Nick Cromydas, CEO and founder of Hunt Club joins me on the show to talk about the future of work, talent in startups, and startups outside of Silicon Valley.

Where to watch live:
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Listen to "Marcus Whitney Live Ep. 10 - Nick Cromydas" on Spreaker.

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MW
all right
00:20
Marcus Whitney live we are here Monday
00:22
through Friday 12 central, and we're so
00:26
happy to be back here again... it's pretty
00:28
or day here in Nashville today... I'm
00:30
excited about my conversation the guest
00:33
today is Nick Cromydas, he is the
00:35
founder and CEO of Hunt Club Nick is a
00:38
new acquaintance for me we met through a
00:40
mutual friend
00:42
Kurt Edie, and I love the company that
00:45
Nick is building has built has built and
00:48
we caught up at the at the right time
00:50
talking about you know the future of
00:52
work... I'm not going to steal his thunder
00:54
and let him talk about his company a
00:55
little bit but Nick thanks for being
00:58
here and please let the listeners and
01:00
the viewers know who you are…

NC
01:13
club and hunt clubs a new category
01:15
search firms, so we leverage a expert
01:17
network basically thousands of business
01:19
leaders all referring to help you find
01:21
your next great hire... so the whole idea
01:22
is great people know great people and we
01:25
have technology and communities that
01:26
power that...

MW
awesome awesome so what was
01:29
your inspiration for starting hunt club?

NC
01:31
yeah so the the original good idea so...
01:34
I'd built a couple different tech
01:35
businesses for her over the course of
01:38
like 2012 up until now and the whole
01:42
idea kind of came from I kept referring
01:44
people directly to executive recruiters,
01:46
and then kept getting hired... and I had a
01:48
buddy that was he was running basically
01:50
the CMO practice of a large executive
01:53
search firm and he kept winning these
01:54
digital innovation searches, performance
01:56
marketing searches, VP of retention
01:59
marketing searches, and it was when you
02:02
know a lot of like the traditional
02:03
digital tools and platforms were
02:05
starting to become more prevalent and
02:08
certainly digital marketing... and he didn’t
02:10
really know much about the space so he
02:11
kept asking me who might be a great fit
02:14
in our network and you know I could
02:15
connect him to and lo and behold I found
02:17
out you know five or six introductions
02:19
all found jobs through a search firm
02:21
based on me just setting an email to one
02:24
another... so that like really sparked you
02:26
know I think my my interest in the space...
02:28
and I think the bigger insight Marcus
02:30
was I kept getting an email back from
02:32
the people that I was introducing saying
02:33
“you know they've got this great new job
02:36
they're super stoked about it” and they
02:37
may have never considered it because
02:38
they were happy where they were, if it
02:40
didn't come from you know a friend or a
02:42
trusted referral which which was one of
02:43
my relationships... so that was kind of the
02:45
aha moment and spent some time like
02:49
shadowing these firms -big ones, small
02:51
ones, leading brands, boutique ones- and
02:54
just found really you know none of them
02:57
use any technology to power their
02:58
processes partners are still writing
03:00
notes on pieces of paper and handing it
03:02
to associates but the best ones all
03:05
crowd-surf this network of relationships
03:07
they've built and curated, and and ask
03:09
people for introductions or ask who they
03:11
know and that's like the primary way
03:12
they do business... so you know I thought
03:14
what if we kind of put all that together
03:15
and and that's where we're at today
MW
03:16
awesome man
03:18
up you told us this was gonna help yeah
03:20
so we got church bells going for like
03:22
eight to ten seconds here in the
03:24
background folks...
03:25
so so so Nick I think what I what I
03:29
loved about your story is I'm always
03:31
intrigued by the industries that have
03:34
been able to maintain a foothold through
03:37
relationships and have not had a
03:39
technology really coming in a meaningful
03:40
way and disrupt the underlying utility...
03:44
and in your case you weren't so
03:48
much disrupting the underlying utility,
03:50
which is the network itself and the
03:52
relationships right, you know that that
03:54
garner the trust that allow people to
03:56
explore opportunities that they wouldn't
03:58
have done otherwise, but but you
04:01
certainly made it work better... right you
04:03
used the technology to kind of
04:05
supercharge what was already there, and I
04:06
just thought that was that was really
04:07
smart

NC
appreciate it yeah it's like you
04:10
think about you poll
04:13
ten people just walking on the street
04:14
like how they found their job
04:16
like many of them got it through coffee
04:19
and breakfast meeting lunch and air
04:21
networking conversation and through a
04:23
trusted relationship... so what we think
04:25
about it hunt club is how do we take all
04:26
these offline behaviors that people are
04:28
just naturally and organically doing
04:30
with one another, and build great
04:31
technology to make it work even better?
04:33
and so that's the whole idea of what
04:35
we're doing so it's it's still that
04:37
authentic experience like we don't think
04:38
that you can automate the job of a
04:41
recruiter, we don't believe that at all.
04:42
you still need someone shepherding that
04:45
experience but what we think is you can
04:46
build awesome tools like really clever
04:49
ways to tap into trust in networks to
04:51
make sure the right person finds the
04:52
right opportunity…

