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Building Trust & Respect Through Partnership

Kerry Guard, Mike Krass • April 19, 2024 • 51 minutes to read


Kerry Guard and Mike Krass, founders of MKG Marketing, joined Staci Gray on her podcast to discuss their journey. They explored the significance of visionary and integrator roles, their personal paths to entrepreneurship influenced by family and early career experiences, and the evolution of their partnership over time. The discussion also covered strategies for scaling the business, work-life balance, and fostering a supportive workplace. They highlighted the importance of structured communication and mutual respect in maintaining a healthy business relationship. Kerry and Mike concluded by sharing their vision for MKG's future, focusing on specialized marketing services for the software and cybersecurity sectors.

Key Moments:

  • Roles and Dynamics: Mike and Kerry discussed their evolving roles within MKG Marketing, focusing on the distinction between visionary and integrator roles and how they manage the continuous flow of new ideas and strategies for the company.
  • Entrepreneurial Backgrounds: Both speakers shared their paths to entrepreneurship, influenced by their early careers and personal connections, highlighting how their experiences shaped their approach to business and partnership.
  • Partnership and Company Growth: They detailed the formation of MKG Marketing, emphasizing the importance of mutual respect, clear communication, and aligned values in overcoming challenges and successfully scaling the business.
  • Future Directions: Mike outlined his vision for transforming MKG into a more specialized agency with a focus on specific sectors like software and cybersecurity, aiming for a diversified service model that adds value to their niche market.

Take a listen:


Mike Krass [00:00:00]:

But it's created a different space for me to act in a visionary role, which doesn't necessarily have a beginning. In the end, it's kind of like a big ball of yarn that just continues forever. Like, I'm gonna set 2 hours on Tuesday morning, and then the vision will be done. Like, the vision changes every single time I speak to somebody. It changes just a little bit.

Kerry Guard [00:00:17]:

I don't need to integrate every single idea he has all the time. Sometimes he just has ideas and he needs to say them, and I need to give him space to say them. Love my subconscious, hang out with them. And then there's gonna be one or two that I say, okay, I see it. I got to see. I call them lily pads, right? So, like, I don't want to not say no to an idea. I just can't quite see the lily pads yet. So the minute I can see the lily pads, it's a minute.

Kerry Guard [00:00:37]:

I'm like, okay, let's dig into this and figure out what this means and how this might impact the company in a bigger way.

Staci Gray [00:00:50]:


Staci Gray [00:00:51]:

So today we have Mike and Carrie. I have met them through the entrepreneurs organization. And something I love about EO is that it really helps you scale, trust, and in the visionary and integrator dynamic, that's critical. So I'm eager to have a conversation with these two about how they forge their visionary integrator relationship and what that journey looked like. And at the tail end of this, we'll talk about what they do and how you can connect with them. But I'd love to kick it off and start with you both clearly have business. So at what point in your either childhood work situation did you realize that you were meant to be an entrepreneur or to create something out of nothing? What did that journey look like for you, individually and collectively?

Kerry Guard [00:01:41]:

I went to school for photography, and as a photographer, you generally need to strike out on your own, start your own business. And when I was working, I was interning the summer of freshman year for.

Kerry Guard [00:01:54]:

A fashion photographer in Philadelphia.

Kerry Guard [00:01:57]:

And so I paid close attention to the fact that he was running a business. And I didn't really realize it at the time. It didn't really, like, dawn on me that it's like an entrepreneurial thing.

Kerry Guard [00:02:07]:

I just felt like, photographer, run a business. That's what you do.

Kerry Guard [00:02:11]:

But then I really wanted to live in New York. It was the dream. And so to do that, I had to get a grown up job. And so my uncle got me into media planning for Universal McCann in New York City.

Kerry Guard [00:02:24]:

And so that's when I joined the.

Kerry Guard [00:02:25]:

Bigger organization and realized, I don't have.

Staci Gray [00:02:28]:

To run a business. This is glorious.

Kerry Guard [00:02:30]:

It wasn't until having been in, you know, done the media planning for a.

Kerry Guard [00:02:36]:

Couple years, I went from New York to Seattle.

Kerry Guard [00:02:38]:

It's where I met Mike. And once I got married, my husband.

Kerry Guard [00:02:43]:

Was an engineer, and he was doing really well.

Kerry Guard [00:02:46]:

And there was this opportunity for me.

Kerry Guard [00:02:49]:

To strike out on my own with Mike and start this company. And I don't know that I would have made the leap had it not been for. For my husband, who had started companies in the past himself. So he had a good entrepreneurial mind about himself. And then he also was sort of.

Kerry Guard [00:03:06]:

That fallback of like, if anything goes.

Kerry Guard [00:03:08]:

Wrong, I'm going to be okay. It was just some comfort in that. I didn't have that. When I was starting thinking about starting a photography business, I was like, I have student loans to pay. I would have an apartment, I would have all these bills.

Staci Gray [00:03:19]:

This is.

Kerry Guard [00:03:20]:

I need a job. I need to be a grownup.

Staci Gray [00:03:23]:

I think this is so important because not all entrepreneurs are created equally like we think. They say that, saying that entrepreneurs are the people who will jump out of a plane and build their parachute on the way down. But not all of us are wired like that. Some of us do need to have a fallback plan to have the calmness within ourselves to be able to excel when we do start it. So your self awareness along that journey seems to have evolved as well, in.

Kerry Guard [00:03:51]:

Addition to the business side of it. How about for you, Mike?

Mike Krass [00:03:57]:

Yeah, I, growing up, had, you know, the lemonade stand on the corner and, you know, I'd wash cars and get yelled at by guys because I wasn't using the shammy, right.

Mike Krass [00:04:09]:

I'm not sure that I would call that being entrepreneurial.

Mike Krass [00:04:13]:

I think I was just more like.

Mike Krass [00:04:15]:

Making a little bit of money to.

Mike Krass [00:04:16]:

Go to the movies. But growing up, you know, what comes.

Mike Krass [00:04:19]:

To mind is I didn't quite realize.

Mike Krass [00:04:23]:

It, but I was surrounded by many entrepreneurs. So, for example, my best friend who lived around the corner, his dad started and sold two marketing agencies, one to Sir Martin Sorrell, who's like a famous guy in the ad world over globally. But, you know, he does most of his work over in England. It was just like, that was just Mister Hammerquist. That was just a guy who went to work. And they always had Mac, like the.

Mike Krass [00:04:47]:

Big Mac, you know, the ones with.

Mike Krass [00:04:49]:

The colors on the back before anybody else did. So I didn't know what they did.

Mike Krass [00:04:53]:

But I was like, they have, like, the cool computer and our family still.

Mike Krass [00:04:57]:

Putting, like, the tablecloth over the computer at the end of the day, you know, like, you don't look at that ugly monitor. So I had those examples in my life, and I didn't even realize what was happening.

Mike Krass [00:05:06]:

Like, my uncle, you know, in Minneapolis, ran a law firm, right?

