HOW TO CREATE THE BEST EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES WITH JOHN MAMON
You may not know this, but the name of this show, Love Is Just Damn Good Business, also happens to be the name of my book, Love is Just Damn Good Business. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, I recommend that you do. I’m a bit biased. My guest is John Mamon. He’s the President and CEO of mPowered IT, a leading managed and cloud services provider in Atlanta, Georgia. John has over 25 years of experience in all areas of IT, information technology, including engineering, sales, and leadership. His specialties include service design, increasing operational effectiveness, harnessing cloud and data center services, network security, and providing objective guidance to small businesses. John lives in Woodstock, Georgia, otherwise known as Atlanta, with his two daughters and wife, who he has been married to for many years. He is the author of a book called The Extra Scoop: Rediscover the Art of Great Customer Service. John, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Steve. I feel blessed to be here with you. I’m excited that I’ll be talking with you.
Your company becomes who you are if you do it right.CLICK TO TWEETThe pleasure and honor are mine. The reason that I asked you to come on this show is because I happen to know that you are a guy as an entrepreneur and as a business leader who gets it. By it, in this case, I mean that love is just damn good business. This is an important part of who you are and how you operate. I want to get into that as we go along. Also, I’m interested to hear about your journey as a leader because your company is still in these rather early stages. At least this company, you’ve had others before. I’m curious to know what your plans are for growth because a lot of times, we, entrepreneurs, lose sight of why we started something to begin with after we start to grow. First of all, tell us about the company. Give us a high level there.
As you noted in your kind intro, we were a managed services and cloud services provider. For us, managed services mean becoming the outsourced IT department for small businesses. We also can become the fractional department for larger organizations if they choose to outsource certain components. Generally, our target is small companies. They’re usually less than 100 employees, although we do have some bigger. We provide the entire IT support stack, everything from help desk services through the fractional CIO. We do all the cloud services as well. We’re a one-stop–shop for that small business. We can do everything from their email provisioning to hosting their systems, to doing their website for them, DevOps, development operations, hosting servers, Desktop as a Service, voice over IP, and everything that goes along with all of that, especially cybersecurity.
When you say a small business, what’s your typical size client?
They’re usually under 100 employees. Our sweet spot is going to be in the 20 to 30 range. The design of our programs excludes no one. A lot of service providers do have minimums to do business with them or a certain size of the organization they want to work with. We can service anyone. If you have 2 or 2,000 computers, we can work with you.
Solopreneur, as we call them nowadays, is also a potential client for you.
Absolutely. They have all the same needs. Hopefully, that solopreneur someday is going to have a lot of people working with them when they achieve their mission and grow their companies. They may have different needs, but they also have a lot of common needs too. They need to have solid email and presentation systems and have their computers working. A lot of times, it’s even more important because that’s how they make their money. Their computers need to be secure. They need websites.
You’re offering the benefits of a full-service IT department to somebody who, at that particular stage in their development, couldn’t even dream about hiring somebody full-time to do that.
That’s right. We’re bringing all the processes, procedures, tools, and knowledge of a large enterprise IT department. We’re delivering it to that small business or solopreneur at a fraction. As you said, they couldn’t even think about hiring a person for what we were charging.
How long has mPowered been in business?
mPowered IT launched in 2014.
You’ve been around for a while. You made it over the hump. What do they say about, “Most entrepreneurial ventures fail within the first?“ I know it’s not fifteen minutes.
They usually say in the first two years was the old standard.
I wonder if that has changed.
You would have to think it would, given the speed of information and technology and what people can do. I believe it probably has, to be honest. I might be just spoiled because we have a lot of startup incubator–type organizations here in Atlanta that I’m aware of, and I know people in. Maybe my view is a little skewed, but I think it probably has to a certain extent.
I’m guessing that a lot of those kinds of companies are your clients, too, right?
Yes, it ranges all over. We’re working with an organization that helps early–stage companies go to the next level. They bring us in to help get the IT right because, a lot of times, they’re focused on the widget they’ve created or the services that they’re offering. IT gets cobbled together, and they worry about that down the road. Typically, that’s something that we come in and help get right for them once they’ve cleared that early stage.
