11: Founders of Neighbor, Joseph Woodbury and Colton Gardner, on Being Different, Using Data, and Having Mentors
Joseph Woodbury, Colton Gardner, and Preston Alder are the co-founders of Neighbor. Neighbor is the "Airbnb of storage." In this episode, I interview Joseph and Colton about their experience as relatively new leaders.
During our conversation we covered:
- The challenge that led to the founding of Neighbor and the intentional role fostering community plays. (2:29)
- What motivated people who weren't thinking about being entrepreneurs to take the risk of building startup. (6:25)
- The role these play as leaders on the team. (9:15)
- Their biggest surprise being leaders Neighbor. (11:15)
- The value of having experience on your side. (19:00)
- Using data to drive decision-making. (20:00)
- How they keep each other accountable. (25:40)
- The power of two-way feedback sessions. (30:40)
- How do they avoid the distraction of bright and shiny objects? (33:45)
- Getting better as a new leader. (36:40)
- The challenge that led to the founding of Neighbor and the intentional role fostering community plays. (2:29)
The best ways to connect with Joseph and Colton:
- Web: https://storagebyneighbor.com
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/woodburyjoseph1
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/coltongardner
You can follow Brett Pinegar on:
- Twitter - https://twitter.com/brettpinegar
- LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/brettpinegar/
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I think the value that we bring as an amazing management team is that we all think differently, so we all bring different strengths to the board. Some of us are creative, some of us are strategic, some of us are very detail oriented, and so I think realizing that my way isn't the right way, and that all of the management team, everyone in our company has amazing ideas, and recognizing that other people have different mindsets and different ways of achieving a determined outcome.
Welcome to Seeking Excellence. I'm Brett Pinegar. On this podcast I interview senior executives, CEO's and other experts about their experiences living and leading with excellence. I love what the word excellence means, and what it doesn't. It doesn't mean perfection, and it doesn't mean some generalized ideal. It's a very personal word. It means me becoming the best version of me. And you becoming the best version of you. It's about living with integrity and intentionality. As an organizational consultant and executive coach, I help organizations achieve remarkable results by developing their people. I've found that all success in life starts with great people. People striving to be the best version that they can be. On today's episode we have the opportunity to hear from not one, but two leaders; Joseph Woodbury and Colton Gardner. Two of the tree co-founders of Neighbor along with Preston Alder. Neighbor is the Airbnb of storage. During our conversation we learn from these two young leaders about what they're doing to live and lead with excellence. We learned about their humility, their desire to learn, their ability to open up and to see new possibilities through the use of data in really interesting and exciting ways. Most of all, I appreciate their desire to become their best, and to be intentional about their leadership. Let's jump right in to this fun conversation.
Hey gentlemen, it's great to be with you today.
Thanks for having us.
Here with Joseph and Colton from Neighbor. Let's start by learning a little bit about the company.
Yeah, so Neighbor is, we call it the Airbnb of storage, so it's a way to rent out your unused space, whether it's a bedroom, or an RV pad, or your garage; and people can store their items. They can bring their boat and put it in your RV pad, their boxes in your basement, and that way they get storage for half the cost, and you get money every month.
It's really fulfilling to see the relationships that are being built off line as well, as you connect with people just in your own community.
Interesting so it's a way to kind of foster that community beyond just providing storage.
Was that an expected or an intended sort of aspect of the business from the beginning, or is that something that you sort of happened into?
So that was definitely intentional from the very beginning, as you can see our name Neighbor, our logo is a house. We definitely have always strived to be focused on the community and building those relationships offline while things like social media are all bringing our relationships online, we're trying to build that cohesiveness in your own neighborhood.
Great. So let's talk a little bit about the path to the starting of the company. Where did the idea originate from? How did you go from idea to actually getting the courage and the guts to do it?
Yeah so we actually have a third co-founder who's not here today, Preston. He was running a video marketing company before this, and was going to be out of the country for a few months, needed a place to store his stuff, and like anyone going to get a storage unit, quickly realized its expensive, it's a nightmare, it's a drive away, they're all full anyways, you've got to call around to ten of 'em. And he's a stubborn guy, so he said no, I'm not doing it, and he started calling around to friends asking if he could put his stuff in their garage, found a place up in Kaysville, a ways away, made the drive. He was driving back into town and he was just like why did I have to rent a truck and drive all the way up to my friend's house up in Kaysville. Why couldn't I have just stored it at my neighbor's? I would have paid them, it would have been good money for them, and then the idea was born.
