Keeping it Cool

Article by:
Mike Campion
EO Arizona

Company culture … who cares? There was a time when a young, strikingly good-looking fellow owned a business. Culture was the last thing on his mind. “Who needs that crap?” he thought. After all, he held meetings, set quarterly goals, introduced marketing plans and had other genius plans.

Three years, a divorce and a new company later, he now believes that culture is the most valuable asset in his company. What’s more, his ability to create and maintain a strong culture is his number one job (perhaps because he isn’t very good at anything else). So, until you get bored and go back to looking at the pretty graphics, here is the story of that guy. If you haven’t guessed, it’s me.

I worked hard in my old company. I read a lot. I tried to do all the right things. We acted professional; the customer was number one and we pretended to be a big, successful company. The only problem? We weren’t. Long story short, I went through a divorce and closed the company.

Being the emotional mess that I was, I didn’t feel like I could do that again. I made a decision that, in our next venture, we would simply be ourselves. Problem was, ourselves is a pretty insane, very politically incorrect bunch of idiots. We figured few people would get our unique personality, but the people who did would love us. And if we couldn’t get rich by being a big company, we could at least have fun and pay our bills.

Here’s how it turned out: Our first year in business, our customers loved us. Contractors, architects and government types came out of the woodwork to buy our products. The second year, we started attracting top talent. I have been a business owner for 10 years now and have always

Thought getting talent was a matter of knowing the right people and offering enough money. I can’t tell you the difference between that mindset and where we are now. We have built an amazing place to work, and the best and the brightest seem to come to us. We pay similar to what our competitors pay, but people line up to work with us. Though I’m not the brightest guy on the block, I see the value of attracting people who are much smarter and more intelligent than myself to the team.

The best way I can summarize the magic we’ve created in this new company is through our core values: Be real, be passionate, have fun, make money and help out. That’s pretty much it. It’s who we are, and it’s worked for us.

Mike Campion is the famed Chief Shade Officer of killer Shade. Founded in 2005, killer Shade designs, manufactures and installs sexy, twisty shades, calls it art, marks it up and calls it a day. Mike has been a member since 2000 and is doing swell. He can be reached at mikec@killershade.com.


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