Saturday, August 1, 2020

High Performance Cultures - Greg Spillane

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VoiceAmerica  0:04  
One problem facing people at many levels of business is how to make time for a work life and a personal life. Do you find that one seems to keep getting in the way of the other? This is the work life balance with Rick Morris. Even if you're not involved in the business world, you'll have a lot to gain by tuning into today's show. Now, here's your host, Rick A. Morris,

Rick A. Morris  0:26  
and welcome to another live edition of the work life balance. You have Rick Moore's here for you, cruising you through another Friday afternoon and today we're going to bring on a gentleman who has a unique combination of both hands on technical experience and a track record of large scale business development. his professional career began as a developer, almost like mine IT technician and moved into development but shortly afterward, he founded a technology company where he brought several cloud based products to market after they were acquired. He went on to lead business development with several the top global tech knology consulting firms in the world where he was directly responsible for generating over 200 and $50 million in revenue. In 2014. His passion for building high growth technology companies led him back to startups where he joined bump as their CEO. He spearheaded their eventual pivot to events calm and maintaining responsibility for all product development, sales, marketing and Client Services. He since led the successful turnaround of several other technology companies, and has built a reputation as a team builder who can identify market opportunities, design innovative offerings, and then effectively commercialize them to large market. So let's bring him on to the show. Greg splain. How you doing sir?

Greg Spillane  1:39  
I'm doing well. Rick, thank you for that. You should you should be my my PR person. Well, we'll do it. Yeah.

Rick A. Morris  1:45  
Look it out there. I'll be your hype. Man. That's That's right. But we've got a lot of similar so one of my first careers into project management, which is which is what I do was a project turnaround specialist for Xerox. So I would go into like the worst of the worst projects and not have to weeks to figure out, can we turn it around? Or how big is the check? We've got a right to get out of it. Right. So those turnarounds I mean, that's that's quite a bit and you also now Are you the the founder CEO of fancy Comm. Correct.

Greg Spillane  2:14  
I am the co founder This is a another another turnaround situation, you know, fancy is a company was founded in 2010. You know, had a tremendous amount of success early on raised a lot of venture capital actually was valued at, you know, close to a billion dollars, you probably raised over 100 and $20 million of venture capital during that period of time and some really, really high profile individuals involved. I mean, even to this day, still involved. And, you know, the company has done a lot of amazing things. But, you know, as happens with a lot of organizations, you know, the founding team is really good at getting an organization to a certain point and then sometimes they can lose traction and And asked me was a little bit of the direction and so there was a restructuring of the company in late 2018 2019. I was I was brought in by the board of directors versus a consultant to do a little bit of what you just described at Xerox you know, come in with some some ideas and thoughts and, you know, ways that we could do things better and put together a proposal and a plan and the board you know, basically told me to put my money where my mouth is, so I was I was made the official CEO of fancy in July of 2018.

Rick A. Morris  3:31  
Wow, that's fantastic. And you and there was a little bit of a turnaround there for you as well correct?

Greg Spillane  3:35  
Oh, absolutely. Uh, it was a it was a pretty big turnaround and a lot of ways you know, what ended up happening with fancy and you know, we can dive more into this later is, you know, it started is like almost a Pinterest kind of product right where it was social network more than anything and and the core like, value proposition was a place to share and discover like the coolest In the world and it was very urban It was very chic It was a place where a lot of high net worth individuals celebrities, professional athletes, those types of people would come on and it was it was that kind of like hype type of product and the the evolution and a commerce happened. You know, we talk millions of users later as people would find these products and they were like, dude, these are amazing. We want to buy these how do we get these women find each and you know, any company any fare figure out a way to monetize traffic. We moved into commerce at that point. And did that really well. You know, we have a mobile app right now that's out in the marketplace. App marketplace got about 3 million live installs fancy comm receives almost a million visitors a month but with the company started to do is starting to branch off and go down different roads. opened up a brick and mortar store. So we had like the beautiful retail store and like you know Soho, New York. You're paying a gun goddess The amount of money for rent every month, we started to do promotions, we started to do pop ups, we actually went down this road, we started to license out our own proprietary software. So we had this like SAS, business arm. And what ended up ultimately happening is they kind of took their eye off of the core business, which was fancy as a marketplace as a destination and started to go down all these different roads, where they quite honestly didn't execute very well. So they were hemorrhaging money. And, you know, I mean, you know, you can only hemorrhage money for so long for for you know, you got to figure something out. So that that was really what I was brought in. The business wasn't broken, per se. They just lost their focus and were inefficient and made some changes and got us back on track.