Fantastic. And then from Preston's idea to Colton and Joseph, how did the two of you get involved?
Yeah, that's a great question. Preston reached out to me, we had worked together at previous locations, we had worked at a start up together in South America; and he reached out and said hey, I have this crazy idea, what do you think about it? We then brought on Joseph. Joseph had known Preston through some courses at Brigham Young University, and it grew and flourished from there.
Bootstrapped initially, self funded? Or did you go and get outside investors fairly quickly?
Yeah one of the benefits is that we started the company while we were students at Brigham Young University, for Joseph and Preston, and me at the University of Utah. So we actually were able to participate in various university funded competitions and grant programs, which really helped us get that initial validation, build an MVP and then get off the ground.
So that's the company, now let's sort of turn most of our attention here to the two of you, and to Preston as well, let you represent him. But what was it that first sparked in your minds this idea that I want to start a company, and I don't mean start Neighbor, but I mean actually I have an interest in building something, in creating something. Was that when you were in grade school, was it in high school, what are the earliest memories you have of wanting to kind of do something and create something like this?
So I'll let Colton speak to himself, but I think there's something interesting about all of us, in that none of us were your typical entrepreneurs that always wanted to be entrepreneurs and had started several companies to get to one point. All of us were headed into corporate jobs, consulting jobs, and were very happy with that. I was headed off to Bain & Company, and that was my dream job. I'm very risk averse, didn't want to start a company, but this idea really took hold of us. It was kind of a first experience for all of us, when Preston came up with the idea, I think we'd all had people come and pitch us ideas before and say like hey, why don't we start a company? And all of us were like, no, we're happy. But when Preston came up with this idea, it just resonated with all three of us. We were just like that has to happen. Why didn't this happen 20 years ago? So entrepreneurship kind of came and grabbed us and yanked us in, rather than us pursuing it.
Wow, that's quite a story here. Colton, how about you?
Yeah, it's interesting. One of the most significant pieces of advice that my father gave me growing up was don't be an entrepreneur. It is interesting as Joseph said, I don't think any of us came from a traditional I want to start a business and be a professional entrepreneur background. But all of us definitely did have a little bit of taste and flair for that. I also ran my own web design business, that's what got me through college. So we all enjoy that aspect, and so it definitely was a natural fit when this amazing idea came to mind, and it was very easy and natural to get started.
Perfect. So the idea sort of caused you to act, it motivated you to get outside of your comfort zone to do maybe something you hadn't initially planned on doing. I can relate to the Bain existence, I spent the first seven years of my career working at Monitor Group, which is a company now that is part of Deloyt. But back in the day was a separate stand alone consulting company. I too was not particularly risk loving, but I have become that way over time as well.
Let's talk more about your leadership experience. You're now leaders in the company, you're responsible for people, you've got goals and objectives you need to hit, investors that you're responsible and accountable to. First leadership experiences here, when was the first time you felt like you were really a leader? Is this it, or did you have previous experiences where you felt like, hey, I've got a responsibility here, I've got people to care for, I've got things I need to accomplish, and people are entrusting me to get something done.
Yeah, I definitely think we're several years away from me feeling like I'm truly a leader or anything like that. We're a young founding team, we just graduated college last year for Preston and I, and the year prior for Colton. So we try to lead by example, that's all we've got. We don't have this vast experience to pull from. We do have some prior experiences that we try to glean knowledge from, but at the end of the day we have to work hard like everyone else. And we're a small company, so that's helpful I think. We're only ten employees, so all three of us have our jobs to do, just like everyone else. Of course there's some delegation involved, but at the end of the day we're just a team, I think.
Colton, is that same for you, or have you had some other experiences, maybe your web design firm gave you a little bit of experience at least interacting with customers. Did you have employees as well?
Yeah, so I think we all definitely have had leadership experiences, this just being the pinnacle of that so far. For me personally, I actually had various leadership positions in high school, growing up. I was heavily participated in the Future Business Leaders of America organization, I was the president over the State of Utah, and helped manage a team of state officers. So that was definitely the first experience that I had of really leading a team and leading a following. But to echo what Joseph said , it is fun, because we're not just leaders directing from above, but we really are getting in the weeds every single day, all of us have been. One of my first memories that I have of working with Joseph was going out and doing door to door flyers, ringing doorbells and talking to people about Neighbor. So we definitely are all in the weeds, and that's probably the most enjoyable aspect that we have working at Neighbor.
