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Strong Suit Podcast

Strong Suit is the playbook for recruiting Rockstars. You'll learn how to hire twice as fast. With half the mistakes. No more bad hires. ... Ready! Aim! Hire!
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Now displaying: 2018
Aug 16, 2018

Following a successful career in investment banking, and an MBA at Chicago Booth GSB, Ryan Crane developed a thirst for entrepreneurship.

Now, he’s CEO of Tempo Tea, the fast-growing beverage company in Chicago. It helps you beat the mid-day slump.

Tempo is a new line of organic, unsweetened sparkling teas crafted to provide a guilt-free & uplifting boost of natural energy. Think tea meets 5-hour-energy.

0 calories. 0 sugar. 0 sweeteners. What’s not to like?

In this 20-minute interview, Ryan reveals how he’s building the team that’s building this disruptive business.

 

 

Aug 12, 2018

Legendary business author Tom Peters once said that “you are your projects.”

Natalie Steck is on a mission to help you manage those projects far more easily.

She recently joined Viewpath as CEO. 

Based in Seattle, Viewpath markets an enterprise-grade project & resource management solution to Fortune 1000 companies. Their cloud-based SaaS software is a proven, robust, and scalable technology platform which integrates with Salesforce.com

In this 20-minute interview, Natalie reveals how she’s building the team that’s building this project management tool.

 

 

Aug 9, 2018

Michael Winnick & his team at dscout have a passion for understanding what makes people tick.

So, they created a research tool that captures thoughts, reactions, and behaviors in the moments as they happen. This way, smart researchers can gather qualitative feedback–in the form of rich video, voices, images, and text–and then analyze it within a quantifiable framework.

Based in Chicago, Michael founded dscout in 2012 with the mission of leveraging technology to make in-context research everyday accessible for organizations.

As dscout’s tools have become commonplace at progressive companies, their leaders regularly tap Michael to help make sense of it all. 

In this 20-minute conversation, Michael reveals how he’s recruiting the team to build this curiosity business.

Aug 7, 2018

Imagine if printing a wallet (or a lamp, or a birthday card, or a sushi wrap) was just as easy as printing a résumé.

That’s the vision of Dan Shapiro, CEO & Cofounder of Glowforge.

Based in Seattle, Glowforge has created the 3D laser printer. It also holds the record as the biggest crowdfunding campaign in history, with $27.9M in preorders in 30 days. 

Put simply, Glowforge makes it simple for designers & engineers to take products directly from digital design to reality.

Before starting the company, Dan was the CEO of Google Comparison, which operates comparison shopping products. Before that, he was founder & CEO of Photobucket.

He’s also the author of Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook. And has been awarded a dozen US patents.

Whew. Busy guy.

Glowforge has 75 people & $70M in venture funding. In this 20-minute conversation, Dan reveals how he’s scaling the organization in a few remarkable ways.

Aug 2, 2018

Nolan Mondrow is CEO of LockState. 12 years in the making, his persistence is paying off.

Based in Denver, LockState is at the heart of the Internet of Things.

It’s the first company to create software in the cloud that controls multiple connected locks. 

Yes, many connected lock companies make a web or mobile application that is focused on controlling their own device. 

Instead, LockState puts all of these connected locks on to their platform so–no matter what type of door or lock you need–the platform is able to control it from the cloud.

This solves the problem for property managers & owners who need to give access to their properties for guests, renters and service people, even when they are off-site. The software eliminates the expense & hassle of key exchanges, the disruption of early check-ins and overstays, and the security risks of unauthorized access. 

With funding by Iron Gate Capital, Nolan is opening doors.

And in this 20-minute conversation, he reveals how he’s recruiting the team to ‘lock up’ the category. And as Nolan explains, it hasn’t always been straight up & to the right.

Jul 31, 2018

Matt McCambridge is a VC turned CEO.

