Creativity

#37: Multi-Hyphenate Creative Entrepreneurship with PB+J Co-founders Tom Collver & Kyle Dutka

Hosted by Josh Gonsalves
3.15.2021
1 HR 24 MIN
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Episode Description

Tom & Kyle, the co-founders of award-winning creative agency PB+J, bring their decades worth of experience as creative entrepreneurs to share their strategies and philosophies on multi-hyphenate creative-entrepreneurship and building enduring ecommerce brands.

They discuss everything from exploring and finding your niche, fighting perfectionism, recipes for success in both ecommerce and creating a highly sought-after agency, as well as what it takes to build a long-lasting, enduring brand.

About Tom Collver

Tom Collver is the co-founder of PB+J and co-host of the Commerce Chefs podcast. He's a multi-hyphenate creative-entrepreneur and college design professor, and extremely involved in many areas of the arts community.

Connect with Tom at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomcollver/

About Kyle Dutka

Kyle Dutka is the co-founder of PB+J and other half of the Commerce Chefs podcast. He's spent nearly the past two decades in the marketing and creative space. He wears many proverbial hats including that of strategist, designer, marketer, and entrepreneur.

Connect with Kyle at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyledutka/

About PB+J

PB+J is one of the planet’s most sought-after eCommerce creative agencies. They build some of the most kick-ass and high-performing online stores, and they wake up every day set on filling the future of commerce with human-centred and joyful interactions. They've had the privilege to work alongside some of the best and bravest in DTC eCommerce and beyond. Typically, they work with premium consumer-focused brands at a point of transformation (B2B to B2C, pivotal growth or massive change) who rely on magical customer experiences to bust through to the next level of success.

Learn more about PB+J at https://addpbj.com/awesomesauce

Listen to Commerce Chefs Podcast https://www.commercechefs.com/

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Stalk Josh on the Internet:

  • 00:35 — Intro
  • 02:39 — Conversation begins
  • 03:44 — Tom tells the story of how him and Kyle met
  • 06:39 — Kyle's experience and expectations coming out of school
  • 08:36 — Josh: "when it comes to creative skills, whether it's web design or just graphic design, it's such like a horizontal sort of skillset that not only can you use it with any kind of business."
  • 09:03 — How Tom and Kyle decided to make the agency the main thing they would focus on.
  • 10:41 — Tom: "Any success that we've found has come from the ability to sort of put that immediate impulse aside and say, you know what? We probably could do that. Yes, we are interested, but no, we're not going to be able to do that. And that, and that, and that, and that if we want to do this, Better than anybody else."
  • 11:47 — Kyle: "In creativity you need like that improv approach, like yes, and. And like good business is more of like a, like a no, but. Like, it's like, it's like saying no to all these things and it's like, you have to have both, like, you need to be both, but it's a weird balancing act."
  • 13:41 — How Tom & Kyle decided to go all-in on focusing on doing design and dev for founder led direct to consumer brands.
  • 15:25 — How PB+J pivoted during COVID crisis
  • 17:27 — How Tom and Kyle make decisions
  • 17:44 — Tom: "We're comfortable being uncomfortable. And if we know we can't ever tell what the future holds, then whether you make a decision one way or another, they both have equally the same amount of opportunity to work out or not."
  • 18:08 — Dealing with Shiny object syndrome as a creative entrepreneur.
  • 19:19 — Leadership and decision-making
  • 19:28 — Tom says "what's going to matter like five minutes from now, and what's gonna matter five years from now?"
  • 19:55 — Dealing with perfectionism
  • 22:06 — the Lord of the rings behind the scenes
  • 23:29 — The tools they use at PB+J
  • 24:00 — Their home base is Asana
  • 24:08 — Their design work happens mainly in Figma
  • 24:15 — They use UX tools like User Testing
  • 24:18 — They use Google Docs to do the analysis
  • 24:23 — They code in Sublime Text
  • 24:43 — 80% of their builds are on Shopify or Shopify plus
  • 24:49 — They built the PB and J site on Squarespace
  • 24:51 — They made over 350 sites in Squarespace
  • 25:20 — They're getting into Webflow now
  • 27:29 — Productized services
  • 29:01 — Book: Business of Expertise by David C. Baker
  • 30:28 — Kyle: "often as creatives, we actually get to get lost in like solving the problem to solve the problem."
  • 32:32 — Early sales conversations with prospective clients
  • 36:20 — times where Tom & Kyle had to turn down clients
  • 37:34 — Tom: "I believe you've got a moral obligation to turn it away if you are not the best fit to solve the problem. And if you look at the doctor again, it's malpractice. If you try to work on something, that's not in an area of specialty, cause it could have, it can have bad consequences."
  • 38:37 — The customer journey of PB+J's clients
  • 39:21 — PB+J's ideal customer is a founder led DTC brand, they've been around for usually around two or three years. They have a track record of success, they've bootstrapped and they've done all this stuff that they can to kind of hack, hack this together, and they have a real opportunity or a real vision to scale. They're probably somewhere between one and 5 million.
  • 41:07 — How they can help founders when they are just starting out
  • 42:10 — Kyle: "Our purpose is to make the future of commerce more joyful, more human centered. And we believe we can do that through founders who see the future of commerce in the same way"
  • 42:52 — circle.so for hosting private communities
  • 44:45 — PB+J uses OKRs to define and measure goals
  • 45:58 — Book: Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse
  • 46:04 — Book: The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
  • 47:37 — investor mindset vs trader mindset
  • 48:13 — Taking equity as payment from clients
  • 49:06 — Tom: "what makes these long-term enduring brands and, just, just having a long-term mindset is, is part of it."
  • 49:49 — The different currencies at play
  • 54:07 — What Kyle & Tom look for in an enduring brand
  • 56:21 — How PB+J got their name
  • 01:01:57 — Tom & Kyle's e-commerce company King X Portland
  • 01:03:57 — ghost kitchens / virtual kitchens
  • 01:05:22 — Partnering with other people who specialize in stuff you don't do to create a holistic offering.
  • 01:08:05 — Kyle: "what is that special sauce that you bring? I think that's something that like enduring brands figure out and they don't fuss around on some of the stuff they don't need to, and they focus just relentlessly on what is that special"
  • 01:08:30 — This podcast was recorded with Riverside
  • 01:08:58 — Multihyphenate creative entrepreneurship
  • 01:14:20 — Tom: "the hyphen, that idea is that the investor mindset would be the more I know about things, the better I can see patterns and connections between them. And that's where power lies."
  • 01:15:53 — explore and then exploit
  • 01:16:36 — closing thoughts, some resources, some, wisdom and inspiration
  • 01:16:45 — The intersection of passion and purpose
  • 01:18:03 — Book: Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • 01:19:37 — What is something that Tom & Kyle are really excited about coming up

Tom: I don't feel like the point is to be good at everything. although that's, nice, but the hyphen, that idea is that the more I know about things, the better I can see patterns and connections between them.

[00:00:13]And that's where power lies. If you can see that this connects with this connects with this or that these could connect. That's that's going to make all the difference in the world.

[00:00:21]Josh: Hi, I'm Josh Gonsalves. And welcome to Mind Meld.  This is a podcast where I have in-depth conversations with some of the brightest people in the known universe.

[00:00:44] My aim is to spark deep conversations around interesting topics to find the tools, tactics, strategies, and philosophies that we can all use in our daily and creative lives.

[00:00:54] In this episode, I sat down with Tom Culver and Kyle Dutka. They're the co-founders of the award-winning and highly sought after creative agency, PB and J. That's, PB and J like the sandwich.

[00:01:05] They also, co-host a podcast together called Commerce Chefs, where they pit the world's most intriguing, direct consumer visionaries with thought provoking questions to uncover the secret ingredients that make brave brands enduring classics.

[00:01:18]Kyle and Tom bring their decades worth of experience as creative entrepreneurs to share their strategies and philosophies on what they call multihyphenate creative entrepreneurship.

[00:01:27]This is a wide ranging conversation where we discuss everything from exploring and finding your niche, fighting perfectionism, recipes for success in both e-commerce and creating a highly sought after agency, as well as what it takes to build a long lasting and enduring brand.

[00:01:43] As always, if you want to dig deeper on some of the topics or resources that we bring up in the podcast, you can find direct links to everything we mentioned in the show notes for this episode. You can find the link to the show notes in the description of this podcast, or go directly to  joshgonsalves.com/podcast. That's J O S H G O N S A L V E S dot com slash P O D C A S T.  And you'll get the show notes and links related to everything for this episode.

[00:02:11] If you're new to the podcast and you haven't yet subscribed, please pick up your phone, pull it out of your pocket and tap that little subscribe button on the podcast app that you're listening to this on. That way, you'll get notified as soon as I publish new episodes every Monday with amazing new guests each week.

[00:02:26]I hope you enjoy this conversation with the co-founders of PB and J. I hope it blows your mind leads to new ideas and motivates you to keep being creative.  I'm Josh Gonsalves, and this is Mind Meld with Tom Culver and Kyle Dutka. All right, Tom and Kyle, welcome to Mind Meld guys. I'm so excited to have you on the podcast.

[00:02:50]Kyle: Thank you. Thanks for having us. I am feeling that Mind Meld yeah, it's feeling good.

[00:02:54]Josh: this is great. And this is the first time for anyone listening or watching. First time I've done a three-way call here on Riverside. So this is a first, you guys are making podcast history with me, at least. So I'm really excited to do this.

[00:03:05]But I really want to first start on this podcast with where you guys have been in the industry and where you guys have been going and where are you going now? Because I think it's a really interesting space going from e-commerce to agency life. So I'm really interested to hear you guys' experience. Maybe we can bring these decades of experience that you guys have combined and, you know, package this up in a way that's useful for everyone listening.

[00:03:27]Tom: Decades of experience.

[00:03:29] Kyle: Yup.

[00:03:30] Tom: I guess, I guess that's accurate. We're we're getting older, Kyle.

[00:03:34] Kyle: We really are. You always do a good like elevator pitch of this time

[00:03:38] Tom: of our history.

[00:03:39] Kyle: You do a fantastic, it starts at the beginning.

[00:03:41]Tom: Really good place to start. All right. Join us on a journey back in time. well, Kyle and I met in school who doesn't. we, we were in fact late to our first ever university class, so winning, uh, at the school part. and we just got, we actually got to talking during class, so also fail number two on the school side, Yeah, really, really became friends that way. Um, through school started to work together on just, you know, little projects here and there as you're a student and you try to pick up work in whatever, whatever you can kind of in your field.

