Size Matters

David and Blair address the obsession that many principals have with the size of firms, and the advantages of being either big or small.


BLAIR ENNS: David, size matters.

DAVID C. BAKER: Oh, man.

BLAIR: Or does it? That's the topic of today's podcast. Today on 2Bobs-

DAVID: I am not going to answer that question. I am just going to leave you to hang out and dry, so keep talking, my man. When you need rescue, when I see you flailing in the Pacific Ocean, I'll come to your rescue. Keep going.

BLAIR: We're talking about the size of your firm and all of the issues around size, because I have this line that a friend reminded me of that I'm not going to say.

DAVID: Oh, come on.

DAVID: Okay. So you're at some event and there are a bunch of peers there, and you don't really know who they are and you look at their tag, and their tag says their name and it sometimes says the name of the agency and maybe geography. But it doesn't say how many people the firm has, and that is inevitably the most important thing the person wants to find out, because in their mind, they're saying, oh, this is a three person firm, I've got to get out of this conversation quickly. Or, it's a 40 person firm, oh, now I'm attentive, I'm listening. How did they make that happen? Because I want to be a firm like that too.

BLAIR: Or it's a 300 person firm and I'm intimidated. Maybe we should take a word cloud type approach to these conference badges. The size of your name on the name tag is representative of the size of your firm.

DAVID: Or how much money you make.

BLAIR: Yeah, that would be even better, wouldn't it? Okay. Friend Chris Kneeland is one of the founders of Communo, where ... It's a platform that allows ... Here's the shameless plug because I'm an investor. It's a platform that allows scale, flexible two-way scale, of agencies. So he's interested in the idea of scale, how does an agency scale? He said, "I think it would be a great topic for you guys to talk about. I sent you a text and you immediately emailed me nine pages of reading that you had written on this, so it's spread out all over my desk here. I confess I haven't read it all, but there's a lot to talk about here, so let's just get into it. Why are we so obsessed with the size of the firm?

DAVID: And when we say "we", if we would rank the "we" there, I would say that US firms are more obsessed with that than any other developed countries.

BLAIR: Do you think it's a cultural thing?

DAVID: In part, it's sort of this cowboy thing. If you aren't growing, you're dying, that sort of BS statement, or you want to apply for the Inc. 5000 and you want to be one of the fastest growing firms, which usually means your hair's on fire, you've got some people working for you, don't even know their names yet. Processes are out of control.

BLAIR: I know a firm that claims to have been on the fastest growing companies list for four years straight, and they only had 45 or 50 people.

DAVID: Yeah.

BLAIR: What's that tell you? They grew from one to four, 400% growth, and then they went from four to 16, and then my math skills run out about there.

BLAIR: I want to also back up, this BS line about if you aren't growing, you're dying. One of the first lessons I ever learned in my first economics class ... I don't have a degree in economics, I only ever took two classes before I was academically expelled from university. But it was the one that just stuck with me for 30 years, was the professor said some comment about growth. Growth is a mandatory requirement, it's one of the key measures of economic success, and it's a mandatory requirement for an economy or for a company, and maybe the company part was my extrapolation.

BLAIR: My immediate reaction, this was over 30 years ago, my immediate reaction was that's not possible. That's not sustainable. I've thought about that comment for decades. Then one day a few years ago, not many years ago, I realized the truth of the statement, because when you think of growth, you think of the requirement of strong on natural resources, and then you think, well, it's a finite world. It's not possible to maintain growth forever.

BLAIR: I was having a separate conversation with a scientist friend of mine. We talked about intellectual growth, and he basically said, yeah, in science, if you're not advancing your thinking, you're dead. It's over. I thought, yeah, that's a truism of growth, and the mistake we're making with that statement is thinking that growth means growth in size of the firm or the business. We just have to have a more, I think, liberal interpretation of that word "growth".

DAVID: Right, exactly. We're not necessarily talking about a tree, because if a tree is not consistently getting bigger and bigger, it is dead, right? I think the distinction you just made is accurate, and we've talked so much about how we need to keep learning or we die. I believe all that. I'm just reacting to the idea that we have to keep adding people, the body count needs to be bigger. Body count. That's probably a bad phrase here in this context. The body count doesn't need to be bigger.

