Episode 40: Prioritizing People for Event Business Growth Feat. Seth Macchi

by | Jun 27, 2023

Seth Macchi, CEO of LEMG, shares his take on fostering growth and success by prioritizing people and nurturing a team-oriented planning approach.

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Key Takeaways:

 Industry Opportunities and Challenges

  • Lack of an official SIC code in the event production industry.
  • Need to create sub-verticals to make the industry more accessible.
  • Shift towards offering stable and secure career paths instead of freelance work.
  • Investment in training and career opportunities from colleges and companies.

The Importance of Planning for Growth

  • Industry opportunities being overlooked due to a lack of planning.
  • Having a clear vision and involving the team in the process can create a sense of ownership and contribution towards a common goal.
  • Not involving the team in the planning process can rob them of the opportunity to be a part of something bigger and feel a sense of accountability to hit milestones.

How to Build a Great Team

  • Surround yourself with people who you think are smarter than you.
  • Watching people grow in their career is a source of joy.
  • Emphasis on the importance of communication and bringing staff along in the company’s story and mission.

 Importance of Valuing Employees

  • Need to prioritize well-being and avoid burnout.
  • Company actions determine their reputation.
  • Emphasis on companies valuing and caring for their employees to affect their reputation in the industry.

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Guest Information 🎙️

Seth Macchi, CEO at LEMG

LEMG (Live Events Media Group)

Read the Transcript 📚

Intro: Welcome to Corralling the Chaos Podcast, where we talk publicly about the things you’re worried about privately. My name is Angela Alea, and I’m your host. This is the event industry podcast for companies and crew where we’re gonna dive deep into things like, what does our industry need that it just doesn’t have?

[00:00:18] What are the things you wanna know, but you’re just too afraid to ask? But what are the biggest opportunities ahead for our industry? We’re gonna go deep and nothing is off limits.

[00:00:36] Welcome back to another episode of Corralling the Chaos. I am very excited about our guest today and the things that he is passionate about because it’s certainly been a hot topic over the last few years. And so with me today, we have Seth Macchi. He is the CEO of LEMG which is a growing event production company based in Charlotte, North Carolina, here in the [00:01:00] southeast.

[00:01:00] He is an industry veteran with decades of experience in AV operations, project management, client relationships, business development, operational planning, and small business leadership. Day-to-day, he leads the team there and the management teams. He loves to think about the future of events and how his company can continue to make an impact.

[00:01:22] In our ever-changing industry, isn’t that the truth? What brings him the most joy is watching team members enjoy their work while growing into the best versions of themselves. So welcome, Seth. I’m so glad you’re here with us today. We really appreciate it.

[00:01:37] Seth Macchi: Thank you so much, Angela. It’s great to be here.

[00:01:39] You know, I I was, I kind of dove into your podcast when I knew that I would be on it, and I, I realized that, you know I’m a, small business nerd, and I, listen to business podcasts and that kind of stuff, but then I realized what you’re creating here is a really cool podcast [00:02:00] about operating a, business in our space, which I can’t find anywhere.

[00:02:04] I’m totally excited to be here, so thank you for having me. I’m

[00:02:07] Angela Alea: so glad you’re here and I love the, business mindset you have, and I think our audience is hungry for that because we don’t talk a lot about the business side of it. We talk about the industry side, but at the end of the day, you’re running a business to make a profit and do something great for your team and for your clients.

[00:02:25] And you know, I just love the last sentence of your bio where you said, What brings you the most joy is watching team members enjoy their work while growing into the best versions of themselves. And I know that your company does so much to facilitate that with your team. So let’s start there.

[00:02:42] Tell us a little bit about your company and why your staff is so near and dear

[00:02:46] Seth Macchi: to your heart. Okay. So L E M G or Live Events Media Group. We’re an event production company like you said, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. While we travel all over the country like a lot of people, we [00:03:00] serve mostly a regional base of clients.

[00:03:03] We focus on corporate events. And what that looks like is we’re either dealing with corporations we’re dealing with education like universities, or we’re dealing with nonprofits. That’s about 90% of our business and about 10% is like a mixed bag of fun stuff that we get to do. And we do audio, video, lighting, set, staging con conceptualizing.

[00:03:26] We do a little bit of planning. So that’s what L E M G does. And we have just an incredible. Group of people on our team I, really have buy into that idea that you should surround yourself with people that are smarter and let them do what they do. And it is literally how it is at our company.

[00:03:48] And it’s, so fun to come back from a wave of shows and just sit in a room together and hear. Stories of like somebody that like conquered something they’d never done before, you know, and that kind of thing. And, [00:04:00] that’s where that, joy comes from is watching people grow in their career. So

[00:04:05] Angela Alea: I love that because you know, so many people, they’re focused on their own career and, you know, leadership.

[00:04:11] It’s never about you, right? It’s always about your people and putting the spotlight on them and giving them opportunities and to your point, helping them grow into the best version of themselves. Absolutely. So when you look at building this team that you have around you, you talked about hiring people smarter than you.

[00:04:30] Are there certain things that you look for when you bring them into the live events, you know, your company and, what are some of those qualities and characteristics that make them a good fit for what you all are looking to do?

[00:04:43] Seth Macchi: Yeah, so that’s a great question because you know, I don’t know how many interviews me and the team have sat through in the past few years, and there are a ton of qualified people.

[00:04:57] But for on staff positions [00:05:00] at a growing small business first of all, you need to be able to accept the fact that we all do a little bit of everything. And I’m sure even you guys relate to that at lasso, just the pace that you guys are growing. So that’s, number one. It can’t be a selfish thing.

[00:05:19] You have to have energy for what we do. Production’s hard. Yeah. It’s a hard business. That has to be the given. But it doesn’t mean that we have to make it miserable, but you have to bring energy to it. Something about it has to excite you, so you’re looking for that. Like there’s something and it’s unique to each person, but something about what we do has to excite you.

[00:05:41] I think once you have that and you have a good system to train people, that’s way easier than a super qualified person that is just kind of set. And this is how I do it and you’re gonna take it or leave it. And that’s hard. Harder to deal with. Yeah,

[00:05:57] Angela Alea: absolutely. I know when we [00:06:00] were kind of talking about this episode, one of the questions we asked you was, you know, what’s something that our industry has always done this way that you think needs to be evaluated?

[00:06:10] And you said, putting staff last is something that our industry has done in the past that we should rethink. How do we get better? And what are some things you’ve done to kind of reorder things and, make your staff make sure that you’re always putting them first?

[00:06:27] Seth Macchi: So I, I think that growing up in production, so I, started out, you know I, got a degree in audio engineering and then I, jumped into the recording studio world, so right off the bat, That world was messed up and how interns had to stand next to a console 20 hours a day in an unpaid, internship.

[00:06:47] And the mentality from the beginning was set up like, you should be grateful that you’re here. And we’re just gonna use you until you fall over. And if you survive, maybe there’d be a job. I don’t know. Then just [00:07:00] maybe if you’re lucky kid. Yeah. And that’s fine, I guess. But, really there, you know, I got into live production and, observed just growing up, I just being curious about how people did things, how they ran their businesses and one thing that you could observe with not all, but a lot of companies, is they would use up.

[00:07:20] Their people early on, they’d hire really young people, just burn ’em into the ground and then hire a new crop in two years. And first of all, I think your business model’s broken if you’re doing that, number one it’s not a viable business model, but we just have to treat our people better. So we have to ask better questions like, how can we rebuild this whole thing from the position of, first of all, we take care of our clients, second, we have to take care of our people.

[00:07:46] Make sure that they’re they’re in a sustainable environment. They can grow a career. There’s a pathway for growth more communication in their career. There’s so much you can do, but it really starts with just asking that [00:08:00] question, why? Why is it like this? Is there something else we can do? How can we fix this piece of it?

[00:08:05] Once you do that, you know you have happy people and they’ll take care of your clients that was really, that, that’s one thing that sticks out. And, when I, you know I, went out to eat with a freelancer here in town. We’ve been friends forever in production and we’ve, joked about that kind of stuff for years about how bad certain companies treated, you know, freelancers are on staff people.

