Building a Culture Around an “Open” Purpose

Guest: Tim Yeaton EVP & CMO, Red Hat

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Building a Culture Around an “Open” Purpose

How do you become a $4-billion company by selling free software? It almost sounds like a trick question, but it’s been done. Just ask Tim Yeaton, CMO of Red Hat, a $4-billion, open-source software company. The marketing’s been a major driver of success, and as Tim Yeaton puts it, has been the glue that permeates across the company and enforces everything—from product, to community, to end user.

Though Yeaton starts out by discussing how marketing supports large tech companies, and how it has fostered a community as unique as Red Hat’s, he starts to break down the individual elements that can be applied to any B2B brand looking to get their marketing gears turning: simultaneous brand building and demand gen, developing a collaborative, meritocratic culture, effective agency collaboration, and perhaps most importantly, the benefits of simply telling a great story. Lastly, though it may not be the most critical driver of success, it is probably worth mentioning that Red Hat is likely the first-ever company with an advisory committee built entirely of employees that have had the logo tattooed on them—now that’s dedication.

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Meet the Guest

Tim Yeaton brings more than 35 years of software and technology management and marketing experience to Red Hat. More recently, Yeaton was CEO at Black Duck Software. Under his leadership, the company experienced more than 30% annualized year-over-year growth, completed 3 major acquisitions, created a joint venture in greater China, and built a worldwide operation with presence in 23 countries. Before joining Black Duck, Yeaton was Chief Marketing Officer for Equallogic, prior to its acquisition by Dell. 

Previously, Yeaton spent several years at Red Hat as senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing and general manager of Enterprise Solutions. During his first tenure at Red Hat, Yeaton was instrumental in expanding the company’s business into the developer and middleware markets with acquisitions of JBoss and MetaMatrix, and built go-to-market partnerships with companies including IBM, HP, Dell, Oracle, and several others. In 2009 Yeaton was named one of the Most Influential People in the Open Source Software Industry, in a survey by Mindtouch. In 2010 he was named a COPU Think Tank Advisor, which recognizes the key global thought leaders in open source software. Also in 2010, the Mass. Technology Leadership Council named Yeaton a finalist for CEO of the Year. 

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