Nathan Martin is the founder and CEO of Deeplocal, a Pittsburgh-based marketing agency. The firm is comprised of creative engineers, hired by brands to build interactive experiences.
Since spinning Deeplocal out of an art and technology lab at Carnegie Mellon University in 2006, Nathan has become a leader of innovation and invention in advertising, creating custom solutions that are often world's firsts.
In the last decade, Nathan has grown Deeplocal’s portfolio to include advertising work for some of the world’s biggest and most celebrated brands — including Google, Netflix, and Nike.
Prior to founding Deeplocal, Nathan was an originating member of a hactivist art group and the frontman of Creation is Crucifixion, a grindcore band.
In this conversation, you’ll hear Aaron & Nathan discuss how to build a talented team, what it took for Deeplocal to get off the ground, and how he explains the company to others.
Pittsburgh’s best conference to Expand your Mind & Fill your Heart happens once a year.
Nathan Martin’s Challenge; Do not look at income and money as the driver of happiness. Evaluate your work on the basis of how you spend your time.
Connect with Nathan Martin
If you liked this interview, check out episode 340 with Craig Markovitz where we discuss generating more than $300M in shareholder value.
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Watson: Thank you so much for doing this, I appreciate it.
Nathan Martin: Yeah. Thanks for having me.
Watson: One of the things that I thought would be really helpful is for you to give two different explanations of what Deeplocal is and what you do. There's the insider: we're all in marketing, we're on branding, we're on media type of world that I've heard of WPP, and I've heard of this type of environment. And then there's the whole world outside of that that's completely unfamiliar too. So, start things off, how do you explain Deeplocal to people outside of the marketing industry so that they can crock it?
Nathan Martin: Yeah. And that's often more of the explanation that I'm giving to that world. So, I think about the world that I generally live in, which are the people around me and people in Pittsburgh and who just asked me what I do, it's always a really strange answer and it changes every time. So I'll try this time and see what I come up with. But I talked to people a lot, that we create interactive experiences, that we build things in the real world that people can touch and feel and blend robotics and engineering along with storytelling. So, I usually just say that we create interactive experiences, things that usually are used for marketing and service of marketing to tell a brand-related story, but we build them tangibly. The difference being they're usually physical and things you can touch and feel.
Watson: And you came from outside of the agency world to start this agency, but like any industry there's jargon and vernacular, that is part and parcel for doing business in your field. So how does that explanation change when you're interacting with the folks who are cut from a different cloth?
Nathan Martin: I would say it doesn't change significantly. And that's mainly that that's part our brand and our identity is I think we are very much about making things and we're very much about, our company in the agency world, what you kind of discover is that there's this typical model or an agency comes up with a creative concept, answers or brief thinks about how they're going to meet a marketing challenge. And then they would typically hire a production company to bring those things to life. Whether that's through a commercial, or it's something more physical or tangible or experiential. I think we're a strange company, even in that world, and difficult to explain to traditional agencies or not even traditional agencies, digital agencies, because we don't fit in one category is sometimes the work that we do is considered experiential because we're building things that live as experiences. Sometimes it's considered to be like retail because we're building things that might live in our retail environment or for our retail client. Sometimes it might be considered like exhibit design because we're building things that live in like a customer experience center or a museum-style experience.
What is united is the output. So I think we have the benefit that most of our clients know our work and then come to us based on the work that they've seen, which gives us a huge benefit because we don't have to have a really in-depth explanation of who we are and what we do. I think that's always been hard for us and it still is. So we would still answer the same question in somewhat the same way. And when we're talking within. To a client of ours, we would say that we build things in the physical world that express the brand. We're building tangible things that you can touch and feel increasingly in a world that's primarily digital.
It's become a fairly boring conventional world. So we try to build things that have never been seen before. And I think that's why we're hired is that we tend to build things that have never been seen or experienced just before.
Watson: And I think that that's a really interesting framing for selling any type of service or deliverable is when you, you sit in such a kind of distinct hard to define realm, it's simultaneously in the early stages, it had to be difficult to get people to wrap their mind around what this thing is that you can do very much
Simultaneously, once it's understood you then get to play in a space where there really aren't the same quantity or caliber of competitors. And I would imagine that's where the kind of recurring business comes to you from is like, we don't even know anyone else who can do this.