Rick A. Morris  5:45  
So it's almost a founders curse, right? All right, this is up and running. What can I do next, right. And a lot of times you don't recognize that you are losing that focus or that you can't run that then or that's not even a business you're good at, but it sounded good on paper. Let's do it. So Wonder. It's almost like how many people died by saying, Hey, watch this. It's kind of the same in companies, right? Hey, let's try this. Yeah, see a lot of capital that that goes away. But you're a division one athlete as well. So talk to me about that for a second.

Greg Spillane  6:16  
Yeah, no, I I come out of come out of an athletic background, right? I was a little bit of that sort of that dichotomy between growing up is a little bit of a nerd and, you know, computer guy and really into computers from a really young age, but also kind of the jock in high school, which which was unique. But yeah, it's an undergrad on athletic scholarship was a three year starter at San Diego State football, our San Diego State. And it was an unbelievable experience for me. I, I always talk about how, you know, the lessons I learned, you know, having to compete at that level, you know, especially as an undersized guy who's really able to get along with sort of like intelligence and cleverness and hard work versus just pure God given talent and You're traits that, you know, I think I've taken with me in the professional world, I still, you know, the fundamentals that that, you know, I was taught going through that, that that experience are many of the fundamentals that I try to bring into the companies, you know, when I do come in to help lead or or consult with him.

Rick A. Morris  7:19  
So, I played volleyball at Tennessee, and it was very same. I was a six foot one left outside hitter, right. And I'm going yeah, 6667 guys. So it was always about hitting where they weren't versus, you know, just being hit the ball straight down the same thing, but it's interesting with you being a CEO with that background. And I've read some research around this. But were you ever really close to like a championship game and lost or like on a better team that shouldn't have lost a game and did lose a game? Did you ever have that experience as an athlete?

Greg Spillane  7:50  
Yeah, absolutely. And I've been on teams throughout the season that had tons of talent and we just completed under-achieved and then I've been on teams that weren't expected to do much and we're, we're scrappy, but because we were able to, you know, come together and sort of had a common belief and people liked each other and knew how to work with each other and sort of had that culture within the group. We overachieved and you know, great, and we might we want to watch championship, my junior in college, we were first saying escape football team, bowl game, and at the time was 20 years. And, you know, that was a team that, you know, I think on paper, nobody expected us to do much, but it was just a phenomenal group of guys that loved each other and believed in the common goal. The mission, the coach said, and, you know, we worked our tails off and we did some spectacular things.

Rick A. Morris  8:42  
So coming back to that, that being close to a championship and losing or something of that sort. The there's a large majority of executives out there who experienced that, and that turned into a work ethic than to never feel that way again, right. So So that disappointment of losing and I was, you know, we were we were number one in stage should have won a state championship and we didn't in that drive is what drove me to continue to work out and to get better for Tennessee. But did you? Do you think that that's true? Do you think that that research is relatively true just that that feeling of disappointment turns into that work ethic to say, you know what, I'm going to do everything I can to never feel that way again.

Greg Spillane  9:25  
Yeah, right. I do. And I and I think it's more than just athletics. I think athletics is actually is obviously one component of it. But you know, I talk a lot about this with with my team, like, this concept of hiring people that have a chip on their shoulder, you know, people who have something approved or it had some kind of disappointment and an internal themselves. They're like, you know what, I'm, I'm not going down. Like I refuse to like not do the things that I want to do in life. But for whatever reason, maybe maybe life in general hasn't come easy to them. You know, maybe they come from a background that is inserted that silver spoon background or, you know, maybe come out of the best college, you know, now they got to feel like they got to prove themselves to the rest of the world. But it's ultimately that drive whether it's you know, failing in an athletic event being like, you know what I'm going to, I'm going to never have let this happen to me again, I'm going to work harder than everybody else. So it doesn't happen or it's just, you know, that feeling in life of like, you know, I refuse not to be special, I refuse not to be great. But at the end of the day, it's it's a drive that or a fire that builds inside of that person. And I think that that wouldn't be a lot of people who are successful in life and in their careers.

Rick A. Morris  10:36  
Completely agree with that. So what we're gonna do is take a break right here, when we come back, we're going to be with Greg's Fellini's, the CEO of fancy, we're going to talk about how athletics did transfer into the business world and then we'll start getting into how you approach some of these turnarounds and some of the key lessons learned from there so we'll be right back after break. You're listening to Rick Morris and the work life balance

VoiceAmerica  10:59  
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You are tuned in to the work life balance to reach Rick A. Morris or his guest today. We'd love to have you call into the program at 1-866-472-5790. Again, that's 1-866-472-5790. If you'd rather send an email, Rick can be reached at our Morris at r squared Now back to the work life balance.

Rick A. Morris  13:19  
And we're back to the work life balance on this Friday afternoon we are visiting with Greg splain. He's the CEO of fancy calm, but also someone who has just done a tremendous amount of turnarounds. And so before we get into the turnaround stories, or what we've learned in the turnarounds, you said that you you leveraged a lot of your athletic background kind of with your teams and with your people. What, what specifically give us give us a little taste of what that means.

Greg Spillane  13:44  
Yeah, you know, I just think that there were there were lessons that I learned in regards to what it takes to be successful that I really try to instill and get with my team and you know, you as an athlete, you'll probably appreciate something Like, you're one of the things that, you know, we talk a lot about is just being coachable. Right? People need to take basic feedback. I think a lot of people can be very defensive of that and don't like that. And, you know, for people who don't know, you know, a typical football game in the NFL, or college, you know, you play the game in the very next day, the very first thing you do is you get a room and you you watch the game with your coaches, and they go play by play by play by play, and it's like your Tom Brady, you know, greatest quarterback of all time, every single play, Bill Belichick or whoever the quarterback coaches is telling him something that he did wrong or something he could have done better. Right. And that's, that's just the way that works. And I think as a football player, you get very used to coaching or being an athlete, you get very used to coaching and then so, you know, I think that's something that's really helpful. It's like even as a CEO of a company, you know, I got to always be open to take criticism or you know, whether it's my employees or board or investors or you know, people like yourself, and I think that's really important, but it goes on and on. You know, everything from Being on time, you know, the importance of being on time, right? Like, show up, be on time. work ethic, right, like, athletics at any, you know, at that level, it's the ultimate meritocracy. Right. Like, you know, when you were playing volleyball, you know, at Tennessee, you know, you weren't going to get on the court because, you know, you knew somebody or you were there the longest and you're the senior, it's like, they're gonna play the best guy and there's a guy that's working harder than you are doing things better than you or, you know, whatever it is, he's the guy that's gonna be on the court and I think that all that ultimately translates to business. Well,

Rick A. Morris  15:34  
I loved what you said earlier, too, about hiring people kind of with a chip on their shoulder and I kind of apply that to my personal life. So being an athlete, you know, obviously injuries came into play, I got lazy I I gained a tremendous amount of weight. And exercise has always been something that, you know, I haven't really made a priority and I finally found that formula, but it was back to competition. Like for me, so I go to orangetheory Fitness now. And there's an 80 year old lady on the rower next to me, just can't In it, you know what I mean? And I'm like dying over there. But I won't quit because I don't want to be the person that gives up and I need that level of accountability. And so it's been the same for me in business and I need I need a competitor, I need something to go after. I can't just, you know, dominate a certain sector because I'm not happy. I've got to see the 80 year old lady row and next to me to get that drive right here to keep coming in. Yeah. So you said you did a lot of turnarounds Tell me a couple of your favorite turnaround stories or even kind of the themes that started to evolve.

Greg Spillane  16:34  
Yeah, you know, I I really, I got involved

in turnarounds and I guess on 2014 and, and it was completely unexpected. I, I had after I'd gotten out of my company, I sold my company I went on and work in the enterprise space. But you know, during that period, I went and got an MBA from the University of Southern California. And, you know, I met some amazing people in there and one of the people I Matt ended up becoming the CEO of this company was called bumping time. And you know, I was in the corporate world I was working you're probably someone a lot of what you're doing these big, you know, Systems Integration projects, you know it technology, you know, coming in, they're doing the consulting, business development and all sudden, ultimately the program managing men after it and any like the Walmarts of the world Sony's in the HPS those guys and it was great. It was cool. Company good paycheck, but you know, I just felt like a cog in a gigantic wheel. So I knew I wanted to get back into kind of the startup world and Business School colleague of mine reached out to me he was looking for a technology person with a little bit of a BD kind of marketing product background, and I left the big corporate world to join this company, and it was the founder, it wasn't a founder CEO, the founder was this guy. He had had it too. management of success, he started a company that that eventually went public for a billion dollars. visionary, super dynamic guy, not an operator at all. And he pulled these companies together. And it's almost like an incubator of some sorts are like five different acquisitions. And they came together and I was brought in to build the go to market strategy. And I was like, Greg, you know, the CEO time, like there is zero synergies between any of these companies This makes no sense, like, what are we even trying to do here, which goal is division and a lot of the stuff just quite frankly, didn't exist. So you know, we went through that process at that point and and really looked at the assets that we had in play. And you know, there was a business division that we ended up shutting down, there's a business division that we ended up spinning off tripling revenues and it was acquired in two years. And then we had this domain name, which was the events calm and we there was an opportunity in the market. So we you know, we really led the company through a pivot. We rebranded as events calm and built that platform from the ground up, raised a bunch of money and built this No company is still doing really well today even in spite of the current situation. So that was really kind of my first experience from a turnaround situation perspective. And then what ended up happening is the CEO of the time, decided to get back into the finance world and he became a VC himself. And he started to invest in companies and then at that point, I became kind of his go to guy invest in a distressed company. And it was like hey, Greg, these guys got some great here we just invested it I'm coming here and tell me what you can do. And and you know, that's ultimately it's been kind of a stepping stone process until fancy and ultimately that's how I was introduced to the team here at fancy and eventually asked to run the company.