[00:08:28] And that’s inspired me and others, other leaders at our company to really change the way we

[00:08:33] Angela Alea: approach that. Yeah, I mean, just the fact that you two are talking about it as well. People know who the companies are, right? That value their staff, that take good care of ’em, give ’em good tools, feed ’em well, respect them respect their safety, their sleep, the, you know, not burning them into the ground as you put it, right?

[00:08:54] And so everybody talks, right? Everyone kind of has a reputation. So we talk a lot on this show about [00:09:00] you are making a reputation for yourself, whether it’s for good or for bad. And the good news is you’re in control of what you want that reputation to be. But the actions do, kind of lend itself to that.

[00:09:11] So what are some things that you all do? You talked about, you know, the old model was bring somebody young in, work ’em hard, you know, just grind it out and, you know, hopefully, you know, they don’t get burned out and then, maybe they’ll make it to the next step. So like how, is that different for you all?

[00:09:28] Because there’s a supply and demand, not, it’s stabilizing, thank goodness now, but, you know. Yeah. The last probably 18 months there was a, big. Imbalance and the supply and demand and Great, the talent was saying, work me to death. Like we, gotta make hay while we can’t. Yeah.

[00:09:46] But how do you balance that and not burn people to the ground when you do have limited resources? How do you balance that?

[00:09:53] Seth Macchi: Yeah. Okay. So I, think there’s, a differentiation. So I’ve done all of it. I’ve done freelance, I’ve done on [00:10:00] staff, I’ve done, you know, different sides of the business. So first of all freelancers.

[00:10:08] You need to differentiate. Some freelancers are like, give me all the work you have. Yeah. And I’ll do it. And, then I’ll decide, you know? Yeah. I’ll decide to take I don’t know July off or something. And they, do that and that’s fine. But then they, it’s how you treat the freelancers while they’re working for you.

[00:10:28] That’s one. And the second is staff. Staff is, a little bit different. So when I, you know, I’ll back up a little just in a general sense. When you’re on staff, you can tend to be in a situation where you feel like a bit claustrophobic, where you have no control over your schedule at all. And so that was, you know, as we, we talked about this and, how we’re gonna grow this and how we’d like to see the company, we really ha have tried to figure out a good balance of Ha having the budget to [00:11:00] higher right.

[00:11:00] With your crew so you don’t have to like, overuse people. And making

[00:11:05] Angela Alea: sure that, I wanna just pause there because what you said is so important. It’s not gonna just miraculously happen. You have to plan to have the budget, you have to be in intentional to make sure you have the budget to get the right staff so they’re not burnout, so you have margin.

[00:11:21] Yeah. So I just wanna make sure that point is not lost, that comes with intention. You don’t just accidentally land on having bandwidth to be able to do that. So yeah I,

[00:11:31] Seth Macchi: feel like we’re, like zooming. I don’t wanna call that out. This conversation’s zooming and there’s so many rabbit trails I could go on of each time we pass, cuz you could talk about what type of clients you have and are they good or bad and do they have budgets and Yeah.

[00:11:43] But when you talk about staff, just making sure that you’re distributing it correctly, making sure there’s a balance among everybody. And then keeping an eye on making sure we have directors, so making sure our directors are. Or checking in and, making sure there’s no warning signed and investing in freelance labor [00:12:00] when you need to.

[00:12:01] Even though you might have staff available on day eight of a run, but they really need a break. Love, you know, and that kind of a thing. So sometimes you’re utilizing freelance labor strategically. Actually you used a word, I’m gonna start using it on another podcast cuz I was doing my homework. Were, was it you that talked about talent transitioning from labor to talent?

[00:12:22] Labor to talent, yeah. Okay. So we’re gonna use freelance talent strategically to help with that as well. And we have, so we’ve, done that too to make sure that people get some time if they need it. That being said, it is a hard industry, so it’s just playing that balance of like just watching for red flags.

[00:12:42] So

[00:12:43] Angela Alea: Love that. So you just talked about growth and when you think about. Growing L E M G, like what does that look like for you? Is it new business? Is it expanding with existing? What does that growth plan look like

[00:12:58] Seth Macchi: for you? It’s a great [00:13:00] question. It’s one that I think about all the time. So I think what it looks like is so we, experienced probably 10 to 12 years of growth as an industry coming into Covid.