Mike Krass [00:05:10]:

No idea. My other uncle, also in Minneapolis, is a trial attorney. Ran his own trial attorney practice. To me, it was just like, this is just what they do. And I share these stories because when it came time for us to start.

Mike Krass [00:05:24]:

MKG marketing, I don't know that I.

Mike Krass [00:05:28]:

Would have launched into it if I hadn't had some of those examples around me. Even though I didn't have quite the awareness of what was happening there, I was still like, that's Uncle Paul. That's Uncle Rod. Like, that's Mister Hammerquist in my life that I. I see them doing these type of entrepreneurial things, even though I.

Mike Krass [00:05:46]:

Can'T quite name it because I just didn't even.

Mike Krass [00:05:48]:

I didn't have the language at that point.

Mike Krass [00:05:49]:

It was just like, that's just what they do.

Mike Krass [00:05:51]:

Like, Uncle Rod goes to court. Like, that's where work is. Like, he goes to trial. Like, I have no concept what happens around that, but I know that that's.

Mike Krass [00:05:58]:

Where work happened for Uncle Rod.

Kerry Guard [00:06:00]:


Staci Gray [00:06:01]:

And when you saw them doing that, was it something that you admired or was it just a known.

Mike Krass [00:06:11]:

I don't think I admired much. Except for, again, they had the cool Macs at my friend's house around the corner. And we didn't have those cool ones at my house. I think I didn't even realize it. It was just like, these are people around me.

Mike Krass [00:06:26]:

I didn't have some awareness of that.

Mike Krass [00:06:28]:

Until probably Carrie and I really started getting serious about starting MKG marketing. And then about eight years ago, I was volunteering as an entrepreneur in residence at a group called the idea Village here in New Orleans. And somebody came in and they actually said they were pitching to be an accelerator company.

Mike Krass [00:06:44]:

And they said, people that come from my background and that look like me.

Mike Krass [00:06:50]:

I don't know any of us who start companies. And I had this moment hearing that.

Mike Krass [00:06:55]:

Where I was just like, huh? Like, I've known people that look like.

Mike Krass [00:07:00]:

Me and don't look like me that have started companies, but I'm surrounded. Like, that's part of my life. And this woman who is incredibly, the idea was terrible, but she was great. We almost actually brought her in the accelerator because we're like, she's awesome and she can make anything work. But the idea was very bad. It needed a lot of love, and she just wasn't ready for an accelerator yet. But having that experience, it was just kind of known. Using your language states like, it was just like, this is kind of around me, even though I can't quite put my finger on it until later in life when I could actually, like, label it and understand what it was.

Staci Gray [00:07:32]:

Yeah, I have a similar story because my grandfather built a company to take public and my other grandfather had a successful insurance company and my father had a successful business. And so I watched entrepreneurship around me and my journey was organic. I didn't really think I wanted to do it. I fell into it. And so I feel like so many entrepreneurs, they pursue it differently, and then it's like, I've got something here. This idea is taking shape and then scaling. It's like, okay, now all the customers are coming. I've got all of the operational chaos.

Staci Gray [00:08:04]:

I've got structure and systems and hiring and how do I do this all and not lose my sanity? In my experience, it's finding that visionary integrator relationship that is just magical. And so I want to see, how did you guys meet? How did you know? You trusted yourself enough, each other enough and yourself enough, really to forge a partnership? Because partnerships can go south, too.

Kerry Guard [00:08:30]:

So how did that evolve?

Kerry Guard [00:08:34]:

This is a retrospective right here. I don't know that we've ever, I.

Staci Gray [00:08:37]:

Mean, I don't know that I've ever.

Kerry Guard [00:08:38]:

Thought about it this way. So we met at our previous agency many moons ago.

Kerry Guard [00:08:44]:

20, 2010, 2011.

Kerry Guard [00:08:48]:

The name, I'm not making this up.

Kerry Guard [00:08:50]:

Was called Wong duty. I blush even just saying it out loud.

Kerry Guard [00:08:55]:

Probably at their attention.

Kerry Guard [00:08:57]:

It's very memorable.

Staci Gray [00:08:58]:

Good on them.

Kerry Guard [00:08:59]:

But they were a creative agency who.

Kerry Guard [00:09:02]:

Happened to have media planners in house for me and Mike.

Kerry Guard [00:09:07]:

So because it was just the two.

Kerry Guard [00:09:08]:

Of us, I think we just formed a bond very quickly on how to approach each client. I mean, everything, every campaign was a dual effort.

Kerry Guard [00:09:21]:

We were working on everything side by side.

Kerry Guard [00:09:24]:

I remember even when we interviewed, we.

Kerry Guard [00:09:28]:

Just got along, was like, yeah, this is going to be a really good working relationship. I can see this. This is going to be awesome. He was one of the reasons why I actually left. I was at MEC working on the Microsoft account and they had a recruiter headhunt me to come to long duty, and I was really on the fence.

Kerry Guard [00:09:42]:

About it because I was, was living the life.

Kerry Guard [00:09:45]:

It's been a pretty cushy job.

Kerry Guard [00:09:47]:

Didn't want to rock the boat, but.

Kerry Guard [00:09:49]:

Between Mike and then somebody else at the company, a good friend of ours now, Steve Kesselman. I was like, these are really great smart people who are going to push.

Kerry Guard [00:09:58]:

Me and elevate me, and I'm ready for that. So, yeah, so I think right out.

Kerry Guard [00:10:04]:

Of the gate, when I met Mike, I was like, this is going to be good.

Kerry Guard [00:10:07]:

And then we just formed a partnership.

Kerry Guard [00:10:09]:

Both in, like, building ideas together and also being like, this is so frustrating. And it was out of that frustration, I believed that, you know, mKG really.

Kerry Guard [00:10:18]:

Was born and we'd, you know, go.

Kerry Guard [00:10:21]:

On these really lovely walks together to go get lunch. And we would just like, sort of scheme. So I think it was just through the ideation of it that we were like, yeah, this feels good. We could go do this thing. I'm curious to hear Mike's side of the story. For me, it was definitely more of a gut feeling.

Kerry Guard [00:10:38]:

Like, no, I can see this.

Kerry Guard [00:10:41]:

I can feel this being, like, a.

Kerry Guard [00:10:42]:

Good partnership and, yeah, let's do this thing.

Staci Gray [00:10:47]:

I am curious about Mike's perspective. And then I've got questions.

Mike Krass [00:10:53]:

I know, I know. I feel like you're separating us and deposing us in different rooms. Don't let the two parties hear one another speak.

Mike Krass [00:11:00]:


Mike Krass [00:11:00]:

So how did we get together? Like Kerry mentioned, she was headhunted to come over to Wong duty, which is two people's names, by the way, to get that context. Tracy Wong and Pat duty, both are men.

Mike Krass [00:11:11]:

I bring that up because we had.

Mike Krass [00:11:13]:

A lot of people interview there and they're like, what's Tracy like? Is she nice? I'm like, well, she's kind of a guy, so you probably should figure that out before you interview with her or with him. Yeah, you know, I. I remember Carrie coming in, and I think Carrie will remember this, too. We'll see.

