At the age of 18, Jonny Hendriksen moved to Japan from his home city of Auckland, New Zealand. He dabbled in various ventures including starting a successful and one of the first web hosting companies in 1997, based in Tokyo.
But at the age of only 29 in May 2000, Jonny Hendriksen and his business partner were the first foreigners to list a company (ValueClick) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. They raised $40 million at a market valuation of $400 million that soared to $1.8 billion. A few months later the dot com bubble burst. The timing was impeccable. Value Click was one of the first companies to introduce the “Cost Per Click” (CPC) advertising model to the Internet.
In 2008 he moved back to New Zealand and bought the Terrace Downs golf resort. But the itch to get back into the web industry was too hard to ignore. And his new venture “Shuttlerock” was born shortly after the New Zealand earthquake leveled the city of Christchurch in 2011.
In 2020, the company is now a global Facebook media partner that produces video advertising at scale for Facebook and Instagram from brand approved creative assets. They have offices in New York, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Singapore, London, Paris, and Berlin with the head office based in Nelson, New Zealand and currently employs 150+ staff.
What you will learn
- Discover the 4 key pillars of a successful business.
- A surprising event that led to Shuttlerocks’ success
- The ancient philosophy that guides Jonny Hendriksen in business and life
- Why company culture is important
- How to embrace the journey and not the destination
- The importance of the “pivot”
- Why the big business idea should be looking to solve a big problem
Jeff Bullas: Hi everyone and welcome to the Jeff Bullas show. Today we've got Jonny Hendriksen and I'm going to read a little bit about him. He doesn't like to brag, so his bio doesn't really reveal the true extent of what he's done over the years. But we're going to get into that anyway, but Jonny's a serial entrepreneur and he's got over 20 years of experience in the digital marketing scene, has had a pioneering impact with the Japanese market where he founded and listed ValueClick on the Japanese stock market. That pioneering spirit is still alive and well when he started Shuttlerock in 2011, which is when I actually met Jonny for the forest time.
Jeff Bullas: So Jonny, great to have you on the show. I've been wanting to do this for a while.
Jonny Hendriksen: No, awesome. Thank you for having us and no, that's excellent.
Jeff Bullas: So, I met Jonny in 2011. I've got a very short email because Jonny doesn't like to waste time. So it was a very short email, I think it had a typo or two.
Who's this Jonny character? And he said, "Jeff, would you like to come over to New Zealand?" I think I got the pronunciation right as well. "And actually run a workshop." And you know these sort of invites you get sometimes that your not sure about...
Jonny Hendriksen: A tire kicker.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah a tire kicker, and I went, "Okay, is this Jonny guy a tire kicker?" And I Googled him a bit and found out that he's quite a successful New Zealand entrepreneur, very understated. And I said, "Yeah sure."
Jeff Bullas: So he even agreed to pay me money to come over and enjoy New Zealand and talk to some people that he organized on his golf resort just outside Christchurch. So that was a fantastic experience and that's how I got to meet Jonny. I flew over and we met for the first time and we ran this workshop in the most stunning location, overlooking Mt Hutt in this sort of, I suppose hunting like lodge really I suppose. Terrace Downs is the name of that resort by the way.
Jeff Bullas: And we got to chat. So Jonny, when I met you, you were doing something and one of the conversations we had was, I'm a little bit over what I'm doing. Can you tell me a little bit where you were at the time and how you got there?
Jonny Hendriksen: Well, as you said I owned a golf resort at the time and it was one of those childhood dreams to get, well I love people and I always thought that hospitality would be a great thing to get into once. And I'm glad I got that out of the system, so to speak Jeff, because ultimately doing that for five years, I've drawn from it, it's one of the important things life has, stick to your knitting and for me that was in IT, but it was a five year stint in hospitality which was by and large quite fun days, but I got to meet you and many other people during that time.
Jeff Bullas: And one of the things I discovered about you too, as we had chatted I think the evening after we actually had run the workshop, was that you really were passionate about getting back into the whole digital scene and I think one of the things when you contacted me, was you found me by one of my blog posts, you really wanted to get into digital again.