DAVID: Now, some of your employees ... We'll talk about all the pros and cons of this. There are good reasons to grow, really. I'm not against growth. I don't think we have to grow in body count. We can be a firm of any size we want. Let's just understand the implications of different sizes and then grow a company that fits who we want to be, and not be dragged along by some cultural norm that forces something on us that we are not prepared for, because growth brings certain things, and if you're not prepared to do those things, then growth is a really bad idea.

BLAIR: Yeah, as a vanity measure, that's what we initially started talking about here, we look at another firm and we think, oh, they're bigger than us or they're smaller than ours, and then we make some judgments or assessments around that. That's the big mistake, is head count or body count as you say is a vanity measure.

BLAIR: But let's talk about the advantages of being big. Of course there have to be some, and there have to be some advantages of being small. Then we'll talk about the sweet spot, and then maybe how do you flex from big to small if and when that's appropriate? What are the advantages of growing the body count?

DAVID: Sure. This is fun to think about, and this list just keeps getting shorter and shorter in my mind, and it's certainly not in any order of importance at all. But the first one that always comes to my mind is that you can pull off an agency of record or a full service statement with your clients, and it really be true. A lot of firms are saying they're full service or AOR like, and it's not really true. But here it can really be true, and that is a very significant advantage.

DAVID: It may be the most important thing. You have clients or prospects out there who want to use your firm, but the only thing they're hesitant about is that you don't have a very deep bench. You're kind of small, they're not sure if you can pull this off. One interesting asterisk there is ... I don't see this being asked anymore, but years ago, prospects used to ask this question. If you win our business, what percentage of your revenue will we represent? I loved that question. What they were looking for was, they did not want to be too big, contrary to what you might have thought when you heard that question. They don't want to be too big, because they realize if they're too big, they're going to stop getting really objective advice, because the agency's going to be too afraid of losing them.

DAVID: Anyway, back to this. You have a prospect who wants to use you, and the only hesitation they have is that you're small, you don't have a deep bench. Turn that around. I do think this is a really significant advantage of being bigger. Now, what is bigger? That's up for discussion. I usually draw that line around 45 people. Below that, unless you're really hyper specialized, it's hard to make the legitimate argument that you can pull off that full service moniker.

BLAIR: Where does 45 come from?

DAVID: Just seeing that in the marketplace. It's not really scientific. It's just seeing, oh, that's when things start to change a little bit. Prospects trust them a little bit more, think it's big enough to pull off. It's not a real hard metric, but it's just a rule of thumb.

BLAIR: It's interesting, this first point about your size gives you the ability to be full service, or what I would say, to go deeper into the client organization. You and I talk about this a lot to the audiences that we work with. When you think about growing the firm, if the firm has, say, 20 clients at an average size of X, they typically think of it going from 20 to 30 clients, or growing the number of clients. Then we come along and say, no, you really should limit your client base to somewhere between ... The broad range would be eight to 20, a narrower range would be 10 to 15 clients. What you do is you cycle through those clients. When the client goes from being a good client who spends lots of money with you to being a poorer client who's beating you up on fees all the time, then you cycle that client out. You replace them with a larger client.

BLAIR: The way you would double in size is not double your client base, but get bigger clients. As you get bigger clients, the implication is you need more people to be able to go deeper into those organizations. So when we present that idea to somebody, you don't double the size of your firm by doubling the number of clients. Everybody seems to think, well, there's a limit that can apply to every firm, but it really does, doesn't it? If you look at the larger firms who are really doing well, they still have a small number of clients, but they have a lot of people. They go deeper into those client organizations and they're providing more services, and that's what you're talking about here, isn't it?

DAVID: Yes, exactly right. Clients, whether they're right or wrong, that's exactly how they think. They want to buy a whole lot of services from you, and they also want you ... This varies a little bit, depending on whether you're vertically positioned or horizontally positioned, but there's almost an expectation if you are vertically positioned. In other words, your positioning is tied to a particular SIC or NAICS or NCAIS code. There's an expectation that if your positioning is vertical, that you will be capable of being the full service. That's not true for horizontal positioning, and we've talked a lot about the difference between those two. People can go back and listen to those episodes.

DAVID: But there is this expectation. So if you want to be that kind of firm which is going to command higher fees, usually, and have more visibility, then you would want to be a bigger firm. You have a lot of clients, I have a lot of clients who are smaller than that who are very successful in every way. But those firms typically need to be ... The smaller you are as a firm, the more tight your positioning has to be. That's just absolutely true.

BLAIR: Yeah. All right, speaking of being tight in positioning, that applies to the individual roles too, because the second advantage of being large that you have on your list here is more specialized roles, and you're talking about for the people in your firm. Is that right?

