Getting advice from peers and elders in your field can get you a long way when you follow it.
Sometimes success comes from doing the opposite.
Dave Will is the Co-Founder and CEO of PropFuel, a cloud-based SAS software platform what is designed to get a company’s team focused on the growth of an organization or business. Dave is also the host of the EO 360° Podcast, a podcast by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization that explores entrepreneurship. Dave also started, scaled, and sold Peach New Media, a learning platform software company.
In this episode, John Corcoran welcomes Dave Will to the podcast to talk about why Dave loves podcasting, company culture and transparency, and the bad advice that Dave got that helped inspire his next company.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Why Dave Loves Podcasting
- Dave’s experience Working for SAP
- The Bad Advice that Dave Received that Inspired Him to Create a Business
- The Culture of a Startup Vs an Established Business
- What Made Dave Decide to Sell His Company
- Transparency With Employees When Selling the Company
- How Dave Figured Out What to do Next in His Life
- Learning to Say “No” to Offers
- The Experience of Starting PropFuel
- The Cultural and Generational Changes in Work and Technology
- Who Dave Thanks for His Success
Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, where our mission is to connect you with your best referral partners, clients, and strategic partners. We do this through our done for you business podcast solution and content marketing.
Along with my business partner Dr. Jeremy Weisz, we have over 18 years of experience with B2B podcasting, which is one of the best things you can do for your business and you personally.
If you do it right, a podcast is like a “Swiss Army Knife” – it is a tool that accomplishes many things at once. It can and will lead to great ROI, great clients, referrals, strategic partnerships, and more. It is networking and business development; and it is personal and professional development which doubles as content marketing.
A podcast is the highest and best use of your time and will save you time by connecting you to higher caliber people to uplevel your network.
To learn more, go to Rise25.com or email us at [email protected].
To learn more, book a call with us here.
Check out Rise25 to learn more about our done-for-you lead generation and done-for-you podcast services.
John Corcoran 0:40
Unknown Speaker 0:02
Unknown Speaker 0:03
Revolution Revolution, revolution, revolution, revolution.
Unknown Speaker 0:10
The revolution is going
Unknown Speaker 0:11
on right now.
Unknown Speaker 0:14
Welcome to the Revolution, the smart business revolution Podcast, where we asked today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now now, your host for the revolution. JOHN Corcoran.
John Corcoran 0:40
Alright welcome everybody. My guest on the show is Dave will he is the co founder and CEO of Prop fuel, which is a cloud based SAS software platform designed to get your entire team focused on growing your business. They also serve associations as well and he previously was the founder of peach new media which is an online learning media company focused on helping organizations to capture host and distribute continuing education content. And that’s a company that he sold a couple of years ago. So we scaled it up and sold it. So we’re going to talk all about that and and talk about culture, building culture within the company, and building up his new startup today. But first, if you are new to this podcast, we don’t charge a cent for this podcast, we publish hundreds of episodes every single one I talked to top business leaders, CEOs, founders and experts and ask them to break down how they built relationships and what key relationships with clients, mentors, friends, referral partners and influencers have contributed to their business how they scaled up their business. And so if you find value in this, then all we ask is that you subscribe so you received those downloads automatically and you can keep improving your relationships to grow your business. Also, before we get into this interview, this podcast is brought to you by rise 25 media which is our done for you agency helping b2b businesses get more clients referral partners and strategic partners three through done for you podcasts and done for you content marketing. We have over 20 years 16 In this area, and I firmly believe that podcasting is one of the best things that I’ve ever done. If you do it right, it’s so many things in one. It is business development, networking, client acquisition, referral, marketing and more. It even allows you to have an amazing conversation with people whose work you admire and to learn more from them like I’m about to do here with Dave. So if you want to learn more, go to rise 25 dot com. And as I mentioned, my guest is Dave will, he’s a serial entrepreneur, his co founder and CEO prop fuel. He’s also the hosts of the eo 360 podcasts, which you got to go check out. And while working for SAP, which is a multi billion dollar software company about 20 years ago, Dave was told, and I quote, walk faster and smile last because perception is reality. He took that advice and said, Okay, I’m going to go do the opposite. And he started peach new media. And 14 later Later, years later, was able to sell it to a private equity firm. And since then he’s started a new startup, which we’re going to talk about as well but David’s a pleasure to have you have you on the show? And tell me a little bit about what you learned from SAP that led you into the realm of entrepreneurship, which, of course, is not always rosy. It’s got ups and downs. But it sounds like that was a big influence on your decision to go start your own company.