MW
awesome
04:53
awesome so so let's just give a couple
04:56
of stats on hump club before we we jump
04:58
into our list of topics for today... so
05:01
because you know whenever I meet a
05:03
founder it's like okay this is “great you
05:05
have a really nice website…” but you know
05:07
have you built a substantial business
05:08
yet and you know I was I was excited to
05:10
kind of hear the the momentum that you
05:12
had prior to COVID 19 everyone's been
05:13
impacted... but like you know let's just
05:15
talk about how long you've been in
05:16
business and sort of how what kind of
05:17
scale you've been able to achieve
NC
yeah
05:19
builds a lot of nice websites that
05:21
didn't have any customers too so I've
05:23
said on both of those spectrums Marcus...
05:26
so our business you know really the idea
05:28
is started in 14 built the first version
05:32
of it though in 15 and then I've only
05:34
been full-time to CEO really three years
05:36
start something called new crest
05:37
ventures which is a hyper adventure Fund
05:39
venture studio before this... so you know
05:42
we've scaled it from roughly seventeen
05:44
eight to ten people to over eighty
05:46
employees worked with hundreds of
05:50
different customers from large fortune
05:52
500 companies like Circle K or Verizon
05:55
to some game-changing digitally native
05:58
brands or up-and-coming disruptors like
06:01
Dollar Shave Club, Pinterest, compass to
06:04
companies that just raise their first
06:05
round of financing that are looking for
06:07
their first Director marketing or VP of
06:10
Finance... so so built the business right
06:13
now most the teams in Chicago, but we're
06:15
building out kind of both our presence
06:17
along the west and east coasts and we're
06:18
fortunate actually do a lot of work in
06:20
the southeast to where we have some
06:21
awesome customers as well

MW
amazing
06:23
amazing so let's jump into our list of
06:27
topics... so the first topic that we want
06:29
to talk about which was the future of
06:31
work... and I think up for obvious reasons
06:34
the future of work... big topic right now...
06:37
Right… we're seeing
06:40
changes that are happening in the way
06:43
that we're working that we you know it's
06:45
kind of like out of a science fiction
06:47
book right it's like we knew these
06:49
changes would be happening we could see
06:51
them happening over time, but we didn't
06:54
think we would see a company like
06:56
Twitter...
06:56
I mean effectively out of nowhere I say
06:59
that's it we're all remote that's it
07:01
we're going we're going remote fully
07:02
right... and and there are so many things
07:06
that change as a result of that and the
07:08
only reason that that change has
07:11
happened is because this event has
07:14
happened that forced us, you know it's
07:16
like we were forced to change, and then
07:21
we realized all of the potential upside
07:23
to that change... so how does that now, what
07:27
are you seeing from the Hunt Club
07:29
perspective from you know hiring
07:31
managers in terms of are they expanding
07:33
the scope of where they're looking for
07:35
employees? have they changed in any way?
07:37
what what things matter in terms of you
07:40
know a great potential employee? what
07:42
what are you seeing from that
07:43
Perspective?
NC
yeah give me a quick stat so
07:45
I think we executed on like over a
07:47
thousand searches
07:48
is roughly in last call it three years...
07:51
and out of those searches maybe 5% of
07:58
them so maybe call it roughly around 50
08:00
either started with the intention of
08:03
being a canoes remoter or distribute
08:05
employee or you know was amenable to the
08:09
idea in some form or fashion... and so I
08:11
think the really interesting thing that
08:12
happened overnight was you know now that
08:15
number is closer to 50 per 60 percent of
08:18
our customers now say like the Geo
08:20
guardrails are off, I want best talent
08:22
regardless of where they are, help me
08:25
find the perfect person with the perfect
08:27
skill set versus the perfect person
08:28
person versus a person with a skill set
08:31
in my hometown... so I think that's blown
08:33
the gates out of like what's capable
08:35
from a talent perspective right it
08:38
changes the game on how you think about
08:40
you know your overall compensation
08:42
structures, it changes the game and how
08:45
you think about finding people, changes
08:47
the game and I onboard them and change
08:48
the game, and how you manage them really
08:51
everything so I think it's it's gonna be
08:53
like a watershed moment of innovation
08:55
where the entire paradigm from what you
08:57
look for, how you find it, how you get
08:59
them activated and interested, how you
09:01
get them on boarded... you know and how do
09:04
you actually start working together is
09:05
is gonna change completely, and I think
09:07
it's it's kind of really exciting time
09:08
for work in general