Jeff Bullas: So, wind things back a little bit. You're a serial entrepreneur, so there's something about the entrepreneur in Jonny Hendriksen. Where did that start Jonny? Could you maybe go back to...
Jonny Hendriksen: I think originally, I grew up in Auckland in New Zealand and not in a wealthy family at all, and we had a trip to Japan when I was 15 with the school and it was a really good thing for the school to say, regardless if your parents had money or not, you had to go and raise the money yourself, which I think was actually as important as the trip itself on reflection.
Jonny Hendriksen: so yeah, from the age of 13 or 14 when we're saving up to try all these various entrepreneurial ways to save money for this trip. And think that was probably what sparked it in the early days. And I subsequently went to Japan and worked as a doorman in Japan first and I couldn't get to Japan quick enough at 18. And then I started my first business when I was about 24 or something like that.
Jeff Bullas: And what was that Jonny?
Jonny Hendriksen: I worked for Canon, the camera company when I was 23, 24 out of school, as temp staff. And the temping agency wouldn't give me a pay rise. But Canon, where I was going, was actually very happy. So one of the managers at Canon, or a senior manager at Canon said, "Well, why don't you set up your own company and we'll just contract directly to you?" And the rest is history.
Jeff Bullas: Okay.
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah, they were very kind words from that guy and I ended up setting up our first company and then ultimately becoming a temp agency myself, ultimately going forward. And then really stumbled on the internet in 1997 and really just got into the internet space. And really, the only companies that were around in those days were Yahoo and a sprinkling of others. And so if you really wanted to get serious about some of the opportunities in the internet space, it was either go and work for one of those companies or start up something yourself.
Jonny Hendriksen: And I guess it's entrepreneurship, you've got to put one step in front of the other and just see where it takes you. So my business partner and I, Tim Williams, who's based here in Auckland, and we borrowed about $5,000 at the time and set out on this voyage. We set up a business shirt company that we would sell business shirts to the Japanese business people online, and you'd have all your measurements in a database online and the idea was fantastic, but when we actually got to it, the doing it, it was such that it was really actually difficult to get your own .com or .co.jp domain name and actually hosting and it wasn't as easy as it is today to just get an email address.
Jonny Hendriksen: So even though we had this great idea for a business, we couldn't actually follow through with it because it was just too difficult to actually execute. So we thought, "Actually, hold on a second. We need to actually go into the facilitating business," which then became one of Japan's first web hosting businesses. And that really took off.
Jeff Bullas: So by facilitating, you mean hosting? Is that what you mean?
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah, helping other businesses to come online and learn the hosting business.
Jeff Bullas: So you discovered a problem, which was it was hard to get on.
Jonny Hendriksen: I think it's the story of the online, particularly digital, it's just that constant pivoting really and it's well, I want to be able to do something but then actually there's a larger problem that's presented itself, so we pivoted into that hosting business.
Jeff Bullas: And so then you met Jim Zarley and also you stumbled or got into ValueClick. Can you tell us about ValueClick? Because you've done the facilitating.
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah, so that was a really interesting time. So the hosting business was going well, but in those days you'd set up your customers, they'd set up a website that they'd get almost zero traffic because no one knew they existed. So all that happens, all of this hype of the internet of saying, "Well, I've now got this beautiful website with a .com name," but no one could find you. Yet all the traffic was actually going into individuals who were making phishing sites and they were almost like blog sites of today really.
Jonny Hendriksen: So GeoCities in the old days, so there was this mismatch in traffic that was going on in the internet. So a company out of Santa Barbara call Web-Ignite, Brian Coryat founded Web-Ignite, and he was doing listing ads with Jerry Yang from Yahoo, in the early days. So it was under the name ValueClick. And the US, they were just getting underway.
Jonny Hendriksen: And so anyway, Tim and I, we bought the license for ValueClick for Japan and stepped forward and just took off. It was absolutely crazy. So at the time, we would get websites and put banners on those websites and we'd pay-per-click. And it just took off, yeah.
Jeff Bullas: So that was called Web-Ignite.
Jonny Hendriksen: The actual founding company of ValueClick was called Web-Ignite in the US. And ValueClick actually spun out to become ValueClick in the US and then we became ValueClick Japan in Japan, so yeah.
