The surest way to mediocrity is by being embarrassed by failure.

 

Having been both a bootstrapped entrepreneur and a leader in large organizations, Marc is in a unique position to drive OutboundEngine’s growth while serving as a champion for small business owners. Previously, he was Senior Vice President at Mr. Cooper (formerly Nationstar), where he served on the leadership team that generated over $1 billion in revenue and $220 million in earnings annually by bringing innovative credit products to over 3 million homeowners. A 20-year veteran of leading companies through sweeping digital change and customer-focused product evolution, Marc has also held senior leadership positions at Monster.com and J. Walter Thompson among others. When he’s not advocating on behalf of American small businesses, you can find Marc on the tennis court or spending time with his wife and kids.

Where did the idea for OutboundEngine come from?

OutboundEngine was born out of a need for SMB owners to access beautiful, branded content that could be distributed on channels that matter so that they could focus on running their business.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

As an operational CEO, I spend the majority of my day connecting with front-line employees and department heads addressing key initiatives and identifying potential roadblocks that require attention.

I place a great deal of value on employees that engage directly with OutboundEngine’s customers. Through a bottom-up management strategy, I work close to customer pain points to spot items that need immediate action. This helps me properly allocate resources and move at a rapid pace while making efficient use of my time and providing the best value possible to our customers.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I have a strong bias for action. I don’t really think things have to take as long as initially projected. I’m always asking my teams to think about ways to shorten the distance from idea to MVP.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Everything is becoming a marketplace. This signals an opportunity for smaller businesses and newer entrants to an industry the ability to compete against larger entrenched companies and ideas. For example, Keller Williams created a marketplace that allows agents to download and participate. These types of movements force a focus on integration and I find that exciting.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Taking moments of reflection and gratitude is a daily habit that makes me more productive. I’m a big believer in mindfulness and being self-aware. I build my day around giving myself time to express and sit in gratitude which allows me to focus on what’s important and not get distracted by every shiny thing.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t take everything so seriously.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I think that everything should happen a lot faster than it does. When setting expectations and assigning deadlines, I always get push back on gross underestimations of how long things take.

My secret in asking is that it forces people to rethink the length of their processes. Oftentimes, the pursuit of greatness is the enemy of being good enough. On a condensed time frame, confidence intervals are compressed, forcing quicker output and exploration.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Learn to compartmentalize your work to function in society, but allow yourself to think about your business every minute of every day that you are conscious.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

It sounds cliché, but being very open-minded about who your customers are and what they are going through can help grow your business. I try and remove my own personal experience from work, and instead, get out and interact with people that bring different stories to the table.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I am an ardent believer in failing forward. In fact, the surest way to mediocrity is by being embarrassed by failure. Personally, most of my failures have come by engaging in business relationships with people that don’t share my values.

Now, I deploy and practice a process called, The Doorman Principle, coined by Rick Sapio (CEO of Mutual Capital Alliance). Basically, you should imagine your life as a room and before anyone is allowed entry, they have to share a list of values with you. Most problems arise from allowing individuals into your life that don’t share your values and much energy is wasted getting them out.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

An iPhone Lightning adapter that doesn’t breakdown after five months.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

New tennis shoes because my old shoes were worn out and I love to play tennis with my family.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I use a Chrome extension that tracks email opens and forwards so whenever I send communication, I have a good idea whether or not it’s been received — and perhaps if it’s being addressed or engaged.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz. It provides a good way to conduct yourself and how to eliminate unnecessary friction/stress that accompanies modern life.

What is your favorite quote?

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.” -James Cameron

Key Learnings:

  • Try and remove your own personal experience from work, and instead, get out and interact with people that bring different stories to the table.
  • The surest way to mediocrity is by being embarrassed by failure.
  • Learn to compartmentalize your work to function in society, but allow yourself to think about your business every minute of every day that you are conscious.

Connect:

https://www.outboundengine.com/
https://twitter.com/marcpickren?lang=en
https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcpickren/