A well-defined company culture serves several purposes. First, it lays out the values that drive the company’s success. Second, it helps employees understand how to create that success. Third, it tells the world what makes the company unique. That last point is the focus of this episode of the Igniting Startup podcast. We explore how to promote company culture as a unique part of your overall marketing strategy.

We’ve brought on two experts to help us dive into the subject today. Max Yoder, CEO, and Kyle Lacy, vice president of marketing, are two of the bright minds behind Lessonly, an Indianapolis startup that creates web-based learning software for organizations of all sizes. By hard-wiring company values like “do better work” and “share before you’re ready” into their product and marketing, Lessonly sells its customers a philosophy as well as a training solution. Max and Kyle have successfully transformed Lessonly’s culture into a movement that has culminated in Max’s new book, Do Better Work, releasing next month.

Max, Kyle, and I talk in-depth on how to promote company culture and the marketing strategies that have gotten Lessonly to where it is today. We discuss how to build an extraordinary culture in the first place, and how to intentionally and intelligently market that culture to customers. You’ll also get a taste of what to expect in Max’s upcoming book and a preview of the talk that Kyle will deliver as one of the presenters at our MarTech Madness Pitch Night on February 28. (Get your ticket here!)

In this episode on how to promote company culture with Lessonly executives Max Yoder and Kyle Lacy, you’ll learn:

  • The importance of building your marketing around your company’s why.
  • How marketing your culture can differentiate your company from competitors.
  • Why your product should provide more than just ROI for customers.
  • When writing a book might be a good marketing strategy for your company.
  • How to build a culture that encourages trust, honesty and creativity.
  • The story behind Lessonly’s Ollie Llama mascot and Golden Llama award.

Please enjoy this conversation with Max Yoder and Kyle Lacy!

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.

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What stood out most to you about what Max Yoder and Kyle Lacy share in this podcast?

For me, it’s how to build a culture that encourages trust, honesty and creativity..

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Episode Transcript

But I think about sharing before you’re ready. It’s about taking the idea of leaders in companies know the answer and kind of cutting that out and saying no, it’s leaders and companies learn the answer, and anybody can be a leader.

Hey, Patrick fans, welcome to episode 74 of powderkeg igniting startups the show for entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators, building remarkable tech companies and communities outside of Silicon Valley. I’m your host, Matt Hunckler. And today, we have two leaders from one of the Midwest hottest tech companies, their mission help teams do better work through web learning software. They’re both experts and building team cultures, where everyone scales their learning together. But that’s not why they’re here. today. We’re going to talk about b2b marketing campaigns, we’re going to talk about their mission, and about some of the ways that they’ve been able to take their own internal culture and turn it into almost more of like a movement. It’s a really cool story. I’m excited to share it with you today. And our two guests are first up the VP of Marketing at lessonly, and executive advisor at OpenView Venture Partners, he cut his teeth in senior marketing positions at exact target and Salesforce, and entrepreneur himself. He brings a venture mindset to b2b marketing, really hope that don’t get lost in his dreamy blue eyes on this particular podcast. Please help me welcome to the show Kyle Lacey. Thank you. excited to have you here today. Next up, we have co founder and CEO of learning software company lessonly, a high alpha studio company, currently helping more than 400 companies create smart, high performing teams. And the motto is, every day I am grateful I got cut from the basketball team two years in a row. Love that model. So excited to welcome him back to the show. Max yada. Thanks for being here, man, man, thanks for having me, man, of course, really excited to dive into this. Because lessonly when you come into this building, which I should probably tell the listeners that we are in the lessonly offices right now in Max’s office. But as you walk through the halls of here, you see people going from meeting to meeting, you can tell that they’re on a mission. And it really kind of shows not just from the internal culture, but everything you see externally. And I know you from way back when when you were running lessonly out of your apartment and broader pool. But it seems like from the very beginning, there really was more of like a purpose and a mission behind what you’re doing at lessonly. Can you maybe take me back to sort of like how that all evolved and and how you personally connected with it. Yeah, so

we took a little while to create or to kind of formalize the mission of lessonly running around doing better work and helping people live better lives. Mitch Kazi joined the company as the third employee, January 13, of like, 2014. And he was like, he said, what’s our why? And I said, I’m not sure because we have what 20 some odd customers. It’s just, I didn’t know what to tell him. And I didn’t, I felt really uncomfortable about making one up. And he was really interested in if I know the why I can do everything else. And I said, I don’t know the why yet. You have to be patient. He was very patient. It took us a year and a half, two years, it took us a while to figure out oh, what we really do is we help people do better work. And when they do better work, that transcends just their work environment. They walk out of work, they go home, they’re engaging with their customers, with their, with their families, with their friends with their loved ones. And they are bringing that spirit that levity and that excitement of being good at their jobs home with them.

