Chad Wittman – Founder of Edgerank Checker [Interview]

First we all as Think Marketing Magazine team would like to thank you for this opportunity and express our real…

Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

First we all as Think Marketing Magazine team would like to thank you for this opportunity and express our real happiness and pleasure to have an exclusive interview with you.

When was Edge Rank Checker founded and what was your main aim then?

EdgeRank Checker was founded in February of 2011. At the time, Facebook provided an incredibly dismal set of metrics for their analytics. Posts would enter the news feed, pick up engagement and impressions in the news feed and that was about as much as Facebook would give an Admin. At f8 2010, Facebook displayed and discussed the EdgeRank algorithm. I was enthralled with the concept and was determined to figure out a way to see how it could be impacted.

Our aim was, and still is, to help marketers understand how to take advantage of Facebook’s news feed.

After releasing a small tool, it quickly gathered users from some of the largest brands in the world. I realized there was an incredible opportunity at hand. I jumped on the opportunity with two of my co-workers and the rest is history.

According to data from EdgeRank Checker the average Facebook brand post reaches only about 17% of its fans due to filtering mechanism.
According to data from EdgeRank Checker the average Facebook brand post reaches only about 17% of its fans due to filtering mechanism.

Our aim was, and still is, to help marketers understand how to take advantage of Facebook’s news feed.


How did you manage to get Facebook corporate with you along with convincing clients with the Edge Rank importance?

Marketers knew that the EdgeRank algorithm was important. The movement is similar to PageRank and SEO. This is about driving traffic and results organically via the news feed. It doesn’t take much convincing when people see an algorithm impacting their results. In my opinion, this is Organic SEO 2.0.


What is the main idea behind Edge Rank and how to use it to have a successful Social Media campaign and increase their fan’s engagement and eventually ROI?

EdgeRank is an algorithm developed by Facebook to determine what users see within their news feed. For Pages publishing on Facebook, this algorithm ultimately determines how many people are going to see your content. Brands that are taking advantage of this are Reaching 3-4x the amount of people than brands who are struggling.

Facebook Edgerank Algorithm

Without diving deep into the mathematical components of the actual algorithm, it boils down to driving repeat and consistent engagement. Doing so will result in more exposure for your content. Facebook wants to reward brands, and specific pieces of content, that are performing well. We try to monitor this process to help brands take advantage of subtle aspects that can make improvements along the way.

Can you explain the impact of news feed redesign in Facebook and how will this impact Social Media monitoring and analysis?

The redesigned news feed is over-hyped. It is mostly a visual redesign with very little functional implications. Most users won’t experience any significant changes, in terms of browsing behavior. For brands, this means the game is the same and process is the same. Develop great content, publish it into the news feed and do what you can to optimize for engagement.

The only change I really see happening is for brands that invest in beautiful photography. Facebook users love photos, Facebook loves photos, brands that can play into this will reap more results.

There was a lot of debate about the fact that posting on Facebook from Hootsuite affects the Edge Rank, Is this true? How was this problem solved?

I personally don’t think this is an issue any more. Back in the day, this was a widely believed scenario. We even tested it and saw a mass decrease when using a 3rd Party API. A lot of the big publishers came out and complained about the issue. Long story short, it appears that Facebook fixed the issue and these 3rd Party APIs are inherently not being punished.

 Because you can push out the same update to Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook all at the same time, doesn’t mean you should.

I will say that 3rd Party APIs offer an opportunity for Admins to be lazy. Just because you can schedule a post, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you can push out the same update to Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook all at the same time, doesn’t mean you should. I think when we study people using 3rd Party APIs now, we see more of the effects of users misusing any sort of automated publishing.

In summary, if you’re going to use 3rd Party APIs, use them right. If you do that, you’ll probably be fine.


What is an average virality rate for Facebook Page posts and how is it calculated?

We studied this awhile back and found that the typical Facebook Page experiences about 1.86% Virality. Facebook has been quoted as saying that around 1-2% is a good Virality rate to strive for.

