Episode 063: Carl Smith of Bureau of Digital

Carl Smith, passionate people connector and owner of Bureau of Digital, is our guest on Episode 63 of the TEN7 podcast. It's Carl's mission to keep brainstorming myriad opportunities for people to meet and help each other. If you haven't signed up for a Bureau of Digital event by the end of this podcast, we haven't done our job. 

Host: Ivan Stegic
Guest: Carl Smith, Bureau of Digital

Podcast highlights: 

  • If you mention you like gummy bears to Carl, they just might appear
  • How Owner Camp began 
  • Even owners get imposter syndrome!
  • The ridiculous breadth of summits, camps, and workshops Bureau of Digital puts on, from events for owners, project managers, operations, women’s leadership, and Diversity Days events (seriously when does this guy sleep)
  • How Carl leans on his community to get ideas for both what a new event should be and who can share info
  • How his daughter prompted him to think about his life path
  • How Carl went from Bureau of Digital attendee to owner
  • How he figured out the answer to: "How do you scale intimacy?"
  • How when given the opportunity, people are quick to self-organize to help each other

Links:

TRANSCRIPT

IVAN STEGIC: Hey everyone you're listening to the TEN7 Podcast, where we get together every fortnight—and sometimes more often—to talk about technology, business and the humans in it. I'm your host Ivan Stegic. My guest today is Carl Smith, the owner of Bureau of Digital, that bills itself as "the support network you always wish you had." Carl has been the owner now for almost three years. So, we’ll talk about who started the Bureau, how he came to being involved and what he’s hoping for the future of it. Hi Carl. Welcome. It’s a great pleasure to have you on the podcast.

CARL SMITH: Hey Ivan, it’s great to be here, man.

IVAN: It’s just so good to be talking to you. I haven’t seen you in a couple months now. [laughing]

CARL: [laughing] Since the gummy bear days.

IVAN: Oh, man. That was the best. We should probably tell that little anecdote, I think. I was at Owner Camp in Bend in April, and we were doing the diligent thing in attending camp, and I think it was the second day.  I said to Carl, “Carl, you know, the only thing that would make Owner Camp any better, possibly, if I could have anything, would be gummy bears." And I kind of just said it in a passing fashion, and I believe it was the first day, and what happened after that Carl?

CARL: Well, I went to everyone’s favorite person, Lori Averett, and I said, “Lori, we need gummy bears. And it’s got to be the Hasbro, or whatever, it’s got to be the real gummy bears. It’s can’t be like crappy, whatever. And they need to be part of the snack break tomorrow and nobody can know about it, because I need Ivan just to walk up and see them and go, Oh, my goodness.

IVAN: [laughing] And, oh my goodness, indeed. That was so awesome. You know, that’s the kind of attention to detail and user experience that I’m hoping for everyday when we work with our clients, that we’re bringing to our products and our services, and you nailed it. You hit it out of the park Carl.

CARL: Still pretty proud. Not going to lie.

IVAN: Well, you should be. [laughing] So, let’s see. I heard about Owner Camp three years ago. I think I was looking at conferences, and I thought I wasn’t ready for the camp. So I kind of forgot about it, and then my executive coach Jeff Robbins just returned from Owner Summit, also a Bureau event, and we got to talking about it, and he kind of encouraged me to sign up, to apply for the camp. And I did that, and he said, “Just drop my name. I’m sure they’ll let you in if you drop my name.” [laughing]

CARL: [laughing] We let you in anyway.

IVAN: [laughing] You let me in anyway, how about that. So, for people who may be hearing about Bureau of Digital and Owner Camp for the first time today, what the heck is Bureau of Digital?

CARL: So, Bureau of Digital originated when two shop owners realized that they were sort of successful, but didn’t know why. And if you look at most people who run digital shops, they didn’t go to school for business. So, what they decided to do—this was Greg Hoy and Greg Storey—both were running Happy Cogs that were independent of each other but shared a name [laughing], and they decided to get together and ask a bunch of other web shop owners if they would just join them for a few days and talk about what was working and what wasn’t. So, that happened in 2012 and I was lucky enough to be one of those original people invited to be part of the first camp. Now, it wasn’t called a "camp" then. We were just getting together. But that was the origin.