[00:13:11] And, you know, COVID kind of kicked off a downturn, which we were kind of due for that anyways. And we’re kind of navigating that right now and I think it’s, gonna be okay. And but we’re probably looking at another 10 year cycle of growth. This is how I feel. This is just me talking. Yeah. I think we’re looking at probably a decade of growth once we get out of this.

[00:13:36] Recession, cloud, you know? Coming out of Covid and all of, all the pendulum stop swinging and we start getting back to, to work fully. Last year was a little strange cuz I think demand was super high as that pendulum overs swung back the other way. Yeah. So that was a little hard for forecasting, but over the next three years we’re planning on growth, steady growth.

[00:13:59] And what we’re [00:14:00] focusing on is more our systems and processes so that we can scale as needed. We’re not looking for crazy aggressive growth at this point. So that’s kind of, that’s kind of where our, mindset is. Another thing that we like to talk about is opportunistic expansion. So as, opportunities come, we want to take advantage of those.

[00:14:22] So to be able to do that, we have to be fundamentally correct in all facets of our business. Finance and operations, warehouse logistics. Wow. We

[00:14:29] Angela Alea: positioned well too. Be able to have the leverage to, to take advantage of the opportunity. So many times people can’t, they can’t take advantage of it cuz they don’t have the systems, the processes, the e, everything, you know, ready to go.

[00:14:42] So it’s kind of like building the house. And so I love that you said the, opportunistic growth. I think that’s so important. Cause some people aren’t think, again, being intentional with that and planning for that. So when it happens you’re ready versus scrambling to try to make it happen, which usually doesn’t end well.[00:15:00]

[00:15:00] Seth Macchi: And it is our, you know, that’s our challenge right now, figuring out how to do that well. And these are things we talk about, think about all the time right now. And we, as a company, we have a five-year vision, and then we have annual meetings against that vision, and then quarterly meetings and then monthly all hands.

[00:15:19] And then, you know, it trickles down to everything drives towards that five year goal. So that’s how we, approach it. Which is not uncommon, but that’s, how we

[00:15:27] Angela Alea: approach that. You know, it’s not uncommon, but it often what we see is people are successful in spite of themselves. And what I mean by that is Our industry is growing, and I think that there’s so much money and opportunity left on the table because people haven’t been planning and intentional.

[00:15:52] They just kind of let things happen to them. Yeah. Versus so, you’re right. It’s not a new concept, but I, it’s surprising [00:16:00] all that’s overlooked. By not just taking a moment to plan to, to your point, to even have a vision. And yeah, writing it down and sharing it with the team so everybody knows if this is what we’re gonna do in five years, here’s where we need to be two years in and here’s how we’re gonna do it.

[00:16:18] And here’s more. Most importantly, here’s the part you play in that. Here’s how you are gonna contribute in that. Yes. Cause that’s where that growth happens. You know, cuz they feel a part of something bigger than themselves. And these companies that do well, They’re still profitable, they’re still growing, but they’re missing that, that opportunity, they’re robbing their people of the part that they get to play in that and getting to see behind the curtain and just feeling the ownership for that and accountability, quite honestly, to hit some of those milestones.

[00:16:47] So I think that’s great. I think that’s such an important part that so many people overlook

[00:16:51] Seth Macchi: you. This whole piece around communication is another thing that I think is important, that gets overlooked too, of just [00:17:00] Neglecting to communicate with staff. You know, like you can find yourself three years in at a company and like, I don’t have any idea what this company does.

[00:17:08] I know what I do. You know, like, I don’t know where we’re going. Are we growing? I, don’t know. Like, what’s, what do we even care about? You know? And that’s an important piece to make sure that the staff is being brought along with the story that you’re creating, you know, and that, that becomes part of your mission.

[00:17:23] And. You know who you are and I think you know what really is cool about this growth question is we’re in a cool industry right now because there’s so much, there’s a huge pie. That there’s enough to go around. And so what I mean by that is often you would probably talk to a lot of people in different markets, you end up being more friends with your competitors than anything.

[00:17:44] Yeah. And the other day I was talking with leadership of a company they’re friends in the Midwest. And they were like, we just won, like the biggest project we ever won. And it was like, So like, fun for everybody. Yeah. Where, because when every when they win, [00:18:00] everybody wins. Yeah. You know?

