It’s Throwback Thursday!
This week we are absolutely privileged to share an episode from the Business For Builders podcast featuring our own Joe Quattrone, SVP, Head of Education at The Sasha Group. The Business for Builders podcast provides business building information and insight for general contractors looking to remove deficiencies and vulnerabilities in their businesses.
Joe and host Max Peterson cover a wide range of topics, from how Joe’s career got started, the earlier days of VaynerMedia, building a strong company and team culture, The Sasha Group’s education products, and of course, marketing your contracting business.
”"I can double down on operations... But if, if the messaging and the branding and everything like that is not established, it really does make it a challenge to build a a general contracting business."Joe Quattrone
Katie Hankinson: (00:00)
Welcome to Building While Flying a Sasha Group podcast, where we interview business leaders about how they tackle challenges, stay resilient, and navigate ever-changing skies.
Julia Balick: (00:12)
On this week’s episode of Building While Flying, Joe Quattrone joins Max Peterson on his hundredth episode of The Business for Builders Podcast. Let’s jump into
Max Peterson: (00:21)
It. Everyone. Welcome to the Business for Builders podcast. Welcome to you if you’re on YouTube land, uh, trust. You’re doing good. My name’s Max. I’m the CEO at Smith and Sons. And, uh, we have got a treat today. Uh, we are in our 100th episode, which seems like a far cry from when we did get started. And to help us celebrate that, we have got a special guest in the house virtually. Of course. Uh, I wanna make, uh, a special welcome to, uh, Mr. Joe Qur, uh, who’s the head of education, uh, head of Sasha West and the Sasha Group. Welcome, Joe. I appreciate you being with us today.
Joe Quattrone: (00:59)
Oh, thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Max Peterson: (01:01)
Uh, look, I wanna break the ice. The first question I’ve got is, how did you come up with, uh, Super Patron? Was that something that you gave yourself or was that something that you, uh, you got, you got dawned?
Joe Quattrone: (01:14)
It’s actually pretty, uh, relevant to the title of this podcast. Uh, so when I was going through college and grad school, I worked at the Home Depot, which is a big bike store in America. And, um, I, you know, I was studying marketing at the time and social media was, was up and coming. It was like a rising, uh, phenomena in the United States. Uh, and I started a blog, uh, and it was all about superstores and big box retailers. And so that, Cause I thought for some reason, because I worked at a, at a big box retail, like the Home Depot, that I knew a thing or two, uh, and I thought that I was gonna go deeper in working in, uh, super center type places like Walmart and Target and all that kind of stuff. Um, but the name was just easy. It rolled off the tongue for me. So I, I never wound up kind of pursuing any further career, uh, as a journalist or a social media influencer in the big box retailer space. But, um, I, you know, I never really felt like changing my, my profile across any other platform. People just knew me as that, so I just kept it going.
Max Peterson: (02:17)
Right. O and you didn mention to me at one point, I you said your dad was a general contractor.
Joe Quattrone: (02:23)
Yeah, he just recently retired. Uh, he wasn’t his whole career. He started his career in, uh, as a, you know, um, mainframe computer technician. Uh, he used to work at a place called Digital Equipment Corporation, or you know, he called it Deck for short. But, uh, after about 20 or 30 years in that profession, he decided, uh, he hated his job and he was miserable, uh, . And he switched careers and started a little handyman company. And that grew into more of like a, like a general contractor type, uh, operation. Uh, and he did that for another 15, 20 years, uh, towards, uh, you know, retirement as well as, uh, he also, uh, played bass guitar and an oldies band for, uh, 20, 30 years . So he was just a man of many skills.
Max Peterson: (03:10)
And so did he, did he beat you up from, from not going into, or because he is digital background, he was okay with you going away from more of a hands on blue collar type trade into something more digital? Or did it give you a bit of stick for
Joe Quattrone: (03:22)
That? I never, uh, of course the option was there. If I wanted to take over his business, he would’ve gladly groomed me to become his replacement. Um, I just didn’t have any interest in it. So , um, I, I was, uh, really trying to explore what was interesting to me when I was in my early twenties before I went off and started studying stuff. And, um, I, I still was influenced by him quite a bit. I, uh, but it was in a different way. The thing that I started to really, um, gravitate towards that I was interested in, in what my dad and my uncle and all my family members brought to the table was I saw this weird fascination for collecting things, uh, to my dad and my uncle and my family members. They used to collect and restore old Coca-Cola machines, cars. My dad used to collect, uh, Mustangs cor bets. Uh, my, my uncle used to collect, uh, old Porsches and Triumph motorcycles. And I started thinking to myself like, what in the world is the fascination that people have with brands? And so I just went and kind of explored that rabbit hole for a while and, and just decided to, to really pursue a career in that.
Max Peterson: (04:32)
And that was where it sort of, then you obviously morphed in with all the technologies and everything. It sort of slowly got sucked into the, the digital side of things.
Joe Quattrone: (04:40)
Well, I got sucked into the digital and social media side right away when I got outta grad school. Uh, I was working at a place called Audi of America, you know, Audi, the car brand, the four rings, uh, Audi.
Max Peterson: (04:50)
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah,
Joe Quattrone: (04:51)
Yeah. They have a, a, an America North American division or whatever. And, um, I was working after corporate headquarters, um, not directly for them. I was working for an agency based outta San Francisco, but they hired me to be the onsite account manager. And, um, within three months, because I was the only person in my twenties that was on the floor at Audi, um, their cmo, Scott Ke pulled me into his office and uh, and threw an article, uh, a New York Times article down on his desk and said, Hey, if this guy meaning Barack Obama can become leader of the free world using social media, this was before he became president. It was like when he was running for office. Uh, but everybody pretty much knew he was gonna become president. He said, If this guy can be the leader of the free world using Facebook groups, I wonder if we can use social media sell cars.
Joe Quattrone: (05:39)
And then that’s how I got started. , I worked for him after hours for, uh, six to nine months, uh, just 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM kind of work. Um, just, I couldn’t do it during my day job cuz I, it would’ve taken up all my time. Um, but I did a bunch of research for probably about five, six months and then eventually he wanted to get serious and pursue some funding for it. Um, so I, I spent some time working with, uh, a couple of people on my team, uh, and we built a go to market strategy, which included, um, you know, an a monetary ask so we could build a team, we can hire an agency. Um, and that’s kind of what got me sucked into the world of social media cerca 2008 .
Max Peterson: (06:23)
Yeah. So what I, what I love about that is the original, you know, you’ve got, you know, uh, a bit of a general contractor understanding, but then, and this is kind of what we are doing, you know, here at Smith and Sons and Business for Builders, is you’ve got that understand the blue collar, but then you’ve got a really, you know, awesome understanding of, of digital. And I think as a blue collar carpenter though, I mean, I’m a carpenter by trade. Uh, there’s such a disconnect and I still see it today. I’ve got guys in my organization that just go, I’m glad you’re doing digital cuz I don’t even want to know about it. And so, you know, to what we’re trying to do for the greater contractor community, I think, and you know, I love the fact that you, you know, you are, you’re in the house and what I’m really interested, and this is why we can get onto some q and a later on, is it’s like, you know, I know what I do for my general contractors, but it, I can’t, you know, there’s, it’s so hard for me, Joe, it’s probably one of the things that I don’t double down on.
Max Peterson: (07:17)
I can double down on operations and I can double down on checklists and everything to do with running, you know, running a contracting company. But if, if the front end and the, the messaging and the branding and everything like that is not established, it really does make it a challenge, you know, to, to gen to build a, build a a general contracting business. Now, in the old days, sure, newspaper and radio might have been the deal, but as Gary says, it’s all overpriced. And why, why wouldn’t you cut the middle man out? So I’m really looking forward to, you know, our Instagram and our TikTok audience just, and, you know, contractors and general contractors thrown out going, Hey, you know, I want to add value to their situation. It’s like, what could I do today? What’s my takeaway for social? And I encourage all the time, just look at Smith and Sons look at and just copy kind of as best you can. But, you know, a lot of them just have this resistance to doing it. And I understand cuz I’ve got a great team and I know that it, it makes the difference. And I didn’t start with that. I mean, it was me by myself with one camera. Um, but I, I looking forward to, you know, cuz you’ve, you’ve made mention Audi America, um, you worked on social campaigns, uh, with Budweiser Bud Light, j and j Baby and Stella. Oi. So, you know, I love beer, Beer is good. So that’s . Contractors love beer.
