailing that Sales Call

You need to be genuine – people can smell an awkward conversation a mile off. Instead of trying to sell to a person try to have a conversation as a peer. Think about the person on the other side of the phone and walk a mile in their shoes – understand them and the issues they face. Once you know what matters to them it’s easier to gauge how best to communicate and sell. Remember people respond well to humour and a personable attitude. 


Failure = Stopping Completely 

You have not failed unless you give up. Don’t pity yourself – being able to brush yourself off is a sign of tenacity and everything that hits you is a step forward. You either win or you learn.

As a rule of thumb when you’re making decisions that you are worried about failing at. Des mentioned Jeff Bezos framework at Amazon: One way and two way doors. With two way doors you can go back easily if you think you’ve made the wrong decision, so it should be easier to make quick decisions. On the other hand, the repercussions of one way doors can take longer to rectify or the result can stick and you may not be able to go back. Des recommends taking small risks regularly instead of occasional big risks. 

The process of growing can be seen as facing a setback, learning from it and growing. Don’t go back to your comfort zone; instead use your learnings and get out on the edge of your skillset – that’s how you get good at something, by taking risks and trying something new. This growth mindset is valuable and has to be worked on consistently, but the impact this could have is limitless.


Key Takeaways  

  • ‘There is no such thing as bad publicity’ – If your first business venture makes it on national radio I’d take that as a win. Only up from there. 
  • Your ability to learn faster will put you a step ahead professionally. 
  • Be genuine – people can smell an awkward conversation a mile off.
  • Take small risks often.
  • Reminder: you only fail when you stop trying. 
Lena Miah

Lena is our Marketing Executive here at She is versed in all things marketing and loves creating thought provoking, inspirational, and informative pieces for the company. 

Lena was born and raised in London. She has a passion for all things words and completed a BA degree in Journalism at the University of Roehampton. 

When she isn’t keeping the company blog in tip top condition she can be found in a yoga class or checking out the London food scene, but if the food isn’t up to par she could bake it all herself. 

You can find Lena on LinkedIn here 

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