733: What is High ROI Thinking? w/ Patrick Campbell

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Patrick Campbell, Co-Founder & CEO of ProfitWell.

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Looking for a guaranteed way to create content that resonates with your audience? Start a podcast, interview your ideal clients and let them choose the topic of the interview, because if your ideal clients care about the topic, there's a good chance the rest of your audience will care about it too. Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to the B tob growth show, podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. What you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources? You've come to the right place. I'm Jonathan Green and I'm James Carberry. Let's get it into the show. All Right, today's episode is going to be a little bit different than what you're used to. This was actually originally recorded for a new show that we're producing called Boston success, but I wanted to have you guys listen to this episode before it actually Goes Live on Boston success, because the guests that we talked to is someone that's been on B to be growth before and have some incredible, incredible content to share. He's in the B tob space. It's name is Patrick Campbell. You're going to love this interview. So here we go. Welcome back. We are here today with my good friend Patrick Campbell. He is the CO founder and CEO at profit. Well, Patrick, a doing it Aman too. Well man, how you doing? I am fantastic. So so, ever since we knew that we were going to do a show based on and Boston success stories, you were, you were at the top of my list for folks to have have on it, and so I'm super stoked, Patrick, to have you on. I've interviewed you on another one of our PODCASTS, be to be growth, and you delivered in saying value. So really excited to dive into this. Before we get into your three keys to success, Patrick, I'd love for you to just give our listeners a little bit about the journey that has ultimately led you to to what you're doing today at profit will. Yeah, absolutely. So. I'm actually not from Boston, so I'm a little bit of a poser here, but I've been here about a decade and to most Bostonians a decade is definitely not enough to call yourself Bostonian. So to most people, you know definitely a Bostonian. But what's kind of funny is I'm from Wisconsin. I'm from a town with, you know, more cows than people, and so you know the whole concept of Boston, which is into a large city, but it's a pretty large city, at least in contest of where I grew up. But my backgrounds and condometric some math. Come from a really blue collar family and you know, that's kind of where I learned just this intense gratitude for work, essentially, and moved out here. I worked in DC for a little while working in the Intel community and then I worked at Google and I both places I was doing just based tickly econ modeling for different outcomes. You know, at the when I worked in the intail community, I was trying to find bad guys and gals. When I worked to Google's trying to find money, and so both places essentially, you know, worked on those types of outcomes and then I, out of you know, pure hubrist naive tay, ignorance, all of the bad things, jumped into the startup world. Is Basically one of those things where I was I was just thinking. I was like okay, I need to jump out and you know, I just kind of frustrated working for a boss essentially, and that it wasn't because it was a little bit of ego at that time in my life, but it was also just kind of I always cared more than my boss, and that's that's easy to do when you're, you know, young, you know, Hungry Kid, and you're dealing with people in the corporate world, and that's essentially what the government is, in addition to Google. And so jumped out and basically worked at a start up for about a year. I didn't that's the first kind of interaction I had with kind of small company or heavy growth culture and it wasn't super pumped about it. The learned just a lot of what I didn't want to do. Learn a lot about that and it was just a heavily venture back company and I think that the the heavy venture backing,...

