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Sept. 27, 2019 | The Q Podcast 


Ted Hastings:

Former CEO of RhythmOne and PERK

James::   This episode of the podcast is brought to you by Q1Media. Q1Media partners with agencies and brands all across the nation for all their digital marketing needs, whether it's CTV, OTT, location-based, mobile device ID, targeting, search engine marketing, targeted display, any research in data that you need, whatever it is, Q1Media can help with your marketing efforts. Please check out Q1 media's website at That's Q, then number one, You can view case studies, examples of our work, or just check out more episodes of the podcast, the Q conversations in digital media. 

Today's guest on the podcast, we have Ted Hastings. He is a very, very successful entrepreneur. He now advises many startups and companies across the nation, across the world because he's actually our first international guest on the podcast. He's out of Ontario, Canada and has successfully entered in the digital marketing space, the tech side of things, way back in the early 2000s, right when everything was heating up. He's so interesting to talk to within navigating the business, the board running a company and it was a very successful conversation. 

If you're in business or interested in starting a business, this is definitely a podcast for you to listen to because you can definitely learn a lot from Ted. Then also, he's a Guinness book of world record holder for the most T-shirts worn by an individual and the count is 260. If you're out there wondering how many that is and you want to try on some T-shirts at home, you would have to get to 260 in order to beat Ted on this. But really awesome conversation. I hope you guys enjoy it. You're in the Q. 

Thank you Ted for joining us here in the Q and thank you for joining the 100 degree temperatures that you probably aren't used to. I'll mention this is our first international guest on the podcast. You are from Canada. 

Ted Hastings:: That's correct. Waterloo, Ontario outside of Toronto, so we still have some warmth, but I'm going to enjoy a couple of days here in the more extreme heat. 

James:: What is warmth? 

Ted Hastings:: See, we have Celsius, so I'm going to go to a Fahrenheit and say we're in the '70s. 

James:: Okay. Yeah, no, that's amazing. I was just in Seattle and the high was 68, and I was wearing a light jacket at night. Is that how it is up? 

Ted Hastings:: It is. You're getting ready. You know that you should enjoy the last few days because very soon it's going to get cold and snow will arrive. Yeah. 

James:: Did you at least bring a bathing suit here? 

Ted Hastings:: I have a bathing suit. It's not on at the moment.

James:: Oh, well we can't really see what's underneath.

Ted Hastings:: I'm ready at all times. 

James:: Did you have family come down with you or is it... Yeah.

Ted Hastings:: I did. My wife joined me as well as my son who is 11, William. My daughter who's 14, is actually in high school in New Hampshire, so she's gone South of our border to do at Phillips Exeter Academy, so she couldn't be here. 

James:: Oh, cool. Well, I'm sure she's sad about that. I mean-

Ted Hastings:: Yeah. I'm hopeful she will eventually tune in.

James:: But the boy, what do we all want? What have you all got planned for him? Is he 11 years old? That's a good age. 

Ted Hastings:: It is a good age, but it means you are as extreme a video gaming as you can get. He scoped out any place where he can live stream, find some video games, and grab some Texas barbecue where he wants something very spicy. I think I can accomplish all that this weekend. 

James:: Yeah. No, we can give you some good recommendations, especially downtown. There's a bunch of different spots. Franklin, you'll definitely have to.

Ted Hastings:: That's on the list. 

James:: Yep. That's typically on most people's list. You're from Canada, Ontario, is that where you grew up your whole life? 

Ted Hastings:: Basically, correct. I grew up in a town called Stratford, Ontario, which is very close to Waterloo where I call home today. I ended up going to university in Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier university. Never intended on staying there for the duration of my career, et cetera, but I met my wife at Laurier. We obviously have a family there and once you have a family sort of rooted in an area, you stay and it's been good. 

Waterloo is a strong technology community. It's where Blackberry was started. While there's, I would say, differences in Austin and Waterloo, I think Austin had a bit of a Dell effect for a number of years that brought a lot of capital into the area, and then it had its ups and downs as well. But the aftermath still spawned a lot of early stage companies, probably here and a lot of capital as well. That's what happened in Waterloo with Blackberry. 

James:: That's interesting. Well, so yeah. That's... I mean, as a company too, I'm sure the mid 2000s were probably pretty thriving for them, right?

Ted Hastings:: For sure. Right. You have to remember they were the first mobile messaging platform. At one point in time, everyone was walking around with a Blackberry. I think-

James:: For all the kids out there that don't know what a blackberry is.

Ted Hastings:: That's right, yes.

James:: Which is my need to explain to people who are under the age of 30.

Ted Hastings:: That's correct. It really did start in terms of... At the time, you had a device where you could receive remote email, and that was a big deal at the time. If you then fast forward a few years later, they put a game on it called brick breaker, and you couldn't go to an airport at that time, and not people playing the most simplistic video game on a mobile device, knocking a little ball back and forth. But it's when you knew that, "Wait a second, gaming might have a life on a mobile device." Blackberry went left and decided perhaps that's the only game they would encourage, and Apple came along and went right.

James:: Well, we know what the story is on that one. But I mean, you can think about like Palm pilot-

Ted Hastings:: That was it.

James:: ... even back in the '90s. 

Ted Hastings:: That's right.

James:: I mean, you kind of had to be near somebody in order for it to work. I guess that was the funny thing is it didn't work over Wi-Fi or internet or anything like that. It was just kinda like locale. 

Ted Hastings:: Palm and Blackberry were the two in that area. That's a good comparison. Both went by the wayside and that was it. I mean, at one point in time in Waterloo, Blackberry probably had 15, 20,000 employees in a town of 100,000 people in Waterloo. It was a big deal. Then obviously crashed and burned, but spawned a lot of early stage companies, which is why when I stayed in Waterloo, there was an immense amount of capital for a fairly small area. You had two schools in the area, University of Waterloo and Laurier. Laurier being the more business oriented school, Waterloo, maths and science is probably the top in Canada. You had again, a bit like an Austin setting, which is a very strong college community, a strong tech community, and still not a multimillion population area, right? You had a lot of opportunity in a pretty dense area, which is the reasons why I stayed.

James:: It's interesting. I guess even Silicon Valley could have been... I mean, back in the '70s, '80s, that was the same thing. San Francisco was right there, but still a thriving college town. You had Stanford right there and you had so many people coming into the area. Makes a lot of sense to start a company.

Ted Hastings:: For sure. That's where I was headed because if you were growing up and had finished university for us in Canada and I finished in '97, two years at an accounting firm and I was heading to San Jose for Jan one, 2000, because that's where everyone was going. I pulled the plug on that a few months before to join a tech company in Waterloo and probably dodged a bullet because if I had dropped into San Jose Jan one, 2000 about three months later I would have been unemployed and going back to Canada. 

James:: Right. You would have missed your window. 

Ted Hastings:: The window was very slim. 

James:: Yeah. How do you explain what most people who aren't in Silicon Valley, what that process is? Do you get lost in there at some points or is it just so much going on that you can't really establish yourself as a company? You're separate yourself from the rest? 

Ted Hastings:: In terms of Silicon Valley?

James:: Yeah.

Ted Hastings:: You're right. I mean obviously an amazing environment, highly competitive and a spot where I think launching a company, maintaining, attracting talent is pretty tough because there are so many opportunities. This was '99, 2000, but even fast forward now, there's just so many great companies, so much capital available. You start something and you better figure out how are you going to retain these generally well compensated people, which is why areas like Austin became attractive, which is why even Waterloo became attractive. Anywhere where there was pockets of smart young tech focused people where perhaps there weren't thousands of other companies around, they could just hop from company to company. A great environment and we've often had employees out that way, but I've never called it home just because Canada was something that seem to, with all my travels around the world through work have a lot of things right. 

Not to get too deep into that, but you've got a healthcare system that generally works, a banking system that generally works seemingly around the world, not involved in a lot of conflicts. When you travel around the world, you say, "It gets cold here," but outside of that, it's not too bad. 

James:: Well, I've been to Montreal, beautiful. But I went in January, so I didn't get-

Ted Hastings:: That's cool. That's very cool. 

James:: It is cool. Explain, you talked about your goals from college, but were you always interested in business growing up or what was your background like? What made you interested in maybe starting into the business space? 

Ted Hastings:: Yeah, it's a good question because I didn't have that plan and I applaud any college university students who say, "Here's exactly what I want to do, whether it's entrepreneurial or otherwise," because I fell in the bucket in college or university, completely clueless as to what my career was going to be. The school that I was at had a strong accounting stream. The smart students were signing up for that. I did two, never having a passion for becoming an accountant, but that's the career path I followed because in my view at 18, 19, 20, 21, you're trying to pick a life. 

Again, my hats off to anyone who is certain and has it right at that age. I was entirely guessing and flipping coins and went down this accounting path, which turned out to be a very good background to have in everything else that I've done. But I learned that I wasn't passionate about auditing things or taxation or becoming an accountant, but I went down the path, did my CPA designation, et cetera, and worked at Deloitte. Even then, when I left Deloitte, I joined an early stage technology company in Waterloo as vice president of finance. 

My career path at that point in time was if things play out well, I could be a CFO someday because I didn't know any better. Even then after getting out into the real world, I did not have a plan of, "I'm going to start businesses and be a CEO entrepreneur." It just wasn't as natural then either because this was... I joined that tech company in April of 2000 officially. January, 2000 officially. There wasn't the ease of starting companies then that perhaps there is now, so I started with a normal career path. 

But early on in that company, my fortunate mounts was that they made a change at the CEO level, my boss and decided at the age of... I was 26 at the time, that perhaps they should slot me into this early stage technology company because everything was changing with the dotcom crash and everything changing was that you needed companies to actually figure out how to make money. Until that time, for a couple of years prior, the valuations and capital flowing into any idea were amazing and nobody looked at the financials of a business, whether you're making money, not making money, who cares, right. 

James:: Right. But that's inflated. 

Ted Hastings:: For sure. It was a crazy, crazy time. When things changed and companies needed to figure out a financial model that supported their business purpose, the founder of this company, which was End Game Systems later rebranded as Global Beverage Group, or GBG put me in charge probably because I was a young accountant who could operate a spreadsheet and figure out a break even model, not because I knew how to run a technology company. But that was my first real break to move out of this accounting career path into running a company and very quickly realizing I have no idea how to run a company. Right. I've never done sales or marketing, HR operations. I've only taken some courses in university, in college and manage a spreadsheet at an accounting firm. It was incredibly eyeopening, but probably the most fortunate balance in my career. 

James:: Do you think that your background in accounting... And also like you said, you had some other experiences within other companies, do you think that probably helped you in that regard? 

Ted Hastings:: For sure it did. I think looking back on my career now, I can comfortably say that I was stronger in terms of operations, perhaps sales and marketing. If I had picked a career path at 18, 19, knowing what I know now, I likely would've said, "I think I'll be better in that regard than I would be on the accounting stream." Having that accounting knowledge in my back pocket to compliment an ability to speak publicly, get in front of our group, get them energized, understand the business model and communicate effectively to investors and to customers was... the latter was really the skill that I realized was in me. 

You've been in the sales field for some time and you can appreciate for some people it's not natural. For some, you can teach them enough that they can go at it, and for others it's what they were born to do. I think I was probably more comfortable in front of investors, customers, competitors, et cetera giving a sales pitch with some ability to always tie it back to numbers. It made sense. I realized very early on too that investors predominantly care about the numbers.

James:: Yeah. What story is it-

Ted Hastings:: That's correct. 

James:: I guess you mentioned the fall post 11, I guess the dotcom first crash or whatever. How did businesses back then start to deal with, like you mentioned, coming up with actual numbers and actually delivering? How did you start doing that with say End Game or any other companies starting to work with? 

Ted Hastings:: Yeah, you go through a very unfortunate and swift restructuring because at the time in my career, I didn't know what moves to make, but I could run some numbers and realized that we had 170 some employees and we could probably afford 30 or 40. You hunker down really fast because it was so lopsided that you weren't sure it wasn't though you're debating one or two people. It was wait a second. The revenues we are bringing in of which I have no current ability to influence given my background are what they are. Here's our head count, so let's make some changes. 

I think again, I was lucky/fortunate that at that stage in my career I couldn't pretend I knew any more than I did. I didn't have any wizardry to change the revenue or business model, so the only choice was to get it closer to break even as fast as possible to preserve the cash that we had. I think others having more technical background being the founders had a really tough time giving up on the roller coaster dream they were on and doing it about this. I think that served me well throughout my career to maintain that objectivity when you're interacting with founders who can often be tied to something that made sense when they started and they just can't deviate from it or see that that vision objectively and you bring something and says, "You know what? Here's the reality and whenever you decide to face it, here's the moves you're going to have to make."

But it was an interesting time, a fortunate one for me because I could get my feet under me as a CEO with a company then that had 30 or 40 employees where at least you knew who they were, you knew their names, you knew where they were, and you could extend, start understanding the business model and meeting with customers. That's when you dive into another pool of saying, "So, how do you interact with customers and what did they expect from you?"

Again, not being a polished salesperson, I just went at it with be who you are, be honest about where the product is at, when it's going to be delivered, the business model, the revenues you need to see. What I realized was that you're just dealing with people, right? You don't have to come in with some weird approaching sales/marketing, et cetera, that deviates from anything that you've done in your everyday life. As soon as you can get comfortable, these are just people doing their jobs as well and they trust you. They'll invest in you. That was investors, that was customers. Eventually when we went down the mergers and acquisitions path, it was getting competitors to trust that your vision made sense and they would trust their baby with you. 

James:: You mentioned obviously the maintaining objectivity, which is difficult to do. You become invested in a project and you really do care about the success. Do you separate that in your mind or... I mean, is that something you consistently have to check yourself on? 

Ted Hastings:: I think so. Again, my good fortune was most of the businesses that I've been involved with, I was likely brought in by the founder sometimes very early on. But I would struggle and I could probably come up with it, an example of where this was my idea and I'm right and not being that person, but being number two or number three in terms of brought into the company and eventually usually ending up in a CEO/presidential role with the company. I could constantly try to figure out what is right about this business because it was never my baby. 

It didn't mean I didn't approach it with that level of importance and care, but I could try to make decisions based on what the market was clearly telling us and what we had to do and not the promises and dreams and idea I had when I started this thing. I think that's been a skill I've been able to bring to the companies I'm with because you can't just show up to a founder's business and say, "Look, it's not three, it's four." We have to move. They'll remove you from the conversation if someone else is saying.

James:: How do you approach that? I mean, when you come in and you've got to tread lightly, I guess in the beginning, and establish that trust in that. 

Ted Hastings:: That's it. Each time I've been involved with a company, I've had to realize that they don't know me, so I can't walk in and just assuming that they've had years of working with me and have a comfort and trust, it'd be the same as walking into someone's house and saying, "I think I'll do a better job parenting your kids." I might know that's true. They're not going to hand them over, right?

James:: No.

Ted Hastings:: So-

James:: Possibly never. 

Ted Hastings:: Right, ideally. 

James:: Ideally.

Ted Hastings:: But walking into these companies, for me, you had a dating period where I never approached any one of these companies with, "You need to hire me and here is why." I was cautious when someone would approach me, say, "We need you on board," when they didn't know me, I would always encourage both sides to say, "Let's take some time where we get to know each other, understand what the business is about, and understand each other as people. Because it may be that we can clearly see the moves we need to make as in the business, but we just don't see eye to eye on how to do that, how to work together. If you can't get both of those working, you won't get to the right end conclusion. 

I had to approach each one and put my ego aside and any experience I believed I had and say, "They don't know me. Don't be insulted by the way they might be questioning you like it's your first job interview. And don't approach anything like you need this job either, right? Make sure it's the right fit for you." With that, I was usually able to get the right ones that I wanted to join to see that perhaps I could take a seat at the table and I often, which is where I think some experiences-

James:: Was that maybe that goal or?

Ted Hastings:: Yeah, I think so. I think for me, I look and look back at my career now and say, "I didn't join anything to be number three, four or five player." I don't think anyone does. I assume everyone has a job where they believe, "I'm better than this and here's where I'm going to go with my career." That's how you drive yourself. It's not a bad thing to have in you, right. I think I joined companies knowing that this is where I'd like to be. I need to prove to them and give them comfort that that's where I should be. 

If I can't prove that to them, then perhaps I'm not the right fit here and or I'm not capable of doing it the way I think I can. But in every one of those businesses, I eventually ended up having the reigns for some period of time. But that's building a team because the executive team needs to support you, the board needs to support you, investors need to support you. You've got a win over a lot of people so that the decision when a founder possibly gives up control to anyone else is just so obvious to that person and everyone around. That's tough. I mean, I think most don't want to go down that path in their hearts. 

James:: Well, it sounds like humility, it plays a big role in what you do, but also within the founders that you work with because they do eventually do trust you to really drive the car. Was there anybody influential along the way or somebody in the early part of your career that maybe influenced you to work in business the way you do? 

Ted Hastings:: Yeah. I think a lot of people... so I'd hate to miss anyone, but I think very early on there were some important advice I was given that stuck with me throughout my career. I was interviewing for that vice president of finance job when I was at Deloitte. The founder of the company was a gentleman named Mark Lee who had done very well himself in business at that point in time. He was interviewing me, and he asked me what seemed to be a pretty simple question. He said, "Ted, what do you think it takes to make a business successful?" 

Keep in mind, I was reasonably fresh out of university a couple of years at Deloitte, so I gave a rambling textbook response of what might've buy, low, sell high. I don't know because I didn't know. I thought, "What's the keyword? If I hit it, can we move to the next question?" Thankfully, he eventually cut me off and he said, "I'm going to tell you something and I want you to remember it throughout your career. I think everything you said makes sense. But if you want to have a business be successful, you need to care. You need to care every day about your customers, about your coworkers, about your investors. You can't have a day or a moment where you go through the motions. You simply need to genuinely care about what you're doing. And if you do that, you will have a chance to be associated with successful businesses."

While it was very simple, I think if you actually followed that, it was amazingly helpful to me in terms of the companies I was running to remind myself that the coworkers, the employees, the investors, the board of directors, the customers, if you genuinely care about what they're trying to do in their life and their business, they'll trust in you, right? I tried to remember that because my training to that point in time was very binary spreadsheets, financially oriented.

James:: A lot of very invigorating stuff. 

Ted Hastings:: Yeah. Right? 

James:: That's very interesting. 

Ted Hastings:: I had to go back to that and think, "Here's a very successful person trying to make sure I understand that if he's going to hire me, I have to give a shit. If I do that, there's opportunity for me." I thought that that's... And I think you've been involved in businesses and you've had coworkers, et cetera, and you can tell the ones that genuinely are passionate about what they're doing. They get excited when they make a difference in a company and perhaps others that are there because this is the paycheck and this is what I have to do. I understand that exists. 

James:: Always [crosstalk 00:24:53]. 

Ted Hastings:: You're right. It's never going to be eradicated in any way. But when you see the person in a company that genuinely cares about what they're doing, those are the ones that either in a short order or at some point in time get elevated to the roles that you want to have them in the company and in the roles they want to have too because that shows through the, "I'm trying here." 

James:: Well, when you genuinely do care 10, you tend to, like you said, establish the trust, but then also your ability to lead becomes that much easier because these people know that you are in it for them as well.

Ted Hastings:: Right. You're listening to them, right? You're not just having meetings going through the motions with a predetermined answer. You're trying to figure out what someone's concern is. Can you address it? The only challenge with that that I found as these companies scaled was as CEO, you can't be the personal confidant for every employee in custody. It doesn't scale. You have to develop a team with the same mentality or else what you're doing is you're 24/7 on the phone with a customer who has a concern or a client or whatever the case might be that you're trying to personally address and eventually you can't. 