DAVID: Right. I was just thinking about this last night as I was contemplating what we were going to talk about, and just the example that came to my mind immediately was, all right. You have a 12 person firm, and your clients are calling on you to do serious UX work. That work is delivered by maybe a strategist to some degree, and then somebody who comes from a design background who has migrated to being a very component UX thinker.

DAVID: Compare that with a 60 person firm. A client of mine in New York who has five UX PhD people. Firms don't always migrate well in that sense. So by that, I mean they might have 60 people, and they haven't focused the roles internally. They still have a lot of utility infield players, as you would say. But being larger gives you the advantage of having that really deep expertise, so you show up at a client meeting, and you have somebody that just blows everybody away because of their deep expertise. I think that is a viable advantage of being a larger firm if you use it well.

BLAIR: I didn't hear what you said because I'm still struck by the fact that, A, you can get a PhD in user experience design, and B, a firm has five of such people.

DAVID: Yeah, yeah. They're in the pharmaceutical space, and it's kind of necessary for them. Yeah. Interesting.

BLAIR: Okay. What else is on your list of the advantages of size?

DAVID: This one is more of a recent realization to me, because I kept resisting it, and then I kept getting pushback from my clients, and I've reluctantly come to see it their way. That's that many employees, not all, but many employees do want to be working for a firm that is growing, as in they're adding to the body count. That feels exciting to them. It feels like there's green growth at this firm. Also, in their minds very consciously, they're thinking, this is going to provide more rungs on the career ladder.

DAVID: People ignore the rest of these reasons. This may be the only reason, and it is really significant. I still don't think it should trump what you are capable of doing as a leader or a manager. If you're not good at managing a larger entity, then it's really a mistake to grow just to meet this need. But it is significant. I'm starting to see that more and more. Employees, especially younger ones in late 20s, 30s, early 40s. After that, it's not as important. They're more driven by fitting into the culture and having a really good place to land, and they're not climbers quite as much as folks earlier in their careers.

BLAIR: Yeah, it's interesting. I think about this and I recall the early days of my career, and in the large firms, there was lots of opportunity for growth and lots of battles for those job openings or those future jobs. Everything that you did as you were working on your client work, you had an eye towards your next move, or at least I did. Maybe I'm sick that way.

BLAIR: But then in a smaller firm, you have the opportunity to grow the firm. Strong individual performance can have a big impact on the firm itself. Then there's a place where, and I'm not sure where it is, where people just feel stuck. There's really nowhere to go from here, even if I have a significant impact on the future of the firm. It's something I never really thought of before you brought it up here, but I can see the implications of size.

BLAIR: The first thing I ever read from you, before I knew you, before we'd ever had a conversation, was you wrote these lines. Growth isn't good, period. It isn't bad either. It really depends on your ... I forget the third line, but it was like, it really depends on the reasons why you want to grow. When I think of this point of providing career opportunities for your people, that's a really valid reason to want to grow. I never really thought too deeply about that before.

DAVID: It really is, yeah. I've come around on that point, and I think our listeners are probably ... Whether that's true of their firm or not, I suspect that they really understand that, maybe from their prior experience, like you just related, their prior experience at another firm before they started one.

DAVID: When you have a smaller firm with high performers, these folks who are ambitious, they're going to put more pressure on the ownership pool. It's going to be more important to them that if they can't grow by climbing that career ladder, then they want to be a partial owner. So if you don't deal with that ambition by being a bigger firm with more rungs on the career ladder, you're going to have to deal with it in other ways. You're going to have to deal with figuring out how to keep them satisfied as a non-owner or a minority owner as well.

BLAIR: That's another salient point about putting pressure on the ownership pool, because again, I'd never considered that. But as you say it, I can think of examples right away.


BLAIR: Next on our list, and then we'll move to some advantages of being small, but you've got "raises the likelihood of being acquired." There's a threshold, right? I'll just toss that over to you. There's so much we could talk about here, should you be thinking to sell your firm, which I think we've discussed before. Where's the threshold? But if you do want to sell, size is important, isn't it?

