Evan: Welcome everybody to another YouTube Hangout. Super excited to be here. Another amazing Thursday in this amazing world. We’re going to be talking today with my good friend, Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage. Stephen, welcome back. Stephen, looks like you’ve- Stephen, you there? I think there may be a lag, there may be a delay. You got me, Stephen?
Stephen: I’ve got you but I love the feedback. The great thing. I’m here, I’m here, you can hear me?
Evan: Yeah, I hear you. I think that there may be a little bit of a lag or delay but today, we’re talking about the importance of diversity of thought and how to apply it to our businesses.
How to apply it to the work that we do as entrepreneurs? Can you hear it okay? We’ve been dealing with some technical issues getting this chat setup but Stephen’s there in London.
Stephen: We’re here but we’re getting a loop. We’re getting a bit of feedback. We’ll sort the technology out but keep going, yeah.
Evan: Okay, do you have our quotes people love hearing. You lead off with some quotes. You have some quotes to share around diversity?
Stephen: I guess we’re figuring it out there.
Evan: While Stephen is figuring out the tech issues, guys, we’ve got hundreds of people watching. I want to know where you’re from. Leave it in the chat where you’re from. Hit us up, and if you have a question around the importance of diversity, how we can apply it to your business, how we can give you some advice, leave it there in the comments as well.
Start sharing it up. Muhaveil, woo the tech tube, hi, hi. What else we got, Carlos Ardon, I want to inspire the world like you. I love it. Shang Su, thanks. Dash Barks, Dash follows me on Snapchat. We have some good back and forth on Snapchat.
From Texas, Hoopblood. Arkadelphia, I’ve never heard of Arkadelphia. I like it, it’s on my radar now. Marcus from Hong Kong. Akine from New Jersey, Jonathan from Maryland. Free Coupons Magazine, Central Florida. We got some from India, and from Seoul, Atlanta. It’s popping down, it’s popping. It’s hard to keep up with everything here.
Stephen: We’re going, we good, and we’re back. We sorted out the technology. We had multiple loops running, and I could hear you good. Before it was I could hear you 15 times so it’s pretty cool.
Evan: The message is bouncing around the world. So people are just sharing where they’re from. We got people from all across America, and then all around the world as well sending their love, excited for this session.
I can’t get it started properly, Stephen, without your usual quotes. People look forward to the quotes every month to kick us off. I know you’ve got some good one. I didn’t even know what they are. I’m excited for them though. So let’s see what you got.
Stephen: I love it, so I just got just three great quotes. Because we love Canada, we just want to share that out for old Canada so Justin Trudeau. We put this on portal yesterday, diversity is the engine of invention, it generates creativity that enriches the world.
So thanks for that tip to Justin. Another one, obviously a major kind of tech talks guy, amazing kind of inspirational guy in terms of behaviors is Stephen Covey, and strength lies in differences not in similarity. The third quote attributed to Evan and Stephen, celebrate differences, embrace the future.
Evan: I like it, I like it, very cool. Now, you know I’m fortunate to be here in Toronto, one of the most multicultural cities in the world. You’re in London, tons of multi-culture there as well. Let’s talk about diversity, how important it is to entrepreneurs.
What’s kind of the, we’re going to get into the questions, and guys, if you have questions for us, leave it in the chat, we’ll get to that, it’s our favorite part. But just kind of lead us off Stephen, the importance of diversity for entrepreneurs, how to apply it to their business, what do you think?
Stephen: Yeah, I think it’s great there’s been a lot of interest in this talk. We did say some last week in London. We’re coming to Atlanta, and we’re coming to Toronto. It was one of the big themes around diversity inclusion. I think why is it so important.
There’s overwhelming evidence that actually the companies, who actually embrace diversity tend to be in the top quartile of performance. Generally like they’re 15% more profitable, and better financial returns than the industry norm. Now I think there’s a few things, probably three things to kind of note first of all. It’s we’ve often said, you’ve got to live in the shoes of your customer.
The reality is the customer you serve being an entrepreneur even a very kind of, a micro business, small business, you are going to be serving customers with a lot of diversity.
” You’ve got to live in the shoes of your customer.” – Stephen Kelly
It could be associated with not just gender, could be race, age, disability, all these different elements of diversity become important the more you’ve got it in your business, and the more you embrace different segments of the population from your own kind of state, region, across the nation, and maybe even overseas as well.
So kind of number one, obviously as all entrepreneurs, we want to go where the customers are, and live in the shoes of the audience we’re serving. So that’s kind of point number one. Number two, I think it’s really important you actually brought this out, Evan as well, is you got a golden opportunity when you start a business to start it right, and start it with the culture that you’re going to be proud of forever.
So you got to imagine, you’re going to be growing your business and you sit there, and you imagine yourself in the future in five years’ time, you look back and now you’re 100 people or 200 people.
“When you start a business to start it right, and start it with the culture that you’re going to be proud of forever.” – Stephen Kelly
To have a really kind of diverse employee base would make you really, really proud ’cause again, it would mean that you, within your employee base have a good representation of the views of a broader spectrum of customers and partners.
