The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

28. Entrepreneurship, Leading teams, and lessons learned with Ron Close

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

There is no shortage of descriptors for Ron Close, HBA ’81: a seasoned entrepreneur, leader, educator, coach with a small ‘c’, board member, investor etc.

A graduate from one of Ivey's most 'entrepreneurial classes (1981),' Ron was the co-founder and CEO of Netcom Canada, one of Canada's earliest and most successful Internet companies. After selling Netcom, Ron spent a number of years in executive roles across the telecommunications, and technology industries.

A deep thinker who is eminently quotable, Ron shares some of his most important learnings, from starting up, leading teams, and coaching some of Canada’s top young entrepreneurs and executives, on the latest episode of the Ivey Entrepreneur Podcast.

Eyou're listening to the iviont toFrenertia podcast from the prl Mori set institute, Fronto Menership at the AvyBusiness Gol, my name is Eric Mors and I ill be your host for this episode. Delighted to be here with ronclos, Roand ihave actually done this h before this, this kind of format and and he'sjust fantastic at it, I mean one of the reasons rons. Just such agreat speaker is that his experience is vast. I guess in one way in the senseof he's a serial entreneur. You know it's not just one entrernal dventure,it's a number of them, and so he brings a real different mix of the experience.Because of that, but he's also wor. You know, N for large companies he's aboard member, an adviser, a consultant, so ron has played a lot of differentrolls over his career and- and I think what you're going to find about ron isthat he doesn't just go through theseexperiences, he's thoughtful about them and that's why he's such a greatresource, I think to so many etreners out there. The one thing that I Iforgot to mention is Ron's. Also a teacher on spend a lot of time with usand IBE actually teaching the newvental courses, so I've gone to Noron reallywell over the years and- and I know you're going to delight in hisexperience and the lessons that he's learned over the years and really thefirst thing I want to do is I want to turn it to run and just a run. Wouldyou mind, sharing you know, maybe a little bit more about you and Yourekind of entrenral journey over the years? Well, Eric. Thank you N. ask thank youfor thinking of me for this h for this format. It's it's a complete honor tobe able to spend a little bit of time with people who are going to change theworld in the future and Eric it's a dumb honor to actually beyond thiscamera right now with you, and we do go back a long way and I think it mighteven be a couple of decades and it's all been great memories andhigh impact stuff and at least at least on your side, and it's an honor for me,do hear with you. You know I I graduated from Ivy back in Housaninehundred and eighty one and I I went originally to consulting. It- wasAnderson Consulting and I did my usual. You know two years stinted consultingbefore I realized it wasn't really what I thought it was and went, went on to anumber of other small companies and almost what I would describe as anembarrassingly scrappy Self Serving Promotion Surfing career. You know- andyou know instead of me walking through my CV, which, in a nutshell, is youknow big, big and small companies leading to sort of in my early thirties,some entrepreneurial, some serious entreprenaurial start up stuff, andthen you know, selling my my Internet service provider called Netcalm. I wasa cofounder that selling it to atnt and then staying on board with Atndt for acouple of years as President H, Internet Ne Business Services and thenkind of getting involved in software companies and going later in my careerN, my fort mid forties to Bell Canada and serving on the senior leadershipteam at Bell, Canada, N being part of that that issue, it's been a wild rideof big company and small company experiences and all of them veryeducational. Since those days you know my my last full time role was in theCEO of Celmarec, which is the parent company of the weather newor, which wasanother honor and pleasure, a great people there and very very fondmemories and thoughts about that organization. I sent me retired and got involved withsome people investing in Fintech, serious investments in Finteck and andI've now sort of worked my way into a role as an advisor O, a leadershipadviser for people hat that are working in Fintech, small companies, N andlarger companies. I would say some of them on the private equity side, someof them on on the on the FINTEC start...

