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EP 6: Brett Lindenberg, CEO at Mindstamp

Podcast Transcript

James Mackey  0:00  

Hello and welcome to scale by Design. Today we are joined by Brett Lindenberg. 

Brett, welcome to the show!


Brett Lindenberg  0:18  

Hey, James, thanks for having me! Appreciate it.


James Mackey  0:20  

Of course, I'm really pumped to speak with you today. And before we jump into it, would you mind sharing with everybody a little bit about yourself?


Brett Lindenberg  0:28  

Yes, sure. My name is Brett Lindenberg. I'm the founder and CEO of Mindstamp, a VR interactive video platform, started a couple of companies as well in the past, but really focused on this one right now. Excited to be here.


James Mackey  0:39  

For sure. So your company does interactive video through a platform, I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about what your company does. And then if you could also share with us a little bit about what interactive video is, it's kind of a new term that you just talked to me about a few minutes ago. 


So I want to make sure that everybody in the audience understands exactly what you all do and the applications of it and so on and so forth.


Brett Lindenberg  1:03  

Yes, absolutely. So interactive video is a broad term for turning any video into a two-way interactive experience. Compared to a traditional linear video where you watch from front to back, you're not controlling the content. 


Interactive Video gives the viewers a chance to interact with the content that could be whether it's clicking something in the video clicking a button, or a hotspot asking you a question in the video. Generally, it engages the viewer and makes them part of the experience rather than just watching from front to back. And, you know, letting the brand control how they do the path.


James Mackey  1:35  

Okay, really cool. So it sounded like, there are also several applications of this, like, there's obviously the customer-centric application from maybe online when consumers or companies, I guess, are considering a product or service. But I think you mentioned some other applications as well. What are some other ways that companies are leveraging this?


Brett Lindenberg  1:56  

Yeah, so interactive video, like I said, it's super broad. And therefore, it's really applicable to pretty much anything, right? As soon as you cross that chasm of making things in a tweet experience, your mind kind of starts turning in, everything can be changed from that. 


So obviously, training and education, that's a huge one, right? Rather than watching an hour-long lecture and having the little simple quiz after you can put those questions right in the video, you can jump them back into content, if they don't get them right. Change into a different area based on their answer, and so on and so forth. 


Marketing, you want these videos to be engaging with your brand, you don't want to have them sitting there trying to click through the age of Tik-Tok, it's really hard to keep somebody's attention, you know. So if you can give them something to engage with something to let them feel like they're owning the experience, things resonate a lot more, we do a lot of personalization, right? So you can take these videos and you send them out, you can have a button that says, Hey, Brett, would you like to buy this, right? Just a really simple way to get people more engaged. 


The same thing with sales, and corporate communications, instead of taking that webinar and putting it on YouTube, put it on a mind stamp, add chapters to it, and add different links to resources and things that are being talked about. So interactive video really applies across the board, whether it's internal communications, customer communications, employee training, education, or anything.


James Mackey  3:13  

So one of the things you were mentioning is that HubSpot recently wrote about this, what was their take on it and what were they talking about?


Brett Lindenberg  3:20  

Yeah, so HubSpot mentioned interactive video, for the first time, at least formally. Last month, interactivity is really having its moment right now, you know, COVID, obviously, was really good for interactive video, when we all have to stay at home, stay away from each other. You want an engaging, you know, interactive experience, rather than just watching that video and taking the quiz after right? 


So HubSpot listed interactive video as a must-use tool for marketers that are coming up now, at least to get familiar with. We've definitely seen a bump after they mentioned that as well. But they said, you know, here is this new technology, it transforms the way you can do your marketing. Again, rather than just watch the video, let them be a part of the experience. 


And on top of that, you've got a tonne of data that's coming out of these videos as well. Right, I can see that you watch the video, I can see that you clicked that you're interested in this or answered that your company size is over 50 people, right? So not only are you sharing the content yourself, you're creating brand loyalty and engagement, as well as collecting that data on the back-end kickoff automation workflows, whatever it is.


James Mackey  4:19  

Where are you currently seeing the most applications in terms of SMB, mid-market, and enterprise? Where are you seeing the most traction there?


Brett Lindenberg  4:30  

It's all over the board, honestly, but a lot of the SMB and kind of mid-market, right? So we're pretty fairly split right now between education and training. That's the use case we absolutely nail right? If you want to know that somebody watched the video and for the questions correctly get a report for their certification and whatnot. Nailed it easy, right? 


