S8E10: Difficult decisions on the CEO learning curve, with Thomas Crary, (CEO, Pond5)

An episode of The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast

S8E10: Difficult decisions on the CEO learning curve, with Thomas Crary, (CEO, Pond5)

Thomas Crary (CEO of Pond5, the world's largest content marketplace for video content, with over 100K creators) speaks with Xquadrant's Founder Richard Medcalf.

We are continuing our season "The CEO Learning Curve". Interesting and inspiring CEOs reflect on what got them the top job, what they've learned over the first few quarters in the role, and what lies ahead.

In this conversation, you’ll discover:

  • Why being a "non-traditional CFO" landed him the CEO role (and how you can apply the same mindset)
  • The difficult decision Thomas had to make immediately as CEO - and why it was so important
  • What Thomas did that ended up "unlocking the talent" within the business
  • How to avoid the rigours of business from weighing down too heavily on you

"Hire the person not the resumé."

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More of a video person? No problem.

You can watch this episode and discover more videos on strategy, leadership and purpose over on the Xquadrant YouTube channel.

Transcript

Richard Medcalf
Today, I speak with Thomas Crary, who is the CEO of Pond5, that's the world's largest content marketplace with video content. They have over 100,000 creators and we talk about his learning curve as a CEO. He, he was on what he calls a non traditional CFO and it was that fact of being non traditional and doing things a bit differently that landed in the CEO role. So we'll talk about what he did and how you can apply the same approach. We also got into the difficult decisions that he had to make pretty much immediately upon arriving in the CEO seats, why it was important to act quickly and what he did that actually unlocked talent within the business in a new way. This is a great conversation. Thomas has got a lot of interesting ideas to share. So I hope you enjoy this conversation with Thomas Crary of Pond5.

Hi Thomas and welcome to the show.

Thomas Crary
Hi Richard, Good to be here.

Richard Medcalf
Hey Thomas, it's great to have you today. You're the CEO of Pond5, which is a content marketplace for filmmakers. I think you said you've got over 100,000 creators on this platform and you took over as CEO a couple of years ago right in having been CFO, so you've had interesting transition, having to step up perhaps from a bunch of peers on the executive team to being the leader and so really keen to kind of jump into the learning curve with you today and see what you've got to tell us.

Thomas Crary
Awesome, thanks for having me.

Richard Medcalf
So let's just start by just give us a bit of a background of, you know, again, perhaps in your own words, you know, what's been five, just give us a sense of the business? And then you know, how is it that you ended up coming on board in the first place?

Thomas Crary
Yeah, so Pond5 is the world's largest marketplace for video creators to license content. It's an open marketplace, we connect contributors 100,000 distributors, globally, from over 180 countries to customers in over 180 countries and it's a it's a great model, if you if you if you're a content creator, you can put all of your content online, whatever content you want to license to, to other people on use content or content, you're very proud of it on to the marketplace and when it licenses you, you make revenue on that. So it's a it's a great model. I do with a company for about seven years now. I joined as a CFO, seven years ago, I was I was recruited by one of our investors, Accel Partners who had worked with in a prior life as consultants and you know, it's very, it was it was it was a great opportunity, and I couldn't pass it up. So I joined and it's been it's been a really, really great ride.

Richard Medcalf
Perfect. So first question I've got for you is, and how did you become CEO? Right? You were the CFO? What was your secret sauce? Right? How did you? Yeah, what was it? Would you say that kind of positioned you for the top job?

