The Success Apex: Where Customer Success & Employee Success Meet
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In the latest edition of Money Matters, Ryan Williams and Adam Torres share their tops tips for tech leaders and entrepreneurs. They talk about the lessons on business and leadership to help position you and your organization properly in this new age of leadership. Most leaders have had many people who have helped them learn many valuable things that have guided their experiences in business. The series of Money Matters books are an extended version of advice and learning. The experts, professionals, and leaders offer their feedback and expertise to provide a perspective on ways to transform business and think about how to work with employees, clients, vendors, peers, and business collaborators. Although the ideas presented in this book are not necessarily exact prescriptions for how you are supposed to work, they offer a great recipe for a great professional life.
Great business leadership allows for both customers and employees to feel successful. More importantly, it facilitates the apex point for customer and employee success. Additionally, it puts a relentless focus on creating a feedback loop between the customer and employee and ultimately allows them to flourish in a cycle independent of management itself. A variety of factors defines business success. The most obvious, of course, is profit. However, several elements tell a story about a business’s impact on its customers, employees, and society as a whole. The foundational incentive for most business leaders is financial, as to how much positive return on investment can be generated. This combination of managing costs and optimizing revenue streams can be overly simple and quite attractive. They are not, however, the only factors to measure. Early-stage profit can often be a quite deceiving metric for a business that will ultimately need to scale. So, it’s often more important to look at the drivers behind the financial gains of a company versus the financial gains themselves.
Societal Impact’ can be assessed by a business’ innovation and its ultimate adoption of the change within the culture in which it exists. In the technology field, this one is evident. When people adopt new tech tools and use them to transform their lives, the company makes money. However, the company also affects how society can see the possibility of engaging in new ways. That awareness of impact offers a level of success that has more profound intrinsic value to both the organization and the world, creating a more symbiotic relationship and not just transactional performance measurements like revenue or profit.
A more interesting metric is found in the happiness of those people creating the societal impact. Each employee is essentially a partner in creating a product or service that affects the world around them. It’s especially crucial that this “partner” feels inspired about their daily work and the impact they are having both internally and with external customers. The simplest perspective on this is the ever-elusive employee happiness metric that large enterprise organizations spend millions of dollars each year to develop better retention programs. While some incredible and thoughtful work has been done here, the primary driver of employee happiness is tied to the success they feel in the work they’re executing.
Success is usually based on several factors, but the customers themselves always define those factors. During the discovery process with our clients at Wonderment Apps, we go through an extensive investigative process where we look at both the top-level items that need to be addressed and the underlying needs driving their investments. As a result, a big part of our business is the product development process. We work with a variety of different technology organizations to carve out the “how” and “why” a product should be built and ultimately uncover its legitimate impact on the industry it is going into. To do this, we have to ask the more important questions, such as “What is the real reason for building this product?”
Customer communication is the most crucial part of the customer service. Over the past few years, the Wonderment Apps team has been working to create an innovative internal communication system across our teams – from sales, customer success, and project management to product development and quality assurance. We strive to ensure that each layer of the organization understands what a customer needs to be successful. More importantly, the whole team knows we can’t assume that we know it ahead of time. Employees need to know that their work matters. As we meet customer needs and solve problems that matter, each of the assigned team members supporting that is impacted. The employees know they are helping solve a problem that would bring profit to the client and generate satisfaction with the customers who used it. As they worked with more features in both prototype and beta-testing phases, they see that their work was having an actual impact.
Ryan Williams, Co-Founder & Partner of Wonderment, has more than 15 years of product development, management, and marketing experience. Ryan is currently a founding partner and the CEO of Wonderment Apps, a Los Angeles-based technology agency that builds software, apps, and websites for companies of all sizes. Prior to Wonderment Apps, he was a key product management leader for Apple, The New York Times, and a variety of notable technology startups in Southern California. Ryan has excelled as a product and marketing leader, helping to design, build, and market websites, applications, and user acquisition strategies across a variety of platforms. His specialty lies in Mobile, Web, Ad Tech, and eCommerce platforms and his domain knowledge reaches deep into the Ad Tech, eCommerce, and Entertainment sectors. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Adam Torres is the co-founder of Mission Matters Media, a media and publishing company dedicated to the needs of business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives. An international speaker and the author of multiple bestselling books, Adam’s advice has been featured in major publications such as Forbes, Inc., and Fox Business. Listen to Adam’s popular podcast Mission Matters at MissionMatters.com.
Money Matters Podcast Transcript
[00:00:10.280] – Adam Torres
Hello, I would like to welcome another episode of Money Matters, Top Tips for tech leader success. For each and every day, I bring on new business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives and have them share their top tips for tech leader success with you. My name is Adam Torres. You can follow me on Instagram, @AdamTorres to keep up with my book releases, books, schedule signings, all that other stuff. I always loved to connect with you there. And as always, if you’d like to apply to become a co-author of one of my upcoming books, just head on over to the website Money Matters, Top Tips, Dotcom, and click on Become an author to apply.
