All signs are pointing to the same thing: there is an economic downturn on the horizon. If you’ve just recently started or have been running your company for a while, you probably know that there are always ups and downs when it comes to owning or starting a business. Market conditions can change, outside events like the global pandemic can affect demand, and sometimes, growth can stall simply due to cyclical reasons. As a leader, you have to prepare for such inevitable downturns. Even as you gather the right resources towards growth, it’s also essential to create a contingency plan when things go south. At the same time, you must structure your company to be more resilient. A few changes in how you operate can make you more recession-proof. But how can you do this?
Our guest on today’s episode of the Powderkeg Podcast believes there is no higher calling than helping entrepreneurs grow and improve. Scott Kraege is a serial entrepreneur who is no stranger to growing tech companies during a recession. He founded MOBI back in 2010, scaling the company from $0 to $40M+ ARR and leading to a successful exit (that was acquired by Tangoe in 2018). Before that, he founded and bootstrapped and drove Bluefish Wireless (2001-2009) to Inc 500 three years in a row. Today he is a co-owner of The Vogue in Broad Ripple, Indiana, and is now managing director at Techstars Heritage Group Accelerator.
Throughout this episode, Scott will share key ways of being transparent with your team, advice on managing and measuring the performance of remote teams. Scott will also share the ideas on how best to support local businesses that are struggling during the economic pandemic. Tune in for more!
In this episode with Scott Kraege, you’ll learn:
- Bottlenecks and challenges you’ll face when executing goals
- Advice on being transparent as a leader and sharing with your team
- Ideas on how to manage performance in a remote team
- Ways to execute goals and profitably serve customers/potential stakeholders
- How companies can stay ahead, during an…economic and pandemic crisis
Figuring out your next career move doesn’t have to be so stressful. So why not try Powderkeg Matches?
By joining Matches, you’re joining a community of thousands of top professionals in the Powderkeg community to get connected with outstanding people at the hottest tech companies between the coasts. Get matched with great employers, land your next major opportunity, and get started today!
Please enjoy this conversation with Scott Kraege!
If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. You can also follow us on Soundcloud or Stitcher. We have an incredible lineup of interviews we’ll be releasing every Tuesday here on the Powderkeg Podcast.
Scott Kraege quotes from this episode of Igniting Startups:
“If you’re an entrepreneur, you have a certain grit, you have a certain ethos about you where you see a challenge, and you want to go after it” — @ScottKraege on @PowderkegHQ
“I think if it’s relevant, if it’s impactful, and it can help execute your vision as a leader, it should be shared.” — @ScottKraege on @PowderkegHQ
“Some of the best ideas that will happen within your company and with every company right now are from individuals like you that are saying, okay, there’s got to be somewhere that I can take my skill sets that I have in the hustle that I have, and just put them to work where I am right now.” — @ScottKraege on @PowderkegHQ
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
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Matt Hunckler 00:14
Hey there, Patrick fans. This is episode 134 of the powderkeg podcast, the show for entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders building remarkable tech companies in areas decidedly outside of Silicon Valley. I’m your host, Matt Hunckler. And on today’s show, we’ve got a really cool conversation with a recent interview and live q&a that we hosted with a very special guest, Scott craggy, who is the managing director at TechStars, and the co founder and former CEO at Moby tango. And I say it’s a cool conversation because I feel like we got into so much meat right now and so much that can be helpful to people in such a crazy time of crisis. I’m recording this introduction to this interview on April 15 of 2020. We’re well into the declaration of pandemic of the Coronavirus situation that’s happening globally. And I think this is a really great opportunity for people to learn from someone who has led through to economic downturns, which, of course, are very different than what we’ve what we’re seeing right now. But there are some lessons to be learned. And I feel like Scott shared a lot of that wisdom. In this episode, we talk all about how to make decisions and make adjustments and really execute in the ever changing economic environment that we’re experiencing right now. I’m sure we’ll see again in the future. And we also answer questions from the powderkeg community live on this show. And I feel like some really great questions were asked. And of course, Scott really delivered some amazing answers here. So we have a bunch of great guests lined up for future events. I just wanted to mention that before we jump into the episode, we are trying to get you as much real time information as possible in real time advice and experts that we turn to as advisors and people nationally, and even globally that are willing to share some of their best advice for how to get through this and how we can all get through this together. So if you want to check those out, going over to powderkeg.com/events We’d love to have you on a future live stream event one of our virtual events like we had here with Scott Craigie. So check that out at powderkeg.com/events. Now, Scott Craigie is a wonderful person. He is an exceptional entrepreneur and a serial entrepreneur at that. No stranger to growing tech companies during recession, he founded Moby in 2010, scaling the company from zero to 40 million in ARR. That’s our annual recurring revenue, and leading to a successful exit, which was the acquisition by tango in 2018. Before that, he co founded blue fish wireless in 2001. And bootstrap growth to the Inc 500 fastest growing companies list three years in a row, doing that from the recession following 911. So today, he’s also the co owner of the Vogue venue and broader poll, which is actually where we had our last live event, in person. event, I should say, in broader bull in the broader bull neighborhood of Indianapolis. And then Scott credit is also now the managing director at the TechStars heritage accelerator. The Heritage Group is an amazing organization, a lot of people don’t know it’s located right here in the Midwest. We talk a little bit about it here on the show. So I hope you enjoyed this episode and gained some valuable insight from Scott’s experience. He is a humble dude, but brings so much wisdom and really delivers it for us in this episode. So without any further ado, here’s Scott Craigie. Scott, welcome to the show.