[00:04:19] Uh, so for me, that was like business cards and, and logos for like six bucks. Um, and Kyle was doing websites. He was, you know, way ahead in the future at that time. So, you know, but yeah, we, I mean, fast forward, we were graduated from design school and, uh, had, had worked together quite a bit throughout the summers in particular.

[00:04:43] Um, and just sort of, I don't know how to really solid friendship. Uh, we're working together a lot organically on things that would come up for prospective clients and in both of our fields, And we just, yeah, we kind of had that fateful conversation. I want to say there was a napkin involved and probably somewhere at a diner, uh, really late at night.

[00:05:02] None of that's true, but, um, the conversation happened and, uh, we sort of like, you know what, we should just work together for real. Um, so we did, and it it's, uh, it's been bliss ever since, and that, as they say is history, but, uh, it didn't start out the way. I think anybody thinks that it, that it will, uh, I know I came out, I'll speak for myself here, Kyle, if you're,

[00:05:27] Kyle: Yeah,

[00:05:27] Tom: with that. Okay. And then you can speak for you. But I, you know, I thought I would be doing corporate identity, and branding like my whole life and that's all I would have to do. And I would maybe, you know, the odd time I had to design a typeface, and I would be a millionaire by 22. And I mean, that sounded pretty good. Right. And who doesn't think that coming out of school?

[00:05:47] Um, stories for later, but salary expectations from students. But, uh, so, so that, that quickly became not, not reality. Um, but we, I mean, we started kind of taking on everything we did. I mean, we were doing like video editing, corporate identity. We were doing brochures and flyers.

[00:06:07] We're doing book design and website. Like whatever we could get our hands on, we were, we were doing, uh, it was just the two of us for a while. And, and slowly, you know, as most of the days at that time we were watching movies and then doing some work. Um, but that started to flip and we were doing more work than watching movies.

[00:06:27]And, uh, it's, it's just sort of slowly grown from there over, Yeah. Decades, uh, 10 years,

[00:06:34]Kyle: Yeah. It's been 10 official years. Yeah.

[00:06:36]Tom: Times two. So 20 years of collective experience.

[00:06:39]Josh: Kyle, maybe you can kind of chime in here with your experience coming out of school and what your expectations were as Tom said, managing expectations. And so I want to hear sort of what your aspirations were at the time. What were you thinking of doing as you were doing websites and stuff at this time?

[00:06:54]Kyle: Yeah. It's a good question. I think like coming out of school, it was a lot of, want to do what you love doing and kind of like start your own thing. Um, I don't know. Some days you think you, like Tom said he you'd kind of dream of being a lot further ahead than you than you were. and kind of like underestimate the energy and the effort.

[00:07:14]I don't think any of us went into it under like thinking it was going to be an easy road, but I think it's that, that the toll all of it week over week sometimes that like, I didn't quite expect, you know, when you're just like spinning more of your week, trying to figure out like how to make payroll, then you are trying to like figure out how to solve like a creative problem.

[00:07:32] Um, those kinds of things were like a totally different world expectations. I think that was a big thing. It was like just expecting a lot of that business side of stuff to like kinda sorta self out. And, um, since then become really interested in that. And like, that's a big part of what we focus on is, you know, applying those design thinking skills to business challenges.

[00:07:50]but yeah, it's, it's an interesting, interesting journey there. And we've zigged and zagged, not the word we've gone in and out of a bunch of other things that creative agency has always been at the core. And we've kind of like experimented in everything from kind of doing large community events together to like, we're going to talk about our new, more doing like a e-comm startup.

[00:08:09] Um, we had like a, like a drone business for a little bit there. Like there's a bunch of different kinds of pursuits that we had. But then at the center was always this creative agency that started as like a general shop. And we're kind of been this journey to go more and more into founder led direct to consumer brands where we partner with them and help them bring their magic to the world.

[00:08:29]Josh: That's awesome. And I think that was a really good point. It's like with the skills and I've I've been talking about this on the podcast many times now, when it comes to creative skills, whether it's web design or just graphic design, it's such like a horizontal sort of skillset that not only can you use it with any kind of business, but now more than ever, it's like needed in business, whether it's like digital, especially with digital, right. What websites with e-commerce sites with now, social media, and then all of the creative that goes into that with the marketing, it's been like, literally it's been needed for businesses.

[00:09:03] So have you guys been thinking about that? Um, over the years, you know, you're just saying that you're trying all these different pursuits.

[00:09:09] How have you figured out to be like, Hey, I don't really want to, uh, maybe go off the path too far and try these things. What have you guys been thinking, Oh, I want to come back to the agency. This is the thing I want to make sure that this is the main business. Keep the main thing, the main thing, one of you guys decided to make sure that that was the number one thing.

[00:09:28]Tom: the short answer to that, Josh is we decided far too late. this is, I mean, this is the, this is one of the biggest things that we've learned. I, I, I would also say it's probably one of the bigger things where we're still learning. Um, I'm sure it, it hits people in different ways, but in our experience and, and with us personally, the will and the drive and the desire for a creative person to, to try new things, to see opportunities and like run towards them, you know, drop your grocery bags and go across the parking lot for something cool. You know? Oh, a hot dog stand like pool, but like, that's just.

[00:10:08] That's something that we have very deep within us, but it is the absolute antithesis to what's going to make a successful, meaningful, impactful business. And those, those two tension points are the ones that are truly the fun to kind of work out that, when you want to do everything, but you know, you shouldn't, and the success lies in focus and, and success for us is, is coming more consistently.

[00:10:38] That sounds super, super braggy. It's not. Any success that we've found has come from the ability to sort of put that immediate impulse aside and say, you know what? We probably could do that. Yes, we are interested, but no, we're not going to be able to do that, and that, and that, and that, and that if we want to do this, Better than anybody else.

[00:11:02]I think that that learning it, it's taken time, it's taken a long time. Um, but I also think that's part that that part of the journey is, is extremely important because if we didn't try everything under the sun, you know, we wouldn't really know what it is we were passionate about and what we were really, really good at.

[00:11:21]Kyle: Yeah. I just think it's like, it's a, beautiful mess of a combination, like creativity, entrepreneurship, it's I even like, cause I actually taught Tom and I taught a couple of courses at Humber and with a lot of young creatives and it's kind of this weird, like you need that curiosity, but to Tom's point, like you need that discipline to say no, and that's something that's like, so kind of like foreign to creatives, I think, cause we want to explore these things and we want to say yes.

[00:11:47]In creativity you need like that improv approach, like yes, and. And like good business is more of like a, like a no, but. Like, it's like, it's like saying no to all these things and it's like, you have to have both, like, you need to be both, but it's a weird balancing act.

[00:12:00]Josh: Yeah. So totally. So for you guys, like, what does that now, like, I mean, you guys are doing branding identity and it's, what's really good about agency style businesses is you get to explore a lot of things, right? Like I was just on your website recently and you guys have so many awesome clients, I'm sure you're doing the same sort of things, but you can pursue different types of businesses by working with multiple businesses, rather than just having to focus on like one thing, one business.

[00:12:22] Now you have a core competency that can then be spread out to these other businesses. So I kind of want to hear that, um, how you guys have decided to work like that in the studio side of things.

[00:12:33]Tom: I don't know if there's that, you know, definitive moment, the, the shower moment where you're like, ah, well, it's all clear. We now have the, the path. I think, you know, it's a conversation Kyle and I have every week of every year we've been working together. But I mean, if you look at it in broad strokes, Like flashback even a handful of years ago, uh, we were fully entrenched in working on and within digital marketing, like we were building out campaigns and strategies for digital marketing.

[00:13:03] We had SEO baked in there. We were doing design work, um, video, like it was, it was intended to be that one-stop shop, the multidisciplinary, you know, the, the, the words that sound really, really cool because like, Oh yeah, we can do it all. like we could, but to operationalize that to, to really be truly effective and profitable and focus, it just, just doesn't work.

[00:13:29] So we've we've and I think the last three years, like thrashing through stuff that we can do that we're interested in, um, and bringing it really in tight, I'd say for, for us, it, it really has been, well, maybe the last year and a half where we've had, well, maybe in the last year, a really tight focus of just saying like, we're, we're going to do design and dev for founder led direct to consumer brands.

[00:13:54]That's What we're going to go after. That's what we're going to kick ass and take names at. And that's what we're going to predicate. Every decision is how do we be a value to those founders? And how do we pair skillsets offerings, operational efficient? Like how do we build a business that, that serves them?

[00:14:12] And that's been a really big flip is from looking at well, what can we do? And then how do we sell it to people to,  who are we trying to help? And then how can we, how can we help support that?

[00:14:22]Josh: that's cool. And what was it about that particular niche that you guys wanted to go all in on?

[00:14:28]Kyle: It all started. I remember going back, uh, maybe I want, wanna say like five years ago, Tom, back of a little annual retreat, Tom and I took, and we were talking about like, what, like, why do we want to do all this?

[00:14:39] And it kind of came back to this idea of like, we didn't have the words, but it was like, we want, like, we want the good guys to win. We want like the good people to be able to bring their vision to life. And we kind of were starting to connect the dots of like these, these clients that we were working with that, you know, wanted to make a better tomorrow. And sometimes that was like a literal, like they were actually, you know, really trying to make the future of commerce better or whatever, and be, or just like create like a experience there in hospitality. And they really want to create a moment for like people to connect.

[00:15:06]And so it started there like really like being connected to founders and these visionaries, as we would call them, perhaps maybe they wouldn't call themselves and how can we go around and support them. And then it kind of progressed into from that entrepreneurial founder bit into like the e-commerce space.

[00:15:22] And we were, we were like waffling with this about, two months pre COVID. And, um, we started to say, we're going to do it like part of this is we want it can't just work with all founders. One of the things we found was like, we were working with like consulting founders, like lawyers and consultants, all the way to like direct to consumer founders.

[00:15:39] And we're like, They share some of the same kind of like pains and dreams and desires as founders, but they're still like very different worlds. And in order to like, really be like really experts and really serve them, we got to focus in. And so we, we, we focus on this and the e-comm DTC and we started like kind of firing some, some clients, not fire, and we, we offboarded them gently to other places and said, this is not it.

[00:16:04] And we like made all these moves and then COVID hit. And we were just like, Oh shit, what did we do, we just like, let go of that marketing account. Like, that was like a retainer every month, and like, COVID nothing was happening. Right.

