First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Greg Ross-Munro: Well, the dogs are super excited to have most of the humans home more, that’s for sure!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Sourcetoad.
Greg Ross-Munro: I started Sourcetoad in 2008, mainly as a software development consultancy. As the company grew, we focused more and more on hospitality technology, partly because I love to travel and partly because it’s more fun to deploy code in Aruba than in an office building downtown. In 2013 we were given two huge opportunities to work with major cruise lines on smaller projects. From there, we’ve grown our team, our client base, and our technology offerings.
How does Sourcetoad innovate?
Greg Ross-Munro: Sourcetoad was set up as an innovation company, and that’s been our mission since day one; to come up with modern solutions to all of our client’s problems. We typically now focus on putting in the infrastructure to enable innovation. It turns out that if you build plumbing to allow for the rapid realization of ideas, you become an innovation machine. So focus on the plumbing, and the innovation comes naturally.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Greg Ross-Munro: Although we have faced challenges, we feel lucky to be a business that could quickly adjust to the pandemic effects. We were one of the first companies in the area to start working from home. It’s been a learning experience, but we have worked hard to maintain our culture as much as possible. Having existing strong partnerships has helped us continue working with our clients during this time, even when there has been so much uncertainty. I think it has taught us all about resilience, and I feel confident that we can face any other challenges that come our way.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Greg Ross-Munro: Like many other businesses, we have had to make difficult decisions. We spent a long time trying to figure out the best possible solutions that would affect the least number of people. I think we’ve done an excellent job of that, and our team seems to be adjusting well. A saying that we picked up in the office when things were really stressful is, “Do the next right thing,” which has become our philosophy when things get tough. It may also be a line from a certain Disney movie…
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Sourcetoad in the future?
Greg Ross-Munro: I always try to stay pretty optimistic. If things get stressful, I remind myself that we’re all going to die one day, so I might as well make the best of it and not worry about the things I can’t change.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Greg Ross-Munro: Our primary product offering, Cruise Director, is a fleet management suite that allows cruise ships to synchronize all their customer-facing content to an entire fleet. It tracks, synchronizes, and runs analytics across entire fleets of ships and even across brands under the main umbrella. It’s so good and so vastly different from what anyone else is offering in the cruise industry that I can’t compare us to anyone else directly. We aimed to create something revolutionary, and I think we accomplished that. We do, of course, have indirect competitors — home-grown systems and combinations of various vendors. We are pretty close, however, to getting to a point where the ROI we offer to our clients is going to be overwhelming. It’s a matter of understanding our clients’ businesses and creating a culture that simply builds better technology than anyone else in the space.
Your final thoughts?
Greg Ross-Munro: The whole COVID-19 challenge has been an education. We’ve seen our industry take some serious hits, our team’s struggles with adapting to working remotely, and the stress and strain on everyone around us. Like any trial-by-fire, we have not come out unscathed, but we are definitely stronger than before. New levels of trust have formed, both within our teams and with our clients, because we’ve had to rely on each so much more. We are not out of the woods yet, but the amazing response to adversity that I’ve seen in the people around me has made me realize that our survival and success are an absolute inevitability.