...up. My Catchon, I know, is a student ofmine at Ivy and I coach him now is the founder. Well simple and you know I Icoach the founders and I I use the work coach sort of with a little bit of waglroom and grant me a little bit of space on that, because I'm not a train coachon the bit of a Hack, a small sea coach Af. You will I'm really a fellowpractitioner for these leaders and I I sit started between the board and theCEO or the senior leadership team, with probably ten or twenty of thesecompanies right now, just trying to help them figure out how to grow out toscale how to avoid walking into the blades of a fan, if you will, as as aleader as a manager and also coaching the boards and newdirectors on board. rether ther are venture capital people who are wildlysmart at modeling, but don't have a lot of experience, manout, O oard ofdirectors, and so how do we intervene with management without compromising their ability toproprietary feeling about their baby and then they're Babler to make thingshappen and yet be able to add value and eliminate hurdles for them? All thesethings are sort of borne just from battle scars. Most of it me doingthings wrong and learning trying to learn from those things, but generallybeing asstuent of leadership and team work. Since I a since I was at IV- andI taught me that and one of my Ivi crofts Decosa in organizationalbehavior is one of the people I think about most in addition to Eric and thethings ie leared from Eric as well, but you know just about how do you bringpeople along? What's the difference in a team of people, warming chairs aroundtable and people who are turned on sort of an a viseral level and reallyunderstand the the dream and understand how they reach across the divides,functional devises, the technical divides the market devides to just makesure we don't drop halls and have better than average performances atteen. I've been a student of that and I've been lucky to work with some somegreat people that have given me some some good tips and H I'll turn it back to you Eric Wellt.Thanks run, I thinkre there's a ton to unpack already, and I want to leavemost of this with you. But just one thing that I I heard you say around,you know you're pheere as much as you are an adviser. I guess- and I thinkthat's so important right you've been through this and I encouraged everybody-that's listening that that has that entprenorial desire to to find thatgroup of other entreneurs that they can bounce ideas off of, and it's just sohelpful to know, you're not alone, and that there's others in this and whenyou can find season. You know men are women. People like Ron to help youthrough that. I think it's enormously effective. So I second that Arabthere's, this lonely spot for sure as a founder, CEO and there are some thingsthat you can openly communicate with your investors and your board. If youhave a board and there's some things that you can openly communicate, manythings with your team and your direct reports, but there's some things thatyou just can't put down your dukes and sort of divulge your fears, and forthat it's nice to have sort of a confidential comrade who can just say,yeah N. I know how you're feeling and dethand thoughts and maybe noodle alittle bit together on a White Board, somebody that you respect and somebodythat respects you absolutely re, really really important. You know one of thequestions Tha, I'm sure you get a lot and it's always a hard one to answer inmy opinion, because it's usually not a bolt of light but on when you wereevaluating. Is this t an inchesship that I want to jump into and and startthis business? How did you know that was the right opportunity for you andthen go through your decision making to take that leap? You know the irony of it was, I think,in my life I had I had either in my early career, had heavy entrepreneurialincli inclinations, and yet I was doing well in larger companies. I was a I wasa running new product introduction at a...

Telco and then running marketing andthen running sales and marketing and making presentations of the board- andI hid just you know at thirty two years old decided. I don't think I actuallyneed to take the risks o a entrepreneurship. I had a home in amortgage ID had a wife and two children and bills to pay. I and all wasscrambling and it was. It was starting to make some go, and you know the thedecision for me to to start a company was one that I had to drisk completelyalong with my meagos. There were three of us Thad and we actually startedNetcotn Canada in those days, and it was one of the earliest and largestInternet service providers back in those days we started in you know in our in our early thirties,and it was. It was a process of writing a business plan. Now I mean a detail.Eighty five page business plaing with a model- that's nested with driver driver,some charts that feed revenue and feed head count and labor and the ability todo what, if analysis, to see where the risks are and because I needed to morkage my house and cash in my RSPsand put everything on the line for that first start up. I had to be riskit, andso that was the process. I went throughwhat I encountered and what have encountered since a sort of light.There are a couple, a small number of really important things that define areally compelling business plan or a business idea, and one of them is justthe most important perhaps is an effective and DIFFERENTII solution to abig problem or opportunity and there's a lot packed in there. It's aneffective solution. It really does work, it's differentiated, it's a little bitbetter than the bad guys and the problem or the opportunity is actuallymaterial. You know I've introduced it over the years, including my teachingdays at Ivy this concept of ableeding Tatwood. You know I would rather sellgauze to somebody bleeding from the jugguler because they desperately needit and it's an easy sale. If you're standing there at the right time with asolution, Thatpa you're going to die with then a vitamin that you know youcan be even better. I know you're well now, but you could be even better as atougher sale so and the size of the opportunity is important just becausewe're going to work our our bots off. No matter what and we might as wellwork at large, fruitful spaces, so one th. There are a couple of otherthings I want to mention in terms of at the top of the iceberg. What we lookfor in really compelling business plants, one of them is tat, adifferentiated solution that works in a large and attractive market. The secondone, perhaps a not in any orders, just attractive economics- and you know you'-got to be able to acquire customers at at a rate that you can get a sufficientpayback. So you can pay the bills and change the word and have an impact onpeople and your employees and your customers and your shareholders. Sothere's no avoiding a tractive economics, and the third thing is acredible team with a credible plan, and that's you know that I spent five yearsthat ID be trying to teach out to yourit credible plan. You know and withvariing degrees of success, and I spend I've spent ten years since then reallyjust working with a lot of startups working through that, but there'snothing magical about it. It just don't, leave a watle room for me to furow mybrow and say Yeah But d: Did you consider this? What about thecompetition and regulation or the economic, sondotractor or youhave neverdone anything like this before or no one's ever done? Anything, and this isso new and unproven in terms of the market pole and demand, there's some nobrainer stuff that you yourself. If you sit back all you want onerses, with anhonest assessment of your idea and your thoughts, you would say like it is thiscompelling what makes it compelling and what makes everybody I talk to my momand my dad and my friends and whoever it is a little bit skeptical that areyou sure this is the one. So...