James:: Yeah. Right. Well, you can only do so much. 

Ted Hastings:: Right. 

James:: I guess I want to ask you, and this is something that you don't have to pull down the curtains or whatever, but I think everybody outside of the board room really wonders what goes on in there. There's always that like stigma whatever movie or TV show you watch. Oh, the board. I got to deal with the board. There's this negativity tied to it. How is it navigating that space? Is there anything you can tell me that you're like, "Oh, this happens to close a deal, or what type of things you need to do to navigate."

Ted Hastings:: Yeah. It's a good question. My advice to other executives. I've sat with CEOs and executives where they've told me a story. If I walked into the board meeting and I was just stonewalled and I'm shocked and I've been fired and all these things where they didn't see something coming. It was confusing to me because the advice I've given and or followed myself has been that I've always made sure I knew where I stood with my board members well, in advance of an official meeting. It only makes sense to me to have previewed, if not gone through in detail with each board member. If you want to buy a company and you need board approval, I don't think you show up to a board meeting and say, "Here's where I'm at. Let me show you some slides. Yes or no?" You've likely already hopefully talked to any the key board members, if not all of them, to get their questions and concerns, to get their input such that when you show up at the board meeting, you're having a discussion where you already know that you've either got the votes or you don't.

James:: [inaudible 00:27:46].

Ted Hastings:: Sure, right? It was always confusing to me because board meetings for me have never been nerve wracking. 

James:: Wow. 

Ted Hastings:: There's really been a confusing outcome. If you approach it with, "These are people doing their job, their job is to oversee the company and the CEO. So if they have concerns, they should voice them. They can't just roll over because you think it's the right thing and they, they're not so sure." But all that should be addressed before you show up for a board meeting that's often got a scheduled start and stop. That's what I did. I encourage every CEO to make sure that they're key stakeholders, board or advisor or otherwise are in the loop. It doesn't mean you're spending five hours a night with your board educating them, but any major decision, they should know why you're passionate about it. Here's all the details, get your input ahead of time, and see if you can address it or not. 

You might still go ahead even though you know that people have some objections to it, but perhaps in that group setting, you can get more people on board than not. I've rarely gone into a board meeting and come out saying, "I'm not sure what to tell you, right? Got overruled on everything? I would hope you'd know that going into it. 

James:: Yeah. I mean, I guess the push back, the accepting of that too, because like you said, it's their decision as much as it is you putting up this great idea or like you said, trying to buy something out. 

Ted Hastings:: Correct. That is difficult. I can tell you that as CEO, I never accepted anyone else's opinion if I thought I was right. That's a flaw, but I think it's an okay flaw to think, "I'm fairly certain. I'm accurate here. I've done my work, I'm making my presentation." But eventually you would come around to look around a room and say, "Wait a second, if there are multiple smart people in a room telling me that they're not so sure that they're on board with this, I need to go away and figure out why."

James:: How many times does that happen in your career?

Ted Hastings:: A third of the time, let's say as a ballpark, partially because the companies that I had, I pushed them to the limit of trying to make so many acquisitions in a short period of time, trying to amalgamate things as quickly as possible, always pushing the risk factor. Of course, you're going to have a board whose knee-jerk is going to be, "Are you sure we should do this sixth acquisition when the fourth one is an integrated and give some pushback?" I believe that in the mergers and acquisitions game, if you're pot committed, let's get these things done and we'll get some integration done. 

I eventually could appreciate someone saying, "How about we do these in some sequence and timeframe?" That makes some sense, right? But as a CEO, you are also aware of what was happening in the industry. Sometimes you can't just say, "Well, I bought this one, it'll take two years to integrate, and then perhaps we'll look at something else while Facebook, Google, Amazon decide they're going to entirely change the game on you." Right? Sometimes your strategy had to be a bit more erratic and risk-taking because of the industry that you are in, but how do you express that in a way that objective board members would say, "Sure. Who don't have the same potentially skin in the game?"

James:: Yeah, I guess the real urgency... there's a lot of urgency with it, which maybe ties into the lifestyle of what you've had to deal with like you said, somebody who genuinely cares, somebody who there is basically working nonstop. I don't know if you've had a chance to watch the new Netflix documentary about Bill Gates inside Bill's brain. But it kind of details a little bit about his work ethic and how his mind's always going and obviously one of the most successful founders of all time. But I guess that drive that competitiveness also dealing with the board. How do you maintain a work life balance? 

I know your wife could probably answer that a little bit better. I don't know.

Ted Hastings:: Yeah. It's definitely tough. If I look at the 18 years I spent running businesses, it was at a near manic pace because it wasn't an alternative. In those 18 years, we raised hundreds of millions of dollars. We took a company public, we sold it to another publicly traded company from the Toronto Stock Exchange to the London Stock Exchange, ended up running that business, bought over 30 companies, had three exits, et cetera. The point being is you can't do all those things in that time frame and take Sundays off. It is absolutely impossible. 

For me, and I'm not sure this worked for everyone around me, not just work life, but in the work environment, I just kept going because my assumption was if I slow down for a second, the speed wobble would kill me. There wasn't an ability to run at that pace for so long without a break and successfully just slow down and be just sprinting down a hill and someone saying, "You got to stop." I can't, I will fall and I will probably die. You stay in that cocoon of speed and racing around the clock while trying to maintain your health and trying to maintain your family balance, which was tough, right? 

I think I did it reasonably well because I did make it a priority. I've been involved in my children's lives, I think to the extent that you could when you were on an airplane quite frequently, which meant more phone calls whenever you could figure it out, which meant coaching their teams through the summers and something else I did was started writing them a daily letter. It's probably been 11 years without missing it partially to sort of make sure that they knew that no matter where you were and what you were doing, the day didn't go by where you wouldn't didn't think about what they were doing, get an update and make a note of it and try to document it. 

I'm not suggesting that balanced it out, but it gave me some relief of the guilt you feel about not being there physically, that at least they knew that there was something in you everyday that said, "Just because I'm in this meeting and it's over in Paris, doesn't mean I'm not wondering how this class is going for you today at school." But it's tough. What I found, I was able to run at that pace physically and emotionally. But you burn out people around you because not everyone is wired the same way. It creates a scenario where you think, "Well, wait a second, why aren't we...?" You do a triathlons. It'd be like looking around the room saying, "Why can't you do this?" Right?