Dave Will 3:18
Hey, john. So dude, there’s so much I want to I want to tell you first. So let’s, let’s go back to SAP in a minute. First, I want to tell you this. You’ve done such an incredible job with this podcast and I’m with you. The podcasting is just so cool. I remember, gosh, 15 years ago when there was a whole different set of players and even listeners to podcasts, or a download them onto my iPod. And but it was a different era, but now it’s become a mainstream source of content and because of people like you and me, yeah, bringing great content that is normally inaccessible, funny story, you’ve had some amazing People on your podcast like Guy Kawasaki. I just listened to that episode and Verne harnish was the head of my podcast. But I remember reaching out to Guy Kawasaki, like a year ago or maybe two years ago when I was early on in this podcast, and cash maybe it was three years ago when I first started it but regardless, guy actually, I don’t know how I reached out to him. Somehow I got his email or his phone number and I texted him or emailed him. And he actually responded back to me within like three minutes of sending this correspondence he gets back to me says, Thanks, Dave. Sounds Sounds like a great podcast. I’m gonna have to decline way too much on my plate, which is totally cool. But it gives me so much more respect for you, john, because clearly he saw something in you that he didn’t see and not in Dave will hear some.
John Corcoran 4:51
Yeah, well, I’m sure I’m sure you’ll get him on it at some point.
Dave Will 4:57
very honored to be on the same panel. guest is some of the guests you’ve had on here. So thank you for that. Alright, so your question was about SAP By the way, I have great respect for SAP big German software company. I was working there. After Gosh, I had worked for Kraft and Nielsen. And then I went to graduate school, I was getting my MBA. And this is in the, in the summertime between my first and second year of business school at Penn State. And I went to remember the last day of work, my boss, I think his name was Mark put his arm around me. So this is 96 when you could still touch employees. He put his arm around me and he started walking me to the doorway and he says, you know, Dave, a little piece of advice, I encourage you to walk a little faster and smile less because perception is reality. And, and to me, this was actually brilliant feedback because number one, super easy to do, right? Anybody can walk faster and smile. Last, like doesn’t take intelligence doesn’t take training or practice, like you can just do it like just walk faster, and smile less. And the perception. Of course, in that case, the The intent is that you’re going to look busy, you’re going to look like you got someplace to be like you don’t have time to do stuff because you have way too many important things to do. And so I tried that for a couple years, I went to graduated, I went to work for Price Waterhouse Coopers and then another consultancy, doing software implementation and integrations and all that stuff and, and I really sincerely tried to fit that mold. And, and I ended up getting fired. It just wasn’t it happened when the bubble the tech bubble burst in around 2001. But I could not make myself valuable enough to these companies. And that’s what led to my decision to Create a business, the complete antithesis of that advice I was given to walk fast and smile last. So I created a business and just the antithesis which is walk slow smile more. And so that was the origin of my focus on creating a business that fit me fit my personality which allowed me to thrive and as a result to overtime, find employees that also fit that, that, that that culture and that personality which allowed them to thrive, which in my opinion, was one of the major reasons why I was able to create a business with such an amazing culture and employees that were were producing at 110%. What what they’re capable of, and don’t do the math on that because I don’t know if that. Here’s the other thing, just run walk slow, smile more. It doesn’t mean meander. It doesn’t mean just literally walk slow what that actually means to me is to stop and smell the roses enjoy the journey. And if you’re not enjoying the journey if you’re always waiting for the for the thing, the milestone I haven’t hit yet you’re you’re miserable. You’re just you’re waiting and waiting and waiting. I’m not into the waiting place is Dr. Seuss puts it I’m, I’m enjoying the journey. So that’s the walk slow and the smile more. That is pretty literal. Yes,
John Corcoran 8:27
yeah. Now, so we’re both involved in eo I’m in the eo accelerator program here in San Francisco. You’re in Massachusetts, you’ve been active. You got the E at one of the official eo podcasts. Obviously, they talk a lot about mission, vision and values when it comes to culture. It seems like so many entrepreneurs have got a story of discovering culture later. Like they first realize they have like a pain point or realization that they need to put more effort into culture. Was that something that You ever had a turning point with culture in terms of building culture out at your company? Or
Dave Will 9:05
Yeah, okay. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yeah, cuz I don’t. This you could easily debate this. And I’ve had this conversation people, I don’t think culture is easy to implement, or even highly necessary to build by design. When you’re a startup, in when there’s a handful of people, I think culture becomes it naturally is a culture. The question is, are you building it by design, or is just the culture of a startup? It’s like a lot of startups have the same culture issue from the hip, you, you everything’s kind of a free for all. I mean, it’s it. It’s hard. You’re really so focused on product market fit and getting customers that this concept of culture with three four people just isn’t as necessary, but when for me when it became important was a few years in when we had 12 people and then we acquired, merged with another organization which brought us up to 25 people. And then, you know, at that point, you’ve got a team of people that you’re responsible for, and that are taking ownership of the brand that you’ve created.
