On the 3rd June, I had the honour to speak at the #GrowthConferenceEurope alongside some truly remarkable #speakers.
The conference was organised by the insanely talented Raffaele Gaito, Luca Barboni, Andrea Bifulco and Gerardo Forliano in Milan.
500 or so super-engaged amazing professionals filled the room with true fire and desire to grow, and grow they did.
My talk was about the foundations of scaleups, the WHY, the WHAT, the PLAN and the PEOPLE, based on my book THE AGENCY: BUILD, GROW, REPEAT. Lastly, we touched on the power of ‘getting up’ and someone won a strategy session with yours truly, a free copy of my book and a tenner!
Congrats to you Marco Malgrati for ‘getting up.
Here the video of my talk. Enjoy.
Enjoy the interview and as always, remember to subscribe to my newsletter so you get this stuff before anyone else… smug 🙂
Next speaker is a friend of mine. He lives in Cambridge, like me. I will literally spend hours drinking beer and talking about growth hacking, marketing, entrepreneurship, books-
And Batman also. He wrote the missing book about how to scale and grow an agency. Ladies and gentlemen, a huge applause for Luca Senatore.
Good afternoon, everyone. How are you feeling? No, no. We’re not going to do this this way. This is growth. We’re not going to grow that way. How are we doing?
That’s better. Let’s see if we can do better. How we doing?
A lot better. I’m that guy over there. So please, let’s connect. Don’t stop here, because the value of building relationships goes beyond what we do. The very fact that I’m here is off the back of building a relationship. Some of the most important contracts I signed were off the back of building relationships. We don’t build relationships to gain something out of it, but we normally gain something out of it if we build good relationships.
So, please look me up. Connect with me. Let’s keep talking after today. 40 minutes ain’t enough for you and I to become friends. I want to become friends with all of you, right? Deal, yes?
Good. So, let’s start from the beginning. Actually, let’s start from the very, very, very beginning. I’m going to embarrass one of you. Can I have a volunteer to come on stage? Now, you can do this all night. I’m not going to continue until I get a volunteer, I swear to God. Sir, thank you very much. Give another hand, please. What’s your name?
I’m Luca. Nice to meet you, Marco.
We are already friends.
We are already friends, absolutely.
Not before going away?
That’s a bit too far.
First date, all right?
First date, second date.
Second date, we’ll do all this stuff. First thing, you get a book for free. Second, you get a book which has got a free strategy session for me. I normally charge 150 for. You get it free. One, two, you get a tenner.
Just because you got up.
Oh, I don’t want it.
No, you need to take it. You have no other… This isn’t a suggestion. This isn’t a suggestion. This is what you got.
Now, thank you very much. Take a seat. Thank you, Marco. I appreciate it. Why didn’t you get up? Yeah, why didn’t you get up? This could be nothing or it could be the best beer that it’ll buy with that tenner. Or it could be the best strategy session ever. We don’t get up. I know it’s hard. I’ve been there. It’s terrifying. We don’t get up, because we’re afraid I’m going to make a fool of you.
It’s really terrifying. I’ve been there. But only when we get up and take risks can we grow. We’re growth hackers. We are not going to grow if we don’t take some risks. Control, of course, with a plan B with a cushion to fall on, but we need to take risks. So, throughout this presentation, I’m going to have you get up. Please get up. This guy, Simon Sinek, wrote a book about starting with why.
I didn’t read his book. I wrote mine first and I included one chapter about why. He wrote a book. I wrote a chapter about why. Why is important. If your why is money, success, power, these are all bullshit whys. You’ll stop. You’ll crumble. You’ll change direction and at worse, your team won’t buy into it. Because our team doesn’t buy into our whys if the why is money, if the whys are success.
he why’s very, very important. What is your why? Does anybody have a why that is not to do with money, success or numbers, by a raise of hand? You guys rock. There’s at least 20% of you. For the rest 80%, I’m hoping this next session will give you something. It’s quiz time. Who likes a quiz? I. Who likes a quiz? Good, better. So, you get a free book if you can tell me either the person or people or the organization behind the mission.
