Hell-bent on Breaking the Rules

Pete Sena, a pioneering entrepreneur, co-founded Digital Surgeons, building his career on developing cross-functional teams for Fortune 50s and startups alike. He’s a forward-thinking thought leader with expertise spanning from branding to Web3 technologies, attracting 33k Twitter followers and 4.2k on Medium. Dedicated to academia, Pete mentors at Yale and acts as an entrepreneur-in-residence at the University of Connecticut. He hosts the podcast “Forward Obsessed”, exploring business and tech insights. Originating from a dorm-room startup, he built District, a CT-based tech campus, and guided startups to success. Now, Pete focuses on AI’s societal impact, inspiring future entrepreneurs.


In this episode, Rick Meekins interviews Pete Sena about marketing and branding. Pete emphasizes the importance of differentiation in marketing and shares the ACT-MVE formula for effective marketing. He also discusses common mistakes and missteps in marketing and the need for companies to maintain a connection with their customers as they grow. The conversation highlights the significance of creativity, curiosity, and customer-centricity in successful marketing and branding strategies. Pete discusses the importance of design in creating a better experience for customers and employees. He emphasizes the role of culture in driving innovation and highlights the key factors of intrinsic motivation: purpose, autonomy, and mastery. Pete also explores the concept of internal marketing and the need for alignment between the internal and external narratives of a company. He shares examples of how small experiences and moments can have a significant impact on employee engagement and buy-in. Finally, he discusses the shift from ego-driven leadership to servant leadership and the importance of personal growth as a leader.


  • Design plays a crucial role in creating a better experience for customers and employees.
  • Culture is a key driver of innovation and success in organizations.
  • Intrinsic motivation is fueled by purpose, autonomy, and mastery.
  • Internal marketing is essential for aligning the internal and external narratives of a company.
  • Small experiences and moments can have a significant impact on employee engagement and buy-in.
  • Servant leadership focuses on serving the team and fostering a sense of community.
  • Personal growth is an ongoing journey for leaders.


  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 02:32 – Marketing Mastery
  • 09:30 – Common Mistakes in Marketing
  • 23:30 – Maintaining Customer Closeness
  • 25:58 – Intrinsic Motivation: Purpose, Autonomy, Mastery
  • 34:09 – Selling the Mission Internally
  • 39:12 – Continuous Personal Growth in Leadership
  • 43:27 – Servant Leadership
You can reach him here:
Breaking the rules
Pete Sena

Pete Sena the Co-founder, CEO, and Chief Creative Officer of Digital Surgeons, a creative consultancy that launched on $5,000 and today is a thriving 8-figure organization that employs more than 50 people and is housed in the innovative, comprehensive coworking ecosystem District, co-founded by Pete. He and his team have created award-winning work for innovators from Lady Gaga to United Technologies and the US Open and countless organizations from start-ups to scale-ups. Pete has also helped numerous companies from early fundraising to IPO, collectively raising more than $100 million for various client-partners over the years.


Contact Information


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