10 Sep Scott Bintz | When Principles Boost Profits
Early in his eCommerce career, Scott Bintz was focused on more: more customers, more sales, more employees, etc. But, he says, it was only after he looked beyond those conventional measures of success that his company experienced exponential growth.
We discuss the key changes he made to his company internally that brought those results. It wasn’t a simple matter of a new marketing strategy or tweaking the product line-up.
The changes were more fundamental, which is why they had such an impact, says Scott.
Tune in to get all the details on that transformation, as well as…
- What should influence every business decision you make
- The 3 people you should speak to about improving your company’s strategies and processes
- The importance of honest communication – and what that actually looks like
- The first questions you should ask during a job interview
- And more
Joris Bryon: Hey. This is Joris of the Ecommerce Excellence Podcast. Today I’m really excited to talk to Scott Bintz. Scott he’s a serial Ecommerce entrepreneur and author, and he founded RealTruck.com back in 1998. Man that’s right. That’s like centuries ago almost. He started in his basement and he grew the company to an impressive 100 million in sales.
The company received numerous Customer Service Best Place to Work Awards. So they had a lot of fun doing it. He’s also been an adjunct professor at the University of Jamestown and invested in several tech startups. He published a book Principles to Fortune, which we’re going to talk about. He’s currently the lead rebel at Red Headed Rebel.
Well, that’s quite an impressive bio, so I’m sure this will be a great episode. Scott, welcome to the episode. To be honest, I’m honored to have you here.
Scott Bintz: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Joris Bryon: Cool. Yeah, maybe just to get started I’d love for you to tell a bit about your background, where did you come from or how did you get started in Ecommerce?
Scott Bintz: So, I guess how I … I’m from originally from Minot, North Dakota. I graduated from Alternative School there and then I went to college there at Minot State University and got a degree in economics.
I got a job with Western Wireless during the cellular boom in the early ’90s when we were selling brick phones. Then I wound up working for a manufacturer who made a pickup cover that rolled up. We would have the … the way to sell that product at the time was you would go to trade shows, folk shows, Ag shows, home and garden shows, lot of trade shows. You’d roll the cover on a pickup up and down all day long and that’s how you would sell them and find dealers, et cetera, et cetera.
I thought there had to be an easier way to do this. So a buddy of mine we put together an advertisement to put it on TV and we ran the commercial on TV and trying to drive business to dealers in an area and it seemed to work. And we thought what if we put that video online, could we sell the product?
So, that’s how RealTruck was born. It was meant to be kind of a prototype for brick and mortar stores that I would essentially give them the website if they wanted to put up some of the products that I was selling for various manufacturers at the time and that they were selling through the brick and mortar store. That’s kind of how RealTruck got going.
I was terribly unsuccessful with convincing them they should sell online. But RealTruck kept growing nonetheless. And it started in my basement and then got bigger and it’s kind of … At that time there was a lot of you were submitting to directories and trying to rank on Ask Jeeves and some of the … a lot of state directories and that’s kind of how you get known.
We drop shipped everything from the start to the … where we would … But anyway, that’s kind of how we got going and we didn’t really know what we were doing. I think back on it, it’s crazy that all of the people that had the resources, your brick and mortar stores and your wholesalers at that time of pickup accessories, they had the people, they had the product, they had the resources, they had the money.
At that time I was just running a little manufacturers’ rep firm that we represented various pickup accessory manufacturers and set up dealers for them in a given area. So it was me and another sales person that worked for me.
That’s kind of how we got going. I eventually sold the rep firm as RealTruck began to grow. Even as it was growing I would go to these brick and mortar stores and try to convince them they needed to be selling online and if they were interested they would put whoever had the least authority at that business to do anything, they would be in charge of their Ecommerce.
So needless to say most of the Ecommerce and pickup accessories was started by people that weren’t traditionally at a brick or mortar store or wholesaler or that type of thing.
Anyway, that’s probably a long explanation, but that’s kind of how it got going. A lot of right time, right place, dumb luck and a willingness to do it even though people said things like nobody is going to buy a pickup cover for $400 online if they’ve never seen it.