And, once we realized how much we were in love with the idea of getting together like that, it happened again a few months later. And then we started realizing, what’s going on is we’re part of the digital space that doesn’t have community. Designers and developers have had a lot of community from the beginning, because they were in charge of a lot of money to be spent, that the Adobes or the Apples, or whoever, they wanted to make sure that there were events for these people. So, it was really easy to put on those events. But there was nothing for owners. And then we realized there’s nothing for operators. There’s nothing for digital project managers. There’s nothing for creative directors. Now, there’s nothing for design leaders. So, that’s what we started doing. We started building out this portfolio, if you will, of opportunity for people to get together, and it needed an umbrella-type name, and it became Bureau of Digital. So, that’s the origin of the name.

And then, in terms of Owner Camp, the amazing thing was that first one, which was in Portland, Oregon, at the Kennedy School in 2012, I remember sitting down at the table with the most massive imposter syndrome you could imagine, because I’m sitting there with Mike Montero from Mule, and Erica is there from Mule, and Tracy and Amy from FastBot, and then Zeldman’s in the room and you know, you’ve got Kristina Halvorson who coined the term “content strategy” [laughing] and you’ve got all these people in there…

IVAN: Famous Minneapolitan, by the way. [Kristina Halvroson]

CARL: There you go, absolutely, right. Along with Prince. I think the two of them are kind of it—and Nancy Lyons.

IVAN: Right. Nylons [laughing]

CARL: [laughing] And then Kelly Goto who wrote Web Redesign Workflow that works and Erin Mitley and Todd [Ross Nienkerk]  from Four Kitchens, like everybody was in there. I didn’t know a lot of them, but I was just like, Why am I here? And then once you get started you realize that some of the people you think are crushing it are barely hanging on. And, some people who look like they don’t belong in the room are totally crushing it, and you just realize that we’re all kind of finding our way together. And that’s what it became. Right. You can go further when you go together. So, that’s what started the Bureau.

IVAN: Is the mission it has now the same as it was back then, or has that changed? And what is the mission?

CARL: You know, it’s a great question in terms of what it was back then, and that’s what I want to start with. Back then it was truly about sharing and supporting, and that’s definitely part of it now, but the mission of the Bureau is truly to give digital leaders that support network. It’s to allow them to have a place that they can go and be vulnerable and allow others to help them. So, I’m sure we have a very well phrased mission [laughing] that I can send over later, but when I think about it, when I get up in the morning and I think about what is the Bureau going to do today, it’s about finding people that need help with accomplishing their goals and providing them with that network with those people that can help get them there.

IVAN: You said, digital leaders, and it all started with owners. Owner Camp. And then you mentioned a couple of other kinds of leaders. What is the breadth of the kinds of events that you put on now?

CARL: For owners of web shops, we have Owner Summit, which is about 150 owners getting together, and then we’ve got Owner Camp, which is more like 25 getting together. For digital project managers, we have Digital PM Summit, that’s about 300 digital PMs. With that event I will tell you; you start on time, you end on time. You never run out of coffee. There will be no issues with the logistics of this event whatsoever. [laughing] We have workshops where we do operations and financial forecasting. We also have Operations Camp for the good operations people out there. We have some new events based on the community requesting them.

Design Leadership Days which is for design leaders. This can be creative directors within a shop. A lot of the design leaders are in-house. A lot of them are product side. Some of them are working for companies like Instagram. I know REI signed up quite a few people. So, this is a brand new event, and the "days" concept, we were trying to get away from the idea of summits and camps and find something that was just a little bit more relaxed. And the days idea just felt really good, where you come in and there’s more, kind of icebreaker social opportunity to hang out. And then we’re going to sit and listen and learn. And then we’re going to break off and talk, and also experience the city that we’re in.

You’ll hear me talking about two different days events, in both of them we want to make sure that people are able to really engage in the community that they’re at, in terms of the physical city as well. Then we have Design Leadership Camp, which is much like the other camps, but this one is crazy, because you’ll have the head of Google Cloud. We actually had Margaret Lee who is the person who managed Google Maps from six months after inception, she took over at six months, and ran it for nine years.