[00:00:39.770] – Adam Torres
All right. So I have Ryan Williams on the line and he’s co-founder and partner over at Wonderment Apps and the Co-author of Money Matters. Ryan, welcome to the show.
[00:00:47.760] – Ryan Williams
Thanks. Glad to be here.
[00:00:50.020] – Adam Torres
So I’m excited to get more into what you’re doing over at Wonderment Apps and how you’re helping your clients and your tips for tech leaders. But before we do that, let’s get a little bit further into your background. So how did you get started in your career and as an entrepreneur?
[00:01:02.810] – Ryan Williams
I worked in the tech industry for quite a while for a variety of different startups here in Los Angeles and kind of the Silicon Beach arena, and then I ended up working for a couple of larger, more notable organizations like The New York Times and Apple. And as I kind of traverse my career between startup and enterprise, I just saw a need for some of the stuff that we do and really a great spot as a part of the kind of like building process for technology that excited me. So we started the business of it.
[00:01:35.950] – Adam Torres
And that’s awesome, I love it and it’s really interesting to me how somebody transitions to their careers. He works for some smaller companies and works for some larger companies. Then you probably came upon a concept which we’re going to get into more with Wonderment Apps, like, you know, I want to start my own company. So that being said, you know, there’s a lot of people that are, let’s say, a couple of steps behind where you were at when they haven’t started it yet. They’re thinking, I want to go out, I want to go the entrepreneurial route, but maybe they just haven’t quite made that leap. What kind of advice would you give to a person that’s really considering going down that path or maybe just hasn’t quite got started yet?
[00:02:11.790] – Ryan Williams
Yeah, good question, I think that the biggest piece of advice I’d have is that if you want to find people to work with that have a learner’s mentality, that they are in it to grow and learn along with you because it’s a huge thing to take on by yourself and think you could ever do it alone and that is the top tips for tech leaders. But when you have a group of people that want to engage with you and want to learn with you and go into every day as an experiment and have fun with it, like it just makes the process of building a business, of putting your work in a really great experience.
[00:02:51.350] – Adam Torres
It’s awesome. Let’s look it up a bit. I want to get into what you’re doing over at Wonderment Apps. So first, tell us a little bit more about the displaced and if you have any tips for tech leaders.
[00:03:00.560] – Ryan Williams
Yeah, so we’re going to our fifth year and we have been growing really rapidly over the last couple of years. We are very specifically, historically, we’ve been an agency. The services range from technology to nan-technology companies and building applications, software, websites and we historically take things from end to end. So we would start at kind of a product development level and really think about how a product designed to be in the market or the wireframe and user flows, ultimately the designs.
[00:03:31.400] – Ryan Williams
And then we ultimately have really great technology teams that can build out these projects. And so it’s kind of what we’ve done. And we’ve also been doing a lot of work recently. And this is kind of really the direction that businesses roll on into really taking the skills that we’ve generated and kind of how to create really great developers, how to create the product teams, really great QA teams, and basically provide companies with access to these teams and in a really seamless experience so that they can tap into these amazing types of resources. So we kind of are running two different models.
[00:04:13.390] – Adam Torres
That’s awesome, and I see like the need for that because I’ve seen one or two companies and when somebody can pull this off in a great way, I mean, it’s really tough for companies that if they don’t know what they’re shopping for to just going off work because they have an idea they want to do something and they want to go put a product together. I mean, a whole nother team.
[00:04:30.640] – Adam Torres
You need experienced team work together and you need a project management function. If your day to day operation isn’t creating this particular piece of technology you want to offer as a product. If you’re already, let’s just say brick and mortar and you’re thinking about how to change your thing, to go a little bit more online, like all these things matter. And what you’re doing on that side of the model is just really interesting to me where both sides are. But that one, I just see it happening more and more where people are like, you can’t just go on up work, it’s OK, go higher, develop and hire this and let’s get a project going. But if your background is so hard.
[00:05:06.060] – Ryan Williams
yeah, it’s actually a really common and expensive mistake that people make. There’s a kind of look at it like you can hire people to you can hire a team to build a physical structure that you might use for business or work, or you could hire somebody like, you know, off the street who may have the qualifications enough to like start on it.
[00:05:35.560] – Ryan Williams
That’s really kind of what you’re looking at, those things. And we’re really bringing qualified teams to the table that can actually execute on something from start to finish. It takes a lot of pressure off the business owners so they can actually have it kind of specialists and engineers know exactly what they’re doing to actually build the right kind of thing and take you from because it is a journey I don’t think people understand, like even with so many of the tools to for people to be able to plug into different systems, ranging from the different hosting environments like the Amazon and Google to the to all of the different languages you have to choose from in which foundational code architecture is going to work for you.