Jeff Bullas: From my reading I've discovered that ValueClick introduced one of the first pay-per-click advertising models, is that correct?
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah. So that's what the whole model was, was basically the pay-per-click was probably the first pay-per-click network. And then Jim Zarley was an investor and then came on as the CEO and then the CEO and Chairman and took it from strength to strength.
Jonny Hendriksen: And then ValueClick in Japan we did very, very well, and I listed it on the Tokyo Stock Exchange when I was 30. And that was really amazing, that was a fun ride in really growing the business in May 2000. And then the .com crash came very soon after that. So we just went public at the right time, got out the door and then bang, the crash happened.
Jeff Bullas: So timing is everything, and I know that's the conversation we've had over the years since we met. Just like you talked about, you had a great idea for selling shirts online, it was a great idea but maybe before it's time.
Jeff Bullas: So ValueClick launches on the Japanese stock market. So did you stay on?
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah, I stayed on for a while and then I was put in a position in the US to take ValueClick international. And then the long and short was we got bought out. It was about 2003 I think, we got bought out. And then I stayed on for a little bit and then subsequently stepped down.
Jonny Hendriksen: And then a few years later, came back to New Zealand and moved back to New Zealand when we bought the golf course. So yeah.
Jeff Bullas: Right, okay. A lot of entrepreneurs have mentors to guide them along the way and part of what I want to find out more, and I've actually met this gentleman. So can you tell me a little about, who was one of your mentors or your main mentor, that along the way?
Jonny Hendriksen: So his name's come up several times, but I'd say Jim Zarley. He didn't graduate from high school, well he certainly didn't go to university. Then he joined the elite 101 Airborne, which is the parachute elite of the military and then he went on and became, at a very young age, senior sales executive at RCA. And then he's done a lot of acquisitions and so forth. So he's very, very down to earth, great sense of humor, but very astute when it comes to running businesses. And he's been really great on that front and a wonderful mentor.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah, I actually got to meet Jim in Las Vegas for lunch and he's a fascinating guy. He's now in his 70s. And he did warn me about Jim, that he's deaf in one ear and I had to talk to him the other side. So I was very aware of that and my hearing as I've got a little older, is suffering as well. We had a fantastic conversation over lunch at one of the casinos, as you do, in Las Vegas.
Jeff Bullas: So it was great to meet Jim. And he's now semi-retired pretty well hasn't he but still has finger in a few pies?
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah, he's on a couple of boards and so forth but no, very smart guy. Very funny and very smart, yeah.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah, it's great that you had someone mentoring you over the years. But what are his key insights about succeeding at business?
Jonny Hendriksen: Jim's got it as the four legs of Jim's stool. Good business model's got those four and I think it's one, that he's always drummed into anyone who's worked for Jim's early rule know what those four are. That is something we could talk about on this podcast as well.
Jeff Bullas: Okay. So we don't forget, could you maybe tell me a little bit about those four pillars?
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah. So the four legs of the stool, a key to the success of any business really.
And the first being the size of the market. So you always wanted to be going into business which has got a good size, good decent opportunity and size of spend.
Second being, in no particular order, but the second being your margins, your gross margins. So Jim would always be quite, make sure that you've got healthy gross margins and profit as well. So you've actually got a proper business model.
Third would be making sure you've got cash on hand, so you've always got enough cash to be able to plunge yourself through.
And then probably the last, which is probably the one which a lot of new entrepreneurs anyway forget, is the acquisition cost of the customer. So what it actually costs you to actually get a customer. So it's all fine to say, "Well, I've got this perfect business model and it all works really well, but I haven't really figured out what it actually costs to get new customers."
Jonny Hendriksen: Those are the four, and generally you'll see any good business model has got all those really well worked out. So yeah, they've been really useful over the years.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. I remember us having that conversation, and we'll get to Shuttlerock in a minute. But basically, you're saying the size of the market is very very important, one of the legs of the table for a business and an entrepreneur. The other one was make sure there's good profit in it. Cash on hand, especially in this current environment.
Jonny Hendriksen: Not just good profit, you need good gross margins.
Jeff Bullas: Good margins.