Well, it's something that's difficult to do. It's something that difficult to maintain the drive to keep going back and doing it over and over again at that pace. That's something that I had to learn in the last sort of handful of years of my running companies is that, wait a second, the crew around me is kind of not interested in the next night up till 4:00 AM, right? They're looking for a break. That's tough. That's tough to maintain a team for that many years. 

I mean, Q1Media as an example, I think Bill and Matt, the founders at 16 years now, right? That's a tough marriage to maintain to the ups and downs through the late nights to still be working together. There aren't a lot of business partnerships that last decades that the end of it all, you see people together saying, "Boy, are we best of friends?" Right? 

James:: Right.

Ted Hastings:: Because you've just been been grinding so hard that eventually things go a little awry. Anyways, I think in general, I stayed physically active, so I made time for the gym because it gave me stress relief. I would encourage anyone who's going to work around the clock to have something. It doesn't have to be going to a gym, but some physical activity they enjoy that's not with work people. 

James:: Yeah. You got to get out of the bubble.

Ted Hastings:: You have to, right? Also, work life balance is tough to maintain. But the fact that I have these children bringing me back to reality on a regular basis about nothing that happened in the workday was really that important, was an amazing balance that I had. It's not their job, but just something that is achieved by their existence. I got fortunate over those years to have enough things that just keep you on the rails and keep you going at a pretty crazy pace because you didn't take time off. 

James:: You mentioned that you're working with people now and things have probably changed I would imagine with the people entering in the workforce, whether it's millennials. How has dealing with, I guess, the culture these days with technology is open spaces? It's the unlimited vacation. There's a lot more competitive ways for people to... The tech industry kind of created it with software companies and tech companies saying, "Hey, we want you to be happy and take time off." Has that been difficult to maintain an operation? 

Ted Hastings:: Yes. What's funny is when I think back we were early on in the ad tech industry and that meant that you had relationships with companies like Google and Yahoo. I can remember the first time visiting Google's head office.

James:: When was that?

Ted Hastings:: I forget the year, but let's say 2007 timeframe early on.

James:: They had already started to take over the world.

Ted Hastings:: For sure, for sure, right? But for the bubble we were in coming from a somewhat normal office setting going to Google's campus at that time, the crew I was with, I still remember we were sitting there and one of the more talented, smart executives with me on that trip turned to me and said, "Free ice cream." I remember even thinking in that moment, "We're all doomed," right? Because it was free ice cream followed by an immense amount of surroundings obviously as you walked around that campus to realize, "Wait a second, this is their work environment."

At that stage of, at least for our world up in Canada, that was very different. We may have had a vending machine that was set to a lower rate and maybe sandwiches came in every couple of weeks or something, right? But that was the perk at that time.

James:: It was in an office space.

Ted Hastings:: Right, right. Just touring that, your eyes are just going left and right thinking, "So this is what we're all eventually competing with is not going to stay at Google." This is going to be the working environment, the perks you have to offer, the excitement, the work environment has to be. Costs are going to go up for everybody, competition for resources, are going to go up for everybody. Then a handful of dominant players that still exist today are going to be able to potentially beat you on all those things because you went back to your little settings and said, "Okay, I need to have some free things and swag or whatever I can do." But whatever you did was 2% of what Google, Facebook, et cetera were going to be doing at that time.

There was no way to have the same budget and then the same path was created for competition for resources, right? All of a sudden the cost for something to come out of a university or college went up 20 or 30%. For many, we were looking at our B and C candidates because we weren't even targeting the A's at that point in time because they were picking them off. You had a good number of years that were challenging to be anything other than the big players, not just our industry but the world that time, right? Because everyone was joining those companies because the money you can make in the fund that you could have. You did everything you could to try to offer a fun work environment, a competitively compensation work environment. 

You tried to not compete head to head. My view at the time was, and I gave this pitch to a lot of people we tried to hire, if you're thinking about Google or us, perhaps you're not the right candidate because these are very different opportunities and work environments too. No matter how much ice cream I offered, they're going to beat me in that category. 

James:: That's some sprinkles. 

Ted Hastings:: Yeah, right? But these copies that we had, the Q1Medias of the world, were carving out something different and competing somewhat differently and probably had more of a close knit community in their work environment and you pitched those types of things. For some people they said, "That's what I want to do. That's what I want to be part of." For others, which you could never be grudge them, "No, I want to join Facebook." Having companies in Waterloo in '98, '99, 2000, they went to Blackberry. It was the main employer, you'd get paid well, the stock options kept going up in value and it was nearly impossible to compete for talent. But it drains it. 

James:: Yeah. The goals changed with the people coming out too because Googles and Facebooks changes the way the space navigated but also within the work industry. You had these different priorities may be shifted for a lot of the workforce coming out of college because it wasn't just, "Oh I get stock options now. Oh, what's my vacation look like?" Like you said, what's the free thing we get or the perks of that. No pun intended, but yeah. I mean, but I guess that is true that there's a lot of change within that. How do you keep them motivated, versus say the other crew, which was more driven by maybe fiscal reasons?

Ted Hastings:: Right. Again, it came down for the companies we had, the leadership team that you had in front of them and it's probably the same here. Again, I don't know the ins and outs of Q1Media, but in Austin, my guess is you have a lot of job opportunities. It's not a struggling economy here. In the digital media ad tech environment, my bet is you also have some choices here or elsewhere. But my guess is some people are here if not a lot of them because they can look to the leadership here and say, "I trust these people. I enjoy working for them. I enjoy the coworkers that I have here and yes, I get paid competitively well, and there's some purchase, et cetera." All that combined is very meaningful to me. But that's a different type of employment candidate you're looking for because not everyone out of university and college knows how important some of those intangibles are because they haven't experienced the alternative of, "I really don't like where I'm working, but I get paid really well." That's actually miserable. Right. 

But understandably, you do it when you come out and say, "Well, I have this much student debt then I get paid this and I'm going to go through the misery until I can actually make a decision." But what I found is people get on that treadmill and get off of it maybe never, or much later than they ever anticipated because that's all they've ever known. Going to something else, it looks smaller or more niche oriented. They just don't do it because their resume's been building in a certain path. 

I got lucky that the companies who've hired me were never the Facebook Googles of the world. I was able to realize the fun you could have with that size of company and the way you could compete and the exits you could eventually have that were financially meaningful too. 

James:: I'd love to talk about the technology too. You've mentioned the companies you basically ran, I mean there's several of them: Rebellion Media,, RhythmOne. Those are just to name a few. But within those companies, how was... I mean, what was the technology like when you first started them and did you think... You guys, you said you always want to be number one in your industry. Did you think you could get to that level? 