IVAN: Wow. I can bet there’s a ton of learning that comes from her.

CARL: Oh, I will tell you the most amazing thing she said. I don’t recall who had said it, but somebody was telling her about a bad day that they'd had. And Margaret said, “Until you wake up and find that millions of people and national news media are covering that the product you work on has caused someone to drive into a lake, I don’t want to hear about your bad day. I don’t want to hear about it.” I was just like, Oh crap, he just got served. [laughing] I think, then Digital Diversity Days is another event that the community asked for, and this is going to be an interesting event. We are getting together for a full workshop day to talk about diversity, equity and inclusion, building inclusive workplaces. There’s a great workshop we’ve got going on, and then day two is going to be a little more selective.

We’re bringing in about 20 shops and we are going to start making a difference by putting out a plan we can all agree to, and then we’re going to hold each other accountable moving forward. And it’s not just about hiring practices, and it’s not just about culture. It’s basically looking at, what are the steps that we can take? And, we want to make sure that the people in that room are not only invested, but that they’re also able to make these changes.

IVAN: Oh, is this the event that’s happening at Sparkbox?

CARL: It is. We found out that they were doing their own initiative, and once we realized we were both having some of the same struggles, we were like, “Do you want to struggle together?” And they were like, “Yes.” Actually, they brought it to us. Rob Harr contacted me and said, “Why don’t we do this together?” So, that’s been fabulous, and their team has been great over there.

IVAN: Yes, Rob was at Manage + Digital last month, which is a project management conference here in Minneapolis. I think you guys actually sponsored with us.

CARL: We sponsored it. Yeah, we love Lynn [Winter], and we love what she’s doing over there.

IVAN: Lynn’s great. Lynn’s been on the podcast, she’s doing it, I think it’s the second year of Manage + Digital. But Rob Harr was one of the keynote speakers, and that’s the first time I ever seen him speak. I'd never met him before. He said a lot of smart things, a lot of compassionate things, a lot of empathetic things. Things that you wish all leaders had in their toolbox. They should all be like Rob. I tried to get him on the podcast, but he’s been awfully quiet, so if you could give him a little bit of a nudge when you see him next.

CARL: He just got back from Hawaii. I’ll say this about Rob. You meet a lot of people and you say, "How are you doing?” And they say, “Living the dream.” Right. Rob’s not lying. He’s the only person I met who I think is literally living the dream. I was like, “Stop it. Stop saying that.” But he’s great.

IVAN: That's so great. And, I’m so looking forward to hearing how that Digital Diversity Days goes.

CARL: Yeah, it’s so important. We moved it in terms of timing and location just because we realized it was too important and we didn’t want to rush it. And then the last event to mention is Women’s Leadership Camp. This will be the second year of Women’s Leadership Camp, and it is the only Bureau event I have not attended in the entire history of the Bureau.

So, it’s like a thing where I sit four or five doors down and just wait on Lori to tell me what they need, and I’ll run around and do whatever. [laughing] I’m just like, “Just let me know if things are cool, or what’s going on.” But it’s been great, and we have two really amazing women that are helping out with it this year. Heidi Munc, who is Vice President over at Nationwide and then we’ve got Eleanor Vajzovic. But Women’s Leadership Camp is just going to be phenomenal. Last year it was 30 women who got together and just talked about navigating their way through technology as a leader.

IVAN: How do your preparations differ when you put on an event that you’ve never put on before? I mean, you’ve got a lot of experience, right? Since 2012 you’ve been putting on these events. You kind of know how it goes. You know how to book an event space, how to estimate the number of people. Logistics are probably fine, but if it’s a new topic, like the Diversity Days, or something that you’ve never done before, how does that change your prep?

CARL: Well, for Diversity Days, the first thing I did was hire a consultant out of New York called Project Inkblot and worked with them. Just basically saying, “Help me not make mistakes. Guide me in the right direction. Understand my intentions, and just help me make sure I’m crafting this correctly.” And, they were part of the conversation in moving it from what was originally May to November.