I wonder if you face a similar kind of challenge that we do. What I’m hearing you say is that a company, when it’s starting to grow and even from its inception, needs to pay attention to its IT infrastructure. Otherwise, if you’re not paying attention to it until you know you need it, it’s not too late, but it’s going to be a big problem by then.
There are some things that you can work around, particularly in the area of cybersecurity. That is so important. Companies would think, “I’m too small. My data is not important,“ but it is. The hackers love going after the smaller guys because they know they don’t bother spending the money they should to protect their stuff. You’ve got a critical intellectual property in an early-stage company. You’ve probably got critical data that you wouldn’t want anybody to see or have. Investors are going to want to know you’re taking care of those environments and that information smartly.
Plus, it’s going to have implications on your ability to execute for your customers as you grow. I said it sounds similar to a challenge that we have over here. What I mean by that is, it’s the same kind of attitude that entrepreneurs have to the culture of their company when they start it. Oftentimes, they don’t even think about culture until they look around one day and say, “What happened here? It’s not like it used to be. We got to do something about this. We need to install a culture.” Whereas there’s been one from the beginning. People have had IT from the beginning. It’s just not necessarily the smart configuration. It’s the same with culture. Is this your second venture as an entrepreneur?
I don’t mean your paper route. It’s other than that.
I was involved with another startup. A venture company came in and backed and, summarily, asked me to leave. I had another company similar to mPowered IT with a business partner that we grew and we were acquired and then we’ve got mPowered IT here. I’ve always been involved with small companies, though. I’ve never worked for big enterprises. It has always been small company startups in one manner or another.
Let’s take the previous company and the current company. You were the Cofounder of the previous company. From the very beginning, did you think about the kind of culture you wanted to create in addition to the product and service that you were going to offer?
No. I’m sure that we had a subconscious idea because, from my perspective, the company becomes who you are if you do it right. We didn’t sit down and say, “This is what this company is going to be about. This is what our culture is going to be about.” Our focus early on was becoming a real company, as my partner used to say, getting to a place where we had revenues, and we could afford some employees and so forth. The core values came probably in our 2nd or 3rd year.
What brought that about?
We had people who we brought into the company who were perfect fits. They did things exactly the way we wanted to. They treated people the way that we wanted them to treat our customers treated each other. There were others who came in. They were great engineers and good at their job, but there was something that wasn’t fitting. Eventually, all those people ended up either leaving or we asked them to leave. What we did was we created the core values, reckon sitting down and recognizing, “Here’s what we see in people and the people who we want to be here.” Every time that somebody would seem to not be a fit, we would sit down in our weekly meetings, look at the core values and say, “They meet all these core values. One must be missing.” We engineered our core values out of the people who we had come through the organization who we knew weren’t the right kind of people for what we were doing.
It was a discovery process for you along the way. It’s like, “If this person isn’t working, at first glance, it seems like they ‘should.‘ If they’re not, what is it that’s missing in this person’s approach or their value set or personality that’s important to us that maybe we haven’t articulated yet?“
That’s exactly right. I think our values probably went through at least half a dozen iterations before we finally settle down the final through the course of the years we were in business.
If I’m getting my chronology right, one of the things that you discovered along the way that helped you to understand your values better was The Radical Leap. Did I have that chronology right?
Yes, it was a big piece of the pie. I know for me, I identified so much with The Radical Leap personally. It was that passion. I was always a passionate person. I could identify with the message. We took a lot of that and spun it into part of our core values, if not most of our core values.
To give that context to people who are unfamiliar, The Radical Leap is the title of my first book. Leap stands for Love, Energy, Audacity and Proof. Let’s establish that. The core idea is about love, as we often talk about on this show. Tell me if I have this right because you haven’t shared this with me. I’m guessing that when you read The Radical LEAP, it wasn’t like, “There’s something in here that we have never considered before.“ It was more like, “This is who we are. We just haven’t used these words to describe it.”
In particular, my role in the organization is that everyone reported up to me. My partner was the President, and I was the Vice President, technically speaking. The entire organization reported to me because I was more connected and had more of the emotion with the people. I was maybe a better “manager.” Those are the kinds of things I think he would say. For me, it was, “This is me here. This is who I am.” I definitely made that. When I say that I identified with the message, that’s what I mean.
What was the name of that company?
It was Radical Support, coincidentally.
That’s like, “Here’s our book. It’s got radical on it.” It’s The Radical Edge as well, my second book. That set of ideas was a confirmation of how you already operated. It made it more conscious and intentional for you from that point. Let’s fast forward. When you started mPowered IT, did you start with your set of values in mind or let it go through that iteration process again?
No. When I started mPowered, it was one of the first documents I drafted. It was just me at that time. I mean, “These are the core values of the company.“ The number one core value was to create a great experience for everybody we deal with. That didn’t mean customers. That meant the team members and vendors, anybody who was in our sphere, we wanted to have a great experience with us.
Experience has become, for all the right reasons, a popular way of looking at business. It goes back to the experience economy and that whole discussion, “Creating an experience that customers are going to come back for more.” I’m paraphrasing myself here if I could be so presumptuous as to do so. The only way to make that happen is to create a culture that’s a great experience for the people who work here because those two are obviously connected. I say obviously, but a lot of times, we lose sight of it.
If you have a lot of people who are robots or drones showing up for work and not enjoying what their job is, they’re not going to provide a great experience for your customers. We’re in the service business. It is so critical. In fact, having poor experiences myself with vendors, even if it wasn’t somebody related to mPowered IT, I would meet and sit down with people in my network and talk about who I am and what I do. I was talking with a guy, and he said, “You are so passionate about the customer experience and customer service. You should write a book about it.” I thought, “I don’t have time to write a book.” He said, “This will help you tell your story to the extent that people know, ‘You’re so passionate about it. Who wouldn’t want their IT service from a guy who wrote a book about customer service?‘” That was what inspired me to write it. Having our customers have a great experience is so important to me.
This person who said, “You are so passionate about this. You should write a book about it,” how did they know that you were passionate about the customer experience?
I think probably what happened is we would sit, be having coffee and I would get animated. I would tell them stories of good experiences that I had, “This was great.” I will tell them bad experiences that I had, “That was awful. I’ll never want to do business with those people again.” I‘ve been intimating the stories that I had and the ways that I go about executing our business. That was an easy parallel to draw.
He experienced that kind of bubbling up from inside of you as your conversation turned to that topic, which means that you’re coming from an authentic place in that is what I would gather. That’s the foundation of this whole thing. If you, as the leader of the company, don’t have that yourself first, then how do you expect anybody else to create that experience? That was your first value. What are the other values?
We want to make sure, first and foremost, that we create a great experience for everybody that we’re dealing with. It‘s a personal core value. It’s even a chapter in the book. It’s, “Do what we say we do.“ If we say, “We’re going to be on–site at 10:00,” we’re on–site at 10:00. If we say, “We’re monitoring your server,“ we want to make sure we’re monitoring the server. That’s a loose definition of integrity. I’m a big, “Do what you say you’re going to do,“ person. That takes a level of commitment. That’s the second.
The next one is in no particular order except for the first one, “Wake up with a passion for our purpose.” That purpose is to create a great experience. I want people to have energy around that. I want them to embrace creating that great experience and be excited and feel good about it when we get a review on Google or somebody says something nice to them on the phone. That’s what we’re striving for because nobody calls us to say, “It‘s a great day outside. It’s 80 degrees. Have a great day.“ The calls we get, people have problems very often. If you’ve had anybody out there who has had a computer problem, you know how frustrating that can be. I get frustrated when I have a computer problem, and I’m in the business. People are frustrated. Their day is impacted negatively. We want to give them the extra scoop, so they walk away, going, “That was awesome.” That’s what we want people to be saying.
Is the metaphor there like ordering ice cream and getting an extra scoop?
That’s exactly right, but you didn’t even ask for it.
There are a couple of things there. One is, I imagine you never get a call from a customer saying, “I’m just letting you know that our server is humming along perfectly.“
We don’t get that. We will occasionally get an email saying, “I just wanted to let you know that so-and-so was awesome.” They don’t call to let us know things are working great.
“So-and-so was awesome in their response to our problem. I’m calling or writing to let you know that’s an awesome human being just because.” When you say, “Wake up with a passion for our purpose,“ what I hear on that is it’s very much a personal appeal because how a person wakes up in the morning more than any other time during our day is completely uninfluenced by any external circumstance. In other words, it’s internal. How I wake up that morning means that it’s a part of me as opposed to how I feel at the end of the day after I’ve been interacting with my colleagues and customers and putting out all these fires. It‘s a very personal way of saying it. I imagine you’re conscientious and careful about the kind of people who you hire. You hire the people who wake up with passion.