What's been the most surprisingly difficult thing to do as a leader? Once you've been at Neighbor? When you think about the thing that you didn't anticipate, That you go wow, this is hard, what would that be? Colton, maybe start with you.
Yeah I think it's just interesting realizing that not everybody thinks just like I do. So all three cofounders, we are simliar, we come from a similar background, but I think the value that we bring as an amazing management team is that we all think differently, so we all bring different strengths to the Board. Some of us are creative, some of us are strategic, some of us are very detail oriented, and so I think realizing that my way isn't the right way, and that all of the management team, everyone in our company has amazing ideas, and recognizing that other people have different mindsets and different ways of achieving a determined outcome.
Before we go onto you, Joseph, here, how did you come to that recognition? Was it a painful process or a natural, oh, somebody thinks differently than me?
Yeah, so it's interesting I mean, starting a company with co-founders is definitely difficult. Luckily, we have had amazing co-founders, we get along very well and we've definitely built stronger relationships because of it. But it definitely has had learning experiences, we've all learned to be humble, to be vulnerable, to be teachable; and so I think a little bit of that we knew coming in to this, and it has just been everyday learning and growing.
Joseph, how about you? What's been the most surprisingly difficult thing?
Yeah, so communication, you learn quickly how important it is in a company. Not only, to address kind of what Colton's saying, knowing that there's other ideas out there, but just being able to communicate your thoughts clearly and effectively and as I think about this, there's kind of a people aspect that was new to all of us. When you're going to go work for an organization, so long as you show up, you do your job, you report; you can be successful, you can succeed, you can rise in an organization. But when you're a leader, it's not about just showing up and doing your job. It's also about helping other people feel like they're showing up, and they're doing their job, and that they're succeeding. And that was something new for me to know that I really had to come out of my shell, and address things that other people were doing practically, to recognize them and to say, hey, that was a great thing you did, you really took the initiative on that, and to show that I saw that. I was used to just kind of doing my own thing and having everyone recognize themselves. So that was a fun part of leadership to learn for me.
Well you both talked about understanding other people better, whether it's better communication or just understanding differences and opinion, and from my experience, I've been CEO of three companies, had two successful exits, done a lot of consulting over the years; and I can tell you without a doubt that more important than strategy, more important than getting stuff done, the foundation of any business that is going to be successful is its people. And if you're going to have a successful team, it starts with successful leaders. What's interesting about how that works is that we talk about engagement. Employees that are engaged are much more productive, they're much happier, they're much more sort of just doing great work here. 70 percent of an employee's likelihood of being engaged or not, is driven by the quality of the leader. So we often talk about, well we don't have the right person on the bus. Typically, the right person or the wrong person on the bus isn't the person, it is the person leading them. And if we can get leadership right, then it makes all the difference. So the fact that you guys are aware, and sort of in a mindset of wanting to learn and explore, sets you up for great success here. Because as us old dogs keep going along, we get more set in our ways. And when you're young you're less set in your ways, and more willing to learn. But what we find is that it really starts with mindsets and what you really believe about how the world works. And so when you think about this need to communicate here, and to give people positive feedback, Joseph, that required maybe a shift in mindset. Thinking that I just don't need to get my job done, and everyone's on their own; but I need to realize that people want to be recognized, and that's a belief we have that I care enough about other people to want to honor and respect them for the work they do. So when you think about it from that perspective, was there a mindset shift that occurred, or was the mindset always there, and it was just learning the tactic to put on top of it?
Yeah, I think it was learning to bring to light the thoughts you're already having. Because naturally, especially when you're working with people that you like, and that you enjoy, you naturally are having good thoughts about them all the time, and also realizing to say the same thing to people that you say about them to other people. I remember there was a moment when I recognized I was meeting with these other CEO's trying to learn from them. When they asked me about my team, I would say well, Preston, he's amazing at this. And there was one time I realized, do I say that to Preston? Do I actually vocalize that? So it's interesting the way you phrased your question, because I think there is something that's there already, but there's certainly a mindset shift in learning how to bring that out, and talk to them like you talk to other people and give them candid feedback like that.