“To the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Who said that?
You’re not going to get a book. Who’s the first one that said Google? Come on. Give her a hand please, ladies and gentlemen. I’ll meet you halfway because otherwise, my 40 minutes will run out.
You rock. Now, number two, who said that? “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.”
Who said Uber?
Uber. Get out. Elon Musk. Who said Elon Musk? Come out here, mate. Give him a big hand, big hand. There you go, sir. All right, let’s do it. Who said this? “Our vision to be Earth’s most customer-centric company to be able to-
No, you don’t count. You’re working. I’ll give you one anyways. Did anybody say that? Come out here, mate. Come on. We got 40 minutes. I’m using it. I’m sprinting, because I’m running up enough. Let’s go. Here you go, mate, catch.
Good on you. You rock. See, everybody’s getting up now. I love it. Jeff Bezos. Well done, mate. It’s not easy to build a strong why. I promise it’s not about sitting down for five minutes and working out another romantic why. It needs to be meaningful. That’s a problem with high energy. You need water. So, who knows what this is? This is Castello Vezio on Lake Como. We took the tech director, the board, and a few other key stakeholders and we went there.
We rented out this villa, all of it, off season in the winter. The whole estate was absolutely empty. We locked ourselves in for three and a half days. We brought millions of post-its. We brought three or four rolls of flip chart paper. And we brought this book. Who has read this book? Good, bonus. We did this print methodology, which is designed for five days. We did it in three and a half long days.
We put post-its everywhere that would take it. We wrote on windows. We wrote on paper and we stuck it everywhere, literally everywhere that would take it. We would draw. We would make sequences about what our business would love to look like in three to five years. We were so engrossed that one morning, the cleaning team knocked on the door. I opened and the cleaning team saw behind me all the walls papered in post-its, writing on the windows, people speaking a foreign language, me looking like you look after 13 hours of sprinting.
And they say, “Oh, we’d like to clean.” And I probably very scarily said, “No, we don’t need cleaning.” We’re here two days and we leave. And they went pale, terrified, I promise you. I thought, “What the hell happened?” And they left and I couldn’t understand what happened until we found this picture. What was meant to be me on the phone with a customer looked like somebody wanting to shoot everybody, right?
So, that’s why they were terrified. But it was useful, because at the end of the five days, we worked out our mission to revolutionize digital marketing for great retail brands. We worked out our critical questions. We worked out the sequences, what would need to happen for us to get there, very important. This was about five or six years ago. This is a screenshot of our webpage today.
The mission to revolutionize digital marketing for great retail brands shapes absolutely everything that we do. The customers we take on, the staff we hire, the investments we make, everything revolves around this mission. This mission internally is dissected and it means a lot to us. And it all came from that one trip. So, it’s worth it. It’s very worth it. I know as a growth hacker, as a growth business, you want to go and see growth.
Sometimes you have to dig the foundations before you can grow, because this has really made our lives so much easier to make decisions, because we have a strong why. Our theme buys into it. We buy into it. Everybody’s aware of it. See, people are not motivated by your money goal. People are motivated by three things. Autonomy, we need to give them the license to go out and fuck up. We need to give them the license to make mistakes so that they’re not afraid of mistakes.
Two, they need mastery, so we need to invest time and money in training them. And third, they need a big shared why, a sense of purpose so that they know they’re striving toward something bigger. Which is why we also develop an internal why, which is to create the best possible place for people to work. My dream is that if we ever have to close the office for two or three weeks because we are moving, whatever, I love to know that my staff is sad because they miss it.
And that’s, I think, a why that keeps people motivated beyond success, beyond money. This is a workshop. It isn’t a sitting down and listen to Luca shop. It’s a workshop, so there’s a bit of action for you today. Not right now, but certainly for you to take away. The first one is if you haven’t yet, read the book Sprint by Jake Knapp, very, very useful. The second is take time out of the office with your key stakeholders, with your board, whoever. Your partners, whoever is involved that has got decision-making power.