...which was necessary for the product, it wasn't necessarily the you know, the right move for for that particular company or for that particular company culture. And so again just hit me at the right time. I was working on pricing when I was there and and essentially looked at how we just don't know a ton about it as just practitioners and operators and it's something that's extremely important. So put those two and two together and then a little bit of Hubris, little bit ignorance and just jumped out and started pricing intelligently. And we're now profable because we kind of expanded into helping subscription companies with a bunch of different things, pricing, retension metrics, all kinds of fun stuff. And so yeah, that's that's kind of the the quick and dirty, rambly version of how I got here, with a couple of detours along the way. Well, I feel like I tell your story often because of really how you've built the business. You guys have have bootstrapped. You actually had an April foles day post about raising capital. That that that that fold me for sure, and I was laughing hysterically when I found out that it was got to the end of the Post and realized it was a big April foles joke. Can you talk to us a little bit about I feel like in a lot of a lot of the startup world there's there's it's not even entertained as a possibility to bootstrap something. Can you talk about and why you chose to go that path and and and the success you've seen with it? Yeah, I think it was. It was a little bit of naivete as well. I think that, you know, when I was at that company, that was heavily, heavily, heavily funded for or the revenue that it had, and it was. It had a lot of costs associated, so it definitely needed to be heavily funded. But I kind of jumped out and it didn't know how to raise money. I'd never myself raise money when I was at this company. I wasn't, you know, part of the leadership team or anything like that, and so I just kind of started grinding and the thing that happens, and it's dangerous in some cases, but it was beneficial in this case, is when you're working on something, you normally do the things that you're good at or the things that you can kind of figure out or the things that you're better at right and so wasn't good or raising money. So it wasn't something I focused on and didn't think that, you know, there's a little bit of an insecurity complex that I have just in general, but that kind of aided in the Oh, we're not good enough to raise money yet, let's let's give it another month. Oh, we're not good enough to raise money yet. That type of thing. And so wasn't. It wasn't as if I had this giant chip on my shoulder about how dare I raise money, or Oh, you money's evil, or like that, because, as most people know, it's a tool, right, and I think that a lot of people they buy the tool a little too early. And what we ended up doing, at least in hindsight, is, you know, just just getting to a revenue model where, you know, we could basically reinvest everything into the business, and that's really what we did and I think that that helped a lot because it really put us through the ringer in terms of making sure our, you know what, economics were good, making sure that our team was focused, and we've made every hiring mistake ache under the book at this point, and maybe we still make him because it's just impossibly hard. But we we learned those mystiques really quickly because we just couldn't afford to keep making those mistakes or not fixing the mistake once we've made it. And so, to kind of answer your queshion will directly, we so we've been completely customer funded, and it's not to say we won't raise money eventually, but the April fools joke was was kind of funny because we had had some inbound from some growth equity folks and there was one firm that was just kind of you know, but heads. Let's just say that. That's a nice way to say and, you know, just just respectful of our time and we were really up front. We see, listen, we're not raising any money anytime soon. More than happy to you know, you know, get a relationship going or anything like that, but just to be super clear, we are not raising any money and they're their associates. Normally we've kind of learned to push back on associates, but we're, you know,...

...we're a midwestern so I can't be, you know, a mean ear, but had to people and so yes, anyways, and there was one that was really rude and so we were thinking of what we should do for an April fools joke and then there were some other pieces in that April fools joke about, you know, we made fun of basically our competitors charging for what we give away for free, and not in an egregious way, just in a blog post and a linkedin post. And so yeah, that was kind of the the impetus for that joke and all of a sudden we had just a ton of it was really funny watching the traffic because just every growth equity firm that we had ever talked to was just Fay, like twenty, twenty, five hits. They're fording it around and you kind of you kind of got the psychology of it. Someone read it the headline and was like those butt heads, and then, you know, forwarded on and then someone went, oh no, wait, it's an April fool strung and kind of went back and forth. So it was it was funny and there's still people who believed it to this day and so thankfully it wasn't, you know, wasn't too intense of a joke where we had to fix anything. I love it. And so in this in this show, Patrick, we're obviously going to be focusing in on your three keys to success, but before we do that, I'd love to have you everyone to find success differently. How do you define success? Who? That's a really tough question because there's so many layers. So that, I think for me, success really comes down to being able. So success, I guess, if I had to make it into a pithy cliche statement, really comes down to leaving the the the company. You're leaving the position in a better place than where you found it, and that that's easy when you know, I was the first person, so it's really easy to do that. But it was kind of meeting by that in kind of an extended way as also, you know, making sure that I could walk away or get hit by a bus or anything thing and basically the company would go on and not miss a beat. And that, you know, that sounds terrible because you know, Oh, what about, you know, legacy and all the other fun stuff, but that is the legacy is you're building. You're building a hive if you're not building a you know, a mirror on to yourself to show how cool you are. And so I think that's really that's what success to me, and I think, you know, creating dope product, creating something that's growing substantially, creating something that's revered by customers, like all these different things are really really important, but I think that's ultimately, you know, ultimately my measure of success, at least in in my position. Love it. So for the next little bit, Patrick, we're going to unpack your three keys to success. As we were talking about on offline. You said that your first key to success has been high Roi thinking. Can you elaborate on this idea for us? Yeah, definitely. So I think there's this this conception of do things that don't scale, and that I think is a hundred percent true, and we do that all the time here. But I think that when you're thinking of the order of operations, of what you're going to do when it comes to growth, when it comes a product, when it comes to all of these different things, the Roy of what you're doing is extremely important. So that doesn't mean that you don't do the thing that's going to take you six months of non scalable grunt work. It just means that that should be predicted to be something that's going to be high ury. And I think what ends up happening is people spend so much time on Google search right in markets that Google search doesn't matter right, and so you're spending all of that time doing the nonscalable thing, trying to optimize that particular channel, but it's very clear that that channel isn't going to produce insane Roi in any respect, and so it's not worth the the nonscalable time up front to take care of it. And so for us we think about what are the highest impact things now and in the future, and it's really, really hard to predict. We're not great at, you know, perfect or predicting. I don't even think we're great at predicting, but we're pretty good, and so that allows us and in some of these things are obvious right. You know that feature is going to you know...

