S13E27: How to align your business model for good, with Shane Bigelow (CEO, CHAMPtitles)

An episode of The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast

S13E27: How to align your business model for good, with Shane Bigelow (CEO, CHAMPtitles)

We're continuing our season on "business as a force for good", Richard speaks with Shane Bigelow, CEO of CHAMPtitles, a technology company that is changing the way that vehicle titles are created, managed, and transferred in the United States.

In this conversation, you’ll learn:

  • How to determine if you business is actually a force for good
  • How asking "what if we only got paid from performance?" changed everything...
  • Why Shane went into the unglamorous area of vehicle titles
  • The difference between growth and scaling
  • The 3 levels of company growth and what is needed at each phase

"'Yes' can mean 'maybe', 'maybe' can mean 'no', and no one ever says 'no.'"

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Transcript

Shane Bigelow
This is a global issue, and that the we take for granted in the United States, in particular, that we have easy access to capital because we can show the providence of our assets. So in the US, it's taken for granted that if you have a reasonable income, you could probably buy a house. You could probably buy a car. You can probably get a credit card. But in a lot of the world, in order to get assets, you need cash. Cash is hard to come by as we all know. If we didn't have access to debt to buy a house or buy a car, most of us wouldn't have houses or cars, because you need that debt in order to float you while you make the money to pay the monthly payment. So, in in a lot of the world, you need cash.

And the reason you need cash isn't because they don't have a developed lending system. There's plenty of ways to get a loan. The reason is that you you don't have a the provenance of the asset. You don't know exactly who owns the cattle, the land, the art, the minerals.

Richard Medcalf
Welcome to the Impact Multiplier CEO podcast. I'm Richard Metcalfe, founder of XQuadrant, And my mission is to help the world's top CEOs and entrepreneurs shift from incremental to exponential progress and create a huge Positive impact on our world. Now that requires you to reinvent yourself and transform your business. So if you're ready to play a bigger game than ever before, I invite you to join us and become an impact multiplier Today, I speak with Shane Bigelow, who is the CEO of Champ Titles. This is a technology company that's changing the way the vehicle titles are created, managed, and transferred in the US. Sounds like a boring topic, possibly, vehicle title registration, but it turns out to be more important than you think. But what's really fascinating about this conversation is the business model, is the way that she figured out how to align all the stakeholder interests so that he's working on the real issues, Everybody is engaged, all the different components of the industry. As a result, they're seeing enormous growth.

And we also look at what the purpose is behind this, Why Shane feels he's being a force for good in this particular sector by doing things in this particular way? This is a great example of technology being used to solve real pain points that affect millions of people. Enjoy this conversation with Shane Bigelow. Hi, Shane, and welcome to the show.

Shane Bigelow
Hi, Richard. How are you?

Richard Medcalf
Hi. I'm great. Thank you. Looking forward to this conversation. I wanna jump straight into something that you've said. You've said it's entirely possible to do well while doing good. But then you said, well, everyone says this, but very few people do it. So tell me a bit about that.

We'll we'll fit in a bit of the stories as we go here, but why what how do you make that a reality? How do you how have you found in your own business at Chump Titles, that you've been able to do well and do good at the same time?

Shane Bigelow
Yeah. Well, thanks for asking. You know, it is something that everybody says, and I think they they say it because they they mean it. Right? People want to do something good with their lives. I think most people believe that doing well for others, treating others the way you wanna be treated is is a is the proper goal of of life. And, in fact, most religion on the world would tell you that that's the proper goal. But, but the reality is when you get into business, You know, you've got mouths to feed, not just your own family, but your your team, your investors, and it's easy to get pulled away by profit. I think in in our world, we we digitize the the process to title and register assets, so we replace systems of record for states so that they can have a faster and easier way to title and register assets, what we found was we got a little bit lucky.