Joe Quattrone: (08:33)
Oh hey, I mean I’m, I’m aside from just having a dad that was a general contractor, he actually hired me as a subcontractor for many summers. I used to go because my specialty at Home Depot was doors and windows and no work like, you know Right. Doing trim and all that kind of stuff. Um, in the summer months, I’d go home on the weekends and I would install full houses of windows and doors for him. And, uh, so, so I know that world a little bit, but I know kind of what people are going through and kind of how hard you guys work and you know what of labor of Love It. Love it is, and I’ll, I’ll leave you with one anecdote because I feel like I’ve, I’ve, um, I’ve scaled the mountain top to some extent in terms of like the world of marketing.
Joe Quattrone: (09:12)
Um, one of the things that I miss about those summers, uh, you know, looking back on it, is you can finish a day and realize that you completed a project and you did the best job you could do. In my world, there’s so much gray matter, right? Everything is balls in the air and like, you know, happy customers, angry customers, You gotta, you got, you gotta raise up your employees, You gotta, you got camp, tons of campaigns in market. Um, it’s not as simple as it once was in my life where it was like you’d go on a job, you had one job to do, you’d finish the job and then you could finish their day with the peace of mind knowing that you did the job the way it was supposed to be done. Right? So that’s, that’s one thing that I admire about, you know, blue collar workers, people that are in trades, uh, stuff like that is that there’s a craftsmanship to it and there’s not a thousand different ways to do it. There’s one really good way to do it, , you know, and there’s always that pursuit of, of finishing jobs, uh, which I admire a great deal.
Max Peterson: (10:13)
Yeah, I think a lot of, you know, cause I look back on my 30 plus career, you know, in the, the construction industry. And I think because I was fortunate to, to, um, you know, have a, a boss or do my apprenticeship with the guy who’s really successful financially today, it was always about the money. And it was, it’s very contrary, you know, different to what Gary talks about as far as, you know, figuring out what makes you happy. Um, I I never gave the happiness side of it a thought for like two decades, dude. Like, it was ridiculous. It was money, money, money, money. And then you wonder why you’re not happy. However, when I quit focusing on money and then when across to really probably scaling things down exactly what you just said. You’d go to work, you’d back the trailer in, you’d turn the radio on, you would roll the gear out, you would go and do your job and then you’d get, at the end of the day, you would feel a high level, you know, if you were just patient.
Max Peterson: (11:10)
And that was the other thing which I never knew was patience. So, you know, that’s one thing I preach a lot about today is because I think we underestimate how much time that we, you know, have got to build this. And so, yeah, there’s no question that for me, the change going from a, you know, a, a general contract, let’s say into an office as a CEO working with creatives and franchise sales and everything like that, you do go home at the end of the day and you can’t look over your shoulder and see something you’ve created. I, I don’t even know what I do from day to day. Like you, I’m just managing departments and making sure everyone’s equipped and, you know, putting out fires and there’s just, you don’t see anything tangible. And it does, it wrecks me a little bit. It’s like, if this didn’t, if this doesn’t work, I think I’ll go back building houses because I can, I literally love satisfaction.
Joe Quattrone: (11:55)
There’s one thing that comes close when you have something that you do that you put out into the world in social media or digital marketing and it goes viral. That is the one thing that comes the closest to it. Cuz then you can go in and you can see the results, you can see articles being written. You can do Google searches and you can see all types of people talking about your brand. Um, but that’s probably the closest it comes to that feeling where you, you put something out and then you can kind of sit back and say, Wow, I did that. That’s pretty cool. You know,
Max Peterson: (12:22)
Inter interesting insight. I, yeah, we’ll, we’ll keep on chugging away cuz that’s probably, that’s a good, that’ll motivate me a lot. I’m like, right, I’m gonna build viral videos with my team . Cause that’s kind of the,
Joe Quattrone: (12:33)
Uh, mate, you never know.
Max Peterson: (12:35)
The proxy, the proxy home. Um, yeah, it was interesting, um, I’ve, I think I was, was introduced to you, I gotta give a bit of a shout out to, uh, me old mate in Calgary. Jeff Humphrey Humphreys. He was, yeah, I had a, I caught him on, uh, one of, uh, the four days and sort of, you know, understood that he was fairly local. Uh, we’re in British Columbia, just won province over. And uh, so I reached out to Jeff and we had a good conversation. I’ve had him actually on the podcast. And um, and yeah, so he was how I got to know you, but where I stumbled over Gary’s information was via a guy by the name of Kwin Ray. I don’t know if that name rings a bell. Anyway, he rolled out, he was, he rolled out a video, I think he might have been in Las Vegas for an event.
Max Peterson: (13:18)
And he did. And it was, it was big on Snapchat. And it’s ironic cause I never did get into Snapchat. So when to came round, I’m like, I’m getting on that train . But, um, you know, it was, it was interesting. It was just per chance, you know. Um, and so, you know, like I explained air before we got started, you know, a lot of that was, was per chance. But I think there was, there was very much an identification with Gary’s philosophies, the fact that he just, he, he on the whole school program. And I wasn’t a very good student. You might have been a good student Joe, but I was definitely not a good student.
Joe Quattrone: (13:51)
It depends in high school, like at cs, uh, it wasn’t until college when I realized that I had to pay for my own college that I started getting, um, I started applying my, my, uh, intellect a little bit more. But yeah, I was average until I had to pay for it. .
Max Peterson: (14:05)
Yeah. Interesting. Got a bit of, uh, incentive. Um, yeah. So how, when we just talked about before you sort of said, Well, I’ve got, you know, two bosses I think, or two jobs and, you know, how do you go? Is it, have you mastered the yard of balancing work life and family life? Cause like you said, you got, you got three kids and so there’s some pretty serious demands. Do you, have you got a structure or you just kind of just throw, throw a bunch of balls up in the air and, and figure it out on the fly? Cause that’s what I do,
Joe Quattrone: (14:33)
Flows a lot there. Um, I would definitely not say I am a master of anything. Um, I, I’ve, I, I like most people, I just try to get through my days and weeks and survive. Uh, I do. Um, but obviously I’ve, I’ve, I’m operating at a pretty high level in my career. Um, so yeah, I do have some structure around it. I I’m a very organized person in general. Um, but yeah, I mean, in terms of like balancing multiple jobs and stuff like that, it’s really about prioritization for me. So like, understanding at any given time, like what is driving the, the business forward, uh, for my company, um, really kind of dictates how much effort, um, and, and kind of resourcing I put around certain tasks. Um, you know, when I was running, I’ve, since actually really recently, um, relinquished my role on the west coast.
Joe Quattrone: (15:28)
I hired my replacement out there. Um, so I’m pretty much all in on, um, on education and training for the Sasha Group right now. But, um, even in that role, I have probably three jobs. So I’ve got, uh, products that I manage like four Ds in store, which is an online membership platform around digital marketing. I’ve got, uh, services which are, you know, where we run social media for certain types of brands, predominantly personal brands, uh, small startups, things like that nature. Uh, and then I’ve got knowledge, which is we build, um, we, we run all of the soft group social media, uh, practices, uh, properties, which is more towards digital education, but then we also build all of the curriculum, all of the training and tracking for all of our employees across the whole entire company. So I sit on top of three major kind of departments within my division.
Joe Quattrone: (16:24)
Um, and in, in any one of them at any given time could be blowing up and need my attention. Um, and that’s kind of where, you know, when I was talking about like really understanding what’s moving the business forward in a major way this year we really built out the service category within the education division to accommodate this massive priority for Gary, which was organic social media content, right? So, um, creating retainer businesses for clients where they’re not utilizing paid, they’re predominantly doing TikTok and other vertical video, uh, platforms, if it’s b2b, more like LinkedIn and stuff like that. Uh, and so, and it’s something that hadn’t really existed, uh, to, to a great extent at our company for years. Um, mainly because the world of social media had deemphasized organic social media since 2014. But in I’d say the past two years of the pandemic and with TikTok becoming the biggest deal in the world now, the world was changing and Gary was trying to get clients to adapt to a life where, in which they didn’t have to spend a ton of money on paid media, but we didn’t have a product that was really good for that.