Rick A. Morris  19:42  
Yeah, my my ultimate dream, my ultimate vision and goal of where I go is is you know, being paid by Marcus lemonis. Yeah, what he does I love how he does it. I love you see, right if you're if you're a portfolio guy, program guy, you see it, but when, as soon as he acquires a company, I already know the alette the other 11 companies he's going to leverage with it, you know what I mean? It's a brilliant strategy, but he's saving small business along the way. So when you started to do the these turnarounds, and we start talking about themes, in fact, I'll just, I'll set you up with a softball question. We'll see what we'll see how far you hit it out of the park. But in all those areas, what is the number one asset of any company period?

Greg Spillane  20:20  
Yeah, you know, we were talking about this and our similarities and our belief on this, but it's 100% of people. It's, it's not even close. And, you know, just you know, quite honestly, it's not something that I intuitively knew when I first started this process, you know, coming out of business school. And you know, and the way business school works is it's kind of based on this like case case study mentality where they will lay out a situation or an analysis of a business and then they want you to basically tell you what the business should do you know, where should they grow which they invest which best what's the strategy, why would this work etc, and You know, quite frankly, even a bump, I took a little bit of a business case mentality, you know, it was easy to come in here and see these five different companies. And understand that some of these didn't make sense. And there isn't a strategic rationale. And you know, we should divest this and we should cut costs here. But you don't always realize that, you know, number one, that there's real people behind this and these decisions that look great on a spreadsheet, or, you know, whatever it is, I know, that's, that's really me kind of plagiarizing your quote, in practice, can have a disastrous impact on the morale of your team. And it doesn't matter how good your ideas or how good your strategy is, if your people don't believe in you, and they don't trust you and they don't feel like they're aligned to the mission of the company and the company is really looking out for your best interest. You know, you're going to lose them. And, you know, it's not just you're gonna lose them because they'll find another job. You're just you're they're not gonna trust you and they're not going to want to follow you and that's something that over time, I believe I've gotten a lot better honestly. made that realization. But you know, I, I have some scars from that I made some mistakes and I did lose some people and I had some issues with some really great employees who, you know, didn't necessarily trust me like they needed to and and and rightfully so. And and since then I think I've really evolved.

Rick A. Morris  22:19  
Yeah, but that still keeps you up at night at time. So to be fair, right, he will still think back to that it does me. You know, I stumbled across that again, much like you by accident, but it was during the Xerox turnaround times again, I only had two weeks, so I couldn't really bond with the team. I couldn't really find out, you know, what was going on. And I started to really invest for files and understanding disc profiles and that kind of stuff. And so I would walk into to do a turnaround disc profile, the whole team and I'd grab my CDs, and I'd take them in we go talk and literally, I could probably say out of, you know, 25 to 30 projects I was looking at a year easily 38 them, I had the answer in day one, by talking to the right people. And that's what started to fascinate me. I was like, how is this possible? How do they have the answer, but the executives are flying me in to solve this. And that was all breakdown. And it was all true. It even your high C and for those that you don't know your high C or your conscientious people, their facts, their figures that there's sometimes really quiet, but they're the easiest ones to shut down. So if you tell them, you know, that's a dumb idea, or you, they'll just stop offering. And that's what was happening. And it was a tremendous learning grab wish, every CEO and executive could experience some of those turnaround type opportunities. So that they get that because I feel like we're still lacking. And in fact, I'll ask you a question too. One of my favorite questions to ask is do you pick your projects based on what you can spend meaning in your capital project ground? Or do you pick your projects based on what your resources can realistically achieve?

Greg Spillane  23:58  
Yeah, it's it's Louder. For me, I, you know, that's, we had a conversation about that today with my team. And we're actively transforming Vinci, and we're constantly working on things. And, you know, I used to have this quote that was behind my desk, and it said, there's always, there's always more great ideas than there is capacity to execute. And, and I think that that's, that's, that's a really key thought is like, we all have great ideas. And this would be this would be awesome, this could be great. And you should do this. And we should transform this restructure this market or whatever it is. But like, you got to really be honest with yourself, and you got to ask yourself, like, can you execute on this? Do you have the bandwidth execute on this? And, and if you start to try to execute on it, well, you know, what, what happens to the other stuff that people are working on? Is it a distraction, you know, and, you know, it's hard. I and, you know, going back to you know, your point of that, that kind of Curse of the founder. I think a lot of founders have that issue, right? innately, they're these like dreamers and these these are these options. to people who kind of like see opportunities and then they go after them. But we used to always call it the shiny object syndrome right? It's so easy to see the shiny object and get distracted and then all of a sudden you lose you lose course what you're trying to accomplish.