Of course, we ignored that and of course a couple of years later, then it would be no one is going to buy $1,000 whatever unless they’ve seen it and yadi yadi yada. Now of course you can buy a tractor online.
Joris Bryon: Yeah, right. So, it may have been dumb luck at the right, as you say, the right timing as well. But it wasn’t dumb luck that you grew the company from 0 to 100 million per year, of course.
So can you break that down how it went over the years because obviously it went over a couple of years. What did you do and what was the impact?
Scott Bintz: Well initially we were just selling online. We were adding products and getting familiar with the space. At that time I would have characterized us as a truck accessory store that sold online.
Then overtime after I had hired a friend of mine Jeff Vanlaningham who was better at marketing than me and a bunch of other things. But he had said hey, you shouldn’t be paying attention to people who are selling pickup accessories online because they don’t know what they are doing, we should be paying attention to companies that are really good at Ecommerce that aren’t in our space.
So we started of course obviously looking at Amazon and Musician’s Friend and companies that really did well in their space and kind of evolved what I would classify we were an Ecommerce company that just happened to sell truck accessories.
Joris Bryon: Right.
Scott Bintz: Then probably … We grew, and it was really cool, and we hit a million in sales and then two million and then four million and then six million and I think in 2007 we were at eight million.
When the gas prices went through the roof and sales were cut in half and we were really worried that we were going to be hurt. But that year we even kept growing and then I went … I think it was … At that time I started shaving my head if we hit goals. So we set up some big very avaricious goals courtesy of the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. I think that’s where we got that.
Started really reading a lot of books about work culture at that time and started to move towards trying to focus on the culture of the workplace more. Of course our first attempt to kind of do it we wrote up some guiding core values, put them on the wall. A year later nobody knew what they were even.
So we took another crack at it. But that’s really when it started to grow. But before that I think we probably got to about 12 million or so in sales. Then once we really started I’d sent out an email asking everybody in the company what their personal values were that they tried to live by.
Got that information back and then Jeff and I and Justin Deltener at the time wrote what became the guiding principles at RealTruck, the six guiding principles, deliver more, transparency rocks, improve, take risk, include fun, and be humble. And we introduced them to the company one at a time where we’d really focus on it.
Of course the big hairy avaricious goal was if we get 25 million in sales that I’ll shave my head. Of course we didn’t think we would get to it any time soon but boom, the next thing you know we’re at 25 million and then 42 million and then 60 million and then when I’d sold … Then I sold and of course the company went over 100 million and I don’t know how big it is today. But they’d written 100 million I think but I don’t really know.
But what really kind of was the game changer was just really focusing on work culture and running where we were making decisions based on our guiding principles and of course it was always a work-in-progress so we weren’t perfect at it.
But that was kind of what … And our attitude was at that time we went from pickup accessories store selling online, Ecommerce company that happened to sell truck accessories, to a company that we’re on a mission to make people’s lives better, oh and by the way we sell pickup accessories.
Joris Bryon: Yeah, right.
Scott Bintz: And we would do a lot of fun things like we’d run ads that would say we sell pick up accessories and bacon and we’re all out of bacon, and we would do that kind of stuff where we tried to create a lot of memorable experiences where people focused a lot on managing our expectations. So we would under promise, over deliver.
Joris Bryon: I think what you’re saying here is that the big accelerator of your growth was focusing on culture, right?
Scott Bintz: Right.
Joris Bryon: That was when everything changed. Was it like a particular moment? Was it just by reading those books or was it another event that triggered that aha moment like okay we should focus on culture?
Scott Bintz: Well Jeff gave me the book Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. So, that kind of probably sparked it. But prior to that it was like we were on this endless pursuit of more. More product lines, more employees, more and more and more, more, more, more, more. And it was kind of like for what? Why does RealTruck exist.
So, that question I kind of wanted to be useful and I wanted to help people in my life and it just seemed like all we were like was more. That was our mission, more.
