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Curt Anderson, Damon Pistulka, Nicole Donnelly, SCOTT OMELIANUK
Damon Pistulka 00:03
All right, everyone, welcome once again, it is Friday, and that means it’s time for manufacturing ecommerce success. And wow, are we excited today? We’ve got a repeat offender with us today. All from me magazine, Curt Anderson, my friend over here, brother from another mother co host, and we got Nicole Donnelly down there. I’ve got camp like that well yet, Nicole, I’m getting there, though. And we’re just excited. I’m just so excited. And I’m just gonna say welcome everyone taken away, Kurt.
Curt Anderson 00:37
Hey, guys, happy Friday, man. It’s like beautiful fall football seasons in gear, just you know, leaves are starting to change. It’s just a wonderful time of year. And you know, around the corner, we start thinking about like, Inc 5000. And so what we did is we decided to bring in the one the only Scott only on ik Scotty o from the editor in chief of Ink Magazine. How are you my friend?
SCOTT OMELIANUK 01:00
I’m great, Kurt. Thanks for having me. Really appreciate it. And you’re right, the Inc 5000 conference and gala is only two months from now as the live event, right? The list was just published. So yeah, it is that time of year.
Curt Anderson 01:14
It is tis the season for the Inc 5000. So Nicole, I know, as a fourth generation entrepreneur, you are just absolutely thrilled and just on the edge of your seat for this conversation. So guys, thank you for joining us, everybody out there, boy, drop us a note, let us know that you’re there bring the questions for Scott, we, we might have a silver bullet for you at the end of how you can make the Inc 5000. So as David mentioned, you are a repeat offender. You’ve been on the program before and boy, you came back. You’re a glutton for punishment, and we appreciate you more than you can imagine. I’m going to change I’m going to throw a little curveball at you from last time. Are you ready to sit down? Are you ready for this one? I just got my last time that you were on. Scott, when your little guy growing up. When you were a little guy growing up? Who was your hero? Who was your hero as a little
SCOTT OMELIANUK 02:01
guy growing up? Oh, gosh. Well, I had I think I had sports heroes. And then probably and gosh, I don’t like this idea of dating myself talking about this. But I would say like maybe when I was in high school, I read Lee Iacocca his biography and I was like, very thrilled and impressed by that read a lot by Tom Peters for some reason, right? Like, I did not end up in business or you know, after high school at all my my path to this point in my career is very circuitous. But I was fascinated in those early days by like that sort of, you know, after the lethargy and stagflation and stuff like that of the 70s and questions about American future in the 80s. Like, the all of these guys, sort of, and they weren’t guys, unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of women who had the same perch. I think that’s changing rapidly enough, but it’ll be a good thing. I was fascinated by them and what they were able to create and how they were able to track excellence and and just not be ordinary, you know, well,
Curt Anderson 03:29
hey, you know, I was a huge Lee Iacocca fan, David, I don’t know about you and Nikolas before your time and so you know, the German turnaround Chrysler and of course Tom comes in Search of Excellence to phenomenal books. I love that so great. We haven’t had Lee Iacocca
Damon Pistulka 03:48
helped me get through engineering school believer Kocha got a D in physics. I remember he got a degree in physics and I remember I was going through physics, it was hard. I’m like going to Lee Iacocca, good idea and physics and look at him today. I was like, boom. Well, thank
Curt Anderson 04:01
God for you. David,
Damon Pistulka 04:05
we got lots of comments. I’m gonna start rolling through here.
Curt Anderson 04:07
Shout out to your Darcy’s here today. Happy Friday, my friends send you lots of love. We’ve got John bug lino Phillip is here so again, guys, drop us a note. Let us know if you’re out there got Sarah in
Damon Pistulka 04:19
here she was on a couple of weeks. To give a shout out someone wishing us well we don’t know who you are. change that setting. We can see you. Alright, so
Curt Anderson 04:28
let’s let’s dig in. That was a perfect little segue. So you talked about In Search of Excellence and I think you’ve talked about your career path now we took a deep dive in your career path last time we won’t go as deep but just for folks that didn’t catch you on the last round. If I have this correct, Scott do garbage man to the editor in chief of Ink Magazine. curious minds want to know can you please enlightened How on earth does one become the key from that path?
SCOTT OMELIANUK 04:57
It just not to dismiss what you just said. So the garbage man in the in the New York City Fashion District Yep. Who Style Editor of GQ magazine
Curt Anderson 05:12
Esquire, I think that’s where a
SCOTT OMELIANUK 05:14
carpenter to the editor in chief Managing Director, this old house, which is the television show, yeah. And it’s been on PBS now I believe Roku but for 45 years. All coincidence, Kurt like that there’s, there’s no message in there. That’s, that’s a drunkards walk of a career basically. But I will say and take to get back to it to the excellent point, I was really fortunate, early in my career at GQ to be able to interview people like Ralph Lauren, and Giorgio Armani, and Calvin Klein. These people who created brands, world’s really out of nothing, and they weren’t worlds we needed to inhabit, but in their creation of these brands, they made us want to inhabit them, right. They made us feel compelled to be there to wear the clothes to you know whether, whether it was like, you know, Ralph Lauren, and The Great Gatsby are Giorgio Armani, and American Gigolo, whatever it was, like you needed to be that. And it was a fascinating lesson for me and in branding, in marketing, but the other common thread that they had was and I can remember, Ralph Lauren saying this to me, is like, never not do your best always be excellent. And if you can’t be excellent, don’t bother. Right. And, and, like, he showed that, like, he built a billion dollar empire, just by, you know, quality. Now we can argue about whether that quality is there or not, or the dollar amount is worth the quality or any of that stuff. But the fact is, at that time in our world, it was you know, his his clothes were a hallmark of, of quality that we hadn’t really experienced before, in a major way or in a mass market way. Right. So that’s, that’s that’s a thing in my career that’s stuck with me. It’s just like, just like, bring the best
Curt Anderson 07:13
bring the best I have out that. You know, I think we’ve had multiple Mike jobs already Nicola, but I’m gonna go with you know, if you can’t be excellent. Just don’t bother. So let’s, let’s go here. Let’s I’m gonna take I’m gonna dive right in. We’re gonna use repeat offender scatto has been on the program before and so on, we’re going to go with a little different direction of questions. I have been a raving raving Ink Magazine fan for decades showing my age. And so Bernie gold Hersh, I say that correctly, was the founder of 1979. When I look at talk about his little bit, like how, you know, Inc is always on the cutting edge and changing with the times, there’s my goodness gracious, the amount of disruption that’s going on over the past 30 years, let alone just in the past two or three years, Scott, you carry that legacy that Bernie laid in 1979 to stay on that cutting edge? You know, I know, You’ve been preaching that lately. Let’s go there. Yeah, I
SCOTT OMELIANUK 08:08
think for me, and this would apply to other brands that I’ve run, not not just ink, is it? And is this something hard for founders and CEOs of companies to do when there’s always, you know, other more pressing things. But it’s, it’s, for me, it’s about taking a step back. And really examining your brand purpose and to mean, but brand purpose is not CSR. It’s not. It’s not ESG. It’s, it’s not who you give money to as a cause or corporate, you know, good or any of that stuff. It is why all other things being equal. Someone wants to do business with you. What is it? That is not what you do, but like sort of underlines how what you do is right? So for example, this old house, people would be familiar with a television show and these handful of contractors who are very good at their job, and who would, you know, we didn’t say this publicly, but who would get homeowners to spend a half a million or a million dollars on a state of the art renovation? And we’d cover that on our television show. And, and if you were just a casual observer, you would like, oh, that’s about remodeling, right? It’s about the reveal. It’s about the before and after all of the things by the way that went into the creation of HGTV, right which, in many ways, this old house was the driver of I had this sense when I arrived there it was, so when I arrived here, the brand was already 30 years old. And I just had this sense that there was something more than remodeling that had people who grew up with a television show watching it on their parents living room floor. Now Now watching it with their own children, I just knew there had to be something else there. And this is at a time, you know, early to mid decade of the 2000s, first decade of the 2000s, when media was under great dis disruption. And so there were lots of reasons to think we should just fold up the tent, and it was a good run. And that was it. But I asked to do some research. And in doing that research, we uncovered what I think the brand purpose of ink was, and that it’s in talking to people we learned, it wasn’t about best practices, it wasn’t about a big remodel or reveal it wasn’t about perfect craftsmanship. You know, you couldn’t bend an owl like we all do, right? Like that wouldn’t be good. What the show provided was a sense of confidence that people who watched it could create a safe space for their own families about that, think about the emotional impact of creating a safe space for your family, versus a fancy remodel. And once you have that, right, once you have this, this is why we’re here, we’re here to help people feel like they can create the castle their family needs to live in no matter what else is going on world. If we can do that. Now think about all of the other ways we can go to market with that idea. So if television ends tomorrow, how do we as a trusted brand, still convey how to create a safe space for your family? If we none of us have money, and we can’t do a kitchen? Well, maybe we can do you know, some pillows on the sofa that like that kind of difference? Right? So So realize, there all of these other brand opportunities available to you when you’ve discovered and hold and believe in your purpose, different audiences, different product lines, different ways to market all suddenly present themselves. And I would even go so far as to say it’s the way to future proof your business, right? So my parent company was a timing, world’s largest publicly owned by Time Warner largest media entertainment company, this old house, both of those companies are gone. Right? They were the largest of what they were. And they’re both gone because of changing consumer habits changing marketplace. This old house is still here. My boss used to say, I you know, I just don’t get this TV thing. We’re a magazine company. And I just used to look at him and think this is not a magazine come you’re saying it’s a magazine company, because that’s the way we’re going to market right now. But this is a company that owns Sports Illustrated and people and time and fortune right. And all of its InStyle all these magazines, people. We are a information and entertainment company that just happens to be in very trusted right, scrupulously trusted, that just happens to be delivering its product in a magazine format. And when the world shifts to another consumer behavior shifts to another way, we have to be, you know, still that information company, but now we’re iPad, iPhone, whatever it might you whatever it might be, right. But somehow, you know, big companies get ossified. quarterly goals are important. CEOs don’t like to take risks. So what I argue is that you don’t have to be either this old house and we’ve really reinvented in many ways this old house launched mobile first products for millennials, like lots of different different different things that we did. But what I urge people to do is take some portion of their time and think about what their purpose really is, Why does someone want to do business with me? What is the special sauce that I have? That makes me different? No matter what I’m building right now we’re doing right now what what is the differentiator? And in that, see where the next opportunities are? Because we are in a time of enormous change, right? Like fortune 500 companies used to have a 60 year orbit in a fortune 500. Right? Now they have 13 years. Right and, and you know, someone you know, it’s very disorienting when you think about it, someone said, you know, we are to me. At a time when the change in the world has has never been faster. It’s never going to be slower than it is today. Right? How do you in this face of all this disruption and it’s coming regardless of what you do or how confident you are in your current methods? Disruption is coming it’s just it just exists. Nothing lasts forever. Right. So so how do you best set yourself up for sort of leaping from one rock to the other across the river? Right as as as you have to get to the other side because you know, of change. So at Inc Kurt? You know, we started out as a print magazine, but our fundamental purpose is to support the American entrepreneur. And so for me, that meant, okay, sure, print magazine. And we still have that and people still value it. But at a certain point, it was a transition to digital. At a certain point, our recognition programs became really like the Inc 5000 became really, really important to founders, in the people who want it to get to them. More recently, community has become a profoundly significant thing thing for us, right. And so we lean and so that’s like events and community and paid paid, you know, mastermind groups and things like that. And just shifting our focus, we’re still about entrepreneurship. We’re still storytellers. But that storytelling might happen on a call like this, or it might happen in a 2000 person auditorium, or it might happen over a dinner with 30 people. And we might be facilitating introductions and partnerships and things like that, or as we talked right, before we came on, about, you know, facilitating a conversation around mental health of a founder. Important, right? So still have a reason for people to give us money. It’s just a bit different than it was 40 years ago. Yeah. I just talked a lot. I’m sorry. No, but that
Damon Pistulka 16:17
that was, go ahead. And sorry.