Then the other thing, it comes back to the quote really, celebrate the differences. I think ’cause an entrepreneur, the best entrepreneurs I’ve ever known is entrepreneurs who are absolutely curious and have got an insatiable appetite to learn. The more we embrace differences in terms of culture, agenda, everything diversity, the more we learn as entrepreneurs, and the more that we actually give better service, better products to our customers.
“Never stop learning” – Stephen Kelly
So I think entrepreneurs who stopped learning are probably actually dead, you know. Entrepreneurs I know, who are the best, they’re always learning. This is such an animated area where entrepreneurs can really look to grow their businesses. So it’s great, kind of summary is, go where the customers are.
Your customers are going to be diverse. Secondly, plan for it from the get-go. Don’t do it as an afterthought. Build a great culture, a great culture is a diverse culture. The third thing, you never stop learning. So just as the adventure of entrepreneurship, that’s why we love so much is all built on you learning becoming a better a entrepreneur everyday. So that’s kind of the top line summary ever.
Evan: I love it. Well, we’re getting some great feedback in the comments. Carlos saying, I never had a mentor growing up, you guys are mine. Kumderai saying, I love the quotes.
I was looking forward to the Stephen Kelly quotes. Just the idea of, sorry, I have a question for you before getting to the audience. I learn so much traveling and going to different cities, and different countries growing up, especially in university and just outside, I traveled a lot.
Every time I left and came back, I took new ideas with me. You’re a guy who travels a lot. You just follow him on Twitter or Instagram, and every week, he’s in a different city, recognizing different customers. I’m curious what are some of the lessons you’ve learned from the different cultures that you’ve been in that you’ve applied either to your own life or to Sage?
Stephen: Yeah, it’s a great question. I agree with you, traveling is probably the best education I’ve ever had. This week’s been a great week, Evan. I started in London, I spent a couple of days in New York, and literally I was on red-eye last night. We went there just to volunteer, and I’ve had kind of busy day back in London. But the joy of cities like Toronto, London, New York is they got to be the most multicultural diverse cities in the world.
But when you travel, I’ve been down to, actually interesting places like you wouldn’t expect really, Kenya, and some of the most sophisticated, in our world, payments mechanisms around, kind of mobility. This sort of technology where you can tap smart phone devices, and do really smart payments. So there’s loads of different things in terms of when you go around the world.
You’re going to obviously, in the US, you tend to find outstanding service. So when you’re there, the service culture in US, just DNA tends to be sometimes of the highest level. I also say about Canadians, Evan and I used to have the great privilege of dealing a company called Canadian Tire, which is a sort of bellwether of Canadian society.
The guys in Welland taught me a lot about customer service ’cause they pride themselves on never letting the customer down, and just giving them outstanding service. Invariably, as an entrepreneur, you know this, and I know this, our live is we aspire towards perfection but the reality is sometimes you drop the ball. Sometimes you fall short of customer expectations.
It’s those great entrepreneurs, you really acknowledge that and have the humility to say, or the authenticity, just to say we can’t get it right absolutely all the time. So there’s also when I go off to countries like Germany. It’s a bit stereotypical but it’s very true, they really are good on kind of engineering and process. So again, as an entrepreneur, you know that you can like live life from the far hose but you’ll never get out of that kind of treadmill that you always kind of running to catch up unless you build, scale, you know muscle memory, we call it.
So you kind of build up that process, and systems, and capability. So that you become much more repeatable, and also allows your business to become a lot more efficient rather than every time kind of reinventing the wheel. So as you go around the world, I think there’s some unique things you could learn.
“It’s those great entrepreneurs, you really acknowledge that and have the humility to say, or the authenticity, just to say we can’t get it right absolutely all the time.” – Stephen Kelly
The only thing I’d say, actually just as a generic point, Evan is I’m very privileged, I’ve traveled pretty much everywhere. Everywhere in the world I’ve found people are incredibly generous, incredibly welcoming, incredibly welcoming of strangers like you and I, when I go to them.
So everything might be, you see on whether it’s CNN or NBC, or whatever, don’t believe it ’cause people all over the world are fantastic people. If you’re an entrepreneur, you should absolutely open your minds to the world ’cause that’s your global stage for your product or service.
Evan: I love it, I love it. Well, the chat is blowing up guys. If you have questions for us, put in all caps so it’s easier to read. We’ve got a great comment to start.
Just a comment about our live chat series saying I started my business with $56 and my first year we’re going to make over $100,000 thanks to you guys for your advice.
Stephen: Oh wow.
Evan: You know what, that means, I’m sure Stephen feels the same way but nothing brings us more joy than knowing that you’re taking advice, applying it to your business, getting results, going from $56 to 100k in your first year. That makes us feel good for what we’re doing. I’m sure Stephen has some thoughts in this as well but thank you for telling us.
Stephen: I love that, I want to, who is that from? Old caller is it?