Joe Quattrone: (17:33)
So I had to, we had to build that out for the slasher group, and then we had to go, you know, create pricing around it, put it into market, have like some flagship accounts that we were performing those duties on. And so yeah, I’d say that has taken up probably 60, 70% of my time. So really it’s just about prioritization, knowing, you know, you can’t, uh, there’s a, there’s a quote, I don’t know where it came from, but talk about majoring in the minors. , if you, if you’re familiar with like professional sports leagues, there’s usually like some sort of a professional entity, and then there’s a minor league system. Um, if you spend too much of your time focused on the things that matter the least to your business, uh, you don’t wind up pushing your business forward. So as a leader, we can’t necessarily spend our time trip tripping up over some of these like little ankle bite projects that we have.
Joe Quattrone: (18:21)
Uh, that’s why we have to build teams that are, are, are, you know, well versed in being able to tackle a multitude of different, uh, types of projects. But we as leaders, we need to focus on the long term things that are gonna make our business successful over years. Not necessarily, you know, firefighting in the trenches and trying to make sure that all of our customers are happy every single day of the week. Like that is important, but hire somebody to do that, right? And make sure that they understand what is important, what, what’s important for you to be doing versus what’s important for them to be doing.
Max Peterson: (18:54)
Yeah, I think that’s, you know, delegation is, is maybe what you’re alluding to, um, Joe. And look, I think as, as trades people, we, nobody can do it as good as me, Joe. Like, you know, that’s tech, that is probably our biggest hang up. And so, you know, I do sort of, you know, in conversation arm wrestle with GCs about that, and I’m saying, Well, you are gonna bottleneck your own business if you continue with that attitude. And I dunno what else to, to say about it. But, but what I find, you know, having watched Gary since, uh, you know, late 2015, the winter of 2015, and you hear the numbers that he occasionally drops, Well, we’ve got 380 staff and then we’ve got 650 staff and a thousand and I dunno what he’s at now, over 2000 across the whole group or more, whatever it is that, that alone, that whole, I’ve got guys right now that are battling to get one general, one carpenter, lead carpenter.
Max Peterson: (19:47)
Like, it’s such a challenge in the general contracting world. We forget about marketing. I mean, we’ll, we’ll cover that too, but yeah, just, and you know, there’s a lot of blame going around. Well, it’s, you know, our, our prime ministers made it too easy for people to sit at home and get paid and all, all of these things. But I keep saying there’s gotta be a percentage of really good quality people that are out there. We’ve just gotta find them and we’ve just gotta serve them well. But you know, I I, I did a video about high quickly fire quickly on TikTok and got destroyed . Oh boy, they didn’t
Joe Quattrone: (20:19)
Like that. We have the same problems in advertising and marketing, and it’s really hard to find the kind talent you need, uh, at the price you wanna pay right now. Um, it’s probably the biggest, uh, imbalance in the hiring market that I’ve ever seen. Uh, obviously it’s been in, it’s been reversed in the other direction. There’s been markets where, um, where there’s plenty of people that can’t get a job, uh, because the jobs are too scarce now. We have a bunch of jobs that we can’t fill because people don’t want ’em, or they don’t want ’em under the conditions that they’re in. Um, so I, I’m not sure exactly what the cause of that is, but I I, I have a suspicion that, um, the world has just changed, uh, such a great deal. And the, uh, the, the thing that I find really complex about the workforce right now is, especially within my universe, I don’t know ne necessarily if it’s the same within yours, is that we’re still operating off of a, a model of, of labor that was created for working on factory floors, right?
Joe Quattrone: (21:21)
Like the whole idea of a nine to five and, uh, and working, you know, uh, you know, eight to 12 hours a day away from your family, like that, that was something that was created to like, make widgets at factories or, or, or mine coal and stuff like that. Uh, there’s a much different way to work in, in today’s society, and I think a lot of people found that out during the pandemic is like, if you can work an office job, and that’s what your thing is, like I, I’m much more productive working from home than I am in office. And, and if I look at an entire week, I don’t need to look at it through the lens of a 40 hour week. Like, I need to look at it through the lens of like, how do I efficiently get my job done , you know, that might take 20 hours, it might take 80 hours, I’m not sure. But, um, we have to figure out, I, I don’t think what we’ve done for the past 100 years is what we need to do for the next 100 years.
Max Peterson: (22:16)
And do you think that’s, that’s applicable or appropriate for, for everybody, let’s say in, in the Vayner group? Or is that, are you just talking from a management position? Because for you it’s not, location is not massively important. Um, but, but is,
Joe Quattrone: (22:30)
It’s an important, it’s for everybody, but it, it is possible for most. Um, and I’d say that because creating content, right? Like that is something that, you know, you can do together, you can do it alone. You could connect with people virtually. Like there’s a lot of ways to create content, but there’s also like a personal preference, uh, side of things. If you’re younger, if you’re single, if you’re not married, for instance, if you live in a city, if you’re, if you’re really still trying to learn about who you are as a person, uh, the idea of cohabitation being around other people like kindred spirit, you know, fellowship, all those kind of things, it can lead to better work, right? When you’re a little bit older and more established and your priorities are different, you’re, you know, you’re married, you’ve got kids, all that kind of stuff.
Joe Quattrone: (23:15)
Like, it’s, it’s a great treat and it’s a pleasure to be able to do a little bit of both, right? Like, I, I’m fortunate because I get to live, you know, I built a house to, to work out of. I got, I’ve got two offices in my house, one for me and one for my wife who also works from home. But I’m also in a position in life where I can travel a lot for work. I can go to the office, I can see my team whenever I want. Like, um, and so for me, that’s the optimal balance. But like, I, I’m not, you know, crazy to think that, that that would work for everyone.
Max Peterson: (23:46)
Yeah. Yeah. And I think, you know, like, it, you’ve gotta, they, you know, our viewers, you know, you gotta figure out what works for you and, and there might be seasons that you go through where yep, you’ve gotta double down and everyone’s gotta be in the room. And then as the business and yourself develop, then maybe you could sort of think about doing something, um, more remotely, uh, as opposed to sort of being the
Joe Quattrone: (24:04)
House. My dad was a contractor. He only works six months a year. He hated working in the wintertime, so he, he literally just, he was happy just making enough money in six months to live off for 12, you know? Right,
Max Peterson: (24:15)
Right. Um, and so you are in Nashville, is that what you said to me?
Joe Quattrone: (24:20)
Uh, yeah, I’m outside of Nashville. I’m in Williamson County, so about 30 minutes south of Nashville.
Max Peterson: (24:24)
And does Gary still have an office at Chattanooga?
Joe Quattrone: (24:28)
Yeah, we do.
Max Peterson: (24:29)
Right, right. And so that, that’s your closest office if you had to go in, that’s where you’re going to
Katie Hankinson: (24:34)
Once in a while, Social Group podcast where we interview business leaders about, imagine any challenges, stay resilient, navigate the
Joe Quattrone: (24:41)
Need for me to go there is really just, it’s, it’s when I want to go in. Um, we do have a production studio there, so sometimes I’ll, I’ll host events there or I’ll meet my team members there and we’ll film content. But, uh, yeah, that’s, uh, it’s great. It’s about two and a half hours from where I live. Um, an easy drive going up the mountains, beautiful out there. So, uh, I love going there.
