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In this episode, we meet Jack Slade, Managing Director of Luxity Media on being an accidental entrepreneur, saying no to increase revenues, and the future of new media.
Jack founded ‘Boss Hunting', which is now one of Australia's most popular men's lifestyle websites. Out of this, Luxity Media was born, a new media company that now reaches over half a million men across the country, every month. Luxity also owns the titles The Versatile Gent and All The Young Dads.
Originally from Melbourne, Jack spent five years in London in an IT company but is now based in Sydney.
In this episode we talk about:
- How Jack became an accidental entrepreneur and some of the epic adventures he and his team have been on;
- The increase in revenues that resulted from saying no;
- Growing and maintaining the culture of a small enterprise; and
- The future of new media.
Connecting with Jack Slade
Books and resources mentioned in the episode
- Zero to One – by Peter Thiel
“It was just consistent posting. I mean, it was just a hobby. I'd just find cool content to put out there. I wasn't creating any content; it was just reposting. And we went from zero likes to 100,000 likes in probably six months. At the time, I was just like, I don't know what to do with this thing.”
On how he started Boss Hunting
- So it was a Facebook page to start with and after the first three years it had 200,000 likes, and I didn't know what to do with it. So I started a website, I put a call out for contributors to start writing content for us. I didn't really know what I wanted, or what was going to be written about. So I thought let’s throw stuff at a wall and see what sticks. And I remember in our first week on our basic WordPress page, and it just destroyed the server. We had hundreds of thousands of visits. And I didn't really know what I was doing but we just went from there.
- I started getting inquiries about new business. I wasn't doing any business development at all. But brands said to us, “We've seen your site, we've seen your Facebook page. We want to be involved.”
On consistency and testing everything
- The content strategy is still just test everything and see what works and then just keep pushing similar content out. This whole business is based on just testing everything. And if something works, keep going with it. If it doesn't, lesson learned and move on to the next thing. And even if we've got a really strong hunch that something will work, and it doesn't the first time, we'll give it a crack a few more times. The cost of failure is so minimal, so I'm happy to test everything.
- Consistency is absolutely key. The consistent thing that's occurred over the whole business is just being consistent about content output. I think that's paid dividends. And I've had so many people approach me asking me how I did it and all I said to them was to just keep on posting and to try a few different things.
- Particularly in a digital world, the more you do, the more likely you are to be seen. SEO is pretty fundamental. The more links you generate, the more content you produce, the better you're going to be searched, ranked in search, and you start getting exponential growth in terms of visitor numbers.
- Hire slow and fire fast! I thought one guy was going to be great, but it didn't work out well. I was in Melbourne, and he was in Sydney with the rest of the boys who told me it’s not working out. And then I actually moved up there and after a month I realised he wasn’t a good fit.
- We've got a new rule now. It's called like the Beer rule. If you don't want to have a beer with them after work, they're probably not a good fit. I think once you’ve got 40-50 people, you can have little factions within the business, but when it's a very small team, you want to be able to work hard and play hard as a team.
On balancing fun with commercial and strategic decisions
- At one point I said yes to everything. But now I think a bit more commercially about things.
- Since we started saying no to a lot of things, our revenues doubled. Probably because brands value you a bit more if you say no to things and also it actually makes us focus on our work instead of just having fun all the time.
On having his parents as mentors
- Well, through my dad, being a recruiter, and mum, who still works in that business, I’ve been lucky to have access to a lot of very successful CEOs and entrepreneurs who are part of YPO and WPO. So I got to meet incredible people and see how they operate. Even as a teenager, I was able to pick their brain about how they went about doing business and what worked and what didn't.
- I was always very interested in business. Dad used to give me free access to his emails from the age of 12. I used to go into the office, and they brought me onto their board as an observer at the age of 14 just to see how it all worked.
On his leadership style
- I trust the guys that I work with. The fact that I trust them, makes them trust me. And obviously, they know that if they stuff up, I'm going to let them know about it. But we all keep check on one another.
- We try and keep a low number of meetings in the office just because I like to let people get on with their work. So I just check in once or twice a week and ask where they are with things.
On high performers in business
- I don't think there's anything that different about senior business leaders. They generally follow processes, get things organised and make decisions. Whether it's the right decision or the wrong decision, you still need to make a decision.
On building a personal brand
- I personally don't love building my personal brand online, I prefer to build the brand of the company. And I've intentionally made this business very non-reliant on me. I don't do a huge amount of the content anymore. I don't do a huge amount of sales anymore. I just make sure everyone's doing their job.
- I would say authenticity is probably the number one thing you need to deliver. Don't try and contrive some alter ego or some other persona. Just be yourself.
On the future of media
- Print, in my opinion, is dead. We see a lot of our competitors in print either folding or moving out of print. It's just not a sustainable model. People are not really reading newspapers anymore. They're not reading magazines. Everything people consume is on their phones. 80% of our traffic is on a mobile phone.
- We’ve got a new website launching next week, where the desktop design was a massive afterthought. People don't really care about desktop UX anymore.
- I would say If I was going to start creating content now, as a new brand or new business, I’d go all-in on video. And then podcasting is a big thing.
- I don't think it matters what app you're on, whether it's Tick Tock or Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat. Just get on everything and give it all a crack and see what works.
Final message of wisdom and hope for future leaders
- We recently raised over $100,000 for the bushfire appeal, which was awesome. I think climate change is very much a real thing and I think the next generation is already leading the charge on doing things about that. Never forget where you came from.
MINI-MBA IN LEADING HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAMS
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