Right? We made that our goal, like so many companies do, But along the way, we identified that in the process of digitizing the, title and registration, efforts that someone or or a car dealer or a fleet operator or an insurance carrier or a lender might go through. There were a lot of byproducts that were really good for the world. We you know, on on average, if a state uses our system, they'll drop somewhere around 10,000,000 sheets of paper a year from their process, never mind the carbon footprint of shuttling all that paper around on, airplanes and trucks and and cars and such. And there's also the the side effect of When you have a lot of these cars sitting around, you can't recycle them, particularly in the moments of total loss. Think of a big accident or a natural disaster. Those cars that are destroyed have to go somewhere. They often go to a salvage yard, and you can't legally sell them until you have the title. So by shrinking the time frame of the process, the recycling efforts, which go into taking those cars and parting them out, and stopping them from, you know, endangering the the earth with, catching on fire or getting fluids into the ground.

All of that is eliminated by having a process that happens in hours instead of months. And so these byproducts of reduced paper and, faster recycling, we're and and less carbon footprint were really pleasant offshoots of the technology we created. The other thing that is maybe, a little harder to put a number on, but certainly easy to think about, is the time tax. People no longer have to wait in line at DMVs in order to go get their title and registration. With our technology, it can be done online and quickly, and so that time tax is time given back to you, time to go spend with your family, time to go make your own money at work, time to, you know, rest and recuperate or be with God. But it the those moments are back in your hands because you're no longer standing in line at the DMV, and so all of this is part of the way we try to do good. We look at our technology and try to build it in a way that we will pick up these good things for people along the way, and I think that validates then our our path, towards the revenue and profit that we make.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. That's helpful. Being a bit provocative, it it sounds like in some ways, it it's it's dependent on the luck of picking a good, you know, a good Business model in the 1st place or a good product or service in the 1st place. But even another way of looking at it, I'm thinking, doesn't every business Generate a product or service that benefits customers in some way. Otherwise, they wouldn't be purchasing it. So I'm kinda wondering How you distinguish between, should we say, the the common experience of any business, which is we're We're selling things which people obviously wanna buy, therefore adding value, and perhaps a more focused or more intentional, perspective.

Shane Bigelow
Yeah. I you know, I'm a my background's finance, and so, I tend to think of everything like an Excel spreadsheet. And and so, there's a calculation in finance called net present value. You'd you take the future values of everything you're gonna create, and you try to back it all down to what that dollar amount would be today. And, you know, it's not the the hardest of calculations, but it's a very valuable calculation because you get down to one number. And when I look at what it costs for us to create our technology versus the benefits that are received, there's a huge net present value to the world. Right? The the cost of of us sitting and writing the code and, traveling to see our customers and and and be with them to understand their requirements is far less than the cost of people having to travel into the DMV, wait in line, have cars, leak fluids into the ground and destroy the earth, you know, have a huge carbon footprint by mailing things around and such. And so the net present value of everything we'll do over time is really high.

There are some businesses where their their their value is negative upfront. They have to spend a lot of money in order to create a product that 10, 20, 30 years from now will be really meaningful to the world, also has a high net present value. But there are some businesses that can make a lot of money, but every year, their net effect on humanity or the world is actually negative. The product might give, you know, temporary joy to the user, but the net effect on the world is actually negative. And so I think, you know, I I don't I don't believe that people wake up trying to figure out how to create that 3rd type of business. I think they find themselves in that 3rd type of business, sometimes accidentally. But we yes. We were lucky enough that we're in one of the first two.

Ours happens to be version number 1. Right? You could look at, you know, A lot of, technologies that are out there today, they're kind of in version number 2, also good for the world long term. But, yeah, there is a bit of luck. There is a bit of luck.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. So, yeah, so what I'm hearing really here, Shane, is is it's really about the expansiveness of your vision. Right? Because if you're only focusing on customers, shall we say, or short term customer benefits or something. You might say, well, there's obviously some trade off. Otherwise, they wouldn't have purchased, like they. But then the question is as we broaden our view and lengthen our view, incorporate all the other stakeholders, all the other constituencies. Question, is it still a positive equation? And, you know, and often that people don't look at that. Right? Because let's face it.

Like, the financials, the bank state of the bank account is the easiest thing very often to measure for most leaders. But when you wanna be a force for good, you need to actually think about, well, what's the the The bigger picture here. Right? What's the biggest system that I'm influencing? And that's really what I'm hearing you say, Rob, with this kind of first two sorts of business versus the third one where, yeah, if you look Sure. The microcosm, it looks okay, but you look at all the other collateral damage or impact, and the equation isn't quite where it should be.