Mike Krass [00:11:28]:

I was just, like, cooked.

Mike Krass [00:11:30]:

Like, I, you know, we didn't have anybody in charge of that department. Seattle, where we were working, is a very kind of laid back place. But I was in, like, I was wearing a lot of sweatpants to work. And, like, nobody was saying anything because they're like, if he just keeps coming.

Mike Krass [00:11:42]:

To work, just don't worry about, like, his appearance. But, you know, you can start to.

Mike Krass [00:11:48]:

Tell outwardly, like, how is somebody, what is their body language? Like, how do they dress? You know, how are they showing up to certain things? And I was showing up as, as my friend Chris likes to say, as the horse you remember from Animal Farm, right?

Mike Krass [00:12:00]:

Like, you know, this, this thing happens. Don't worry.

Mike Krass [00:12:03]:

You know, boxer the horse will work harder, right? This thing happened, no big deal. Boxer the horse will work harder until boxer gets sold to the glue factory and boxer becomes no more. And so I was on a path of boxer the horse of just like, whatever. Like, I'll just. I'll just keep working hard. Hard. You know, I can do more. Like, I can do more.

Mike Krass [00:12:23]:

And Carrie came in and really helped.

Mike Krass [00:12:25]:

To, not just for the department, but for me.

Mike Krass [00:12:28]:

Like, kind of take a step back and understand, like, you're on an interesting.

Mike Krass [00:12:31]:

Path here and I won't stop you.

Mike Krass [00:12:33]:

If you really want to go down.

Mike Krass [00:12:34]:

It, but this is kind of like.

Mike Krass [00:12:36]:

Just objectively, like a fresh set of eyes. Like, this is kind of where you're headed to. So just bringing some awareness to that fact. And, you know, I wish that we.

Mike Krass [00:12:47]:

Had, like, this, you know, like a.

Mike Krass [00:12:49]:

Hewlett Packard style story of, like, we were in the garage tinkering, but like.

Mike Krass [00:12:53]:

Kerry said, you know, we, we really.

Mike Krass [00:12:55]:

Just kept talking as we were working through different client accounts. We were like, this is how I wish we really were doing this. But we weren't in a position to change that at that agency. It wasn't a bad thing. It just, it was our reality in that environment. And so for us, you know, we got to that point of like, well.

Mike Krass [00:13:11]:

What if we did do our own thing? And I remember I put up, it.

Mike Krass [00:13:16]:

Was like on a Friday evening or Saturday morning, like, I put up a.

Mike Krass [00:13:19]:

Little two page WordPress website which our boss immediately found.

Mike Krass [00:13:23]:

I'm not sure how he immediately found. And was like, hey, man, like, we need to talk about this.

Mike Krass [00:13:28]:

Probably because it surprised the heck out.

Mike Krass [00:13:29]:

Of him because he thought that we both worked for long duty at the moment. And he was like, what's going on here?

Staci Gray [00:13:34]:

Well, and it's not ready to take off. So he's like, wait a minute, get my horse back.

Mike Krass [00:13:39]:

Yeah, yeah. He's like, box has got to come back. And that's really, like, where we started. And as I finish my recollection of.

Mike Krass [00:13:47]:

The story, we time boxed it.

Mike Krass [00:13:49]:

We just said, let's try this. For six months. I worked nights and weekends. Kerry went full time immediately into MKG marketing. And we just said, let's try it for six months. If we can't get a client engagement.

Mike Krass [00:14:01]:

At that point, no harm, no foul.

Mike Krass [00:14:03]:

No blood, no foul.

Mike Krass [00:14:06]:

It was a great try.

Mike Krass [00:14:07]:

That's how we framed it.

Mike Krass [00:14:10]:

We're going to time boxes.

Mike Krass [00:14:11]:

We're going to have some structure. We're going to have a clear measure.

Mike Krass [00:14:14]:

Of success, which means one paying client.

Mike Krass [00:14:17]:

There wasn't notice, there wasn't an amount of money being paid. It was just somebody has to pay us. That shows that we have established a little bit of a corner in the world and somebody will pay us to continue working.

Kerry Guard [00:14:31]:

I think the other thing we did.

Kerry Guard [00:14:33]:

Which is interesting in the early days.

Kerry Guard [00:14:35]:

Is the very first thing we did.

Kerry Guard [00:14:37]:

Actually was, I remember it was in my Bellevue apartment. Mike came over and we sat down and did a, what was it called? It was like where you, it was.

Kerry Guard [00:14:45]:

Like a formation agreement.

Kerry Guard [00:14:47]:

And we like really sat down and said like, okay, if we're going to.

Kerry Guard [00:14:49]:

Do this thing, like, what does this.

Kerry Guard [00:14:50]:

Mean to us and what do we want out of it and like, what's important? And we laid it all out there. I think that was so key. Like, I was like, I want a family.

Kerry Guard [00:14:57]:

I want to have kids someday.

Kerry Guard [00:14:59]:

I want to make sure I have time for them. That's really important to me. And Mike laid out what was important to him and we respect each other for that. I think that was a really key.

Kerry Guard [00:15:07]:

Piece to us feeling like we're all.

Kerry Guard [00:15:11]:

In at that point.

Kerry Guard [00:15:11]:

Like, yeah, we're good here.

Staci Gray [00:15:15]:

I want to go in so many different directions right now. So I'm going to just box a couple. Since the audience is going to be people who are a little bit deeper in their journey in scaling their organizations, I'm going to box the part about testing before you launch full steam into entrepreneurship. And I feel like you guys captured that so well because that's what I did. That's what a lot of entrepreneurs do. If you don't have a paying customer, you don't have a business. So get your one paying customer and get that going. I think where scaling becomes really challenging.

Kerry Guard [00:15:45]:

Is, Carrie, what you just did is.

Staci Gray [00:15:49]:

What is the vision upfront like and what are we willing to trade or sacrifice to get it? And what are we not willing to trade or sacrifice to get it? And then also the mutual respect, I am hearing so much mutual respect between you two of knowing your individual strengths and also knowing the individual maybe struggles or challenges, but the compassion for each other that, hey, it's okay if your nose to the grinds down, head down, and you don't see the forest for the trees. I got you there and vice versa.

Kerry Guard [00:16:21]:

So how do you guys, you're kind.

Staci Gray [00:16:25]:

Of operating like co visionary, co integrator. How do you delineate your lanes and own them so you don't step on each other's toes or get into kind of below the line conversations? Blame game. All that stuff that can, can happen in visionary integrated relationships.

Staci Gray [00:16:43]:

So I'm.

Staci Gray [00:16:45]:

Carrie's smirking. So I feel like I'm either hitting.

Kerry Guard [00:16:47]:

Something hard here, or I feel like you read our story somewhere or this is written down, or you were a fly on the wall through the last twelve years, we had all those things. We were definitely sharing the seat.

Kerry Guard [00:16:59]:

We were sharing the integrator seat for a long time.

Kerry Guard [00:17:02]:

We didn't know it.