Take them out of the office and invest in developing your mission, your why. If you can’t afford three or five days, do it with sprint. Otherwise, [inaudible 00:10:33] may also help. Finally, once you have it, you need to make sure that everybody in your organization knows it. Everybody’s aware of what it was, why you got it and everybody’s invested in it. Because when you have that, you’ve got this collective. You’re not a company anymore.
You are a tribe and tribe’s never die. They may suffer, but they come back. Make sense, yes? Good, thank you. Second element is the what. Now, we’ve got the why. Now, we need to work on the what. And the what is about two things. The first one is what do we love doing, because let’s face it. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you’re in trouble. You’ve got a very long time or very long days doing something you don’t like doing.
Horrible. The second part of it is the what do you actually do. What’s the proposition? What do you tell people that you do? So, a lot does this, too. The first one is that motivational speakers and gurus will tell you, “You’ve got to find what you love and do that for the rest of your life.” Super hard to do, almost impossible. How do you find today something that you think with conviction that you love doing for the rest of your life?
I think that’s very hard. Much easier is to find something that you love and inject it into everything that you do. Because if you look close at into do what you love thing, it never looks too pretty. That’s why it’s so much more important. Now, who of you… Actually, let’s play a game. If you think that 500 months is a very long time, stand up. If you think that 500 months is not very long, raise your hand.
Good. I think we’ve got about, I don’t know, 50/50. Maybe a bit more in favor of not very long time. What if I told you that that’s the amount of time you have to live? If you are about 40 years of age roughly, depending on how lackey and crazy and stupid you are, you have about 500 months to live. That isn’t a very long time in that context. You better be finding something that you love doing every goddamn day, because 500 months goes by really fucking quickly.
So, I’ve done my own examples, but if you look at people like Alexa von Tobel. She lost her dad when she was relatively young. And her mother and her were left with pretty much having to figure out… technical adjustment. Having to figure out how to manage finances. That was a job always done by Alexa’s father. Thank you. It was a job always done by Alexa’s father. And they were left with no clue on how to do it.
Alexa became very passionate about it, maybe as an emotional attachment to her dad, whatever. But she became incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about it. And she went on to learn everything that there was to learn. And she realized that there was no information accessible to young people, because they brought like financial advisors write which is like lawyers’ write. Do you know what they write like?
You can’t understand it no matter what language it is in. So, she made it a mission to go and build the company. They would take financial future planning information accessible to young people. She called it learned LearnVest. And she started talking about financial investment in a way that it was very common and very straight English or American to the point where rumor has it that some traditionalists in the industry wanted Alexa off the register, because she was too strict.
In three years, they had millions of people looking at the information on their website. And the company was sold for 250 million pound or dollars. Doing what she loved every single day. Doing what you love makes you happy. And Professor Bettina Pierce did research where she established that the state of wellbeing is directly connected to the progress that you make. If you are happy you are doing something, the more you progress. The kickback is that the more you progress, the happier you get which is a beautiful cycle to get in.
But if you don’t like what you’re doing, the opposite is also true. So, there’s so many good reasons to do what we love. I love martial arts. I’ve being doing it since I was 10 years old. And I also love personal development. So, I started incorporating that in everything that I do. This was a press release going on the paper in 2011. I had several other publications with martial arts and my name on it through the company and this was in 2019, in March.
It continued all the way. Now, you may think, “How is that relevant to me?” Well, I love martial arts. I love personal development. I speak about those things. And being on the paper with my business because of it gives me the license to talk about it, gives me the license to write about it, gives the license to do videos about it, gives me the license to go with the office with a black eye and nobody thinks about it, because they know what it is for.