Shane Bigelow
Yeah. I mean, you know, like most, you know, technology companies, we we've been financed by investors. Right? You know, My cofounder and I put money in, and then we we had investors. Well, you have to have the right investors that have that same vision. You know, I I came from Wall Street. It sounds counterintuitive for me as someone who benefited from Wall Street to say this out loud, but This is one of the problems with going public, is that if you go public, then every 90 days, someone wants to see what you've done for them in the last 89 days. And it's not the most efficient way to build a business that can either, a, be most profitable, or b, do best for the world. Right? I look at the the way that Warren Buffett runs his businesses.

By design, in that public shell, he's bringing in private enterprise and giving them time to go build really good businesses. And there's lots of other versions of that out there in the world, probably smaller versions of Warren Buffett, obviously, but lots of folks do that. That's a great way to have a partnership with your investors that look for these things. But, you know, frankly, it's also more profitable over time. I think people want to do business with companies that do good. Right? We see every day, you know, tech giants that are being turned on because They manipulate their position of power, and sometimes they have to retrench and and apologize and then go back to being doing good things again. And that's great. That's great.

That's the maturity cycle. You wanna see that out of executives and out of leadership that they can admit when they were wrong. But I think in a smaller company stage, You know, if all you do every day is try to do good, you probably won't build something very big because you've got other constituents to be concerned with. If all you do is build something profitable, you probably won't build something good unless you're just particularly lucky. If you can balance the 2, Over time, everybody's happier, your team is happier, people feel a greater sense of accomplishment, and, you know, that's, that's a that's a legacy as a company that I think we wanna leave behind. Right? At some point, you know, somebody else will probably be running champ, and, you know, I want, I want that person to step into a legacy that's, really good for them.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. So let's let's talk about this because, this broader view, because I know that you've said that one of your Best skills perhaps in business is actually what you call playing fair. And, yeah, do you wanna talk a bit about this? Because everyone might say, well, it sounds good, but, like, I know you have a very specific way that you've implemented that when it comes to thinking about your your stakeholders.

Shane Bigelow
Yeah. So, you know, I'm I'm a socially liberal, fiscally conservative type of person. So, my my view is basically, you know, let people live their life the way they wanna live it, but from a government perspective. Don't spend my money foolishly. I gave you my taxes because I had to, and I wanna see it spent well, so I wanna elect the right people. Well, like a lot of governments in the world, particularly in the in the first world economies. You see that money gets spent in, you know, somewhat auspicious ways at at times. And, and so when we looked at our world of being a contractor to the government, What we said as a company was, well, wait a minute.

The problem with being a government contractor is that you're incentivized to win a contract, take a huge check from the government up front, and then do as little as you possibly can until there's a renewal, and then fight as hard as you can to get a renewal and try to do it again. It's a horrible process. The government overpays. The the the vendor has little incentive to perform well over time. Instead, what if we only got paid for performance. Right? What if the only way that we, as a government contractor, got paid was if we did our job correctly? And I believe in my heart of hearts that if more government contracts went this way, you'd see better fiscal funding from every government in the world, particularly in the United States. And so what we did was we said, okay. We're gonna take over title and registration transactions for you.

We're gonna do this for you. We're gonna give you this system for free, but we only get paid if the if the world moves with us. If the world decides to continue to use paper, to continue to drive in the DMVs, to continue to mail things in, we're not really gonna get paid on that. But if the world moves to digital with us because we believe we've supplied a better product, then then we should get paid for that transaction. And so that put us on the exact same side of the table as not only the government, but also our constituents, the the car dealers, the fleet operators, the insurance carriers, the lenders, they they want that too. And so by being on the same side of the table, there was no one on the opposite side of the table. No one's losing in this action because it's pay for performance. As I started thinking about it, I realized that our government should actually make just about every vendor a performance based contract vendor.