NC
and and it feels
09:11
like we're all creating this new reality
09:13
together so you know you as a as a
09:17
recruiter that recruits at scale
09:19
leveraging technology you're a bit of a
09:21
nexus point... you know like you're not
09:22
just there to help these these employers
09:25
find people you're also an adviser to
09:27
some degree right? because you're you're
09:29
hearing from all of your clients and
09:31
you're learning... you're you're gathering
09:34
all those best practices and you should
09:35
be able to sort of repackage them and
09:37
share them with your customers what
09:38
questions are they coming to Hunt Club
09:40
with? you know what I mean like because
09:42
this is a brand new world for them right
09:44
they don't have the playbook there is no
09:45
I mean you know maybe you could say the
09:47
real you know the book rework is a bit
09:48
of a playbook for this you know you can
09:50
look at cumference like automatic
09:52
Basecamp
09:52
there are those firms out there but
09:54
largely that doesn't mean my culture is
09:57
going to immediately be able to shift
09:58
into this new world so what questions
10:00
are they asking you
10:01
about okay I used to look primarily
10:04
within a you know 50 mile radius of the
10:07
office and now I'm looking all over the
10:09
country... how does that change the the
10:12
role of the recruiter?

NC
yeah it changes it
10:15
at time… to be really successful
10:18
in tomorrow's world of helping your
10:21
One- advising your clients on
10:23
getting the best talent but Two- helping
10:25
them actually find it... it means you need
10:28
to have a local reach into way more
10:31
geographies, industries, and pockets of
10:34
talent than you then you previously had...
10:36
because if I have a customer you know in
10:38
Los Angeles that's now looking for an
10:41
incredible engineer, they can now
10:44
actually maybe find somebody for that
10:45
price point in Cincinnati, Ohio for
10:48
$68,000 and Northern Kentucky University
10:50
is actually a great engineering school
10:53
and they may find an iOS developer
10:55
that's even better than anything that
10:57
they could localize in LA, and it's just
10:59
you have to you have to break down the
11:01
geographic boundaries and barriers that
11:03
previously exist and yet to get smarter
11:04
and more knowledgeable about all markets
11:06
not just not just the city that you
11:08
played in... so I think it's I think that's
11:10
a big part of what we're finding we're
11:12
advising our clients on, is like hold us
11:14
up hold the phone a second like you're
11:16
in a San Francisco based company and
11:17
you're hiring a director of performance
11:19
marketing for a consumer brand... like yes
11:22
there are tons of those people in San
11:24
Francisco, but what if I can sign and
11:26
find you like that same high quality
11:27
talent like in Chicago right… is it worth
11:30
exploring a 30 to 40 percent
11:32
you know decrease in what like cost of
11:35
living is and for that quality of town
11:36
if it can all work so that's a huge part
11:38
of what we're doing... I think a huge part
11:40
of what we're doing to Marcus is like
11:41
trying to consult our clients on
11:42
like how to actually hire in this
11:44
environment... you know very few executives
11:47
in the history of business have ever
11:48
been higher purely digitally… so how
11:52
the hell do you navigate that? right
11:54
where it's it's I'm hiring a CFO it's
11:56
critical critical for my company... I'll
11:58
probably have a lot of super hard
12:00
conversations with this person as our
12:02
business figures out this environment
12:04
over the course 12-24 months, and by the
12:06
way, I've never had a beer, I've never
12:08
shared a meal, I've never met their wife,
12:09
kids, or husband, or kids... like it's you
12:12
know it's it's helping them rethink
12:14
onboarding and
12:15
actually hiring practices so they can
12:16
still make decisions in the event that a
12:19
candidate is fully remote they've never
12:21
met in person is a big big thing we're
12:23
doing right now…

MW
yeah that's that's
12:25
massive
12:26
wow that's that's a that's a big big big
12:30
shift for people to get through... on that
12:33
note of, you know … there's a lot of talent
12:36
here but I could potentially find that
12:38
talent elsewhere um one conversation
12:41
I've seen bubble up around this is the
12:43
is the conversation about compensation...
12:45
right so people sort of dug into the
12:48
comments that Mark Zuckerberg made when
12:50
he was talking about the projected 50%
12:52
of the Facebook workforce over the next
12:54
five years would be remote... and then
12:57
there was sort of the the follow-on
12:59
question about well how is there going
13:00
to be a change in compensation? because
13:01
obviously you know people know the cost
13:03
of living in the San Francisco area it's
13:05
like astronomical, you know you're by
13:07
home it's just crazy right… so obviously
13:09
cost of living and let's say Nashville
13:11
is much lower than it would be in in San
13:12
Francisco and and you know he said yeah
13:16
you know there will be compensation
13:17
adjustments for cost of living... and so
13:20
there's there's that aspect of this as
13:23
well right... there's there certainly that
13:24
I might be able to find great talent
13:26
anywhere you know and not like limit
13:28
myself you know from a talent war
13:30
perspective but also there's an
13:32
arbitrage where I may not just be able
13:34
to get great talent elsewhere, but I may
13:35
be able to get great talent at a lower
13:37
cost which for most great companies
13:40
payroll is gonna be one of their top
13:42
three expenses no question … and so you
13:46
know have employers talk to you about
13:48
that and sort of ask you questions about
13:50
whether or not it's it's appropriate or
13:52
even smart or wise in this moment to be
13:55
thinking about salary arbitrage?