Evan: No, you’ve got a company called the Free Coupons Magazine so it’s doing a coupon magazine.
Stephen: Free Coupons Magazine. We’re Evan and Stephen are sending out Free Coupons Magazine the challenge, the million dollar challenge. This is the year of $1 million. You can grow that ten-fold increase this year. Honestly, it gives us a massive pleasure when we see you guys successful, and obviously learning, and we want to be part of your success, and just some advice and guidance on your journey and your adventure.
Evan: I love it. Okay, let’s get to some questions. Thank you guys for the feedback. First up, Jonathan Brown, how do you have diversity in thought when becoming a music artist?
So maybe not just diversity from the people around you but diversifying your thought process, diversifying what you’re doing in your business. So how to have diversity in thought when becoming a music artist? What do you think?
Stephen: Such a cool question. Where was I yesterday. I went down to New York, did loads of interviews and stuff. Wall Street Journal, and all that sort of stuff, Bloomberg but I was very fortunate, privileged to spend a bit of time with Spotify. So I went to their New York office, what a cool office. I posted a few pictures on Twitter as well. Guys, if you want to have a look at that, I shared a post on Instagram.
You could not find a cooler office with a cooler bunch of people. So it’s really interesting, about 80% of their people absolutely obviously are passionate about music. But the other kind of 20% are passionate about something that really drives their business.
But the interesting thing about their culture again, is they are really obviously embracing and the DNA of the organization’s all about music but I would say, if your business is around music is there’s so many different types. Again, what I encourage is, you go where the market is, go where the audience is, or create the audience. Just spare time, Spotify, listen in to all this stuff. In terms of music, there is so much diversity. It’s a joy in this. It’s absolutely rich.
Therefore, it depends on what your product is or service is but you can define your market, and make your mark but I would always again encourage you to look for new markets, look for greater diversity especially music ’cause whether you go from classical to hip hop, to rap, to pop, whatever. There’s so much innovation in music, it’s just unbelievable.
“Go where the market is, go where the audience is, or create the audience.”
I think actually in the world of technology and music coming together, the level of innovation is just accelerating. New kind of genre or music can be invented, and you could be behind that.
So what I learnt, well I, from Spotify again is music is at the start of a amazing journey having gone for thousands of years but the speed of innovation and touching audience in a way that people couldn’t imagine 10 years ago is incredible, and it’s all around us.
I’ll really encourage you, maybe kind of think about go into those sort of businesses, and seeing how they run their business, and learn a few things from them in terms of what could that mean for you that you could mirror and do even better.
Evan: Yeah I think to have success in the music industry, all right in any business really, you need to be able to inject more view into it. As you go out and you learn, you go to different countries, you go to different businesses. I saw the Spotify thing on your Instagram.
Been following you Stephen, following the movement around. As you go and you discovered you’re making new connections or collaborations, go into new countries, you learn, you change, and pour in that into your music. We just did a profile of Machine Gun Kelly, who is in hip hop.
“Figuring out how you can bring the experiences that you had, the connections you had, the collaborations you want to make, in a new different unique way. That’s where you’re going to be, it’s scary ’cause nobody else is doing it but that’s where you’re going to stand out as we’re going to get the results.” – Evan Carmichael
He likes to say he’s bringing in rock and rock to hip hop. You can think of these defining artists, if you think about Elvis or The Beatles, they brought different influences into their music to make it unique. If you just sound like somebody else, you’re never going to really stand out.
We don’t need another clone of anybody else. We need to see what you can bring. Even within each of those artists, you look at The Beatles, all of their albums were different. As they got more experience, and they visit other countries and met other mentors, they poured that into their music.
Their first album sounds nothing like their last album. So figuring out how you can bring the experiences that you had, the connections you had, the collaborations you want to make, in a new different unique way. That’s where you’re going to be, it’s scary ’cause nobody else is doing it but that’s where you’re going to stand out as we’re going to get the results. So that idea-
Stephen: You got to be on the edge, Evan. You got to be on the edge, haven’t you. You got to, the beauty of music, you got to constantly reinvent yourself. Whether you look like a certain great musician who died sadly last year, David Bowie. He reinvent himself every decade.
You talked about The Beatles, every album’s different. You look at people like Coldplay, pretty much the evolution and them changing their genre of music. So think of the next big thing, and take their audience with them is kind of really . So on the money then.
Actually the more we travel, the more we see different types of music. Let different kind of culture’s music come down and end together to create something really, really unique and special. I think if you, again it’s kind of like an entrepreneur with an idea.
If you really believe in it, you need to go and find the audience or the followers. Then again, you continue to innovate. I think if you just stop where you are, you become stale. It’s quite amazing when you look at the last 20 years the kind of guys who have a one hit wonder. They come and they disappeared because they failed to innovate.
Evan: I like it, I like it. Free Coupons Magazine is saying amen. So I don’t know if that means it’s accepting your $1 million challenge but amen with an exclamation point.
Stephen: I love the $1 million challenge. Go for it, go for it, we’re backing you.
Evan: Okay cool, guys again, questions in caps are easier to find. Next up is Camo, how do you bring diversity without losing its identity and authenticity?
Stephen: That’s a great question. I think Camo, what you want to do is just think diverse from day one. There’s a book I mentioned previously kind of blab we did by Iris Bohnet, it’s a book called What Works. The reason why I kind of is there’s so many kind of subconscious, unconscious biases we all have.
I think the first thing you do, Camo, is to make sure you talk about it. I think the fundamental and I love that word authenticity. ‘Cause if you talk about stuff, you get it out on the table whatever it is. Then you can just passionately say kind of why do I think that way or why were you just recruited in that sort of stereotype or why.
How we even place in the words on our website or our social media? ‘Cause all these little elements could have joined together to actually attract an audience. Then the other thing I think really fundamental…Also transparent. Then if you plan diversity right from the get-go into your business, I think it can be a real competitive strength in the long term, and it builds an awesome culture and a culture you’d be really proud of. I think the financial returns are better.
There’s tons of data on that. But it just makes you proud that you built something very special, very sustainable, and very diverse, and inclusive as well. So I think that comes down to the behaviors. There’s a whole loads of research as well that are around kind of deep bias in. ‘Cause the reality is you just got to acknowledge that we’ve all got biases.
We’ve all got conscious and sometimes very clearly, subconscious preferences. The more we actually challenge them ourselves, then the better we’ll be as entrepreneurs and leaders. The more actually we feel complacent and comfortable, probably the more we kind of fester and just regret. So I would really say, Camo, this is what probably what Evan and I do kind of most weeks.
We reflect kind of what’s gone well, what’s not gone well. What have I done well as a leader? What could I done differently? Then try to challenge your sort of subconscious about, you know we interviewed these folks, and actually it’s kind of great in Sage now. I very often go to meetings where I’m the only guy. I think wow, this is cool, I like this. Obviously it’s way more than just gender.
Got to get into race, faith, age, disability, all these areas but I think there’s some real things that you as a leader, an entrepreneur can kind of think about, and you’re right to flag up those words. Authenticity, I think it’s all about culture. It’s all about transparency. It’s all about, I think a great culture is a company where people talk about stuff. People don’t kind of hide stuff or stand by their coffee machine and just talk behind your back.
I just think transparency and openness is a great culture ’cause ultimately then you can put teams together, squads together, who can work on stuff. That means stuff will change for customers. We build value for customers. It’s all about serving the guys, who are going to be buying your products or your services, and really enjoy in what you’re building. Building, taking your idea and making it real. The way you do that is almost as important as the idea itself. I think you hit on a really rich vein there actually. Camo, thank you.
Evan: I think if you look in that diversity, you need to have, If you’re worried about losing your authenticity, you need to know what your mission is. You can’t have diversity around the mission. This is what our company is here to do. Right, like Sage is here to help entrepreneurs.
As long as you’re surrounded by that common mission, then there’s a lot of different ways to go and do it, right. Sage, you guys launched your foundation which has a lot of work around the world helping out. Stephen does these to help out, and give back to entrepreneurs. They have Sage Summit everyday, which is a massive party to help entrepreneurs. So it’s a lot of different ways to do it, right.
There’s other ideas that will come up as new people come in to Sage, and as Stephen comes up with more ideas, the way they’ll attack will be a lot of different ways. But there’s still the mission of we want to go out and help entrepreneurs, and build the best software to do it.
We’re not in the car business or something else. So I think as long as you have a really focused mission and you know your why, like this is what we’re trying to do, then there’s a lot of different ways to go and attack it but not been, I think if you have diversity in the what we’re trying to do then that could be an issue. I think you need to have, as the leader, have that clear focus. That gives your team the freedom to go off and do what they need to do.
Stephen: Yeah, thank you on that. I certainly concur. You need to be sort of ruthlessly focused around your mission, and your idea, and always stay true to yourself around that. But it’s the how that really is important. I’ll give you an example. We’re doing loads of stuff around an area like artificial intelligence or voice so we kind of believe entrepreneurship run their business from the palm of their hand.
They could do that and one of them could be by text, it could be through Facebook Messenger but it could be through voice. So you know, it makes me sit here and think wow, there’s so much innovation going on. People talked about this is the fourth industrial revolution but if it is, then I think we’ve got a responsibility as leaders to do it the right way this time, and not kind of reinvent the sins of the previous three industrial revolutions.
So kind of a challenge we make to ourselves. So why say Siri and Alexa a female voice? Why do you shout to what is a female voice to give instructions to start the car? Whereas Goldman Sachs has got a big massive investment in AI, and they’ve got Ross the Banker.
How guys, we just planted all the old stereotypes of the last hundreds of years. Why don’t we rethink and reframe the gender question and make things gender neutral to give the maximum opportunities? Now why does it matter to us? Because we’re doing loads of apprenticeships with school kids.