Scott Kraege 03:50
Matt, thank you for having me. I appreciate it. It’s great to be here, as we all try and navigate these, these new offices of ours for at least at least most of us. So I appreciate you having me. Thank you.
Matt Hunckler 04:02
Absolutely. It’s definitely interesting times or certainly adapting. And I know you and I had a chance to connect on a call a couple of weeks ago, and this was just starting to happen, just starting to shift, we had to move our in person launch to a virtual launch, so to speak. And we were both still kind of wrapping our minds around it. I know you had just gotten off a call with dozens of CEOs, who are all sharing sort of what they were thinking about and getting their questions answered. I know your mission in life is really to help CEOs and scaling tech companies navigate these waters. And I’d love to just dive into some of those topics if you’re open to it. Yeah, love to. Well, I’d love to get a little bit more context from your experience of starting bluefish back in 2001. And then, of course, starting Moby and 2009 2010 timeframe to both kind of in the wake of some pretty big recessions. Was that something that you felt? Or did you? Were you kind of oblivious to it in the sense of I hadn’t really started a company in any other circumstance. So this just seemed like business as usual.
Scott Kraege 05:12
Yeah. Let me first off by, let me say that these are, I mean, I don’t need to say it again. But these are unprecedented times. So again, thanks for having me to be included in this dialogue with with your network and your community is pretty special. So I mean, if I can just bring maybe a moment of peace or distraction, or reduce the anxiety levels, but tick ethic. I appreciate the opportunity. So thanks for giving me the chance of this on this platform. You know, both of the started, I don’t know, maybe five or six businesses, two of the most successful ones, as you mentioned, were started during an economic crisis 2001, we actually had a our launch party, September 1 2001, to 10 days prior to the Twin Towers getting hit, which was just crazy and surreal. And then when we launched movie in 2009, you know, it wasn’t 2008. So like the dramatic Fallout had already happened. And then we were in a point of holy cow, should we do this? is the right move for us? Is this the right place to invest? Our crap capital? A boot we bootstrapped both businesses early on, which was good and bad. And I can get into that in a minute. But to answer your question directly, it wasn’t intentional. I just, I feel like I’m just an entrepreneur. And if you’re an entrepreneur, you have a certain grit, you have a certain ethos about you where you see a challenge, and you want to go over after it. And, yes, the challenge in front of us right now. And the challenge back then was huge. A lot of people said are insurmountable, or it would take years and years to grow out of. And that’s what folks are saying right now. But if you have the spirit of an entrepreneur, you kind of don’t care. You kind of look at that as a as a very unique opportunity to say, well, we’ll shoot if I can, if I can do it now. Right? I can, I can do it anytime. If I can build something that’s successful today. It’ll be really successful in the future.
Matt Hunckler 07:33
Absolutely. Well, and I know you probably learned a lot about what can help people through a time like this leading a team building a team through an economic crisis, and of course, unprecedented times right now. But the closest thing we can compare to is some of these recessions that use scaled and built teams throughout in 2001, and 2009. Do you have any advice for people who are currently building a team are a part of a team that scaling during an economic crisis? In terms of mindset?
Scott Kraege 08:06
Yeah, so every move that you’re going to make right now, and it needs to be looked at under a lens that wasn’t looked at a few weeks ago, I mean, every everybody who’s starting a business, from a hiring standpoint, as a very dangerous position, whether or not you’re in this current environment, or not, making that first hire is a process that should not just be taken on by you in a silo or in a vacuum, you should look to your mentors, your advisors, you should read as much as you can about hiring the right person. But building a team, if you’re if you’re bringing on someone new is a very delicate situation. Now, there’s a couple different, I’ll give you another answer about creating and crafting a great team in an environment like this in a second. But I was talking to a founder the other day, and they were thinking about hiring an engineering resource, and this is their first engineering resource. And we hit the pause button, and we didn’t hit the pause button from a cash standpoint, we didn’t hit it from a market standpoint, we hit it from a talent standpoint, in that there are going to be a lot of great, highly skilled, highly talented people that are on the bench that are on the market here very soon. And they will go they will drift towards the best founders. Not even necessarily the best ideas like six weeks ago, it was maybe the best, the best engineer would drift towards the best idea. But that’s going to change slowly. If it hasn’t already. The next few weeks, they’re gonna they’re gonna they’re gonna migrate to those best founders possible. So take your time, be very thoughtful, be very prescriptive. If you’re not writing down thoughts actually going, opening up a page in your notebook or getting in front of a blank screen and typing out your thoughts about hiring a person. Don’t hire that person, but go and be very prescriptive in the way you Do it go through that throughout the thoughtful exercises. Let’s talk about building an existing team. Because what’s happening today, if if you’re building something, and you’re maybe doing it part time, and somebody else is doing it part time, and you got a group of four or five folks that are not fully engaged, and they’ve all got maybe another job that’s helping support them, there’s a really good chance they’re going to lose that job or there’s that job is going to be shifted towards a different direction, now you’ve got an existing resource, that potentially becomes a full time resource. And that’s really unique too. Because you too, as a team are never going to have an opportunity like this to work together, because never going to be as hard as it is right now. So taking a step back, and being very transparent with each other, saying, it’s never gonna get harder than it is right now. We need to be overly communicative in everything that we do. That’s, it’s going to be a really interesting, I’m excited to see how co founders shoot, there was a startup with the they were a married couple, and I’m sure I’m excited to see how they work through this. And you’re gonna find out very quickly, the person that you’re work with, from a co founder perspective, if this is the right person that I’m getting on this, this journey with?