NC
oh yeah
13:58
all the time right like you're seeing
14:00
there's a lot of tailwind for you know
14:04
certainly in the Midwest and southeast
14:05
and like traditional markets that
14:07
haven't had the same plethora of tech
14:10
talent to be a burgeoning ground for
14:13
where everyone's moving towards for that
14:15
quality of life right... so I think like
14:17
our customers and a lot of our clients
14:20
are thinking through, you know both
14:22
elements best talent plus plus best
14:26
costs right a business at the end
14:27
today has a margin structure to some
14:29
degree so if you can get superior talent
14:30
at a fraction of the cost or less cost
14:34
because of cost of living being
14:35
decreased, and like everyone's kind of
14:38
interested in that... I think you've seen a
14:39
lot of like this sort of they're calling
14:41
like the second HQ movement where a lot
14:43
of companies are setting up new
14:44
engineering offices or new customer
14:47
success offices or even marketing
14:49
departments in markets that maybe aren't
14:51
as competitive for talent and are way
14:54
cheaper from cost perspective just to
14:56
increase the margin structure of
14:57
businesses... so I think it's a trend
14:58
that's going to continue on I think the
15:01
conversation we always kind of try and
15:03
navigate with our customers is like how
15:04
do you set that up the right way? right
15:06
so it's so it is successful and how do
15:09
you make sure you've got your core
15:10
competencies you know close and tethered
15:13
to HQ if needed, and then you're setting
15:16
up the right leadership structure is an
15:17
outside offices you can actually run a
15:19
remote situation... but you know I think
15:22
it's I think it's gonna be the trend
15:23
everything man I think it's it's you're
15:25
gonna find great leaders wherever they
15:26
are they're gonna learn how to run in
15:28
scale departments wherever they sit and
15:30
companies are gonna have to adapt to
15:32
that trend it's gonna I think it's gonna
15:33
put a lot of pressure on people thinking
15:36
for the first time I'm 33 years old I
15:38
live in an 800 square foot apartment in
15:40
San Francisco I pay $4,000 a month for
15:45
like a little bit of a sliver review of
15:46
the marina like why don't I go buy a
15:49
house in Nashville? right why don't I go
15:51
to Cincinnati and buy a great house? or
15:53
why don't I live in the burbs of Chicago?
15:55
it's it's gonna change over time
15:57
MW
have you thought about this enough to
16:01
try to think through who could be the
16:05
winner and who could be the loser long
16:07
term? and let me let me sort of give you
16:08
like an analogy I've been thinking about
16:10
lately right so I've been thinking about
16:12
the whole cable cord cutting analogy right...
16:15
you know what I mean like we were when
16:16
this when this whole cable cord cutting
16:18
things started we were like oh man this
16:20
is gonna be great we're gonna you know
16:22
be able to do things over the internet
16:23
I'm gonna have choice I'm gonna be able
16:25
to pick Netflix so pick this and now
16:28
what we've seen is like these different
16:29
mega corporations are like taking all
16:32
their content and starting their own and
16:34
then you know you start adding up the
16:35
Disney plus and then NBC is taking the
16:37
office and they're gonna launch their
16:38
own
16:39
and everyone got to have Netflix and
16:41
then ESPN is now doing one and when you
16:43
start adding it all up you know plus a
16:46
subscription exactly exactly so so my
16:50
you know... this is one of those those
16:52
scenarios where I feel like early on it
16:57
feels like the employees win because
17:00
they have the ability to live wherever
17:03
they want right, but I just wonder about
17:07
in the long term, does does that change
17:11
earning capacity? right you know what I
17:14
mean so do you start having regions
17:16
where your your earning capacity is very
17:20
much associated with the cost of living
17:22
where you live... maybe more so than the
17:25
amount of value that you provide... it's
17:28
just a thing I've been thinking about
17:30
over the last couple days I've seen this
17:31
this conversation playing out and I just
17:33
wanted to get your take on it