Facebook_EdgeRankChecker-Virality rate
Facebook EdgeRank Checker

My issue with Virality is how Facebook defines it. The way Facebook defines Virality is more a measurement of how likely an object is to get engaged with. This isn’t quite my belief of Virality. The issue only compounds when you consider how EdgeRank works. As an object picks up engagement, it starts to pick up Reach. If a post has high early Virality, this means it is experiencing a high level of engagement per person Reached. However, if the post then picks up more Reach, due to this high level of engagement, it will then lose Virality. This is cycle that clouds the reality of what is truly “Viral”.


How can Edge Rank be used with Facebook Graph search and how can clients make use of such data to help them better analyze their Facebook performance?

Graph Search and EdgeRank are two different beasts. Graph Search is using different factors in order to determine the ranking of the search results. Graph Search also doesn’t use individual posts when looking at their input signals (currently). This creates a degree of separation between the two.

As it stands now, things like total fans and check-ins will definitely improve search results for businesses. Both of these things create Affinity with potential searchers. Affinity is always a good thing when dealing with Facebook.

If I were a business with a physical location, I’d be trying to build as many fans and check-ins as possible. Use check-in deals to help accelerate the process. This could pay off well in the future.

Would you please explain Edge Rank Negative Feedback analysis and why it is important and how it can be used?


Chad Wittman in Action
Chad Wittman in Action

Facebook came out last Fall to explain a significant change they made to the EdgeRank algorithm. Essentially, they increased the Weight of Negative Feedback. What does this mean? For Pages that were experiencing (or had experienced) high levels of Negative Feedback, this meant that they were losing Reach. Facebook wanted to even the playing field a bit and reward the Pages that weren’t receiving much Negative Feedback while punishing the Pages that were.

We opted to start analyzing and understanding Negative Feedback deeper than ever before. We’re trying to drive at why users would report something with Negative Feedback. Is it a particular topic? Perhaps the brand used Paid Media?

Understanding these components can better help a brand understand the direction to lead their content strategy. It’s also important to get a benchmark and keep Negative Feedback beneath certain thresholds.


Can you please tell us a little about PostAcumen and how does it help with competitive analysis?

PostAcumen is all about understanding the strategy behind competitive analysis. There are a million tools that will tell you how many fans, how many comments, etc… but what we strive for is why these things happened. What can I learn from my competition’s success and failures?
We’re analyzing industry sets, competitive sets, best in class sets, all in an effort to give a comprehensive understanding of the news feed. Some of our customers are even using it to pull out posts that received Paid Media, to determine where brands are putting forward some of their ad budget on Facebook.

We’re analyzing industry sets, competitive sets, best in class sets, all in an effort to give a comprehensive understanding of the news feed. Some of our customers are even using it to pull out posts that received Paid Media, to determine where brands are putting forward some of their ad budget on Facebook.


What do you think of Facebook plans to implement hash tags and will this affect Twitter’s traffic?


I think hashtags are mostly an advertising thing. I think they want to pull in particular hash tags (formalize this process) and allow marketers to advertise against it. I think it has way less to do with taking on Twitter or even attempting to steal their traffic. To me, Facebook & Twitter are two completely different platforms with two different paths. They can coexist and I don’t see a reason why one needs to consume the other.
In short order, I don’t think it’s particularly a big deal nor do I think it will significantly impact Twitter’s traffic.


Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Featured Stories, Interviews, Opinions

Consumer Insights: Mega trends that will rule the next 5 years

Think Marketing sat down with Dahlia Zayed – A long time Brand strategy & Consumer Insights practitioner. She gave us…

Think Marketing sat down with Dahlia Zayed – A long time Brand strategy & Consumer Insights practitioner. She gave us a sneak preview of the insights from her upcoming Innovation TALK to take place in Cairo Dec 21st, 2017.

You just came back from a few back to back International forums, tell us more?

Dahlia Zayed
Dahlia Zayed

Consumers preferences are evolving so fast. Brands are hardly able to keep up . In food and  Beverage industry for example consumers are developing an appetite for bold new flavors, healthier and more eco-friendly options. Consumers are empowered. They expect more control over how their food gets served, delivered, and made.

Catalyst to this are smart phones where there are no borders and full exposure to every culture. Expectations are high to personalization and relevance. Not too many brands are able to keep up .

