Search Interviews:

Kevin Hourigan 3:15

Sure. I’m thinking No, I think back in January 1996, maybe one one and a half percent of companies had a website at that time. And so at that time, we had another company that was what you call today, an IP integrator or managed services provider, but we were going into people’s local businesses and helping manage their their servers that used to be in a closet in their office and workstations that were connected by cable to to those servers, and you’re either outsourced IT department. And in that journey of managing their their network and their their infrastructure. We had one of our engineers who really liked building websites very early on. And so he convinced me to ask if we can build their website. And so the Ask Jeremy was is would you like a website? And the first response we got consistently over and over again, is either what is a website, or will never need one of those. And so you’re very early on, we were marketing a product to a company who wasn’t aware of the need for that product or yet, and that’s a tough one. That’s a whole other you know, but but it was probably about when this started in 1995. And probably about six to nine months later, some of those customers are calling back and said Hey, could you send John that engineer out? We’re thinking about that website thing that he was talking about, and we might need one of those but it was a simple three page website for $500. And, you know, that’s how we got started. As as 1996 started to move on, consumer awareness started to become their that commercial awareness, I should say started to become aware that hey, this website thing is probably something we need to think about. And then you know, what was a $500.03 page website started become a $5,000.10 page website in the evolution went on. We started in 1996 with three team members As by 1998, we had grown to 30. But then this thing called bubble that we didn’t know was going to happen started to happen. And we went from 30 team members to 225 by the time they’re 2000 happened, and then bubble burst, and we went from 225, down to under 20 team members in that journey from 30 to 225. Back down to a 20, you know, took place in probably about a two and a half year window of time. And, you know, people ask me, like, you know, how did that happen? Well, it grew like crazy, because everybody think they needed the best website ever, or trying to outspend each other. There’s a lot of investment capital into great ideas that really weren’t thoroughly thought through. And then in March of 2000, the NASDAQ crashed, when that crashed, the capital that was fueling all these startup businesses disappeared. And shortly after that, we had to send our existing customers who are delinquent in paying their invoices, if they couldn’t get current, we’re going to determinate services, and probably 90% of our customer base could not get current. And so what was funny is going back to it’s nothing funny about it, some of the experience gained is in 1996, our average project was $500. In 1998, it was 5000. In 2000, in the year 2000. It was $216,000. When it went back to 2002, it was back to about $15,000. Again, and it was it seems that reflection in the rearview mirror was it was easy for people to spend that $216,000 when it wasn’t their money. But when it was packed in people were spending their own money for unknown need to help them support their business for its current stage, and maybe one or two steps forward. But not this leap from you know, swinging for the rafters, and then some, it went much more to a discipline spend with the discipline expectations, what they’re gonna get back a return. And that’s how we survived our core clients who got started with us didn’t go away, but the ones who were swinging from the rafters with capital that wasn’t theirs. Were the ones unfortunately, who didn’t survive. And as a result of that, as those clients left, a lot of our team had to leave as well. Were you

Jeremy Weisz 7:05

I know some of companies were looking at going public at that time. Was there any of that talk with you?

Kevin Hourigan 7:12

Yes, yeah, we we indicated Deutsche Bank, we had filed their s one we were marching down Wall Street when the NASDAQ crashed, we were probably within 20 days of taking our own company public. And so you know, that was a stupid the day if you would have what companies in our space would do. And we’re being approached, you know, for a year and a half prior to just, you know, your a company should be going public and all those types of things. I think there’s a statistic in our inner industry, Jeremy that only 2% of the companies in the Internet services space before year 2000 are still in business today. I think had we gone public, we’d be one of those casualties, that wasn’t able to navigate what we needed to do to be able to reposition the business as quickly as we were able to do so with maybe public scrutiny. And being a public company and the scrutiny and expectations there, I think we would have been one of the casualties, unfortunately, wind up being one of the 2% who survived.

Jeremy Weisz 8:04

You know, Kevin, I was talking to another agency owner, and you know, telling him a bit of your story. I didn’t know the full story. And they were like, You got to ask him. Why did he continue? Right? Because going from 225 to 20. I’m sure a lot of business just like this is not for me. I’m done. This is too stressful. Talk about take me back to that time. You know, it’s a blip right now, when you look at the timeline, but at that time, everything came crashing down.

Kevin Hourigan 8:37

Absolutely. And you know, people who who know me probably say that I have an element of tenacity to me, and I don’t tap out easy. But when we were when we were going public, the company did bring on some angel investors. And there was a point where I said to them, Listen, guys, I don’t think your money’s going to end up in a good result. And I recommend that we potentially consider, you know, stopping this right now. Because last thing I want you to continue invest money into this business that I don’t think is gonna have a good return for you. I don’t stand for that. And I would hate to feel taken advantage. And in quite honestly at an exit in a prior business, not too soon before all of that. And I was I was in a situation where I didn’t need to work either. And I just was open and honest with the investors. And they said, let us let us huddle and we’ll get back to you tomorrow. And I’ll never forget this is a classic line. I’ll never forget this. But to come back and say Hey, Kevin, you know, we had a conversation. And we know Kevin Hourigan is not a quitter, and we’re in for the long haul, and I’ll never forget that line. I even chuckled when he said it. I said that’s a classic, like, I’m gonna borrow that sometime down the road. But they said no, we want to see this thing through. We think that you guys have something there. It may not be what we started off with. I think what we started will never happen. But we believe in you and we believe in the team and we believe in the company. And we want to see this through it. So, um, you know, I was ready to tap out, I was ready to say this is, you know, bad investment that isn’t gonna pan out. Fortunately, many years down the road, I was able to buy those investors out, and we all had a good, you know, we had a good run. And, and, and they had the foresight to stick it through a little bit longer than I was when I was willing to consider but when they said they were in and we had good expectations known of each other, we did it. And we got back to being tenacious and we found our way out of it. And slowly we grew back, you know, we probably, you know, we went from down to less than 20 people, probably less than three years later, we’re back at 50 people again, and we’ve grown and we’d found out what we found out who we serve, and why we serve them what value we bring to him and was back to having fun again.

Jeremy Weisz 10:44

Talking about the timeline, the evolution of the services there, right, because you started off with it, you still do any it?

Kevin Hourigan 10:52

No, no, that business, we ended up exiting out of that business in 1996. And so seeing the vision of what the digital side was going to be, versus what you know, in so fortunate that had that opportunity to because, you know, servers are no longer going to be in people’s offices anymore, running cables. And all that stuff was on its way out either didn’t know that at the time. But that business model was going to have to be significantly evolve and become a true managed services provider and things of that nature. But we’ve just went full steam into being a web design, web development and web hosting company in 1996 9798. To 1999, the marketing side came around with like AOL and things of that nature. And certainly then it evolved into, you know, some more of the more common companies that we know of today that were in the app channels that we market in today. But the heartbeat of it really started as a web design and web development company who Oh, by the way, hosted the websites as a convenience to our clients. And then digital marketing services started to build into the services level, as soon as they started to open up those doors and search engine optimization was the primary component of it, and then paid media came along and things of that nature.

Jeremy Weisz 12:02

You know, we’re talking before we hit record here and about the digital agency of the future. Right, and you had a merger 18 months ago, it feels like your journey is always just continuing to grow, grow, grow, grow, you’re always seeing what’s the next step for you to grow even more sustainably. Let’s talk about that decision of the merger and uh, you know, we’ll we’ll get into the digital agency of the future.

Kevin Hourigan 12:29

Or, Jeremy, I think for 26 years, people ask me, what’s the vision of your company, and I think they’re asked me to speculate about where search engine optimization is gonna be or where Google’s gonna be, or Facebook or TikTok, or whatever it might be. I’ve never stood on the thin limb to predict three years from now, where we’re spending our clients money and our people’s time, I’ve never took the liberty stand on that thin limb three years out. But I’ve said this for 25 plus years, we’re going to remain digital experts at a level here, where the normal companies that we work for knowledge is here. And as long as we’ve maintained that digital expertise to help them grow their business, that’s quite a few steps ahead of theirs. That’s the vision of where our agency is going to be it’s maintain that expertise at a higher level, because we’re just focused that that’s our core vertical, what we do, and serve people who don’t have that. And there’s an old saying, outsource, but you’re not an expert at we’re that export. We’re that expert, that our companies that our customers want to outsource that service to. And I always really like, you know, we have a CPA, we have lawyers, we have all those things, we could file our own tax returns, we could represent ourselves for any legal situation, no differently than any company could choose to do it on digital, but we choose to pay someone else because we believe that that investment will have a better return on investment than doing that ourselves. And that’s what our vision is of the agency the future, continuing to have that level of knowledge over and above where the majority of people who who need the services are and continue to buy it provide value to them and helping them accomplish what their goals are at a level of expertise north of what theirs is.

Jeremy Weisz 14:09

So the decision of the merger, what came How did that come about?

Kevin Hourigan 14:14

So it was it was it was the easy decision to understand why and that is, we’ve been trying to become what I call an end to end digital partner to our customers. And end to end means their copywriting, their web design, their social media advertising, design, complex web development, web hosting, and then all the different industries, all the different interests of what digital marketing would be in digital continues to grow so quickly, it’s growing more broadly. And the need for skill is growing more deeply. Our team of 65 people, we could check the box of being end to end digital and a couple of those boxes, then we could say maybe in the light pencil we could check one and then maybe the next few that would be in a roadmap. We’re trying to get all of those but to be the end digital partner, you need a company with scale, it just needs it needs, it needs enough team members, who are experts at all these different components what and digital is. And in knowing that my partner Mark for four years before our merger, his company had taken a stronger march into more complex digital advertising, then my company Bayshore solutions is and our DNA started as a web design web development company, and that DNA had that left us and we had some more complex capabilities, and some different platforms that we had built websites with a lot of experience. And, and so we looked at, you know, as we looked at partnering together, and knowing each other very well for four years, and starting to compete against each other a little bit, like, gosh, if we came to, if we came to some of these opportunities, as one company could check the box and all the website things, and check the box and on the digital marketing, wouldn’t that be a greater value to the customers and we started to sit down, I think it would, then we said internally, for our team members, we want to create a great career path for our team members. What if we got really can expand all these services that these are new career path choices that you have not today post merger, than it would be trying to figure out how to get there, and, gosh, it’s creating a better career path. And then we thought, we’re building a better company, because we’re serving our clients better by maybe eliminating some partners that they need to do all of their digital and building an end to end shop with an integrated methodology of all those services under one roof, as opposed to hiring multiple different partners who’ve never worked together before, who try to figure it out, who really don’t want to work together, who’d love to take any market share of overlap of services from that brand. And often they help get that market share to them because they help the other company fail. It’s not good for the brand, but it’s good for them to acquire the business. And so we saw the opportunity here, it’s better for our clients, it’s better for our co workers, and we’re gonna have more fun as a company serving it. And so the logic behind that became, you know, pretty easy to get excited and rallied around and, and we had an opportunity to take that to market just before the merger, less than a month before the merger, we had an opportunity to pre leak to a prospect that we were putting this together, because we were having an opportunity to win one side of the digital, but there’s the other side was going to go to another partner, another company, and the other company was going to win, it only wanted it all or didn’t want any of it. And so the brain said, Gosh, I can’t believe these people are gonna turn that half the business and we’ve leaked, like we’re about to be one company that can do both sides of this. And it validated out and we’re able to earn that opportunity. And so taking that live shortly before pre merger was just another validation that mentally we thought this through and, and checked with some of our trusted, trusted relationships, if the validate or shoot holes or blind spots, and what we’re trying to do, to be able to walk away with the new client partnership based on the value proposition of being a broader and an agency with deeper skill sets across the board. And earned that opportunity was a great validation. I want to talk about navigating

Jeremy Weisz 17:57

the merger if an agency came to you, Kevin said, I’m going to be going through this in a couple of months. What advice would you have for them? And what do you what are some of the lessons you learned from navigating the merger?

Kevin Hourigan 18:13

Yeah, I think I, you know, everyone has their own opinions and things like that, I think usually just in three different buckets, but they all have to be equally served. What does this mean for the clients? Why is this a win for the clients? Why is this a win for the co workers? How does this benefit the team? And how does this benefit the new company? And all of those need to be very positive and very related? What’s the new story? What’s the purpose? Who do we serve? How does it make everybody better? If it only serves one of those entities or two of those entities, there’s going to be a disappointed entity. And when there’s a disappointed entity, there’s risk of a merger with friction and frustration. But if we really believe we validate that just take that just breather and exhaust on these things, but validate do some outside trusted relationships. This is a benefit for our clients. This is a benefit for our co workers. This is a benefit for our company. In culturally everyone gels. We were fortunate in our merger, our leadership teams had a chance to meet each other before the merger in a way to support two agencies trying to help provide support to each other and sharing learning lessons. My partner Mark and I were in a YPO forum for four years prior to the merger. So we spent a half day a month helping each other grow. And then we spent an hour every week supporting each other each other again. So we had very deep relationships. We decided we trusted each other well enough to start to let what we were benefiting from that to our leadership team. And in shortly after the feedback from our team saying we both hate each other, we’re really nice and really smart and very complimentary. It made it very easy to see that there was an opportunity our co workers would benefit our clients with benefit. And we think we’re a better agency as a result of it. And so I just say, you know, evaluate those things. There’s always the financial component of it too. I think you know, if the agency principal Well, what do you see your future role is? Are you active or inactive? If you are active, is your role defined? How are you going to gel with the new culture? agency owners, you know, could come up often with a lot of personality, or just strong personality. And how’s that going to integrate with the new company and things of that nature. And I’m always happy within news agency owners to share any experiences to if they never want to connect offline, but I think you really have to see, how’s this a benefit to the customer? How’s it benefit to the coworker? How’s it benefit to the company, or the people all beneficial, so everyone feels well served. And I think it should go pretty well. After that.

Jeremy Weisz 20:38

I’d love to hear how your role changed. I mean, not saying you answered anyone now, but like, you’re used to running the company making all the decisions. And when you merge, you have other, you know, a CEO or someone from another company. So how did your role change in this merger?

Kevin Hourigan 20:57

Yeah, no, it’s an evolving journey. I think, my partner, Mark and I are 5050 co managing partners. But pre merger, we decided how to split that 5050 Very important decisions, we both weigh in and make that decision jointly together. But then we decided to diversify, because his company had gone deeper into the digital marketing, he’d still act as an executive thought leader in digital marketing. And vice versa, I would do that in complex web design and web development components. And so teams looking for support from an executive level would know where they could go there. My partner Mark is an amazing person focused on culture within the organization. And I’m a very strong numbers guy. And so it’s very easy to see how to complement a great company has to have an amazing culture, and then has to have great financials. And so we’re able to figure out to where our organic path of where we what we’d like to do was very complimentary, because these things were making a great company, but both of us saw where our experience was on a different side of it. And so we’ve learned, fortunately for us, it fit like, you know, fit like a glove for us. And then I think, you know, over the the year, Jeremy, we learned that it’d be important for us not to share our own individual viewpoints, unless they were consistent in that in that conflicting because it was difficult for the team to understand where to go. So we’ve learned that, you know, when we see things from different perspectives, which usually those two perspectives can create one amazing perspective, we have those conversations, and we eventually deliver one voice but not but one that we both believe in and are excited about, but not one that’s of conflicting direction to the team and not knowing where you know what to make make of all of that. And so you know, that journey has been fun. It’s been enjoyable to look to see how to develop new team members and to taking on some different responsibilities and things of that nature. You know, still building relationships with new customers, partnering with vendors and stuff is something both Mark and I still enjoy quite doing quite a bit. But really, instead of making decision for everything, it was really kind of splitting some of those decisions. And he taking on the cultural side, the digital marketing side, and me taking on more of the operations and on finance, legal and web design and web development, and trusting each other do a great job. And fortunately, we have that great trust with each other.

Jeremy Weisz 23:18

Sounds like you complement each other really well.

Kevin Hourigan 23:22

It’s lucky because I think, you know, in our discussions prior to really going deep into the merger discussion, those weren’t things we had thought through. It just felt like the assets of what my company was in his building one better agency of the future, you know, all seemed like a great reason. And, and oh, by the way, we started figuring out what our roles were going to be and how that complemented later, but that wasn’t part of our early discussions is more discovery at the tail end of our discussions.

Jeremy Weisz 23:49

You know, I could see someone who’s, you know, maybe in the culture, I don’t know if this is the case with both of you be like, listen, it stresses me out, or it actually drains my energy to think about the numbers and operations and he’s like, Kevin, I’m glad to have you. You consider yourself when we talk about rocket fuel. I know you’re from the you know, Gino Wickman’s traction. Are you more of a visionary or more of an integrator? How do you break down as a leader Prosecco.

Kevin Hourigan 24:19

Today, we use mark as our visionary. I sit in what’s called the owners box. And so very numbers scorecard driven. And then we have an integrator that works with us as well.

Jeremy Weisz 24:34

I want to talk about the role progressions. You mentioned something exciting about a merger is there’s a now that the career path changes. Yes. What was the role like when you built out the role progressions, career path with Bayshore solutions? What did that look like? And then what does it look like after the merger?