[00:16:15]And we really just decided that point, we just got to dig in and, and, you know, as COVID progress along, we've all seen that that was a good, a good bet. I think we saw about 10 years of growth in e-comm and in like 10 months. And so that's kind of where we've doubled down and triple down now is in e-comm DTC founders.

[00:16:32] Tom: I think that was well said, Kyle, I, well, you know what, I'll add one thing I will the moral of the story there is like our heart, our gut, our head, like we knew exactly who we wanted to serve, why, but it all just came back to being too afraid to just pull the trigger and make the frigging decision.

[00:16:47]we've been circling the same thing for probably a year prior to when we made that call. And yes, those first few months of the pandemic were like, they were scary because nobody, nobody was doing anything and everybody was feeling that. But, I think that that hindsight is 2020, pandemic was also 2020, but, we want to learn from that faster.

[00:17:08] I think moving forward is just when we feel a call, when, you know, when that intuition, that gut starts to kick in, just, just go for it. And fear's always going to try to hold you back from doing something. it probably means it's the better thing to do, if it's, if it's going to scare you. So.

[00:17:21] Josh: Yeah, no, no kidding. I think you guys made the right bet too. Like there's no way you could've known, uh, what the future would hold. So how do you guys think about that with decision-makings now when you guys are coming to make a decision? Like, obviously that seems like it was a big decision that you guys have been thinking about for a while you finally made it.

[00:17:36] Has that changed your decision making process, like as a team, as partners? Uh, I want to hear how that has kind of made an impact with you guys.

[00:17:44]Tom: We're comfortable being uncomfortable. And if we know we can't ever tell what the future holds, then whether you make a decision one way or another, they both have equally the same amount of opportunity to work out or not.

[00:17:57]what I think we've learned is to make decisions faster with the information we have, it's not to be reckless and just to be like going with trends and fads and like, uh, you know, whatever's, whatever's hot. Flavor of the month.

[00:18:08]Josh: Shiny object syndrome. Yeah.

[00:18:11]It's a big thing for creatives, right?

[00:18:12] Tom: it is, it is. And especially, so if you look at the entrepreneurial side of it, you're always trying to find what's next and what's the big picture and where things are going. But I think we're just getting more comfortable, not having all the answers, not having all the information, but making decisions quicker based on what we do have, what we do feel and where we do see the best opportunities ahead for us.

[00:18:38]Kyle: Yeah. It's totally. And I think in that, Tom, Tom always is a good challenge. I'm like, what, what's the thing in the way, the decision, and often, that thing is it's fear or, or it's like uncertainty or whatever, and kind of understanding those things. If you can understand, what's really behind the barrier to the decision-making.

[00:18:54] I think we look back even pre COVID and a lot of companies are talking about this and you're just like, man, I should have made that decision a year ago, but now I've suddenly got the courage now because like we're in crisis to like make this decision, like what was really in the way before.

[00:19:07] And it was like, I didn't want that person to not like me or I didn't want to like, make a decision that like I wasn't sure of, but then in a crisis it's like, you're not sure of anything serious. Like yeah, let's make decisions, you know, like, so what can you leverage from that?

[00:19:19]In leadership, it's like, you've, you've got to keep continuing to make decisions. It's kinda like knowing which ones to, to really fuss over and which ones not to. Tommy always asked us, like, what's going to matter like five minutes from now, and what's gonna matter five years from now, because if it's not going to matter in five minutes round, like just make a decision and just go, and trying to build that culture and the team of like, we can get so bogged down in the process of making decisions that like almost the train has passed the point of relevance for that decision sometimes.  Then it's was like, I didn't need to make the decision, uh, because the train passed and you're like, Oh my gosh, that's the total opposite of what you want.

[00:19:55] Josh: I think very similar to the decision-making process is like perfectionism. Have you guys ever had to deal with perfectionism and how do you guys deal with that now? Because I'm sure every creative does. Right. I want to know how you guys have been thinking about that over the last couple of years.

[00:20:09] Kyle: That's such a good question. Can we just put that one back to you, Josh? You answered that one.

[00:20:15]Tom: The other question I'd ask and we, we do talk a lot about this with the team. like, we want to look for and attract high performing creatives, like that are unreal at what they do, but the kind of the question back is like, take, take everything away for a minute.

[00:20:30]Will it ever be perfect for you? The answer is always, I don't know, or no, and no is no is the real answer. If you're coming at something from a perfectionist place, it isn't for the sake of the end product of the thing. It's for a belief in what you have in the capabilities of yourself.

[00:20:50] So we, we kind of extrapolate, we, we put these, these self-imposed beliefs or ideals on what we're doing and we confuse them for the same thing and they're not, and everything in life has constraints to some way, shape or form.

[00:21:05] And you even look at the most well-known the most documented and provably perfect specimens of creative output in the world, and if you talk to the people who were in charge of it, they didn't have enough time. They didn't have enough money, there were 15 other things that they needed to do and they didn't get it done the way they wanted. So, I mean, I think we just have to look at that, that at some point you you've got to call it done. You've got to be able to know when, to point at something and say, it's done.

[00:21:34] It's never gonna be perfect, but when is it done? And that's, I think where we're, where we're really trying to work with the team with ourselves, it's always going to be a struggle and a journey, but working to define what done is, is probably more important than, than trying to figure out when it's going to be perfect, because you're going to be waiting a long time.

[00:21:52]Josh: Totally. I definitely heard something. It was like, there's no such thing as done, especially with an art piece. Right. That could be any kind of creative thing. Cause there's no such thing as done it it's just the time ended.

[00:22:01] time was

[00:22:02] Tom: time's

[00:22:02] Kyle: That's cool. Yeah. If you get, do you guys see the, um, like the Lord of the rings behind the scenes that came out this summer?

[00:22:08]Josh: no I didn't. But I recently rewatched Lord of the Rings and it was unreal.

[00:22:11]Kyle: Oh, it's so good. Right? There's this one little vignette of them, Peter Jackson and the whole crew, but they, they just talk about the chaos of filmmaking and what we perceive as like, this masterpiece was just like what they called, like duct tape filmmaking and just, and they would go back through these scenes and there's this one where there's like one actor and they're like, yes. So the reason why he's looking down in the scene is actually, cause his lines are taped to his knee because we rewrote them before the scene and he didn't have time to really go through them. So that's why he's looking down. It looks like he's in thought, but he's actually reading his lines. Like there's just, you know, all this stuff and this idea of like the train has to keep moving. Like we're shooting this today. We've got to finish the scene, but you know, got to rewrite this or whatever.

[00:22:52] And just like, I don't know, trying to create that appreciation of the chaos while still having constraints. You've got it. We got to get this thing done, but like, you know, w we're going to keep going. We gotta keep moving.

[00:23:03]Josh: Totally. That's awesome. I had no idea. That's so cool. And I think a lot of companies and a lot of, you know, even the tech that we probably use on a day-to-day basis, we don't realize that it's really all just a bunch of duct tape stuff together. Like nothing's really like completely custom. Like I've noticed that recently. It's just a lot of like little pieces of tech or frameworks are just duct taped together, squished together, thrown out the door.

[00:23:24] So maybe this is a good way to sort of maybe not the best way, but a good way to kind of move into some of the tools that you guys have been using. I'm not sure how much duct tape you guys use, but I'd love to hear some of the, the tools that you guys use both internally, maybe for like communication stuff. And then what you guys focus on when it comes to delivering client work.

[00:23:43]Kyle: yeah, I think there's like an appreciation for duct taping the things. Uh, have also, we've really tried to build like a, a culture of like, and duct taping. So like, do we need that tool? Do we need that thing? Um, let's make it like really clear, even if it's like not perfect. Let's make it clear.

[00:23:58]Um, so we we've centralized, like our Homebase is Asana, uh, for day-to-day Asana works as like our go-to for the work around the work. And then our work happens mainly in like Figma and then in like a bunch of, kind of UX tools, like User Testing and like Google Docs to do the analysis, like the G suite. And then like coding all happens, I think they're still using Sublime, but I don't really actually remember, but the point is there's coding happening. It's

[00:24:30] Josh: So it's all custom cuts. You guys, are you guys not using stuff like Shopify or

[00:24:35] Kyle: Yeah. No, it's good. Yeah. Good question. So, um, that's probably more relevant. I just got really, really granular. Yeah. We, we build on Shopify predominantly.

[00:24:42] So like I say, like 80% of our builds are on Shopify right now, Shopify or Shopify plus. And then we've, we, we built PB and J on Squarespace. We did like over 350 sites in Squarespace and just tons of work. Yeah. It was a cause tear like squares and some of the craziest Squarespace stuff that like Squarespace would be like, uh, you know, there's like three agencies in the world that they'd be like refer people out to, like, we don't know how to do, but talk to PB and J or talk to, so it was like really cool, but we actually moved away from that when we got into ecom because the e-com capabilities are pretty limited on Squarespace. So Shopify Squarespace, and we're getting into Webflow.

[00:25:21]Josh: Nice. How much have you guys used Webflow?

[00:25:24]Kyle: Yeah. Uh, experimentally.

[00:25:26] Josh: Yeah. Yeah. It's been my go-to since like 2014 and I don't think I could use anything else. Love it. I'm obsessed. It's one of the best companies, people, their culture's incredible. Um, the product is like second to none again, if it weren't for like, e-commerce obviously Shopify is the go-to for that, especially with the app store ecosystem, which I want to also get into.

[00:25:48]Kyle: It's kind of

[00:25:48] the go-to.

[00:25:49]Josh: yeah. I mean, web flow just, um, recently added e-commerce functionality and people are saying it's too expensive for what it is. It doesn't really have the app store functionality. So, for e-commerce it's like, okay, I'm sure you can like create work arounds, but for the actual sites themselves for the actual, animations that you can achieve without code now is unbelievable.

[00:26:10] Tom: Yeah, it really is. We're, we're very excited about what it can allow the team to do. And I think a big, area of focus that we always have is like, There's not a whole lot we can't do what we, what we need to do though, is find a way to do it where it's like economically feasible. because not, not every founder of business, not every business has, you know, $150,000 starting budget for a custom site.

[00:26:36] But, the results we're able to achieve the way we can, processify how we get there, and then these tools like web flow and just the control, it allows for the team to get that, that quality and finish of, of project complete.

[00:26:51] But also the ability for the like the client to actually use it at the end of the day. Cause that's I think been a plague forever in web it's like, you've got this beautiful thing and then kind of hand over the keys. You're like, there you go. And clients are like, how do I, or like, this is awful. I'm like, whatever.