[00:18:01] And it’s a good thing. Genuinely happy for them. Yeah, Cuz it’s good for everybody, you know? Yeah.

[00:18:05] Angela Alea: That’s right. I love that. I love that. In thinking about the growth, how have you, and you talked about putting processes in place, just kind of getting ready for everything. What have you all done?

[00:18:18] How have you used technology and automation to kind of spur your growth?

[00:18:23] Seth Macchi: So this question is an interesting one and it’s a it’s, really kind of two pieces right here. So this, process thing is like near and dear to my heart. So we, have something that we’ve created called our master business system.

[00:18:41] We call it our MBS internally. And it’s, basically a. Internal wiki where you can find anything about how we do anything at our company and how you can train you, you can train with it as well. Which help, it’s a scalable tool. That’s, it’s pretty awesome. And it’s not that crazy when you think about it.

[00:18:59] I mean it’s, just [00:19:00] accessible and lightweight and easy to search. But your question around technology and automation We always, we’re always starting with like, what does the client want when we’re implementing tools and I, I have this picture. It’s just stuck with me. Do you guys have which witch?

[00:19:19] It’s like a sandwich restaurant. We do, yeah. Do you? Okay, so when you go into which witch. As I’m sure you’re familiar, you go in and you get a piece of paper, right? And it has like all the sandwich choices. Yeah. Yeah. And you write, okay, I want the big Hawaiian or something, but without cheese and onions, and then I want it toasted and mayonnaise.

[00:19:35] And then you hand it to the cashier, right? Yeah. And and they check you out. They clip it up to like this cable with a little clip. Then they zip it down to whoever’s making the sandwich, and you walk along with it and you watch your receipt move over the sandwich that’s being made, or that little ticket, you know.

[00:19:53] Yeah. Move over the, sandwich. They pull it off once they bag it and hand it to you. And the cool thing I like about that is, first of all, it’s low [00:20:00] tech. It, there’s nothing about it that’s high tech, but it’s a beautiful process because me as the client, you know, I drove that demand. They’re making it.

[00:20:08] It’s a lean process is what it is, but you know. Yeah. And you can see it in action. See it in action, like pol play or something. Wonder what are they doing? Yeah. Yeah. It’s, right there. There’s and, it tells you it’s visual. I can see how long’s it gonna take? It’s halfway down the table, so however long the first half took, probably that long.

[00:20:24] And then I’ll have my sandwich and there’s no errors. I mean, like if there’s an error or someone’s just not reading the ticket. You know, so very little error. That to me is like a perfect example of utilizing like great processes. So when you talk about technology and automation lasso is a great example of that.

[00:20:42] It’s a great piece of technology, but we’re not using it. We use it as a company, but we’re not using it. Just because it’s there, it solved a problem for us. You know, it solved something that we needed to fix in our operations. Great. Techno, you know, great technology automation’s in, involved in it and all sorts of stuff.

[00:20:59] But [00:21:00] that’s why we use these things to scale and grow. They have to be client driven. Has to solve a client problem. Yeah. Do best for the client.

[00:21:08] Angela Alea: Yeah. And it’s not designed to replace. Technology, sh especially in our industry, should not be designed to replace the human interaction and the human element.

[00:21:18] Cuz everything that we do in our industry, it’s based on human talents, right? Yeah. And each unique person and the, creativity they bring to the table and their ability to execute and good judgment and instincts and, you know, all of those things. I do think es, especially now with all the talk of AI and you know, all of that, I think technology needs to be leveraged in the right way.

[00:21:42] You know? Yes. Understanding your business. Where do you want it more high touch, where do you want it? More high tech, and then plugging that in appropriately. So again, being intentional with, how to leverage that. So I love the witch

[00:21:54] Seth Macchi: You can you talk about if you talk about time we, talk about this as a company, [00:22:00] what’s the best use of your time, like high leveraged time?

[00:22:05] For you, high leverage time is doing a podcast. And it goes out to all sorts of people and it’s great marketing. You know it’s, a no-brainer. This is way better use of your time than sitting and talking to like sales emails, you know, writing back, no, I’m not interested. And your services.