And then if you look at Design Leadership Days...I’ve met design leaders...I’m not a designer. I did have a lot of role playing creative director, although I probably had no business playing creative director [laughing]. And what I did there is I just reached out to about 500 people in the community that were design leaders and said, “What is it you need to know to be better and who is it that you've seen share information that really resonated and helped you in your path?” That gave us about 30 people to select from. It gave us the themes that we wanted. So, I think the main thing to say is, I just lean on the community. When we’re looking to do something new, I always ask them, "What’s the best way to approach it?"

IVAN: I think that resonates with me quite a bit Carl, because that was one of the greatest takeaways from Owner Camp for me, the community. You meet these incredible people. You feel like they’re all crushing it and you’re not, just like you mentioned earlier. You get over that. You talk to them, you interact with them, you share with them. And then, you remember that you’re going to walk away from it all. But then, you know, we’ve been talking in Slack, and then we get added to an even greater community, and I just can’t say enough about the community that you’ve been able to put together. You just lean on them, anything. There’s like this collective knowledge. It’s amazing.

CARL: And, they come out of the woodwork. Like, sometimes you think somebody’s left and something happens, and they show up with a vengeance, a violent agreement, or contradiction or whatever it might be, and you’re just like, Hey, you are still in there. How cool is that? But you’re right. There’s over a thousand people in that Slack channel and 600 are active every month.

IVAN: It’s insane.

CARL: That’s just crazy when you start to think about how much collective knowledge gets shared in their everyday.

IVAN: Just amazing. Amazing. So, you started off in 2012, you were there as a participant, but you’re the owner now, and you’ve been an owner of Bureau Digital now for almost three years, so time's flown. So, what made you think, Oh, wow. I need to go all in on the Bureau and I need to buy it. How does that thought even cross your mind?

CARL: It’s funny. When I was running my shop, Engine Works, we started working in a different model we call the Jellyfish Model. Rachel Gertz, from Louder Than 10 was working with Engine at the time and she coined that term, which I will thank her for forever. Because what we wanted to do was, flat was trendy, and we were trying to get to where everybody got to make decisions about what they did, so they would be invested, so they would work on it. And it worked really well. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be great—and this was pre-Bureau as I knew it—wouldn’t it be great if we could find a way where companies could work together.

So, we started this thing called the Jellyfish Alliance, where companies who are willing to be flexible in how they worked, we were going to try and get together and work together. It never really took off. I didn’t have enough grounding for it. I didn’t have a way to connect people. We’d never met in person. And, there’s a lot of trust in establishing trust that physical location matters so much, when you can really see somebody and hear somebody. So, then, when the Bureau started, I never put the two together, that this was the idea for the Jellyfish Alliance. So, I was helping, I was doing this stuff, but my company was doing great, and I was only working maybe 10 hours a week.

I was going in to make sure people were okay. I was verifying that things were cool. Whatever. If they needed me, I was there. But for the most part, we were distributed, they were running, my green light was on [in Slack], I would answer if people needed me, but for the most part I wasn’t there. So, I started doing other things. And my daughter, my youngest daughter—she’s 16 now—she would’ve been, I guess, 12, when she looked at me and she said, “How do you want people to remember you?” I said, “What do you mean?” And, she’s always been kind of an old soul and she said, “When you’re dead. How do you want people to remember you?”

IVAN: Yeah, dad. When you're dead!

CARL: I was like, Oh my God. I said, “Well, I want people to remember that I was a nice human, but I was successful. I didn’t have to compromise being nice. I didn’t have to hurt people, and I was able to succeed.”

She grew up in a house of somebody who is running a digital shop and she said, “How are you going to measure that?” I said, “Well, by the number of people that I help. I’ll start keeping track of the people I help.” And then she asked that question that just—I hate this question—and it gets asked all the time. But she asked, “How’s that going to scale?” And I said, “Well...I don’t know. I’ll get back to you.”