Maybe for those who aren’t familiar with lessonly, could you just give us the quick elevator pitch on how lessonly helps people do better work? Yeah, it’s

really awesome. Because it’s a direct connection. What we do with lessonly is we make training software. And when what we do is we sell our trading software, to our sales teams and customer service teams, they put content or learning into that training software, our practice opportunities in the training software that say, here’s what we need you to do to be a great salesperson, salesperson goes great now that I understand how to do it, I’m more likely to do it. So it’s really just all about communicating what you need people to do. That’s what training software does, what works. When people know what works, they’re likely to do it. And lessonly helps people understand what works and because they know it works, they’re likely to do it, they tend to hit their numbers faster, tend to just be better at their jobs. How did

things change once you sort of figured out that why and honed in on do better work?

It was really it was pretty slow. I mean, I would like to bring Kyle in to talk about how he really took the internal mission of doing better work that we very, very much believed in and talked about often internally and really said other people are attracted this, they just don’t really know what they’re attracted to, because we’re not telling them explicitly do with us. And what we do is help people do better work like there’s they’re engaging with something here. Kyle helped us really put what they were engaging with into more definitive terms, so they could even be more excited about it.

Well, and I’d love to bring you back in a second to talk a little bit about sort of that culture that you’ve created here. But Kyle, you joined the team here, how long ago at this point, two years it already two years I remember when that. That is crazy. So talk to me about what your experience was coming into lessonly what was the culture like here and In terms of what what did you see, to take what was working and really scale it? Well, I

think what’s different about lessonly than most software companies that I’ve been involved in is that there is a human element that started at the very beginning with the first three that has scaled to now 110 People, which, in the scheme of things is very rare with any venture backed software company, it’s really, really hard to scale a culture that is as human as it is here at lessonly. And so when we were when we were thinking about how do we differentiate, how do we make lessonly look different than everybody, all of our competitors, we were constantly putting up the same things like we increase productivity, sales teams love us, here’s our customers, like, every single website on the face of the planet, every single software site. And so when we were thinking about how to differentiate, we in to Max’s credit, I’m pretty sure we were sitting in this room, and he was like, let’s just bring the human back to lessonly. And it kind of hit us all at once. It was like, well, it’s it’s do better work. And then it was even further solidified when we were talking to a book publisher with Max’s book coming out, and trying to figure out the title for it. And she said, Well, why don’t you just call it do better work, it’s in your mission. And we’re and it was kind of like, everything happened at once, where it made sense to us that we, if we wanted to sell something meaningful, it is to help people do better work so they can live better lives. And then it cascaded from there with all the campaigns that we do and Max’s book coming out soon. And you know, that’s that is where it started. It’s how do you personify a company, and take what Max and Connor and Mitch started from the very beginning, and scale it?

Talk to me a little bit more about marketing cloud, because you’re one of those people I’ve followed since the very beginning. You know, when I moved to Indianapolis, 10 years ago, you were running your agency at that time, huge follower of of everything you did tried to mimic what you were doing on social media, which was like the new thing at the time, and good or bad. And you Well, I mean, you have done an amazing job of of taking a lot of that and keeping up with the latest, latest way to communicate, and not just using it just to use it. But being really intentional. Use the word differentiate. Why is it so important to differentiate? I mean, maybe that seems like just obvious you have to do that. But it’s also really hard to do. Yeah,

I think what why it’s important is that there are so many other options out there than before. And I think how we’re differentiating is doing things that are the cutting edge, stuff, like we do a lot of direct mail. We do a lot of speaking engagements. We do a lot of highly curated events, that’s not ABM, and all these things that are out there, like and we and we dabble in that stuff. And it works. But it’s it. It’s getting face to face. And it’s it’s sending thing. I think the word you use intentional is probably the best. It’s being very intentional with how we’re going about marketing, which most people don’t do. And if they try to do it, they don’t do it very well. We were just lucky as a marketing team to come into a situation where the story was already built. And it was more like we already had all the Allama we had the golden llama, we had things that were already here in the company that we saw as opportunities to scale. And if you look at our website, our tactics compared to our competitors, they’re just wildly different and the competitors marketing are is good as well. It’s just we’re bringing a different voice to the to the table.

I love it. Max, could you maybe tell us a little bit about who Ali llama is and what the golden llama is?

Yeah, sure. So Ali llama is our mascot. Mitch really wanted to have a mascot because he really wanted to have a mascot. And I was like, I’m not sure that’s a good enough reason. And you know, he found that alliterative, lessonly llama for the reason we have all the llama, but I was like still not a good enough reason, you know? alliterations and mascots. Sounds good, but why? And ultimately, we learned that the genus of the species llama so llamas are two L’s the genus is one owl, that la ma like Dalai Lama means guru mentor teacher, we make training software. So we were like, Oh, that’s perfect. And then Mitch, one, and everybody, everybody loves the llama. It’s really hilarious. But you know, to cut and then the golden Mama is the way we bestow praise on the person on the team, a person on the team each quarter who just is exemplary team player who’s just compassion for their teammates, who really wants the success of other people as much as they want success for themselves and who really just dry is great work that drives the company forward makes a lot of progress for us is a glue for for different parts of the company, we give the golden llama to them every quarter we give the gold mom out every quarter, it’s a really fun thing to give to somebody and, and kind of trying to shower praise on him.

I love that. Can you tell me how that actually comes about like is that done in a meeting is done in Slack is

the way we give a golden llama these days is whomever the person’s manager is gets to give the honor to the person, they don’t know what’s happening. Generally, you go in front of the company and an all team meeting, which you do every Monday and you start talking about the person. And if you don’t give it away too early by saying their name, people start to guess who it is. And then by the end, it’s like, I’m honored to give this golden llama to Helen Gardner who won our last golden llama. And people just get really excited. And it’s never a surprise when somebody wins the golden llama because it’d be just like they are just tried and true are an awesome person to work with. When we talk about the culture at lessonly. The really neat thing for us is we just get to talk about things like being compassionate to one another at work being human and vulnerable. And and recognizing we don’t know have all the answers. These are things that people do not hear about at work. And but they’re really, they’re things we really care about. So it’s like the intersection of what’s not getting talked about enough. And what do we really care about? And where does where’s that intersection? Where really our culture shines through? Yeah, we’re not talking about treating one another well at work, so many cultures are mercenary, I had no idea. And so as we started working with larger orgs they came to me in they’re like this is just so refreshing. Because every day I’m wondering if so and so is going to, you know, jockey around me for position. And that to me is really a bummer. So the more we can put this out in the world that doesn’t have to be that way. We can we can be teams, and we need to be teams, if we’re going to make progress, I think the better the world gets, the more and more people hear that and see that it works, the more more likely they are to do it. Even if just one team and a big, big company that’s doing it, we want to be a little bit of inspiration to make people aware that it can work that way if they want it to

well. And I love that you’ve been so intentional about your values, and which ones you’re kind of setting in stone. And, you know, take enough time to put it down on paper and disseminate it through the company and cow when you came in a couple years ago, I know that this was already kind of set in stone. But what was it about sort of this culture that made you say like, Hey, this, this could become a lot more than a mission, this could really become more of a movement and be leveraged for the sake of attracting the right customers?

Yeah, I think it was that the values use intentional before I can’t get off the word intentional, the values were so different than what I have heard from a ton of other companies, you know, share before you’re ready. And I That’s my favorite one. Yes. But I just I think that that is what instilled in me that this is different. If we put this idea into a room at an enterprise prospect at a larger company, and you have Mac’s in the room talking about do better work, it is going to sell it right. And, and outside of it just being the right way to sell something. It is good for businesses to take it on anyway, like share before you’re ready can be shared across any org, I don’t care if they’re a customer or not. Right. So it’s fundamental to the success of I just feel like how every business should function with the values that we have here. Which is why I think it’s easy for us to double down on it. And it’s it’s more fun, frankly, to do marketing around, share before you’re ready and do better work, then you know that we decrease churn, which we do, and we do all of that shit.

If you didn’t check those business boxes. Yeah, there’d be nothing to talk about. But it just so happens, it does those things, which is, you know, maybe the the why between, like, why they can justify spending money on it, but it’s not the why of why they chose lessonly.

Yeah, the, it’s the ROI is table stakes. Like if we’re doing our jobs, we better be creating return on investment. Yeah, we can do more than just our jobs. Yeah. And that’s where the mission comes in. That’s where the this kind of philosophy of the business really brings it to a next level, we’re going to help you with training, you’re going to really appreciate the benefits, but there’s more to it. We can bring different approaches to working that transcend training, that help you do better work and a whole host of ways. So you’re not only buying our software, you’re buying ideas, and you’re buying relationships, you know, like you you’re gonna build relationships, people here long after the contract sunsets, you know, like, there’s no contract lives on forever, where you’re going to know people here because you got the chance to work with them. And that’s motivating to everyone that we are creating personal relationships, that we’re bringing ideas to people that we really care about. And we’re doing our jobs on the fundamental level of just delivering good training software.

Maybe we could talk a little bit more about one of those ideas which colleges shared which is share before you’re ready. What does that mean to you, Max?

Yeah, sharing before you’re ready, just all about Getting out of your own your own head and sanity checking ideas with other people early on in the process. So if I have to create a deck for the sales team that they’re gonna go out and use to share with their prospective customers, I should probably talk to the sales team about my ideas before I go and perfect them on the slide in the slide deck. It’s not usually what happens. It’s really, really basic to go out and kind of sanity check ideas, but it’s really hard to do, because we’re all expected to know the answer. So when I think about sharing before you’re ready, it’s about taking the idea of leaders in companies know the answer and kind of cutting that out and saying, No, it’s leaders and companies learn the answer, and anybody can be a leader. So the difference is, you’re knowing the answer means you’re supposed to know intuitively. And if you don’t know you better fake it until you make it. Yeah. But when you have to learn the answer, when or when you’re allowed to learn the answer, you can ask anybody any question you want, I can go and say, Hey, you’re brand new here in sales, I’m putting this deck together, what am I missing? That person goes, this is pretty cool. somebody cares about my opinion, and they go looks pretty good to me. Or they say, Well, this part, I don’t Why did you include that? And you’re like, I don’t know, I thought it’d be helpful. And then you talk to other people. And they’re like, yeah, why do you include that you start to get a trend of, it’s not necessary, you’re not going in perfecting something in a vacuum, you’re going out and sharing it early. But it’s so hard to do, because we create that first 30 minutes or 60 minute draft. And we’re like, it’s not ready yet. It’s not ready to share yet. And the idea of sharing before you’re ready is you got to share it, then that’s the time to share. If you don’t know what to do next, if you’re concerned, you might be doubling down on something that isn’t what people need, you should get out and talk to the people who ultimately you’re going to be giving it to, if you do this, well, they’re going to really pick it up and say this is gold. If you don’t share with what you ready, you’re likely going to end up with a dud,

I definitely see how that can help people do better work. It works consistently.

It’s agile, you know, it’s just another way of talking about an agile methodology. Sure.

And I think what’s important is that that is built into the product. Yeah, I love fidelity training, you don’t have to spend hours and hours and hours trying to figure out the best way to do a lesson. And then you know, spend hundreds of 1000s of dollars on a training video that you give to people, you can do low fidelity training that works. And you share before you’re ready because we don’t have all the answers and it’s built in. That’s what’s so great about the values is that most of them are just built into the product. Actually don’t get very often.

I love how you tie it back to the product and some of the key differentiators. Maybe you talk a little bit more Kyle of like some of those core values and things that you saw when you came into lessonly. And how you’ve even like tactically brought those to potential customers or even customers that have already purchased to help grow, grow the relationship with them.

