Kenshoo’s big bet: authenticity

Kenshoo: Grapes, teary eyes and the magical mystery tour that was K8

We attended Kenshoo’s K8 event last month and, veritably, it knocked my socks off. Kenshoo is an ad-bidding software platform and one of our closest partners. They are jointly based in Israel and San Francisco and providing so much more than just savvy CRM integration and ad-bidding. Read on.


The conference theme: Be Authentic. Kenshoo did not hold back on this. Every part of the event had opportunities for staff, partners and clients to share amazingly personal and heartfelt truths about the nature of life.


“I’ve never been to a tech event like this in my life. Not even close.” –Mindy Haidle


People were real. On stage. Off stage.

Yoav Izhar-Prato, CEO of Kenshoo, took everyone on the first night in buses to a castle where you could make pasta, taste wine (there was a lot of wine) or CRUSH GRAPES.


Naturally, I chose the latter, along with Yoav and a group of about 21 of us. We had to change our clothes. We had to get into a tub and mash fruit with our bare feet. With strangers. Our little cohort instantly bonded and spent the next 48 hours digging deep on matters of life, purpose, family and questioning where technology and advertising fit in.

Safely, I can say that I made friends for life this week. And the course of my path altered.



Huge focus on the impact of the Santa Rosa/Napa fires and on donating money to help rebuild the area. The hotel where we stayed has had virtually no business since the fires and the staff was elated to be busy again. The bar was supposed to close at 10pm, but stayed open until 2am because the workers were so anxious for work! K8 participants raised $5800 for the Wine Country Relief Fund.

Elizabeth Gilbert–yep, the Eat, Pray, Love one–came to speak to us just weeks after her partner’s passing. Honestly, I can’t even imagine how she did it. Very intense–she talked about owning what makes you happy and what doesn’t.

Her challenges to us:

1) Start knowing. Stop staying, “I don’t know.” START KNOWING. Know what you care about. Know what you gives you peaceful joy. Know what causes you stress and anxiety. Know who you are! And if your family or friends or coworkers are going to be ruffled by this actual/authentic you, consider the cost of lying to them for the rest of your life.

2) Listen to the whispers or else you’ll be listening to the screams.

3) Self-care and self-love and gentle curiosity are the BEST WAYS to approach/acknowledge traumatic memory and experiences. Take good care of yourselves!


“Not only did we build great relationships, but we learned about the exciting new features in Kenshoo such as budget manager, audience integration and updates, and so much more we can bring back to clients.” -Nick Banik, VP of Product



Falling in love with customers by knowing them, their buying habits, their hopes, dreams, wishes, pain points, complaints, desires. We discovered all the new ways to analyze CRM data and fall in love with our customers.


“Kenshoo will be releasing a tool that will measure “incrementality.” This will automatically create segmented tests with small audiences and test the overall incremental lift in performance across the entire group of tactics.” -Ross Fruin, CEO



Microsoft Search Advertising executive Matt Lydon shared an incredibly intimate and heartfelt story about his early Parkinson’s diagnosis and how Microsoft’s new culture of empathy embraced him, under the leadership of Satya Nadella. Full story here, but I can safely say there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. Parkinson’s is a very invasive disease and it’s progressive and degenerative: which means Matt will always have it and it will only get worse.

The shock was what happened after he nervously told his Microsoft boss. It was AMAZING. His boss grabbed his hand and arm and told him they would be with him, no matter what. Matt told stories of his coworkers raising money all over the globe for him, his research colleagues diving into new innovations to help people with Parkinson’s. It was unreal. Watch a video here about the research and practical ways Microsoft is helping people with their daily lives here. The image below shows handwriting improvement from a woman with Parkinson’s while wearing Microsft’s Emma tremor-reducing device. We all were crying. Even MC Sandeep Hardas. Very real moment.


PEOPLE CHANGE THE WORLD, NOT INDUSTRIES. But they must do it with love and empathy.

As someone who started my career in both politics and public education, thinking that was the only place to make societal change, I will–until the cows come home–believe people in business can make enormous change for good in the world. Maybe even more than nonprofit or government.

The good people at Kenshoo understand this and are doing it. They know who they are and aren’t afraid to go big with it.

Do you know who you are? What would it take to start knowing?


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