So, the next day I was talking with the Gregs [Greg Hoy and Greg Storey] and they were talking about me becoming more of the Bureau and I said, Oh crap, this is it. Everything that I talked with her about and that I want to do with the Jellyfish Alliance, and I realized it’s not about me helping people, it’s about me putting people in touch with others, so that collectively people are helping each other. And that’s how it scales. And now we’ve got over 6,000 people total who are circling in the Bureau-verse, and it’s just crazy to think that all of these people are paying attention and wanting to help. Some are tremendously more active than others, but everybody seems to be just a bat signal away from showing up.

IVAN: I’m not sure you realize how much of a profound effect you’ve had on us, on these many different people who come together as owners and designers and project managers. I personally feel it’s had a profound effect to meet these fellow leaders, fellow humans, who are trying to do the same thing that I’m trying to do. How does that make you feel? How do you feel about knowing that you’ve actually had a positive effect on so many people?

CARL: I deflect the crap out of it. I can’t accept that.

IVAN: You must accept that.

CARL: I’ll say that you saying that, right then, just filled me with so much positive energy. Not to get all hippie and universe, but it was one of those things where it was like, Oh right, that’s why I do this. Because it’s helping people. It’s a tremendous amount of work, and I’ve got a great team, but I love the events because I see it in action, I see what’s going on. I log into Slack and I see people helping each other. I get emails from people who need to meet someone, and I happen to know somebody I can connect them with. It feels amazing, man. It’s unbelievable. It’s funny because I took over something other people were doing and had done really great. Greg Hoy and Greg Storey, when they started the Bureau and they had their vision of it, it was phenomenal.

And, then when they left it took me a while to figure out what I wanted it to be. It felt like I was driving my Dad’s car. [laughing] I was like, You know what? They want me to do whatever I want to do, and plus, they’ve gone on, they’re doing their other things. And so I’ll say like a year and a half ago was the first time I really let it sink in. Not just the potential, but the current reality of how many people are benefitting and are better off today because the Bureau kept going and because it’s evolving into this true epicenter of support.

IVAN: So, I’m going to ask you what your daughter asked. How do you scale that good feeling? How do you make it even bigger?

CARL: It’s tough right? Because in a way you’re scaling intimacy. Lori Gold Patterson said that to me. Lori Gold Patterson runs Pixo out of Urbana, Illinois and we were at Owner Summit in San Diego a few years back, and she came up to me. She goes, “You've got a huge challenge.” I was like, “What is it?” She goes, “How do you scale intimacy?” She was like, “Most of these people know each other because they've met, but there are going to be so many people that want in, and you’re not going to be able to do events for everybody,” and all this sort of stuff. So, now, the goal is to find ways to do more stuff online in smaller groups. To have opportunities for people who have met in person to reconnect. And for us to be the facilitator and the organizer and handle the logistics of that.

Because we can do so much more online, that as long as there is some level of in-person connection once a year, maybe twice a year, then the online supplements really well. So, that’s a lot of it. We can’t just have events get bigger, and we can’t just put on more events. It’s going to have to be finding ways, using the means that we have, and a lot of it's technology, to make sure that everybody’s feeling connected, more frequently. And, even voice over just pixels, right? Even just like you said, “It’s so good to hear your voice.” So, having that happen. So, we’re working on an idea called Bureau Circles. We’ll see how it can play out. We don’t want to overcommit and then blow it. But the idea of eight to ten people that we help coordinate to get together once a month, it’s kind of like a NEO, kind of like a Mastermind, but it’s super focused on what they do and their role. We called them "role calls" in the past when there were more people, but this idea is getting it down to a smaller group that is there for each other all the time.

And one of the things, Ivan, that spurred this, was we have a Biz Dev Camp. So many camps, dude! I can’t even remember them to list them. But Biz Dev Camp, everybody said don’t do it. Nobody is going to share. Nobody’s going to be willing to share. And we said it when we brought people in. The thing was, it sold out with seven on the waiting list. And I told them, “We’re going to have an optional show and tell on the final day, where if you show up you have to show. You have to show your pitch deck, or you have to show a presentation, you have to show something. But what was amazing is when we left that first Biz Dev Camp, monthly calls started.