Thomas Crary
Yeah, I mean, I gotta say, I wasn't really looking to switch from CFO to CEO, you know, it's one of those, you know, ideas that, you know, he said, Well, maybe one or two jobs from now I'd look at a CEO role. But I always thought I'd be the CFO for a while, you know, certainly during my time upon five and probably in for the next job elective for I looked at would probably be a CFO role. You know, I think we ran into an interesting time. This is, you know, this is an interesting time, obviously, in all of our lives in March 2020, when I took over, so it was just about two years ago. Now, obviously, there were some changes going on the world with the pandemic emerging. And we were about a weekend to the pandemic, I think we had just started working home and we were home for about a week when my former boss, the CEO at the time, you know, grabbed me and pulled me aside and said, you know, that he was leaving to take a different job. And, frankly, we were actually struggling, you know, we had a little bit of an acute downturn with the, with the pandemic as so many did. It wasn't as bad as many businesses, you know, that I know, in the travel industry or hospitality, they had a really tough time. But for us, we were down 20 or 30% overnight, and we were, you know, not sure how long that was gonna last for. And it was it was a little scary. And we were burning, burning some cash time and we had to, you know, take actions. So, you know, at the same time we were, we had to we had to lay off some of our team members, including some of the fellow executives, and kind of read cast, you know, the business for the future, not knowing what the future would hold. So this whole time, I was also transitioning on to become CEO. And so we sort of worked through that. And luckily, you know, within a few weeks, actually, within about a month, things that sort of returned to more normal east in terms of, you know, our revenue profile. And actually, we started to get a little bit of a benefit. Over Over the course of the summer as you know, lockdowns persisted, and actually people needed to come find pre shot content, you know, because it was not as easy to go out and, you know, shoot would go into the shoot as a, as a content creator. So, ultimately, we actually ended up in in, you know, kind of coming out of it quite well. But it was an interesting transition, you know, diamonds, certainly one I wasn't, wasn't prepared for.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, so had a couple things. So yeah, it was pretty much overnight that so it sounds like the CEO was going to resign, and what what, why do you think you were kind of chosen as the, as they have been? The replacement was at the finance background, was it? You know? Yeah, did she think, given the complexities, but what was that?

Thomas Crary
Yeah, I mean, I certainly had been there for a long time. At that point. I'd been there about five years, so I knew the business. Well, and, you know, I probably wasn't your traditional CFO, you know, I wasn't someone who focused, you know, in closing the books, and then sort of stopped there, I was definitely the one who would, you know, find my way into every operational department of the company and either either run it or help run it, or at least be inquisitive about it, you know, and I was also someone who's out, you know, doing a lot of the sales, salesmanship, you know, whether it's the partnerships and business development, you know, fundraising, things like that. So, so I had I had the ability, and I think I always had sort of more strategic interests. So yeah, well, I certainly wasn't the only choice they could affect but they, but they did pick me.

Richard Medcalf
But I just want to stop for a second on that one. Because I see this a lot in, I work with management teams a lot. And you've just described actually, in a really nice way, what I call the cross functional business leader hat. Most most executives, they have their functional manager hat, you know, finance, HR, technology, operations, sales, marketing, whatever it is, where they bring their expertise, and they have this cross functional leader hat, I like to describe it as where their business leaders, they're, they're getting inquisitive about what's going on, they're thinking about how to add value in across the business. They're joining the dots across the business, they as you said, you could use it, I got inquisitive, I was in every department in the company, looking at how we can do things differently, right. And I think that's that example of the cross functional business leader hats, that actually resulted in you being probably a great choice for a CEO as to have that had all the time. And I think I just want to raise it, because a lot of listeners, they might be really in their comfort zone in their domain of expertise, I just want to make that point, if you want to become CEO, that is a, that cross functional hat is probably a key one. So I like the phrase of not being a traditional CFO, right. I mean, I think it's I was on a podcast yesterday around with the marketing podcast, and it was the same message, you know, it's like, don't just be a marketing specialist be a business leader? Yeah, it's the same, the same message. So okay, so you. So you, you come on to the company, in a difficult situation. And you mentioned some layoffs, were they things that you had to do almost as your first move as CEO?

Thomas Crary
Yeah, I mean, it was it was together with my, my former CEO, so we kind of put the plan together to, you know, together, you know, obviously worked with our board on that as well. But yeah, we had, we had to lay out some of my my colleagues on the executive team, and some other relatively senior, you know, Peters of companies, sort of the director level and the VP level, so it affected all different levels, but it was definitely, you know, weighted towards the, the higher end of the company. So, you know, we sort of, you know, we knew that we had our cost structure was too heavy for a potentially uncertain environment going forward. And so we had to sort of, you know, take a look at that, and say, Where can we get to be much more efficient, so that we knew that we had, you know, the ability to be profitable, you know, in any environment. So we did that, but it was, it was a challenge, obviously, we didn't know, you know, we thought we had good talent underneath the folks that were letting go. And so we had pretty high confidence in their ability to step up. But there's a lot of uncertainty when you go to people who are a little less proven. So we had less less track record and shorter resumes. But absolutely, I mean, obviously, it came out, you know, turned around very well. In fact, we sort of, you know, experienced a resurgence of performance internally and, and in our results, and sort, I sort of refer to them as like a talent unlock, you know, where we really, you know, found this talent inside the organization and gave them you know, the ability to, to operate freely and successfully and it's really been great. Great for the organization.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, so there's two sides to that. I mean, the first one is, did you find it difficult? Yeah, it's difficult. It's not it's not the probably the move most people want to make as their first on SEO is laying people off, it doesn't necessarily have the ambience, the the message that you might want. So I just want to kind of how did you? How did you deal with that? How was it received? How did you felt?

Thomas Crary
It was incredibly difficult, you know, I mean, I think there was, it was a time of great uncertainty for our company and for the world. And, you know, to try to do that, in a way when we're all working from home, you know, so we are all, you know, suddenly sent back to our homes working remotely, so you're not in touch, and you can't see and, you know, talk to your colleagues the same way. And then to have to deliver all those messages, not just the people that were impacted, which was incredibly difficult, but also the rest of the company, to try and keep the morale, you know, together. And the team together was, was very, it was very challenging. Those those those few weeks were very hard, especially, you know, leading up to it, when I think everyone sort of expected something was coming, they didn't know what it was. So there was sort of the air of uncertainty, you know, knowing that we had to do something up until when we actually did it. And then and then the few days afterwards, but, you know, afterwards after everyone sort of settled into the new reality, and we started to see those glimmers of, of hope coming back and the market coming back, everyone started to actually rally around it. So it wasn't too long, where, you know, went from, you know, very, very bleak and in dire to, to actually, you know, really optimistic, you know, within within a month or two was actually quite remarkable.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, so, yeah, so that was a hard initial phase, but then you kind of things came round? And was there anything that you did afterwards to kind of try to increase morale or giving you like, a release of energy, you know, was something you did there to, to help the company get past that?

Thomas Crary
Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, the main thing we did was, was try and reach out and talk to people, you know, you know, because especially in this sort of remote first environment where we're all from home, there's no outlets in life, right? Because during this time, March, and April, you couldn't even leave your house, really. So, you know, we were all operating on video only. But making sure that, you know, I was probably talking to 10 or 15 people from the company a week, for the course of three or four weeks, you know, while we were kind of going through this transition, and I had all of my other co leaders doing the exact same things that we were getting everyone from one or two angles, very, you know, over a pretty short period of time, and people are feeling connected. Right. So I think just that feeling of connection is incredibly important. And we've continued that, you know, obviously not the same extent, but, you know, making sure that, you know, you're reaching out to somebody, someone you don't normally talk to every day, you know, you know, work work, but, but still feeling connected to people in a way that we can't when we're not in offices.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, I love that and oh, what about the the unlocking the talent piece? Because you mentioned that unlocking the talent? What was that process? I mean, I understand that doesn't seem to people who've gone so there's a bit more space, but like, we're getting what, what did you do? Do you think to help unlock that talent?

