Business and Marketing Insights: An Interview with Richard J. Gentry

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    • 00:17

      RICHARD J. GENTRY: Apply a framework.So the biggest challenge MBA students haveand business students--I think people have when they makedecisions is that they try to jumpat this blob that is a problem.If you try to structure the problem into more decomposablebuckets, you'll nine times out of 10

    • 00:38

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: come up with a more complete solution to it.We have a business.People by degrees from us.And there's characteristics of those customers.We don't like to think about it as a product maybe,but of course it's they give us money and we do stuff.So there's an exchange there.And it follows the same rules of strategy as everything else.And you can apply all that stuff that weuse in strategic management to that particular question.

    • 01:01

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: It's fascinating to me how often we don't do that.Right?So if you raise your hand in a staff meeting and you say,well, this looks just like chapter 8,people kind of look at you like you're a jerk.But you probably shouldn't quote the chapter.But at the same time, you can structure problems in a wayif you just try to apply a framework.And it requires you to take a breath and slow down.

    • 01:29

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: Flexibility and the willingness to learnlots of different stuff.On message and branding, so clear and clean.And then motivates the customer to buy something or stay

    • 01:52

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: engaged.What's weird about modern world is that so many folks will justengage with the brand by playing around on Instaor watching it on Snap, or that's also part of marketing,though it's not the sort of normalthey bought something from us.And it's hard because so many of those thingsencourage so much fragmentation.

    • 02:12

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: You're really trying to market to a bunchof different small communities and tryingto make sure you're staying relevant inside those littletiny communities that Twitter and Snap and Instaall facilitated.It's pretty hard.

    • 02:33

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: I go back and forth on this.I don't want to get on those things.I don't actually find anything that I want to buy.So I mean I'm on them.They know all of my data.They follow me around the world as it were, literallyin some cases.But they don't ever really present to meanything I actually want to buy or teach meanything I didn't know to get me to want to buy.

    • 02:53

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: Where I think they get most of their valueis the fact that they track me all around the weband they can do very well to help other people that alreadywere going to sell me something tryto get me with email, or banner ads, or whatever else.So good data integration.As far as the other though, I'm very--and I think the jury's a little out on how much value really

    • 03:16

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: awesome Insta ads provide you.I mean if you see a beautiful Insta ad on Pepsi.You don't do anything different.Where that's not the case is super tiny companies, sothe microbrand stuff.And the microbrand is the extensionof the difficulty of selling to various tightly defined

    • 03:37

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: small communities all around the world.Microbrands do that great.I think if I am trying to sell somethingin Water Valley, Mississippi, I can flood all social mediawith my advertising relatively inexpensivelyand own that town or community.That's pretty powerful.

    • 03:58

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: I could never have done that with television.Would never have been that successful with newspaper.But because everybody's at least connected to it in some way,whether they're on Facebook or not,you're probably still logged in and they're following youall over the place, the ability for meto capture those people quickly in those small towns is great.That actually opens up a lot of entrepreneurial activityand opportunities.

    • 04:18

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: And there's a lot that can happen there.And that part's still developing.I think that's pretty exciting.I thought the Creativity, Inc book, which was about Pixar,did a good job talking about how to do this,because Pixar is a company that every six months is faced

    • 04:42

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: with almost cataclysmic failure rightbefore they get bought by Disney.But you know, they got to put out a movie.And the movie is like $150, $200 million investment.And if that thing tanks, well, theymay go out of business unless they can get the next one outquick enough.And the way that they were able to keep peoplecomfortable with that constant high stakes

    • 05:02

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: and change basically was trust.So they went out of their way to make surethat people liked one another or at least feltlike they could trust one another.Meetings were structured in such a waythat people were forced to speak plainly to one anotherif something was not working.They were forced-- not about you,but about the product in a very direct way,

    • 05:25

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: and not trying to protect your ego whenI'm critiquing this product.And if you can make it where people speak plainlyabout the product and the person thatcreated the product doesn't internalize that as a negative,well, you'll do the same.And suddenly we'll all start to trust one another.I felt like they did a fantastic job building that.

    • 05:46

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: It's tough to say build trust in an organizationwhen everybody is a little bit nervous for their job.But if you really want to have itwhere people are engaging and investing their time in tryingto save your company, the only way that that's going to happenis if they really want that company to succeed,and survive, and do well.

    • 06:07

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: And as a manager, your responsibilityis to try to make sure your people feel like you'relooking out for them.At the same time, if we're in an industryand you see something's getting ready to change,there's tons of stories of companiesout there where employees save the company--Schwab, Travelocity.Lots of folks have these sort of stories that have risen up

    • 06:27

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: where people worked weekends.They created a IT service or theycreated a product that literally became the backboneof the company going forward.And no one ever asked that employee to do it.They just did it because they wanted the company to do well.Those kinds of stories are what long term,long lived companies are based around.

    • 06:48

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: As a manager, your job is to try to developthat kind of relationship with employees and the companyas well.There are some cool books out thereabout how to create good culture in startups.I tend to be a little bit more plainspoken,

    • 07:09

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: so there's this book called The Hard ThingAbout Hard Things, which details, in relativelycoarse language unfortunately, the discussion about, OK, well,this employee came to you looking for a pay raise.If I give that person a big pay raise,everybody else is going to be mad at me,because you're basically like extorting me for money.