Max Peterson: (25:03)
Yeah. Mike, tell me about the company culture that you’ve seen both, you know, where it started with, you know, with what Gary did, because I hear him often talk about, um, you know, the fact that he is not confrontational as much as people think he’s fairly bullish, but like, when it comes to dealing with, you know, maybe team members and things like that, he often talks about how he pat’s a guy on the back on, on Monday, tells him he’s doing a good job, and then has to let him go or get someone else to fire him, um, you know, at the end of the week. Um, tell me about the, the, the, because it, it has to be something that permeates the whole organization coming from Gary as he sets the temperature. Um, how does it, have you seen the evolution of culture from way back when you started with Gary nine years ago to what it is today
Joe Quattrone: (25:47)
Is, is Yeah, yeah, sure. I have seen a lot of different changes in culture. Um, when I started, um, culture was something that was more driven into the organization. Like, um, Gary, um, it was the most important thing, right? And, uh, he talked about it a lot. And, um, it was, uh, it was almost kind of manufactured though, right? And, and I think in a lot of the early days there was this sense that, uh, you know, you couldn’t say negative things, right? You had to always be positive. And what that led to was more kind of bad behavior. And Gary talks about this, so I’m not really like breaking any news here. Um, the, the kind of behavior it led to was a lot of, you know, delusion by people because, you know, when you’re always constantly reinforcing, re reinforcing, you know, positive positivity for the sake of positivity, then it’s hard for you to give critical feedback to people on their performance, right?
Joe Quattrone: (26:43)
So that when people did wind up getting fired, they’d be completely taken by, you know, they’d be completely taken aback and not know why. And they’d like, you know, there were tears and all kinds of stuff, and they didn’t think it was fair. And I, and to be honest with you, I don’t think it’s fair either, right? Uh, then we went through like a phase where, um, it, I mean, fortunately for us that was like, that, that early, those early days coincided with like Gary really learning his own approach to what advertising agencies should be run. Like, he, he more ran the early days of inter media, like a software startup, right? Like, you know, like a product marketing kind of outfit where he was only really concerned with like top line revenue. So it was, it was top line revenue at all costs, maximum levels of positivity.
Joe Quattrone: (27:33)
Nobody said anything bad. And, and because of that, it kind of felt almost like a cult to outsiders, right? Like, um, it almost like, you know, just, uh, like, what are these people, What are they all about? They’re all like saying like, all these super positive things, they’ve got smiles up to their ears. Um, and so it, it really felt like something like working in like a Google or Facebook where everybody’s drinking the koolaid, right? Uh, then we went through like a, a period where we started to clamp down and start to learn. We hired more senior talent, we started learning about operations. We needed to go through a phase where instead of focusing on on top line revenue, we had to get more profitable. Uh, and, and so we over corrected and things got a little weird because for the first time, we weren’t all sunshine and rainbows and smiles to the ears and stuff like that.
Joe Quattrone: (28:22)
You know, there were layoffs, there were things happening, and it, the vibe had definitely changed for a couple of years. Uh, and then somewhere along the line, I think it was probably after the Claw had come back and taken on her chief heart officer role, we started experimenting with, um, you know, this idea of, of kind of kind candor and, you know, really being comfortable in the idea that performance is gonna be a higher priority within our company, right? It’s probably, maybe even higher than culture or happiness and stuff like that. Like, you still have to get your job done. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing. Like, Gary is gonna have a direction he wants to point the company at, and we’re gonna get it done. Oh, and by the way, we’re gonna do it with a smile on our face.
Joe Quattrone: (29:10)
So it was just a little bit of a, a, a wrinkle and a nuance that kind of flipped the script upside down. And so I think most of us realize, uh, that, you know, we can be happy every day. We can go in and approach everything from an optimistic perspective, but we can’t necessarily just rely upon that to sit, to keep ourselves employed, right? Like, we always have to be climbing. We always have to be striving. We have to be pushing, we have to take accountability for, at the end of the day, what makes us happy, right? Like it, we are all in this together. We’re invested in this, and if it doesn’t grow, then nobody’s gonna be happy, you know? Mm-hmm. . So I think it’s just a, it’s a, it’s evolved in a much more mature way. It’s kinda like anybody, it’s just like going, growing up in life.
Joe Quattrone: (29:54)
Like you’re not as mature when you’re 18 as you are when you’re 25, as you are when you’re 42, right? You start to reflect back, you start to think back on your life and you start thinking about how reckless you might have been or how, you know, um, you know, how much more pointed and operational you need to become to be able to juggle all the balls to build the big thing you’re trying to build. You know, like, uh, I’m much more responsible at 43 than I was when I was 18, but I’ve got way more responsibility at 43 than I did when I was 18. And that’s how we feel as a, you know, more mature organization.
Max Peterson: (30:29)
Yeah. And I mean, I guess that’s why I talk to, especially on TikTok. You know, I’m messaging or I’m, the message that I put out is, is about these 18 and 20 and 22 year old, you know, carpenters or tradespeople that want to go and kick in the general contracting world. And they just don’t understand that there’s a lot of subliminal challenges, some, some really, you know, cute nuances that they don’t even know exist, which is what applies, you know, challenge to them personally. They don’t allow themselves to develop, you know, they’re trying to develop a business at this rate when really, personally they’re just not developing as quick. Um, so with your, with your position now, you mentioned to me at some point, I dunno if I saw this in your bio or whatever, that you’ve got, I mean, how many of that two, two and a half thousand, you know, team members do you manage within your group?
Max Peterson: (31:19)
Cuz I’m really interested to talk to you about what, you know, your, you know, your sandbox and how many, cuz it’s managing people. I kid you not is, I mean, maybe it’s, it’s not you ORs now I have this challenge. It’s humans by far. You know, I often say this, you know, I’ve got, I’ve got five siblings, you know, I’ve got a wife of 29 years, I’ve got six kids, I’ve got three business partners, I’ve got five staff, I’ve got eight franchised offices and it’s just, and then all of their retail, it’s just, there’s so many people up in my grill all the time. And it just seems like, you know what, sometimes I’d love to just sit in a beach and forget about the world for a while. Um, yeah. How, and I know my general contractors feel this way as well, they’re like, if it wasn’t for people, my business would be awesome , you know? Um, but, but it’s, it’s, I mean, how many people do you look after and then what have you got tips for general contractors who would manage nowhere near as many people as you do? I mean, literally their network of humans would be way less, I would say.
Joe Quattrone: (32:15)
Sure. So I mean it’s very, it, it varies, you know, different seasons. Ha I have different managerial duties and responsibilities right now. I’m prob my organization is probably about, uh, 10 to 15 people. Um, that’s just people that work on education. I don’t manage them all directly cuz I have direct reports that manage them as well. So like, I think direct reports wise, I probably have about three or four, um, that manage all of the people on my team. But, uh, in my heyday, when I was on the Vader Media side of things and I ran AB and bev, like all the beer brands, my organization or my network got up to close to a hundred people. Um, when I was managing AB and Bev Johnson and Johnson, all those brands. And at that period of time, I’d say that was probably about four or five years at the, at the height, um, I had probably about 10, 15 direct boards or something like that.
Joe Quattrone: (33:04)
Maybe, you know, between or like nine and 12 or, it’s hard to really remember exactly how many I had back in those days. But, you know, um, it’s easier when you break it down into like manageable chunks for sure. You know, like understanding the whole team versus like the people that you have to work closest with. And then knowing how to vacillate between, you know, messaging that’s designed for large groups versus messaging that’s designed for small groups. Uh, and I find that like understanding how to be, how to be the orchestrator or the conductor of those different various size units, um, is key and kind of knowing when it’s called for to address a larger, uh, entity versus talking to your direct reports. It’s more in a more intimate setting. So you have to understand there’s a, there’s a bu there’s a different cadence to communication.
Joe Quattrone: (33:57)
You know, like the larger group doesn’t need to be addressed to the same interval as maybe your tight, more tight knit group. But then you’re also having to like make sure that the, the, the kindred and comradery that you’re building with your direct reports is also being built between your direct reports and their direct reports. And then you also have to see, you know, what does the relationship look like between my departments, right? Creative versus client service for strategy, and then how is our communication going back and forth with our clients or our clients’ customers and stuff like that. So really just stepping out of your own body, if you will, and just looking at the full network and like making sure all of the nodes are connected properly and are working. So you’ve gotta, you’ve gotta really take a step back, level yourself out and make sure that your organization is running in a way that’s gonna be healthy and and dynamic.
Max Peterson: (34:48)
Yeah. And that’s fairly, that’s fairly fluid. I mean that you would literally manage that approach every day, every week. I mean, things change, people’s lives change
Joe Quattrone: (34:58)
When the bigger my organization became, the more I became an HR person. So for sure, and I mean human resources, what that means is I was constantly, uh, looking at, um, performance reviews. I was constantly, you know, looking at numbers to make sure that in terms of like our entire workforce, we were as diverse as we could. So we could not only diversity embrace, but also in age gender. I was looking to make sure that we were representative where we needed to be representative of. So like we work with a lot of consumer package goods products, which are most of the consumer decision making is driven by moms. So I needed to make sure that we had women that were childbearing years that were having children and stuff like that. So we weren’t, you know, putting marketing out into the universe that didn’t make sense for the buyers .
Joe Quattrone: (35:44)
Um, so, um, most of my, a lot of what I did was, you know, top to top client service work where I’d be meeting with like a CMO here and there. But then outside of that, internally it became less about the work that I was putting in the market. That, that era of my life was really when I was working in the car business, when I was like the lead strategist coming up with ideas, putting campaigns out when I was on the AB InBev side and the j j side for Gary, it was almost like an operational role, right? I was constantly looking at HR stuff, constantly, you know, building culture, um, having meetings, giving speeches, making sure people were, were motivated, uh, by what we were doing and where we were going. Trying to figure out how to take Gary’s message and really like, you know, maybe maneuver at a standard deviation to the side to be able to be relevant for my crew and make sure that they knew what their job and mission was.
Joe Quattrone: (36:41)
Um, so a good example of that is in that era, you know, there was a lot of stuff Gary wanted to talk about and, and he, a lot of, um, initiatives he wanted to drive forward, like voice, you know, that was in the era of, you know, Alexa coming out and Google Home and all those things. Uh, and um, I just kept repeating to my team. I was like, We are gonna be the best in the world at making videos for mobile devices, these things, and we are gonna be the best at the world, best in the world of distributing videos to these devices. And so really all I was trying to signal to my team was, we need to be really great at producing videos that are fit for an iPhone and we need to go out and get a bunch of paid media accounts and really understand how distribution works and that’s our priority.
Joe Quattrone: (37:25)
Uh, and over the course of that span, we probably did four or 500 videos, probably 8 million a year in digital video revenue. Um, and, and that was, it’s not that that was off the agenda for Gary, that was very much on the agenda for Gary, but that’s not the only message he was trying to talk about. That’s not the only thing he was trying to drive forward. And while I could have, you know, probably partaken in a lot of different initiatives that he was, he cared about, I realized that if we did that thing really well with the collection of talent, that we had these hundred people, then we can advance the a the agency and we can be, we can build a name for ourselves, uh, in the digital marketing sphere outside of just Gary’s voice, which is also really important for us. Um, so that, that was kind of my job is how do I, how do I refine Gary’s vision and, and make it relevant for my team to march in a direction.
Max Peterson: (38:20)
Yeah. And it, you know, I I guess where I, I always watch with interest, I always listen to Gary’s podcast with interest cuz I’m always looking, when is he going to have a GC in in a four Ds or, you know, when is he gonna have someone in his podcast? Because the relevance, it’s, I’ve, I’ve had to work really hard, I think to transition Gary’s message from an agency standpoint that deals with a lot of beer brands and those corporates. And I’m like, how do, and I’m gonna really try and middleman the message for our general contractor community and kind of from their standpoint and apply a little bit of empathy. It’s like, right, how do I do what Gary does? Cause his message is really motivating and he seems to be, you know, making some progress. How do I do that for a, And it’s great that you’ve got the insight into the general contracting world.
Max Peterson: (39:06)
How, how, where do I start as a general contractor? So you take all of your corporate knowledge and your, your corporate experience, um, working with some of those major beer brands. I mean, and then this is why I guess that, that, that stalk I really liked. As soon as that was dropped on my table, I’m like, that’s really cool. Um, and I guess, you know, maybe we could dive deep into that is a bit of a preface before we go into sort of anything micro. But, um, talk to us about what stalk can you, can you share with real quick what STALK does and, and and really bring that into, you know, some relevance as far as a general contractor. Why wouldn’t we have more general contractors, you know, participating with STALK, perhaps?
Joe Quattrone: (39:45)
Sure. Well, so Stor was actually built as a companion piece to the four Ds. So four Ds is our major event series. Uh, people pay decent money to come join us, whether it’s virtual or in person. Um, but we really throw the kitchen sink at people, right? We not only, the thing that you see on YouTube is Gary’s like 60 minutes or 90 minutes that he’s, but we plan a whole day out there. There’s like, you know, the virtual ones are like six hours long. The, the in person ones are like nine. Uh, and we’re teaching you everything from like how to build a personal brand to, you know, how to deal with paid media. We’re, we’re teaching you about, um, you know, platform strategy, uh, all the contemporary stuff that, you know, Gary talks about. We, we blow it out and we give you tons of detail inside of the four Ds. Um, but what a lot of our alumni were telling us, uh, after several years of us doing the four Ds was that, you know, having all of that information is like drinking from the fire hose, right? It’s all good, legitimate information, but if I pack it all in board day, it’s
Speaker 5: (40:45)
Hard for today, I hope.
Joe Quattrone: (40:47)
So is there a way that you can like
Speaker 5: (40:49)
Back here more co
Joe Quattrone: (40:51)
Basis so that we can kind of concentrate and focus on, you know, one thing at a time? And so that was when Stor was born and Stor was born as a digital subscription membership program. So, uh, it’s kind of twofold. We’ve got, um, the content that we actually make and drip out, it’s about five minutes in length. We, we release a new video every week. It’s all video content. Cuz what we find is people don’t really wanna read articles anymore, right? They don’t wanna read, they don’t wanna go to Google and search for stuff and read a bunch of articles and they grab it or watch it in video form. So we, but it’s the same approach. You know, we want to be able to like create a wealth of different content, uh, pretty much related to anything in the world of business, marketing, advertising, social media, digital, all that kinda stuff, and give you small snackable pieces of content.
Joe Quattrone: (41:38)
Five minutes, usually max. Um, and then we leak out a new video every week. We keep them stored in the library. We have over like 120 or hundred, 2,030 videos that we’ve released in the past year and a half. Um, but then we, we send the video out to you via an email newsletter every week as well as we invite you into a Facebook group that’s private and closed. Then you have to pay to get into the group to be able to be in the Facebook group. Uh, and once you’re in there, um, you can see the videos released through that route as well. Um, and there, the reason we did Facebook groups are twofold. So Facebook groups, um, when you open up your Facebook Blue app and you go to the group’s tab, if you are a member of a group like this, that you’re almost gonna get a hundred percent of viewership from your audience members when you, you release it through a Facebook group.
Joe Quattrone: (42:30)
So that’s one of the reasons why we did it cuz we wanted to make an easy user experience. When you’re leaned back and you’re looking at your Facebook app, it’s less of a hey, like, go into Facebook and like, you know, look around and try to look at all these videos kind of thing. Um, but then there’s also a little bit of a community aspect to it as well. Like, there’s other people in store and other people in our forties alumni Facebook group that are in a similar position to you and, um, in terms of being a small business owner or whatever. So a lot of times, um, you know, people are throwing questions up and other people from the community are answering before I even get a chance to go in there. Uh, but the other benefit that store gives you is, you know that anytime you ask a question that gets on my radar screen as well as I have gone on the four Ds and I’m in there at least once a day, uh, looking at the forties alumni group and looking attor.
Joe Quattrone: (43:17)
So if you’ve got a, if, if the videos don’t satisfy your need for what you’ve got going on, you could always reach out via the, the Facebook group, ping me, tag me in a post and I can get you an answer. Or I can run into some of the hallways OFX and I can get you a deck that you can look at, like what have you. So, um, if we don’t publish something, we can always get it for you. And if, if enough people wanna hear about a certain topic, then I can go off and film an episode on it. So that’s kind of what Stor was designed to do and we made it, it’s actually the most affordable product we have in all of maor X. It’s $300 per year. So, you know, uh, you can’t really beat that pricing. And from what I’ve gathered, just from understanding, uh, a lot of the way small business owners do their taxes, and I, I can’t speak for Canada as much as they can for the United States, this is something that would probably be, uh, able to be a line item in your tax return that you could write off as an education expense.