Jonny Hendriksen: Ultimately, yes profit. which is good, but well structured around good healthy margins, yeah.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. And that's one thing that is very, very important. And especially in the new “Software as a Service” industry (SaaS), and we'll get to that in a minute.
Jeff Bullas: And the other one was, the acquisition costs of the customer. And I think the other one that is right next to that, maybe in that same pillar, is lifetime value of the customer as well, I think was the other one that I remember Jim and you talking about.
Jeff Bullas: So let's fast forward a little bit. So you've sold out of ValueClick, you're living the life, you've bought a golf resort in Terrace Downs and you're watching the mountains in the distance and you're living in Christchurch. And that's when I got your email. Said, "Like your content Jeff," because you found me online, "Come over and do this." So we got there and over dinner you said to me, "Look, I'm really bored with this hospitality industry. I know what I don't enjoy now, it took me five years to discover it." I don't if it was the term you used, but it felt like you were herding cats with the hospitality industry in terms of trying to manage all the people, especially in hospitality.
Jeff Bullas: So you said you'd started a new company. So we had dinner that night, and you mentioned Shuttlerock is the name of the company that you want to get back into the digital game again.
You're over hospitality, you want to get back into the digital game. So tell me about what Shuttlerock means. Because I thought initially, Shuttlerock was about, because Christchurch had it's big earthquake back then, hundreds of people died. It was quite a tragedy and you had real estate there and even your home was damaged.
Jeff Bullas: So Shuttlrock, can you tell me a little bit about the name? Because I think it's quite an interesting story about what it really meant. I thought it was about the rock shaking but it wasn't.
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah, no the name behind it is actually cool. After the Christchurch earthquake, a friend of mine used to go to university with the commander of the space ship “Discovery”, well that pilot who's Eric Boe, who interestingly has become a friend. He's been to our place a couple of times and is subsequently coming back to New Zealand. But he's also the pilot of the Boeing Starliner that's going to space later this year, first manned non NASA space vehicle that's going into space later this year. But we're very fortunate to have the astronauts of the “Discovery come to the resort.
Jonny Hendriksen: And it was ironic, it was actually a week after them being in the Oval Office, And to be able to spend three or four days with the astronauts, all in their kit. And they got all the local children together.
Jeff Bullas: Okay. That's pretty cool.
Jonny Hendriksen: And we'd been having dinner with them one night, and we were talking about the Shuttle program and how it was coming to an end and he would be explaining how docks with the Space Station and he got two joysticks and they're going 28,000 kilometers an hour. Very surreal types of talks.
Jonny Hendriksen: So I founded the company in 2011, which is the last year of the Shuttle program, which for many years was the hope and probably one of the most significant technological things that the human race has done in the last century, has been sending the Shuttle to the International Space Station. For that to come to an end. And it very much represents innovation and hope and all of these really cool things going forward and new frontiers and all of that.
Jonny Hendriksen: So I thought, well my new company, when I set it up, it's the last year of the Shuttle program, so I thought we've got to call it, it's got to have a shuttle.
Jeff Bullas: Right okay.
Jonny Hendriksen: These guys were so cool. And then we were having dinner, we were talking about fear in space, what makes you, fear of dying I guess, if something was coming. And the number one thing is that they want to make sure that everyone is cool and calm and no one loses it, really. And I think one of the astronauts patted Eric on the back and said, "Oh, he's our rock." And really, the rock is the commander, the cool, calm, there for you at the right time, someone who's trusted. [inaudible 00:19:28] Shuttlerock literally is the commander of this [inaudible 00:19:34]. So basically a innovative company, but it's also a company that you can rely on and trustworthy.
Jeff Bullas: Okay.
Jonny Hendriksen: [inaudible 00:19:45]. Slightly long winded, but it'll give you-
Jeff Bullas: That's absolutely fine. When you told me for the first time what it really meant, after thinking it was all about shaking rocks, it was a little different which is great to hear. So Shuttlerock started. So you launched it, you've got this little office in Rangiora, you've got the CFO that you're using at Resort Column, Cattigan who I've got to know, and he's just a great guy.
Jeff Bullas: So you're in Rangiora, you've just bought a new home there to escape the damaged one in Christchurch. And what was the first business idea?
