Brandon Somerton

Onboarding Specialist
Brooklyn NY, USA
We caught up with Brandon Sommerton our Onboarding Specialist to learn more about his career journey and his experience learning the ropes of a brand-new industry.
You have a unique work history. Can you tell us a little bit about the work you were doing before joining Creative Force?

Funny enough, my previous role was at a startup that developed a workflow tool similar to Creative Force. However, instead of helping content creation studios, their tool was designed to help diesel repair shop owners manage their operations.

As anyone who has worked at a startup knows, you wear many hats, and your value is truly dependent on your ability to get things done. I was the third employee they hired and in my three years there I did every customer-facing job—onboarding, customer support, and customer success—and I often found myself doing two or more simultaneously. Sometimes that meant long days and late nights, but I enjoyed the hustle and the people I worked with.

I knew I didn’t want to talk about diesel repair for the rest of my life so I left there in March 2020 without much of a plan. Since I have a background in filmmaking, I wanted to return to something more artistic and creative. I considered starting my own production company...and then the pandemic hit.

You have experience with onboarding workflow software and a background in filmmaking. You were destined to work at Creative Force! How did those past experiences and interests help you get up to speed in your role here?

I really was! Obviously, the diesel repair workflow software served a different industry than Creative Force, but the challenges a diesel shop owner faces are surprisingly similar to the challenges faced by leaders of content studios. They struggled with keeping track of inventory, managing the individual steps of the repair workflow, a lack of data insights into their operations, and ensuring trucks were delivered on time. To any studio managers not currently using Creative Force, those challenges probably sound pretty familiar.

Surprisingly, the stages of production between a content studio and a diesel repair shop also map onto one another fairly seamlessly. So even though I was new to the creative production industry, I was able to analogize the different stages of producing a content asset with the stages of repairing a diesel truck which helped me at least understand the basics of how these studios operate and some of the common pain points they face.

In the months since joining, I’ve been focused on filling in the gaps in my industry knowledge. My teammates come from the industry and have been generous with their time in helping me get up to speed. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit four customers so far, each in different stages in their use of Creative Force. Some were just out of onboarding, others had been long-time customers. 

Seeing how our software is used by creatives in real studio environments, hearing from our end-users how our software solves so many operational problems for them, and listening to people like Adam Fedorowicz (Onboarding Specialist), Max Brunon (Senior Onboarding Specialist), Ian Mitchell (Director of Customer Success) and Matthias Farenholtz (Director of Key Account Management) discuss the challenges facing studio leaders and different ways of leveraging Creative Force has been invaluable.

I have to say as well that the way we structure onboarding also really helped as a new onboarding specialist. At many startups, onboarding customers pretty much involves creating an account for them and wishing them the best. To come into a team where we have a clearly defined onboarding journey, a full-fledged customer training academy, and onboarding specialists who are invested in making sure every new customer is successful helped me to get up to speed quickly.

Why do you think you gravitate towards startups and scale-ups?

I like the feeling of being a part of building something. Of course, working at companies in their early stages involves more risk, and I have been part of companies that failed to get funding and simply dissolved. But it is worth it if you get in at a place where you work with good people and there’s a healthy culture and where it genuinely feels like everyone is building towards a shared goal.

In that sense, Creative Force has been exactly what I was looking for. Which I actually didn’t know would be the case when I first applied. We didn’t have the fancy careers page we have now and didn’t have a Glassdoor. There wasn’t much information at all about what it would actually be like to work here. But then through the interview process,
I met all these fun people who treated me with the same openness and respect you show a colleague. They really made me feel like I was already part of the team. So once Astrid called me and asked if I wanted to join, I knew I wanted in.

You mentioned you studied film and had aspirations of becoming a director. Are you pursuing anything creative on the side?

I will say, at one point in college, I thought I might be an actor and quickly realized it was not for me so these days I stay behind the camera.

My brother, my friend, and I are currently working on a side project. We are all spread out—my brother is in Arizona, my friend is in LA, and I am in New York—but we try and treat it like work and meet each week and dedicate some time in the evenings to it. We used to do silly sketches and things when we were kids, so the plan is to start with some short sketches to get back into it and go from there.

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