[00:27:08]Josh: Yup. Or then they're paying outrageous fees for monthly maintenance or, Oh, you know, costing, you know, a couple hundred dollars just to change some text here and there. The Webflow client editor has been awesome for that. You can really hand over the keys for most things. Um, it's yeah, it's incredible for that.

[00:27:23]Tom: we're looking forward to what we can do with that platform too.

[00:27:26] Josh: Yeah. And when it comes to the, you know, you're talking about the productization almost of your services, and I think that's a big trend right now, especially with agencies is productizing service. and you kind of touched on it, Tom. It was like, now you guys know what your product is, who you're serving.

[00:27:40] So have you guys done that, have you guys productize your service to make it more economical to make, have quicker turnarounds to, make a solid process of your business? Or is it different every time? Do you guys have like the same operations when you're signing on a client and working through it, or is it different every time

[00:27:57]Tom: the beginning of PB and J w when we started and up until about a year and a half ago, we were obsessed with productizing our services, like making very clear, understandable packages. And it, it worked very well in some ways, but I think where we've moved to focus is in looking at our approach, our process, the steps we take to achieve the results in the finishes that we have, less like a, like a box and more like an elastic band, where as an if required, we can stretch that out.

[00:28:30] We can go very deep in a lot of different phases of work, or we can have that snap back if we need to keep things tighter. And it is a lot more about, you know, execution and simplicity. So I know Kyle can speak to how. How, how we're able to do that. But that's really where we've been focusing is more on our, our process, our approach to work than the actual packages or product that, that, that, that sort of being sold in.

[00:28:54]Kyle: Yeah. Which I think is like really tied to that drive for expertise. Like about three years ago, we kind of really challenged, um, the Business of Expertise by David C. Baker is like a really, really good, challenging, manifesto on like what, what kind of game are you in as a creative entrepreneur and

[00:29:12] The productization can kind of get away from driving expertise if it's commoditized and, the theory is like, we're not actually really great as creative, especially, but in this industry at winning on operational efficiency. There are industries that are really good at that.

[00:29:29] So productizing commoditizing w leans a lot on operational efficiency, and it's not that you shouldn't strive for that. So I think one thing we've taken from it is process is super, super important, but the philosophy is more, is less now about like, how do we make this operationally efficient? So we can push like a hundred Ford model ones off of the assembly line tomorrow and more about how do we reduce the work around the work, so that the work can get done better and quicker and more effectively.

[00:29:59] And that's the that's I think the important part from process versus when you're really trying to drive expertise, which is like, you definitely need process, but if you commoditize it too much, um, you're missing the real magic of expertise, which is like digging in.

[00:30:11]And you're solving the problem. I think this is like the big thing too, is like, you're not solving the problem around the problem. You're not solving how to solve the problem. You know what game you're in right now you're doing brain surgery, but the magic is in the particular surgery that you're doing. And so often as creatives, we actually get to get lost in like solving the problem to solve the problem. And so if you get a project right, that you're like, I've never done this before, before you actually solve the problem and you have to solve the problem to solve the problem.

[00:30:41] How are we going to do this? And that's exciting, you know, beautiful on its own, but experts don't do that. Right? Like you don't show up to court with like a high profile litigate, and they're like, how does court work? You know, what, what happens next? Right? Like th. But the magic that the real expertise, that $7 million an hour that you paid them is for the way they construct the arguments, not the fact that they had to figure out where the arguments go in the court proceedings.

[00:31:08]Tom: And the, the ability to see things that others don't. So a lot in one in the whole sort of creative spaces, the more that you work on similar problems, the more you see, the more pattern matching you can do, and the more you can actually start to answer questions ahead of it even being a question, which is to say, we're not going to go down that path because we actually know it doesn't work.

[00:31:32] We've, we've tried it before we've seen it, or, or vice versa for things that do work like, Hey, we really need to be having you look at this. because these things work, these, these are the tenants of success when it comes to X, Y, Z. and it's a really liberating feeling as well, too, to be able to do that.

[00:31:49]You balance certain things. You, uh, You lose out on some element of that excitement in like, Hey, how are we going to do this? Um, to, to focus more about how are we going to do this better? Uh, and that's, I think that that one word makes all the difference.

[00:32:08] Josh: Yeah, totally. And I like that approach for sure. It's um, it's definitely reassuring to see, especially when it's something you guys do more high profile stuff. I'm sure it's more strategic as well than it is. Just like, Oh, here's a website, it'll work. So what is that process for you guys? Like how do you guys think about that with the strategy when you bring on a new client again, I'm sure it's different for different clients in different industries, but now that it's in the e-commerce, what have you guys found that actually works really well?

[00:32:32]Tom: It starts in sales. It starts with those first conversations. Um, so th that's primarily where I sit, day to day a lot of it is, is just being a different kind of partner sooner, uh, in those conversations.

[00:32:48] And I think one of the quickest ways to look at it is before you focused on being an expert, or before we focused on being an expert, it would be, hey, I need a website and you'd go, Oh, I'll take your word for it. Um, now let's figure out how we're going to package this. So how many pages, how many rounds of revisions? How many of all of the things that don't really matter, are we going to talk about, and then we'll put a price on it.

[00:33:12]Whereas now I would start a lot more with, Hey, I need a website and you go, okay, maybe you do. Maybe you don't like, why do you need, why do you feel you need a website what's happening? That's that's got you to talk to us here. And then always that, you know, you get to start to peel that onion back and really get to the, piece or the background of, of why. Uh, and sometimes it does come down to the fact that the tool of the site is needed or an overhaul's needed, or, but rarely is it really the thing that's coming to.

[00:33:43] And a lot of the times, a lot of times we talk to people when you really, you know, I spend 15 minutes on a phone call and be like, you know what? You don't need us yet. The problem you're talking about sits way over here. Um, you need to be looking at this and this, and you gotta get those in order first, before you even think about investing any money into overhauling a website, And it's sort of, that's where we actually get to help, not just do, and then that, that that's where it starts.

[00:34:08] And then it certainly goes in to strategy with the team, uh, and throughout the process, which, which I know Kyle can talk about.

[00:34:14]Kyle: Said, I think it's just all the same stuff, right. It's like asking, really asking why and getting to the thing behind the thing. And then, you know, if, if the team starting to work on it, we've, we've ideally done our, our job as a, as a company, helping them land in the right ballpark that they should be here in the first place.

[00:34:31] So that's kind of the assumption we go into it, but then there's still a ton of choices. And I think strategy is all about choices. And so really what it's trying to activate in the team and, and with, clients is like, what are the choices we should make? Like, what's the thinking we need to do? And what does this definitely need to like talk around in order to like, make some choices, what do we need to say no to? And sometimes that's a really practical, like what are some kind of a core features of functionality, but it actually starts before that it's trying to get them, what are like, what's the really important thing that you wanna accomplish with this?

[00:35:03] Like, what's the purpose of this website or what's the purpose of this rebrand and then who is this for? And every, he goes, well, it's for everybody. And it's like, no, it's not for everybody, but who's it really for? And so those choices start way up and, and kind of before you start deciding on like, should I offer a subscription or not?

[00:35:19]It's like, if this is for a millennial mother, like, cool, let's decide that. And let's stop making this website for, for Kyle, like this isn't for me. and, and it's not for you as the founder, if you're not a millennial mother. So like, and then what are the, like, what are the pain points that millennial mothers facing? Like, how can we serve her? How can we help her?

[00:35:37] And kinda like all those choices around things that then finally to the choices of features functionality look and feel all this kind of stuff. And then once all that strategy is done, then actually start to build the house that you've liked, decided on what you're trying to build in the first place.

[00:35:53]Josh: I think that approach is almost like the, um, I've heard this before from other consultants, which is like, taking the doctors approach, right? Like they're coming to you and your doctor's office, right. And they're saying, Hey, like my knee hurts you. Okay. You're just asking them questions.

[00:36:06] You're not trying to diagnose him. They just want to ask the questions first and try to figure it out. What's going on first and then you can lead to a good prognosis. So I think that's a really good way to go about, especially early on the early side of things.

[00:36:19] Has there been times where you had to turn down people and like, maybe in like the recent times, and I'd like to hear, like why and what have you told them to do or, or suggested that they've done rather than work with you guys directly.

[00:36:30]Kyle: Tom turns down, lots of

[00:36:35] Josh: You're on the other side of the table, instead of like doing the sales and getting the door shut, uh, shoved in your face is the other way around now.

[00:36:41] Tom: I, I get to say no to you. yeah, I mean, I guess if you just kind of look at it differently, I think is, is you're not saying no to people, you're, you're just saying I'm like, we're not the right ones to help. And I mean, if you, again, you look at the doctor comparison, a lot of times in this, in this space, in the creative space, um, and that like, that applies to like architecture and like people come with solutions in mind and that's that that takes a special kind of approach and care to work with them to almost like reverse engineer how they got there and figure out what they're actually trying to solve.

[00:37:21] So, saying no has become a lot easier because it's not, you're not saying goodbye to potential business. They were never yours in the first place. If you can't help them, you've got no business working with them. You, you have a, I believe you've got a moral obligation to turn it away if you are not the best fit to solve the problem. if you look at the doctor again, it's malpractice if you try to work on something that's not in an area of specialty, cause it could have, it can have bad consequences.

[00:37:49] So the approach is different. Why would I try to work with you on a website now, if the problem you have is that you have no idea who you're trying to sell to and you're spending, Oh, sorry, you're wasting all of your money on paid ads because you think you need to be doing Facebook marketing, but until, you know, why.

[00:38:07]And who you're trying to reach and what it is that you have, it's a value or purpose to them, nothing you touch is going to work. So the fact that you have no more budget left for a website, isn't actually the problem. And me trying to figure out what scope of work we can do within that limited budget is not actually my job.

[00:38:23] My job is to let you know, you're talking to us out of sequence. You've got to figure some other stuff out. And when you do, all of these pieces are going to click and your investment of time and money and energy and focus is going to be a whole different story.

[00:38:36] Josh: now you guys know like where you fit in the sequence, what is that sequence of events and how far along that timeline are you guys? Are you guys like near the end where they're like ready to scale? Are you guys somewhere in the middle?

[00:38:48] What is that sort of, lifeline look like from an e-commerce brand, because I'm sure you guys probably know the entire user journey here, for lack of a better term. It's not user journey, but customer journey from your guys' customers, what does that look like from like inception to like they're ready to scale?