Joe Quattrone: (44:10)
So just ask for a receipt when you sign up.
Max Peterson: (44:14)
I mean, yeah, look, I think, and you know, as much as guys, uh, GCs like to build, I think there’s a lot of ’em that eventually get, you know, maybe a little bit longer in the tooth. They hit that mid forties thing and they’re like, You know what? I got nothing to left to prove. I’ve got, you know, some, some elementary school age kids that are maybe moving into high school and all of a sudden priorities change. And so, you know, they, but they get to a point Joe, uh, where you’ve been such a good general contract and knocking nails into wood for so long, you’ve never really educated yourself around, uh, business, you know, uh, you know, the financial side and the bus, the biz dev side. And then furthermore, now you’ve got this, this marketing beast, which you’ve gotta get your head around as well. So there’s those two aspects that if you hit mid forties and you haven’t been very good at business development and managing finance and you haven’t paid much attention to how, you know, digital marketing has evolved at me, you kind of get caught short. So, you know,
Joe Quattrone: (45:10)
Well, let’s say it’s not even about how digital marketing is evolved. The thing that you guys need to be concerned with as general contractors is home builders, uh, as, you know, construction workers, anything like that. It’s all about the next generation is coming of age right now to buy houses, to be, you know, to, to buy leases or to lease a corporate space that needs developing and stuff like that. The people that are making key decisions around money at that level, you know, from a home building, there are people like me, you know, like you’re talking about people in the thirties and forties, so you’re, you’re pretty much millennial in down now, right? So there’s still boomers out there spending a lot of money, but like by and large, the people are spending the most money societal around the world right now are millennials mm-hmm.
Joe Quattrone: (45:56)
. So, um, you’ve gotta understand how they operate, how they live their lives, how they live their days out, and if you’re not where they are, right? Like good example is my dad. My dad retired five years ago, so this is gonna be a little bit less relevant, but the only way he ever marketed, uh, was by putting an ad out in the church bulletin every week. And he got plenty of customers that way. But guess what? He would struggle going into the next 10, 20 years cuz millennials and Gen Z don’t go to church as much , they uh, they don’t look at church bulletins. They don’t, that’s just not on their radar screen nearly as much. So my dad’s business, if he didn’t figure out a way, if, if he was a lot younger and he, he needed to figure out a way to pivot to really re you know, be relevant to a much younger audience, he would’ve had to bring somebody in that would’ve known how to do that. You know, .
Max Peterson: (46:49)
Yep. And that’s the, that’s probably where a lot of building companies, you know, where they, they’ve gotta engage the services of a third party. I mean, that’s why you’re in business and you do what you do for those major corporates. So, um, give me, give me a bit of a breakdown cuz I know where this answer will probably end up, but I’ve gotta ask it anyway. So why wouldn’t, if I’ve got builders in general, contractors look at you, you’re like, what’s going, No, tell me about, I want you to give me for our audience and to confirm for me what’s the upside and the downside of using billboards for advertising . Go .
Joe Quattrone: (47:23)
Uh, well, so like, honestly, like, I, I created a store video a couple weeks back, uh, about, uh, B2B marketing, about like marketing in general for small businesses. And one of my, the key phrases that I try to use is by any means necessary. So I’m not one of those guys that’s gonna tell, that’s gonna sit on my, my soapbox and tell you, if you’re not spending every single dollar you have on social media, then you’re wasting your money. Um, but you have to analyze things in a very objective fashion, right? Like, billboards are great if they’re in the right location. If they’re in the wrong location, then they’re not great, right? It’s just, you know, it’s kind of like looking at a sale, right? Like, you know, you’ve got a wife that comes to you and says, Hey honey, I’ve got this. I got these pair of shoes, they got it. Really great deal on ’em, right? And you’re like, Okay, well cool, cool. How much did you save on the shoes? 75%. Oh, fantastic. That’s, that’s a great deal. But how much were they originally? Oh, there were a thousand dollars joining us. I got 75% off. Great. So
Speaker 5: (48:23)
Meet right back here. You need the shoes
Joe Quattrone: (48:25)
Flight? No. Then you look the closet and she’s got three pairs of shoes just like that. So that’s what I see when I see waste pool billboards, right? Like, don’t get seduced by the offer. Don’t get seduced by the percentage off. There’s gonna be deals out there all over the place in every medium, whether it’s magazine ads, billboards, social media, like you gotta understand whether or not the, what you’re putting in from a payment perspective is gonna give you the bang for the buck on the, on the, uh, on the backside. That’s why Gary talks about, uh, about underpriced attention. It’s the reason why he goes to places like to First, and he will be first on Be Real, which is another social network. He should look it up. Uh, the reason why he goes to all these networks first and gets famous on them before everybody else is because before they roll out a bunch of ad products, right, he’s going to become, he’s gonna get a million followers on that platform and that every day he’s gonna post content.
Joe Quattrone: (49:20)
And a million people are gonna see it for free , right? So what’s, what’s, what’s a better price you wanna pay, you know, uh, $50,000 a month for a billboard and the price you pay is $50,000. Or do you wanna just create content over here? And the price you pay is how much money, how much effort you put into the production. But you’ll be seen by a million people over here for probably less than $50,000. And over here where you have the billboard, you still might be seen by a million people because you’ve got car traffic, whatever kind of traffic. But realistically, when you’re sitting in your car going 60 miles an hour, do you really consume that content like you would face? And it’s something you’re paying attention to? I, I used to, uh, really with a lot of my Fortune 500 companies back in the day, I used to call that the difference between active attention and passive attention.
Joe Quattrone: (50:06)
Mm-hmm. , Um, so, or captive attention for that matter. So, active attention is something where, like, I’m looking at the screen, right? , it’s in my face, but there might be a podcast on in the background, right? I still am susceptible to hearing that message as well. But really where my focus is, is right here. So can you think about things in terms of like three dimensions, right? It’s not just, you know, the thing you create, putting it into an object, and then it’s a binary experience. No matter what, if I’m putting a billboard add up, what I’m trying to do is I’m su trying to subliminally, you know, the, the person that commutes the same direction every single day. And that’s gonna pass by Matt Billboard 30 to 60 times, right? Cause that’s where they commute to and from. I’m trying to brainwash them into like, like not even knowing they consume my advertising, but then eventually when it matters, I’m gonna be in their consideration set, right? So that’s what a billboard does, that’s what a radio ad does. If you deal with enough high frequency, that’s what a TV ad does right now. It’s subliminal messaging. You’re brainwashing them into con into, uh, having your brand in their consideration set. That’s not what you’re doing when you’re on this, right? When you’re in their active realm, you’re not brainwashing them. You’re trying to create relevance with them.
Max Peterson: (51:22)
We might break into some, cuz I was gonna get into some, not micro, but maybe some tips for how to create content for general contractors. But if we’ve got a couple of questions, Joe, we’ve got one. All right. Do we got,
Speaker 6: (51:35)
I only have one right now, like one regarding social media.
Max Peterson: (51:38)
Give it, give it to us, mate. The copywriting one is similar to,
Speaker 6: (51:41)
Oh, okay. Uh, what social media stream do you focus on when you first start your business?
Joe Quattrone: (51:49)
Honestly, with every question I ever get with this, I always start with it. It depends on what your objective is, but I would say a good rule of thumb is do a, you know, you can’t, it’s not gonna hurt you by going into all the different platforms, right? Like that, that it’s not overkill to be on every single platform. Um, what, how much time and energy you put into created content for them is a different story altogether. But I would first and foremost get set up, get your business set up on everything, because you wanna make sure you own the rights to the name and, and all of the, you know, stuff in case anything becomes relevant to you. Don’t get yourself boxed out of having the appropriate name that you want by waiting to get a, a profile set up on a different platform.
Joe Quattrone: (52:31)
Set it up at the very least, get a profile, pick up there, get a description, uh, maybe post a few pieces of content. That way if people are searching for you on the internet, all these apps are starting to index on Google. So you want to own your name on every social platform. So that’s number one. Uh, number two, I would do a blend of like organic and paid options, right? So, um, chances are if you, if you’re not very familiar with social media, I know your motivations, they’re probably gonna be monetary. You wanna figure out a way to get customers and leads and all that kind of stuff. A great way to do that as a general contractor right now is to go on a platform like Nextdoor Door input advertising into it. Look at their ad ad units, saturate the zip codes that you care about.