...it's not rockets science well, B, t Ilove how deliberate you are about it. One ND, some people, one! We still usethe bleading neck analogy, euon analogy: I love that versus theViamin that it's still something we we use around Ivy. The other thing is:make sure it's big enough again. Is this really going to deliver on kind ofthe lifestyle and the interests that you have raiayou're going to spend alot of time with this or you're gin t enjoy it? I like everything there arthere's, there's tension, and you know I I work with a lot of companies nowthat are wrestling with. Is that a Canida only play? Is it a global plague?An we afford not to go to the US? What about the UK? Germany has all kinds ofopportunity and stuff going on and there's there's attension between sortof the the simplicity of a single Marko with single regulatory rules, and youcan know who the competitors are and understand a little bit more ofdemographics and consumered behaviors and the wild comcomplexification. Ifthat's a word that happens when you move into a new space ND, perhaps withnew investors, definitely with new consumered behaviors and and regulatorsSobu heis, the Canadian mark ar big enough for some of these fintechstartups in you know it's it's a tease and I think over the bad as cars of mylife. I've really developed an appreciation, for I think it WatJeffrey Moore and bridging the chasm or something that wanted to hit the headpin. First, and you know if you can win in Canada and dominate in Canada firstand perfect your model, if your CAA, if you're American, I mean in your spacethe space, you know o that perfect your model, debug your assumptions in termsof cost of acquisition and cost of service and churn rates or whatever theeconomics are the lifetime value. Whatever your economics are deep, O othem understand the sensitivities, figure it out and then propagate likehelp yeah yeah d. It gets back here, you're thinking about and talkingaboute risk Um. You know those are you that that it may be an IV or Ibegrad.The nine step process we teach is is came from ROK. You know, I think hebuilt on stuff that we had done in the past, but but it's a it's a process anda lot in that process is about de risking- and you know, I think, there'sthis kind of misconception about oncerners, that they're, these hugerisk takers and- and there is some risk in anything that we do. But the ideathat I, if successful inprirters take, is there's a body of risk. Now, how doI bring it down? How do I derisk it into something that I'm I I can manageand I'm willing to go forward with and Dady risking pieces? I think soimportant when I ain tirs a corrollary to that and I I couldn't agree more andI spend quite a bit of time if you're going to lose sleep as a founder. Whatcould go wrong? You know what significantly could gawrong. I don'tnecessarily just mean a Black Swan Evet, that's an unexpected Gotcha, but justall the little things that can go wrong. That could hurt you. What meetings doyou have tomorrow and we has founders and leaders. We spend all of our daysand nights thinking about what could be what could go wrong and what am I goingto do and how can I ensure myself against it? But one of the things Iwanted to add is a corollary. There is the encouragement to think as a leaderabout what could go right. What could go wildly right? You know you're a yearinto a start up, you've gone from six people to twenty three people or fortyone people and your team is busy with the block and tackle of buildingchannels and building products and hiring people and getting your boarddecks together and your dashboards together, but somebody's got to thinkabout what could go wildby right here W. I often encourage these founders. Youknow tomorrow morning the phone rings and it's a Blowour hairback good newsproposal from somebody right out, O left feal and it changed changes thewhole trajectory of your start.