[00:39:03]Tom: The, the lifeline is, that's like, that's the struggle, right? even when you figure out what you want to do, putting yourself on that lifeline, that timeline is a big one where we find our best fit, the true wins where everybody just is like, yeah. Yeah.

[00:39:20]They're a founder led DTC brand, they've been around for a couple years. Um, I think the sweet spot is usually around two or three years. They have a track record of success. Like they, they've grown, they've bootstrapped and they've done all this stuff that they can to kind of hack, hack this together. and they have a real opportunity or a real vision to scale. Um, so they're, they've got their eyes on that, that mid-market spot. So, you know, they're, they're probably somewhere between one and 5 million.

[00:39:50]and two things are true, they're there, they are looking for very calculated, strategic growth and partners that are capable of, of delivering that. and or they know that what they have was exactly hobbled together the way it needed to be at the time, but it does not reflect their brand properly to their customers and they want to be better, there's a functional and a fungsuasional, Uh, that's trademarked. I just made it up. It's w w we'll workshop it, but, um,

[00:40:20] You have this, like, this sort of parallel between the mechanics and, and the, the beauty part of the aesthetic part, the, the customer facing element, and they're looking to scale, you know, to that, 10 to $50 million Mark.

[00:40:32]that's typically, that's like our sweet spot of if you're there, if you're a founder and you're like a direct to consumer brand, and that's the spot where you're playing in, and those are the things you're looking for, hit us up, chat it,

[00:40:48]Kyle: I would say, like, it's, it's definitely, like, I think we're fine tuning in that. And also try to understand how do we capture and add value earlier in that journey, right? Like speak like in, during experiences and during brands and stuff is like knowing where we sit right now, it's like help kind of like mid-market at like mid stage point of transformation for DTC brands, but how do we connect and like serve them when they are just starting out right now, we can't throw a team of like 10 experts at them and do it profitably. But is there a way to like, bring some value to their like year one of existence, um, in a different way that isn't look like how we do it today?

[00:41:23]Josh: Have you guys thought about what that might look like? Is the podcast that you guys do, Commerce Chefs headed in that direction, that content wise you think.

[00:41:30] Kyle: it's, it's like step kind of step one. Right? Like we kind of see content being a big part of that, and eventually part of that is like bringing it into a community. And so, you know, like a, like a small community, you know, like picture like a hundred people or pitcher like 50 people in some sort of like ongoing bootcamp or masterminds, um,

[00:41:49] that kind of stuff where it's like early stage things where you can more optimally kind of work with at scale versus just like kind of doing, one-to-one like more of a one to many approach that eventually leads into that, work with us in, in a broader sense. But I think beyond the growth side is like better serve the mission. Like we really do, like our,

[00:42:10] Our purpose is to make the future of commerce more joyful, more human centered. And we believe we can do that through founders who see the future of commerce in the same way and are kind of focused on specific ways of, you know, whether it's sustainability or equality. And we, we can work with more and more this founders and put more of them, help them take their next step, if we can do that more, a one to many, one at scale versus just trying to do one site at a time.

[00:42:33]Josh: A lot of people are doing this either with a course, like you said, a community or a lot of the times now, both like us kind of being the business model. Um, seeing a lot of people having like a video course, like whether that's, a cohort base, you have a bunch of people coming in at once or just kind of like self-serve and they go through this course, and then there's some sort of community model.

[00:42:51] A lot of people are using circle. I'm not sure if you guys are familiar with it, circle dots so. Yeah, that's kind of the one that everyone's been using. It's sort of like a public Slack, almost Slack meets Reddit almost. So it has like the different channels, but it's multimedia rather than just a chat.

[00:43:07] So it's been a big one that people have been using. Um, I can definitely send you guys some resources of some companies using it. Um, so that's a big one and I, I could definitely see that, but you know, as we're just talking about it before, I don't know how much of that will deter with what you guys are already doing.

[00:43:22] I'm wondering at what point would you guys actually think about doing something like that? Like, is it when your team is like self-sufficient and then you guys take that on build that course build a community. I would love to hear how you guys would actually go about tackling that one.

[00:43:35]Tom: that's a really good question. I mean, thinking of it is something that's been going on for a long time between us, the, the activation of that in a few iterations we've, we've actually played with, you know, cause we, we like to test, like to test things where it's like, we have an idea, we're not going to sort of push it mass market as it were.

[00:43:54] So we'll, we'll kind of connect and we'll do like five or six of these things and see, see what works and see what didn't. We know there's still a lot of great meaningful work to be done, with kind of our core area of focus with PB and J until that something that, that we're not done with, cause it's never done, it's never done. It's never perfect. So until, you know, but when it's in that spot, um, and yeah, like a lot of days, I think we can have those, those moments on a Zoom call where we can just smile and be like, it's like, it's, it's close.

[00:44:24] Um, and we're, we're already starting. I mean, just even having started our, our podcast I think is a good signal to us that there's more time we can give to other areas of growth and other areas of focus, uh, for PB and J, and we'll just probably continue to, to look at that, um, and, and piggyback off the things that, that do go well when they do.

[00:44:43]Kyle: I think the only thing I'll say I'll add to it is like, We use OKRs to frame and for familiar with OKR is, but it's objectives and key results. Right. And it's really helps us make decisions on those things. And often what I'll say, like at a company level, but also all the way to the team is like, OKRs are about putting some framing on, not what could we do? But what should we do? So it's like, let's figure out like where we want to go and how we know we get there by choosing the results that matter to that. And then all those ideas, which like, we're so blessed with so many ideas, put them under an objective and then put a timeline on that objective.

[00:45:15] And we, you know, we work on quarterly or biannual cadence, and that really helps frame, like where all these ideas will come up and then it's like, it doesn't align to what's important right now. Or it doesn't align to what's important next year. And so then just kind of sits there and we really use that framework to help us kind of make decisions on like, what is that game that we're in.

[00:45:32] And to Tom's point, there's a big focus on just continuing to produce a good fiscal this year and then, uh, you know, keep some growth happening with some of those key actions that live under that like future minded for the next year.

[00:45:44]Josh: and I love that, that mind frame of like, what game are we in? Um, and I want to kind of dig deeper on that and your guys' mindset on that. I bring this up on the podcast a lot. It's kind of how I view things. Um, you know, we're playing games. I don't know if you guys have read or heard of the book Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse. Like a philosophy book.

[00:46:03] Kyle: No. Is this for Simon Sinek? Got his talk from that. He just steal it from

[00:46:07] Josh: yeah. He stole it from this book a hundred percent, the infinite game. Yeah. A hundred percent skates. So that's great. So even better, I mean, the Simon Sinek's version of the infinite game, is exactly going on this, industry, in what we are kind of talking about. So it kind of makes more sense,

[00:46:20] but I think in a broader sense, I do believe that like we're in the sort of, like, for lack of a better term, like grand theft auto open-world game, you can choose all these games. And then obviously those number of games start to get dwindled down. Like as creatives now you're kind of like set to like a smaller number of games you can play, but it's still quite wide, right? Like, you know, you're not going to probably design a rocket ship, probably maybe like some designs for it that might go out for like the space X website. Right.

[00:46:46] But you're not gonna design the ship itself, but I want to kind of get into that. Yeah. You should, again, sh probably shouldn't be working on. Yeah. Yeah. There's a lot of things we shouldn't be doing. That's even better to think of actually it's like, Hmm, I could, but I probably shouldn't. Yeah, not couldn't we do it, but what shouldn't we ever do?

[00:47:04] That's good. And that's a good way to think. Cause like I brought up at the beginning, I was like, we have this really finite amount of options to work with as a creative, especially in the design space, you can work on anything. I'm sure if you guys really wanted to, you could, again, maybe you shouldn't, but you could shift gears and design, like the next, like Facebook kind of social network, because you have the skills to do it realistically, but you've chosen your game in the e-commerce space and you've created this sort of, you've created a game for yourself.

[00:47:30] So now in Simon, Sendik's word, the infinite game, do you guys think, and I, I definitely see this in both of you guys, you guys have more of like an investor mindset than a trader mindset, which I brought up before, which is like, You know, people who are investing, especially nowadays this past year on like Robin hood and wealth, simple trade, you know, their traders they're day trading.

[00:47:47] They're trying to get a quick hit and they're trying to get a return, you know, within a week, a month, a year, rather than the actual investor mindset would be K, no. I'm putting money into a company that I love for the next 30 years. And it clearly seems like the work that you guys are doing with these brands, like you see them going on to be an enduring brand for like 20, 30 years, however long it is maybe hopefully longer.

[00:48:09] So when it comes to an investor mindset within this game is how are you guys thinking about that now? Like, would you think of maybe taking more of an investor sort of role with these companies that you bring on and take on equity and stuff like that? I want to hear your investor

[00:48:22] Kyle: weird that you're talking about this. Yeah, we were just, we were just talking about this, like, over the last month, really, because we've, we've structured some deals somewhat in this way. And we actually,

[00:48:32] speaking of OKR is in our most recent set of OKR is which go for the next six months in July, one of the results is to have a certain it's 20% of our patrons or our clients, with some sort of, uh, equity or like investment structure in their deals. So I'll let Tom talking about it more, but it's, it gets totally something we're working on right now. Yeah. Pull the curtain back.

[00:48:55]Tom: Yeah. Yeah, it is. It is funny, not funny. It's great that you mentioned it. and it's thematically tied as well. I think to do that idea that you've, you've brought up around, you know, what makes these long-term enduring brands and, just, just having a long-term mindset is, is part of it.

[00:49:14] Like it, it's simple. It's a really tough thing to do though. Especially, you know, when, when times are tough, but, one of our like core focuses are our drivers, our metric of whether we accomplished an objective or not, is that a decent size, uh, of our portfolio, um, has that element of equity or, or investment, it comes from a belief in, in a few ways. But outside of like this, the fiscal potential with that, it comes back to our, our purpose, which is if we're, if we're trying to make the future of commerce more joyful and human centered, there's a lot of different currency at play. Money is not, and I don't mean cryptocurrency like digital versus cash versus, uh, although, you know, we can talk about it.

[00:49:59] Um, but there's probably people better suited to talk about it that should, but there's other, there's other kinds of currency. Even within our business, there is time. There is energy, there is services, there is money. They're absolutely social currency. and, you know, we're, we're trying to, to be more creative with the dials and the currencies that are at play and they are, so yeah, that's a, it's a big, it's a big part of our push.

[00:50:28] Um, and just to really say as well, if we're going to be working with you, it's because we believe in what you're doing and we're going to show you that we believe by investing in it. and there's no more powerful way to partner than that. There's no more powerful way to, decimate this absolute BS approach to like companies and vendors, then to say, you know what, we're not a vendor.

[00:50:54] And if you're looking at us that way, We're, we're probably not the right fit, but if you're looking for somebody who's a partner and not in like the way that every proposal or pitch sort of says, like we're partners, back it up, show people how you actually partner with them that isn't just a one-way transaction of what we'll do this and you give us money and that makes us partners. It doesn't.

[00:51:14]So we're, we're working towards that, and we're we're pretty excited about it.

[00:51:19] Josh: That's cool. I love that, that mindset of like, not being a vendor, but being a partner. Um, so what are those, what are those kinds of things that you guys do? I mean, obviously with the equity and those kinds of things, is it like more longer-term relationships? Like, it's not just, like you said, building a website, handing over the keys, one and done very transactional. And I'm thinking the opposite of that is like a transformational type of thing.

[00:51:40]For you guys, as the people doing the service, obviously you need to get paid in cash at some point, because I can't even make payroll as you guys brought up before, like you need to pay people. So how do you guys balance that?

[00:51:50] How do you balance the, obviously there's a, there's a transactional element to it. Cause you gotta stay, you gotta keep going and then there's that transformational element to it. And how do you make sure that you guys are also getting a good end of that transformation? Not just doing it for them, for the goodness of your hearts, but obviously you guys need to get something in return.

[00:52:06]Kyle: I mean, like investing, I think it's about, like balancing your portfolio, right. And understanding your risks and figuring out what, what your current needs are. And if you're 35 or you're 85, your portfolio is gonna look a lot different, right. Like based on your, your life needs.

[00:52:21] And so talk about that kind of thing, like keeping a good chunk of what we do in like, the stuff that we know is going to be like, well done, highly profitable, and th th the equity and like these different deals are just like relatively new to us actually, like operationalizing them. So we're still kind of figuring some of that out, but the philosophy is that we wouldn't get too far stretched because we need to kind of make sure that quarter to quarter we're still profitable and in a healthy, sustainable business.

[00:52:47]outside of equity, I think it's still like turning that philosophy of it's, it's not just the project. Right. So a lot of times trying to get that team, like the team to like, look upwards and part of what they're, the game they're in is crush this project, you know, make an amazing, do it on time and in budget.

[00:53:04] But at the same time, like being involved enough to help people pull up and go the project, isn't the relationship. The project is like a part of their relationship. And so trying to make decisions about the relationships with patrons, with clients that are more long-term minded. And so whether or not we're invested, like whether or not we're going down an equity, uh, deal with that person.

[00:53:25] It's like, it's looking, trying to look beyond just that project and look to like, well, what does, what does that lifetime look with them over the next three years? What does the next five years look like if they were to stay, continue to work with us and grow with us and that kind of stuff?

[00:53:39]Josh: Yeah, that's awesome. So then kind of flipping the script then looking into the businesses that come to you guys, or when you guys are out searching for them, I kind of want to hear, first, like what that looks like, like how much of it is you looking for business and how much is them coming to you from referrals, from whatever.

[00:53:57] Um, and then when that does happen, how do you guys spot like an enduring brand that, you know, you want to work with? Like, what are the kinds of things that, you know, I mean, I'm sure a lot of it's gut feeling we don't really know, but what do you guys look for to look into like an enduring brand

[00:54:11]Tom: Yeah. And I, I think the interesting part, unlike, investing is that we're, we're talking about humans at the, at the fundamental core of this and, and, and we're not treating it like an actuary table. We, we don't have that kind of, um, You know, data, and we're not trying to put, uh, human beings in a box that much,

[00:54:30] but think things that really stand out when we're speaking with people where this could be opportunity is, is scale of their vision. So there's, there's no wrong answer. If you want to create a business that that's a job for yourself, um, that that has, uh, has an impact, you know, you here, maybe, maybe it's sort of a small or, it's even something that you do on the side of something else like that, that's all well and good.

[00:54:56] Um, I think when, when we're looking at or spotting ones, like it's the scale of vision. What exponential level of change are they looking to make? Or how big is this reach that, that they have in mind? Um, another is, is clarity of purpose. so truly can we see, can we understand very clearly their purpose, who they're for what they're looking to change and why?

[00:55:21]that's going to be really important. Um, I think for us, it, you know, just, just the level of, um, humility and openness that they have is also going to be a big thing. Um, because you don't, first of all, you don't get into being an entrepreneur without taking a few punches and, and learning how to sort of get back up. And that, that good ideas come probably a lot of times from outside of yourself.

[00:55:44]Yeah, just, just there, they're looking for a partner to, they're looking for somebody that can infuse as much as, uh, as what's there and vice versa. and then, you know, of course there's always those, those practical components of, you know, is this something that, you know, that the market Is prime to want or need, um, is it, is it different enough from anybody else that might be doing something similar? And, uh, how, how has the performance been over the last 18 to 24 months that they've been in business? And is it, is it something that is able with the right ingredients to really, cook it, cook it up at night?

[00:56:17] Josh: Totally. And I probably should've brought this up at the very beginning, but I really want to know the obsession with food. I'm not obsession, but like, I love it because the funniest thing is like, even for me over the last, like, I dunno like 10 years, I was thinking about that through like content production.

[00:56:32] It's very much like you're cooking stuff right there. The ingredients to it. There's like a cooking process to it, the creative process. And you guys have like, communicated that so well, even just through the name, PB and J but then like I'm on your website. And like, you guys are talking about like the ingredients that you use, and like serving up delicious digital recipes.

[00:56:49] So I think A it's funny, it's a great brand. It's I think that's one of the reasons why you guys have been so successful lately, just because it's so clear, it's endearing and it's awesome, but I want to know how you guys think about that and how you guys have brought that into the company and scaled that up. Cause it's, it's hilarious, first of all, but also it makes a lot of sense from another creative.

[00:57:07] Kyle: It's really just a joke that we committed to and now we can uncommit to it. That's really what happened. So that's it full stop.

[00:57:18] Josh: that's it. Okay.

[00:57:19] Tom: Yep.

[00:57:20] Josh: sense. And you just, just went all in. Let's get it. Even to the fact that now the podcast is called Commerce Chefs.

[00:57:26] Kyle: House right now. It's like, no, it's like the thing. Yeah. It's PB and J we didn't start it with the cooking metaphor in mind. it kind of came from like the naming of PB and J was originally started as like this like sandwich, you know, made for each other, goodness. It's like, we want to be simple and straightforward, but we still want to be awesome.

[00:57:47] And the other part of it was like this cheekiness and we want it to be like a damn good sandwich, but also kind of wanted to not take ourselves too seriously. kind of riff on like a lot of like professional firms and like agencies that were named after like CP and B at the time was big and like, uh, all that kind of stuff.

[00:58:04] Right. So it was like PB and J and like, actually people still to this day are like, who is it? Who's PB. And who's Jay. And I'm like, no, no, no. It's like literally the sandwich. And it's like the best part of my day when I get to tell them I'm not PB or Jay, that it means peanut butter and jam. And yeah, we're going to make some good stuff here.

[00:58:20]but then I think from that, I think we're like, you know, as people who believe in brand and storytelling, we're like. We got to make this come to life and it started small. And I think over the years, and Tom has been a really good kind of proponent of advocating for like, how do we tell that story more uniquely, but connected in this way?

[00:58:37] And the cooking analogy, not only is something that we, we love, we all, or a lot of us tend to love food. Um, it works really well and is actually a really, really nice kind of like tangible metaphor for something that is like very much intangible. So it, it, it really works out nicely.

[00:58:56] Yeah,

[00:59:02] Josh: well, that's good. Do you guys get to just keep like, you know, wringing out that joke and you just get more joy from it every time. So that's

[00:59:08] Kyle: It's

[00:59:09] Josh: It would suck if you didn't actually find it, finding your God dammit. You had to explain that, but it's great

[00:59:14] that you like, you enjoy actually explaining that.

[00:59:16] Cause that's the best part.

[00:59:19] Tom: there certainly was an element of acknowledging like, hey, like this has got legs to it. it's going to give us a lot of, a lot of latitude down the road, uh, outside of the joke and the cheekiness, but food is common to all people. It's, it's something that connects us. Uh, it's something we enjoy, you know, even if it is just protein powder, raw, you know, food, food is something it's, it's sustenance. Um, but it's relatable and it's familiar. And, uh, certainly there's a lot of word play potential, which is important to us.

[00:59:52] If we can't pun it up,

[00:59:53] Josh: Yeah, I was going to say, I hope all of your like, contracts, just start with like, let's get cooking. Like I

[00:59:58] really

[00:59:58] Kyle: Oh, yeah, there, there are things that are legal and HR have to say that is funny, but it's not going to be useful if this is a legal document that we need to use at some point,

[01:00:12] Tom: you can't use that. Like what

[01:00:18]Josh: that's funny. And so like for you guys, like, obviously you have this late heart in this to you, like, does it become like challenging when you have clients that don't kind of jive with that? Or is that Tom where it comes back to, like, we will not work with you? Cause we don't feel like you have the same kind of energy, the same kind of vibes that we have.

[01:00:34]Tom: Yeah. Kyle, Kyle could share a bunch of stories and I could too, like, I think that's for like an after credits moment, but, but here here's, the thing is you can either choose to be yourself and be comfortable and project to the people that you want to try to reach, or you can try to be something for everybody and not really be sure of who you are.

[01:00:55] And I think one thing we definitely know, we want individually with people at a personal level on the team, but also as a brand and a company is there is no point in us trying to pretend that we're something that we're not. So we might as well just lean into who we are. and we will equally attract the people that were worth talking to, or we're going to repel the people who will not be a good fit.

[01:01:17]that might be a strong word, but it's the truth. if you can't get on board and get down with, with our site, like good Lord, are you in for a ride talking to me on the phone or working with the team or anything else that we put out. So just, you know, stay where you are. and, and we'll all be happier for it, but, uh, just, just be you like, who's got, who's got time To try to be something else. And I probably the kids listen to note there, it goes for you to

[01:01:43] Josh: Especially just, just avoid, avoid, you know, years and years of trying to be something you're not. And I mean, is that something you guys had to deal with over the years? Like, it seems like before you guys were almost like freelancers together, then you started King X Portland, then you guys did, did this, or was there an overlap? Like what was that journey like?