NC
I think I
17:36
think that could play out I think
17:38
something that that scares me a little
17:40
bit more than potentially that notion is
17:42
if you look at like the guardrails
17:44
they've been opened up for the Amazons
17:45
the Facebook's the googles you know the
17:48
Twitter's of the world who have you know
17:50
insanely high gross margin businesses
17:51
right … so they can afford benefits they
17:53
can afford increased compensation
17:56
structures that are maybe 10 20 30 40
17:58
percent above market... like the thing that
18:01
actually worries me a bit more is now
18:02
that the games change for them that they
18:04
can go anywhere do they actually keep
18:06
their compensation rates relatively flat
18:08
and pay people the same wherever they
18:10
are and really start absorbing a lot of
18:12
great talent that's traditionally going
18:13
to earlier stage opportunities or more
18:16
in tedium earlier stage companies that
18:18
are asking ejector ease because they're
18:20
their ground is now fertile to hunt
18:22
anywhere versus just in their poor area...
18:24
so so I think you can see that play out
18:27
where where some of them do suppress a
18:32
certain market and only pay based on
18:34
what the cost of living there which
18:36
makes sense maybe... but I think you may
18:38
also find out like just based on the
18:40
imbalance of supply for digitally native
18:42
talent and itself,
18:44
that like the demand hasn't contracted
18:47
just because we're on a pandemic... like
18:49
companies still need software engineers,
18:52
companies still
18:53
great designers, product managers, digital
18:56
marketers, just people that are just in
18:58
business functions that know how to
19:00
adapt fast in a business in a digital
19:02
environment... and and that talent is so
19:05
scarce right now and there's still such
19:07
a low supply, that like whoever's got the
19:10
biggest pocketbook or the most
19:11
interesting opportunity I still think
19:13
will win them... and so so I actually am
19:16
less concerned about that more concerned
19:18
about some of these bigger tech
19:19
companies absorbing a lot of awesome
19:21
talent that's currently working on
19:22
really interesting smaller problems or
19:24
the next great startup

NC
great segue and
19:26
and I'm glad you brought that up because
19:29
that was definitely a narrative that was
19:32
running around here in Nashville when
19:35
the news that Amazon was coming to town
19:36
especially when we heard that the
19:38
average salary was going to be in the
19:40
hundred and fifty K range... and we and we
19:43
you know you just take that and you
19:44
extrapolate it to the five to maybe ten
19:46
thousand employees that they're going to
19:48
be hiring in this market quite frankly
19:50
that was not even that that fear was not
19:53
even isolated just to the startups
19:55
although definitely pronounced at the
19:57
startup level... but also other large
19:59
corporations right

NC
I think their margin
20:02
structures are insane

MW
that's right
20:03
that's exactly right so so yeah I'm
20:06
really glad you brought that up... so let's
20:07
let's now shift to startups I do a lot
20:10
of work with startups founding partner
20:12
of a venture firm, sort of where I cut my
20:15
teeth and and probably you know will
20:17
always be involved with startups in some
20:19
way shape or form let's talk about the
20:21
future of talent in startups... what are
20:24
you seeing there? I've got my own ideas
20:26
around this but would love to hear what
20:27
you're seeing cuz you're actually
20:29
working with some startup so I'm trying
20:30
to you know staff their their teams…

NC
yeah
20:33
yeah I think you're seeing a lot of
20:34
different trend lines were you know
20:36
traditionally the highest density of
20:38
startups and arguably the most
20:40
successful startups are in the densest
20:42
areas of capital right so San Francisco
20:45
two-star New York coming from a
20:47
secondary perspective... and then obviously
20:48
trailing kind of second third or third
20:51
fourth fifth Boston LA cetera et cetera
20:54
and so so I think the interesting thing
20:56
that's going to happen with you know
20:58
with people working virtually now and
21:00
location not mattering as much and
21:02
people really learning how to
21:03
and manage and do different things and
21:05
transact online versus having kind of
21:07
that face-to-face... is I think it's
21:09
actually going to open up the floodgates
21:11
of capital quite a bit to two smaller
21:14
markets tier two tier three markets that
21:17
have tons of super smart people that are
21:19
innovative but maybe necessarily they
21:22
have venture capitalists or funds
21:24
haven't invested in as much in these
21:25
areas as well... so I think we're seeing a
21:27
lot of interesting trend lines were were
21:30
people that traditionally weren't
21:31
investing in startups they're starting
21:33
to do so as either a part of a family
21:34
office asset class, or as a you know as
21:37
an angel investor that that's getting
21:39
excited about it just because of a lot
21:41
of the tailwind of tech in general... I
21:43
think you're seeing a lot more people
21:45
graduate college and think about like
21:47
going to work for a start-up or a tech
21:49
company versus going to investment
21:51
banking, consulting, training programs, or
21:53
a lot of traditional pedigree paths of
21:55
employment... and that's then filtering out
21:58
to you know the next generation of
22:00
founders that are starting companies
22:02
after they learn how to go join Warby
22:04
Parker build it to a billion-dollar
22:06
business and leave as a director to go
22:08
start their own thing right... so it's I
22:10
think there's a lot of really cool trend
22:11
lines happening work there's tons of
22:13
growth and in a lot of these kind of
22:16
tier two and Tier three markets -Chicago
22:18
included- primarily because like the cost
22:20
to start a business here is way less as
22:22
well... right where it's where it's maybe
22:24
you need one-half to one-third of the
22:29
capital invested to go out and recruit a
22:31
great team because of because of there
22:33
and there and then cost the talent in
22:35
that area... and I think that's going to
22:36
change even more now that like you can
22:39
build a business and hire somebody and
22:41
it totally does slow to a remote area
22:42
that's incredible talented and have this
22:45
cost potentially even dropped further so
22:47
I think it's, you know a lots gonna
22:49
change... and I think being in a you know
22:52
the Chicago the Nashville see Atlanta's
22:53
of the world I think they're gonna enjoy
22:55
a lot of the talons of one investors
22:58
being open to investing more and more
23:00
anywhere, and I think Two- you know great
23:04
talent being found in forged a lot of
23:06
these environments