What was the offer? Why is it soattractive? Why did it blow your hair back figure that out and go make thatphone call happen yeah? You know the worst thing: N Wo've seen and I've seenit an I'm sure, Ashus seing it as well is when an ontterner doesn't make it becausethey couldn't deal with the success so again, not planning that deriskingso important. One of the things that I I've always admired. Ron About you interms of the deventures you've been involved with and even when you've comein his president, and I is really tea. How you've put team around- and I thinkit's probably part of this d risking to some extent, can you kind of take usthrough your thoughts around team and and why it's so important? I I guess I you know, I always have felt like I'mthe weakest link in the chain, and so you know I really have relied heavilyon very talented people. But one of the things I tried to ad value too is theprocess of creating a true team at he team where everybody is Alwismentioning earlier, everybody does understand, t the objective and thecoal. What we're worried about going wrong? Why what we want to see todeclare Bita success? How will we know if we're reaning- and you know the theI think I think teams are vehicles for getting almost everything done? I Ithink if you're an artist are an individual contributor at the mostfinae level. Perhaps that's not true. Even artists have teams even tennisplayer and single sports. You know credit their team and I think the skillset that is quite valuable is the ability to contribute to a highlyfunctioning team, make it a highly functioning team. It means watchingbody language even as a peer around the table, watching body language of thepeople round the table and are they leaning in or are they leaning out toocool for school? You have their heart, you have their head. Do they have avoice that they have an opportunity to contribute, even if they're introvertedinstead of extrovert? What can you do to make sure that people buy in andfeel em like their important part of this t effort, and I I think, communication and context is key thereand the courage to actually share what what you're doing and why and whatyou're afraid of and why and what you're hoping for and why and thenlistening and adapting and changing the direction, maybe even changing the GRUP,the goal, but that magical ability to actually create a chickass team issomething that's valuable at all ofs and in fact I would say you know I'vebeen the chairman of YTO here in Toronto in my earlier life, YoungPresidents Organization. You know I've worked with a lot of presidents and Ithink one common feeling they have had is the surprise when they sit down atthe president's chair and none of the levers that they thought they ha wouldhave. If I ever ran this place, noere connected to anything, you know youstill have to win through persuasion. You still have to be predible, you haveto be respectful, you have to invest in Buyin and look not just the wat, butthe wine of explanation and all those skills. You start practicing with yourfirst job and your first tea, and if you can't carry a team along within agroup of peers, you're not going to get the job as that is the formal authorityhierarchical leader, it's even more important when you're in that role putdown your dukes leave your ego at the door and say I might get thepresidentce o of this company, but teach me what's going on. Tell me whatyou can bring. You know stuff that we desperately need ill, provide as muchcontext as I can even stuff that I'm not sure you might need, but I'll trust,then that you're, an adult, a smart adult with great training and you're,going to bring all your Gustoto the challenges at hand here yeah. I think,there's a lot of leadership. Lessons in...

...that ran- and I think ou know being agood leader- is- is very much working through your team and in getting themengaged Hart in mind. I love that I love that idea. Can you speak maybejust a little bit about this idea of the right people on the bus, the rightpeople on the team and- and I think you've said a little bit aboutthat from an attitudinal standpoint, but but what else are some of thethings that you think do an? And I know you know you had a a team that youworked very closely with and the first maybe first couple of adventures thatyou went through what was it? You know that they broughtto the table, maybe that it made everything kind of Jell, for you guys. Well, I think it's a combination,obviously there's there's sort of complimentary technical stools, andthat's just that. I it's too big thereare too many things for one brainor one person, one woman, one man to handle it all. You might be able to getaway with it for the first year or so. But when you start scaling and youreally start getting into more complicated opportunities or threats,you really get some specialization experience required there, and so Ithink I think first there's technical compliment and Um. Most importantly,though I would say is a cultural fit, and I know those are over overusedwords and I not let me try to find better words that might be moremeaningful. My I wa I want to work with. People whoare m are comfortable with me. Sharing ambiguity. If I'm the president, like Idon't want to have to pretend to be smart and pretend to have answers andpretend to always be cool and calm. I want tit, be offented. I want to trustthat you can handle the truth, and I want to tell you the truth. Noi want tobe able to say that openly and have have you ad value ad, your mangint, soI think I think it it starts as much as as teams are are important. It doesstart with the culture of the leadership of that of that team and ththe willingness of the propensity to be open, honest share things. He contextJeelli so that you have a fighting chance of coming up with the rightanswers to listen and adapt. To always, you know, are the people around theteam always considering themselves students? Are they always willing tolearn and listen? How we talk to each other matters? How we share our D,diverging opinions, matters the culture of disagreeing and and improving oneach other's ideas. Matters the words W we choose to use with each other arechosen with a little bit of care, knowing how precious theserelationships really are, and if you can just get that balance right ofleaning in and showing emotion, but also beingcredible in terms of whatyou're adding substantivly with new thoughts, I think I've always beensurprised at how strong those teens can be yeah. I think there's a lot of letershiplessons in that that I wish we're shared more broadly right. Now, let'sgo into some other thing rig. I Tint you've been sharing. You know lessonslearned already, but but I also know that that's something you've gittensome thought to. I think you know your roles, advisersitting back and thinking you olls a teacher sitting back and thinkingthrough and you've recently published some things on lessons to learn. You Oyou want to share two or three of those with us, or maybe just start with oneand and wll we'll play it from there, but r sure you know I have done a lotof thinking about this and you know some of them are quite embarrassing.Lessons learned you know, but, and there there's some that are morelessons learned from a business perspective like I would say, a lot ofstart. UPS have a difficult time really crafting and perfecting a a compellingstory. They have a difficult time, knowing actually how to organize people.What titles to give the compensation and remuneration they have a difficulttime with the cadence of management. Every Monday morning we're going tohave a team meeting who gets invited...

