Athol Foden came to the San Francisco Bay area many years ago as a field support engineer while attempting to work his way around the world. After his next onward job fell through, he eventually migrated down the peninsula to Silicon Valley where he found many kindred spirit propeller heads, even as his own career evolved more into a technical sales and marketing role.
He was a very successful product manager because he always understood the technology (mostly because he was still hacking on it when no one was watching), had a bias towards the customers because of his sales experience, and was blessed with a natural gift for communicating messages clearly and succinctly. An entertaining public speaker, and popular marketing lecturer for U.C. Extension in Silicon Valley, Athol gets plenty of first hand feedback and practice in advising propeller heads who are trying to grasp marketing quickly.
Always seeking new creative endeavors, Athol has become fascinated with the science and psychology of marketing and dealing with influencers in all developer and sales roles. His own career has thus evolved into branding and marketing consulting and development, and he has made his hobby (a long fascination with names) into a business. In 1992 he co-founded NameTrade. When it was merged into Cintara he became their V.P. Branding before leaving to pursue some consumer marketing for a change.
In 2002 he started Brighter Naming, perhaps the only naming agency in the world headed by someone with two computer science degrees. This agency has grown to encompass a lot more than high-tech products, including biotech, travel, wine, fashion, services, telecom, properties, pharmaceuticals and many other fields.
Athol continues to provide business, marketing and branding consulting to technology and consumer clients. In particular, he is a senior advisor to the International Business Incubator.
Back in the 1930′s Dale Carnegie documented the steps in a sales process, and in the last ten or twenty years, many have written books on marketing and branding. But somehow most of these are targeted at the people who are already experienced and practitioners to some extent of their trade. On the other hand, they weren’t dummies either. So Athol felt a keen need to produce some practical and direct how to do it books for those who grew up concentrating on science or engineering or finance, and are only now discovering these branding and marketing areas as they attempt to go out and promote their invention of the day.
Partly this grew out of the frustration he felt when he saw how often Silicon Valley folks, as well as other propeller heads around the world, were trying to reinvent the wheel. They are too often acting like marketing is a new idea that is not precise and has no rules or methodologies. They don’t get it is an old proven science that is practiced everyday in consumer and traditional marketing organizations. And most of the other books are written for an experienced marketing manager – because most authors feel the urge to write only once they become real industry gurus.
Hopefully his books will help in some small way and shorten everyone’s on the job training time. Athol would genuinely love your comments and feedback. You are invited to email him to visit him on the web at www.svmarketeer.com where he embodies the motto “How to do it. By people who have done it.”