Matt Hunckler 11:25
Absolutely, I’ve definitely heard, this is where leaders will stand out. And founders will separate themselves as elite founders do this. Certainly the same is true for people who work in tech. Now you’re mentioning these people who are maybe super talented workers are potentially getting laid off, or maybe they were already searching for a job. Now, they’re finding less opportunity. Any advice for people who are finding themselves between positions right now, and are dealing with navigating this economic crisis? Yes, tough
Scott Kraege 12:01
feel a feel, my heart goes out to him, there’s pain in my stomach that this snaps back slowly evolves back, whatever, whatever gets us to back of that it happens quickly for those types of folks. But you’re right, there are a number of people that are coming off. Either a roll that just wasn’t a great fit, and they decided to move on. Maybe they were furloughed, maybe they were let go, something happened, because there’s a lot of startups that that aren’t going to make it through this process. I’m seeing something and I don’t know, maybe this might just be my last year in the world of going back to the scrappy startup world. But I’m seeing an awful lot of very senior people in a range of silos, it used to be maybe just one or two silos. But this range of silos of experience and skill set, senior level people that are leaning in from a either part time or consultative basis. Let’s talk about marketing for a second. Like when we were building, movi, 567 years ago, to go get three or four full stack marketing people, it’s pretty easy to do. We never had a CMO for that entire time, just because the CMO skill sets were very deep domain expertise and the space that we needed and the skills that we needed, we needed a very broad range, and we just weren’t able to find the right the perfect fit. So we would outsource a lot of those things. Today, what I’m seeing in the marketing world is you could go find an incredible CEO, a full stack cmo that maybe will give you 234 days a month for 1000 to four, maybe $5,000 a month. Flip that on the other side from from a talent perspective, if you’re experienced. And you have a skill set that you can lead to towards these types of startups or scale ups, go ahead and lean in from a consultative perspective. And try and rack up three or four businesses under your belt. And all of a sudden, you may be in a situation where you’re earning more than you were with your and have a little bit more free time and a little bit more flexibility with your time than you did as part of that full time. A couple of the businesses that I’m on right now we’re looking for part time SEO work. We’re looking for part time accounting work. We’re looking for part time marketing resources. We’re looking for a PPC guy. So if if we’re out looking for him not to say that we’re unique, but there are other companies that are out trying to fill gaps in their org chart, maybe with a part time resources take let’s take a step back and look at that. I
Matt Hunckler 14:49
really liked that idea of figuring out that opportunity of where can I fill in fill in some of my time, contribute some of my skills and talent and almost treating that as As auditioning both ways, right, not just auditioning for the job, but the job auditioning for that candidate to say, hey, we might be a great place for you to work when this is a full time position. Yeah, yeah. That’s, that’s great, Scott. Sure. A lot changes. When you feel a crisis like this, the pandemic, the economic crisis, any advice for setting goals during a crisis timeframe?