Yeah, it goes back to do better work. So there are there are two levels of do better work, we have to do the Better Work trading method. And we have do better work, which is more of the soft skills, stuff that Max talks about. And the better retraining method is how we take our values, our platform and apply them to customers. So it’s more we tried. From a messaging standpoint, we tried from the very beginning to have better work involved from start to finish with a customer. And it’s all about learning. It’s all about practicing. It’s all about performing as employees. And I think deep down what’s hit me so hard with with share before he ready and everything we talked about lessonly is the practice element. It’s like, why wouldn’t employees practice you? You guys have I know you guys have favorite musicians, your musicians yourself, right? They practice you practice, right? And then we get I know, you do. I’ve seen the Instagram photos, a jab, and then you and then you get into the workplace. And it’s like, nobody is talking about practice. And we spend eight to 10 hours a day here every day. And so I feel like from a values perspective, it was really easy for us to take the platform, the values, everything that we talked about a lessonly and distill it down into a message that works and the campaigns that go off of it, whether it’s the better word training plan template, or the golden llama direct mail, or Max’s book or yellow ship our conference in October, it all works together. And you can’t you can’t get much better than that. If if a if a voice of a company can be involved in the message that clearly.

Whose idea was it for Max write a book?

Was it me? I think it was me.

It was definitely. Yeah,

I wasn’t that come about? Well, I

always wanted to so I was thrilled when he asked. You know I was my dream has been to write a book my whole life and I thought I’d have to be retired. So when Kyle came and said, Hey, we should write a book. I was like, that sounds great. I have a full time job. We have no idea what we’re going to write about because again, we do write about what we talk about, you know, write about sharing before you’re ready. Write about having different conversations. And at the beginning, we were like Okay, great. We’re gonna take all these ideas Is that we’ve learned kind of these little vignettes. And then over time it expanded to, there’s really eight things that I think I know well enough to write about. And if I didn’t know it well enough, it’s gonna have to be in v two will never be at all. But through the writing process, kind of understanding, what do I know well enough to write about. And if I’m forcing it, throw it out. And it became this, you know, this, this tight, 120 page book that takes an hour and 15 minutes to read from start to finish. 10 minute, 10 minutes on each idea, an intro, and outro really, really concise. And I’m really, really proud of it. Kyle said about a year and maybe three months ago that we need to write a book. And then we set a deadline for five months later, and I missed it by a mile. And then we set a deadline, like three months after that, and this is one of those things, you cannot rush writing

it. But yeah, I mean, this high, you still still writing a book in a year and three months is a pretty amazing feat. Yeah,

I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled. I was appreciated that cow kept giving me extensions. Because I think there is a times when you put a you put a deadline on something and you adhere to that deadline, instead of adhering to the goal, which is created create a great thing, right? And sometimes that’s wise, because you can’t just constantly push deadlines. And sometimes it’s like, no, the deadline is ours to create, right, and we can push it back if we want. And it worked out well this time. So it was it was the greatest gift to be to be able to write a book to write about things I really care about, and to have so much support in the company to do it. And now it’s ready. And it will be out. You know, we this will go live people will hear at any given time in the future. Yeah, at this time of the recording, you know, we’re just a couple weeks away from the awesome printed 1000s of times over in our hands. And it’ll be really fun to share. But yeah, Kyle asked, I don’t know if he remembers that. But he asked, and people keep thinking and people keep asking me, Hey, so why did you want to write a book for us? It’s like I didn’t, but I really did. But I really did write down I definitely really

did. But would you recommend to other CEOs that they consider writing a book,

if they’re excited about it, you know, if you really care about the things that you do at work, and it pumps you up to think about sharing them with more people. And you know, first also clarifying them for yourself. There’s things that I had to learn by writing. Sure. And that was something that I didn’t realize was the case. And I’ve talked to other other since then who were like I you write into books, you don’t have this template at the beginning that you that you adhere to, you might start with one and it’s going to change, you’re going to learn so much by simply processing the contradictions that are in your head and processing the conviction that’s in your head and realizing maybe I’m not as convinced as I thought, because I get it on the page. And I read it. And I don’t know if I believe it as much or I get on the page. And I’m so fired up. I just want to say it more clearly. So if somebody wants to Write Right, but you know, it’s like when somebody says how do you get better at public speaking, it’s like you speak about things you naturally are charismatic and excited about. Because if you’re excited other people be excited. But if you’re not, don’t try. If you’re not pumped, why would you like anybody else be pumped? And same with writers? Yeah, you can’t write about something you don’t care about and have it and have people go, Wow, I just loved it. There has to be that energy behind it. And if there isn’t, please don’t write. But if there is, please do.