I wanted the company to have a higher purpose and kind of got inspired with this idea of being on a mission to make people’s lives and vehicles better and we’re going to do it by practicing our guiding principles, and that’s kind of what sparked it where even though at that time we were probably seven and eight million in sales, and it was really cool, right, because I started in a trailer park, right, as a poor kid.
So, it was really cool to be kind of growing this company. But there was also this, a side of it that was I didn’t necessarily just want the mission to be or to be that hey we’re number one online just so Scott Bintz can get rich, if that makes sense. I wanted to have a great purpose, to have impact on people’s lives.
People spend 40 hours a week or more sometimes working. You might as well have a good time doing it, right, and take care of people along the way. So, we tried to deliver more to our customers, our employees and our business partners.
So rather than negotiating with UPS by twisting and breaking arms and threatening, we just try to be really, you know ask questions like hey what can we do to be a better business partner? Where are we falling short? What can we do better?
And we did that with employees, with customers, and learned those things and kind of kept evolving. And the best way to grow your business in my opinion is to have your customers talking about you and have your employees talking about you. And if you’re doing a good job taking care of your customers they’re going to talk about you.
Again, that gets back to managing expectations. At that time the internet was everybody had best price guarantees and shipping and they would over promise delivery dates and wouldn’t fulfill them. So we kind of did it differently.
We just … We didn’t advertise hassle-free returns because we all kind of … What return isn’t a hassle? There’s no hassle-free return, so stop advertising.
Then with our shipping if we knew a product shipped in a day, on the website we would put two days. So we would always ship sooner than we said. 95% of the people would get a memorable experience because they’d get an email and it would be, oh it shipped a day sooner than expected.
Versus if you say two days and it ships in two days it was supposed to. Of course then you also run the risk of shipping in three days and then your customer remembers that you don’t ship when you say you’re going to.
Then we do things that kind of try to deliver more to customers where we would send them post cards. We also call it swag. Sometimes we’d send them fuzzy dice unexpectedly. We tended to do instead of advertising hey, get some fuzzy dice if you buy 200 bucks worth of stuff, we would just hey if someone bought 200 bucks worth of stuff send them some fuzzy dice after the fact. Or send them a cool shirt or something like that where we’d pleasantly surprise it for them. Anyway.
Joris Bryon: What I love about the entire approach is that it really sets you apart from all other Ecommerce companies because I mean there aren’t that many ways to compete in Ecommerce, right?
The price, but that’s obviously not always a good way to do it. Or maybe you can have I don’t know, the biggest product range or faster shipping, a handful more of things but that’s about it.
And those can easily be copied and then you’re just like the other same market and culture or the guiding principles. That’s a totally different game. I think you do a great job in your book Principles to Fortune. It’s an absolutely amazing book. It’s about culture and I know it puts people sometimes off like culture for some people it’s too fluffy but it’s not fluffy at all. It’s straight to the point and you can almost start implementing yourself right away. And it’s full of examples of how you guys implemented those principles in a very practical way.
So, that’s something that really inspired me when reading the book. But how did you start this exercise? You described it in the book and you already mentioned that you did the first attempt with hanging some principles up on the wall that didn’t really work. How should someone get started with this?
Scott Bintz: Every business is a little bit different depending on what you’re doing. So obviously if you’re an aerospace you might have something, one of your values about precision and accuracy.
In the case with us I just knew that people often times have great personal values but sometimes have trouble practicing them at work. So what could we do to empower them to practice their own values or to help them line up with the values that we wanted as a company?
So first we got everybody’s personal values and kind of mapped them to six guiding principles. Then we started asking questions around them.
So an example is our first one is deliver more. So we went to every department, every employee and said there’s three things we wanted to deliver more on to our employees or our business partners and to our customers.
So, we started asking questions around where are we not delivering more to our customers. How can we deliver more to our customers? How can we deliver more to our business partners? Where are we falling short? Where are we not delivering more?
Got all that information and kicked it out and then one of our guiding principles was include fun and also be humble where the aspect of part of being humble is passing on credit, praising others, and where the company, when someone would catch someone practicing a guiding principle they would shout them out for it in person or we had a private Facebook page for that and gave them a button or swag.
So it kind of happened but we incrementally and we weren’t … And then we weren’t shooting for the moon for perfection, that we’re a work-in-progress and we’re going to learn as we go. So, obviously part of the deliver more was we wanted to kill status quo.
Transparency rocks, that guiding principle was really about open and honest communication. If you think about the people you’re closest to in the world or the people you can have the most open and honest relationship with and it’s hard to grow a business if everybody is playing poker. So we started to really work on that, on having better communication, and open and honest communication.
Like I said it was kind of a work-in-progress and we always … We were for periods of two months at a time we would always focus on one guiding principle a lot. We were trying to practice all of them and we just kept kind of repeating that and getting better and better at it.
Joris Bryon: Yeah. I think you mentioned a lot of examples how those guiding principles also really help you in your decision making. That’s the whole purpose of it, right? And by the way I like the fact that you call them guiding principles rather than values because yeah, probably too fluffy for many people the word values. But anyway.
But some of the examples I had mentioned in your book are decisions that you’ve taken that might be a little bit difficult probably. Like I remember one example that you mentioned in your book that says okay, we’re going to stop reporting individual sales numbers from our customer service reps. We’re going to change another one like the most popular sorting option is going to be really the most popular and not the one that has the highest margin or the coupon codes best price guarantees.
Those are things that could just stop giving the coupon codes and the best price guarantees and also the hassle-free return thing that you mentioned earlier. Those are things that could hurt your sales but still you apply those principles. Was that an easy decision?
Scott Bintz: Well I think those were work-in-progress decisions. So when we asked how we can deliver more to our customers, we got all sorts of feedback. One of the feedbacks was hey, offer more sales. Another feedback well it might have been ship faster, yadi yadi yada.
Well how does coupon code for example tie in to our guiding principle? Is it delivering more? Well jumping through hoops, is that delivering more to customers? I don’t know.
Then is it if you have like in pick up accessories there’s a big chunk of them that have minimum advertised price programs or unilateral pricing programs so you can’t discount them. So, if 30% of the items we sell you can’t discount that means if you give someone a coupon code 30% of the time it’s not going to work.
So we look at that like if you have a best price guarantee and then you have an eight page legal document you have to read with its exceptions to the rule, it’s probably not a very good best price guarantee.
And like in our case on the best pricing we just figured well it was Walmart, Amazon. We were too small of a business to manage always having the best price or the lowest price. We wanted to be price competitive and offer really good service. You can’t get high at service. And if you’re getting the rates of Motel 6.
So, we kind of look at what kind of customers do we want to have? We want customers that want a good experience, that don’t want kind of a no nonsense sale, no hoops to jump through, no legal documents to read to make a purchase, no weird exclusions.
So we just tried to price that appropriately and some of those examples like with the coupon codes. Again, if you go to a company and they advertise 10% off site wide and then you throw something in the cart and the item you’ve added has an exclusion what do you … that leaves the negative … isn’t delivering more to a customer. So that was easy, you follow me?
Joris Bryon: Yeah.
Scott Bintz: And with the, like again, with this often times in the spirit of profitability sometimes people make bad decisions. So our sorting at that time was you’d sort by best seller. But best sellers in the background coding was for what we made the most money on, which the developer that did it had … I suppose he was thinking that hey, this is helping the company. But the reality of it was that’s not transparent to our employees, our customers.
So we need to figure out what is … if you’re going to have to sort by best seller you’re either going to pick revenue or quantity and a time period, right? And then in the case of vehicle you have year of make model associated to it. So, best seller for a Toyota might not be the same as the best seller for a Dodge. So to make it that way because I don’t think anybody would sort by the product that Amazon makes the most money on.