Ted Hastings:: Yeah. In the ad tech industry, which most of those were, they were digital media. We were content publishers, website owners. 

James:: Which year was that again?

Ted Hastings:: This would have been, well, 2008, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14. What that means is we lived through businesses that were e-commerce, lead generation, agency oriented, SEM, SEO. We owned websites and created our own content. We had apps and games that we created. We had a mobile rewards program, we were programmatic. I've seen all of the types of business models over the years and attempted to scale each one of those. What we learned on the technology front goes back to remaining objective. 

If you spent time at the ice cream stop at Google or over in Facebook's cafeteria, you realize the budget they have to acquire or build technology is going to dwarf anything you are doing if you're not one of those companies. So be smart about how you invest because it is unlikely that your technology is going to out technology them. They just simply can overspend and sometimes that's disastrous, but they can correct those errors just with the same amount of financial vigor. 

I tried to be objective about, "How do we invest in a technology platform that works for the business purpose?" Because my view was, it was rare that a customer was interacting with us because our technology was clearly better than someone like Google or Facebook or Amazon. They weren't, right? But it had to work. It was rare that we were selling a company because it was only about the technology that we had. It needed to work, but if it was just a technology, they could probably build it or find it elsewhere. I think in the ad tech industry, what happened was there was a flood of capital to ad tech in those years and everyone overspent on building a technology platform in this programmatic demand side, supply side, et cetera platforms that nobody from, I would say not all. Very few advertising dollars really understood that game of Plinko that went on the technology to land somewhere on the supply side and where it actually landed. 

The publishers rarely understood exactly what was happening. There was an amazing amount of technology built that was predominantly obfuscation tools. If you asked me in terms of not really wanting to show who was all making the margins that they were making, all that you knew, and this is where you had to be objective, was that an ad was sold at a $20 CPM and it landed on someone's website at a 50 cent CPM. Somewhere along the way, all this technology gobbled it up. Then what happened was a reckoning of, "We have all this technology, it's all overbuilt, it's all overcomplicated, it all overlaps." There's hundreds of companies that have the same kind of thing when there should be three or four. 

Then this consolidation thing happens out of necessity because of transparency. The industry starts saying be the agencies, the advertisers and publishers, anybody saying needs to be transparent. You need to know where the ad went, who's making what margin. Anyone in the high ad tech game says, "How do I avoid that idea?" I always avoid that question. Right, right, right. Because no matter what margin you make in defense of the ad tech companies, the view is that's too much, right? This transparency push forced people to think about consolidation, replace duplicative technology, have one tech stack partner up, you name it, to maintain any overall profit margin because your gross margin was going down. You had to assume that. If you were objective about the industry at one point in time you could say, "Yep, we are running at 60% gross profit margin, then 50% gross profit margin, but where's it going to be 10 years from now? 15, 10%? I don't know what's reasonable." 

If that's the case, you can't have 300 people building a programmatic platform. It doesn't make any sense. We invested in the technology, but it always had to be to improve our ability to generate more revenues or more margin. Not because my belief was if we just got this widget better than we'd be the tech leaders, right? Because those founders eventually were removed from their companies. I won't even bother naming the businesses, but you can look at over those years and who were the founders and who was there when the company eventually went to someone else's hands through a sale or otherwise the founders were removed because they were so passionate that their technology stack was better than Facebook and Google. 

I met with them and I said, "I think you might be wrong." What happens if you're not right and you spend all this money in all these years? I mean, what if you are right and no one cares?

James:: Yeah. Right.

Ted Hastings:: Right, right?

James:: Just because since you're not Facebook and Google. 

Ted Hastings:: That's right. Because the dollars are still going to go to those major pipes at the time, no matter what you're offering, you're faster, who cares? They're not slow. 

James:: Right. 

Ted Hastings:: I think that probably my financial background allowed a rationalization of the technology investment that made some sense probably a bit to the NX of our technology, people in the company who for good reason want to build more widgets and more excitable things. But I think what we found is once we had sold one or two companies with technology that worked, our technologist realized that if it worked, that's good enough for the eventual goal. 

James:: I mean, that kind of ties in with everything you've just said. You've proved your worth the value. Not only that, then you'd go to the board, say this is a good idea or this is a good decision. That's really, overall, the way you've been able to build the success is realizing where the value is. You're not trying to overplay the technology, you're being truthful and transparent and then you're obviously just going in and doing that within your own operation. Where do you see, I mean, startups these days? There's a lot of different funding elements. There's a lot of different capital that you can acquire. There's incubators and things like that. We had Andrew Joseph White who was on our first podcast, started a student loan hero, went to South America to really start an incubator down there and start his business. Do you think it's easier these days for people to get into a scenario where they can start and be an entrepreneur and start something new? 

Ted Hastings:: I think so. I think if you take a longer term view, I can look back at Waterloo. Waterloo and Austin has some similarities with their various incubators, et cetera. For sure, it's easier now because there's more robust infrastructure to say, "I have an idea. Great. You've got a place to sit." There's usually lawyers and accountants floating around willing to offer some free services for some early stage things and hopes that one or two of them take off. There's stronger angel networks, friends, and families, more capital also concentrated in the areas like an Austin from the successes that have been there. There's that. 

It's easier now to get started. The issue that is almost never going to be fixed in my lifetime is the easier it gets to start a company out of university or college or while you're there, creates a supply and demand imbalance to investors. If everyone is a founder and has an idea, "I can get started tomorrow," you're always going to have supply of early stage companies. That's going to be out of balance with serious investors. Doesn't exist. We experienced that in Waterloo where there's thousands of early stage companies because they're students at University of Waterloo with an idea, so your co-founder, your president, and off we go and they're all... Because the incubators exist with more support, these ideas have a longer shelf life. Some probably should have died along the way and they don't because, well, I can just sort of keep spinning my wheels and find some alternatives here. 

The life of these early stage companies is getting longer. The number of them are getting bigger. The number of investors that has marginally improved. You still have to figure out what you're going to do in that wedge of investment, which is why we'll look at some of the companies that we've had. We started Rebellion Media. Rebellion Media arguably was looking at that imbalance saying there's a lot of good companies that can't find the funding to take them from where they are to potentially a real series A et cetera. 

If you had a holding company of sorts to absorb some of those companies and great ideas where the founder is trusted you, well, that's an alternative exit growth strategy for them that worked quite well. It could work well today. I think if you took talented executives together here in Austin with five, 10 million bucks in the bank and said, "We're going to have a digital media consolidation play and we accept websites, apps, games, and agency type things," you'd have a lot of people at the door.

