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EO 360°, a podcast by Entrepreneurs’ Organization, explores entrepreneurship with a wide perspective, moving beyond business to those insights not often shared by high-profile thought leaders.

Host and serial entrepreneur, Dave Will, leads in-depth interviews, whose featured guests include: Gazelles founder and CEO, Verne Harnish; popular podcast host and founder of Genius Network, Joe Polish; award-winning entrepreneur, Zahra Al-Harazi; and more. Tune into this top podcast made by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs.

Learn more about Entrepreneurs’ Organization, the leading peer-to-peer network exclusively for entrepreneurs.

Aug 22, 2017

The wheels have turned in this episode of Entrepreneurs OrganizationKevin Stoller interviews Dave Will, an entrepreneur, CEO and founder of Prop Fuel and Peach New Media. Dave shares with listeners his early beginnings at SAP and PWC and how his experience formed the belief that he needs to be a part of a company where he can be himself; a company that truly fits him. This has fuelled the vision of his business venture, Prop Fuel, a company which strives to create a great culture within an organization. Tune in as Kevin and Dave talk about Dave’s journey—you’ll hear all the lessons he’s gained from his successes and more importantly, from his failures.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 02:30 – Kevin Stoller interviewed Dave WIll for his own podcast and Dave is posting the interview for today’s episode of Entrepreneurs Organization
  • 02:46 – Entrepreneurs Organization proudly presents Virtual Learning Podcast
  • 03:19 – Kevin Stoller introduces Dave Will
  • 03:58 – Kevin researches extensively before interviewing his guests
  • 06:57 – Dave grew up in Hartford, Central Connecticut
    • 06:57 – He came from a middle class childhood with loving parents
    • 07:15 – Kevin’s childhood was full of summer vacations, camping and sailing trips
  • 09:15 – Dave had a mentality that emphasized the need for stability and predictability until he hit the age 30
  • 10:32 – Dave interned at SAP and then worked at PWC
    • 12:15 – Dave’s performance at PWC was not very impressive
    • 13:05 – While Dave has great admiration for those who end up at companies such as SAP and PWC, he feels that there are people who are natural “fits” for these companies
  • 14:09 – Dave’s scariest moment was when he was fired from his job while he had a family to support
  • 16:00 – The entrepreneurial bug bites Dave
  • 16:21 – Dave’s mantra in life: “Walk slow, smile more”.
  • 16:53 – Dave realized that he excels in an environment where he can be himself
  • 17:22 – Dave grew his company to 40 employees and sold to the private equity firm, KKR
  • 19:48 – Success as an entrepreneur is difficult without a supportive and compassionate spouse
  • 22:54 – Very few successful entrepreneurs have a great idea “off the bat”—they just fumble onto one
  • 23:42 – Dave’s entrepreneurial journey
    • 23:42 – Dave started off partnering with his friend in 2001
    • 24:06 – Dave eventually bought out his partner for $17,000
    • 24:34 – Finding a niche propelled Dave’s company from average growth to exceptional growth
    • 25:02 – They gradually evolved into a software company
    • 25:27 – Dave ensured that his organization had the right culture; Dave’s new company Prop Fuel is about creating a great culture within an organization. Prop Fuel can help you:
  • Create social surveys
  • Create surveys to gauge what is holding your employees back
  • Enhance the culture within your company and it costs just $49.99 per month
  • 29:33 – A strong company culture helps you ride the downturns
    • 29:33 – Dave witnessed gradual growth for the first 9 years and eventually grew his company to 25 employees
    • 31:03 – The effects of 2008 finally became evident in 2010
    • 32:11 – He consulted with key employees before cutting compensation from 10% to 15%; in spite of this, not a single employee chose to leave the company
    • 33:20 – "People were not there because they were getting a shit ton of money. They were not. They were there because they enjoyed their job. They felt passion and fulfillment in what they were doing."
  • 33:46 – Autonomy, mastery and fulfillment are the key elements necessary for creating a great culture
  • 35:15 – Dave does not excel at sales, finance or any other primary business functions. His sole focus and expertise is in developing a culture within his company, Peach New Media
    • 36:05 – “You focus on building this incredibly bonded team by putting in front of them a clear vision of where you want to be, the right motivators and the cadence to make sure that you are constantly on track and moving towards that vision”
  • 39:00 – For small organizations hiring less than 10 people, the organization is just an extension of one’s personality; beyond that you start thinking about culture
  • 39:19 – Dave talks about his introduction to EO back in 2009
    • 39:55 – Being an EO member is vastly different from being an entrepreneur
  • 41:03 – Dave explains his philosophy of “Walk slow, smile more”
    • 41:58 – “Walking slow” means being conscious of what is around you when you are walking
    • 42:21 – Strive to do things that make you smile
  • 44:22 – Propfuel’s core philosophy: “We really want people to enjoy their jobs”
  • 46:23 – Dave’s advice to his kids: “Grades are a key to a lot of doors, but they have nothing to do with your success. Knock the stress out of your grades”
  • 48:48 – Dave’s Entrepreneurship mantra: “Good and done is better than perfect and not done”
  • 50:12 – Dave closes the podcast and encourages you to visit his website 

3 Key Points:

  1. Having a clear vision, the right motivators and the cadence to consistently move in the right direction are the key elements to building a great company culture.
  2. “Walk slow and smile more”—be conscious of what’s around you and strive to do the things that make you smile.
  3. A great culture is evident when your people are feeling fulfilled and working from their passion.

Resources Mentioned: