Empowering and Inspiring Entrepreneurs

In this Manufacturing Ecommerce Success Series, our guest speaker was Scott Omelianuk. Scott is the Editor in Chief at Inc. Magazine and the Global chair at IKAR Global Institute. Moreover, he is also an instructor at Stevens Institute of Technology.  Scott has been involved with and worked in some of the largest and well-known brands in the US.  Currently as the editor in chief for Inc. Magazine, Scott is empowering and inspiring entrepreneurs daily with the content and programs Inc. delivers.

Empowering and inspiring entrepreneurs is not difficult if you build a strong organization dedicated to this. Our guest today shares how Inc. Magazine is doing this..

In this Manufacturing Ecommerce Success Series, our guest speaker was Scott Omelianuk. Scott is the Editor in Chief at Inc. Magazine and the Global chair at IKAR Global Institute. Moreover, he is also an instructor at Stevens Institute of Technology.  Scott has been involved with and worked in some of the largest and well-known brands in the US.  Currently as the editor in chief for Inc. Magazine, Scott is empowering and inspiring entrepreneurs daily with the content and programs Inc. delivers.

The conversation of the episode started with Curt introducing Scott to the show. After this, Curt asked him about his journey and how he started as a garbage man and went all the way up to a style editor at GQ. Responding to this, Scott said that success works in different ways.

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Moving on Scott mentioned that he was indeed the garbage man of the garment industry and he did drop out of school. Furthermore, talking about empowering and inspiring entrepreneurs, Curt asked Scott to share his entrepreneurial journey.

Talking about this, Scott said that generally when people come towards the field of Media it is because they have a calling or they really want to get to that side. However, Scott said that for him, this was untrue. When he was in art school a teacher of his suggested to him that he should work on his writing more than on art.

Therefore, this is when Scott decided to pursue writing as well. Sharing more about empowering and inspiring entrepreneurs, Scott mentioned that when it comes to these issues, he always questioned where these brands can go for themselves. Hence this is when he wanted to do something for all these entrepreneurial brands.

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Additionally, Scott talked about his efforts during the pandemic. He said that when the pandemic hit, it was very difficult to break through. This is when he actually had to find ways for empowering and inspiring entrepreneurs. For this effort, Scott also trained a bunch of people online and via zoom.

By the end of the conversation, Scott also said that although it was very difficult to mobilize these people during the pandemic he did so and now Inc. Magazine has over 5000 members.

The conversation ended with Curt thanking Scott for his time.

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Damon Pistulka, Curt Anderson, Scott Omelianuk


Damon Pistulka  00:06

All right, everyone. Welcome for another Friday episode of the manufacturing ecommerce success. I’m one of your co host Damon Pistulka. With me today, I’ve got my brother from another mother, Kurt Anderson, the other side of the country. Take it away, Kurt.


Curt Anderson  00:23

Hey, Damon. Thank you, brother. Man. This is what a year that we’re starting off with. No, I’m still like, I’m still like on a high from last Friday with curiousness from biggest fans. Guys, today, we have the editor in chief from Ink Magazine. In here we go. I’m going to I’m going for Scott. I’m just ripping off the band aid. Let’s do it. Not only on ik scatti Oh, the editor in chief of Ink Magazine. Scott. Happy New Year. Welcome, my friend.


Scott Omelianuk  00:50

My pleasure. Thanks so much for having me guys. Happy New Year. And I say that with a bit of a question mark. Right. Yeah.


Curt Anderson  00:57

Yeah. That Hey, we’re out. You know,


Damon Pistulka  01:00

we’re on the right side of the same boat. Yeah, it was in the same boat. We’re


Curt Anderson  01:03

above six feet. So we’re doing for now. Yeah. Good point. So Scott. So this is such an incredible honor privilege. I’ve been a raving Inc fan for probably 30 years. And so that actually have the editor in chief and I’m not even going to pretend I’m not thrilled excited and starstruck right now.

So what is we have a ton known cover ton of pack. And so my first question for you today, if somebody goes on your LinkedIn profile, and I encourage welcome, invite everybody on the program, connect with Scotty Oh, here, he’s just a thrilling dude. How does somebody go from garbage man, to the Style Editor of GQ magazine, all the way up to the editor in chief of ink. How does dude, what’s that path? How did that,


Scott Omelianuk  01:48

you know, this is an interesting story. And when I look at my career, I think, Jesus, this is just an example of someone who had no direction and didn’t know what they wanted to do in life. Right. But but the fact is that it’s true, I was a garbage man in the garment district for a while I was a carpenter for a while to getting out of school. And by the way, I was editor in chief of a brand called this old house ventures, which is the parent company of this old house.

Right? So there was a connection there. I am myself a failed entrepreneur, in the last handful of years. And so, you know, somehow there is some cohesion there where I’ve always had jobs that have put me on the inside of the media job that I have, basically. And I think, you know, ultimately, that that, that that’s what it was, is sort of my version of starting out in the mailroom, I suppose. Yeah.


Curt Anderson  02:40

Wow. Well, so this is phenomenal. So and I know entrepreneurship, and I thank you for your vulnerability, sharing that, you know, we’ve all to die, you know, if I shared with all my failures, we’d be here all day. You know, you’re incredible entrepreneur, you’re and you know, you’ve been supporting helping entrepreneurs, basically your entire career, I know, entrepreneurship runs in your blood, in your family, so on and so forth, share a little bit about, you know, what entrepreneurship meant to you, and what drove you to ink?