Do you understand what I’m saying? My life is fun, because I made it so. I put what I love into my business. So, my invite to you is to do the same. The second element of the what is the what do you actually do. That’s the more practical element of it. What do you do with your business? What is the proposition? It breaks down into three questions. What do you do? What’s remarkable? And what problem do you solve?
If you don’t solve any problem, you’re in trouble. If you’re not remarkable, you’re in trouble. If you don’t know what you do, then get out. So, this is a mouthful, I know, but this is what we do. This is the elevator speech. If you meet somebody in the elevator, what do you tell them? So, we tell them, “We’ve revolutionized digital marketing campaigns and drive an exponential growth to retail brands investing between 30k and 400k a month in digital marketing channels.
We deliver relentless growth to retails through award-winning digital marketing, blah blah blah.” Finish this in a moment. Contrast with this. Now, I want to spend two minutes geeking into the language of this. This is a real case. I did not make this up. I copied it from a website. I took the name out, because I don’t like to name and shame. I’m a nice guy. Say aye. No, they don’t think so.
So, welcome to agency X makes no sense, because on your website, they know who the hell you are. You don’t need to say, “Welcome to agency X.” Second bit, based in London. Who gives a shit, right? If they want to know where you’re based at, look at the contacts, right? In this area, who cares where you are? Three, honest and transparent. What? Can you imagine, “Oh, we’re not honest actually. We’re not transparent.”
The moment you say you’re honest and transparent, you put doubt in people’s mind. Four, the results speak for themselves. No, they don’t, because there’s no case data linked to that. So, what results? It doesn’t speak for itself. Show me, don’t tell me. Personal passion and tailored service. Are you kidding me? Have you ever heard an agency come into your business, say, “Well, we do work for you, but we won’t do it with a passion. We won’t give a shit. We won’t do it tailored. We do it the same for everybody.”
Have you ever heard anybody pitching like that? So, what is the point? You can dissect this part, but I won’t. Now, the bits that count are digital marketing campaigns, because we want to exclude the traditional marketing because that’s not what we do. Exponential growth is because that’s what we do. We are a growth agency. We don’t work with optimization. There is a space for it. That’s not our space.
30 and 400k a month, that defines the budget. It saves us from having 500 calls a day or people with 5k budget. There’s an incredible amount of elements that are very tangible. And the key when you read these, when you get dislikes, is to know that most of the stuff that you read there cannot be said by anybody unless they’re true. That’s the key. You don’t have to say that you fly.
It’s not about that. It’s about this can be said by anybody without proof, right? These statements cannot be said by anybody unless they can prove them and that is the point. The second is what’s remarkable about the business. We see many start-ups going into ventures, investing time and money, and there’s no remarkable statement. That kills me. They start the business only because they want a slice of the cake.
You know, guess what? Those cakes never taste good. Google, whether you like these companies or not, they’ve got this real initiative where they run goats to mow the lawn in their HQ Mountain View Center. 50% of the salary that you were getting as a Googler, if you pass away goes to your family for a decade. You like Google or not, you can know that’s remarkable. In 2004, firsthand, I was playing with outwards.
I was doing affiliate marketing. I made a mistake. I set the bid at 10 pound a click, instead… oh, no 100 pound a click, instead of whatever else I was supposed to do. Totally my mistake. Emailed Google. They refunded all of it. The mistake was on me. They didn’t have to do that. They refunded all of it. That’s remarkable. Tesla made electric cars sexy again. They led the way to sustainable energy.
There’s an interview with Elon Musk talking about China and how to power China with solar panels. The guy’s insane. The guy’s a nut, but the guy is also brilliant and certainly remarkable what they do. Apple, they revolutionized the mobile phone. When the touch screen technology was already available, they made it sexy. And they came out with one line of marketing, which is 10,000 songs in your pocket.
Steve Jobs, he passed. Apple is not the same anymore. That’s why I’ve got Google Pixel now, but remarkable company nonetheless. It is not just the big boys. Zappos, they’ve got fine and renounced customer service system. Once they had an order that they couldn’t fulfill because they didn’t have the stock, they went to the competitor. They bought it and delivered it personally to the client.