Nathan Martin: Yeah, you're very right in that assumption. Early on building our company and building our reputation was really difficult mainly because that question of who we are and what we do was much more challenging to answer because we didn't have a portfolio of work and we didn't have the client base that we have now. So, it was difficult because you were kind of convincing people to trust you based on the staff makeup, or based on purely belief in a concept that you have, that this will be amazing to bring to life. Now it's a little bit easier because when you have a reputation and you've kind of built a reputation up, people can look to our past work to get an inclination of what they might get out of Deeplocal. So they have an understanding of the caliber of work that they might expect. And oftentimes you're right, that tends to be technically challenging work. There's definitely a genre of stuff that we do where we're much more competitive, short timelines, highly technically complex things. When those two things come together, we have less and less competitors. When we started, we're 13 years old now, when we started working in advertising was about three years into the company, when we started to do the type of work we do, but in service of marketing.
And when we started to do that, we had very few competitors, if any. I watched over the first couple of years of our existence where there'd be a handful of companies, I knew who they all were. In some cases they were friends, or good natured competitors and over the years that's evolved into the hundreds of competitors that we have now. And it's global in how we compete. We're more right for competition than ever before. So I'm never worried about large companies that we compete with. I'm mostly worried about small teams of people, because I remember how nimble you can be as a small company when you have five or 10 people on staff. Those are our strongest competitors companies that are small enough that they can be extremely nimble. And when they're extremely passionate and talented, they can produce amazing things. That's how we stood up to much larger companies when we were small.
We used our passion, our energy and our intent and our creativity, too, things that other people would just kind of weed it away. We didn't have the established process. Now we, as a larger business, we do have established processes, a little bit more rigidity in the way in which we work, which means that even though our timelines are still often short and the work is still often very technically challenging what we're capable of as much more than we could do when we were smaller, but we've had to continually every year, just expand our technical capabilities. I think that's how we managed to stay competitive as to just increase the capacity for what we are capable of doing. Imagine that a part of the secret sauce is the chemistry of having worked together.
Watson: And another element outside of the processes and the technical capacities. I'd have to imagine some of the sauce is if you have the same collection of electrical, mechanical, computer engineers who have worked on these projects together, and they just have the fluency of, “don't bother Craig at 3:00 PM,” and those other kind of small nuances that help a team to operate more effectively.
Nathan Martin: Yeah. And that's something that you evolve into. Anyone that's had a long time collaborator knows how important it is to have chemistry with the people they work alongside. I think it's even more difficult for our business than most because of the differences in backgrounds that people have here. So, you have people coming from so many different backgrounds and kind of spanning design and engineering and since we've kind of collapsed all those disciplines into one business. We really require a lot of open collaboration, communication, it becomes really important. Going through the projects, we do all project based work. So going through the productions that we go through, the timelines, we do them under, I think brings people together rather quickly.
For a lot of people it's similar to when they were in college, when you're working on a collaborative project with people that come from different backgrounds. I think those are the environments where you're learning something new together. When you're learning something new together, you're faced with a new challenge together and you overcome it and you find out how to do that through collaboration, it reinforces, just a way of working that we want to constantly reinforce here. So rather than me telling people, this is how you have to work together. They evolve into it. And when you evolve, you learn things so innately that they just become a part of the way in which you behave.
Watson: Makes sense. You spoke to a college here, but before college you were traveling nationally and internationally with a band as the singer, as the front man to some degree. Did you learn those lessons from that experience? Was that a shortcoming of that experience? Can you talk a little bit about how that ties into what you're doing now?
Nathan Martin:I think I learned a lot. I learned a lot definitely by being in a band. It was in kind of an underground music scene and really started my experience with that kind of started when I was in high school. I was generally like a shy kid and kind of a nerdy kid. When I was starting to get exposed to underground music, I really found an interest in something that as a non-musician was, I had to find a place for myself. So I wanted to be in a band, but I wasn't musically talented. So I had to surround myself with people that were more talented than myself and I had to find a new role and my role became a motivator or instigator or whatever you want to call it, but it was to be the personality. And apart from the personality, it was learning hard work.
I don't think I was an exceptionally hard working child. I think the band though did teach me a lot of my work ethic, because I learned that my role had to be about diligence. I had to. All the like logistic parts of running a band and booking a tour and putting out records, all of that stuff, which became kind of design and communication and managing relationships and logistics and even travel, and van repair. All of these kinds of basic things that you take on when you're in a band. To me, it was very similar to having a startup. Deeplocal is my first and only startup, but I feel like being in a band was kind of as close as I would have gotten to having a startup before Deeplocal.
So the lessons that I learned from that were great.I think that I learned about how to manage people that come from different backgrounds, how to motivate people to kind of accomplish goals together. These collective goals. I also learned how to capture people's attention, both good and bad.
There were a lot of lessons I learned when I was younger, trough failing at controlling people's reactions to things that I was putting into the world. There were a lot of times where I was creating things that were stunts that were things that were designed to be provocative, but had very little point to them. Those are the childish parts of what I did. And=I matured out of that but when you're young and you're kind of finding your way and building your identity. I think I learned that through being in a band and kind of crafting that identity for the band and, similarly to Deeplocal, I always wanted the band to be something that was different or unique or stood out.
And so it became the band. I think I always resisted it being just about music and tried to make it more about activism or reclaiming media technology or subversion, but it always had something deeper to me. I always wanted it to be more than a band. And then I think that's carried through, into this business as well. It's had a little bit more a benefit to us as a business, as I think with Deeplocal. Initially I never wanted to be just a company from Pittsburgh. I never wanted to be just a web development shop or design shop. I just didn't want to be like anyone else. I wanted us to create something that was different. And I thought being different was something that we could be proud of. And the secondary benefit was that in being different, it was something that was highly competitive as well. Some of the things I'm most proud of over the years is that this company and all the people here have trusted me every year. Not as much now as we get older and we mature as a business, but definitely when we were defining our brand and building our company and that we would challenge ourselves to do things that were unexpected, that we didn't think were possible, that we didn't think we could do that we didn't think we could accomplish.
Most companies would stay away from being themselves as much as we've adapted over the years. We have different periods of what Deeplocal was and how I answered that question of what Deeplocal has probably changed a hundred times over those 13 years. And I think that is something that I'm actually most proud of, that we had the courage to change the business, change what we do, change our output. And we did that because we had clients that would challenge us to do things that maybe were outside of our comfort zone, that we weren't a hundred percent sure we knew how to do, but we thought we could get there. And we had enough knowledge that we knew we could try to figure it out. And we had the right people to figure it out. And that allowed us to just get better and better at what we did. And so it became that ultimately we're a company of problem solvers more than we are any one piece of output that we put into the world. I don't think we ever felt comfortable just being, “Hey, here's the company that makes robotics for advertising” or “here's the company that makes earned media stuff that gets a lot of press.” I think we always wanted to do a little bit of everything. If there was something that was interesting to us, we would try to bring it in house and learn how we can make it a part of our practice. And I think that change and defining who we are based on what we're capable of doing in some ways, it's the easiest possible.
There are many competitors who look at the output of what we do and have created brands around the output without, I guess the what's the best way to say that: I value what you put into the world, the best way to sell our company or to talk to a new client is to show them something that we've done, and the proudest moment is to say, we did that ourselves. It's just like anyone in their own life. The most proud moment is when you can share something that you built and designed and created on your own. Because as a company we never really lived in an environment where we always had to hire other people to do, to bring our ideas to life, which just became a part of who we are. We make stuff, and we try to make things that are cool enough that people talk about. And I think that became a little bit of a mantra for us and it's what attracts the talent that we have here. And with that talent, you're able to take on bigger and bigger challenges. And over the years, the talent gets better, the people that stay here get better. Then the talent that's attracted, the company gets better, the clients get better and everything just kind of keeps growing from there.