...what's on the agenda, what about theThursday afternoon all hand sessions? What about the UGHLY meetings? Is therea a different team for the product development approvals and processes?The cadence and the frequency of meetings who attends them. What we talkabout is always something that young entrepreneurs are trying to wingit and 'e they're starting from scratch, and so there's there's some dews anddolts on that front. But what I'd really like to share more than justsort of the Toas stopbing of you know a start out getting the CAP table wrongor you know giving equity away for fifteen thousand dollars to a lawyer,and you know regretting it. Six months later, I think one of the things foryoung people starting up brather their entreprenarial or hending into a acareer in a company, is to pick the right river and I think I've concludedin my in my life that it's just a lot more fun to be in a rising industry inan industry. That's exciting full of innovation and growth with opportunity.Then it is to be in an industry that sort of declining and shrinking and andinvestment challenged if you will and whether you're doing a start up oryou're joining a company. I think there's just more opportunity forpromotion and learning and growth. If you know the the challenges arepositive, not negative consolidation contraction, you know cost reductionpreservation. The second thought I would like to share there. If I couldis to have an attitude. This is a bit of big parising, but shine on everyrung shine on every run of the ladder. So there there is no. Tomorrow there isno tomorrow you just have. Today, you have the people you're talking to todaytreat every single interaction as that one chance that, thank God, I did notlie best to be on TMY game. You never know you never know what might happenand if you, if you stop aiming for three, runs above you and start tryingto shine today on these rogs and what do I? What meetings do I have tomorrowand how could I pleasantly surprise people by just doing a little bit ofextra a little bit more research, a little bit more on the personal front,knowing about them or their family or their kids or their sick father? Justhow can I shine on Everyong a little bit extra I've written Dowt, a coupleof notes here, but one I've got half a dozen of these and I don't know, Idon't think we want to go through them all. But when I I want to make sure Idon't I don't miss here is to practise the art of persuasion, and I think it is related to mycomments earlier about being on a team and influencing from within a jury ofyour peers. You don't have higher arc cupful authority, but you can stillmatter to the direction of the team and if you become a student, a lifelongstudent, evoute persuasion about being crisp about avoiding opportunities forret, harring discussions or distractive words that made you miss my fundamentalpoint. It is that it is that opportunity. I think that is quitespecial to just H, practice and perfect and continuallyseek feet back in the art of persuading other people. I think that's great run and I seethere's some questions starting to Commin him and ask maybe one morequestion and- and I you half questions in the audience- please use the QNAbanner and and we'll get those to run in a minute, so run last one, and thisis something that I know Youve 've thought about and spoken to, but Ithink given where a lot of the businesses that are maybe listeningtoday are very early stage coming out of the e master class with Ash. I thinkthat idea of getting your story right is so important at that stage. Couldyou talk a little bit about that and some of your thoughts there? You know, I think it starts with people want to be a part of animportant part of something good and your job if you're attracting money, Ror talent or partners, distribution...

...partners, your job is to make thembelieve that this company is something good and that their participation isreally importand. I don't care if they're the receptionist or, if they'rethe key investor, so I think the whole idea about Um being able to convincepeople that their deportant part of something good has to do with that um coming to terms with those two sidesand providing context. I don't know if that ADDRESSD that question adequatelyor not think so. I think it actually is veryrelated to the persuasion stuff that you were talking about before and- andI think it usually is based in a real firm belief in yourself in the ideathat you're going forward with right, we we often talk in class of you- know,if you're ashamed to kind of, sell your friends and family on this idea. Maybeit's not the right idea for you y know, you want something that you really feelpassionate about and as people were storytellers and we respond better tostories so that idea of the elevator pitch alleast ends up so generic to methat I, like the idea and the way you you know, talked about it in the Pastinaround story telling. What's what's the story you want to tell about thisadventure, and why are you so excited about it d and how are you going toshare that excitement and build that excitement in your team and thosepeople that you want em board just thin, this credit that so well said you knowit really is about eliminating the scepticism or avoiding opportunities tocreate skepiticism. It is about very quickly getting to what matters aboutthis venture and being able to explain it in a verysimple and credible way. It's about. What's the hard part F ofsseceding here,you know what the hard part is. Actually just goingto be raising themoney. If we can have the money we could operate. We've done this beforeor maybe the hard part is going to be getting distribution, but you know whatwe've got a special in with Walmart or we have this or we have that it's, it'sactually draining the swamp of furrowed, brows and questions and scepticism in avery compelling way that doesn't leave weggle room for people to say, yeahwell, keep working on it and you know come back to me when you've deepbuggedall your your dusky corners tere. It is tough to be complete and compellingabout that and it tases. I think a lot of deliberate practice and feedbackover and over again- and I do spend quite a bit of time, saying o Tay tellme what you're doing and why you're doing it. Why does it matter? What'sthe hard heart? What could go wrong? What's the next step? How will youmeasure what steps have you already taken to give me confidence? Thatyoureyou've got momentum already that you've already demonstate demonstrativeprogress and what's the next few steps through which will see progress, sothere are some tricks and there's some practice, but it's wildly important toall your constituents to really be able to c communicate a compelling story. Nothanks run. Let's Go Nto answer some questions, so I have a question herefrom Nicalle and it was back to kind of when we were talking about adviser soRon. How do you find an adviser with experience to help you? You know if they're so successful, youknow kind of the ideas. Why do they want to help you? You know, I it's a great question and Ithink you generally mingle, you generally mingle. There isentreprenaurial communities in London and in Toronto and in New York inBoston and La and San Fran, of course, all around the world. And if, if thoseare your aspirations, mingle get out there and meet people and talk topeople at varying stages of their careers and they will know who theinfluencers are. They will be Quik, quick to point you to go and talk toProfessor Eric Mors, if you could get time with Eric Morris get time withEric his time is incredibly valuable and that that word of month that sortof...

...informal channel, if you will com thatcomes from mingling and being involved in the ecosystems that you hope toparticipate in you know there, there are venture capital groups. I consultquite a bit now with Poortag here in Toronto, Montreal an Inan North Americain fat more broadly than that- and you know, there's a number of advisors thatthat ecosystem have attracted and they get a bit of Apas and bit of a momentumthemselves. But it really is all otcirculating and talking and meetingpeople yea, you know the only thing, I'd endo. That niccol is that you know there's likeash and an Enron. I would see the Entrpreneu community asa community that wants to give back. There was somebody there in theircareer when they needed them, and every successful intrernor I've ever knownhas a story about that and because of that they're willing to give back so T.it's up to you to kind of get in their circle as as Ron was saying and andmake that compelling pitch with your story and if they can see how they canhelp, I think they very often do so so don't be afraid to to reach own and andmake those asks a another question here: Um Shukrat Ron,could you hear your experience? The first time you let a tea? Were there?What were the big surprises to you? If there were that takes a hundred and thirty yearmemory? I guess my surprises were sort of myineffectiveness. I might be making some of this up tosort of craft a story of a lot of years. I can't remember, but I would say, I'I've been surprised at hownonintuitive teeme leadership really is, and you know often as a child. I was onbasketball teams and football teams, and things like that and th y. Theywere different when you start getting into a business team. You start gettinginto one where there's hard and fast objactives and consequences that are'tjust losing the game or osing the Trophy but Maye using your jab orhelping others lose their jobs. So it gets to be pretty serious, prettyquickly and just a little bit of coachn abode, making sure, there's clarityabout the objectives of the team, making sure that people have a chanceto opt in era opped out of the team, it's very difficult to form a team,dynamic, EF, there's some people that, just frankly, don't want to be part ofthis project, and so so you need some process in some authority to set theteam off in the right direction of Riad. It t e start, and then I think it isabout watching human behavior body, language and offlind, saying Jesash.I've noticed that you haven't said a word in the last three team meetings. Iwant to make sure you're. Ok! Is there anything? That's not working for you.What are you seeing what's turning you on? What's turning you off here andbeing able to sort of cajol people around Fr m behind the scenes to getthat passion all marshalld in one direction? Twenty is great. Let's see we've ananonymous question here. Could you please tell your story when this is agreat question when you were at your lowest point in your enpreneral career,nothing's working, you know all those headaches, how'd you come out of that. That's an easy! It's an easy one for meto remember I I was. I was a CEO of a publicly traded software company. Itwas a reverse takeover, which was a public shell, that we moved anoperating company that really had no business being public at all, really norevenue. I S wireless software with a lot of intellectual property and I inmy Megos it was open Nour, third or fourth venture together sort of movedto Windsor and during Monday to Friday and commuted from Toronto to Windsorand Grented, a house with five bedrooms, an it and all lived together and workedour buns off for a couple of years, unsuccessfully in a public environment,and it was, it was quite a humbling...