Scott Omelianuk  03:08

You know, I think, you know, so to be to back up, like a lot of people come to media as sort of a calling or, you know, is something they feel they needed to do. For me, it really came out of school where I was a studio art major way back when, when I was in college, and I had a very nice art history professor who told me, you know, Scott, I think you’re a better writer than you are a painter, and maybe you should think about that.

And, and I did write I thought about it. And it turned out it’s true. I was a, a decent writer, but I didn’t. And so that’s how I ended up in media right after working those those those jobs for a few years. But I didn’t have the same calling toward media. And I was a little bit you know, outwardly directed, I suppose you might say it nicely, which meant I was looking for the appreciation of others, you know, so a shrink would say it the first way, I would say it the next way. And so I was always even though I was in media, I was always looking for the next thing. And you know, what, what are people doing?

And so very early on in my career, I, you know, there was the this thing that started first was AOL and prodigy, and yeah, yeah. CompuServe and those things, right. But then it turned into the, to the web and, and I saw that, well, there’s an opportunity for us, you know, and then as that progress is like, video, well, that’s an opportunity for us. And so I always kept seeing, like, how work I worked at really strong brands, right. I worked at GQ magazine, I worked at Esquire magazine. I consulted to Playboy at one time and to some other magazines that don’t even exist any longer.

I worked for Ralph Lauren for a while, right so, so happy He’s incredibly strong brands. So I always thought like, where, where can these brands because they’re so well developed? Where else can they go? And I think that’s where my personal entrepreneurship came now that was informed by a family, like me, and we can talk about my failed entrepreneurial story later, but like me, were entrepreneurial, not always successful, but always asking the question, what if, and, and why not me?

And I think so, you know, with those two things in mind, even if you are in a large company, and I worked for you know, what, at the time was the world’s largest media company, you could be entrepreneurial by asking those questions. And and so that’s sort of how I approach it right? Because the what if and why not me? Are the the questions whether the people on this call, realize it or not, are what they asked to get them into the businesses they’re in now, in one way or another. Yeah,


Curt Anderson  05:59

man, this is so good. So guys, happy Friday. If you’re just joining us, please let us drop your comments on LinkedIn shares. Where are you coming from? So guys, we’re with Scotty Oh, from editor in chief of Ink Magazine. And again, huge raving fan of Ink Magazine, and probably a 30 year subscriber, I’d love to like I’d actually like to look back and have an issue right here. There’s Gary Vee from the November issue.

This is the only magazine you know, like, you know, I’m missing e commerce and I get it. I’m like, Hey, I’m going to go digital. This is the only magazine I still religiously describe to I have to have it physically in my hands. And guys, when you get in here’s our dear friend Scott right on the inside Scott and you have awesome articles. Strongly encourage welcome invite everybody grab ink go right online, Google Scott, and connect with Scott on LinkedIn.

And Scott, you have awesome editorials, you kick off, you know, the each month with getting heartfelt messages, vulnerable messages. Here you’re talking lessons on leadership I in hidden here’s a great LinkedIn success story. I as soon as the your first month, I read your audit editorial, I was just captivated. And I’m like, I’m going to shoot this guy note on LinkedIn, he’s probably gonna ignore it. And you came right back graciously, and welcomed me into your network. And we’ve had a nice dialogue. Dude, what was it like your first month? If I’m not mistaken, chief was Daymond. Then of 2020 was roll go? Right, Scott?


Scott Omelianuk  07:29

I basically brought the pandemic again. And it was not fun. And the first, you know, honestly, the last six months had been terrific. The first year and a half was really difficult because I came to inc with, you know, a mission, right, I had a brief that our owner and my boss thought I should, should pursue and that I thought I could pursue and that I had done before in other places. Right. So reorienting the brand a little bit. So you know, yes, it’s a magazine.

Yes, it’s a website. Where else can we go? So how do we energize the staff to think about, again, taking that brand to new places? How can we, with a mission of serving the American entrepreneur? Where else can we do that? And yet, at the same time, how do we make everything we currently doing better? And so suddenly, I was with a group of people that I really didn’t meet in person. And I’m telling them how they need to do everything differently. And it doesn’t work well, in the best of times, right?

You need to develop trust, it’s harder to develop trust, you know, through zoom call. It’s easy to have all that back channel conversation. When you’re not in the eye say something I’d upset somebody, you know, in the office, they see me 10 minutes later and realize I actually don’t have horns, and I’m not the ogre that I might have. Yeah, yeah. But but when they don’t see me, and then they go and they talk to their colleagues about, you know, right back channeling it’s like, becomes a nightmare, to be perfectly honest. Yeah, hard. But I do have a bit of a peasant mentality. And I don’t give up as most entrepreneurs.

Go ahead. And, and, and stuck with it. And slowly but surely think, you know, we assembled the team that that, you know, was most of the people who were here, a few new people. And we’re moving in a great place now. But it took a long time much longer than it would have otherwise much more difficult than it would have otherwise. I realized during that time how much I don’t like working from home. Because when you have those difficult conversations, and all work has some difficult conversations no matter what kind of what kind of, you know, community or team members, you have, no matter what your culture is.