Nicole Donnelly 16:19
Oh, no, yeah, I was just gonna say I loved what you said about when you were working on this old house, you wanted to get clear on what the like, what was the reason why this was, you know, resonating so well. And you mentioned that you did research at, you know, to really uncover that. And I think that’s a really great point for like any brands out there who are really struggling to know and figure out what their like core brand purposes is to take the time to, to do that research and to talk to your customers and to really hone in specifically on what it is that makes you unique, you know, and makes you special. And if you can really dial that in, then I think that’s where the magic
SCOTT OMELIANUK 16:56
and it’s not, you know, it’s not like we make the best nails that can’t be tomorrow, we start using screws, and after screws, they’re gonna use glue. So it’s got to be, you know, deeper than that. And, and it’s got to be, you know, entrepreneurs are fascinating to me, one because I have a healthy ego, and I failed at it. So I’m fascinated by these people who can do what I can or can’t. Other, the other part of it is that they are curious. They are first adopters. They are people who are not afraid of uncertainty. And yet so many of us when we get to a point in our business, where we’ve had some success, we suddenly think we know it all. We stopped being as curious. Were like, well, that’s the way we’ve always done it and we’ve been fine. Like you’ll be fine until the day you’re not fine at all right? And so I think it’s just like keeping those childlike eyes open the whole time is a really important thing.
Curt Anderson 17:59
Yeah, cool. We’re just talking about that this morning about looking at things with eyes of wonder I just added Yeah, even we have a lot in the chat bots
Damon Pistulka 18:06
or comments. I’m gonna start pulling up here we got Mashad to happy to be here, Mike Wolf’s here today. Awesome, Mike.
Curt Anderson 18:13
Happy Friday. We’ve
Damon Pistulka 18:14
got Yeah, we got Jason.
Curt Anderson 18:16
Hey, Jason, our buddy Jason Darcy’s fun COMMENT
Damon Pistulka 18:20
Darcy dropped one down here got a binder. So let’s get down to Darcy’s here. Looked up all the house. This Old House expects a dumbwaiter in her house.
Curt Anderson 18:33
I thought Darcy was referring to me. Our for our teammate here. Oh, contractor dad, I was bored. But he was he did it with love. Absolutely love that. Sarah’s got some comments, Mike. Hey, Rob. Hey, happy Friday, Rob. So again, guys, keep those comments coming. Sara, thank you for your comments. We’re here with Scott, editor, editor in chief of ink. Business Media make a little transition. We were talking about consistency of purpose through disruption. And I love what you said Scott, I’d like the mission of ink probably in 1979. With Bernie’s you know, helping the American entrepreneur right that’s, I have that cracked, helping the American
SCOTT OMELIANUK 19:14
we say supporting but yeah, already
Curt Anderson 19:16
pretty pretty man. That is pretty concise. And whether it’s 1879 where there’s no internet, there’s no Google. There’s no social media. No Ai, we’re in 2023 You’re still staying core to that mission. It’s just like, how does the vehicle change? I love the way you’re describing it. Yeah, that’s fine. I caught you down you’re gonna love this. I caught a little you gave a little analogy that I wanted to share. Was Paul McCartney on carpool karaoke or somebody does what does Paul McCartney now for you young folks out there he was from the Beatles. You can Google it. I love Billy Crystal has a great joke. He came he came home and his daughter said, Dad Is it true that Paul McCartney was in a band before wings got With this Paul McCartney and carpool karaoke have to do with a consistent consistency of purpose through disruption. So,
SCOTT OMELIANUK 20:06
I find it’s really like I find fascinating the parallels between us as people and in our businesses. And so I think there’s personal purpose too. And I think a lot of folks struggle with that. And, you know, I would say someone saw my LinkedIn profile and said, Wow, you’ve had a really interesting career. And like, as I said earlier, it’s like, no, to me, my career is completely accidental, right? But so I’ve been in media is an editor and a writer. I am a Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at university, I briefly had a consulting business. And there are a couple of other things in there. And only after the fact, because I didn’t have the good sense to sort of do this work ahead of time. Did I realize in in looking at what seemed like this very disparate set of of jobs in different places, media that was unrelated to ink unrelated to GQ, unrelated to this old house, for example, television work I did that doesn’t, you know, reflect this? Did I realize that there actually is a thread there too, right? And for me, that’s, that’s about education and facilitation, right. It’s about sharing information with people to help them be better. And once I saw that, and realize, Hey, you’re good at this, it started to make career decisions easier. It started to not just be about money, but about something else that was really important and helped be again, just like, just like business purpose, helped be a filter for what opportunities I should take in which ones I shouldn’t. And at the end of the day, how I would define how I would be happy which might not be with all the money in the world, but it might mean, you know, doing the equivalent of less than minimum wage as a professor when you put the hours in, right, there’s something there. Paul McCartney, to me is is fascinating. And if you have the opportunity to watch carpool karaoke, which that this clip is on YouTube of he goes with James Corden back to Liverpool, and they go to Penny Lane. They visit the barber shop. He goes to his house and pops into the house he grew up in which is now a museum. He stops on the street and talks to people at one moment. He’s in the car, singing Let it be with with James Corden who’s talking about his own mom’s death. Cuz that’s essentially what the, the story behind let it be, is and another moment, he’s by himself entirely. shot from across the street with a harmonica and a hat on the ground in a bus shelter. Just busking playing music waiting for someone to drop coins in your hat. And then the climax of it of he is goes to a pub. And we’re in the pub, people are drinking it’s lunchtime. Pub is bustling. There’s a big curtain up, the curtain drops. And there’s Paul McCartney starts playing music. The people in the pub, none of them were alive Kurt when Beatlemania was a thing and let alone you know, like so. You know, probably not even alive when wings was the thing, right? But they they recognize him and the the emotion in the room is so fascinating, because it’s just like, What a delight. This is suddenly right, what a delight. And that was the thing that was consistent through every one of the segments and carpool karaoke is like him dropping into the Penny Lane barbershop, right. So this place that he wrote a song about, literally more than 50 years ago, standing on a street corner, here’s like one of the world’s greatest musicians, being a street music performer. Here’s someone like giving people a lifelong story, because he showed up at their pub lunch, and played a handful of songs and then like, asked for a beer to be passed over the crowds so he could drink with him, right? Like Paul McCartney happens to be a remarkable musician, and songwriter and performer. But like, the purpose the thing that underlies that for me again to get to the underlying Yeah, he was that, but Paul McCartney could have had no musical talent at all. He could have been a bus driver, and he still would have found a way to bring delight to people’s lives. Right. So that’s what I mean about going deeper and trying to see underneath what the purpose is. And if you think about it that way, it’s hard for me to talk about our watch that segment without actually tearing up because it’s just kind of amazing right to just like, connect with your purpose in such a way and then still to to want to do it. So I don’t know as a Beatle, you know, he’s 15 years old. He’s in his early 80s. Now, right, so we’re talking about, like, for more than 60 years, like do this happily? What would you do for more than 60 years happily? You know?