Indeed. Colton, how about you? Did you find that this understanding and perspective that seeing the world differently, that people see the world differently, was that a shift in mindset or was it like I always knew that, but it was just the rubber hit the road here at Neighbor?
Yeah, no I think it was definitely a little bit of both. I echo what Joseph said, that we often are all thinking it, we do recognize the value other people are bringing, whether consciously or subconsciously; and it is just intentionally recognizing them, intentionally sharing that. We definitely are striving to intentionally define our culture right now, and our values, and so recognition is part of that, and making sure that everybody's opinion and voice is being heard throughout our company.
You know when you think about all the good things that are going on, not every day is a good day. We have bad days, and we have disagreements here. Let's talk a little bit about the times when you're not on the same page, and how you work through those things, because when you have three partners, it's a little bit of a game almost, and trying to get everyone on the same page, or to find out how you make decisions. So talk a little bit about the process you go through to make decisions when you don't agree, and when you've got pretty strong opposing views.
So we've mentioned that we've got three co-founders, but we have a fourth person on our management team. We brought over Lucid Senior Director of Engineering to be our Vice President of Engineering. He's just been an amazing value add to our management team, and one of the things that he's really brought to the table is a laser focus on being data driven. That's obviously helpful from a statistical perspective, but it's also helpful from a unifying perspective. When we're all disagreeing and we have opinions, sometimes it's great to just hear Derek say, why don't we AB test it, like let's just do both of them, and let the data decide who's right. And all of us can get behind that, all of us can put our pride away and say yeah, if the consumers like it, if the customers like it, that's what we want to do. So that's been a big mitigating factor for us.
You know, David Bywater, who's the CEO of Vivint Solar, and I had a conversation several weeks ago about his being very data driven. In fact my sort of background as a CEO and as a consultant was a very data driven environment as well. The data speaks. And sometimes we get good data, but sometimes you don't have the data. You've got maybe a data point, or you have an opinion about this, and that you can't easily AB test. So what do you do when it comes down to the things that are more subjective? Colton, what are your perspectives on that?
Yeah, I think one mentality that we try to have is just run fast and break things. Sometimes that maeans, hey, let's just give something a try for a little bit, see what happens; and that is really the biggest answer to know what is right and wrong, if we see the results at the end of the day. So we definitely try to be data driven, but as you said there are sometimes when we just have to implement and execute and see what happens.
Love it. So there's a propensity or disposition to act versus to be paralyzed by analysis, because that oftentimes is the Achilles heel, you've got to move quickly. It's better to do something than do nothing. You'll fail 100% of the time when you don't do something. It's only when you do stuff you have the possibility of learning that you'll get it right here. That process though, of exploring whether something is working or not, and learning from that here, how do you go about doing that? How much time do you give it, do you have a process or is it more just sort of winging it in terms of trying to decide, well did we give this test enough time to make it work, how do we know if the test was successful or not, and what sort of standards do you use to evaluate whether things are working or not?
Yeah so I hate to go right back to the data, but the real benchmark when we start doing these AB tests, how do we know if we've done them long enough? Statistical significance--
That's when we know we can turn it off and we can move on. And we can just call it. As far as, I just want to second what Colton said, I think that's been a huge learning lesson for all of us, is just to realize that 80/20, if you get things out there you will quickly be talking about completely different problems that arise because of that, rather than spending so much time on the original one. There's a speech I'm recalling where the guy talks about he had two roads to pick from, and he just goes down one and he realizes it's a dead end. He's like that was the fastest way for me to know that the other road was the right one, 'cause I started walking down this one and it was a total dead end. And we see that a ton, we just chase down so many dead ends, but it helps us move quickly.
Fantastic, fantastic. When you think about how you recognize failure because you go down those roads and they're dead ends here, what kind of experience would that be like? If I were to be sitting there, a fly on the wall at Neighbor, when you've had a failure. What's the sort of communication that occurs around failure, how does the team feel about failure, and what have you done to make failure acceptable, but also not something we're striving to accomplish? Colton?