We’ll invite them in. The first time we invited those school kids in, surprise, surprise, 12 candidates came through. They were all men, boys. They’re all 17-year-old boys. So we’re restricting ourselves from a massive diverse talent pool out there if we just focus on that. So the only way you kind of break this down and maybe we can do this, it’s tougher for an entrepreneur, but we think we should go into the schools, we should go into the colleges and excite the girls around technology to say, actually there’s nothing to fear about this technologies.
But I think, for us, the reason why we’re digressing a bit is it is something we should, it doesn’t challenge the AI’s going to be for revolutionary, voice is going to be a great technology for the future, all these sort of things, but it’s the how does challenge. Why do we propagate the stereotypes of the past? Why can’t we rethink and reframe a gender neutral world? And make sure we do it the right way.
We’re talking about ethics as part of our business. This is really fundamental. For companies like us. It’s so easy Evan to sit there with your idea and just do the things you’ve done before. The great leaders not only stay true to their mission as you rightly said but think about how we frame it to make it totally inclusive for everybody we’re serving, and do it the right way with the ethics we want to pursue in terms of a diverse and an inclusive world.
Evan: I love it. Well Dash Barks is saying great tips. Aden is writing in to say, you guys are building this 15-year-old into a golden entrepreneur. So don’t forget about the young entrepreneurs too. We got to shout out, I love the 15 year, I know you do too.
The young entrepreneurs. I wish I had this when I was 15 years old to connect with Stephen and ask questions, it’s awesome. Christopher writing in, will the stream be available to watch offline? Yes, after this chat is over, give it 45 minutes. YouTube does some processing and you can watch the whole thing on replay as well. Kirk, could diversity take away from your creativity as well? Could diversity take away from your creativity as well? From Kirk.
Stephen: Hi Kirk, I think the critical thing is stay true to your idea. Stay true to your mission, your purpose. That’s fundamental, that’s your foundation. But within that, then the next question is how do you reach your audience? Then also how do you do it? How do you go to market? How do you create the product? I think by including diversity, you actually increase the level of creativity dramatically.
The financial results of companies that are strong and diverse tend to be way better than those that are very restrictive, and traditional. Now I think why does it increase diversity? If, again at Spotify, it’s really cool to have, they have this music room.
Then they have this area where they can watch people on focus groups and stuff like that. They deliberately will get very diverse people listening to their new products, and naturally going through the whole usability of their new products. You, ’cause I guess I’ve live in technology a long time, you cannot believe how great engineers don’t realize how difficult to use their products are.
They might have built the best mousetrap in the world. They might have built the best features or functions of the coolest kind of music download in the world but unless it’s usable and simple, and intuitive, then it’s not going to get the air time. So you never ever, ever get disappointed by getting user feedback in terms of road testing your products. I think around that, you don’t want to just road test unless you got a very narrow product. Just the one segment of society.
It’s much better if you really want to scale your product. To do that, and then go out to other segments and be very diverse in your thinking. I think the creativity, just speaking for me personally, by having a lot of people within the company challenge me from very diverse backgrounds gives me a much greater appreciation of how to do the best for our customers. So, and again, it’s so true in life.
Sometimes I think as an entrepreneur, you get a bit successful, you start believing your own PR, and you get a bit comfortable. When you do that, you kind of lose your creativity. Whereas what your question’s all about Kirk, is about how do you accelerate that creativity? Now I think diversity is just one of the ways you can do that and get some fantastic input. So really strong invention innovation. Then as a leader, you kind of got to make the choices, and start executing, and delivering on that vision.
Evan: Yeah, I’m definitely with Stephen on this one. I don’t know that we just really disagree a lot though on the questions anyway. Just different sides of the coin on most of these. I don’t see a world in which for any company adding diversity would take away from creativity.
It just, I don’t know how that happens. I think maybe your own, if you’re injecting other people into a company then maybe the responsibility on you isn’t as great to be creative. If you have to come up with everything then now that you have people who you can rely on, maybe you don’t have to come up with as many ideas. Maybe your own personal creativity.
I don’t know if that’s what he’s getting at but you know, look at what’s in the best interest of your company. The best idea is when? If it’s only you coming up with ideas, and the ideas are just okay by adding more people into the mix, they can take that okay idea into a great one. So if that means you’re not coming up with every single idea for the business, maybe that’s a good thing to help you get to where you need to go. I don’t know, that’s just my take on the question.
Stephen: I think Evan, you probably got some very strong fantastic experience in this area. But you need different types of input at different stages of kind of the whole life cycle of building your product. You need to take your idea out. It’s quite often I come in. I think I’ve got an idea, and there’s a group of people I want to kind of run it past. Actually the more diverse they are, the more they challenge me to refine the idea to something that can work. Then obviously the next stage, you need to take the dreamers and allow them to keep dreaming.
Take the executors. If you’re just your own person as an entrepreneur, and you’re in a micro business and a small business and it’s just you, you need to play lots of different roles. So you know you’ve got the idea, then you need to say how do I get to the network? Who do I need to sell it to? Who is the audience? How do I build the product? All these sort of things, and all of a sudden, then once you’ve got the idea, you’re actually selling the product out there, it’s all about execution, scaling up.