He founded Eden Health 3 years ago to elevate the health & wellbeing of employees everywhere

Based in NYC, it’s a personal health platform comprised of providers & benefits experts. Eden is the starting point to help companies & their employees navigate today’s complicated healthcare landscape across insurance, in-person, and virtual care.

Matt intends to eliminate the hassle of healthcare for employers & employees. This new kind of doctor’s office combines a private primary care practice, 24/7 telemedicine, and personalized insurance navigation into one simple platform.

Prior, he was with Insight Venture Partners.

In this 20-minute conversation, Matt reveals how he’s building the team that’s building this gamechanging company.

Jul 31, 2018

Matt McCambridge is a VC turned CEO.

He founded Eden Health 3 years ago to elevate the health & wellbeing of employees everywhere

Based in NYC, it’s a personal health platform comprised of providers & benefits experts. Eden is the starting point to help companies & their employees navigate today’s complicated healthcare landscape across insurance, in-person, and virtual care.

Matt intends to eliminate the hassle of healthcare for employers & employees. This new kind of doctor’s office combines a private primary care practice, 24/7 telemedicine, and personalized insurance navigation into one simple platform.

Prior, he was with Insight Venture Partners.

In this 20-minute conversation, Matt reveals how he’s building the team that’s building this gamechanging company.

Jul 28, 2018

If you don’t think Ohio’s a place for startups…

Or if you don’t know what a startup nursery is…

Then this episode is for you.

Flavio Lobato & John D’Orazio are Co-Founders of IKOVE Capital, which fills the gap between the Lab and the Market.

As a “venture developer,” IKOVE has already commercialized 10 disruptive startups. They partner with inventor & scientists to bring their intellectual property to market.

With decades of experience in alternative investments & traditional securities markets, Flavio & John have partnered to find a whole new way or bringing innovations to life.

In this 20-minute conversation, they explain how they’re doing it, and of course, the people part of the startup nursery.

Jul 24, 2018

How does a company that started as a simple New Jersey mom & pop storefront in 1956 build a national cult following, willing to travel miles for a taste of its submarine sandwiches?

In case you hadn’t noticed, Jersey Mike’s Subs is now the nation’s #1 fastest-growing sandwich chain, with 1,500 locations. (They opened 173 just last year alone.)

And John Hughes, Brand Ambassador, is part of the secret sauce.

John joined Mike’s 35 years ago in its very first location.

And since then, he’s been helping hire, train, develop, coach, and lead the staff of this rocketship.

In this 20-minute conversation, John reveals the secrets of the DNA that Jersey Mike’s seeks in all of its recruiting efforts, where they find the best candidates, and how they train them to provide a remarkable customer experience.

In short, this episode is Yummy!

You’ll eat it up.

Jul 19, 2018

After working in the medical transportation field for 10 years, Mark Switaj saw a glaring need & decided to do something about it.

So he started RoundTrip.

Based in Philadelphia, RoundTrip is the single touchpoint for non-emergency patient transportation. 

Sure, there are plenty of ambulance services - car & helicopter - for getting a patient to the hospital. (I’ve even seen some blood on the back seats of Ubers.)

But 78% of Americans over the age of 55 require ongoing medical treatment for a chronic condition. And they need wheels for these NON-emergency appointments.

RoundTrip now works with such greats as Mount Sinai in NYC, Cooper/MD Anderson, Crozer-Keystone Health System, Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, and others.

They provide the full spectrum of on-demand and scheduled trips, from lyft rides to wheelchair and stretcher transports via partnered, credentialed transport companies, through a simple, powerful portal. Riders are connected to the right driver.

In short: it saves lives.

In this 20-minute conversation, Mark reveals how he’s building the team that’s building RoundTrip.

Jul 17, 2018

Sandra Gault is CEO & Founder at True Gault, the high-tech fashion company. Using super-cool technologies, True Gault delivers custom-made women’s designer dress shoes in 4 weeks. 