They’re still difficult conversations. I want to leave those at the office. I have enough difficult conversations with my spouse. Yeah, I need to add to them right. So I wanted to say to all that was incredibly difficult, but now I think we’re in a terrific place. As the last few months of 2021, I got out on the road and we had a chance for Inc 5000. Members, the Inc 5000 represents the fastest 5000 fastest growing 5000 private companies in the country, right and, and some of those in the past have been Microsoft, Dell, Zipcar, Under Armour, Chobani.

So really, you know, well known companies that have started out in the Inc 5000. But I got out and I got to talk to those people. And it was transformational, to be perfectly honest, like being able to connect with people again, being able to talk about what we saw mutual value, how we could serve them better, which, by the way, as the editor of ink media, and as a professor, as well, I’m a professor in an er, er, in a venture center professor at school, I earned venture center.

One of the things that I was allowed to do this summer is one thing, no business does enough, which is really talked to their customer. Yeah. And, and that was terrific, because you learned so much. And so the last six months, you know, until Omicron came along, we’re, we’re entirely different from the first 18. But we’re in a better place now, even with this new variant, and all pistons are firing, and we’re doing well.


Curt Anderson  11:23

This is fantastic. So well, I want to I want to pause there. So and we’re going to take a super deep dive in ink, I’m going to backtrack a little bit. So again, you scratch the surface, I knew work that Ralph Lauren, I mean, like, major brands, Ralph Lauren time, Esquire, GQ, you know, you’ve mentioned, you know, who’s who of media. So let’s go back to like, 2002 ish, you know, you know, we’re past the internet bubble. But you know, times are very challenging. You know, we’re post 911, and, Ron, all that all those things.

You You landed into digital super early, you know, you mentioned some of those early brands in the 90s. You were a digital marketer before, like even digital marketing was like a thing you when you’re when you’re your future, trendsetter, you know, looking for future trends, or what have you talk a little bit about, you know, what you saw, what were successful strategies that you saw, then that are so even applicable today in the early digital market? Yeah,


Scott Omelianuk  12:18

I, you know, I think what happened for me, was that, and right, you’re right, I worked at time and Time Warner, which at that time was the world’s largest media company had enormous influence on forests, for the paper that it printed on had a fleet of six or seven corporate jets could get any head of state on the phone when it wanted to write. It was remarkable. But, but the fact is that, instead of just buying into that, and being impressed with the trappings of working at a place, I was honest about my own media consumption habits. And I realized that I was spending more and more time online than I was in rent, that I would pick up my laptop and sit down in front of the TV.

And, you know, either look up stuff that I was watching on the TV, show information or, or be something entirely. And so that, and as I mentioned earlier, sort of being, you know, other directed, made me wonder what else could we be doing all of the time, and I had the good fortune of running a TV brand at this old house, at at timing. So I wasn’t as locked into the history of the company as some other folks were. And and so, to me, it was just being honest, I remember this one day getting on, you know, I can remember getting my Kindle when it was still that beige plastic, you know, yeah, Angular looking thing.

And sitting on the bus on the way to work and reading the New York Times on it and seeing a book listed and tapping a button and having the book come to the Kindle. Right. You know, it’s odd, because this is not that long ago, right? Yeah. ages ago. And I was like, wow, commerce and content together are really interesting. And, and I think I just asked those questions. And I’d go to my bosses, who are all very smart people. And I say, we got to do this. We got to do this. The CEO would go, I don’t know anything about TV.

We’re a magazine company. Yeah. Right. I think he missed right. And I think this is a thing for all companies to think about is, what you do is different from who you are, and what your purpose is. And so I would have said that, as a company timings purpose, was being this incredibly trusted source of information delivery for America. And at that time, I do mean America because everyone connected with one brand or Yeah, from from timing. It wasn’t about ink on paper. It was about the information and the trust, and we could convey that information in trust in any way, technology or the consumer decided our world was going to change.

And, and that was a hard thing to sell in the arrogance that existed from prior success. Right? When timing basically bought Warner Brothers it had the same valuation adjusted for inflation that Uber has today was hugely successful company. It sold for you know, so, you know, market cap of $80 billion sold, because it got too arrogant for $2 billion. Yeah, 20 years later. And so I think it’s about that being honest, being honest, where where the consumer is going, being honest, where technology is going, see how those two things marry.

I had, Aaron Valley is the founder of Udemy. And now of a company called Health, only person to have left his village in Turkey to come here. He’s a Kurdish Turk. And he knew that he wanted, because he thought it made the most difference. For people in his village, the two most important thing for health care and education. And that’s why he founded Udemy. And that’s now why he’s founded carbon hub. But he knew, and he told me, this is why I’m sharing this is that he had to start one or the other first, based on whether the technology so the idea was tertiary.