Jonny Hendriksen: I knew you were going to ask me this Jeff.
Jeff Bullas: Because we're going to talk about pivots, right?
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah, I knew that, I was going to say the same thing. The first idea in Japan was about business shirts but this next one was around t-shirts. So there's obviously something. If Jonny starts a business, it starts with some form of apparel. And actually, Jim Zarley, when I showed it to him he said, "Um, Jonny you'll probably be doing something different in a year." Which is probably a really polite way of saying that's a silly idea.
Jonny Hendriksen: The whole concept really, I've always loved content and created and so forth, so it was really around heading a network of designers that could design content for charities and then they would be printed onto t-shirts. So I was very much inspired after the earthquakes, so we built the technology and with Dave, who was the programmer, we built that up. But it didn't really go that well and we've learnt from it was that if you've got a designer totally removed from Christchurch, trying to design something meaningful for that charity, it's very hard to do. So really what we learnt is that content has to come from a source really closely associated, or within, who's actually almost been through it for them to be able to convey that properly.
Jonny Hendriksen: So that didn't really work too well. And the marketplace was not all that big for it. We know the content has got to come from within and the t-shirts are not going to work, so how can we use the same software?
The question we asked was. What sort of content do schools have and they've got recipes.
Well the PTA’s did. The Parent and Teachers Associations.
So we decided we'd have a bit of a play, bit of a go with that to see if we could use that same type of technology to go into cook books. I don't know if we actually made one, so it was only a very momentary event. And then, having to deal with PTAs and all that, it was like, "What are we doing here?"
Jonny Hendriksen: And the next pivot really and the same technology was corporations, what content do they have which is really valuable to them?
It's user generated, it's customer generated content. So then we got our first bit of wind in the sails and we were able to get moving, these plug-ins are going to websites that would allow us to bring in content from Instagram and so forth, APIs, and also for brands to be able to upload their own.
Jonny Hendriksen: So there's a bit of a pivot. It all sort of makes sense along the way, but they were definitely little pivots as we were improving.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. So user generated content came from the social media networks, wasn't it? So that was the main aim.
Jonny Hendriksen: And direct upload as well.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. So direct uploads from people via phones. So it was both mobile and social user generated content strategy. Which is where Shuttlerock started to get some traction. Now there was one aha moment, which happened when you invited a British backpacker to paint your fence. Can you tell me more about that?
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah, so it was a moment where we were going okay, but nothing really was firing and we were quite lucky to have this lovely couple, Aaron and Ryan come and stay with us. And it was just an absolute fluke that Aaron saw these photos and said, "Hey, why don't you make them? We could turn them into ads." And I was, "What are you talking about?" And I think the team thought I was nuts because this backpacker had just come into our lives and we're going to be doing our next big pivot here. But we've never looked back since and that was the defining moment. And I'm very proud of Aaron, he's gone on from being literally sleeping in the back of this Subaru Legacy, to now basically running, a team of 100 odd people and a magnificent leader and doing really good. And incredibly innovative.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. And Aaron, he had gone to university, I think in London or UK.
Jonny Hendriksen: Yes he did. He did an Arts degree at university, which I think at the time, a lot of his friends and so forth, in those days were giving him a bit of stick over doing an Arts, "What are you doing an Arts degree for? What's that going to be good for?"
Jeff Bullas: Yeah.
Jonny Hendriksen: "How's that working out?" "Working out pretty good actually."
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. So hiring him to actually paint your fence, ended up doing the next pivot.
Jonny Hendriksen: The pivots come at the most unlikely of times and that ability to be able to keep your eyes and ears alert at all times.
Jeff Bullas: Now, I'm going to segue into something that I discovered about you about a year ago. And I didn't know this. Because you have a certain philosophy in life that has served you in business as well as in life. So what you told me last year is that you expected, over a dinner when you were vegetarian and also not drinking alcohol at the time I remember. And we'll get to that a little bit. But what was interesting was, you told me that you expect the right people to show up in your life when you need them. Now, can you explain a little bit more about that?