Joe Quattrone: (53:15)
Uh, another great platform, uh, and this is more on a digital spectrum. Um, uh, you can look at, um, different kinds of, uh, apps and websites that are, uh, that are around home services like Angie’s lists and stuff like that. There’s different ways that you can play in those types of platforms. Um, anything that’s about ratings and reviews, you wanna be able to make sure like a goo uh, Google for my business page. Uh, that’s another thing. Uh, make sure you’re setting up your Google for my business page. And then in terms of social networks in general, um, I would be, uh, in your space, the thing that really matters a lot, I I, I think you’re kind of adjacent to the real estate industry to be honest with you. So I think Instagram is gonna be important. I think Facebook is gonna be important to you guys, but in different ways.
Joe Quattrone: (54:04)
Um, so, uh, remember their follower graphs that the algorithms are based on followers. So you’re gonna want to incentivize people that you work with. Everyone that you do a job for, you should try to get them to follow your page. Everybody that you connect with that has a customer service question that has, that comes into, or, or that calls you, you should be asking for a follow on those platforms, right? Cuz it’s follower based. TikTok is interest based. You should be on TikTok because I think it’s important. Uh, but it’s not gonna give you the results that you’re probably looking for right away. It’s not gonna give you a ton of leads. It’s not gonna start driving your business from a monetary and a revenue perspective immediately. But there is more chances to go viral on TikTok than any other platform. So, and what I mean and why that would be relevant to you is that what, where I see a lot of small businesses winning on TikTok right now is they have a breakout piece of content that goes extremely wide.
Joe Quattrone: (54:59)
Like it, its relevant. It gets seen by a hundred thousand or a million people across the US or Canada or international. And you may think that that’s a waste of all those eyeballs, but it’s actually really not. Cuz the after effect, after something goes viral, becomes more micro, right? There’s an example of, I, I read an article yesterday about a kid out in Utah. His dad’s, his dad’s lifelong dream was a great, a Mexican restaurant in Utah. So they did, but then for like 30 days they had no customers and they were about to go out of business. And the kid went out there and he put like sad face TikTok of his dad, like his dad’s dreams crashing and burning. And then all of a sudden it went viral. Millions of people across the US saw it and probably 10 to 30,000 people that are in the state of Utah started driving from all over the state to go eat at their Mexican restaurant.
Joe Quattrone: (55:47)
And now it’s a cult classic. It’s like if the restaurant’s probably not in any danger of going out of business, but it wouldn’t have had that success if not for TikTok. Um, so is it easy to predict virality? No. Is it easier on TikTok than other platforms? Yes, because of the way the algorithms designed, it’s completely interest based, which means every single post that you put out on TikTok, not when you look at the views on TikTok compared to the views on an Instagram, whereas Instagram is mainly gonna be seen by people that are already following you. TikTok is gonna be seen, nine out of 10 of the views are gonna be by net new people. Cause it’s just gonna keep popping your video into the recommendation engine. Uh, like basically you put a video out, TikTok tests it out amongst like one to 300 people, right?
Joe Quattrone: (56:31)
If you get a lot of views, if you get a lot of engagement on that one to 300 people, they’ll elevate it, they’ll release it to one to 5,000 people, right? And if you are a video still has momentum amongst one to 5,000 people, good engagement, good view through, uh, people are watching the videos all the way through, they’re watching it multiple times, they’ll start to release it to a larger pool. So that’s how you go viral on TikTok. It’s way different than on those other platforms. And if you understand how the interest graph works, it’s easier for you to hack it.
Max Peterson: (56:59)
Yeah. Yeah. I, you know, and of course being a bit of a Gary fan, I mean, Gary says you’ve gotta do two to four piece of content on TikTok a day. Guess what I do on Monday morning, right? Team , this is what we gotta do. And they then throw it back to me and say, Well, we need some tips for general contractors video get cracking. So, you know, and I, I gotta be honest, it’s, you know, the, the words land grab is what I might have heard from Gary at some point and knowing full well that I didn’t grasp Snapchat. You know, in that early, in those early days. Um, yeah, it’s, you know, I think there’s a lot of, uh, focus on, like you said, if, if you wanna monetize on TikTok as far as getting clients, it may not work out like that. Um, but certainly the traffic and the branding and then maybe the call to action, you know, But you’ve gotta build that, that, that, that, you know, that group first.
Joe Quattrone: (57:47)
Yeah, I mean, uh, the other thing you can do if you, uh, you know, it’s in terms of building brand, um, what’s stop you from building a brand that it could be an eCommerce brand. Like if you’re really proud of your name, if you’re proud of what you do, if you’re proud of your work ethic, if you’re proud of your sayings, if your CEO has like a really good perspective on life, why couldn’t you make t-shirts and hats and bumper stickers and why couldn’t you sell them online? Why couldn’t you have a Shopify page? Why couldn’t you then? And then TikTok makes even more sense cuz then you can go out and you can optimize your paid ads towards follower account and you could build a following and then you could sell merch, right? Like, you think about the ambition that you have. Do you always wanna be a local, uh, contractor or do you want to do something bigger than that?
Joe Quattrone: (58:32)
Do you wanna create a network of contracting for, you wanna get a hundred GCs under your, under your watch so that you can operate in every single province in Canada or every single city in Canada, right? If you do that, then the importance of brand is gonna be a lot bigger. You’re gonna need to have a a central set of identifying, you know, um, things that live above that. Whether it’s a face of the franchise, a logo, a color palette, you know, ways you talk, ways you behave, ways you interact, and then your brand becomes bigger than just the, the thing that you do in your market. It becomes the thing that you do for all of Canada or all of North America or the world, right? Like, um, that’s, that’s just something that you’re gonna have to think about on the extreme long horizon. Like how ambitious are you?
Max Peterson: (59:20)
Yeah. And the evolution of it, you know, it does it, you know, the way that I interact with social media or digital or, you know, it, it does change, it evolves in my own mind. You know, the way I saw it two years ago is I’m looking completely different, you know, today, so probably, you know, realize that I gotta work a lot harder to do to project the messaging and the information, everything like that. So, um, and certainly the content. Um, have we got another question?
Joe Quattrone: (59:45)
Max Peterson: (59:47)
I don’t know how relevant it is mm-hmm. , but Lanigan’s asked how would you pitch copywriting services to clients within the trades? I don’t know how. Okay, so he’s coming from the outside, the general contractor community I think. I think so. And he’s wanting to pitch copywriting trades, which copywriting services, copywriting services, which builders for the most part can’t spell. So that’s probably, Yeah, so Joe, I mean, um, let’s, let’s, let’s try and answer that question. Even though he is not a gc. He’s like, I wanna pitch GCs. I don’t know.
Joe Quattrone: (01:00:16)
Um, yeah, I mean, thinking from your guys’ perspective, one of the things that is always done and, and the thing you asked the question earlier, like, why, why when isn’t a GC gonna be in a forties? They’ve already been in forties, they’re just not the same GCs that you’re used to thinking about, right? Think about, um, the world of like an advertising agency right now. Like I, like I’m a GC in a lot of ways, so I put together projects sometimes that are, I need to bring in subcontractors that do things that my agency doesn’t do. So there are people that come in that, that have to play the, we’re the hat of a GC sometimes. And, and a lot of Gary’s questions are perfectly relevant to a gc, but kind of going back to the question at hand, like, how would I sell to a GC essentially? Cause
Max Peterson: (01:00:59)
I don’t think the GCs actually gonna understand. It’s like, what, what is that and why do I, like, they don’t have like, there’s a lot of education by the copywriter to really demonstrate to the general contractor why those services might be relevant,
Joe Quattrone: (01:01:13)
Right? I mean, I would say I would take it a step back and cuz copywriting is just a means to an, to me it’s no different than like strategy or design or vertical videos or production or if you’re trying to sell some sort of service to a gc, uh, the way that you make it relevant to them is what I’ve already told you, Max. Uh, you gotta tell them that. Like, look, the world is changing and your customers are getting younger and you need to understand these people. You don’t right now, but I do. Right? So a a good thing, you know, when Gary talks about like, uh, supply and demand on social networks, I, I’m sure you’ve listened to, uh, some of his podcasts lately. He’s been hammering Facebook fan page for like two or three weeks now and not just anything on Facebook fan page long form copy on Facebook fan page, right?