I believe, and this probably goes for most businesses. I’m sure there are plenty of arguments we have that some businesses don’t fall into this category. For me, we can train technology. We can train people to be better at solving a problem on a computer. What you can’t train into people is who they are. It’s that DNA and fabric. I‘m still involved in every hire in the company, but I don’t do all the first screening. When I was doing it and hiring every single person from start to finish with no other input, my screening process was around the core values. The first phone interview were questions all around, “Do you enjoy working on a help desk and why?” so that I could hear them tell me why it was something that they enjoy doing. If they said, “I don’t like talking to people on the phone,” you’re already automatically out the door or, “I don’t mind fixing problems, but I would rather be at that side or working on projects.” I would filter and screen out people who didn’t meet the core values. I would only meet with people face-to–face who I felt had it.
How many employees do you have?
We have a dozen, but it’s not including our retained people who we use. I screen them for that same way that they have to be like-minded people.
Whether their employees, working on a contract or whatever, they still have to go through that process?
Are there any magic interview questions that you use?
I don’t think so. As I said, the questions would paint around our core values. Others are included, by the way, “Communicate.” The last one is, “Embrace every opportunity to learn and grow.” I ask questions like, “Tell me about a time that you were working on a project, and you made a mistake.” Are you the person who goes, “I got to learn from that, I got to grow from that?” Are you the person who gets frustrated kind of a deal? I’m being overly simplistic, but those are the kinds of things.
I’m not an HR guy in terms of my skillsets necessarily, but I’m fascinated by the interview questions. Hiring for skill and talent is always important, but we should all also hire for values and somebody who is going to be congruent with our culture. Sometimes you could just tell. If you‘re looking for somebody to create a great customer experience and you’re having a phone call with them, and they answered, “Hello,” then that’s probably not good.
I had a scoring mechanism that I use, which was somewhat subjective on my part. I would grade the speaking style as part of my screening process. I will give you one of my favorites that I came up with that I used to do or that I would do for an in–person interview. I would ask them a series of questions about their career, where they‘re headed, and all those kinds of things. Out of the blue, I would ask them, “If you were an animal, what animal would you be?” just to see the reaction. Some people would be snappy. They would have it, and then I would always ask them, “Why are you this animal?“ They would, “They work in a pack as a group.“ I learned some things when you throw something off that they wouldn’t be expecting. You can learn something about people.
Integrity is doing what you say you do.CLICK TO TWEETI was on a call, as a matter of fact, with a prospective client. They were interviewing me for an event they have to come in as a keynote speaker. One of the questions they asked me was, and I’ve never had a client ask me this before. They said, “What is one word that you would use to describe yourself as a keynote speaker?” My answer was, “If I’m describing myself for the last twelve months, that word would be pants-less because every speech I’ve given has been on Zoom from the waist up.” They loved that. I got the gig, by the way. It was probably because of that. It was going to be an in-person gig. Right before we hung up, they said, “Please wear pants.“ My question is, you hire the right people. You want them to wake up with a passion for creating this incredible experience for your customers. How do you transfer the energy that you have like your friend who encouraged you to write your book picked up on? How do you transfer that to your employees and make that the standard in the way you do business?
I think the first thing is to be present. With the pandemic and everything, it’s appropriate to mention, because we’re a technology company and all of our systems are in the cloud, we could work 100% remotely, but we don’t. I was asked that more than once by somebody on the staff. I said, “We’ll never be a 100% work-from–home company ever.” I would rather not have the company because one of the reasons that I have mPowered IT is to create opportunities for others to coach them to be better versions of themselves and create this great experience. That’s having a culture. Maybe I’m old school. It’s difficult to do when you’re not in the same room together or at least near each other.
Being present is a big piece of that, walking through, saying good morning to people, asking how their weekend was, letting them know that there’s a factor of care and love that goes into being a team member here and having that energy when you‘re around people. I keep everybody in the loop, “What’s going on in the company? Here’s where we’re winning. Here are some areas we got to work on.” We know we’re not perfect. Whenever we have an issue, “It’s okay. What can we do better? How can we learn from this so that next time we can deliver that great experience?” I‘m trying to encourage that learning and growth as the last core value. That’s where the energy is sent.
