I first came across Saul Colt when he was doing his magic at Toronto-based start-up, Freshbooks. I actually first met him when he moved to Rogers Ventures portfolio company, Zoocasa as their Head of Magic. Most recently he was helping Thoora build their brand across Canada and North America. Well, Saul has left the bright lights of corporate Canada to join the self-employed ranks.
I caught up with Saul earlier this week to chat about his most recent move and what he's got up his sleeve as the self-proclaimed Mayor of Twitter.
Saul, you have worked for many companies since you first erupted onto the corporate scene with Zip Car. Why did you feel now was the time to start your own business?
I've had 3 roles in in 7 years so I am not sure if that you could call that "many" but I wanted to do my own thing right now because I have a burning passion to innovate and create products, programs and marketing initiatives that change the way people do things. I am driven by "what's next" and to really discover or create this you need to be exposed to many different things from different worlds to inspire you to think differently.
On the surface it may seem like I am doing my own thing but really I am working in house with great people to bring my experiences and thinking to their businesses and products to make them great so it really isn't different than before. I just have a few places to go to instead of one. And I will always be exposed to different people, places and things.
What lessons will you take from your past corporate experiences as you move into this new environment of business ownership?
I have learned something amazing and valuable from every work experience I have had...and a little known fact is that I have already owned my own companies with different levels of success. I have entrepreneurship in my blood and even when I was working for others (and continue to do so) I am always looking at the business as if I was an owner because that is what I was for most of my career. If I was to focus just on my past corporate experiences I can point to my most recent employer Rogers Ventures and say that they taught me many great lessons on how to speak to, work inside (and with) a large company. There are certain nuances that I had to learn and feel that now I have that skill set.
What will "Saul! - The Idea Integration Company" be focusing on?
Just like the name says, I am focusing on Idea Integration. This includes idea creation and execution of the ideas in the areas of product innovation, branding/communications and customer acquisition all though online and offline experiences. Think of it as a marketing lab mixing together tried and true with new and next practices to create value for those working with me. I know this sounds vague and wishy washy but I am too busy with work to really write something catchy right now.
You always seem very confident. Was there anything you were afraid of when you left Rogers Ventures to start your own business?
I am confident because I have blind faith in my own abilities and have a track record to speak on my behalf. That being said there is a difference between confidence and arrogance and I would be arrogant to think this is going to be a cake walk and a guaranteed success. Jumping into anything without a safety net is scary but I am very fortunate that my plate is already full and am turning away work.
Many people in Canada are working for large company's but want to make a move similar to what you have just done. What advice would you give them?
I don't give life changing advice...but if you insist I would quote the hamburger chain Wendy's and say "Do What Tastes Right."
What sets you apart from other agencies and social media professionals?
I am not an agency or a social media professional. I am Saul! and I don't fit into any category.
Social Media is something I understand more then most but it is just a part of my value proposition. It will always be a piece of a larger puzzle but not the only element of any initiative from me. When you work with me you are getting me, my passion as well as my expertise but I expect to be thought of and treated like an employee. I will be living your brand so I can truly understand it and develop ideas to integrate. This is a very a-typical concept for an outside service but I want to be inspired by my opportunities so I can develop inspiring ideas.
What are you thoughts on the social media community in Canada and North America?
I have lots of respect for these communities as many of my friends live in them. I do however wish more people were pushing the envelope and trying to move it forward but I say this knowing full well that there is unlimited opportunity in the "Social Media 101" world and people are seizing these opportunities.