Ecos is a Nashville, Tennessee-based software platform that helps sales and marketing teams deliver on-point and on-brand presentation materials to their prospects.The platform boasts analytics, allowing users to understand who’s viewing their marketing materials, what they engaged with and why they didn’t click through to the end of the presentation. It’s an offshoot of digital marketing agency Snapshot Interactive, where co-founders Ben Rigsby and Mark Scrivner fill the roles of chief creative officer and chief operating officer respectively. They’ve worked together for a decade, but even after all these years they couldn’t be more different. Rigsby describes himself as creative, laid-back, tech savvy and a real people pleaser, Scrivner, on the other hand, is more business-oriented and financial-minded and prefers to run the show. Disaster waiting to happen? Hardly. Instead, they say, it’s their opposite personalities that make their startup story such a successful one.
We posed a few questions to these co-founders about what it takes to work together. Here’s what they had to say.
Q: What would you say are each other’s biggest strengths as founders?
Rigsby: Mark brings a side of the business that I couldn’t even fathom doing, not because I don’t want to, but because that’s not how my brain works. He’s really good at process definition and he’s very methodical and numbers-driven. When it comes to running the business, he’s all over it.
Scrivner: Ben is incredibly creative, probably the most creative person I’ve ever come across. But he’s also very level-headed and he’s great about rallying troops and building team support around an idea. He can find an answer to any problem if you give him an hour or two. That’s why we call him the unicorn. At the same time, though, there are some very distinct similarities between Ben and me. We are extremely passionate about what we do, we outwork and out-hustle most anybody in the marketplace and we are very driven to be successful and to make our entire team successful.
Q: We talk a lot about founders and co-founders, and tech founders and non-tech founders, who almost always have different strengths. So, what are the benefits of having two different personalities running a startup?
Rigsby: We each have strengths and weaknesses. I don’t know that I’ve seen too many successful businesses founded and still in business when the founders are too much alike. There has to be a personality difference, a yin and a yang, to work.
Scrivner: I think Ben hit that on the head. We’ve seen the most successful businesses where the founders or partners are very different and bring different perspectives to every problem. The least successful companies or the ones that struggle to take off are ones where the founders have similar personality types.
Q: What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for making a business work with your polar opposite?
Scrivner: Make it a priority to learn the other’s personality styles and traits. Any challenges we’ve ever faced were early on in the business when we were still learning each other. Once we worked through those, we’ve been able to make everything work because we know that at the end of the day we really care about each other and care about each other’s success.
Rigsby: The day we figured out each other’s personalities was a very enlightening time for me. The thing that helped me was the DISC assessment. Two partners conduct it and you figure out what stress points the other person has and how to communicate with that person under stress. It was really eye-opening.
Q: Any other startup wisdom you can share with our readers?
Scrivner: The biggest mistake a founder can make is to not hire people better than they are. We agree that we always have to surround ourselves with smarter people who are better at certain elements of the business than we are and to be comfortable handing over those aspects of the business.
Rigsby: You really have to engage the team you spend so much energy trying to recruit, hire, train and be friends with. Training that team to make those pivotal decisions for your company is imperative for company culture and imperative for retention.