DAVID: It really is, and there are exceptions, obviously, where firms are being acquired below this threshold. But those of us who do a lot of work in this space, and there are three of us that ... We're almost completely busy doing that. Then there's four other firms that do it, so seven in total. Between us, we all know this because we're told this frequently on the other phone. Nobody publishes it, but the thinking is this. We're going to buy a 20 person firm or we're going to buy a 60 person firm. Our legal fees are going to be the same, our due diligence costs are the same, all that stuff. If we're going to spread all that energy and cost across a firm to buy, we really don't want to buy the small ones, because the ROI isn't there.

DAVID: So when you define what is a small firm from an acquisition standpoint, a small firm is anything less than $10 million in AGI, that is fee-based, or $3 million in net. Again, about 20-30% of firms fall underneath that, so there are many exceptions to it. But it is a significant advantage if you want to raise the chances of being acquired by somebody else for real money. Not just merger money, but real money.

BLAIR: All right. And your last point before we move onto the advantages of being small, it's easier to get away. What the hell do you mean by that?

DAVID: I don't even know if this is true. Is it true, if you're running a 50 person firm, and you want to take four weeks and go to, I don't know, somewhere ... Is it easier to get away than if you're running a four person firm? I just wrote that down out of instinct, but then I thought, I don't know if that's true. What do you think?

BLAIR: I think in theory it's true. Is it true in practice? I think it really comes down to a management issue. There's a certain size where, as you say, a four person firm ... Well, certainly a one or two person firm, it's harder to get away unless you just grind the whole business to a halt. You get to three, four, five people, it should get easier. In theory, you get to 12, to 20, to 30 people, in theory you should have no problem stepping away for extended periods of time. But again, I think it comes back to your skills as a manager.

DAVID: Right, and you run a successful training practice, and there are certain times of the year that you try to protect, and you never seem to struggle to make that happen.

BLAIR: Yeah, you haven't seen the struggle.

DAVID: Oh, okay.

BLAIR: It comes and goes. There are times when I'm completely on it and I have many, many weeks off in a year, and I feel in complete control. And there are times when the business just feels like a runaway car careening down a hill, and I'm just keeping it between the lines and can't find time to take off. It really is a function of how organized I am as a manager, so, yeah. I think your instinct is right here that it's probably not true. I think it's true at the smallest level, but after you get to even just a handful of people, four or five people, it really is just a management issue.

DAVID: We would say for sure, I think, that on its own, it would be a really bad reason to grow, because you can get away more.

BLAIR: Right.

DAVID: So there's really four significant ones, right?

BLAIR: Yeah, and they're the ability to pull off full service or deeper into your client organization, to have more specialized roles for your people, which is also tied to more exciting to employees, because they see career paths. And it raises the likelihood of being acquired.

BLAIR: Now, let's talk about the advantages of being small, because you and I both know some really successful small firms.

DAVID: Yeah. Absolutely. Crazy successful.

BLAIR: What's first on your list?

DAVID: I think the one that I personally am most excited about here, even though it may not be the most important one, is that it forces you to move upstream, because you simply don't have the troops to pull off a big implementation play for your clients. So whenever you're tempted to take all that implementation work in what I call the second room versus the first room, you just simply can't pull it off. So it just forces you to align what you're delivering more around the thinking rather than the doing, and I love that, because it's just an honest purity that's always keeping you on that leash.

DAVID: To me, that's the most important. It may not be to other people, but to me, it is.

BLAIR: I just want to stop and go a little bit deeper into this space right here. I did a talk at a conference recently where all of the chit chat pre-conference was about consultants eating the agency's lunch, so when I got up to do my talk, I thought I would address it directly, and I said, "You know what the consultant's advantage is over agencies? They're unconstrained by their tools."

BLAIR: So when I think of an agency principal going into a sales call or a meeting with a prospective client and that agency principal has all of these people, all this overhead, and they have all these specialized skills ... When he goes in to talk to a prospective client about the client's problem, he's like the carpenter who's holding a hammer and sees every problem as a nail, because he's got resources that he's got to sell. So whenever the problem arises, the client, he or she is mentioning the challenge, the agency principal immediately thinks in terms of the tools at his or her disposal.

BLAIR: I always say, if I took those tools away from you, you would be a better salesperson, because you're no longer holding the hammer. You quit seeing the problem as a nail. You can now think more expansively. You don't go into presentation mode, you go into conversation mode, where your focus is on the client and not on your solutions. I think the agency of the future, if we are going to keep pace with the consultants, we really need to do a deeper show on this, because I don't think consultants are going to end up destroying the agency landscape. I think we're going to do it ourselves. We don't need much help from the agencies.