Once, they got a phone call from a lady who couldn’t buy their shoes, because she had ample sensitivity in her feet. They took the shoes and returned with a bunch of flowers and a “Get well soon” card. I mean, that’s remarkable. Rev, anybody knows Rev? Now, I’ve wrote a 308 page book, 80,000 words. 25% of it, I spoke into my phone when I was driving. When I arrived, I pressed transcribe.
It send it… No, don’t do it. It send it to Rev. A person transcribed the whole thing. Sent it back to me in near enough perfect English, even with this accent. If you rate the transcription three or below, they change the transcriber. I mean, that’s remarkable for a dollar a minute, remarkable. Tiny restaurant in South Africa called Cape to Cuba. Everything in the venue, everything is for sale.
The chair that you sit on, the table that you eat at, the plate, the forks, the paintings, everything apart from the waiters is for sale. That’s remarkable in their own right. So, my invite with this is, “Let’s do something that is remarkable.” Even if we are the ones that believe it is remarkable, nobody else. That doesn’t matter. We always find funds, but we need to have the conviction that something is remarkable.
Lastly, what problem do we solve? Anybody knows who this guy is? You get two books if you do. It’s worth a guess. Is there somebody in the back? No, his name is Nick Beighton, CEO of Asos. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him. There’s an interview on YouTube. If you just YouTube looking for it, it will come up. I spent 60 minutes with him and he described what they do.
And it comes down to that. You must solve the customer problem first. It starts with solving customer’s problem. And if we start with that in mind, we are a step ahead, 2 steps ahead, 10 steps ahead from our competition. Anybody knows who these two guys are? By a raise of hand, anybody? Oh, you don’t know. Yes? Come on, take a guess, a stab in the dark. Okay, they’re Irish. Any Irish in the house?
I would have shamed you if you were, because you should know, but there’s no Irish in the house. These are the Collison brothers who founded Stripe. Anybody know Stripe? Good. So, financial industry, I remember setting up website in 2004, 2005, you had to go to your bank. It was a mess to take payments from the site, unless you use Paypal. Paypal was never really built to exchange transactional money.
It was built to send money to friends and stuff like that. Then, Ebay took it on and changed it a bit. Stripe with a code that was developed and however many lines of code. People debate whether that’s 2 or 20. It doesn’t matter. With a string of code that you put in your website as a merchant, you can take payments worldwide. They saw the very, very, very big problem. And this is the result.
They’ve got more than 100,000 businesses. They process this stupid amount, stupid amount of transactions. They went from 80 to 750 employees in three years. I built an agency from 0-40 people in 6 years, right? I was solving a little problem. They obviously solved a much better problem, a much bigger problem. And they valued at 9.2 billion. This was back in November. So, it’s probably a lot more now.
I took this from my book. And this starts with solving a customer problem. For every Stripe, there are 100,000 failures, businesses that start and never get anywhere. And if you look at the stats, 95% of start-ups that fail, fail because there’s no problem to be solved. These are the actions if you’re interested in taking care of the what. The first one is make sure that you read the whole chapter on what, which is publish three on that URL.
The second is that you need to ask yourself and really give yourself very clever and in-depth answers to these questions. What are the things that you really want to do everyday that you want to inject in your business? Do you like writing? Do you like singing? Can you incorporate any of these into your business? You know, when you ask yourself questions like that, magic stuff happens.
What are the things that you absolutely want to do every day? Can you put that into your daily routine? What are the things that you absolutely don’t want to do, something you hate doing? Can you daily get that stuff? You know, from the day we started growing the agency, my objective for myself was to make myself redundant. Not because I was lazy, because I wanted to go and solve other problems.
So, is that something that you can avoid and stop doing? And lastly, what do you do? What’s remarkable and what problem do you solve? Really find the answers to these questions and make them public. Write them everywhere. Third, the plan. The problem with no planning is that you may end up a bit too far from what you need. The other problem is you may end up too close, yeah? It’s very dangerous.
