Interview with Carlos Hidalgo on The UnAmerican Dream

The myth of the grind and the endless hustle completely pervades the startup space. The idea that nothing comes before the work is not only outdated and incorrect, but it’s downright dangerous. Invado founder and Pardot consultant Christopher Doran shared his story over on The UnAmerican Dream, and now we’re turning the tables. Author Carlos Hidalgo sat down to share his thoughts and experiences in the lead generation space as well as his journey to The UnAmerican Dream


CD:  Carlos, it’s always great to talk to you.  Seems like you’ve been really busy over the past several months.


CH:  Things have been busy, but good busy. I am having one of the best times of my life both personally and professionally. Great as always to reconnect with you! 


CD:  So we’ve both been in the demand generation space for what seems like an eternity.  What changes have you seen over the past 15 years?


CH: 15 years is generous, isn’t it? There certainly have been big changes in the B2B marketing and demand generation space in that time. Just look at the mass amount of Martech that is available. Content marketing is it’s own industry, AI, machine learning, etc.  However, change does not always mean progress. I hate to be a downer, but I see some of the same recurring challenges that we were discussing 15-20 years ago and it sometimes feels like groundhog day. We need to drive change in our organizations, be able to show measurable impact to revenue and get deep insight into our customers if we are truly going to progress and not just see change.


CD:  What do you see as the biggest challenges that organizations face in using marketing automation systems like Pardot?


CH: The biggest mistake I see when using marketing automation systems like Pardot is they put the technology of automation before any customer-centric strategy. Technology is and always will be an enabler and when it is deployed before a strategy is defined, there is only so much you can do so they are not getting the full value from these powerful solutions.  


CD:  So you’re life has taken a pretty interesting turn over the last year or two, culminating with the release of your new book, The UnAmerican Dream.  Can you tell us about your journey?


CH:  It has been one heck of a ride, that is for certain. I am not sure we have enough time to walk through the entire journey and all of it’s ups and downs, but I’ll do my best. My journey was one where I bought into the idea that my worth and fulfillment in life would be found in my profession. I put everything I had into growing an agency, developing my personal brand in B2B marketing, pushing for growth and I made my work my god. While there is huge value in hard work and nothing wrong with lofty aspirations, trying to find one’s identity and worth based on professional achievement is a horrible pursuit. During this time, I grew increasingly unfulfilled, frenetic and narcissistic and over time it took its toll. Given that most of my time, thought and attention went to building a business and proving I was worthy, it left little to nothing for my relationships. Over time as I grew more distant, my marriage eroded as did the relationship with my kids. At the end of 2016, it all came crashing down and I found my personal rock bottom. 


Since that time, I have taken steps to get back to my true self. I left the company I ran for 12 years, established work-life boundaries to help protect those things I value and am happy to say that my marriage is in great shape which is an amazing testament to my incredible wife! 


CD:  I read the book several weeks ago and I really found your candor on how your life in marketing automation technology and your “addiction” to hustle porn refreshing.  Why did you feel the need to write this book?


CH: I am thrilled to hear you enjoyed the book and thanks for the opportunity to discuss it. 


I wrote the book for those who find themselves in the same place I was and are asking the same question I did – is this it? Truthfully, all the hustle, the ascent up the professional ranks is not all that gratifying when you arrive at a certain level and are instantly in a place of “what have you done for me lately”, so it starts all over again. So the book is for executives, professionals and entrepreneurs as an invitation to explore a different way and define success not solely through a lens of monetary gain and business growth, but by contentment, happiness and strength of relationship. 


CD:  What do you hope readers take away from reading this book?


CH:  I truly hope readers walk away encouraged and know that they do not have to hustle in order to achieve their goals. I hope they embrace the idea that there is value in hard work, but our work is not our worth. I hope they walk away understanding that there is far more value in relationships than there is in a large bank account and that they can choose to cultivate wholehearted living and be successful. It is not an “either or”, but both — an “and”. 


CD:  What’s the best way to get hold of The UnAmerican Dream?


CH: The book is available on Amazon, or you can order directly from The UnAmerican Dream


Thank you for taking the time to share your story, Carlos. And thank you for such an insightful book! 

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