Marketing, there's a lot more that goes on but the other half is marketing, marketing, and sales. There's a little bit more that goes on there like what people are trying to do, whether that creates a choose your own adventure experience, where you can let people discover your products or company on its own. On, or if you want to send out a personalized video that encourages them to take an action. 


So we have clients all the way from, you know, mom-and-pop stores paying a little bit per month, the big enterprises that are really leveraging this for all their internal communications universities. So different companies, different sizes, different uses, it just applies to everybody, 


James Mackey  5:20  

For sure. Is there any data surrounding conversion rates, using this as a marketing solution to where you can kind of AB test against static web pages versus interactive video and how that impacts conversion rates for, you know, b2b, b2c? Companies?


Brett Lindenberg  5:43  

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the proof is in the pudding, right, we give, we can't hide the effectiveness when we give you the full analytics of everybody that's coming. When we drive traffic to your checkout page, right, you see that it has come from the mainstay of video. 


So definitely our clients definitely look to see that bump, just you know, in terms of their own analytics, but also, at the very least, if they don't take that action that you want, say you're trying to drive e-commerce sales, right, they don't click that "Buy Now" button in the video, you at least have that data that they watched this part of the video, that they potentially paused that section. 

So you can at least follow up and continue that chain rather than a static video that you don't know who watched it, you don't know what they saw or what they thought, there's a number of even if they don't take that exact action you want, you can still get them to take many actions, right answering a simple question, or skipping to another part of the video. 


So obviously, our clients really compare the data from you know, their old landing page to their new landing page and see the huge bump. But also, if they don't, they at least have a couple of small wins to take back home with them as well.


James Mackey  6:43  

For sure. That makes a lot of sense. And so what does space look like right now? Is it a rapidly expanding industry? You know, a lot of players kind of flood the space. I know you've mentioned it's still the industry is still young, right, and growing. So what are you seeing out there in terms of the competitive landscape?


Brett Lindenberg  7:01  

Yeah, so it's, it's super hot right now. Interactive Video has been around for a long time, right? There are people talking about interactive video in like 2005, 2000, and maybe 2010. But a lot of people kind of cobbled together on solutions, right? You play a video, clip a YouTube video on the page, and then have your own custom HTML that says, Do you like this? Yes, or No, right? And when they click, it loads a whole new page. It's a whole new video. So interactive video, in its most bare sense at that point, right? 


But recently, I'd say that in the last five years, technology has really helped us catch up and start to deliver amazing experiences for everybody. Right? In 2010, nobody was watching the interactivity on a mobile phone but it just didn't happen in the era of flash and whatnot. 


And now that the technology has caught up, and so that we're able to create, you know, experiences across the board that work on all devices that use really advanced and you know, powerful, powerful technical components to deliver these amazing brand experiences. 


There are not a tonne of people coming into the space, but there are a lot of interactive video platforms out there. Everybody's kind of got their own take on it, right? It kind of depends on where they got the idea and kind of what they started building towards. They're all doing great. We're doing great. There have been a couple of acquisitions, actually, one of the biggest ones is Vimeo just bought an interactive video platform called Wirewax. 


Wirewax is a really top-tier interactive video platform, more so on the agency model, where they kind of help you create a very expensive and beautiful interactive video, we're a self-serve platform, we do special projects. But we've really focused on, you know, we say we separate on price performance and usability, right, we were affordable, aren't we have the kind of most robust and expansive set of features. 


So you can basically do anything under the sun that you need. But also, we're really easy to use, right? We're not this heavy video timeline editor where you gotta have you splicing little clips and aligning stuff. We make everything one click drag and drop resize place on. So we really focus on keeping things simple and letting anybody whether you're that single, you know, training manager at a company, a mom and pop store trying to boost sales, or you know, the CEO of an enterprise company that wants to design training themselves, anybody can create that interactivity experience. 


So there are a lot of companies, there's been a couple of acquisitions. But generally, this is kind of the year of the interactive video where more and more brands are saying we really need to use this. How do we use this? Let's go.


James Mackey  9:22  

Yeah, that's really cool. And one of the things that we were talking about before we started the show was that you've made the choice to be bootstrapped, at least for now. And I'm curious to kind of get your philosophy on that and why you've decided to go that path. 