BLAIR: But when I think of the agency of the future, I think of a smaller firm that's more strategic, more big brains, more thinking, that is not constrained by their tools. Then they go get the tools whenever they need to get the tools. So I see this first advantage of being small, the idea that it forces you upstream, you mean upstream on the client side of the organization. So you're having more serious business conversations with leaders or executives higher up the hierarchy on the client side.

DAVID: That's really interesting. You have a training event coming up in September? When is that?

BLAIR: September, San Diego, 24th and 25th.

DAVID: Yeah. I was thinking that because I know some of the exercises that you do, and I've just stood back in the room and watched people get really engrossed in these, is the value conversation thing. I presume that one of the tips you give them is to not talk about their toolbox but to keep asking questions of the client, which takes the focus off them trying to feed the machine and trying to keep the tools busy. It's like they have this bulldozer, they're making monthly payments, they've got to get people to use it. That's a really interesting perspective, and it's refreshing to me too to hear.

BLAIR: Yeah. I love how you plugged my event, thank you very much. I'll try to do the same for you if I can remember what you're doing coming up. But your point is, we don't even tell them to, because you can't. You can tell somebody, but it won't work. You can tell somebody, don't think about your tools. They always think about their tools. You have to trick them.

BLAIR: Okay. The advantage of being small is it forces you to move and remain upstream. I was inferring from a client hierarchy point of view, you're talking about a strategy versus execution point of view. But they're effectively the same thing, because if you're going to get more strategic, you probably need to be talking to more senior people on the client side of the organization.

DAVID: Yes, absolutely. They're tied together, and you're not going to have an implementation discussion with somebody high up on the chain. It's not a good use of their time, so yeah, they're absolutely tied together. I think this is so critical, how to move upstream, just forcing you to not be able to sell all this implementation stuff.

BLAIR: Yeah, not that implementation is bad, because I think that's the advantage we have over consultants, is once we identify the problem and diagnose the solution, we have the wherewithal to apply in ways that other organizations don't.

BLAIR: Sorry, let's move a little more quickly here, because the second point is more nimble.

DAVID: Yeah. Let's start being nimble now.

BLAIR: You go.

DAVID: The marketplace around us is changing so quickly, the rate of change is quicker and quicker. So it's so much easier to move smaller organizations. Change management involves fewer people, less communication. You're cycling people in and out, and you move one person out of a five person firm, that's 20% of the workforce as opposed to 3% with a larger firm. Yeah. I don't think we need to talk more about it. It's really just being more nimble as a smaller firm. If that's important to you, then it should be a consideration.

BLAIR: I think at dev shops, if we're going to staff up with a certain type of JavaScript sub-language, and I don't know that world, programmers, then for whatever reason we need to scale in a slightly different language and you're committed, you're bought in. So it removes that from the equation, it allows you to be more flexible and move more quickly.

BLAIR: The third advantage of staying small is it keeps you close to the work, and you mean that as the principal.

DAVID: As the principal, right. This is the one of the various reasons here that people get hung up on. They make a commitment to be bigger because they think they'll be more important in the marketplace, they love the status that comes with that. But they're not prepared to leave the work. That's the huge mismatch that happens here. You have a firm that decides to grow, maybe for decent reasons, but internally they're not ready to, because they still want to have those client relationships. They're still telling themselves when a client wants them involved that they think they need to do that. They're lying to themselves all over the place every day, and they still want to be involved in creative decisions, in technical specs for a big build, or whatever it is.

DAVID: If that's important to you, then don't grow. That is reason enough not to grow. But you have to keep asking yourself that question every three years or so, and your answer will change at some point when you realize you look around one day, and realize all these people that are younger than you are actually a lot better than you ever were. So it's a good thing to keep asking yourself.

BLAIR: Yeah. This is the Michael Gerber E-Myth challenge, the idea that most businesses aren't started by entrepreneurs, they're started by technicians who have entrepreneurial spasms. What they don't appreciate is that as they start to staff up, their role really needs to change. So you and I both know many, many creative people who launched out on their own and just wanted to create for themselves, run their own design firm or whatever it was, and then added people, added people, and then they get to 30-40 people and they still want to be involved in the client base, working directly with clients. They often spin that as an advantage. It's not an advantage to anybody.

DAVID: No, it's not.

BLAIR: I think all agency principals who experience that, they all get to a point in their career where they realize, they think the fun work or the meaningful work to them is working to solve the client's problem. I believe that eventually everybody gets to the point where they realize the most interesting creative problem to solve is the problem of their own business model.

DAVID: Bam. That's the key statement today, to be creative but apply that creativity in a new way. Once a principal recognizes that, their entire world changes, and they are not dragged forward by one client issue over another. They step back and other people do that, and they're solving their own creative challenges and their own business models, revenue models. That's exactly right.

BLAIR: Let's just stop and have a cigarette right there. But there's a couple more things on the list, and we'll cover them quickly. What's number four under advantages of staying small?

DAVID: You avoid the quit and stay employee. That was coined by a UK firm in the HR field, I love it. Employees who quit and stay. So they basically give up but they don't move on. You simply cannot tolerate that in a small firm where everybody has to carry their weight.

DAVID: Let's say it's an eight person firm. You go to a 50 person firm and this person is like, yeah, they're not making that much money. I'm not even sure if they should be here, I probably wouldn't hire them again. But I'm just not going to deal with it. I've got bigger fish to fry here. Yeah. That's the fourth one.

BLAIR: And then the fifth one is less financial risk.

DAVID: Sort of a no brainer, right? But we're talking about how big the credit line is. If you're personally guaranteeing the facility, that's $30,000 a month for 10 years in New York City. Yeah. That's a significant consideration. It's harder to move around, there's more on the line, more pressure to feed the machine, all that stuff.

BLAIR: Before we wrap this up with a nod to my friend Chris, who suggested we talk about this, the discussion that's important to him is the idea of flexibility. Do you have any thoughts on the idea of flexing, but not adding unnecessary overhead?

DAVID: I don't think we've ever had in history a larger, more qualified group of contractors who are really good, they know how to work remotely, they're comfortable working for three or six firms at a time. Viewing that is almost as important as a new business challenge, so finding those people and putting them in your electric Rolodex and having great relationships with them. That would be one, the communal model, which is one of multiple firms doing that kind of thing.

DAVID: Then probably the other thing I would say there is I think it's important to develop relationships, not just with external contractors, but with really good firms whose culture and expertise you admire, and not feeling precious about referring work to them, acknowledging what you're not good at, what they are good, and just peel off some of that stuff. Or, I guess, saying no when you need to.

DAVID: I'm interested if you have some other ideas around that too.

BLAIR: I think those are all interesting thoughts, and when I think of the agency of the future, like I said, I see a smaller, more strategic firm. But it begs the question, if all of the execution parts are interchangeable, what's left? How do you differentiate a smaller, more strategic firm? I think it leaves the core of the firm, the brain trust that's still there ... They're more senior people. They have a model, they have a point of view on how the work that they do should be done or approached. Out of that model falls some kind of intellectual property. They have some senior big brain people who are like consultants who have the ability to have conversations at the highest level of the client organization. They're very good at maintaining relationships. If you think of the consultants, they go into client organizations and they just never leave.

BLAIR: I also think project management, those are important skills that would reside in-house at the agency of the future. But increasingly, I think the executional stuff is more and more interchangeable, and the last point you spoke to, I think we may have done a podcast on this, or at least it's come up. This idea of competition versus cooperation.

DAVID: Right.

BLAIR: You and I are of a certain age, and I know people 15-20 years younger than us, they think more expansively about cooperation. We come from a world where everybody's competing with each other. You see the difference in mindset, those people who really fundamentally believe that together we can grow the pie. That's been an interesting change in the market over the last 20 years or so. I think it's those people who think that way, to your point, who are willing to bring in another firm or refer business to another firm, and who aren't so protective about their space. I think they have a competitive advantage in the future.

DAVID: Absolutely. I also, as we wrap this up, I just wanted to give a nod to Paul Jarvis, who just published another recent book called Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing for Business. So that takes this concept to really the far end of the spectrum, being literally just one without any employees.

DAVID: The stuff that I've been talking about, you've been talking about for years, he's also been talking about it, and his book is really good. If you find yourself at the really small end of the spectrum, I'd recommend getting that. It's Paul Jarvis, Company of One.

BLAIR: Yeah, on that note, then we'll say goodbye. If you think, well, how much of an impact can I have as a company of just one person, I have two words for you: Seth Godin.

DAVID: Yeah. Oh, he's such a failure though. I think he only wrote 30 books instead of 32. Yeah.

BLAIR: Yeah, all right. This has been a lot of fun, David. Thank you. We'll talk to you next time.

DAVID: All right. Thanks, Blair.

David Baker