It’s just like it’s one of those things that sometimes happen in business for the spirit of profitability that really goes against the values or guiding principles of an organization. And sometimes if you don’t have guiding principles to help shape that stuff out you wind up, good people wind up doing stuff that one could question if you’re going out to eat in a, whatever. You get the wrong food and the waiter, wait staff doesn’t take care of you appropriately it’s because they don’t feel empowered to do so. Well what in the world is causing them not to feel empowered to do so? Because if you and I were the wait staff and someone food they didn’t like we discount them a meal, right?
Joris Bryon: Yeah.
Scott Bintz: Well with the wait staff doesn’t take care of them in some sort of manner like that on their own it means that there’s probably break down in values where the, for some reason, often times in a company tribal knowledge and tribal experience, the decisions that the management makes becomes this unwritten rule book that is compartmentalized and that’s why you sometimes get bad decisions being made because they think that’s what the leadership would do and that might not be the case.
Joris Bryon: I think the book is full of great examples of how you apply those guiding principles and how they actually lead to extraordinary initiatives. What are your personal favorite initiatives that came out of the principles?
Scott Bintz: Well I think some of the learn more, earn more program whereas CS reps learned more they would be paid more. You’ve asked the question about the customer service, like really shaking out, do we want sales people on the phone or just customers service reps?
Well, if we want to deliver more to our customers, at that time we just felt like we needed to be helpful, we needed customer service people on the phone. If you wanted to buy something we’d help you with that, find the best item for your lifestyle.
But if you have, if you’re tracking individual sales and you put them on the wall it’s going to say it’s important versus we learned to kind of track for CS reps time available for calls and that kind of thing. Those kind of …
Because that’s what we wanted is we wanted the phone answered. If someone did call we wanted it answered fast and we wanted people to take care of the customer, which if you have call times monitored, then people are going to be short to get to the next call.
Anyway. But the auto po bot was one where a huge percentage, about 95% of orders that came into the system were taken care hands-free meaning where they would come in and they’d automatically purchase and ship and the tracking would be posted and accounting would match up and get imported in and paid a vendor, et cetera. That was pretty sleek on a technology aspect.
I think just some of the things we did as a company with good works for employees and for other things in the community. There’s so many of them.
Joris Bryon: Yeah, the book is a truck full of examples there, and I love many of them. Like your random act of kindness program, your ask me anything initiative. There’s a lot of … So to listeners just buy the book and read it. It’s very inspiring. There’s so many examples in there.
I think you’re staying true to the humble value because well be humble value because you’re still very humble about it. I mean there’s a lot of very interesting initiatives in there.
So, one of the things that I enjoyed reading the book as well is I think everyone understands that once you have those principles you should use them when you hire someone new. But it’s not always easy to put that into practice because how do you know if someone has the right values?
You can ask it but it’s not always straight forward and they can buy and I like that in the book that you describe how you use those principles also to hire the right people and that you even have a principles interview as a first interview even before a skills interview.
Can you share a couple of tips of how you did that principles interview?
Scott Bintz: Yeah. I think initially when we started we said okay we got these six principles. We want to hire for culture fit first, skillset second. So we came up with some questions and then over time we got better at them.
Even with the interview process we wanted to deliver more to people. So we try to be transparent to let them know, hey, you’re going to go through a culture interview first and if there’s a culture fit then we’ll do a skillset interview second. We try to make them fun and be transparent about it where they were relaxed, so you get to know them a little bit better.
But we started asking questions. Like we would say for deliver more we want to deliver more to our customers, partners, and employees. But the question we would ask would be share an experience that someone, a business, a family member, a friend delivered more to you, right? Can you spot it?
Or we would say wowed you, share a time that someone you know or a business wowed you? So you might get an answer like, “Well I was at Walmart and I asked where the Kleenex was and the lady just walked right by me and I was like wow.” Right? That’s their definition of being wowed.
Versus the next person might say, “Hey, after my 21st birthday my siblings got me a huge cake and threw me a party and brought in a,” whatever. It had something where they went above and beyond to give them that experience, right?
So, even with some of the … In the book I kind of … Our initial questions we asked interviews and people who interviewed and then as we got better at it we kind of came out with different questions in a different way to rank the answers of what we were kind of looking for in the answer.