Hiring great people, all the sort of things we talked about on previous shows. I think it does change but as you group a number of people around you, I would encourage you to be diverse not in terms of the traditional diversity around gender and race I’ve talked about but also in terms of types of thinkers and people who are very strategic, and some people are very good on execution.
Some people are very good on social media. Some people are really awesome around sales and marketing. Some people are really awesome on product development. The more you do that in terms of diversity of skills and competency, and capability, the more successful you’ll be as a business as you scale up and grow.
Evan: I love it. I want to read a couple of comments. There’s a lot of love happening in the chat. I know you can’t kind of follow along as you’re answering. Prabu saying, this Hangout has a diversity from all over the world. That’s the reason it’s awesome.
It’s true, everybody’s coming in from different parts of the world so it’s great to have you. Terry Edmonds, I’m watching from Hawaii. My business is being the cobbler. It’s 16 years old, and you’re giving me good ideas. Jonathan, loving the knowledge, great tips. Peter, this is amazing, thank you both. Fourtrahasses, you guys are my favorite duos here. So there we go, the dynamic duo, every month. Cool, next question comes from Kathy. For those who can’t afford to travel, what is the best way to expand your mind?
Stephen: It’s a great question, Kathy. I think the reality would be if you live in a cosmopolitan city like Toronto or New York or near a city, you can actually go and there’s tons of amazing communities. There’s massive Cantonese community, Mandarin community, Indian community, Bangladeshi community in all these places.
So again, it depends, first of all, kind of stick to what is your idea. What is your product? What is your mission? Then think about where is the audience is going to be the market for your product. Who are going to be your customers? Then even physically, you might find that there’s cities near you where they were represented or their demographics were represented.
Then the next question is if that’s not the case, I don’t know, say you live in the middle of the Midwest in the US, in a kind of rural community. Then the great news is, the power of the Internet has changed everything in the last 20 years. So you can go online, you can find anything ’cause you’ve got an encyclopedia at the palm of your hand where you can find.
The other thing I’ve found with some great entrepreneurs recently, they’ve just built a virtual business of colleagues they met around the world through the Internet. There’s actually someone who’s published a book, and they self published it. They actually got the editor, I think from Turkey. They’re out of New York state. They got the guys in terms of the book binding out of Canada. So you know, the world is a virtual world that’s all there for you. I think the opportunity, and actually this really helps diversity and creativity, is there’s tons of resources and brilliant people around the world.
What there’s seven billion people but there’s a lot of people who want to support your success or your idea, who are untapped resources. They can either, you can be mentors to you to help your new journey and through social media, there’s a great way of connecting with them now. So and the nice thing about social media is it’s almost a bond of trust.
It’s almost like when we meet people, we have to get to know them but with social media, you kind of meet someone socially and you automatically trust them. If they have got something that helps your idea come to market, then nice, it’s worth testing that and pursuing that. You actually can build a business, and you can educate yourself, Kathy. I think very clearly around where is your audience?
Where is your market and who is the network of people I need to do to make that idea come to reality and build a business? It’s all available through social, and it’s all available through the Internet. I would really encourage, and obviously you’re very social by coming on this show. There’s probably loads of people who are listening now, talking pain questions and who could be really powerful when you network to help your idea come to market?
Evan: I always love how Stephen remembers the name and uses it in the answer. I’ve been reading the chat keeping up with people and I forgot who asked the question.
Stephen: Then Stephen Kathy.
Evan: He’s got that mind there. Listen Kathy, I think this is part of entrepreneurship. You never have all the resources you want to do the thing that you want to do. You got to find another way to get started. Right, don’t let the fact that you don’t have the money to travel be the reason why you don’t go out and try to expand your mind. I don’t have a building so I can’t.
We’re always going to have these reasons why we can’t do the things. Entrepreneurship is about resourcefulness and finding a way. So what can you do in your local city to find a way. Maybe there’s meetup groups. There’s salsa classes here in Toronto. I don’t have to go to different country to learn how to dance salsa. There’s different activities you can do around this.
There’s different videos you can watch. I learn a ton from my own videos where we cover, You guys gave us suggestions on videos, people to cover. People I’ve never heard of, who have had massive success in countries outside of North America, and I get to learn from that. So it’s just finding a way. What do you want to learn? What are the skills, what are the people you want to be able to connect with?
There’s probably a local group already covering that in some way. If not, there’s definitely one online you can get involved with. So much more just about the resourcefulness than the lack of resources. People are chiming in where they’re from. We got Peter from the Netherlands. Camo from Paris, Ignatius from South Africa, Alex from Mexico, another guy named Evan from Canada. People from all over the world. It’s great to see you tuned in live right now.
Stephen: It’s great.
Evan: Okay, next question, I got to get to Jonathan. Jonathan has asked this question like 18 times in the chat. He really needs an answer to this question. So Jonathan, I appreciate the hustle. This question is for you. How does one select people for a diverse team which you can trust and grow with?