The idea that we all think is the most important thing isn’t, is the technology available to deliver the idea in the right way? And is the consumer willing to adapt or adopt rather than technology? And yeah, those two things also exist is the idea of the perfect idea. Otherwise, it’s just something you tried and failed at and by by reorienting in that way. Right? So I guess my point is constantly asking you those questions. Yeah, looking at where the consumers going, and what technology is giving us sort of can keep us ahead of the curve. And way, you know, my former bosses didn’t see


Damon Pistulka  17:00

this is this is something because you a two things. First thing, the underlying time example you gave is so relevant. And in many places, because people get stuck on that we we print a magazine, that’s what we do. It’s not we deliver information and provide trust. And the other thing that we see so much in in manufacturing and across the board and businesses in UCS two in the United States is this arrogance, from prior success.

They see oh, we always we always sold like this, we’re $100 billion company, and we always sold like this. And the next thing you know, there’s this company that comes out of nowhere, that says, right, we figured out what the real thing was, like you talked about, yeah. And we’ve capitalized on that, and we’re worrying your


Scott Omelianuk  17:48

lunch. And and the examples, you know, for us at this point, the examples are so sick, you know, is one example, Kodak Invoker Oh, yeah, is another right blockbuster, given the opportunity to buy Netflix another yet. And, and all of them were too connected to their current revenue streams, and had too much of a belief that the way things were, or the way things are going to be. And the fact is, you know, someone once said to me, we live at the time of the most rapid change we’ve ever seen. And it’ll never be slower is terrifying. So if you’re willing to can be so exciting.


Curt Anderson  18:31

Yes. That’s in here. I had I had a half an hour call yesterday with a Kodak veteran from the 80s. And just and he was there, you know, the last bit of the heyday and just you know, shared you know, they were just printing money. It was just absolutely insane. So I just Man, this guy. Yeah. Well, good as this conversation, Scott. Let’s keep it firing man. Yeah. All right. Let’s, let’s let’s hit Inc Magazine. So Make Magazine again that I share that I’m a raving fan. So and this is such an honor. So Ink Magazine was founded by a visionary 1979 Your company is turning 43 years old this year. So Bernie gold Hearst? Do I have that right?

Bernie gold hers founded in this is a fascinating entrepreneurial success story. If I understand his story correctly, and I I remember, like, you know, getting with 80s You know, when it was still ink was newer. And entrepreneurship was kind of like a foreign word, a dirty word, what have you. And so he was a sailing junkie. I think he graduated from MIT. He was a sailing junkie going all over the Caribbean. He came up with a newsletter. It turned into like sale or sailing magazine, built into this monster success.

He was doing like 10 $12 million into seven in the 60s and 70s. Maybe the 70s right if I think I’m close Scott. He was it turned like he was the accidental entrepreneur. It turned into this thriving business. So he started looking, I need some magazines to help me on how to do entrepreneurship. He couldn’t find one. So what does he do? He starts at magazine, it is just such a guy’s google it. But Scott talked about the legacy from ink, you know, what attracted you to anchor just like so that, you know, give us an inside scoop of what’s going what goes on underneath the hood of Ink Magazine?


Scott Omelianuk  20:12

Yeah. It’s kind of a remarkable brand. And by the way, the the man who owns Ink Magazine right now, his name is Joe Mansueto. He founded Morningstar. He he thought that ink was so important to his success, and in launching morning started becoming quite wealthy from it, that he bought it to make sure that entrepreneurs still had access to the kind of support that Inc gives to people, because he thought it was that important for other people to have, which is a remarkable story.

Yeah, and also an incredible honor to work at a place like that, right. And so, yeah, Inc, for its entire history has had one mission. And that’s to support the American entrepreneur, when you have that, that mission or that purpose, right, as I mentioned before, it’s like, it’s incredibly clarifying, in a lot of ways, right. So at one point, that purpose existed in telling stories of entrepreneurs who are successful.

And that was ink on paper, right? When the digital era came, we brought it to do the same thing, digitally, still largely just success stories. And then we launched our recognition programs, and we have a set of recognition programs that, you know, if you’re successful with have in, in, in fact, made people change people’s businesses, you make the Inc 5000 Suddenly you have m&a opportunities you didn’t have before you have sales opportunities, you know, Apple and Google are willing to do business with you in a way they weren’t before.

You use it as a recruiting tool in a competitive environment. And people see that and think that the, like, the programs that we run, now are an extension of that. And we still see that as supporting the American entrepreneur, because it allows them to be successful in their job. And, you know, one of the things we’ll do is to continue that, and whether that’s, you know, with the start of the pandemic, we launched a weekly townhall with the US Chamber of Commerce, a streaming event that addressed all of the issues that small businesses were facing.

And we did that for the first eight months of the pandemic that was new, but it was core to our mission of supporting the American entrepreneur. And so, you know, I urge all other businesses to to think about what what their purpose is, because it’s not always what it appears to be on the surface. Right. So when I when I got to this old house, you know, our most successful part of the brand was this television show that was on PBS, also on PBS from Stanford, for 40 some odd years.

Yeah. And the I had this hunch that it wasn’t successful. And we had fans who watched the television program with their parents, who are now watching it with our children. Right. So we had three generations of consumers. And I thought, you know, that’s not just about hammers and nails, that that’s not about five guys in Boston, doing renovations on expensive houses, right. And so we started to do an investigating on this, this hunch. And through research we did, we realized that the connection people had with the brand was that we provided people confidence, to create a safe space for their family.