Joe Quattrone: (01:02:04)
Um, so that’s an opportunity right there for, uh, a copywriter is, hey, look, you’ve got all these marketers, uh, or all these GCs that maybe think they know a thing or too about social media. Well, they don’t know what I know about social media and they’ve been stuck probably listening to Gary episodes from 2017 and they’re still trying to figure out how to pro how to produce TikTok. So I’m gonna come in and tell them, hey, the next big thing in social media for the next year is gonna be Facebook, uh, fan pages, specifically quote cards that, that have always succeeded on Instagram or LinkedIn long form copy. I’m great at that stuff. You need to hire me or you need to contract out with me. Pay me a retainer and let me do all your writing for you. You know, like that’s, um, I think just being on the bleeding edge of what’s relevant, um, is gonna be the way you sell to a gc. Uh, you’ve gotta always play it to the fact that they’re busy being, uh, a gc. They don’t know how to spend their time being a digital marketer, right?
Max Peterson: (01:03:00)
, and it’s like this, why would a general contractor go and do the plumbing on a project? Oh, he doesn’t do that. That’s right. He engages the services of a professional plumber. But when it comes to marketing, Oh, no, no, I’ll do that. You know, like why would find someone,
Joe Quattrone: (01:03:16)
I would probably think of it from a copyrighting perspective specifically is look, take this TikTok live that we’re on, or whatever, Instagram, YouTube, whatever platforms we’re on that are live, I could take this content right now where we’re, we’re at 70 minutes right now. I could take this content right now and we could transcribe it on something like Otter AI into all words. And then I could go in and I could strip out all the ums and the, the, all the, the, the stuff that doesn’t really matter, all the fluff. Uh, and I could get it just to the relevant copy, right? But then I could go in and I could look for the most poignant things that either one of us has said in the whole time. I could isolate those pieces of content, I could take them out, I could put them into like, let’s say it’s 50 words. I could put it into a nicely arranged visual and put that into a graphic on Canva. And then I can, I can download that graphic from Canva and I can send you the ad that you need to place, right? I can send you your next piece of social media content, right? , like, like that’s an easy way to go attack a gc. Literally just show them some free work.
Max Peterson: (01:04:17)
Yeah. You know? Yep. Yep. All right. Uh, got another question. Who’s it from and what is it? Michael Miller. Michael Miller. Okay. Um, side note, Michael Miller is one of my franchise general contractors. So he’s on vacation at the moment. I’m not sure what he’s doing watching us, but, Okay. What’s, what’s the question, Michael? How would you transition marketing over to the next generations? Okay. You can
Joe Quattrone: (01:04:43)
Allow other people, You mean people that are coming up maybe like son’s, daughters, that kind of thing, or,
Max Peterson: (01:04:48)
Yeah, I think that’s what he is trying to get at. Yeah, I think you mean, Yeah. Okay. Yeah, it’s, yeah.
Joe Quattrone: (01:04:53)
Uh, well I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t pretend that I know more than that. I think they probably know more than you. So I would just get out of their way and let them take it in whatever direction they wanna take it in. Uh, cuz uh, I, I would say like maybe there, there’s a little bit of give and take there, right? Cuz you gotta be checking some boxes, right? You need to be able, I think the things that you’re not gonna wanna do are the things that you’re gonna have to do. Things like Instagram and Facebook are gonna be like, it’s gonna be for the next five years, it’s gonna be like plumbing, right? It’s something you don’t want to do, but you have to do. The house doesn’t work if the plumbing doesn’t work, right? Um, but you know, the things like to and be real in these platforms that are up and coming, that’s the curb appeal stuff. That’s your house, that’s the front of your house. That’s the landscaping, that’s the front door, that’s all that kind of stuff. They’re both important, right? Like a beautiful house with no plumbing is a house. So you focus on the things that you’ve already spent a, a bunch of time focusing on because they’ll still be relevant for a while. But don’t ignore the front of the house. Don’t ignore the curb appeal, you know, and let let the next generation of people come up and guide you on those.
Max Peterson: (01:06:01)
Yeah. Well, the guy asking the questions, I mean, he’s my micro content producer and he’s an 18 year old, 19 year old. My bad. Yeah, he can go to the pub now. But, um, you know, he showed a lot of interest as a, as a team and we just kind of threw him in the deep end and he gravitated to it and he fricking loves it and he can’t believe he gets paid for doing this. So, um, that’s, that’s my personal experience. And then I’ve got another daughter that works for me in the next room, does a lot of copy and does franchise sales. So I never did get him in a headlock and make him do anything. It’s just the way it did.
Joe Quattrone: (01:06:29)
That’s the thing that you gotta take advantage of. Like when you’re looking for people, like let’s just say people didn’t naturally come to you and you had to find more people to do this kind of work. Um, there’s a major imbalance in terms of like, like who actually has the skill and who agencies and brands are looking for, Right? Agencies and brands typically always put their, then they honestly, they literally it up. They try to figure out who’s got the most experience, but they discount the fact that somebody that you know, ha, that might have the experience that you need might have got that experience starting at age 12, right? Like if, if I’m 12 years old and I, I care about video editing and I carry that string all the way through and I practice making videos until I’m 20, I’ve got eight years of experience editing videos. Yeah. Why would a 20 year old or eight years of experience be any worse than a 32 year old? You know, like, yeah, you can get ’em much cheaper. Like why wouldn’t you actually trust a 20 year old that’s been editing videos for eight years? But most people start looking at talent when they graduate from college and that’s wrong.
Max Peterson: (01:07:36)
Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Yeah, Yeah. Okay. Do we have any more questions? We hit the bottom of the barrel. Uh, look, I think it’s great. Like, I’ve got an, I’ve got an hour and 10 minutes on my, my, uh, what’s the name here? So Joe, look, it’s, that’s been superb. We really appreciate you taking time out to chat with us. I feel very honored to have had you on the show and you know, I I’m hoping that the content is gonna, you know, bring a lot of folks some value and um, when you see Gary next, can you say hello to him for me, .
Joe Quattrone: (01:08:04)
Oh and uh, make sure you send over this content to me and I’ll try to post it and maybe I can try to drum up some interests of GCs on the four and you can have your, your wish.
Max Peterson: (01:08:13)
Totally. That would be, uh, that’d be pretty entertaining. Alrighty, we shall wrap up. Um, we’ve got nothing cuz I know this, I did this last time. I shut it down. We locked, you know, boom. It’s, we, we got outta the lives and then people started asking questions. But I think, um, we’ll probably leave it. Go. Um, look, uh, just to wrap up the podcast, thanks for sticking with us. Um, all a normal housekeeping like, and subscribe and hit the bell. And, uh, we’ll see on the next episode. Go and build a kick business. Cheers.
Welcome to Building While Flying!
This weekly podcast is brought to you by Sasha Group. We’re the consultancy meets agency arm of the VaynerX family of companies. We help ambitious companies build strong brands that flex with the times through strategy, branding media and marketing.
In ever-changing times, businesses and brands have to shift and adapt. And across all sectors, there is an air of experimentation. Business owners are trying new things out in the wild; building the plane while flying.
Our pilots, Katie Hankinson and Mickey Cloud, will be talking to a diverse range of business leaders and founders. They’ll explore how these guests tackle various challenges while staying resilient and committed to growth. Through these real-life examples of strategies put into practice, we hope to inspire you to experiment and develop your own strategies as we all navigate these uncertain times together.
Building your business!
This week we are absolutely privileged to share an episode from the Business For Builders podcast featuring our own Joe Quattrone, SVP, Head of Education at The Sasha Group. The Business for Builders podcast provides business building information and insight for general contractors looking to remove deficiencies and vulnerabilities in their businesses.
- Working for money vs. love
- Patience in business
- Work-life balance
- Prioritization and delegation in leadership
- Building for the next generation