Planning pays off. For those that were looking at their phone, that was too far. It was too close. So, there are two methodologies that I came across in my career that I like. One is the classic SMART goals. And then, I bundled that with OKRs. Anybody know what OKRs are? Good. Hopefully, we’ll refresh your memory. For everybody else, OKRs will be probably the best thing that you come into today from my session.
You can download the whole methodology with the OKR structure. This URL is basically my domain name/OKRs. And it will tell you exactly what to do. But in essence, OKR stands for objectives and key results. It’s a framework developed by Intel and adopted by Google ventures. And then, we took it at Genie Goals and kind of developed it in a way that fit our business. What is the point of OKRs?
The point of OKRs is to understand and build a very clear direction, so that you know exactly what to work on. It’s a diagram that allows you to understand the KPIs that you have to work towards and also to create alignment so that the whole team is working towards the same goal. There’s a company in England called Satalia. They develop AI technology for companies. They don’t have a hierarchy of any sort and anybody working there can pitch up and do whatever they want every day.
They work on whatever they want. Absolutely no barrier, because they’ve got a shared goal. Everybody’s aligned. It allows you to think big and take risks, because you know exactly and you want your certain methodology to make sense. You know exactly what you’re working towards. And the benefits of those. Alignment, effective KPIs, ability to take risks without going bankrupt, everybody working towards the same goal which creates a mass of momentum. And every single day, you are able to wake up and know exactly what you should and shouldn’t work on.
Which I think is a massive challenge for most of us. This is an example of a template. So, you have the objective at the top. It should be aspirational. It should not have any numbers. It should be really what you want to become. Then, you have key results, which is the opposite, the stuff that needs to be measured. And underneath, you have all the wrote up items. So, this is, for example, an old one of ours.
The objective was to build and execute a client acquisition strategy that allows us to meet our financial goals, deliver unbelievable customer experience and help our team develop and grow. There, you have the three key results and all the road map items that follow which go all the way. You can do it for the year. You can do it for the month. You can do it for six months or three months.
Read up the OKR chapter and let’s see if it’s for you. Either way, whether the SMART goals, OKRs, planning is very important. So, my invite to you is if you’re not already doing it, spend an incredible amount of time planning at the beginning. And then, you’re going to have to fix stuff at the end. There’s other actions. The first one is book one day to just do OKRs. Involve your key stakeholders, make sure that you follow the methodology, whether that’s OKRs or SMART, but don’t make up your own.
Follow the methodology first and then, adapt it. Because when you make up your own, what we tend to do is to make it easy. Easy doesn’t grow. Number two, download the OKR session, strategy session. Number three, invite everybody to participate to set team OKRs, product OKRs, individual OKRs. Number four, follow up with all the staff members. You may have new staff members or juniors that may not take part in the formation of the OKRs, but they need nonetheless to be informed and to understand exactly what we’re trying to achieve.
Number five, communicate it clearly across the company newsletters, on your internal website, whatever communication tool you have. And lastly, assign owners to the road map. If the road map doesn’t have an owner, it won’t get done. Each road map should be a product. Everybody should be… The owner doesn’t necessarily have to do this stuff, but they have to own that road map.
Be in charge of when it’s delivered, how it’s delivered and why it’s not delivered when it’s not. Final part and then, I’m done. The people. It can come down to this. With the right people, you go through hell and come back stronger. With the wrong people, you can jump off the walls of heaven. In other words, with the right people, you go through adversity. You struggle. You fail, but you get up and you become stronger. With the wrong people, you inject cancel into your organization.
I’m mentioning this because as you grow, you may find that you get a big contract with a surplus of work. And you think, “We need to hire and we crazy. We need to hire now.” And then, you may be tempted to hire somebody that is not really a good fit. That will come back to bite you, I promise you. I’ve been there. I’ve made that mistake. I will never make it again. Always make sure that you understand exactly who you want to have on your team and be very picky.