Curt Anderson 25:18
We’re just, yeah. God, if you remember from last time, we have these things called moments of silence. There are no words that follow that right the second so we’re just gonna everybody just savor the Paul McCartney, whatever your favorite Beatle song is, everybody has one. I don’t care who you are. Just let that resonate. And just think about Paul McCartney, just sharing and spreading his delight, Nicole, what do you think of that story?
Nicole Donnelly 25:40
Oh, you got me over clamped over here? Honestly, I’m, I’m just so inspired by it. It’s really inspiring. For anyone who’s listening to just think about like, what is it that you came to this world to do? How is it that you with your own unique gifts are meant to serve the people that you come in contact with? And like Paul McCartney, that’s such a beautiful, humble example of service that he’s he’s given? And like, how can we just really try to, you know, become self aware and understand and explore what is it within each of us that were meant to give and serve in that same way? Because everyone has that their own unique personal purpose? Everyone has it? You know, and that’s what we’re here to do. And I just, I’m just super inspired by that. I think that’s even. And when you find that personal purpose, you’re absolutely right. Like, that’s going to help with whatever you do. If you if you if and when you build your own brand, or whatever, you know, when your own. It just fills your whole life and it just fills the world. So I’m just very inspired by that story. It’s very, so humbling.
Damon Pistulka 26:42
Thank you. Yes, exactly. Nicole, and when you think about musicians, look, the Rolling Stones just released an album 18 years after their last one. Why are these people Paul McCartney the Rolling Stones? It’s it’s not because they’re musicians. It’s because there’s something inside of them that wants them to create these feelings and emotions that they have to let out to the world I think and you know, Paul McCartney doing that. It’s incredible. To see some people doing that because it’s not it’s not about fame, or money or influence or anything. It’s it’s inside of them when you see that, right. Yeah. And when you can do that, like you said, What would you he’s been doing it for 65 years. You it’s got to just be part of you.
SCOTT OMELIANUK 27:27
For 65 years? Yeah,
Nicole Donnelly 27:28
and I just think they’re like singing the same songs over and over and over again, like you can imagine like you have to really tune into your purpose to be able to do those things. You know, there’s more to it than that.
Curt Anderson 27:44
Hey, Damon, so let’s let it sit some comments we got some again, guys, I know we’re top of the hour. So if you’re out I know it’s boy. You gotta call that you’re jumping on come back and catch a replay catch the rest of Scotty Oh, here, editor in chief of Ink Magazine, or ink Business Media. We’re having an amazing, incredible conversation. If you’re just join us. Eight we’re here with Scott, the editor in chief of ink, ink Business Media media, and we’re geeking out about Paul McCartney. We’re talking about Mick Jagger. I just took my mother for her 80th birthday to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She has the exact same age as Mick Jagger just for the record.
Damon Pistulka 28:19
Curt Anderson 28:20
I think he’s within a year of Paul McCartney as well. And so love the chat. Bring the comments up here guys, as well. So let’s go here. Scott, we’d love to talk with our manufacturers of ink. You just said the inks 5000 just came out. Guys grab your Ink Magazine. For those old guys. I still like to have that paper in your hand. Go to digital. You can get the app. Check out ink boy. I’ve been a raving fan since I can remember since I got out of college 100 years ago. So you want to follow ink and let’s let’s go here. Scott. Oh, the official Nicole you’ve got a wonderfully growing business it’s just booming you’re rocking it we need to get you on that Inc 5000 list. What does it take for my dear friend Nicole and other esteemed guests everybody in the audience here? How do we get on that? List?
SCOTT OMELIANUK 29:09
It is nothing I can help with
Curt Anderson 29:13
yo WORK HARD WORK HARD WORK right?