My first thought is I feel like we don't fail enough, I feel like we need to be running even faster, and that means that we're hitting dead ends more often. I think that is something that we can definitely improve on. But I definitely think we have the mentality as a team as a whole, that it is okay to fail, it is okay to not come to the right conclusion, and we'll just evolve. I don't think that is an issue for us. I think really the issue is we just need to be willing to get to those failures. And have a culture that says, hey, if you get to a dead end, that's totally fine, that's a good thing, that means you know, as Joseph said, that isn't the right way.
Yeah, and we're not perfect--
I hope not
When I think about this, we totally believe these principles. But the fact of the matter it sucks to fail. It just always sucks when you have a great idea, and turns out you're wrong, ya know? But the nice thing about a start up is you can have a new idea the next day, and it turns out to be right, and then you feel great.
So I wouldn't say we're perfect at any of this, but we're certainly working on it.
One thing that was brought up is the Pareto Principle, about the 80% of the value comes from 20% of the work, and I think that's something that we think about a lot. Me, personally, I'm a perfectionist, and I think a lot of people on our team are; so I think sometimes we can find ourselves getting paralyzed in that search for perfectionism. We do have to turn the dial back and say you know what, we're 80% of the way there, we're just going to release this new engineering design on our website, or we're just going to release this new feature, and so that definitely has been a value, as we recognize hey, we need to work more on velocity and failing quickly, rather than taking 80% of the time just to get the last 20% of the value.
That's right, do you find each other holding yourselves accountable in those times when Colton you're being a little perfectionistic here. Joseph, do you have to step in and say whoa, here we go again. Does that happen or how do you guys hold each other accountable in that sense?
Yeah I think Joseph definitely does, I think our entire management team strives to be accountable. We have weekly one on ones with each other, that we go over our goals, go over our progress on things, and so I think both the rest of the team to me, and me to the rest of the team, I think we definitely hold each other accountable. I think that's something that brings excellence to our management team and to our company, is because we have a high level accountability for us as a management team and for all of our employees as well.
What do you do to make sure that you're having the real conversation? 'Cause sometimes, because we know each other, we're friends, we associate with each other outside of work here, sometimes there are things we don't tell friends because they're our friends. Yet in a business setting here, not telling somebody what they really need to hear is potentially the kiss of death, because they're not going to be able to learn. So what do you do to lean in to the tougher conversations, when somebody's either let you down, or when there is a disagreement that maybe leads to maybe some hard feelings?
Yeah, I think fortunately we started out, and you might call this unfortunate, but I think it's fortunate. Fortunately we started out giving each other hard feedback. And we learned to work through that early on, rather than later on, and so now anytime something comes up, like conversation happens about it almost instantaneously.
And it's like a wall, you almost think about it like a wall, and as soon as someone's willing to break down that wall, it's totally broken down. You know you can talk about stuff like that, just kind of say, hey, this needs to change, right?
And do it in a way so they don't feel like it's emotionally charged, it's just soft of factual. And this is the case where facts really come to be your friend, is when you can communicate facts in an emotionally level way, even when the facts are pretty damning.
Let me just say this, I think it's something that's kina unique that I've liked, I remember when we first started doing performance reviews, and it was funny but it also has been so helpful. I remember the first time I gave Colton his performance review; the next day he came back and said here's my performance review for you. And it became a two way performance review, and I know I can give both the good and the bad feedback that I need to give, but I'm going to get it right back. And that two way communication really helps me feel comfortable communicating like I want to. So that was good on Colton for being willing to do that.
Colton, what motivated you to do that? Was that something Joseph asked for, or did you just deliver because you knew he needed it?
No it definitely was intentional. Previous to Neighbor I worked at a local consulting firm. They were very determined to have feedback be a regular, frequent and significant aspect in every employee's growth, all the way up to the CEO. So I learned the importance of two way feedback and the value that brings. We definitely view Neighbor as its own entity as it is. We definitely don't view me or Preston or Joseph or anyone as Neighbor, we realize that hey if Neighbor's going to succeed, it's because we executed right. We definitely believe and we know that this is an amazing idea, and if we can talk through issues, if we can be data driven to know if this is going to be a successful company. So we say hey, if this means that I have to bring up an issue that's a little bit sensitive, if that's what's going to make Neighbor succeed, then that's what we're going to do. Because we put Neighbor first and foremost always.
So let's talk a little bit about your former experience at this consulting firm, and sometimes those first two way feedback can be a little bit jarring. What did you learn through that experience about how do you give feedback in a two way environment that works well?