Now there are some you can't you probably don't wanna do it with military, or space travel because, you know, frankly, you gotta pay for some of that upfront so it's invested in well and it works. You can't like, hey. Let's try out this new helicopter and see if it works. That that's not a good way to do it. You have to test it. You gotta pay for it up front. But this this type of stuff that we do and so many other companies do for government, should all be pay for performance. So I believe that's the fair way to do it.

Why should a contractor get paid for work that doesn't work. And so often in government, we hear about that. It's time for that to change.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. So I love that, approach because you say it aligns all the incentives. And it means, I I guess, from your perspective, yeah, rather than looking about how do we secure the next contract, it's more about how do we Make things so compelling that they add value. People want this thing. Right? So it moves from a push to a pull a pull model.

Shane Bigelow
Yeah. You know, So often, government's sold to to solve the daily problems of the employees of government, and that's important. You know? Right? Now you think about a title clerk, Their work is is often difficult, often tedious, and and requires a lot of detail orientation. However, solving a government worker's problems is only part of the solution. The real issue is, what is government there to do? Government is there to supply a service to its constituents. So our view was, hey. We can solve the problems of the title clerk. That's actually probably not the hardest thing to do.

The hard thing to do is to know the problems of the constituent, know the problems that a car dealer has with file and registration that a lender has with putting a lien on a title, that an insurance carrier has with getting a title at the end of a a life of a car and total loss that a fleet has in managing the the the title, know those problems, and deliver technology through government that solves those problems. And our theory was if we did that, if we really understood that those worlds well and brought in the expertise to do that, and we had a lot of that expertise ourselves, then the users would come. It's a it's a little field of dreams ask, right, if you build it, they will come. It was a very similar concept, and it seems to be working.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. So that's interesting. Is it when you are being paid for performance for adoption, it really forces a level of understanding of The the market needs and what people will value at a new level, right? Because you're so invested in this has to work, right? We need People to want this thing.

Shane Bigelow
That's exactly.

Richard Medcalf
Shane, let's rewind a little bit. How did you get into this game? Right? Vehicle titles, moveable assets. I mean, it's not the kind of thing that people necessarily dream of when they're a little boy running around the you know, in the backyard. So so what was you know, how did you kinda come across this and made ice as something you wanted to invest your own time and and energy into?

Shane Bigelow
Yeah. Like you said, it's it's not the thing that gets you a lot of, it's not like my kids go to school and say, oh, my dad builds titling technology. And, you know, I think they skip over what it actually does and probably just say software as it sounds at least like it could be cooler. So, so, yeah, the reason that we got into it is, you know, a series of experiences in life, and, in my 1st company that I started right out of college happened to relate to automotive lending. So you see the problems that a lender has putting liens on titles. But, really, you know, you expand from that problem. This is a this is a global issue in that that we take for granted in the United States, in particular, that we have easy access to capital because we can show the providence of our assets. So in the US, it's taken for granted that if you have a reasonable income, you could probably buy a house.

You could probably buy a car. You can probably get a credit card. But in a lot of the world, in order to get assets, you need cash. And cash is hard to come by as we all know. If we didn't have access to debt to buy a house or buy a car, most of us wouldn't have houses or cars, because you need that debt in order to float you while you make the money to pay the monthly payment. So, in in a lot of the world need cash. And the reason you need cash isn't because they don't have a developed lending system. There's plenty of ways to get a loan.

The reason is that you you don't have a the provenance of the asset. You don't know exactly who owns the cattle, the land, the art, the minerals, the things that that need to be shown the correct providence so that a lender feels comfortable giving you a loan, an insurance carrier feels comfortable insuring the asset. Until you have insurance and lending in a market, you don't really have a developed market. What what you have is a sort of a a more, juvenile version of commerce. Because once you in in in include lenders and insurance carriers, you derisk those transactions not only for the consumers, but also for the businesses and for the insurance carriers and the and the lenders. So the reason that title and registration is so important is that if it works really well, all the skids are greased, so to speak. It's it's so much easier if the system of record, the provenance of the asset is easy to come by for lenders to involve themselves and insurance carriers to involve themselves. And when you have those 2 players, you get commerce, and that's what we wanna bring to states and the rest of the world.