Scott Kraege 15:31
Yeah. And there’s a few because this crisis is very different than anything else we’ve ever been through. So it’s, it’ll be really easy to go back in three or four years to today and, and map it out accurately. So I can’t give you a exact tactic here. But I can say some things that have helped me and these don’t not only help in the time of crisis, but this will help you when you’re cranking and you’re on all cylinders, and you’re just trying to expand your market, rather than fix everything that’s going on right now. Because those are two different very different tactics. You know, so today, what I’m doing, there’s a couple different things. And I will set like micro goals every single day. So I’ll actually put together just basically a basic, hey, this is what I have to do every day, there’s five things on it. I’m going to check these things off every day. And there’s there is corporate as getting to zero inbox and as personal as get 30 minutes of cardio every day. So even setting small things that you can do every single day, personally, will be huge. Now, from a leaders perspective, you need to set achievable wins that can happen on a every in between all your stand ups. So if you have a standup that happens every single day with your team, there better be something that you can check off something that was a when that happened within those last 24 hours. If you do a weekly set up some weekly goals that milestones that can be met as an entire team. They’re the conversations that are going to happen. If you were scaling your business, and you were just cranking until March 1, the standup conversations that you were having are way different than right now. And it’s going to require you to take a step back, think about some goals that are some easy wins for you. Because the conversations that you’re having right now as a team are very different. And they’re very challenging, they suck compared to what they were, there’s they’re probably terrible. So figure out a way to get some wins in there. And then their progress can be made a couple of different ways. plugging holes, fixing issues, talking to customers, getting a check in as simple as getting the check in, these are all wins that need to be celebrated at a time like this. So take a step back and think about how you can break your week down or if you are doing weekly meetings into day or even half day, portions of wins and milestones.
Matt Hunckler 18:00
That smaller timeframe piece makes a lot of sense. When you’re thinking about an environment that’s changing so quickly. So I love that advice around celebrating wins. Any ways that you particularly like to celebrate wins when you were at Moby or maybe ways you’re celebrating wins now at TechStars.
Scott Kraege 18:18
Yeah. Back to the Mobi days. I mean, when when it was early. I, my co founder, there were there a few of us were my co founder and I Josh Garrett. The winds that we celebrated where customer conversations, and those resonated throughout the entire organization, even when we were 10 people, 20 people. And then it got to the point where 300 people, and they still resonated. And when I say that, coming off with a customer conversation, where they have given you indication about their platform indication about about your platform, and how well it’s going or something that happened, they maybe sent you a note that they had a great interaction or you helped them in some way that was celebrated. And when you celebrate something, that type of customer interaction on a regular basis, it becomes part of the DNA of the company. And that happened forever. And the way it happened with me personally tactically, was conversations that I had with customers whether or not they were in passing because I happen to run into him at a conference conference, or whether or not it was a scheduled one on one that I had with one of our customers. That information the context of that conversation was relayed not always was roses and perfect and were we doing a great job. But for the majority of the time, there are really positive conversations that we were having and just to share that positivity with the rest of the organization was huge. So take take every interaction that you have with a customer and use it put up your not to put a spin on it because it’s not it’s you’re having a conversation with your customer. Just fall in love with that and know that you’re creating a relationship and a bond that can go on for quite a long time. Up until he retired, which was January this year, we had sold a business for 12 months, I still had a one on one call with one of our first customers. Like, I wasn’t even at the business anymore. He wasn’t even around, he was getting ready to retire. And once a month on a Wednesday at 330, we’d jump on the phone for 30 minutes and just shoot the breeze and catch up on whatever it was. And that was something that that call was probably on my calendar for like
Matt Hunckler 20:35
six years. That’s really cool. Yeah, that’s really cool. That says a lot. I’m gonna ask one more question. And then I want to get to community q&a, because we’ve got some amazing guests. Right now I’m seeing founders from Nashville, Tennessee, from Miami down in Florida. I’m seeing CROs and CFOs from Indianapolis. We’ve got some some great guests tuning in here. So if you have questions, you can ask them down below using the q&a function and the raise your hand function, you can even ask your own question live. But Scott, my last question for you is, there’s a lot of talk right now around transparency and transparency, specifically around leadership. Be transparent, be transparent, it’s almost become a little bit of a platitude at this point. How do you view transparency in times like this in times of crisis?
Scott Kraege 21:32
Yeah. You know, I was thinking about this today, I was having a conversation yesterday, and I have been a little probably, maybe draconian or overly abrasive, over the last couple of weeks with some founders, just speaking freely were to where I was, almost like, shaking them a little bit, saying, Hey, we got we got to, we got to do this, we’re gonna do this. That needs to change, right? It can’t, it can’t go on like that forever. And we’re kind of slowly starting to come out of it, because we’re in a different phase right now for probably the next three to four weeks, at least until here in Indiana until probably early May, and maybe mid May, maybe early June. And that is going to change. So I and I don’t think that this is something that I’ve just started to do in my life. But I’ve started to reflect on it recently, where I will come out pretty hot and heavy and be 100% transparent, no matter what it is on a business, no matter how it is on a personal and individuals performance. Or from a customer’s perspective or a market perspective. But I will try and get everything on the table possible. And then sift that down start to narrow the aperture on the types of conversations that we’re having. And the theme of those conversations. Because being 100%, transparent as a CEO or as a leader 100% of the time can sometimes put you into a situation where you’re you’re you’re navigating towards the wrong areas of your business. And it can put you into a little bit of a gray spot where you may need the team focused on certain areas that are maybe lagging or maybe struggling, you need to do a better job of showing extra transparency in certain areas, then you do other areas. So there’s a leadership component to it. That’s not just being 100% Transparent all the time. Because that’s very slippery. There. And if you go and ask employees, like I mean, I work for Tech Stars right now, I don’t want them to be 100% transparent. On some areas of the business, I just don’t want I don’t need to see it, too. It doesn’t affect me. Three, there’s areas that they should keep to themselves, and they should they should hustle on. And they should figure out before they share it with me. And I’m totally comfortable with that. So I think if it’s relevant, if it’s impactful, and it can help execute your vision as a leader, it should be shared.