Kevin Hourigan 24:56

Yes, so I think, you know, again, we now that we’re, we’ve merged Check. The former Bayshore solutions now has more digital advertising capabilities than added when it was just facial solutions. And we might have people that we used to work for Bayshore solutions, who are aspiring to maybe take on some of those skill sets that HR solutions might eventually have gotten to, but didn’t have available right out of the gate. And vice versa with with with with spending tech is an opportunity for them to have some opportunities to take their career path, maybe some of the areas that they share solutions was further advanced in. And so in being able to say, the new co now has all all of the service areas with all these skill needs. Many of those were new to the two companies coming into this, they knew that probably each company was trying to get there. But now Now we’re there. And now that path to be able to diversify what your career path might be by taking on some different trainings and things of that nature to diversify your skill set, and maybe pick a different career path was now available to them. You know,

Jeremy Weisz 25:59

in the smaller agencies when you know, someone is 10 or 20 people as opposed to 5060 100 200 people, you know, people are doing the work there. And how do you decide to move someone into leadership? Or do you have outside? You know, I feel like in the beginning, it’s kind of a flat organization, and then you start putting layers in, at what point? Do you start putting layers in? I don’t know, if it’s a company, you know, revenue or team member size, that you’re like, Okay, we need someone managing these people and how you move them up? Because some people I imagine, like doing the skill, some people, you know, may see you see that management potential?

Kevin Hourigan 26:45

Yeah, no, it’s a great question. I tell you, I don’t, I don’t think that’s never not evolving and improving. But this is one of the things too, just from thinking from a team member perspective, what the merger meant, it meant new layers of management that didn’t exist in the prior two companies. And a lot of that management was elevated up from the teams that merged together. So as as companies were small eat apart, the layers of management that we have today didn’t exist. And so you know, there’s all kinds of new management opportunities, many filled within a few maybe hired from from without, but, you know, again, I think some of the model of how to go about that is leveraging traction, right? So we leverage traction, everybody has an accountability. And they know who, you know, they know what’s responsible for them, they know what their measurables are, and they know who, you know, helps is their coach and their boss, so to speak. And so traction has what’s called the accountability chart, and very early on our traction journey was putting together that accountability chart, and then that evolved as the company’s grown and create new layers of management and, and, and really new roles within the agency itself. And so that accountability chart is something that we look at at a quarterly basis and continue to evolve it, but certainly, as a new company, it created, you know, a significantly different accountability chart than at independently before, and quite a few areas of new leaders to be developed in the company.

Jeremy Weisz 28:11

You know, you don’t have to name names here, Kevin, but can you think of a person and like, the different roles that they started off, and where they ended up meaning like, oh, they started as a junior web developer, then they moved to senior, then they moved to project, um, just just to get a little granular with it, who’s someone we can think, Oh, here’s the trajectory they actually took. And now their senior project manager, I don’t know, whatever it is,

Kevin Hourigan 28:37

I think that there’s quite a few of those case studies to celebrate, it’s one of the most proud things of, of being a business owner is seeing the development of your team. And so I just had a discussion with one of our team members yesterday, who is going through a personal event, I don’t want to say it because it’s confidential and secret, but it’s an amazing personal event that I’m excited. I’m excited when I hear about someone buying their first house, getting married, have their first child, but a lot of these things are a byproduct of their career growth within the company to and the ability to go buy their first house and things of that nature. And so, you know, I would tell you that we’ve probably, you know, promoted probably 25 to 35 people in the first 18 months of of our journey together, in probably at least a few have gone through multiple promotions. And it’s great to see people progressing in that journey. And in allowing us the opportunity to create that path for them to be able to do so and and hopefully, you know, delighting our clients and be delighted with the team that they’re doing it with and, you know, with delighted clients and a team who loves working together and doing great results. It helps us build a great agency.

Jeremy Weisz 29:42

You remember, like, as far as, you know, this person is now whatever their position is, can you take me through that path? Like what were they when they started? And then what were the positions? I’m just curious of what actually, their their progression was of that, okay, here’s where they started. And then here’s the positions they went through in the company.

Kevin Hourigan 30:06

So we have, we have a very talented individual who started out as an office administrator for us, who now today runs all of our inside sales, still managing Office responsibilities, and many of the other tasks, but leads are inside sales and absolutely crushes it. And yeah, this person is this person have a nickname for because there’s times sometimes we doubt we’re able to do the next thing that maybe he’s being considered. And we’ve been had many conversations about, with the right training and the right attitude, you can do anything you want. And this person’s just literally probably doubled their income here at the agency, and double quadrupled their responsibility. And it’s just so enjoyable to see someone to come in with the one set of expectations to go in a direction. They never ever, ever, ever would have chosen to come work for our company, and they know they’re going to be in the role they are today, never they would have been scared to death. And absolutely, that it wasn’t a role for them today. But you know, creating this agency that future and all these new career paths, it takes the stature and with the right training, and the right attitude, people can do things that maybe they didn’t think of before. And I think this person would say that they’re overjoyed at what they’ve been able to learn shocked at that they were able to do it surprised proud of themselves, I’m very happy. And it’s helped them grow in their career to help them, you know, be able to support their family better. And you know, it’s a great journey to watch someone come in at that level. And now you lead lead a very important service area at the company.