Richard Medcalf
I hope you're enjoying this conversation. This is just a quick interlude to introduce you to 2 transformative programs that we run. The first is Rivendell, My exclusive group of top CEOs who are committed to transforming themselves, their businesses, And the world. It's an incredible peer group and a deep coaching experience that will push you to new heights no matter how successful you've already been. The second is Impact Accelerator, a coaching program for executives Who are ready to make a big leap forward in their own leadership. It's regularly described as life changing, and no other program provide such personal, strategic clarity, a measurable shift in stakeholder perceptions, and a world class leadership development environment. Find out about both of these programs at xquadrant.com/services. Now back to the conversation.

So I get that in terms of the value proposition and why it matters. What I'm really curious about is why did you decide To launch in here, did was it like a personal experience of having difficulties selling your car? Was it just a you Had the revelation there's a gap in the market. What you know, what's I'm just really curious, like, what pulled you into this into this area?

Shane Bigelow
Yeah. It's certainly you you know, there's a gap in the market. You know, there hadn't been a new entrant in this space for, approximately 15 plus years. So, certainly, the space needed a bit of shaking up, but, it was a handful of experiences. It was that 1st company in automotive lending, seeing how difficult it was for lenders to put liens on and off of titles swiftly. It was a bit of time I spent, with a a charity and a and a former employer, looking at trying to give loans in parts of Sub Saharan Africa, and we weren't able to because we couldn't show the provenance of the assets we were trying to lend against. And so we wanted to bring really high quality lending products into a market, and we couldn't because we couldn't get we couldn't really show who owned the asset, and so lenders wouldn't wanna lend in that environment. And and I I I liken this to maybe a little bit of my time in grad school as well.

I get I I went to a grad school, and there were probably half the people there went into, you know, some sort of, for profit entity and sort of half went into the nonprofit world. And And it seemed like a lot of the folks who are going in the nonprofit world were all trying to go into microlending, which at at its heart is an awesome endeavor for people to follow. Right? The concept of bringing small loans to people who couldn't otherwise access the capital so they can go build a business makes logical sense. The problem is lenders with all the money, insurance carriers that sit behind those lenders, they don't wanna lend into a world where they have to give, you know, $51,000 loans, and they don't know the provenance or quality of the underlying asset. It's not safe for them to do it. They have shareholders too. And so when I saw this, I realized, well, wait a minute. If you can solve the system of record issue, then you can solve the lien issue for the lenders.

You can, bring a new entrant into the space. You can allow for anyone to get these smaller loans, and you can solve this microlending issue that so many grad school students try to really go out and and achieve, but but maybe don't because the capital markets really don't allow them to. This this allows everyone to be able to access that provenance, and system of record for good, and use it to bring more commerce into the world and enable more of these businesses just to be built, not only in other countries, but even in our own states, even in the in the United States. This happens all the time. Many many people get car loans that are and they're mispriced. They're paying way too much for their interest. They could be paying a lot less, and so A lot of it has to do with, do you really understand the asset that's being lent against? So by solving that problem through government, I think we bring that to the world. That's why I got into it because I I was passionate about bringing this, this option to everyone in in not only the US, but in the world.

Richard Medcalf
Fantastic. So, yeah, let's talk about that. What's it what would it look like for For champ titles over the next, few years to multiply its impact. You know, what what's your dream scenario? What are you what's the endgame here or Even the endgame, what's the next game that that you wanna pay?

Shane Bigelow
I think that, you know, listen. There are lots of folks out there trying to, I think, understand what we're doing, and and I think that the if I fast forward a few years, What I'd like to do is get our technology in the hands of of as many citizens in the United States as possible, and that means more states adopting our technology. And then we're getting, you know, sort of a a I think at this point, and it's hard to figure this out exactly, but I'm pretty sure we're the fastest growing company that's ever entered this space. And I think it's because states are looking at us and saying, hey. That technology is really good. Like, this can really help us. I I think then you you start to look and say, well, Could we do this in the rest of the world? Are there countries that can benefit from this? I I do think that that's a, a very logical place for our technology to firm, but, obviously, we're in the United States. We've got a long way to go to get from from here to there.

But since you ask about where the 2 years would go. I think it's more states, it's more people using it, and eventually, it's looking overseas.

Richard Medcalf
You know, it's interesting, Sayin, it's just me provoking your thinking of it here. A previous guest many seasons ago had a great distinction between scaling and growth. And, I think their distinction was scaling is like doing the same thing in, you know, in more places, more jurisdictions, more customers. Right? Whereas growth is new things, I guess, is probably how they would describe it. So what's coming to my mind is, clearly, it makes a lot of sense On one level to say, well, let's kinda scale, you know, through the US, enter as many states as possible, and then, you know, we can think about Expanding internationally. Part of me wonders, well, you know, perhaps it doesn't have to be linear Because perhaps the capabilities that you're gonna need internationally don't depend on the number of states that you're in nationally. And there's also other issues, I know investment focus and things, but there might be an opportunity there to think about, You know, what under what conditions would you be able to expand internationally? It might not be you. It might be have to be through a partner.

Right? It might be through, well, some other structure. Who knows? Right? Because I understand there's there's a lot of focus, I'm sure, and a lot of kind of grunt work in, like, you know, opening those different doors. Yeah. Possibility. What if what if you could you could have these 2 curves going at once?

Shane Bigelow
Well, I I do think, I I like I don't know who your guess was, but I like what they said about the differentiation between scaling and growth, and I totally agree. I think in the US, and most developed markets, you scale a product like ours because, it's fairly well defined what it needs to do on the back end, whether it's done digitally or in paper. But in, particularly in developing markets. That's where growth opportunities come in. That's where, you know, the thousands of lenders and I don't even know how many insurance carriers and and dealers that are on our network now could all be part of that ecosystem. Right? And so you see the opportunities for growth in that circumstance that that don't really exist in the US where the rules are defined state by state by state. If you're defining them at a national level, I think you have much more opportunity for growth. And and, you know, we partner with government.

Right? It's whether or not governments want to apply this technology to their constituents. It's very different than as I as I joke often, we're not selling wine online. Right? We're not just presenting the consumers an option and saying, here. Go buy it. We partner with government and government supplies it. And so a lot of it is, does the government are they willing to do that? Are they looking to solve that problem for their constituents? Not all governments are. I think there's a lot of players in the space that try to solve the problem for the constituents, not recognizing that You have to partner with government to get this done correctly. And, and I think that's what we've we've figured out and what we keep doing.

But, yeah, I think we can scale and grow, but it might be in, you know, 2 different places.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. Again, I'm not giving you the business advice, but it Sounds there's something there that is interesting to explore, right? Because you might get to the end of the mountain saying, well, I've conquered, you know, all the states, done it all. And now actually, the thing I, the other thing I Had my mind all these years. I'm not really I'm still nowhere on.

Shane Bigelow
So just just but I agree that that that is certainly a possibility. That said, if we got all 50 states, it would be, it'd be quite the coup. I don't think anyone's ever gotten more than, say, 15 or so. So

Richard Medcalf
Who knows? Well, you know, who knows? So the other question I'd love to ask, right, at this point is It's about you as leader because take away my crazy ideas of, you know, preemptively entering other markets. But even as you scale From where you are now to where you could become in the US, how are you gonna need to change as a leader To facilitate that that that growth because we're often the bottleneck in our own, you know, our own businesses. Right? We're often, you know, as we well, in other way, as we grow, the business grows and vice versa. So I'm always curious as to what what do you think might be your next Evolution in your own leadership.

Shane Bigelow
Yeah. I think a a good CEO has a strong team around them that worries about the next 6 months to a year while CEOs spend time worrying about, you know, 12 months and beyond. And so, you know, when you start a company, that the people that are around you, sort of what I've observed is from 0 to 10, help you with the ideas. When you cross the 10 and you have a couple of customers, you start to have to deliver things, and you get to about 20 or 25 people, and you need a team that can deliver consistently, repeatedly, and with discipline. And that's it that's often a different skill set for the CEO. It's often a different skill set for the team. When you get to, you know, 50, 60, 70, all the way up to a100, you're trying to, to your earlier point, try to prepare the company for scalability and for growth, and someone's gotta be seeing around the corners to know what's coming our way. Is it a competitor? Is it a shift in in market appetite, is it a macroeconomic effect, a systematic risk that we need to, you know, duck and weave around? So I think what changes for me over time as I try to match what the company needs, but but be a bit ahead of it.