So if you ask someone like share a time you’ve taken a risk or you ask a time where when is the last time they’ve given someone a compliment. Okay, what was that, right? So those kind of things to see are they wired for that.
Then the other aspect is there’s some people that want to kick ass and they want to be a rock star, but we wanted people that kind of had the attitude of we win together or we lose together, no rock stars here.
Also, even in the training process everybody went through RealTruck basic training and would pick a few calls out on the phone and we would be transparent about that. So like if you thought there’s no way I’m answering the phones for a company even for a couple of hours then RealTruck at that time wouldn’t be a good place for you to work because if you’re a web developer or if you were someone on the phones or on accounting you would kind of go through RealTruck basics too.
Because I never wanted to work with people that thought they were too good to do something.
Joris Bryon: Right.
Scott Bintz: That’s not saying that there’s probably at that time there was better things for me to do than to shovel the snow on the sidewalk. However, if it needed to be done it shouldn’t be above me to do it, right? Like we need it to be done and where to get that where I just never really liked the idea of someone saying that’s not my job or …
Of course how you can get a gauge from that is just how someone treats reception when they come in and how they treat other people that they work with, I mean that they interview with. You know those kinds of things where you can kind of get a gauge for what someone thinks regarding the whole aspect of being humble, which is really not about …
It’s really about leaving things better, passing on credit. When something goes sideways accepting responsibility. Catching people doing it right. Complimenting others. It’s kind of the old aspect of if you want Christmas cards you better mail out twice as many as you want.
I think same with compliments is sometimes people get caught up with well I never get any compliments at work. Really? Well how many compliments have you given in the last week? The people who tend to give compliments also tend to receive them more.
Joris Bryon: Absolutely, yeah. I think … You describe all of that wonderfully in the book. One question though. In the book you talk about a lot of special initiatives to how you may say like okay it seems easy, you’re a bit like well of course there’s time.
But when you’re smaller, then it’s not that easy because you need money to do it. How do you pay for all these culture building initiatives?
Scott Bintz: Well I think you save a little bit of money on advertising because as you get really taken care of your customers better, which is going to come from your employees being fun and happy, you don’t have to spend as much.
I think you just do it little by little. I mean I don’t know that it requires a lot of money. Obviously you’ve got to get departments to spend some time on it each week asking questions about what can we do to … What as a department what can we do to be more transparent with customers internally? With our business partners? Then where are we falling short getting that information out? Time to make some adjustments to it, making the time to have that meeting.
It costs a little bit, but it’s not … I think my experience again was we went … Once we started getting the culture dialed in, the years went from 12 million to 25 million to 42 million to 68 million. To over 100 million. I don’t know 180.
So, it’s hard to quantify that but obviously you have to have a lot of things locked in. And again, even with that getting Bizrate’s platinum customer service award, which is not a lot of people get that online at that time. Where just making sure your …
I think it’s a work-in-progress. You stand on what you can, right? That obviously over time some of those things got budgets. But culture isn’t just an HR thing. Obviously it helps if you got the leadership on board, right?
But it’s not just an a, new function of HR. It’s got to be companywide thing and then it’s also a work-in-progress. If you’re not … What often times companies do is they bust out some values and a mission and they don’t ever ask any questions around it and they just hope somehow people are going to follow it and use it and the reality is that if you don’t nourish the culture it will die and tribal knowledge and tribal experience will dictate what your company does and does not do. You’re either nurturing the culture or I mean.
A great example of that is every place has cultures, businesses, schools, departments, you follow me, families, et cetera, et cetera. I always talk about the New Orleans Saints in the States here where at one time they were paying players bonuses to hurt players on other teams. It was known as bounty gig online.
So somehow in the organization it became totally cool to intentionally try to hurt other players on other teams and you would get a bonus for it, right? Which when you say it out loud sounds ludicrous. Like who the hell-
Joris Bryon: Absolutely, yeah.
