First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Adam P. Gordon: Like everyone, we’ve adjusted to the new normal and take it one day at a time. We’re grateful for what we have and try to help those in need.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded PTO Genius.
Adam P. Gordon: After a decade in corporate finance, I was driven to become an entrepreneur and create jobs. After building a company and being fortunate enough to have a successful exit, I took some much needed time off to catch my breath. Shortly thereafter, I met my future co-founders (Ulises I. Orozco and Emilio Pineda) as they had each previously exited their most recent startups.
How does PTO Genius innovate?
Adam P. Gordon: It starts with having a company culture of open-mindedness to allow for new ideas, failure, and learning from the process. Everyone is encouraged to have a growth mindset and allow for innovation to thrive. To do that, we foster an environment where failing and being wrong is celebrated. By celebrating mistakes and failure, it allows people to be more creative and thus more innovative.
To innovate, we look to other areas of the marketplace and search for insight and ideas in places you’d least expect to turn. We harness underappreciated trends and pay attention to the little things that are already changing and gathering speed. Innovators don’t need a crystal ball but rather a wide-angle lens. You have to always be tracking trends your competitors haven’t yet noticed, then figuring out ways of using them to upend traditional business models.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Adam P. Gordon: Our company has had a surge in growth during COVID-19. As a result, we’ve been able to hire incredibly talented individuals who are both dynamic and diverse.
Due to people working remotely, the average U.S. workday has increased by almost 40%, which has Americans working 11-hour days. It’s the largest increase in working hours in the world. With employee burnout increasing, productivity decreasing, and PTO liability balances climbing, human resources departments are trying to combat a decrease in employee engagement and find an alternative to 401k withdrawals and end of year bonuses for companies looking to offload liability while providing employees with financial peace of mind. It’s an issue affecting a wide range of companies, from SMBs to the Fortune 500. Our company is focused on trying to help as many employees as possible and do what’s in the customer’s best interest.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Adam P. Gordon: The surge in business during COVID-19 forced us to pause some things in the roadmap and hyperfocus on what can be done to make an immediate impact on employees and companies to help them during this time – and in a remote manner. That challenged us to get creative with Customer Success, and by doing so, allowed us to establish more meaningful relationships with our customers.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project PTO Genius in the future?
Adam P. Gordon: Stress and anxiety are a part of life and will always be there. As an entrepreneur, you have to get comfortable with uncomfortable, celebrate the first downs, and acknowledge adversity as a growth opportunity. Teammates feed off each other’s energy, so it’s important to always have a positive attitude.
Our team is the reason we are where the company is today, and we work together to support each other. Our foundation is based on the best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. We’re a transparent team that holds each other accountable and constantly pushes beyond our comfort level. Working with the PTO Genius team has been an amazing and rewarding journey for me so far, and I look forward to the challenge of growing our team with the same, like-minded individuals.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Adam P. Gordon: Competition is a part of business, and competitors come-and-go. Our team focuses on what we can control – the product, our business, and how we treat customers. We’re fanatical about customer success and constantly think about adding more value to our users.
Your final thoughts?
Adam P. Gordon: The world is coming out of something scary, confusing, and uncertain for everyone. As we adjust to the new normal, there’s a newfound appreciation for compassion and the simple things in life, like family and health. This is a time of reinvigorating, rebooting, and trying new things. Let’s use innovation to make a difference in people’s lives. PTO Genius is excited to be part of the new way forward, helping elevate and change America’s workforce for the better.
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