James:: It's interesting that I think... And also with the technology you've mentioned of trying to fix or find a value in a company. Now, we're entering into a space where it might be most of these entrepreneurs coming out are having to deal with environment like global warming. Not to get too political here, but there's a lot of startups now coming out trying to better the world so to speak. Is there a particular area within technology you see being really big in the next 10 years? I mean, I know that's probably an easy one to go to. But where do you see successful startups getting into? 

Ted Hastings:: Well, in Canada it's cannabis, but I think that's going to run its course and there'll be a lot of companies in around that. Probably a year and a half, two years ago, it was everything crypto. These waves come and there are great companies and businesses that emerge out of those things. I'm not sure that that today would be something, that'd be a revolutionary idea. The ones that I think are getting stronger and stronger are cybersecurity. You wish that wasn't necessarily something that's going to be on the forefront, but I think investors and early stage founders are realizing that that's a game that we have to get really good at. 

The supply and demand is also something that's pretty strong in terms of the need for those companies given what's going on. That's areas where I've seen those types of companies come up and see some pretty interesting things in terms of what people are doing. That opened my eyes to, "Right, I guess we got to think about this, that, the other." The valuations for those types of businesses are pretty strong too. 

James:: It's interesting. What would be some advice you'd give somebody coming out of college or whoever has an idea wants to start a business, what would be your first... and you advice companies and people all the time. What would be your first piece of advice for them and you might've already said it, but-

Ted Hastings:: There's probably a few things that I tell people in generality versus specific to their company. It's to the extent you can afford it, surround yourself with all stars, be that advisors, board members, executives, you name it. Because I was fortunate to be put in a position as CEO when I was certain I didn't know how to do that. I wasn't delusional in terms of my skills and I surrounded myself with an executive team that were just so smart at what they were doing. They carried me through being a CEO. That doesn't happen a lot these days because you are the CEO founder, you have the idea, you're the smartest person in the room, probably in your view of what's going on. I knew I wasn't. 

Off and on for 18 years, it was the same executive team. I never forgot how important it was to have people that skilled around me that the extent I could compensate them more, give them greater title, do whatever you can to make sure that you have an actual team versus just a CEO. Then the second piece of advice I tell people because it's really tough that they're told regularly, "You're going to fail, right? You're going to go through failure and you have to figure out how to deal with that." That's true. I have a different view of it, which is I tell them to figure out how to maintain their competitive drive. 

I think your competitive drive gets impacted in two ways over life and a career. The first is the obvious. You lose, you fall short of your expectations or expectations that others have of you. I've watched talented executives, CEOs, founders eventually decide, "I can't take it that loss anymore. I won't take the risk and I'm going to back away from the game." But the second way that I find competitive drive is impacted is when people start achieving success. For these early stage companies, it's having that business card or that title or I'm getting interviewed on a podcast. I have raised some money, you name it. However they define success, they start reading their own headlines, take their foot off the gas, and their competitive drive drops. 

I encourage these early stage founders not to improve their competitive drive, maintain it. If you can maintain it at the same level you have right now, you'll blow by the people who quit and you'll catch the people on the horizon who just decide that, "Tonight, I can take a night off." The reason I had the opportunity for success in my career was because after a sale of a company, I didn't sit around and celebrate. I decided the next day I'm going to work even harder for fear out of getting too comfortable. That's a tough thing for these early stage founders to realize that they're going to go through both of those things if they're lucky. 

James:: Yeah. It takes a lot to think about too, because you have to really be humble or humbled in a way. Maybe it does take that for some people to realize, "Oh wow, I need to keep that foot down." To circle this all in, I mean, you've had such a very successful career, but you mentioned you do have other interests. I do want to hit on this because this is something that you are pretty famous for. You are the world record holder, Guinness-

Ted Hastings:: That's right.

James:: ... Book of World Record holder for most shirts worn. 

Ted Hastings:: T.

James:: T-shirt.

Ted Hastings:: I don't know if there's a sweater record or not. 

James:: Well, that would be. Is that the new goal?

Ted Hastings:: I don't want to look into it. 

James:: Explain how this came about and why. 

Ted Hastings:: Yeah. I'll do my best. Yes. In the 2020 Guinness World Record Book, it is in there now. It's on shelves. The idea came out several years ago. My son, who's now 11, we were flipping through the Guinness World Record Book that he had probably asked for, for a birthday or a Christmas present. 

James:: He still reads book. It's not a Kindle. 

Ted Hastings:: You know what? It seems to be and I agree with your line of thinking, a book that still people buy because it is the thing to be on a shelf somewhere. 

James:: Good, good.

Ted Hastings:: We're flipping through it and like any child could do, he makes a comment late at night that, "What we should do is try to set  a Guinness record," right? All joking aside, what I've enjoyed about being involved with coaching kids and et cetera and my own children is it reminds you that they have crazy thoughts. If I could do one thing for my children amongst hopefully many is to have them live a life where they can have crazy thoughts that make them laugh and then pursue them.

James:: Creativity. 

Ted Hastings:: I think so, right? I think you can have an interesting life because I think you get together, right? As you age with friends and you might have a drink or two and ask some crazy thoughts and a laugh and then the night ends and you wake up and you go back to the everyday and you don't pursue that thing because it was funny to talk about. But why would you ever do it? In that moment, I said to my son, "Of course we should." I wanted to show him that it wasn't just sort of a late night, "When can we go to bed close this book?" It was, "Let's do this." I tried to make sure he understood that we might fail and I don't know which record we would try to set, but that if you're going to have a crazy idea and follow it through, it should be funny. 

As we flipped through the book and realized that I can't grow fingernails to the length that I need to-

James:: But that's been legendary.

Ted Hastings:: Exactly, right? Or why start the tattoos now when I can't possibly catch up. But we stumbled across this picture of someone who looked like a giant marshmallow who had the Guinness World Record of most... and it was immediate. This is funny, this is funny that it is a record. This is funny that someone has done this. This looks highly uncomfortable, but the requirements are a lot of T-shirts and standing. I felt like, "Well, we can try this."

James:: Wait. You have to wear as many T-shirts as you can, but you have to be standing. 

Ted Hastings:: You don't have to stand. 

James:: Oh, okay.

Ted Hastings:: But I realized that I think this was my very... I had not attempted the record and didn't have any experience with hundreds of T-shirts on, but I assume circulation would be an issue and you'd want to be able to have some physical stamina. Because my quick research on this record was that the prior record holder who'd had it for over 10 years, if you have a Guinness Record for over 10 years, someone's tried it and failed, right? It's probably sort of carved in stone. 

James:: What type of research went involved in it?