Rick A. Morris  25:13  
Squirrel are hates. So we're gonna take another break right here. We'll be right back with Greg explain you're listening to right Morris on the work life balance.

VoiceAmerica  25:27  
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You are tuned in to the work life balance. To reach Rick Morris or his guest today, we'd love to have you call into the program at 1-866-472-5790. Again, that's 1-866-472-5790 if you'd rather send an email Rick can be reached at our Morris at r squared Now back to the work life balance.

Rick A. Morris  27:47  
And we're back to the work life balance on this Friday afternoon visiting with Greg splain, who is the CEO of fancy calm and turnaround extraordinare specialist. Lots of talk about like we're even filling up the breakdown There's there's no awkward silence. Yeah, I'm digging it, bro. So what would you say that you? Yeah, I'm big into leadership as well. In fact, one of the big things I wanted to do is I realized I was a very descriptive leader, a prescriptive leader in the sense that I was I was not empowering my team because I was given him the answers and I started to seek a better way and found my way on to the john Maxwell team and part of his President's Advisory Council now. But what would you say that you've learned over time that has made you a better leader?

Greg Spillane  28:35  
Yeah, yeah. No, that's that's a really that's a really good question. Um,

you know, having your my unique situation and coming in and a lot of cases having to make change and elicit change. You know, one of the things that's made me better leaders kind of the improvement of my EQ in general and specifically a respect to The work people have put in already, and the efforts that people have made, I think the easiest thing in the entire world to do is criticize, it is so easy to be a critic. And when you come in from the outside of a company, and you know, a company has been having issues. Like you have to, like avoid your internal habit of going, why are you doing this? Or whose idea was this? Or this doesn't make any sense? Or like, how did nobody See this? or How did nobody stop this right like, and there's probably a reason and rationale for why every one of these decisions was made and you weren't in that situation, you you didn't have the external pressures or you know, whatever was going on in the world at the time when that decision was made. So to come in after the fact and criticize things criticize people's work, you just shut people down, in my opinion. So, you know, I think as I've become a better leader, you know, a it's really just and I know we're being repetitive here, but it really is about the people

is a it's like an appreciation for the work and the effort that people have made, first of all, but then I'll go ahead.

Rick A. Morris  30:08  
No, I was just going to say I didn't want to glance over that because, you know, many leaders is it was many projects is I've been a part of companies I've been a part of and leaders that I've worked with, I've never heard anybody put that so eloquently in the sense of when you come in regardless, there was a lot of blood sweat and tears to whatever however the state is there. So really respecting the work that has been done that's you need to run with that statement it I've never heard anybody say it that way. And that that that that could turn into your your primary keynote speech. I'm telling you that that was that was awesome. That that's worth that's worth the Listen to me, but and I'll let the listeners tweet me or hit me up on what they think about that. But that was that was beautifully said. I just didn't want to glance over that but go ahead.

Greg Spillane  30:59  
Yeah, no, look, I I really appreciate that. And, you know, as we were talking about offline, you know, I guess I, you know, experiences a lot to do with things and, you know, like, I have a lot of scars from that, you know, and, you know, I've I've been able to will myself and we've been able to have a lot of success, but I think I've broken a lot of glass along the way. You know, I was something I was definitely doing earlier in my career was breaking a little glass breaking too much class time. So I think as I've matured, and I've gotten, become a better leader, it really is, you know, those types of things and just having more EQ, having more respect for your people, you know, those types of things. And then, you know, this This one sounds simple, but it's, it's the Absolute Truth. I mean, that that stuff's all great when you kind of come in, but eventually you got to move forward. And the key to moving forward and I think the number one thing with any leadership is you got to be clear on direction, right? Like, I mean, everybody needs to know where they're going. There can't be a bunch of ambiguity you got to get, you know, sort of all your horses. Calling in the right direction. So, you know, it's got to be simple. You got to kind of have a Northstar you gotta have a strategy that have core values and you really are, you know, doing everything you can to make sure that everybody is clear on what they need to be doing on a daily basis what the goals of the company are, who we want to be and and then you know, manage make sure that people that are in place you know, underneath you that have their own teams there are aligned with you and it goes all the way down.

Rick A. Morris  32:25  
Did you have a trait or no, it will say a trait personality trait is something that you really had to overcome that was leading to those kind of career limiting moves. Right going back into the day where Yeah, some of those scars what were some of those traits that you felt like you had overcome?