You know, when you're 0 to 10 people, you might be a few months ahead. You're 25, you're maybe a couple quarters ahead. At our size now, I'm I'm, you know, try to be 12 to 18 months ahead. And, thankfully, I do have a great team, and I I know it's Cliche because a lot of people say it, but we've got a great team that they they can handle, absolutely everything, you know, in the next 6 to 12 months, and I I I don't need to be involved with that, in order to know that we'll be successful. What I need to do is make sure that I'm giving them somebody who is looking further out and, and able to or trying to see around the corners. I hope I'm good at that. I don't know. Right? I don't really know.

I know we have a great team, and and I know we all, from time to time get sucked into the the problems of the singular day. But I think if you bifurcate your your your company into who handles day to day, who handles quarter to quarter, who handles, you know, half a year to half a year, who handles a year and beyond. And and it's not it's not exactly, delineated, you know, so that people don't cross over those borders. Certainly, my senior leadership team spends a lot of time talking about 18 months, 24 months out with me, and they spend a lot of their time thinking about it too, but they don't spend all of their time thinking about it. I I spend almost all of my time trying to think about that. So that's how we shift and change over time, and The number of people is only indicative of the success of the company, not because it's the necessarily just the number of people. It's just the sort of stage of company. So I use that as a metric, but not as a guidepost.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Yeah. That's really helpful, Shane. So before we wrap up, I had one other question I wanted to ask you, which is that you're a big fan of the word no. So tell me about that. Does this just mean that you shut down all your team members? I don't think it does. Tell me what what what why why you think no is Is a great word.

Shane Bigelow
This probably stems from, experiences over time of, dealing with people, in different geographies. I've had the good fortune to travel a good bit of the world and and live in in a lot of different places in the United States. And, what I've observed is that for some people, yes means maybe, maybe means no, and nobody says no because they wanna hurt your feelings. In in other places, no isn't just no. It's, an expletive and then the word no. And I started comparing those 2 environments. Like, well, what's better, for someone not to hurt your feelings, but you can't really read, you sort of have to interpret, or for them to just tell you flat out, no. My view is that the latter is definitely better because you save time, and the only thing that makes us equal in this entire world, Literally, the only thing, besides God, is that we have a 168 hours every week to spend however we want.

So if someone can make my time more efficient by giving me a no faster, I'm thankful to that. And, also, Now I I look at no as just a stumbling block on the way to yes, which is a quote I stole from some people I used to work for at at at Cisco. And, I love that quote because if you hear no, you know that that path didn't work, find another path. And As long as you're not, you know, chasing a fool's errand, but you you believe that your solution is good for that customer, then no is just a stumbling block on the way to yes. But faster you get to know, you know to stop going down that path, hit reverse, and go a different way. And so the word no is particularly useful, and it's often hard to hear. Like, in this participation trophy generation that sort of exists for the last 35, 40 years, The problem is that people haven't heard no. And and when you say no, they often think, oh, you're being mean.

You're being rude. I look at it like, oh, thank you. That's great. I now know, no pun intended, where to spend my time. And and so I think no is a great word if and it's a motivating word, and it's a word that people need to be comfortable saying more often because, frankly, We have a 168 hours. The number of weeks you get on this Earth are limited. So why would you wanna waste it with a maybe?

Richard Medcalf
Well, yeah. I mean, one of my phrases is that yes lives in the land of no. So if you wanna get a yes, you need to get some nos, right, because they go together. Another one is example from my own, recent business. I was working with a leader, and she actually explained, you know, one of her Things she has to work on is challenging her team and not, you know, making and being decisive and being clear and not being too facilitative in staying in that space. And, very clear. Okay. Great.

