Todays guest is a true entrepreneur who has a great story about the journey that he has been on - Corey Cormier.
Corey has been developing software for 17 years and has started and sold a few companies. His latest venture is Legal Monkeys which has been rapidly growing since 2009 reaching 50 employees in a few short years. Corey has been a vital component in building a great culture that is infused with mentoring and leadership values.
1:28 - Corey had many ideas, but as regards ideas that he actually did something with - one of them was ‘Student Fuel’. Students were often playing games at 5pm or 7pm and there was a need for decent meals. Corey organized a system for parents to see the schedule of games, order the food and have it dropped off for their kids. He says there are a ton of logistical challenges, but it still has potential.
2:45 - Corey had that business 12 years ago, but after a few years of running it, he decided to dissolve it and move on.
3:40 - He maintains that Legal Monkeys was an accidental business. He believes most entrepreneurs don’t understand what they are doing, and it was a big accident. He was director of IT at the physician centre and had a few attorney friends that hired him from time to time. By accident they discussed software that would simplify some of their tasks, and decided to write it to see if it worked. This software took 90 days of the average length of time to get medical records. They spoke at a conference and showed it to the world and got expressions of interest in the software. After licensing the software out to a legal firm who came back to them as a failed exercise, the boss of the other firm suggested that Legal Monkeys do the work and charge for it as opposed to licensing software - and the rest is history. He discusses the humorous name ‘Legal Monkeys’.
7:25 - The first iteration of the software was very minimal. He reckons it performed just 5% of what it actually was meant to do. Today’s iteration does the other 95% as well. It was basically a query and an excel spreadsheet.
8:50 - Corey is 6 years into the business and they are looking at growing their bottom line profit by 50% and top line by 30%.
10:21 - Legal Monkeys went from a guy writing a code in a room, to being the person involved in running a company in a short place of time. He was lucky to have a good team of advisors around him. Over the years he learned by hiring a business coach and getting other mentors. For it to grow he had to learn to set goals, have goals and hold himself accountable for these goals. His time has shifted a lot as a leader from the tech side to goals and HR concerns to build the team.
12:48 - Legal Monkeys culture includes the ‘Morning Huddle’ which grew from 12 people to over 60 people. They tweaked it to a 5 minute huddle to meet the whole team and breakout to smaller huddles. Every morning Corey gets to meet everyone and inspire the team - and it makes everyone feel connected and a part of a team.
14:12 - Corey tells people ‘its not what you do, its how you do it’ - you’ve got to have fun and have laughs. It can be an amazing fun culture. He gives out free high fives every Friday.
15:09 - Some fun things they do include ‘Monkey of the Month’ - a championship belt that they have fun with. When a new employee starts they welcome them with signs to welcome them on the first day. Its the simple things. Another key part is hiring the right people to be part of that culture.
16:33 - Some people actually have seen this welcome complete with signs and wondered should they even get out of the car. Corey feels he has lost some people because of that, but in a sense, is glad because it is a gauge of how well these people would get along with everybody, despite how high powered they are - perhaps they weren’t the right fit.
18:04 - For Legal Monkeys, they have a top notch screening process. Once a candidate has made it through all the loops, they have to go through a shadow process where they meet with some of the team members, and they are observed to see if they are a good culture fit - Are they engaged?Are they on the phone a lot? At the end of the process 4 team members fill out a form and give it back to the leader. Corey feels that culture and performance are equally important and Legal Monkeys measure both.
20:03 - Corey’s routine includes spending a lot of time in meetings and spends a couple of hours a day only on email. Weekly he meets his ‘ops team’. An ‘ops team’ to Corey is anything thats not tech, not sales, not marketing and not accounting. That manages the 80 or so people working for the company. He also has a 3 hour a week tech meeting.
22:35 - Corey eats for speed. The faster he can consume healthy calories the better. He plans to work out every day - he has to plan it or it won’t happen.
23:44 - He feels once you get to be a busy executive, your work life is planned out for you and thats why even his workouts are also planned out to perfection.
24:41- He’s been reading a lot on family and parenting at the moment as he has a 6 year old son and an 18 month old daughter. He’s read ‘Power of Habits’ recently, as well as some financial material - but its not just business stuff with Corey, its personal growth and family - he’s trying to become a more well rounded individual.
26:45 - Corey loves Tech. For him, Artificial intelligence is a big interest for him. Virtual Reality is also huge.
28:25 - Corey has a Tesla which almost virtually drives itself.
29:59 - He feels the true innovation in the motor industry doesn’t come from within the motor industry, but rather from outsiders doing what the car industry doesn't do.