An interview with Faith Benson
One of the things that sets Gun.io apart from other job marketplaces is our personal connection with every developer and every client. Your resume isn’t just another one thrown into the ether, and your job description isn’t just another post to a scrolling list. With that in mind, we want to introduce you to some of the bright minds behind the scenes here at Gun.io.
This week, Cal Evans dives in with our Director of Growth Marketing, Faith Benson, to find out how she got here, what she loves about her job, and how she keeps her garden going in her free time.
Transcript of Conversation:
Welcome to the Frontier, the podcast for Gun.io Today, my special guest is the Director of Growth Marketing for Gun.io, Faith Benson, say hi to everybody, Faith.
Now, Faith, this is the first time you and I have actually done an interview and it’s always my tradition that the first time, I wanna know how you got here. What’s your hero backstory? So yeah, how did you get into growth marketing?
Yeah, long and winding road, Cal. I actually went to school for international relations and Middle Eastern studies. <Wow.> Yeah, so I thought I wanted to be, you know, some sort of government function probably in the Middle East. So I spent a lot of time in college, and obviously a little bit before college, learning lots of languages. I was fluent in Spanish, Arabic and French. Studying nationalism and, you know, all kinds of cool things that have nothing to do with marketing. And then my senior year of college, I was recruited actually by Teach for America. And so I came to Nashville and taught in under-resourced, low income public schools for three years. Yeah. So I think what I learned through that experience was I did not wanna be a teacher. But also that I really thrived in environments where I was kind of handed a lot of chaos, but also a lot of autonomy and was charged with making sense of that–coming up with new strategies and kind of having the creativity and space to do that.
So when I was finishing my time teaching, I knew that that was an environment I wanted to be in. I didn’t want a corporate America, you know, pushing papers nine- to-five kind of job. I really wanted something with a lot more autonomy, so I kind of jumped into the startup world and yeah…I was with a couple different companies of various sizes, did some consulting, and then landed at Gun.io about four years ago. And so that’s what brought me here. I mean, I joined the company as a growth associate and my job was basically to throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what stuck and how we could get potential customers to sign up. And over the years have just kind of expanded into different areas.
That is very cool. And it’s interesting to me that you landed in Nashville and just kind of stuck around. And you were coming to Nashville about the same time I was leaving Nashville, so we probably didn’t cross over that much, but I’m sure had we done some crossover we’d have spent a lot of time in the same communities because I hang out, I hung out with a lot of the marketing types that in Nashville, it’s kind of where I got my love for the for it. I like to tell everybody that I’m not a professional marketer, but I am one of the ranking amateurs. So, okay. So what is growth hacking? I mean, yeah, I’ve read the book. And I know what other people define as growth hacking, but what is growth hacking and how do you apply it to Gun.io and to help what we do–you know, we help developers find cool jobs. And I guess the corollary to that is we help great companies find cool developers, but I look at it from the other side of that.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, growth marketing is really all about experimentation, right? And so you can have a growth team at a huge enterprise size company. I think you’ll find the most in startups. And really what we do is run a lot of parallel experiments, honestly, kind of across the scope of the company, which is why you’ll see me popping up in product or popping up in sales. And our job is to figure out, you know, how can we grow the company incrementally faster than the status quo? And so that’s, you know, that’s, that’s what we do here specifically–Cal, you and I work together a lot on the growth marketing side, right? So figuring out what different acquisition channels work and which audiences are having the most return on investment, all that good stuff.
Yep. And we’ve, you know, we’ve run a couple of experiments with different ideas and some of them worked and some of ’em have fallen flat on their face, so yeah.
Which is good. That’s the whole point, you know?
Yeah, it’s a learning process. And then that’s one of the things I love about working at Gun is we do have that freedom to experiment and to, you know, just say, ‘hey, I wonder if this will work?’ And one of the things I preach, I talk a lot to managers about how to manage. And one of the things I preach to them is people have to feel the freedom to fail. If they don’t feel the freedom to fail, then everything’s pressure to get it right. And you’re never always gonna get it right. So, you know, I love working at Gun because I do feel that it’s okay if my experiments fail. I always tell people with developers, it’s never okay to make the same mistake twice though. You know, they’re not learning from their failures, then we’ve got an issue.
Now talk to us because you’re more than just your schooling and what you do at Gun. What is your favorite hobby?
I have a lot, I’m kind of the hobby queen with my friends. I love to cook. I have people over for dinner every weekend. <Wow>. So always trying new recipes. I’ve got a huge garden in my backyard, so a lot of urban gardening and backyard chickens. So I guess a hobby is keeping them alive? <Nice.> And renovating my house. I have a little 1950s cottage in east Nashville. And so I bought it three years ago now. And I’ve just been doing different cycles of renovation on it. So teaching myself a lot of cool DIY things and making a lot of mistakes in the process, kind of like, you know, what we do here in the growth marketing team.
Very cool. Well, that sounds fascinating. Thank you so much for spending some time. I know you’ve got a busy schedule. I don’t wanna keep you too long, but thank you for spending some time with us today to introduce yourself so that people understand who we are here and at Gun.io, and that we’re more than just a series of email addresses or screen names. Audience, I wanna thank you for hanging out with us for this, I hope you’ve found it enjoyable. I hope you’ve learned something about it. Hey, do me a favor. If you would, if you liked what you saw, go out to whatever podcast catcher you used, give us five stars, five thumbs up, whatever the rating is. If there’s something that we can do better, please let me know. Drop me an email at [email protected]. I would love to hear from you. Until next week, we’ll talk to you later and thanks for visiting the Frontier.