Greg Spillane  32:40  
And it's a great question. I don't know if I've ever really thought this through but as you say that what popped into my mind is that athletic background right I'm, I'm I you know growing up in athletics, I was used to the coach coming up to me and grabbing me by the facemask, you know, so to speak and shaking Me yelling at me and telling me to pull my head out of my unify. And, you know, if I don't want to get my ass kicked on a daily basis, you better pick it up because you know this. And it was like that just direct, like, you know, blunt. Hey, like, like, I'm not I'm not worried about your feelings, I'm going to tell you what you need to do to win. Right. And that worked well for me and I think it works for football players, but it doesn't always work for an engineer. Yeah.

Rick A. Morris  33:29  
And when he said that I just had in my head Lou Holtz, I used to love watching was he 90 pounds soaking wet, grab one of those 375 pound guys and just eat them up. Good. So mine was mine was temper and the other thing was, is I was generally and again, it's not a bright, you, you should feel this way too. But generally when we walk in a room, we're some of the smartest people in the room just in the sense of experience and we've seen things and that kind of stuff. But that invaded my ego. And I then started to assume at all times that I was the smartest person in the room. And that led to a lot of my career limiting moves and something I really I overcame through servant leadership through just finding ways to serve other people regardless of what the task was. But that's how that that was like the key trait. If I were to go back and look at my career stops, and what stopped me from going to the next thing, it was ego from assuming that I was the smartest person in the room.

Greg Spillane  34:26  
So how did you? When did that realization happen? Was there an event or was it just sort of evolution over

Rick A. Morris  34:31  
time? No, there was there was a key event and it was I had accelerated very, very quickly in Xerox and because of the turnaround again, what's great about a turnaround if we look at it is if we turn it around where hero but if we couldn't turn it around, it was too far gone before we got there. I mean, it's Come on, but it's so you know, I was getting a lot of hype and I was given a project way out of my depth. And I wasn't validating anything and I do a whole thing on the depth. They should have done because of this project. But I was told that they were done. I cleared the executives calendars. I flew them in, we were ahead of schedule, you know, I'm thinking I'm a rock star, and go to my developer and I was like, Hey, you need to go show them a demo. And he goes, show him what? It's like, you know, you said, you were done. He goes, Yeah, Rick, the code compiled but I don't have any UI or I, there's nothing to shutter. And so now I got a roomful of executives I'm about to walk into. And of course, now that I've cleared their calendars, I get all the questions like, didn't you validate? Did you look at it? Did you do any kind of? And the answer to it was just no, no, no. And that was the most brutal day in my life. And that's, I can pinpoint that's where I started to change. It was a long, you know, it takes time, but that was that was the feeling I never wanted to feel again. Yeah,

Greg Spillane  35:48  
yeah, man, I've I know that that feeling and nothing worse than when you're when you are in a room with a lot of really smart executives that know how to ask the right questions, how they can just poke so many holes. So


Rick A. Morris  36:03  
it's your own firing line is exactly as they could get leading you to lead to getting fired. How do you find? How do you find great talent? How do you recruit great talent out there in these these organizations? And in this day and age?

Greg Spillane  36:16  
Yeah, I tell it's tough man.

You know, I gotta have a certain type of person that I look to hire. And, you know, for me, it's, you know, it's who you mentioned about it's like that person who's got a little bit of a chip, I like to see someone who, you know, in their career has done things where you're like, Okay, this guy's ambitious, right? Like, you know, someone who goes off in their own starts a company, even if it's a failed entrepreneur, like I don't fault somebody for that, right? I mean, he obviously within reason, right, like, there's a certain drive that it takes to go out on your own and start something or you know, that type of thing. So, I like someone who they that is excited because you're typically I'm in these early startup companies, small Organizations, they have these big aspirations, like, I want someone that that wants to be here and is willing to run through a wall to make this company successful. And and I tell everybody in the interview process, you know, I mean, kind of my typical interview processes, you know, we'll go through the process, we'll have their talks. And before we put an offer out, I'll have a final interview and the final interviews, usually, when we've already made a decision that we want to move forward with you, but I'm going to talk you out of the job. That's my job. I want to make sure that you come in here wanting to be here. And and it's one of the very first things I really go through with it. It's like, Listen, if you're looking for, you know, a cushy nine to five lifestyle job where you get a steady paycheck, and people tell you exactly what you need to do, and you can leave work and everything about it. Like don't come work. There's a ton of big companies. Yeah, love people like that. You can get a job like that all day long. But like, if you want to come in here because you don't want to be a cog in a big wheel, and you want to feel like you can build something and you want to build a culture and you want to have Be able to call up the CEO and have a conversation and change doesn't have major bureaucracy and you know, all those types of things, but understand that there's going to be tough times and you know, it's it's, it's going to be chaotic at times, etc, etc, then this is the right role. And it's the people that get jazzed up and want to be part of that you can just seem frothing at the mouth, like, Oh my god, so excited, can't wait to get in here and like, be part of this company and his team and build it like, those are the type of people