SCOTT OMELIANUK 29:17
No question and and I can help hard work certainly anyone wants to work for minimum wage. That’s cool. But the Inc 5000 is data driven and and it’s it’s down to your own growth and your growth across three years essentially, of time, right? Because we believe that anyone can have one good year. It’s easier to you know, push or pull sales to have two good years. It’s harder to have three years of growth. So we track in every class of honorees. We track their growth across three years. We asked for financial documentation and including tax returns in some cases or or CFO, notarised CFO. What’s the word I can think of? Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 30:09
recruiting financials, financials
SCOTT OMELIANUK 30:13
and attesting to their revenues. And, and then we see where the chips fall. And there lots of good companies, certainly who don’t make the list and that that doesn’t mean anything other than that they haven’t had what, you know, the larger body of companies has as the growth percentage this year, I think the median is something around 2,600%, which seems right. Like, that seems like quite a bit. Some people think, Oh, what, what, what’s, what’s the big deal? I’m number 4999, right? And I say, well, even if you’re 4999, even if you’re the number 5000 company, in the inc 5000, you still overall largely represent about the top half percent of all companies in the United States in terms of growth. And so we’ve learned over time that this is a profoundly important metric for founder’s, whether it’s helping them with investment, whether it’s helping their hiring in a very competitive hiring time, it seems like you know, if you’re an inc 5000 company, you’re fairly established in have a picky employee pool to work in. You know, that’s helpful. It’s helpful for people with clients that they couldn’t get before suddenly see that and I say that because companies like timberland like Patagonia, Under Armour, Zappos, Oracle, Microsoft, all have been Inc 5000. Companies on Facebook Inc. Now matter, Inc. 5000. Company at one point, right. So there are a lot of household name graduates from the list. Not everyone, right? There are lots of less known but still very, very successful, generational wealth successful people and companies on the list. But it’s, I think, an important lesson, it’s one because there is no thumbing the scales on because it’s metric driven means a lot. And I do not get to see it until the list is closed, and it’s done. And it’s given to me by a data team is the first time I get to see it. So, you know, we really don’t influence it at all.
Damon Pistulka 32:32
And that’s great to use and data data to drive who gets on the list? You know, because as you said, your list then has has validity that almost any other many other I would say, don’t have, because you get to the list for for different reasons. That’s right. That’s, that’s super cool. I’m glad you shared that. Because it’s, you can’t fake it. Right?
Curt Anderson 32:56
And from the scale and the COVID. Yeah. Yeah, I
Nicole Donnelly 32:58
was just gonna ask, have you seen any commonality like with, you know, these companies? Obviously, they share that same like high growth over three years? Have you seen some commonalities in terms of across those companies? What they did to create that growth? What was it about their culture? I’m sure brand purpose would be a huge thing. But like, intrinsically about, like, how those companies have been built and grown. Have you noticed any?
SCOTT OMELIANUK 33:20
I mean, there’s, there’s no question that some of it relates to what we talked about earlier, just like the unrelenting pursuit of being excellent. Right? And focus. And knowing when to shift focus to right CEOs can be our CEOs are remarkable people, right? There’s no question about that. But the kind of C E O you are to start a company might not be the same kind of CEO, you need to be two or five or 10 years into a company because challenges change and we have skills, some of us are more adaptable than others, some of us are more amenable to change than others. Right. So I do think it takes a very nimble CEO but including being nimble enough to know when to take your self as a founder out of the daily decision making. But more broadly, I think we see echoes of what’s going on in the economy. So more recently, healthcare companies and staffing companies have been at the top of the Inc 5000 list and staffing companies are interesting because to me because it’s it shows how we’re choosing to hire differently or and how the workforce is choosing to come to work different differently. logistics companies right as we increasingly become less brick and mortar say and more omni channel in distribution. So logistics companies have become, you know, occupied a larger percentage of the list the manufacturing companies we have on the list, I would say have two things in common. They, again, like, let’s say three things. One, there is again, that measure of excellence, too. They will they they are full service, right? They’re not your manufacturing company, say, not making your own product, contract manufacturing. You provide full service, and from design on 3d prototyping to the finished product, that three and I think this is really fundamental and often ends up being a significant point in the people we cover editorially, which is to say, actually write stories about not just put on the 5000 list. Their willingness to, to, to resolve problems for their clients in an hour, like literally in an hour, right? To know that if there are parts manufacture for somebody, and Amazon has a problem on and one of its distribution plans that, you know, they will say like, think about what it means for an Amazon plant to be shut down for a day. Right? All the people that just doesn’t cost Amazon money, it costs everyone engaged with Amazon money. And so like we can’t let that go 24 hours, we got to be there within the hour and have a solution the next morning. That willingness, right. And if you think about that, and you think about offshore manufacturing, say, and just the difference in approach of that. And I’m not, you know, not saying bad things about offshore manufacturing, but I just I just think it’s a different animal. And so the folks on the 5000 who are manufacturing have sort of prioritized service speed, excellence over price, and overtime that has paid off for them. Right. Well, clearly has paid off and we have there on the list because it has paid off for them.
Damon Pistulka 36:56
Yeah. And this is great, because it’s service speed and excellence.
SCOTT OMELIANUK 37:02
I gotta write that. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 37:05
that’s I did I was like,
Curt Anderson 37:07
no, why? Oh, right.
Damon Pistulka 37:09
I got it. I got Yeah.
SCOTT OMELIANUK 37:12
Going back to my this old house days, there’s like, you know, the, the there’s the three things good, fast and cheap, and you can’t have those, but like you actually can have high quality service, high quality product and high quality, you know, overall as your operating principle. It just takes the commitment, right? Yes. Yeah.
Curt Anderson 37:33
I love that. Hey, Damon, we got Hey, Jeff Long as in the house here, we’ve got some great, your book Darcy’s comment it Let’s read that one proud of my manufacturing friends and family owned D three glass LLC and my shower door who may see 5000 Darcy’s son, big congratulations. And I love where you’re going here, Scott, because the thing is, you know, hey, everybody out there. Let’s say that together ready? Daymond? Nicole Scott, let’s say it on three, we’re going to do it on three, we’re going to do service speed and excellence ready? 123 service service speed. And
SCOTT OMELIANUK 38:09
because we have Paul McCartney has no The Beatles have no concern with with us coming out?