Kerry Guard [00:17:03]:

So what happened was we were both doing everything.

Kerry Guard [00:17:08]:

That's just what you do, right, when you first start off, you're both doing everything. We were showing up to client pitches together, we were putting presentations together, we were working on all the accounts together. We brought in as we were hiring, we were still account managing them and the analytics piece, and we were still very much working in the business together on everything. And so when it came time to.

Kerry Guard [00:17:30]:

Like, figure out finance stuff or figure.

Kerry Guard [00:17:32]:

Out marketing or figure out, you know, the it side of things, we were still doing it all together. And then I decided to go have children.

Kerry Guard [00:17:41]:

And when I came back, it was.

Kerry Guard [00:17:44]:

You know, Mike held up the fort for two and a half months or so while I had twins. And I came back and we had.

Kerry Guard [00:17:52]:

A super tough conversation and a strong heart to heart of, like, one person.

Kerry Guard [00:17:59]:

Cannot all do this, and we've been doing everything.

Kerry Guard [00:18:01]:

And so, like, where are we going from here?

Kerry Guard [00:18:04]:

It was at that point that we split the roles and responsibilities based off of just our own capability of, like, to your point, like you said, Stacey, of like, where our strengths were. And so Mike's strengths was 100% sales. I came back, it was like the best problem to have coming off of maternity leave. We had way too much business, not enough people. Great problem to have. Oh, we were swimming in it. So I was like, Mike, you guys got the sales path, you're crushing it. And I said, I need to take the operations side and the people side, because now I got to go figure out, like, where people are going to come from to go staff.

Kerry Guard [00:18:36]:

And then you take sales and I'll take marketing and then the finance piece as well.

Staci Gray [00:18:40]:

We sort of just like split the.

Kerry Guard [00:18:42]:

House, divided it down the center.

Kerry Guard [00:18:45]:

And that worked for a while.

Kerry Guard [00:18:46]:

It worked from 2015 to 2021.

Staci Gray [00:18:50]:

21 ish.

Kerry Guard [00:18:53]:

Yeah, 21 ish.

Kerry Guard [00:18:54]:

And then we had a new heart to heart.

Kerry Guard [00:18:57]:

And I'm gonna let Mike take it.

Kerry Guard [00:18:58]:

From here because he sort of sparked the switch chains and the winds.

Mike Krass [00:19:06]:

Yeah. Yeah. Stacey, you definitely are noticing some of the co ness of the role within integrator and visionary amongst Carrie and I. And, you know, where, where we were in about 2021 is, I was actually talking to an EOS coach or an implementer, whatever they call them, EOS implementation coach. And he was just asking some questions, and we hadn't even hired him yet.

Mike Krass [00:19:29]:

And he said, the more you tell.

Mike Krass [00:19:32]:

Me, the more I realize you're actually both sharing these seats on your accountability chart. Like, I'm not sure if you're aware.

Mike Krass [00:19:36]:

Of that, but you are.

Mike Krass [00:19:38]:

And it was kind of an aha moment for me where I was like.

Mike Krass [00:19:41]:

Oh, well, yeah, I mean, I guess.

Mike Krass [00:19:44]:

Like, I have been managing finance, but also big relationships and vision and those, like, I'm fine doing finance, but it's not like a, it's not a life giving activity for me. Like, I do it because I need to, because it's my responsibility as a business owner to understand what's happening here, but it's not like what I really enjoy with, you know, big relationships and vision and, and that kind of work.

Mike Krass [00:20:09]:

And so that conversation with Matt brought.

Mike Krass [00:20:12]:

About our conversation where I said, hey, I think we need to have another.

Mike Krass [00:20:15]:

Understanding of, like, we really were just.

Mike Krass [00:20:17]:

Picking up things based on who had time. Like, oh, well, Stacy's got an extra 2 hours in her week, so she can just do, like, the finance stuff because it takes about 2 hours a week. Perfect. But it's not actually what Stacy should be doing, or Mike or Carrie in this case.

Mike Krass [00:20:29]:

And so in 2020, when we had that conversation, we split and we really.

Mike Krass [00:20:33]:

Focused on integrator, visionary, who does what. There's still a little bit of crossover because as integrator. And Kerry also carries the CEO title, which is not always common for an integrator to have that title. And so, like, she is involved with some big relationships because she has to be, right? As CEO, she has to understand, like, where certain things are. But it's created a different space for me to act in a visionary role, which, as you probably know, Stacy doesn't necessarily have a beginning and the end. It's kind of like a big ball of yarn that just continues forever.

Mike Krass [00:21:04]:

You know, it's not like I'm gonna.

Mike Krass [00:21:05]:

Set 2 hours on Tuesday morning, and then the vision will be done. Like, the vision changes every single time I speak to somebody. It changes just a little bit.

Staci Gray [00:21:13]:

I joke, I have built several multi million dollar businesses as integrator, and then I did it as visionary in making the change from integrator to visionary was so hard for exactly what you just said, mike, because as an integrator, you win in checkboxes. Like, you're results oriented. It's logistics and all of that. You go to visionary role, and it's like you got one checkbox and it's just an unraveling yarn. And you keep thinking about it. It keeps evolving, and it's harder to contain. So it's a. Just because you have time on your calendar doesn't mean you have mental capacity.

Staci Gray [00:21:49]:

And that has been such a growth journey for me. The thing that you guys have done, even just explaining this, is the courage to have what I call pink elephant conversations. It's the uncomfortable conversation that everyone knows there's a pink elephant in the room, but everyone is just tiptoeing around it. And it's really hard to build and scale organizations without having those, because you forfeit trust every time you brush that thing under the rug. It fragments the relationship. So how did you guys inside of your organization create a culture of having crucial conversations?

Kerry Guard [00:22:29]:

I think it comes back to our values, right? So it's such a critical part of any business.

Kerry Guard [00:22:34]:

I know that all the people listening probably do have values, and I hope.

Kerry Guard [00:22:38]:

That the values are more than just.

Kerry Guard [00:22:41]:

Pretty pictures on the wall. Don't get me wrong, I love walking.

Kerry Guard [00:22:44]:

Into an office building and see some awesome lettering with your values tattooed all over.

Kerry Guard [00:22:48]:

It is super cool, but you also.

Kerry Guard [00:22:50]:

Gotta live up to them. And I was never really part of an agency or company that did that.

Kerry Guard [00:22:56]:

Long duty, did have values, and they did say what they were, but I.

Kerry Guard [00:23:00]:

Didn'T feel them through the organization. And so I think when Mike and I started MKG, it was really important.

Kerry Guard [00:23:05]:

That when we created values, we really came back to living them.

Kerry Guard [00:23:11]:

Every decision we make comes back to, is this people first?

Kerry Guard [00:23:15]:

Is this transparent?

Kerry Guard [00:23:17]:

Is this laddering up to the bigger picture? And is this upholding our standards that we've worked so hard to create thus far?

Kerry Guard [00:23:26]:

And so transparency is one of our values. And crucial conversations happen in that place of honesty, of, like, let's sit with.