[00:06:19.250] – Ryan Williams
They like big decisions that have to go into everything that happened all behind the scenes. Once you get past just the basic thing of can I create something engaging that people actually want to use for whatever businesses and so forth like these are. These are complex questions that I think that if you can bring in the right people upfront, you in the long run, save a massive amount of money. And it’s a big deal, not a huge deal.
[00:06:45.610] – Adam Torres
I agree. And many people that have come, resolution specialist, from what you just said, they started a project and they realized it was a big deal. And you can’t just go on and hire anybody. It doesn’t work quite that way. You don’t have the skills to make the decisions to take you in the right direction because you don’t know. Right. You’re running another business. So that being said, Ryan, what are what’s kind of the sweet spot?
[00:07:07.840] – Adam Torres
So there’s somebody listening on there right now in terms of this podcast right now. They’re in there in their office. They’re driving in their car. And they may already be in that situation where they need to somebody to look at something that they’re working on or they’re deciding to start a new project. And I want to know if they’re the right type of niche or and or client to contact you to start that discussion. What’s your niche and clientele?
[00:07:32.520] – Ryan Williams
Yes, that’s a good question, I think for the kind of stuff that we do around staff augmentation and being able to really create opportunities to get in touch with and find developers and product developers and designers that really know what they’re doing. It’s a little bit more on that kind of enterprise technology side. So I think that it’s probably more like, you know, engineering managers and maybe product managers and things like that. So when we’re trying to sell so see for those resources, that’s a little more for them.
[00:08:08.700] – Ryan Williams
When we’re really talking about building kind of an end to end solution with a piece of software, it’s great for all types of businesses and people who brought up a good one to people that are moving from brick and mortar into the digital space where a really great spot to come and talk to because we bring the whole thing. You just kind of jump in and it just happens and it happens really effectively. But we really do that for all kinds of different companies.
[00:08:32.700] – Ryan Williams
We work a lot in entertainment. We work a lot and because we’re in Los Angeles to work in the entertainment space quite a bit and we work a lot in logistics and shipping and we work quite a bit in anything that’s got kind of media related, like ADTECH or and so we’re anything that’s like on a marketing front or any of those elements, we do really well. And anything that uses a lot of like really smart application oriented software development.
[00:08:58.890] – Ryan Williams
So if you want to take your business and it’s kind of historically been a business that people walk into and you want to create an application that makes it available to the whole wide world, we’re really good at that kind of stuff.
[00:09:09.810] – Adam Torres
That’s awesome. And so is there any kind of and you just have unique vantage point working with different sized companies, working both from the procurement side of talent to the side of, you know, end to end creating the solutions yourself. Any kind of trends you care to comment on in general?
[00:09:29.850] – Ryan Williams
Yeah, that’s a really great question. I would say some of the big trends that we’ve seen over the last little bit are kind of up and down are things like lockshin, AR and VR, are big kind of worlds that are popping up on the trend level. So people have like what devices people are using is getting a little more solidified within the phone landscape. But you’re going to see a big jump in some of the ways in which people digest things like media and content over the next little bit and then watching when to use it or not to use it.
[00:10:02.640] – Ryan Williams
Those are those are kind of like interesting pieces as well. Like so those are some of the like kind of like industry trends that I think have been pretty impactful. So that and then in terms of the engineering staffing side of things we’re seeing a big shift to really good usage of of European developers. We use both Indian and European developers and American developers as well. But like we’ve been working a lot with really great European groups over the last little bit and having a lot of success there.
[00:10:32.010] – Ryan Williams
So finally, finding the right kind of like engineering tools that are really impactful has been a good spot that we’re kind of constantly delving into. It’s awesome. So if somebody is listening to this and they do want more information on where Wonderment apps or to connect with you, what’s the best route for them to reach out? Yeah, I mean, you could always just visit our website www.wondermentapps.com, so wonderments like the look of wonderment, which is kind of one of the original ideas of the of our brand, is like we want to create things that are created like wonderment for people and then so that’s a good place wondermentapps.com
[00:11:12.330] – Ryan Williams
Or you can email us as well at Wonder@Wondermentapps.com and let us know if you have something you want to talk about. But I would say visit the website, fill out a form, or hit me up on LinkedIn. I’m available there. Ryan Williams at Wonderment Apps.
[00:11:26.950] – Adam Torres
Perfect. Well, I really appreciate you coming on the show today and sharing more about your background and all the great work you’re doing over at Wonderment Apps and the tips for tech leaders and thanks to the audience.
[00:11:36.680] – Adam Torres
As always, thank you for tuning in. Hope you got a lot of value out of this. If you did, forget to subscribe to the podcast, leave a review on the Apple iTunes store or do all those great things we do to support our podcast, as I really do appreciate it. And thanks Ryan for coming on.