Jeremy Weisz 31:44

You know, with that situation, have you said this person is an office administrator, this person a rockstar, we want to move them up? And have them take on more responsibility? Was it where they were doing the office administration? And you immediately put them into an inside sales? or was there some progression of other things they did within within the inside sales before they kind of headed it up?

Kevin Hourigan 32:07

I think as the as someone who was an office administration, front desk clerk answering the telephone greeting guests as they come into into the agency, that type of role, who has some downtime in between phone calls and guests coming in? and things of that nature? And so you start to think about, well, could you help utilize some of that downtime for everyone’s sake? You know, I think a lot of people don’t want to, you know, don’t want to be bored at work, right? And so you start to look at ways, and they have a positive attitude and a glass full approach. And say, interesting, listen, you can maybe use a little bit of help here and here. And literally this person started doing accounting for slipping was doing our deposits was doing accounts receivable, that literally was doing things like like never, ever, ever when they took that role that they think they’d have an accounting responsibility. And then we say okay, can you shift over here to some of the inside sales things and then your company uses HubSpot as a platform to manage our own CRM and marketing automation. And I’ve become HubSpot certified numerous times over my career and I think HubSpot trainings, absolutely. Top notch. And you know, this person weeks has to take on a couple of responsibilities that HubSpot would be the platform and they went through some of that training. And I think they enjoyed what they were learning and they’re the product to work. And they were able to see the results like the impact they saw when they were helping us in accounting and get to participate faster, getting invoices to clients who needed them, things of that nature, they saw the impact that they were making and how it was helping the agency and, and when we asked them to consider shifting over here, they could see how we were performing better. And I think that’s, I think that’s the the career reward that team members get when they see that their activity is actually making a difference. And again, that they would have never ever signed up for the role to do accounting or to do inside sales. But crushed it both ways and had no prior experience in either one zero prior experience. But again, a glassful attitude, and and a desire to help in some, some bandwidth of their schedule. And you know, we’re able to develop, you know, it’s a great example of someone developing to have a senior role within our company today, starting out answering the phones at our agency.

Jeremy Weisz 34:07

Yeah, it’s exciting for them probably to see all of the skill sets they’ve gained because of just doing it slowly but surely getting the training. You mentioned the accountability chart. And so I’m wondering how, how do you use EOS as a company?

Kevin Hourigan 34:23

Yeah, so we try to stay we’ve we’ve, we have an EOS integrator. And he uses the name uses the term pure EOS. What does that mean? It’s probably very subjective to many people who hear the phrase pure EOS. But I think the intent of that is is to stay as close to the book as possible into the teachings as possible, and that tend to derive your own system. In my experience, Jeremy, I’ve been around a lot of companies who practice Eos, but they haven’t decided to who the integrator in the visionary is going to be. So they claim they’re doing And ELS, but they’re not following the principles. I’ve been through many who, you know, maybe do only one l 10. within their company don’t use the accountability chart, things of that nature. And so they, they claim they’re doing Eos, it’s such a light version. And often, in my experience with these brands, the reason they haven’t gone deeper, is the decisions needed to be made to take us to the next level, and the next level and the next level are not easy. They’re not going to be fun. But it’s those decisions that are holding them back. It’s those decisions, why they decided to go EOS in the first place, but they haven’t stayed committed to be able to make those decisions. And so we as a company want to leverage what over 80,000 companies are many who are operating very well. And that try to follow an operating system that Mark and I created on our own but one proven by over 80,000 companies out there and use that as our operating system. And I joked before we went into the EOS insr leadership team if they would read the book, and we would decide the month from now if we were going to follow the Eos. And we voted we were all unanimous to do so. But I said prior to the Eos, we were following the KOS. Have you ever been through that operating system before? No one has it’s called the Kevin operating system. And no one’s written a book about it yet, it’d be a horror story and a nightmare. We’re getting off the KOLs so to speak, and you know, making making you know, making making it as we go so to speak, and but instead leveraging a framework that really 1000 companies are using very successfully. And you know, wanting to graduate from the joking KOS into the EOS like listen, this has been perfected by many, many companies, let’s not believe we’re smarter than all the research that’s been done here. And let’s just be disciplined to following this with an implementer holding us accountable to following it as pure as we can go and not try to deviate from the system, there’s gonna be no perfect system out there. And there’s many systems that compete with the OS and probably could get similar results. Just pick one and be good at the one that you pick. And that’s the decision we made.