...if it's successful, or even if it's half as successful, it's going to bring, you know, better results than this other feature, things like that, and so I think that that's been a really, really big thing for us and for for taking that a step further. I think the other thing is is that once you figure something out, you should figure out how to go all in as much as humanly possible, especially from an Roi perspective. So there's certain channels, there's certain things that we do actively that look like they're a lot of unscalable work and our competitors go, oh my gosh, they're wasting so much time with that and we go, okay, I'm glad you think that, because we've optimized the hell out of that particular thing or that particular channel so that it looks like it, it's, you know, it's taking a lot of our time, but in reality it's, you know, it's been outsourced, it's been automated, it's been, you know, a bunch of different things to just make it to be High Roi and I think the only reason we think about that is because we think about growth and we think about kind of what we're doing is, you know, you don't just throw people out the problem. You through optimization. People are really important piece of it and we're hiring across the board, but it's one of those things where, you know, we want people who are, you know, going to be one plus one equals three, to use kind of the old saying. We don't want people who, you know, it's just a dollar of their time in and get a dollar out because they're not. That's not really scaling. Yep, no, I love that. I love the way that you explain that and having, you know, met a lot of your team being in your office whenever last time was in Boston, I feel like that is a big part of your culture, as I've interacted with multiple people on your team, and so Kudos to you for for being able to distill that into the folks that that are on your team, because I don't think that that's an easy thing to distill into culture and you've done it. The second thing, Patrick, that I want to talk about is servant leadership. This is one that's obviously touched on quite a bit because it's, for obvious reasons, extremely important. But talk to us about and of your journey was servant leadership. Why? Why it's been so crucial to your success. Yeah, I think it just comes down to so servant leadership, for those who don't know basic definition, it's kind of like product marketing or customer success. You know, there's there's a lot of different definitions, but servant leadership it really comes down to you. Your entire purpose as an executive or as a as a manager is to serve your team. So that includes basic things like, Hey, if your team's working late, you make sure they get you know, they get dinner, and if they're going to come in early or something like that, you know, get them coffee, like basic things like that, all the way to hey, this person isn't performing really well and it's affecting the rest of the team. They have no ability to take care of that person. So you have to either get that person to a good level or you have to, you know, move that person on from that roll or the company in order to kind of protect that team. And this is this is a really, really big thing for me, because once you realize a company that gets past maybe fifteen people, all of a sudden you find that success is no longer predicated on any one human being. Yeah, I'm going to make some pretty big decisions, but those decisions have to be in a good place where the team supports them, because they're going to be the ones doing it. So that changes how you make decisions, how you communicate decisions, but also they're going to be the ones executing on it, and so you have to know your team, you have to know what's going to work best for them and you have to serve them in a way that you can essentially make sure that they're you know, they're taking care of and they're kind of executing on the vision and have alignment towards that vision. So this is a really, really big thing for me because I'm not, you know, I haven't had six exits or anything like that, and so I know you know going into this really early on that it's not like my name or my you know, my my intelligence could somehow bring forth, you know, the the right growth and the right product and all of these other fun things. So I really needed to focus on making sure that, you know, if I can optimize my team in a way that they go somewhere and...