Scott Bintz: They’re all good people. It’s not like there is a lot of bad apples in there. But it’s in the pursuit of winning and profit at the expense of values and it became totally acceptable for everybody in the organization that that was cool, right?
That happened with good people. So how does that happen. That happens because of culture. And if you’re either taking it, you’re nourishing your culture and it’s growing in the direction that the values or guiding principles present or you’re not nurturing it and it’s growing in whatever values.
It may be like if you have values that are hey, we want to have integrity and we want to treat employees well and we want to do this. But every decision you make is based on whether the company makes money or not, right?
Joris Bryon: Yeah.
Scott Bintz: You’re not operating on you might as well scrap all the values and just say we exist to fucking make money. Excuse my language. That is what will drive everything often where again sometimes you get employees doing things that they would never do at home because they think they’re supposed to do it at work and they don’t want to lose their job.
Joris Bryon: Yeah.
Scott Bintz: Because they need their job to keep their roof over their heads. So, they’re willing to sacrifice their own values to keep their job and it’s all being kind of perpetuated by the work culture at work.
Joris Bryon: Yeah.
Scott Bintz: So, and then of course, sometimes you get weird policies too at a company because of that same aspect is there’s no really way to sort them out. Anyway, I kind of went into a rabbit hole there. So let me try to get out of it.
But if you want to have a really good hearted company that is growing and has purpose, I think spending some time nourishing the culture is going to get you there. And it’s going to be much more rewarding.
That being said, it’s just like anything in business it’s not necessarily going to be easy but it’s going to take some work, some passion and some energy, all of those things. And it’s going to be a work-in-progress. It’s not a one and done.
Sometimes you think it’s a one and done, it’s a work-in-progress. There is always things we’re trying to improve or look at differently and so forth.
Joris Bryon: Yeah. One thing I was just wondering. So at the end you sold the company. How important were those principles when you sold the company for you so that you can be reassured that the principles could still live on and for the buyer as well?
Did it … Was it one of the reasons maybe they wanted to buy your company? Did it increase the valuation of your company?
Scott Bintz: Yeah. I think when I was looking to sell the business I let the employees know, which a lot of times people don’t do. But I let them know. I said why I was …
What I was thinking was I wanted to sell because I thought my leadership was kind of tapped out and we needed to find some better people, big brother type or a bigger company to try us, to keep us going for years to come.
And I thought I found a company that believed in our values and that kind of thing and I think you learn as you go. So like all things sometimes we might do things differently given …
I’ve always said I reserve the right to change my mind at any time based on new information and new experience. But that’s what the intent was to find a company that really believed in the guiding principles.
At that time the company who bought RealTruck, Truck Hero, had a good track record of letting the businesses run kind of on their own and add their resources in a little bit.
That’s not necessarily what happened in the RealTruck case. But where with RealTruck it kind of got a lot of like merged a couple of companies together and then kind of brought in kind of what I would say kind of like corporate America to try to run the Ecommerce aspect of it.
It is what it is and what I would say on that is that if you don’t nurture the culture it will die.
Joris Bryon: Yeah.
Scott Bintz: It will be reflective in what your customers say about you, what your employees say about you and what your business partners say about you.
But yeah, that’s what we were … The hope was is to find a company that would keep nourishing the culture.
Joris Bryon: Are they still using the same guiding principles?
Scott Bintz: No. With the merging of the company they kind of reinvented some of the guiding principles and changed some things around. So, it’s a much different company today.
Joris Bryon: Okay. All right. Well we could probably go on for hours and hours. But we’re already over time. So before we go I just want to make sure that people know how they can find you, how they can know more about you. Obviously there’s the book. But yeah, what’s the best place for people to connect with you?
Scott Bintz: Well you can connect with me at Redheadedrebel.com or Scottbintz.com. Also, the book Principles to Fortune is available online stores from Amazon to Barnes & Noble, et cetera, et cetera. And yeah, so that’s how you can connect up with me.
Joris Bryon: Okay, cool. Thank you so much for being here Scott. It has been super interesting.