Welcome to Short Loops. A weekly newsletter by me, Stuart Balcombe, about my explorations and learning in customer research, product design, and personal growth.

5 years ago, my application for a permanent work visa in the US was rejected.

I remember exactly where I was, and what it felt like to open the official USCIS stamped envelope only to find out that I'd been unsuccessful in the "lottery".

That moment set off a chain reaction that would impact the direction of my career:

  • I moved to South Jersey (just outside Philadelphia)
  • I got married
  • I had to find a new job

This is an excerpt from the email I sent with my application to the CEO of a seed stage startup in Philadelphia.

In the spirit of the role, I thought it would be helpful to show you the value I would bring to the Compass team. I did this by completing a small project.

I was obsessed with UserOnboard and made my project in a similar style (wow what a difference 5 years makes). My email continued…

Why Compass? I love solving problems and we share a passion for pushing Typeform and Zapiers’ limits. If you were wondering how many thank you pages Typeform supports, it’s 274. I bring a wide range of growth experience from past projects that I can apply to help customers succeed.

The day we found the Typeform thank you page limit (I’m sure it's been updated since then) we were trying to build a completely customizable subscription management solution for an Ecommerce brand without code, way before “no code” was cool. I was just a marketer trying to solve a customer experience problem with the tools I had available and without spending months building a custom coded solution.

One thing that I will be forever grateful to my first role at RevUp (previously Betaspring) for is the space to tinker and experiment and cross pollinate different skill sets to achieve an outcome

Fast forward to today.

This week I was described by a client as a “marketing operator” because I was in the weeds stitching together tools to build workflows and frameworks to move faster on projects.

For me I've always found it hard to describe the space between "growth", "marketing", and "product" - I usually focus on improving customer outcomes because that is such a cross team sport.

The intersection of the different skillsets and frameworks however is so powerful and spending time going down rabbit holes in seemingly unrelated fields helps surface new connections and ideas.

  • Growth - Measurement and optimization
  • Content & Media - Storytelling and experience
  • Design - User flow and information hierarchy
  • Product - Thinking in short iterations while aligning work with achieving customer outcomes.
  • Tech - Understanding how things actually work and being able to write code around the edges of a problem.

Instead of defaulting to the way of doing things that's the norm for an industry, crossover skills mean you can skip steps (by building a low code prototype when others take months to ship), or stand out from the crowd (by telling a story in a new medium) or scale a process (by automating workflows with the right tools).

What are some "crossover" skills you have that give you an unfair advantage in your work?

Talk soon,


PS. I have the capacity to take on 1-2 brands in August.

Services include :

  • Content strategy + repurposing
  • No/low code design + prototyping

If interested book a call here.

PPS. Know someone who’d find this newsletter valuable? Please share it on Twitter or LinkedIn or point them to to sign up.

3 resources I found helpful this week:

Consumer Expectations are Changing: A Blockbuster to Netflix Style Shift. This first long form piece for Procket explores how companies can adapt their strategy to meet their customer where they are.

If You’re Going to Raise Prices, Tell Customers Why. Pricing changes are always a tricky subject to address with customers (just ask Drip and Intercom) this article provides some well researched support.

How To Execute a LinkedIn Company Page. A little different than the usual blog posts and threads but I'm really excited to test this awesome tool further, full review in a future newsletter.

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