That’s great advice. A cow. What? What was the drive behind the book? Why did you feel like that was a good thing to spend five months on? I say that tongue in cheek knowing

it it’s it’s the same idea that all the campaign’s that we do have is how do you bottle up what we believe makes this place special, the platform’s special, our customer special, and be able to give it to whoever we meet. And you can’t do that in an ebook. You can’t do that in a pamphlet. You can’t a pamphlet. Welcome in 1985. We did a ton of pamphlets. And I was like, Screw this no more pamphlets. We’re doing a book. It was it was that’s that’s where it came from is like how do you Max in front of a crowd owns a crowd? And the crowd loves it. So how do you package that to where we can scale it past? Just Max in a room. And Max in a room with a book is 10 times more effective than just Max in a room as well. Right? So that was that was that was the idea. And I feel like if you can, if you can do something that again is intentional, that is different than the same product marketing books that come out every single day on, here’s our here’s our new market segment that we’re starting, and here’s everything about our product, then it’s just different. And people are going to appreciate it. And it will help people lead companies in a better way than they’re doing than they’re doing now. And that will be that will make more of an impact than us handing a pamphlet with with like we increase productivity by 50%. That’s just that’s just that is the bottom line.

I love that. I want to give Kyle some credit here because as excited as he was to say, hey, we need to write a book. He never looked over my shoulder and said, share it with me and let me see exactly what you’re doing like he was really hands off and in a positive way. Trust. So when he finally read it, I was nervous as heck, it was pretty close to done. And then he came back. And he was like, this is this is good. It was like, you know, my I was really, really wanting to make him proud. And he gave me space to make him proud. And then in I don’t know if that’s normal, you know, for somebody in the marketing leader is somebody who controls voice in tone a lot of the time, but he allowed for space for me to speak about the things that I cared about. And he was not kind of heavy handed on how it had to be done. And I think the book benefits for that, because it comes off as what I actually wanted, as opposed to maybe done by committee. And I really appreciated that. I don’t think I’ve ever told you that. So thank you,

Kyle, how do you know when to give room to express creative freedom? And when to kind of rein things in and say, No, we need a tight message?

That’s a great question. I feel like I, I feel like I step away by default. And it’s just I think it’s more of my personality, my leadership type than anything else. Because even my team would say that we bring a project and something that we really need to focus on, I give the guidelines and then I step away. Because there’s a reason why we have Max who spent a ton of time thinking about this, we have designers like Helen, who designed the book, we have people like Ben who came up with the Golem idea, like we hire great people, so that you don’t have to be multi like you can be multitasking constantly, right? So I think that the idea would be that you you have if you work with great people, you give them the space to do great work or do yeah, do great work, do better work, right? Because I know that I would never I would never be able to write the book, I know that I would never be able to design a book like that, I know that I would never come up with a golden llama campaign. But if you set if you set up if you stage the team to beat to give them the space to be able to get the best work done. They’ll do it if they’re a players. And we’re lucky Leslie to have a players 110 of them now. And that’s that’s just my approach is I know that they can do it better. The idea needs to be said, and then I need to step away. It’s the same with the fellowship, it’s like, and I would credit Scott Dorsey say you need to do a conference. And I was like, we need to do a conference. And then Katie Burnett blew it out of the park. And I did not I had a, I had my second child. The weekend before the con, I didn’t even go to our conference. And it was perfect. Like nothing went wrong, because I gave people space, and they delivered on what they were great at it because they’re specialists and that’s if you hire specialists, you can step away and and be able to allow them to do great work.

Max, do you attribute that to strong values, strong hiring process? All of the above? What is it that you feel sort of cast that emotion to have 110 A players that’s highly irregular? And and I don’t think Kyle is just, you know, hyping things right now, I