Matt Hunckler 24:19
That’s really good advice. Scott. I’m going to get to our first Community question now. And just a reminder, I see some people with their hands raised, but they haven’t used the q&a function to ask their question. And I’m not smart enough to figure out how to call on you without the q&a part. So you can type your question in the q&a, and I can answer it live here with you and bring you on the show. Our first question here in the q&a function at the bottom of zoom is I have an old school consumer product. But I’m going to just bring him on the show. Let’s bring Dan on the show and answer this live for you, Dan. We’re going to unmute your audio so you can ask your question here live with Scott. If you could just Say your name and what your business is. That will be great. So it looks like yeah, they’re unmuted now. Hey, Matt. Hey, Dan, can you hear me? Welcome to the show? Yeah, you want to say what your name is? And sure what your function is and what you’re doing? Yeah, it’s, you know, if I can be fully transparent, that’d be great. I’m Dan Gosling, I’ve,
Scott Kraege 25:22
I’ve had a product on the market for a long time, called chop saver. Lip Balm originally designed for musicians, but so superior in its formulation, we actually have a lot of big fan base in the medical world. So my question, and I’ll just read the way I wrote it was, I have an old school consumer product, but it has both a medical component. And we’re obviously heavily reliant on tech for marketing. Might those attributes actually helped me in the current fundraising environment? Yeah, it makes sense. I don’t know exactly what the end goal is for your like what the end in mind is from a fundraising standpoint. So I’ll just speak in general, we could get into that if you really want to. But let me just speak in general right now. So it sounds like you’re going to probably go for some type of raise here down the road. And there’s an angle to a medical community that potentially might open some doors for you. There’s good and bad to that. The the bad first micro venture and venture in the healthcare space right now are they’re taking care of their own before they invest in others. So they have an existing portfolio that they need to make sure that they’ve got enough capital for that they can help them through whatever crisis is, is that individual businesses going through. So that’s, that’s, that’s tough, and that there’s some VCs that they’ve just clamped down on right now, and they’re not going to expand. But I will say, there’s opportunity, because those that haven’t totally clamped down, are looking for the absolute best founders, and the best ideas that they can come in, and they can help execute on. I was on a call today with a health care company out of Minneapolis, and they’re doing some crazy things right now to help the startup community. And healthcare healthcare is really interesting, because it’s been such a laggard from investing in startups and inventing, investing in entrepreneurship, that I think this will be the catalyst to just do some really hard to start investing in potential early, early founders. With outside of the typical, either patient, software, patient management, whatever it is, they’ll start investing in areas outside of those core spaces. So what that’s going to do from a venture standpoint, and from an angel standpoint, it’s going to open the it’s going to open the lens for you. I think if you’ve shown success from a musician’s standpoint, from an artist standpoint, and you have the opportunity to go in and show a similar early, few steps. So if you can go in and say, Listen, I just started thinking about how this helps in healthcare now helps in the medical community. And I’ve started to see the same type of traction, the same trends that I saw on the artists community, I think that’d be huge for you, you’d be able to take that and just be able to like, show that you’re one of those few companies that are showing growth in this uncertain time.
Matt Hunckler 28:51
Great answer, Scott. I’m gonna keep this rolling. Our next guest. Our next attendee who has a question is Amanda, Amanda Alexander, here on the show, Amanda, welcome to powderkeg live, if you could introduce yourself and kind of say what you do that would be helpful and go ahead and ask your question.
Hi, can you guys hear me? Awesome. My name is Amanda. I work at a company Indianapolis with our fellowship. My question is, during this time, our leadership has been very non communicative with our teams, and telling us how we’re how we’re doing as a company. Obviously, I am not currently a leader or a C suite executive in my company, but I’m trying to, I guess, emulate and be the leader in the room. I do not see. What are some ways you would suggest that I can engage my company without stepping on toes or being in a place that I’m not
Scott Kraege 29:48
supposed to? Yeah, it’s a great question. It’s a great question and some of the best ideas that will happen within your company and with every company right? Now from individuals like you, that are saying, Okay, there’s gotta be somewhere that I can take my skill sets that I have in the hospital that I have, and just put them to work at where I am right now. And it’s happening all over. I mean, I can, I could, if I had some time, I could look back to when we were having difficult times at Moby. And I can point to the person and the idea and how they can tell you exactly how they executed it to get us to another level. And I’m almost all of those cases, there’s always a much better success rate for ideas like that, when it’s coming out of a crisis like this. So having said that, Amanda, you’re in the, you’re in the absolute right train of thought, instead of going top down with what you’re thinking about, though, because that’s, if you’re already have some executives that are in a silo trying to navigate this on their own without opening up to the rest of the organization, it’s going to be really hard to crack that and you’ll probably meet some resistance. That’s okay. I’m not saying it’s bad. It’s just they’re trying to figure out what’s going on. And we’re in the heart of this right now. But by you working at it from the ground up and taking maybe a couple of things that you’ve seen specifically from a customer’s perspective, now you can do it. You can go wide if you want to, and you can start engaging in nonprofit work, how are we going to help the folks that are truly affected by a crisis like this? How are we going to help our employees out, but a lot of paths that you go down are nonprofit, and those should be addressed in some way. But there’s also the corporate and the sustainability components of your business that needs some attention to so finding how a customer subset of customers, maybe one, your biggest customer, is using the platform right now, or using your services right now. And in a way and like exponentially start to market that throughout your entire organization. That will just cause a wave of good feedback, emotions, it’ll probably drive revenue, maybe in the short term, and maybe it definitely in the long run. But figure out one or two things that a great customer is doing, and figuring out ways that you specifically can get in there and expand on that and spread it throughout your organization.