John Corcoran 10:25
And that any and possibly two different cultures to that becomes important because of the the two different companies
Dave Will 10:32
in that scenario. Yeah. But it’s not always bringing two cultures together, although that yeah, that’s an element of certainly that was something I was dealing with. But even if it’s the same organization growing, you still got when you’ve got people that you haven’t necessarily trained yourself and picked yourself. That’s when to me culture becomes even more important, and I got to the point where my focus was solely and that’s a strong word to say so slowly, but I had a much stronger emphasis on creating a work experience and environment for my employees so that they were happy and educated and knowledgeable. My focus is on employees, not on the customer. My focus is on employees and so their focus could be on the customer and if I was focused on the employee, then it was much more likely that when they were dealing with the customer, they were going to do it in a way that I would do it myself as if it was a personal touch. So yeah, that’s that’s my philosophy on on the importance of culture and when to pick it up. But it but it is something that needs to be delivered, I believe.
John Corcoran 11:49
Yeah. Do you think that your ultimate success in selling the company to a private equity firm Do you think that these this this focus on culture really contributed to It’s attractive ability attractive.
Dave Will 12:02
Yeah. Oh, yeah, it was straight up. I was told that was the primary. And by the way, you know what I really liked your interview style. Because a lot of people in these interviews, they have a list of questions that go through your, your style is awesome. And at night, I’d like to think I have the same style where it’s a conversation. Yeah.
John Corcoran 12:18
So this is this was so great about it, isn’t it? Yeah.
Dave Will 12:21
It’s like we’re sitting at a bar having a beer together. So yeah, the so a KKR was the organization the private equity firm that acquired outbreak in your back backyard, actually Sand Hill Road, because the guys would say underwritten Sand Hill Road, Nate, they were they were acquires of, of peach new media. And there is a lot of LMSs. I mean, at the time, they’re about 600 learning management systems, which we were a software company. Now in our space in our niche, there were probably dozen or so it’s still the reason that they focused on us. A minute few others, I’m sure they were looking, they weren’t just focused on those that were probably looking at a few at the time. But one of the reasons I think they were so attracted to us and I think one of the things that created a greater than market value in our business was because of the culture. The the the extremely low turnover we had in our employee base. And, you know, they always interview employees and the interviewer customers and we had rave reviews on both ends. So, yes, certainly culture played a huge role in being able to successfully sell the company at a premium.
John Corcoran 13:32
At what point did you decide that you wanted to sell the company?
Dave Will 13:40
Gosh, that’s a good question. Because it we weren’t looking to sell. We weren’t looking to sell the company. I hate to answer this so blatantly, but I think it was when they dangled the dollar amount in front of me. And there was like, really,
John Corcoran 13:57
so you weren’t? You weren’t aggressively like no We’re on the market. Okay.
