Let me tell you about me. Most of you have never heard of me. I haven’t written a book, I don’t really blog or do social media, I just run a company.
You do more for others than you do for yourselfYou love what you do, and you’re really freaking good at itYou give thoughtful consideration before taking actionYou have a high internal barPeople like having you aroundYou’re not scared of a little hard work, and you don’t shy away from a challengeYou are results-oriented and take ownership of your workYou do what it takes to meet your commitments; others can depend on youYou deal well with ambiguity in an ever-changing landscapeYou are coachableYou are committed to learning & growing and helping others do the sameYou know how to have fun in a professional environmentYou act with integrity and ethics
Culture is the personality of your companyIt’s just like people. Some people are nice, some are assholes. It’s the same for companies. SWA is nice, playful, & friendly. United is an asshole.United lost that kid going to summer campSWA has every unaccompanied minor customer complaint goes to the President’s deskColleen Barret (sp?) was Herb’s secretary, eventually became presidentThe VP of customer relations started out throwing bagsPromoting from within is part of their cultureWhen it works, it’s beautiful, joyful – I call it being fat and happyHere’s an example where it’s not working (video of S. Korea drummer)Look at the band – playing a slow rock tune in a restaurant, and the drummer is acting like it’s a stadium with 20,000 people. Look at the bass player – he’s doing his imprssion of the petrified forest. The band is not in sync. The drummer has a personality, but the band does not, because they clearly are not all on the same page.Compare that with psy – just as crazy, but everyone is into itPaul graham just wrote an essay saying that a startup is a company designed for rapid growth. He shows how if you are making $1000 a month and you grow 1% a week, in 4 years, you’ll be making $7500 a month. If you grow 5% a week, you’ll be making 25 Million a month. It’s the power of compound interest. Paul goes on to say that you should make every decision based on what maximizes growth, because everything else will fall into place.By that definition, I am not a startup guy. I’m just a guy that knows how to run a company so that it returns millions of dollars of positive free cash flow each year to its owners while making everyone happier in the process – the owners, the customers, and the employees. I feel like this definition of startup is that we are all building spaceships trying to get to the moon. Some companies have genuine rocket scientists, and they really know what they are doing. Some are just tying balloons to lawn chairs. Most of these rockets never get off the launch pad, but we don’t hear about those. We only hear about the ones that make it to the moon.It’s a lot like being a musician. It’s a hits business. Most musicians look like this. (photo of orchestra player). This person is far more dedicated to their craft than some rock start. I know – I have
I really started to focus on thisA few years later, we had completely turned things around we won best place to work, we won fastest growing company, we were taking the company to mexico and on ski trips. We were competing for talent with the hottest technology companies in Austin, and we were winning. Our revenues and our profits just kept going up up up (show chart).Then the financial crisis hit and the recession started, and things changed. Our revenues wend down down down (flip the chart). We lost 80 percent of our revenue In a year. And this is the part of the story where I tell you that the employees started leaving the sinking ship. But it didn’t happen. They stuck with it. Half the company went to sales trainging and started making cold calls. We had people take some contract jobs. And every single person in the company volunteered to take a pay cut.