More picky with who you want than with your customers. Super, super important. I can’t stress that more. I’ve got a story to tell you about people. I’ve got a young guy who’s 24. He’s now head of agency. He went through an incredible amount of adversity, amount of changes and he stuck to it. Two years ago, three years ago, I hired a marketing person because on paper, she was amazing. And we really needed a marketing person.
That was the only time when a situation got so bad that we had to fire her. That’s the only time we fired somebody. If you hire people that you like and that fit in within your values, you never have to fire them. Even when the job itself becomes redundant, you just put them somewhere else. We don’t fill roles. We hire people that we like. People that get stuff, that are smart, people that get shit done, and people that are not assholes.
We judge people by how they behave towards the intern, about how they behave towards the cleaner, not how they behave towards the boss. That’s not a good indication. We judge people for how they behave with everybody else, because being a nice person doesn’t take any skill. So, assholes are not welcome. And I think that rule alone saved us a lot of grief. And my last closing word and then, I’ll let you get on with your evening is keep talking.
Connect with me. Keep talking. Grab me later. Send me emails if you have any questions or anything that you think. Obviously, if you grow a business bigger than 40 people, then I don’t know where I can help very much. But if you are in the process of doing what we did, 100% look me up. I love to share. We wrote a book to share, not to make money off the book. You don’t make money off books. Thank you very much.
What a superpower, my friend. Stay on stage and don’t steal my clicker. Any questions for… Here you are, for Luca. And they’re incoming.
Thank you, Andre. Hi, Luca.
Hi. Just one question. When you talk about design Sprint, is it the original version or the new one version, the 2.0 version?
The what version?
The 2.0 version.
So, we did it in… What is now? 2019? We did it in 2014, I think. So, it would have been that version. The cover of the book that underlies, that is the version.
Okay. It’s a five day’s worship.
Well, it’s not worship. It’s a five day sprint. So, you do it. So, you read the book once. That’s my advice. And you make notes. The second time, you use it as a manual. And you go through it exactly the way-
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. But now, the reason evolution of the first version. There is a version for four days only.
Oh, okay. Thank you.
Yeah, we did it in three and a half. We did not five days. We were only 15 at that stage. So, we did it anyhow.
Questions for Luca? We still have seven minutes. Sorry, sorry.
Hi, thanks a lot for your speech. How often do you gather feedback internally and rework the processes within the agency to optimize performance, quality of work?
Amazing question. Thank you. So, there are different things. And we do it in different cadences. For example, Sprint, we did it five or six years ago. We now need to do it again, because our mission is now outdated. The market has changed. We changed. Okay, ours, we do it every three months. And big stuff happens even every month. And then, for every branch or pillar of the business, so for the growth, for the people, for Genie right now, we’re reviewed weekly.
Yeah, so it depends on what. But I think my biggest advice is be very obsessed as to where you’re going, but don’t be romantic as to how you get there. Be flexible. If you’ve got to change, if you’ve got to do it every day, do it every day. As long as it’s useful and it solves a problem, I think it’s okay.
Thank you for your speech. I’m Andrew Loca, so I am excited to know how martial arts helped you to organize your business, your work, your everyday routine. Thank you.
So, I just want to make sure I understand the question. You want to know how I fit martial arts into my business?
Yeah, great question. So, it’s a wonderful question. You need to be careful. If you love something, that doesn’t mean that your staff needs to love it. So, what I don’t want to do is to come in and impose my martial arts passion onto everybody else. Because they may not give a shit, right? But what I do do is that if I love martial arts, I pick the license to spend the morning writing about martial arts.
And then, I give it a business spin so that I’m producing good stuff for the business, but I’m also doing what I love. Now, if I do that well, then next time I went to gym, I can pay perhaps somebody to come and do a video of me. And then, just I can pay a PR person to write an article about martial arts and business. Now, that is stuff that I can do that I wouldn’t be able to do, unless I relate what I do to what I do to my work.