Watson: And that's an underrated aspect of attracting a team. A lot of people will see things through. Almost like a purely economic lens of how much can the compensation be? What are the benefits and the opportunity to attack and work on interesting problems? The presumption that you have to be adaptable and make use of things that's equally, if not more compelling to a significant number of people.
Nathan Martin: Yeah. We look at our engineers. Engineering is kind of the easiest one to look at as a discipline because we require the most change from engineers. Most engineers that come to Deeplocal (and I've worked at another product company in the past or even another service company), it takes them about a year to learn how we work. And I think they spend probably a portion of that year questioning what we do, wondering if what we're doing is, is possible, if it's the right way. That's also been a part of our ethos from the start is (and maybe that's a little bit of the punk rock in me) I don't like anyone telling me that this is how something should be done. We faced a lot of that when we were starting Deeplocal. A lot of people did give me feedback on what we should be doing and what we shouldn't be doing. And I struggled most in just trying to fit everyone else's expectations of what we should be as a business, because I knew nothing about what running a business was supposed to be.
And when I was able to free myself to concentrate more on just doing cool things that I was proud of the company started to succeed and so I learned that lesson myself by going through it, and the staff all learned that as well. The pride that they have when we put work into the world, they can point to that. Either press talks about, or that they see in the world or the accolades they get from our clients. That's the most rewarding thing that I don't think many jobs provide for their staff.
And then to your point about what, what people are looking for in a career, I think more now than ever, when we talk to younger folks kind of coming out of school, or more junior in their careers, what you find is that the, the itch that they have is that they're interested in so many things. And this is something that the internet has changed for people there's exposed to so many different things, so many different interest areas that they have, that they're whole people and most jobs don't satisfy the whole person. Most jobs take one piece of a person's personality, whether it's that they're an engineer or they're a designer and it allows them to try to get better and better and better and refine that single talent. I think we try to honestly exploit the whole individual. We want to use every talent that a person brings to the table and every interest they have, and that allows us to be competitive with other businesses and recruiting, but it also allows us to satisfy these people that have interest in photography and design and animation and video and programming and they're all over the place. And those all over the place, people which are probably used to be the outlier, it used to be people like myself in school, in the late nineties, now I think is the standard. And you're seeing even college curriculums cater to kids coming in from high school that have desires and passions that are all over the place that don't even fit in single disciplines. And the universities are struggling to find ways to appeal to kids that just have a variety of interests.
And the companies have not caught up at all. I think we have a competitive advantage and that we are built around those individuals, that kids and people that have more than one interest and want to see their day changed dramatically from one to the next and need that drama. I think we're a pretty drama filled business. Advertising or marketing as a genre allows for that as well, because all we do is project based work. So one challenge the next, and that helps as well. And then we're able to do everything ourselves in our own shop, and our own facility also gives people the ability to kind of get out of one environment and move into another pretty fluidly.
So we can sit at a desk and work behind a computer, or we can go down to a shop and watch or participate in machining and welding. And that variety is rare in most companies these days. We play off of everything that we have to offer here in our recruiting, but also in our branding and our marketing. And then transparency just becomes a part of that. The more that we can share and show off what we do and who we are and the makeup of the company and the diversity of staff like that just becomes our marketing.
Watson: I love that articulation of the value in the role in the space for the well rounded individual. And that's something that like, frankly, this show is very much about like the previous four proceeding guests are someone developing self-driving semi-trucks, someone running a third party logistics provider for a semi rail, an owner of a small boutique in Lawrenceville, and then someone who is running a small private equity firm, where he buys like little pieces of software that lives like a digital note. So, yeah. What I've struggled with isI have those kinds of diverse senses of a set of interests and knowing that I can not possibly be alone in wanting to kind of bounce from thing to thing.
And it's really interesting just as someone who was at the creative mornings, and heard a bit about your background, that you kind of created that space for other people cut from that similar cloth.