Ted Hastings:: It did more than you should, but I thought if we're going to do this and have people come and watch it can't be an amazing failure. The starting point was to try to figure out, well, how long does this take and how large are these shirts and and how do I even contact Guinness? I don't know anyone there. We started there with learning the rules and regulations of the Guinness World Record, trying to figure out the size of shirt I would need, the length of time. Where do I find these shirts which ended up being-

James:: I never wore in triple XL. 

Ted Hastings:: I had three extra shirts at home and after two, if you get up in the morning, you don't want to put a third one on, it's actually a bit uncomfortable. We eventually were able to source 120 shirts out of a manufacturer in India because I thought, "I want to test this out," because the record was 257. I did 260 and so I thought, "I need to run through this with some friends in an assembly line to see how dumb this is actually going to be and can you survive it?"

We got the 120 on and it was amazingly uncomfortable. You gain about 100 pounds right around your chest area, which actually is where you breathe. 

James:: Wow. 

Ted Hastings:: Breathing becomes an issue as well as circulation. But when we got to 120 which is all we had, I thought, "This is dangerous because we didn't fail. It's amazingly uncomfortable, which means we have to try it." The shirts, went up to 20 XL.

James:: Oh, wow.

Ted Hastings:: I think I started with a medium because I wanted to start with one that was maybe slightly tight and work up from there. We decided to make it a fundraiser for my son's school who was looking to build a new playground and we had 300 T-shirts. We were optimistic. We flew the Guinness judge in because you can set a Guinness World Record without a Guinness judge being present, but there's a process of sending in a video

James:: Yeah, that's true. Or you pay for that person to come in. 

Ted Hastings:: Yeah. I thought, "I don't want to try this. Think we have it and find out that someone miscounted or the video didn't... I'm doing this once and someone is standing there." We achieved it obviously.

James:: How did you get ahold of Guinness? Email them?

Ted Hastings:: Yeah. You email them, you get on a call, and you start with, "I'd like to attempt the Guinness World Record for most you-

James:: Got to page-

Ted Hastings:: .... once-

James:: ... should see in your book.

Ted Hastings:: Right. There's a process where you apply because I think they're looking for some level of seriousness to this despite my chuckles on the phone, right? I had to explain that I know this is funny. I've got time on my hands and I'm going to do this. I need to understand the rules, which was, "Can these T-shirts be all the ones that I've created on my own that just layer on top of each other-

James:: They have to be cotton.

Ted Hastings:: Just do the jacket. Then I get to a thousand that way and the rules where they had to be commercially available. I went up to 20 XL. Doing it over again, I would've gone larger because they can't rip and they can't be custom made. Science and math eventually catch up with you as you're putting these shirts on because a 20 XL shirt looks like... a 20 XL shirt when I put it on alone, went from my shoulders to my ankles, but not with 250 others underneath it. It's stretched out and almost breaking. Right around shirt 175 was when I would say, "We lost the ability to breathe through the mouth." That's when I knew we were going to have a problem because I could survive with the nose, but I could do the math on, "It's going to take away the final breathing spots."

James:: You're about like 30 shirts left. 

Ted Hastings:: Well, about a hundred. 175-

James:: Oh.

Ted Hastings:: We had to get 257 so I thought, "I'm in trouble here." We tried to jam a snorkel in because a snorkel would give me another foot of go ahead and build them over my head, but we were too far in and the snorkel wouldn't go. We had to figure out how do we angle them forward so that I could possibly still breathe through my nose around shirt 250? The issue then became circulation starts to shut off because you have a tight bond around your neck, which actually apparently is where some veins are. You get some pins and needles in your arm and you've had that, but you start wondering how long can you have that before it's not so smart? But your only goal in the cocoon is to stay calm because any moment of panic and you're done, right?

So long story short, we were able to get the shirt 257 and 258 broke the record. I said, "Can you please throw two more on in case there's been any miscounting here?" Then as quickly as possible rip these off because I was standing up from time to time with a couple hundred pounds of shirts on and unable to breathe with low circulation. It's amazing how fast your heart is beating and working to just simply do a squat with weight that you can actually normally do. The butt all is, "I have a plaque, I'm in the book. I would not recommend anyone doing it again." I assume the guy in Sri Lanka who had the record and sees that I beat him by three is really mad.

James:: Oh, man. He's going to come out. You're going to have to compete.

Ted Hastings:: It's all his. I can, oh, forever be the first person in the world to 260.

James:: There you go. Well, that's great. Honestly, I think what you said about teaching, you wanted to teach your son a lesson. I think what it could teach anybody yourself is that no matter how silly the idea may be, how creative it might be, you did have to put in a lot of work-

Ted Hastings:: [inaudible 01:07:06].

James:: ... to get this done. It wasn't just like I woke up and I decided to put 300 shirts on, 260 shirts on. It was, "I have to actually do the work, research, know exactly what I'm doing, get into the science of it," which it sounds like you weren't maybe possibly aware of that before you got into it, but you eventually learned, which is the whole part of the experience. If anything, it probably taught something about yourself to you, right?

Ted Hastings:: It was. Well, I knew I was in dangerous mode because I wasn't going to quit. That's what I kept saying to myself, which meant, "I think I might die doing this," which would be funny, but unnecessary. 

James:: Was the press there? You had the press there taking video. 

Ted Hastings:: There was a video Guinness, that my son's hockey team had good attendance, family, et cetera. My daughter was the beginning of the assembly line determining the shirts and I declined the press being there because I was nervous about how it might play out-

James:: Oh, yeah.

Ted Hastings:: ... in terms of lack of success. It was already a large enough audience that I thought, "Let's just leave it here," and not have them standing out front saying, "And he didn't make it."

James:: You didn't want the pressure? Well, hopefully you were wearing deodorant at least.

Ted Hastings:: It was incredibly hot.

James:: That it was. Awesome. Well, thank you, Ted. This has been amazing and I know a lot of people can learn from what you say. Is there any way that they can reach out to you via Twitter or social media or anything like that? 

Ted Hastings:: No, I think they'd have to come through you. 

James:: All right, all right.

Ted Hastings:: I've been kept in my little cave. 

James:: I'll check. Hit us up on and we can always put you in touch with Ted. Thanks for joining us here in the Q. 

Ted Hastings:: Thanks for having me. 

James:: This episode of the podcast is brought to you by Q1Media. Q1Media partners with agencies and brands all across the nation for all their digital marketing needs, whether it's CTV, OTT, location-based, mobile device ID, targeting, search engine marketing, targeted display, any research, and data that you need, whatever it is, Q1Media can help with your marketing efforts. 

Please check out Q1Media's website, at That's Q, then number one, You can do case studies, examples of our work or just check out more episodes of the podcast, the Q conversations in digital media.


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