Aaron Orendorff is a chaplain turned writer turned digital marketer. He was the first editor-in-chief at Shopify Plus and then vice president of marketing at Common Thread Collective, an ecommerce agency.
He’s now head of marketing for Recart, an SMS platform. His passion is empowering colleagues and clients. He told me, “I find joy in bigging others up.”
The entire audio of our recent conversation is embedded below. The transcript is edited for length and clarity.
Eric Bandholz: Tell us who you are.
Aaron Orendorff: I’m the head of marketing for Recart. We’re an SMS app for Shopify businesses. My claim to fame is coming up with Shopify Plus. I cut my teeth with Shopify early in ecommerce. I remember writing how-to guides and articles about why you should trust the cloud for ecommerce.
I then moved to the agency side at Common Thread Collective. Now I’m sending text messages.
I didn’t have any background in this industry, nor any clients, pedigree, or connections. My life radically changed a decade ago. I’ll celebrate 11 years of sobriety at the beginning of February.
At the time I was unemployed and unemployable in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I created a website and wrote 10 blog posts to make it look like something was happening. I bought a traffic course from Neil Patel. It said to purchase your first 5,000 followers on Twitter. So I did. I think it screwed me for quite a while, but it helped to look like I was a legit business.
Bandholz: You have a big Twitter following.
Orendorff: Yes. My production rate is so much lower than what I see happening in the world. I’m relentlessly enthusiastic. I find joy in bigging others up.
At my core, I’m a writer. I warn folks when I’m starting to work with them and say, “Listen, I’m going to light you up in this Google Doc more than you’ve ever been in your entire life. The fact that I do that is an act of love. I would not invest in this if I didn’t believe in you.”
Criticism is a gift. Criticism is love because it takes energy, and it takes emotional risk. It’s much easier to fix and ship a thing than tell somebody where they went wrong. You run the risk of them misunderstanding or thinking ill of you. And I care a lot about that.
Bandholz: There is a line between criticism and hate.
Orendorff: That’s a powerful point. I’m fascinated by how to get somebody; how do you get on their side and disagree with them? How do you rapidly build trust? What are the cues? What are the shortcuts to it? What are the heuristics? The rule of thumb?
Bandholz: It’s just authenticity, right? You have to be authentic. From there, you build trust. Where can people follow you?
Orendorff: @AaronOrendorff on Twitter or find me on LinkedIn. If you need help with text marketing, visit Recart.com.