Rick A. Morris  38:27  
it's an Napoleon Hill, one of my favorite books of all time thinking Grow Rich talks about that his burning desire, and where you're willing to cut all ties and bridges and exit points to where the only path forward is forward, right? There's just no, you cannot retreat. And that's the burning desire that it takes to truly That's right, Think and Grow Rich. So I love that piece. So we're going to go ahead and take our final break right here and come back spend a little time. When we come back, though, I want to talk a little bit about the crowdfunding that you've done, and then we're going to get your question that I asked everybody, which is what some of the The best advice you've ever received, so we'll do that right after the break. Listen to the work life balance with workforce.

VoiceAmerica  39:09  
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You are tuned in to the work life balance. To reach Rick Morris or his guest today, we'd love to have you call into the program at 1-866-472-5790. Again, that's 1-866-472-5790 if you'd rather send an email, Rick can be reached at our Morris at r squared Now back to the work life balance.

Rick A. Morris  41:32  
Balance on this Friday afternoon final segment here with Greg splain, who's the CEO of fancy calm and you know one thing you know, you guys, I know that you guys raised a ton of money early on, as you were saying there was a lot of investors a lot of hype a lot of celebrities. But now you're going to crowdfunding. And so what yeah, that's that. That's generally like, hey, the common person can jump in on a crowdfunding. So why did you decide to do that?

Greg Spillane  41:58  
Yeah, no, it's a it's a it's a fairly Question. You know, when I came in it was after your recapitalization of the company at a significantly lower valuation, right, this company was they raise money, I think it was $600 million valuation at its peak, like American Express, actually, that they're around a $30 million rounds. And you know, like I said, they were they were hemorrhaging money and they had insolvency moments. And, you know, company never went bankrupt, but there was a recap at that valuation. It's almost laughable, really. And, you know, they put in a little bit of money, the Board of Directors, and there's still two billionaires on our board and our cap table and co owners the Boston Celtics and Francoise Pino who owns caring group it's I think his net worth close to $40 billion, right so there was not a money issue wasn't a capital issue. And you know, we've been working to get as close towards profitability as we could. But you know, we needed to raise a little bit of money. So we we opened up two and a half million dollar round $12 million valuation, which is very attractive considering where we are at with a revenue and the domain name and technology platform and just the data that we sit on in general. And what happened is I had no idea what this type of crowdfunding was I thought of crowdfunding was like, Kickstarter. Right? Right. Hey, you know, give me 100 bucks. And we're going to build these, these phone cases. And once we build them, we'll send you a phone case, right? But this is this is different sec a couple years ago changed the rules. And they they now allow for unaccredited investors to invest in private Leone companies, which didn't used to be the case, right? You couldn't invest in a pre IPO company is just a normal person if you weren't accredited. So there's a couple platforms out there we funder being one of them and the chairman of our board, who as I mentioned is billionaire or the Celtics is a large investor in the company. He came to me and he's like, Hey, listen, Greg, like, will you want to support this company. So ultimately, you know, committed, you know, close to a million and a half of the two and a two and a half million, but you can raise up to a million dollars through crowdfunding. And what it got me thinking of is, it's great to have a great, loyal customer because you gave them an amazing experience. But if we can give an opportunity to all those loyal customers to own part of our company, they're going to be beyond loyal right now you start to create this this army of, of evangelists and advocates and people that are going to talk about you and share it out with your friends. And not just because we have a cool product or you find some interesting stuff in there, like user experience, but now they actually feel part of this company. So that was the decision behind it. So we did launch this crowdsource funding campaign. It's equity funding, I'm buying stock shares into our company at the valuation I mentioned. And, you know, the goal of this thing is In order to grow at 10 X and have a nice, you know, sale or a liquidity event of some sort, where we provide these people with a huge return on their investment. So that's, that's why they get it and that's where we're at. So still active on it is it is we just recently launched it, anybody that's interested go to we forward slash fancy, and there's everything you want to know about our companies there and you'll learn a lot about the opportunity and lowest investments are 250 bucks. And you know, you get you get some perks with that and a lifetime discount codes and kind of goes from there.