Jonny Hendriksen: Well, not that I expect, but I think life without over engineering it is a better way to put it to be honest. I don't think people will not always show up. But I do think there's no need to over engineer things and a lot of the signs will show themselves if you're alert and willing to look and miss it. And some people might say that they don't,
But there's actually more goes on around you every day than most people care to understand really. So I think that awareness type thing really, that if you are aware of your surroundings and what's going on, more actually presents itself than you might think.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. And this philosophy of life in business, which is not over thinking things, is you've kept things pretty simple, which I really enjoyed. We worked together over the years and I've been on the board, Shuttlerock disclaimer by the way. But you shared with me a book, okay? And it's a great little simple book called The Tao of Pooh. It's where Winnie the Pooh, the story of Pooh is actually used to carry and make an understanding of what Taoism's about. And I actually did read that book and I remember reading it next to Sydney Harbor about 12 months ago. And I've certainly taken some elements of that, to I suppose help with awareness and also to evolve how I live life and work in business. So I'd like to thank you for sharing that with me.
Jonny Hendriksen: I think 21 years in Asia, particularly the Taosist way thing influenced me.
It's obviously thousands of years of Chinese philosophy, Taoism and Confucianism. I find it fascinating that there is thousands of years of wisdom there, that are in many of those Asian, it's taking out of those snippets of wisdom that are useful and I really like a lot of the learnings that come from that and how you can bring them into your everyday life. I think there's a lot that can be learnt from that.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. I love with that philosophy, that comes very much from living in another country that you got to experience Asian culture. And you're willing to learn from that by watching and being observant and being aware. So do you have a morning ritual or routine that serves you in terms of getting things done? It may have evolved over the years. Or any really important things that help you through each day.
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah. I think it's important to create space for you, for yourself, I think it quite key.
I don't have so much of a ritual.
But I've always slept well to make sure you get a really good night's sleep and I'm generally up really early. I enjoy the quiet and peace of morning, I don't necessarily have too much of a ritual, that varies throughout the year a little bit. But fundamentally, trying to create as much space and don't worry about doing nothing. The art of doing nothing's quite a key thing too. To empty your mind a little bit and it doesn't necessarily mean meditation or anything like that. Well, meditation is one form of that. I think literally being able to have lots of quietness is really important.
Jonny Hendriksen: And then from there comes a lot of great ideas and action items and so forth from that. So not so much of a ritual and I'm not too much of a regimented person to be honest.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah, it's very interesting about giving yourself the space and permission to stop.
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.
Jeff Bullas: It's not doing nothing I suppose, it's giving yourself the space for inspiration to show up, which comes from inputs. And I think, I certainly watch a lot of people and they've got music on all the time, they've got earbuds in, they're always watching something on the screen.
Jonny Hendriksen: Or three screens going. Not much is presenting itself. So I do actually try and be able to disconnect and it doesn't mean for hours and hours on end. It's just like these little moments.
Jeff Bullas: So to go back to Shuttlerock in terms of where Shuttlerock is up to and that inspiration where you're turning static images, user generated content and also customer content into video ads. So what were some of the milestones that have been significant over the last couple of years?
Jonny Hendriksen: I think three years ago we won the Facebook Global Innovation Award, which was for an ad that we built. But since then we've gone from strength to strength. We've now got four offices in America, three in Europe, two in Asia. So we're now a fully global business that's run out of New Zealand, in Nelson.
And what we do is we take still images, very easy inputs and then be able to turn them into six second or 15 second, 30 second video ads. So it's very much a lightweight, very easy way for advertisers to be able to make, particularly mobile optimized video ads at that scale.
Jonny Hendriksen: There's a well known comment that was made by the Head of Marketing a few years ago, which was maybe 20 years ago, or maybe 15 years ago, on the budget of two million dollars, you were making four pieces of content which would have been used as TV commercials and it would have taken about seven months to make them. Now from the same two million dollars I need between four hundred and four thousand pieces of content and I need them in not seven months, not even seven days, I might need them in seven hours.
Jonny Hendriksen: So with this whole transformation going on, I need a lot more lightweight video, I need it in all the different sizes. You've got instant publishing, all the different media, preparation of digital media, I'm going to need it in a lot more different languages. You've got lots of iterations, it's a far more complex beast. So what we do is we make it very, very easy for marketers to be able to take something as simple as a product shot and a logo and a little bit of a copy and turn that into a 10 second video or something like that. And within 48, 72 hours.