Based in NYC, True Gault addresses 2 major problems: standardized shoe sizing leads to ill-fitting shoes; and shoes are nearly impossible to buy online with confidence.

To solve the problem, True Gault uses 3D imaging software & patent-pending fit formula to create custom-fit shoes, hand made in Spain.

Her customers simply take 3 pictures of each foot via the iPhone app. The smart technology generates her unique size & a 3D model of each foot, obliterating past reliance on traditional sizing. 

The result? An innovative shopping experience & a custom pair of heels, made to order, delivered in 4 weeks and backed by a 100% Fit Guarantee.

Sandra took her experience as an executive at Kodak Imaging & applied it to making high heels more comfortable.

She & her team recently secured funding from legendary venture capitalist Tim Draper, who invested via True Gault’s innovative equity crowdfunding campaign.

In this 20-minute conversation, Sandra reveals how she’s building an organization combining left-brained & right-brained talent.

Jul 12, 2018

Stephen George is CEO of Surkus, based in West Hollywood.

And he took an unusual path. Starting as an investor in Surkus, he then joined full-time as Chief Operating Officer once he saw the magnitude of the opportunity. He was later named CEO.

Previously, Stephen served as head of operations at Groupon.

Surkus is a 2-sided marketplace for events & experiences on a local basis. It connects its clients (major brands) & consumers.

The platform curates a targeted group of tastemakers for client events - such as nightlife, comedy shows, classes, product launches, etc. In turn, Surkus members are invited to explore & discover these new experiences, with invitations tailored just for them. 

In this 20-minute conversation, Stephen reveals how he’s building the team at Surkus, now backed by $20M in venture capital.

Jul 10, 2018

Guy Friedman was fed up with waiting to see his physician.

So, he set out to reimagine the process.

He started the company SteadyMD, based in St. Louis, which recently closed a sizable round of venture capital.

After a comprehensive 1-hour video appointment in which the SteadyMD doctor & patient get to know each other, that same doctor is available anytime via secure text messaging, phone calls, and video appointments. 

The SteadyMD platform hosts all the patient's medical records, including those from past doctors and hospitals.

This is - literally - a physician in your pocket.

In this 20-minute conversation, Guy reveals how he’s built the team behind SteadyMD. Full-time employees. Software developers. Contract physicians. The whole enchilada.

And he didn’t have to be in Silicon Valley to do it.

Jul 5, 2018

If you’re tired of your opened wine bottles going bad - and you’re tired of hiring B-Players - this interview is for you.

David Koretz is the Founder & CEO of Plum, the company that makes the first automatic wine appliance that lets you enjoy a bottle, one glass at a time, preserved for up to 90 days. And it’s automatically served at the perfect serving temperature, just as the winemaker intended.

David was previously the Founder & CEO of Mykonos Software, which was acquired by Juniper Networks in 2012 for $80 million. Mykonos was awarded the Wall Street Journal Innovation Award.

The inventor of a dozen technology patents, David was recognized as an innovator by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Under David’s leadership, Plum has raised $19M in funding by Khosla Ventures & Las Olas Venture Capital.

In this 20-minute interview, David reveals how he’s built the team that built this super-cool product.

Jul 3, 2018

We have Brendan Carroll to thank, for safeguarding our nation’s crops of grapes that become wine.

He’s President & CEO of Skycision, which offers a solution to the global agriculture industry that helps farmers identify crop stress weeks earlier than the naked eye can.

By analyzing aerial spectral imagery, Skycision’s drones aid growers in responding faster to threats, save them time in scouting, and enhance the scouting coverage of their operation to ensure the security of their bottom line.

And it’s not just wine. 

Brendan is on a mission to help the global agriculture industry grow more efficiently. Food production needs to increase 70% by 2050 to feed the anticipated 2B increase in the global population. 

In this 20-minute conversation, we cover a lot of ground - pun intended - including how Brendan is building a bi-coastal company of Pittsburgh & Silicon Valley.