But what I wouldn’t do is to try and inject it into the company culture, because if the company is 50 people and maybe only 30 care about martial arts which is a very big chance, you are doing a disfavor to the other 20. So, we just use it as a personal way of running my business, if that makes sense. Does that answer your question?
Hi, how are you? Thanks for your speech. Was awesome as usual. My question is how do you organize your daily routine, your personal daily routine. I mean, not your company. Do you have like a framework or any tools, little techniques for that?
Yes. So, it depends on the phase of my life. If I’m writing a book, I wake up at 4:45 and I write until 6:00 every single day. That’s the only way I can write. If I’m preparing for a fight, which I no longer do, but if I… when I was doing it, I woke up at 6:00 and go train in the morning, because I can’t really train at night. I’ve got kids. But in general, I used to use a number of tools.
The most innovative one was post-its. So, at night, I would spend half an hour and I would pick three to five, very maximum five, but preferably three post-its. And I would write down the things that I need to accomplish the day after. The reason why I did it at night is because if you do it in the morning, you will do it emotionally based on who is shouting at you the most, based on who is emailing you the most times, based on how you feel.
If you do it at the end of your day, you’re more rational. So, write down the stuff that I want to do the day after, which even if that’s all I did was a good day. And then, the day after, I would wake up and I would be a zombie. I wouldn’t decide what to do. I decided the day after, so I would just stick to it. Unless an emergency, a real emergency came up, I would just do that.
Recently, I found a tool called Any.do which is a very simple rudimentary app, but it connects very well, integrates very well with everything that I use, Google Calendar and everything else. I can use it on desktop and on the mobile when it gets updated automatically. And I do the same thing. At night, I spend time thinking rationally, “What do I need to do tomorrow?” Which, a, I cannot now do because if I don’t do it, I’ll beat myself.
But if that’s all I do, I’ll be happy. And that’s been a lifesaver for me, because sometimes I get to 12:00 or 1:00 at night and I finish my post-its and I feel on top of the world. And then, the rest of the day, my dopamine is up here. So, I get… I’m a monster at that stage. Make sense?
Sir? Whoever has got the mic. Oh, you’ve got the mic already. A step ahead of me. Oh, sorry, thought it was-
Just one question. You talk a lot about Sprint and the way also and the attitude that’s behind. So, how do you manage with failure? What happened?
I’m sorry. How do I?
How do you manage with failure?
Oh, how do I manage failure. So, failure is something that is very close to me for two reasons. One is because I fail a lot. And two, because, you know, when people ask you, “What is the one thing that you believe that most people would disagree with?” That’s failure. Do you know people say you should celebrate failure? I think that’s bullshit. Who celebrates failure? Or what does it mean?
You go to the pub and say, “Yay, we failed!” So, what do you do? You buy a cake and say, “We failed.”? No, I don’t celebrate failure, but I accept it as a normal part of growing, yeah? If you want to learn to play football, martial arts, anything, you will make mistakes, right? Now, to think that you’re going to build anything significant or remarkable without failing is just being delusional, correct?
So, if you have that mentality and you install it in your team, we talk about motivation is given by autonomy as well as mastery and the sense of purpose. If you let your staff know that is 100% normal to make a mistake, then they won’t have the fear. So, the way I deal with it is in two ways. The first one is not fearing it, accepting that it is part of the process. And the second thing is we’re post-mortem every time we fail big.
So, if we fail and it costs us a client, if we fail and it costs us a new contract, if we fail and it costs us money, we’ll do what we call a post-mortem. And it’s to be anonymous, so no names should be in it. And it should be blameless. So, you shouldn’t say, “We failed, because Andre was sucker.”, right? We say, “We failed because we did this and the process didn’t work.”
And then, what do we do next time? So, that’s the two ways I deal with failure. The first one, I accept that it will come. And the second, I accept… not expect it, accept. And the second is to do post-mortem. Does that answer your question?