Jonny Hendriksen: So I think, so we're saying videos should be as easy to order as ordering a pizza or something like that. So that it's fast turnaround. So it's a really exciting space to be in and a huge market potential. We play nicely with advertising agencies and media agencies so we're not necessarily disrupting, But we're a huge facilitator. And then also for brands direct, we work really well with in-house brand teams and then obviously the media companies Facebook and Google and the likes of TikTok as well.
Jonny Hendriksen: So yeah, I think one of the biggest areas to a lot of advertisers, spending on a lot of these videos and content, the fact that they need a lot more personalized content video, they need it fast, they need it beautifully done. But they don't have big budgets, historical budgets which are big.
There's now a lot more sale dates throughout the year and a lot more cross border type stuff going on and so the landscape's incredibly complex, so it's being able to make that nice and easy for brands to be able to do that, without sucking up a huge amount of their time and resources.
Jonny Hendriksen: There's also a lot of hard work still needs to be done.
So we're very much, make the briefing process really easy and leave all the design to us and we've got our own in-house design studios that we run and produce all the designs ourselves.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. What's impressed me is what the team and you have done is to actually be able to create content at scale. And that is one of the biggest challenges as we've over the years, that's a challenge for everyone, whether you're a blogger, digital publisher or a video creator. And a video especially, is hard to create professionally quickly and cost effectively.
Jeff Bullas: What are the tools you're using? How's artificial intelligence and machine learning, how's that playing out?
Jonny Hendriksen: We're trying to keep it really simple at the moment Jeff. I think ultimately, yes the world will go there but we're trying to solve a much more simpler problem, that's imminent right now for marketers and I think that too much of AI and can actually sound quite jazzy but it can actually cloud what the actual problem that's being confronted at the moment.
So as we move on, going forward with data and so forth we'll start to look at some of that, but at the moment we're trying to keep our proposition, the pain point that we're trying to solve, nice and simple.
Jeff Bullas: I don't know whether you want to talk about this or not, but there was a recent acquisition of Shuttlerock, of a company which keeps humans in the mix especially, in terms of scaling.
Jonny Hendriksen: We haven't yet, no that hasn't come through for the moment.
Jeff Bullas: Okay. All right, cool. So Shuttlerock in 2020, it's the roaring '20s and you've got global offices everywhere. So I think, what have we got? There's about 150 staff or something now on board?
Jonny Hendriksen: Yeah. It's an exciting year ahead. There's more going on in the video space. The other issue is Coronavirus, which I was not going to bring up today. Like any time, with growing a business you have to roll with the punches, so it's really making sure that we're navigating our way through what could be quite a difficult 2020 if things change dramatically to the worse. But the proposition and what we do I think is really positive though, I think if we're making it easier for brands to create that lightweight video in the market, we believe we're in a position that we can do really well.
Jeff Bullas: Cool. Yeah, so I suppose just before we wrap it up Jonny. I know you're busy and you've mentioned the four pillars of the table as an entrepreneur, we've covered those. To aspiring entrepreneurs and people in business, everything has its challenges. What's maybe some challenges that you've faced?
Jonny Hendriksen: Well, I think the biggest thing Jeff, over the years, it's all about people. The first thing is actually really getting great people. I think that and I'm getting good people. To get good people I think it's actually the hardest thing for many businesses is actually creating a business model that, going back to those four pillars, that actually fits into those four, it's tough to be able to get a business that's got good margins and is scalable.
Jonny Hendriksen: So actually I think probably one of the most important thing is actually patience as well. We've been going for eight years, building good businesses takes time. I think that you see a lot of entrepreneurs that just want to go there immediately, but the reality is that it does take time. And just to figure that out until you get it right.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah. I certainly admire, I've been watching you over the years and we've talked a lot and I think you've got a couple of super powers that I watch and have experienced. Number one was your ability to build a team and a culture. And I know culture is really important to you. I think one of the super powers that you have in that space is that you make everyone feel special. And I think that's really, really important in terms of, you've got that capability and charisma which I've admired over the years.
