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10 Questions With John Machacek: CoSchedule

Garrett Moon

Garrett Moon, CEO and Co-Founder of CoSchedule

John Machacek, Chief Innovation Officer for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, has worked with countless startups throughout our community over the past seven years. He knows their ups, their downs, but most of all, he knows the questions to ask them. Here are John Machacek’s 10 questions for CoSchedule Co-Founder Garrett Moon who has taken his company’s marketing software nationwide.

1. Tell us your CoSchedule elevator pitch?

CoSchedule offers a suite of marketing tools that help teams get organized, and get better results. Our Marketing Calendar gives marketers the ability to see their entire marketing schedule in one place, and make better decisions about their projects and their process. As companies get organized, we ultimately help them get better results for the companies that they serve.

2. When you first launched, CoSchedule was a calendar/blog scheduler, but has since evolved a bit. Can you tell me more about that?

In the early days, CoSchedule was primarily a social media scheduling tool for bloggers and small marketing teams. Today, while we still offer a Blog Calendar product for those customers, our growth comes from larger marketing teams that see CoSchedule as a broader project management tool. In 2019 we launched a brand new Marketing Suite product to serve these customers. This new product now allows us to go into a company and potentially replace two or three other tools that our customers were using before adopting CoSchedule. 

3. From day one, you’ve been a big proponent of content marketing (in fact, you even wrote a book about it). Will you please explain to the readers what that is in a nutshell and why it can be effective?

Content marketing is all about publishing valuable content on your website, usually through a blog, that attracts visitors to your site and creates loyal fans and customers. We actually started doing content marketing on our website before we launched our original CoSchedule product. Content marketing is quite literally how we built our business. My book, The 10x Marketing Formula, was my way of documenting this method and sharing It with others. My hope is that others are implementing our strategy in their own business and more successfully. 

10x Marketing Formula: Your Blueprint for Creating 'Competition-Free Content' That Stands out and Gets Results
Moon is the author of 10x Marketing Formula: Your Blueprint for Creating ‘Competition-Free Content’ That Stands out and Gets Results

4. I know CoSchedule is very thorough on your hiring and interview process to ideally find the mutual fit. What are the typical steps in this process?

Our process includes 5-6 majors steps that include a written hiring packet, a personality test, a project assignment, and detailed questions around our core values. We also conduct a final interview that includes 6-7 of our team members and encourages the candidate to interview our team in the same way that they are interviewing us. The process is really designed to find ‘good fit’ candidates that can be successful with us for the long term and make positive contributions to our team culture. 

5. I see those core values listed on your website. How did you come up with those values and why are they important to CoSchedule?

A lot of those were just things that (co-founder) Justin (Walsh) and I felt were important right from the beginning. We didn’t have a committee or anything to come up with our core values. They are just things that we felt were important and described the place that we wanted to work. In a startup, I think it’s really up to the founders to set the pace for the type of culture they want to have. As a founder, writing out your own core values early on should help you stay focused on the things that will help you build the type of company and culture that you value most. 

6. Speaking of a place where an employee really wants to come to work, you have invested a lot of thought into the design, aesthetics and culture of your two locations (in Fargo and Bismarck).

Like our core values, a lot of that is simply about creating a space that we want to go to work in every day. People see our office and our culture, and they want to be a part of it. They get excited about working here. I think it also communicates our desire to be forward-thinking, and never settling for good enough. CoSchedule has a different vibe than you’d experience anywhere else and it helps put people at ease and keeps conversations comfortable and easy.

7. Last month I interviewed Jared Hineman of WeCleanLocal. Jared mentioned to me how important your mentorship was as they got the business going and started raising funds? I’m also aware that you’ve consulted with some other entrepreneurs. What is the most common advice they are looking for?  

There’s so much that a new business has to go through in order to get from A-to-Z, and the answers just aren’t in books. So, it’s really helpful for founders to be able to talk to other people who have been there and done it before. There were many mentors that I had while building CoSchedule and being able to pick up the phone and hear how they solved fundraising, hiring, and strategic challenges was invaluable. As a founder, you are the problem solver in chief, so I love those challenges, and I enjoy helping other founders work through those issues.

8. You did transition from being a service-based marketing firm to being the product-based CoSchedule we know today. Is there more you can tell me about that experience and your advice? 

Yeah, some people may not know this anymore but before CoSchedule, me and my co-founder Justin actually ran a marketing agency called Todaymade that we used to build and fund our initial product. I talk to many founders that are trying to make a similar transition and it can be a really difficult one. A lot of people attempt to develop a product to serve their current service customers instead of having a larger/global view of who their customer really is. This can be a limiting viewpoint and my best advice is to keep the two things completely separate. It will help you prove your product faster, and set a better foundation for long-term success.

9. If you could go back in time to Garrett from several years ago, what hindsight advice would you give yourself? 

I would definitely tell myself to slow down and enjoy the journey a bit more. There are always things to worry and stress about as founder, but learning to enjoy the team, the process, and the journey doesn’t come naturally so you have to be intentional about it. You eventually settle in, but the sooner you can get there the better boss and founder you will be. 

10. What can we do as a community to help CoSchedule succeed?

Continue to support your local startup ecosystem, and your local startups. CoSchedule is a product of North Dakota – our team, our investors, and our success was all made right here. We’re proud of that, and hope that there are many more North Dakota success stories to come.

John Machacek, Chief Innovation Officer

John Machacek has been helping local startups with the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation since prior to his position with the GFMEDC. Machacek was the VP of Finance & Operations a United Way of Cass-Clay and a business banker at U.S. Bank.

Written by John Machacek

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