Kerry Guard [00:23:36]:

The ugly truths of where we are and what's happening and then have a discussion around. I think ids really helped with that.

Kerry Guard [00:23:42]:

You know, what's the issue?

Kerry Guard [00:23:44]:

Let's discuss it to really make sure we know it and understand it and we've defined it, because what you think the issue is is probably not what.

Kerry Guard [00:23:52]:

The actual issue is, and then let's solve it.

Kerry Guard [00:23:56]:

And so I think in really being able to embed ids into our organization really helped us have those pink elephant conversations a lot easier. It was not pretty in the early days. It was very much ripping off a band aid. It was very much saying hurtful things because we didn't know what else. We didn't know how to just start the conversation. And I think now that we use.

Kerry Guard [00:24:20]:

The ids framework, it's really helped being.

Kerry Guard [00:24:22]:

Able to have those conversations faster.

Staci Gray [00:24:25]:

And for folks who maybe don't know, ids is issue, discuss, solve, and it's part of a weekly leadership meeting or every other week leadership meeting from eos.

Mike Krass [00:24:37]:

One thing I'd say that, you know.

Mike Krass [00:24:38]:

Kerry, you just mentioned is, and these.

Mike Krass [00:24:41]:

Are my words, but what you just mentioned brought this to the forefront of my mind is we didn't know how to have these conversations. So for the listeners, it's not like we just showed up. And on our first day of partnership.

Mike Krass [00:24:53]:

At being in a partnership in the business, we just knew how to have them.

Mike Krass [00:24:57]:

And I remember when Carrie came back from having the twins and I was still in flight training. Every Friday morning I'd go to San Carlos airport. It's just like 5 miles south of SFO in San Francisco. And we'd have our weekly meeting after I do a flight lesson with an instructor.

Mike Krass [00:25:14]:

And I remember distinctly and in a.

Mike Krass [00:25:18]:

Horrible way because I didn't have the language or any of the tools, essentially.

Mike Krass [00:25:22]:

Saying, like, I'm doing a whole lot.

Mike Krass [00:25:24]:

Around here and I don't know what the heck is going on with you, but, like, I need help. And Harry having two twins, you know, very young children, for any listeners who have had young children, you know, like, that first year and the first couple months is hard. And what you don't probably need someone to say is, hey, man, like, what's going on with you? And so I just said it in the most horrible way. It was a conversation that needed to happen, but it was from my side, just, like, delivered terribly.

Mike Krass [00:25:55]:

And now you fast forward.

Mike Krass [00:25:56]:

That's in 2015. It's now 2024. So almost a decade later. And we have tools that have been given to us like ids from the attraction or EOS framework. We've got, you know, a business coach who talks to us about having crucial conversations and how to start conversations. So it's almost like training, right? Almost like a sport, right?

Mike Krass [00:26:14]:

Like nobody, nobody just gave Roger Federer a tennis racket, and they were like.

Mike Krass [00:26:18]:

Hey, man, go win. Like, a pile of grand slams, right? It required, like, training and coaching and practice and some terrible, terrible matches, both in our business and in his tennis career to understand, like, what's going on here, like, what's happening. And so it's that phrase of, like, the only way out is through. Like, you cannot go around this. Like, that's avoiding the conversation. Like, the way forward is through, and it's going to be messy, and you're probably going to make some mistakes. And insight is 2020, but ultimately, it's having these tools to be able to have, in your words, crucial conversations.

Staci Gray [00:26:52]:

That's also a book called Crucial Conversations, which is incredible if you guys haven't read it. The thing that you also have done for each other is extend a lot of grace and also show a commitment. You know, sometimes when we reach those really hard moments in partnerships and a visionary integrator relationship can very much be like a marriage because you're committed to this person, you're working through everything with them.

Staci Gray [00:27:20]:

It's. You're.

Staci Gray [00:27:21]:

You're triggering each other.

Kerry Guard [00:27:23]:

And so we have a process we.

Staci Gray [00:27:24]:

Call find your truth in the trigger. Because what you're sharing is your narrative. It's your story. It's what you're telling yourself about the facts. But the root of it is something deeper. Like, I'm feeling like this is inequitable, or I am feeling like I am doing things I don't enjoy, and you get to do all the things you do enjoy, and being able to share it from a place of, you know, we both want win win, which it sounds like you guys have very much gone on that journey. The other part of the dynamic that I'm really curious about, and, Carrie, you alluded it to it in the beginning, which was, it was really just like a gut instinct. Like, you knew it was your intuition.

Staci Gray [00:28:07]:

And women, I think, tend to have these visceral reactions. I think men do, too, but women tend to be okay talking about it. And I know, Carrie, you're big Brene Brown. Fran, as I am, too. And I'm sure you brought that into the culture and the leadership and dynamic. But has there been any wrestling with that? Because I know I've had that where I've told my integrator, hey, this doesn't feel right. And unless it feels right and passionate and aligned, I don't think I can move in this direction. But someone who's integrator, like, who's more logical and systematic and if then.

Staci Gray [00:28:43]:

And engineer thinking, it's like, this makes no sense. It's obvious we should do this. So how do you guys reconcile some of that, if that happens in your relationship at all?

Kerry Guard [00:28:53]:

I go off of hunches and gut feelings based off of facts and data from previous. So I am very much that logical thinker.

Kerry Guard [00:29:03]:

I'm not.

Staci Gray [00:29:04]:

That's why?

Kerry Guard [00:29:05]:

Like, I'm not the visionary. I can't really think ten steps ahead. I'm thinking about right now and how.

Kerry Guard [00:29:12]:

To make right now great.

Kerry Guard [00:29:14]:

And with, you know, really looking at.

Kerry Guard [00:29:17]:

That year to three year plan, like.

Kerry Guard [00:29:19]:

That'S about as far ahead as I can think. And so my gut reactions, my hunches.

Kerry Guard [00:29:25]:

Are all based off of the information I'm gathering through my subconscious. And so I think when I met Mike, it was twofold. One, I saw me and him. I was that horse in New York. I I was owning the Yoplay account.

Kerry Guard [00:29:48]:

For $10 million, and it was me.

Kerry Guard [00:29:51]:

And I reported to a VP, and it burned me.

Kerry Guard [00:29:55]:

So when I showed up and saw Mike, I was like, I feel you so hard.

Kerry Guard [00:29:59]:

Can't even tell you. And what was magical about it.

Kerry Guard [00:30:05]:

And you don't run into many of these people, especially in New York City. Gosh, you do not run into these.

Kerry Guard [00:30:08]:

People in New York City. Is that people who can take feedback and run with it and lean into.

Kerry Guard [00:30:14]:

It and are like, tell me you're giving me great suggestions on what I could be doing better. Like, let's go.

Kerry Guard [00:30:20]:


Kerry Guard [00:30:20]:

And he was one of those people.

Kerry Guard [00:30:21]:

Where I was like, we could grow together.

Kerry Guard [00:30:24]:

Like, we hear from each other, we build off of each other. It's rare that you find people to do that with where you don't get.

Kerry Guard [00:30:31]:

It's more of a yes and versus a no. But. And so I think when we're.

Kerry Guard [00:30:39]:

For me, it was very much like I was going on that gut feeling based off of all these past relationships that I had throughout New York. So when I. When I met Mike, I just. That's how I knew it was based.

Kerry Guard [00:30:52]:

Off of all that information. And so I think for us moving.

Kerry Guard [00:30:56]:

Forward, it is very much where Mike.

Kerry Guard [00:30:58]:

Can think a bit higher level.

Kerry Guard [00:31:00]:

He can keep his pulse on the bigger picture.

Kerry Guard [00:31:02]:

He can pull me up to say, I hear, like, you know, I know.

Kerry Guard [00:31:07]:

That this decision is really hard. I know that it might go against our values of what that feels like right now, but at the end of.

Kerry Guard [00:31:12]:

The day, this is what needs to.

Kerry Guard [00:31:14]:

Be accomplished, and we need to. We need to find our way through in what that decision is going to.

Staci Gray [00:31:18]:

Be to get there.

Kerry Guard [00:31:19]:

And so I think we work really.

Kerry Guard [00:31:23]:

Well that way of him being able to see big picture and me being.

Kerry Guard [00:31:26]:

Like, the right now problems of right now.

Staci Gray [00:31:30]:

Mm hmm.

Mike Krass [00:31:32]:


Mike Krass [00:31:32]:

I I would talk about, you know.

Mike Krass [00:31:35]:

To the listeners, the having a framework.

Mike Krass [00:31:38]:

And understanding what conversation we're having. So, like, a piece of language that.

Mike Krass [00:31:43]:

I have that I've had to change.

Mike Krass [00:31:45]:

Because my wife doesn't like this anymore.

Mike Krass [00:31:47]:

And doesn't respond in a way that she likes to. It is, are we talking?

Mike Krass [00:31:54]:

Am I listening or are we solving something here? Anything about, like a systems thinker, like an integrator can often be.

Mike Krass [00:32:02]:

And it's like the moment I say.

Mike Krass [00:32:04]:

Something as a visionary and integrator will be like, well, let's see, like, how could we operationalize this?

Mike Krass [00:32:09]:

We can do this, that. And so framing it in a way.

Mike Krass [00:32:12]:

Of like, hey, I just want to carry's going to laugh at this because I think my latest version is like, I just want to plant a seed, which I didn't realize I said that so often. And she actually reflected it back to me earlier this year. She's like, you plant a lot of seeds of thought, an idea. And I'm like, I guess I do. I never thought about that. But that's basically saying because the language I used to use was, I'm going to tell you something, but I don't want to talk about it right now, which is, like, very frustrating to somebody who wants to operationalize something. And I think I said it last week, so I still say it on occasion, but it's like going to plant the seed of this idea. And I also, I do my best to offer an outlet.

Mike Krass [00:32:50]:

So, like, every Thursday morning we have a non IDS meeting, just Kerry and I, not our leadership team. It's just the two of us for 50 minutes.

Mike Krass [00:32:58]:

And so I often will plant seeds.

Mike Krass [00:33:01]:

At the beginning of the week so Carrie can think about them and then we can have time to talk about them and we might just jump straight into operationalizing it. That non ids block of time turns.

Mike Krass [00:33:10]:

Into ids real quick sometimes, but it's.

Mike Krass [00:33:13]:

Framing it of, like, here's how I'm.

Mike Krass [00:33:15]:

Bringing this to you.

Mike Krass [00:33:16]:

And for me, like, how I felt like, like, right in here sometimes is I'd like, bring this idea to Carrie.

Mike Krass [00:33:22]:

And then she start operationalizing it and.

Mike Krass [00:33:25]:

I'd be like, I don't know, like, I don't think we're even ready for that or whatever. And so it's kind of like, you know, you put the car in drive and then you, like, put it back in park. And so everyone's just like, what are we doing here, guys? Like, what the heck?

Mike Krass [00:33:36]:

But it's not everyone. It's two people.

Staci Gray [00:33:38]:


Mike Krass [00:33:38]:

Being like, what the heck is happening around here?

Mike Krass [00:33:41]:

So I've tried to find that, like, that language and that framing of here.

Mike Krass [00:33:45]:

I'm just gonna, like, share some ideas.

Mike Krass [00:33:47]:

And I'm not sure that I'm ready.

Mike Krass [00:33:49]:

That can also be another piece of language of, like, I'm not sure I'm ready. Like, I'm here to listen if you.

Mike Krass [00:33:53]:

Want to talk about it, but I'm not really ready to go further right now. I can listen, but I don't know.

Mike Krass [00:33:59]:

That I can contribute as a speaker right now.

Staci Gray [00:34:03]:

One of the things I learned so much about the visionary integrator dynamic, which you guys are modeling here is the need for thought partnership, and with it not necessarily being actionable, because I know my integrator comes to me and says, what do you think about all of this? And I'm like, that's so in the weeds. Like, I can't go there right now. But at the same time, they're coming because they're like, I want to make sure that the vision is fully represented operationally, and I want to just double check and make sure we're aligned. And then when I'm in the visionary role, I'm like, hey, could we actually operationalize this? Would this actually resonate with our customers? I need, like, boots on the ground insight into this and that thought partnership. I didn't realize until more recently how critical that was for visionary integrator relationships to be successful. So framing it instead of chasing multiple rabbits is so critical. Yet sometimes we don't self regulate in that fashion. Especially, I'll say, more in the visionary seat than the integrator.

Staci Gray [00:35:12]:

The integrators tends to be more like three to five years right in front of you. More disciplined with our thinking visionaries in the seat.

Kerry Guard [00:35:21]:

That seat.

Staci Gray [00:35:21]:

We didn't get lost in the clouds and sometimes lose. Lose sense of reality or practicality at times. And the integrator can feel like they're poking holes in it. So, Carrie, do you have tactics that you use to support Mike in thought partnership without him feeling like his ideas.

Staci Gray [00:35:41]:

Are being dismissed or pooh poohed?

Kerry Guard [00:35:46]:

It took me a really long time.

Kerry Guard [00:35:49]:

To give space, to give space to.

Kerry Guard [00:35:53]:

An idea and let my subconscious hang out. So it's the.

Kerry Guard [00:35:56]:

It's giving space.

Staci Gray [00:35:58]:

Giving space for your subconscious to marinate on an idea. And I feel like that put it in a box really well, because sometimes we take an idea in the integrator seat, especially take the idea and run with it.

Kerry Guard [00:36:13]:

Don't need to. I don't need to integrate every single idea he has all the time. Sometimes he just has ideas and he needs to say them, and I need to give him space to say them. Love my subconscious. Hang out with them, and then there's gonna be one or two that I say, okay, I see it. I gotta see. I call them lily pads, right?

Kerry Guard [00:36:30]:

So, like, I don't want to not.

Kerry Guard [00:36:32]:

Say no to an idea. I just can't quite see the lily pads yet. So I'm just gonna hang out with it. And then the minute I can see the lily pads, it's like. And then I'm like, okay, let's dig into this and figure out what this means and how this might impact the company in a bigger way. So it's those two things.

Kerry Guard [00:36:45]:

Between the giving of the space and.

Kerry Guard [00:36:48]:

Acknowledging to myself that I don't need.

Kerry Guard [00:36:51]:

To integrate every idea, he's going to.

Kerry Guard [00:36:53]:

Have a million ideas.

Kerry Guard [00:36:54]:

That's his job.

Kerry Guard [00:36:56]:

It's my job to figure out which ideas are the ones we can use right now.

Staci Gray [00:37:00]:


Staci Gray [00:37:02]:

One of the integrators I know will ask the visionary. Okay, of the five ideas you just told me about, which one of these are you going to change your mind about tomorrow? And then they just start going down their fingers and I'm like, that's brilliant. I need to use that. So what are you guys most excited about? Now that your versionary integrator relationship is just stormed and formed and you're really getting each other? That's where magic happens. So what's the future?

Staci Gray [00:37:31]:

Hold on.

Kerry Guard [00:37:33]:

I think it took us a minute to get acclimated.

Kerry Guard [00:37:37]:

So a couple things happened, right? So I took over CEO. The importance of me taking the CEO seat and really sitting an integrator as one person versus splitting is that now one person can see all the different pillars of the organization and how they fit together. Before, Mike was sales and finance, and he saw that and I was like, cool, I'm just going to go ask for money whenever I need it from a marketing and operations standpoint.

Kerry Guard [00:38:04]:

But we weren't, because we weren't working together.

Kerry Guard [00:38:06]:

There wasn't one person who could see the through line on that. Then we got out of balance. And so it really took me probably the last two years to really be able to see the full organization and how all these pillars work. Look at the historical data and. And think about how the market has changed and then what we're going to do from here based off of that information.

Kerry Guard [00:38:27]:

And I finally feel like I get it.

Kerry Guard [00:38:32]:

It's ever changing. And I'm, you know, but I feel caught up. And so I think it took us.

Kerry Guard [00:38:39]:

The last two years. We also, I mean, I think a.

Kerry Guard [00:38:42]:

Lot of agencies are feeling this up and down in terms of how the market's operating and it's been a tough two years. So we've been in a bit of fight or flight, but we're coming out the other side. 2024 has, you know, set us up for success in terms of where we are in trajectory of our finances. And so I think we're in a really good spot now to like give Mike those wings and that breath, to.

Kerry Guard [00:39:02]:

Like, go really live in that visionary role.

Kerry Guard [00:39:05]:

We haven't really had a chance to give him that and he's starting to find his feet in it.

Staci Gray [00:39:10]:

And it's, it's exciting to think about.

Kerry Guard [00:39:14]:

Now that we have the space to think about it.

Kerry Guard [00:39:16]:

He has a space to think about it.

Mike Krass [00:39:19]:


Mike Krass [00:39:20]:

And where we're going from a visionary.

Mike Krass [00:39:22]:

Standpoint, somebody wise told me, when you.

Mike Krass [00:39:26]:

Want to be going somewhere, you have to know where you're starting from.

Staci Gray [00:39:28]:


Mike Krass [00:39:28]:

Like, there always has to be like us. You are here, button on your map. And I think where we are today, where we have been is focused on primarily running a traditional agency model. There's nothing wrong with it being traditional in the agency model. It's been great for us over the past twelve years.

Mike Krass [00:39:47]:

And where I see us going is.

Mike Krass [00:39:50]:

Behaving differently than a traditional agency. So like a traditional agency, you know, you do some marketing and selling and then you get a client and then you sign them and then they pay you and then you do the work. And on occasion you turn a few and you bring a few more in and it's fine. Right? There's nothing wrong with that. But where I am thinking from a.

Mike Krass [00:40:08]:

Vision standpoint is we need some sort.

Mike Krass [00:40:10]:

Of compounding, compounding effect to make the business compound. So it's not just linear, it's not just one and one is two. It's one and one can become 50.

Mike Krass [00:40:21]:

And that's where I see us going.

Mike Krass [00:40:24]:

Is behaving a little bit less an advertising or a marketing agency and more.

Mike Krass [00:40:29]:

Like a group of specialists. So, like a great example that I.

Mike Krass [00:40:33]:

Gave to Kerry the other day is like, if we're a building, like in a condo building, we have as an agency. And I know we'll tell your listeners at the end kind of what we.

Mike Krass [00:40:42]:

Do and who we work with.

Mike Krass [00:40:43]:

We have a specific focus in terms of services and the type of customer we want to work with.

Mike Krass [00:40:48]:

And that's great.

Mike Krass [00:40:48]:

It's really solid positioning.

Mike Krass [00:40:50]:

It helps people.

Mike Krass [00:40:52]:

It's magnetic, it draws certain people in and it repels others. But there are certain things we don't do. There are other capabilities we'd love to have. I see for our vision this condo building of individual condo units of specialties. And what gets lost a lot, I was just talking to somebody two weeks ago who's selling his marketing agency and what gets lost a lot in an.

Mike Krass [00:41:13]:

Acquisition, as one example, is you get.

Mike Krass [00:41:16]:

Folded into the mothership and the thing that made you special, that made you valuable, that people acquired you for, that.

Mike Krass [00:41:22]:

People wanted to work at and people wanted to hire, kind of becomes like.

Mike Krass [00:41:27]:

Glazed over into like one big mothership. And so like our vision that I see and it's taken a long time.

Mike Krass [00:41:34]:

To get to this vision is the.

Mike Krass [00:41:36]:

Condo building with these individual condo units of specialization. Because that's where we really think, that's where the compounding benefits will come is.

Mike Krass [00:41:45]:

A diverse set of capabilities but not.

Mike Krass [00:41:47]:

Mushed together into one mothership. And they're all specialized and they're all focused on our audience of software and cybersecurity marketers. And so that's, that's where I see us going and it's been really exciting to get there.

Mike Krass [00:41:59]:

And it's actually good timing to record.

Mike Krass [00:42:00]:

This because we literally just got there in the past few weeks. Like this is very new to us.

Staci Gray [00:42:05]:

Yeah, I think that's like having an umbrella organization with silos that are specialized is so helpful, especially in service based businesses because it's so nuanced per customer that you're working with. And then you can have underneath all of your software tech platforms, your tech stack that you either have in house or affiliates and then that becomes such a great model with your services being very boutique and custom and tailored and the software is the part that scales it for you. So I love that structure.

Kerry Guard [00:42:42]:

How would you guys define success?

Staci Gray [00:42:46]:

Not business, but individually? I know you guys did your, yeah, I think I would call it an MoU, but Kerry, you called it some formation agreement. This is what we're doing. What does that look like for you.

Kerry Guard [00:42:59]:

When this is all said and done.

Mike Krass [00:43:01]:

What a success looks like to me?

Mike Krass [00:43:04]:

So first of all, I don't see.