[01:02:02]Kyle: yeah, it's, it's a good question. That journey was at the center has always been PB and J had had a couple of names going through there, but PB and J we'll just call it that. And King and Portland came out of, you know, some of those lunchtime discussions of, hey, let's try something.

[01:02:18]And so King of Portland was actually like this. We kind of look back at it as like our, here we go with the food analogy, our original test kitchen So we, we had thought of this idea and we're like, it could be interesting and we get to learn lots about kind of a totally new business. Uh, and so then we kind of conceived then launch this, the sock subscription, but because we're, like I don't know, creatives with, so yeah, a little bit of  crazy sauce.

[01:02:41] We're like, no, we're not going to just like buy socks, we're going to design the socks. And so we're going to need a manufacturer and we're going to need to like, get thread count and all this kind of stuff. And this whole, like, and then it was like, we gotta make a customer experience. So then we got someone on the team and we like hand packed all these socks and like made them special and like put story cards.

[01:02:57] And this whole, like, thing of how do you, how do you make this special and kind of learned all the ins and outs of like e-commerce operations and like marketing a DTC brand and all this kind of stuff that went in and out of what came from, like, let's make some, let's make some interesting socks and make a subscription business, cause that seems like something interesting.

[01:03:16]So that was kind of this foray for a couple of years. And it lived as, almost as like a adjacent business to PB and J where some of the team would work on it. We'd work on weekends and evenings packing sucks and all that kind of stuff and had some great team that eventually took that over.

[01:03:30] And then we sold it, uh, and it was not something that we didn't at the time didn't want to pursue further. And there was another company in their sock company that was looking for that brand in their portfolio and, and those subscribers. So they, they bought it from us and, uh, we went back to full-time PB and J and I think we're cooking up  

[01:03:53] Josh: That's awesome.  you know, bringing it even further on that analogy of the test kitchen, you know, obviously like ghost kitchens and virtual kitchens are like a big thing right now, right. Have you guys thought about that sort of business model and e-commerce have you guys thought about that? I think Shopify is down doing Shopify fulfillment. So these are basically like the ghost kitchens, right? Of like, e-commerce have you guys thought of how you can systematically and cheaply test products out. I mean, there's obviously the drop shipping model and there's, you know, like print on demand and stuff like that for clothing for, instead of having to manufacture all this stuff.

[01:04:26] But do you guys think of that? How you can like test these products out more or work with clients to test out products easily?

[01:04:31]Tom: Yeah. I mean, it's sort of full circle to earlier in the call, but I mean, yeah, we, we would love to, want to do it all. Uh, but I think our, our approach to what Kyle mentioned with OKR is, is, the way we're going to continue, I think, to be useful and valuable to our patrons, to our clients and to our team and the business is to still do that somewhat methodically.

[01:04:54] And there's a big area of interest in customer experience, uh, holistically is very much on our radar. Again, if we're truly going to be a help to these founders, what are the things that they're struggling with? What are the things that they need help on? And just because we don't do it now, doesn't mean that we can't, or, or wouldn't, down the road.

[01:05:13] So customer experience is a big part of it. like we've certainly played around in the, uh, operations, fulfillment shipping side of things. Um, I think the honest truth is right now, there are people that specialize in that and do it a whole heck of a lot better than we do. We'd rather work with them to kind of bring that together, be the PB, did the J mush that squishy, squishy glorious center in and, uh, and give a pretty kick ass sandwich.

[01:05:39] Josh: That's perfect. So you guys find other other partners that can fulfill the certain things that you guys don't have. So yeah, when it comes to, you were just saying, being a partner to the clients, now you're bringing in other partners as well, because it makes a lot of sense. Okay. We just do this one part really, really well.

[01:05:54] Those guys over there, they do that other part really, really well. We're going to connect you. So again, that's the transformational relationship. Obviously, I'm not saying you should be thinking about, well, how do we capitalize on that? But your best part is just, hey, we know the people that can do it really well for you, and we'll just make sure you get that part done really, really well.

[01:06:10] Tom: yeah, we went, we went together with that. Like if, if, again, if, if the, if the mindset and the lens is we're here to help. Then that's the best way to help. And I don't know if you guys have tried this ever, but there's this, this, the big Mac challenge where you buy a big Mac meal and the Coke, you put the fries, the S the sandwich and the Coke in the blender, you blend it up and then you chug it.

[01:06:36] The science of that is your body can't take it. And it comes back up. But I think to draw the food analogy to it is you can do a lot of work to try to blend stuff together, but the best things happen when the burger is a really good burger and the fries are great fries and your drink is a great drink.

[01:06:55] And I'm not saying that McDonald's, is the best at those. I am saying, though, yeah, when you can bring in integrated partners, when your focus is to provide the best whatever meal possible, then you're going to pull those together. And like, that's, that's, the power is like, look, if you could pick your perfect burger and fries, like they probably don't come from the same place.

[01:07:14] And that's where uberEATS is dangerous, you know? Well, I'm going to get my burger for me in w I'm getting my fries from Wendy's, I'm going to get this from here and that from there. And then I have the F the perfect fast food meal. So that's like us.

[01:07:27]We want to bring all the best together.

[01:07:29] Josh: you just like brought up a total other life hack with like ordering specific stuff in

[01:07:34] Kyle: right.

[01:07:39] Feature. It should be like, do it's called it the round trip. And it just, you can select like four restaurants and they just do like a big loop and hit them all and company. Oh,

[01:07:47]Josh: Oh man, or I think door dash, right. They're going to be doing the ghost kitchen. So I think eventually you'll be able to just do that. Like it will be they'll spring them up. Like you

[01:07:54] can get it all from one place. Yeah. Door dash

[01:07:56] Kyle: That would be crazy. I mean the ghost kitchen stuff is like such a crazy topic. Like it shifts it, it brings up this whole idea of like what game are you in? Is like, what is that special sauce that you bring? I think that's something that like enduring brands figure out and they don't fuss around on some of the stuff they don't need to, and they focus just relentlessly on what is that special, de jeuje that they bring, the pain that they're really solving  

[01:08:27] Josh: I think that makes total sense. Any good business, any good product, like we're on Riverside right now. They're just nailing this video aspect so well that the three of us are on different locations. It's all, you know, right now in real time, then when this is done, we're going to have like the highest quality audio and video. Like that's, it's, it's perfect that you're just focusing on one thing they're not thinking about, oh, how do you know, edit this, this video? They can, we'll let, we'll leave that to someone else. Right.

[01:08:50]Um, but this kind of brings me to the antithesis of this almost, and maybe this will just bring everything right back, which is Tom's your, your idea of the multihyphenate creative entrepreneur. I mean, we've been talking about that, that's been kind of the thread throughout all of this. I've been trying to thread that through this whole conversation,

[01:09:06] but I want to just make it like very upfront and center, uh, for people listening and, you know, just get like, you know, absorbed in that notion of what this actually is.

[01:09:15] So first Tom, I'd love for you to kind of explain your thinking of that and what you, what that is to you. And then maybe we can find some interesting things from there.

[01:09:23]Tom: we did, we dabbled all around it, like a paint by numbers. Um, But I think, think the idea that we come from with the multihyphenate creative is that we should have different areas of interest. We should have different areas of, of skill. and we should dabble in this and that, and we should have a broad understanding of the creative field.

[01:09:46] Um, the things that are, you know, parallel to the work that you do, the things that are next level to the work that you do, the things that come before and sequencing all of that and how they all connect. And that web is important, bringing those together, isn't it, isn't always what the point is.

[01:10:01] And, and multihyphenate from at least my point of view is I love music. I am passionate about theater and acting and, set design, like I find art and films, and music, like there's so much good creative stuff out there, and there's so much that that can, should and does inform your every day and, and what we need to continue to try to find our are the hyphens.

[01:10:26] Um, not for the sake of trying to sound like self-important, that's not at all what it is. It is to, to draw from the strengths of all of these different areas to get better at things and read more and learn more and be open to more because it makes the thing that you're an expert at even better, when you can support it with all the other stuff around it.

[01:10:45] Um, and that's, That's the lifelong pursuit.

[01:10:49]Josh: do you have something to that to Kyle? Like, do you, do you have like other, Passions pursuits that you kind of go after outside of PB and J that you've brought into the company. Cause I, Tom, you're just talking about like, theater and the arts and stuff like that and bringing into what you do. So is there stuff like that for you, Kyle?

[01:11:03]Kyle: Uh, you know what? I, less and less, but I think like a lot of that recently has been. You know, a lot of focus on business, a lot of focus on family and especially in the past like year and a half, kind of navigating those two really, really big, important pillars.

[01:11:18]it amidst all that's changing and going in the world. And so some days I'm like, man, what happened to the music that I used to play or the songs I used to write or the poetry is to write and the books I used to read or all that kind of stuff. and, and I think to Tom's point, it is really important and to try not lose lose sight of that.

[01:11:33] So there's definitely like creative things that keep me going. Um, but it's been a weird, it's been a weird couple of years, to be honest with you, but especially the last year. think just trying to take some of the that hyphenating into, like, whatever life brings you and wherever you're at and applying, you know that creativity to whatever that life is. And I've got, Tom's got kids, I've got kids and, I've, three-year-old twins. And so a lot of time on the weekend is playing with them. And so how do you bring that creativity and, and, and joy into that? I find a lot of inspiration, like poetry and which maybe seems like a weird connection to business, but it, that often gives me the head space or some of the ideas to bring into like solve some of the people challenges that we're having people, challenges, people leading, like, you know, friction points. And so bringing that creativity, and sometimes that's writing poetry, sometimes that's reading it and, and using that as a space to

[01:12:21]multihyphenate my way to a solution and inversely into the business world.

[01:12:25]Josh: Yeah, totally. And it kind of sounds like there's sort of a two pillars are one, like Tom, you brought up, it's almost like we were talking about this being a game, it's like, you know where you are in the game right now, and you're not trying to go on different level, but then by hyphenating in and going out, you're kind of getting a lay of the land.

[01:12:39] You're getting a bigger picture of what this game is. You're getting a picture of what the next level is. Where was the level you came from? What are the, um, the parallel level. So, and I think that's really great too. Cause you can bring things in from other disciplines. Um, that's how you'll come up with something new.

[01:12:54] Like I think right now, We're almost getting to the point where like, there's nothing really new. Like we're kind of like hitting that ceiling the only way to create new things start combining it. Right. The PB and J now you have, you know, it's making those combinations. So I think it's totally fine to do that, but then it's like figuring out, okay, what are your professional at and then what are you a dabbler at?