That became our mission, right. And in that mission, suddenly, all of these other business opportunities beyond hammers and nails were open to us, but that were still grounded in the consumer trust we had built. And this is how this plays out just to and there’s there’s a connection to inc that I’ll get to in one second, we started something called the real remodel contest based on that, you know, show us this safe space you created for your family, incredibly successful.

It was the first example of user generated content. The national magazine had done so the magazine version of this old house covered to the back we actually rename the this old house your old house, which by the way, gave our trademark lawyers lawyers fits when we did it. But but for that one issue, we did it and a woman wrote me about it and said I love I love this. I wish I could do the remodeling myself but I’m a little bit ill now so really can’t get out.

But the stories you tell are so significant, and the homes you show in the stories in those homes are so significant. I thought you might appreciate this poem and she sent me a needle pointed poem in that that she had and I thought it was very sweet and it was about how important home is and in that editor’s letter that I write for in Canal but then wrote wrote for this old house I I mentioned that this woman, Catherine wrote me this note and sent me this poem.

And we showed a picture of the poem. A year goes by, and I get another letter from a woman, you don’t know me, but you had a conversation with my sister, Catherine, once she was ill and passed away, but I want you to know that. In her last month’s when she couldn’t get out of the house, one of the most proud things for her was to take out the pages where you showed the poem she had stitched and share that with other people. Right, when your brand can have that kind of connection with somebody. Yeah, that’s incredibly powerful. Right? Like that. Your your, your, your surviving sister writes. Someone she’s never met. Yeah. Letter. Yeah. Right.

And so for me, I left media when I left this old house, we sold it to private equity, and I thought I was done. And that next chunk of years squared, my own failed entrepreneurship. But, but after failing and being called to talk about Inc, I realized that that same kind of connection that existed for Katherine exists for the Inc audience, and, and that I can call up Daymond, John, or Mark Cuban, literally, yeah, do anything for us, because they believe we were. So help them be successful, and they’re willing to do anything. In return, our owner bought the brand, because it was successful, right?

So when you have an audience like that, when you can cultivate the kind of relationship with an audience, no matter what business you’re in, I think if you can, they become, you know, Seth Godin calls them tribes, right. But but but, but ultimately, what they are, is they’re extensions of you. They’re extensions of the brand. They’re resources for the brand, or marketers for the brand. And it’s a really, really tight community in the end.

And and it makes you do as the as the as the person responsible for the brand that makes you so much more considerate about what you do every time because you know, the impact you’re having on somebody, it makes you pay so much more attention to what the audience wants, because, you know, they’re here for a real reason. Right? And so for me, what brought me to this role? What were those people? Because I knew that they would be amazing to work with. And I mean, work with not just sell them something I mean, work with, and, and that I would learn an enormous amount from them. And they would help me be successful, to be perfectly honest. Wow. A lot of walking?


Damon Pistulka  27:52

Well, it’s just no, no, it’s great. Because you’re talking about the real thing behind ink or great companies. It’s not it’s not selling a product, not it’s building that community that really trust you. And then taking that trust seriously, and really helping that community as much as you can, you know, you talk about the this old house and you talk about ink, and it’s just building that community of people and then going how can we continue to help those people be successful, more and more each day? It’s so cool, man,


Scott Omelianuk  28:27

you know, improve their lives, I mean, can be a product, right? But yeah, their lives that they want to have around them, whatever it is, right? Because if you’re just the guy, who are just the woman who’s making really fancy nuts and bolts, and they’re the best in the world, but one day, everyone switches for glue, you’ve got no greatness anymore, right? So you have to have something else, especially now more than ever, I think this is true.


Curt Anderson  28:56

And that’s and what man? Oh, my God, you know,


Damon Pistulka  28:59

I just My mind is


Curt Anderson  29:01

good. And, you know, so again, add that I said that I mentioned, I’m a raving fan. So as you know, like, look at what you provide, you know, and going back to Bernie’s vision 1979 When he first found this, you know, there’s Fortune Magazine, there was Forbes, you know, like corporate, you know, blah, blah, blah, it didn’t resonate and connect with the entrepreneur. And again, entrepreneur was like a guru, you know, people didn’t even know what entrepreneurship meant back then. It was like, Oh, so you know, you’re in a small business.

Now, thanks. You know, I credit Ink Magazine, we’re like entrepreneurship is a badge of honor. In what the magazine does is like it gives people hope. It can it resonates. It’s like I you know, we it’s relatable, you know, people, you know, are we going to be the next Mark Cuban not necessarily, but you have amazing, incredible stories of solopreneurs entrepreneurs, people have built things up. And like you said, you’re hitting on head, it gives folks hope. Let’s dig into, you know, again, you’ve talked to hundreds, not hundreds, 1000s of entrepreneurs, and again, you’re at the front row. So even, let’s say, let’s pretend COVID is let’s just let’s throw


Scott Omelianuk  30:04

COVID away for a couple minutes like to do that. Thank you.


Curt Anderson  30:08

Good place, and let’s just pretend COVID doesn’t exist. What common traits? Are you seeing Scott with entrepreneurs on the Inc? 5000? Are there any particular, you know, an annual, like, you know, hey, persistent, consistent, like, you know, we really got real deep, like, what are some common traits that you see when folks are separating themselves from the pack from the Inc? 5000? Yeah,


Scott Omelianuk  30:29

I think a couple of things. One, obviously, people are incredibly hard working all of them. And they believe in themselves. And they have a vision. And, and they’re there. I would say, they are wedded to that vision. But but like I said before, you know, they’re also wedded to hearing what the consumer has to say, and adapting their product to what the consumer needs. perfectly honest. There’s a little bit of luck involved. Right.

So the number one Inc, 5000. company this year, was a staffing company. And that’s pretty unusual. You think about margins, and staffing and all of that stuff, and how high touch it is, and unscalable, in a way. But, you know, we went from a place where no one was working, and there was mass unemployment to people not being able to hire right. So they do what they do brilliantly. Well, I’m not gonna say they don’t. But there was a little bit of luck for them to and that the economy was what the economy was.

Not everyone has that luck. But I think we should, we should acknowledge that luck plays a role in success, no matter how, how, how good you are, I think these are people who do not give up. But they know when to quit, right. And by that, I mean, they’re realistic. They’re, they’re, they’re realists. And they know that they can’t give up that they got to keep the pedal down. But but you know, once the car has finally come apart, it’s time to go do something else. And like, what they learn in doing that something else and apply it to their AI or take the learning in what they just did, and apply it to something else I should say.

I also think they’re a bit critical. But they’re also remarkably optimistic. They believe in success, and they believe that they can be successful. And then you know, there’s a lot of technical things that they, they all do. Well, I also think on the flip side of it is lots of founders are under incredible stress. They’re incredibly lonely, right? They don’t necessarily have people to bounce their problems off of right? Like, I don’t want to go to my investors and tell them I’m kind of feeling down right now. I can’t get my team and tell them I’m feeling down right now.

And my wife or husband has heard it way too many times. So who do I talk to you? And in fact, in an inc, we we’ve started to develop a community called masters that comes out of the Inc 5000. That that is a community for founders, by founders to to discuss those things. Yes. Because I think that’s significant in by the way, from a content perspective. I think one of the things that we’re focusing on actually, is some of that sort of, you know, soft, softer stuff that is really significant, and yet we really hard to deal with. And it is about founder mental health and exhaustion and things like that, because that’s a problem.

And it’s nice to know, I think that you’re not the only person feeling that way that you know, yeah, two years ago, the are number one Inc. 5000. Company, I did an interview with with the founder, and he said, You know, I postponed my wedding twice, I missed my best friend’s wedding and my other best friend’s birth of their child. And I actually ended up in the hospital through exhaustion with exhaustion. Right. And that was his journey. Like, I think it’s important to tell, as important to tell that story as it is to tell the story about two college roommates who in the dorm room, you know, invented the next unicorn, right? That doesn’t tell the whole story that tells one story.


Damon Pistulka  34:23

And you’re right, and people see that success and they don’t understand what what it took to get there. And they don’t understand the daily grind to this. I just had a conversation with someone yesterday about this and when entrepreneurs as you said, incredibly lonely, incredibly stressed.

And I think we finally come to realize that that’s not something we should just live with, you know, because it kills people it kills relationships I’m seeing and and we have to start talking about and he’s this is one of the things that that personally I can remember in my early in my career when it was like, Hey, you don’t show anything. Yeah, no, you just don’t, that’s what you do and, and how detrimental that is to people is is so understated. And I’m glad to see that you’re like you said, the master’s program or whatever the inks got going, because you need that help you got no one otherwise,


Scott Omelianuk  35:16

I mean, think about it, you know, you’re, you’re, you found a business, you’ve got a family, you’re founding a business, you’ve got a team at work, the pandemic happens, you don’t know, if you’re going to have revenue next week, you still have your bills, like, and, and so you know, and you’re not just worried about feeding your own family, but most of the founders I talked to, they’re just as concerned about taking care of the people who work for them. And that that stress, like a time we have now is enormous.

Right? And and it does, it does have real impact. You know, it might all happen up here, but it has physical impact. And, and real world, real world consequences. And so I think we have to have an honest conversation about that. And I think in doing that will actually help people allow people to realize that they can have those feelings and still succeed. That doesn’t mean they’re imposters it doesn’t mean they’re weak. It doesn’t mean any that’s that means they’re human beings. And maybe we can help provide a way to you know, get through that, right. Yeah,


Curt Anderson  36:22

I absolutely love this. And guys, if I’m sorry, Damon, if you’re if you if you’re not subscribing to Inc, magazine, man put put the app on your phone B. You know, in Scott, we talked about this. And again, I share I’m a longtime raving fan, so I you know, I you guys tackle tough issues and exactly what we’re, you know, diversity, you’re tackling, you know, mental health, you’re tackling, you know, hey, I failed, this didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped.

Yeah, I’ve got the mortgage, I bet the farm I did everything. And it didn’t you know, so like, your stories aren’t always the, you know, we have to feel jealous or, like, man, everybody’s success. Why am I not getting there? So I love it’s a lot of human stories. Damon, what are you going to say?


Damon Pistulka  37:04

Now, I just, I’ll stop on that, because I am just such a proponent of of people that if you’re listening out here, and I mean, because it gets into some pretty dark places for entrepreneurs, and once in a while, and you need to sometimes reach out and find some other health because it’s not, it’s not anything to take lightly. Because you know, your family wants you around your, your, your parents, your kids, whatever, you need to do that. And, and we’ll honestly work ourselves into the grave, sometimes. And we got to do that.