Nathan Martin: Yeah. I want to be honest, it's not all altruistic. I think I've created that space because it's a good business model. I think I've done that because I attract some of the smartest people in the world to come work alongside me and it's an honor to see that. So it just makes sense that the company is built in a way that appeals to these kinds of smart people that don't just have one interest. I think they're divergent thinkers and we've been able to attract a lot of those divergent thinkers. And we do it, I say it's not altruistic, I think that's ultimately, I've joked about, I used to be an artist and I've joked about how, what am I doing?
What I'm doing now is probably like my last and final artwork, which was to create a business, which I never thought I would ever do. And, at the best of times we’re a place where it's inspiring to work at and the staff, you can see the inspiration, and how they inspire one another. At the worst times, it's just a company and we're just doing work for clients. And that happens from time to time. I think that's the drama of our business as we go in waves, emotionally, and it's often dictated by the success or failure of our work. We kind of live with that every day. And people, because of the nature of how they work together, the downside of all of this is that they're all very emotionally intelligent people. And they're impacted by the emotions of those people around them and impacted by my emotions as well. And I'm, I'm a fairly emotional person. And that's the way I manage is to be fairly transparent with my emotions.
And that can be difficult because everyone here lives with the emotions of the business when we're, when we're doing great and there's amazing press, and we can all high five each other, then everyone's at the top of their game and doing great work. And when I walk in the office and I'm depressed and it's a hard month and maybe things didn't go the way I wanted them to, or having some challenges, then that becomes the mood of the office. And that's one challenge that we have in the way in which we work, it's very much like a person. We've created this person that goes in waves, just like any individual would.
Watson: I think that's really fascinating though. Because I think that there is a school of thought as it pertains to leadership, that that's not the best course of action. It is compartmentalized or however you would disclose or not disclose that to the team, but it's very interesting that you've not adopted that framework.
Nathan Martin: Yeah and I probably should. So I'm not saying it's right. I'm just being as brutally honest as I can about my own challenges. I think it's my own challenge of not being, I have no MBA, I have no formal training in leadership. So it's just how I've learned to manage is to be fairly open and honest with how I'm feeling. And in the past that's been a problem, I think in the past, I've let my emotions take more control of me than they should have. I think I've gotten a lot more disciplined as I've gotten older and more mature. I control my emotions much more, but people are still aware of how I'm feeling and what my mood is. And I'm hyper aware of it.I remember someone along the line told me that, “Hey, every time you walk into that door in the morning, even if you're not talking to people, if you're not smiling in your face, like people realize that, and they think about that and that it does impact their day.” So I'm more conscious of that than I've ever been, that my mood can impact people's days. I try to be careful about that, at least controlling the negativity. Positive I don't think it's bad.
Watson: Yeah. But at the same time you spoke earlier about how a team or a band or a small group evolves to kind of understand itself and know how to work together. And that's like a way that this place has evolved is to recognize that this is just kind of a core reality of how Nathan is. And, if you were bringing a false version of yourself that would have its own entire other set of negative repercussions.
Nathan Martin: And as we've gotten bigger, that impact, that emotional transference, maybe that's what's going on, that happens with managers and with coworkers, as much as it used to happen with me, now we try to understand what the mood of the office is and the tone of the office, because it's helpful for us to understand when moods are low or when someone does need a Pat on the back and a “way to go.” I think that everyone does need that. And we've, we've created some, I hate to say processes because it sounds very stale, but we've created like one thing that we do every month, every Monday, We didn't use to do this several years ago, but we started to just realize that as the company got bigger, there's more and more work that we're engaged in and not everyone knows what's going on and people want to just know what the work is that we're doing and where the business is and what we're pitching on and all of that stuff. People just want to know as much information as they can get.
So we started to hold these Monday morning meetings, which are fairly traditional, but just an all hands meeting to update people on where the business is and where the business is going and the significant changes that they need to be aware of. And then we've added to that this kind of process, called stickers. We do these stickers and it's based loosely on the stickers that college football players get on their helmet. I don't even know why they get stickers on their helmets, I'm not a big sports person, but they get them. And we liked that notion of being able to show off an accolade from your peer, not from me, not from your manager, but from your peer.
And we realized that if we wanted to reinforce certain behaviors in our culture, we need to recognize those behaviors when they happen. Some feedback that we used to get early on, or I used to get, was that we didn't celebrate our wins enough. We would have so many projects that we would overcome some hurdle, do something significant, and then we'd quickly move on to the next challenge, because there's always something new, something harder around the corner and we wouldn't take the time to kind of celebrate our wins. So, what we do every week is we allow anyone to come up and they can look at our core values. We have several that we kind of care about, that we want to cultivate, like being respectful. So, if I notice that my peer has been respectful in some way, that's kind of above and beyond the call of duty, I can call them out, mention what they did, and give them a sticker. They get a little sticker and they put it on their lap. There's no funding or award or anything else, but every week that I get to see that happen, I can almost use that as a litmus test for the mood of the office.
When a week goes by and there are no stickers, I know that maybe the last week wasn't so great for everyone. And then when a week goes by and there's 15 minutes of people recognizing one another, I know I'm extremely proud. And why that makes me so proud is because that has nothing to do with me at all. It's totally a function of the business and the people that are here, they are just recognizing one another for no financial reason at all, it's the most selfless act I think they can do is just recognize their peers. So I think that's one of the most simple things that we've done that allows for that emotional transparency and emotional transference, but allows it to be done in a very positive and thoughtful way.
Watson: Beautiful. Are there any particular behaviors that you put on a pedestal as a company?
Nathan Martin: Yeah, all the ones that reflect our core values and we've learned by being a business, I think is just like being a person as you grow and mature, you learn so much about who you are and what works and what doesn't. What we’ve learned are that there are certain behaviors that are just good for our business and good for morale. It's kind of difficult to pull things apart because what's so interesting about a business, what I like is, it’s kind of like a band, right? You have all these different personalities, all these different people and they're all different and they're all motivated by different things. And they all have to work together to solve problems semi autonomously. You have to give them challenges that they can tackle because they have to solve things on their own to feel a sense of accomplishment, to be satisfied in their job and to stay working at the company that they're at. They also have to succeed at solving those problems because that's what makes a successful project for our clients. And then we're transparent with all those individuals, like everyone that works at the company can interface with the client. We've built our weaknesses, that we're a small business, into our strengths.
We let everyone here to clients because we want them to be able to talk to clients. It makes everyone's job easier if engineers are talking directly to clients, so we do that. And then that becomes a part of our brand and something that our clients then call out and say, I love that I'm talking directly to the people that are making stuff.
We've managed to morph everything together. So that's why it's so hard to extract any one piece. If we start getting bad client work or bad client challenges, then staff satisfaction is going to go down because they're not going to be able to take on challenges that they're proud of, which means they're going to leave the company, which means our capability to do good work is going to go down. If our attitude isn't good, then our peer satisfaction is going to go down. So what I really mean is all these things are intertwined. We have to have really good challenges coming in from really top tier clients. So the people are satisfied with the work that they're doing. So that we retain the staff that are necessary to do remarkable work.
If you start to suffer in any one of those areas, you don't have great staff, you don't have great challenges, you're not respected by your clients. Then your staff is going to go away as well. So it's kind of a juggling game. I've heard other businesses talk about this as well, but it is difficult. You don't want to lose any one piece of that. The top tier clients or the top tier staff. And when you start to go downhill, I think it's really easy to lose one piece of that to say, I don't need the staff half to take care of this problem, or I don't have the opportunities that are going to challenge the right kind of staff.
So that's why we choose to work with some of the most difficult clients in the industry. We worked really well with them and I think, because our model jives pretty well with their model as well, but we want those challenges because we want to go do amazing work with an amazing client.
Watson: It's an important acknowledgement too, that there's just literally never a point of stasis, like the kind of positive self reinforcing behaviors or the negative self-reinforcing behaviors. They're always moving in one direction or another and just kind of hoping that the majority of the time it's okay.
Nathan Martin: Yeah. Every year we do a little year in review, which is kind of hokey, but actually really valuable because we forget all that we accomplish every year. It's really easy for individuals to do this too, but as a company, we forget the number of kinds of battles and challenges that we've endured and the successes that we've had over the course of a year. Every year, we know that our company is better than it was a year before, but we forget how we got there. I think that's just a byproduct of doing all this project based work, where we might have 10 or 15 projects going on at any given time, we have to figure out how you step back from that, reflect, and acknowledge how you grew.
I think that's important for individuals to do as well to realize kind of just take stock and inventory, how you've grown as a person. I think the business is no different, a lot of this is about treating the business as an organism.
33:15 Nathan Martin Sign-Off
Watson: Beautiful. Nathan, this has been fantastic. I really appreciate you taking the time to be on your podcast. Before we ask our standard last two questions. Is there anything else you were hoping to share today that I can give you the chance to.
Nathan Martin: No. I'm just trying to be honest and transparent. Hopefully I'm doing it.
Watson: I appreciate it. People are gonna want to learn more about Deeplocal, maybe see some of the work that you guys have done. What digital coronets can we provide for people?
Nathan Martin: So it's best to just visit deeplocal.com. We share all of our work there and then through our social media channels, which are all just at Deeplocal, it's the best way to see a selection of what we do. It's definitely not all of what we do, all of the work that we do, but it's where we kind of stick some of our most memorable public work.
Watson: Beautiful. We're gonna link that on the show notes, you can find it in the podcast app. You're probably listening to this on right now or goingdeepwithaaron.com/podcast for this and every episode of the show. But as we do at the end of each interview, Nathan, I wanna give you the mic one more time to issue an actionable personal challenge for the audience.
Nathan Martin: This is a hard one, but I've been thinking about it. It's something that I used to talk to employees about, I don't anymore, whenever we were recruiting staff to think about ourselves. But when we think about the job we perform I never really worked for other people before. I had a couple of jobs before starting at Deeplocal, but I'm lucky that I was in a position where I was able to start this business and to work for myself for so long. Not everyone has that opportunity, I acknowledge that, but I do think it's important to think about what you do during your day and to honestly question, when I talk about if you feel rewarded, the way I used to talk to staff when we were unable to pay, when we were a true startup. And we learned a lot from being a startup when we really kind of came from nothing as a business, I would always tell staff that would come here, often taking pay cuts to come work with me at Deeplocal, that there's an amount of money that they need before they feel resentful, as a staff person and amount of money that you need to make before you're going to be resentful of the job that you're doing, and it's important to acknowledge that.
I had many people earlier on who would say I'll work for free and it's not honest, you have to think about what the honest amount of money is that you need to make before you grow resentful of what you're doing. And then there's an amount of money for which you probably willing to do something that you don't enjoy, or you enjoy very little and in between that is what you're trading away your life, because we spend so much of our time at our jobs and our careers that at range that you've now created is your window to decide how you want to spend the majority of your life.
I would not look at money as being the thing that drives happiness. So I don't have a clear directive other than being honest with yourself about what you're doing. And if you have the means to develop what that range is, then developing that range and then reconsidering your career. I'm still amazed, there's a lot of companies that are great in the world, but there's a lot that would be drudgery to work at. I think that many people don't have the options of considering what job they're going to take, many people do. And for those that are able to consider where they're at and what their day is worth, just being honest with yourself and considering what you are trading away those hours for?
Because your life, the things you buy, that sort of stuff I speak from my own experience, but your happiness doesn't change dramatically based on the stuff that you can buy, or the vacations you can take, that does not dictate your happiness. So try to figure out like within that window, which is more than half of your life, is that job rewarding? Is that job satisfying that itch. I don't know if that's much of a mandate as much as the introspective question.
Watson: I think it's an important reflection though. And to reflect on the value that you do place on your own time, because it is the finite resource, the money. It can come back. You can make a choice five years from now to change your money trajectory if that's where you want to optimize for, but that acknowledgement of time is such a precious asset is a valuable thing.
Nathan Martin: Yeah, money's a mess. I wish I could run a business without money and then it would be so much easier, but it complicates everything.
Watson: When you figure out how to do that, let me know.
Nathan Martin: I know, I know
Watson: Nathan, this has been awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Nathan Martin: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Watson: We just went deep with Nathan Martin, hope everyone out there has a fantastic day.