And, so I suggested a couple of next steps in our conversation. We kinda run out of time then, so we Good following up over email. And again, the message back was, yeah, you're really interesting. Let me muse on this. Okay. Fine. I have a follow-up with Peter. And then again, it's like another thing.

Yeah. Let me explore a bit further. I sent her a message. Like, I get it. What you mean is no. Right?

Shane Bigelow
Yeah. Exactly.

Richard Medcalf
Right. Like, but actually, don't you see that what you're doing there is exactly what you do with your team, right by leaving ambiguity, and not deciding And and not saying what has to be said. And it's just frustrating that we can do this. Right? We can start instead is your you know, yes could be maybe, maybe could be no. Then nobody says no, but it's kind of that, yeah, has a real cost because that was showing up in one particular conversation, but I wonder where else that shows up in that business and what the impact is.

Shane Bigelow
I totally agree. I mean, I the part of the problem is that everyone's gotten very sensitive about hurting someone else's feelings, and I get when that relates to something that is deeply personal. But the answer of yes and no in business is is it's not personal. It's about a decision that, you know, a team or leadership needs to make in order to move a business forward. And, you know, if you don't agree with it, you can go work somewhere else. Right? And I I imagine that that that person you're mentioning is probably having higher attrition than they'd like because people are not Sure. They feel like it's a rudderless ship. The the the downside of saying no is that, you know, there is now a generation of people who, because of the participation trophy world, have never really had to hear no.

Richard Medcalf
Well, it's crazy because if you think about it, Let's mention you went to McDonald's and they said, like, would you like fries with that? Like, they're not gonna get their fittings hurt, Right? Because you say, no, I don't. Thank you. No. It's not making an offer. Is that valuable for you? Yes or no? Right? Somehow, we take out into other context, other parts of business, and suddenly feel more sensitive about it. But

Shane Bigelow
Do you imagine if someone in line said, well, let me think about it. Go make my food. It's like, no. No. No. There's people behind you that wanna order, which is probably why McDonald's went to a screen in most of the their stores in the United States. You just punch it in. You now you just put your choices in.

There's no and that there's a little clock that actually times you down. It tells you. Wouldn't that be great in business if we could pull a little clock and say you have this much time to answer the question? And and so I I think that that's you know, we need a bit more of that, but I understand and empathize with the complexity of having to learn how to deliver that message, but if but if we if we if we treat it more like McDonald's, that we're not trying to offend you, we just wanna if you wanted fries with that. Right? It's okay. Fine. No fries. Got it. Just take my Big Mac and move on.

Richard Medcalf
Perfect. Well, hey, Shay, it's been a fun conversation. People wanna find out about you or about about the business, Champ Titles, you know, where do they go to do that?

Shane Bigelow
Yeah. I would highly recommend no one find out anything about me. I I I think advice is worth what you pay for it, and this is free, so don't value it too much. But the company is great. It's champ titles .com. So check out champ titles .com. And if you're desperate to see something about me, I'm on LinkedIn and pretty easy to find.

Richard Medcalf
Perfect. Well, hey, Shane. Thanks for sharing some of these insights. I've enjoyed the conversation. You know, we've we've gone over quite a few things, doing well versus doing good. This kind of systems thinking as as we explore the impact on stakeholders, aligning our interests, right, and with that of the people that we're trying to serve, therefore, really having to go deep into what drives those people, your longer term vision and mission perhaps to to be the world's last large, largest asset registry for movable assets and what that might look like in the United States and elsewhere, Playing fair, what that looks like. And and, yeah, this point around no. Right? And actually being seeing that as a tunnel to success, a path through which we need to pass if we're to achieve what we want.

So it's been a fun conversation. I do appreciate it. I look forward to, following along.

Shane Bigelow
No. Thank you, Richard. It's very nice you to spend the time. I really appreciate it.

Richard Medcalf
Thank you. Well, that's a wrap. If you received value from this conversation, please do leave us a review on your favorite Podcast platform. We deeply appreciate it. And if you'd like to check out the show notes from this episode, head to expodrint.com/podcast Where you'll find all the details. Now finally, when you're in top leadership, who supports and challenges you at a deep level to help you multiply your impact. Discover more about the different ways we can support you at xquadrendot

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