[00:22:23] Yes. And so anytime we can get that, You know, project managers are really central to what we do. So anytime I can get a PM back in front of a client dealing with a client need and away from busy work, then we’re gonna really look at that, tool. Yeah. If it unlocks that time so they can do better use of their time.

[00:22:41] Yeah. We can do more with less, you know, if that’s, you know, that, that’s a great use of tech if we can do that or automation or whatever.

[00:22:48] Angela Alea: Yeah. Love that. Are there any business decisions that you’ve made along the way that you regret? And if so, what did you learn from

[00:22:58] Seth Macchi: it? I think you, know, [00:23:00] everything in life is just learning, you know, whether you’re winning or, losing, but absolutely.

[00:23:05] I mean I’ve made way more mistakes than, wins in my life for sure. And I learned way more from them. A good example would be I, tend to be, Vision minded. So I’m usually five years down the road, if not 20. It’s just nuts. And so that drives our operations. All deal. Yeah, I’m for certain types.

[00:23:28] Yeah, but our operators that do the day-to-day are like you know, it drives ’em crazy cuz they’re like, can we just get done with this week? You know, can we get done with today? Maybe. You know? And I’m like yeah but, think about that. You know? I was there five years ago. Yeah. Yeah. I was. I’m so over this week cuz I’ve been thinking about it for five years.

[00:23:47] Exactly. That’s a good point. My challenge is staying coordinated between the two realities there of the future versus now. So I’ve outpaced a little bit before maybe [00:24:00] staffing where we’re anticipating certain things and it gets out in front of where we’re actually are right now. And I’ve had to reel back a bit.

[00:24:07] And that’s painful. That’s painful for everybody involved. Yeah. But it’s a reality of business sometimes. But it’s a lesson. I’m not gonna, I’m gonna take that experience. It was no fun. Going forward, apply it to the next time, you know, and like really, you know, take that wisdom and apply it, you know?

[00:24:24] Angela Alea: So is the lesson there, be careful going too far out or make sure that you bring other stakeholders with you like, like what?

[00:24:34] Because I do think it’s important, right? I mean, you have to live kind of five years in advance, but to your point, kind of balancing the future versus now how. What does that look like? How do you balance that?

[00:24:46] Seth Macchi: I think that you have to have good people around you giving you good counsel, Uhhuh. I think that if you’re on an island, you’re gonna make a ton of mistakes like that.

[00:24:56] I think that if I can get as many smart people around me, I [00:25:00] can get as much good advice as I can. I still am responsible for the decision, and I’m still gonna make mistakes, but I’ll make far less if I’m talking to someone that’s been there and done that. And they can give counsel like, that’s a good thought, but have you considered X, Y, and Z?

[00:25:16] Oh no, I didn’t even think of that. And I think that’s the be you can try to avoid. You’re not always gonna, you know win every time. But I think you can greatly improve the odds by being humble. Surrounding yourself by people that know more than you. Yeah. I think that’s how you can avoid, and you’re talking about stakeholders.

[00:25:36] Yes. Involve stakeholders. Make sure that people are bought in to what you’re doing. For sure.

[00:25:42] Episode 40 – Prioritizing People (1): Yeah.

[00:25:43] Angela Alea: Yep. Makes sense. What’s a decision that you made that you’re really thankful that you made? In hindsight,

[00:25:49] Seth Macchi: I think March, you know this, topic’s been talked about. Ad nauseam, but March. Cause we all

[00:25:56] Angela Alea: still have PTs D and it’s, oh man, it’s gonna stick with us [00:26:00] forever, Seth.

[00:26:01] That’s why we can’t stop talking about it.

[00:26:03] Seth Macchi: I’m also thinking like it’s gonna be like fishing stories, like over time. Yeah. Like, okay. So there we were. I know we had no business at all. March 13th. Yeah But the reality of our story about that, date you just said, right? Yeah.

[00:26:18] Mid-March 2020, we had to figure out the reality of. Heading into our best year ever. Yeah. And all of it turning off like a light switch. I, specifically remember those days and being on the phone and emailing with clients about how to get deposits back, how to cancel these shows. Yeah. Yep. No business model is set up to do that, by the way.