Stephen: Hey Jonathan, it’s a great question. I think that is something there’s no easy answer to as an entrepreneur ’cause you know, I made many decisions. Some bad decisions over the time. I’m sure we all have but I think the smart way to answer that is obviously I think number one is look for the differences you need to be successful. Be quite conscious of that in.
Unpick any sort deep bias in your mind. Then pick the individual. The key thing is with all these things, is you have to be aligned around the mission. You have to be aligned around the purpose. If you want to go into the music business and the individual doesn’t like music, you’re going to struggle. So they’ve got to bring something but the most important thing is, you’ve got the alignment and the power of the purpose, the sense of purpose, the sense of passion. ‘Cause you know being entrepreneur is hard work.
You do going to have to work really hard to be successful. If they don’t have that far in their belly, that you’ve got about your big idea, then you might as well shut the conversation down straight away. Then once they’ve got that, I think then you got to ask yourself, what is the complementary skill set, what’s the competence, what’s the experience that they bring to your success?
That’s very dependent on where you’re on your journey. If it’s the ideas, probably (faint). If it’s further down in your sort of business journey, then it could be around sales, marketing, social media. It could be a very good SEO optimization. It could be, what is it you need at that stage? I think you should be very thoughtful about that. The next thing is kind of making that decision.
Go on with in. Then honestly, the best advice to give you is if you make a mistake, make the mistake to learn early. Just as we do in terms of ideas, we have a culture where we want to encourage all our colleagues to fail fast. Actually, getting into Spotify, just to a data point. They have sort of an idea’s factory. They expect like nine out of 10 ideas to fail. But one idea will be a kind of absolute kind of barnstorm, a ripper.
They’ll be hugely successful, that one idea. But I think within the culture of a great company again, you want to encourage people to fail. There’s no fear in failure. But ultimately if it doesn’t work out as an individual down the road, then it’s really important to just sit down and be transparent, authentic and just say it’s kind of just not working out with you.
I made a bad hiring decision. I apologize for that but we just got to be honest with ourselves. The great entrepreneurs, I think are always sort of focused on their business almost to a level of ruthlessness but they’re always very compassionate with the people around them, and very authentic about that.
Evan: Yeah just, I mean I agree with everything Stephen’s saying. The thought that I’m going through in my head just to add to it is, I like testing people on different projects. I think if you can find an easy way to get tested, so give them an assignment. So whether you’re bringing on interns or whether you’re in your hiring process, another big friend of the typical job interview process, I’ll rather just let them get to work on something and see how it goes.
So I’ll give them five hours to work on a project and see what comes up, and be willing to be surprised, and open to new ideas. So if you have some kind of way to test people out on a small short term basis, and again to Stephen’s point, you’re relying on the mission.
Here’s our goals, here’s where we’re trying to get to. But I’m open to how the path, how we’re going to get there. If you can find ways to work with people and test them out to see what ideas might come out, I think you’ll be surprised. A lot of the people who are on my team, I’ve a team of misfits, like they will have a hard time getting a job other places.
They had the worst resumes, their cover letters were you know, wasn’t great. But I just gave them a chance, and they surprised me. ‘Cause often the skills, if you’re hiring a video editor, their cover letter doesn’t really make a big difference. I’m not hiring them for their writing ability. I want to know they can make great videos. So to Stephen’s point about not falling in to stereotypes, and just giving people a test. I think you’ll be surprised if you do that with enough people.
Stephen: Yeah, I think Evan, the other thing I love it. You’re a man the guys I think, are over all hustlers. We love hustlers, right. So give him a test, give him an assignment. You always look for people who are going to put skin in the game. So, I remember when I ran a startup, we kind of hardly pay people. We ran the company on fumes but we gave some equity out.
We gave some shares out to folks who joined early on. But boy they have a fantastic work ethic. So they proved themselves on the assignment. Then the next stage is, it’s not going to be a land of milk and honey in the first month. We got to double down here. We got to really preserve the cash, and make the cash go as far as it can. But also, why am I saying that? Because it drives the right ethos of the culture in the company.
It means, you know again, you kind of treat the company’s money as if it’s your own ’cause it is. You make every dollar go as far as it can. So ’cause I think when you’re in an early stage company, it breaks your heart if you come in to see people wasting money and stuff like that. So again, not only do you test them on assignment but you actually test their cultural values and their cultural fit. That’s a really good thing you can do.
Evan: Yeah, 100%, 100%. Namas is writing in diverse teams may come with creative ideas alongside when you need quick consensus among members with diverse backgrounds and culture. How do we achieve it so that the firm moves forward ahead as one team?
Stephen: That’s a great question. So hey, Namas, I think, I’ve got this, Language is pretty important to me so I think it’s really good. The more diverse you have, you tend to find different cultures coming together so I think you need a common language around how do we serve in? Number one, always use phrases like we got to put ourselves in the shoes of the customer.