Curt Anderson 38:18
Maybe a little better than I did. But what what you’re sharing, Scott is so powerful, because this is not like a secret sauce or a secret. You know, this is not the the unique competitive advantage. Last time you were on a show. We dug you know, we talked about blockbuster Kodak. You know, you’ve mentioned some, you know, Time Magazine, you know, like folks that just took their eye, you know, global domination and took their eye off the ball, right? It’s absolutely insane. And it takes like, you know, it takes a Netflix, it takes an Uber it takes somebody to come in and completely disrupt the market. So let’s, let’s dive in. I know, man we have we don’t have
Damon Pistulka 38:54
time. I know. We got it, we got to time because you said one thing I think that drives all these. And that’s that on unrelenting pursuit of excellence. I mean, it really does. Because when you have that CEO, that leadership team and everyone throughout the organization that’s doing that, it makes a difference to the person that’s designing that product, making that product delivering that product, servicing the customer with that product. And as you said, it’s hard to do that if you’ve got a global supply chain and other things where you can’t control and get that speed to service in in minutes or hours instead of days and weeks. It’s just
SCOTT OMELIANUK 39:36
Yeah, it’s a problem. And but but but I think the way to do it, right? Whether regardless like let’s leave supply chain out of it for a minute, because, right there are capabilities that exists in some places and not in others, you know, some a woman who owns a weighted blanket company who’s been on the Inc 5000. She would love to make her she would have loved to Make her blankets in the United States, literally, equipment did not exist to do it took her five years to get to the place where she could import the equipment to make a blanket. So like there are reasons, you know that that can be problematic there. But in terms of excellence overall, I think if there is a way for you, and this is something I talk about every day, I actually talk about it as a professor, when we assign entrepreneurial products to projects to students. No one spends enough time with or or talking about their consumer, I think, right? It’s not doesn’t spend enough time with to understand what their needs are, and doesn’t spend enough time talking about them to the rest of the team. Right. And so this is something I find really important, like, Inc, is completely meaningless without its audience, and is incredibly powerful with its audience. And so it’s important for everyone who works for me to always be thinking, not what I want, not not what they want, but what does our audience want? What does our consumer want? What do they need from us? Right? What do they need to feel comfortable about us at the end of the day, and that’s just to be in that headspace all the time is so useful. And I do believe everyone at an organization whether it’s someone frontline answering phones, for the companies that still have someone answering phones, right on up through the top to be thinking about how does what I do and I get it there are you know, central services and things like that, where it doesn’t seem like you have much of a touchpoint with consumers. But the fact is, you know, you can be looking at purchase orders or invoices all day as an accountant and see something in there that will suggest a new opportunity, or a way to reduce friction for clients, whatever it is, right and so I think the more and and we all know that people who feel like their job matters, you know, come to work fully showing up. So like if we can get everyone thinking in that way and I know I’m talking a very high level right now and not practically at all but I think I think it makes a huge huge difference when when they come to work as advocates for the people we sell to it’s it’s really an interestingly different dynamic
Curt Anderson 42:18
recall what I’d love to go ahead No go ahead when I was you go ahead and call
Nicole Donnelly 42:29
I was just gonna say like it starts at the top like I think every business the bigger you get, you have two big two things that are always gonna happen that you’re gonna be fighting against is inertia and entropy right like bigger gets there’s chaos happening and you just keep doing things always you have to fight against that so I think to your point Scott like it has to start at the top and the more you can have a feedback loop from your top executive team where they’re like have a direct communication with your frontline employees and understand exactly what’s happening and that then the whole organization will start to feel that and then you can combat that natural propensity for companies to go you know go towards entropy and nurture
SCOTT OMELIANUK 43:07
yeah and Kurt when you you mentioned you know a blockbuster and Kodak before right like it there’s a reason that like they got big they got complacent they got distant from the consumer. And so they they didn’t understand what people really valued in terms of like the entertainment blockbuster deliver, which was ease and then it got easier, but they didn’t care about the easier because they were, you know, convinced DVDs and CDs physically picked up where or, or you know, Kodak you know, getting back to purpose Kodak was about capturing memories, right? It wasn’t about printing paper and development chemical developing chemicals, right? It was so how is it company if they they invented the digital camera sensor, right? And then they put it on a shelf? How much more relevant today they would be in every device we own if you only understood that, right? So that’s that’s the challenge right to remember to stay close to your customer at every level of the organization and not be complacent. And then you can harness or ride the entropy or the or the chaos. Right, either one. Absolutely. You
Curt Anderson 44:21
know it’s hysterical schedule. Last time you were you were on the show. We brought up Kodak and ironically I had just spoken with a gentleman who was a longtime Kodak veteran. He was there back in the 80s and 90s and like shared like a deep intimate story about like they had digital the gentleman that founded it was a young guy fresh out of college founded digital photography in the 70s paid for paid for by Kodak and they parked it they can so we’ll we won’t beat up Kodak today. But let’s light here right absolutely love. You know, a lot of great comments at the Ford is here guys. And Whitney Houston is In the house today, Pa was dropped down in the comments. So guys, thank you for jumping in comments. If you’re just jumping in, we’re here we’re Scotty yo, the editor in chief of ink Business Media, Scott, you know, longtime, you know, demonized, we’re a little bit on the older side. So you know, it was always like, Hey, if you’re an entrepreneur, you need to like have strong broad shoulders, you need to take it all on yourself, you need to have super thick skin, and never crack never show any vulnerability that’s really changed. And if like, you can’t take care of yourself, have that really rock solid mental, you know, mental aptitude. You know, and Damon, we’ve dug into this deep last time, Nicole, I know this is a super hot topic on your rent. Let’s talk about the value and the you know how important it is from the mental mental health standpoint. For entrepreneurs.