[00:26:37] You know, no one set up to give everything back, you know, and like Yep, you’re right.

[00:26:42] Angela Alea: But they remember those that did. I just wanna say that, I just wanna call that out, those that people don’t forget how they’re. Vendors and partners treated them during that time. So the fact that you were just sitting there talking about how do we give deposits back and, [00:27:00] you know, it’s phone calls, right?

[00:27:01] It’s not, that’s not an email. It’s, you know, a lot of it’s relationships. A lot of conversations.

[00:27:06] Seth Macchi: You know, all of this. Oh, we, yeah. We had some amazing relationships that had GR grace and they, it was just exceptional. Yeah. How people treated each other during that time. Yeah. So that was beautiful.

[00:27:20] But what we had this meeting, you know, a meeting of our leadership of like, what are we gonna do? And I’m just like, we need to accept that we need to shift hard and to, virtual for us, that was a good decision. A lot of people did that. Yeah. But because of that, we jumped right in to researching and eventually partnering with some friends of mine that have a software company that do virtual events in another space.

[00:27:44] We created a platform of our own. We, would use anything else, but we had our own platform called VX by L E M G, and we went from nothing to like working with a producer to do Xbox fan fest series globally in like eight months. I mean, our team felt like a [00:28:00] startup where we were just like, Figure out how to do it right.

[00:28:03] Write the plan. Exactly. Make all the options, do the platform and then sell it. Figure out how to sell it. Yeah. And you know, all the SDR stuff. And so it was I don’t regret that at all. I think it was an exciting experience. It kept our staff engaged and like a singular and focus and it really pushed us through to the other side of it all where I think maybe some businesses might have gotten kind of lost in that.

[00:28:29] What are we gonna do? Yeah. You know, so that was a good experience for sure.

[00:28:33] Angela Alea: Talk about, I. Personal growth for your staff? For all of us, right? I mean, yeah. And then you talked about, you know, making them an even better version of themselves. And that doesn’t happen in easy times. That happens in the hard times.

[00:28:46] Right? That’s when that growth happens. So that was definitely a period of. I’m sure a substantial amount of growth for, your team and for, all. You can’t

[00:28:54] Seth Macchi: get around that. You can’t get around that. It is hard stuff leads to growth. It’s like [00:29:00] people try to cheat that, but you just

[00:29:01] Angela Alea: can’t, you know, just can’t.

[00:29:03] I tell my son that all the time. There’s no shortcuts. I, yeah, feel like I tell him that every day. There’s just no shortcuts, Diego. There’s just not. You gotta do the hard stuff. That’s right. And that’s what happens. I always like to wrap up my podcast with one question, which is, what do you hope for our industry?

[00:29:22] Which

[00:29:22] Seth Macchi: is a wonderful question. I I, guess it would be two things. I, love the inclusivity of our industry and how it looks now versus, When I started around 2020, I mean not 2020 2000, that’s when I, you kind of jumped in and started doing stuff. It looks totally different. Yeah. When you go to a lot of production companies, they look a lot different too.

[00:29:46] I don’t think I’m unique in how I think about it now. I think a lot of people kind of learned as they grew up and they’re running things differently, so I love that. A huge thing I’d love to see change is an awareness of our industry, specifically event [00:30:00] production in the corporate event space for young talent.

[00:30:04] There’s the word, young talent coming out of high school or college and being really coordinated in your community, a really tied in your community. I, see here in Charlotte, American Airlines is, big. So airlines is, big and they’re, really tied into the high schools. Hospitality and tourism even is really tied in.

[00:30:24] But us as a component of that, we really could do a better job of sharing how this industry can be a great career. And then once they join the industry pathways for them that are clear, how you can grow your career, you know, and where that can end up. Cause I think. There’s a lot of kids that would love it.

[00:30:45] I really do. I think there’s a lot of talented techy minded kids that would have a blast. They just don’t know it exists. You know? They only see the entertainment.

[00:30:52] Angela Alea: They don’t. Yeah, you’re right. I mean, we, for those that listen to the podcast on a regular basis, I’m sure they’re [00:31:00] tired of me saying that.