But the thing I think about ink ink over the years that I’ve seen, and I’ve had a few years to look at it is that, you know, the depth of content across the board. I just, I just I think about that. And it’s mind boggling to me how many people have to work in concert, together to deliver this content across the wide spectrum of things that you deliver it for consistently and at such a high quality. So, I mean, what are the things that you’re seeing in the future that really makes you excited about this? I mean, as far as the delivery of content type icon, whatever,


Scott Omelianuk  38:10

I you know, I think the futures, something that I I’m not going to predict because I was a guy who said like, you know, Facebook is dead 10 years ago. So, cable who’s gonna do that? You know, like, I hate to be the predictor. But but but I think the mental health conversation is going to be significant for a long time, not just for founders. But yeah, entire teams.

I think the flexibility, conversation also has to be one that needs to be had because people are just in a place where they don’t sacrifice for work the way they used to not founders necessarily, but everyone else. I think those are some pretty significant things. I think there are fundamentals that remain fundamentals for businesses to be successful. And that’s, you know, authenticity and that real connection, we talked about, about about having that purpose that can help them skip from from one Rolling Log to another as consumer behavior changes, and technology changes. I think that’s important and a clarity to ask yourself the right questions.

You know, I think those things are not going to go away. They’ve always been important. When you look at why businesses fail, they’re the things people fail at. But it did a study when as a college professor of successful ecommerce businesses and ones that weren’t successful, and the ones that were successful, were doing things that department stores did before they were corporatized 100 years ago, right? There’s like, take payments any way you can, right? Like, you know, cash Sure Great, but we can put you on credit. Let me write that down here too. So making payments easy.

You knew who was selling you something and it wasn’t a corporation it was a founder story right when you John want to make her mind the Become or zeros might have become big businesses, but they were people back then right? That kind of communication differentiated that product making a difference in the consumers like non transactional communication, all of those fundamentals, I think are more important than ever. And, Kurt to get back to one of the first stories we’ve got, one of the reasons that I transitioned to work for Ralph Lauren was because there was storytelling there. And not just in the way he showed product. But other other ways.

And this was, you know, 20 years ago, now, we were doing content on our retail website. And I think, you know, that content made a difference for people. One of my favorite, you know, non transactional content stories really quickly, because I know we’re running out of time, was a an email I got from Warby Parker didn’t try to sell me anything. And it was a music video of the song Total Eclipse of the Heart redone for for the clips that we were having, right.

And I don’t know how many years ago that was now, but I still talk about it, because it was really fun. And it made me a person who would think of Warby Parker, when I needed something, not because they were trying to sell me something, not because they were trying to sell me a discount, but because they thought I would enjoy something like they would. And so there was an affinity there. So I think business is so much more personal, than sometimes we think about and if even we can use technology to get to that personal and increasingly we’ll be able to I think that is where I see business going, which is sort of where business was.


Curt Anderson  41:48

Yeah, I’d say this is yeah. Well, I’m you know, and again, I love where you’re you guys are talking about that vulnerability aspect. Scott, you know, Ink Magazine, you know, you have, we do a lot of work with the Small Business Development Centers, you know, they’re all over the country, guys, if you need you’re an entrepreneur, you’re struggling challenge. Reach out to your SPDC we do a lot of work with MEPs and manufacturing extension partnerships, Ink Magazine, I’m going to Scott 2011, I went to a conference of Ink Magazine in New Orleans Daymond John was one of the keynote speakers Guy Kawasaki fell sick.

And so they brought in the Mayor of New Orleans on last minute, like literally like that morning. And he came in and everybody was kind of like, Hey, guy, kinda Kawasaki is gonna be our speaker. And all sudden, like, oh, but he’s not here today in the mirror from Louis, New Orleans at the time. And like, you kind of felt like the air go out of the room. I’m telling you, this guy absolutely crushed it to this day.

Like I still remember getting you know, chills, and meeting all sorts of entrepreneurs, I met a couple entrepreneurs from my area. And it was like, you know, there was 1000 of us all there together, just really trying to like, hey, how do we move the needle? How can we help each other? And Inc, you know, Inc has done that consistently for 43 years? I know I’ve made I wish I could talk to you all day. But I know we’re coming in at a time. Sure. Last question for you. I know, I probably have like three, I’ll probably say that three more times.

But last question. You you shared you came in ink rate you brought the pandemic wave Yeah, that was so nice of you, you know, Raiden, Inc, you stood up for six months or a little bit challenging. You turn around, you turn it around. Now if you feel like I’m sensing, like you’re in the groove, sure, a little bit, you know, your leadership skills, traits. I know, you’re very humble, but you’re you’re stirring a really big ship. And it’s not just your team that’s counting on you. It’s all these goofy raving fan, you know, crazy entrepreneurs that are counting on you? What, you know, how do you attribute your leadership skills? And like, how are you guiding the ship it?


Scott Omelianuk  43:44

I mean, you know, for me, being a good leader is, is allowing people the opportunity to take chances, right, and I say that because I’ve tried to take a lot of chances, and not all of them have worked out. And sometimes some of them if someone believed in me a little bit more would have been would have financially, really significantly benefited the companies for so I I just take an approach where, you know, even if I have a very specific idea of what I want, I want to hear what someone else has because it could be better. I think, I think that’s really an important thing is that, you know, to recognize a good ideas come from any level of the organization.