Dave Will 14:01
No, we had every intent of sticking with this. I think our plan was eight hours, I had an executive team, we’re working together to completely believe in transparency as as a as a owner of the company. I was 100% owner at the time, but but the my executive team was, they were my partners. And in fact, two of them are with me in this current startup now. Both of them are my partners and owners and profitable as well. So So, but my team was fully on board. Our intent was we had just gone through a vision visioning process, we didn’t use scaling up or in hardest to scaling up or traction, those weren’t really big at the time. Again, this was 2012 or 13 that we started this process of, of creating a long term vision for us. The long term vision was three years So we had kind of a five year view, three to five year view, when we might start to think about how we’re going to exit. That was the plan and my executive team was motivated and incentivized to, to sell as well. So they were full board with us, okay. And so it wasn’t, we had already created this vision and the plan to get there. And it was about a year into this, the execution of the vision that I received a call from two different private equity firms. just coincidence, it was just luck in the market that they reached out to me at that time, and I was very clear that it wasn’t really our intent to sell which might have made it even more attractive and And generally speaking, you don’t want to buy from somebody who’s ready to sell Yeah, my reasons why but right you know, we we had a pretty good growth. A bright future in front of us and I wasn’t I didn’t think was ripe yet I didn’t think was ready to go. But the point at which I decided to sell I think was when there were a few variables, number one, the company they were going to bolt us onto were bolt on, when they were both assigned to another company, great admiration for that organization. I knew they weren’t going to disassemble our company, our employees. The dollar amount was the to the degree that which was a requirement for me that it meant I wouldn’t have to work again. And then the final thing was, I was tired, you know, 14 years in this business. And I knew that when the conversation got up and it kind of lit up inside of the opportunity of finding something new. Finding a new journey. Yeah, that was that was probably icing on the cake. And that it was it was a good time to go. But I would not have done it if my employees weren’t going to be taken care of our customers weren’t going to be taken care of. And if the dollar amount wasn’t right,
John Corcoran 17:14
right. Now, as far as transparency goes, That’s you mentioned, you know, you believed in leading a transparent organization, and I’ve asked other entrepreneurs about this, and this is a tough question. How transparent are you? Do you believe in being with the full team because on the one hand, you tell the entire you know, yeah, Hey, guys, we may be selling, they can create some paranoia. So how did you handle that? poorly? That by the way, is the answer I get most of the time.
Unknown Speaker 17:47
John Corcoran 17:50
And did he write
Dave Will 17:54
it out? It’s, I mean, it is my mentor of mine. One said, getting involved. He said, it’ll all work out in the end. And and if it’s if it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end. And I think he took that from somewhere else that was in his wisdom. But yeah, I. So I’m not an open book, kind of transparent sort of guy. We don’t share compensation. But I did share revenue and profits with everybody in the company with the expectation that there was private also understanding that maybe it might leak, but I was okay with that if necessary. And my executive team knew everything I knew about the business. So I was quite transparent. And when I was when we were quite confident it was in a cell, the the KKR had told me at the time that we’re going to try to get this done by Thanksgiving. They were quite confident they could have it done by by Thanksgiving. Maybe you can tell by my laugh. In hindsight, that might not have been the case. So it was the week before Thanksgiving, I decided, you know what, I think this is a good time to sit down with people one on one, let them know what’s going to happen next week. We’ve gone through a lot of due diligence. I mean, it was really just a matter of setting up the time to close this thing. And so I sat down one on one with everybody in the company, in some cases might have been a two or three of us together. But for the most part, one on one with just about everything company even flew down to Atlanta, to have some meetings with the people in our Atlanta Office, the people that were dispersed across the country. I talked to them over Skype, or I forgot how but it’s some video call and had a conversation with them. And I told everybody what was going on. I didn’t share any dollar amounts, but I did tell him what was going on. I also knew enough to tell them that their jobs were secure. There were two people whose jobs were not secure. for the long term, but they were secure for six months, six to 12 months. So there’s quite a bit of and that was finance and an HR person. So that was like, those are the two areas that
John Corcoran 20:13
are naturally kind of merged when there’s a merger.
Dave Will 20:15
Yeah, yeah. And they ended up staying for quite a while regardless, but
two days before we supposed to close a gig er says Tell you what, we want to see November’s numbers. So we’re going to put this off till early December thinking okay, no big deal. We got this. November, his numbers come out and they say you know what, we actually kind of want to see the end of the year.