My company is bootstrapped as well. However, I think it's probably a little different because we are a services company. So it's just a little bit different than obviously having a platform but curious to understand your strategy and why being bootstrapped at this point in time is really important.


Brett Lindenberg  9:56  

Yeah, yeah. Not looking to start a flame war here. There's obviously a lot of discussion around bootstrap versus VC, I should say. Don't hate VC and not necessarily won't take VC in the future. But for us, it comes down to that dedication to our customers, right? This is a growing industry, people are still trying to figure out what they want to do, how they want to incorporate this into their strategy, and what it's going to look like a year from now. 


And at this point, you know, taking funding puts you on that path, too, you have to have this certain outcome, right? And you have to grow your team, you have to hire more, spend more money. And as we've seen, you know, we're a very customer-driven company, and that's worked really well for us so far. And getting on that alternative path, and overextending, we don't feel would be the right move right now. If you know, if we do feel that difference in the future, certainly not opposed to taking that, especially if it means better outcomes for our customers. But right now, we're just you know, things are going well. And we're really focused on iterating closely with our customers and making things better without that necessary. No need to grow at all costs.


James Mackey  11:01  

So how does your team handle the customer feedback loop? Is this you directly having regular conversations with customers? Is this sending out email kind of surveys? I mean, what, what is that process? Can you walk us through how you do that?


Brett Lindenberg  11:18  

Yeah, yeah, all the above. But it kind of goes back to what we talked about in the first. Is what is an interactive video, the education piece, right interactive video, a lot of people that have come have heard of interactive video, but they don't know what it is, they don't know what they can do. And they don't necessarily know what they want to do just yet until they come to us. 


So the best thing that we can do is offer you know, very gracious support and points of contact in the very beginning, hopping on with any customer that needs help helping them plan their experience, showing them the ins and outs of the platform so that they're good to go and you know, unleashed. But from that naturally, we hear exactly what they want to do. Where our platform falls short, you know where it succeeds, what's super easy, and what's not. And generally, you know, if we hear something a couple of times, and it makes sense broadly on the platform, that's, that's something that we should take into consideration and will usually follow through on it.


James Mackey  12:07  

Yeah. So that's actually a point that I want to dive into a little bit further. And you sort of just answered, but maybe we could get a little deeper. 

How do you segment customer feedback and actually decide what feature set to roll out versus okay, you receive some feedback, but maybe because of your understanding of the industry or the outcomes that you produce for customers, you know, that's not the right thing to build, or it's not going to necessarily help drive sales or retention. 

How can you walk us through a little bit more about, like, in-depth into that decision-making in terms of taking customer feedback and turning it into product features?


Brett Lindenberg  12:42  

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it all boils down to whether this can be implemented in a way that makes sense across the board for multiple customers. Have we heard it from multiple customers? Is it or is this a one-off very specific feature for somebody trying to achieve a unique outcome? Right? 


Our goal and our job are to continually improve the platform, bring more value to our customers, and give them more tools to achieve their end goals. So does this request go, you know, help us do that? If so, then we'll definitely consider it based on obviously, you know, difficulty, busyness, whatnot. But generally, a customer giving us feedback is the best gift we can ask for. Right? They're telling us exactly what they want and earnest. 


At the same time, I'm sure this is the same in your business, you've got a couple of customers that want everything under the sun, and usually aren't the best customers, right? They're looking to create a video to do a 360 on every third rainbow of the month. And you're just like that this doesn't really apply to you know, anybody else in the world at this point?


 So it's just a function of how broadly this would apply? How much value would create, and what kind of multiplier is kind of the priority that we give it?


James Mackey  13:52  

For sure, for sure. And from a demand perspective, what is the, you know, high level, and I guess, like, just provide any insight you're comfortable sharing, you don't have to share everything. 


But from a demand perspective, what is kind of a little bit of the high-level strategy channels, you're leveraging, being a bootstrapped organization, you know, obviously having to be very smart about where you're allocating time resources in general, where you kind of seen success in this post COVID world where, you know, people are adapting your solution a little bit more. Where are you seeing the most success?


Brett Lindenberg  14:27  

Yeah, so you know, as a bootstrap company, we focus on The King, which is SEO, SEO paid is the investment that pays dividends for a long time to come. Especially in an industry like interactive video where people are still figuring things out. 