...experience to go through that at the end. What we're trying to do?There is actually fine product market match. We had great technology, butthere are always reasons for the customers to say: I'm not quite readyto invest in this innovative technology. It seems a bit risky for one reason oranother and where we found a dozen customers we needed a hundred andtwenty the users. It was a big software for SELINGTO, British TELICOM and BelCanada and things like that, and we just we just couldn't find that kind ofvolume of success and in the end we ended up selling it to research andmotion and they bought it really for the technical expertise. We had somegreat engineers wire, O software engineers. We had some intellectualproperty that they wanted to get, and you know it was a. It was get out with a skinniyer teethsituation here and nobody made any money. Nobody really lost much moneythere m. At one point: I was funding payroll on Thursday nights through mymy own bank account to make sure that people got paid tomorrow and it wasjust so dam, stressful and so unfruitful in the end and so trying thethe tean helped and h having a team of compitent people that could just lookafter different chunks of this challenge was really helpful in thelatter stages. Even the team went away because I couldn't afford to payeveryone at that stage of the game, and I think I think that still is with me.I don't think, there's a happy ending. I think I've got out of it and welanded the plan and we walked away with. You know all kinds of difficult futurecrafting scars to be honest with you, eyt hurt and it still hurts when Ithink about it. aremorginately Theye, not all lay that I remember that time run. I think therewere also some problems with your driving between Toronto and Windsor. IfI remember, I got the odd speedin picket you're right. I knew you'd.Remember that sorry about that. You know, there's a follow questionthat I think is I's kind of interesting to to go with that one and it its fromSarah. Actually, she she says, should an antmener always be thinking about anexit strategy. Ol Sarah Sar Persley, it's nice to hearfrom you, agame hi, yes, and no yes, and no I mean I know,that's a waffling answer, but no to the extent that the thing thatwill make your accent most attractive is that you're, a good operator, andyou spend all your time thinking about business, success and delightingcustomers and building teens and to the extent that you're always looking atthe door. It compromises your focus on growth and success. In fact, I'vecompeted with companies in the past that really were begun with the end inmind, but the end was really a a financially driven end of aconsolidation play of Selo. A Ni feel something like that and they failed todo the operational, hard work to create a sustainable company that you know youcould operate if you had to, and I've always valued the ability to operatethese companies and knew that that was creating value in anof itself. Theother thing, though, is what what might happen here like where could this Ann,who, what what, if we have wild growth opportunity, but we have to find theworking capital? You know if it's o five hundred dollar cost of acquisitionfor customer, but it's an eighteen month payback on that I got a fun TaWhole Bunch of Roth there. While I wait ou he eighteen months to get the cashback, and so some successful companies really do require a lot of strategic thinking about thefinancing steps that we're going to have as we go forward here and, to thatextent, beginning with the end in mind, is always helpful and knowing to whomight we speak? What might we talk to a strategic partner, a private EquityGroup? You K an angel group that might you know, increase their investment.Where could we go? That, too, is...

...getting back to this, losing sleep atnight thinking what could go wrong and making sure you're out in front of thatwave of risk to say even if these guys lose faith in us? I have a couple in myback park. I can subb in really nicely and you're always working those anglesto make sure that you can never be pectomized and that Er teammadestherefore can never be dectemised and, as the leader that's the least you haveto do. I think that's a great answer on thanks.It thanks for the question, sir, this one's from ash difernash any learningfrom starting out with either the right or the wrong partners having to removepartners to how many experience Wyou culd ture. I do. I do, and my myexperience there really is- is more as an advisor than my personal directexperience just to protect my friends, but there there's a lot of common errorsbeing made in very early days and those are errors and choosing your partners.Those are errors, instructuring, the management team and the equity sharingearly. Those are airs in that Cat Table and who you allow onto the captable asan investor and there's so it's so difficult a year or two later to unwindsome of these things. You know sort of a pat example. Here is you know you geta an MBA from IV and you get a waterloo developer and they, you know they havegreat complementary skills and they're. Both needed in in a tech start out. F,a digital start up, for example, but quite often one or the other, and maybethe clarus would be the developer as a great minimum viable product. You know,sort of wireframe designer and getting the product originally to market. Buttwo years later you might have twenty five engineers working for her or him,and now she has to be good at allocating work and organizing anengineering team and setting up a QA team and attracting engineers by doingpublic speaking out Inin the community. And yet you gave her the CTO title andthirty and five percent of the equity. And it's hard now to actually say youknow what we need e in CTO. That's really got capabilities of a false ATAor a fuller, Ceteo and so undertitle in the early days. You know save the Chief of something word forfor later treat equity as something wildly precious. You know, I know thatcash is precious, but so too is equity and that's that's attention. Anothertension. Your experience just think about what might I have to do to undothis commitment right now before you get into them? Yeah. It's such a s, such a tough,tough thing, and I think that's great great answer Ron. It's something thatpeople should be thinking about as they're starting up and it's it's aparticular dilemma. When people start with friends, you know the I alwaystell Hem, you know, put those agreements sone place while you'restill friends 'cause. It gets a lot harder as we go down the road and ACOdifferent aspiration levels between partners and all of those things thatare tough tounwind later so the Weston of yew haven't been brave enough tohave those conversations. While things were good like the shotgun classes and what happens ifwe fall out, how will we I will be unwine without ruining our friendshiphere, ybout that before it goes astray, I eryou got half the battle, one, yourin Blae, better position for sure you know one one thing maybe I'd I'd. Askyou again. Is that and again I I've read you've written onthis. I I I know kind of Worr. That is, but I think it's something that hasn'tcome up and you talk a lot about a balance. You better find a balance. Ithink it's between yourself, investors, employees and customers, and you knowwhen y has an ENTPRENEU and you're thinking about these different stakeholders Ho. How do you find that right balance? You know, I think balance is abig word certainly has been in my career and, as I've been talking to alot of teens in two different ways, one...