Looking ahead to the post–pandemic world, and you’re bringing people back together at some point under the same roof, breathing the same oxygen, how many people will be under that same roof?
All of them. We’re already back.
Are you back in the office?
Yes. We were only out because we signed our new lease in February 2020, and in March, the pandemic hit. For a while, I was the only one in the office. I can go because nobody else was there. I had everybody working remotely for that time. As time went on, we brought people back in a couple at a time. We’ve been 100% with a caveat, but we’ve been 100% back in the office. The caveat is we rotate out an engineering resource or two on a weekly basis to create some more space in that area.
Is that about twelve people thereabouts?
As you look towards the future, Mr. Entrepreneur, what do you want to create with this company? First of all, let’s start with the real basics. If at all, do you want to grow? If so, how big?
We want to grow. How big is a question of how effective we can be at maintaining our identity and that culture at a given size? We exited the prior company. We were in the high 30s employee–wise when we did. Can we grow past that place? I think we can. Again, it has to be a great experience. If we get to a place where it’s not a great experience anymore, then it’s time to dial it back. To me, that’s the measure. It’s not about how much money we got and anything other than being able to create a great experience for everybody. When that’s not happening anymore, we’re probably too big.
This is a philosophical question. Do you think there is a point of no return in terms of growth? On a cultural level, is it possible to scale indefinitely? Can you have 30,000 employees who can live and breathe that same kind of culture that you’re creating?
Theoretically, you could. You have to be unbelievably good at hiring. That’s the magic. At that stage, you’re not walking around saying good morning to 30,000 people probably. You can lose that personal touch. That means that your frontline leaders have to have that same message and the same kind of DNA that you had in the beginning in order to keep that going. In theory, yes. It was hard to do. I would think it would be very difficult because you would have to be focused on hiring the very right people.
As I said, it’s a philosophical question because that’s not in your personal plans anyway. If you were to grow to 30, 40 people or whatever it is, have you given thought to what steps culturally you’re going to need to take as you grow? That’s question A. Question B is, what advice would you have for anybody who is in that situation where they want to grow their company and enhance their culture and not compromise it?
Being present is a big deal. You have to be present, so you know if the temperature is off. You can’t gauge your culture while you’re sailing the Caribbean or wherever. You have to be present in the company and for the company and for the people in it. You have to be vested in that. If the plan is, “I’m not going to be here. I’m going to show up once a week maybe,” you’re not vested anymore. You have to be there for them and with them. As an entrepreneur, you’re always trying to work yourself out of your job or you want the company to be self-sufficient as it can. Hiring the people to do the functions that are necessary that I have been handling as an example, those people have to share that same energy and DNA for creating the great experience. That’s what you got to do right.
That requires a great deal of patience, both before and after you bring them on. The key in my mind is establishing your DNA early. It’s okay if you don’t have it all right away. We talked about it with the last iteration, where we developed as we went. Have an idea of what you want to be, “Who are you?” and then hire to that. Be patient and hire the right people. Don’t get caught up in, “This person is great at X, Y, and Z. They’ve got the best skills. I’m bringing this person in.” I would say, “Bring in the person who’s most closely approximated to you in terms of your core values and training the rest.“
If exiting is part of what you want to do eventually, you’ve got to make sure that you’ve cloned yourself sufficiently, or you know that the values are propagating on their own without your direct involvement every day. Once that becomes the standard of the way we do things around here, then I might be able to back off a little bit. It’s an interesting take on it because the classic entrepreneur trap is overstaying their welcome as it were. In other words, getting the company to a certain level of growth and then assuming that the skillset that you had that brought the company to that point is going to be the same skillset that brings you to the next level of growth. Oftentimes, that’s exactly when the entrepreneur should step aside, even though their ego or whatever is chaining them to their desk, metaphorically speaking.
I hadn’t thought about it from a cultural perspective before. It’s like, “I’ve got to be willing to let go when my skillsets have been surpassed by the needs of the company, but at the same time, I don’t want to let go until I feel confident that the culture is going to persist.” I’ve seen a lot of heartbreaking stories with seeing entrepreneurs create something that has been their baby, and then something changes and the culture changes. The pain is so great. As an entrepreneur put it to me, this was a guy who built a company from scratch, turned it into a successful endeavor, and then ended up leaving the company for a number of reasons. He held the stake in the company, new leadership came in, took a look at their values and said, “That’s all bullshit,” and ripped it all out, and the company tanked. Can you imagine the pain that must be for a person like that to see that happened to their baby and what they created before?