They're not going to Google, you know, how to interactive video or they might, but they're rather good at Google their goal, how to add a button to video, you know, asked question and video just investments in those areas, immediately presenting them with an explanation of how it can be done what it can be used for. Right, that's really paid off for us. 

I think if you Google how to Add button to video mindset, the first result of that page continually drives sign-ups and conversions for us all the time. We also do AdWords, right? It's a pretty competitive space, you need to, you need to appear at some point, not necessarily every time but you do have to run some ads. 


You know, we have an affiliate program, that interactive video is such a novel thing to a lot of people, to most people, when they first come into it, that they're they almost have a, you know, almost religious, you know, reaction to it, where it's Oh, my gosh, I didn't know this is possible. I have to tell everybody I know, right? Everybody could use this. If you're doing this in training, you create a really sick training video really quickly. You're like, oh, I want to tell everybody. 


So our affiliate program drives sales as well, we get to give, you know, give back to our customers as they get back to us as well. A little bit of social stuff, mostly trying to post, we're lucky that we have a really shareable product, right? It's not like we have a unique security code package that we're trying to promote. It's like, hey, look, I can take this hotspot and make it do this when I click it. So it almost sells itself. But we just try to keep the pace up and give people something to look at.


James Mackey  16:13  

Yeah, for sure. And you do podcasts, too. Yeah, yeah. Stuff like this. Right. Cool. Are you so I've actually, it's interesting. This is more so on the services side, but I've been talking to a lot of founder CEOs lately that are still seeing a fair amount of success in email marketing outbound, is that a channel that you're currently exploring, or is that something you're kind of holding off on and investing in other stuff?


Brett Lindenberg  16:37  

Yeah, we do some outbound, especially to our base where people have indicated interest. We've also run some cold email campaigns. We've, we're not opposed to doing that further. But we found that the results just weren't, weren't spectacular, there's a lot of immediate interest, but your targeting, even if they fit your demographic, they're a cold, cold lead, right? Especially, they might not have ever heard of interactive video ever. And they might not have that drive to get over the line and say, Okay, let me learn this tool, let me think about how I create content for it, etc, etc. 


So we'd get a lot of interests that show up to the demo, and then be like, This is awesome. Let me think about it. Whereas somebody that comes in with the high intention that they found us, they get on the demo, they say, Wow, this is exactly what I need. They have a plan in their head, right, as opposed to somebody that you're saying, hey, come, come check this out. Like, that's really cool. Let me think, let me think about what to do. But, you know, email is king, I definitely respect email. And we would do it if we could, uh, you know, guarantee some, you know, higher performance results at this time. Yeah, definitely.


James Mackey  17:40  

For sure. I think it for whatever reason, in services, it seems to be really strong because I didn't receive that feedback from a lot of product or platform CEOs. Not that they don't do it. It was just more so I spoke with a couple of CEOs of services companies, you know, probably, you know, mid-seven figure services companies, right? 


So still young and growing quickly, that we're basically just saying like emails, their primary channel. It's the only channel that's repeatedly delivering results, which is kind of weird because that wasn't the case for us. But given that feedback, and also Nick's experience on this call, in marketing, doing outbound, for the past six months, we've been doing outbound and we're seeing results with email we're still seeing overall, probably, it's actually a pretty big driver of revenue. 


But, you know, historically referral word of mouth, stuff like that was driving a lot of business for us. We're playing with Google ads right now. We just started so we've gotten I think, a few leads and but I don't think we've actually done a conversion yet. So we're still kind of waiting to see how that plays out for us.


Brett Lindenberg  18:45  

Yeah, Google ads are its own beast, man, you got to see almost a full-time job itself. You know, you can easily waste a lot of money or put your money to work. But I'm curious. So you said word of mouth and referrals are kind of how you get most of your business.


James Mackey  18:59  

Yeah, I mean, before like pre-Nick. So pre Nick and after Nick. And so we brought him on in January, I think. And right before we brought him on, we brought him on as soon as we hit 3 million ARR. I call it Nick, he made him an offer, like the same day. Because then we had the margin to do so. And so, yeah, so like before, before that, like we weren't, we you know, is pretty much 100% inbound. 


So referral word of mouth like,  a customer would come back to us or go to a new company or talk with somebody in their network or send us an introduction that was really driving I think, like 70% of our business. And then I think around 25% was high intent. So I think we had initially started investing in sites like G2, building up reviews, Nick really blew the lid off that and helped us accelerate it. 


But if I remember correctly, we had started that so You're getting some of that. In the early days, like, when I initially started the company, before we were a scale company it was more of like a lifestyle business. I had done some email marketing, which helped us sign up several clients who build relationships, and then that kind of fell off a cliff. And I'm not really sure why I think probably Google just got like, it started to understand what we were doing. And just like our open rates, just like completely plummeted. So, we kind of stopped doing that in 2020. Until Nick just joined us. 


And now we're, you know, getting started again, but yeah, you know, you do a lot of LinkedIn content, right, podcasts, we're producing a lot of content, trying to produce a lot of value. And that's also a big driver of business for us, too. So I'd say, still, overall, the primary driver of revenue would probably be a referral, word of mouth, you know, just content. LinkedIn posting, I think the podcast is going to continuously become bigger and bigger, as we build more momentum with the shows for sure. So we actually have several channels that are pulling in revenue right now. 


And the challenge is balancing between, Okay, should we focus on opening up more channels? Or should we double down on a couple of channels, right, and try to find, like, the time and the balance there, which is, I think, kind of a concern, like a very, like a consistent conversation I'm having with Nick, it's like, alright, like, you know, we're spending all this time executing on several channels. You know, how do we feel about that? Like, where are the bottlenecks? Where do we not have time to optimize, which channels? And how do we think about prioritizing which channels to optimize first stuff like that.


Brett Lindenberg  21:37  

It's the entrepreneur's whole battle, where to spend your time, what battles to pick, how to beat to go. But I'd say you know, you're in a much better spot than the opposite, right? 

If 100% of your business was coming from cold email, and Google suddenly shut that off, that you're in a real problem, but if you've got, you know, most of your business coming through referrals and word of mouth, that means happy customers, that means reviews, that means more organic, you know, cost-free acquisition, and then all those other channels are open to you in the future, right, you can only double that buy, you know, try and get a couple of new channels, but referral word of mouth, kind of organic search, I think are the key the holy grails of scaling, for sure, for


James Mackey  22:17  

sure. And, you know, one thing that we're starting to look into more now is more targeted outbound. I mean, right now, it's, it's email, I think we're doing like InMail outreach through a tool called connected. And so that's helping us, you know, get a little bit higher volume, but we also use connected podcasts to reach out to guests. 


So it's, it's kind of a combination, I think we split our Connected efforts between podcasts and new potential customers, stuff like that. I was like, when we had the margin, I mean, I really want to bring in like a very experienced enterprise salesperson. Because one of the things with inbound, it's like, we a lot of our customers are, like the startup's early growth stage, which we crush. I mean, we've worked with over 150 At this point in time over the past seven years. But we want to win more like, you know, big mid-market enterprise deals. And because we don't have a lot of customers in that space, we don't get a lot of referrals into that business, right? 


So some of the bigger deals we've closed are actually due to email marketing. That drove higher ARR deals for us. But yeah, we're looking for, like, you know, that next level of, okay, we want the seven to eight figure, you know, ARR contracts coming in. And, and that's where it's like, inbound starts to, it feels like if that's our sole strategy, it's a little bit limiting. If we want those bigger contracts, so that's like, okay, that's another bootstrap problem, right? 


It's like, you want to start to build out the enterprise solution. If you decide to go that path. on a shoestring budget, it's like, it's like, Okay, we have a limited amount of margin. We're profitable, we're doing well. So that's cool. But what do we want to do with that? Like, do we want to spend, you know, X number of hundreds of 1000s on a, you know, very senior enterprise person or, or strategy? And when do we do that? Right. Like, what? At what revenue level? At what margin? Does that make sense? Right?


Brett Lindenberg  24:18  

Yeah, yeah. Moving up on the mark, It's tough. I mean, the word of mouth still would apply if you can get a couple of word-of-mouth contacts up high, but I definitely understand the problem. Do you have a lot of difficulty with, you said that you service a lot of startups do you have a lot of problems with kind of churn due to you know, a startup changing directions going out of business? becoming too big for you or anything like that related to startups? Yeah.


James Mackey  24:43  

I mean, apparently, our churn is pretty good for our industry. And once we stopped recording, I'm happy to tell you exactly what it is. But yeah, I mean, apparently it's pretty competitive for our space. I mean, one of our primary value propositions is flexibility. Right? So it's like some of that is inherent to the business model that we have, right?


