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I started 3Q at the beginning of the last major economic downturn: 2008. There are many founders who create revisionist history about their businesses and tell tales that suggest that they had some brilliant strategy from day one with step-by-step plans to dominate their industry. I am not one of those people. I readily admit that I quit my last full-time job without any plan for what I would do next, I had no idea that I was quitting at the beginning of a recession, and I pretty much stumbled into the agency world after numerous other entrepreneurial ideas failed. This includes web sites about wrinkle cream, parenting, acne, supermarket food and insurance, as well as a failed conference.
I think, of all of the ideas I had in 2008, 3Q worked because, to use the lexicon of Silicon Valley, I had “product market fit.” Or, in the words of everyone outside of Silicon Valley, I was selling something that people really wanted. And that was, in essence, an agency that treated client money like it was our money, that believed that long-term partnerships were more important than short-term gain, and that offered team members opportunities for continuous growth and a great culture. Those attributes were hard to find in an agency in 2008 and are still hard to find today, and they explain why we have continued to grow year after year.
Over the last few years, we’ve built an extremely talented executive team. Late last year, we brought Rob Murray on board in September as President and Shane Kern as CFO to join a strong team that includes CRO Ellen Corrigan and CPO Laura Rodnitzky. We are now 330 people in eight offices on three continents. Hopefully over the next few years, we’ll be 500 or 600 people, maybe on all seven continents (I am looking for volunteers to open the Antarctica office . . .). I’m convinced that to continue to grow, we need leaders who know how to get us from here to there.
When we brought Rob on board last September, I hoped and suspected he was the person who would ultimately lead us on the journey to become the world’s best growth marketing agency. Over the last nine months, he’s proven me right. So it’s with great excitement that I’m announcing that, effective today, Rob will be taking the reins as CEO.
As for me, the good news (or bad news, I suppose, depending on your perspective) is that I’m not leaving 3Q. I’m going to take the title of “Founder” and spend my time doing much of what I have already been focused on: thought leadership, client relationships, and business strategy.
Thank you to everyone who has been with me on this journey: an incredible network of colleagues, clients, employees, partners, and friends. I have loved my time as 3Q Digital’s CEO, and the journey isn’t over! If you ever want to chat about the future of marketing or Iowa football, or exchange ideas, you know where to find me.