Matt Hunckler 32:16
Really great question, Amanda. Thanks for asking that. Our next question is from Bob Cotillo. Or CATIA, probably. I’m a lecturer at Kili Indianapolis BB. I’m not I don’t see you in the q&a. So I don’t know if I can bring you on. So I’ll just ask your question for you. The question is I teach entrepreneurship and innovation. I’m just curious about what your advice would be to keep newer employees and Frontline salespeople engaged during a time when everyone is distracted doing other things? He’s got any advice for that?
Scott Kraege 32:48
Yeah. Not from a sales perspective. But I have two businesses and we have around 70 employees and I’m trying to figure out a way to keep 65 of them busy right now. So I know that but let’s answer it from from a sales perspective. So if they’re new employees, new sales reps, specifically, because I’m guessing that the veteran sales reps are busy, but their new sales reps or their current create their own pipe in their own funnel, and new sales reps, I would encourage them to start thinking differently. And I would encourage them to build on maybe existing gaps in their skill sets. I had that conversation with our voc team yesterday. I I asked that vo team to sign up for and complete some sort of online course. So I signed up for one and I’m completing a venture deals course, put on by the Kauffman fellows right now. I’ve asked the person that is our general manager to put up take a finance course. And she’s doing it along with another finance person. I’ve encouraged them to deviate from what their typical skill set is, and expand on something that they want to learn about. And I’ve been very transparent, like just telling them, You have to go do this, you really have no choice, you have to sign up for something, you have to fill the team in on what you’re going to do. And it might be outside of their comfort zone. It’s definitely hard to do. I’ve even found that it’s hard to do from from just getting out putting yourself out there and starting to learn something new. But it’s really it’s incredible to see the team start to adapt to that because everybody gets behind it and everybody starts asking you how it’s going. And it’s something that everybody starts to stick to. So maybe think about that. Think about how you can get them because you could throw it I mean, the answer that everybody probably would give you is great. Have them get additional training, have them go through like live sales processes and you but nobody wants to do that right now. Haven’t take a step back and think about what they could learn what they could build upon with their existing role that will make them better for the other side of this.
Matt Hunckler 35:06
Great answer, Scott. Our next question is from Chad. I want to bring Chad on the show. I think Chad’s dialing in from Miami. At least that’s where I last saw him was on tour with the rise of the rest. With Steve Case, we grab some dinner after the pitches. Chad, welcome to the show. Can you hear us?
Matt Hunckler 35:30
Doing great. Good to hear from you, man. How are you doing down there in Florida.
I’m in Boca, and we’re starting to get the epicenter now. So starting a little scary.
Matt Hunckler 35:40
Yeah. Hope you’re staying safe, man.
Here we are. It’s 85 degrees. I’m not compliant.
Matt Hunckler 35:47
Rabbit and man. We’re here in the Midwest. So we have a sunny day today. We saw the sun today. Chad, you want to introduce yourself and then ask your question?
Yeah, my name is Chad focusing, still have a house Indianapolis born and raised there. We have about 20,000 premium domain names. We’re turning those into autonomous running companies. It’s called contrib. We got to contribute that IO contrib.com. So we fractionalized ownership on the blockchain. My broad ripple.com is one we might be bringing up pretty soon. And yeah, we’re just kind of trying to figure out how we pivot into this new opportunity and new reset, I’d say. So that’s what kind of we’re working on.
Matt Hunckler 36:34
And and what’s your question for Scott?
If you were able to build a new impact company today without your current commitments? What would it be? And what are the two or three things that you would focus on execution around?