Yeah, that's a good question. I think having a formalized structure is very helpful, rather than relying on hey, when you have feedback, bring it up. Saying hey, every quarter we're going to have a feedback session, or at the end of every project we're going to have a structured feedback that requires engagement and requires responses. So sometimes if I'm giving feedback to anyone on our team, or personally as well, sometimes it's difficult to give feedback, not because you don't want to share something, but you feel like there isn't anything. But there always is if you dig deeper and deeper, and you peel back those layers of the onion, there definitely is feedback and I think that's what helps us grow. So I've shared this many times, this story many times with other people, that at a previous job I worked at, my supervisor and I got along very well. We worked hard, I was always looking for ways to improve the business, and look for new opportunities to be more efficient. And my supervisor didn't say anything until the very last day, I had a final lunch, and we sat down, and she gave me some feedback that she felt like I wasn't teachable, and that I wasn't humble, and I was always challenging her, and it made me feel bad. Because that's definitely not the approach I was trying to take, and I obviously could have communicated differently throughout the time there. But it was a teaching lesson for me, that as a leader I need to engage in feedback more often, so that we don't get to the end of something, and there was misaligned expectations, or any hard feelings both from the superior and the subordinate, exactly. So I think through these experiences, two way regular structured feedback has definitely provided value to me and something we want to continue at Neighbor.
Love it. This is so impressive you guys here. So many organizations would do well to learn from what you all have done. Especially the two way nature of it, because so often in organizations, information and feedback flows one way, talk down. And sometimes that creates an environment where the person who has the feedback for the manager or leader they report to, won't give it to them. Even if the leader says I've got an open door policy, because they'll know they're just going to get hammered if they bring it up here, so the fact that you've both done it and you've experienced it early on, is phenomenal here. Two other things I want to talk about here before the end of the podcast. One is focus. For new companies it's often easy to be distracted by what I call bright and shiny objects. Things that ahhhh if we only did this, we should add this feature to the product or add that feature to the product. It's a strategic issue, but one that comes down to being focused and really dedicated to the core value or core mission. What do you do to stay focused? What do you do to keep the team focused? What do you do to avoid the bright, shiny objects, while at the same time remaining agile to facts that maybe you need to pivot a little bit? Joseph?
So two things I'll say here. One, again, a shout out to our VP of Engineering, Derek, who runs the most water ship tight organization with engineering. They backlog every single item, so all the shiny objects get put in the backlog, but they don't necessarily get put at the top of the backlog. There are several levels of feedback that he engages the whole company on. Company wide demo days, management meeting as well as his own engineering team and trying to prioritize those things. And the second thing I'll talk about is again, being very metrics focused, we have a business intelligence dashboard where we're tracking something like 60 different metrics on our company that update daily. Some of those metrics are more important than others. We have some guiding metrics, the chief guiding metric now being we're just moving into this customer acquisition mode, the chief guiding metric now being revenue. We take the Y Combinator revenue growth approach where we are growing five to seven percent per week. We have to hit that no matter what. A lot of times we surpass that because we're in the early stages of the company. But that helps create a decision making tool, decision making tree. We can always ask ourselves is this product or feature, is this idea, is this going to help us hit our five to seven percent revenue growth this week? If it's not, maybe it's not that important. Or maybe it is important a year from now. Right, so it's nice to have those guiding metrics that you can always check yourself against, and say hey are we really working towards our priorities or not here?
Colton, anything you'd add there?
Yeah, in consulting sometimes they make the joke about consultants are the jack of all trades, master of none, but we at Neighbor are definitely trying to become the master at what we do. Focus really on our core features, core product, and really iron out all the kinks before we move on to something else, I think, both as a company that is where we're going to see the growth come is when we can say, Hey, we've done this right, we know how to do it, now let's take those learnings, to pivot it to another model, or bring in new features.
So last thing to talk about here is your approach to getting better as leaders. We talked a little bit before we started about what you're doing here, but Joseph maybe you could share some of the things you're doing to get better as a leader, and then Colton would love to hear what you're doing to get better as a leader as well.