    • 07:29

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: And he goes into in-depth discussionabout like if you come to me because you've got a competingoffer and you want me to give you a pay raise,I should let you walk out the door.So that's sort of the hard edge of that.The other side of that is if you're the managerand you have an employee let's say that loves to come in,has all kinds of weird ideas, making surethat, as the manager, you are not ever turned off

    • 07:50

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: to the extent that you push that person out the doorbecause you're tired.Maybe they're not considering their ideas deep enough.Maybe they're not doing enough homework and that's fine.Send them back to the drawing board.But when you shut that person down,they're not going to bring you anymore good ideas.And the people that bring you good ideastend to also give you a lot of turkeys.So you've got to be constructive about that.

    • 08:13

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: I think that's hard.That's why we have whole degrees on the site.Ah.The age old question.A successful entrepreneur is somebodythat feels like they've accomplished something.

    • 08:33

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: Doesn't necessarily mean they made a lot of money.Doesn't necessarily mean that product is widely adoptedand they've changed the world as itwere, because a lot of the products peopleset out to build end up changing it to something else.And that's not a bad thing.So as long as they feel like they've accomplished something.Some people are in it for money.If they feel like they've gotten a lot of money,

    • 08:55

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: then they are successful.There's this whole other half of entrepreneurswho are literally just in it because theylove building stuff.And if they build something they're proud of, evenif nobody ever really buys it, they'regoing to feel pretty good about themselves.So you know, I'd very much preferthat people pursue that track to make themselves happy.So whatever is going to make them happy.

    • 09:16

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: And if they're able to achieve it, that means success.So lane manufacturing comes from Japan.And the intent or the idea behind itis, at least as it's mostly implement in the United Statesand where it creates most of the stress, is very low

    • 09:37

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: levels of inventory.So the factory may only have a few hoursof inventory on hand at any one time in the back warehouseas it were.The line may only have a few minutes of inventory,so from like 15 to an hour.And the intent with doing that isso that you don't have a lot of working capital tied up

    • 09:59

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: in stuff.Right.Because inventory coming in is extraordinarily expensive.It provides no value.Similarly, inventory going out the dooris extraordinarily expensive, particularlyin auto manufacturing.And if it's not sold or going out somewhere,somebody's got to borrow the money to pay for those carsbefore they even get sold.So the idea with lane is constant movement.

    • 10:21

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: And as part of that, and the systemexpanded into process improvement and being flexibleand just sort of throughput perspective,which is where maybe it's a tie-in discussionwith lean entrepreneurship d startup comes in.But the idea with lane manufacturingis low inventory, lots of movement, lots of moving

    • 10:44

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: parts, lots of complexity.Trucks are constantly coming in and out of the factory.Forklifts are constantly going back and forthinside the factory.So it's a relatively complicated system to put together.And you've got to have it where everybody in the factorywants to work together to make that happen.And that's hard to say the least.

    • 11:12

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: Let's say you have a truck that runs offthe median or something and doesn't make its delivery.All right.Well, if I've only got three hours of inventoryin the plant at any one time and the subcontractor is literallysending me a semi every three or four hours with parts,one truck doesn't make it.That means I have four hours where the line is shut down.

    • 11:33

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: So all those people who are sitting there doing nothingare getting paid.There's customers that had expected a product.They're sitting there not getting their product.And that's a catastrophe.And particularly it's normally not the truck.It's normally the subcontractor justnot being able to produce the products.You might be looking at a long lay down.

    • 11:55

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: So the challenge is always being on top of it,keeping communication going as well,because if I'm a subcontractor, I'vegot to let my final assembler knowI'm going to miss this particular deliveryor there's some problems associated with this product,like the machine broke, et cetera.There are stories in the automated manufacturingindustry of vendors, because they got behind, they

    • 12:18

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: put their parts on helicopters and flew them to the factoryand literally like airdropped them to the factoryso that the line would not shut down on the final assemblyuntil the truck could actually catch up, because it'svery, very expensive.Walmart, for example, they have this lean approach.If you miss a delivery at Walmart,

    • 12:39

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: not only will they charge you a penalty,they will charge you for the revenuethey would have gotten for the productthat they would have sold had it been therewhen it was supposed to be.So if you sell pickles and you were supposedto have 50 jars of pickles.And on average they sell 20 jars and pickles an hourand you missed your delivery window,they're going to charge you for the revenue they would

    • 13:00

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: have had on 20 jars of pickles.In addition, you've got to pay for missing the ship.The manufacturing idea, the idea is that everybody--vendor to final assembly, everybody'sin this together to keep working costs low,because if I have an engineering change to a car,I don't want to have to wipe out 16 months worth of inventory

    • 13:20

      RICHARD J. GENTRY [continued]: when I do that.

Business and Marketing Insights: An Interview with Richard J. Gentry

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Richard J. Gentry discusses his methods behind decision-making, how to handle social media, and what to expect regarding organizational changes. Richard goes into detail about what it takes to succeed, how to effectively market, and what challenges may arise in business.

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Business and Marketing Insights: An Interview with Richard J. Gentry

Richard J. Gentry discusses his methods behind decision-making, how to handle social media, and what to expect regarding organizational changes. Richard goes into detail about what it takes to succeed, how to effectively market, and what challenges may arise in business.

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