Because basically what my company does is companies borrow recruiters from us. So it's like on a subscription basis, right? So we kind of sit in the middle of like contingent agencies and internal recruiters where it's like, we can provide more flexibility and much higher quality than contingent partners. Right, but we're a lot more flexible than in-house solutions. And we can also bring expertise to the table, and you can kind of scale us up or down based on hiring demands.


Brett Lindenberg  25:33  

Right? Yeah, yeah, that demand is never gonna go away. Good, good, good industry to be in. How'd you get started?


James Mackey  25:38  

Yeah, well, I mean, I actually started on the contingent side. So just a contingent recruiting agency, meaning fee based, right? So like, somebody would have an account executive opening, and, you know, fill it and get, you know, 20 grand fee, or whatever it was, right? So he's doing that. But that's like, very transactional. And also, I really don't like contingent business models. You know, you're not, you're not pulling in any money until you make a placement. It's very transactional. It's not necessarily repeatable. 


It's hard to forecast and make, you know, great investments in your business. And so, I did that for a few years. And at first, I was actually traveling a lot. So it was more of a kind of a lifestyle business, and then I really started getting serious about scale, and kind of understood that I really don't want to scale a contingent business. I don't want to scale a business, where my expenses are recurring, but my revenue isn't, you know, just sounds like a bad time at scale. I just don't want to do that. So. So that was when we started to think about, okay, how can we create the recurring revenue model?


At the time, I didn't even know what RPO was, I was like, are we doing something new? Like is this even, like, no idea. But we basically started out with like this fractional RPO service, trying to bring the value of, you know, full like RPO basically just means like, it's a fancy way of saying you can borrow recruiters from us. And RPO typically means you have four or more recruiters dedicated to a business. 


And so our thought process is like, well, let's try to break into earlier stage startups and early-stage growth stage companies by offering a kind of like a fractional solution, so we can bring that, you know, traditionally more so enterprise mid-market value to SMBs. We've just kind of now that we kind of, we've done a good job capturing that market. Now. We're, we're focused on, you know, landing the larger scale projects, right? Yeah, that's kind of been the evolution over the past several years. Cool.


Brett Lindenberg  27:26  

On unrelated to the kind of your business specifically. But I think there's definitely been a rise in the niche job board space. Now, have you seen that or interacted with that at all, you just see, you kind of see job boards spinning up for every niche thing under the sun. Now, you know, like farm jobs, obviously, it doesn't really apply to you. But you know, something like farm jobs, crypto jobs, or just remote jobs? Obviously, that's a little bit more general.


But how do you think about that? Do you try to interface with those at all? Or have you considered, you know, spinning something up like that?


James Mackey  27:57 


Yeah, I have not considered it. I don't. I think honestly, like, even though I'm a services company, I can create a more valuable company and services than just creating another job board. So I mean, people at this point are still the primary driver of value, particularly for talent acquisition. 


So there are technologies that are really effective. Job boards are helpful, I suppose. But like 90% of the candidates that we placed for our product, SaaS companies come from outbound sourcing, okay? Yeah, no, I mean, we're leveraging LinkedIn recruiter, the ATS that we recommend applicant tracking system, we recommend his greenhouse, right, we help our we use a tool with our clients, we use it in-house for us personally.


So everybody on our team has training for that. But job boards, like particularly the old school ones, like indeed, Monster, all that stuff. It's like, just garbage. I mean, some of that, like zip recruiter, and like clearance, jobs might work for clear talent, specifically in the DC area. But for tech talent, it's just not gonna work, right? And then yeah, like, sometimes we'll, we'll have some, some luck with some of the smaller job boards. But typically, unless it's like a client requests it. We're just No, we're just going to use LinkedIn. We know it works. We know how to craft outbound messages. We have senior recruiters that are essentially like senior salespeople, right? And they know how to engage with top talent and convert that top talent.


Brett Lindenberg  29:27  

Yeah, totally. So one, one cool one started by a friend of mine, actually, Lynn tie, she started a company, you might have heard of it called key values. And there's a job board that focuses pretty much specifically on company values and what people you know what life is like there as opposed to the actual obviously, the work matters. But really, the entry point is kind of, what do you care about? 


Do you care about working from home? Do you care about the quality of the company? Do you care about any of these kinds of social values that matter to you as a tech worker? I'm curious about that, like how have you seen the kind of job preferences or applicant preferences, applicant processes change in the last two years through COVID. And kind of all the other social changes that we're going through, are you noticing a difference? And you know, how things are going?