Jeremy Weisz 36:58

What’s an example you mentioned, there’s a bunch of hard decisions you have to make as you’re going through the US process, what’s an example of a hard decision that you and the team had to make?

Kevin Hourigan 37:09

I think, you know, the most difficult ones are regarding the team. You know, there’s, there’s, there’s, you know, I love decisions that are black or white, because they make the decisions for themselves decisions that are great, everyone seeds the shade of grey differently. And I think when it comes around, people can be very subjective. So who should be the head of this team? Well, there can be someone who has the best skill in that area, but has no leadership experience, or has the best skill, but has demonstrated they don’t like leadership. Now. So you have one who wants leadership, but maybe isn’t as good in the skill. Another one is amazing in the skill, but has either demonstrated they’re not good leaders or said they don’t want to be a leader. So who becomes the head of that accountability chart? It becomes a difficult question to answer. But certainly the person with the skill who doesn’t want to do it probably shouldn’t do it. But they may feel disrespected, that they’re not the head of the chart. And so I think the hardest part is about making some of these decisions about who goes in what seat so to speak. Because for sure, there’s going to be people who are excited about the seat they’re being asked to take in Absolutely, there’s been people disappointed. And and so it’s you know, making those decisions that have a lot of human emotion among them are not fun at all. But by not making those decisions. It’s also probably holding everyone back those two people hypothetically in that situation. They don’t know whose leader, they may be the jockey to be leader by being intentionally aggressive and trying to be leader or maybe disruptive and trying to make the other one fail and things of that nature. It’s not healthy for anyone involved in it. But but that’s what might just date if you don’t make those decisions. And then, you know, ride with those benefits. But there’s consequences to some people may feel so disrespected. They don’t want any part of the organization anymore and feel. And so they’re term not fun decisions to make whatsoever. But I think probably the most difficult decisions involve people.

Jeremy Weisz 39:03

Yeah. Kevin, I want to give people an idea of exactly what you in the company do. It’s Spinutech. And if anyone wants to check it out, go to spin up. It’s You help a lot of different industries, from agriculture, to associations, to credit unions, to e-commerce, education to finance and banking, healthcare, etc. And I’d love to talk about e-commerce for a second. Obviously, that’s growing and it’s a hot topic. And one of the companies that you you worked with at nopcommerce And how, what you did for them?

Kevin Hourigan 39:43

Yeah, so nopcommerce is an e-commerce platform that we build a lot of very complex websites on it. And, Jeremy, I think it’s as an agency, the e-commerce that we help provide for our clients is very complex, very customized, very deeply integrated into companies. ERP accounting inventory, very customized business rules are very complex e-commerce solutions. And one of the platforms we build a lot of it’s the nopcommerce platform. And so from a web design web development perspective, we have a large team that specializes in e-commerce. And again, mostly complex e-commerce, helping companies who have been successful selling online, but probably have lots of opportunity to be more efficient and how it operates. And so taking the human component out of some of that stuff about the duplicate entries, multiple databases and things of that nature, and be able to get to a single source of truth from a database perspective, from an accounting perspective, and help enable the back offices of our clients to the up to the shopping cart, and a very, very, very secure way, has been something that we’ve been doing for 10 or 12 years and have a lot of really amazing case studies as a result.

Jeremy Weisz 40:54

In the e-commerce world. someone’s listening to this, who’s an ideal client, for you is their size of company. What does that look like?

Kevin Hourigan 41:02

Thing, an ideal e-commerce client is a company who realizes that they are missing out on being as efficient as effective as possible, because they started building a website that wasn’t connected to a lot of the different connection points, namely, accounting inventory. And so they’re probably running either multiple different databases, which are never in sync. So you never know what the right data is. And that could be customer data. That could be accounting data, that could be inventory data. But it’s companies have gotten to that point that they built something to build as a proof of concept, that proof of concept absolutely succeeded, it grew and it grew, it grew. But now the challenges of having, again, lots of different data that doesn’t sync up correctly, and you don’t know what the source of truth is, becomes frustrated, maybe we’ll make some decisions by into our ideal client has been through the initial journey of being able to be successful at a proof of concept. But now what’s the benefit from a completely integrated back office to their to their e-commerce experience? I’m sure there’s a lot of

Jeremy Weisz 42:00

companies that start out and they grow, and they grow, and they put probably duct tape and patches on their current solution. or at what point size wise, it makes sense, we need to engage someone like you. I

Kevin Hourigan 42:12

think that I hate the answer. It varies, but I think it depends on the pain or opportunity of each individual company, a company might be meant to be $100 million a year, but the website’s only doing $10 million, versus there could be an $8 million pure e-commerce company that’s just as equal of a fit. And so you know, I really think it’s more of the pain or the opportunity that results of it, the pain of you have met not matching data, you have a lot of duplicate data entry of your administrative team having to duplicate data entry, which is usually has faults in it and cost, there’s opportunities to be able to sell better, either by cross selling better, or having a better opportunity to present inventory better. But it’s the opportunity to reduce pain or increase opportunity. In usually through the customizations of a shopping cart that usually just like you said, Jeremy, it started out as a proof of concept, it started to add more fuel to it. So you start to continue to bolt things on. But at some point, you realize the investment continued to bolt things on, it’s gonna be more expensive than it is to just essentially restructure it and be able to set it up on his own stable ground going forward.

Jeremy Weisz 43:16

I know you fit for us. I know you’ve you know, worked with companies like Pella and Baker United direct, but there was an interesting one. Piano vision. Yeah.

Kevin Hourigan 43:26

So we just launched a website for piano vision, global provider film equipment to the to the cinema industry, and we’re talking pre COVID. And then you just talk about, it’s amazing how many companies that we serve and how COVID affected so many. But, you know, the cinemas, you know, the movie studios, you know, they essentially kind of shut down for the most part in pre COVID. But we just launched something for HANA vision. That is it’s a website with a global audience. And we built it in the Sitefinity platform, lots of integration. There’s a e-commerce like component where you can find product, you can get a quote on that product, you don’t actually check out with a credit card. But it’s an amazing Global website with an amazing team at Panda vision, who had the courage to know that in a in a new COVID world, this website was needed. And we just launched that probably less than two months ago. And I enjoy anybody to go take a look at it. It’s But it’s an amazing global experience of a brand who knew they’d operate in a different capacity whenever the new COVID world would look like and had the courage to go out there and build something and they did a great job.

Jeremy Weisz 44:36

Kevin, last question. And first of all, thank you, thanks for sharing the journey and the stories and everyone get checkout Check out more episodes of the podcast. Do you have offices all over you know of Iowa, Illinois, Denver, Tampa. I wonder if you can just give us one or a couple of things that you do culturally that helps again In this virtual world, you have also offices all over the place. And we’re in this virtual working world as well. What do you do as a company that helps with the culture?

Kevin Hourigan 45:10

Yeah, absolutely. It’s great question. So as a company of about 165, team members across five offices today, we still haven’t asked our, our co workers to come back to work. We’re optional today. In those five offices with 165 team members, I would bet we’d have somewhere between 25 and 35. People that day, maybe go in 20 to 35 people a day go in, except for days, we have an intentional event that may attract people to come in, we have what we call an all team meeting, which is, you know, town hall meeting or a staff meeting, and we serve lunch. And those days for people to come in, we do see a good a good amount of people come in for that day, they like to interact. We have one person with an organization dedicated to serving the team and the culture and making a great experience there. And she does a great job of creating all kinds of different events online and in person. But we have so many different flavors of activity that people here in the team like that she’s created all these different kinds of Slack channels, events, we have, we have yoga, we have meditation, we have workouts, we have channels for different types of pets, children, all kinds of things that we facilitate, to try to provide that what used to be the watercooler talk that you’re not getting today, you know, in a in a digital world, and still trying to have fun events online. You know, I think, you know, when COVID started, that was the happy the virtual happy hours, you know, those haven’t really helped that much of so much just tried to be more activity driven. But you were trying to provide a new COVID like remote work experience by intentionally creating some events that might attract people to come into the office that isn’t necessarily work related. Certainly have some customer events that drive people to come into the office. And then certainly trying to figure out from a virtual perspective, how to be able to get our whole team connected, because now we have a significant number of team members who don’t live anywhere close to the vicinity of Office don’t have the opportunity to do that as well. So it’s a hybrid of all three of those things and trying to navigate what what an agency in the future looks like. And in the COVID world in the stage of where we’re at today.

Jeremy Weisz 47:11

Kevin, thank you so much. Thank you so much. Check out Check out more episodes of the podcast. Thanks everyone.

Kevin Hourigan 47:19

Thanks, Jeremy.