SCOTT OMELIANUK 45:46
I think it’s important, right? I don’t know how to stress it. And now I like to say, friends with Chip Conley, the author, the mentor to Brian Chesky, at back at Airbnb, when that started, he owned his own hotel chain as well and sold that but now mostly known as an author for wisdom at work peak, those are two of his books. He likes to say that the CEO isn’t just the Chief Executive Officer. It’s the chief emotional officer as well, too, right? And when we think about that, and you think about entrepreneurship has all kinds of ripples, right? They can have really good ripples in a community, for personal and family. But but those ripples aren’t just about money, or success. Those ripples can be emotional, too. And if you’re the leader of a company, and your head isn’t right. Think about how you Telegraph that to other people. Think about the dominoes that fall out from from from that space right now. No, do it again, and think about each person whose domino you’ve tipped over, because you’ve had a bad day goes home, and tips over their families dominoes, and just or their team’s Domino, it’s like, just think about sort of the, the, the ripple effects of, of not being your as best as you can be in a mental health perspective, and in a in a physical health perspective, like they’re both important in almost inextricable, right. We know that now, that’s not sort of a debatable issue. And so as much as you as a founder might think that there’s another fire to put out today, as much as you might think that this, this deal has to get done, this proposal has to get written this higher needs to be made. You really have to ask yourself, is it does it? Or will it get made better? If I take some time for me, right? Jeff Bezos, when he was still at Amazon, we talk about meditation and how he felt meditation made him better. And he said, like, okay, even if, even if I’m wrong, and like, as as important as I think it is, maybe it’s only makes me 5% Better. Think about 5% better at a company of Amazon scale, what that can mean. And so I challenge all of the folks on this call to think about that, too. Like, how can you take the time to make yourself like, you know, 5%, more grounded 5%, less stressed, 5% more focused, whatever that takes. And in almost all cases, the way you get there isn’t by going back to email as soon as our Slack or whatever it is, as soon as you’re off, you’re doing something else. And taking that time for yourself. And like, you know, think about what the impact of that could be.
Damon Pistulka 48:37
Yeah, yeah. It’s, you said it right, though, when you wrote it down here, the roof, the ripple effect of not being your best in physical mental state, I mean, as a as a leader and in a company. And he articulated well with like Bezos, but even in a small company, right, you can come in there. And if you’re not having a good day, how many how does that ripple all the way through in your business? Even?
SCOTT OMELIANUK 49:02
Because there are less there are fewer buffers, right? You know, Allison, in the comments, just said the CEO who CEO who leads with empathy and mindfulness, it creates beloved and healthy brands, right? Like, that’s true. I just don’t think enough of us necessarily understand. You know, how, you know, a lot of of CEOs are driven by the anger and like the need to achieve and overcome something from way in their past, right, that is driving that, yeah, you can that can create like this, like, you know, not the most empathetic people. And it can get to you get you to a certain place, right. You can use that energy, anger that as fuel to get to someplace, but it doesn’t necessarily carry you forward. Right. So I think there is an opportunity and it sounds like you know, whoo, and it sounds like BS, but I think there’s an opportunity to take a step back and I say this from My personal experience, like, take a step back and see what it is that’s driving you. Are you as empathetic? You know, I used to be someone, you know, from for personal circumstances, like, I was very tough on myself, right? I you’d like it was the way I grew up and, and my default response would be well, you know, however I treated someone it would be like, Well, I’m not I wasn’t nearly as bad to them as I am to myself. Right. I wasn’t as hard on them as I am on myself. And I thought that was the answer. That was not the answer. And it took a long time to figure that out. Right. So I do think empathy is incredibly important in so many ways. For business leaders, I think it’s a hard thing just to just to have, right I think, I think we need to, we need to really do a lot of self examination, one of the things we see now and a lot of our founders are using, what what we euphemistically call plant medicines, and psychedelics, in in therapy, to help them be more connected with others to help them be more empathetic, to help them sort of drop the ego, you don’t lose it entirely. And you can still use it when you want to. But to sort of right size, the ego so their interactions with people are just that little bit better that 5% or that 10% that we’re talking about.
Damon Pistulka 51:29
Yeah, I got it.
Curt Anderson 51:30
I know Kurt Darcy’s got a great comment here. Our work is all about emotions. The old fashioned it’s not personal. It’s just work is a failing strategy. Darcy couldn’t agree with you more. Yeah, great comments here. So
Damon Pistulka 51:42
I gotta put Allison’s up here. Sorry, you did you did or anything? Because this this is so well. It goes all the way through business in the family, everything and it’s
Curt Anderson 51:52
in, we’ve got a great question here from your friend, Nicole. Brian’s in the house. Friend, Nicole, I know this. This is you know, you’re the content guru content queen. And so this ties in how important is storytelling for founder, I think that ties in with this conversation where we’re at what are your thoughts that are Scott?
SCOTT OMELIANUK 52:13
I, you know, I obviously you’re talking about my wheelhouse business, right. And so I think story is incredibly important, I think it’s incredibly important to us is is is creatures, right? I think, you know, I heard a neuroscientist talk about how in human development companies, businesses are very recent. And so we use the same default brain structure to think about categorize, memorize and deal with businesses, as we do. Personal relationships, the brain is really interesting that way where it adapts and reuses parts of itself. It’s smart in that way, but right now, because business, evolutionarily speaking is such a recent development, we use the same parts of our brain, the same thinking frameworks, to think about businesses as we do about people. Our personal relationships are all about story. And so I think one of the insights there is how important storytelling is for all businesses, because it’s the way people will most easily connect with you. Because that’s the way they’re connecting with other people. And we’re using that same mental framework. And so the more storytelling you can do, the more insight you can give the consumer into who you are and why you’re doing it, the more of the brand purpose you can share, the more you can let folks know that behind the business there other folks. I think the better off you are and it doesn’t have to be slick and it doesn’t have to be sophisticated. Right? It’s it’s it’s, it’s it’s the same kind of comments that you would leave somewhere on a social media platform, you can retool to be messages for your company. There’s a very interesting thing coming with web three, where you will basically break down the walled gardens of all social media platforms. So that say, you subscribe to threads, which is you know, Facebook’s answer or medicine answered Twitter. All of your social other social media one day will also show up in the threads app and vice versa, no more walled gardens. This is a huge opportunity for businesses to take advantage of that and be on platforms now just sharing little bits and pieces, doing doing, doing anything rather than cultivate storytelling I think is really really important.
Nicole Donnelly 54:47
I love all of that. I think, actually we hear a lot Scott that when we we talk about this all the time, like we kind of share your founders story and talk about the what’s happening behind the scenes and you It’s so funny because a lot of times in manufacturing, they don’t think their stories are interesting. So a lot of times we hear like, oh, there’s nothing special about my story, you know, but it is when they actually start sharing it in his intro. Like, it’s interesting.