People have lives and interests outside of the role they feel and to be able to tap into those can be really powerful, suddenly renews them with passion in a way that they might not have had before. So even though you’re hiring for a role, you know, don’t limit that person to that role. I admit to I’m not so great at giving enough praise, frankly, because I you know, maybe I didn’t get enough when I was young.

And so I don’t think it’s necessary, but that’s something I try to remind myself of all the time that I have to do so the things that come Naturally, and I think that is giving people a place to go to without telling them necessarily how to get there. And helping them along the way, but hoping they find a better way than I would have found. Never saying no, always saying what if, and, and then and then, you know, providing, providing that support and letting them know that you know, uh, you know, a total train wreck doesn’t mean their career is train wreck because we tried something.


Curt Anderson  45:25

Right, right. Apps and cash this is good. That is in thing I love about inking all over the I’ve been reading it for years, you know, I remember like, you know, you guys came up with this, Hey, there’s this new little, you know, software companies called Twitter. And I said, I’m like, Who on earth is going to type 140 characters that’s never going to take off? Then you had this company called Jamba Juice. And like, who’s gonna buy a bunch of fruit drinks? This is crazy. That’s not going to work, you know? So it’s fascinating to see, like, you know, what, like, you mentioned, you don’t Facebook’s dead? Or you know, like, yeah, what are things that we think are gonna gal, right?


Scott Omelianuk  45:58

So so Inc, also said, right, you so this is the thing, right? We remember the successes and failures. Yeah, Inc also said that on its cover, prior to my arrival, that the woman named Elizabeth Holmes was gonna even. So, you know, you’re not always right.


Curt Anderson  46:17

Well, it’s not not go ahead.


Damon Pistulka  46:20

We make decisions with the information we have at the time. That’s I’ll just say that they’re the best decisions at that time with the information we have.


Scott Omelianuk  46:29

So say, if you just dug a little bit more, you would have found the other Yeah, that could be


Curt Anderson  46:34

right. So. So guys, what we’ll do is we’ll wrap up. So this is the last So Scott, we work we work with our heart is with manufacturers in the US here. You know, we’re trying to help them make that digital transformation, e commerce, so on so forth. Any parting words? Any advice for our manufacturers out there? From your perspective? How do we how do we, you know, supply chain issues, labor shortage, what do you have for these guys?


Scott Omelianuk  46:59

I think no one isn’t impacted by supply chain. Right. And I think that provides a really terrific opportunity for American manufacturers. I think lots and lots of companies I talked to are looking for alternatives, looking for, you know, onshore alternatives. I think those manufacturers have to, and some are, you know, more used to this than others. But because of the labor shortage because of margins, because of all the other macro economic things, we have to increasingly look at how we can do things differently.

I saw an early comment here about never saying we’ve always done it that way. And that’s true. I think everyone you know, who’s here has to think about how can we be more successful with technology? And what what piece of technology?

What stays human? What gets automated? Is it just the front office, you know, the the back office that needs automation, and we still keep people on the manufacturing floor? Do we need to build robots, we don’t have to do that all at once one step at a time. But I think the most important thing is to understand it, understand the new things you hear about understand blockchain and AI and crypto and, and how your organization can become digital and then make the decision as to whether it’s in your best interests, but just to shut it off is a way to shut your door. And you don’t want to do that.



Absolutely. Wow. Man, this was


Damon Pistulka  48:31

mic drop, right?


Curt Anderson  48:32

Again, we have scatti Oh, Ink Magazine every month, he comes out with a great editorial right in the front cover of Ink Magazine. Guys, if you’re I don’t know how you know anybody out there. Now here’s the challenge. Here’s what we’re going to leave you with for today. Everybody listening to let’s make Scott’s life as easy as possible.

Go out there and absolutely crush it for 2022. And let’s get on the Inc 5000 Just make Scott’s life easier than he doesn’t have to go out and find everybody because they’re hanging out right here with us today. Guys, thank you for joining us today, Scott. Dude, our hat’s off to you. Thank you for what you do. Entrepreneurs are the heroes of our economy and Dude, you’re right and Frontline supporting every single one of you. So what you do is so admirable. Thank you.


Scott Omelianuk  49:18

And Damon. Kurt. Thanks so much. It was a pleasure. I really I absolutely enjoyed being able to talk with you guys.


Curt Anderson  49:24

Awesome. So guys, thanks. We’ll wind down. Thank you, Scott, man. Yeah. A year. So guys, go out, be inspired, do great things as entrepreneurs. And just again, we want to see people on the cover of Ink Magazine. So Damon, take it away. God bless everybody. Have an awesome weekend. Thank you for hanging out with us for one.


Damon Pistulka  49:44

All right. Scott, Kurt. Awesome. I just want to say John Gale, Matthew, Dan, Brandon, Pete. Christina, Charlene Bonnie. Other people i Miss, you know, thanks for listening. Thanks for the people that did comment that are listening but man Scott thanks so much for being here today Kurt Anderson i Everybody appreciates it we’ll be back again next week everyone thanks so much for now See you later THANK YOU GUYS.

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