rarely hear for that to be true. Yeah, yeah. And it’s not, you know, somebody who’s not in a play here doesn’t mean they’re not a player somewhere else. Sure, you know, and so sometimes we bring somebody in who isn’t the right fit here. And it just because they’re not the right fit here, you know, it’s not a it’s not a condemnation of them. Overall, it’s just like this isn’t working out here. And maybe we’re too lacks here, or maybe we’re not not tight enough in certain areas here. So I think it has to do with you, you hire slowly, you once you build kind of a core nucleus of a culture, it’s hard, it’s easy for the culture to reject something that doesn’t fit the culture. Where if somebody comes in and tries to be command and control and tries to create factions, or tries to, you know, cut down on their teammates, it doesn’t fly here, you’re going to really stick out like a sore thumb, you’re probably going to self select out at some point, because you’re like, the things that worked elsewhere aren’t working here. Or maybe it’s just, you know, we don’t have everything figured out because we’re small and fast growing, and that might not work for you. And that might really irritate you. And you might really want a place that moves slower, but has had, you know, 15 years to bake in their finance philosophy. You know, it’s like, we don’t have some things in place that we might not have for another five years. And for some people, they’re comfortable with that, and some people are not. So I think it has to do with a lot of stuff, building that core core culture that can can show people what works here and what doesn’t, so they can kind of opt out or opt in. Do you

think of that in terms of like an employer brand or employer branding?

I don’t think about it that way. I think about it more of just every place has a has a style. And we are pretty upfront about that style. And I’m pretty vocal about my expectations around how to treat one another. So that when somebody feels like maybe that’s not what’s happening, they will raise their hand and sometimes that person is maybe just really sensitive and sometimes that person just dead on you know, like So maybe that person is having a bad day and they raise their hand cuz they wanted to vent about something at home through the day, the construct of lessonly. Like that stuff happens all the time, you people, everybody has mixed in tough lives. And sometimes there’s struggles here that aren’t really struggles here, their struggles elsewhere that are manifesting here. Or, and then other times, it’s like, we just didn’t do our job. And I’ve made it clear that if we’re not doing our job, you should raise your hand and you raise your hand and you’re frustrated, and you’re allowed to be frustrated, you know, like the idea of lessonly doing well should not be misconstrued as lessonly getting everything right. It’s lessonly, acknowledging when it doesn’t do the right stuff, and and owning up to it. Or saying we didn’t know how to do it fast enough, or man, this should have happened six months ago, it wasn’t on purpose is the main point. You know, it’s not, it’s not like we’re all conspiring in the executive team meetings to make mistakes. If it bums out a batch of employees, that wasn’t our intention, and and people know that it wasn’t our intention. So when it gets to the point where somebody’s like, this is frustrating, or I’m sad, or I’m stressed, we talk about it, and then we’ll know. And then we want to highlight those moments of this is what it looks like to make a place better. Don’t expect it to just be dialed in expect to help us dial it in. But if you’re not communicating when something’s not dialed in, you’re not helping.

I love that. I could probably ask you 20 More questions about the culture that you’ve created here. But I think we will have to save that for another episode.

It’s always fun to talk. We

appreciate it a lot. Absolutely. Always enjoy it. Kyle, we’ve got you on stage here at the Vogue historic Vogue theater in s in Broad Ripple in Indianapolis on February 28. In front of 500 plus people from the Midwest tech community, can you give us a little preview of what you’re going to talk about?

I mean, this this is a great preview to talk about because I’m definitely going to talk about the Better Work campaign talk about how we’ve spray painted 1000 Little three inch llamas to send to people and how it’s worked as a campaign. So that’s that is the that’s a little sneak peek.

Cool. I love that I’m really looking forward to it. And I appreciate both of you. I know you’re super busy. But But sharing a little bit of a snapshot of what it’s like to be inside the belly of the llama. And oh, no. Surely gonna get a taste for what it means to do better work.

Thank you. Thanks, man. Appreciate it.

Thanks so much for being on the show. That’s it for today’s episode. listeners. Thank you so much for joining us today. Again, I’m your host, Matt Hunckler. And I’m so grateful for today’s guests, Max Yoder and Kyle Lacey from lessonly. Giving us a little behind the scenes look at how they’re using b2b marketing to create exciting growth. very mission driven very much coming from the bottom up with their culture, I highly recommend you follow them. They’re both very generous and sharing their knowledge. So check them out on Twitter, at lessonly at max Yoder and at Kyle P Lacey as I found out by Miss, attributing him on Twitter several times over the years. So to be among the first to hear about these stories of these entrepreneurs, these investors and these other tech leaders outside of Silicon Valley, subscribe to us on itunes@powderkeg.com forward slash iTunes and we’ll catch you next time on powderkeg igniting startups