So the end of the year comes we
Unknown Speaker 20:43
Dave Will 20:44
It actually probably worked in our favor. We doubled it. We’ve never in the history of the company had a month as good as we did that December. Wow. So it was awesome. We just killed it. So now by the way, everybody in the company is freaking out now. They’re like They don’t know what’s going to happen to their jobs they don’t know what the future is they don’t know what’s going to happen to me. They and so their mind space was no longer on the customer and this is why I’m like rolling my eyes and God I kind of wish I just didn’t say anything. Because they’re totally just thinking about the sale fortunately. So the holidays so little less activity. early January comes around, we close the books and I my chest is out and I go off to the to the guys via email and I hold up our numbers like I’m a champion. Check it out. Look what we did. And silence. Like, Hey, guys, did you look, did you get my email? Yeah, there’s sponsors like they’re so smart and so responsible, I think, geez, it’s like there’s these games going on. without going into too much detail. They called back there’s a hiccup. We were going to they were going to put it off another three months at this point. And there was some negotiation at this point where it sincerely I said, Tell you what, that’s fine. But we’re opening it up to to the other private equity firm them. And that’s when they came back and they said, Okay, wait, I think we have we have a way to make this happen. And it happened in this February 13 of 2015. That was the day we closed. So what was supposed to close on Thanksgiving week? Closed February? And that’s why I laugh. Yes, I was transparent with my employees. What I thought was a safe time to let them know about something we’ve been working on for two months. Tom, I guess spilled the beans early was like just a couple days before. And it just, I would not have done it that way. Again.
John Corcoran 22:46
Yeah. Yeah. Lesson learned, I guess. Yeah. At that point. Did you know had you were the kind of entrepreneurs like had a long list of things he wanted to do next, or did it take a while for you to figure out what you would do next.
Dave Will 23:01
Well, I worked for the company. And there was, you know, I had a long list. But but it was, but it was things like watch the Godfather and its entirety. Which I did clean my basement, which I did not do. I had what else that I wanted to take my wife to Paris ever since I had this dream of being an entrepreneur I wanted to, I knew one day I would sell a business and when I do, I’m going to fly the Concorde to use just shows you how old my Paris. Now we didn’t fly the Concord and we did just go for dinner, but ultimately, several months later, wasn’t immediately after I took her to Paris and we have a celebratory, long weekend. It actually turned out to be the weekend of all the shootings in Paris, which was Yeah, certainly, you know, it didn’t affect us, other than emotionally and all the museums are shut down. I mean, it was a horrible Thinking to to to experience there in the city in honey and it is not funny but interestingly enough is second terrorist attack have been involved in my life. One was the Boston Marathon shooting and what was at 20? Yeah, there you were there the Yeah, yeah, we’re right there and then I’d run it and I’d finished just before the bombs went off. And then and then this one in Paris, she’s bizarre how many people can say they’ve been a part of the Paris attacks. So I so I, but I ended up working for this company for several months. little shorter than expected. I was expected a year and I didn’t make it quite a year which so there was a very amicable but necessary departure. I think I was I was I was making waves
John Corcoran 24:49
downfield into climactic to you are leaving Yeah. Yeah, since it was sounds like oh, no,
Dave Will 24:58
that wasn’t really suddenly. It was not anti climatic. It was, you know, there’s a point where I went to the CEO, I said, look, I think I’m causing more waves than actually helping the business at this point. She agreed. And he said, Well, there’ll be no penalties for leaving early. And I said, well, let’s I think that’s probably best for everybody here. And, and I, it was, like, months later that I actually left it wasn’t like sudden, like, I’m Maddie. It was like, we made it a reasonable exit. And then when I walked out, I remember walking out with my box and and I’ve only been back a couple times. I keep in touch with a lot of the employees. I really really had great admiration for my team and the firing company and our customers. I don’t miss the business. I don’t miss the the day to day operations. It was like dropping a kid off of college, which actually just did weeks ago. I was like dropping a kid off at college. And a little bit this
Unknown Speaker 26:04
Dave Will 26:05
yeah but it’s also you’re recognizing like this this this thing is blossoming now. So that was really cool.
John Corcoran 26:11
Yeah. And so you you start prompt fuel
Dave Will 26:16
okay so you said Do I did I have a list of things so I immediately go to sorry I’m going to take us back to that question because then now it’s kind of fun. So immediately I sit down I start watching godfather. Okay, I have such a hard time sitting for I think it was like 10 hours nine or 10 hours of content. So that took me like three weeks and phenomenal movie by the way. And then I think I also started reading atlas shrugged and ran the Atlas Shrugged, which took me about four years. I just finished that about two weeks ago. And I but the process for me getting back into a business was going through the typical like, do I write a book, which everybody sells a business says, Okay, do I write a book and about half of them do and then okay. Do I get involved in some charitable sort of thing? I got involved in way too many things. I actually Wish I said no to everything. I got involved in way too. And that was about the time I started the podcast, too.