I’ve experienced that. There are all kinds of stories about anybody who has been through a merger and acquisition. After we were acquired, they didn’t rip up our core values or anything. We were operating still as a separate entity of sorts with our management team in which I remained a part of, but how they did business was incongruent with how we did business. When that honeymoon period was over, like you said, speaking metaphorically, it became so obvious. It wasn’t upfront to my personal values. It was a real downward trajectory for me from there, and it was because of that experience. It was the experience of our existing customers and employees that was changing drastically. It changed everything. Along with stepping out of the company, even when the principals stay behind, a situation like that can change the culture dramatically.
Have you ever had an experience in either the current company or the previous one where you woke up in the middle of the night or hit you during the day, where you thought to yourself, “What the hell am I doing here? Why am I doing this?”
I think in the early stages of the prior iteration, it was exceptionally stressful for me. Some of the sacrifices that I asked my family to make, I had my doubts once or twice. It happened in the situation I described, where after we were acquired, I was still working in that organization. I had that thought in my brain more than once. In the end, “I’m getting out of here,” kind of a deal. Yes, I’ve had that one.
What did you do?
I started mPowered.
You started all over again. Is that persistence, or is that some kind of pathology?
It depends on who you ask. For me, I love what we do in creating that great experience for our customers. Frankly, I wanted to get back to it because we had gotten away from it through nobody‘s real fault. We changed the market focus. Everything changed. I wanted to get back to helping small businesses in creating opportunities for people within our organization and everybody to have a great experience. I wanted to get back to that because that’s what gets me excited. That’s my passion. When I wake up in the morning, and my feet hit the floor, I’m thinking about how to create that great experience for our team and customers.
That was a nice tee-up for my next question for you. To paraphrase the great world–renowned philosopher, Tina Turner, what’s love got to do with it. As you look back, I’ve asked you to look ahead. Now, as you look at the current enterprise that you have and you look back on your career so far, if any, what role has love played in this?
As I’ve mentioned that in my inadvertent tee-up of that question, one of the things that I love to do is to create opportunities for others, coach and help them, take their skills and become the best version of themselves that they can be. I enjoy and love that. I hope I’m answering the question. It’s not about the bottom line, although that’s important. To me, it’s about people and taking care of people. I think that these are the skills that I have from a technology perspective or medium by which I’m able to do that.
When you say, “It’s not about the bottom line,” it is about the bottom line. You belie a certain societal conflict that we have. On some level, we think that love of the experience and the love of a healthy bottom line are at odds with each other. Whereas what you’re saying and what you’ve said from the get-go is that’s how you get to a great bottom line.
One begets the other. That’s right.
Still, there’s some kind of residual something, resistance or guilt that we have, that when we say, “We want to make money here,” we feel guilty about saying that. When we say, “We want to create an experience that our customers and employees love being a part of,” but we still want to make money. It’s like we have to justify one comment with the other somehow. It’s all true. It’s an all–of–the–above scenario, isn’t it?
Wake up every day with a passion for your purpose.CLICK TO TWEETYes, it sure is. As I said, when operating with the right core values and creating that great experience, that’s what creates the healthy bottom line. I share with our team, “We’re not a not-for-profit here. We‘re in this so everybody can make money and so that you can continue to make money. As you grow and improve, you make more money. We can’t do that without a bottom line. One begets the other.” We‘re a recurring service, a monthly subscription if you will. Part of it is defense. It’s keeping those customers. How do you keep the customers? You create a great experience. The great experience allows you to get referrals, and the word spreads.
Now, you’re playing an offense and getting more customers into the company. That creates the bottom line. That’s why I’m very transparent when I talk to the team about where we are as an organization and the next things on the list that we need to take care of. We’re at a stage where we’re still nailing up good benefits for everybody. This 2021, we want to add vision and dental for everybody so they can better be taken care of. We can’t do that without a bottom line because otherwise, you won’t have the opportunity to come here every day.
Simply put, otherwise, you’re not a business. You could be a club, I suppose. You could be a hobby. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a different purpose to that.