...of them is sort of the work lifebalance issue, and one of them really is the difficult rule of balancing the various and sometimes differingneeds of shareholders, customers and employees, specifically that threeleged stool, if you will, and the trick of running a company, is being able tofind a successful sustainable position that makes the shareholders hoppy thecustomers happy and your employees happy all at the same time and to beable to grow and continue to innovate, and you know succeed that way. You can at any given time sacrificeyour employees for your customers and j. You know, rule out vacations andweekends, or you could sacrifice the you could hire more empleyees, but youmight have to raise more money. You know if the quality of life isn't goodenough, so that difficult balancing act is a sensitivity that I would love tosee an entrepreneur's have because it's it's what the job of leadership is, isbalancing the C various interests of your investors, your customers and youremployees on the life workbalance. I think I've come in my my older age to prefer different words like I, I reallylike you choosing the places you want tohave impact and being deliberate about thinking about the impact you want tohave. I want to have impact on my kids. I won't be there to have impact on mykids. I want to have impact on my company. I want to have impact on m onmy friends, and so you, the wagon wheel of yourtime, Atlocation to me, isn't really about you, know, balance between workand and play. It's really about you being deliberate about choosing whereyou want to have your impact and then saying am I my walking the talk and Iactually living up to my desired way to spend enough time to have impact withmy kids mor to have impact of the company and just make it out. I think that's great run, and I thinkyou know one of the things that s talked a lot about in business today ispurpose and you know th. The idea of purpose with impact, I think is, isreally important to that. We all think about frankly rightabsolutely antin wi reallocate our time differently. If we, if we all thoughtabout that, a little bit more carefully we're almost near the ENN Ronamen, anjust give you the chance to maybe say or talk to something t at that. Wehaven't had a chance to speak to today, or just you know, kind of the lastthing on your mind and thank you that's very kind of you. YouKNO W. I really want to end with one concept and I think it's the concept ofcharacter and that probably won't surprise any of you and I'm sure youall live up to this every day, your tryig to as we all do, but it's it'ssomething to think about in advance, because in your life your character has already been testedand it's going to be tested again and F to the extent that you can thinkabout what you might do and what you might do differently and how you mightreact when you're cornered when these things are sprung upon you and you haveto think on your feet, it's helpful to sort of draw your own lines in the sandwith a little bit of private time in t in that sort of the confidential circleof your own thinking there. Who Are you? What do you stand for? What do you wantto be knowing, for what kind of person do you choose to be and that character,if you've thought about it, deliberally and you've, given yourself a chance toactually write down some things and pick some words and pick some CRIMIGrodies? It will start e shine through and it'll shine through and work andthe'll shine through er play with friends, and at the end of the day,when I think when you look back on your career or your family, it'll be one ofthe things that brings you sort of the most joy is the impact that you've hadon people. Those people who may have kindly send you are a role model andall of that can go away in a heartbeat if your character becomes questioned orsuspect, and so it's it's something that takes a lifetime to build ofconstant attention and thought, that's...

...deliberate and it can be lost in aheartbreak in a heartbeat and a Heartbrak, and so just just think aboutcharacter as sort of a fundamental ingredient of how you want to be andwho you want to be and w. It improves your odds. I think about looking backwhen you're, when you're as old as I am anyway and feeling good about yourcareer. Awesome run I'm in a wrap up ash and then I'm in a throait to you. Irun thank so much you've. Just one of the best speakers on enternorship thatI know- and I know it's because you reflect on on your experiences and howyou would want to convey messages, and I really appreciate it- and I knowyou've made a huge impact on me and on the business scol and the things thatwe still teach h. You know years after you've, you've been with us in theclassroom, so t it's really appreciated, cerricets my honorand pleasure and I'ma little out of practice and thanksfor for bearing with me it's always anhonor to be with you. Well three things: Thad struck me: You know deliberateimpact and do that with character, and I think those are just great lifelessons for all of us, so o thanks very much. You've been listening to theIvionghminor potcast to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to theshow in your favorite podcast player, or visit Ivy dotca forward, slashenthmrenership. Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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