 

Jun 29, 2018

If you’re not worried about your top-performing employees leaving you, I’ve got bad news: 42 million employees will leave their jobs in 2018.

While we’re at a record-low unemployment rate, we’re also at a record-high employee disengagement rate. Many are miserable.

And it’s not Money. That’s only #5 on the list.

So I wanted to find out specifically why they leave, and what we leaders can do about it.

Fortunately, I found Danny Nelms. 

He’s President of Work Institute, which just released its “2018 Retention Report” - the only one of its kind, a study of national workplace turnover & retention.

Using a scientifically valid methodology & data from over 234,000 exit interviews, this report uncovers the root causes of turnover to reveal the real reasons employees leave their jobs for better opportunities.

Remember: recruiting actually starts with retention. 

In this 20-minute conversation, Danny shares the real reasons that your best people will leave. The answers will surprise you.

Jun 26, 2018

If you’re not using SmartSheet, you likely soon will.

They have 75,000 customers. It’s probably the simplest way to let your team collaborate online.

Based in Seattle (where it’s been named one of the “Best Places to Work”) CEO Mark Mader has built a Rockstar team of 900, to take this SaaS business from Main Street to Wall Street.

Their goal is to graduate people from Google Docs & Office Docs to a much smarter way of working together

Along the 12-year journey, SmartSheet raised $100M in venture capital and then went public this April to raise an additional $160M.

But this 20-minute conversation isn’t about how to raise VC or how to go public.

It’s about how to build an organization that can change a category, thrill investors, and crush the competition.

Jun 21, 2018

If you’re tired of the hassle with scheduling meetings, this episode is for you.

My guest is Maran Nelson. She’s Co-Founder & CEO of Clara Labs, based in Silicon Valley.

Clara is the human-in-the-loop assistant that schedules your meetings. Using a blend of technology, AI, and humans, Clara coordinates where/when your candidates and employees will meet. 

And it can be applied to scheduling all sorts of meetings.

Maran has raised funding from Sequoia Capital, Upside Ventures, First Round Capital, and other VC’s.

After studying Neuroscience at U of Texas at Austin, she co-founded Clara with a childhood friend to solve one of business’ most frustrating problems.

In this 20-minute conversation, she reveals how she’s recruited & built a team of “people” people.

Jun 19, 2018

It’s one thing to come up with a super-cool new product idea.

It’s entirely another to raise millions in venture capital funding, handpick a bunch of top-performers, build them into a cohesive team, and execute.

And ship!

That’s precisely what David Rabie has done. 

He’s Founder & CEO of Tovala. This early-stage company moved from Silicon Valley to Chicago, to get its hands on great talent.

Tovala is a smart oven that is paired with a meal delivery service. The simplest way to get healthy food into your kitchen and your body. 

After years working at Veggie Grill and Groovy Spoon Frozen Yogurt, David was inspired to reimagine the way that people prepare their dinner.

And his team is doing it.

In this 20-minute episode, he tells us how.

Jun 14, 2018

Unless this is your first time listening to the show, you know that today’s topic is my obsession.

Building an “A” team isn’t a thing. It’s the Only thing that matters in today’s hypercompetitive market.

And I found the perfect guest.

Whitney Johnson has been recognized as one of the 50 leading business thinkers in the world. She’s an expert on disruptive innovation & personal disruption; specifically, a framework which she codifies in the critically acclaimed book “Disrupt Yourself.”

Her new book “Build an ‘A’ Team: Play To Their Strengths & Lead Them Up The Learning Curve” is a fascinating guidebook for how to build your organization, reduce turnover, and make your recruiting far easier.

Whitney developed her proprietary framework & diagnostics after having co-founded the Disruptive Innovation Fund with Harvard Business School’s legendary Clayton Christensen.

In this 20-minute conversation, Whitney reveals how it’s done step-by-step. Have a pen ready to jot notes.