Yeah, so we talked before, but recognizing that I'm super young, I don't have the experience that some of these other leaders do. I meet frequently with other leaders of other companies, and we've counted as some of our closest advisors, really great individuals like Jonathan Johnson over at Overstock, he has experience running the most successful marketplace that Utah has ever seen, in Overstock. They were the original Utah marketplace, and he's been willing to sit down and share with us learnings from the very beginning. He went through and walked me through their entire organization, and said look here's the nitty gritty of how we organize things; or talking to Johnny Hanna over at Homie. Johnny's just a great, talk about a really humble leader who has done these really amazing things, but is willing to talk about a small company and how it compares to his own, and basically share every learning he's had, as well as talk about his organization and he overcame founder struggles. And that's where I've certainly learned the most, is from talking to these other leaders. Another thing is that I think we learn from each other. Part of the reason that I was attracted to Neighbor, and part of the reason that it drew me so quickly, these guys were able to convince me so quickly, is I thought I know Preston, and I've met Colton and worked with him; and Preston's given me his highest recommendation of Colton. I have the opportunity to go work for a company with one of the brightest students I know at BYU, and from what it sounds like the brightest student out of the University of Utah. I just want to be associated with those two people. I just, regardless of what happens with the company, I want to be a part of this. So call it two way feedback, or call it whatever you will; but we all have strong leadership traits, but none of us has all of them. And I think we've started picking them up from each other. I've certainly picked up some things from Preston and Colton and Derek, both externally and internally, I think there's a learning process.
Yeah, that was definitely what came to mind, was just being teachable and looking for that insight from other people, proactively going out, meeting with people, having lunches, connecting. And that's one thing that I'm definitely learning from the rest of our team as well. I think we've talked a lot about being accountable, having goals, being driven, and I think you can do that from a company perspective, from a professional perspective, me and my domain; as well as on a personal perspective. So I have personal goals that I write down every month, and I follow up with those goals, and I book time on my calendar to achieve those goals. And if I don't hit those goals, I move them to the next month and they continue on. And then sharing those with other people so that they can help raise you up, and so that you're really accountable to not just yourself, but other people as well.
It makes all the difference. In fact there's a great statistic that says if you really, really, really want to change, you have maybe a one in four chance of changing. Maybe, a one in four chance of changing. You are hungry, but if you get an accountability partner or a coach or somebody who will hold you accountable daily to it, that change goes to more than 90%. So it really is the key to success, and it can make all the difference here. Let's just end here with a little bit about sort of your styles, sort of a yes, no or just a quick one word answer here. Extrovert or introvert for each of you?
Half and half, introvert probably
More like the extro-introvert?
I've actually taken the test and it puts me right on the line--
Yeah, we call that a bi-vert. Would you say that you like to lead from the front or from the back?
I'd say back for sure.
Bi-leader I think sometimes I do like going from the back, because I like to see all the way through, and I'm the back, I'm the backstop, and I have full accountability; but from the front as well.
Interesting. What about your style as a communicator? Are you more of a get the truth out first, and then follow up and try to make it right after the fact? Or do you try and ease into the conversation and set the right sort of framework so somebody's ready for the feedback? So hard first and then follow up with the soft? Or the soft first, and then follow up with the hard?
Outstanding, outstanding here. And what would you say is the one word that would best describe your leadership style?
That's a tough one. I'd say enabling.
Enabling, love that word.
He stole mine, I was going to say self-sufficient, helping other people become self-sufficient, self reliant.
And would your answer be different in terms of how you want to be known as a leader? Not the kind of leader you want to be, but how other people would perceive you as a leader?
I would hope people would see me as an enabling leader, for sure. That's definitely a goal of mine, maybe I shouldn't name names, but that I come across as an enabling leader, that builds other people, to the point where I'd love to see Neighbor become this great company that's global and helping all these individuals and communities. But I'd love to see team members of Neighbor, that are in executive positions leave Neighbor eventually, and just go build their own companies.
Do great things elsewhere.
Yep, that's kind of my measure of success as a leader, was everyone able to have enough fulfillment in their role and grow enough that they could just go lead their own company, ya know?
Love it, love it. Guys this has been a lot of fun here. What's the best way for us to follow you individually on social media?
I'm on twitter @woodburyjoseph1.
And definitely on linkedin and twitter as well, @coltongardner.
Fantastic. We'll make sure we get those links in the show notes. Gentlemen, thank you for your time today, best wishes for Neighbor and a great successful ride here, and make it a great rest of the day.
Yeah, thank you.
Thank you, Brett.