Thomas Crary
Yeah, I think first, it's identifying some people that you know, in your organization that you know, have, you know, talent, a talent level, that's, that's particularly high, and then putting them in a position where, you know, their resume may not dictate, they should be there yet, you know, maybe premature on paper, but then you know, what, let's see what this person can do in this role. And we did that, probably across 10 or so roles, maybe 15, relatively senior roles, and all the way down the organization to really multi level, you know, giving people giving people that ability to just try something new. In some cases, we took them from one function and put them in a function they have never had no knew nothing about, we're like, this isn't talented person, this person likes can hustle, and we're gonna see what they can do. And I'd say nine times out of 10, they sort of impressed us, you know, looking back so, you know, I always like to say one piece of advice I always say is, you know, hire the person, not the resume, because you get good people, they'll figure everything else out.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, It's really interesting point, right? You give people a challenge, and you really, you know, that excitement level rises, right, and the commitment, and if they feel that they've got ownership of that, then the commitment level rises. And I think, you know, actually having people who are bored and complacent in their role. It doesn't even doesn't serve them doesn't serve the company, right. But it can be easy to get into that because it feels really safe to be saying, you know, initial know what you're gonna get. Yeah, so it's a fascinating, so let's move on and talk about the surprises. So you obviously, you knew the company ready, you know, you've been CFO for many years. What were some of the surprises or surprising about, about the CEO role that perhaps you weren't expecting when you signed up?

Thomas Crary
Well, I mean, I think the thing I was not looking forward about being the CEO was was all the company meetings, you know, just like you know, hosting an all hands meeting or talking about HR policies and work from home and, you know, pandemic rules and regulations. And that's the kind of stuff that I was like, am I gonna have to do this is this Is this is this my new job, and, and it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. So that's been good. You know, thankfully, I have a good team that helps me prepare a lot of that stuff. So that that helps a lot. But, you know, also, I think, you know, talking to people is something that I actually do really enjoy and uniform, you know, talking to a group, you know, the company, and in trying to, you know, make it an interactive discussion, it's something that I think I can do pretty well, and I try and do. And so that's, that's been, that's been actually pretty good. Obviously, there's been lots of challenges on the business side as well. But, you know, I think, you know, one thing I've been surprised by is sort of the just the rigors of, of business, you know, you know, when you're the CEO, you know, the, the full weight of what's going on with the company, the the successes, or the lack thereof, or just the impatience of results really weighs on you, you know, and, you know, I think we all live in sort of a, we operate in a competitive environment, you realize that the competition is booming just as fast as you are. And you always have to kind of be out thinking them and out, outpacing them, or else you fall behind.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, he said, that weighs on you. It's how do you how do you manage that? If that? Doesn't you find it easy to leave behind when you leave the office, so to speak, and not that there is an office anymore? Everyone's at home? But um, yeah, how have you kind of manage that stress level?

Thomas Crary
Yeah, I mean, I, I like, you know, my big outlet is probably exercise, even if it's at home, you know, I do like to exercise and I think that really kind of gives me a break from from whatever I'm thinking about. But I'm also I am always on, like, I'm definitely that personality that, you know, doesn't fully shut off. Like, my, my downtime is still thinking about something that's work related, you know? And so, yeah, it's, it is a challenge this challenge for me for that reason.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, it's funny, I, one of the things that I have on my desk, probably hold it up, I'm not sure people will see it, if they're on the podcast, I have a little snail. Which is to remind me to slow down to speed up, you know, and, and, because often there's similar things going on, and we can run really fast and just being able to slow down is important. And as you said, switching off is another is another one. So the interest rate, the impatience of results is that you're impatient. So is that like, investors and pressure on you from x outside?

Thomas Crary
You know, I'd say it's primarily my, my self driven pressure, you know, my investors have always been very supportive through their great times, and tough times, they've always been supportive. So I can't really fault them for anything other than, you know, the, the normal level of, of scrutiny, but now it's all self driven, you know, you know, the pressure in this world to grow faster, be more profitable, you know, serve both sides of our marketplace, because we have both customers and suppliers, serve our employees to make sure they're, they're progressing. That's probably the one that actually probably take the most seriously, actually, is the employee employee responsibility. You know, when you hire a smart, ambitious people, you have the responsibility to continue to challenge them. And if you don't, you lose that that edge that they you know, you're benefiting from so, you know, if I had to say loosely for one thing, it's probably mostly my employees and keeping them going.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Yeah. It's it's interesting, the, you know, we when we're trying to measure our progress, you know, often we live with looking forward to all that we can achieve. And there's this kind of gap, right, that's ahead of us. I call it the wall. You know, it's all the stuff we haven't yet done. And I think that can weigh down on people, especially when people are visionary. Have an idea of where we want to be and everything else. And that can really be weighed down, I often say it's great to create that vision to be inspired by into that plans for. But then it's really important to measure the progress and look backwards to measure progress, how far have we come, right? Because otherwise, you're on a game, you can never win, because that horizon keeps going further and further back, right. And it's like, you take, I take my kids walking on the mountainside. During the carpark, they don't want to get out, far too daunting, right? They get up 10 minutes later, they get to look down and down at the car park, and they're really happy at their progress. But if you show them again, how far they've got to go, it's depressing. So...