MW
are you seeing
23:08
anything specific to particular
23:10
industries? you know it just maybe circle
23:12
back to the tech giants thing again I
23:15
was
23:17
struck last week with the announcements
23:20
that Shopify made you know I feel like
23:23
over the last eight weeks I have done
23:27
much more digging into the latest and
23:32
greatest things that all the big tech
23:35
companies are doing and not just like
23:37
the googles but but the Shopify's and
23:40
and even looking at Microsoft from the
23:42
perspective of github... you know and
23:43
really seeing like how mature that
23:44
platform has become you know when I
23:46
realized if I was rolling out a bank
23:51
essentially with Shopify balance... right
23:53
you know it sort of made me feel like
23:55
wow you know you have Shopify and then
23:58
you have Square and obviously PayPal was
24:01
already a giant, and it's like how much
24:04
room is there really for startups in the
24:07
e-commerce space going forward? right you
24:09
know to me and so I start to kind of
24:10
feel like these categories are getting
24:14
largely closed out... you know as these
24:17
companies are they're not startups
24:19
anymore you know Shopify is not a
24:21
start-up anymore it's it's trying to be
24:23
an Amazon it you know they're they're
24:25
growing a fulfillment network across the
24:27
entire United States and it's incredible
24:29
because they're gonna empower
24:30
entrepreneurs and startups to be
24:33
retailers on their platforms right but
24:35
but that's a you know the e-commerce
24:37
world that's a different kind of
24:38
business as opposed to the actual pure
24:40
tech play right as I look around it
24:43
feels like there are less and less
24:45
opportunities especially in a
24:46
contracting economy there are less and
24:48
less opportunities for pure tech plays
24:51
to really break out... in healthcare we had
24:55
we'd have that many dominant players -we
24:59
have a couple of dominant EMRs but
25:00
there's still tons of opportunities for
25:02
for early-stage companies to come in and
25:04
create value- especially in a massively
25:06
disrupted space like what we're
25:07
experiencing today... I was just wondering
25:09
if you're seeing any of that going on
25:12
where like certain industries just it's
25:14
almost like the startups aren't really
25:17
getting the investment dollars aren't
25:19
really growing you know when you look at
25:20
the base of your startup clients they
25:22
they don't look like they're pure tech
25:23
they're much more specialized to a
25:25
particular industry?