What does a customer need? So even in meetings, I sometimes keep an empty chair for the customer, and say what would the customer want? What would the customer want us to do here? Then I’ve always encourage to have a culture where you get facts and data in the room. If anybody’s got a pointed view, they should share. I think as a leader, you want to encourage the people who don’t speak often. ‘Cause sometimes they’re the brightest people in the room but they might feel intimidated.
So and then when you’ve got that, you frame what is it we’re trying to achieve here. What is the right answer for the customer? How do we get to market? Whatever the problem of the day is, and then you get agreement around what the decision is. Then a phrase I use internally a lot is if you make a decision, and you take no accountability, no action, and no timeline, and no outcome of what that decision is, then if you leave the scene of that decision, then consider there is no decision ever made.
Because a decision without an outcome or an action is hallucination. It never happens. So we saw, I think a great culture, a great culture is where you have the discussion, you get the facts and the data in, and you put yourself in the shoes of the customer saying how do we make a difference here. You make a decision, you lock that down. Get everybody crystal clear about what their accountability is, and who’s going to be responsible for delivering that for the team.
It could be a team effort. Then you say right, what does success look like? What’s the outcome? When are we going to have it? 30 days, 10 days, five days? And say, let’s get back together the next week, let’s have a coffee, and just make sure we did what we said we would.
So I think as a leader, you can really be a bit of a hustler and also I think where this is important, you got to be authentic again with yourself. You got to hold yourself to accounts. So if you commit to things for the team, you’ve got to deliver them for, and you’ve got to walk the talk and set the tone for the company you’re building.
Evan: I like that empty seat for the customer. I’ve never heard, I’ve consumed a lot of content, I’ve never heard anybody do that, have an empty seat and imagine the customer’s there. That’s cool, I might use that. I think, two things, I agree with Stephen. I think the mission is the unifying goal, like why we’re doing this. If you have clarity on why you’re here that makes it so much easier to gather around and move forward. I think, two in terms of cultural diversity, a lot of the work can be done in advance as well.
Ideally, if you’re over communicate it and really try to understand each other, then you already have a sense of how to work together before you come to the table to make this really important decision, and not have to figure that out on the spot. If you look at Stephen, he led off with a quote from Justin Trudeau, who is the Canadian Prime Minister.
Every time, we do something, I’m Canadian, so there’s always some Canadian content in there. I always appreciate that. Right like Stephen’s done his homework. He’s always prepared. I’m sure when he’s going to France, he has some French thing that he’s going to be sharing.
That means a lot to the people you’re talking to that you’ve taken the time to understand their culture, to understand them a little bit more so that when you do get together, you have that important decision to make, it makes it easier to move forward in the same path. So the alignment around the goal, and also the prep work, the ground work, the awareness to understand them prior to having to make that decision, I think is really important.
Stephen: Hey, it’s interesting, and as a real example actually, where we talked about the customer in the room a lot so we keep an empty chair for the customer. There’s a brand in the UK called Ted Baker, a fashion brand, clothing brand. Ted is a fictional character but they always say in meetings, he’s a stereotypical customer of the company, and they say what would Ted want? What would appeal to Ted? How would he think we’re cool? What would cool look like for Ted?
It’s great ’cause it makes, The other thing is when you have great diversity, people can get so internally focused. The only thing that matters is the customer. Then the next thing that matter is harnessing all the power of your colleagues around you in the room to deliver value for that customer. When you do that, you do that consistently, and you scale that, you’ve got a fantastic business. So I think it’s pretty special.
Evan: I love it, what would Ted do? I like it. Cool well-
Stephen: What would Ted do?
Evan: It’s crazy how quickly time flies when you’re having fun, Stephen. There’s a lot more questions guys. Save them for the next time.
We also want to know for the next topic, what you like to hear so on the broadcast version, not this one, leave in the comments ’cause these comments disappear. Leave in the comments what you like us to talk about next month. But Stephen, final thoughts are over to you. Wrap this up.
Stephen: Final thoughts, two things, two things, I love it. We’re going to put a lovely bow on this. You’re going to love this Evan. All right, you’ve got kids Evan yeah? So this weekend, you got to go and plant a lot of these around the backyard, and you got to say it’s Easter bunny time.
Yeah, have fun with them. Your business, my best message is always have fun in your business. Pursue your dreams, love what you’re doing. If you’re having fun, you’re going to have a great business. That’s the message number one. You’ll have more fun if you build a great diversity.
I’ll say the final thing, a little quote, is diversity is a mentality. It’s a mentality you start from the get-go, and you scale up your business. I wish everybody out there, choose success in their business and everybody have that kind of visual of the $1 million challenge. You going to follow your dreams to be very successful. So thank you very much.
Evan: I love it, thank you Stephen. Thank you guys for watching. Remember to leave the comments down below, and we’ll see you next month. Take care.
You might also like
More from Evan Carmichael
Watch Evan Carmichael’s Top 10 Rules For Success video. Famous Entrepreneur Quotes Evan Carmichael's Quotes "Changing my environment had a dramatic impact …