At Brand week Istanbul , there was so much about millennials which are talked about very often but also mushrooming new sub segments like Kidult who are 20-30 yr old, have a fear of moving out, have money to spend on their self-indulgencies and they associate themselves with child-like brands and behaviors.

So twisted color candies, multi-color smoothies, shiny jeans and flashy mobile covers were only the start. Some of these are high street brands and can only be afforded by Kidult not teens on a budget.

You also mention shoppers and retail?

‘Small is beautiful’. A shopper trend that is picking up as an example.

Big players like Target are re-thinking their format strategy where Millennials are dictating new rules.

Skipping long aisles and big shopping catalogues to a more intimate in store experience. You are looking at millions of new investments needed to tap into this segment.

How do we really make use of trends in our local market? Some seem far-fetched?

The trick is to first differentiate a trend from a fad. A solid trend- that will stay -is that which builds on a genuine consumer insight that can travel. A need gap in a life context not within a category or a brand world.

Localizing trends and breaking them to subs has a process out of which you choose which is a good match to your business and brand fit and then start generating innovation ideas.

For example, years back, the sub-trend was ‘a need to de-hydrate ‘. Something Nestle Waters picked up and created the category. Packaged and bulk water continues to be the one category that is still growing post the devaluation. Further the trend now is moving to a need for premium functional water. Consumers are seeking ‘a water experience’. They don’t want boring water. That is for sure a clear go-ahead trend that can easily be rolled out in our markets. I’ll flash more on this in the TALK.

We get lots of feedback from non-FMCG brands that trends are useless for them?

By default FMCG are always in the ‘know’ to keep up with consumers changing needs but, if you think about it other industries will sure benefit from understanding trends.

Let’s take a furniture manufacturer, if they want to stand out in their product design, they can leverage 2 current trends a- Back to land b- Texture. The latter is building up heavily in the last 2 years where cupboards are best having a rugged rough matt -look and feel to it. This is what consumers are looking for not smooth flashy.

Back to land is about feeling grounded. Consumers need to connect to something meaningful. This can be reflected in material choice as well as positioning – playing on the emotional gratification.

Not to mention packaging designs !

What’s the top innovative launches in 2017 ?

In FoodMatters Expo in London I sampled a few interesting brands.

For example – ‘Quench your hunger’.

UK brand U FIT has 225 gm high protein as well as vitamins & fiber to support an energetic life styles . Consumers expect a one stop shop for their nutrients in an on-the-go format crossing over a drink/snack/pick-me up meal.

There is also a lot innovation in the area of how we produce our food and what ingredients we use in an attempt not only to provide healthier options but combat world hunger like meatless sausages and Pasta made of chick peas.


I’m excited about the future. There is so much opportunity to grow. I hope Egyptian businesses pick up on them , think strategically so as not to be left behind.

You can reach Dahlia Zayed via

Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Continue Reading
Featured Stories, Interviews, Opinions

Ania Jakubowski: To be a Great Marketer, You Need Also to be a Great Leader

In 2015, at the first edition of the Marketing Kingdom Cairo, Ania Jakubowski, then General Manager at Coca-Cola for Poland…

In 2015, at the first edition of the Marketing Kingdom Cairo, Ania Jakubowski, then General Manager at Coca-Cola for Poland and the Baltics, was voted the event’s best speaker. She is back in Egypt this October to speak at the third edition of the Marketing Kingdom on the topic of marketing and leadership.


Tell us a bit about yourself and your professional journey. What has been the most defining part of your career?

My parents met in Canada as Polish post Second World War refugees.  Our mother a nurse, our father an engineer. I am the youngest of four children. Travel was in my blood from birth, having moved as a family to India for several years as a result of a contract our father was commissioned for. The better part of my childhood, upbringing and studies however were back in Canada in the Toronto area. I was always passionate about sport, often you could find me in a gym or on a court instead of my ‘head in the books’ studying. That said, I graduated university with honors having studied business administration.