[01:13:13] It's totally fine to be a dabbler at things like you might not be a professional juggler or a professional drummer, but you can do that on your free time. And I think what a lot of people do with business is they try to almost like systematize a business so that it's like an income generating thing that like they're good with the money, then they can just dabble with all these things.

[01:13:32] And we're seeing that a lot more right. With people trying to do, again, that maybe that's the trader mindset or maybe it is the investor mindset of, hey, I'm going to invest a certain part of my life into this business that can either be sold or like run independently of me that brings in money. Then I can do all these things I like doing. And who knows where that goes?

[01:13:49] Like if you look at people in history, like Leonardo da Vinci, he called himself basically an architect and like, uh, an inventor, but then he gets known for the fucking Mona Lisa. You know, he gets known for his paintings, but he didn't ever think of himself as a painter, which is, it blows my mind every time.

[01:14:06] Kyle: That's a good example.

[01:14:08] Tom: that, like, he's a great, he's a great example of that, that Renaissance man, um, kind of thing where, but I don't feel like the, the point is to be good at everything. although that's, that's nice, but the, the hyphen, that idea is that the investor mindset would be the more I know about things, the better I can see patterns and connections between them.

[01:14:33] And that's where power lies. Whether you even just look at it strictly from a business sense in, in connections are your network. You know, network is your net worth, whatever things you want to throw on that, but connections are critical. If you can see that this connects with this connects with this or that these could connect. That's that's going to make all the difference in the world.

[01:14:56] And so dabbling, although I also believe it's like the essence of life to be able to explore and try different things, try new foods. Um, but, but to be able to be like, Oh, like how that's put together actually has a lot of similarities to how this, and there's, you know, what, they solved this by doing that. I wonder if we could use what they learned there. And that's like, that's what the hyphen, that's what it's about. It takes these two. Yeah. It connects these two things that are, that are disparate and they make it, they make it one, but still two very distinct things and, and the PB and J is perfect hyphenated food.

[01:15:33]Josh: It truly is. It's like the simplest, like most concise version of that. I love it. So yeah, you guys definitely, definitely nailed it with that. and I guess I just want to end it off then with a couple of resources, um, tools and stuff.

[01:15:45]So you know, we're talking about this multihyphenate and like going to, dabble and explore and stuff, but obviously there's a time where you need to like, for lack of better term, but exploit, right.

[01:15:53] There's the explore and then exploit, not in like in a bad sense, but in the actual term of exploiting this thing. And you guys have found that with PB and J. So for all these people who a lot of people listen to podcasts are like, you know, they could be students, they're people early on their careers.

[01:16:06] What kind of advice would you give to them to start on that path of like becoming a master like you, like we said, you can totally go off and like, you know, try things and do whatever you want on the side. But if you want to master one thing, um, you do sort of need to like, for lack of better term, but like niche down and really focus.

[01:16:24] And obviously it seems like you guys have, have brought a level of discipline into it too. A lot of creatives are scatterbrained and they just kind of do it, but like you've been methodical about it and bringing that entrepreneurial mindset into creativity. So I'd love to hear some, maybe some closing thoughts, some resources, some, wisdom and inspiration that you guys can can bring for some people listening.

[01:16:43]Tom: We truly believe when there's an intersection of passion and purpose, there's something important that you shouldn't ignore there. How that takes form is, I mean, there's, there's infinite possibilities, I think if you're going to truly exploit something, and if you're going to take the business world and the art world and try to make those work, then the passion is needed because the, the dedication and the resilience and the drive to continue down that path is, is not for the lighthearted.

[01:17:14] And you need to have, you need to have that grit, but at the end of the day, the other component, the other ingredient, the purpose, it's the North star. It's when you don't want to get up and try again, it's the reason why you do, it's the reason why, you know, why you set down that or started down that path in the first place.

[01:17:34] So that would be probably my biggest, especially if you're younger. you know, skills, you can learn, software as a tool. They're not the things that will define you, but the purpose that you serve and the passion that you have for that, those are the things to listen to, whatever, whatever they are. And you'll, you'll find a way with those to make it work.

[01:17:57]Josh: That's awesome. That's great. Thanks so much, Tom.

[01:17:59] Kyle: can. I just like ditto that.

[01:18:01]

[01:18:02] resources, like Good to Great, um, which is like an old school, like business book by Jim Collins, and the one little nugget that I'd throw out there is they profiled a lot of these CEOs of tech, these companies from, from good to great and can outperform the market.

[01:18:17] And they didn't often look like the kind of archetype of a CEO of a leader that we often put out there. And one of those things was this, like this relentless stubbornness on the things that matter a lot and this absolute humility and agility around the things that don't.

[01:18:37] And so kind of like understanding in your life, but also as a leader, like, what are those really really important things. And this kind of like duality of being like incredibly disciplined to the vision of what you're trying to create, what the same time being incredibly humble  that there are a lot of that there are a lot of other people around you that you can help get you there.

[01:18:57] Josh: Yeah. You guys honestly like seriously, this conversation, even just from this last hour and a half has been incredible. You guys have just brought so many new ideas and kind of, you know, I really appreciate guys riffing with me too on some of these ideas. no, seriously, this was awesome. And like, you know, just from your, wisdom seriously, in knowledge from being in the industry for so long, and you guys have so much ahead of you too.

[01:19:18] I mean, it seems like you're really just getting started with PB and J D honestly, it seems like it takes a long time, right before you really hit the knee of the curve, and then you got to stick with it and you guys are doing amazing. The work that you guys have been putting out is great.

[01:19:30]but one last question I have for both of you guys, um, you know, there's a lot going on, you guys have obviously gone through a growth period and stuff. What is something that you guys are really excited about coming up with the business, with some of the things you're working on, maybe something not, not having to do with the business, but what are you guys excited about coming up?

[01:19:45]Tom: I'm excited to meet five of our employees in person at some point. it's been weird to grow a company, and a team of people that like, there are five, there are five people on our team right now that I've never met Kyle. Kyle and I, well,

[01:20:03]but

[01:20:04] like I've never met in person And that's like, that's weird.

[01:20:08]Uh, so I, I am really looking forward to a time in the next, I'm going to say the next, you know, 12 to 18 months where it will be more than reasonable, responsible, and respectable to, uh, to meet them. I'm pretty, I'm pretty pumped about that. I don't know.

[01:20:26] Kyle: Yeah. Is this just the regular stuff,

[01:20:29] Tom: Just the regular stuff, you know,

[01:20:30] having

[01:20:31] Josh: stuff. Yeah.

[01:20:32] Kyle: I'm S I'm super excited about that. I'm a secret, like people giving people hugs, that's like, I'm really excited about like, not feeling like a, ticking time bomb when I'm giving someone a hug, which is a weird feeling. Cause it's like this like complete opposite feeling of like, that's what, you're the opposite of what you're trying to do.

[01:20:49]in, in business tell, cause I just went really. I just want to hug people, Josh. That's really what I want to do. I just want to hug that's where it came down to.

[01:20:59] Oh, I think I'm excited. I'm going, I talk a lot about like continuing to like fire ourselves. Um, and I'm excited about, you know, where the last six months have, we've jumped into new roles and things and that kinda stuff to help grow.

[01:21:13] And I'm excited to like fire myself in six months, um, from some of those things as we build, you know, a great team and systems around it to take some of those pieces off of my plate. And so I can focus into other things. So I'm excited to get fired Josh.

[01:21:28]Josh: I love that. For all the best reasons ever. All right. Well guys, guys, this was awesome. Like seriously, this conversation was fantastic. I hope we get to do it again in another capacity in some way.

[01:21:40] Um, for all of those listening right now, check out the podcast, Commerce Chefs, I'll put a link in the description and you know, other than that, where can people find you if they want to connect with you guys, personally, you guys on social media,

[01:21:52] um, websites, where they, where can they engage with PB and J where

[01:21:55]Kyle: going on. He

[01:21:57] Tom: Tick-tock and MySpace. Yeah, my, my space is where it's at still for me. Um, you know, you can find us on, uh, LinkedIn, at PB and J or, or, or Kyle Duka and Dan, Tom Culver, w we're easy to find. And, um, our website of course, uh, commerce chefs.com or add pbj.com. If you're looking for the agency side and, uh, you know, all of the, all the handles there too for, uh, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter,

[01:22:29]no TikTok.

[01:22:30] There's really no TikTok

[01:22:32] Josh: yet. Not yet.

[01:22:33] I see there. I do you guys see there being a lot of, uh, growth potential there for brands?

[01:22:38] Tom: Well, I guess it depends how the courts rule on

[01:22:41]Josh: Are they still doing that?

[01:22:42] Is that still a thing? I thought it was like, they're safe now. I thought they were good to go.

[01:22:46]Tom: Uh, well, good.

[01:22:50] Kyle: I thought it got approved, but there, it was like a conditional or something. I don't know. I don't know. I think there's definitely, it depends on the brand, but there's like, you can't not look to this behemoth. Especially if you're like a mass market CPG or something like that. I think

[01:23:05] Tom: Yeah,

[01:23:06] Kyle: can't be everywhere.

[01:23:12]Josh: that's true. And that's, that's been a thread this whole time. Pick your platform

[01:23:16] yeah, I'm sure I'm sure. Yeah. Pick your poison, pick your platform.

[01:23:22] And this is like a poison bottles with the logos on it, or like drugs. I don't know. Yeah.

[01:23:29] That's awesome. Well, we'll leave you with that guys.

[01:23:31] Pick your platform. Hopefully this was on Spotify or something. I don't really care wherever you listen to this. Thank you for listening though. Tom Kyle, this is amazing. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast and I can't wait to do it again.

[01:23:42] Tom: Thank you, Josh it was awesome.

[01:23:44] Kyle: Thanks, Josh. Appreciate it.

Thanks for coming this far! if you're reading this, it is no accident. The universe brought you to this corner of the internet for a reason, and you're on the right track. I already know that you're an amazing person and I can't wait to connect with you!

— Josh

Episode Transcript

Josh Gonsalves
Mind Meld Podcast Host

Hi, I'm Josh Gonsalves, the host and producer of Mind Meld. I'm also a Canadian Academy Award-nominated director and Co-founder of Contraverse, an immersive media company. I'm a multi-media experience designer living and working in Toronto, operating at the intersection of design and exponential technologies to develop solutions that change the world for the better.

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