Thomas Crary
100% I love that actually, you know, that's another thing that surprised me is, you know, I think, as a as a CFO, and as a business analyst kind of coming up to the ranks, I never really appreciated the importance of strategy setting for an organization. You know, for me, it was always decision by decision, make good decisions, and then you'll end up in a good spot, you know, sort of taking it day by day. And then as a CEO, I sort of realized, and I was probably led to this conclusion by other people, but like, you know, if we don't set a course for people, they won't know which direction to run, and then they'll end up being less efficient in their path to get there. And, you know, we've done a lot in the last two years about really trying to set a clear strategy. And that includes, by the way, looking backwards and saying, Well, this is how far we've come this is where we've been successful. This is where we have not been successful. And then because of those two things, where we've been successful doing more of that, and fixing the weaknesses, we have that results in our strategy, you know, and I think that's also been an unlock for us, too, is helping to set that core. So people on the ground can make those individual day to day decisions, without having to, you know, surface every issue up to the leadership ranks. So that's also been, you know, one a surprise to me as someone who, who probably never really appreciated that kind of coming up myself, but also, you know, in terms of how it's turned out.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, I think it's right. I mean, giving that the context people to figure out the right decisions for them to make is one thing, and then I think as well, the other one is just really hard is to help people figure out what's not so important. Right? And that's a hard one, because often be, you know, I think companies can have smarter G's instead of strategies, you know, they just have this better, all these ideas and hopes and ambitions. Or it actually strategies, a knife meets a laser it focuses in it's trying to get to the essential, which is quite hard process, right? And often people want to go quick, and get a quick decision and get a simple answer. And actually, getting to the, you know, getting simplicity often means going through complexity.

Thomas Crary
And I can't believe how much time I've spent helping to craft that, you know, like that was, that was a thing that I could not have imagined spending as much time on something like this, you know, this this document effectively, that, you know, we can all can all kind of agree to and sign up to. But you know, I really do believe it's, it's had it's worth his weight in gold all that time spent, because it's helping everyone else know what they should be working on, and knowing what decisions to make and what to prioritize over something else.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. So I've heard that one of your pets, what are your top tips? My new CEOs might be around that importance of strategy, right? And spending time on that. Yeah, and communicating that. What else would you advise for new CEOs in role? You know, what would you recommend the what? How would they wish they put their attention? Or what habit should they build? Or? What would you suggest to them?

Thomas Crary
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think strategy is a good one. You know, I think, you know, making sure you keep time for free thought, you know, you know, rather than running from every day meeting, to meeting to meeting, you're going to do that, obviously. But you also have to make sure you're have the time to step back. And really make sure you're kind of thinking about, you know, again, are we adhering to our strategy, should we be evolving or changing our strategy at all? Should I be taking, you know, this external call or that external call? Should I be talking to this person in our organization, he needs a time to even think about what you want to do. So you can do it, you know, so yeah, that means I need because ultimately, there's, there's not enough time in the day to do all the things that you should do. So you have to prioritize what are the three or five things you want to get done each day or each week? That can be a path to that? I think, free thought and prioritization is absolutely key.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Beautiful. It's people often struggle. You know, I, many of my clients, you know, their CEO is the top of their game, they're creating amazing things, but they're always, you know, they're all need that, you know, what they don't get enough of normally is time to strategize time to reflect time to have their thinking challenge to get out of their own bubble. open themselves up to serendipity, you know, I like to say to people, it's like, we're often not focused enough, and we're too focused. And what I mean, it's really easy to get focused in on tunnel vision, you know, on doing the things that we thought we need to do, but actually, we're not opening ourselves up to a random conversation with a possible partner, or we're not opening up to the things or having time to think about some of those shifts that you just mentioned, which, at the time doesn't feel like an efficient use of time does it? You know, if you say, you know, if you're having some thinking until you've made the decision, it doesn't feel like it's particularly useful, right? Especially when you're kind of an action orientated kind of individual. But it's the game changing moments. Often it's where you make one decision, find one opportunity that opens up a whole new possibility. Exactly, yeah. So let's, let's move into our kind of quick fire questions. And I think it's always interesting to kind of think about some of the resources and inputs that are going on in the minds of CEOs. So the first one is what's kind of a favorite quote that you know, you might apply to only to share for something that inspires you or that is a bit of a watchword for you.

Thomas Crary
Think about the quote. I've always liked the quote, maybe this is more of a funny one. But you know, this can work at any any dollar amount, but I'll use millions, a million here a million there before you know you're talking about real money. Works with Iraq's with the federal government here, the United States with trillions but it's even better.

Richard Medcalf
I've got it. What about your favorite app? So what's an app that you use on your phone? That is like a key source of your productivity or enjoyment or whatever?

Thomas Crary
Yeah, well, my productivity probably happens a lot around slack. We certainly at bonsai, we use we use Slack a lot for for communications and for, you know, productive communications, as well as sort of just the banter, the office banter, which is incredibly important, I think, to morale to to keep the book connected. So big fan of slack. Personally, I also really use the the audible app, I love listen to books on tape, you know, sort of recorded books just to, you know, get into unplug a little bit, I do it while I'm exercising. So try and get to things that one. So those are probably two apps that I like, a lot.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, perfect and how about a book, what's a book that's influenced you? Your, your, your leadership, be an audio book, right, but what, what comes to you?

Thomas Crary
You know, I actually haven't read a lot of leadership books not on, you know, read or listened to. So I can't say I do that. But I do talk to a lot of people, that's definitely something that I do like to do. I like to keep in touch with other other CEOs and other leaders and get their advice, you know, and it helps kind of frame frame the way I act and look.

Richard Medcalf
Perfect. Okay, what about what advice would you give to your 20 year old self?

Thomas Crary
You know, I, I think I think, you know, let's this is probably this is not just for me, I think this is for everybody, but you always say, I want to get to this next level, because, you know, I won't have a boss, you know, I want to work for myself. And like, you know, people ask me, because like, once you get to see, you know, you definitely have a boss, right, I think that's always interesting. You know, my kids certainly believe this, that, you know, you don't have a boss, daddy, um, I do have a boss. In fact, I have more bosses than anyone right now. You know, you know, I have my employees that my customers, my suppliers, that my partners, I have my investors, of course, my board, there, there's an infinite number of bosses. So and every one of them gets to vote every single day with their feet of whether they approve of your of your, your agreement, or not, so, so don't don't do anything, because you think you're not gonna have a boss because everyone has a boss?

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, it's a great point and it's actually about the complexity of stakeholders. Right? Right. Think about work is contributing, you know, you're contributing to people, then the question is, what's the scope of the people to whom you're contributing, right? And if you are, if you're in a load on the organization, you might just be contributing into your direct boss. Right? When you're in the CEO, you know, you clearly you've got responsibilities towards a whole bunch of people, as you said,

Thomas Crary
You have to look at the role as and this has any role, really any leadership role, your job is to serve, right. Your job is to is to serve the people that you're leading, right and make their jobs easier, make their decisions clearer and that's that that's the job at any level, I think.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, I love it. Thank you. So what about last question is is really just you mentioned that you're in touch with a lot of CEOs. And I'm always interested because many of our best guests on the show come from referral. So you know, is there anybody that inspires you? You know, who's an impactful CEO? You know, who you think is what inspires you? That might be an interesting guest?

Thomas Crary
I don't know. That's think about that one. I definitely I definitely have some friends. That would be interesting.

Richard Medcalf
Okay, well, we can take that offline. Okay, so those are quickfire questions. The the last part is really thinking about your next level. Right? So first of all, for the business for Pond5, where you want to go from here as a business?

Thomas Crary
Yeah, I mean, I think we, you know, we focus every day on growing to be as big as big and useful to our, to our, to our market as possible. You know, I think, like I said, we serve both sides of the marketplace, customers and suppliers contributors onto the site, and we have to keep them growing for lockstep. So, you know, I, I'm very motivated by seeing the steps of, of our artists that contributes to find five. And you know, every time I see new content come online that I think is really interesting, and expands what we have. And I know that will connect with the future customer that that really keeps me motivated. So seeing that success through both sides of the marketplace, customers that love to come to the site and get what they need, and really have a delightful experience while they're there. And then they the artists that see the success and basically run their own businesses through Pon five, that's, that's really, really meaningful to us, too. So seeing that growth on both sides of marketplaces is enough to keep me motivated. So it all comes through that sort of growth metrics that we that we have, because that means everyone's getting getting more money.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, perfect and as you grow the business, what do you feel is will be your personal stretch, right? What are you going to have to do differently, to actually multiply your own impacts to, you know, to lead at a higher level in the business now? You've been enrolling a couple of years? Mr. growth for you, do you think?

Thomas Crary
Yeah, I think it's, it's, it's still balancing sort of the internal and external objectives and growth growth drivers. Right, you know, before I was spent a lot of time doing business development activities, you know, talking to partners and getting partnership deals done. And, you know, obviously, we have a business development team that does most of that. Now, I'm less involved with that I used to be I still can stay involved a bit, but I can't be, you know, you know, I, you know, I can't I can't spend more than x percentage of my time on on those deals themselves. So, you know, I think, trying to balance the really strategic and maybe low probability type deals that you might work on from time to time, but that can be transformational when you get them done. It's hard to balance those types of objectives, the or the urgent from the important, right, as they as I think it was Eisenhower that said, right. Yeah. That's a That's a tough, tough thing to balance.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, absolutely and it's actually the hard one is it's, you know, people often say, let me focus on the urgent and important ones, but that's like, then it's firefighting. You know, if people don't realize it's like, that's, that's feels like it's the obvious place to go. But if you're spending your time there, then basically, firefighting, it sounds heroic is always going to be a bit heroic in business. Like I'm just being firefighting and writing Well, it sounds like I'm a metro, you know, firefighter, right, you know, but actually, it's terrible when things are burning down, I don't think ever when you have to drop everything to deal with something and I think that idea of how do you get onto the front foot? Right? How do you build things strategically and solve problems ahead of time, so that they don't require people to drop things...

Thomas Crary
They know and like fighting fires, even firefighters don't like fighting fires? Or maybe they do but companies, you know, and, you know, I think that's the kind of thing that brings stress to work environment and we've, we've had our share of fires over the years but limiting those, like you said, and getting in front of the issues makes everyone's you know, working systems much more peaceful and predictable.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, absolutely. Well, hey Thomas, be great speaking with you. If people want to find more about you, or about Pond5, how do they best do that?

Thomas Crary
Yeah, I mean, our website is www.Pond5.com. Very easy to find, come on and you know, let us know you found us on on the podcast, we'd love to love to work with you. Or just come and take a look at our site. We're also on on all the social media channels as well, and you're on Pond5.

Richard Medcalf
Perfect. Well, hey Thomas, it's been great speaking with you. They've really enjoyed the conversation and firstly, you know, thinking about what it means to kind of become CEO from this non traditional CFO, as you described it, and they're talking about some of those tough decisions that you had to make educate him on about releasing talent. I think it's been a really rich conversation. So thanks again, and look forward to staying in touch.

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