By Kit Cooper, Managing Director.
Thank you everyone for making it to the CEO Experience Series event on March 9th. What an incredible opportunity to have Rick Stollmeyer, co-Founder and CEO of MINDBODY (Nasdaq: “MB”), share his perspectives and practices in such an intimate setting. Rick is the rare truly scalable CEO. He has successfully led MINDBODY during the multiple, demanding stages of a company lifecycle — from start-up to publicly-traded company. If you look at MINDBODY’s business and financial KPI figures over the last ten years, you’ll be astounded by the sustained positive trending of their performance.
Here are some of the things that I took away from Rick’s talk:
- Interesting turning point ten years into his career. Rick was 34 when he saw the Stephen Covey DVD at Starbucks and decided to pop it in during his drive through Topanga Canyon in west LA. The wisdom of the “power of response” mindset hit him like a ton of bricks and his whole world changed from that point forward. Rick also related this concept to the recent Travis Kalanick video crisis with an observation that this might have been a scenario where the Uber CEO didn’t need to get caught up in the noise – where the big picture was a passionate stakeholder with a big heart for the Uber business and wanting it to thrive.
- Staying close to customers is the oxygen of his company. Rick shared that, plain and simple, it is what keeps his company alive. He re-centers on the company’s vision, mission and strategy by spending time with his customers. Fact: his company thrives or suffers proportionately to how close they stay to their customers.
- In international markets, don’t forget that marketing to early adopters is different than marketing to mainstream business users. Rick made the point that early adopters in global markets are always the innovators and relate more to existing features requiring less localization. It is folly to conclude that because these influential innovators embrace existing product that major localization efforts are not required for further market penetration.
- Not a single regret when his team decided to stay narrow versus go wider. At one time, they won a bid from one of the largest prospects in the industry after a 9 month competitive process. The company demanded a statement of work that would require constant customization of the software platform. Rick turned down a deal that would have increased their revenues by more than 30%. The deal ultimately brought major havoc on a competitor that took on the business.
About CEO Experience Series
Hosted by Kit Cooper, Managing Director at Taylor Winfield Executive Search, The CEO Experience Series is a bi-monthly gathering in Santa Barbara featuring interviews with the area’s most accomplished, thoughtful, humble, and experienced leaders. Kit Cooper has spent much of his career founding and running two successful business services companies, both of which relied on highly adaptive sales organizations selling multi-million deals to Fortune 1000 companies. As Managing Director for Taylor Winfield, Kit works with private-equity and high growth companies to build enterprise value through world-class management teams.