There have been a few significant moments in my career, however the most defining moment was very early when I took the opportunity to move to Poland for the first time with P&G. It may not sound like a bold move, however it was just post the fall of Communism, so things were still very unstable and unknown. I had just been promoted, so everything suggested that the future was bright in Canada. And then there was the fact of being a single woman venturing off, far away from family and friends.

What I always appreciated about that youthful bold decision to go to Poland was the fact that I knew deep down that I couldn’t really go wrong. I could always return to Canada, which in the end never happened. When I coach/mentor people today, I always encourage them to lean forward on decisions and commit to them. Worst case, they don’t work out and you make the next decision.


During your career at Coca-Cola and P&G you have worked in different roles and different markets and locations. What are the main challenges and benefits of this range of experience?

The things I have been particularly grateful for during my career are, firstly the fact that I have lived in six countries and worked in dozens more. I believe a key attribute of strong leadership is to have a learning mindset and be adaptable. None of us have an exclusivity on knowledge and change is constant. Experiencing different cultures and market situations continues to sharpen those skills.

Secondly, I have always tended to choose roles where the opportunity or challenge – depending on how you looked at it, required “fixing something” or “building something new”.  The intrigue in these roles is that they kept me on the ‘edge’, a little out of my comfort zone and offered up the opportunity to have a high impact. In essence, ‘intrapreneurial roles’ within a corporate culture. The potential downside is that these roles did not always fit the traditional career path on traditional timings.  Therefore at times in my career I didn’t have all the ‘boxes’ checked off in terms of traditional experience required for promotion – so it took me a little longer to get to certain levels then had I chosen more traditional roles.  I don’t regret the choices and know that each one has made me a stronger leader, coach and mentor as a result.


Coca-Cola and P&G are ultimate examples of well-executed Marketing Strategies. What would make them unique in terms of employee engagement?

I have always said that an outstanding corporate culture could be created taking the strengths of P&G and Coke and combining them, one being more ‘right brain’ the other being more ‘left brain’.  When it comes to HR approaches, what they have in common are a commitment to diversity among their workforce at all levels of the organization, their commitment to training and development particularly early in one’s career, and the role of HR itself being a “business partner” to the leadership.


At the Marketing Kingdom Cairo 3 you will be discussing the role of leadership in marketing. Can you give us a bit of insight on your topic?

I referenced earlier the idea of a leadership gap, this gap is permeating society; politically and economically.  It is easier today to politically be polarizing and divide people to get noticed and garner votes rather than to unite them and find solutions to tough problems.  In business, short term decisions often win out to please analysts and investors versus taking the tougher road for what is the right long term action for sustainable growth.  I believe the leadership gap is rooted in the fact that the pendulum has swung to the point where “what” we achieve is more important than “how” we achieve it.   I want to challenge this.

Environments where people are highly engaged are environments where the “how” is even more important than the “what”.  Results count, but how you achieve those results is critical.

I will share my principles and practical examples of how I have had the fortune of creating engaged teams and organizations that consistently not only deliver, but often exceed expectations.

To meet Ania and 20 other marketing experts from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, P&G and Rolls Royce Motor Cars, make sure you get your ticket today for the Marketing Kingdom Cairo 3 on the event’s official website.

Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Continue Reading
Entrepreneurship, Interviews, Opinions

Explaining Affiliate Marketing as emerging market in MENA region

In an office in agency filled Mohandessin, Araby Ads prepare to expand as they move into their new and larger…

In an office in agency filled Mohandessin, Araby Ads prepare to expand as they move into their new and larger office. As the people behind the growth of Affiliate Marketing in Egypt, Araby Ads is also preparing for its first paid Arab Affiliate Summit, where freelancers and companies come together to discuss the market’s growth and trends.

Sitting down with CEO and co-founder of Araby Ads and the Arab Affiliate Summit, Think Marketing learns more about Mahmoud Fathy and this new emerging market.


All right, let’s start slowly. From Physics to a niche marketing industry, and by 26 already a founder of a large company (Araby Ads), how was the transition from a Physics major to marketing then entrepreneurship?

At first, it was all about trying to build my career. With universities in Egypt, I felt unsure about my future, so I tried to make money. I tried to build my own business.

When I thought about my studies in physics, I realized it wasn’t the perfect or greatest match for me, so I decided to make money online.

When searching through the internet, under how to make money online in Arabic, you will find a lot of scams, a lot of spam. I kept searching until I found some articles on Affiliate Marketing, which I studied for 2 years.

I first worked at, where I soon became their top performer, and I was paid around 200k USD in the first year. I also worked at the region’s first performance marketing agency called, it was also the regions first affiliate network. I also became their top performer by the end of the year.

Soon, I felt like it was time, so I started building my team, some of them are still with me, and started to work as a small media buying team, working with clients such as IKOO and Bayt. And from there, we built.

Now we [Araby Ads] have over 70 employees, and I believe we are the leading affiliate network in the Middle East.


So, your company, Araby Ads, is aimed towards Affiliate marketing. Could you quickly elaborate on what is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is a type of Performance Marketing.

The main goal of an Affiliate is to make money online, so how do they do it? They can approach companies, such as Amazon, and tell them they would like to work for them. They will most likely be told that they can work as a freelancer. If they are able to promote their products or send them users that are willing to buy something, they will pay the freelancer [affiliate] around 10% of the Sale.

This process is called Affiliate Marketing.

So, the advertiser, Amazon, will pay for any conversions received from the freelancer’s website.

If you are an influencer, and have a following on Facebook or etc, your audience is listening to you. So why not make a video talking about Amazon’s new iPhone?

Let’s say, I am an influencer, and I want to make money from my audience. So I can make a video talking about the new iPhone and its features, that it can be found on Amazon, and here is a special link to a discount from me.

Your audience trusts you, so they will click on the link and buy the iPhone. Now I have helped Amazon make a sale, so Amazon will now pay me for every conversion around 10%. This is one example of how affiliates can make money.

So how does it work?

Can you write a blog post, can you make a video, can you convince your audience to buy something from this special link?

The main things to think about are does your audience trust you? Will they interact with your content?

It is all about targeting your audience correctly, and having them trust you and your content.


Tell us then, what made you venture into Affiliate marketing? It’s a tight market that most don’t think of in the MENA region.

As a start, it was purely about making money, to be honest.

But after a while, what was my goal? I already made a lot of money as a freelancer, and I can work at any time as long as I have internet and a computer. So, I thought to myself, why not enjoy what I am doing?

It became not about being an affiliate, but building a business. As a young businessman, I wanted to introduce the concept [of affiliate marketing] to the market here.  I wanted to build a business from a local Egyptian one to an international one.

I wanted to become the one place where people know, if you are looking for Affiliate Marketing in the MENA region, there is one destination, Araby Ads. If you want to make [or attend] an event, there is only the Arab Affiliate Summit.


So, tell us about the Arab Affiliate Summit, which was created by your company 4 years ago. What made you decide that we needed a place to meet, learn, connect and start talking about Affiliate marketing?

We have a lot of opportunity with Affiliate marketing here in the Middle East. There was no competition, no market, we created the market. So, we said to ourselves, how about we invest in the market? To educate the market.

Most freelancers don’t know a lot about Affiliate Marketing, so we want to educate them. When it comes to advertisers, when it comes to affiliates, and connect all of them in one place.

It was, honestly, also about leaving a legacy. That was our hope.

We already had money, I personally was already rich from being a freelancer, and so was my partner. So, we thought, what about giving back to our industry?


And how did that go?

Our first summit was actually free. The first year was the hardest for us, we tried to introduce a new concept to the market. We heard a lot of “no, this isn’t right. No, you have a hidden agenda!” I mean, guys, come on! It was a free event, we didn’t need anything, just attend.


Well, we Egyptians don’t accept free.



Let’s talk Affiliate marketing in the region. Worldwide, this particular marketing industry makes over $7 Billion dollars a year, just how much of that is made in Egypt and the MENA region?

Egypt made around 100 million USD last year, and the MENA region market is around 300 million. The growth rate in Egypt is around 100%.

This year, my company alone, will make around 200 million USD, so the overall market would be around 300 million. We are also trying to expand in Algeria, Sudan, and other countries.


How has the industry affected the economy? Has it helped the local economy through ways such as self-employment, increase in GDP, etc?