...they're, you know, a one to one point five relationship on ton of what we were talking about here. I want to make sure they get to a one to five, you know, relationship where you know they're they're producing so much because they're being served in the right way, aligned in the right way and they're cared for by by myself and, of course, the management team. I love it. I love it all right. This third one we're going to talk about, Patrick, is a subversion of ego. Talk to us about this one. Yeah, this is a big one, especially for I mean, I don't think this has an age requirement, because I think sometimes, especially like young entrepreneurs, you you're like a teenager again in the sense that you don't you don't know how to act. Your socially awkward. You're kind of like entrepreneurial awkward, because you're kind of like, oh, I have to be a CEO. Well, no, one's called you a CEO ever, right. I'm so you're either insecure about that or your way too secure with that title, right, and so I'm the CEEO that kind of thing. And so I think for me and you know being, you know, really insecure teenager and you know early s person who was one of those things where the ego can be pressed really aggressively and not so great ways, meaning, you know, someone can take advantage of my ego because I'm trying to I don't know, I'm trying to be too big for my Britches or I'm trying to, you know, be insecure about an argument or not being intellectually honest and things like that. And I've just found that when you subvert the ego as much as humanly possible to a point, it doesn't mean you're not confident. But when you subvert it from an argument perspective, of feedback perspective, a you know, market perspective, all of a sudden you humbly look at your strengths, your weaknesses, etc. And it allows you to make the best decisions. It allows you to, you know, support your team in the best way. So yeah, that's a big thing. I think because you know I mean. I mean a ton of CEOS just nature of the fact that we're be tob business and a ton of executive teams, and I've been in so many board rooms from you know, helping so many companies with pricing and some of the other aspects of their businesses. And I'm telling you a man, the ones that are heavy ego CEOS, where all the datas point them in the face and they still are like no, I think it this way. It's those are the ones that never work out like those are the ones that we've helped and they've tanks, essentially, in terms of success. Patrick, I want to I want to transition into the fast five portion of this interview. These are rapid fire questions, but but I've I've really enjoyed asking them. The first one throw up a bit of a softball. What is your favorite place to eat in Boston? This is not a softball, this is a hard one. So Boston's really good. A lot of people don't realize this. Boston's really really good for like midtier food. We do have some really good high tier places and we obviously have a ton of like lower tier places, but midtiers really, really good. Here. If it's just like a regular night, I kind of like sweet green, which is, you know it's in other cities, but it's a call that chipotle of Salads. It's basically what it is, and it's just really good ingredients. It's totally overpriced, probably worth the price just given the the price of, you know, the good ingredients and all that stuff. I think that if it's a little like a little of a midtier night, I'll go to place called red lantern, which is kind of a modern Asian Fusioni type place. It's like right next to my apartment. Mean it's really good for like Sushi and stuff like that. Love it awesome. What is the book that you find yourself recommending the most? Boo? I'M gonna go with the more business e one, just because I think it's the most relevant and most helpful to most people. It's got to be high output management by Andy Grove. You got to read that if you're going to manage or operate in the team. It's just it's so impactful in terms of teaching you how to think about problems when they're in a business and kind of teaches you critical thinking in the content us of a business. which I think is really really valuable. High output thinking. Write no one down. What is the number one thing that you're trying to optimize for in your life right now? Patrick? I think it's health right now. So I have regretfully gained about...