Jun 12, 2018

After spending 10 years working in paid search, Jordan Meyer decided it was time to strike out on his own. 

He had no idea that Granular would become one of Milwaukee’s fastest-growing companies in just 4 years.

Jordan is CEO & Founder of Granular.

You may think that all PPC firms are alike.

What’s fascinating about Granular is their people model. All of its PPC managers are experienced. No junior people. No interns. Clients work with a seasoned paid search pro. 

I wanted to find out how Jordan built it.

Here’s the 20-minute interview.

Jun 7, 2018

If your business has 10 to 100 employees, and you’re on a growth trajectory, some days it feels like you’re jumping one hurdle after another.

But the most successful business leaders do things differently at this stage, particularly when it comes to putting processes in place. This helps push down decision-making to the lowest possible level of the organization.

So, I wanted to find out how to do it properly.

Brad Farris is uniquely qualified. At Chicago-based Anchor Advisors, he’s worked with hundreds of businesses to do just that. 

By putting in the right systems early, he helps small businesses scale big.

So if that’s your aspiration for 2018, this 20-minute episode is for you.

Jun 6, 2018

If you hope to have even a prayer of recruiting Rockstars, you’d better be one yourself.

Because they won’t consider for working for someone they can’t learn from, grow from, and one day replace (once you’re promoted).

So to do that, you need to communicate to candidates that they’ll be working directly for a top-performer.

And that means building your personal brand (not your company’s brand or employer brand. I’m talking about YOUR brand).

So I tracked down an expert to show us how.

Jay Kuhns is VP of HR Strategy at Kinetix, a leading recruitment process and human resources consulting firm. He’s been at it for 20 years, and has built a reputation for teaching executives how to establish their brand as a Rockstar.

As a side benefit: when you build your personal brand, you make it far easier for us headhunters to find you & put you in front of our CEO, VC, and PE clients.

Jay gives it to you straight. No BS. No excuses. So be ready when you listen to this 20-minute episode.

May 24, 2018

It may seem like a silly question: What does a CEO do?

More specifically, what do the Best CEO’s do? How do they spend their days?

It’s so easy to become distracted or reactive. Stop. Should you be leading? Recruiting? Selling? Doing? Partnering?

We know what the Chief Marketing Officer does. And the VP Sales? That’s pretty clear too.

But if you’re a CEO, what should you do with your day? 

And if you’re an aspiring CEO, what will your job be like when you earn the title?

I found the perfect guest to answer this question.

Saydeah Howard is Senior Vice President Talent & Services at IVP. With $7 billion of committed capital, IVP is one of the premier later-stage venture capital & growth equity firms in the US.  Founded in 1980, IVP has invested in over 300 companies, 106 of which have gone public.

At IVP, Saydeah works with a ton of CEO’s of their portfolio companies so she has a unique perspective. She’s seen what works & what doesn’t.

Before IVP, she was VP Human Resources at LeapFrog and a recruiter at Russell Reynolds, the international executive search firm.

If you’ve ever wondered what the CEO job is like (or should be like) you’re about to find out in 20 minutes.

May 23, 2018

You know that early-stage companies pivot, in search of that elusive product/market fit. Looking for a business model that works.

But do you know that - equally important - people need to pivot as well?

In search of the career, the specific role, and the home to do the best work of their life. People need to find their strengths & what's working, in order to figure out what comes next.

And as leaders, one of our most vital functions is to help our employees do this.

So, I found an expert on how it's done.

Jenny Blake is the author, career strategist and international speaker who helps people organize their brain, move beyond burnout & build sustainable careers they love. 

She's the author of "Pivot: The Only Move That Matters is Your Next One" which won an award for Axiom Best Business Book in the careers category.

After 2 years at a technology start-up, she spent 5 years at Google in Training & Career Development.

So she's helped a ton of people pivot. I'll bet she can help you too.

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