I enjoy helping both sides, I am trying to help the freelancers just like me and you, or anyone in this country who wants to make money online with a trusted company.  We are trying to get them jobs to help with unemployment.

They contribute to the economy by putting their money in the bank at the end of the day.


What are the current ways for affiliates to serve ads, sponsorship or product placement? Are there any new trends that we should look out for?

Influencers because they trust them now, they follow them and their recommendations, and online ads such as Instagram and Facebook ads.

Unfortunately, influencers don’t have as much effect here as they do in the Gulf countries, because Egyptians lose trust in influencers when they start doing ads.


What other type of content do you believe will explode in the near future?

A kind of blogging called comparison websites.


Should Affiliate marketing be something both small and large companies focus on? Does it make a difference for both sides, or only for certain players?

In the end, both types of companies can benefit from [Affiliate Marketing], because in the end of the day, they want revenue.

For me, big companies are easier to work with because people already trust them, know them and their products well, but they prefer the traditional way of marketing.

But I prefer to work with small companies, because I believe it is more challenging, and I really like to grow with my clients.


Who are these affiliates? Who are they, why do they enjoy or prefer this type of work, and are they actually making enough?

All of the are like you and me. Most of them are jobless, they are looking to make a family, but they all face the same issue? They finish college and they ask themselves “what do I do now?”

They want to make something of themselves, they believe in the internet and that it can make great things. Most of them hate their full-time jobs, they love to be free.

Statistically, around of 80% of the affiliates are male. I do think that this model would be perfect for the females in this country, since both genders are already looking for jobs, but females in our region have a lot of issues, aside from cultural issues.

I believe that working from home is the best option for them, to live the lifestyle they are looking for without issues from men and cultural norms in closed countries.


Lastly, how would you advise those who are interested in joining the industry as an affiliate?

To be committed, and don’t think it is an easy job. You have to build a good and diverse profile, learn marketing and use your money effectively when it comes to online ads.

Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Continue Reading
Featured Stories, International, Interviews

Life after LinkedIn; former director of Web Dev. on family and working in tech

Chris Saccheri had a great career, a wonderful spot at one of the biggest social platforms in the world, LinkedIn….

Chris Saccheri had a great career, a wonderful spot at one of the biggest social platforms in the world, LinkedIn. At LinkedIn, Chris helped develop the platform as the director of web development, growing the company along side its owners before it was even named.

Saccheri later decided that it was time for a change in focus.

Think Marketing spoke with Chris Saccheri to talk a bit about work-life balance, life after leaving work, inspiration and self-grooming for success.


Tell us, what was your reason for leaving your position as director of web development at LinkedIn?

I joined LinkedIn at the end of 2002 when it was getting started and stayed for 9 years as a contributor and then as a manager, leading a team of about 30 web developers. I left 6 months after LinkedIn became a public company because my life changed. When I started I was single, had no kids and my life revolved around work.

Fast forward 9 years later and I was married and I had 2 kids that I wanted to spend more time with. I decided that I was going to take time off and focus entirely on my family because I felt that I was missing out on aspects of my kids’ lives.

I would be sitting in meetings thinking, “Years from now I am going to be thinking I wish I spent more time at the park with my kids, not sitting in these meetings.” I decided to step aside and spend more time with my family.


What can you tell Egyptians that spend most of their lifetime in the office, or stuck in Cairo traffic? Are there alternatives to quitting a job altogether?

I tried to establish that work-life balance at first. I took a month off initially and when I returned to work I focused on getting home at 5:00pm for dinner. Ultimately, I had been at LinkedIn for 9 years and I felt like I had ridden the startup rollercoaster from the founding all the way through to the IPO.


Seeing as how you have halted your career, where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I love learning and I try to continue to learn. I have been trying to learn Italian over past year which has been humbling and fun. I noticed that there is lack of male teachers in elementary (Primary) schools, so I think it would be a positive response to that, as well as something fun to be a part of – I would be happy to help


Lifestyle in the Tech Industry


How important is it to be well-groomed in both your personal and professional life?