John Corcoran 27:12
Yeah. Well, that’s what I was gonna ask like, what role that played because I mean, these days, I actually think a podcast is better for a serial entrepreneur to start. Because unlike a book a book might require you to go sit in your, you know, office and pound away independently, which is hard for a lot of people to do versus the pagans get to meet cool people like I am here. Yeah,
Dave Will 27:35
yeah, I like I really do like the podcast, but that was yet another thing I said yes to. And then what struck me is that I needed to prove to myself that you said I was this serial entrepreneur, I don’t know if I buy that I had, I have had one business that was successful exit, and I’m working on a second. Aside from that I had all these little you know, fun. side projects that I wouldn’t really consider entrepreneurial, but I guess they were but
I think your serial after three businesses, I don’t think I’m quite a serial entrepreneur, but I appreciate that description. So the but the what I needed to do is prove to myself that the first one wasn’t a fluke, that I could actually do it. And it’s a little bit of insecurity and low self esteem that says that you just got lucky. So I’m like, Fuck you. I didn’t just get lucky. I’m going to do it again, I’ll show you. So this is my inner dialogue saying, I’m going to do this again. And so that’s that’s where I was searching for the next thing. And so this I thought, this is kind of interesting. The process of finding the next thing was very, very iterative. It took probably about guessing eight to 12 ideas, and chewing on it for like a month at a time talking to tons of people about the idea which by the way, I think a lot of people and they have an idea Why’d you don’t tell? Because they don’t want anybody to take the secret which is ridiculous. My philosophy is quite different, which is I want to talk to everybody about it. Yeah, I love that it’s making ideas are a dime a dozen people ain’t gonna steal your idea because nobody has the gumption to turn it into something. If you do go for it, but very few people have the gumption of entrepreneur. Yeah, so I totally hear about it. And finally got an idea that turned on my my, my business partner that I started this with Cameron know And for me, he was somebody really wanted on board with this. So we get Cameron on board. What did he been at you? He’d been a year old company? Yeah, he was the chief technologist. You know, he’s the he’s the propeller head. He’s the guy with the the tech on tech expertise. He could write software, he wrote code, and so came up with an idea or let me rephrase that he and I bounced ideas, but my first idea really wasn’t at all what we released, but what we came up with together that that worked. And there’s a long process by the way of this product market fit what we came up with was this concept of Prop fuel, which is, it centers around capturing the voice of stakeholders, right? So your stakeholders as an entrepreneur, or are your your employees, huge stakeholders in a business or employees, your customers of course, if you’re an association, your your stakeholders are the members of the association and your staff. So our philosophy and proper tool is about giving people a voice. And so property is all about asking questions on a continuous basis. And we call these campaigns you might have an employee campaign, a staff campaign, there’s recognition involved in it so so employees can pat each other in the back, but think about Gen X and and the you know, the moment and now we’re Gen X, think about the the Lenny Lenny Yeah, Jesse. Yeah, they all want it. They want their their their thoughts, their their opinions, they want them interview they expect them integrated. Dude, you look at like Instagram, I’m pulling up Instagram right now and I guarantee like one of these thought leaders right at the top is going to have like, follow Tim Robbins. Tony I’m sorry Tony Robbins man. He’s a good example because he’ll post something in minutes later, thousands of comments. Who’s going to read those Tony’s not gonna read thousands of comments on every post, he writes. But the point is, people have a voice. People expect to be able to say something whether it’s heard or not, they expect to be able to say something. Yeah, and so that’s now I have that expectation to as Do you and as do now the baby boomers so kinda like even though might have started the millennials and Gen Z. we’ve adapted to that with with with the way we interact with the world. We get a voice man Yeah, and we don’t have a voice. kind of feel shut down. Yeah. So a great work environment today is a work environment where employees have an opportunity to say something. And so we trigger property as a way of triggering the voice and people by asking questions on a weekly basis, the questions might be centered around the business and vision value mission, all that stuff or might be around how the company interacts with the employer might just be around what’s a good book you read recently, in terms of customers asking about your net promoter score, or asking about what other services we can provide, you know, if it’s really quick and easy ways, lots of short bite questions, so that you get incredibly high response rates. So that’s what property is all about capturing the voice of your constituents. And it sounds like the questions need to be unique to the company. It’s not just oh, no, no, like, here’s a question. I know there’s tons of questions that can be completely generic. We have a whole Bank of the hundreds of questions bank, you can pick a lot of the best questions are unique to accompany. But you can ask a question like if you want to ask one of your employees, what’s something that we could do that would make this the best year in the history of the company? Totally generic question. awesome question that that prompts some thought and discussion. Good Book recently, another one who tell me a customer story, generic, but the answers are very specific to that company. Tell me tell me it. Tell me about an employee that made you look good recently. Or tell me about employee that you think deserves a pat in the back. So there’s a lot of cool questions you can ask that are very generic, but the responses will be specific to that.