SCOTT OMELIANUK 55:12
People, they turn off purpose. They’re not personally empathetic enough, right. So but but it’s true. You know, it’s like I, I’ve talked to young journalists about how business is us, right? Like, every story that’s important, can be told through the lens of a business business, or every business that has a story fits the Joseph Campbell frameworks or what have you, right. David and Goliath underdogs, whatever it is overcoming remarkable obstacles going on the hero’s journey, and succeeding, all of those things are fundamental. And I think, you know, it’s really important for folks to understand that, like, you’re not just sitting there with your business, waiting to make money, ensure that that’s useful. But you’re actually there to try and help them have a better experience, get a better product, make their lives easier in some fashion. And you’re thinking about that all the time. Right? And that little, just that little bit of personal connection if people come to understand that, that’ll make a big difference.
Curt Anderson 56:22
Okay, let’s I skyline, dude, we can keep you here. And I know you’re a busy man, you’re running a business media, for goodness gracious, you’re hanging out. Let’s pull up a few comments we got. Hey, Sarah. Thank you. Alison has a great comment here. And so all sorts of just great comments. Thank you, everybody, for what you’re dropping here. so
Damon Pistulka 56:40
Curt Anderson 56:41
let’s start I know we’re bound with the noun. So, Scott, any, I have two questions left for you. Words of wisdom, inspiration, how we can get our folks out there on the Inc 5000? What are your parting thoughts? that driving force of inspiration for our entrepreneurial friends out there?
SCOTT OMELIANUK 57:00
You know, to me, I just I think we’re living in an absolutely fascinating time, right? It’s a little bit scary. But there are also so many tools at our disposal now to do remarkable things that have never, you know, tools that have never existed before that can make the ideas we have more of a reality or more realizable. And so I’m ultimately, you know, despite political conflict, despite environmental issues, despite geopolitical issues, all of which can leave you like, you know, very pessimistic. I am ultimately, really optimistic that together with all the remarkable tools, technology has brought us have a really bright future, and it’s up to us just to pick it up and run with it. It’s there. And what’s exciting to me about the job I have and why I think it’s the greatest job in the world is I get to interact with people like are on this call, as are on this call today, or in the Inc 5000 and elsewhere, who are just creating our futures. And it’s kind of remarkable, it’s humbling. It’s wonderful, but you’re all doing it. And that’s amazing. Okay,
Curt Anderson 58:23
just savor that one. Okay. Let’s wrap up. First off, I want to thank everybody in the audience. Thank you for joining us today in Boise. You know, it’s, you know, if you’ve been hanging out with us for the past, you know, 58 minutes I’m looking at right now. It’s a great opportunity to stand up give a little stretch. And how about a big round of applause for Scotty? Oh, editor in chief of ink Business Media, Nicole, takeaways parting thoughts? What do you walk away with from this wonderful conversation with Scott today?
Nicole Donnelly 58:50
Oh, can I talk to you more Scott?
SCOTT OMELIANUK 58:54
Maybe we’ll let these guys go.
Curt Anderson 58:56
But yeah, we’re counting the room here. We need to get the old guys out of there. Damon, you got your feedback. What are your what do you
Damon Pistulka 59:05
what do you hear? I just the two things that stuck out with me today. You know, mental mental health of founders and business leaders. Come on. We got to get that right. Before we do it. And then optimism, I think yeah, we’re in a changing time. But there’s so many cool things. Yes. Screw the negative stuff. I mean, there’s so much good that we can do with the tools we have now. entrepreneurs and business leaders can create great things. Yeah.
Curt Anderson 59:37
Raging. Raging optimism Darcy Jeff Long, John Woo Gleann Oh, and Alison, Sarah, everybody out there. Jump to comments. Everybody out there. That’s whatever you’re doing today. Thank you, boy, just take this away of what an incredibly inspirational inspirational conversation Scott one last question for you, my friend.
Damon Pistulka 59:57
It’s a good one.
Curt Anderson 59:58
Scott. Are you baseball fan by any chance? Yeah. I do watch baseball. Favorite team.
SCOTT OMELIANUK 1:00:04
Gosh, so growing up I was a Mets fan than the Mets won the World Series in 1986. And I was done with them. And I went inside with the rest of my family who were and had always been Yankee fans.
Curt Anderson 1:00:17
I just my daughter and I were just at a Yankee game the other day we got great pictures of Judge so let’s go here for a second. Okay. Bottom of the ninth urine Yankee are in the Bronx Yankee Stadium. Okay, Guy on second Bama nine tied score. There’s somebody on second base and they need like, we’ve got to get out here. We got to end this game. Manager. Aaron Boone looks down the bench and he says hey, Scotty Oh, get up there hitting the winning run. You grab a bat two things. You’re walking up to the plate. We were talking music earlier. What is your walk up?
SCOTT OMELIANUK 1:01:03
Nicole, help me out. I have no idea.
Curt Anderson 1:01:05
All right. Let it be right. We’ll go. Okay, well, that sounds good. Yeah, whatever. That’s a good one. We’ll just you know, what about, I can’t get no satisfaction that will give a shout out to Mick Jagger. So we will wind down. Thank you, Nicole. Appreciate you. Thank you, Damon, Scotty. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for what you do. Our entrepreneurs are truly the heroes of our American economy. The mission that’s been going strong at Inc for since 1979. Thank you for your leadership and carrying the torch and into you know, decades ahead. And we salute you. We applaud you, we admire you, we appreciate you guys. Go out and just be someone’s inspiration just like our friends Scott. God bless you guys. Daymond Take it away, brother.
Damon Pistulka 1:01:58
All right, thanks. Again, everyone that was listening today. The people are making the comments just keep them common man. We love it because getting you involved in the conversations. Scott, great insights today, you know, into the Inc 5000 into the mental health and the optimism around around the business climate in general. It’s so so great to be able to talk to you again. Nicole, Kurt. Awesome. That’s all I can say. Everyone else. Thanks so much. We’ll be back again. We’re out for now. Have a great weekend. Have a great weekend.
Curt Anderson 1:02:31