I think everybody buys into that. It’s important that everybody buys into, “I just don’t show up here every day. If I don’t do my job well and create that great experience, you got customers leaking out the back door, and we’re not going anywhere. We’re spinning our tires, and nobody is here to do that.” We’re all here to grow together and enjoy what we do. That is the bottom line.
How old are your daughters? You have two daughters, right?
Yes, I have two daughters.
They grew up watching you go through build a couple of different companies.
They did. There were some that I wasn’t here as much.
Did any of that entrepreneurial bent rub off on them?
So far, no. I’m proud to say my oldest graduated with a Psychology Degree in three years with one of those Magnas or something after the names. She was a full-time athlete for 2 of the 3 years. I’m very proud of her. She’s like the creative side and not, “What if I go out and do this for myself?” I probably haven’t spent enough time trying to encourage her in that direction. My youngest is still determining. She has the skills for sure to do it. She has got this tenacious mindset. I think she could be an entrepreneur and run and build a business. She’s still trying to wrap her mind around what that’s going to be.
It’s from a level of curiosity, not with any kind of judgment attached to it because it’s an interesting mindset that I’ve noticed a lot of entrepreneurs have. That is simply put that if you’re not an entrepreneur, you’re somehow less than. In its worst case, it’s like, “Either you‘re an entrepreneur or you‘re living a life of servitude to somebody else. You’re either an entrepreneur or you‘re living in bondage.“ That’s extreme, which bothers me.
That bothers me, too. It bothered me when you said it. It struck a chord somewhere in a negative one.
Being an entrepreneur is great for people who want to be an entrepreneur. When I say to people who come in conversation and I get on my soapbox and do a little finger–wagging, it’s like, “You’re an entrepreneur, right?“ “Yes.“ “That means you want to build a company, right?“ “Yes.“ “Do you want to build a big company?” “Yes, I‘d like to build a big company.“ “Can they have a lot of employees?“ “Yes.” “They’re going to be in bondage. Are the employees going to be less than?” When you’re telling me that either you’re an entrepreneur or somehow less than, what does that say for the kind of organization and opportunities you’re going to create for people?
Some of the most creative, influential and joyful balanced people who I‘ve met have come up through the so-called corporate ladder. They spent their whole life “working for somebody else.“ That’s not a curse. It depends on who you work for and the culture that you create. As an entrepreneur, can I create an example that is going to be inspiring to my daughters no matter what it is that they do? That’s the real question.
I would like to believe that my daughters see me as somebody who makes things happen. My wife refers to it as something out of nothing, creating and building these companies. I would like to believe that they see that as something that’s special. Even in the way that I communicate with them and try to help and guide them, I think they see it as maybe something that‘s born out of that when it’s probably the inverse. I did inspire my wife. She bought a photography company. She’s doing that with her sister. She started that in January 2020. I encouraged her a couple of different times because she started working for the company. I had a course here and all of the gripes. I was like, “Why don’t you do it yourself?“ I take credit for at least being some kind of inspiration to them.
John, if people want to stay in touch with you, learn more about what you’re doing or what you’re up to, read your book or all of the above, what’s the best way for them to reach you?
Our website is www.mPoweredIT.com. My email address is JMamon@mPoweredIT.com. If you want to reach out, I would love to hear from you. I hope you check out The Extra Scoop, too. There are a lot of good stories in there and I think you would enjoy it.
This has been great, John. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me for the benefit of our fabulous audience, who I love so much. Speaking of which, to all of you reading, thanks for doing so. We’ll see you next time. Until then, do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.
- Love is Just Damn Good Business
- mPowered IT
- The Extra Scoop: Rediscover the Art of Great Customer Service
- The Radical Leap
- The Radical Edge
ABOUT JOHN MAMON
John Mamon is the President and CEO of mPowered IT, a leading Managed and Cloud Services Provider in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Mamon has over 25 years of experience in all areas of Information Technology leadership including engineering and sales. His specialties include service design, increasing operational effectiveness, harnessing cloud and data center services, network security, and providing objective guidance to small businesses.
Mr. Mamon resides in Woodstock, GA with his two daughters and wife of over 25 years, and authored a book titled “The Extra Scoop: Rediscover the Art of Great Customer Service”.
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