Founding Year: 2016 (current legal structure based out of OH), 2004 (original concept in TN)
Office Locations: Central Ohio & South East Florida
The Chief’s Digest had the pleasure of interacting with Andrew Wallace, CEO of PortoSpire, LLC on helping businesses tell the story of their brand and build their presence in front of their audience.
Here’s his story and the insights he shared.
Having spent a decade honing the skills of storytelling through entertainment (dancing, singing, acting) before transitioning to tactical IT roles, I bring a blend of artistic and scientific mindsets to every effort I undertake. While working in live performance art, I performed with widely varying and diverse groups ranging from small intimate shows to large-scale productions with hundreds of individuals working behind the scenes to keep things running.
Transitioning into IT roles, I focused on breaking down complex problems into smaller, easier-to-digest portions. I often found myself in roles acting as a bridge between those more technically minded with those driving the business. Building from my previous experiences in entertainment, I began moving into roles helping to plan and lead projects. This eventually led to the role I hold today as CEO in which I use a blend of a variety of experiences to tell the story of what the organization can be and how we can get there together.
Excerpts from The Chief’s Digest interview with Andrew Wallace
What was the idea behind the inception of your company?
After working in a variety of organizations both large and small, I have seen many company cultures that have positives and negatives. I have also seen how utterly difficult it can be for new innovative ideas to take hold and for small businesses to break into industries to bring those ideas to market. Providing a humane environment as well as opportunities to help others succeed and launch their stories is what drove me to build PortoSpire. This effort aims to take the positives of company cultures and leave the negatives behind while reducing the barriers for small businesses to reach their target audiences.
How would you describe the market scenario in which your company is operating?
We serve clients nationally and beyond with our small but mighty team of 5. Our geographically distributed team operates with flexible scheduling and asynchronous collaboration.
We work with small businesses, solopreneurs, and individuals who are looking to have a customized web presence to share their stories. Our scaling solution helps small businesses be prepared for growth and scale without the up-front costs.
How does your company contribute to the competitive global platform at large?
We have taken our collective lessons learned and skillsets to build a platform that is highly scalable and optimized. This allows us to offer a shallow barrier to entry and a solution that grows with a client’s needs.
· We work to have a shared understanding of our client’s story and build a customized design to best help share that story with their target market(s).
· We also offer enterprise-grade integrations that can scale to meet the needs of growing businesses.
· Our analytics are collected in-house and built with data privacy and security in mind, so client and their customer/user data are never sold through third parties.
· All of our products/services are provided à la carte so clients only pay for the customized services they need and use.
What are the must-have attributes of an influential company?
When we think of influence as a company, several images spring forth. Influence is having a vision, the passion to share it, and the fortitude to strive for it. Influence makes the invisible visible. It grants us ways to share our hopes and values in a way that encourages others to come along for our now-shared journey.
How do you describe the work environment at your company?
We continue to break traditional molds with our organizational culture just like we do with everything else. Our staff is 100% virtual: working where it makes sense. We work when the time is most convenient for all, which includes our families as well as clients. We might work on the beach at sunset in California one day and from a log cabin at the crack of dawn in Colorado the next. The days of dictating time and place as an authority from on high have long ended, and we fully embrace that. We are explorers and artists. We seek to bring together the world as we are, not as some undefined “they” want everyone to be.
We believe that “traditional” policies and practices are not going to foster the best work; neither is basing the worth produced on the number of hours spent nor being “visible” to leaders. Our compensation model reflects that value at its core by providing all base wages equally across the board with an added commission on all work produced. This incentivizes working smarter and producing valuable work, not on keeping butts-in-seats nor honing the unneeded skill of pay negotiation.
In return for this level of trust and flexibility, our team members are highly engaged in the work and bring their authentic selves to each project we undertake. The end results are often a “lightning in a bottle” effect for our clients and are just as rewarding accomplishments to the team on their individual career paths.
How important is social media in building an influential business today?
Social media is a powerful tool in the marketing and communications toolkit. This communication channel can be important for elevating a company’s reach depending on the target market segments. Social media outlets are all unique from the sub-cultures to typical visitor audiences. The important thing to keep in mind with any social media use is the target audience when crafting content and messaging.
To build a high-performance culture, organizations must have a strong value system with their employees based on open communication, trust, and feedback. What’s your take on this?
We value open and transparent communication in all things we do from team goal-setting to client project execution. It only sets everyone up for failure when the reality of a situation is hidden. Trusting people to be responsible and communicative reduces missed opportunities to mitigate risk or capitalize on opportunities. While organizations can reach a “high-performing” state using a number of strategies, the most efficient way we have found is to empower the people to make decisions as close to the issue or challenge as possible.
What role do innovation and technology play in scaling up a business?
Having a focus on technology and innovation is critically important for startups to prepare for scaling. There are many typical back-of-house activities that go into businesses generally such as accounting, payroll, and how an organization maintains its customer outreach. The more automation and technology can be applied to processes the easier it will be to scale up as the opportunity presents itself. It can be tempting to save the upfront investment and have inefficient processes supported by individuals but that will limit the speed and reduce the quality of outcomes with manual processes and always have a risk of introducing errors.
What does the future look like for your company? What are you planning to do next?
We are preparing to launch a fully integrated social media management portal that makes multi-channel communications a breeze. Users will be able to schedule a blog post and teasers with links across their social footprint all from one interface.
In the shorter term, we are actively testing integrations with calendar scheduling providers such as Eventbrite. These new integrations allow external calendar sources that clients may already use to manage events, bookings, or other calendar-related activities to be included within the contents of their website seamlessly. This has the added benefit of not adding any activities to existing client processes as well as keeping websites up-to-date as things change over time.
“It is through that art of storytelling that we build the most prolific brands and reinforce the most engaging leaders.” – Andrew Wallace