Jeff Bullas: The other super power I think you have Jonny, is that persistence and patience to play the long game and Shuttlerock has needed that. Sometimes it's just lasting long enough to actually get it profitable.
Jonny Hendriksen: Thank you. Thank you for that. They're very kind words. But it is all about enjoying the journey, I think patience and it almost sounds like a negative. It's sort of like be patient. If you flip it on it's end it's actually enjoy the journey. It's actually rather than it sounding too negative like patience, because that sounds like you're not hungry enough or you're waiting. It's actually probably not really patience, it's actually more just, well it is patience, take your time, figure it out but whatever you do, make sure you enjoy that journey because rather than when the company's X, Y, Z size and so forth, it might take some time.
Jeff Bullas: I think that's what a lot of people discover. They're going, "Okay, I've exited, I've sold my company for X, I can now put my feet up, I've arrived." And what we all discover as human beings, that the joy is in the journey, it's not arriving because we never arrive. And I think the philosophy, especially the Taoism and Confucianism is it's basically, the journey is what it's all about. And I think as human beings we struggle with that tension between success and just enjoying the journey and giving enough space and permission to enjoy it along the way, because it's going to get tough and there's going to be challenges.
Jeff Bullas: So just to wrap it up Jonny, if there's one thing you'd like to share with the viewers, just one thing that you would like to share with entrepreneurs that maybe are on the journey or are about to start is what's one piece of advice that you could leave with us today?
Jonny Hendriksen: I think, and it goes back to the journey, but it's about having fun. The reason you've gone into business for yourself is that you want that freedom to be able to do what you want to do and I guess that's one of those things, where a lot of people actually go into business themselves, particularly people, they want to give it a challenge. I think the main thing is, to be able to do it for a long period of time. If it takes 10 years or 15 years to build a good business, it's going to have to be something that you enjoy. Or it's going to be very long.
Jeff Bullas: Yeah, strange about that-
Jonny Hendriksen: It's going to be a very long 15 years. So it should almost get to a stage where it's really important. There's a great book which is From Good to Great, which is by Jim Collins, which has got a really lovely thing in there, I think it's called the hedgehog positioning or something. Anyway, it's basically three circles which are overlapped-
Jeff Bullas: I've heard of it.
Jonny Hendriksen: So you've got the top circle which is, business is about doing something that you're very passionate about and then this bottom circle, bottom right hand circle is that there's got to be a financial, once the financial reward or the economic side of it, that's essential and then the third one is what can you become number one in the world at.
And the conversions of where those three match in the middle is really the sweet spot. And once you've found that sweet spot is when it often is the case, it's all off to the races.
Jonny Hendriksen: So I think that really summarizes it really. What are you passionate about? What can you be number one in the world at? And then what's the economic model? Crack that and she's all go. And at the end of the day too, I think you've just got to be tough too because it's not all fun, there are some hardships along the way.
Jeff Bullas: And being resilient is obviously an important characteristic as an entrepreneur because like you said, it's not a bed of roses, there's going to be tough times and realize that they do pass and being resilient. And resilience is something that I really value.
Jeff Bullas: So thanks Jonny for sharing your story. I've learnt a lot today actually, that we haven't actually talked about. For me, it just gives me a really great context about your story and your journey. It's just a fantastic story that I've been wanting to share with the world for a long time and really, it's the hero's journey and that's what we're trying to share with the world is, okay what inspired you? Basically, who's supported you along the way, the mentors, what are the resources you had? What are the challenges? What do you bring back to the world to share, that is your gift.
Jeff Bullas: And you're certainly doing that and have done that and it's been great to call you my friend as well as working together. So thank you very much Jonny and may 2020 and beyond be a fabulous journey.
Jonny Hendriksen: And I look forward to catching up, hoping to get to Sydney at some stage too. So I look forward to, now that I'm having the odd drink or two, I'll look forward to having a glass of wine with you in Sydney.
Jeff Bullas: Okay, that'd be great. All right, thanks Jonny. Okay.
Jonny Hendriksen: Okay, thanks Jeff. Thank you.
Jeff Bullas: Bye.
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