Here’s another new onboarding new employees. So you can have a whole campaign focused on just new employees. Or you could have a new a whole campaign focused on new customers. When they come on board what questions they asked new customers lapsed customer questions, customers that have left, I only want to ask them some questions to over a period of time. So any questions out to them to? Oh yeah, customers side, the organization outside the organization’s giving your constituents a voice wherever the customer whoever the stakeholder is giving them a voice. Got it, got it.
John Corcoran 34:22
And then the question is become for management like how how they handle that. So what are the best practices for handling that response? I assume it’s not just like sticking in a drawer ignoring it, but is should management be interacting with those responses are spawning.
Dave Will 34:37
There’s, there’s, there’s a lot of things you can do with it. I mean, number one, just having the insight is really valuable. Number two, giving people the opportunity just to say something is incredibly valuable. But oftentimes, you can filter through that to figure out, you know, what do we act on? And what do we just acknowledge? And so though, it’s going to fall on those two categories. Acknowledge or act. And the we have a bunch of automated actions that this is our goal is to try to highly automate the process of feedback, while at the same time getting it to the point where there’s some people, you really do just need to pick up the phone and talk to you. So our platform should be able to tell you who you need to talk to. Yeah. So but either you’re going to acknowledge it, or you’re going to act on it. That’s really what it comes down to.
John Corcoran 35:26
Well, I think it sounds super exciting. I think culture is perhaps something that businesses are just starting to come into consciousness of the importance of it, especially with the changes, as you mentioned, the generational change with Gen Z, the millennials coming into the workplace, and it’s just so incredibly important. And also the changes in technology, right? We expect, you know, to be able to voice these concerns with technology. So I know we’re running short on time. So we’ll wrap things up. Thank you, Dave. Some much for taking the time to talk to me. And I’ll encourage everyone to go check out your your podcast, audio podcast, as well, which is really cool and wrapping things up a question that I always enjoy asking, which is, let’s pretend we’re on awards banquet, much like the Oscars of the Emmys and you’re receiving an award for lifetime achievement for everything that you’ve done up until this point. And so who do you think in addition to family and friends, who are the people that you would acknowledge?
Dave Will 36:23
Well, I knew you asked this question in so this is not spontaneous. This is. But it didn’t take me long to answer this. The first and foremost, my wife is and I think you get this response a lot about the family, my wife, when I get fired from my job, and when I got another job offer. And when I told her I didn’t want to take it, you know, this woman just has supported every step along the way, the years of credit card debt, and starting a business, the years of anxiety and frustration. So in cheese the whole time. She’s just got my back. So my First and foremost, but the other people I acknowledge in that speech would be my business partners that have gone through the years with me, some of whom I bought out and some of whom I’m in business now and each one of them has been a huge help and contribution and influencer in my life. So that that’s that those are the people that focus on.
John Corcoran 37:24
That’s great. Well, Dave, where can people learn more about you?
Dave Will 37:28
You don’t you can email me at Dave at prop fuel.com. Naturally, you can always go to www.com but that’s the best way to reach me. email anytime I always love to talk to people or go to our website and check it out
John Corcoran 37:45
and go to iTunes or whatever podcasting app you listen to.
Dave Will 37:48
Yeah, eO eO 360 if you type in entrepreneurs, organization, eo 360. We’ve got a lot of cool stories in there. Three years got over 100 interviews with some of them. Really, really cool entrepreneurs. We got to share our guest, john, you
John Corcoran 38:03
got absolutely. I’m happy to do it. Yeah, yeah. And you’ve had some great guests as yourself as well. So I’ll listen to a look forward to listening to more of those episodes. Cool, Dave, thanks so much.
Dave Will 38:13
Thank you, john. I really appreciate it.
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