NC
yeah I think that
25:28
you like unpacked like the whole thing
25:30
so like venture capital and startups
25:34
initially were backed because in a lot
25:37
of maar to create like outsized outcomes
25:40
and returns... right so high growth high
25:43
high dollar value outcome usually binary
25:48
right like works or doesn't… I think
25:50
there's going to be a big shift in a
25:51
couple different ways that you're seeing
25:53
a little bit this already the first
25:54
being that like a lot of venture dollars
25:56
you're gonna move to either industries
25:59
or pockets that traditionally have been
26:01
quote-unquote unsexy... in areas where
26:04
technology really haven't hasn't found
26:06
its way yet, and so some examples are
26:08
like many different areas in health care
26:11
where the mode of knowledge is just so
26:12
high that people just haven't entered it...
26:14
or think of things like recycling... or or
26:19
traditionally businesses that like
26:21
heavenly thought of like how to apply
26:22
technology over either for some mode of
26:25
learning that was too high... you know some
26:28
an area that investors haven't
26:29
understood or something along those
26:31
lines so I think you're gonna see a lot
26:32
of trend lines of dollars shifting
26:33
towards more complex industries that
26:36
require like a true moat to get over or
26:38
some sort of subject matter extra to get
26:40
through it... I think you're gonna see like
26:41
almost the democratization and startups
26:43
in general work like that word maybe
26:46
changes where it's no longer startups,
26:48
but like digital businesses
26:51
the capital structure changes right like
26:54
you can have it awesome... and I think this
26:56
is like the disconnect between what I
26:58
see with some of our customers and just
27:00
a lot of companies and friends in
27:01
general is like you can have an
27:03
incredible 1.2 million dollar business
27:06
that cash flows three to five hundred a
27:08
year that grows five to seven percent
27:10
year-over-year, that you've got someone
27:14
on autopilot or you manage your
27:15
customers, and like that's okay like you
27:18
don't have to build to a billion dollar
27:20
outcome leveraging investor capital to
27:23
be successful anymore and I think that
27:25
rhetoric is gonna isn't start to come
27:27
home quite a bit as as dollars are
27:30
increasingly more complex to find and or
27:32
keep are really looking for the unique
27:35
ways... I think another really interesting
27:36
trend line Marcus is like you're seeing
27:38
this huge blur between what's venture
27:40
and what’s growth equity anymore...
27:42
in some of what we said
27:45
we're lucky to partner with some of the
27:47
biggest funds in the world and like
27:49
you're seeing traditional minority
27:52
venture backed investors doing majority
27:55
buyouts, you're seeing growth equity
27:58
investors traditionally that put minimum
28:01
ten to thirty million dollar checks for
28:03
majority ownership putting minority
28:05
checks in for ten percent of a company
28:07
and like the whole thing's getting wacky...
28:09
so so I think it's it's that's changing
28:13
a lot of the game to where it's where I
28:15
think you know you're gonna see a lot of
28:18
different things but I think if you're
28:19
building a business that in a space
28:21
that's never had digital touch it before...
28:22
like awesome opportunity... if you're you
28:26
know if you're trying to really find an
28:27
intersection of digitizing something
28:30
that hasn't had a digital lens over it
28:33
before... so think of buying a you know
28:36
almost like an estate sale business that
28:38
never had a marketplace component to it
28:39
right like one of our old customers did
28:41
that... they acquired the company that was
28:44
completely offline put digital on it and
28:47
turned it into a tech company so we see
28:49
that as a growing trend as well... so I
28:51
think a lot of its going to change I
28:52
think the number one thing that we think
28:53
there is at least I think there as a
28:55
business owner is like it's being too
28:57
sharp on the capital structures and what
28:59
your plan is, because if if you're trying
29:01
to be something that's a billion dollar
29:02
plus outcome, or binary, you may miss the
29:05
opportunity to have an incredible twenty
29:06
to thirty million dollar business
MW
makes
29:09
it makes a lot of sense... so let's let's
29:11
turn for the for the last couple of
29:13
minutes it's conversation and just talk
29:14
about you your company and how you and
29:17
how you've navigated this right I mean
29:19
you've you've had to lead a company
29:21
you've had to move into the remote era
29:22
with your own team what what challenges
29:26
have you had to experience? you know what
29:27
what new what areas have you had to
29:29
stretch in? and and what have you learned
29:31
through this process?

NC
yeah a lot so so we
29:35
basically shifted to fully remote I
29:36
think on March 10th somewhere that same
29:40
day is us awesome yeah and so it's it's
29:43
I think like what I took it for
29:44
advantage is before in just being in a
29:46
fully office environment where 90% of
29:48
our team is local... is like all like the
29:51
coffee cooler conversations like the
29:53
in-person touch points.the learning
29:55
Through osmosis...
29:56
and just like the overall presence, like
29:58
what I'm finding to do as a leader is
30:00
like of our company is like increased
30:03
transparency by an order of magnitude... so
30:05
I'll give you like some actual tactical
30:07
things we've done, is like I send a
30:09
financial report out to the entire
30:10
company and now we're going on a weekly
30:12
basis now... just just so they have full
30:16
transparency and how things are going
30:18
and and what goals were tracking towards...
30:20
we structured we run a KPI system or an
30:24
OKR, and we we truncated our
30:27
goals from you know everyone having a
30:29
couple different projects that lead it
30:30
into a key goal to only one just do one
30:34
thing really well in your function in
30:36
the next quarter... and then I think I've
30:38
increased like my management notion, so
30:40
like I'm having more time spent on
30:43
one-on-ones but actually getting a lot
30:45
more out of it because the level of
30:46
focus and interaction in digital
30:47
environment... so it's so like yeah I've
30:50
had a change of ton and it's been a
30:51
there's been a lot of great benefits out
30:54
of it but like a lot of really hard
30:55
things right like... our company totally
30:57
changed our revenue contracted
30:59
immediately when everyone paused all of
31:01
their searches right because like people
31:03
don't really hire in a potential
31:05
recession

MW
and and like let's not forget
31:07
the first two weeks were freefall... scary
31:10
like you know we're hitting the
31:13
circuit breaker right right

NC
stop right
31:17
now
MW
right like again and again in the
31:19
same day so yeah I mean that initial
31:22
contraction of everyone just putting
31:24
everything on pause felt universal... you
31:26
know what I mean just felt like everyone
31:28
was going through…