Rick A. Morris  45:37  
But huge fan of we funder just yeah, I can see some of the up and comers by probably, I don't know, have invested into 1516 different companies through this great so you just probably got another investor that way so we'll check that out right after the show. Yeah,

Greg Spillane  45:52  
I'll tell you what, I was not you know, I I've raised all this money, you know, through these through these different company. And it has been the traditional route of going to accredited investors family offices high net worth venture capital and and I just never even realized that there isn't this this sort of refund or crowdfunding world and it's so cool there's so many amazing companies it can

Rick A. Morris  46:16  
be kind of addicting it's a really addicting it's bad. That's That's why I didn't know fancy was out there because I had to cut myself off about a month ago. I got to give myself a little bit of a break. So what's some of the best advice you've ever received?

Greg Spillane  46:33  
Oh, man, you know, there's just been so much advice. I mean, I could I could be crass and go back to some my early college days where I had coaches that told me to basically not be in a hole and like do things right and be right. But I think most recently, the best advice I've received was from a mentor mind someone who's had amazing careers knowing for a really long time and he knew I was the kind of guy who I came up as an operator. And even you know, when I got back in the startup world, I was I was a CFO and read it earlier, I managed the sales team and the marketing team and the product development team and engineering and, and, and I love to get in the weeds. I just loved it, I enjoyed it was fun, right. And, you know, as I as I started to move higher up the chain and an executive management device I got is you got to let go. You got to get out of people's way. You know, your job is as a CEO is not to be in every product development meeting and not to be in every market and not to drive every single decision on your own. Like you got to trust your people. You know, set the vision at the company let people know what they need to do let them know how we're going to measure things and when you know ultimately what what they're you know the the key results that are being tracked are but get out, go out do these types of things. Talk to people like yourself like being evangelist, the company and Investor Relations, you know, handle large scale BD things, but you know, as much as you love to get weeds you got to step away unless people do it.

Rick A. Morris  48:03  
And so yeah. But it's hard. It's hard because that's how we got there. Right. That's how we got successful. That's how we got to the places that we get. But so you still dabble that. Okay, you can't follow me. You still dabble you still pop into a meeting here and there and like, you roll the sleeves up. Okay. All right. It's just making sure it's not just me. So what about some final thoughts for the audience out there just as we wrap up this incredible interview with you Just what would what would you like to leave the audience with?

Greg Spillane  48:39  
Yeah, look, I know you got a really eclectic audience base and you know, obviously people who are out there and are listening or you know, are interested in these types of things are interested in better themselves and interested in growing I know you are. I think that that's probably a trait I have. Honestly, as cliche as it sounds is like just just show up and do it man. You know, it's, you know, I always say like, you know, it's like the old proverb, right? How do you eat an elephant? And the answer is one bite at a time. And if you sit back and you try to, you know, have this goal or this aspiration and his dream for yourself, and you just think about, like, Oh my god, how am I going to get there? You can get overwhelmed. And you get into this paralysis by analysis where you don't even you don't end up doing anything. And you know, my advice is, is just start to start anywhere. Just Just do it. do a Google search, you want to start a company, thinking about being an entrepreneur, just starving. Go go on Google just do a search and things will spiral and things will happen and but you know, if you just sit around and you dream, it will never happen.

Rick A. Morris  49:45  
I totally agree. Totally agree. We say jump and catch your wings on the on the fall. Yeah, yeah, we'll build the wings on the way down. That's that's how it's gonna go. But we're gonna go ahead and jump in and see what's happening. And I've been I've been probably I don't know, that's the best advice because it's gone back and forth for me, but every time I get an opportunity, we're gonna jump and we're gonna get at it. It's been great. We certainly appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us and being vulnerable with the audience and looking forward to see what happens at fancy calm as well as whatever else happens in your career. Whatever's next.

Greg Spillane  50:19  
Yeah, Rick, I really enjoyed it. Amazing conversation. It was really fun. And

Rick A. Morris  50:25  
Thanks, I appreciate you. So next week, we're gonna have next week, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm skeptical and I'm pumped at the same time. So we've got Doug Vermereen coming on. But I even referenced it here. One of the greatest books that I've ever read. One of the greatest impacts in my life was thinking Grow Rich, I use it on stage. I've got my mantra taped to my monitor right here what my next step is, and this gentleman is calling himself the modern day Napoleon Hill. So I'm dying to dig in to find out what this conversation is going to be about and in me being A true disciple of Napoleon Hill's work. I'm excited to hear where he's taken this. So that's what we're going to be doing next Friday. That's going to be August 7. And of course, we're always here at 2pm Pacific 4pm Central 5pm. Eastern on the work life balance. Please stay tuned to the voice America business network as they have another fantastic program for you right after this. And we will talk to you all next Friday.

VoiceAmerica  51:25  
Thank you for joining us this week. The work life balance with Rick Morris can be heard live every Friday at 2pm pacific time and 5pm eastern time on The Voice America business channel. Now that the weekend is here, it's time to rethink your priorities and enjoy it. We'll see you on our next show.

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