May 15, 2020
“The #1 thing going forward is going to be about hygiene… The thing that surprises me most?... with 125 shops, the importance of technology in the customer experience – I didn’t see that coming.”
Jamie Repenning, President, Floyd’s 99 Barbershop
I’m always curious about franchises. There have been some great success stories from Colorado, and some, less so. It seems to me that a key to success for those who make it is that they are owners and operators first, and franchisors 2nd. They great ones care most about building a business that serves the end customers more than about franchise sales. That’s the case with Floyd’s 99 Barbershop – and you’ll hear that as President Jamie Repenning describes operations during COVID-19.
May 6, 2020
“We are focused on a mission and a vision to truly disrupt product development and design... along the way we’re probably gonna step on some toes.”
Matthew Klein, CEO, Backbone PLM
Backbone PLM is a quintessential story of tech company success. The dominating and most intriguing point for me is that the company was created to solve a very painful problem in the market that existing service providers were falling short of solving. The problem was so painful that early customers helped Backbone refine the solution, and customer executives invested in Backbone to help them succeed. Lesson to be learned: when starting a business, find a really, really painful problem that when solved, creates massive value – then solve it.
April 9, 2020
“I believe the role of a CEO is to be that face, the smile, the heart and soul that the customer thinks of when they think about the company.”
Adam Contos, CEO, RE/MAX
Most CEOs of large public companies, no, just about ALL of them, seem to keep their private lives, even their personal personas, separate from their public facing CEO self. Not this episode’s guest, Adam Contos. Adam believes in “digital transparency.” I probed and prodded during this interview, because it was truly hard for me to believe that the CEO of a $500 million public company so easily and informally shares himself as the face of the company, using Facebook videos, a podcast, speaking engagements, and an accessible management style. Adam predicts this is the future for his peers, and he adds his perspective on the role of a leader during a crisis, such as the COVID-19 crisis we’re facing now.
March 24, 2020
“When there’s CHAOS all around you, and when things are moving SO fast… the best way to figure out how to balance competing interests… is look at your values…”
Paul Raab, Managing Partner, Linhart PR
Notice that while Paul and I were together in the studio, we were 6 feet apart!
Normally when we think of “crisis communications” it’s about a company that’s having to do emergency public relations because it did, or is accused of doing, something BAD (ie, an oil spill, harassment), and it has to defend its reputation. That’s NOT what’s happening here in the face of the coronavirus. In this case, something has happened TO everyone, TO every company. Still, while not at “fault,” leaders need to speak to the issue in ways that support their people, their brand and their values. It’s tricky, so I recruited a seasoned PR pro for this very important and timely interview. Even when we’re past this challenge, you’ll find the lessons in this podcast episode valuable.
March 11, 2020
Tory Bruno, President and CEO, United Launch Alliance – From aerospace engineer to CEO of the world’s most successful launch company, Tory shares his approach to management that has yielded 137 rocket launches with 100% success.
“Nothing trumps mission success... now, let's talk about the decision we have to make.” Tory Bruno, President and CEO, United Launch Alliance
There are recent and very high-profile examples in which notable companies have had product failures – air bags, helicopter fuel tanks, aircraft and more – which appear to have been caused by decisions to optimize speed or profits over safety and certainty. On its website, United Launch Alliance says it is CREATING VALUE THROUGH CERTAINTY. How one manages for CERTAINTY, and still can charge a price customers will pay, that’s the topic I couldn’t wait to discuss! You’ll enjoy the conversation!
February 27, 2020
Eric Gutknecht, CEO, CharcūtNuvo – Eric and his wife Jessica basically STOPPED the multi-generation business of Continental Sausage to remake the company and its products. The decisions, the branding, and the product innovation are the subjects of this episode.
“People try it at Costco and it’s, ‘oh my goodness’ – They’re so proud to have found us and they want to share it.”
Eric Gutknecht, CEO, CharcūtNuvo
This episode of PROCO360 is the story of a multi-generational business in which the youngest saw an opportunity to reinvent the business. Eric Gutknecht and his wife Jessica decided to shut down the deli and its small sausage making operation in the back, replacing both with a manufacturing company focused on product innovation and distribution. The decisions, the branding, and product creation are the subjects of this episode.
February 4, 2020
"The people with the best ideas were the least likely to share them… I set out to solve the problem of getting those people to speak up.
Anthony Franco, CEO, MC Squares
Anthony Franco’s company, MC Squares, is an earlier stage company than I typically feature on PROCO360. I wanted to interview him NOW, because 1) the company has gone from $5,000 in monthly sales, to $100,000 in monthly sales over a short period of time, and 2) because I’m intrigued at how he’s made the transition from a serial B2B entrepreneur to a B2C entrepreneur.
January 16, 2020
Nancy Fitzgerald, CEO of iLendingDIRECT – After her husband, CEO of the company, was killed in a tragic bicycling accident, “the sharks were circling” the company. Now it’s thriving. Here’s the story.
“I never quit... I’ve always known that no matter how hard my life has been at times that the sun is going to shine the very next day.”
Nancy Fitzgerald, CEO, iLendingDIRECT
I wanted to interview Nancy because I LOVE the service delivered by her company to its clients: it gets consumers out from under expensive (predatory?) car loans, lowering their interest rate by an average of almost 6%. Nancy, former Miss Canada, shares a bit of her vocal talent during our interview. More importantly, she shares a story of massive determination and running a culture-driven company.
December 19, 2019
Dan Konigsberg, Founder and CEO of CampMinder – an inspiring and entertaining story of creating a software as a service to enable an old industry to flourish.
“Employee engagement is our #1 goal, before client satisfaction… That will lead to client satisfaction.”
I really was eager to talk with Dan Konigsberg about building a COMMUNITY of customers in a powerful niche. CampMinder is a Best Place to Work winner while helping its clients average 42% revenue gains. That all weaves together in this high energy conversation with a durable (18 year) entrepreneur.
December 5, 2019
The owner of Third & James developmental record label and two rising artists, Oli McCracken and Kayla Ruby, talk about the business.
“There’s about an 80% non-recoup rate, so record labels are for the most part venture capital.”
Joshua Olsen, Owner, Third & James Recording Studios
Recorded in front of a sold-out live audience at Third & James Studios, this episode was a blast! We talked about the business of promoting rising musicians, and we heard some candid stories from Kayla Ruby and Oli McCracken about their struggles and progress in the early stages of promising careers. Owner Joshua Olsen sums up the business well when he said of his record label, “We’re like venture capitalists.” Special thanks to R. Chris Clark for taking tremendous photos at the event (seen above), and to Community Banks of Colorado for sponsoring the event.