Shape The Conversation

Candid conversations from the team at about entrepreneurship, building a SaaS startup, and all things digital advertising.

About the Podcast

Great things happen when you start shaping conversations around you instead of just listening.

Shape the Conversation is a marketing and business podcast hosted by team members Jon Davis and Nicole Mears. Jon and Nicole were paid advertisers who left their agency jobs to build software for digital advertising teams. Building a successful ad tech platform hasn't been easy. Davis and Mears share the lessons they've learned with a goal of encouraging listeners to make the leap in their own lives from consumers to contributors.

Episodes include interviews with leading local entrepreneurs in Bend, OR, product development, marketing, management, and more. Whether you're mulling the idea of starting your own businesses, interested in the future of pay-per-click advertising, or just really love to hear two marketers argue, this podcast will leave you with insights you can utilize throughout your week to start shaping your own conversations.


The Evolving PPC Landscape for Agencies and Software with Kirk Williams

October 16, 2019
In this episode of Shape the Conversation, Kirk provides his perspective as a PPC agency owner and we (Nicole and Jon) compare it to our experience running a SaaS company in the same space.

PPC Management Software For Agencies

January 13, 2019
On this episode of 'Shape the Conversation', Nicole and Jon dig into the world of PPC Management Software from the perspective of both builders of their own platform as well as the purchasers looking into platforms for use in a PPC agency.

Accountability and Freedom with Michael Mack

December 13, 2018
Michael Mack is back on this episode of Shape the Conversation. Discussing accountability and freedom in and out of the professional space.

Breaking Down BuzzFeed's Report on Ad Fraud on Mobile Apps

November 8, 2018
Ad fraud is an issue that plagues digital advertisers/marketers every day. Fake ads that utilize bots to gain incredible amounts of impressions and build up gross amounts of money have caused even users, who recognize it, to start questioning advertising altogether.

Creating a PPC Strategy for a Brand New Product/Service

November 1, 2018
Making something new is no easy task, but it is only step one to truly getting off the ground. You have to make sure people know about it. Digital advertising is a powerful way to get eyeballs on your new product/service fast.

The Importance of Defining Your Target Market for Anything

October 25, 2018
How can you figure out if there is actually a market for your idea? In this episode, Nicole and Jon discuss ways to find, describe and communicate to the people that make up your target market.

Don't Assume a Quiet Customer is a Happy Customer

October 18, 2018
Whether you offer SaaS, services, or something else, a long stretch of silence from a customer is often an indicator that your relationship is not as strong as it could be.

Exploring Six Emerging Digital Advertising Platforms

October 11, 2018
In this episode, Nicole and Jon explore the pros and cons of six alternative digital advertising options to consider experimenting with.

Attracting Eyeballs in the Modern Attention Economy

October 4, 2018
In this episode, Nicole and Jon talk through how the changes in people's attention habits have influenced marketing decisions at Shape and how that led to filming a plane doing a fly by in the Oregon desert for a recent video.

The Ideas of Andy Raskin

September 20, 2018
Andy Raskin helps CEOs align their teams around a strategic story — to power sales, marketing, fundraising, product and recruiting. Nicole and Jon have been mildly obsessed with Raskin's ideas and in this episode breakdown his 5 elements for developing a powerful strategic story of your own.

A Review of Rand Fishkin's Book 'Lost and Founder'

September 13, 2018
In this episode, Nicole and Jon discuss what resonated the most with them after reading the book. They discuss their thoughts on Rand's startup cheat code and how that did/didn't align with their experiences in the startup world.

The General Stigma Around Advertising

September 6, 2018
Nicole and Jon both have made their careers as advertising professionals and have heard all the sarcastic jokes about it. So why does it feel like people distrust advertisers and marketers more than ever now?

Day-to-Day Ways to Manage Up

August 30, 2018
In this episode, Nicole and Jon talk through day-to-day steps you can take to 'manage up' the ranks of the corporate ladder and increase your chances of getting approval for a new idea when it counts.

Inside the Mind of a VC with Julie Harrelson, Fund Manager, Cascade Angels

August 23, 2018
In this conversation, we dive deep into why Julie and her investors are looking for much more in a pitch deck then just graphs that go up and to the right.

The Facebook Roller Coaster

August 16, 2018
Nicole and Jon dig into what moves the needle for Facebook's business: advertising. As Facebook continues to mature their advertising business and company as a whole, what ripple effect will this have on people and businesses spending time on the platform.

An Inside Look at Deschutes Brewery with CEO Michael LaLonde (Part II)

August 9, 2018
In part two of the conversation, Jon interviews Michael about how Deschutes views growth and marketing in the modern world of craft beer.

An Inside Look at Deschutes Brewery with CEO Michael LaLonde (Part I)

August 2, 2018
Michael LaLonde leads one of the largest micro breweries in the nation as CEO of Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon.

Dissecting the Business Model of Google (Alphabet)

July 26, 2018
Nicole and Jon talk about how Alphabet spends money to feed one of the most powerful business models ever created: search advertising.

The Power of Vulnerability with Michael Mack

July 19, 2018
On this episode, Jon and Michael go through three defining events in Michael's career and how they demonstrate his core beliefs.

When to Venture Outside of a Niche

July 12, 2018
On this episode, Nicole and Jon talk about the power of having a successful niche but also lay out some scenarios where you may want to diversify your product, service or marketing.

Making Big Career Changes

July 5, 2018
In this episode of STC, Jon and Nicole talk about the times they decided to take a leap and the times when they decided the timing wasn't quite right.

Chatbots: A New Frontier

June 28, 2018
Jon and Nicole talk about the progression, usefulness, and future of chatbots in the digital world on this episode of Shape the Conversation.

Voice Search: Separating the Signal from the Noise for Marketers

June 21, 2018
On this episode of STC, Nicole and Jon put the spotlight on voice search.

Dissecting Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report

June 14, 2018
On this episode of Shape the Conversation, they analyze the trends displayed on those slides and ask what the data means for the future of technology and humanity.

Balancing Emotions in the Workplace

June 7, 2018
Jon and Nicole dive deep into managing emotions and the importance of doing so during times of stress on this episode.

Your Business Does Not Need To Do 'All of the Things' to Grow

May 31, 2018
You may want to do 'all the things' for your business, but there are important decisions about what to do and not to do that need to be made throughout the business development process.

Good Problems vs Bad Problems

May 23, 2018
There are problems in every business venture. But how do you know which are 'good problems' and which are 'bad problems'? Jon and Nicole discuss their experiences with each and how to accurately address them on this episode of Shape the Conversation.

The World Doesn't Come to You

May 17, 2018
Starting a new endeavor is a challenge. Getting people to care is even harder. Jon and Nicole explain how they won Shape's first few customers and the difficulties that faced them along the way.

Going from Team Member to Team Manager

May 10, 2018
In this episode, we talked about what we learned from our experiences and how you can think about making the transition yourself.

"As a podcast addict, I can attest that this is an awesome listen for any aspiring entrepreneur. Whether you're thinking about starting a new business, wondering if it's right for you, have already started your business--you can learn a ton from this podcast.

They have found the right balance between a planned podcast and leaving room for the unpredictable so that they land on points they themselves may not have thought of before starting the session, but add value to the listeners day. I listen to too many podcasts as is, but this has cracked my top-5 and is here to stay. Give them a listen."

-Podaholic, Apple Podcasts Review

Read more from our blog:

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Scaling and growing your ppc operations
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Recent product related updates and information from the Shape team
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