[00:31:01] It blows my mind that our industry, we don’t even have our own SIC code. People don’t know we,

[00:31:09] Seth Macchi: That’s.

[00:31:10] Angela Alea: I agree. Event services is big, but event production that’s, different than a photographer at a wedding. Like it’s different, right? Yeah. And there needs to be these kind of sub-verticals and we do need to get the word out because I think there’s so many people who would love to work in our industry, but they don’t know how to get in.

[00:31:30] We quite honestly, we have nothing to offer them. Come on in, be a freelancer. Go find your own work. Most of the industry makes you pay your own taxes. You’re not gonna get any medical benefits. No. No one’s gonna invest in your 401k. This is as a freelancer, of course. Yeah. Different if your staff and the work gets up and down.

[00:31:48] So you’re gonna have to do a really good job finding your own work. And that’s hard, right? That’s not predictable. It’s not we’ve gotta do a better job of [00:32:00] making it a safe place, a fun place, a predictable career, and where people can understand it’s a career, not a gig. And I, think we’ve gotta change that terminology because otherwise, I’m not sure.

[00:32:17] You come outta college you’ve paid for college and some people don’t go to college was totally great too, but then they’re looking for that next step, right? And I think we need more people who are looking for career in this industry, who are willing to dig in, understand, really learn the discipline, learn the skill sets.

[00:32:35] Cross train, like be a part of it. Be curious. But I think it’s our, industry has not done a lot to help itself because we’re like, come on in, be a freelancer where you’re on your own kind of thing. Yeah. And so I think that makes it hard. So my, hope is that we can change that and that some of these colleges will, I am starting to see more and more colleges pick this up as a career path, which is great, but we need more companies to invest and say, [00:33:00] Hey.

[00:33:00] We’re a right landing place for you. We’ll train you, we’ll get you up to speed. Come join us. Yes. You know, and there’s, I don’t see that as much. Hopefully that changes though.

[00:33:09] Seth Macchi: Yeah. And I, will say, I think Lasso has helped us by centralizing our scheduling. We’re able to put the right talent on the right event.

[00:33:19] So for example, last week there was a day where we had, I call it our show stack, but we had like 11 projects going on in a day. We were able to put the right talent at, the right event, and it, meaning. If you have young people in the pool, you can start to putting them in. It doesn’t always have to be the top tier talent on every single project.

[00:33:41] Hold them in so you can distribute it, you can distribute it correctly, and you can utilize the younger ones. And that helps us do that in an intentional way that’s good for the client, but also good for this talent coming in. Yeah. So they’ve

[00:33:53] Angela Alea: gotta get, that’s been a great thing. Oh, I love that. That’s great.

[00:33:56] That’s great. Thank you for spending your time [00:34:00] with us today. I’ve really enjoyed the conversation. I have a few takeaways. One is surround yourself with good people who are smarter than you. I think we always, we all say that. But for me it kind of makes me pause and say, Yeah I’m, I am surrounded with a bunch of people who are a lot smarter than me, and I’m thankful for that.

[00:34:20] So continue doing that, right? And when you lose somebody that’s, that, that is, does fit that you gotta get replaced that, right? That’s a gap that’s gonna be, you know, you feel it. Yes, you are. And so I think that’s a great reminder. You also talked about investing in the personal growth of your staff and you have to have intention around that and a plan to do that.

[00:34:38] So I love that. Have a plan for opportunistic growth. It’s not gonna come confine you. Be intentional leveraging technology and then of course everyone should check out which witch and just check out their process. You gotta go see it was made and we have so much to learn from that. I think that’s a whole key study in and of itself.

[00:34:54] So there are a lot. It doesn’t have to be

[00:34:55] Seth Macchi: complicated. It’s gonna be a simple process’.

[00:34:58] Angela Alea: Have to it. That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. [00:35:00] Thank you for being on the show. We are really grateful and appreciated and all of your insights. Congrats on growing. An incredible business, doing great things with a stellar reputation with good people.

[00:35:10] So congrats. That is no small feat. So congrats to you and your team and thank you to all the listeners. If you like what you hear, hit subscribe, and if you have any questions, reach out to us at podcast at lasso dot I. Thanks everybody.

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