NC
it yeah yeah and it's
31:31
it's yeah it's the first time I
31:33
graduated in the last recession and I
31:35
couldn't get a job but I wasn't
31:37
necessarily leaning a company or
31:38
responsible for other people's
31:40
well-being or livelihood and you know
31:43
it's been interesting trying to figure
31:45
out how to put the company and this best
31:47
position as possible to support the
31:48
people here as it has truly a you know
31:51
first-time CEO in this type of
31:52
environment... so so it's it's been a ton
31:55
of great learnings across the board I
31:56
think I don't know if I have much advice
31:58
that's worth taking, but I think what I
32:00
found from leaders that have helped
32:01
support me and figuring these things out
32:03
is just like over communication, over
32:05
transparency, and then and then like
32:08
truncating
32:09
goals and truncating focus seem to be
32:12
like the key to at least getting better
32:14
alignment and then hopefully we can
32:16
hopefully maybe now but I was gonna say
32:18
we could have more complexity to it as
32:19
as like the engines rev up again... but
32:22
right now I think it's actually it's
32:23
it's created a little bit more rigor for
32:25
us as a team you get focus on some
32:26
things

MW
that's awesome man well that
32:28
that's that's great great guidance from
32:31
someone who's actually a practitioner in
32:34
the field leading people... you know that's
32:36
I'm just so interested in how different
32:39
people are approaching this and what
32:41
they're getting out of it... I am hearing a
32:43
ton of positivity you know out of it...
32:45
it's obviously a very hard time there's
32:48
there's plenty of bad news out there but
32:50
you know to hear leaders talk about ways
32:53
in which they've grown, or ways in which
32:55
their organizations are performing even
32:57
even better under you know under given
33:00
all the Givens, is is is really inspiring
33:03
for the future... you know I know that when
33:05
this is all done you know let's give
33:07
ourselves to three years -maybe the
33:08
economy doesn't fully return- but you
33:10
know we will return to whatever our new
33:12
normal is going to be and just hearing
33:15
these little bright spots along the way
33:16
is inspiring you know it kind of keeps
33:19
you keeps you focused on on knowing
33:22
there is a new normal ahead and that and
33:23
that you know it could be better than
33:25
the one that we that we left so

NC
I think
33:28
it will be I think we're gonna change
33:30
the way that people work, the way to
33:33
communicate, the humanizing of business...
33:35
right like church bells in the
33:36
background and you sure it's at a home
33:39
desk or another game like it's like I
33:41
think it will actually be a better
33:43
working world when we get to the other
33:44
side of this and I think people are
33:45
going to be more authentic with each
33:47
other and I think I'm excited about that...
33:49
yeah everyone's gonna have to deal with
33:51
what their normal is but I think the
33:53
next iteration of work in business
33:55
itself is going to be one where
33:56
collaboration is great and people are
33:59
their authentic versions themselves, and
34:00
I think it's going to make for a better
34:01
Place…

NC
well Nick thanks so much for
34:03
giving me a half hour of your time I
34:05
know you probably have a one-on-one that
34:06
you need to get back to with your team
34:07
before you go I'm gonna make sure I
34:10
shout you out follow Nick you can see
34:13
him on Instagram Twitter at Nick
34:16
reminisce and then obviously he's on
34:18
LinkedIn linkedin.com slash n slash crow
34:20
Midas hunt club calm
34:22
is the company really really really
34:26
interesting new thinking company in the
34:29
recruiting space so go check out what
34:31
they're doing III think it's a great
34:33
group of people over there and I just
34:35
want to thank Nick for his time and
34:37
spending some time with us today and of
34:40
course I always want to ask you to
34:41
subscribe to my podcast Marcus Whitney's
34:43
audio universe all of these shows get
34:45
archived there along with some other
34:46
goodies that I put up there from time to
34:48
time you can get this on Apple podcast
34:50
Google podcasts and Spotify and as well
34:53
you can follow me across all the socials
34:55
easiest thing to do just google Marcus
34:57
Whitney you'll find me I'll come up and
34:59
of course please subscribe to my
35:00
newsletter and that is all that we have
35:02
for today so we will be back tomorrow
35:04
with my good friend Henry Hicks
35:07
he is the CEO of the National Museum of
35:09
African American music scheduled to
35:11
launch in the fall of this year so
35:13
excited to catch up with him I haven't
35:15
seen Henry in in months so we got a lot
35:18
to talk about talk about where where the
35:19
museum is going and also he's been doing
35:21
a lot more publishing online of positive
35:24
stuff and I want to kind of see where
35:25
his head is about all that but for now
35:27
enjoy the rest of your day y'all take
35:29
care of each other and let's build a new
35:30
normal
35:31
peace

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