Scott Kraege 36:49
Got a question, social impact company that’s crushing. yet. I would build it around education. I think that this has created an incredible gap to those that just go go far to the spectrum, those that just don’t have internet at their home. Those that don’t have internet can’t get elearning, they can’t get devices, they can’t get the right kind of content. It’s just it just there’s a huge gap there. So I would get an education. In the few areas where I would have to add execute on is I would, I would figure out I would figure out the bandwidth and the internet connectivity issues by pushing harder and harder on the government subsidized programs that are currently out there. And the companies that are I just I know of. I’ve been working close with a shepherd community Senator these last few weeks. And they’re providing spectrum is going in and providing internet to 50 Different families for free as a part of this. We’re helping get these kids tablets, the contents been donated. I mean, this was an incredibly heavy lift for from dozens of people. And for spectrum to go in and do this. They’re getting the government subsidies that they have, they shouldn’t be doing this all the time, they should be doing this, not just as part of this crisis, but they shouldn’t be putting broadband, they should be putting connectivity into all these houses. So that’s sort of that’s what I do, I would rely on and not rely on it. But I would really push the way that our tax dollars are going to work for people, I would make them give back in more ways that they haven’t specifically designed around education. There isn’t one or two.
Matt Hunckler 38:44
Yeah, please keep keep it going.
Scott Kraege 38:47
And I want to start this. So female wants to start it with me. Let me know. I think I talked to Jeb about this, which probably a lot of you probably know Jeb. i If you if you follow along, and the the wellness apps that are out there think like Noom, which is a weight loss app. There’s a few others that involve type of coaching, and that coaching is typically AI driven. It’s machine learning driven coaching, but then there is an element of a human interaction that happens. Well, I want to do that for from a wellness from a headspace perspective for sea level individuals or really anybody anybody that potentially could could benefit from a portion of great headspace wellness, light therapy. And if you think when I was at when I was leading Moby if somebody would have come to me and said, Hey, there’s all these employment there employment gig employee engagement app everywhere. But if you’d have come to me and said, Hey, here’s a coaching tool that you can give to your entire entire employee base, and it’s going to help them achieve better headspace. Better wellness So we’re gonna set goals, we’re gonna be able to share as a team, I would have signed up for that specifically from a CEO. And from a leadership standpoint, if you could have given me something or an application that said, my executive team could have had a coach, a wellness coach, or health mindset coach that could help them. I just I know, there’s not enough of that happening in the world of startups in the world of entrepreneurship right now. So I need I’d love to see more focused in that area.
Matt Hunckler 40:26
I love that I do Scott, we, we have a subscription to come on our team, which is a meditation app. And we do a group meditation together through the app every morning, which probably breaks in terms of service, but we’re all subscribed to it. So we’re paying them. So hopefully, it’s okay. But we’ve seen huge benefit just in that. And the idea of adding some layer of coaching and personalized sort of goal setting to that would be really exciting. So when you’re looking for beta testers for that, please let me know. Great. I guess I have one last question for you, which is you’ve mentioned the Vogue and your ownership of the Vogue, which is, of course, historic theater here in Indianapolis, where powderkeg is headquartered. And where Tech Stars with the Heritage Group is headquartered. It’s actually where we had our last in person event last month, or two months ago at this point. And I’m curious to know, your thoughts on those sort of in person events, tourism entertainment, you know, we’ve got people on the call from Miami, we’ve got people on the call from Nashville, every city has its own entertainment and tourism, restaurants are closed. Any any advice for those kinds of businesses? And then on the flip side, any advice for people who maybe are still working, how we can help support those because we all want to support our local community and make a good impact in our local community? How can we support that and keep that going in this time? That right now seems indef? Pretty indefinite?
Scott Kraege 42:02
Yep. Yeah, it does. And I’ve been trying to get my head around this entertainment segment of our industry, from a small business perspective, and what this does, I’m not worried about Live Nation, I’m not worried about AG, I’m not worried about concerts of White River. I’m worried about the Vogue. I’m worried about hifi. Worried about venues in Fort Wayne and the bluebird in Bloomington. I’m worried about the restaurants that surround those areas in the arts district that just have zero foot traffic right now. I hate to even speak freely and make predictions or guests because I’m tired of doing that, and nobody wants to hear it. But when we slowly come out of this, the the restaurants that unfortunately, that will there’ll be restaurants that unfortunately just don’t make it. And that’s just drives me crazy that that’s going to happen. But there are other restaurants that will take advantage of some things to just barely get by. And then they’re going to need something right away. They’re going to need our presence immediately to go back. So I’ve already told the kids like, and I’ve told my wife like we’re not going grocery shopping for two weeks after we’re out of here. Like we’re eating out every morning every day lunch, every tinner take out whatever it is, we’re out of the house when this comes up, because that’s the time where everybody’s going to open their doors, and they’re gonna say, I mean, the average small business has $8,000 in the bank. It’s not enough to get through six weeks. So when this comes up, they’re gonna say, Alright, can we try and do this? Can we can we get back on our feet? Let’s just try it for a couple of weeks. Well, those couple weeks is where everybody just needs to get out of the house. And be careful, be sensitive, be cautious, it’s going to be a new world, but we can get out and we can make a difference to those bars, restaurants into those community establishments, it’s going to be way harder. From a Volvo perspective Hi Fi few other venues because I think the restrictions are going to be limited from a total gathering perspective. So I think that as these restaurant lifts come off, they may say, Listen, don’t gather and more than 100 or more than 50 or more than 250. So we may feel it for a little bit longer. So that just pushes our timeframe out a little bit so that when that does get lifted, go see live music. That’ll be one way that we all get back into it and support your support your local artist.