James Mackey  30:12  

Yeah, I think there's definitely a place for a job board like that. But more so focuses on values. Yeah, I mean, definitely, we're seeing a bigger emphasis being placed on people who want to work somewhere that aligns with their values. And what's really interesting about being a CEO right now, is that within tech, at least, there's almost an expectation that you take a stance, and things that are not just like value-driven, well, I guess value-driven, but also like political, and it's like walking a very fine line, it seems sometimes right, between being empathetic and showing support, but not getting too off track or down in the weeds on certain things. 


So definitely, to answer your question, like, yes, people are focused a lot more on values, and just specifically in our roles as CEOs, you have to be thoughtful, right about how you kind of engage and respond. And, you know, that's actually I was on a call with my CEO, peer group. And initially, we were going to discuss where we're going, I guess, like the economy, like the state of the economy. And this was like, the same week that Roe vs. Wade came out. 

And for the full hour, we were just like, Alright, how what's, what's an appropriate way to respond? How do we show support? How do we do all these things? Like how do we communicate in a way that's, you know, supportive, and at the same time, enables people to feel like they're, they're able to kind of stay focused and these types of things, how do we strike that right? Balance? Right? So yes, like, we're seeing a much bigger emphasis on values in the workplace, and people want to work in a, you know, company that is aligned. 


The other thing that I'm seeing is, that we're seeing people put a much bigger emphasis on how well their professional, you know, their job, integrates with their personal life, their valuing flexibility. So all the stuff, you know, we always hear about in terms of like, remote, minimum, PTO policies are becoming a lot bigger, right? 


Like people are tired of getting sold this like BS for weak PTO policy, but then, like, the company has capacity doesn't do capacity planning, and they just have way too much work on their plate to take time off without impacting performance, or there's some kind of weird culture where it doesn't support doesn't actually want people to take time off. 


So we're seeing that just everything surrounding flexibility, right, I think is, you know, certain benefits. are, you know, there's no, there's a lot of people now that are adamant about remote being directly correlated to inclusion, right? Like, there might be people that can't make it into the office for whatever reason. And so there's, you know, a big value that a lot of people have now is like, Look, if you're truly going to build a diverse and inclusive culture, you need to offer these progressive benefits surrounding flexibility and integration of professional and personal life, in order to enable that inclusivity that you say is important to you. So we're seeing a lot of that, too.


Brett Lindenberg  33:26  

Yeah, I'm sure you're in a unique spot to see a lot of you know, there's been so much cultural and social and work change in the last two years that I'm sure you guys are kind of like a pipeline and are catching things in both directions from the applicants from the companies themselves. You know, as you said, you got to be thoughtful, you have to, I think that pressure to take a stance is waning a little bit, right, we've seen kind of like the infamous Coinbase Bryan Armstrong letter. Are you familiar with that?


James Mackey  33:55  

I know, I mean, I know, like Coinbase, and like, offers rescinded and stuff like that, but I'm not familiar with the, what's the letter.


Brett Lindenberg  34:02  

So this was like, 18 months ago at this point. But he basically wrote an open letter to the company saying ," hey, look, guys, we are a mission-driven company, like our mission is to, you know, enable financial access for people around the world. 


Our mission is not necessarily everybody's individual social cause. And therefore, when you're at work, we are going to relentlessly chase our mission. Outside of work, we're not telling you, you know, what you can or cannot do or what we do or do not support or condone, you know, etc. But while you're at work, you need to be basically focused on our mission, because the mission is huge and long and takes every ounce of effort that shook the waters a lot back then. I think it would still shake the waters now. But more and more companies are kind of trending towards that if we just can't keep up with, you know, taking one stance, there's inevitable people that are going to be unhappy with it or happy with it, right? 


The only stance that you can really take safely is the mission and Brian Armstrong basically ended that letter being like, if this doesn't, this doesn't work with you, like Coinbase probably isn't the right place for you, here's a really overly generous severance package. I think like 8% of the company or something like that took it maybe a little bit smaller, maybe a couple 100. But I think that's turning out to be really Coinbase is kind of having some trouble right now. But I think long term, that was a great decision, right? 


Get people that really want to be there at your company, at the company, and be mission-driven. It's just an infinitely foggy, you know, a pool of causes that you can kind of bring into the workplace like that we all have our own personal causes that we can be, you know, passionate about, but it's just if you're trying to run a business, right, you have to be focused on the mission, and you have to be put all your energy towards that mission.


James Mackey  35:48  

For sure. And I agree with you, I mean, I think like, honestly, I kind of pushed back on the taking a stance thing and more. So thinking about, like, the most important thing is, is giving empathy, when people are going through something or processing something that's important to them, and creating that environment where they know that you know, you, you care about them, and you'll do what you can. But I think that's again, that's where it really needs to stop. 


Because as you said, We're here to do our job and we have a life outside of work. And that's where we should really be focusing on those things. And I do agree with that perspective, and I think, too, that feeds into us doing a podcast on my other show on acquisition trends and strategies. 


And one of the leaders we brought on had a really interesting take, he said, you know, people aren't overworked right now they're overwhelmed. Right? Like, they're, they're looking at everything that's going on in the world. It's like going from like, mass shootings to stuff and politics to I mean, it's just like, you know, you got Ukraine, you got inflation, and just people are like, constantly getting these headlines bombarded even, you know, and I think it's hard to, for recruiters to because, or anybody who's on LinkedIn a lot, because it's like, Okay, I'm going to work, let me shut off all the social media and all this other stuff, you go into LinkedIn. 


And then it's like, the headline section is just like layoffs, inflation, mass shooting, like just right in your face when you're just trying to do your job. And so a lot of people again, are just like, very overwhelmed. 


So I think to the extent where it's like, you know, show empathy, you know, give people a space for like, you know, give you let people know, that they can, they can, you know, do what they need to do to be healthy, and put their mental health first and all that good stuff. And then, you know, I think a lot of people actually appreciate not just sitting on topics, because they're getting bombarded enough from every possible angle on this stuff. So to the extent, you can create, like a workspace where people can just not feel overwhelmed all the time, I think is actually really valuable. And something that, you know, people do appreciate


Brett Lindenberg  37:52  

100% Man, I couldn't agree more, you know, we're not, we're not meant to be exposed to this constant stream of anxiety-inducing information at all hours a day from all corners of the world, right? And a lot of people, I think, recently have kind of trained themselves to handle it better. But it's still overwhelming. We all still get overwhelmed. And I completely agree with not overworked, but overwhelmed, right? And it's also hard, hard to feel like your work matters. 


Sometimes when there are all these pressing issues that you see when you're scrolling your feed when you're on socials, whatever. It makes it hard to focus on work. And I think that people do appreciate that here. This is where we focus on the mission. Your objective is clear, when you're here, right? We have one goal, we're working towards it, and we're all working together. And that counteracts that kind of isolated, scared feeling that we get from this, an incredible amount of stimuli that we're getting on a daily basis. You don't have to make a decision. 


In some companies, you would obviously make a decision whether the goal is good or bad. But if you've joined the company, and you feel confident that you're doing good work towards the mission, that's I think the best counteract is to, you know, scrolling Twitter and seeing something terrible happen and having nothing you can do about it. Right. And at least in the immediate moment, you can long-term plan to help out in that cause but giving somebody the ability to you know, do good work, honest work with a team that cares about you towards a mission that you believe is good, that's the best, the best antidote for what we see today.


James Mackey  39:14  

Yeah, man, that's very well said, I completely agree. And I've really, by the way, really enjoyed this conversation. We're coming up on time here. So I just wanted to say thank you for joining us today and sharing your insights and telling us a little bit about interactive video and then we kind of you know, just ended up talking about a totally different topic, which is really cool and something that I'd like to just see where the conversation actually goes so So Brett, thank you for joining us and before we jump off, could you tell everybody where to find you if they want to follow you online or learn more about your company?


Brett Lindenberg  39:45  

Yeah, absolutely. I really enjoyed the conversation. I love riffing and talk little companies, talk a little world, and all that kind of stuff. You know, the company name is Mindstamp. You can find this at All our socials are using mindstamp. And we actually have a scale 50 code for all the first 50 customers. If anybody's listening to this 50% off your first three months on our platform, enter the code scale 50. 

You can find me at, feel free to send me an email, we can get you set up or we're just talking shop.


James Mackey  40:17  

Cool. Well, thank you, Brian, for everybody tuning in. Thanks so much, and we'll see you next time. Appreciate it.

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