And it was just hilarious—they started their own monthly call. They called it an "accountability" call. It is just unbelievable. So in a lot of ways, that’s become the model for us as we’re looking at how do we move forward to scale the intimacy, and it becomes, people have said, compared to AIGA or things like this, I like the grass roots feel, and I like the idea that in those circles there is somebody who connects with us, but they’re also at liberty to make sure that they’re doing what the group needs, so that we’re continuing to support, but we don’t have to participate in every single thing.

IVAN: I like the idea of having some sort of regular touchpoint that’s in person. I think Lori was right about that. I think that’s certainly one of the cornerstones of making sure that that intimacy is retained. And, not just the personal touchpoints, but the fact that you have new people attending camps and summits, combined with alums, that gives you that nice feeling of continuity as well. My first Owner Camp was this year, a few months ago. I was a newbie, but I’m looking forward to coming back and hearing what other new people have to say, and being an alum, I feel like that continuity is so important as well. I think that has something to do with the intimacy as well.

CARL: I totally agree. There’s some events where it used to be there were a limited number of alumni seats. It used to be the number of alumni was limited to 10. And then once we got larger, it became obvious that some alumni were never going to get back in [laughing], because there were so many people vying for the seats that were there. What was interesting was, a lot of the alumni didn’t know each other, they just happened to be alumni of an event. But when you see two alumni get back together at the same camp, it’s long-lost friends who are catching each other up on stories that they didn’t get to finish. And that’s part of the idea: how do we help them finish the stories and continue them?

That’s the idea of the ongoing monthly calls or Zoom or video or whatever. But, you’re right. It’s a totally different thing when you come back, because now you’re also an ambassador for the process. You’re sharing why it worked for you. What worked for you. JP from Powershifter was on one of our monthly calls last week, and he was talking about the investment they made in culture ,and how it helped them through a bad time that they’re now recovering from, and people who they unfortunately had to let go, came back.

IVAN: Oh, that’s awesome.

CARL: So, it’s like, when he shared that story, there were about 25 people on the call, mostly owners, and they just started writing like crazy. I was like, Ok, that’s it. Price of admission. Everybody’s happy. You got the nugget of joy.

IVAN: Yes, I saw that at Owner’s Camp as well. Someone said something that sparked and people just headed for their notebooks. It’s amazing to see. So, in addition to the events and the workshops and the Slack community, there’s also a membership that you told me about a month or so ago, that I’m now a member of. Tell us about the membership. What does that give you access to?

CARL: Absolutely. So, there are three levels of membership, and the reason was, that there’s so many different roles, and so many different people have different abilities in terms of signing up for monthly stuff, right? Or, annual in this case. So, the first level is called Learn. And, we’re thinking this is more for owners who just met us. It could be for digital PMs or others, but it gives you access to a library of digital resources. Now, a lot of it just links out to the different things, but basically anything the community references during the month, we capture. We call it the resource roundup. Then that goes to populate the library, which now has over a thousand books, videos, and articles.

IVAN: It’s insane.

CARL: It’s out of control. We need a better library. That’s one of the things on the list. [laughing]. But then you also get all of the online events for free.

We’re going to be announcing that we’ve got a webinar coming up in a few weeks. It’s similar to what was done in Bend that you saw with the mergers and acquisitions. That was super popular so we’re going to make that into a webinar.

IVAN: That was so great. That was such a great session.

CARL: Yeah, and the Bureau Online Summit, so that’s also part of membership at the Learn level. Now, at the Connect level, that’s the mid-tier, and it’s $499 a year. For the Connect level, you also get into the Slack community, into the non-event channels, so you could be in those more public channels. You get into the monthly calls, so at the Connect level you’re going to be able to join on member calls, and then once we figure out the role calls and the smaller calls, you’ll be invited to those as well. And, you also get a 10% discount to the events. That one’s always weird to me. I hate to make things about price, but people really love that discount.

IVAN: People do. I wouldn’t be shy about it at all. It’s not weird.

CARL: And then the top tier is the Lead level, and the Lead level is $3,000 a year and this allows people to get more people in their company in the membership benefits. It gives them the 10% discount for the whole company. But one of the things it does that I think has been great is, it gives them what we call concierge service, where they can ask us if we could find somebody for them, if it’s a company, whatever it might be, that they could work with, or they could find out information from. It could be they want to talk to somebody at a certain company, and because of the breadth of our network now, we can find almost anybody. For example, we had somebody join recently who was in acquisition mode, and they’re looking to acquire Pure Play Digital Marketing Company in the Northeast, and we were able to find three people for them to talk to. So, it’s kind of cool.