Matt Hunckler 44:37
I appreciate that. I will definitely take you up on that offer. I hope all our listeners do too. And if you didn’t get your question answered here on Zoom or if you’re watching the live stream on YouTube, or our live stream on Facebook, please drop a comment below and we’ll try to get answers to those questions for you. Really appreciate you Scott sharing your wisdom, your insights, your Experience. Before we let you go, can you talk a little bit about what you’re doing at TechStars right now at the Heritage Group, and how maybe people in the community could help with what you’re doing? Yeah,
Scott Kraege 45:12
that’s great. Thank you for allowing me to do that. So I became managing director for TechStars on January or early January. And I’m going to lead an accelerator here in Indianapolis that is sponsored by the Heritage Group. If you don’t know who the Heritage Group is, this like, pretty far under the radar here in Indianapolis, wouldn’t surprise me if you haven’t heard of them. But they’re a monster company, family and business, excuse me for almost 90 years. They have around 40 different operating companies globally. So two of those companies are publicly traded. They areas of focus that they live in, are non tech, they’re hard tech, their industry for Dotto, some deep tech. Think about areas like roads, infrastructure, sustainability, recycling, chemicals, specialty material chemicals, the types of businesses that’s a little bit foreign for TechStars to be a part of, but something that I’m finding quite a bit of success with. So what I do right now, as a managing director for TechStars, I’m almost like a, like a recruiter, like a basketball recruiter, I’m trying to find companies to come take part and be on our team, we will put 10 companies through our accelerator starting September, mid September, through mid December. It’s a mentorship driven accelerator. So the will take each company will meet with around 100 different mentors who could potentially help their business so it’s it’s a lot to take, it’s busy. And then all the other sidecar, Chuck and things that ride along with an accelerator like looking at financial modeling go to market, how to hire when to hire, how’s your product design, manufacturing lab work, all those variables that happened with as part of an existing accelerator happen. And then what we do when we start to sprinkle in mentors to these startups, the true acceleration happens. So I’m excited right now I’m looking for companies if you know a great founder that’s in space that aligns with one of heritage group’s areas of focus. I’d love to talk to him if you think they might be a great fit.
Matt Hunckler 47:34
Awesome. Thanks, Scott. And we’ll link those up in the show notes. For those of you who are listening to this in retrospective, so you can check that out on powderkeg.com. Scott, thanks again for being on the show. That’s it for today’s show. Thank you so much for listening. And thanks to Scott Craigie, of course from TechStars. Make sure you check him out. email@example.com Learn more about the program at the Heritage Group accelerator. And for links to Scott’s social profiles and the other people, companies and resources mentioned in this episode, you can head on over to powderkeg.com. And check out the show notes there, we’ve got all linked up for you. So you can go check that out, you can check out some other episodes while you’re at it. We’re going to be doing a lot more of these virtual events. And we’ve got a great lineup for you. So be sure to check out upcoming virtual events. So you can get linked up with the community here at powderkeg. As well as learn from the experts and advisors and ask your question live on a show. So you can check that out over at powderkeg.com/events. We’re covering a ton of topics. Specifically right now we’re covering a lot of topics that have to do with coming through this economic recession that we’re experiencing right now. And dealing with the uncertainty that we’re all trying to learn how to move forward through. And again, you can check that out at patreon.com/events. And if you have found yourself currently in the market, looking for a new role, or you’re just interested in what else is out there, we have a platform for you to help get you matched up with a company where you will find work that you love, and can really become your calling your passion, your career. And we did that through our matches platform. And you can find that at powderkeg.com/jobs. It’s absolutely free. You can apply right there. It takes less than five minutes. And we use your information to help match you up anonymously with another company. Protect your identity. Of course, as we get you matched up with a number of hundreds of tech companies in the middle of the country that are currently hiring. So again, that’s patreon.com/jobs If you or someone you love or care about is looking for a tech job right now, please refer them our way and we’ll get them linked up totally free. If your company is looking to get connected with some of that talent in our marketplace. The powderkeg matches platform can really help you do that and help you share your company culture and Some of the attributes of your company culture with those professionals, you can do that absolutely free at powderkeg.com/sign up. We have hundreds of companies that have already done this and would love to help you get connected to some extraordinary talent today. And you can do that again at patreon.com/sign up and to be among the first to hear these stories like the one you heard today from Scott craggy from entrepreneurs, investors, inventors, innovators, people building remarkable things in areas decidedly outside of Silicon Valley. Subscribe to us on iTunes at powderkeg.com/itunes Thanks again and we’ll catch you next time on The powderkeg podcast.