In the little town of Dayton, Ohio, you’ll find a cool, creative arts community that The Scenery calls home. The product agency’s team took up residence there in June 2017, passing a quiet six months before heading out for the holidays. Four days after Christmas, in the early morning hours, Dayton fire crews were dispatched to the building on reports of smoke. A restaurant kitchen fire had spread throughout the building, damaging—and effectively closing—the businesses inside. Carla Hale, Partner and Director of Client Services, joins us to talk about that snowy winter morning, how the fire impacted business and how the team emerged stronger than before.
Jeff Robbins is a rockstar. A real-life rockstar. He was part of the team that created the world's first commercial website. Signed to A&M Records with his band Orbit. Toured with Lollapalooza. Co-founded Lullabot, demystified Drupal, worked with clients including The GRAMMYs, Tesla Motors and Harvard University…And that’s only about half of it. After he and his co-founder grew Lullabot to 60+ employees, Jeff stepped away to found Yonder, join an indie-rock trio called 123 Astronaut and help business owners as a coach and consultant. Jeff joins us to talk about life as a business owner and why it’s important to enjoy your life and your company while you have it.
Jeb Banner knows a thing or two about turning ideas into companies. Over the past 20-something years, he’s founded, owned and/or advised a number of businesses ranging from ecommerce to web marketing to software. In 2006, he co-founded SmallBox, an Indianapolis creative agency, where he spent 12 years as CEO. Fast forward to today, and Jeb has exited client services altogether. He now leads Boardable, a nonprofit board management software company he co-founded in 2016. Jeb joins us to talk about his decision to move from SmallBox to Boardable full-time, and advice for others considering a similar leap.
Clients can be partners, sure. But can they be members? That’s the question Becky McKinnell, President of iBec Creative, set out to answer two years ago. On the heels of her company’s ten-year anniversary, Becky wanted to toss her firm’s lengthy requirements documents and move from hourly/fixed project agreements to something more flexible and service-oriented. Fast forward to today, and iBec Creative has found success with the membership model. Becky joins us to talk about her move to membership, the impact it’s made on her team and her plans for the future.
For many years, nonprofits have faced a double standard. We want them to do great things, but we don’t want to pay them to spend money on branding or marketing or salaries. So they make do with what they have, or seek out pro bono partnerships that often take a back seat to paying clients. Gratefully, in recent years, there’s been an awakening. Matthew Schwartz, Founder and Executive Director of Constructive, has seen the evolution. He joins us to talk about nonprofits’ impact on the economy, the nuances of value-based business development and the need for a solid book, expertise and focus to win the business you want.
You head to the grocery store to pick up a few things. Subconsciously, you make dozens of tiny decisions: the brands you like, the right ratio of yellow to green in your bananas, how your cart is organized, how your bags are packed. Now, imagine a product takes over all of that for you. What does that even look like? At Instacart, that experience is what designers are working to solve. Mitch Geere, Head of Design at Instacart, shares his story about getting the right people in place, the gift of design and how designers are partners rather than service individuals.
It takes guts to venture out on your own, admit that things could be better or keep going when everything inside you is screaming at you to stop. In the agency world, on the services side, it’s easy to fault yourself for setbacks. But the inner criticism, the self-doubt and fear are likely just signs of imposter syndrome. Melanie Chandruang knows the feeling. Venturing out on her own as a finance and operations consultant, she wondered if she made the right choice. Today, she’s helping owners and operations teams silence their own inner critics, and optimize the inner workings of their companies.
Project management is a unique role, and it takes a unique sort of person to fill it, and do it well. In the digital world, project management is still being defined. Some organizations have a good understanding of what a PM is, and isn't, and others are still figuring it out. Lynn Winter, a digital strategist, freelance Digital PM and founder of the Manage Digital conference, started her career doing the work that people hated most. She joins us to talk about what it takes to be a project manager, perfectionism and the tendency to put everyone else first—sometimes at the expense of your own health, happiness and relationships.
In product development, many organizations subscribe to the idea of a three-legged stool: cross-functional teams comprised of engineering, product management and design. Each with an equal say to strike a balance and create a stable product. This sounds nice in theory, but in practice, many designers have trouble calling the shots. Josh Ulm, an executive design leader who previously led the charge at Oracle and Adobe, encourages designers to step up and be bold. Design solves problems for the customer, and it’s designers’ job to advocate for that customer every step of the way.
In 2012, Zapier's ranks totaled three. Today, they are 170+ strong, with a workforce that spans 15+ countries and 13 different timezones. So how do you foster culture, communication and collaboration when there are no set core hours, no daily in-person cues, no physical compound? Mike Knoop, Co-founder and CPO at Zapier, joins us to talk about the top two remote challenges, four pillars of communication and how everything at Zapier—from hiring to onboarding, communication channels, retreats and more—is intentional by design.