Mike Krass [00:43:08]:

Mkg as something that will be done. I see it as something that probably I will perish. My vision is I will perish before the organization does in whatever format the organization is at that time. So it's just this constant state of evolution.

Mike Krass [00:43:26]:

And I haven't done it this year.

Mike Krass [00:43:28]:

But actually this time last year I.

Mike Krass [00:43:30]:

Wrote myself an email of what does MKG do for me?

Mike Krass [00:43:34]:

And it really was some of the things that you just asked about, what does success look like?

Mike Krass [00:43:38]:

So success to me looks like flexibility.

Mike Krass [00:43:41]:

In work, location, and time, success looks like being able to travel for work, but not having to travel for work.

Mike Krass [00:43:48]:

Success looks like being able to volunteer.

Mike Krass [00:43:51]:

Which I'm trying to get back into. And it's kind of been slow going since COVID you know, everything kind of shut down in person. I really enjoy, like, in person volunteering.

Mike Krass [00:43:58]:

And success, to me, also looks like.

Mike Krass [00:44:03]:

I'll tell you what it doesn't look like. There isn't a number that I have. You know, a lot of entrepreneurs have a number. Like, if you're a 4% rural person, you're like, I just need to make $10 million, and then I can live on my brokerage account for the rest of my life and not have to do anything, which is all well and.

Mike Krass [00:44:15]:

Good until you meet somebody who's made.

Mike Krass [00:44:17]:

$10 million and they are living a 4% life, and they're like, dude, I'm so bored. I am like, I'm literally, like, punching holes in the wall so I have something to do during the day so I can, like, do drywall work. Like, I'm floating drywall just because I've got nothing else to do around here. So what it doesn't look like is.

Mike Krass [00:44:35]:

For me, it's not a number for me, it doesn't really have an end.

Mike Krass [00:44:38]:

And I think coming back to, you know, talking about the holding company and the condo building and the units within it, it's this evolution of what the offering is here at MKg. Like, MKG could be the overarching condo building. That's what's on the building of the sign. There's all these little condo units within it.

Mike Krass [00:44:56]:

And that evolution will have to be.

Mike Krass [00:45:00]:

Flexible because we don't even know what we're gonna. What we're gonna need in ten years, right? I don't even know what condo units are gonna be in that building at that point. It could be the same. It could be different. It could be a mix.

Mike Krass [00:45:11]:

So, like, for me, I look at.

Mike Krass [00:45:13]:

It as maximum flexibility.

Mike Krass [00:45:15]:

It's not about a number. It's more about a lifestyle without it.

Mike Krass [00:45:19]:

Being a lifestyle business, if that makes sense.

Staci Gray [00:45:23]:

What I'm hearing, and I think I've heard it almost throughout this whole conversation, is just.

Kerry Guard [00:45:29]:

It's almost a value of joy.

Staci Gray [00:45:31]:

Like, enjoying the process, enjoying the discovery, enjoying envisioning, enjoying the evolution, enjoying learning how to have crucial conversations.

Kerry Guard [00:45:43]:

It's the process that's such a beautiful way to approach it.

Staci Gray [00:45:48]:


Mike Krass [00:45:49]:

Very John Wooden esque. When you frame it that way of, like, it's not about what's the scoreboard. It's about how you tie your shoes but how you run about like. It's about the process.

Staci Gray [00:45:58]:


Staci Gray [00:45:59]:

How about for you, Carrie?

Kerry Guard [00:46:01]:

I'm with Mike.

Kerry Guard [00:46:02]:

We read the book by Simon Sneck of let's start with why it was the infinite game.

Kerry Guard [00:46:08]:

The infinite game.

Kerry Guard [00:46:09]:

And so in reading that book, that's where it came for me of like, this is a painting that's never going to be done and I am going.

Staci Gray [00:46:15]:

To sit and accept that and be.

Kerry Guard [00:46:17]:

Excited about what this could mean for.

Kerry Guard [00:46:20]:

The next generation of who will take this thing over and keep it going. That's super exciting for me. I think that's what success looks like. The idea of it continuing without micro writing and sort of our legacy. I called it a legacy the other.

Kerry Guard [00:46:33]:

Day and my husband was like, legacy? I've been doing this for twelve years.

Kerry Guard [00:46:38]:

Like, I don't see myself really doing anything else. So yeah, my kids are going to remember my career as MPG and the legacy I leave behind for the next generation to take it over. And so, yeah, I think for me it's right now in terms of success, I'm looking for that stability and sustainability.

Kerry Guard [00:46:56]:

Piece for it to grow into that legacy. That's beautiful.

Staci Gray [00:47:01]:

You guys are finding your eyes closed reasons for doing eyes open things that.

Kerry Guard [00:47:06]:

Are beyond your time on earth, which is beautiful. I love it.

Staci Gray [00:47:11]:

So if folks want to learn more.

Kerry Guard [00:47:13]:

About what you do, maybe can you.

Staci Gray [00:47:16]:

All share a little bit about that and then where people can connect with you?

Mike Krass [00:47:21]:


Mike Krass [00:47:22]:

So we're easy to find online. The company is called MKG Marketing. Mike Kilo Golf Marketing. And you can go to MkG Marketing. Just type that into your browser and it'll take you straight to our website. Kerry and I are also both power LinkedIn ers. So I think probably in the show notes we can hook Stacy up with our LinkedIn profiles. We would love for anybody to connect.

Mike Krass [00:47:45]:

With us who heard the episode wants.

Mike Krass [00:47:48]:

To talk about anything we discussed or anything we left out. That's really the easiest way to get ahold of us is hit the website.

Mike Krass [00:47:54]:

Hit us on LinkedIn. And if you are a software or.

Mike Krass [00:47:58]:

A cybersecurity marketer listening to this, that's our niche, that's where MKG works. So we would absolutely love to meet you. If there's an opportunity to work together, great. More importantly, just to expand our network and our world. Carrie, anything that I left out there?

Staci Gray [00:48:10]:

If you are looking for marketing tips.

Kerry Guard [00:48:12]:

And tricks, we do have a podcast, tea time with tech marketing leaders that I host. So many great demand gen marketers on there who are building businesses and have great ideas on how to help you do it. So definitely check that out and if you're a marketer in b two B.

Kerry Guard [00:48:28]:

In the tech space and SaaS or cyber and you want to be on the show, let me know.

Staci Gray [00:48:31]:

Love to have you.

Staci Gray [00:48:33]:

Love that you I don't know why anyone would not want to connect with you both because you are soulful leaders and I feel like the world is really needing a lot more soulful leaders and bringing bringing more joy into the.

Staci Gray [00:48:45]:

Workplace while you get things done because like Mike you said the guy who retired 4% you get bored. People want to do things because that makes them feel significant and valued that create more beautiful things in the world. So I just appreciate both of you and admire the visionary integrated relationship with.

Staci Gray [00:49:08]:

Thank you so much for joining the conversation today.

Kerry Guard [00:49:11]:

Thank you Stacey. Thanks for having us.

Staci Gray [00:49:14]:

Yes. Yeah.

Mike Krass [00:49:15]:

Thank you.

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