...a hundred pounds since the start of PROFA well, and so that's just because I'm not going to use the company as excuse, but it's definitely a leading, leading variable in it. So I'm not traveling the rest of the summer unless it's absolutely necessary. I am, you know, taking care of you know, going to the gym every day or committing to that. I'm kind of outsourcing my food so that I'm not, you know, eating terrible food, and so that's that's a big thing that I'm trying to trying to get in order because as we get bigger and bigger, the energy levels are going to be, you know, going to be necessary. I love that I'm trying to get my health and check as well. So it's so hard. It's so hard. All right, this this fourth one, who's another local leader, Patrick, that our listener should be following. Yeah, I'm I'm a big Fan. There's a couple I'm going to name a couple just because I don't want to leave them out. One and he technically moves to London, but he's kind of in the Boston ECO system still. Is a gentleman by the new of Paul far now at Litmus. We found it litmus. It's just one of those salt of the earth guys there were completely strapped until they raise some growth equity and he's just the type of guy that he you know, the first conversation had with him, I just asked him, Paul, why didn't, why didn't you ever raise money? And he went, Oh, I just didn't know that was a thing. You know, it's just a guy who's so focused on product and the customer and all that kind of fun stuff. And then I'm a big fan of Chris and Brendon over at Whistia. It's another member of this this group that I chill with and on the Boston side, and those two are another kind of really focus on the customer, really focus on the team and I think they're, you know, extremely, extremely talented when it comes to kind of building a company, at least in the what I think is the right way. I love it all right. This last one, Patrick, and you touched on it earlier, but I'll ask it again just kiss you want to frame it another way. But what is what is the legacy that you want to leave? Yeah, I think I think it goes back to when I kind of mentioned about taking care of taking care of business, you know, taking care of the team and making sure that, you know, if I get hit by bus tomorrow or you know, something else, all of a sudden, you know, the the company almost doesn't even notice, you know, just in terms of growth trajectory and all that kind of fun stuff. I think that a little bit more expanded from that, I would would really love to leave kind of an industry legacy of having companies stopped focusing so much, I'm brute force growth in particular, because that's that's really how most companies are growing right now. It's not even that it's not data driven, it's just, you know, it's just there's no nuance to the growth and that means there's not a lot of Roy and a lot of the growth that's coming in and I just don't think that's going to work, based on the data, in the next decade or so. So, yeah, Long Story Short, I think that's that's the big thing to kind of focus on, or that's the thing I kind of one of the legacy on and of course, you know that involves pricing and retention and all this other fun stuff of it. Awesome, Patrick with thank you so much for your time today. This has been fantastic. If folks want to stay connected with you or learn more about profit well, what's the best way for them to go? By doing both of those things. Yeah, I would say connector with the on Linkedin at you know, Patrick Campbell, I'm also padocus on twitter and then, yeah, I think those are the two best places. And profit will just read at profilcom or price intelligentlycom, which is kind of one of our subsidiary products. Both those blogs are we try to keep them top notch in terms of the content, the quality of the content, and and I will also be a I'll give you a plug to one of your your youtube channel for profit well is fantastic and I was actually just wearing the pricing page teardown shirt the other day at a baseball game. So if you're into you. If I don't know,...

I didn't. I wouldn't even considered myself a fan of pricing before I met you guys, and I think you guys have done a fantastic job with your media strategy. You've got a few different shows that you're putting out. The one that I love is called pricing page tear down, so make sure to subscribe to profit was channel on Youtube to follow along there. They've done some fantastic ones. But, Patrick again, thank you so much for your time today. Man, this has been incredible and I really appreciate it absolutely. Thanks for having me. There are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the be tob growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners and without engagement it's tough to build a great community. So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small dinners across the country with our listeners and guests. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will Talk Business, we'll talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So if you'd like to be a part of a BEDB growth dinner in a sitting near you, go to be to be growth dinnerscom. That's Bob Growth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening. UNTIL NEXT TIME.

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