Since I’ve traded office time for playground time, grooming isn’t as high on my list of priorities as it once was, but it’s still something I appreciate. (My kids can walk around with spots of paint and food on their faces, but I prefer a cleaner look.) It’s easy to get overwhelmed with household chores, so getting a shower and a shave early every morning (often before the kids are up) helps me start the day positively and with a small sense of accomplishment! The Braun electric shaver is a real life and time-saver in this regard.


The tech industry has been portrayed as infamously unstylish (i.e. Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodies). Do you think this is changing? Does it even need to change?

I recognize the importance of being comfortable when spending hours and hours sitting at a desk which is a typical day in the tech industry, especially for startups.

There is a balance; however. I have heard of some people who have wardrobes full of one outfit because not making clothing choices optimizes their time. That seems a bit extreme to me.


You’ve been clean shaven and have worn a beard in the past. What was the motivation behind your grooming style?

I like to experiment and I generally grow a beard in the winter time; when it gets hot again it’s nice to feel clean shaven.


How do you interpret a clean shave or a beard in the workplace? How is it perceived professionally?

So long as the beard is well-groomed, I don’t think it makes a difference in the professional context. I think it just comes down to the convenience for the person growing the beard/ or shaving it.



General Advice for Men


What advice can you provide Egyptians that want to pursue the same career path as you?

My career path wasn’t particularly straightforward. My first job out of college was as an editor at a textbook publishing company. From there, my first job in tech was at SocialNet (where I first met most of LinkedIn’s founding team) where I started as a writer/editor, not a programmer.


The company needed help with front-end web development, though, and I’d always enjoyed programming in school, so I pitched in and taught myself the skills I needed to do that job as well. That was the key pivot in my career that led to my job and work at LinkedIn.


So, my best advice would be to stay open to new opportunities and to be flexible in your idea of what your career is and can be. There are some career paths that are very linear–becoming a doctor, for example. But most careers aren’t like that; you can come at them from a variety of angles or backgrounds. Don’t think there’s only one path for you to follow. Keep an open mind, invest in learning new skills, and don’t be afraid to try something new.


What traits do men have to build to succeed in their professional careers in the tech industry?

It is important that adequate time is spent in understanding the industry, its creativity and the potential it has to grow very quickly. LinkedIn is a great example of how things can grow successfully over night to become a pioneer in the tech-industry.


Where do you borrow inspiration from for life and business?

I am a huge John Lennon fan. When his second child was born he stepped away from the music industry and stayed at home with his son until he was 5.

He didn’t tour and completely removed from public life while focused on his family. That was a big inspiration for me, to leave LinkedIn. If one of the greatest musicians can put aside his work to spend 5 years then why can’t I take some time for my family? I think the work that I did with LinkedIn was great and important and I couldn’t me more proud, but at the same time my family is forever.

Years from now I am not going to go back and say I should have spent more time working at LinkedIn. It will be that I didn’t spend enough time with my family.


What is one simple thing that every man could do to have an immediate impact on their life?

Be present with your kids and pay attention to them. When I am out at events or playgrounds with other parents they often have one eye on their phone or are clearly thinking about work. You don’t have to devote 14 hours day to your kids, but when you are together be fully present.

I try to enjoy the moment with my kids and let them tell me about their day without constantly feeling the need to coach or to teach or be the one talking. Just listening and being present with them can go a really long way.


Most young gentlemen in Egypt are married with families at quite a young age, and spend most of their 20s and 30s stuck in the office away from their kids. Should this change?

Absolutely. Those early years with your children, before they’re off to school every day, are just golden. They learn and change SO much, practically every day. I know how hard it is to establish a foothold in your career, but carving out time for your family–whether it’s waking up early and playing with them before work, or getting home early periodically so you can all have dinner together–is essential. Kids really do grow up so fast; you don’t want to look up one day and realize you’ve completely missed their childhood.


Where will Chris Saccheri be in 15 years when the kids are grown up and seeking a career of their own?

I think sometimes about what I might like to do down the road when my kids are in school and they aren’t around all the time, but I haven’t given it a huge amount of thought at this point. Possibly teaching. I do a lot of volunteering at their school and really enjoy it.

Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Continue Reading