IVAN: That is kind of cool. Definitely worth the price of admission if you’re doing that. For sure.

CARL: Yeah, exactly. Right. I mean that’s the thing. And it’s just been great to have them there. So, that’s membership. We launched it. We had a founder's club that we did a couple of years ago and that went really well, but we wanted to keep that group while we moved forward and kind of figured out what we were doing, and then we reopened membership a few months ago, and it’s been great. We’re seeing three or four people sign up a day. We’re staying in touch with everybody. We’ve got another email going out tomorrow just to talk about the next round of calls and what we’re doing and the webinars, and all that. But it feels great. It’s just, everybody wants to give back, because they’re getting so much, and that’s success.

IVAN: That is success. You should be proud of it, Carl.

CARL: Thank you, Ivan. I really do appreciate that. And, you know what? I’m going to tell my Mom “I did it!” [laughing]

IVAN: [laughing] One final question before we wrap up. What’s keeping you busy right now? Is it the next event? Is it the membership you’re working on? What’s top of mind for you?

CARL: It’s so funny you ask that. So, top of mind for me right now, is actually figuring out what is the bigger picture for the Bureau, and part of that is figuring out our own forecast and our own projections. And, we’re working with Summit CPA, who are well known throughout the Bureau community to help us do that. Adam Hale over there, we had a call today, and we’re looking through it, because a lot of the things we want to do, we’re going to have to grow the team a little bit.

So, when you start looking at those things, it’s super exciting but also, I’ve never been an adult who was running a company. So, I have to realize it’s not summer camp anymore. And, I’ve got kids going to college, so, we've got to figure all this out. But I would say that’s what's really got me now, is figuring out how all the pieces fit together, and how we can support people in a collective way, versus putting on events they may be interested in. So, it’s very much just this getting to a more holistic approach and making sure that everything we’re doing is because it’s resonating from the community, not we’re pushing it out to the community.

IVAN: I love it. I think you’re going to be very successful over the next couple of years here, as you work with Summit CPA. I’ve threatened to be working with Summit as well. Adam's going to be on the podcast coming up in the next month or so, here, and I’m sure he will ask me again, but, they’re a great group of people to be working with. So, it’s so nice to hear that they’ve been so successful with you, and I’m sure you will be with them as well.

CARL: I just have to tell you, Adam's been great, and again with the team that I have and support from people like Adam and other people in the community, it’s going to be really hard to mess this up, and I’m going to do my best not to. [laughing]

IVAN: [laughing] Well, thank you for the gummy bears at Owner Camp, thank you for being on the show with me today. I’m going to try to get to the Banff Owner's Camp, but I think I might have to wait until the next Owner Camp in 2020. So, it’s been a great pleasure talking with you.

CARL: It’s been a great pleasure talking with you as well, and there’s rumors [about the next Owner Camp happening] in Montreal. [laughing]

IVAN: Ooh, awesome.

CARL: I don’t know where that came from.

IVAN: You heard it here first, on the TEN7 Podcast. Thank you, Carl.

CARL: You’re welcome. [laughing]

IVAN: Carl Smith is the owner of Bureau Digital,  and you can find them online at bureauofdigital.com. You’ve been listening to the TEN7 Podcast. Find us online at ten7.com/podcast. And if you have a second, do send us a message, we love hearing from you. Our email address is podcast@ten7.com. Until next time, this is Ivan Stegic. Thank you for listening.

Ivan Stegic

Founder and President
 
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Ivan Stegic

Words that describe Ivan: Relentlessly optimistic. Kind. Equally concerned with client and employee happiness. Bowtie lover. Physicist. Ethical. Lighthearted and cheerful. Finds joy in the technical stuff. Inspiring. Loyal. Hires smart, curious and kind employees who want to create more good in the world. His favorite things right now: the TEN7 podcast and becoming the next Björn Borg.